Couldn't you give us a hint?

It probably doesn't make much sense to do so, but it's still possible to view the entire web as an all-inclusive entity. If we do that, there's hardly any reason to distinguish between what's a formal part of the Boidem and what can be found outside of its confines. Actually, when we do that we might view the Boidem as a springboard, or diving board that gives us jumping off points for getting deeper and deeper into the web. But clearly that's going to an unnecessary extreme. It does, however, raise the question of whether a reader should know, at least more or less, where a link will lead. In the Boidem a link is a link is a link - whether it leads to an internal page of a column, or to a page in a different column, or to a page outside of the Boidem.

Years ago I recall web sites that tried to establish "signs" to help us distinguish where a link leads. I'm quite sure there were a number of attempts of this sort, though the only ones I've been able to locate were those I referred to in these pages over ten years ago. John December suggested putting different small symbols next to each link that would identify where that link would lead, and back in 2002 Nathan Ashby-Kuhlman described different functions that links might serve, though it doesn't seem that he suggested clearly distinguishing between these when they appear on a page. Not much seems to remain of this idea (December is still posting to his website, while Ashby-Kuhlman, though his site is still accessible, seems to have abandoned it). I think the only still functional example of hints of this sort is the symbol (link) that Wikipedia puts next to links that will take the reader to an outside site.

Back then I toyed with the idea of establishing a group of signs for the Boidem that could be placed just after links so that a somewhat experienced reader would know whether a link would lead him or her to an internal page of the present column, or to a page in a different column, or to an external page. I like the idea, and think it could be useful for the web as a whole, but I decided that for the Boidem I prefer a modest dose of ambiguity.

Go to: How to read a Boidem column.