Poll: what’s your preference when referring to back-links/cross-links/wiki-links?

How do you prefer to refer to [[bracketed]] links in Drafts?
  • Back-links
  • Wiki-links
  • Cross-links
  • Other

0 voters

I’ve caught myself floating between different terms and wondered what the general preference is.

Maybe we can argue about whether hyphenation is necessary later… :wink:

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FWIW, here is my understanding.

In other apps, like Obsidian for example, they are referred to as back links. It is a more universal term, but also one that implies a directionality that is not present. In fact, they really link forward like any link; they add a new node to your navigable history of access.

The style of linking to another page with double brackets comes from MediaWiki syntax I think (and it is entirely possible something predates that for this syntax), and is referred to in the Drafts documentation as wiki style link examples of cross links.

Cross links are links between Drafts, but there is more than one way to define a link to the same draft (e.g. you could use a full permalink URL).

At first it may seemI that the bracketed linking is wiki style link, and wiki style links are a type of cross link. Therefore both terms are applicable, but one is more specific. However, not all wiki links are in fact cross linking to other drafts. With additional notation, some link to in app or even external searches for example.

Therefore, while I voted for wiki link as the term I use (I think) for double bracketed links, I think the answer is probably wiki style cross link if you explicitly want to reference any double bracketed link to a draft in Drafts.


Yes. Greg has referred to “wiki-style cross-linking” in the manual. Quite a mouthful, though.

And yes, I did wonder whether any of these terms might more specifically reference instances in which a link is one way, or whether the linked-to resource hosts a return link…

Thanks for the thinking. Curious to see how others weigh in, bearing everything here in mind…

There may be additional points of confusion: (1) Where you are when you ask the question, and (2) What other software you use.

If you are in Draft A and have a [[Draft B]] link you might call that a wiki-link or a wiki style cross link. I don’t much like the word “cross” because it seems to indicate that Draft B links back to Draft A, which it may but does not necessarily do.

But, if you are in Draft A and want to know which other drafts have a [[Draft A]] link then it seems natural to refer to them as back links.

Another source of confusion involves what other software you use. We all understand the one-way direction of a wiki-style link.

If you use The Archive for a Zettelkasten, all links are one-way and two-way arrangements are frowned upon – or, at least, that is my understanding.

I use Roam where all links are two-way. If you create the link [[Page B]] while on Page A, then you will automatically find a link back to Page A on Page B.

But, in Roam “links” come in different flavors and there is no single word or phrase that encompasses all the possibilities. To make yourself clear you have to use case-specific terminology.

A further point of confusion is that what is commonly called a link in Roam e.g., [[Page B]], should properly be called a reference. For example, I can enter a quotation on any page in Roam. If I give it a [[quote]] “link” then I’ll find it together with 300 other quotes on the “quote” page. So - enter it “here” and you can also find it “there” and “somewhere else” as well. Where it actually “lives” is functionally irrelevant (and liberating).

I use links in Drafts to organize information in a hierarchy. A top-level table of contents has links (and only links) to several second-level tables of content that have links (and only links) to “actual” drafts. But, each draft – in addition to whatever other links it may have - always has a link “up” in the ToC chain of command. So, in this context I think in terms of “up,” “down,” or “peer” links.

If there is a consensus for how the [[link]] structure is used or what it should be called, I haven’t found it. But, it is a very interesting question because it requires examination of a number of different contexts and methods that different developers have provided.

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I, personally, like “cross-links”, but do not have strong feelings about it.

Semantically, it seems to me “links” are by default “forward”. A hyperlink takes you somewhere, and, by convention, the browser (or whatever) offers you a back button to return to the previous location. In the case of linked notes, “back-links” are ways to get to other items which link to the current item.

I reference “wiki” because wikis are, generally, the source of this type of notation so it’s a useful reference point for many.

I like “cross” because there’s no implied limitation to the “back” and “forward” nature of the links.