Crosslinks Guide
rating: +40+x

Introduction

Crosslinking, or linking to other pages from an SCP article, is useful for connecting parts of the Foundation'verse together. If done right, it can make articles a lot more interesting.

That said, it's common to see people write weak crosslinks. Those often look like the author is trying to make their own work look good by namedropping popular SCPs, because their SCP isn't interesting enough by itself. Crosslinking just for the heck of it will usually hurt your article more than it helps.

This guide will help writers figure out which crosslinks improve articles, and which crosslinks should generally be avoided1.

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How do I know if I've done it right?

For the quickest way to check your own crosslinks, feedback-givers in the Ideas/Brainstorming and Drafts Forum will be happy to discuss if you have planned/written a good crosslink.

The following are some ways to identify good crosslinking:

1. Is the crosslink natural and useful?

Crosslinking is at its best when the connection between SCP articles feels logical and contributes to a reader's understanding of the Foundation universe. Even if the crosslinks are removed, neither article should be worse off.

Note, for example, SCP-1323 linking to SCP-2952:

Each access point is located no more than 1.5 km from the closest SCP-2952 terminal.

These two SCPs are located in similar locations (Europe, specifically British counties) and have similar themes (fairies, and anomalous access points leading to fairy-frequented locations). It feels natural for the Foundation to comment on how they're related, and in-universe the connection would help field agents observing both anomalies.

2. Does the crosslink make sense from a scientific perspective?

The SCPs involved in a good crosslink usually have a related background (things with similar origin stories) or in-universe justified cross-testing (things that have related abilities or properties). For example:

Investigation has shown that SCP-695 may be the result of genetic tampering, with several aspects of its physiology, behavior showing evidence of non-natural evolution, and several genetic sequences matching those of SCP-1238, SCP-1340 and SCP-1821.

Anomalies involving Corvus corax specimen, including SCP-2285 and SCP-2106, are to be monitored for potential contamination by SCP-1505. Neutralization protocols are in place in the event SCP-1505's effect manifests in these or other anomalies.

Connecting these SCP objects adds to the immersion, because it gives us a sense of a universe that has more than just one type of a certain SCP. The Foundation as shown in these articles is aware of numerous anomalies that are related, and keeps track of similar objects, rather than just handling everything completely separately.

Also, keep in mind that putting SCPs with similar abilities together doesn't guarantee a solid crosslink. You want the crosstesting to be handled with safety and information gathering in mind, not just "man how cool would it be if [monster with x power] fought [different monster with x power]?!"

3. Does the crosslink improve the reading experience for articles involved?

A good crosslink will make both your article and the article(s) you've linked to seem more interesting because of the story dynamic and connection. Good crosslinks connect naturally-related parts of the SCP universe together to make a bigger perspective of the SCP-verse.

Wow! You've just found yourself your very own Little Mister, a limited edition collection from Dr. Wondertainment!
Find them all and become Mr. Collector!!
01. Mr. Chameleon
02. Mr. Headless
03. Mr. Laugh
04. Mr. Forgetful
05. Mr. Shapey

An example of this is the The Little Misters, which are a series of related SCPs created by the Dr. Wondertainment Group of Interest. The reader can explore the links by jumping easily between SCP articles, and even the Little Mister tales. This gives a feeling of a bigger perspective of the Foundation world across more than one SCP article.

4. Is there a solid narrative/story-related reason for this crosslink?

Currently, Mobile Task Force Tau-5 "Samsara" is leading recontainment and mitigation efforts.

Summary of operation can be found in documents associated with Operation AZURE PEREGRINE.

MTF Tau-5 "Samsara" has been selected to lead recontainment efforts due to their skill in using paratechnological equipment, which may be resistant to SCP-2970's effects, and their demonstrated aptitude in dealing with anomalous groups related to SCP-2970 (see Operation AZURE PEREGRINE).

SCP-2970 is an article that ties into a series of other pages involving Mobile Task Force Tau-5 "Samsara". Since the overarching plotline regarding this MTF containing SCP-2970 involves more than just what's in the article, crosslinking is an integral part of its storytelling method.

Card Title: Babel’s Spire
Subtitle: The Friendly Union of Man and Beast
Type: Structure
Description: Spawns the Babel Spire on a square of your choosing within line of sight. Nearby animals join your side, and gain +2 attack. Those who do not are sacrificed to Babel. Aya aya aya blood blood blood.

An example involving crosslinking to multiple SCP articles is SCP-3301. It's a card game with cards that feature personnel, events, and protocol of the Foundation, as well as SCP objects. The inclusion of crosslinks on the cards is a nod to other parts of the Foundation'verse, and the presentation is done well enough so that as a reader, you aren't required to read the other SCPs to understand SCP-3301, but it makes for an interesting experience if you do.

(For the record, "I really really like [SCP here] and I really really wanna mention it in my article!1!!11!!" is not a solid narrative reason to crosslink.)

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What kind of crosslinks should I try to avoid?

Because people love to try connecting their work to popular stuff, crosslinking is easily misused, resulting in downvotes or readers not taking the article seriously. Below are some of the most commonly-seen types of bad reasons to crosslink.

Keep in mind that the following examples don't always fail. However, they tend to give readers negative impressions of the author that uses crosslinking in those ways.

1. Using another SCP object to describe your SCP object

Example: "SCP-XXXX looks like SCP-682, but it has two more legs and longer claws."

What it might look like to a reader:

  • "I didn't want to write my own description."
  • "My SCP is better than yours."
  • "I couldn't come up with something interesting so I'm borrowing someone else's work."

SCP articles that start with descriptions like, "SCP-XXXX is similar to [popular SCP]" or "SCP-XXXX was discovered with [popular SCP]" tend to look very unoriginal. Sometimes, authors also try to one-up older SCPs by making theirs more dangerous, powerful, and/or smart. This is a good way to show the reader that you don't care as much for intriguing the reader as one-upping a beloved article. Don't do this. "More dangerous" does not mean "more interesting".

This approach also seems to tell the reader that the author expects them to have already read another SCP article if they want to understand what's going on. In the worst-case scenario, the author just looks lazy or uncreative.

2. Testing with other SCP objects because ''Science!'' or ''Why not?''

Example: "SCP-XXXX was introduced to SCP-173 to see if SCP-173 would be able to attack SCP-XXXX."

What it might look like to a reader:

  • "I don't understand how the Foundation operates."
  • "Who cares if it doesn't make sense, it's super super cool!"
  • "My SCP isn't interesting by itself so I'm borrowing someone else's work to make it interesting."

In-universe, testing an SCP object with a bunch of other well-known SCP objects, especially dangerous ones, would likely cause someone to get fired in nanoseconds or killed by the experiment. The Foundation hires smart scientists. Smart scientists don't test dangerous SCP objects with other poorly-understood anomalies just for the heck of it. Scientists also need to deal with transporting anomalies to testing areas and making sure that they don't break the safe SCPs.

Experiments involving several SCP objects, or any dangerous/hostile entities, should clearly show the reader why such tests were considered worth the risk. Some Foundation-made SCPs are examples of what happens if tests blow up in researchers' faces. "I wonder what would happen if we threw 682 at it" is reasoning that makes the Foundation look dumb.

3. Only mentioning popular articles

Example: "SCP-XXXX was extremely interested in learning more about SCP-106, SCP-096, and SCP-2000. SCP-XXXX also demonstrated knowledge of SCP-1000."

What it might look like to a reader:

  • "I've only read a couple SCP articles!" or worst-case scenario, "I've never read any SCP articles!"
  • "I think the popular stuff is the only good stuff."
  • "Everyone loves [popular SCP], so if I mention [popular SCP] in my article everyone will love my article!"

SCP-173 first hit the internet in 2007. SCP-682 is from 2008. SCP-049 was posted in 2009, SCP-106 and SCP-096 posted in 2010. At the time of writing this essay, it's 2017. It's been a good several years since these popular articles were posted, and a ton of high-quality work has been made on the site since then.

A good way to test if your crosslink to a popular old article will work is asking yourself: "Why would a researcher have a good reason to mention this SCP object, instead of any other SCP object?" If you can't come up with a reason that makes sense both to readers and to scientists in-universe, maybe you shouldn't mention one of the popular old things.

Look at articles in Series II, Series III, and Series IV for crosslink material, not just Series I. If you're having trouble finding a good non-hyped article to crosslink, site members in the Questions Desk forum can give suggestions. You can also try using the Tag Search tool to look for similar pages.

4. Having your SCP object look super good by containing/defeating/making peace with other SCP objects.

Example: "When SCP-049 breached containment, SCP-XXXX immediately teleported out of its cell to confront SCP-049. They had a conversation and then SCP-XXXX escorted SCP-049 calmly back to containment."

What it might look like to a reader:
"My SCP is the most powerful/smart/perfect ever, so it's very very important."
"My SCP is super helpful to the Foundation so everyone must love it."

The Foundation isn't going to rely much on SCPs to do its job. The Foundation is much more likely to use non-anomalous containment cells and security personnel that they understand and trust.

Most readers are going to see "my SCP can beat up other SCPs" and "my SCP can be friends with other SCPs" as shallow attempts to make an SCP look more important and likeable. If your SCP is super perfect and/or super useful, the average reader won't be able to relate to them. That actually makes it harder for readers to care about this super perfect thing that does everything right without having the same troubles that we normal humans do.

Focus on telling an interesting story, not just making your SCP a hero that is the best like no one ever was.

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Conclusion

Crosslinking, when done right, makes for some fantastic connections within the Foundation universe. It can be a great dessert to the main meal of a good article. Remember though, a good dinner isn't made only of dessert. Don't waste a crosslink on trying to shove in a popular SCP for the popularity namedrop. Use it to expand on an already interesting story, offer a different perspective, or hint at something bigger going on behind the scenes.

The best crosslinks improve a reader's experience by allowing related articles to tell a story that is more immersive. Interconnected articles give a sense of a scientific organization with a long history of experimental documentation, dedicated to expanding knowledge of the anomalous to protect humanity from the unnatural. Portraying the Foundation as an organization that notices these similarities and acts on them makes the Foundation itself, and the SCP objects in turn, feel that much more profound and real.

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