Terminology Focus Group: "Link to" Function in Object Menu 🔗


We put a lot of thought into providing easy to understand names for the many diverse elements of Anytype, but keeping them creative and distinct is a slippery slope into confusing “newspeak”.

Striking a consistent balance between what terms convey + how they’re executed in the UI is a delicate task, given the unique role of each function, as well as the potential for concepts to be easily conflated. Very suddenly, the most basic ideas can wax philosophical, and become unexpectedly abstract and intricate.

A well-rounded outcome involves considering a wide range of perspectives and opinions, often leading to heart-felt debates, a situation not limited to the topic of terminology.

Reaching a consensus is key and for this we need to call on the collective brain-power of the community.

The goal of this specific post is not to cover all the terms and concepts of Anytype but simply to get the ball rolling with a single function that you can ponder and discuss if you have some time over the weekend.


What would be a more fitting name to express the function of ‘Link to’ in the Object (…) Menu?

Link to Function

For context:
We’re addressing the fact that while the phrase ‘Link to’ might suggest that the current Object would appear on the left side of the link in an upper position, it actually appears on the right, positioned down-stream from the “Link to” Object.

As well as the action being entirely distinct from the “Link to Object” option in the / menu, which functions more so in an expected manner.

Hence the consideration for a name-change. Some potential suggestions already proposed by community members include “Link in,” “Add to,” “Add as link in,” and “Backlink to”.

Please don’t hesitate to contribute your own suggestions, and afterward we’ll organize a poll so that everyone can choose the option they think is best!

Relevant Topics
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I think that “Link to” is about as clear as it gets. They are essentially linked together on the graph. I would say this could be done better, as in making this link apparent from the relations panel or the like. That way, it actually feels more like what it says. Basically what I’m getting at is having a relation called “Linked objects” and then that being a relation by object appearance where it shows the object that you have it linked to and vice versa in the other object in the link relationship. However, if the method is going to remain as is currently, I think “Add to” makes the most sense because it adds that object to the other object (as a link). It’s also simple and will fit nicely with the UI considering that it isn’t any longer a phrase than “Link to.” Or you could re-term it as “Add as link” - but that gets confusing and slightly vague. That’s basically everything I had in mind upon reading this :wink:

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I don’t personally have too much of an issue with it as it is but I can kinda see the confusion at the same time.

If not “Link to” then perhaps Connect, Associate, or Tether?

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Honestly, I never noticed the positioning in Graph when you “Link to” so it was never an issue for me. It’s still linking to something, and the objects don’t stay in place, anyway. I’m not completely against a name change, but I don’t think it’s necessary. “Link to object” is found in a different menu, and it’s for the canvas, whereas “Link to” is for the Graph. It’s in different locations serving different purposes, no confusion about that.

If anything, it’s the “Link to object” that could use more clarity. Maybe change it to “Object link” or something so it can’t be mistaken as an action word.

Also, in my opinion, the proposed alternatives aren’t any better. Connecting two objects together can’t get any clearer or simpler than “link to”.

Same with @23jjl 's suggestion, I think a relation for linked objects would make it easier to grasp, not a name change.

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To be honest, I don’t think there’s any way at all to rename this command so that it isn’t confusing. The menu it appears in is full of commands that affect the object being viewed. But this command doesn’t do that. It affects other objects. So the user glances at the available commands, reasonably concludes that they all have to with the current object, and is then surprised when this command is different. In order to get around that you’d have to rename it something like “Append link to this object in…” and that’s intolerably wordy.

But I’m biased. To me, this command is useless because it doesn’t save me any time. In my knowledge base I require that all my links have clear purpose, which entails organizing them under headings or into relations. This command can’t do that, so even if I use it I still have to open the object the link is added in and move or label it appropriately. Might as well just open the object and directly add the link where I want it. Hence my request for a Context menu command to copy link to object.

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Personally, any terminology will do, as long as they are consistent across the whole Anytype.

At selection / option pane, the simpler the language is, the better it is. Cause once you understand the concept, you will have no problem and no additional explanation is needed.

Perhaps to reduce users’ confusion that some sort of behaviour would happen on the current object, we could change the action ‘notification’ into “the link of xxx is added to xxx” or something like that with text style to emphasise on the action. And perhaps the pop-up can stay a bit longer.

Or if we have the flow view on sidebar, a display of linked objects visually telling users of such link implementation (as status of current object) can make it clearer.

And if we have illustration with two windows in tutorial / user guide, users should be able to develop a clear mindset.

Pehaps the first step is to find all reference of “Link to” (and all other like “Link from”) and remind their current action?

From flow, from collection, from object menu.
Because a “Link to” must have the same action everywhere

Just for memory, actually we have this :

In object XXX, action “Link to”, choose YYY :

  • Add a link in the object XXX leading to YYY
    – In a collection, add YYY to this collection (but, ok, it’s a link)
  • Representation on the graph : XXX → YYY
  • Flow :
    – On XXX, YYY is under “Links to object”
    – On YYY, XXX is under “Links from object”

(Right? I’m tired so not sure… :sweat_smile:)

Oh, and we have “Link to object” in the “/” menu, which doesn’t do the same thing (and having two similar titles with different actions is very confusing). In fact, it does the opposite…

Disagree with Connect or similar, because it’s not a birelational link and it has a different meaning and impact depending on the “from” and the “to.”

So, I propose :

  • In the object menu, rename to Add as link into (proposal by @dandeancook) or Add link into
  • In the “/” menu, keep it, it really create a link to :yum:
  • In the flow, Link to object and Links from object are correct but that can be confusing.
    Why not “Linked from :” and “Linked to”
    That’s more accurate: our object is indeed linked from the objects on the left and linked to the objects on the right. But is it clear enough…

(and having these incoming/outgoing links somewhere other than in the flow, for example in relationships, would be a big plus for better visualization and understanding)


This may be besides the point, but I don’t understand why “link to” isn’t in the Relations menu. I know it’s not a ‘regular’ relation, but still, it’s about connecting objects together and for months that’s where I’d look for it each time I wanted to use it…

But I agree the terminology “Link to” isn’t great. I use it all the time but exclusively to add objects to existing collections. So “Add to” would work great.

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Didn’t think about that aspect. If Anytype plans on retaining the same method for “linking” (adding) objects to collections, then “Add to” makes a lot of sense. What would make more sense, I think they were planning on doing this, but updating this to be separate with a specific “Add to collection.” Maybe, I’m wrong, but if this isn’t part of the plan, then it might be a good suggestion here.

“Link to” definitely was confusing to me at first. Once I understood how it works i quickly found it to be a really useful feature.
I mainly use it to add objects to a collection and to manually add a backlink or just link to another note most likely already mentioned in the current note. So "add to“ really seems to work the best for me as well.

Add (backlink to this object) to
Add (link to current note) to
Add to… ( collection)
Add (as link in)to

Out of all of them, “Link in”, seems to me like the most simple and straightforward option.

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What a great suggestion @C.c I think we will implement your idea to update toast text.
@Shampra thanks for this robust recollection. I think we also will stick to this one.
Also @raph raised a great question about relations menu. We will cook it as a part of backlinks project.
Thanks everyone, it is so great feeling to have such a supportive community. A lot of hugs :people_hugging: :revolving_hearts::sparkles:


Relative FR (for AT teams for their backlinks project :grin:) :

Thank Anytype Team to ask us to share our opinions and ideas :blush:.


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