At the moment it doesn't seem possible to list a non-existent article as a parent article.
This has the advantage of forcing people to write articles, if they want to have a sensible
parent. But it has the distinct disadvantage that many articles will be created as uncategorized,
rather than being linked to a sensible (if not yet existent) parent.
I have in mind in particular listing front pages as parents. (I wrote an algebraic geometry
article, wanted to list the algebraic geometry front page as its parent, and was then forced
to create that page too.)
I can see that there might be a danger that ghost parents are listed, which are then
never quite created. (At some point, someone might create a very similar page, but
with a slightly different name, say, and then parent and child will never meet.)
In my case, I got the idea of linking to algebraic geometry as a page, because I had seen
it (albeit as a dead link) on the list of front pages for areas of mathematics. So in this
situation, it would seem perfectly reasonable to have let me use this as a parent — at
some point, someone was going to create that page.
I don't know how best to resolve this in a fashion that can be automated; or perhaps
it is best to leave things as they are. Any thoughts?
This doesn't answer your question, but here is what I recommend if we decide not to automate the process. First, we should convert as many as possible of the dead links into stubs. For example, every single subject-area front page could be given just its basic data and a quick description such as "A list of articles about area X", which wouldn't even have to be accurate. Of course, it could be given more: one might write a wish list of titles of articles that it would be good to see in that particular area (which themselves would be better as stubs – etc.). Secondly, if you are writing an article and there seems to be some natural title for a parent article, type some key words into the search box. You won't find the nonexistent article but you may find it mentioned in another article. And thirdly, if you suspect that an appropriate parent exists but are unable to find it, then (i) if you are right then that parent article has not itself been well enough categorized for you to be able to find it, even though you knew exactly what you were looking for, which is a serious defect that needs sorting out, and (ii) it might be better to leave your article uncategorized for a while in the hope that somebody else will know what to do with it.
If Alex or Olof reads this, they may be able to say whether it would be feasible to have a search that revealed not just live articles but also dead links. That would obviously help too.
I forgot to mention above that another potentially quick way of finding a dead link is to go to a map of the Tricki, which includes dead links as well. I have been laboriously creating and maintaining this map by hand, but that is soon going to cease to be feasible I think. I hope it may be possible to create one that maintains itself automatically, but that would have to be done by Alex or Olof.
View a list of all articles.