13

Title says it all. Can we ban the well-known URL shortners from links in the site. I'd prefer in general text too, but that might to too far in some cases.

Say these 14 (as stolen from a blog):

  • bit.ly
  • BudURL
  • Eweri
  • HEX!O
  • idek.net
  • is.gd
  • kl.am
  • Lincr
  • POPrl.com
  • RubyURL
  • Snipurl
  • TinyURL
  • twurl
  • urlBorg
  • goo.gl

They only obfuscate links; making broken links particularly hard to correct. Considering the type of users who typically use them I cringe every time I have to click one (though it's been a while since I got a virus warning).

  • 1
    Add goo.gl. Definitely a bad thing when one of them goes dark, taking all the links with it.. but maybe offer a helpful message to users who have a post blocked by that filter? (scope creep!) – Shane Madden Aug 15 '11 at 20:40
  • Can the links not just be expanded and included 'whole'? – Rob Moir Aug 15 '11 at 20:52
  • @RobertMoir - that would require the site's engine to follow the link, eat the 301 and alter the post text. Seems like a lot of work for the infrastructure that can be relatively painlessly offloaded onto the human doing the typing: "We like our users to know what you're linking to, and we let you have lots of characters to type it out -- Please use the full URL for the resource you're referencing" – voretaq7 Aug 15 '11 at 20:57
  • add .info to goo.gl links and the + sign to bit.ly links to get the full URL as well as some statistics. Not sure about the others. Perhaps only allow URL shorteners that are 1) established and 2) easy to get to the stats page (like the two I mentioned) – Wesley Aug 15 '11 at 21:12
  • Aww. I also had a spammer use "urlshorteningservicefortwitter.com" one time - but it appears to have gone under :(. – Shane Madden Aug 16 '11 at 0:52
  • @Robert, that'd be nice, but I'd settle for simply blocking the links. – Chris S Aug 16 '11 at 2:28
  • @Zoredache, the first one is similar (but is asking for all instead of just the "worst"/most popular). The second is asking for Robert mentioned, which I didn't think would happen for the reasons cited in the Q. The third isn't status-declined, but more of a battle cry for the same thing. I still think it would be nice, and it's worth Jeff (et al) hearing it again, even if they disagree. – Chris S Aug 16 '11 at 12:31
  • This has been brought up with many pros and cons and use cases both ways on the main meta and you can see that it has been officially declined as a feature request. – Caleb Aug 16 '11 at 15:32
  • @Caleb, thank you for repeating what Zoredache posted. – Chris S Aug 16 '11 at 17:32
  • I know its expensive, and I know this is a moot point with it being status declined on meta meta, but I was thinking out loud about ways to both make it easier to spot 'lmgtfy' style links and not penalise inexperienced question answerers – Rob Moir Aug 16 '11 at 19:42
4

I don't think these add any value: There is no (practical) limit to the length of a question or answer: You can post a URL that's as long as you want and not hit a character limit. As such I don't think they should be allowed in questions or answers, and I can get behind extending that to comments for the sake of consistency.

Banning them network-wide (e.g. in chat) might be a bad idea: I sometimes cut and paste stuff that has a url shortener link because it's easier to find and easier than clicking through to the long link, highlighting the URL bar & copying.

  • I'm not sure about questions but there most certainly is a very finite limit to the length of answers. Even I (not renowned for long answers) have hit that limit several times and have had to chop bits out. – John Gardeniers Aug 17 '11 at 21:51
  • y'all be too damn verbose! I think I've hit the answer limit once. I've never considered using bit.ly or similar to shorten my answer to fit though. Perhaps I'm just not that bright :) – voretaq7 Aug 18 '11 at 3:21
  • @JohnGardeniers - this can also be taken for a good excuse to start a petition to allow more verbosity in answers ;) – voretaq7 Aug 18 '11 at 3:22
0

The biggest problem is that many users don't know the correct markdown syntax to create an inline link. This can be annoying if you want to add a long link in a comment.

Also you cannot post insanely long links like this in the comments or in chat. If all shorteners are banned, how can I post my really long links?

http://hugeurl.geeks.org/?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

  • 4
    I clicked it. I lol'd. – Wesley Aug 15 '11 at 21:28
  • 2
    URL lengtheners?? – Nixphoe Aug 15 '11 at 21:39
  • But... there's a "globe-with-arrow" symbol to make linkable text! AND if you just put somewhere.com in an answer it's pretty good about figuring it out, no? (case in point - that was "h t t p : / / w w w . s o m e w h e r e . c o m" above) – voretaq7 Aug 15 '11 at 21:56
  • 4
    @vortaq7, the globe-with-arrow doesn't work in comments. But honestly, I don't care much, I mostly just wanted to post a really long url. – Zoredache Aug 15 '11 at 22:12
  • Finally, a use for hugeurl. – Chris S Aug 16 '11 at 2:26
  • Ignoring for a moment that fact that you were simply having a bit of fun, I'd suggest being more intelligent about constructing the link in the first place. There is absolutely no reason for any legitimate link to be anywhere near that long, so it follows that there is no legitimate reason to use a URL shortener, other than an attempt to obfuscate it. – John Gardeniers Aug 17 '11 at 21:50
  • 1
    @John Gardeniers, length really isn't the issue. But there are valid links that confuse the markdown parser when using the syntax for inline URLs that is required in the comments/chat. For example links to many wikipedia articles don't work because of the (. A person can manually urlencode these, but that is a bit painful. – Zoredache Aug 17 '11 at 22:01
  • A heads up, that link will crash the stock browser on a samsung galaxy s2. – artifex Aug 19 '11 at 5:39

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