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Due to comment size limit, and code clarity in general, what do you think about shortening urls?

Let's assume following url:


We can shorten it to:


It will expand, just try.

My questions are:

  • What do you think about this technique?
  • Is it safe for the Stack Overflow system, such as internal functionality like "linked questions" on right side, etc?
  • Finally, is it recommended to use full urls, or are both forms considered equal?
  • Can there be an even shorter form? It might help with comment size limits, because urls are quite long.
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You can also ditch "questions" for "q". – Won't Aug 31 '11 at 14:05
@Won already suggested in my answer :) – genesis Aug 31 '11 at 14:20

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Is it safe to stackoverflow system, in sense of internal functionalities, like "linked questions" on right side, etc?

SO would not allow this if it wouldn't be safe

is it recommended to use full urls, or are both forms recommended, equal? Can there be even shorter form? It might help with comment size limits, cause urls are quite long.

Full one, because SO gets more and more backlinks and it's better for google to read


than to read


Can there be even shorter form? It might help with comment size limits, cause urls are quite long.

You can change "questions" to "q" and replace question id with answer id. It will redirect you properly

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That is even shorter than my solution, didn't expect that you could leave out the question id – Mad Scientist Aug 31 '11 at 10:41
That was my point :) – genesis Aug 31 '11 at 10:44
Ok, so my conclusion is : it's not recommend to leave such links on webpages, but it's supported, so can be used in IM,IRC,chat,sms etc. – Grzegorz Wierzowiecki Aug 31 '11 at 10:50
yes. You can use it whenever you want, it's more about recommendation, but all of them are allowed – genesis Aug 31 '11 at 11:01
When you put Answer ID after the /q/ it will take the answer "parent" question then add the answer ID as anchor.. neat shortcut. – Shadow Wizard Aug 31 '11 at 11:42
If you add your userID in the URL, like meta.stackexchange.com/q/104552/156902, you might get one of the promotion-badges (announcer, booster, publicist). (You can get this link with the [link] button under the question.) – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 31 '11 at 14:56

For linking to questions/answers/comments of the same site you can use a relative url:


It should shorten comments even more.

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I like to see a linked question's title on mouseover in the status bar. A link to a question with its title hidden is not shorter when using [link text](url) syntax (which also works in comments). Why hide that information on purpose?

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Comments has size limit, so sometime it's hard to fit with long urls. Another reason is giving links in IM,IRC,sms. As @genesis wrote, on web-pages there are reasons (like SO) to leave full form. – Grzegorz Wierzowiecki Aug 31 '11 at 10:51
@Grzegorz It does make sense in comments or maybe sms (even if I've never seen anyone sending a link by sms). I don't really agree about chat services, because there is no size limit to messages. Most links do fit in a single line, even if not, most chat clients recognize links anyway to make them clickable. Hiding the title information by shortening the url should be used only in rare cases ihmo. – kapep Aug 31 '11 at 11:10

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