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Are URL shorteners banned on SO? I have had several of my questions edited and the URL shortener removed. (I am using TinyURL.com.) Are there reasons for this or is it solely so a person can edit the question?

I am using the URL shorteners because the site is in development and I do not want any links pointing to it for a few different reasons.

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53  
If you don't want links pointing to it, why do you post links pointing to it? –  balpha Nov 25 '11 at 21:28
    
To help solve my issue I must link to page because you cannot figure out the issue from just the code posted. –  Lynda Nov 25 '11 at 21:52
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@Lynda: Remember, SO questions are intended to be useful for future visitors. If your question is dependent on a link that will break soon, it's not a question that will be useful for other people and so it should be closed as Too Localized. It's better to add code samples or screenshots to your question so that the question can retain its usefulness in the future. –  hammar Nov 25 '11 at 23:26
    
I do my best to phrase the question with as much detail as possible without URLs. Sometimes that is not enough, when the answers are provided normally they are enough to get a good overview with or without URLs –  Lynda Nov 26 '11 at 1:54

2 Answers 2

up vote 55 down vote accepted

They're not banned.

We just hate them.

We really, really hate them.

Persistent use of short URLs in your posts is a good way to get the attention of editors and moderators. Editing to replace them with canonical URLs is both acceptable and encouraged.

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What about site-specific URL shorteners? (EG: go.microsoft.com/link/123abc) –  gladoscc Nov 26 '11 at 0:25
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@gladoscc: you get 600 characters in any comment; 30,000 in any post. But if you have a good reason (that is, one that doesn't involve space) to use a site-specific shortener, at least we don't have to guess at what site the click will take us to. –  Shogging through the snow Nov 26 '11 at 1:08
    
since URLs can change, using site specific shorteners allow the link to still work if the URL is changed. –  gladoscc Nov 26 '11 at 1:34
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For any given site, the choice to create - and the responsibility to maintain - canonical URLs for content falls on the site's owner. Systems that map permanent world-visible URLs to transient internal resources are common. If a given site chooses to use short, cryptic URLs for this purpose in lieu of something more descriptive, that is a very unfortunate choice on their part. However, shortened URLs do not guarantee a permanent or reliable redirect; the same effort is required to maintain them as any other scheme. –  Shogging through the snow Nov 26 '11 at 2:53

I am using the URL shortners because the site is in development and I do not want any links pointing to it for a few different reasons.

Most people hate them, because they can't actually know what that link is. Everytime you post link here on Stack Exchange network, link contains rel="nofollow" attribute which most good crawlers honor. And, I think you forget that crawlers follow links, which means that if Google goes to the tinyurl page, it is, after all, redirected to the original url..

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