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As expressed in relevant answers here on meta (questions 6808 and 11581) there are URLs which are illegal to use in questions and answers. The system should be enhanced to address those URLs in two ways:

  • The editor preview should fail to render them correctly, which it currently does, since this gives the false impression everything would be ok.
  • The editor help should be enhanced to warn about illegal URLs, state what is legal and what is not, and advise the user to use alternative URLs (e.g. those obtained by URL shortener services like etc.), or %-encoding of offending characters, if he needs to use them.
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I often wish that I could get a real preview of questions or answers before I post them. – innaM Aug 1 '09 at 15:18
If these urls:… aren't going to be handled then they could also have their own help prompts. – Sam Hasler Aug 3 '09 at 9:20
I'm not so sure, Sam. I can't say off the top of my head, but I suspect the URI RFC prohibits the kinds of characters in URLs which your question targets. I'm not so sure about the ":" character (in my case) either... – ThomasH Aug 3 '09 at 19:51
":" needs escaping: – ThomasH Aug 3 '09 at 21:29
I'm pretty sure that it takes the same amount of effort to notify you if a url is illegal as it does to modify the illegal url into a legal one. Why add support to tell you what you can't do when you could add support to make it possible? – Ian Elliott Aug 3 '09 at 21:37
@Ian If you follow the links in my question and see the tone of the answers they link to, you probably understand the direction of this question. It's also not about notification, in the sense of interactive help or something, but about static text as in the editor's side bar or linked from there. And the fact that the editor preview mirrors the post with all its flaws as it will appear when submitted. – ThomasH Aug 4 '09 at 7:47

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