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I have tried to browse Meta Stack Overflow but haven't found anything regarding this topic. If there is a duplicate, please point me to it.

Anyway, I have found these two question that aren't on this site though:

  1. How to avoid “click here” links;
  2. Why shouldn't we use the word 'here' in a textlink.

I have used this type of text-link in the past but when someone pointed me that it wasn't the case, I thought it was reasonable enough, so I changed.

But in case I need to edit someone else's post, the motivation I can provide is not "official", although I still think that the usability issue is important enoush to avoid writing "meaningless" text-links.

That brings me to the central point/reason of my question: is there an "official position" that we have to keep in mind about text-links? Are we justified when editing them or should we leave them as they are?

share|improve this question
If it makes the post better then I don't see a problem with it. It's probably not worth editing just for that though. – Flexo Jan 9 '12 at 13:26
Since I got a down-vote, would it be possible to know at least why? Thanks. (I'm seriously asking, no sarcasm, because my question is not unclear, I think it's useful and I did research before posting it. Plus, I'm not forcing people to do it, but merely asking if there are some official guidelines regarding the topic.) @awoodland Care to elaborate more on that? – Alenanno Jan 9 '12 at 13:47
@Scrooge I'm aware votes on Meta mean "to agree/to disagree", I'm not new to the StackExchange mechanisms, but I wasn't exactly writing an opinion or proposing something. That's why I couldn't understand it... But thanks anyway. :) – Alenanno Jan 9 '12 at 14:12
My bad - however, someone clearly does disagree ;) – ChrisF Jan 9 '12 at 14:14
@Scrooge I suppose so eheh :D – Alenanno Jan 9 '12 at 14:15
Well I downvoted because I don't like you. Or because I disagree that this is a problem and any action to prevent this would be harmful. One or the other. – Won't Jan 9 '12 at 16:38

The most authoritative reference I can give on the matter is the W3C guidelines for link text:

Good link text should not be overly general; don't use "click here." Not only is this phrase device-dependent (it implies a pointing device) it says nothing about what is to be found if the link if followed. Instead of "click here", link text should indicate the nature of the link target, as in "more information about sea lions" or "text-only version of this page".


"Auditory users" -- people who are blind, have difficulty seeing, or who are using devices with small or no displays -- are unable to scan the page quickly with their eyes. To get an overview of a page or to quickly find a link, these users will often tab from one link to the next or review a list of available links on a page.

The usual rule for edits of "if it makes the post better then go for it" seems to apply here. The kind of edit you're proposing isn't changing the meaning of the post, but it is helping make Stack Overflow (and in this instance the web in general) a better place.

I don't think however that this is a big enough problem to be worth going on a mass-editing spree though and the more appropriate action seems to be to include this in the sort of edits you might make whilst correcting other issues at the same time.

So if you're editing a post anyway to correct other issues this seems like a perfectly sensible change to make at the same time.

share|improve this answer
Thank you! Note that I wasn't "proposing", I was asking whether there were some standards for it. Still, I personally agree with editing them, but my question was not about that, and that part in my question was just a "providing-context" part. :) – Alenanno Jan 9 '12 at 13:53
@Alenanno - sorry I forgot about that part, I sort of assume you were asking about policy on SE sites specifically. I've added a link that I think pretty much says it all. – Flexo Jan 9 '12 at 13:59
Oh I wasn't hinting to that, but thanks anyway! eheh :D I'll check the link right away. – Alenanno Jan 9 '12 at 14:01

Are we justified when editing them or should we leave them as they are?

Your link to the UX post pretty much explains it all. In pretty much every case, this makes the post clearer and often independent of the link actually working to make sense. In other words:

You can find out more by reading this.

Makes a lot less sense than:

You can find out more by reading the Stack Overflow FAQ.

And should the link go dead or be unavailable, the post still makes perfect sense.

I wouldn't berate people for posting links like that (there are other battles to be fought) but if you're up to it, go ahead and edit. We want Stack Overflow to be awesome right? Wouldn't you do the same for your website?

share|improve this answer
That is a good point of view and I totally agree. Thank you for posting! Yes, I'd want that for my website, obviously. :) – Alenanno Jan 9 '12 at 14:21

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