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The Problem

Sometimes on SO (and —how meta­— on meta) you talk about URLs and use a rfc2606 domain (such as '') but you will never mean this to be a hyperlink. These URLs are meant as examples, not as links to be followed.

The extra style gives it unwanted emphasis. Currently I use `` to mark it as code and prevent it becoming a hyperlink, but that gives it even more emphasis.

Is there a way to suppress the bare URL behaviour?

The Proposal

If there isn't one. I don't think we should introduce one, as I disagree with Must URLs always be hyperlinked?

I think we should exempt bare URLs to rfc2606 domains from becoming hyperlinks. One could always force it with <> if one really feels the need.

The "duplicate" asks for and doesn't propose a feature. The accepted answer actually is what I said I am using at the time I asked this, but am not satisfied with. (That time was a mere 5 hours after the duplicate. Which, combined with the lack of use of the "bare URL" terminology from the FAQ in that duplicate, might explain why I didn't find it, in spite of my extensive work.)

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You could escape a character:


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Very clever.. Is this documented somewhere? – Chris Wesseling Apr 8 '13 at 18:38
@Chris No, I don't think so. – Doorknob Apr 8 '13 at 18:39
I think the answer would be appropriate for Hidden features of Stack Overflow? as well as Formatting Sandbox – Aditya Apr 8 '13 at 18:40
Is it a bug, that the preview shows the ``? I'm looking for a report, but… seems to have been deleted. – Chris Wesseling Apr 11 '13 at 10:01

You could escape, but that uses extra characters... Using lookalike glyphs works too:

  • http:╱╱
  • http: //
  • http: //
  • нttp://
  • hттp://
  • hեեp://
  • httpः//

I like this one the best: hߚp:// it's actually a character less. ;-)

As Arjan comments, this is not a recommended solution.

It's not totally useless knowledge though, as the use of lookalike glyphs have be used to trick people into trusting a man-in-the-middled lookalike ssl protected domain. So always check the bold domain part in the location bar when you use https.

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Apart from possible rendering problems, this also might yield surprises for copy & paste, and I doubt a screen reader will like it. Escaping is just as easy, I feel, and has no side effects I can think of. (And as for counting characters: the special glyphs surely will use additional bytes over the wire.) – Arjan Apr 8 '13 at 20:47
@Arjan you're absolutely right. Hence the ;-). It's a tongue in cheek answer. – Chris Wesseling Apr 11 '13 at 8:33

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