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Can and should Stack Overflow automatically rewrite bit.ly links?

I see minified urls used often, especially in comments. While they have obvious advantages, I don't like not being able to see where a link will bring me before clicking on it.

What's your take on this?

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marked as duplicate by Ether, squillman, jjnguy, jmfsg, Shog9 Feb 15 '10 at 18:45

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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I assume you mean minified URLs in general, not just TinyUrl? –  jjnguy Feb 15 '10 at 16:13
    
Yes Justin, any kind –  Matteo Riva Feb 15 '10 at 16:38
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Already covered: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/29518/… –  Ether Feb 15 '10 at 16:51
    
@Shog9: We'll need to see some strange Unicode in that comment before it qualified as a breakdown. –  Michael Petrotta Feb 15 '10 at 20:57

6 Answers 6

You asked, so... My take on this problem is http://lnk.nu. It's a link shortener that preserves the domain name in the short link: http://lnk.nu/meta.stackoverflow.com/16jd

Remember, if you ask a programmer to solve a social problem, you'll probably get a technical solution.

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1  
I can imagine that being longer than the link in many cases... –  Macha Mar 31 '10 at 20:19

I posted my opinion here: http://bit.ly/daAYbu

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I see what you did there –  Matteo Riva Feb 15 '10 at 17:30

I don't like them for the same reason as you (and additionally - I like being able to see whether I've visited a link before - using the default :visited style stuff).

I've got a quick bookmarklet for unobfuscating URLs so I can see where I'm going before I go there - take a look at Long URL Please (the temptation to obfuscate that URL is immense... resisting...).

It currently supports: bit.ly, cli.gs, digg.com, fb.me, is.gd, j.mp, kl.am, su.pr, tinyurl.com, goo.gl, 307.to, adjix.com, b23.ru, bacn.me, bloat.me, budurl.com, clipurl.us, cort.as, dwarfurl.com, ff.im, fff.to, href.in, idek.net, korta.nu, lin.cr, livesi.de, ln-s.net, loopt.us, lost.in, memurl.com, merky.de, migre.me, moourl.com, nanourl.se, om.ly, ow.ly, peaurl.com, ping.fm, piurl.com, plurl.me, pnt.me, poprl.com, post.ly, rde.me, reallytinyurl.com, redir.ec, retwt.me, rubyurl.com, short.ie, short.to, smallr.com, sn.im, sn.vc, snipr.com, snipurl.com, snurl.com, tiny.cc, tinysong.com, togoto.us, tr.im, tra.kz, trg.li, twurl.cc, twurl.nl, u.mavrev.com, u.nu, ur1.ca, url.az, url.ie, urlx.ie, w34.us, xrl.us, yep.it, zi.ma, zurl.ws, chilp.it, notlong.com, qlnk.net, trim.li, url4.eu.

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Mostly there's no point on StackOverflow. You have plenty of space to list the full url. Even with comments, if you need that much space you probably should think about posting your own answer instead.

However, there are a few cases where the markdown chokes on urls. For example, try using something like Browsershots.org to post a screenshot example. For those edge cases, url shorteners are the only choice.

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If you want to see where it takes you before you click on it, copy and paste this:

http://tinyurl.com/yjtp7mu

and turn it into this:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/yjtp7mu

You could probably even get someone to make a Greasemonkey script for you.

BTW: I am not advocating their use.

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I'm against it.

This isn't twitter. We have 600 characters in comments, and, the comments box does its own form of URL shortening.

It is much more helpful to know where you are heading before you click on a link.

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