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When clicking on the "Help this site Grow" links (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) on programmers, it opened up in the current tab, which of course made the layout look weird since they were built for a popup. Then there is the confusing "Close this Window" option when its still in the same window. And there is no option to back to where I was.

Shouldn't the "Help this site Grow" links open in a new tab like every other site does and since its what the page was built for?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Jeff doesn't like target="_blank". He believes it denies your users the freedom to open the page in the existing browser window if they so choose. In other words, because it's so easy to middle click, automatically opening in a new window makes your site just a bit less useful... from a certain point of view.

I can see where he's coming from, but personally I think there's a better case to be made that all links away from your own site should open a new window, while all links within the same site should never do so. If everyone does this consistently it helps train users in what to expect (least surprise), and concedes that not every one knows how to middle click (or you might be stuck with a bad laptop touchpad) or even right-click/open in new tab.

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Plus, I'm pretty sure that the "share" links on questions actually do open in a new window, so the current behaviour seems very inconsistent even just within the site. –  Tim Stone Sep 19 '10 at 20:56

If the users want it to open in a new tab, they will do so by ctrl- or command-clicking it. We should not make that decision for them. There are barely ANY links on stackoverflow that open in a new window, and we shouldn't break the trend.

see make links posted by users open in a new window.

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1  
That question you linked was an extreme example. My issue is that the sites like Facebook specifically built that page to be in a popup. Not only that, but 99% of all the sites that use that open up in a new window. Its not consistency across SE that matters, its consistency with the rest of the internet thats important. –  TheLQ Sep 18 '10 at 23:24
    
Since when was the World Wide Web consistent? :-) –  In silico Sep 20 '10 at 4:37

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