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When referring people to other Stack Exchange sites, usually in question comments, it's helpful to provide an actual link.

However, it's a pain to have to write [Stack Overflow]( or [Prog.SE]( or whatever.

Could we automatically link (first|any) occurrence of a site name made in a comment?

Or if not automatic, simply a shorter link so we don't need the extra fluff.

Perhaps a pseudo-protocol style, e.g. [se:WebApps] could be converted into:

<a href="">
    <img src="webapps-site-icon.16x.png" />
    WebApps StackExchange

With the icon helping to draw attention to it as a Stack Exchange site.

I don't really mind how - so long as there's a way to be helpful to [new] users without spending unnecessary effort. So yeah, what does everyone else think?

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How often do you need to link to other Stack Exchange Websites in actual post bodies? Here, maybe often enough, but elsewhere and especially on the parent sites this is more likely to be in comments, which are purposefully lightweight. This feels like it'll score very lowly on priority. – Grace Note Nov 19 '10 at 14:44
The other benefit of a shortcut is that you'll get less vague references such as "MSO" - most people here probably know that's referring to the central Meta site (here), but most newbies will just be confused by the acronym. – Peter Boughton Nov 19 '10 at 14:45
Grace, I'm talking about comments, not message bodies. I thought I'd mentioned that, but I've just made it clearer. – Peter Boughton Nov 19 '10 at 14:45
I was pointing out that since the primary utility would be in comments and there is little use in post bodies, and because comments are purposefully lightweight, this is probably going to score very lowly on priority. – Grace Note Nov 19 '10 at 15:01
There's a difference between "purposefully lightweight" and "feature locked". This would not cause prolific commenting, so is not at odds with the "comments are discouraged" attitude, and it is almost certainly a trivial code change. (Share the code and I'll submit the patch myself.) – Peter Boughton Nov 19 '10 at 15:21
Just noticed the [se:site] style is consistent with how tag linking is done - so there's presumably already suitable code in place - probably with icons too (given the sponsored tag stuff). – Peter Boughton Nov 19 '10 at 15:33
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Things like [] and [so] work now; see Add data.SE style "magic links" to comments.

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Any idea why this is only in comments, and not in actual posts as well? – corsiKa Jun 28 '11 at 22:03

I like this idea, but I wonder if what we really need is more migration options. Once a related site (like Programmers) is out of beta, we should be able to close as "belongs on".

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It's useful to refer to sites whilst still in beta though - the idea of "belongs on" working with beta sites has already been rejected though. :( – Peter Boughton Nov 19 '10 at 15:43
Also, I sometimes refer to other sites without an accompanying close vote (and/or when I might want to suggest multiple sites). – Peter Boughton Nov 19 '10 at 15:45
Sometimes it's useful to refer to sites without the intent of migration (at Gaming, we do it every now and then with AskUbuntu). And sometimes, there really isn't enough need to warrant the construction of a migration bridge from one site to another, but a question gets asked anyway. – Grace Note Nov 19 '10 at 16:05

There are of course client-side workarounds such as TextExpander and AutoHotKey.

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Those are client-side workarounds - and, as on my comment above, it'd have a good side-effect of cutting down internal references which are not helpful for newbies and search-based visitors. – Peter Boughton Nov 19 '10 at 15:24

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