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Links with caret ^ do not work?

An answer on super user had a link in it to a site with a caret character (^) in the URL. Markdown was not rendering it as a link properly, likely due to some error in the link-detection regex. As a temporary fix, I made a goo.gl shortcut to the target URL and placed that in the answer, so it would render as a properly clickable link.

Edit: Based on the answer below, I have modified this to a feature request: can URLs submitted in a question or answer which have an invalid character like ^ be automatically encoded to the properly encoded form? This would prevent confusion by users, and would solve the problem of poorly formed URLs on other sites breaking this one. Many users may not be technically savvy enough to know that the URL they are trying to link to isn't actually valid, and this would be a way of preventing that from happening.

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marked as duplicate by Andy E, Jeff Atwood Dec 18 '10 at 9:24

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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Actually, this is a dupe: Links with caret ^ do not work? –  Andy E Dec 18 '10 at 1:07
    
@AndyE'shead, thanks. Somehow I missed that earlier when searching to see if this had already been asked. I've edited my question, and it should no longer be duplicate. –  nhinkle Dec 18 '10 at 1:13
    
@Andy and @Jeff, I edited the question, and believe it is no longer a duplicate as it is now a feature request to automatically encode ^ rather than a bug report that ^ in URLs breaks things. I think this would be a useful feature for users pasting links who don't know any better, and am therefore voting to reopen, and hope you will, too. –  nhinkle Jan 2 '11 at 0:25
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1 Answer 1

This isn't a bug. The ^ character isn't valid in a URL. From RFC 1738, section 2.2:

Other characters are unsafe because gateways and other transport agents are known to sometimes modify such characters. These characters are "{", "}", "|", "\", "^", "~", "[", "]", and "`".

As such, it should be percent encoded (%5E).

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Thanks for the clarification. –  nhinkle Dec 18 '10 at 1:09
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