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*NOTE: I'm not after a work-around, I'm suggesting it should be automatic behaviour. Many thanks for examples of how to do it, but that isn't the question/suggestion *

Apologies if this is a duplicate, nothing came up in search.

I really like the way that question titles are automatically used when posting a SO URL. For example, http://meta.stackexchange.com/q/88878/131541 becomes:

Cook links to SO profiles the same way question links are handled

It would be nice if the same happened to link usernames to user-profile links.

As a rule, I wouldn't do this, however a comment on one of my posts included an image, that I thought was suitable for Help us make a Stack Overflow beer stein, and wanted to pass credit on to my inspiration.

**TEST LINK - Not parsed in preview (and not a sig!) **

http://meta.stackoverflow.com/users/160468/phil-lello

EDIT

Please can the downvoters explain their objection? Does this complicate the interface, break existing behaviour, or have another negative impact on the user experience?

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The same thing does happen (so you mean when they are in the body and automatically parsed and not the thing about the URL 301 to the correct location) –  random Apr 26 '11 at 17:00
    
Not in edit preview for me (FF3.6.16, Ubuntu Lucid AMD64) –  Phil Lello Apr 26 '11 at 17:02
    
And not in the post either with the same browser/OS –  Phil Lello Apr 26 '11 at 17:05
    
@random: he's talking about making a link to a user's profile work like linking to a question. –  The Unhandled Exception Apr 26 '11 at 17:53
    
@PhilLello, I was one downvoter. I downvoted because I just don't see this being very useful. (Remember downvotes on meta mean "I disagree this is needed" not "this is a bad question") –  The Unhandled Exception Apr 26 '11 at 19:30
    
@The Mountain Exception Fair enough. I tend to confuse 'I disagree this is needed' with 'This is a bad idea' (partly because of the link between meta rep and meta privs) –  Phil Lello Apr 26 '11 at 19:48

3 Answers 3

Just use their flair. Easy, quick, and done.

[![Phil Lello Flair](http://stackoverflow.com/users/flair/599192.png)](http://stackoverflow.com/users/599192/phil-lello)

Phil Lello's stack overflow flair, link goes to profile

Replace the user numbers in the two links above with the user you wish to display and link to.

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Many thanks, but this wasn't a 'How do I...' question, it's a 'Can we automate this' –  Phil Lello Apr 26 '11 at 19:01
2  
@Phil That may be true, but when you ask a question, don't be too surprised when people provide solutions that may be outside your expectations. If you're lucky you'll get someone who will make a userscript so that those who want this feature can install it in their browser. I wouldn't hold my breath, however, for this feature primarily because the sites are meant to discussion questions, not people. –  Adam Davis Apr 26 '11 at 21:05

I agree with the comments that I don't see the need. And even if the need is small, you are absolutely right that there shouldn't be anything wrong with "streamlining the interface" as you see it. However, in this case, I think there are a couple hidden drawbacks to this feature:

  • First, the cost.

    Even with question URLs, it doesn't alter your body text to the converted Markdown, it is stored as-is. This means (most likely, I'm not a dev), every page render must reverse the URLs you pasted and retrieve a live title (database hit). You'll notice that only the first several links are converted, and the rest display the raw URL, which is likely a performance optimization.

    There is also the AJAX cost for rendering in preview. Across hundreds of thousands of users, that is definitely non-trivial.

  • Second, the purpose. There have been occasions in which the StackOverflow team specifically doesn't make something easier because it's not a behavior they want to encourage or implicitly authorize. As Adam Davis said, StackExchange is about Q&A, not people. So, I think it's possible this feature falls into that category.

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I just don't see the value in this. If you want to link to a profile, just use markdown:

[Phil Lello's Profile](http://meta.stackoverflow.com/users/160468/phil-lello)

Phil Lello's Profile

Or more fancy:

![Phil Lello's Profile](http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/8e2d1fc37053061e858f1918090a19ee?s=32&d=identicon&r=PG)
[Phil Lello](http://meta.stackoverflow.com/users/160468/phil-lello)

Phil Lello's Profile Phil Lello

Linking to a question happens so often that it's worth it to make the link alone show the question title. But for the very few times you need to link to a profile, just use Markdown. It's easy enough.

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Yes, it is, and I did it in the relevant post. But where's the harm in streamlining the interface? –  Phil Lello Apr 26 '11 at 18:20
    
It encourages people to link where appropriate, since copy/paste of a URL is 2 keystrokes & 4 clicks in a tabbed browser. Using Markdown is slower - not much, but enough to stop it becoming instinctive behaviour (sorry for the separate comment; hit edit timeout) –  Phil Lello Apr 26 '11 at 18:27
    
@PhilLello: The harm is, you're taking the team's time away from more pressing issues. Linking to profiles is so rarely done, it seems like a waste of their resources when there's more vital tasks to be done... –  The Unhandled Exception Apr 26 '11 at 19:26
    
Mountain Exception Fair enough. I'm still learning how features get prioritised –  Phil Lello Apr 26 '11 at 19:51

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