Check the edit history and comments on https://stackoverflow.com/questions/8327162/how-to-fix-long-urls-in-magento-for-layered-navigation-seo-practice

In my opinion this is not a valid reason to use a short url - if you don't want your page to occur in your question, you don't put a link to it in there but create a testcase on another domain.

Especially when browsing SO at work people usually want to know if a link looks safe or points to a well-known shock site (or any other NSFW site) and IMO that's of a much higher value than "people should now know that the developer of site xyz asked others for help".


If I have to go off site to answer your question, your question is bad. Period.

These questions, in general, are too localized. StackOverflow's users are not your personal coding/debugging service. And, as soon as your bug is fixed, your question is useless to anyone else with a similar problem. You should reproduce your bug with the minimal amount of code and post that in your question.

  • Don't 5 upvotes here imply that a moderator is very welcome to close that question? – Arjan Nov 30 '11 at 19:34
  • @Arjan: I could have closed it, yes. I was hoping the user would edit their question and add enough information so that it could be answered. As my comment on the question detailed. – Won't Nov 30 '11 at 20:44

There are no valid reasons to use short URLs except for shortening, which isn't a concern anywhere but Twitter and places like the real world where you can't copy-paste and need to give people something easy to remember. We can't force people to be competent and use test domains and whatnot, but that's no reason to bend the rule for the exact reason you mention. Short URLs can't be trusted.

(Potential feature request: Maintain a list of link shorteners and prevent posts that contain those URLs. Even blocking a few popular ones like bit.ly, t.co, and tinyurl should help.)

  • +1 for blacklisting url shorteners. – CodesInChaos Nov 30 '11 at 19:38

He has the right to do it that way, eh? Not really. It's our network and I say we have the right to see what URL we're visiting before we actually click the link. How do I know that short URL doesn't redirect to some malicious site and this entire question wasn't just a ploy to make me visit it and get a virus?

Maybe SO should consider banning short URLs in favor of using real URLs or test case URLs instead. I honestly see no point in using short URLs. We're not limited in characters, so it doesn't affect our ability to write a question and/or answer.

I think this also brings up the issue of editing wars, where two people feel oppositely and keep editing back and forth between two versions of a post. I think if a user's edit gets rolled back to a previous version, any edit they make after that should have to be approved by two other people just like a suggested edit.

  • 1
    Why can't the stackoverflow server fetch the shortened URL to figure out where it actually points to, and use the title attribute to let the person know where the link is actually going. – Kibbee Nov 30 '11 at 19:38

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