This request is motivated by a sneaky sneaky spammer who replaced a useful link with a link to some youtube video. It fooled several reviewers, and if I hadn't noticed that the link text was the same, but the link was highlighted as changed, I might have missed it too. If he'd also changed the link text to "PhoneGap Future Plugin Support" it would be a rare reviewer that would have noticed it.

This got through because of something unique to links; I think they're the only allowed element with hidden information (the url). To counter this, I think the review page should show a list of any changes made to links in a new section above the main diffs:


It might also be helpful if clicking the [1] would trigger a little javascript arrow pointing out where that link is within the post.


4 Answers 4


It occurs to me that these are pretty obvious when you're viewing the Markdown diff:

Suggested edit showing markdown diff

Perhaps it would be feasible to force this view (along with a short bit of text explaining why) when reviewing an edit that changes hyperlinks? For example,

No choice but to view it in the raw

This might also improve the situation when reviewing legitimate edits that fix broken links, as the Markdown diff makes it more obvious that the edit is substantial and useful.

  • 4
    Don't force, please. Just make it appear by default even if your last view was rendered output. Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 15:52
  • Does it make sense to also display the ol' "our servers think this may be spam. review carefully" banner any time a link is changed?
    – mhlester
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 19:17
  • 2
    Really don't want folks getting blase about that particular notice, @mhlester.
    – Shog9
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 19:18
  • ok that's a good point. better to start from the assumption it's valid than cry wolf
    – mhlester
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 19:19

Following Shog9's suggestion, the review interface will initially show the Markdown diff for suggested edits that change links (from the next build on). You can still switch to the rendered diff; we're just making the Markdown diff the first thing you see in such a case, regardless of which diff view you usually prefer.

If only the link text changed, but the link target stayed the same and the link wasn't otherwise moved around, this will not count as a changed link for these purposes. Edits like that are easily visible and reviewable in the rendered diff.


I would recommend that when a link is changed, it turns some shade of red. Also, that a changed link would trigger a popup (the orange box) that notifies a reviewer that a link has been changed in the edit.

i.e. if I were to change a link from download.oracle.com/javase/1,5,0/docs/api/java/util/Scanner.html to www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq8U8L_MfK8, a popup like the "you may only submit a comment vote every 5 seconds. (click this box to dismiss)", but instead says "A link has been changed in this edit (click this box to see the change)".

The first link is a the javadoc Scanner page, the second is a discus drill video from youtube

  • 11
    If we can't get the page to punch the reviewer in the face, this is the next best option
    – user216620
    Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 12:41
  • 2
    I still say we hold out for the punching. Whoever could develop that feature would make millions. Let's start with youtube comments. Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 12:43

I believe this punches the reviewers hard enough:

link change as a supernova

I have implemented a userstyle that highlights any edited link, whether it is the URL that changes or just the description:


Of course, this doesn't fix the problem for reviewers that just don't care. However, it helps reviewers that do care. Because otherwise links in changed text are literally invisible.

Just for completeness, here is the source code for the style:

@-moz-document domain("stackoverflow.com"), domain("stackexchange.com"), domain("serverfault.com"), domain("askubuntu.com"), domain("stackapps.com"), domain("mathoverflow.com"), domain("superuser.com") {
.body-diffs a .diff-add {color: white; background-color: #FE7A15}

Also, a neccessary attribution: Colors shamelessly borrowed from the Stack Overflow supernova (pending flag topbar icon).

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