Since this is the Summer of Love, in helping the newbies out I find myself linking to Wikipedia quite often (as they're usually woefully lacking in basic understandings of the topics they're asking about). Linking to these articles would be much more convenient (and I'd be able to fit more content into a comment) if there was a shorthand for Wikipedia links. The current syntax means I'm taking up 30 character plus the length of the article name: [](http://wikipedia.org/wiki/).

Usually the words I'd like to become a link also happen to be the article name. It would be extremely convenient if I could take advantage of this fact and make those words a link simply by enclosing them in [w: and ] (or something similar).

So when I want to link someone to the article on Stack Overflow, currently I have to do:

[Stack Overflow](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stack_Overflow)

Under this proposed feature that could be shortened to:

[w:Stack Overflow]

I fully admit this shortcut is most useful in comments, but very much so when I'm trying to link to multiple articles, and help people in their understanding of various topics. Also, it might save a few keystrokes in Question/Answer posts.

  • 10
    This is a great idea, but why limit it to wikipedia? It would be nice to have [u:Chris S] links to a user, [q:146274/175984] to a question, and [a:146274/175984] to an answer. Sep 7, 2012 at 15:47
  • 4
    @dasblinkenlight I was trying to solve a specific problem, you're just making the world a better place.
    – Chris S
    Sep 7, 2012 at 17:05
  • I think it doesn't hurt to just start with one type of link, and Wikipedia is as good a first one as any. (Unless the team would want to start with internal links like user, question, answer) Once the infrastructure is in place, it shouldn't be too hard to add in shortcut syntax for links to additional sites.
    – David Z
    Sep 7, 2012 at 17:44
  • Edit Overflow has a utility to format links, including the inline format used in comments. From the main window, Menu Action/Markdown utility (F8). If the term has already been looked up in the main window ("SO" for Stack Overflow is built-in), then the utilty window will be filled in with the information and the only thing to do is to choose the format (for example, "Inline") and press button "Generate". Sep 7, 2012 at 17:50
  • @PeterMortensen This really isn't about typing less so much as it is fitting a whole helpful text into the comment box, complete with links. That tool might be slightly helpful, though it seems like it takes a lot of clicks/strokes to accomplish the same thing, but it wont help with the comment character limit.
    – Chris S
    Sep 7, 2012 at 17:52
  • 3
    @dasblinkenlight I think you meant [u:175984], names change a lot (while IDs don't)
    – ajax333221
    Sep 7, 2012 at 22:06
  • @ajax333221 I think you're right, an ID is better. Sep 7, 2012 at 22:11

2 Answers 2


I agree with this feature request; but I want to emphasize about how much more useful this would be on sites that aren't Stack Overflow.

Most of the time, when linking on Stack Overflow, you're linking to an API reference or some such; there are lots of those, so maybe this wouldn't necessarily be the most useful feature.

However, on other sites, especially ones like SciFi, History, Movies&TV, Christianity, Anime, and the new Mythology stack (Public Beta as of today!), this could really come in handy. On these sites you might want to do this often for providing an easy reference for people reading your questions that don't have as much background as the author or answerers.

There is already a precedent for making magic style links like this; we could just add this same behavior for Wikipedia links.


Although more of a mitigation than a solution to the problem, you can usually shorten a Wikipedia article name--often by quite a lot--by using it's so-named wgArticleId instead of the human-readable(ish) URL. The article identifier is easily found by searching for "wgArticleId" in the HTML source of the Wikipedia page.

The links works in bare URL form, or with link text:


[my link text](http://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=397608)

Here are the links just shown, in action:


my link text

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