Many users here defend that links should be opened in the same tab. Many others have a different opinion and would prefer if links are opened in a new tab.

Wouldn't it be a good feature, for the sake of all users, to have a checkbox in the user's preferences/settings asking: Do you want to open links leading outside Stack Overflow in a new tab?

This would make it easier for everybody as users could have an option in this matter.

I know that this has been heavily discussed in the past and that you can easily open links in a new tab (using Ctrl/Mouse Right Button/Mouse-Wheel) but I've not found this feature suggestion and nothing beats one click interaction and freedom of choice.

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    Mouse-wheel click. This is built into most browsers already. – Oded Feb 18 '13 at 14:55
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    Not everybody uses mouse-wheel click ... specially in this mobile era. I've mentioned shortcuts in the OP ... I'm talking about equality and freedom of choice for users. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 14:56
  • @henser: In that case, keep pressed until you get the menu. – Time Traveling Bobby Feb 18 '13 at 15:02
  • @SulfurizedDemonbobby: I know ... but as you may understand ... it's different to click or double-click for an action. I'm talking about interaction equality by choice. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 15:03
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    "I'm talking about equality and freedom of choice for users". ...are you running for office? – Michael Mrozek Feb 18 '13 at 16:03
  • @MichaelMrozek ... Are you able to argument about the relevance of your comment? – henser Feb 18 '13 at 16:10
  • This request was first asked and declined in 09 already. Interestingly back then it had exactly 28 down-votes and 28 up-votes. Considering that the most wanted feature has 497 up-votes, I can safely predict the outcome of this request. – BinaryMisfit Feb 18 '13 at 16:12
  • @Diago: Not sure this is a dupe, actually. This is a feature request making what the other post proposes optional. :-) Small detail, perhaps not big enough to prevent this from closing. – Martijn Pieters Feb 18 '13 at 17:15
  • This is not a duplicate and even having at this moment 13 upvotes @MartijnPieters didn't answer to the OP feature request. There are no straightforward answers to this feature suggestion. Even if a voting poll was to be made ... it would be possible that it wouldn't represent the true opinion/needs of the majority of SO users. As we can see ... this issue is very debatable. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 17:23
  • @henser: I did answer, actually. First line: No, this is something you leave to the browser UI instead.. I am expressing why I don't see the need to have this implemented. That's how it works here on MSO, unless you get an answer from a developer you get community opinions for feature requests, in favour or against. The votes on these answers, as well as on your request post, in turn reflect community opinion about those posts. Vote down if you disagree with the request, vote up if you agree instead. – Martijn Pieters Feb 18 '13 at 17:25
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    I see no better freedom of choice then having no option in SE or any website to open links in a new window, and use the browser supplied options which I can use to express my freedom of choice. Please, outside of enterprise built website, give me a list of at least 10 other websites the size of SO that give me this option in the site, and I will add them to my list of sites never to visit. – BinaryMisfit Feb 18 '13 at 17:40
  • @MartijnPieters I actually only consider it a dupe because I asked for it myself in the initial changes of SO. I did however delete the suggestion since I got down-voted into oblivion and beyond. It's pedantic I agree, but we have closed feature requests as dupes for a lot less. :) – BinaryMisfit Feb 18 '13 at 17:42
  • @MartijnPieters : The browser UI doesn't offer the suggested feature option. So, your answer doesn't address slightly to the OP. in the OP I'm saying I'm not asking for alternatives so it doesn't make any sense to place an answer with alternatives. I'm suggesting a feature and the outcome of this "voting poll" isn't even close to a controlled environment to draw viable conclusions about the validity of this feature. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 17:43
  • @henser Fact is, this so called voting poll is exactly how SE decides what features to implement of any, and is considered the official voice of the community. Therefore, you are welcome to disagree with any of the answer and opinions expressed in this post, however, the number next to question indicates how many people in the community agree or disagree with this, and by that standard, how good a change it has of being implemented if at all. I would suggest, that you spend some time going through the faq and understanding how MetaSO works. – BinaryMisfit Feb 18 '13 at 17:46
  • @Diago : I can't even comment your sentence : "I see no better freedom of choice then having no option in SE or any website to open links in a new window, and use the browser supplied options which I can use to express my freedom of choice." Why do you need a list of sites with that feature? what good would it make to you? – henser Feb 18 '13 at 17:46

No, this is something you leave to the browser UI instead.

How you do this differs from platform to platform, but all modern browsers support the feature; you right-click on the link to select a new tab explicitly, or you 'special'-click somehow.

For example, using your mouse you can use the middle mouse button instead to open links in a new tab, or you hold down an option or meta key when you click. On Mac I hold down the (command) key to do that, for example.

On mobile platforms, you usually tap-and-hold, then slide down to the 'new tab' option.

  • As I said ... I know all those options ... but it is not the same to click or double-click for an action to happen. this issue is to bring choice to users. the default value of this feature could be as it is (open in same tab) ... but if you give option to users they can choose a different outcome for the same action. This would be about giving interaction equality for all, regardless opinion. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 15:09
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    But for most users the option is pointless. I'll cite the Zen of Python here: "Simple is better than complex", and "Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules." and certainly "There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.". If you SO implements this, then it'll be different from all the other sites out there, not obvious, complicated and this is just not special enough to break the rules. – Martijn Pieters Feb 18 '13 at 15:13
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    @henser: This would be about giving interaction equality for all, regardless opinion. You keep saying that, but I don't think it means what you think it means. ... Okay, that was mean, sorry. But seriously, that sounds like a phrase from a PR guy which wanted to impress some managers with it. Why don't you call it by the name: You want a setting so that you're more comfortable using SE. Fullstop. – Time Traveling Bobby Feb 18 '13 at 15:13
  • I just think users should have a say in the way they want to interact with the website, specially in a website like stackoverflow with such a democratic model. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 15:15
  • @MartijnPieters Different from all other sites? There are numerous websites around the web that open links in a new tab by default? – henser Feb 18 '13 at 15:18
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    @henser: ...democratic model. Who told you that?! I'm trying to get a hold of that guy and have a nice long talk with...and by talk I mean punching...in the face...twice...at least... On a more serious note: Stack Exchange is privately owned property, I can not stress enough that we are free to state our minds about features and open feature-requests at will, but in the end, SE is privately owned property. Yes, the community does have a very big voice in how it is run, but that's only because we happen to agree with SE...or better, SE happens to agree with us...or some such... – Time Traveling Bobby Feb 18 '13 at 15:21
  • @SulfurizedDemonbobby Obviously that I'm suggesting the feature because I would like it to be available. Otherwise, it is highly probable that I wouldn't even think about it. But you can do a search here to see that there are plenty of other users that would like to open links in a new tab as easily as they do it in the same tab. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 15:21
  • @henser: Why do I stress this so hard? Because if you do not understand this difference (a big one), it will lead to ugly discussions in the future. Also, yes, I completely understand and honor your feature-request, I'm just disagreeing (so are others). – Time Traveling Bobby Feb 18 '13 at 15:22
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    @henser: For most sites that force links into new tabs, the choice makes sense within their problem domain. GMail, for example, should be seen as a separate application, links in received email should definitely open in new tabs. But SO is not such an application, you usually want to open some links in the same tab, some other links in a new tab. How many sites do you know where the open-in-tabs option is a) configurable and b) is not a discussion board or email web app? – Martijn Pieters Feb 18 '13 at 16:15
  • @MartijnPieters I most definitely agree with you that this issue heavily depends on the application. But, as a SO user, I don't usually want to open links leading outside of SO in the same tab. Usually I want to open those links in a new tab. I only want to open in the same tab internal links. Your answer doesn't address the issue directly (in my OP you can read that I'm aware of how to open links in a new tab). This is about giving the option to the user. I can't tell you which sites have this option configurable but it's not an original idea. Most sites I know open outside links in new tabs. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 16:45
  • @henser, you will not get your feature granted. You are asking to devs to make a new feature because you don't want to click a certain way. – Azulflame Feb 18 '13 at 16:59
  • @Grammer: And how are you so certain it won't be granted? The devs are free to ignore my or your opionion just as much as they can ignore henser's. – Martijn Pieters Feb 18 '13 at 17:02
  • @MartijnPieters, Good point. However, the likelihood that the devs are going to change the entire system to prevent the user from clicking a different way to accomplish a task is next to none. And I see a reversal badge in your future. – Azulflame Feb 18 '13 at 17:04
  • @Grammer: I'm glad you are so certain. Since all links already have 'nofollow' attached to them, perhaps implementing the feature is straight-forward anyway? Let's not make assumptions about what other people think, here. – Martijn Pieters Feb 18 '13 at 17:06
  • @Grammer My feature? Even if it was approved it is just wrong to call it my feature. This is a feature suggestion and it doesn't reflect my preferences/suggestions alone ... it's something that has been heavily discussed and opinions are divided, as far as i can tell. I'm not asking for methods on how to open a link in a new tab ... so these answers don't address the issue present in the OP. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 17:12

In addition to Martijn Pieter's answer, there are many ways to do this (I focus on Chrome, Firefox, and a bit of IE (Which copied Firefox's code DIRECTLY), on windows platforms.

to open a new tab using Windows:

  • Click the link with the scroll button (middle click)
  • Hold [Crtl] while clicking the link
  • Right click to open menu, click "open in new tab" option.
  • Drag the link to the tab bar, it will open the link as a new tab.
  • Various addons for chrome and Firefox add more capabilities for opening tabs from links.

On a mac (incomplete list):

  • hold Command while clicking the link
  • Hold [Crtl] while clicking to open the menu, and select "open in new tab".
  • drag the link to the tab bar (must have 2 or more tabs to see)

On mobile:

  • Hold the link until menu shows up, and select "open in new tab".
  • didn't you read my OP? I know that. That is not what's being discussed here. Or at least, it shouldn't be. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 16:48
  • I read it, and understand it. Martijn Pieters did such a good job answering, IMO he should be the accepted answer. I wanted to add this information to it, but it is too long for a comment, and I cannot format comments in list form. This is an addendum, not a self-reliant answer. – Azulflame Feb 18 '13 at 16:50
  • neither this or Martijn answers are acceptable in the spectrum of the OP. I didn't make the question to discuss about how to open links in a new tab, nor how hard it is. I've actually told I knew how to open links in a different tab. The OP is a feature suggestion to give users the option of opening links that lead outside SO in a new tab. – henser Feb 18 '13 at 16:55
  • @hesner, Your feature will not be approved. A) you ask for a method of opening links from SO in new tabs, which is absurd (for multiple reasons, just look at the question's comments and martijn's answer). B) Since we declared that to be essentially denied, we began posting alternative methods of accomplishing what you asked. Martijn did a good job, and I posted this to expand upon his answer. – Azulflame Feb 18 '13 at 16:58

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