Often when I am commenting on why a question is off-topic, I ask people to look at what is on-topic.

SE added support for more magical links; now writing [help/on-topic] translates to the local stack's "on-topic" hyperlink. However, when I type this as a comment Please see what is [help/on-topic], the user sees "Please see what is help center"

Adding more descriptive URLs ultimately means less typing... compare:

  • See the [help/on-topic] for what is on-topic (44 keystrokes)
  • See what is [help/on-topic] (27 keystrokes)

Using "help center" as the URL text for [help/on-topic] is a good start, but I hope for improvement. I write comments about on and off topic far more than any other subject. My feature requests...

  • Please change the URL text for [help/on-topic] from "help center" to "on-topic".
  • Please change the URL text for [help/dont-ask] from "help center" to "off-topic".
  • Please change the URL text for [help/behavior] from "help center" to "behavior"
  • Downvoted because if the wording is changed now, it's going to screw up the wording for all the comments where it has already been used.
    – Jan Murphy
    Oct 11, 2015 at 2:31

2 Answers 2


I would quite like to see a more generic solution to this problem, i.e. the the ability to add arbitrary link text, with a wiki like [display text|url or shortcut] syntax or allowing shortcuts in the url part of an arbitrary link, i.e. [display text](url or shortcut).

For instance, I quite often write things like:

Welcome to robotics XXX, but I'm afraid that shopping questions really aren't a good fit for a stack exchange site. We prefer practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Take a look at [ask] and [about] for more information on how stack exchange works.

So it would be nice if we could say

[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](/help/dont-ask)

in mini markdown, as you can (I believe) in posts, instead of

[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)
  • 1
    Actually, you can nearly get the second one - try a link of /help/dont-ask. Oct 12, 2013 at 22:34
  • The shortcuts don't seem to work in the [link text](link) form: [dont ask](help/dont-ask) and dont ask compared to dont ask.
    – Mark Booth
    Oct 13, 2013 at 0:09
  • [dont ask](http:/help/dont-ask) Okay, this isn't working as well as I thought. Maybe it's something to do with comments. Oct 13, 2013 at 0:11
  • 2
    Yep, shortened links like that are fine in answers. Bother, mini-Markdown. Oct 13, 2013 at 0:13

You still point to the help center, regardless of what page it is. I phrase my comments as follows:

See the [help/on-topic] to see what is on-topic on this site.

Besides, the preview FAQ links also said FAQ regardless of what appendix you put.

  • 2
    You type much less if they fix the URL text: Please see what is [help/on-topic]. Yours is 62 keystrokes, mine is 35 Oct 12, 2013 at 10:37
  • @MikePennington: Really? Typing a few more characters is that hard for you? Well, then I only have this to say: stream1.gifsoup.com/view3/1358818/smallest-violin-o.gif Oct 14, 2013 at 9:00
  • 1
    @Madura, may I respectfully suggest you learn to work smarter, not harder :-)... this is a good place to start Oct 14, 2013 at 9:25
  • This isn't about working harder or smarter. It's about the correct wording for a link. This would be help center, because that's where you link. Oct 14, 2013 at 9:28
  • You think one thing is correct, and we downvoted each other in disagreement. No more discussion is required :-) Oct 14, 2013 at 9:32
  • @Mike how do you know Madara is one of the three down-votes you've received (so far)? Just because they answered in a way you don't agree with does not mean they disagreed with your question enough to down-vote it. It gets very tiring watching people trying to look clever and accuse others of down-voting when in reality they have absolutely no idea who down-voted them and why.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Oct 14, 2013 at 22:19
  • @AaronBertrand, it's pretty obvious in this case... in 12 hours, he did not register disagreement. Besides, downvoting or not is really tangential to the point of my statement. We can all agree to disagree, right? Oct 14, 2013 at 22:21
  • 1
    @MikePennington if it's tangential, why bother saying it? It just comes off as presumptuous sour grapes, with or without the smiley.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Oct 14, 2013 at 22:23
  • @AaronBertrand, I'm sorry you were offended by that Oct 14, 2013 at 22:27
  • @MikePennington I wasn't offended, I just think it's silly to presume who down-voted you, never mind to say it out loud.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Oct 14, 2013 at 22:28
  • @AaronBertrand, I think we can stop bike-shedding about this now Oct 14, 2013 at 22:30
  • 2
    And now you both spam my inbox over nonsense. Please take it to chat for further discussion. :) Oct 14, 2013 at 22:32

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