I was retagging this question

Time tracking for Redmine?

as per Burninate [tracking]?

The question contains this link


which apparently is now invalid in a question. When I try to save my changes (i.e. retagged to ) I get this error:

Links cannot contain 'server' (try a full domain or wrap it in a code block).

Now, I believe this specific case is fairly trivial, as I simply wrapped the link in a code block as suggested, but I was wondering whether is generally considered appropriate to edit old posts in order to make them compliant with newer rules.

  • What, pray tell, is wrong with including server in a link? – Undo - Reinstate Monica Oct 28 '13 at 0:47
  • @Undo As a guess, it might be a problem with http://server/... – Dukeling Oct 28 '13 at 1:02
  • 1
    Shouldn't it use the canonical example.com? – Charles Oct 29 '13 at 19:06

Old questions should be fixed, even if it's minor.

The restrictions apply to all questions, old and new - any old question that doesn't comply should be fixed. The fact that some old questions don't comply doesn't mean anything - it's only because there's no safe, easy way to fix all of them in batch.


The idea that

Old questions should be fixed, even if it's minor

is a complete answer to this presupposes that the fixes necessary are minor.

My question "I can't change the tags for a question if the question fails validation", which got duped to this is a specific case where the necessary change is not minor.

My desired change was minor; it was just a tag change.

However, I can't do that, because SO wants me to figure out a full code sample, rather than a JSFiddle link.

While I agree that code examples > JSFiddle only, I don't have as much time to do that (2m+) as I do to change a tag (<5s).

So, in a very real way, I was given a disincentive to improve SO. Granted, in my case, this is a really minor improvement, but this kind of thing really adds up.

  • 2
    the issue is that the system doesn't discriminate whether it was your edit to make to question invalid or it was invalid before. It just prevents invalid posts from being saved. Copying the JSFiddle content to the question doesn't seem such a hassle compared to the time you took to come here, ask a question and post an answer (I'm not suggesting you shouldn't have, just to be clear). – Gabriele Petronella Oct 29 '13 at 19:25
  • At the time I was changing the tag it was a hassle. Also, I'm raising a concern on meta because the behaviour that the change to SO encourage is counter to the goal of ensuring a high quality to questions. Removing or adding useful tags makes searching for questions and answers more effective. This is separate from the specifics of my question and a more general observation that making an editor responsible for all necessary improvements to a question (or an answer) may make us lose potential marginal improvements because the system is demanding that all improvements must be made. – Dancrumb Oct 29 '13 at 20:47
  • I understand, but this is not such a common case to be worried about, IMHO. It's usually not mandatory to fix everything it's wrong with the post, so lazy/trivial fixes are still allowed in the vast majority of cases. Occasionally it might happen for you to be required to put some extra effort: it's then up to you whether spend 2 minutes more in fixing the question or just drop the edit and move on. – Gabriele Petronella Oct 29 '13 at 20:52
  • Has SO done some usability testing to support the claim that this is an occasional problem and not such a common case? I feel like that's a pretty broad claim to make without any evidence. – Dancrumb Oct 29 '13 at 20:53
  • Not being part of the SO team I'm not the right person to answer the question. As an active SO user, however, my personal experience is the following: I currently edited 400 posts, and faced this issue once (and it took me 30 extra seconds get the edit done). I might be very wrong (or very lucky), but I perceive this as a marginal problem. – Gabriele Petronella Oct 29 '13 at 20:58
  • This was added recently (I'm not sure how recently). In addition, it only really affects questions that were written before the change was made (since questions written after the change could not have been submitted with issues present in the first place). – Dancrumb Oct 29 '13 at 21:37

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