So, this is rather small but it's been bothering me a bit.

Quite often when I run into posts by new users that are phrased poorly I want to link them to how to ask after adding a specific thing I think they could do better. (here is the most recent example)

I link using the short link [ask] in the comment. It converts [ask] to the said link with the link text "How to Ask". This is unlike [help] for example which is converted to "help center" (notice no caps).

Can we change the text generated by [ask] from "How to Ask" to "how to ask" ?

Sorry for being a pedant. I just do this sort of linking a lot.

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    PEDANTIC CAPTAIN ACCEPTING REQUEST. – Florian Margaine Oct 30 '13 at 10:08
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    Unlike [help], note you can't do upper/lowercase to signify its capitialisation. Compare help center with Help center. – Qantas 94 Heavy Oct 30 '13 at 10:09
  • @Qantas94Heavy didn't know I could do that - thanks. Testing: [Help] is Help center and [help] is help center . [Ask] is How to Ask and [ask] is How to Ask` – Benjamin Gruenbaum Oct 30 '13 at 10:10
  • @Qantas94Heavy that would be a part of this request, I presume – John Dvorak Oct 30 '13 at 10:11
  • @JanDvorak well, Actually I didn't know I could do that for [help] :) Being able to do it for [ask] would certainly solve the issue for me. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Oct 30 '13 at 10:11
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    Given "How to Ask" is a title, I think leaving it capitalized is appropriate. And I could argue that "Help Center" is a proper noun, so it should be capitalized. So I feel the exact opposite as you. But regardless, consistency would be better – psubsee2003 Oct 30 '13 at 10:17
  • @psubsee2003 Right, given this is implemented I'd use it as "Please consider learning How to Ask" which would translate to "Please consider learning how to ask". In that context I think not capitalizing it makes sense. Might be wrong here. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Oct 30 '13 at 10:18
  • @BenjaminGruenbaum I'd agree with that. But if we have to choose one or the other, I'd favor the current implementation as most uses I've seen reference the specific page where title casing would be more appropriate. Being able to specify the case in the brackets would be ideal and cover both cases. – psubsee2003 Oct 30 '13 at 10:22
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    @psubsee2003 what about [AsK] or [ASK] for the current behavior? That being said, [HELP] could be retrofitted to mean Help Center, too. – John Dvorak Oct 30 '13 at 10:24
  • @Jan That works. As long as the link text can be shown in title casing when appropriate. – psubsee2003 Oct 30 '13 at 10:30
  • tour detects title case: About – brasofilo Oct 30 '13 at 11:21
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    I think everything else respects the casing, for example edit [edit], Edit [Edit], tour [meta-about], About [meta-About], except for this and How to Answer [answer], How to Answer [Answer]. – Qantas 94 Heavy Oct 30 '13 at 13:03

For "How to Ask", I think the current behavior of [ask] is absolutely correct. The link references a specific page with that specific title, so title casing is absolutely appropriate. Additionally, the current behavior of [help] isn't quite right, in my opinion, as it is both a proper noun and title, both of which suggest it should be displayed as "Help Center" and not "help center" as it does now. Using [Help] (with the upper case H) does get you halfway there by displaying "Help center", but that isn't quite right either.

That being said, there are use cases where you just want to link to the page by using the phrase a bit more organically in a sentence, such as the example you provided, "Please consider learning how to ask", but I think that referencing the specific page via title is more common so I don't think all lower case should be the default behavior.

As Qantas points out, the casing of the displayed text is somewhat case sensitive for some magic links based on how you capitalize the text within the brackets, but doesn't work for all of the magic links ([ask] is one that apparently does not recognize how you capitalize the letters within the brackets), so there is some support already to allow users to decide how they want to display it.

Jan's suggestion seems to be the best compromise and allow everyone to decide how to best apply it:

  • [ask] should translate to how to ask
  • [ASK] should translate to "How to Ask" (and I believe the quotes should be included since it is a title and not a proper noun)
  • [help] should translate to help (I left "center" off because I don't think it makes sense in lower case).
  • [HELP] should translate to Help Center (no quotes this time since it is a proper noun)
  • [ANSWER] should translate to "How to Answer"
  • [answer] should translate to how to answer

(feel free to add others that you think might have use cases with both upper, lower, and title casing that don't currently have that behavior)

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