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Orginal: Make links posted by users open in a new window

It would be nice if in this modern era, Stack Exchange links open in a new tab.

I know that this was voted upon back in 2009, but the times they are a changing and that was six years ago. Several users have discussed this morning that there would be serious advantage in having the Stack Exchange platform do this by default.

It is understood that a userscript could do this, but we prefer a SE internal solution over a browser-script implementation, so for purposes of this revisited discussion we consider that an incomplete solution. Additionally, right click is an insufficient answer; likewise not all users have middle mouse buttons and many use mobile devices.

Thank you for your reasoned consideration of this request and revisiting the topic in a more modern era.

  • 3
    Yes, agreed, with the caveat that the default behavior should be _blank for external links, and not for internal. Perhaps even as an enhancement, post/comment authors should be able to dictate through markup (an example where I might want to replace the current window instead of opening a new one, is where I believe a different page would be better than letting the user keep reading the current one). – Aaron Bertrand Sep 14 '15 at 16:24
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    (Also, note that there was a quasi-relevant study done about whether people know how to open a link in a new tab. It's interesting and peripheral information for sure, but I don't know that it matters exactly what percentage of our audience is unlikely to know how to right-click - the model most web sites has been following for years is that external links open in a new tab/window, precisely because even one user might not know how to do that.) – Aaron Bertrand Sep 14 '15 at 16:33
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    In this modern era do you not have an OS that allows you to control when to open links in new tabs? – random Sep 14 '15 at 16:52
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    @random Hey thanks for allowing this discussion to be active for 30 minutes by a total of 20 viewers. – Aaron Bertrand Sep 14 '15 at 16:57
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    If you're using an iPhone, you tap and hold and the option will show for you – random Sep 14 '15 at 16:58
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    This discussion and feature request has been active for about six years now – random Sep 14 '15 at 16:58
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    @random Chrome on Android does the same thing. – Undo Sep 14 '15 at 16:59
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    CHANGE BAD!!!! STATUS QUO GOOD!!!! GRUMP SMASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – swasheck Sep 14 '15 at 17:05
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    Putting "REVISIT" in the title does not provide some magical way to avoid it being a dupe. – James Sep 14 '15 at 17:38
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    There are already 26 dupes of the linked question @Aaron - most negatively voted. If someone wants this then an answer to the original question is better, or a new one with new arguments if necessary. But, "some time has gone by" isn't anything new to add to the discussion. – ben is uǝq backwards Sep 14 '15 at 17:53
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    @ben that was the point of this question - to hopefully bring some new information that can't be done effectively in the duplicate (because the OP changed his mind, and there is already an accepted answer with 55 up-votes). But this was rushed to be closed before anyone but a decliner could answer. – Aaron Bertrand Sep 14 '15 at 17:55
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    @benisuǝqbackwards I generally agree but a new answer is going to have zero upvotes and be totally buried by the sea of answers. Who is realistically going to scroll past 15 answers to read the new information? – Erik Sep 14 '15 at 17:56
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    What is the "serious advantage" these "several users" have noted that are woefully missing from a post that doesn't bother to explain why current keyboard shortcuts and inbuilt features of the browser are insufficient? – random Sep 14 '15 at 18:06
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    Guys, holy crap. Go back and read the declined duplicate. It is essentially: "hey, I want every single link on SE to open in a new window. Never mind, don't change a thing." Why does that question even still exist? It's a request to do nothing. This question, I was hoping, was going to ask for something different: (1) auto-new-tab for places where answerers intentionally do things related to the question without leaving, like jsfiddle/sqfiddle (2) making markup available to optionally open a link in a new tab. – Aaron Bertrand Sep 14 '15 at 18:24
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    @random the secret is that we're asking to revisit that, hence it shouldn't be considered a "duplicate" ... we don't have a good mechanism for that, now do we? – jcolebrand Sep 14 '15 at 18:44
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As a 'power user', this would drive me nuts. I don't like having a whole horde of tabs open. If I want to open a link in a new tab, I'll hold Command as I click it, and Command-shift if I want to open it right away in a new tab. I like that kind of control.

If we do this, I'm forced to always open the link in a new tab, whether I want to or not. This means I have to do much more tab management, which is not something I enjoy spending time doing.

I'd have to write a userscript to change it back.

dmckee summed it up nicely on the original post:

Shot down repeatedly during the UserVoice era. Thankfully. I expect my programs to leave me in control. Please stop trying to mess that up. – dmckee Aug 20 '09 at 20:54

Some things might have changed since then, but 'leave the user in control' hasn't.

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  • 2
    Even if the suggestion is only for external links? And hey, power users have a way to stay in control, if you really want to replace the current content even for an external link (which I suspect is rarely the case for non-power users) - drag the link to address bar. I feel like replacing the current window is much more disruptive to a newer user or someone not expecting that, than doing what other web sites have been doing for years. – Aaron Bertrand Sep 14 '15 at 16:47
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    @AaronBertrand Even then. I can Command - Left Arrow to go back to the page which Chrome already has cached anyway. Also, every time I have to drag a link to the address bar more than once in an hour I silently curse the website, the developers, and whoever approved that in management. Dragging a link should be the exception, not the rule. – Undo Sep 14 '15 at 16:49
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    I just think you are much better equipped to deal with that "problem" than the majority of our audience. And I would rather be consistent with other web sites for their sake than not change anything for yours. – Aaron Bertrand Sep 14 '15 at 16:50
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    @AaronBertrand And what of the users who are not "equipped to deal with it" but also don't want a new tab opening? Confusion, frustration, etc. Technology is supposed to be there to serve us, and while automations can make life easier they do not, ever, make life easier when something is automated which has multiple options - it (or the programmers of it) don't know which outcome each individual user wants. It's this simple - we have various options to open in new tab (which I sometimes do) we do not have various options to not open in new tab. So therefore it shouldn't be automated – James Sep 14 '15 at 17:45
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    Yup. 20 tabs in Chrome still freaks me out. I occasionally open stuff in new tabs, but opening them that way by default isn't awesome. – M.A.R. Sep 14 '15 at 21:16
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    I have 128 tabs open right now, which is actually low for me @inɒzɘmɒЯ.A.M. Oh, and an additional 24 on my phone. Chrome 35 is (finally) approaching Firefox levels of usability at that scale... That said, I really don't need any accidental new ones, so I support your rationale. – Shog9 Sep 15 '15 at 4:49

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