If a hyperlink is followed by a colon, the colon is treated as a part of the hyperlink.

An example:


If you have a question about a Stack Exchange site, the best place to ask is on Meta Stack Exchange or the site's own meta. (Look under "help" on the top bar.)

As a result the hyperlink is broken, it then leads to a 404 page.

This is inconsistent with prior behavior, which treated the colon as not being part of the link, and as such breaks existing posts with colons after links which depended on the colon not being part of the link.

  • 8
    The usual workarounds include putting the link in angle brackets, e.g. <https://meta.stackexchange.com/contact>:, or making a proper link with link text, e.g. [contact](https://meta.stackexchange.com/contact):. Oct 23, 2020 at 2:33
  • Anything you place at the end of a bare URL is being treated as part of the URL, except for the space character. EG: https://meta.stackexchange.com/contactπŸƒ123 meta.stackexchange.com/contactπŸƒ123 - doesn't work even though πŸƒ isn't a valid character for an URL. --- Whereas, meta.stackexchange.com/contact πŸƒ123 is OK (note added space character). --- In comments it's OK, in the editor it's broken.
    – Rob
    Oct 23, 2020 at 3:34
  • 1
    Are we sure this is a bug? This may be working as intended. Colons can be part of a URL, right?
    – Mast
    Oct 23, 2020 at 7:05
  • 4
    @Mast In the past, colons at the end of a bare URL link used to not be treated as part of the URL, so this breaks links in posts that depended on the prior behavior. Oct 23, 2020 at 7:14
  • 1
    @Mast it's a special case of "breaking changes" done by moving to a proper parser. It's almost impossible to have full backwards compatibility. So it's technically not a bug, but still since it breaks existing posts, better be fixed somehow, e.g. automated job that will fix the colons. Oct 23, 2020 at 9:04
  • 1
    @ShadowWizardWearingMask Yea, I figured as much months ago.
    – Mast
    Oct 23, 2020 at 10:54
  • @ShadowWizardWearingMask it wont break them untill they are edited. At which point the editor should notice.
    – Luuklag
    Oct 23, 2020 at 11:26
  • @Luuklag And hopefully the editor won't leave bare links around at all. They look bad. :D
    – Catija
    Oct 23, 2020 at 12:58
  • Works fine for your question URL.
    – Ollie
    Oct 23, 2020 at 13:08
  • 1
    @Ollie not relevant, you can put anything after the question ID, it's ignored on the server. The problem is with links that don't lead to questions. ;) Oct 23, 2020 at 14:07
  • @Luuklag good point, wasn't aware of that. Oct 23, 2020 at 14:08
  • 1
    Questions only get re-rendered when they are edited, otherwose the rendered version is stored in the DB, @ShadowWizardWearingMask
    – Luuklag
    Oct 23, 2020 at 17:10
  • @ShadowWizardWearingMask What about the link to my profile, then? Doesn't scream 404 at me.
    – Ollie
    Oct 24, 2020 at 0:40
  • 2
    @Ollie same as questions, it doesn't matter what you put after the user ID. The problem is with links that don't lead to questions or users. ;) Oct 24, 2020 at 6:08


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