It would be really nice if SO scanned posted content and checked detected links, and then notified the user of bad or redirected links so they could verify links are still valid and/or fix them.
I don't think adding an additional system to check links is necessary when we already have a notification system: comments.
Usually if someone finds an answer with a broken link, they will add a comment to the post, thus notifying the poster. (I realize that users need a minimum amount of reputation to comment, but they could also flag for mod attention at a lower threshold).
The Trilogy sites are repositories of knowledge, and as such, users are encouraged to add referenced content directly to their posts wherever possible (with proper citation, of course) -- if a link does break, the relevant content will still be available through the site. These same concepts also apply to images.
I believe that there should be a script that would run on a monthly (or daily if possible) process that would let users know that a certain post (or posts) has a broken link in it and should be updated
There used to be a comment that popped up telling people that there was a dead link in their post.
What I am suggesting now is that we utilize the new top bar and notify a user when there is a dead link in one of their posts.
There seems to be a new review queue in the works - LINK VALIDATION REVIEW QUEUE. This was active (although hidden by default) for a couple of days in April-May 2013.
The system automatically attempts to identify broken links and sends that post to this review queue, where we can review them to fix those broken links. The queue works like any other review queues and anyone can review the items - not just the person who made that post.
I had posted a feature-request to allow expanding comments in this review queue, which proves its existence:
I guess this Review Queue should be up again in about 6 to 8 weeks time period.
Within a limited context, this scanning you suggestion could add value / usablility.
I think "SO" is too wide a context taken as a whole (for scanning on a regular basis), but maybe a narrower target, e.g.:
- Unanswered q & a showing activity within a relevant timeframe (like the last week, or what have you);
- Answered q & a showing a sufficient amount of popularity (views, follows, etc.);
- NOT certain types of links (that there is low expectation would or could be repaired after they go bad -- such as sqlfiddle, etc.);
I think most links will break over time -- and we can't expect to fix them all -- but if we could target the more 'important' ones somehow, it might be worth the added effort.
I use links in major cases to:
- Help users continue their search
- Add source of information
(That not including images).
I try to add the content to the answer, or part of it, with the corresponding source or full link, so that if the link is broken the answer is still good.
So, I don't want to be bored by that notifications, because if the link is the full content, and you don't find alternatives to it, what would you do?! If your answer is like I said, it will be still helpful, and the answerer and reviews try to fix by comments if needed.
This question proposes a slightly different approach, namely visually changing the link to add
strikethrough formatting to dead links, and to do the detection automatically rather than just by a manual process. This helps READERS not waste their time on clicking dead links and getting lost/mis-oriented, and doesn't require that original post owners still be paying attention. (If they are, they might get an edit notification.)