Whenever the following characters appear in an URL in a link of the form [foo][1] … [1]: http://..., the server won't parse it as URL:

  • ^, {, }, \

and the following won't work in preview:

  • $, ^, *, [, ], {, }, \, ', "

This causes great trouble when copying links from the URL bar. Browsers seldom escape every character, e.g. in Firefox ~!^*_-{}|[]\. in a query string will not be escaped, while in Chrome ``~!$^*()_-{}|[]:;',./won't be escaped. For example, [all 3 Wolfram Alpha links by this user](http://math.stackexchange.com/posts/1911/revisions) fails to appear because of^,{and}`. Fixing these links are annoying.

Therefore, I propose that when one creates a link or image through the toolbar (Ctrl+L / Ctrl+G), the system should be able to escape at least the above mentioned characters.

  • A temporary workaround is to use something like this
    – Larry Wang
    Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 16:08
  • Minor detail: a trailing asterisk indeed does not work in preview, but not in the end result either, not even when using Ctrl-L or when explicitly using the angle brackets syntax like <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDA*> (Maybe a clash with the Markdown for italic?)
    – Arjan
    Commented Dec 8, 2010 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


When entering a link via the dialog, we now make sure to encode "nasty" characters, so the resulting link definition is actually usable.

  • yay!
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 14:30
  • Am I right that the underscore is no longer escaped to be %5F? That is good, as Firefox treats an escaped underscore differently than Chrome, which might mess up when the server is not configured correctly. Like try http://pear.php.net/package/XML%5FSerializer in both browsers, and in Firefox note the URL in the 404 message. If indeed the underscore is no longer escaped by design, then I guess the ancient Link with underscore does not work is actually status-completed by now! :-)
    – Arjan
    Commented Dec 24, 2011 at 11:26

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