Ask yourself how many times you typed the following in a comment:


Me, personally, I'm sick of it. Can we have some data.stackexchange.com-style "magic links" in comments? (inn~iff)

  • 23
    Very, very good idea, especially the FAQ#name one.
    – Pekka
    May 20, 2011 at 13:18
  • 3
    Why inn? At least on meta they'd be very useful in answers May 20, 2011 at 20:30
  • 1
    Instead of alternate forms (as you have for edit), why not provide generic text? [edit "edit it"] [faq#bounty "Read about bounties in the FAQ"]
    – Fred Nurk
    May 21, 2011 at 6:35
  • Don't see the need for combining [user:] with notification.
    – Fred Nurk
    May 21, 2011 at 6:35
  • 1
    Requiring a colon in the syntax is less likely to have false positives. Instead of Stack Overflow and [x.se], use [site:XXX] where XXX is SO, SU, SF, or the subdomain of SE. [faq:all] and [faq:section] work, but that leaves nothing for edit except [edit:], which I dislike. Maybe [link:] instead of [site:], then you can include "faq", "meta", and "edit" in [link:].
    – Fred Nurk
    May 21, 2011 at 6:38
  • 1
    @fred no, you type [@fred] (like user notification) and it turns into a link - Fred Nurk.
    – user1228
    May 21, 2011 at 14:57
  • I've actually never typed that in a comment. Then again, I'm not a mod...
    – user541686
    Jun 8, 2011 at 15:51
  • 7
    Oh super super! I love you with totality and Tootsie-Rolls. With our collective saved-time we shall ascend to Mars, Pluto, and Milky. Oct 23, 2011 at 2:25
  • "Ask yourself how many times you typed the following in a Comment" - Never :^) I often link to some other sites though - in migration suggestions. Dec 5, 2015 at 11:22
  • 1
    Sort of magic for URLs themselves (e.g., current for the current user instead of a fixed user ID): Documentation for Stack Exchange engine URLs and List of unlinked pages on Stack Exchange sites Dec 16, 2022 at 2:24

13 Answers 13


Most of these now work. My comment below has the following markdown source:

On [main], you are expected to write proper English (as advertised on [english.se]), but here on [meta.se] it's more important to have freehand circles, so please [edit] your post, otherwise I'll have to flag you (see the [FAQ#flagging]). If you're unsure how to use your keyboard, [su] is the right place to ask. There's no Q&A site about unicorns yet, but you can suggest one on [area51.se].

Magic Links

  • Characters within the magic links can be any mix of upper and lower case. Some, but not all, of the magic links will respect the case used in the magic link and use the same case for the link text. This is noted in the entry for those which respect case.

  • On localized sites, the link text for each of the below magic links is localized.

Supported magic links in comments

  • [meta] – links to the current site's Meta; link text is the site name (e.g. "Meta Super User"). Does nothing if the site doesn't have (or already is) a Meta site.

  • [main] – like [meta], just the other way around (i.e. it doesn't work on main sites; only works on meta sites which have an associated main site).

  • [edit] – links to the edit page for the post the comment is on, i.e. /posts/{id}/edit. Link text is "edit" (capitalization is respected).

  • Help center links. Link text for all of these is "help center":

    • [help] – links to the help center (/help).
    • [meta-help] – links to "What is meta?" (/help/whats-meta)
    • [help/on-topic] – links to "What topics can I ask about here?" (/help/on-topic).
    • [help/dont-ask] – links to "What types of questions should I avoid asking?" (/help/dont-ask).
    • [help/behavior] – links to "What kind of behavior is expected of users?" (/help/behavior).
  • [tour] or [about] – links to (<main site>/tour). Link text is "tour" (capitalization is respected). Legacy magic link [about] is still supported.

  • [meta-tour] or [meta-about] – links to (<meta site>/tour). These only work on meta sites. Link text is "tour" (capitalization is respected). Legacy magic link [meta-about] is still supported.

  • [ask] – links to the "How to Ask" page. Link text is "How to Ask".

  • [what you are asking] – links to the "How to Ask" page. Link text is "what you are asking".

  • [answer] – links to the "How to Answer" page. Link text is "How to Answer".

  • Links to the front page of Stack Exchange sites (link text is the site name):

  • [chat] – links to the current site's chat site (https://chat.stackoverflow.com/ for SO, https://chat.meta.stackexchange.com/ for Meta SE, https://chat.stackexchange.com/ everywhere else – that last one showing a list of active rooms from the referring site), the link text being "{site name} Chat".

  • [code block] – links to the "Code and Preformatted Text" section of the Markdown Editing Help page (/editing-help#code). Link text is "code block".

  • On Stack Overflow only:

  • On Stack Overflow and localized Stack Overflow sites (these do not work on the associated meta sites):

    • [mcve], [reprex], [repro], [mre] and [example] – links to the How to create a Minimal, Reproducible Example page for the site. Link text is "minimal reproducible example", or localized text on localized sites. Capitalization doesn't matter and is not respected.
  • Links to specific tags. These work in questions, answers, comments, and chat – but in comments, they are just formatted like regular links, rather than appearing like tags. Link text is just the name of the tag. These will link to the specified tag, regardless of whether the tag actually exists:

    • [tag:tag-name] creates a link to the named tag on the main site, e.g . (Whether it's used on the main site or the meta site, the link will point to a tag on the main site.)
    • [meta-tag:meta-tag-name] creates a link to a tag on meta, e.g . (Whether it's used on the main site or the meta site, the link will point to a tag on the meta site.)
    • (On Meta Stack Exchange, which doesn't have a main site, [tag:tag-name] and [meta-tag:tag-name] work exactly the same way.)

Supported magic links in chat

In chat, only a limited subset of the magic links listed for comments work, plus one chat-specific magic link.

Chat supports the following magic links: [meta], [main], [ask], [answer], all the links to specific sites, and tag links (with tag formatting). Chat also adds [chat-faq], which results in a link to /faq on the current chat database, with the link text "chat faq" (e.g. "chat faq").

The tag magic links work as expected on Stack Overflow Chat and Meta Stack Exchange Chat. However, on Stack Exchange Chat, the chat room in which you use the magic link must be associated with a specific Stack Exchange site, and will take on the formatting of tags on that site. When the room is not associated with a specific Stack Exchange site, the text used for the tag magic link receives no special processing.

Supported magic links in questions and answers

On main sites, only the [tag:tag-name] and [meta-tag:meta-tag-name] magic links are supported in questions and answers. The [meta-tag:meta-tag-name] magic links will be rendered when the post is saved, but do not display as a tag in the post preview while editing.

On meta sites, only the [tag:tag-name] and [meta-tag:meta-tag-name] magic links are supported in questions and answers.

All of the other magic links are not supported in questions and answers.

  • 122
    On [main], you are expected to write proper English (as advertised on English Language & Usage), but here on Meta Stack Exchange it's more important to have freehand circles, so please edit your post, otherwise I'll have to flag you (see the FAQ). If you're unsure how to use your keyboard, Super User is the right place to ask. There's no Q&A site about unicorns yet, but you can suggest one on Area 51.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jun 6, 2011 at 11:48
  • 6
    Very nice, but what about user pages and links to specific posts? Like [main#12345] or [meta.user#12345]...
    – fretje
    Jun 6, 2011 at 12:06
  • 26
    @fretje: Nope, we're not doing that. It'll take longer to copy the id out of the URL into your [main#...] markup than just copying the whole link. (Besides that, there's also a technical reason: Comments are rendered on the fly, so you'd have to do a DB lookup everytime such a comment is displayed)
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jun 6, 2011 at 12:11
  • 18
    @fretje: Do you really have the ids of posts you frequently link to memorized?
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jun 6, 2011 at 12:16
  • 2
    Oops... not as I had in mind... Ok, but I understand adding "/q/6254529" to the url would be easy, but then the problem would be what to put as the link text? In that case you could simply expand the url to stackoverflow.com/q/6254529 but that might make this feature indeed be too "complex". I was just thinking out loud... forgive me ;-)
    – fretje
    Jun 6, 2011 at 17:34
  • 16
    Yay! Two more requests: [how-to-ask], [how-to-answer] (and the anchored versions when they're created). Jun 6, 2011 at 20:05
  • 2
    And [user:@balpha] adds more awesome to SE :)
    – Benjol
    Jun 8, 2011 at 7:46
  • 21
    The site-links are nice, but inconsistent: why don't [superuser.se] ([superuser.se]) and [askubuntu.se] ([askubuntu.se]) generate links? Sure, [su] (Stack Exchange) and [ubuntu.se] (Ask Ubuntu) work, but why do I have to remember these special cases? Thanks!
    – sarnold
    Jun 24, 2011 at 8:56
  • 9
    Could we also have [stackapps] (or [stackapps.se], or even [sa]), please? Jul 18, 2011 at 0:27
  • 4
    Hey, just found myself wanting [stackapps]. Poor, stackapps, it gets no love.
    – user1228
    Oct 28, 2011 at 14:23
  • 7
    Can we puhhlllease have [mso] instead of [metaso]? Or [meta.so]? No one remembers the [metaso], it doesn't even make sense.
    – slhck
    Nov 3, 2012 at 12:29
  • 3
    Can we add [sites] (to stackexchange.com/sites obviously)? Aug 15, 2013 at 11:18
  • 2
    Hey, [meta.so] and [careers] should be added. Thanks!
    – user1228
    Aug 29, 2014 at 17:28
  • 3
    @Abel This answer was posted on Meta Stack Overflow before Meta Stack Exchange existed. MSO has a main site, MSE does not.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Sep 13, 2015 at 5:48
  • 5
    [mcve] would be so helpful on Database Administrators Apr 20, 2018 at 15:37

I would still like an [accept] which would link to How does accepting an answer work?



Some more ideas, since this seems to be still active.

Maybe it could also be useful to add things like:

  • [dupe:92060] for "possible duplicate of "
  • [inbox]
  • [review], but I think this is marginal
  • [privilege:name] to link to a specific privilege description


I think this idea can be improved in a generic way like:



  • SITE is SF, SO, SU, meta, metaSU with default to the current site
  • type can be user, post, faq with default to post
  • anchor/id can be the id of a post, of an user and anchor a HTML anchor like in the FAQ, or a comment, or a anwser.

You can only use default values from the left. If you specify SITE you have to specify all.

So on this post:

  • [92060] would link to [meta:post:92060]
  • [92060#answer-92061] would link to my answer (need way to identify the answer's numbers)
  • [SU:post:286219] would link to Unix : List children processes for a given pid
  • [user:1228] will link to the user with ID equal to 1228 on meta
  • [SO:user:1228] will link to the user with ID equal to 1228 on Stack Overflow
  • [SO:faq:#bounty] on the "bounty" section of the SO's FAQ
  • 6
    I especially like the privilege and dupe idea. Jun 8, 2011 at 15:49
  • 9
    I'd really like to link to specific posts, especially on meta. Would be super handy in executing moderator duties. Prefer syntax of [meta:92060] or [main:667].
    – Alex Angas
    Jun 29, 2011 at 0:05
  • 1
    Did these extra suggestions get implemented? I think they would make writing comments on Stack Exchange more convenient. Sep 25, 2015 at 8:05
  • 1
    @Alex I do not think so. If it's not in balpha's answer it's probably not implemented.
    – M'vy
    Sep 25, 2015 at 8:07
  • Too bad. It's unfortunate that these very handy shortcuts weren't implemented. Sep 25, 2015 at 8:14
  • 2
    @AlexEssilfie and M'vy, if you're still interested, I've made a userscript that implements the site:type:id magic link idea: meta.stackexchange.com/a/278421/260841 :) Apr 17, 2016 at 18:35

In addition to [so], [su], [sf], etc. I would suggest adding [careers] with link text of "Stack Overflow Careers".


A chat room link could be useful I think.


This wouldn't be that useful, more like a fun thing, linking to yourself.

  • 22
    [self] or [this]? :)
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jun 8, 2011 at 15:33
  • 2
    Semantically [self] would make more sense in my opinion. :) Jun 8, 2011 at 15:34
  • 4
    [this] would refer to the current chat room or comment in my weird logic. :D Jun 9, 2011 at 8:22
  • 1
    I would prefer [this] for linking on the chat room and [self] for linking on myself.
    – CSchulz
    Jul 28, 2011 at 14:25
  • 1
    [chat:ROOM_NAME] might also be useful
    – Moog
    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:49
  • 2
    [me] would be quicker and more IRC-esque. Though less obvious to OO programmers ;D
    – Moog
    Sep 11, 2011 at 9:50
  • 1
    @Merlin [me] would be a link to your SO or chat.SO profile. Aug 24, 2013 at 14:58
  • What language is the this joke referring to? Pardon my ignorance..
    – user308037
    Nov 16, 2016 at 2:52
  • @DaniSpringer this.edited == false Mar 1, 2017 at 2:42
  • @haykam I still don't know what language that is
    – user308037
    Mar 5, 2017 at 11:13
  • @DaniSpringer this.jokes[0].language == 'JavaScript' Mar 5, 2017 at 21:38
  • @haykam so its JS? What is the equivalent in python? .self?
    – user308037
    Mar 7, 2017 at 3:18
  • @DaniSpringer this.programming.languages.indexOf('Python') == -1 May 20, 2017 at 0:17
  • @haykam hmm. I don't get it. Perhaps I need to refine my python...
    – user308037
    May 20, 2017 at 20:30
  • @DaniSpringer this.parent.givenUp == true May 20, 2017 at 20:55

This would save a lot of keystrokes:

[mcve] = [How to create a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example](https://stackoverflow.com/help/mcve)

It would mostly be used on Stack Overflow, as I don't think many users of English Language & Usage would find much use for this, but it would be useful for any programming-related Stack Exchange site.


From the meta sites, I think we most often want to link to the FAQ of the main site, not of the meta site.

Can we have a magic link along the lines of [mainfaq#dontask]?

  • 9
    Alternatively, do it just like we do with tags - have [faq] link the Main one, and [meta-faq] link the Meta one, whether you're on Main or Meta.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 9, 2011 at 15:18
  • 6
    We're going with @GraceNote's suggestion.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jun 13, 2011 at 17:28

I'm not convinced that new Markdown syntax is needed. This could be handled by having a better interface to insert these links.

There are already a few of useful user scripts in this domain:

  • 8
    Programmers are always fond of mardown. It's like command line over GUI: faster.
    – M'vy
    May 21, 2011 at 22:33
  • 2
    @M'vy: 1. Stack Exchange isn't specifically for programmers. 2. I'm more of a command-line advocate than the average programmer, and I still think we don't need more markdown here. 3. Just because every problem can be solved by adding a level of indirection doesn't mean it's the best way. May 22, 2011 at 9:06
  • 1
    Yes of course. I got your point. Nevertheless, when I answer on my mobile phone as an example... GUI stinks. I already have some difficulties to validate my anwsers. Or copy/pasting isn't easy as well. So if I can avoid doing this by typing instead, I'm in.
    – M'vy
    May 22, 2011 at 9:50

The userscript Stack Overflow Extras (SOX) supports creating customized magic link into posts:

Use the placeholders $BASEURL, $METABASEURL, $QUESTIONID, and $ANSWERID in the URL.

You can also use it to change the help button to link to the on-topic page:


A lot of the answers under What sites should have hyperlinking (onebox) support in chat? would also be good here. Perhaps some could be site-specific; the English Language and Usage folks probably don't link to MSDN very often.


The following magic link types have been added and can be found in the list above: [code block], [english-only site], [what you are asking] and [help/sg].


Some more for the melting pot:

[#12345] for questions

[me] to link to users profile in chat

[chat:ROOM_NAME_OR_ID] for linking to chat rooms

@USERNAME twitter-style user tags which currently work in chat but not comments

  • 6
    the first has been declined (see the comments on my answer); for the second and third see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/92060/… (although both are unlikely to happen); the fourth does work very well: meta.stackoverflow.com/editing-help#comment-reply
    – balpha StaffMod
    Sep 11, 2011 at 11:07
  • it would be very handy to have something like [chat:android] but I understand that these are trying to be kept to a minimuum. Thanks for the link to comment-reply. That is getting bookmarked ;)
    – Moog
    Sep 11, 2011 at 11:22
  • ... and the equivalent id version using # i.e [chat#15] is equivalent to [chat:android].
    – Moog
    Sep 11, 2011 at 11:33

External manuals

Some sites need to systematically reference and link to external documentation and people may be reasonably worried to follow non-standards links.

For example, in the "mathematica.stackexchange.com" site, links to the Wolfram Mathematica functions documentation are often needed, the users need to do


were the only variable part is the function name.

This could be easily replaced by [rw:InputForm]

Similarly, in "rpg.stackexchange.com" they often link to

[Find Familiar](https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/find-familiar)

which also has only one variable region on the link and could be easily a magic link like [spell:find-familiar]

Questions and answers

Also, as suggested by @Moog, Magic links to questions are often needed. I would favour the syntax

[q:11350] to be a shortcut to ['InputForm'](https://mathematica.stackexchange.com/questions/11350/xkcd-style-plotsl)

or [q:92060] a link to this question.

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