I set out on the Crusade for the Holy Grail of no-redirections (named by Denilson Sá) to eliminate every shortened URL on Stack Overflow. But the foreign hordes are overwhelming me, and I need reinforcements!
The reason for removing all URL shortener links are:
- URL shorteners were created for services with character limitations, so that long links can still be shared over these services. There is a character limitation on Stack Exchange, but we will not be able to break it with a few links. Therefor using an URL shortener is unnecessary.
- URL shorteners obfuscate were the link leads, which means that there is no easy way to see where the link will take you when you click it.
- If such a service goes out of business, and it has happened already, there is no way to recover the target location of the link.
In short, using an URL shortener increases the risk that link will go dead without any way to meaningful recover the information that was behind that link. Which ultimately will make the answer less useful, up to completely useless.
Find every shortened URL, follow it, check it and inline the unshortened/long version into the post, like this:
For details see the documentation here: http://tinyurl.com/3zbelpa
See the documentation for further details.
Watch out for hidden LMGTFY links and flag them for
Moderator Attention if the answer only consists of those. If the answer does also hold valuable information like other links or further information, edit the LMGTFY-Link out, and leave the above link for future reference.
If you encounter links to duplicates,
vote to close/
flag the question, and edit the answer anyway.
But, watch out for traps! As Joel Coehoorn♦ informed me, there are edge-cases which need the existence of shortened URLs. Including but not limited to:
- Certain Wikipedia-Links
- Archive.org Wayback-Machine
- Google Books
Make sure that you're not breaking any of these by inlining them.
If you find shortened URLs in comments, there's at the moment not much we can do about them. LMGTFY and other objectionable content needs to be
cleansed flagged none the less.
Also there are shortened URLs hiding in the woods (known to some as "Code"), these are no danger to our lands and can therefore be left unchecked and unchallenged.
Our most valuable light in the darkness of the night is the search (roughly sorted by number of hits, cleaned ones at the bottom (doesn't mean that they don't come back)):
- bit.ly, 4,047 Hits (Data Explorer query)
- TinyUrl.com, 2046 Hits
- cl.ly, 2,019 Hits (Reported by WTP)
goo.gl, 5,082 Hits
is.gd, 441 Hits
ow.ly, 48 Hits
- tr.im, 1 Hit, genuinely about shortened URLs, Reported by Joel Coehoorn♦
- migre.me, 1 Hit, genuinely about shortened URLs.
- wp.me, 1 Hit, genuinely about shortened URLs, Reported by fretje
- alturl.com, 0 Hits, Reported and cleaned by Nightfirecat
- tiny.cc, 0 Hits.
Feel free to expand and edit that list.
While paying a visit, Rob Hruska showed us the way to a magician which allows us to see beyond shortened URLs without fear for ourselves. Jeff Mercado also showed as an apparatus which does the same. These are only tools on our crusade to protect and help ourselves, we need to cleanse the land from redirections nonetheless.
Eternal honor and glory...and of course you can keep every captured Flag-Weight and Badge.
There is also a version of this page on AskDifferent Meta