Join 3,500 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Automagic Hyperlinks
April 20, 2012 8:18 PM   Subscribe

People are pasting urls as text a lot more frequently, it seems, despite how easy it is to make a hyperlink with the "link" button under the text area. Maybe it has to do with people using mobile devices? In any case, would it be possible to add a routine that would automatically detect for "http://" in the text, and turn them into hyperlinks?
posted by crunchland to Feature Requests at 8:18 PM (71 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I am completely behind this pony.

I've posted more then one link in the past that didn't end up being hyperlink-a-tized because I'm just so use to the rest of the internet automatically converting them into links for me. After I hit the post button and then I see it's just a lowly, unclickable bit of text.. and remember Metafilter doesn't to automatic links.

Just please don't do what some forums do..

http://www.I-rather-see-the-full-url.com/likeThis/andNotShorthandLikeTheLineBelowThisOne.htm

http://www.i-rahter-see-the-full-url.com/...thisOne.htm
posted by royalsong at 8:28 PM on April 20, 2012


Which one would you rather see?
posted by mlis at 8:35 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I do find the non-link URL thing to be a bit troublesome. I'm not sure how difficult it is to make actual links on mobile devices, and not sure how difficult it is to auto-detect URLs which are pasted in without using the link button and make them real links.

But overall, I'm in favor of people making actual links in their posts and not just hot-clickable url entries in their posts. MetaFilter is better when people take the time to do things right. If it's that much more effort to create what are considered traditional links for this community on the mobile version, then something there needs to be adjusted to make it less burdensome. This would encourage what has been established as the norm, and I would support that.
posted by hippybear at 8:37 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes please this would be nice. I'm so used to other sites automatically htmlifying URLS that when I've pasted one in and forget to a=href it I have a mini argument in my head. Do I flag it and request a mod come all the way down and help me fix it? I really shouldn't waste their time like that! Aaargh!

Maybe this could be a preference toggle, so you could have it automatically make http://... a link, or not, depending on your own personal work style? Like if someone answers a lot of fashion advice AskMes, this would come in very handy. But maybe make it something you can turn off if you're prone to complicated html in your posts?
posted by Mizu at 8:42 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


http://i.imgur.com/Ao1fr.jpg
posted by Burhanistan at 8:47 PM on April 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


This idea is horrible in my mind. Sorry some people are lazy, but occasionally I want to post a URL without the link, like, "These assholes would totally disagree: http//:peopleidontwattosendtrafficto.com" There would be no provision to discount this.

I could go on, but I would maintain that the internet was meant for links and text. When you confuse the two things get confusing.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:53 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


cjorgensen, you just got the // and the : backwards, inadvertently inventing a technique by which you could do what you want even when this pony gets implemented. (I already have it thanks to a Greasemonkey script called "linky".)

Elsewhere on the interwebs, people do what you're doing (or what I think you're doing -- hiding the referer, right? because people will follow the link if they want to regardless) by writing "hxxp" instead of "http".
posted by mendel at 9:00 PM on April 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


I know this happens a lot at other sites, but I'm guessing those other sites don't also support HTML. It is surprisingly difficult to determine via code what people intend to have as HTML vs. what they have as HTML. And pasting a bare URL that will be clickable is an intention, not HTML.

So to do this I think we'd need a way to determine that intention. Maybe a switch that says, "Now I'm writing HTML" vs. "Now I'm writing plain text". I think that's the only way we can have code that is able to parse text and determine intention.

Just as an example, here's a bit of HTML:

<a href="http://example.com">http://example.com</a>

As humans, we can look at that bit of code and know what the writer intends. It is surprisingly difficult to write code that knows what to do with that—especially if the author forgets the closing </a> or a quotation mark. The code sees two URLs there. Does it transform one or the other? Does the code leave the whole thing alone because the author intends the HTML to be that way?

We currently aren't trying to be clever. We parse everything written as HTML. And we take the good and bad with that.

If the bare URLs are really bothering you one option is a Greasemonkey script to turn them into links. Here's one: Linkify Plus. There are probably dozens of others. Just realize that it's not going to be 100% accurate, and will sometimes munge the HTML. We don't want to have munged HTML, that's why we don't want to get into trying to determine what people intend.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:00 PM on April 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


The link buttons work totally fine on my iOS devices. I think we will probably stick to user education to prevent the unlinked bare URL problem.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:12 PM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


> I'm not sure how difficult it is to make actual links on mobile devices ...

The (android) mobile interface has a "link" button under the text box, too. It's not difficult.
posted by de at 9:14 PM on April 20, 2012


pseudocode:
if (string begins with http://) && (string is not enclosed in "
       make it a link;
}

---

Presumably there is already code to fix dropped quotations or closing tags, run this afterwards.
posted by 256 at 9:39 PM on April 20, 2012


Heh. And, funny enough considering the topic at hand, that use of the "pre" tag worked fine in preview.
posted by 256 at 9:40 PM on April 20, 2012


mendel: “Elsewhere on the interwebs, people do what you're doing (or what I think you're doing -- hiding the referer, right? because people will follow the link if they want to regardless) by writing ‘hxxp’ instead of ‘http’.”

But that's a crutch, and a bad one too, if you ask me, because it isn't clear to the layperson who understands "http" what you're doing there.

This is a bad idea. In my mind, there are two main reasons why this is a bad idea:

(1) Because, as pb says above, it's extremely difficult to do this without having it break immediately and break often. Other sites try. Other sites have it break a lot. Other sites have to deal with it breaking a lot. I think one of the things we should think about is how incredibly often html links are broken nowadays. I see a broken html link at least once every two days; for the mods it must be almost hourly. Can you imagine the incredible increase there would be in broken links if this were the case? And the attendant increase in requests to have those broken links fixed? One difference between Metafilter and other sites is that other sites often allow comment editing; when comment editing is allowed, this kind of thing has less of an impact, because a person who makes a comment and then realizes it doesn't quite look right can change it. We can't do that here. Which brings me to my next point:

(2) More importantly, I really feel strongly that this would be against the philosophy of the site. The philosophy of the site is a kind of plainness that is unobtrusive, that doesn't stick things into your text line unasked-for. Other sites have a lot of crossnoise and ads in the middle of comments and all that other stuff. Metafilter doesn't have that. And I really don't want Metafilter to start jamming linkified text into comments where commenters did not intend to jam linkified text there.

This is the kind of thing that's easy to fix in a hacky kind of "this will only work for 90% of http URLs, but that's fine" way with some javascript or some greasemonkey stuff. Why not stick to that? Sure, we could start intruding on people's comments and changing them around without asking first, but I really don't like that option, particularly when there's a way to avoid it and still have things be convenient for those who want the convenience.
posted by koeselitz at 9:57 PM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


pb, could you warn the user on the preview page if you detect a "http://" that isn't within an anchor entity?
posted by introp at 10:13 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's something we could look into, introp. I'm worried we'd be getting into Clippy territory and that could get annoying with false positives. Detecting it for a warning on preview and detecting for transforming it are essentially the same thing. And people on phones or leaving a comment quickly aren't likely to be using any kind of preview. But a warning would help let people know that bare links aren't very helpful.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:26 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


on firefox at least, you can highlight a link, right click it, and it asks if you want to open the link or open it in a new tab, as well as the other options (or maybe that's part of tab mix plus?)
posted by nadawi at 10:32 PM on April 20, 2012


despite how easy it is

NO 1 CURR my god seriously this is what you have to complain about?
posted by radiosilents at 10:36 PM on April 20, 2012


yeah yeah i'm not making metafilter a better place, i know, but seriously it's exactly as easy to actually create a link as it is for you to highlight and paste the text in the URL field so this is a totally zero sum game.
posted by radiosilents at 10:37 PM on April 20, 2012


I don't have an Iphone, but on my crappy android phone adding URLs and even bold/italic text is a huge pain in the ass. Most of that is the fault of the phone and its worthless interface, though; I'm not sure there is really all that much that the MeFi team should be doing to help.
posted by Forktine at 11:22 PM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think we will probably stick to user education to prevent the unlinked bare URL problem.

Running water for all mefites!
and no more bare bums or bare URL problems!

Mathowie Biden 2012!
posted by special-k at 11:30 PM on April 20, 2012


On a similar subject, does anyone know what's happening when people post links that just go back to the top of the post? I always use the automatic linkerizer (ctrl+U), which seems to filter out most failed linking, but I think many folk write their HTML by hand, and it seems like an empty href could cause this.

I don't have any examples at hand, but if post & preview could check for

href=""

and ask "Did you mean this?", it might help.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:13 AM on April 21, 2012


There's bare links where as a result of a mispaste of some sort it's literally
blah blah
but there's also cases where folks manage by one means or another to paste/type in the url but forget the protocol, like
blah blah
and that will link back to the thread (or Recent Activity, or wherever you're viewing that comment or post from) because without the initial "http://" on the url the browser interprets the href content as a relative rather than absolute link: it assumes that "www.example.com/whatever/blah.html" is actually an item in the current subdirectory or an id on the current page, which of course fails to reference any actual page content.

The former situation is actually just a trivial case of the latter. In both cases it's one of those things that, like a bare url, we could think about coming up with a prompt-like approach for but which automating the reparation of would be difficult to do in any sort of robust way.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:21 AM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


It seems like a nice idea, but often people will e.g. add punctuation to the the end of a URL - e.g. http://example.com/, which has a comma afterwards. These are difficult to parse out, as (even though really they should be encoded) characters such as punctuation marks are sometimes intended as part of a URL.
posted by iotic at 12:53 AM on April 21, 2012


I support what koeselitz wrote above.
posted by infini at 3:32 AM on April 21, 2012


My attempt to create a link on my Android phone. Not impossible but kind of a pain in the butt. Once you highlight the text, the context menu sits on top of the link button unless you leave enough room above the text box.
posted by octothorpe at 4:27 AM on April 21, 2012


I dispute the premise of this pony. I've noticed "people" posting correct hyperlinked URLs more and more as they get used to the Internet.
posted by DU at 5:09 AM on April 21, 2012


What do the mods think about us flagging instances of this as "HTML/display error"? Because I'm thinking something that should have been HTML and isn't is kind of an error.
posted by FishBike at 5:36 AM on April 21, 2012


I've got an Android phone and I can link pretty easily. The challenging parts are selecting the word I want to link on precisely, and then, when I paste, to ensure that I delete the http that's in the dialog box before pasting the link. Otherwise I end up with two http's.

Personally, I really dislike programs such as Word that automatically create hyperlinks when I'm typing. It's more of a pain to remove hyperlinks that I don't want than to create links I *do* want.
posted by jasper411 at 6:08 AM on April 21, 2012


On a similar subject, does anyone know what's happening when people post links that just go back to the top of the post?

I think every time I've done that, it's been because I forgot the closing quote on the href attribute. I think that causes the whole attribute to be stripped out when I post.
posted by FishBike at 7:16 AM on April 21, 2012


What do the mods think about us flagging instances of this as "HTML/display error"?

That's what a lot of people do now and it's totally fine. It's usually easy for us to fix something like that and we're happy to do it. We do it maybe once a day or so?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:32 AM on April 21, 2012


"And people on phones or leaving a comment quickly aren't likely to be using any kind of preview."

FWIW, I am more likely to use preview on my phone, as it's easier to make typos, plus the autocorrect errors, and hard to read back in the tiny phone textbox. I don't make nearly as many errors at a keyboard with a nice big screen. Does the infodump know stuff like that? (Preview use by device?) I'm just curious.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:34 AM on April 21, 2012


The edge case of creating a non-working text version of a URL seems to be so rare that it's the kind of case you just ignore. Not the kind of thing you get hung up on as an obstacle.
posted by smackfu at 8:15 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am against this. As soon as you make URLs auto-linkify, people become lazy and get into the habit of simply pasting bare URLs into their comments because they know it will work and it's the path of least resistance. And it looks like complete butt, particularly when the URL is long and ugly. We should not be making it any easier to do that.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:15 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sites have solved that problem too, by going and getting the title of the link to pretty print it. This isn't new ground here, just old school MeFi friction.l
posted by smackfu at 8:17 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


smackfu: “Sites have solved that problem too, by going and getting the title of the link to pretty print it. This isn't new ground here, just old school MeFi friction.”

At this point, it would be kind of awesome if people would give examples of these nebulous "sites" that do this.

Also, that still seems like a crappy solution. I'd rather not have my comments auto-edited. I would like to be able to post stuff and have it show up exactly as I typed it.
posted by koeselitz at 8:42 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


What do the mods think about us flagging instances of this as "HTML/display error"?

Totally do that. We fix 'em when we see 'em, we can't fix 'em if we don't.

Does the infodump know stuff like that? (Preview use by device?) I'm just curious.

The infodump doesn't contain any specific page-use or browser/device stuff, nope. It just knows about the when and by whom stuff of the comments and posts and tags that ended up in the database.

This'd be more in the web analytics/logging side of things, which maaaaybe it's something Matt or pb could look up but would likely have to be a custom logging job if we wanted to know. Which might be interesting to do. I know we've seen mobile use creeping steadily up over time in general; it'd be interesting if there were significant discrepancies across devices for some of the subpage stuff.

As soon as you make URLs auto-linkify, people become lazy and get into the habit of simply pasting bare URLs into their comments because they know it will work and it's the path of least resistance. And it looks like complete butt, particularly when the URL is long and ugly. We should not be making it any easier to do that.

I think this is pretty much how Team Mod feels about this too, yeah. As much as we don't want to be dismissive about possible ideas for improving the "making a good, working link" process because it'd be great to come up with some sort of simple and effective solution from helping avoid lazy bare-linking, "make it easier to be lazy and not make a proper link" is not an outcome we want to end up facilitating.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:56 AM on April 21, 2012


I think I have some Chrome extension that hyperlinkifies plaintext URLs because all the examples in this thread are clickable, and therefore I win.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:06 AM on April 21, 2012


For Firefox I use Text Link, which seems to be a successor to Linkification that I'd used for many years prior. I'm not thrilled that Text Link makes you double-click instead of just turning URLs into regular single-clickable links as Linkification did, but otherwise it's a fine extension that I use often. True, it only takes a few seconds to highlight a plain text link and either copy/paste or right click and choose "open in new tab". But there's some kind of psychological thing going on where after being able to simply click, doing it manually seems like a lot more work, especially if you have to get the beginning and end of the selection just right, for example if there were quotes or a comma.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:24 AM on April 21, 2012


Instead of automatically converting to hyperlinks, there could be an automatic timeout, until a tutorial is successfully completed. The tutorial would consist of video with an arrow pointed at the hyperlink button. The user is unable to post further comments until the actually click the hyperlink button one time.
posted by BurnChao at 10:13 AM on April 21, 2012


Click here http://aldustutorialvideo_link.avi to learn more.
posted by infini at 10:20 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn’t really know this was an issue. I just assumed people would copy and paste links.

For a long time the Bold, Italic, link, buttons didn’t show up in my browsers, I didn’t even know they were supposed to be there, I have no idea why. I couldn’t believe that everyone here knew HTML so well and used it so much.
posted by bongo_x at 10:27 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


> The user is unable to post further comments until the actually click the hyperlink button one time.

It'd be just like playing Myst without the soundtrack.
posted by de at 10:30 AM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


The challenging parts are selecting the word I want to link on precisely, and then, when I paste, to ensure that I delete the http that's in the dialog box before pasting the link. Otherwise I end up with two http's.

Ah, so then is the fact that the initial http is highlighted when the dialog box comes up for me a browser dependent thing? I've always wondered how people get the double http error. Is there any way for this to be modified on metafilter's end?
posted by oneirodynia at 11:10 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


By highlighted I really mean "selected", so that when I paste it goes away.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:11 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The user is unable to post further comments until the actually click the hyperlink button one time.

This was featured in Robert Rudlum's The Postroad Tormention.
posted by y2karl at 11:33 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's how it works for me in MacOS regardless of browser.

It might be different for those using mobile OSes.
posted by hippybear at 11:35 AM on April 21, 2012


"an automatic timeout, until a tutorial is successfully completed"

Let's require a state ID for voting, as well.
posted by Ardiril at 1:27 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there any way for this to be modified on metafilter's end?

No, each browser decides how to handle that. Desktop browsers highlight the http:// so you can paste over it, iOS devices don't. So on the iPhone at least you can tap and hold in the link dialog, choose Select All, and then paste. We also check for the string "http://http://" and turn it into one "http://" via the link dialog only. So if you happen to put "http://http://www.example.com/" into the new link dialog you will end up with "http://www.example.com/" in the textarea.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:56 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I only read mefi on my computer, I would maybe be against this proposed change, but on a mobile device cutting and pasting links is pretty awkward. It seems like a reasonable concession to the fact that more browsing is done on mobile devices now.

Also, I think that sometimes a proper link with good anchor text is better, like: The Teardrop Explodes perform "Bouncing Babies" on Top of the Pops or whatever. On the other hand, if the anchor text is just the word here, like: there's some good data about that here, then simply pasting the URL (if it is automatically turned into a link) is probably more useful to the reader.

But that's just my two cents.
posted by snofoam at 4:20 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and what I meant in the first part is that cutting and pasting a non-link URL, and the opening of another browser window, etc. is much more of a pain for the reader. I'm less sympathetic towards posters who can't be bothered with the inconvenience of making a link.
posted by snofoam at 4:22 PM on April 21, 2012


hippybear: "If it's that much more effort to create what are considered traditional links for this community on the mobile version, then something there needs to be adjusted to make it less burdensome."

I think it's burdensome because it's a pain to select text or cut-and-paste on some tablets and mobile devices due to limitations inherent to the devices themselves. I've been reading with my tablet from bed and gotten up to use my desktop to make a comment because trying to do proper links on a tablet is so time consuming and frustrating. I'm not sure there's anything actually useful that can be done on MetaFilter's end to alleviate this.

Also, what Rhomboid said.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:08 PM on April 21, 2012


Yeah, the issue is not that we wouldn't like linking to be as painless on mobile as it is on the desktop; it's that the nature of mobile interfaces—at both the device and the browser level—is just kind of crappy at this point. There's not really a magic wand we can wave on that stuff. Specific, doable cross-device solutions that'll make it possible for folks to more easy format links are totally worth talking about, but solutions that come down more to "encourage lazy/ugly bare url pastes" aren't something we're going to want to move on, and unfortunately most of the practical solutions that have come up fall more to that side of things.

And at end end of the day, in practice people do apparently put together correctly formatted links from phones and tablets on a regular basis; it's doable, it's just got more friction than making a link on the desktop. I'm sympathetic about the annoyance factor but not really sympathetic about the cases where what folks choose to do is give up and just paste a bare url. If something really can't be done right from your phone, it can wait until you've got access to a better device or until you're not in a rush and can go ahead and jump through that extra hoop or two of fiddliness.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:19 PM on April 21, 2012


The real benefit of this suggestion is not ease of making links, it's ease of visiting urls that are not linked. The difference between tapping on a link and selecting/copying/new window/pasting on a mobile is huge, and presumably each posted link is visited by multiple users.
posted by snofoam at 5:29 PM on April 21, 2012


I hear you, but trying to create that benefit for mobile readers in a way that encourages mobile commenters to engage in more rather than less bare url pasting is not a plan we like. I totally appreciate the motivation behind autolinking ideas; my objection is to the secondary outcomes of those ideas, not to the idea of making life easier for mobile readers all else being equal.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:41 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can understand it as a stylistic issue, even if I don't necessarily agree overall. Although maybe I would agree if suddenly metafilter was full of really long URL links that messed up the display or something.

Anyhow, I will say that I read metafilter on an ipod sometimes because it has the best mobile layout of any site I visit. It's pretty much as good as it can possibly be in that regard. Skip to Menu and the new comments thingy are perfect for following a long thread.
posted by snofoam at 5:52 PM on April 21, 2012


The real benefit of this suggestion is not ease of making links, it's ease of visiting urls that are not linked. The difference between tapping on a link and selecting/copying/new window/pasting on a mobile is huge, and presumably each posted link is visited by multiple users.

Well, if it's mostly mobile users who are doing (what I will uncharitably call) lazy posting and not making their URLs linkable, and it's mostly mobile users who are inconvenienced by having URLs be text and not clickable, then perhaps the mobile community will eventually figure out that they're shooting themselves in the foot by not going the extra mile to make a clickable URL in the first place.
posted by hippybear at 6:07 PM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't assume that most href-less URLs are posted by lazy people. I would guess that a lot of them are accidents or posted by people who don't understand how links work.
posted by snofoam at 6:23 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, if there isn't a viable automagic solution, and since it's not happening frequently enough to merit implementation, maybe the moderators could hand edit comments made with non-hyperlinked urls when they come across them?
posted by crunchland at 6:30 PM on April 21, 2012


We usually do when we see them. Just flag them as HTML error and we'll see them and get to them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:31 PM on April 21, 2012


Great. Thanks for your diligence.
posted by crunchland at 6:48 PM on April 21, 2012


Make it a user preference, advanced editor or N00b editor.

Personally I like auto-linking. I'm super busy and I do not have much time to fart around with formatting HTML these days, but I do want to contribute. I wouldn't mind it being more like Facebook and grabbing the title of the page and auto-generating the hyperlink.

I wonder if the best solution would be a "digest" version of metafilter with all the url's separated out in list form?
posted by roboton666 at 11:28 AM on April 22, 2012


Any suggestion that includes the phrase 'I wouldn't mind it being more like Facebook' immediately has me grinding my teeth in rage. The difficulty level of posting a properly-formatted link to anything on Facebook is mind-boggling. If you don't have time to highlight the word, click the 'link' button, press Ctrl-V and press enter (a total of one double-click, one click and one keystroke extra work - less than a second all up), MeFi may not the the best place for that particular contribution.

I actually thought this request was a really good idea, because it annoys me inordinately to see bare links in comments and, while I accept that it may not always be as easy as we would like to make links, one of the enduring positives of MeFi is that people have generally cared enough about their comments to make sure they are spelled correctly and use reasonable grammar. On the Internet, basic HTML is almost like grammar - people who care about the way their words look and how the message is received will use it, those who don't, not so much.

I'll add myself to the flag it when I see it brigade, which is an effective if potentially time-consuming solution with little scalability.

jasper411: "I really dislike programs such as Word that automatically create hyperlinks when I'm typing"
Yeah, I spend much more time removing automatically created hyperlinks in documents that are intended for print than I do creating links for documents that will end up somewhere where a hyperlink will actually work.
posted by dg at 3:30 PM on April 22, 2012


Wow dg, grinding your teeth in rage? It's nice to know that I have so much power over you.
posted by roboton666 at 5:41 PM on April 22, 2012


So on the iPhone at least you can tap and hold in the link dialog, choose Select All, and then paste. We also check for the string "http://http://" and turn it into one "http://" via the link dialog only. So if you happen to put "http://http://www.example.com/" into the new link dialog you will end up with "http://www.example.com/" in the textarea.

NOTED
posted by mwhybark at 6:13 PM on April 22, 2012


trying to create that benefit for mobile readers in a way that encourages mobile commenters to engage in more rather than less bare url pasting is not a plan we like.

Fair enough; but if your traffic is like everyone else's, aren't mobile users your fastest growing traffic segment? wouldn't failing to cater produce a depression in that growth, and therefore challenge long term revenue here?

That said, I may actually still owe you guys five bucks.
posted by mwhybark at 6:17 PM on April 22, 2012


At this point, it would be kind of awesome if people would give examples of these nebulous "sites" that do this.

Sites that linkify:
Something Awful.
Reddit.
Hacker News.
Facebook.
Any email client.
Any vBulletin or similar site.
Any site that supports Markdown.

Sites that support raw HTML:
Metafilter.
posted by smackfu at 7:56 AM on April 23, 2012


The line you're quoting was specifically in reference to sites that fetch the link and parse out the <title> to use in place of the bare URL. None of those things you listed (except possibly for Facebook, I have no idea as I don't use it) does that.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:34 AM on April 23, 2012


Current vBulletin can do it. There is an option called "Automatically retrieve titles from external links". So www.metafilter.com gets converted to [url=http://www.metafilter.com]MetaFilter | Community Weblog[/url]

And yes, Facebook does it too, although they put the page title / thumbnail / etc in a separate box.
posted by smackfu at 8:52 AM on April 23, 2012


...aren't mobile users your fastest growing traffic segment? wouldn't failing to cater produce a depression in that growth, and therefore challenge long term revenue here?

They are absolutely our fastest growing segment. I'm always surprised when I look at our mobile numbers. I think there's a difference between catering to mobile users and catering to mobile users at the expense of everyone else. MetaFilter is small enough that we don't necessarily think in segments like this. Of course we want people to have a great experience with MetaFilter on their small screens, but we want people to have a great experience everywhere. Some of the frustrations with mobile devices we can address, some of the frustrations the mobile device makers have to address, and some is user education and setting expectations. And there are some frustrations that are going to persist because of the smaller screen space.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:53 AM on April 23, 2012


At this point, it would be kind of awesome if people would give examples of these nebulous "sites" that do this. -- Gmail also does it.
posted by crunchland at 1:01 PM on April 23, 2012


Ah. Correction ... Sorry, no it won't. Gmail will linkify urls pasted into an email but it won't fetch the page title.
posted by crunchland at 1:04 PM on April 23, 2012


« Older I'd like to know the reasoning...  |  blue_beetle gets a call-out - ... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments