Help with links November 27, 2011 2:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm really sorry, but I am nowhere near as computer savvy as the rest of you. Could someone please explain to me (with small words; talk to me like I'm four) how to make links? Possibly relevant: I'm never on a real computer, I only have an iPhone. (yes, weird, I know.)
posted by Weeping_angel to MetaFilter-Related at 2:38 PM (76 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

You could type it longhand ...

<a href="http://your-url-goes-here.com">Words you want to hyperlink.</a>
posted by crunchland at 2:55 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the standard MetaFilter interface, there are three buttons below the comment box (or the main posting box for main page posts or questions in Ask) that say B, I, and link. Highlight the text of the link, and press the link button. A popup box will say "Please enter the site you want to link". Paste the URL into the box, and hit OK. Your text should then appear as a link.

I gather from the post immediately below this one that some of this works differently on the mobile site (which is what you're probably using on your phone), so if you're not seeing those three buttons, it might be related to that. I imagine one of the mods will be along shortly to explain further.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:56 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't use an iPhone, but I'll outline how it works on a regular computer first, for the benefit of posterity. You highlight the text you want to "make linky", then click (tap) the blue highlighted word "link" at the bottom right of the box you type text in. (The kind of box I'm typing in right now.) This will make a thing pop up, where you put in where you want the link to go to. Then you're done.

If you can't do that, you can type out the link in longhand, as shown here.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 2:57 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm using my iPhone now and I see the link button. When I click it, I get the pop up for the URL. Perhaps you could say a little more about where the process is confusing for you?
posted by hilaryjade at 3:00 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, like this?
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:04 PM on November 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


On an iPhone, type your hyperlink text, press your finger on the text entry box and move the magnifying glass around. Press select. Select the text you want to link by dragging the blue dot corners around. Then press "link" on the bar under the text box, and type int the url (or paste it from another window). Then press ok, then press 'post comment' or 'preview.'
posted by crunchland at 3:04 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yay! Thanks so much!!!
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:06 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, like this?

Success!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:06 PM on November 27, 2011


Problem solved!
posted by not_on_display at 3:08 PM on November 27, 2011


I seems like I've seen MeTalks asking for the pony that would automatically make naked URLs links... Why was that rejected?
posted by cmoj at 3:19 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Why was that rejected?

Because it uglies up the place?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:26 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hasn't this question been asked frequently enough to qualify for the FAQ?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:33 PM on November 27, 2011


It's already in the FAQ.
posted by grouse at 3:54 PM on November 27, 2011


> Why was that rejected?


http://becauseoffakelinks.org.edu.rz
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:02 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's already in the FAQ.

Sure, under the heading, "How do I use HTML in my posts?" Seems to me, people who are not sufficiently tech-minded to know how to make links (i.e. the very first thing one learns to do with HTML) -- or google it, even -- are very unlikely to know what HTML even is.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:17 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


In the standard MetaFilter interface, there are three buttons below the comment box that say B, I, and link.

these are their uses

*DONK DONK*
posted by rollick at 4:27 PM on November 27, 2011 [31 favorites]


I'm all in favor of making its placement in the FAQ more obvious, but I don't think that's going to make people ask here much less.
posted by grouse at 4:32 PM on November 27, 2011


I think there have been two people who asked this here this month, but before that I don't remember any time in my recent history. I think it's fun when people ask these things, it's like one big good-faith group lesson.
posted by Think_Long at 4:38 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm really sorry, but I am nowhere near as crime-savvy as the rest of you. Could someone please explain to me (with small words; talk to me like I'm four) how to rob banks? Possibly relevant: I never carry a real gun, I only have gold-plated lighter in the shape of one. (yes, weird, I know.)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:41 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


think there have been two people who asked this here this month

one more time and maybe a "How To Make A Link" help link in the edit fields
posted by victors at 4:44 PM on November 27, 2011


It's doink doink, not donk donk.
posted by desjardins at 4:47 PM on November 27, 2011


how to rob banks?

Well first you're going to have to go to Yale and get in with the right sort of people who run investment concerns, but really you should have been thinking about this when your parents picked your pre-prep daycare.
posted by The Whelk at 4:53 PM on November 27, 2011 [27 favorites]


The music for Law & Order is composed by veteran composer Mike Post. The music is deliberately designed to be minimalist to match the abbreviated style of the series. Post wrote the theme song using electric piano, guitar, and clarinet. In addition, scene changes are accompanied by a tone generated by Post. He refers to the tone as "The Clang," while Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker has referred to the sound as the "ominous chung CHUNG" and Richard Belzer as "the Dick Wolf Cash Register Sound." The tone consists of only two notes and was generated electronically by combining six or seven different sounds to get just the right deadbolt effect. Post has noted that one of the sounds the interlude incorporates is the sound of "five hundred Japanese men stamping their feet on a wooden floor. The sound has become so associated with the Law & Order brand that it was also carried over to other series of the franchise.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:58 PM on November 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


If you sign up for Metafilter premium, you can drop off your URLs with the valet and they will maker the links for you.
posted by babbyʼ); Drop table users; -- at 5:03 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I recite all of my posts to my valet during my morning shave, who then relies them to the appropriate clacksman.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I recite all of my posts to my valet during my morning shave, who then relies them to the appropriate clacksman.

What's clackscode for 'single link cat video'?

I kid! I kid!
posted by Think_Long at 5:10 PM on November 27, 2011



What's clackscode for 'single link cat video'?


My valet informs me it is uryc zr v nz punvarq gb gur pynpxf , but I can't be sure, I don't concern myself with vulgar specifics.
posted by The Whelk at 5:18 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have to agree that Web design is still very poor when I realize that I am a geek just for knowing how to make a link.

That's why so many people flock to Facebook, even if it isn't the best platform, even if it can be harmful: they can make links, they can post photos and videos without even knowing that they are using HTML.

Poor product, great accessibility. UX wins. It's not like it is difficult to do. It's just that we shouldn't suppose that people have any computer literacy.

When I am editing texts, my job isn't to know what authors are talking about; it is to make sure that anybody can understand what they are talking about. I serve the author only by being at the service of the reader.

So when somebody is asking how to make a link, I find it touching: first because it reminds me of the time when I asked the same question (I had hair, then); second because it reminds me that UX is still not transparent.
posted by bru at 5:44 PM on November 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's hard to read this post without blinking.
posted by maryr at 5:49 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


(yes, weird, I know.)

Not weird... but a lovely signal of the global shift towards entirely new devices. Think of yourself as a pioneer in the developed world.

And in the context of what bru just said, that helps explain some of Facebook's popularity once you step outside the privileges of immersion in a high tech environment.
posted by infini at 5:50 PM on November 27, 2011


The HTML for links is particularly inscrutable, A HREF? The A is for anchor, which makes no sense until you realize it can be used define a location in the same page using the NAME attribute, which I suppose is an anchor of sorts? What does HREF mean? Turns out it means Hypertext REFerence. The HREF attribute of the A element can be used to reference another named anchor within the page or another page entirely. So the A element does double duty as both a way to define a destination and a way to get there.

About the link itself, what the hell is HTTP? It stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Which is simply a protocol for servers to give you bits of text we call web pages. Why do we have to define it? Because there are other protocols. FTP which stands for File Transfer Protocol is an older method of transferring files. FILE which specified a link to a file on the local system. And GOPHER which is, well, the GOPHER protocol, it may not even be supported in most browsers today but it used the be cool. There are donzens of common protocols, MAILTO, HTTPS, and it is possible to add your own to your browser. This chunk of text is called a URI for Universal Resource Indicator and can either be a location or a name (remember how we discussed specifying named anchors up top?)

It all works, but like any ad-hoc standard, sometimes makes little sense. I doubt it really occurred to the people that worked on it that millions of ordinary folks would one day have to use it. I think they did pretty good.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:37 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


maryr: "It's hard to read this post without blinking."

Sorry, tried to resist, but I'm weak

posted by dg at 6:44 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't get it. What's inscrutable about what you posted? Everyone started on the internet using unix shell accounts didn't they? DIDN'T THEY?
posted by Justinian at 6:44 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


When someone told me about PPP I didn't believe them. One of the milestones that made all this possible. PPP and BIND are the unsung heros of the Internet.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:53 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone else asked about this earlier this month. Mathowie directed the asker to this nice video that he made on how to use the built-in HTML buttons.
posted by deborah at 6:54 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


href dref better l33ter
posted by flabdablet at 7:20 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


when did I become a morlock
posted by wayland at 8:24 PM on November 27, 2011


>It's doink doink, not donk donk.

We've had this discussion, and all the sensible people agreed that it's 'doonk doonk'.
posted by pompomtom at 8:48 PM on November 27, 2011


I added the tags "link" and "links" to the faq entry which might help people find it. ,but really it's totally okay for people to ask here if they want to.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:07 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


If your "how to use the Internet" copy includes anything about Gopher, you need to rewrite.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:12 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


(with small words; talk to me like I'm four)

Okay.

GET THE HELL OFF OF DADDY'S GODDAMN IPHONE WITH YOUR GRUBBY STICKY HANDS YOU LITTLE SHIT!

Happy to help!
posted by ColdChef at 9:32 PM on November 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


My three-and-a-half-year-old likes to disappear upstairs. And then get really, really quiet. For a while. Invariably, she's found the old iPhone. We could password-protect it, but then she just types in stuff for a long time, and pretty soon it gives a message that we can try to unlock it in a million minutes.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:47 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


cmoj: “I seems like I've seen MeTalks asking for the pony that would automatically make naked URLs links... Why was that rejected?”

I don't have a link to one of pb's comments to this effect, but he's said before that this is because naked URLs are exceedingly difficult to identify with consistency and regularity. It seems like a simple thing, but if you linkify http://www.google.com, then you really need to linkify www.google.com, right? And then you probably ought to linkify google.com. Which leads to a whole question about whether "Amazon.com" for example should be linkified if it's just a reference to the site in a block of text, and people might not want to linkify their text when they're talking about a URL.

Personally, I use this site on an iPhone almost every day, and I think it's obnoxious when URLs get automatically linkified. When you automatically do that, you're ripping the decision about whether or not to linkify out of the hands of the users who write the comments. Removing functionality for all users for the sake of convenience for a small proportion of users is a bad idea. There are many, many cases where I'd want to go http://www.foo.com and not want to put a link to it there, for instance particularly on Ask questions about malware sites.
posted by koeselitz at 11:31 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


am new to web where came i find naked urls links thx
posted by eddydamascene at 12:31 AM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was damn impressed with Firefox when I found out by accident that if you highlight the text of a naked URL you can just right-click on it to get the "open link" options.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:03 AM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


how to rob banks?

First you get yourself a pack of Doberman puppies and name them all after famous bank robbers.
posted by Sailormom at 2:37 AM on November 28, 2011


http://becauseoffakelinks.org.edu.rz

We skipped a bullet!
posted by ersatz at 4:59 AM on November 28, 2011


I seems like I've seen MeTalks asking for the pony that would automatically make naked URLs links... Why was that rejected?

Because we don't want people dumping naked links into threads. It doesn't look good, it eats up space, it has less information than a properly-constructed link (which always has the url available anyway via hover/point-and-hold).

Learning to make a proper link is not a lot of work, and we'd much, much rather folks figure it out (possibly by asking here now and then, and hey, the system works, yay Weeping_angel!) than give up and create a system that encourages more bare link pasting instead of deliberate, thoughtful comment formatting.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:26 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


GOPHER...that just gave me a flashback to grad school research. Wow.

And it's "gopher" because it was named for the mascot of U of Minnesota, where it was created, if I remember correctly.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:37 AM on November 28, 2011


Sometimes you hear the bullet.
posted by Melismata at 7:39 AM on November 28, 2011


...and sometimes the bullet hears you.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:01 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


As Nietzsche said, do not listen too long into the muzzle noise, fool me twice, won't get fooled again.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:04 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I need to just start taking these off the recent activity list. The comments just keep making me go Whut?
posted by infini at 8:05 AM on November 28, 2011


your puritanical contempt for the natural beauty of a naked link is sickening.
posted by The Whelk at 8:10 AM on November 28, 2011


Nietzsche also wrote, "Oh, excuse me, did I say over-moderation? What I meant to say was that the moderators are fine human beings who do nothing but improve the lot of all mankind with their benevolence".

At least, that's how I recall that passage.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:16 AM on November 28, 2011


But he was notorious for wandering into off-topic ruminations that don't involve HTML. He was a scamp, that one.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:18 AM on November 28, 2011


And I recall y'all used to yell at me for random stuff in grey threads

*flounces off in a huff*
posted by infini at 8:20 AM on November 28, 2011


It wasn't me.
posted by box at 9:59 AM on November 28, 2011


Didn't Nietzsche also once weep at the sight of a user flogging a pony in the Piazza MeTalberto?
posted by Abiezer at 10:48 AM on November 28, 2011


LEGALIZE SKOOMA
posted by Ad hominem at 10:53 AM on November 28, 2011


Confession: I usually just click "HTML help" and copy/paste the link code there and slam the URL and text into it when I want to do a link.

Which I'm sure is making someone out there cry at the inefficiency.
posted by yeloson at 11:06 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which I'm sure is making someone out there cry at the inefficiency.
posted by yeloson


I'm still whistling at 300 baud. I've been working on this comment since last Wednesday!
posted by not_on_display at 11:14 AM on November 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Didn't Nietzsche also once weep at the sight of a user flogging a pony in the Piazza MeTalberto?

No, he weeped at the sight of a user flogging a pony in the Taco Bell.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:23 AM on November 28, 2011


Wait, I double checked and he was actually weeping at the sight of a user flogging a pony at the combination Piazza MeTalberto and Taco Bell.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:24 AM on November 28, 2011


Are you sure he wasn't just weeping at the sight of a Taco Bell?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:26 AM on November 28, 2011


If you actually list out all the touches required to post a link from an iPhone, you would probably just give up on learning.

Starting from the page you want to link to, open in Safari.
1. Tap URL bar in Safari
2. Tap-and-Hold in URL bar until menu comes up.
3. Tap Select All.
4. Tap Copy.
5. Tap to deselect the URL bar.
6. Tap the tab-switch icon.
7. Swipe over to your MeFi tab.
8. Tap to select that page.
9. Scroll down.
10. Tap the comment box.
11. Hit the Link button.
12. Tap-and-Hold in the entry box until the menu comes up.
13. Select Paste. (Hope it is right, since you can't see more than about 20 characters.)
14. Tap OK.
15. Use the keyboard to type in the description of the link.
16. Scroll down blindly to find the Post Comment / Preview buttons. (Ignore the massive Note: text that is between the text box and the buttons.)

But touch interfaces are the future, right?
posted by smackfu at 11:49 AM on November 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


You just convinced me to never go iPhone, smackfu. I hate touch interfaces with a passion. Could be my cold, dead fingers from which they pulled my full-sized keyboard. Could be the time my Garmin Nüvi sent me ten miles by freeway to get two blocks by surface street.
posted by zomg at 12:07 PM on November 28, 2011


What? I'm at the combination Piazza MeTalberto and Taco Bell.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:09 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]




To be fair, that whole procedure goes pretty quick once you're used to it. But, yes, this is why I make links only when strictly necessary when I'm on my phone.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:29 PM on November 28, 2011


Someone needs to train Siri to do that shit.
posted by desjardins at 12:40 PM on November 28, 2011

12. Tap-and-Hold in the entry box until the menu comes up.
13. Select Paste.
I was about to voice my annoyance that you have to select the http:// that's already in the text field in order to paste over it, but upon testing, this seems to be unnecessary. Is a double http:// automatically fixed? If so, that's good to know.
posted by zamboni at 12:49 PM on November 28, 2011


Yeah, double http:// is automatically fixed if you use the link button.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:51 PM on November 28, 2011


smackfu: But touch interfaces are the future, right?

Touch interfaces are (currently) for casual interactions, browsing the web, and killing egg-stealing pigs in their increasingly elaborate fortresses. Save your elaborate comments (and any other work you wish to get done, including printing) for your real computer.

Weeping_angel - the 16 steps to posting a link on MetaFilter from your touch-screen device is the reason that (I assume) people post plaintext links into comments on MetaFilter and elsewhere. As a bonus for stand-alone computer users, many modern browsers provide the option to open the link in a new window or tab when you select then right-click (or whatever Mac folks do) on link text. Maybe you can do the same thing from mobile devices, but I usually save anything beyond a few lines of plain text for a computer, as I have that luxury of being near a computer throughout most days.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:08 PM on November 28, 2011


Sigh, I was going to explain that the link was the second argument while using the ln command.
posted by sammyo at 5:55 PM on November 28, 2011


It's doink doink, not donk donk.

You know what you wanna do with that, right?

You wanna put a banging donk on it!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:53 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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