Linking urls as links July 26, 2022 10:10 AM   Subscribe

It feels to me like I am seeing more and more urls just copy-pasted into comments, where people haven’t bothered adding them as links. It’s really easy to add a link, even when using Metafilter on a phone. On the bottom right of the input box, just click where it says “link” and copy-paste the url there in addition to in the text of the comment. Then make sure the text you want to be the clickable link is in between the tags (the two sets of angled brackets). Is there some reason people aren’t doing this? Is there a good way to encourage people to do it without berating them in threads or in a MetaTalk post like this?

In particular, not everyone reads MetaTalk, so this post, in addition to probably being the wrong tone to address the folks who are doing this, probably won’t reach many of them. But the intro pages when you sign up still have the basic walk-through that includes the above how-to details, yes? So presumably this isn’t entirely a technical knowledge issue, but is at least in part a user culture issue? If so, can we abort this culture shift and return to a site culture of linking our urls? If it is a technical knowledge issue, what would be a more effective way to nudge the offending users to pay a little more attention and follow the provided instructions?
posted by eviemath to Etiquette/Policy at 10:10 AM (64 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

I think a lot of people are use to sites that automatically turn links into links, so they're doing here what they are used to doing most places on the web. As in all things, Metafilter is a bit of a throwback to the earlier days of the web when you had to take care of this sort of thing yourself.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:17 AM on July 26 [35 favorites]


I haven't seen that many, but I do flag them as HTML/display error when I run across them. MeFi's reliance on a subset of HTML harks back to an earlier age. Kids these days, and their auto linking and Markdowns…
posted by zamboni at 10:33 AM on July 26 [8 favorites]


This was briefly discussed at the bottom of this MeTa. Nothing really came of it from the mod side, so a separate discussion is probably a good idea.
posted by Etrigan at 10:56 AM on July 26


I also flag it, on the assumption that it was an oversight. "Everybody needs a hug," &c.

I have only seen a handful of b0rked links here over the years, so I suspect that there are mostly just folks who don't even think of linkifying the URLs they share.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:17 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


It can be a bit fiddly to select the link text on a phone when it's a phrase/multiple words. Single word is usually no problem, but dragging to expand the selection can pretty easily end up selecting the whole paragraph accidentally.
posted by juv3nal at 11:56 AM on July 26 [19 favorites]


Yeah, it's totally not easy if you're posting from a phone. Which I seem to recall has been identified as not a concern in the past, but as web traffic is ever more phone-based, we should consider revisiting.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:59 AM on July 26 [21 favorites]


I've done it before on accident when I forget that this is (I'm pretty sure literally) the only place I write text online that doesn't auto-link URLs. I do fix it when I notice, but it's entirely possible that I've missed one.
posted by primethyme at 12:00 PM on July 26


I'm not sure I can think of a mobile platform where selecting and pasting a URL is especially easy -- I think that's why share buttons are a thing.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:01 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


Obligatory grumbling about AMP links. Almost as bad as link shorteners.
posted by genpfault at 12:09 PM on July 26 [6 favorites]


It can be a bit fiddly to select the link text on a phone when it's a phrase/multiple words.

On a phone/tablet, I usually hit the link button first instead of selecting the link text first. Doing it that way, the cursor will helpfully show up between the two html tags.
posted by box at 12:17 PM on July 26 [6 favorites]


The simplest solution for the community at large is just to auto link url test.

I've converted url text on a phone and it's not something I'd call easy at all. It's completely understandable that some people would be like "eh, I'm not going through that" and just post the text.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:35 PM on July 26 [20 favorites]


Given how fiddly it is to actually add links on mobile (one person's "this is easy!" is another person's "triple click to copy the link, wait, it didn't take, try again, dammit it only selected one part of the URL, how do I start over again, dammit I didn't realize that I didn't even have the correct text selected *to* linkify so that was all a waste of time, eff this"), I would like to consider the pros and cons of adding auto-linking of properly formatted URLs to Metafilter comments.

On preview, yep, agree with Brandon Blatcher.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 12:40 PM on July 26 [6 favorites]


For my specific case, I actually prefer to post Spotify links as plain-text links to be copypasted -- my problem with desktop and mobile and links to apps that have both a desktop and a mobile app is that the URL links just do not transfer and it can cause a lot of haywire when it comes to accessing the link for multiple different use cases, especially because Spotify tends to break their own UX from time to time with different updates. However, I just went back to check and I think a mod just changed mine to Link -- so apologies for making it harder, mods!

In hindsight, I probably am making it harder for those who probably want to click and have it open in mobile, but I also am thinking about for posterity purposes when that does break. It is pretty hard and I'm not sure how to deal with that problem.
posted by yueliang at 1:24 PM on July 26


I find it hard to imagine situations where having a URL in a post or comment also be a link would be a problem. Almost always it would be better. Since different people have different skills and challenges, it would be ideal to have this done automatically by the site. Since it doesn’t happen that much, it probably wouldn’t be a top priority.
posted by snofoam at 1:35 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I would like to consider the pros and cons of adding auto-linking of properly formatted URLs to Metafilter comments.

If we can all agree on what that format looks like. For example I was just writing about Libro.fm in an AskMe answer and did not link it because there was another URL that was the actual answer to the question. Should "Libro.fm" or "Bing.com" be linked if they are typed without the quotes? Or is www. or http:// required to be present for an auto format?
posted by soelo at 1:36 PM on July 26


I would like to consider the pros and cons of adding auto-linking of properly formatted URLs to Metafilter comments.

A really good thing for the steering committee to discuss. I agree the expectations and norms of websites have changed in the past two decades and it's worth revisiting if the way MeFi does things is the way that continues to make sense, or not.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:43 PM on July 26 [6 favorites]


Should "Libro.fm" or "Bing.com" be linked if they are typed without the quotes? Or is www. or http:// required to be present for an auto format?

Oh without the http:// would be annoying as hell imo. There's a lot of TLDs now, a number of which could conceivably be the first word of a sentence after someone has neglected to leave a space after the period at the end of the previous sentence.
posted by juv3nal at 2:38 PM on July 26 [3 favorites]


I.......still type out the html, even on my phone.

::sobs::
posted by hydropsyche at 2:59 PM on July 26 [14 favorites]


The link function now pastes the html into the wrong place for me and I have to fiddle with it extensively to get it to work. This started after an iOS update. I can’t be the only one with this problem.
posted by corey flood at 5:04 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I very much understand how links work, but as a data point, the effort on my phone isn't worth it as far as I'm concerned. I'm one of those people who comments "on my phone so no link".

A quick 1 minute google found this js library on github (on laptop, so I did link!). Maybe I'll volunteer as part of a steering contributor to add it to metafilter :D (Note the lib above does require jquery, so maybe it's not the best one to use. This is more to say this is definitely a solved problem!)
posted by cgg at 5:53 PM on July 26 [5 favorites]


It’s really easy to add a link, even when using Metafilter on a phone.

I 100% do the work to do this every time I post, but I don’t agree. It’s not easy to add a link when using MetaFilter on a phone. MetaFilter is terrible and broken to use on mobile and it’s a real problem.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:52 PM on July 26 [14 favorites]


So, if you have the url copied already, then adding a link is just a matter of pasting it twice instead of once. Doesn’t seem that hard to me?

Although phones behave differently and in sometimes unexpected ways - for example, this issue has been particularly annoying to me lately because my phone browser (which is what I mostly read Metafilter on) has decided that Metafilter threads are images, and won’t let me select text. Like, not even the annoying selecting a whole paragraph instead of just the sentence thing; it literally thinks I’m clicking on an image instead and pops up the menu for saving or doing other things with selected images (except that nothing has been selected). It was doing that on one or two other websites for a week, a little bit after it started doing it on Metafilter. But then it stopped doing it to other websites, and now it’s just Metafilter again.
posted by eviemath at 6:53 PM on July 26


(Point of my second paragraph was supposed to be that I acknowledge that other people’s experience posting links on their phones may be different from mine. Sorry to have left that off!)
posted by eviemath at 6:54 PM on July 26


My strong suggestion would be to introduce this particular fix then have a UX volunteer or consultant look at the feasibility and come up with designs on moving Metafilter's look and feel to something like Material-UI or Adobe Spectrum. As others have said these are all solved problems and those design libraries attempt to let you style your site how you want without reinventing the wheel with the added benefit or providing accessibility, bux fixes across browsers and well thought out design choices for some elements.

Some things will change from a UI perspective simply because the site wasn't designed to work on mobile and frankly has some very dated UX choices that the component libraries won't support, but this is a good thing. These component libraries are absolutely made to be reskinned so the fact we have the functionality, we're not trying to redesign Metafilter and just move it from a custom front-end to something that's updated and maintained should cut development cost.
posted by geoff. at 7:16 PM on July 26


Yeah, it's totally not easy if you're posting from a phone.

As someone who has done so using one index finger one letter at a time on one for years now, I must humbly beg to differ. It takes modest amounts of practice and focus, true, but to do anything well, what doesn't? It becomes easy peasy so fast.

tldr: we don't need another stinkin' button.

Paying more attention to how we are saying is as important as paying more attention to what we are saying. Neither category is suffering from an oversupply. Were that not true, MetaTalk should be a ghost town.
posted by y2karl at 7:24 PM on July 26


tldr: we don't need another stinkin' button.

That's not at all what's being talked about here.
posted by MollyRealized at 8:19 PM on July 26 [9 favorites]


https://metatalk.metafilter.com/26119/Linking-urls-as-links

Two taps. 1: bring up paste option, 2: click paste.

link

Six taps minimum. 1: open link button, 2: put cursor in text box (not there automatically), 3: tap again to bring option to paste up, 4: tap okay; 5: tap between HTML (cursor does not go there automatically on mobile for me), 6: type something to click on OR tap to bring up paste and then tap again to paste, plus another tap outside of HTML to continue the comment (pasting the direct link, I can continue from where the cursor is without an extra tap).
posted by brook horse at 9:00 PM on July 26 [3 favorites]


Oh, and if your comment fills the box and then you add a link you have to scroll down and THEN click between the HTML, as using the link option pastes it lower than where it’s currently scrolled. Whereas if you just post a link in the same situation, you can continue typing without having to scroll.

As someone with thumbs screwy enough to need Assistive Touch, the number of taps definitely matters.
posted by brook horse at 9:07 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


Making a link on iPad in landscape, with the docked virtual keyboard, is increasingly impossible. I make the effort anyway but it’s a pain. Would love an auto link for things that contained https and plaintext for things that don’t, so folks can have some control over it but most copypaste just works.
posted by Mizu at 9:53 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Purely FWIW:
  • Non-mobile client-side solution:
  • Mobile client-side solution:
    • Firefox for Android solution (I think)
    • iOS: I'm fairly new to this platform, but selecting the text of the URL and choosing 'Look Up > Search Web' or 'Share > [Firefox/Safari]' seems to work
posted by MollyRealized at 10:36 PM on July 26


My link process:

Find and copy link. Start typing the bracket then remember the link button. Paste in the link. Go. Delete the closing a. Type in link text. (Fiddly to get the middle of the hyperlink to paste). Use the provided html bracket buttons and slash to re-type the closing A.

example linky

I'd never before used the highlight text push button functionality (same link) !
posted by freethefeet at 11:38 PM on July 26

Which I seem to recall has been identified as not a concern in the past, but as web traffic is ever more phone-based, we should consider revisiting.
I would love to know how much of the traffic to the posting/commenting endpoints have a mobile vs desktop user agent (especially compared to overall traffic). I've been mostly commenting/posting on mobile recently (including a few FPPs), and yeah, it's a pain to link things and generally to use HTML. IMO improving the mobile experience (which includes this and also things like the flag button which has been mentioned in the past) should be a high priority.

I agree that automatically linkifying URLs would be good.

I would also propose having the link button ask for both the URL and the link text in the case that there is no text highlighted when it's pressed, since several people have mentioned here that finding/realizing the right place to type the text in can be difficult.
posted by wesleyac at 1:01 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


I also think if the link insert window has an additional field for the link text would help a lot of people, speaking as someone who's basically only been on mefi only ON mobile. That said, on my Android, I don't feel it's especially difficult, because on either Android or Chrome these days, if you highlight a plaintext url you have the choice to already open it in a new window, so it's already treated as a hypertext element.

I do agree on that point about Spotify links though (as well as I think a couple of other platforms eg tiktok or FB - which is the worst actor in these behaviours I find. Mobile links (the one with http//m....) just doesn't automatically switch to browser or app links, and I don't know what user behaviour Zuck is trying to control here, but that's just dumb UI), some apps vs desktop links seem to live in weird in-between phases.
posted by cendawanita at 2:11 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, here's what happens when I try to post a comment from my phone (iOS Safari). I'm viewing the site in mobile mode (at least, the browser gives me the option to request desktop) and my pages have colourful backgrounds, though I'm not sure which of the two colourful themes I'm using.

First, the text field is giant, much wider than my screen width. So I only see a few words at a time unless I zoom it, in which case I can see the whole field but the text is tiny.

I select the words I want to link to, find the link button, and paste the URL into the popup. That works well enough.

Now I want to continue typing. Argh, the zoom has changed again. Correct it.

I want to add another link. Dammit, the text is too small, and I've fat-fingered Copy instead of dragging the select handles. Switch back to the tab I want to get the link from... right, done it... back to Metafilter, try again, I've got one word selected with a double-tap, now I grab the selection handle to drag and... what on earth? Now I'm way way up in the body of the page, it's zoomed in giant, what just happened? Scroll back down, double-tap the first word I want to link, that changes the zoom level but doesn't select, do it again, now it selects, grab the handle... and I'm way up high again.

I give up. Either I paste the link as plaintext, or I don't bother to include the link at all, or I abandon my comment and plan on adding it later from my computer. Mostly I don't even try to participate in Metafilter from my phone any more, to be honest.

The page-jumping thing has been happening for ages, but I haven't worked out what conditions cause it, so I haven't reported it because "a weird thing happens sometimes but I can't tell you how to reproduce it" doesn't feel like a useful enough bug report.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:46 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


Doesn’t seem that hard to me?

You are not other people.
posted by some little punk in a rocket at 5:00 AM on July 27 [12 favorites]


I regularly type in the HTML to format my comments and also disagree that using the Link button is always "easy". It can be! But not always.

For example, on my iPad, if I select the text in the input field that I wish to turn into a link, iOS will helpfully pop up a a black menu of options - Cut, Copy, Replace, Look up, etc. Sometimes this is in front of the "B", "I" and "Link" buttons. Then I have to rotate the iPad and hope the placement is different enough that the "Link" button is now visible. If not I have to manually type in the bloody HTML. So, no, not "easy" all the time.
posted by fabius at 5:12 AM on July 27


I’m a pretty tech savvy person who wrote websites from scratch for years and has no real limitations on device accessibility, and I find the link process on MF mobile doable but extremely tedious. On the rare occasions I use desktop, I’d rather type the html than use the link button. In a time when we’re trying to keep the community large/growing and diverse, it seems imprudent to shame people for having complaints about a clunky process that works much more smoothly everywhere else on the web. I have no idea how trivial or not it is to implement an auto-link or otherwise friendlier link feature, but I think it’s worth doing.
posted by obfuscation at 5:21 AM on July 27 [5 favorites]


MollyRealized: the problem is that I literally can’t select the text of the link on my iPhone. I can’t select any text in a MetaFilter or MetaTalk thread (which is why I’ve addressed you by name instead of a simply copying the portion of the comment that I’m replying to, as is Metafilter best practice).

The only way I can follow a pasted url that is not a link is to open another browser tab and copy it out letter by letter, switching back and forth between windows (with attendant scrolling to get back into place) since I can’t usually hold the entire url correctly in my head.

Which is a very large number of extra taps.
posted by eviemath at 5:40 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


I have a different problem - I can copy a link fine, but selecting text to put in for the name of the link, or even to copy someone else's text to put in italics, on mobile, will be strangely difficult. It will not allow me to accurately grab text and will highlight an entire paragraph or stop me from scrolling down or up to get more.

For the committees, this is the kind of thing that was intended to be captured by the survey question of "technical challenges" when using MeFi, and probably should be it's own survey purely focused on tech problems, including asking what platforms and phones people are using when they experience problems.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:51 AM on July 27 [9 favorites]


eviemath: that is odd! I can select text etc on MetaFilter on my iPhone. Not that that helps you.

Another awkward thing about the Link button - it has "https://" pre-filled in the pop-up input (on iPad, anyway) which means I have to delete that before I paste in my url. I can't remember the last time I typed a url in that field, rather than pasted one.
posted by fabius at 5:51 AM on July 27


For me, when I click in the url input box to paste my link the “https://“ goes away, though?
posted by eviemath at 6:51 AM on July 27


Oh without the http:// would be annoying as hell imo. There's a lot of TLDs now, a number of which could conceivably be the first word of a sentence after someone has neglected to leave a space after the period at the end of the previous sentence.

Eh, this seems like a reasonable sacrifice to me. I mean, how frequently does someone by mistake miss the first space of a sentence of which the first word is also a TLD? I can certainly believe that the rate of occurrence is non-zero, but... the stakes feel pretty low.
posted by dusty potato at 8:22 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, I just ran the above question as a little experiment. Since the site search function doesn't seem able to accommodate this type of query, I went to the longest Metafilter discussion I could think of off the top of my head-- the famous Emotional Labor thread-- and did a ctrl-f for ".a", ".b", etc. through ".z". This turned up one single case that a lenient URL parser would convert into an unintentional link, which would lead to the website www.get.it. I'm actually not sure whether one unintentional link for such a large thread ought to be considered frequent or infrequent, so I'm just leaving the results here as supporting research. :)
posted by dusty potato at 8:38 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


I can and do link from my phone. It is annoying enough, though, that if I have a number of links I'll usually wait until I'm on my computer some indefinite time later (may or may not happen). So if there's a way to make it easier to post links, that would be nice.
posted by blueberry monster at 9:46 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


"Kids these days, and their auto linking and Markdowns"

Markdown would be nice. I'm sure it has been brought up in the past.

In other news, I favorited my 11,000th Metafilter item today. There are few things in this life that I've done eleven thousands times that aren't related to eating.
posted by mecran01 at 12:20 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


jeez louise, I am trying to be calm but:

It's easy!
It's not easy!
Yes it is, look here!
No, it's not, look here!

(OMG please stop. Sorry, time to hit the hay.) I am also one of those people who types "on my phone so no link" sometimes. Sometimes I can make it work on my phone. Other times, not so much. If it is decreed that I must add a link, then when on my phone I will stop giving additional information in my comments, information that I usually ID in such a way that you can find it via search, which is less convenient but still more convenient than not knowing that information at all IMHO.

Like, I'm doing the best I can. Please do not tell me that it is easy because that is not my lived experience. Sometimes it is easy enough, so I do it when I can. But it is never actually easy for me to link on my phone. Thank you if you have made it this far and apologies for the crankiness.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:38 PM on July 27 [15 favorites]


For me, when I click in the url input box to paste my link the “https://“ goes away, though?

Not for me in Safari on iPadOS 15.5.

On my iPhone (iOS 15.5), where there are different buttons entirely, the pop-up is always empty.
posted by fabius at 2:18 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


eviemath: MollyRealized: the problem is that I literally can’t select the text of the link on my iPhone.

I'm not sure I have an explanation. I seem to be able to do so on mine, both on Firefox iOS and on Safari. Have you tried different iOS browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari)?
posted by MollyRealized at 2:45 PM on July 27


I would love it if Slack's "make it a link" functionality were to make it into Metafilter. Copy a link to the clipboard, highlight some text, paste. Instead of replacing the selected text, the selected text becomes clickable and the URL from the clipboard will be the destination.
posted by emelenjr at 2:48 PM on July 27 [4 favorites]


Highlighting text to link in a commemorative usually makes my phone highlight the entire thread. Trying to scroll back down to highlight a reasonable amount of words in the comment I’m typing doesn’t work and usually just unhighlights everything, leaving me where I started. Sometimes it makes the keyboard disappear and I have to hit “preview” to get it back. Sometimes it works as intended. But near as I can tell, there’s nothing that predictable about which outcome I’m going to get. So, I either don’t link at all or drop it in plain text and flag as display error. (Which then jumps me to the top of the thread and I have to scroll all the way back down to my comment to finish flagging.)
posted by Bottlecap at 3:00 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


For Firefox (desktop), Format Link is the business.
posted by scruss at 4:20 PM on July 27


I mean, how frequently does someone by mistake miss the first space of a sentence of which the first word is also a TLD?

All I can say is it happens often enough that I've noticed and been annoyed by it on sites that do it, but my tolerance for it could conceivably be far lower than most peoples.
posted by juv3nal at 4:42 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Amazing autocorrect there from comment to commemorative. Absolutely will be using that in the future on purpose just so I sound a little fancy and weird.
posted by Bottlecap at 5:03 PM on July 27 [10 favorites]


Ha I have read “on mobile so no link” over and over and so assumed that one could not post links because of reduced functionality on mobile, which seems reasonable to me because … it’s smaller, I guess. So I never looked for a way to do it. This thread motivated me to check my assumptions. And LO, there’s a link button right THERE!

I love the feel of shattered assumptions under my feet. Maybe I will try to use this newly discovered button later! Ah, anticipation.

Seriously, am I the only one who never even looked?
posted by Vatnesine at 6:16 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


My phone also does the highlighting the whole comment/paragraph thing on other websites that it doesn’t treat as an image … or the entire article above whatever small bit I’m trying to select. So to create links on my phone, I either copy the url and set up the link anchor before typing the text that I want to have linked, or I put my cursor just before the text to link, then set up the link, then move the end tag of the html to after the text I want linked. It is annoying, but less than having to copy out an un-linked url by hand. (And I would have the same selecting text problem when trying to just copy and paste an un-linked url on Metafilter, we’re I able to select text on Metafilter.)
posted by eviemath at 6:23 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


I prefer to type out the html, just because I am a keyboard person and clicking the "link" button involves finding the mouse and its pointer. However, some fraction of the computers I use these days have "smart quotes" that I haven't figured out how to turn off, and <a href="url"> does something strange if the double-quotes are secretly a different character.

I thought for sure this computer was one of the smart-quoters, but apparently it isn't.

Anyway, if there were hypothetically motion about turning on auto-linking magic, fixing accidental smart quotes inside the anchor tag would be a nice little icing on the cake.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 2:17 PM on July 28


Huh. I guess the link button does actually work the way adding links in Slack works. Highlight text in a comment, press the link button at the top right of the comment field, add the URL.

(that link is to this thread and is just illustrative.)
posted by emelenjr at 4:33 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that if it's possible to make auto linking a thing, there's no reason not to do it. It should be a part of the necessary improvements to Metafilter. We don't need to hang on to things that have been improved upon just for nostalgia's sake.
posted by h00py at 2:10 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


A checkbox for autolinking next to Preview and Post could work, defaulting to selected.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:50 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


I prefer to type out the html, just because I am a keyboard person and clicking the "link" button involves finding the mouse and its pointer.

Just in relation to this - on the desktop site you can type ctrl-u (or similar for Macs?) and get the same action as clicking the link button.

WRT the larger issue - autolinking seems like a good approach to me.
posted by trig at 3:03 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


I'd prefer the auto-linking to be based on HTTP:// or https:// rather than "any two character strings separated by a period" if we go that route. There are more cases than just not spacing between sentences that can trigger false positives, and also cases when a person might want to mention a URL but not create a live link, either because they don't want to drive traffic, or it's a hypothetical/dead URL, etc.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:27 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


on the desktop site you can type ctrl-u (or similar for Macs?) and get the same action as clicking the link button.

Wow, been here for years and did not know about the hotkey. Neat, although it's a bit unfortunate that it's not Cmd-K, since that's the de facto standard for adding links in most Mac applications. Ah, well.

Just based on a quick search, there appear to be lots of "auto-linkify" libraries of varying quality that folks have created over the years, in pretty much every programming language that someone has done Web development in. This one seems to be popular and (I think) runs on the client side. It adds 15kB to the page load, which is not trivial, but not terrible either. People who don't want it could disable it with any number of blocker extensions, or just not use JS (pretty sure you don't need JS to use Metafilter, and IMO that's a good thing).

I would probably vote against linkifying anything other than complete, well-formed http or https URL. No bare domains or links without the https:// (or plain http) scheme identifier. There are a bunch of situations where I can imagine someone wanting to put in a URL without it turning into an actual link, and providing an easy way to break/disable the feature (maybe just by placing a space between https:// and the server.tld/path/to/whatever parts) would probably be good.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:00 PM on August 2


Something I just noticed is that there is already code for auto-linkifying — just in MeMail, not comments. Not sure how easy it is to apply that code to comments, but it seems worth noting.
posted by wesleyac at 8:32 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


I have to say, I’m always baffled when someone says something like “sorry about the lack of linking; I’m on my phone.” I’m 61 years old and can’t see small print worth a damn, and it’s been 10 years since I’ve accessed metafilter on anything other than a small, old school iPhone, and yet I always manage to make the links (with the exception of one or two times when it was just borked, and that hasn’t happened since I got a new phone a few months back). I have my theories as to why people don’t do it, but the majority of those theories aren’t pleasant.
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:39 AM on August 12


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