I've been seeing a fair bit of link shortener use on this site while trawling the lists. Some number of the links are references to the services themselves, but most seem to be actual shortened links. Should we organize a shortlink cleanup? The ones I found follow:

  • I think I got rid of all the ones which needed to go from bit.ly and goo.gl.
    – hornj
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 20:20

3 Answers 3


Posts which contain these short URLs generally are rather low quality with formatting problems.

People use short URLs in posts only when they do not know how to correctly markup links. URL length does not matter when links are formatted correctly as the full URLs are only visible on hover or in the markdown source.

Instead of just editing to expand short URLs, give the post a general clean up. Correct all formatting, grammar and tagging issues and make the post clearer, cleaner and better.


There is simply no valid reason to use a masked URL in the context of a WPSE question or answer (or in the context of any SE netowrk site, for that matter). Is there any way programmatically to unmask masked/shortened URLs and output them as properly formatted HTML anchor links?

  • It looks like both the goo.gl and bit.ly services provides APIs for dealing with these links which could certainly speed things up. If this programmatic expansion of shortened URLs is not something that we can implement in WPSE itself, we could certainly craft a browser extension to speed up the moderation task of unmasking these links (I would opt for it automatically finding and replacing such links with proper markup as soon as the content loaded in the editing interface)...
    – bosco
    Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 21:41
  • Okay, obviously a browser extension could be an unnecessary overhead.
    – bosco
    Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 21:42
  • Doing it anyway (more info to come). Totally relevant and useful: Long URL API
    – bosco
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 23:25

Edge Cases

You'll have to search deeper. At least in this question, I added a goo.gl link in the plugin header as plugin URL/link to avoid horizontal scrolling in my answer. I'm sure other not valid search results will appear as well.

Solving a problem the right way

Anyway, yes, if they're relevant for the answer, they should be cleaned up. But not in the way

Let's replace it with the original link

but more in the way that the link contents should be added to answer themselves. If an answer won't work without an outgoing link, then either the question is poor quality or the answer should get deleted anyway.

Links are supplemental and shouldn't serve an important role in an answer.

It's as simple as that.

  • 1
    Why is the Plugin URI header tag critical to that answer? Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 15:16
  • @ChipBennett Because it adds to the number of questions that the OP posted as "contain a short URL that we should clean up". And I'm sure there're other ones.
    – kaiser
    Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 18:20
  • 2
    My point is: the Plugin URI line can be safely omitted from the answer, as it contributes nothing specific to the answer. As such, using a shortlink in Plugin URI in that context is still not a necessary/valid use. Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 18:26
  • You could use your own shortening system if we got a rule for that and therefore sneak through the "grid" that we might start monitoring. Point is that any URL is valid. As you can see, I use the number of the question in the plugin name. The same goes for the actual file name in my local repo. I got the URL there as well. If I'd now update the plugin, then I'll as well update that answer and I'll surely not see the difference and re-add that URL by accident or simply because I don't care and see more value in avoiding horizontal scrolling. Sidenote: Short-URL == Question-URL.
    – kaiser
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 6:27

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