Hi All

Just a small thing I was wondering. When answering or asking question what is the best way to add a link and what do people prefer?

As in which one of these do people prefer and should it be something that is consistent through the site?

4 Answers 4


I prefer the first, because the formatting looks nicer and most of the time the html link doesn't make sense anyway

  • 1
    And, if you really want, you can hover the mouse over the link and thus see the actual link...
    – AviD Mod
    Jan 3, 2011 at 18:42
  • I prefer 1 and 3, but don't think we need to heavily enforce a style. Jan 4, 2011 at 7:41
  • Nope, but often it happens because new users don't know the markdown for it, so educating them goes a long way ;-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jan 4, 2011 at 16:20

I dont think it really matters much.
If you look throughout the other sites - e.g. SO/SF/SU - you'll see plenty of examples of all the above.
I guess it depends mostly on the legibility of the text in context, and if you want the actual URL to stick out or not.

But don't worry about it being consistent...


I think the first one is neatest, however sometimes I prefer to have the text as the domain, with the hyperlink pointing to the particular page eg

this page at meta.security.stackexchange.com

More importantly - no shortened links, as that makes it tricky to see where the link goes, without using a shortlink analyser plugin or similar.

  • Why? The domain gives very little info. Domains have thousands of links, so if someone needs that info they can mouse-over. +1 on no shortened links. Jan 4, 2011 at 7:40

The links should be presented in a way that is clean, and clearly indicates where it goes. However, there is no need to establish a mandatory format to be enforced on all posts. Of course, by all means do clean link formatting up where it appears sloppy or inappropriate.

The ideal format would be to format some descriptive text as a hyperlink, with the full URL to the website used in the tag. Such as: My Blackberry Is Broken!

Alternatively, if you're in a lazier mood and the full URL is fairly short, simply post some descriptive text next to the URL itself and let StackExchange handle the formatting. Like: My Blackberry Is Broken! - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAG39jKi0lI

As we are a security-oriented community, and most of us are fully aware of the threats that may lie behind shortened URLS, their use should be avoided. If you must though, make sure to clearly state what we should be expecting to find on the other side of the link, and where. Example: "My Blackberry is Broken!", a funny three-minute video on YouTube - http://tinyurl.com/3al7m9v

The same level of descriptiveness should be used if hyperlinked text points to a shortened URL. Like this: Here's a funny, three-minute video on YouTube - My Blackberry Is Broken!

But, again, shortened URLs should be avoided in general.

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