Should URL shorteners be banned?

There are various URL shorteners around. I’m not going to list them; they’re well known. I’d like to suggest that they be banned for two reasons:

  1. They disguise the target URL, and with the [noparse][/noparse] tags, posters can easily put in descriptive text. No one’s going to click on a link to goatse, are they? But they might click on a shortener link that leads there.

  2. Some shortening sites expire their shorteners. Which means that links may not work after 6 months or so.

They’re good for tweets and the like, but I suggest that they’re not for the SDMB.

With regards to #2, many links don’t work after 6 months, or even 3. Not a good reason to ban them.

Sounds to me like a solution looking for a problem.

I rarely seem them used on message boards. I figure when people are using them on message boards it’s because they’re simply copying the link from somewhere else.

Also, when I purposefully use one on a message board it’s specifically because I’m trying to disguise the URL. Usually because whatever I’m linking to is meant to be a joke/punchline/reveal or something else that I want people to see when they get there rather then being able to figure it out from the URL.

If you hover over a link, you can see where it takes you. If you’re nervous about venturing into the wild unknown regions of the darkest Internet without someone to hold your hand, don’t click on it. If you do, and it takes you to naughty pictures or whatever, report it. We’re all adults here, theoretically. We’ve already got rules in place to handle what links we allow. The last thing this place needs is more rules to enforce.

They can be used for tracking clicks by the way. If you add the “+” symbol to a link you can see how many people have clicked on it and when. In the context of a messageboard… well I can’t really say there’s a practical application, but it’s interesting.

I can see a (well… practical might be a bit of a stretch) useful application.

It could make it obvious when someone has continued to argue despite completely ignoring a link. It’s become a common rhetorical ruse to ask for cites and links and then to simply ignore them when they are presented.

…maybe useful is a bit of a stretch too.

No. Is being tricked into links really a big problem? I can’t recall it ever happening to me.

The sorts of sites to which Dopers tend to link - at least in GQ and GD - don’t seem to suffer this.

No if it’s a shortened link. Then you only see the shortened link.

I’d rather people not use 'em (both because of the expiration problem, but also I like to have a sense of where the link is taking me before I click it.) But banning seems to be a bit too far. Plus this seems like a valid use case.

If TPTB determine that there is indeed a problem, a two-click rule could be instituted. The first click being a preview page.

I will rarely click on a shortened URL, because I can’t tell where it is taking me. Some have preview features, like Lute Skywatcher shows, but if it isn’t presented directly to me, I’m not likely to take the effort to track it down. If you’re trying to communicate with me, please do it in an open and apparent manner.

Well, yes, that’s what I meant, though I perhaps stated it poorly. You can see that, “Ah ha! This is a shortened link! I know not into what nefarious realms it shall lead me! Best stay here, where it’s warm and cozy.”

“Hey doctor, it hurts when I move my like this”

“Then don’t move it like that.”

If you don’t like short url’s, don’t click them.

I agree. The last time someone did that to me (on a different message board) they got banned and I would expect at least a warning on this message board for jerkish behavior.

[as mod] If it’s a problem with someone using one for nefarious purposes, report it – otherwise, I don’t see the mods getting enthusiastic about yet another rule for us to enforce, esp. one that is enforcing a behavior that hasn’t been shown to be problematical. [/as mod]

[not as mod] I personally use them occasionally, mostly when it’s a link I’ve used on Twitter – as someone said above, mostly because that’s the link that’s on the clipboard. I don’t deliberately use them in that situation, though I’ll admit I have found it of interest to see how many hits the link will get from here vs. from Twitter and/or from Facebook. [/not as mod]

My thoughts exactly.

This makes no attempt to address point #2 in the OP, which I think of as a pretty good reason for not using them.

Sure it does, if you don’t like them, don’t click on them. If they’re expired (point #2), you wouldn’t know it anyways since you didn’t click on it.

Besides, how often to people use URL shorteners around here anyways?

No, it’s a non-sequitur. I may be ambivalent towards them, or think they’re totally great, but I would still find it frustrating if I clicked on one in an older thread and found it expired.

It could be never, but it wouldn’t change my point, which is that using them is a bad idea.