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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
[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]