Should URL shorteners be banned?

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.

I’ve clicked on links in old threads that go to major news sites and found them expired. It happens to any kind of link. Nothing special about URL shorteners in that respect.

In the last year, tinyurl has been used 15 times and 83 times, (and quite a few of those hits were quotes of earlier posts employing them). I also noticed that a lot of links were basically YouTube links–and YouTube, itself, is also pretty notorious for having a fairly short shelf life. Are we to ban YouTube, as well?

The other thing I noticed was that the majority of them showed up in “passing scene” threads rather than threads that will be referenced over and over in the coming years.
For those who are bothered by them, I would suggest that simply noting that you will refuse to open such links, (suggesting to the poster who provided them that if they wish to make a point, they need to go find the original source), would be an adequate method of controlling them.

Want me to read your hilarious link? Post it with the original url.
Want me to accept your citation in this argument? Don’t hide it behind a shortened url.

I, too, am reluctant to add one more rule.

I agree that they’re annoying and usually a bad idea, but I also haven’t seen that they’re really common enough around here to warrant a solution. The bigger problem, I think, is YouTube or IMDb links without any context given-- Someone will ask “What’s your favorite movie?”, and someone will reply with a link to IMDb that just says “This one”, or something. It breaks the flow of the conversation to have to follow a link to see what someone is saying.

The core of the argument was that the OP didn’t like them, which was the point I was responding to. The individual reasons are largely irrelevant since no one is forcing you to link a short url, so if you’re easily annoyed by expired links, you can also easily ignore them.

Here,here. I won’t click on youtube links that have no context.

True, but URL shorteners make it worse, because now it fails if either the shortened URL is expired, or the original URL.

True, but it ‘proves too much.’ You could use the same reasoning to argue that since no one is forcing me to read this board, any individual reasons I have for anything that bother me are ‘irrelevant.’ It’s kind of missing the point. The OP raised a couple reasons that using URL shorteners are bad practice. I think those reasons are valid. Saying I could ignore shortened URLs doesn’t really address the validity of the OP’s point. (The OP also asked that they be banned, but I’m not supporting that.)

Yes, let’s have as many rules as possible.

In the case of Tinyurl anyway you can turn on a preview feature at their site. ( With that option enabled, anytime you click on a Tinyurl anywhere it will take you to an intermediary page on their site that shows you the full URL and gives you the option to proceed or cancel.

ETA Woops, ninja’d by post 11, two days ago.

I think that this is a very good solution.

I use FF w/ CoolPreviews addon so I don’t have to click the link to see where it’s pointing. However, I still don’t get why people use them. Someone upthread mentioned that they use them if the URL has something that would give the link away but those opportunities would be few and far between IMO. Some URL’s can be wordy but since it’s a single click for the end user, who cares?

Yes, we already have rules in force about this. Here’s a relevant excerpt:

I’ll use them for extremely long URLs, and URLs that include quotation marks which can’t be parsed correctly in bbcode.