The Request

I set out on the Crusade for the Holy Grail of no-redirections (named by Denilson Sá) to eliminate every shortened URL on Stack Overflow. But the foreign hordes are overwhelming me, and I need reinforcements!

The Mission

Please post in the main chat room a link to this post and that you’re going to make 5 edits or so.

It isn’t good when several people make edits at the same time and flood the active question queue with a dozen minor edits. Thanks for being gentle with the edit volume, everyone.

Find every shortened URL, follow it, check it and inline the unshortened/long version into the post, like this:

For details see the documentation here: http://tinyurl.com/3zbelpa

Turns into:

See the documentation for further details.

Watch out for hidden LMGTFY links and flag them for Moderator Attention if the answer only consists of those. If the answer does also hold valuable information like other links or further information, edit the LMGTFY-Link out, and leave the above link for future reference.

If you encounter links to duplicates, vote to close/flag the question, and edit the answer anyway.

But, watch out for traps! As Joel Coehoorn♦ informed me, there are edge-cases which need the existence of shortened URLs. Including but not limited to:

  • Certain Wikipedia-Links
  • Archive.org Wayback-Machine
  • Browsershots.org
  • Google Books

Make sure that you're not breaking any of these by inlining them.

If you find shortened URLs in comments, there's at the moment not much we can do about them. LMGTFY and other objectionable content needs to be cleansed flagged none the less.

Also there are shortened URLs hiding in the woods (known to some as "Code"), these are no danger to our lands and can therefore be left unchecked and unchallenged.

The Tools

Our most valuable light in the darkness of the night is the search (roughly sorted by number of hits, cleaned ones at the bottom (doesn't mean that they don't come back)):



Please add all url shorteners you find used on the site to this list

While paying a visit, Rob Hruska showed us the way to a magician which allows us to see beyond shortened URLs without fear for ourselves. Jeff Mercado also showed as an apparatus which does the same. These are only tools on our crusade to protect and help ourselves, we need to cleanse the land from redirections nonetheless.

The Reward

Eternal honor and glory...and of course you can keep every captured Flag-Weight and Badge.


This page is a modified version of this that has the links changed to search AskDifferent

  • 1
    Thanks for doing this, Matt. Please be sure to not add your Amazon affiliate code to the edited link. I saw you added the code to an Amazon edit and I removed it. Affiliate links are not allowed.
    – fsb
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 15:48
  • @fsb How do you remove an affiliate link?
    – Matt
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 21:16
  • @Matt You have to explicitly add the affiliate link for it to be there. Copying the link directly from Amazon's site will not include it. I simply edited the url you put there and removed it prior to approving the edit.
    – fsb
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 22:59
  • 1
    @fsb Actually the system automatically rewrites Amazon links to be affiliate links for Stack Overflow with the rads.stackoverflow.com domain; if you use your own affiliate link (which I don't think happened here) it simply gets overwritten by the SO affiliate link.
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 19:13
  • Hi Matt. I count 18 edits in the past 8 hours so I’ve put a 24 hour throttle on your edits. Please adhere closely to the 5-7 edits a day guidance and the communication edit I made. I pinged @allan in chat to alert him to your combined efforts being a little too fast today. Thanks.
    – bmike Mod
    Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 22:38
  • 1
    Matt posted an edit he made and it looks to me that an affiliate link is in the edit and it doesn't look like the one @Aurora0001 indicated. Is this the SE affiliate code: radianexuscor-20?
    – fsb
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 22:03
  • @fsb Nope, that isn't an SE affiliate code as far as I know, but I checked the original link and the affiliate code was there in the goo.gl link. I think the worst that happened here was that Matt didn't remove the pre-existing code rather than adding his own.
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 8:42
  • I started a similar pursuit on Stack Overflow. Feel free to look at the post here, since my list of shorteners is much longer.
    – Laurel
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 2:43

2 Answers 2


Thanks for doing this. I just want to add some points here:

  • Please make sure to fix not only the URL but revise the post as a whole. Usually there are more things which should/can be edited to increase the usefulness of a post, try to address all of them. Keep in mind that all your edits need to be reviewed by several other users and make sure that the reviews are worth their time
  • Restrain yourself to 5-7 edits per day. Every edit will place the question back onto the front page and we want to avoid situations where the whole front page is used by old questions.
  • Make sure that the link is still valid. If not, look for ways to make the post useful without the linked information, or try the Wayback machine. If all else fails, and the post is useless without the linked information, flag for mod attention.
  • Link only answers (where there's no editorial or just the obvious words of "click here" - consider editing them to add the context and make it an answer. If you can't and the link truly is trash, vote down and flag for deletion or a review rather than just editing a short link only answer.
  • 3
    Point #1 is crucial, I shall repeat here something I posted in chat since I don't know if Matt saw it: make sure to resolve all problems with a post and there may even be cases where the link is extraneous entirely, e.g. apple.stackexchange.com/posts/228726/revisions
    – grg Mod
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 16:59
  • 2
    Point #5 don't add your affiliate ID into the expanded links. That's a paddlin'.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 20:05

I will say having super old posts pop back up to the top of the queue and require my attention just because someone wants to do some housekeeping is kind of annoying. Without some explicit moderator or Stack Exchange direction to remove all short links from the site, this all just seems like noise and busy work to me.

If you have that kind of free time there are more useful pursuits IMHO.

  • Can you enlist other useful pursuits which can use some time?
    – Nimesh Neema Mod
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 15:23
  • 3
    @NimeshNeema Improve recent posts requiring improvement, answer recent questions which don't have an answer yet, sit in a park and read a book, enjoy a beverage with a friend etc.
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 12:00
  • 1
    @nohillside nailed it :)
    – Ian C.
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 1:45

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