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I've noticed that people post bit.ly links quite often. I don't notice it as often here as the other SE sites, but it's still a problem, in my opinion. There is no reason to post a bit.ly link at all. Should we be discouraging these links?

  • Are you objecting to bit.ly in particular or URL shorteners in general? – Daniel Dec 2 '11 at 3:41
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    @Daniel URL shorteners in general. – daviesgeek Dec 2 '11 at 4:20
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I agree, bit.ly links in questions and answers are pointless and are somewhat harmful - you can't see where the link goes without clicking on it, and it both relies on and provides information to a third-party service. I suggest that all URL shortened links in questions and answers be rewritten with the full URL.

As for comments, there is a character limit, so a shortened URL might be used to stay within the number of allowed characters. This is the only case where bit.ly or other shortened URLs should be acceptable.

  • you can see the location of the links by hovering over them and looking at the bottom of the browser. it will display the url of the page it points to. (depending on your browser. – Graeme Hutchison Dec 6 '11 at 9:38
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    Furthermore, it is another thing that over time can result in a link becoming dead. It's bad enough that 3 years from now, many of the links shall be gone, but shorteners are not indexed at archive.org or elsewhere and make a link that much more fragile and prone to breaking. Add in the slowness of current users needing to ask bit.ly where to direct the link - it's obscuring the referrals from here and slowing things down. Not a lot of win in keeping them around anywhere is how I see this. – bmike Dec 6 '11 at 20:37

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