Tracking links in posts whose content is shared from somewhere else

Continuing the discussion from Resource Guide for The Witness We Bear: conversation between poets Jericho Brown and Nikky Finney:

I just did a full-text copy-and-paste job on an email newsletter I received. I highlighted the full text of the email in gmail in my browser, hit copy, came to talkgroup’s new topic feature, and hit paste. Discourse impressed me because it converted every link and image into a markdown automatically and “invisibly” to me, and the “rich media” email copied over easily. So I just hit post.

However, I am now noticing that every link in the email is a tracking link. We know why they do this: they want to measure “engagement” on their content so they can justify paying their content creators and whatnot. My impression is that tracking links are unwanted in our community, even if it’s not an explicit rule and banned behavior or something. Therefore I will manually change them, but it might take some time (I think I’ll edit it in small batches).

But I guess I wanted to talk about it for copy-paste jobs from the web in general. I don’t think we have a Discourse plugin available to us that automatically follows links, figures out where they eventually redirect to, and then replaces the link, right? lol.

I ask because I know that we do have a Discourse feature activated that fetches remote images, downloads them, and then replaces the image src with a file local to our instance of Discourse. Local copies! I knew about that before, and I can see it in action, because Discourse just notified me that the system made an edit to the post I just made. And we do not do this with any other kinds of files, right? Just images?

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We don’t have a similar thing for links. I’ve discussed adding `…’ to each URL, but that would be a plugin no one has made.

I consider talkgroup the wild web, if also very curated. Meaning it is inherently dangerous to use this site, nothing is sanitized from auto-fuckery.

It is because this is where we do our work, and it requires interacting with web artifacts in place.

That said, if I saw a post with all tracking links I’d unlist it until it was edited to fix. If it is just one or two, I’ll remove them myself.

Tracking links are weeds in our digital garden.