Why Click It?
July 19, 2006 12:19 PM   Subscribe

What information would you like to know before clicking on a link? For example, is it safe for work.
posted by bleucube to Computers & Internet (31 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would like to know if it will contain any malware/spyware/virusware
posted by poppo at 12:21 PM on July 19, 2006

If it involves popups, obtrusive advertisements, or any browser incompatability issues.
posted by mezzanayne at 12:26 PM on July 19, 2006

i would like to know if it's a link to another political post on metafilter that will make me very angry
posted by luriete at 12:27 PM on July 19, 2006

Is it going to suddenly blare annoying music from my speakers? Will it launch a plugin or another program? Will it take an ungodly long time to load?
posted by ottereroticist at 12:28 PM on July 19, 2006

I want to know if it's going to call up a plug-in (.pdf, .mov, .doc, .mp3, etc.). I know, before anyone jumps in to remind me, that you can usually (but not always) mouseover a link and see whether it has such an extension, but I think it's courteous for such things to be clearly labeled on the page nonetheless.

I definitely want to know if there will be sound on the other side of a link.
posted by Gator at 12:28 PM on July 19, 2006

I would like to know if the site is unresponsive currently.
posted by neustile at 12:29 PM on July 19, 2006

I would have liked to have known if the inquisition was as broad and ridiculous as originally posed, now I just don't care.

posted by prostyle at 12:30 PM on July 19, 2006

Will it allow me to go back? If I do use the back button, will I lose whatever data was on the previous page (e.g. This page has expired)?
posted by whatzit at 12:35 PM on July 19, 2006

Is it a web page, or a downloadable binary file (PDF, multimedia, etc.)?

Basically, what I really want to know, other than any warnings about content, is the actual URL I'm going to be taken to. Most ad links fail to provide this information.
posted by staggernation at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2006

I would like to know if it requires registration to get at the intended content.
posted by utsutsu at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2006

In what context?
posted by scottreynen at 12:40 PM on July 19, 2006

bleucube: why? Are you contemplating building a FireFox extension that provides more information about a link before someone clicks it?

If so: where does it *really* point, particularly if the text of the link is a URL that differs materially from the link; is that site on my personal black/grey list, or those of anyone else whom I've chosen to subscribe to; how many times have I been to that site before, and how recently; is that site responding right now and what's the ping time and loss; is it answering to port 80 (say, on a request for robots.txt); what's a traceroute to that server look like; what server software's running there...

Clearly, some of these are things you wouldn't want every time, but a tooltip with some buttons or hotspots might be a useful interface.
posted by baylink at 12:41 PM on July 19, 2006

Among many of the other things mentioned here, I want to know if it is going to open the link in another window/tab, or stay in the current one.

Since we're talking about links, I'd like to add that I almost always really dislike it when clicking a link by default opens a new window or tab. I can decide on my own if I want that, and ctrl-click if I do. There are some cases, where context warrants it and it's obvious, where I think opening a new window is a good idea, but they're few and far between.
posted by Emanuel at 12:48 PM on July 19, 2006

Whether its down or not is a great one, but it would involve querying the server. Personally (here's my pony request for the day) I'd like URLs on MeFi to have the domain in plain text off to the right, like Slashdot does. Then, at least, you can see roughly what you're getting into.
posted by devilsbrigade at 1:00 PM on July 19, 2006

Here's one that I don't think anyone's mentioned yet-- will it resize my browser window?

And for the gods' sakes, warn me if there's going to be sound, especially if it's going to make me jump out of my skin at two in the morning.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:02 PM on July 19, 2006

Seconding whatzit. Also, like everyone else, SOUND. Oh, and can we put a "goatse/LOOKING_AT_GAY_PORN.wav/tubgirl" warning on, too?
posted by spaceman_spiff at 1:13 PM on July 19, 2006

Okay, I'll completely ignore context and jump right in here with all the other requests: I want a link to tell me about all information on the internet before I click on it, so I know everything. Then when I click on it, after spending my life consuming all the information, I want it to take me to heaven.
posted by scottreynen at 1:18 PM on July 19, 2006 [3 favorites]

When clicking a link, I make certain assumptions:

1. it will take me to a normally-rendered (X)HTML-based web page.
2. there will be no obnoxious music/video/effects that slow down the page load and annoy me.
3. the page will not require or activate any unusual plug-ins.
4. the page will not open in a new window.
5. I will be able to navigate back to the page I came from.

If any of these assumptions prove wrong, I'm irritated, and would have liked a warning on the original link.

In terms of content, I can usually assume based on context. If something's out-of-context (like linking to hardcore porn on the MeFi front page), I would prefer a warning.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 1:29 PM on July 19, 2006

I'm sorry, scott; Heaven hasn't been assigned IP addresses yet.
posted by baylink at 1:37 PM on July 19, 2006

1. The true domain & page that the link will take me to (ala Slashdot which looks something like this when links are posted: Yahoo! [google.com]). Or alternatively force the status bar to always show the full URL for a link notwithstanding certain scripts' instructions to do otherwise.

2. Whether the link will open in the current window, the parent window, or a new/blank window, and whether it will attempt to resize, change the attributes of (resizable, status bar, scroll bars, etc) or otherwise attempt to screw with my browers window.

3. Whether the link is a webpage or a file that must be downloaded (ala TargetAlert).

4. Whether the link will attempt to open ANY plugins, scripts or other modules, be they ActiveX, Java/JavaScript, Flash, etc.

5. Whether the link is secure (https) or takes me to a site with popups and other annoyingly nagging advertisements that will try to hijack my browser window. This one is a bit more complicated if you're writing a plugin or extension of some sort but may also be the most important one!
posted by jckll at 1:45 PM on July 19, 2006

I'd like to know about the protocol, is it an http: link, a mailto:, maybe skype:, etc.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:29 PM on July 19, 2006

This thread is about a greasmonkey script that highlights "heavy" links. Target alert does not seem to handle heavy urls such as YouTube.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 2:56 PM on July 19, 2006

I would like to know if the site is unresponsive currently.

Yeah, neustile -- that would rock my world.

A lot of these complaints (popups, new window, resize, ...) are rendered moot by Firefox.
posted by Rash at 3:26 PM on July 19, 2006

I would like to know if a post is:

1. Informative
2. Entertaining
3. Annoying
4. A MeFi in-joke
posted by b1tr0t at 4:20 PM on July 19, 2006

If it requires a plugin, and preferably if it requires registration. If I need Shockwave/Flash/Java, let me know. I may have it disabled due to some current minor panic.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:47 PM on July 19, 2006

I want to know WHY SHOULD I CLICK THIS. What's it going to add to my busy, brilliant life?

If clicking it FedExes me a pony, I'd like to know that too.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:47 PM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Two things that annoy me: PDFs (hey! why's everything crash.... oh) and loud noises.

Also if I have to register to see the actual thing.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:56 AM on July 20, 2006

I'm posting this only because so many people mentioned not liking sounds on web pages - there's a program that lets you mute your browser windows. So if you like to have your speakers and headphones on because you're listening to mp3s or CDs, or even streaming music in one browser, you can turn off your the sounds in your (other) browser window and not be jumping out of your chair when you hit some web page with a "welcome" message.

The program is called IndieVolume and is something I've been looking for for several months now. It wasn't easy to find, so I thought other people might like it as well.

(Disclaimer about the following - I'm associated with the site mentioned. But people on MetaTalk said it was OK to self-link in this kind of context. I apologize if it's not.) There's going to be a discount on it on Bits du Jour one day next week; I'm not sure which day.
posted by EllenC at 8:39 AM on July 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

Two things that annoy me: PDFs (hey! why's everything crash.... oh) < --a href="http://www.orbeon.com/blog/2006/07/14/disabling-pdf-display-in-firefox/">Disable displaying .PDF files in FireFox

And for all you web-designers out there, if only all links on all website were required to use this script! Displays a thumbnail of the link without any extra extensions needed, just a bit of simple JavaScript and CSS
posted by jckll at 9:08 AM on July 20, 2006

I'm an idiot. Link
posted by jckll at 9:11 AM on July 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

cklennon, THANK YOU. I had given up futzing with my settings (admittedly, I really hadn't tried very hard or Googled, like, at all) and had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to Ctrl+Alt+Delete every time I accidentally clicked on an unlabeled .pdf link. +fave for you, sir.
posted by Gator at 9:13 AM on July 20, 2006

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