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ETpro's avatar

Is there any way to force URLs with odd special characters in them to behave as links?

Asked by ETpro (34552points) August 22nd, 2010

Lots of Wikipedia articles have odd URLS with a query string that includes underscore characters and parentheses. The parenthetical attachment on the end of the URL string seems to throw the Fluther parsing engine a curve it can’t catch. For example if I try to link to using the usual technique I get Link Anchor Text(psychology). The parenthetical part ends up hanging outside the link, and it doesn’t link to the actual target page. Instead, it usually returns a 404 Page not Found error.

So far, when I run into URLs that won’t form proper, working links using the apostrophes, colon and URL format, I just put the entire URL on a line by itself. That usually works. But is there a trick I am unaware of that will let you use URLs with special characters and get them to work with the Link Text”:URL method?

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9 Answers

rebbel's avatar

I guess something now: bring your weird link to and paste the tiny url you get instead of it in your post here.
Fuuny thing is, i have the same problem here, and only now that you brought it up i thought of using myself.
Hope it works though.

ETpro's avatar

Ha! What a great idea, @rebbel That’s just what I’ll do unless the Fluther gurus have a simpler workaround. Thanks.

rebbel's avatar

You are welcome, @ETpro .

jrpowell's avatar


There was something with brackets that solved this problem.. Andrew knows.

Edit… Left and right brackets around the entire thing works. But it fails in preview.

[ “Test” : htt p:// ]

Remove spaces.

ETpro's avatar

@johnpowell OUTSTANDING. Much easier than traipsing off to www.tinyurl,com to get a simpler address.

Dan337's avatar

This might also be helpful (in case, for example, your URL contains a closing bracket):

You can percent-encode troublesome characters, that is, you replace each one with a percent sign (”%”) followed by two hexadecimal digits that represent that character. Here are some websites where you can look up the codes or (better yet) automatically convert URLs.

Your URL, for example, contains no illegal characters, but it appears that Fluther doesn’t care for the parentheses. So look up the codes for left (”%28”) and right (”%29”) parentheses, and write the URL as “”.* Here it is used in a link: Bicameralism.

I can’t find a way show the URL itself in the more legible form you see in your browser’s address bar. Putting a URL in the quotes of the regular Textile link syntax confuses Fluther, e.g.,

[ “” : ]

with the spaces removed, is rendered thus:

Parenthesized items in the quotes are not displayed inline but set the tooltip for the link.

First caveat: Percent-encoding reserved character may break the URL in some cases. Here are the reserved characters:

! * ’ ( ) ; : @ & = + $ , / ? # [ ]

Let’s try it and see what happens. (In both examples below, the pattern I entered was


without the spaces around the colon.) Unencoded:

Inappropriately percent-encoded:

Second caveat: We’re really fighting two problems, the second of which is that the live preview doesn’t work in many cases. I don’t know any way around this except to experiment. (I hope I can edit this once it’s posted.) Good luck.

* Because I put it in quotes here, Fluther doesn’t display it as a link. Here it is again, without them:

ETpro's avatar

@Dan337 Excellent info. THanks. I was wondering what the Textile parser would do with % encoded characters. Thanks for saving me the trouble of conducting a series of tests.

Dan337's avatar

@ETpro You’re welcome. One more thing I learned while editing my answer is that if one submits and re-edits the same post too many times (it couldn’t have been more than five), Fluther forbids further edits and gives one a snarky “award”. (I suppose it’s cheaper than fixing the bugs.)

ETpro's avatar

@Dan337 LOL. I’m off to get my first snarky award ASAP.

(EDIT) Ha! I’ve already got one!

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