Opened 8 years ago

Last modified 5 years ago

#4019 assigned Bug/Something is broken

MF/PL URL shortener

Reported by: Owned by:
Priority: Low Component: Tech
Keywords: urlshortener f2f Cc:
Sensitive: no

Description (last modified by

One service that MF/PL members seem to want in this era of txtmsging and twitter is a URL shortener (e.g.,, tinyurl, etc)

I'm not a big fan of URL shorteners because:

  • There is no guarantee that they will endure
  • The operator of the URL shortener has the opportunity to track the use of the URL, or to inject advertisements, etc.

If this is something that members need or want, it might be useful to make a commitment to addressing the concerns above and operating such a service on our own. seems to be a URL shortener service that runs using free software.

I'm marking this as low priority, but just putting it out there as a project if someone wants to try to address it.

Change History (8)

comment:1 Changed 8 years ago by

I share your reservations, which makes more inclined to find another politically responsible host that might do this and refer people there. I spent 10 minutes reading about and am still not sure how to use it (I think it's restricted to certain hosts). Maybe a question for radical-techies or another tech list?


comment:2 Changed 8 years ago by is for debian use only. but it's implemented with free software, which we (or anyone) could repurpose.

I'd be happy for a suggestion of a url shortening operation that:

  • has excellent policies about data retention and advertising
  • offers HTTPS access
  • has a commitment to the permanence of their shortened URLs
  • is operated by people who we trust to actually implement their stated policy
  • is constituted such that it will not be taken over by unscrupulous people

comment:3 Changed 6 years ago by

  • Keywords f2f added

This is something I would like to see us think about seriously. I agree with all the reasons mentioned as to why URL shorteners are and always will be a bad idea. However, I would like to offer our members a slightly more reasonable option that or whatever the hell people are using these days.

The little bit of looking that I've done doesn't make me too hopeful about the prospects of meeting the requirements dkg lays out.

It seems like we might have to do this ourselves if we want it done right. Then we could include the following:

  • https as the only option
  • no advertising ever
  • commitment to permanence (which I think we can do even in the case where we disallow new submissions).
  • trustworthiness of implementation
  • a fair amount of certainty about who will and won't take over

There is probably a fair amount of work involved in providing such a service, however it might be something that the membership finds truly useful. Depending on how resource intensive it is (which I don't imagine it is), might even be able to offer it to non-members.

Anyway, I'm tagging this as f2f so that the support team can get to thinking about this at some point.

comment:4 Changed 6 years ago by

  • Description modified (diff) is the group from the Internet Archive who are doing what they can to stabilize these URL shorteners.

I've just popped into #urlteam on to ask them if they have any recommendations or suggestions.

comment:5 Changed 6 years ago by

The rough consensus on #urlteam seems to be that there is no existing URL shortener that meets all the criteria listed in comment:2 :(

comment:6 Changed 6 years ago by

Here's a few options to look at: I've used which seems to have a nice number of plugins to support it and CMSs offer integrations, which is always a plus. I know there is a few WordPress plugins and a couple Drupal modules.

comment:7 Changed 5 years ago by

Is this still being worked on or is it not going to be setup?

comment:8 Changed 5 years ago by

  • Status changed from new to assigned

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