Why do copied links include my user ID?

When I use “copy link” here, the link I get includes my user ID at the end - https://discuss.python.org/t/...?u=pf_moore. I don’t know why that’s added, and given that the URL with the user ID removed works just fine, I can only assume it’s for some sort of tracking purpose, which I object to.

Is there a reason for this? Is there a way to “opt out” of it (I couldn’t see one on the preferences page)? It’s annoying to have to manually edit every copied link I use :slightly_frowning_face:

3 Likes

There was apparently an admin setting added for this in 2022: "Share a link" for a post should not leak username - #32 by vinothkannans - feature - Discourse Meta

2 Likes

Thanks. Could the @admins here set this on, please? Or if they don’t want to, provide a justification for leaving things as they are?

The rationale for the username param isn’t tracking for nefarious purposes but rather to give people sharing popular links additional engagement points, which count towards trust levels. It’s more of an “affiliate link” than a tracking device.

I’m not opposed to removing this per se, but then again I’m sure there are at least some users here who enjoy the additional recognition for sharing links that become popular. I’m hesitant to establish precedent to adjust site-wide settings because a single person complained when there’s over 16 thousand accounts now.

Again, I’m not arguing that the feature is particularly compelling. I would just like to have some better idea on whether this is a common complaint or not.

1 Like

That’s fair, but we’re a bit stuck given that it’s a site-wide config rather than a user preference. I do feel fairly strongly about not having the tracking for my own links, and I don’t feel comfortable that it couldn’t be used (somehow, by some 3rd party) for tracking purposes. And it’s annoying to have to remember to edit every link.

But agreed, I’m just one voice. I don’t know how to get enough feedback to make an actual case for making the change - clearly the vast majority of that 16k account holders are never going to voice an opinion here, and I hence don’t know what would be a reasonable level of response, for or against.

Let’s see what happens here - it’s not like there’s any particular rush over this.

3 Likes

I’ve been baffled by this too. I would never have guessed that people would use this to burnish their reputation. Let’s turn it off please. Maybe we can suggest to Discord that this might be a per-user setting.

6 Likes

That’s fair, but we’re a bit stuck given that it’s a site-wide
config rather than a user preference. I do feel fairly strongly
about not having the tracking for my own links, and I don’t feel
comfortable that it couldn’t be used (somehow, by some 3rd
party) for tracking purposes. And it’s annoying to have to
remember to edit every link.

Not sure if it helps to add my voice. I’m in agreement with you in
principle that URLs should not embed user tracking info for
precisely the privacy concerns you cite. On the other hand, I’m
personally unaffected by this (mis)feature because I participate in
“mailing list mode” and almost never visit the Discord WebUI anyway.
The versions of posts I receive just have raw URLs with no tracking
data embedded, though I would (like you) edit it out if I needed to
copy the URL and it were present for some reason.

I guess if we wanted to reach what would be considered a consensus for a large userbase as the one we have on the forum, some poll would be in order. It does feel like too much of a hassle for an obscure setting like that. I just flipped it, let’s see if anyone complains now.

Hopefully, this won’t be used in the future as an example of precedent by a different single person wanting some obscure toggle flipped :joy: I’ll be more formalistic then.

5 Likes

Thanks. I’ll try to avoid using my new-found power, to get obscure settings changed, for evil :slightly_smiling_face:

5 Likes

(Just to avoid any confusion: we’re on Discourse, not Discord.)

(Just to avoid any confusion: we’re on Discourse, not Discord.)

Yes, apologies, I spotted that as soon as I sent it, but editing it
would have meant logging into the WebUI. :wink:

And I figured it was not a big enough edit to warrant sending a
separate apologetic E-mail to clarify, but… here we are.

FWIW, AFAIK sharing links doesn’t count toward promotion for any of the trust levels, both per the Discourse documentation and per the actual tracked TL requirements:

What it does count for, though, is the Nice share family of badges, which don’t actually do anything, they just look pretty. However, because they can be awarded multiple times, once per link shared, they can actually get pretty spammy, even for someone like me who habitually strips the username param and doesn’t share Discourse links that much. So if anything, its a net positive in that department, haha, not to mention making the links shorter and less noisy, especially in public places where it matters more and the user param is not really appropriate.

6 Likes