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Was the way links in guides are handled changed?

When I go back to work on the final edits in the Linux Config 2008-12 guide before I give it the (Archived) title. Since most hardware from that period tends to need a lot of work, I am making some final edits so I can use the content in other guides. Along with that, I am also working on reducing the bit.ly short link count.

I am primarily doing this because the tone towards short links like that is they are bad. My intentions are good, but it isn't worth the headache to maintain them when there's a good chance that it will cause issues because spammers use them. I may still do it that way, but I'll reduce it and save it for when I run into serious problems.

The Amazon links are so long, I've found short links are the only way to include them. If I don't do this, then I go over the 350 character limit. However, I tested this again and I no longer have that problem as I did before. These Amazon links no longer cause me grief.

When I began to reduce the short link use, I noticed something and I'm not sure if it's a bug or intentional change. When I went to add these full links in the guide, I no longer notice the character issue I had before.

To confirm this, I did two tests. The first one was a drop in, without an issue. Once this worked out, I then tried starting from scratch with 0 characters after copying it into Microsoft Word and making the change there. No problems with length this way as well.

In both scenarios, the count was not affected to the point I had to keep the short link (even on Amazon links).

If this is a bug, please don't fix it. Consider this a feature because it's useful for cases where links can kill your available characters. Meeting the 350 limit is bad enough; if I can no longer do this I'll need to revert back to short links for guides.

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Hey Nick! Unfortunately I'm not super sure if anything has changed in the character count for guide steps, but I do have a suggestion for long links! 99% of the time you only need the content before a ? in a link, Amazon, and other sites use the "?" character to separate the URL from various tracking elements. Amazon also uses "/ref=" to track you and you can nix that as well. Amazon also offers shortened URLs via the Share menu

Full URL: https://www.amazon.com/iFixit-IF145-348-2-Essential-Electronics-Toolkit/dp/B01MRNIFR6/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=power-hand-tools&ie=UTF8&qid=1520875107&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=ifixit&psc=1

Effective URL: https://www.amazon.com/iFixit-IF145-348-2-Essential-Electronics-Toolkit/dp/B01MRNIFR6

Share URL: http://a.co/8bLgsKE

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Good to know you don't need that data after the Amazon ASIN.

In some cases I use the search term (like in the ODD step where I talk about the ODD hard drive caddy), there's not a lot of room for reduction. For that one I chose to use the search link because some laptops use a 9.5mm drives, while many older models use a 12.7mm drive. I can tell by sight since I've dealt with both, but I do NOT get that benefit on sites like iFixit.

Will I help people by providing information?

I don't know 100% of the time, but I usually have a good idea. If I have worked on the model someone has I usually know with 100% certainty. With that being said, I still need to know what the person asking has. While most models are easy, there's one brand that's hard to be 100% sure about without solid information to start with: HP (Specifically HP Consumer). With HP the best way to find out is to use a digital caliper or Google the HP Spare part number. While that's usually the case, I don't mind telling someone if I know. However, I need the full model number of the laptop.

The problem with HP comes down to the awful model coding for consumer grade laptops. They typically only change the model code and use the same series name for many years. That makes it so I have no idea what you need without that model number. The problem is made worse by the fact HP does this AND often makes substantial changes every few years or so (Ex: 9.5mm ODD replaced with a 7mm drive). Look at the HP laptop device listing and you will see this in practice.

What this effectively means is without the system model, I'm not able to help. With that being said, some aren't as bad (Ex: Pavilion 15 P Series or Sleekbook), but I don't feel comfortable backing educated guesses with those.

What about hardware specific guides?

While laptop specific guides work around this, it isn't practical. I'd rather make a single guide and direct readers who need specific information then what I cover to the device page for their laptop. I also think it's better to make a non-specific guide that covers the hardware at a basic level and leaving the advanced information like SSD compatibility (SATA, AHCI PCIe, mSATA and NVMe) and WLAN card standard needed (PCIe X1 or NGFF) to the specific device page for that laptop. I'll certainly help you with that if I know what's needed for that model, but I need the model of the laptop to do that.

It's a compromise, but it makes sense. If someone needs those details, it probably already exists on the pertient device page. In my experience, common hardware usually has a page and it's rare if it doesn't. If it doesn't, anyone can create a page after they find out what they need.

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Nick will be eternally grateful.
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