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I haven't seen a discussion on this yet, but I also haven't really seen it used in answers, so I figured it was worth asking a question for link-reference in the future.

So, what's the policy on using URL shortening services to reduce characters for golfs? This question made me think of it. Answers could easily save a bunch of characters, from something like:

https://codegolf.stackexchange.com/users/-1?tab=activity&sort=revisions

to:

http://goo.gl/QKvsEZ

I can't point to anything technically wrong with it, but it just feels so... cheap.

If there's no policy yet, what should it be?

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They have been used in answers in the past: see e.g.

There aren't many questions which will generate answers which legitimately include hard-coded URLs. (Some of those previous answers would now fall foul of standard loopholes). For the exceptions, I would say that the problem is probably in the question rather than the answers. If hard-coded URLs are useful and not loopholes then that strongly implies that the question isn't taking input, which is a "question smell".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It may also mean the question itself involves connecting to a web site, like this one. \$\endgroup\$ – celtschk Apr 6 '14 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @celtschk, that's a prime example of my last sentence. It could easily be generalised to take the domain of a StackExchange network site as a parameter, and then it wouldn't be able to use a URL minifier. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Apr 6 '14 at 22:05
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I think that in questions which require you to access a certain webpage, you should be allowed to access that webpage only, because we don't allow external resources unless stated otherwise.

A URL shortener is an external resource (it stores the URL of the page it redirects to), so like all external resources it should be banned unless the question explicitly says so.

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