In my answer to the question How do archaeologists date cave paintings?, the hyperlinks are not working. Instead, it shows up like this (for example):

enter image description here

and this:

enter image description here

I've tried editing again but the problem persists. Thinking that the problem might be the answer sort of 'crashed' because of too many links, I removed some of non-essential ones but this hasn't worked either. Also, I googled the problem but came up with nothing that seemed related, and nor does there seem to be a limit on how many links can be put in answer.

Can anyone help me on how to fix this problem?


The link parser gets confused by the following link:


A 'working link' reads:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocarbon_dating#:~:text=Radiocarbon%20dating%20(also%20referred%20to,a%20radioactive%20isotope%20of%20carbon) notice the last character: a closing bracket.

The correct link however reads:


Everything after the 'dating` and including the #-sign is just added junk some newer browsers add when copying a link.

Starting with #:~:text=R…

In this case it gets worse because there is an unmatched opening bracket. Either remove that link-junk altogether or add a matching closing bracket.

Those snippets should always be removed when adding a link to a post.

Cleaning up this one broken link for the post in question fixes the remaining links. There are still links in that post with link-junk (eg Smithsonian, No9).

A Minimal (non-) Working example

To demonstrate:

Link as posted in answer with added bracket.

Link posted in correct form, that is cleaned up.

Link with just hash tag added.

[Link with unmatched bracket.][4]


Always clean up those pesky links when your modern browser gets too clever by inserting some crap.

We had quite a lot of those chatty link-junk links added recently. If you edit any post and spot them: destroy them on site (sic", also on sight ;).

That a single link which the parser cannot read then destroys all subsequent ones is of course worthy of a bug report; to browser developers as well as MetaSE.

The remaining text here is left over from junk inclusion:

[4]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocarbon_dating#:~:text=Radiocarbon%20dating%20(also%20referred%20to,a%20radioactive%20isotope%20of%20carbon. [5]: https://history.stackexchange.com/help

  • 2
    Thanks for this. Your explanation is commendably clear and concise. Dec 3 '20 at 0:39
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    @LarsBosteen The 'junk' is often the result of a previous search text done in Google and will highlight that text when the page is opened. This is, in most cases, not needed at all. Dec 4 '20 at 9:31

It looks like the first 5 links somehow got deleted from the text, but not from the list of links. You'll notice the first "missing link" in the text is [6] rather than [1].

I don't know if its that (perhaps since there's no [1] in the text, it doesn't think the later [1] at the bottom is a link list?), or if there's something messed up in one of those first 5 links (like a character it doesn't like?), but if I delete the first 5 links at that list at the bottom, the rest show up as links.

  • Thanks, and I've done as you've suggested. The hyperlinks are now showing but the first number is still [6]. I thought that this was supposed to change automatically.... Do you know if this was caused by too many links, or is there some glitch in the system? Dec 2 '20 at 4:07
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    @LarsBosteen It seems the original glitch happened due to the URL containing the search result highlight cues (#:~:text=Radiocarbon%20dating%20(also%20referred%20to,a%20radioactive%20isotope%20of%20carbon.) - adding this link breaks the parser. When I added the wiki link (without that string) back into your latest revision, the parser did automatically resort the order of the extant links.
    – Semaphore Mod
    Dec 2 '20 at 7:36
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    @Semaphore Thanks for that info / analysis, and a big thanks for taking the time to insert the links in my answer. Very much appreciated! Dec 2 '20 at 9:12
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    @Semaphore While I really dislike this new trend of many browsers to add this junk to copied URLs: In this case it is probably not the sheer presence of this junk or sheer length causing the glitch [Sidenote: 'length itself' is not the problem, again ;) ]. Only removing the one part of that one first URL in brackets fixes it as well. Those brackets are the problem. But I agree that the junk should probably avoided as much as possible. I asked about that in chat a while ago. Dec 2 '20 at 9:33
  • 1
    @LаngLаngС Ah, I see. Yes that would make sense considering it's missing a closing bracket.
    – Semaphore Mod
    Dec 2 '20 at 10:05
  • Likely it can't deal with that '#' symbol in a link
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Dec 2 '20 at 14:01

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