How to educate users about oneboxing

If new users do the discobot tutorial, one of the most important things they learn is oneboxing. Unfortunately, few users actually embark on that journey and so I am often editing user posts to turn their links into oneboxes.

I’m assuming that I’m not alone with this and so I’m curious to hear how others are dealing with this. I have this idea of adding some hint to the editor modal for links, but won’t be able to test this before I’m back to my desktop computer next month. Adding an education message could be another option (it could show whenever a user who has never posted a onebox adds a uri to a post).

But maybe people have come up with less technical solutions?


Ah yes, the old “you can lead a horse to water, but how do you make it drink?” problem.

No good solution that I can think of, other than personal intervention

  • send a PM letting people know they can do it
  • edit their post which ALSO sends an edit notification, and hope they understand the edit notification
  • edit their post AND send them a PM which is a lot of work

You might also (in a friendly way) call out posts where you’ve edited with a public reply:

Hey great point!

I’ve edited your post to make your link a onebox, by putting it on a line by itself:

This is somewhat better than personal PM intervention (or just a silent edit) since everyone reading it can learn from your edit, etc.


This point needs more emphasis. I, for one, am a sponge for learning things called out in that manner.

It is:

  1. A real world usage
  2. A way to improve that situation
  3. Presented right next the problem

I’ve also done the opposite version to people, wherein I defang their unintended onebox by putting whitespace before it and explain what I did and how it helps.


My users and I love Onebox. However, we also miss the count number that showed on the individual links to indicate how many people have actually clicked on the link. Very few of the links posted now are not Oneboxed. I’d say about 95% of are. Thanks!


This should happen on a onebox, does it not?

Click the above and let’s see if the click counter advances. It’s a really interesting article.


Here’s a screenshot of a Onebox where 4 or 5 members had clicked on. No click number appears after the link.

Edit: I clicked on your Onebox and yes, the counter moved up from 1 to 2. It’s just not working on our forum.

The count for links not Oneboxed are showing now, at least on those that I’ve just seen, but there are still no counts showing for those links which get Oneboxed. I just clicked on the Onebox link in the below screenshot and no number came up. And I do know for a fact that several users have also clicked on the link. It works okay here on Meta, but not on our forum (Discourse hosted). As of yet, no one has complained at all. I don’t even think they realize there is supposed to be a counter to show the number of clicks a link gets.

I enabled the site setting for open links in external tab and now the count number can be seen

Please note that you need to click on the first link ( and not on the title (Does this photograph...) to see the number of clicks change.


Okay, great! Thank you @Dax!

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