Insert Link popup in Editor should allow target=blank

The editor Link button does not allow you to specify the target for the link, so all links entered using it have to open in the same tab/window. like this

If you enter an html link you can specify target="_blank" and it will correctly open in a new window/tab thus:
open in new tab

It would be useful to have an “Open in new tab/window” checkbox in the link popup.


No, because that is a per user preference already.

Where? Not in my preferences.
Or do you mean that a user, if they happen to be fairly knowledgeable, will know that he can right click to open a link in a new tab? That is not the point.



I apologise - I have never noticed that you could click on “Interface” on the left and get a whole load more options. (took me a little while to work out where you had got that screenshot from)

But that is a global option for all links. The situation I want to cover is where you want to force a new tab so as not to boot the reader away from your Discourse if she hasn’t set a global preference but if makes sense to open the link in a new tab.

I would assume that if I left the global preference unchecked then the poster would be able to specify a new tab if she felt it was appropriate.

This is most commonly needed for external links that are for reference, if it is an internal link eg to a different topic then the perhaps a new tab is not appropriate and the reader can choose either globally or by right clicking.

If the user chooses to do that globally then that is fine, but a more nuanced approach is also valid. As a reader I’ll take advice from the poster as to whether the link should be in a new tab or not.

You’re advocating for your preference being more important than the preference of the user, though. That won’t be happening. Links respect the user preference, but if you are the site owner you can default that preference for all new users as you see fit via the site settings.


Not quite so harsh. All I’m saying is that in some circumstances it might be appropriate and it would be sensible to have the option in the dialogue (as happens in many many other systems). You don’t have to use it and it only overrides the user global preference in one direction if they haven’t set it.

It is part of the html spec to be able to specify a target in the a tag, and I don’t see a valid reason for withholding that option. Can you justify limiting it in that way?

I just did, in the post directly above yours.

Really? You advocated that the reader is more competent to know what the author intends than the author. This is disrespectful to the author who may have perfectly sound reasons for wanting to have a link open in a new tab/window - eg if the target is useful reference information that the author might want the reader to have access to whilst the reader continued with the first page, or if the author knows that the link opens a site that disables the back button and prevents the reader from returning if she wants to (to pick just two examples of many perfectly good reasons for having a link open in a new tab)
In addition your comment indicates an assumption that readers are all technically savvy and know how to open links in a new tab when appropriate which is very far from the case outside the tech bubble.

As a reader I am grateful for authors who make appropriate use of the facilities available in html to guide my user experience. As an author I want to be able to prime the user experience when appropriate.

The option of having a preference on a site (for logged in visitors only) to have ALL external links open in a new tab seems both unusual (bordering on non-standard) and a very blunt instrument. Sometimes it is not appropriate to open an external link in a new tab from either reader’s or author’s point of view (or both). Sometimes it is appropriate to open an internal site link in a new tab (eg a link to a glossary that may be kept open while reading on)

Frankly your comments come across to me as both didactic and autocratic. You are suggesting that the user has to either have all external links in a new tab or be able to make a judgement in every case before knowing anything about the content or behaviour of the linked site, and that the author should have no option to guide the reader by making the choice for him.

This is not a justification for not providing a facility that is available in most editors.

Perhaps what you really mean is that you personally do not want to do it for your own reasons - that would be fair enough. I guess you are not the only decision maker in this even if you are a co-founder (of Discourse presumably - I offer respect and kudos for that anyway)

That is correct, the fact that it exists as a user-configurable setting means that third parties shouldn’t have the option of ignoring their preference. How confusing would it be if certain links behaved differently?

Actually this behavior advocates for users who aren’t technically competent too, because they won’t see differences of behavior without clear reason. For the technically capable the preference exists, for those who don’t understand the nuances there’s at least consistency.

The above language refers to a CMS, which yes includes that functionality. I don’t think any suggestion is made that Discourse is a CMS, or exists to displace their role. Repeat after me: content management systems are built around content, discussion systems are built around users.

Could you elaborate on how it would be inappropriate? Convenience is a factor, but that’s why the back button exists. User preferences need to be associated with something, either a user account or a cookie. Storing user preferences at the user level within the account is again the most consistent experience for users. Communities are all about encouraging registration and engagement - encouraging users to register so that they can set such preferences is beneficial to communities.

Again, you’re referring to content management systems, not discussion platforms. With the former the author will have known contexts for deciding a behavior as the goal of the platform is typically consumption. Discussion platforms such as Discourse are totally different - giving users the ability to override the preferences of others doesn’t make any sense at all.

Thanks for trying @Stephen.
I’m afraid I just don’t get it. I suspect what we have here is a transatlantic cultural difference. What you are both saying just doesn’t make any sense to me.

One last try from me to explain.
Consider a discussion forum in real life. Its like a meeting room where you take turns in speaking and actively listen to what the speaker is saying. Now the speaker might want to reference something like a journal paper. In your model the listener has the right to say “just wait a minute while I pop over to the library to read that paper” and off he goes. In my model the the speaker has the right to say “here’s the library catalog number, go and check it out after the session”.
Or suppose the speaker is explaining something highly technical which might require the listener to look up terms in a glossary to understand what he is saying. In your model the user has the right to make the speaker pause and read out the definition every time a new term is used. In my model the speaker hands around sheets of paper with the glossary on and the listeners refer to them as and when they want to.

In practice in Discourse the existence of the user preference to always open external links in a new tab means that having a link with a target is not going to override that active preference. It is only going to override the passive preference to not automatically open external links in a new tab, and then only when the author has a preference herself.

Anyway we are obviously not going to agree. It is a cultural thing I think. I suppose I could set about learning another obscure (to me) language and forking the code to do what I wanted but frankly I can’t be arsed. Its not that big a deal, just an annoyance having to type in the raw html when I want to send a link to a new tab for the benefit of the user (yes sometimes big daddy does know best :wink:)

Only if you live in a transatlantic destination which is neither Europe (UK) or the US.

I’ve been building large multi-tenanted systems for close to two decades from just outside London, and I believe Jeff has been doing similar things for significantly longer from the US.

This isn’t a cultural difference, different platforms value different things. Users are at the center of discussion platforms and IMHO in products such as discourse their preferences are paramount.

If you are the site owner, you can default “open in new tab” on for everyone if that’s what you prefer. Just edit it in your site settings.

If you are not the site owner, then you get to respect the user’s preference on this like everyone else.

I need this too and understand what @rogerco means…Btw, I’m an admin of my forum.

Sometimes, when someone post a link to outside URL, I need to make sure that the member stays in the forum. Having the editor to allow a choice for target=blank is the solution, so I, as admin, can choose, which link open in the same tab, and which link can open in different tab.

I, as admin, don’t need ALL the link behave like this (open in new tab), I only need some link (which I can choose).

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