I was thinking that doing a markup override and adding a target="blank" to all outgoing links at webmasters.stackexchange.com would save some trouble for users like me who checks links on answers before upvoting or commenting.

2 Answers 2


Middle clicking on a link opens it in a new tab. No need to make it happen for everybody.

The use of _blank to open links in a new window or tab has been discussed on the user experience StackExchange site. The consensus there appears to be that it shouldn't be used.

  • I have seen many people do it, I do it all the time, and I pursue it as an effective method to increase visitor stay on a site. I was just curious why webmaster.stackexchange.com does not use it. Any specific reasons? Dec 30, 2013 at 13:28
  • 1
    because it effects user experience. Dec 31, 2013 at 14:20

It should be up to the user how a new tab opens, and having a consistent default to the same is really the only way to do that. If we create links with an alternate target, then users won't be able to open links in the same window, if that's what they want.

However, they can easily middle-click, or right-click and select the destination that they want with the current behavior.

We deviate from this only in chat and some of the sharing links, where the expected use case is not leaving the chat to view a link, or expecting some kind of modal / pop-out / new tab for sharing.

In any event, we want this to be consistent because we are a network of sites, so changing it in one place isn't really possible. Since most prefer the current behavior, I'm inclined to leave it at that.

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