Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Handy short links for all articles

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Every featured article on now has a link icon on the edge of the window, to the right of the title:

Tap/click to popup information about how to link to that page. (Ironically, no link icon for blog posts like this one… yet.)

Short links are the interesting new thing here: simple, clear page addresses that are useful in many contexts where using the full address is too awkward.

Unspeakable links!

The canonical address for most pages is a bit of a mouthful. For example, the canonical URL (universal resource location) for the Epsom salts page:

So many slashes! Dot this, dot that! “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

It's literally hard to say, which is a problem if I want to tell someone where to find that article during a conversation or podcast interview. It would be great if I could just say “Go to, slash, ‘epsom’!” And I can do that, because this short link redirects to the main URL:

There are now 1-5 short links for every article. For instance, these all also work:

What are short links good for?

There are several contexts where short links are handy:

  • E-mail and text messaging.
  • Verbal and audio. Great for podcasters plugging my work!
  • Social media posts, especially Facebook comments and Instagram captions (where links are not replaced by previews).
  • Memes, presentation slides, screenshots.

The link sprinklers

Presumably no one will ever be as passionate about promoting PainScience as I am, but I’ve been amazed by the phenomenon of the link sprinklers: friends of the site who spread links to my content around the internet like myth-busting fairy dust, especially in Facebook debates/arguments. It seems like they could really work with these short links.

I don’t know how much people will actually use the short links, but I do know this: they definitely can’t use them if I don’t make them available. I often need short links myself, to promote content more effectively; and if I need them, then so does anyone else who ever wants to promote my articles. 🤯 It took me a few years to realize that; I am not a fast learner.

If you find these useful — or you see a way to make them more useful to you — please let me know.