Feature request: When clicking on a link in a question or answer, the target should be opened in a new tab.

Motivation: I'd say that between $\frac{3}{8}$ and $\frac{4}{19}$ of the times I click on a link I forget that the target is opened in the same tab as math.SE. When I'm done reading, I close the tab and expect to get back to the question or answer, but it's gone! Luckily there is a Reopen closed tab feature in Chrome, but it's still a bit of a hassle.

I think modern browsers handle multiple tabs quite well, which was not the case a few years ago. Before, you would have new windows all over the place, and most sites would avoid opening links in new windows. Ever since the tab feature was introduced however, I've noticed that almost all sites open external links in new tabs, which would explain my expectation of the same behavior on math.SE.

Apart from the fact that the browsing experience in my opinion would be improved, I think it's a good idea not to direct users from math.SE unless it's really necessary.

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    $\begingroup$ While I can see where you're coming from, I can't resist to ask: "Do you know the marvels of the middle mouse button?" (Also, $\frac4{19}<\frac38$.) $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Aug 23 '13 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ Wish I had one... $\endgroup$ – Daniel R Aug 23 '13 at 8:28
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    $\begingroup$ Then you might enjoy Ctrl (or Cmd, if you're on Mac)+click. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Aug 23 '13 at 8:29
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, it's just that then I'd have to think of that beforehand. Isn't that too much to ask? :) And normally, I wouldn't want all targets to open in a new tab. Always using ctrl isn't an option. $\endgroup$ – Daniel R Aug 23 '13 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ Is using ctrl only some of the time an option? $\endgroup$ – Scott H. Aug 23 '13 at 8:38
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    $\begingroup$ meta.SO: Make links posted by users open in a new window is tagged status-declined. Have all links open in a new tab? has score -11. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Aug 23 '13 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ @ScottH: Well, not really. $\endgroup$ – Daniel R Aug 23 '13 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak: Oh, thanks. The first question is four years old, so that might be a bit outdated considering overall browsing habits and browser features. The second one is quite new though. I honestly don't get the "Then learn how to browse in a single window" attitude, but since that's how the crowd thinks how things should be, I'll concede... It's not the end of the world, luckily. :) $\endgroup$ – Daniel R Aug 23 '13 at 9:35
  • $\begingroup$ Blah, please disregard the whole "Then learn how to browse in a single window" attitude thing. I totally misread what was being said. Yada yada... $\endgroup$ – Daniel R Aug 23 '13 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ I'm still not understanding, what is the problem with just right clicking or ctrl clicking and choosing the "open in new tab" option? I do it all the time. $\endgroup$ – Ataraxia Aug 23 '13 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ The (extremely tiny) problem is that my browsing habits (due to the behavior most other similar sites) makes me subconsciously expect the target to open in a new tab. And when the tab has been closed it's too late to press ctrl. As I said, it's an extremely tiny problem. $\endgroup$ – Daniel R Aug 23 '13 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ Don't know about Chrome as I use Firefox. There by clicking the link with the right mouse button a menu pops up. The first options are: "open in a new tab", "open in a new window",... If the mouse is moving left-to-right, the cursor will be on top of the menu right away. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 24 '13 at 4:22

If the links are simple links then the user has the option of opening in a new tab in any browser which supports tabs.

If the links are set to open in a new tab, the user a) doesn't have any advance warning of that; b) doesn't have the ability to override it and force the link to open in the same window.

That makes setting links to open in a new tab strictly inferior to leaving the default behaviour.

See also the relevant question on the UX stack.

If you really want this behaviour then the way to go about it is to find, write, or request / sponsor a user script. (The second thread mentioned in comments has a comment pointing at this one).


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