Talking ’Bout URIs

Consistent web identification seems to be the topic of the day; observe posts by Gordon Weakliem and Christian Stocker. By chance my own experiences allow me to contribute to this discussion.

Late last night on our usual weblog I mocked The Village Voice in an entry titled Shaw ’Nuff, complete with that copied-and-pasted right single quote (doubling here as an apostrophe). I finished the entry, hit publish, then ambled over to the main page and hovered over some links. That’s when I saw this permanent link:


Rather than stripping the apostrophe, WordPress had masticated it into an undigested, percent-encoded nightmare!

There’s nothing cool about that URI, so I immediately committed a web no-no and changed the Post Slug to shaw-nuff. As far as I know, though, the dark magic of Ping-o-matic (or is it now Ping-o-mattic?) had already sent the mangled link far across the Web, so I added a permanent redirect in .htaccess.

I was surprised; we no longer live in the WordPress dark ages. Authors can no longer fall into the same trap Eric Meyer did fifteen months ago. I use cites, ems, and apostrophes in my titles all the time, and WordPress 1.5.2 never lets me down.

But contracting “enough? as “’nuff? was too much for the program to handle. And barring my emergency surgery, George Bernard Shaw would have one ugly link.

Do you think WordPress MU/2.0 has corrected this problem? Only one way to find out….


6 Responses to “Talking ’Bout URIs”

  1. Eric Meyer Says:

    Actually, it did let you down: the URL deposited in the trackback entry on my site has a mangled encoding. Now the only question is whether your copy of WP is to blame, or mine.

    It’s probably mine.

  2. Mike Mariano Says:

    Wow! Eric, I don’t even know where to start looking.

    Is everyone else keeping score? I suspected the permanent link to this page might be ugly, and it is:


    Percent encoded, hideous looking, but functional. We can live with that, right? Not so fast.

    Once the trackback for this entry hit Eric’s page (or perhaps as it was leaving my site in trackback form), the ugly URI had its percent signs stripped away, leaving this link on Eric’s site:


    That’s a post to nowhere, and on there’s no .htaccess to bail me out. Here at Mike’s Diner it’s fresh 404s, served daily.

    This was a vanity project for me, but this seems like yet another problem for people who blog using more than 26 letters. What happens if we WordPress users get a trackback from a Chinese blog? Or from

  3. Mike Mariano Says:

    You’re right, Eric. Your copy of WordPress is likely the one that did the percent mangling, since both Technorati and Feedster correctly display the link to this page.

  4. Harold Says:

    So guys… Any news about this? I have the same problem. Did you ever find a fix?

  5. Mike Mariano Says:

    Hi, Harold! I have not seen any indication this behavior has changed in WordPress release notes or elsewhere.

    My personal solution has been to manually create a Post Slug for every entry. Since I can’t trust WordPress to do it for me.

    Bonus WordPress Failure: The link to this entry in the new, improved Dashboard is to /2006/01/05/talking-%e2%80%99bout-uris/, though I posted this entry at 9:42pm on January 4th, 2006. Looks like the Dashboard is creating links from scratch, and doing it with incorrect timezones! Congratulations!

  6. Harold Says:

    Thanks for your answer Mike.

    Fyi, this is how I ended up fixing the issue: I asked the guy who did a trackback to change his URL. Not much of a permanent solution though…

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