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Not sure how I feel about this. I often hover over a link to see where it is linking to, see if it has a title, etc. But that's probably not typical of most users. And I don't do it on sites I use often and am familiar with.

I feel this fails a user expectation that simply hovering over a link doesn't inform the server of anything.

It's curious you mention checking where links link to, because I think that's also another user expectation failure. The url that appears in the status bar below (or what was once a status bar) is not necessarily the link's true destination. You can go to any google search results page, hover over the links in the results and compare with the href attributes in the <a> tags. They're different. It looks like you'd be going directly to the page that's on the URL, but you're actually first going to google and google redirects you to the URL you saw.

It used to be that checking the url in the status bar allowed you to make sure the link really would take you to where the text made you think it would take you, but that's no longer the case. It seems one can easily make a link that seems like it would take you to your bank and then take you to a phished page.

> I feel this fails a user expectation that simply hovering over a link doesn't inform the server of anything.

I would bet 99%+ of web users do not have a sufficiently detailed mental model of web pages that this is something they've decided one way or the other.

Agreed, my expectations are the opposite.

Google Analytics et al, allow custom events which are used to record mouse overs, clicks, et cetera on a majority of websites. I always just assume everything I do, down to page scrolls and mouse movements, is recorded.

Yes and people block those for privacy reason.

>I feel this fails a user expectation that simply hovering over a link doesn't inform the server of anything.

The validity of that expectation died with the advent of web analytics probably two decades ago now. The wholly general solution is to disable javascript, possibly re-enabling it on websites you trust. Sites that break without js are oftentimes not worth browsing anyway.

There's usually no penalty, though. You hover, and the page preload begins. Unless you're trying to keep your data usage to a minimum, there's no disadvantage to you.

And if it only preloads the HTML and not related files, it's still going to be minimal

Or prevent law enforcement, or other "overseers" from believing you visited a page.

I can see children getting punkd by drive-by prefetch and reporting to teaching staff that X visited a neo-nazi site or, Y downloaded porn during class, etc..

"Prefetch did it" is probably not going to be apparent to most, and is going to sound like a weaksauce excuse.

On the other hand if you're visiting pages that link to neo-nazi content or pornography just one link away from the page you're currently on, chances are the page you're currently on would violate whatever acceptable use policy you're supposed to be following.

Or you opened a random blog, Reddit, or did an innocuous search, or ...

Unless whoever is patrolling this filtering is completely insane just show them that page that you were on and how hovering over the link triggers the filter.

Every instance of web filtering I've been subject to in my life just blocks the bad page and the admins expect people to have a few bad requests just by accident or whatever. You'd have to be constantly hitting the filter for it to actually become a real issue.

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