In wikitext, [[foo]]bar will turn into <a href="foo">foobar</a> assuming bar matches the linktrail regexp, so it is very hard to end up with partially linked words (such as <a href="foo">foo</a>bar). VisualEditor on the other hand makes it easy, which is a problem as such partial linking conflicts with basically all style guides and usability guidelines, and also look ugly and confusing in wikitext ([[foo]]<nowiki/>bar or something like that).
There are two ways in which one can end up with such markup:
- There is a linked word, and an editor tries to add a suffix to it (e.g. someone wants to edit [[word]] to become [[word]]s). VisualEditor offers a visual cue for this: when one is about to type a character which will be part of the link, the link is highlighted, otherwise it's not (and moving the cursor towards/away from the link can be used to switch between those states). While this sounds intuitive, in practice it seems that many editors (even experienced ones) fail to figure it out.
- There is an unlinked word with a suffix, and someone wants to link it by selecting the word root and clicking on the link button (ie. they want to turn words into [[word]]s). This presumably seems more convenient than selecting the whole word and then deleting the suffix in the link dialog; but it ends up with VisualEditor only linking part of the word.
Unlinked characters at the end of a link are, as far as I know, never used. So VisualEditor makes it very easy to create misformatted text, while with the old editor it's practically impossible.
This is a major problem in agglutinative languages where suffixes are used a lot; on Hungarian Wikipedia most experienced editors refuse to use VisualEditor because of this (and the advice gets passed down in editathons and other outreach events, which impacts the ability of those events to quickly introduce newbies to editing). Seems to be a frequent issue elsewhere, too - see e.g. T35091, T53173, T54044, T95272 which are all about the same issue.
Maybe VisualEditor could automatically make linktrail characters part of the link as they are typed (in the ultra-rare case of not wanting that, the user can enter the trailing part as a separate word and then backspace it onto the link), or some kind of warning should be shown when one adds unlinked trailing characters.
(Originally reported at huwiki:Wikipédia:Kocsmafal_(egyéb)#VisualEditor-hibák)