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Why does VE add this bit to many edits that add a link? It is eventually picked up and cleaned out by a bot, but it shouldn't be added in the first place.

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Can you give some examples? It's impossible to tell without seeing the problem.

The most common case is mistakenly leaving out a space between a linked word and the next word, like this:

image.png (402×834 px, 68 KB)

This results in wikitext My [[cat]]<nowiki/>is cute rather than My [[cat]]is cute, because the latter would cause the entire fragment "catis" to be linked. Someone would need to correct this text anyway, whether a nowiki is added or not.