The improvements to the Course Link Validator in the Canvas Release Notes (2019-01-05) were welcome, but there remains a significant gap in what is reported by Course Link Validator: links to files and other content that is published but located within an unpublished folder or module.
If the "Show Links to Unpublished Content" option is checked, the Link Validator will include unpublished content in the results. However, if the container in which published content resides is unpublished (for instance, a link to a published file uploaded to an unpublished folder), then this file -- which is unreachable to students -- is overlooked by the Course Link Validator, because the content itself is published.
However, when a published object is placed in an unpublished container (file folder or module), it behave like unpublished content and is not visible to or accessibly by students. So it makes sense for these unreachable files to be flagged along with links to unpublished content.
We've received several reports about this issue, and it can be confusing for faculty to troubleshoot because they can access the linked object without a problem. And using the Course Link Validator does not help!
We reported this issue to Canvas Support (see discussion Limitations on the Course Link Validator ) and learned that it was not a bug. So we are proposing this feature idea, with the hope that this design limitation will be addressed.
While implementation of this feature idea would certainly increase the number of unreachable links reported, the other recent improvements to the Course Link Validator design would improve a teaching team's ability to confirm that students can reach what they should be able to reach.