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Feedback Images can no longer be hotlinked. Must attach them directly to your post to display.

Discussion in 'Suggestions / Comments / Criticisms / Problems' started by Admin Team, Aug 18, 2020.

  1. Admin Team

    Admin Team Administrators Admins

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    361
    Hello Folks,

    We have removed the "Insert Image" button from the post editor to prevent hotlinking of images from external sources.

    From now on, please add all images as attachments to your posts instead of hotlinking them from another source (e.g. postimg.cc), that way if the original source website dies or changes their terms, the images will still show up forever as they will be stored locally on our site.

    In our experience we have seen many posts across the internet using hotlinked images that end up breaking when the source website changes their terms or disappears abruptly, and then the posts don't make any sense. Imagine your posts with different images or errors in the place of all the current images and you'll see what we mean.

    Case-in-point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photobucket#Criticism

    If you upload the images as attachments to your posts here, then they will display as-is forever instead of being reliant on an unpredictable third-party that can change their terms or simply stop existing at any time.

    Attaching and displaying images in your posts is very easy to do. Just save the image on your computer, then click the "Upload a File" button, upload the image, it will now appear as an "attachment" at the bottom of your post, place the cursor where you want to insert the attached image in your post, and then click the "Full image" button of your new attached image to have it display in full where your cursor is in your post. You can do this for as many images as you need to insert in your post.

    Thank you.
     
  2. TurboGenius

    TurboGenius Well-Known Member Founding Member

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    Occupation:
    Self proclaimed Theoretical Philosopher
    Location:
    Near Atlantic City New Jersey
  3. Admin Team

    Admin Team Administrators Admins

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    End of life for Windows XP was over 6 years ago:
    We want to support as many devices as possible, but it is difficult to support operating systems that have received no updates for over 6 years because in addition to being a security risk, they are not updated for the latest tech.

    The problem with hotlinking images is a very real problem because it can leave a site littered with 404 image not found errors (or worse) since we have no control over 3rd party hosting of images. To visualize how detrimental this can be to a site, have a look at this screenshot of a site that displayed images hosted on Photobucket after Photobucket decided to start charging users for displaying hotlinked images:

    photobucket-ransom[1].jpg


    As can be seen above, it completely ruined that site since they had no control over the images they were displaying.

    TurboGenius, would you consider using a more modern device to create your posts so that you can attach images directly to avoid the hotlinking problem above?
     
  4. TurboGenius

    TurboGenius Well-Known Member Founding Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Self proclaimed Theoretical Philosopher
    Location:
    Near Atlantic City New Jersey
    The operating system isn't too important to this overall situation.
    I've used XP since it came out and won't change from it unless I had no other choice.
    I have ways to keep it incredibly reliable (for me) and it's up to date aside from a few issues
    which don't matter much to me.
    Of course I'm in the minority, I'm sure 1% of the forum users use an older operating system.

    As far as linking to images - there's really not a problem with this.
    Photobucket was a nightmare and they've paid the price for that nonsense - almost no other
    image upload site has an issue with hotlinking and while some "come and go", so do gambling forums...
    Is information better stored at a relatively new forum than it would be at a site that has been around
    for a very long time ?

    So the service I use (used) has been around for 16 YEARS now, never has a problem and is actually #2 when
    you google "image upload". They are reliable and going nowhere. Their site's FAQs also mention that
    uploads are never deleted or removed.

    This forum has been online to the public for 5 years.
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/gambling/forums/prweb12487040.htm

    So for some reason uploading a image to a site with a 16 year history and "going nowhere" is not reliable
    but uploading images to a 5 year old (new) forum where it is stored here is better ?

    Not that there isn't a long future ahead for this forum, but they do come and go.
    I could understand if it were the other way around and someone tried to link to a little known
    image upload site onto a forum that is 20 years old... but this is the opposite.
    Using a reliable image upload site isn't usually an issue... until now..here..

    Perhaps a compromise where only certain sites are "acceptable" to use for posting images ?
    There are a few that have no problems being linked to on forums, the one I use (used) and others.

    There are still buttons for "links" to link to something at another site.
    What if that site vanishes - then everyone who used the "link" button would have the same problem.
    So do we remove that as well ? There's no reason to.
    You can still embed media from a long list of sites I see - if that media is removed you have the same problem.
    Do we remove the media link as well ? You can see what I'm getting at.

    Does linking to images on other sites somehow cause problems with traffic or some other issue ?

    "forever" is a strange claim to make. The image will display as-is for as long as the forum is operational, or God forbid goes through
    some kind of attack here files are destroyed and then all is lost. A site that has served forums for 16 years with reliable
    linking to uploaded images isn't unpredictable.

    Just my 2 cents. I'm no doubt the only user affected by this change.
    If worse came to worse I can use my Linux setup, or a laptop with Windows 10 to post, but that isn't convenient
    at all.
     
  5. Admin Team

    Admin Team Administrators Admins

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    We only mentioned it because you said "Unless you are a Windows XP user, in which case it is impossible to upload an image using the "upload a file" button". If the OS is not the actual issue, have you tried a different browser within Windows XP?

    Although we aren't going anywhere, the problem isn't so much that an image host will "disappear", it's that they will decide to prevent hotlinking of their images since they don't profit from hotlinking.

    Absolutely, because we know for a fact that we are not going anywhere. We cannot say the same for a third party service, nor can we say that they will not change their terms to prohibit hotlinking. The fact that we are even bringing this issue up and want to future-proof our site should demonstrate how long-term of a vision we have for this community. Remember, the risk isn't just of the image hosting site disappearing, it's also of them making the unilateral decision to prohibit hotlinking of their hosted images. This is a significant risk (much greater than the risk of the site disappearing). After all, Photobucket still exists, they just damaged a significant number of sites when they made the unilateral decision to no longer permit free hotlinking of their images.

    We aren't going anywhere, but that's beside the point, because if we did disappear one day, then it won't matter where images are hosted since the threads with them will be gone anyway. What we are trying to avoid is a situation where our valuable threads become mined with erroneous images, thus not allowing them to be preserved as-is. Broken images also damages how Google views a site and impacts traffic.

    A link does not display content on our site. That is a significant difference.

    The proportion of embedded media represented by images is monumentally greater than all other media combined. Hosting videos locally would require a lot of space, so the risk/return isn't there. Hosting images, on the other hand, is worth the additional costs to us considering they represent the vast majority of embedded media and image hosting site are typically much less reliable than video hosting sites like YouTube.

    The problem is the risk of having threads littered with broken images that takes away their meaning and usefulness among other things. This is what we want to prevent as we've seen it happen across many sites, including several forums. It is incredibly frustrating to search for something on Google, find a relevant forum thread about it, only to find that the thread is littered with broken images that fail to answer the query you were seeking. No one can guarantee that any image hosting service will 1) always be around, and 2) always permit hotlinking. Therefore, the risk is real and it is this risk that we want to eliminate for the benefit of our community and future members.

    We were of course being hyperbolic. Although we probably won't be around in the year 5,000 A.D. when we're all living inside of machines anyway, we will be around for much, much longer than your average gambling forum.

    We store off-site backups, so it would be virtually impossible for our site to be permanently taken down with all content lost.

    But the risk of them no longer allowing hotlinking of their images is ever present. Hosting images is significantly more expensive than hosting a Forum which is mostly text, and image hosts incur huge costs with no revenue when they permit hotlinking of their images. Image hosts make money either by displaying ads on images viewed on their site, or by charging for the hosting of images. This is what makes hotlinking so risky because it doesn't make the image hosts any money directly and only increases their costs, and this poor ROI is what makes the risk of sites pulling a "Photobucket" so real.

    Good point, is anyone else unable to use the "Upload a File" feature?

    We want to be convenient for you and all our members. We also want to be future-proof. We cannot continue to permit hotlinking for all the reasons described above since we cannot rely on a third party to determine how our threads display, but we are keen on helping you and any other affected members to ensure you have a convenient alternative.

    On that note...

    Going back to the beginning, it seems the issue from what you are saying now is not so much the OS (Windows XP), but could perhaps be the browser you are using within that OS?

    With that in mind, can you please try each of the browsers listed here to see if any work with the Upload a File feature: http://www.xpbrowsers.com

    Also, can you please describe step-by-step the exact issue you are experiencing when using the Upload a File issue to pin-point it more exactly and to also see if anyone else is experiencing the same issue?

    We aren't giving up on you TurboGenius, so let's continue to work together to find a solution for you other than hotlinking.

    We look forward to hearing from you and resolving this for you.
     
  6. Bago

    Bago Well-Known Member

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  7. TurboGenius

    TurboGenius Well-Known Member Founding Member

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    Near Atlantic City New Jersey
    I'll just drop it and not post images - or will post a link to images since that's somehow not a problem even though it's the same thing - aside from the reader having to click a link instead of just seeing the image in the post......

    There's no valid argument that a site who's sole purpose is to provide forums with images and has
    been around for 16+ years is somehow risky or not reliable for a forum to use.
    There's clearly more to this story but I don't have the time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020

  8. Admin Team

    Admin Team Administrators Admins

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    Linking to external images is also not a suitable alternative as it only makes the problem worse (forces readers to take an extra step and doesn't ensure the image is preserved for as long as we are operational).

    Images need to be attached to a post. That's the only possibility.

    We already explained that we cannot have the content on our site depend on a third party provider for something as common as images because the damage to our community if they do go under is significant. We simply cannot take that risk, and so far, you are the only one to object or to ever have a problem using the "Upload a File" feature on our site. So by eliminating the hotlinking option, we eliminate the risk while so far only impacting one member. However, you are a valuable member of this community, so we are wanting to work with you to help you resolve this. Again, please note that no other member has informed us that they are currently having any issues with the Upload a File feature, only you, and yet we are here to help even if it's only for you because you are a valuable member of this community.

    There's absolutely nothing more to this. It costs us more to host our members' images than to allow hotlinking from third party providers, so this hopefully tells you how serious of a risk we consider this that we are willing to incur additional costs to eliminate it. In your case, you have your own Personal Forum on here, and you hotlink all the images you post, so imagine what would happen if the image host you use went under? Your entire Personal Forum (an entire Forum on our site) would be littered with broken images and that would impact all readers, present and future. We simply cannot risk that, not in your Personal Forum by you and not elsewhere on the site by others who find hotlinking quicker than attaching.


    We are wanting to work with you to help you resolve this, TurboGenius. Have you tried the different browsers we linked to?
     
  9. TurboGenius

    TurboGenius Well-Known Member Founding Member

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    We discussed this in PMs already.
    Every browser was the same results, it's because of something with XP Pro not allowing the upload option on this forum (for some reason - everywhere else it works fine).

    While I don't agree or understand the issues with using a reliable outside source for image hosting with 16 years of reliable
    service and who's whole purpose is to provide forums with image content - I'll use Linux or my laptop with Windows 10 to upload
    images from now on. It's all nonsense to me.
    So to be clear, you said above that no outside source is ok for images - but links to other content (embedded) is fine.
    Somehow those are reliable and won't litter the forums with "not found" links.
    You may embed media from the following sites:
    But can't post an image from another site.
    Again, makes no sense.
    But to be clear, I won't press the issue further - linking to an image is also not allowed as you said

    So I'm assuming this also includes the simple basic code that this forum uses to embed an image ?
    Example -
    bigstock-test-icon-63758263-620x620.jpg

    Is also not allowed ? lol.
    Oh well. Just trying to make life easier on myself - I'll do it with another operating system if and when I have
    images to post.

    I had this same debate not long ago with another site, but as it turns out they wanted everything uploaded
    at their site instead of from another source because of property issues.
    When you upload it on their site - it becomes their property. If it's hotlinked from another site it isn't.
    I wouldn't lose a thing because whatever I post is backed up on my system as well.
    If the forum vanishes, I still have it - if the image host vanishes, I still have it.
    And since the "meat and potatoes" of a thread is never the images but the text it isn't relevant.
    It's great for posting a chart to show something working or not working - but aside from that it isn't important
    to the posts at all.
    Anyway, enough said - thanks for the information.
     
  10. gizmotron

    gizmotron Well-Known Member Founding Member

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    The West Coast of USA, RV'ing
    trans-formed:
    testicles.png
     
  11. Admin Team

    Admin Team Administrators Admins

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    That would suggest it somehow is the OS indeed. What error do you get when you try to use the Upload a File feature on Windows XP? Or does it simply not work without producing an error? Can you please provide a screenshot of this?

    We appreciate you go the extra step to do that. That being said, we'd still like to try and resolve this for you without requiring you to take that extra step. But to have any chance of success with that, we need to better understand exactly where the feature is failing for you.

    We already explained this. There are more images in threads then all the other embedded media combined since members post images all the time. Also, images are much smaller in size than videos for example, so they're not too costly for us to host and therefore the trade-off is well worth it. If other embedded media becomes as popular as images, then we'll also look into having them attached instead of embedded for the same reasons.

    It is not and we have just disabled the bbcode for it.

    We really appreciate that, but we also want to help make it easier on you as well after this change, so please do help us debug this because for all we know, there may be a simple fix on either end for the upload feature to work for you on Windows XP.

    They would be mistaken because the simple act of uploading an image to a site does not change copyright ownership. We cannot speak for the other site, but in our case it's to ensure threads are preserved as-is and are not eventually littered with broken images as we mentioned previously.

    The more backups there are of content, the better, so this is good.

    Some threads are actually very image-heavy, and images certainly convey a lot more information than text, which is why many members go through the extra steps of incorporating images to begin with. They are often times a very valuable addition to a post precisely because of how much information they convey (worth a thousand words and all that), so risking them disappearing when there is a simple solution to prevent that is simply not worth it in our view so we cannot risk that.

    You are welcome, but we are still keen on continuing to assist you so that the "Upload a File" feature works for you, so please do let us know about exactly where and how it's failing for you. We can't promise we can get it to work on your XP system, but we can promise to try.
     
  12. Karen Nathan

    Karen Nathan Well-Known Member

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    What you said DOES make a lot of sense. For instance, when Tinypic suddenly went out of business, someone's Avatar that used Tinypic went poof forever and his Avatar was actually a very interesting Avatar. Now it just reads,"Picture not available," where his interesting Avatar was for YEARS before Tinypic went out of business. Shame he permanently abandoned that website after unfairly being accused of being one of my Socks(He wasn't)so he was never able to just do redo the interesting Avatar using Google Photos or something.
     

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