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Imgur has published new Terms of Service to take effect on May 15th. Of specific note for us is:

removing old, unused, and inactive content that is not tied to a user account

Historically it was fairly easy to upload content to Imgur as an anonymous user and link to it from a post here. It's not clear that these links will necessarily disappear, but it's easy to imagine a post that hasn't been visited in a year having its image(s) removed, so the safest thing to do is to re-host all Imgur pictures (at least those not belonging to a user's gallery) to Stack Exchange's Imgur instance. (That is, images with a URL of i.imgur.com need to be moved to i.stack.imgur.com.)

There is a query that can be run to find posts potentially needing fixes. Note that not all of these need to be changed; some links are to user gallery images that presumably are safe, and they should especially be left if the link is given in the post as attribution. If an image is larger than the SE 2MB size limit for images, I would suggest uploading a downscaled image to be hosted locally while preserving the link to the original as a click-through, at least until someone comes up with a better plan.

(Background: This Meta post about the change.)

Personally I've found the easiest approach is to use the "insert image" tool at the same location in the post and supply the old Imgur link as the source. Make sure you copy the alt text to the new link, and delete the old one. (If there isn't alt text, you could even add it. Hint, prod.) Note that if the old image link isn't "https" then the editor won't accept it; just rewrite "http" to "https" and it should work.

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  • Given that you've a) identified a relatively small problem and b) already started fixing it without waiting for a response, I'm uncertain why this merited a meta. Just fix it
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 20:12
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    @Valorum I thought it was polite to give advance warning/explanation; 150+ updated posts in a couple of weeks isn't a completely trivial amount of churn. I was also hoping that explaining the situation might lead to some volunteers to help. Also having this posted can help if there's any pushback from people objecting to the changes.
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 20:16
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    Fair enough. Since our rule about swamping the front page with edits went out the window, I'd (personally) just spend an hour sorting it and then it's done
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 20:17
  • Out of curiosity, how come there are images hosted on imgur instead of i.stack.imgur? Is it because that's where images posted on Stack Exchange used to be hosted a long time ago?
    – Clockwork
    Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 10:17
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    @Clockwork - I believe Scifi.SE was established after the Stack-Imgur agreement. Usually it's because someone didn't know how to use the uploader, or because it was already hosted there, or because it was too large to upload to i.stack.imgur.
    – Mithical
    Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 10:21
  • Replaced one image at scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/246125/is-steve-rogers-dead.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 11:40

2 Answers 2

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We can save all these images ASAP — without swamping the front page

One post bumped. We can extract all the old Imgur links (which can be automated) and put them in an answer here, under this meta post. Then we upload each image and put that URL next to the original link (again on Meta).

Surely this is less disruptive than editing each individual post on main before the deadline. It's also both faster and easier.

While we all know any image with naked elbows will surely get deleted (in what is now irony, I saw someone on Imgur a few months ago complaining about some other system's automated detection), we don't know if any other images will be affected. If any images did break we would easily be able to check (since they're all in one place) and replace them. It'll hopefully not be too many that go.

I've already done this entire process twice, once on ELU, and again on ELL; see either post for an example.

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    I don't understand how people viewing a question or answer with a missing image are supposed to divine that they're supposed to go to a particular question on meta, scroll through a list of a hundred or so things, and magically find the new link their image lives at?
    – Martha
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 21:27
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    @Martha They're not. This just buys us more time to edit.
    – Laurel
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 21:48
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    @Martha This process is to archive these images so that they can be edited back in even if they are deleted on May 15, 2023. However, this is now unnecessary for most of these images since Glorfindel has made a script that has reuploaded most of them to SE Imgur. This leaves us with less than 30 images to fix and reupload in SF&F SE. Commented May 1, 2023 at 12:11
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Good news! Most of these images have been successfully reuploaded to SE Imgur.

This is thanks to Glorfindel’s efforts — you can read more details on their Meta SE post at: Imgur TOS change on May 15th 2023 could cause the loss of thousands of Stack Exchange images!

Note that Glorfindel’s script has not fixed any posts yet; it has only reuploaded images. Follow their answer on the relevant Meta SE post for updates on whether it will fix the posts. Based on what Glorfindel wrote, it seems that it would need the help of SE staff to mass edit all the affected posts in the SE network. The Meta SE post has been marked , so the affected posts are likely to be fixed soon. Therefore, there’s no need to manually fix posts or reupload the associated images that have already been uploaded by Glorfindel’s script.

Some media could not be reuploaded to SE Imgur by Glorfindel's script

…because they exceeded the 2 MiB file size limit, were in unsupported formats (GIFV, MP4, WEBP), or have been deleted from Imgur. For SF&F SE, there are only 30 failed reuploads to SE Imgur (2 in the child meta), so we should focus our efforts on editing those images (or looking for copies/alternatives if they've been deleted) to fit SE Imgur's requirements.


List of failed reuploads

These are the failed reuploads at the time Glorfindel's script ran in SF&F SE (Image URLs and failure info are from the results of Glorfindel’s script). The list excludes fixed media — media that have been converted to 2 MiB or less, converted to an SE Imgur–compatible format, or for which a replacement has been found (if deleted), and then reuploaded and edited into their associated posts.

As of 2023-05-08, 29 out of the 32 media have been fixed. (Good work, everyone!)

If you have fixed the media and their associated posts, please remove their respective entries in the table. If there's an issue preventing the fixing of the associated posts, please note it in the "Notes" column of the table. (This post has been made a Community wiki post, so anyone can edit it.)

Media Post Failure Notes
https://i.imgur.com/64pkj4n.jpg In Primer, how do you physically get in the box? FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached. can't find an archive copy of the image
https://i.imgur.com/FZxb1mj.mp4 Sheet music shown in Picard S3 end credits: what song is this? FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached. video with audio; unsupported by SE Imgur
https://i.imgur.com/jBwJzeu.png unknown APIException: Image uploads are limited to 2 MiB; please use a smaller image can't find associated post

Some notes on converting:

• For quick conversion, you can use XnShell (Windows only): it adds a few neat Shell Extension (right-click file menu) options.

• JPGs > 2 MiB can be made ≤ 2 MiB by saving them at a lower quality. Some image editing software, such as Irfanview, have a 'set file size' functionality. Setting it at 2048 KiB (= 2 MiB) should work.

• PNGs > 2 MiB can usually be made ≤ 2 MiB by saving them to JPG. Setting quality = 95 usually works.

• Imgur GIFV videos also have a GIF version in a similar URL pattern. E.g., https://i.imgur.com/example.gifvhttps://i.imgur.com/example.gif

• GIFs > 2 MiB are a bit trickier to edit. Using a GIF optimizer such as this one, it may be possible to lessen its filesize to ≤ 2 MiB by doing one or more of the following: resizing it to have lower resolution (SE only shows 650px max width on embedded images), color reduction to reduce colors to 128, lossy GIF compression, cutting its frames in half by removing every 2nd frame then slowing it down to 50% to get back to previous speed.

• Another alternative is to archive the post using services such as: Internet Archive Wayback Machine and archive.today, so that the images in it can be edited back later. Note that this will only archive the image if it is embedded into the post. If it is linked but not embedded into the post you will need to archive the original Imgur URL, e.g., https://i.imgur.com/example.gif.

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  • Note that this appears to only account for images that are actually included in the post as an image; plain links to i.imgur.com hosted images have not been migrated. See scifi.stackexchange.com/a/146567/101407 for an example (2nd link in the answer).
    – DavidW
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 21:58
  • @DavidW I believe Glorfindel's script covers linked, non-embedded images. The example you gave was successfully reuploaded by Glorfindel's script. Commented May 2, 2023 at 5:44
  • It may have been uploaded, but the post wasn't fixed. The evidence is right there.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 13:15
  • @DavidW Glorfindel’s script currently has not yet fixed any posts but has only reuploaded images. I’d follow their answer at the relevant Meta SE post for updates on whether it will fix the posts. Based on what Glorfindel wrote, it seems that it would need the help of SE staff to mass edit the posts. Commented May 2, 2023 at 13:55
  • @Valorum That would indeed be more useful, but that's also more work. Someone would have to manually find and add the associated post for each of those Imgur links to the table. Also, the links in the “URL” column are not dead links; they are supposed to lead to the post(s) associated with the media file by linking to the search results of the Imgur URL. If there is no search result, perhaps the media has already been edited out or fixed in their respective posts. Which links did you find to be “dead links”? Commented May 4, 2023 at 2:28
  • @Valorum That's been fixed: How many references to time are there in the first 10 minutes of Back to the Future? (I've now removed its entry from the table.) Commented May 7, 2023 at 1:21
  • Since the remainder was starting to look like a "what Valorum did now" list, I've fixed everything with the exception of the two that we can't associate with a post.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 22:11
  • This one (i.imgur.com/jBwJzeu.png) is only returning this post as a result on Google
    – Valorum
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 22:12

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