We have a quite a few old posts with hotlinked images (they predate the SE imgur account). The problem with these posts is that the image at the original URI is beyond our control, and can be taken down at any time. What that leaves you with is an ugly non sequitur of an alt text in an otherwise nice question/answer.

Is it a good idea to automatically start pulling inline images in posts predating August 2010 (the ones that are still online, anyway) into the imgur account? That way we don't have to worry about potentially decent posts turning into this.

Note: IANAL, so I haven't really considered the legal ramifications of this. If you foresee legal issues, please feel free to point them out.


1 Answer 1


Not commenting on the legality of doing such (I'm not qualified to speak on such matters), there's no technical reason you couldn't edit the post yourself have imgur get the images for you in the process.

If you've somehow violated a user's right to that image in the process, we can always direct the concerned parties to the takedown notice subsection of the legal section of Stack Exchange.

  • 1
    The problem is that there is no way for me to search for posts that have hotlinked images in them until I come by them naturally, and even if there was I would not want to go on an editing spree just to relink images. What is wrong with automating the process?
    – user200500
    Jan 8, 2013 at 12:42
  • @Asad You can always take the data dump, use an HTML parser to go through each of the posts that meet a specific date criteria, and extract the relevant urls (post and image) from that. It's not difficult.
    – casperOne
    Jan 8, 2013 at 12:43
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    You have a very strange definition of "not difficult".
    – user200500
    Jan 8, 2013 at 12:44
  • @Asad To each their own, I don't know your technology of choice, but I know I could probably have something done in .NET that would produce the posts that need to be fixed up in about 15-30 minutes.
    – casperOne
    Jan 8, 2013 at 12:46
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    How long would it take you to fix up the posts? Would you be up for doing something as tedious as that manually (for no particular reason)?
    – user200500
    Jan 8, 2013 at 12:52
  • @Asad Depends on the number of posts. But no, I'm not up for doing all of it, but I'd contribute to it. There are calls-to-action all the time to help clean up the site. I understand this is a feature request, but given the chances of this being implemented (just look for everything else tagged feature-request as well as think of all the things that they have planned internally) are low, I'm trying to give you and the community a direction to do this for yourself.
    – casperOne
    Jan 8, 2013 at 12:55
  • Good point. I guess that is one option; I'll look into extracting that list.
    – user200500
    Jan 8, 2013 at 12:57

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