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How many images are hosted by stack.imgur.com that aren't referenced by any questions of the SE network?

Two possible situations that may lead to abandoned images:

  1. I write many questions containing images that never actually get asked (researching while writing to form a good question often leads me to figure out my issue). I'm sure I'm not the only one.

  2. Questions containing images get removed from SE.

Do these two situations lead to unreferenced images, and if so, is there a way to find out how many such images there are?

  • 1
    I think that possibility #1 is definitely an interesting scenario (for answers too). Another take on #1 would be a set of images that was uploaded but didn't make it to the final cut of the post. I think that #2, those images should probably remain in case the Question is undeleted for whatever reason. – Travis J Nov 20 '14 at 2:26
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    Note that images in chat are also in i.stack.imgur.com. Garbage collection on this resource is non-trivial. – user213963 Nov 20 '14 at 2:33
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    To answer both: boatloads and no way to find out. – Martijn Pieters Nov 20 '14 at 8:13
  • Actually you are supposed to self-answer questions you figured out while posting, since someone else might not be as lucky. – Tobias Kienzler Nov 20 '14 at 11:38
  • @TobiasKienzler Not if it was found to be a duplicate before being posted. – Scimonster Nov 20 '14 at 14:07
  • @Scimonster That actually depends on how similar they are; duplicates that are hard to spot immediately are actually encouraged for searchability - though in that case one should of course not copy the answer but flag/dupe-close – Tobias Kienzler Nov 20 '14 at 14:14
  • Related (this will help finding such abandoned images) – Shadow9 Nov 20 '14 at 14:35
  • @MichaelT Wow. That would probably be the main cause for abandoned images, I would guess. Interesting. – simont Nov 21 '14 at 0:23
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    @simont is a transcript in chat 'abandoned'? – user213963 Nov 21 '14 at 2:19
  • @simont also consider the "how much does it cost to host 100kb (for eternity)?" vs "how much does it cost to go in and remove an image?" along with the "how risky is it to leave an image for eternity" and "how risky is it to remove an image?". I believe the cost is very small fractions of a penny. – user213963 Nov 21 '14 at 19:12

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