I assume, that Stack Exchange have some clean-up subsystem, which deletes all "abandoned" images (stored at i.sstatic.net), that is, all of them, that were initially uploaded, but no post is actually having link to them. Am I right?

If such subsystem is implemented and is doing its job on regular basis, then what about following scenario:

  1. Start a new question or answer, anywhere.

  2. Hit button and upload an image.

  3. Copy generated image's URL to clipboard.

  4. Close tab and drop editing post.

  5. Go to question on answer, you actually planned to reply.

  6. Post a comment to it and paste copied image's URL from clipboard to comment's body.

Will uploaded image, with URL pasted only to comment, be kept permanent? Does clean-up subsystem (if exitst) take care of checking for image's URLs in comments as well?

  • 6
    To the best of my knowledge, Stack Exchange has no such clean-up system. Once an image is uploaded to i.stack.imgur.com, it will remain there indefinitely unless it must be removed for administrative reasons (e.g. a DMCA takedown notice). I don’t remember the source for this, though.
    – icktoofay
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 7:46
  • 2
    I also don't have any source, but to be honest with you, I have a hard time believing in something like this. Without such clean-up system, with allowing to keep uploaded images indefinitely, without checking, if particular uploaded image is somehow related to Stack Exchange, then people would soon start to use it as their one, free, photo upload system for purposes not related at all to SE, and bloated stack.imgur.com with TB of garbage. Don't forget, that there's a notice under http://stack.imgur.com/, that this is "commercial Imgur installation".
    – trejder
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 8:29
  • 3
    Balpha says they don't: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/137048/… Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 8:37
  • 1
    @psubsee2003 Well... then, I think, you can add an answer to this question, saying, that links / images pasted to comments should be kept forever and link to that Balpha's answer. However, this is one of the strangest thing, I found on SE up till today...
    – trejder
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 8:43
  • @trejder It might be a good idea to have a feature-request for a clean-up script for images that no longer link to any posts (that are not deleted). Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 14:57
  • I don't think they should be removed, I often want to link to an image in a comment or similar - I don't want those removed.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 20:37
  • @ghosts_in_the_code SE exists for past six years or even more and probably allows image uploads through imgur.com for that long. If obsolete images, not used in any kind of SE-related content would poses any problem to SE team, they would most likely implemented such feature years ago. In my understanding, they think, that coding time spent on writing and testing something isn't simply worth this.
    – trejder
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 21:19
  • @Tim Notice, that my question suggests, that I'm also willing to keep them alive, if they're only put to comments. I think, that if ever such clean-up mechanism would come to a live, it would secure (not delete) images' links used in any kind of SE-related content: questions, answers, comments, bio's pages etc. etc.
    – trejder
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 21:20
  • 4
    Does this answer your question? Including images in comments: Is it fine to use imgur link in the comments? Commented Nov 1, 2020 at 2:09

1 Answer 1


Since 2010 Stack Exchange has had a "pro" account at IMGUR, making images uploaded via the native "image upload button" last indefinitely unless, of course, it violates some policy.

So, uploading and not using the image in a post, but in a comment instead, makes no difference here.

  • 1
    As an aside: since February 2015, all Imgur accounts are Pro.
    – Arjan
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 23:27
  • @Arjan That statement became inaccurate technically in 2019: they reinstated a Pro tier, but retained benefits given to free users in 2015, including no expiration. Commented Nov 1, 2020 at 8:35

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