I've globally disabled images/Flash/videos in my browser (due to low-speed internet in my village), and there are missing many things on SE.

Neither vote buttons are shown:

No vote buttons

Nor main top-bar buttons, and, what's more, I have problems while I'm writing these sentences, as I can't see the editor buttons at all:

No editor buttons

So, at least, include alt or title attributes for <img> tags. Also, notice that many buttons' texts are white 100% (Maybe it's good that with background: imageUrl css tag, there was also additional Background-color tag, which will be used when image's are not loaded).

Some have encouraged to enable images on first load of site, but the problem is that I have disabled flash/videos/images globally in browser for all sites, and if I even enable images on first load, and then again disable it, then the browser won't show anything still (it doesn't matter if the images are cached already or not).

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    That would really only be beneficial on the first fetch, after that the images only return a 304 Not Modified, and some are even not fetched at all. – rene Aug 10 '16 at 12:53
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    That's a Stack Overflow developer. And his tweet is spot on. Your bug report is nonsensical; there's no way to make images display if you've disabled image display. – bjb568 Aug 14 '16 at 1:37
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not a bug. Result of disabling images is site shows no images. Of course :-) – Rory Alsop Aug 21 '17 at 10:09
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    He is not asking that images are displayed with images disabled. He is asking for the buttons to be still visible in some alternative way when images are disabled. Still, SO does good use of caching, so I don't agree with the need to fix this. – Pablo Jun 21 '18 at 16:37

Consider switching to the mobile web interface (by clicking the "mobile" link in the page footer). I just tested it (by turning images off in my Firefox for Android), and it seems to be fully functional even without images.

As a bonus, the mobile view is optimized for low-bandwidth mobile connections, so it's likely to load faster than the usual desktop version of SE regardless of whether you disable images or not. The down side is that the mobile view lacks some features of the full site view, such as live Markdown preview and the Hot Network Questions sidebar (although some people might consider the absence of the latter a feature).

  • Actually, that's not quite right solution. I dont want to disable JAVASCRIPT (live MarkDown Preview), just images are disabled in BROWSER. – T.Todua Aug 14 '16 at 17:34

Aside from the question about whether such a thing is useful or not, this is also something you can fix yourself relatively easy. For example you can load this style in your browser:

.vote-up-off,  .vote-down-off {
    text-indent: 0;
    font-size': 14px;

or if you need more jQuery (we all need more jQuery!):

$('.vote-up-off, .vote-down-off').css({'text-indent': 0, 'font-size': '14px'});

There are more things to fix, and you could perhaps use the content style to use fancy unicode icons to make it a bit more like the original with images. But this should give you a start.

Good luck!


I am wondering which problem you are trying to solve.

The content of images are just loaded once, every time the browser asks the server if they have been updated (and they have a 7-day cache policy as mentioned by Nick Craver). If not, the content is not sent! SE is moving more and more to SVG, which aren't real images any more.

And also, if you choose to disable images, javascript, etc. that isn't really the problem of SE. I don't think is it useful to invest a lot of time, just because you don't want the initial download of images.

  • here are the re-load results from this page after it's initial load, with the network throttled on GPRS: i.stack.imgur.com/iKSt9.png – rene Aug 10 '16 at 13:40
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    So it is mostly statistics, a few sprites, and the post images. The core images just take a few ms. – Patrick Hofman Aug 10 '16 at 13:42
  • Yeah, but there is still a request going out per resource but I don't expect they want to change that as they can update the site while live, which might require new/fresh image / svg files – rene Aug 10 '16 at 13:44
  • So that isn't important right? The 304 will take care of that as you see in your diagnostics. – Patrick Hofman Aug 10 '16 at 13:45
  • Yeah, but the 304 is still an http call, while the (from cache) ones don't require any network traffic at all. So from the OP's perspective they would want to see the number of (from cache) increased. – rene Aug 10 '16 at 13:48
  • Not from my POV. I think OP doesn't want to have any images since he thinks that will minimize network load. But it doesn't. – Patrick Hofman Aug 10 '16 at 13:50
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    @PatrickHofman no , you are not right. Once i disable images/script in my browser (from settings), i dont want each time i firstly visit any particular domain, to enable the images on first load, then disable it.. and so, i should play all time i visit some domains first time.. – T.Todua Aug 10 '16 at 17:40
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    The 304s mentioned here are people in dev tools, not normal pageloads. We have and use proper cache breakers. Static content is cached for 7 days, check the headers yourself: Cache-Control: max-age=604800. What problem are we trying to solve here? A 7 day cache and breakers seems far more than reasonable to me. – Nick Craver Aug 11 '16 at 13:29
  • Indeed, and that for a few bytes @Nick – Patrick Hofman Aug 11 '16 at 13:38
  • well, if you havent read my posts fully, then you cant understand. the problem is not "few bytes", but the problem is that i cant everytime enable/disable the option whenever i visit certain domains first time. thanks anyway – T.Todua Aug 12 '16 at 9:13
  • Sorry, but I still fail to see the use of that. The initial few bytes extra you get, is that the issue? Why would you disable images? – Patrick Hofman Aug 12 '16 at 9:16
  • i have exhausted with arguing and cant talk anymore with you, sorry, seems you dont understand that. whenever person disables images in browser globally , then browser wont load images at all, doesnt matter if they are cached or not. – T.Todua Aug 12 '16 at 9:22
  • You could disable Javascript too. Would you argue SE should make a site that works with JS disabled? Images are a core part of the UI, if you disable them it is on you. – Patrick Hofman Aug 12 '16 at 9:29
  • hm.. so, you cant see the difference with JAVASCRIPT disabling and FLESH/IMAGES disabling? quite seems you havent understand my problem, and didnt read. and what's more, do what you want, i just described the drawback of SE, i dont have huge problem with it. – T.Todua Aug 12 '16 at 9:42
  • SE doesn't use Flash, so it are just images. The only reason you give for disabling them is that the internet speed is low, which is only a problem the first time you visit a page. SE works with images, that is how they built it. If you don't like it, then don't use it. – Patrick Hofman Aug 12 '16 at 9:48

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