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tl;dr Spam or rude or abusive images are deleted automatically, mistakenly uploaded images with sensitive data are not and must wait for moderator mercy. I'm not happy with this state of affairs.

Do we need a script or tool that will allow any user to delete its own unlinked imgur images? Especially those that includes some sensitive data. Or is flagging a post that contained such image to moderator attention, proving that you are not insane and waiting, if a mod have mercy upon you, enough?


There is no way to remove unlinked imgur images because:

If your image contains some sensitive data or you want to delete if for any other reasons then currently the only way to do this is to flag a post that contained such image to moderator attention and having some luck or mercy on mod side.

Other remarks:

  1. Contrary to what Shoq9 explains, editing a post (and replacing image with a sensitive data) is no solution at all, because given image stays at imgur servers and anyone reading post history has access to a link that points to it

  2. Again, as Shoq9 explains, currently any request to delete an image requires moderator attention, is considered on one-by-one basis (no general rule of thumb to delete images with sensitive data) and may simply be rejected by mods.

  3. If image (containing sensitive data) stays at imgur servers forever) it can be easily found by a simple JavaScript code (here and here)

  4. You cannot request imgur directly to delete your image, because images are being uploaded by SE account and imgur team simply cannot bind your request with your image (it was not uploaded using your private account).

In my opinion this is wrong. Spam or rude or abusive images are deleted automatically and so should be possible with images that are marked by their author / poster / uploader that contains sensitive data.

My question or feature proposal assumes that an image:

  • Uploaded by me in the course of editing or writing some post
  • Not linked to any post (deleted from post or linked to a deleted post)
  • Marked by me as including sensitive data and requested by me to be deleted

Gets either deleted from imgur at once by an automated system or gets deleted always by some mod.

There must be now way to reject image delete request by human, if image was marked as containing sensitive data.

Do you agree with me? Do we need such tool, automated system or solution?

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    I'm really, really not sure why you think "proving that [you are] sane" comes into this process... and in particular, relates in any way to my answer.
    – Catija
    Jan 6, 2023 at 16:21
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    it can be easily found by a simple JavaScript code ... uh, no. You can find some random image. Unless you know the exact url you have no way to find the image. You can stumble on to it, for sure.
    – rene
    Jan 6, 2023 at 16:42
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    @Catija That's my private prank on Shog9's advice. Where said "If you convince the moderator handling the flag that you're not crazy". I find it rude and don't like it (that part of the answer).
    – trejder
    Jan 6, 2023 at 17:01
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    @rene But you do know it. Out of history. Shog9's advice says "explain why just editing it out (...) isn't good enough". It isn't. Link to a sensitive image remains in history (and image itself remains in the server, if mod refuses to delete -- as Shog9 suggests) so editing never is enough.
    – trejder
    Jan 6, 2023 at 17:10
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    @trejder I can honestly not imagine that a mod would be willing to redact the post and then refuse to ping a CM to delete the image from imgur. I can imagine I forget to ping a CM. The way you phrased both question and comments you assume malice. There is not. Stop it.
    – rene
    Jan 6, 2023 at 17:35
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    @rene I cannot imagine either. That's why I was so shocked to find Shog9 sentence "If you convince the moderator handling the flag that you're not crazy". Which clearly suggests (correct me, if I am wrong) that I might not be able to convince mod to delete my file (because he or she thinks that redacting the post is enough). It is not me who is suggesting a malice. It is not me who should stop. Sorry.
    – trejder
    Jan 6, 2023 at 18:15
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    Why does your "private prank" link to an unrelated post - my answer?
    – Catija
    Jan 6, 2023 at 19:36
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    @Catija Sorry, that was a copy-paste | time-waste. It was expected to link to Shog9's answers again, not to your post. Really sorry for that. I would relink, but I see that you have already redacted the "If you convince the moderator handling the flag that you're not crazy" part, so there is no point in re-linking. I have removed the whole sentence. For the third time - sorry, but it was certainly not an intended effect.
    – trejder
    Jan 6, 2023 at 23:30
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    @Catija Over 24 hours later since flagging and my "sensitive image" is still at imgr, still easily accessible (URL can be easily found in edit history). So... it seems that I wasn't too polite or some mod doesn't like me and the human factor does failed this time.
    – trejder
    Jan 8, 2023 at 22:01
  • I personally deleted that image at the SU mod's request and it was deleted on Friday. It's likely that if you're seeing it right now, it's because you're seeing a cached version of the image - which I can't do anything about. Here's what I see currently - i.sstatic.net/6r6S7.png
    – Catija
    Jan 9, 2023 at 14:18
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    @Catija Thank you for all your help. Yes, it seems it was a cache. Things are settled now. Thank you for taking care of this.
    – trejder
    Jan 10, 2023 at 8:17

2 Answers 2

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No, we don't need it. This happens so rarely that you can simply use the ♦ moderators / Community Managers as human exception handlers. We do that with sensitive data in a post (through ) and this situation is even rarer, so Shog9's advice is still valid:

Flag it for moderator attention, explain why you need it removed. Specifically, explain why just editing it out or deleting the post isn't good enough.

A system like you propose would take a lot of time to be developed, time that (IMHO) is better spent elsewhere.

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    I have accepted your answer, but I don't understand how development of such system would take a lot of time, if we have it ready. As in introduction to my question -- its not about developing a new system, but about re-using the existing one (that automatically deletes rude or spam images) and only allowing owner of such image to mark it as sensitive.
    – trejder
    Jan 6, 2023 at 16:59
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    "We" (users, mods) somehow tags images as rude or offending, an automated system picks images marked like that and delete them. Why can't we reuse the exactly the same system and only allow "us" (users, mods) to tag images as containing sensitive data. So they can be deleted "next round" together with all rude, spam and offending ones. What am I missing here?
    – trejder
    Jan 6, 2023 at 23:20
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    I know that we can flag moderator and ask him or her to do this manually. I know (from the Shoq answer) that those are very politely people and will always do this, what are asked for. But still... human factor is a human factor. Allowing user to tag an image at imgur's as containing sensitive data would be more permanent and sure, because would be handled by an automated system, not human. Only original poster / uploader (or mod) would be allowed to tag such image like that so I don't pretty much see a place for any kind of misuse.
    – trejder
    Jan 6, 2023 at 23:22
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First: you should understand why images are default permanent. That's worth a long discussion on its own, but the short answer is: images are never embedded in revisions here, so invalidating an image URL has the implicit effect of invalidating ALL revisions in ALL posts where that image is used. Yes, including other people's posts. Back in the early days of the site, many of us used our own websites to host images... When those sites went down, changed, got snatched by squatters... Those images disappeared. This created a LOT of headaches. Ditto for folks who used services like public imgur or Photobucket that screwed with hot links or deleted images on a schedule.

Ever come across an old thread on some forum where the solution is presented in a image, with a dozen or so replies lauding its cleverness and utility... Only to see a "this image has been removed" placeholder? We didn't want that for these sites.

Second... You fixated on the wrong paragraph of that old answer. Image deletion - redaction in general - is generally less useful on public websites than what folks imagine it will be. We ended up fixing a lot of those old, inadvertently broken images by relying on services that automatically scrape and archive images... Guess what probably already happened to your "sensitive" image (and the post that surrounds it)? Giving folks a handy delete button, even if we could prevent misuse... Would still give them a false sense of confidence in a situation where they likely need to be taking other steps to urgently mitigate the damage caused by their information being public even briefly.

As I wrote way back when...

there are no guaranteed take-backs on the 'Net. If you post your password, change it immediately. If you post something of someone else's that you weren't supposed to, apologize to them. If you're hoping to re-write your own past, get over it and write a better future instead.

Moderators will generally oblige requests to redact or delete because... They're nice people and want to help folks in any way they can, even when it won't actually help very much. IOW, it's a courtesy; hopefully it helps folks feel a little better after what is most likely a rough day of apologies and password rotation. But... It doesn't actually accomplish much of anything.

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    How should I take the following part from your answer: "(...) so invalidating an image URL has the implicit effect of invalidating ALL revisions in ALL posts where that image is used (...)"? I have "invalidated" (?) imgur's URL to the image that contains my sensitive data, by editing my question and uploading some other image (other imgur's URL). I then went to that question's history and... I can clearly see that img URL's to the sensitive image. Crossed out and replaced by the new one. How then can you claim that "images are never embedded in revisions here"? What am I missing?
    – trejder
    Jan 6, 2023 at 23:18
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    You have replaced the URL so it shows a different picture, that is not the same thing as using the same URL, but removing the image, so that the URL no longer leads to any image at all.
    – Nij
    Jan 7, 2023 at 2:23

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