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This "image too small" limit is very frustrating:

For reference the image I tried to attach is 320px x 129px.

You're forcing me to add whitespace to my image, why?!

Please remove the limit, lower it to something sensible, or take into account that one side is larger than 160px (which would still result in a poor user experience, IMO).

This issue appears to be on the new internal image hosting being tested on a few sites rather than Imgur.

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    This is a bug (or misfeature), not a feature request, in the new upload code that's, currently, only available on some SE sites (i.e., ones that upload to the new i.sstatic.net domain). There is no such restriction on uploads to i.stack.imgur.com. I have uploaded multiple images in the past that are well under 160px. For example, this public domain icon that is 32px by 32px, which I uploaded in 2016, and just re-uploaded a few minutes ago in the answer box on this question.
    – Makyen
    Commented Apr 5 at 5:22
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    @Makyen This was on Server Fault Commented Apr 5 at 5:23
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    See: "Stack Exchange’s image hosting arrangement with Imgur is ending - advance notice" There's no list of sites, but it's at least on Server Fault and Mathematics.
    – Makyen
    Commented Apr 5 at 5:24
  • Hm. I think MSE is the old uploader -@DannyBeckett could you try uploading here first and confirming it's the new SE upload rather then a network wide problem? The new upload thinggie doesn't have the powered by imgur splash below Commented Apr 5 at 6:01
  • @JourneymanGeek I've just tested and I was able to attach a small image to MSE Commented Apr 5 at 6:08
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    If there needs to be an dimension limit, at least those limits need to be way smaller.
    – rene
    Commented Apr 5 at 7:13
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    I agree, 160px is an arbitrary restriction, especially in the case of dealing with icons as noted. (Sidebar about windows popup error messages: You can actually Ctrl+C on a lot of Windows popups like that to get the text, so transcribing should only be Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V)
    – Robotnik
    Commented Apr 6 at 10:14
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    If we're looking for a minimum size to permit, then I'm fairly sure that I've uploaded and legitimately used in posts images which are at least down to 16px by 16px, and probably down to 6px by 6px (e.g., a single character). Given that including in posts images that have been uploaded doesn't give data on its usage back to anyone not directly associated with Stack Overflow (i.e., non-staff), I don't see a reason to have a limit. In other words, uploading a 1px by 1px image to use as a tracking image doesn't provide any information benefit to anyone other than Stack Overflow, the company.
    – Makyen
    Commented Apr 6 at 14:41
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    @Makyen Exactly. The User Experience(UX) Stack Exchange site has questions regarding image and icon minimum sizes. I imagine small images are quite important to that community.
    – Booga Roo
    Commented Apr 7 at 2:21
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    The upload size restriction should be smaller or non-existent. While there are cases where the image's contents are better transcribed, there are cases where that is not applicable, and sometimes non-text aspects of an otherwise transcribable image are relevant and important clues to the true nature of the problem. Commented Apr 8 at 14:46

4 Answers 4

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As Slate mentioned, we had initially restricted the size requirement due to a new set of platform safety features we had implemented. However, we saw that limiting the size of uploads in this way heavily affected users and functionality.

As such, we have removed the minimum image size restriction and added additional tools to ensure Trust & Safety goals. While I cannot go into detail about those tools, we are confident that this change will still provide the desired preventative measures while allowing standard workflows for community members.

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I ran into the same issue attempting to attach part of a datasheet while trying to answer dual power supply - digital line current limiting on the Electrical Engineering stack, following the move to using https://i.sstatic.net as the external image provider:

enter image description here

While the comments on this question say that for error messages you can transcribe the text, and that is true for my above example where trying to paste part of a formatted table from a datasheet, sometimes I may want to paste some information from a graph or block diagram from a datasheet. I.e. just because an image may be small, doesn't mean all images can be easily transcribed as text.

Also, the dialog to upload an image mentions the maximum image size (in bytes) but doesn't list the minimum size in pixels:

Supported file types: jpeg, png, gif, or bmp (Max size 2 MiB)

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just a quick update here, and either @bellablue or @slate will provide more context and info soon.... the size restrictions have been lifted and small images should now upload fine.

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  • Is there a reason this hasn't been retagged as completed yet, or is it just an oversight? Commented Apr 23 at 8:50
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    @Sonic my own wonder is why a new answer, instead of just a simple edit of the existing answer by Slate. But as for the tag, probably that's something up to the developer who fixed it, or perhaps a CM, to do. (i.e. not something management should be doing) Commented Apr 23 at 10:10
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I wanted to provide y'all a short update on this issue, because it's been a bit - and it might be a bit longer still. We are still working on it. First, a little background.

The 160x160 minimum image size is a potential requirement for a new set of platform safety features, which we are implementing as part of our new image uploader. The safety feature in question makes it significantly harder for people to upload policy-violating content, e.g. CSAM, photos depicting graphically violent acts, and other content that does not belong on Stack Exchange. In a certain sense, therefore, it's by design. (Not only that, I should say we're downright proud to have a solution that helps make image uploads significantly safer!) But I also want to acknowledge that 160x160 is rather large, and we'd ideally like to lower the minimum size considerably.

For now, all I can say is that we're looking into solutions - I'm not going to tag it . We certainly see the use case for images smaller than 160x160, and we are working to find a solution that allows for smaller uploads. But you should know that this one is going to take a bit for us to stew on, because we really need to take some time to review our options. Don't expect an immediate update here, but know that we're aware of the issue and are evaluating approaches to addressing it. Thanks for your patience.

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    Sorry, but how does requiring images at least 160x160 helps to prevent bad images and "makes the upload safer"?? Can you please give any sources to this claim? Second, if this is really the case, how a service like imgur does not have such limitations? Sorry again but this reason makes zero sense to me. Commented Apr 15 at 19:09
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    @Shadow Not sure where the tone is coming from, but I am not claiming images larger than 160x160 are somehow inherently safer (if I had to guess I'd say the opposite is probably true - unsafe images are probably more common above 160x160). It's that the detection method we are using may need images to be larger than 160x160 in order to classify them appropriately. But we need to take time to investigate those requirements (and other options) more thoroughly. As far as what Imgur is doing - well, I can't tell you that. I don't work there. ;)
    – Slate StaffMod
    Commented Apr 15 at 19:17
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    The tone comes from mistrust and disappointment, simple as that. Not you personally, the company in general, that now choose to use some fancy AI image recognition and it will cause lots of valid images to be blocked. Sure, it will block more bad images. But it will also block many valid images, and the blanket block of images smaller than 160px is just part of that. And sadly, it's just a part of an ever growing chain of such decisions, that I find bad. It might be just me, and I do try to keep the tone fair, but I can't change the way I feel. Commented Apr 15 at 19:37
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    @Slate Maybe it would make more sense to say "The 160x160 size limit is a requirement imposed by software we're using as a safety feature"? Commented Apr 15 at 19:37
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    @Shadow I don't see a reason to believe safety systems are going to block "lots of valid images." We are using long-trusted and standard industry methods. If you notice a significant proportion of uploads being incorrectly blocked, I'd encourage you to report it, because that is absolutely a bug or system issue, and means the system is doing something highly unexpected. The current issue with images smaller than 160x160 is a software limitation we are hoping to resolve once we have reviewed the options in more detail.
    – Slate StaffMod
    Commented Apr 15 at 19:40
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    @Bryan Before I can say that with certainty, we need to wrap up some discussions and explore a few more options. But I will try to make the language a bit clearer.
    – Slate StaffMod
    Commented Apr 15 at 19:42
  • @Slate unlike what the announcement says, the new upload isn't active here on MSE yet, so I can't check the proportion of valid images being blocked, I'm active only here, but I will do once you apply the new upload here. Quick example from the top of my head: images like those in the top answer to this question will probably get blocked when classified as "not fitting", and that is a mild example. Yes, some people find such images inappropriate but all those years SE did allow them, and each site should decide on its own. Commented Apr 15 at 19:59
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    @Shadow None of the images in that post are blocked by the new safety feature. I just tested all of them. Again, these safety features are targeted at preventing serious abuse.
    – Slate StaffMod
    Commented Apr 15 at 20:01
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    "Don't expect an immediate update here, but know that we're aware of the issue and are evaluating approaches to addressing it. Thanks for your patience." this is making a large number of images posted to tex.stackexchange unpostable, it is very common to need to show the output of one or two lines of output text and almost always if you select a region and paste in you hit this limit and have to repost with pointless white space. Please could the restriction be removed while you evaluate options rather than making the site so difficult to use while you do the evaluation? Commented Apr 15 at 20:07
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    @David I will bring this up as a possibility at the next team meeting, but I can't make a promise about it. I do suspect that if we're close to finding a way forward the answer will be "just hold on for a little, we'll get there."
    – Slate StaffMod
    Commented Apr 15 at 20:10
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    Yep, the minimum size for PhotoDNA, a common free-use checker for known CSAM content, is 160x160 pixels. (cc @ShadowWizardLoveZelda) Commented Apr 15 at 20:39
  • Perhaps a solution could be to check whether the images are actually being used on a StackExchange post? If people are using the Post Question form to upload dodgy images, then copying & pasting the Markdown to another unrelated site, and discarding their question draft - could you just delete the images? And rely on the review queues to flag dodgy images? At least for now… Commented Apr 15 at 23:26
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog, 160x160 isn't an inherent limitation of the PhotoDNA algorithm; it'll work on any image 26x26 or larger. The problem is that as the image gets smaller, the probability of the initial rescaling step causing a false negative goes up.
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 16 at 2:03
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    @DannyBeckett - I have long thought that uploaded images should go to a "drafts" bucket (that is periodically purged) until the post is actually submitted, when the image can be moved to the "always available" bucket. However that would potentially lock out users who use the post uploader just to get a link to share in the comments.
    – Robotnik
    Commented Apr 23 at 1:15
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    I understand the desire to protect users, mods and staff from disturbing imagery in the first place, but we've generally done alright with human/community flags and kicking stuff up to the community team. I wonder if a temporary compromise would be to use the filtering system for bigger images, and leave it to the community to deal with what it misses, either by size or other reasons. Commented Apr 24 at 0:17

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