To be clear, this would only apply to images uploaded through the new UI.

As time goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult to go back through our answers to find all images because of the number of answers, and some images could be buried in post history. Currently, there's also no way to search these out even in the visible revision.

What I would like is an interface that lists the images that have been uploaded, including a copyable link to make it easy to repost; and also a set of links to the user's posts where the image is embedded.

I envision this feature as a new tab on the user profile page. Whether this would be displayed publicly (in read-only mode) is open to discussion.

To see if this feature is really necessary, I created a Data Explorer query to find out as best I could.

The current total across the Trilogy is 1,276 images (between Aug 13/10 and Aug 31/10 inclusive), with about 18% of users uploading more than 1 image (172/931, not counting same users on different sites).

There are several data issues I should mention:

  • This data only counts Stack Overflow, SuperUser, ServerFault, and Meta Stack Overflow. This could, in fact, be but a tiny portion of uploads as compared to the Photography Stack Exchange site, for example.
  • Only visible post revisions are counted (this is a consequence of the data dump format).
  • Duplicates of the same image are not accounted for.
  • This includes images uploaded to imgur.com independently of the site. For comparison, I ran the query for the period Aug 1 to Aug 13 and there were 96 imgur.com uploads. I would imagine those independent uploads will all but disappear with the direct site uploading.

So, what does that tell us? With a small data set, we're looking at about 2,500 image uploads in a month (likely to increase; see also the first point above), and the total uploads will only ever increase. No, this won't be a useful feature for users who register, ask 1 question, then never post again, but as I've shown, of those who upload images, a significant (18%) number will find this useful the more they participate in the site. (There are currently about a dozen users with >= 5 image uploads.)

I don't necessarily think this is a top-priority request (given Photography, it could be), but down the road, it will definitely be needed, so I'm putting it out there now.

  • 2
    Yep, I uploaded an image here on Meta just two days ago, wrote a few paragraphs about it, and then, before posting, I realized that it could be somewhat improved, uploaded a different version, and posted my question. The original image is of no use to myself or anyone, never has been, and never will be, but I don't have the slightest idea how to find out where it resides so I can delete it. – ЯegDwight Sep 18 '10 at 22:01
  • I always wonder what happens to the orphans that I've left behind《 technically not an orphan anymore, but you get what I mean. I intentionally uploaded that image 4x and kept the links, and now only 1 image is not an orphan. The others are: QP1zA.jpg, FksDS.jpg, iUaA8.jpg, all at i.stack.imgur.com. Those last 3 are not referenced anywhere on the network, will check back – bobobobo Nov 21 '19 at 13:32

Isn't the point of having the images "self hosted" to avoid broken image links? If now users start to delete their images this advantage is lost. Currently a image, once uploaded, cannot be broken by the users and this is a good thing.

If some text in a post is no longer relevant or in bad taste and edited out of the post, it is still visible in the revision history. There is no reason to treat images differently. Old revisions should show how the post looked then, and modifying the contained pictures would conflict with that.

To purge unused pictures it would be easiest to just delete everything that isn't referenced in any posting. There is no reason this would need to be done manually by the users.

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    Your answer focuses on only half of my request. Okay, I agree -- allowing deletion also wouldn't work because other users can copy image links and put them in their own posts: deletion would break those posts in the process. I have edited the question to remove that request. – Jon Seigel Sep 19 '10 at 14:36

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