On SU, there is a question from a new user, who links to an image that he is hosting on his site. The image seems to be quite relevant to the question.

When I see these sorts of situations, should I upload these images to imgur so that they don't get lost? Or would that be rude without the permission of the question asker? I guess I could leave a comment asking the OP if he would like me to upload it, perhaps also explaining that when you get 10 rep you can upload your own images.

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Possibly -- we're working on a broader solution that may automatically mirror all images across the network.

So I would say

  1. Do it if you feel the image is particularly good and central to the question (although, this implies the text is bad, since images should be a "nice to have" in almost all cases)

  2. Assume that we will be automatically backing up all images network wide in the future, and that might include rewriting the post to point to i.stack.imgur.com at some point.

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  • Maybe this is a bit overbearing, but why not prevent users from linking to offsite images to prevent link rot? Or silently import to i.stack.imgur.com? – Kev Jul 3 '11 at 14:16

Hosting the images on i.stack.imgur.com would be preferable, as the host is more reliable. Images are "decorations," but they can surely help to better understand the question being asked (a picture is worth a thousand words, they say).

I don't see anything wrong with editing the post to show the same picture hosted on i.stack.imgur.com; in the same way, I don't see anything wrong with editing a post to replace the link to a page showing a static image hosted in a web site that shows the image and some ads all around it, with an image hosted on i.stack.imgur.com.

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