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Image Storage

I know this has been suggested previously, but it was declined so I could not vote for it

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I just answered a question and thought that an image would be a useful addition to my answer. When I clicked on the link for an image in the editor I see that I can only enter a url and dont have the option of uploading an image. I can understand in some ways why this is necessary since Stackoverflow.com may not want to bear the burden of hosting and storing a large number of images.

However I think this is a problem.

Stack overflow is a site that will eventually contain answers to thousands of questions and one hopes will continue to be referenced for many years. Only allowing links to images hosted on third party sites provides a serious risk (as may already be happening) that many of these images will not be available in weeks, months or years to come. Even a free image hosting service that I could sign up for is at risk of folding or even on my own website I might forget why I have an image sitting in a specific folder.

I think this inability to upload images could be a serious issue for future proofing the site.

Here are some of my suggested solutions (in no real order).

Stackoverflow.com hosts images.
Stackoverflow signs up for image hosting at a third party and people place their images on that particular site.
Stackoverflow.com hosts images but only registered or users who have donated can link
Google provides image hosting on picassaweb
I'm sure there must be a solution (even if the ones I've suggested aren't great) that doesnt run the risk of a critical image being unavailable in 5, 20, 50 years time!!

I think a single external source for image linking would meet most requirements.

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    tobyatobya shared this idea  ·   ·  Admin →
    declined  ·  codinghorrorcodinghorror responded  · 

    very unlikely we will do this for a bunch of reasons, but I’ll leave it open for now.

    7 comments

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      • jpinto3912jpinto3912 commented  · 

        I think it's doable and the concerns of misuse are unfounded... let's trust the comunity, and the fact that anyone can edit the posts. Find a pic that is surely not the intended one, remove it and report it.
        If the issue has a more technical side to it, I can see that this feature seams secondary when compared to a whole lot of others...

      • levhitalevhita commented  · 

        Ok, links break that is a fact.
        @ crpietschmann: "This opens them up to all sorts of issues when users post inappropriate or infringing pics!"
        If the images are outside SO there are greater risk and issues, because at the beginning the image could be OK, but after a month the user could change it for a nude pic. or the third-party provider could change a screenshots for advertising.

      • PhiLhoPhiLho commented  · 

        On the plus side, SO could limit the size (pixels & KB) of hosted images to prevent abuse.

        On the minus size, it is a bit redundant with reliable services like Flickr or ImageShack and lot of others, which are free and have no (visible) limit of storage duration.

        Not sure an answer in SO will be very useful 20 years later... (unless very algorithmic/generic).

      • drosenstarkdrosenstark commented  · 

        Sometimes you need a screenshot, and sometimes you might even need a diagram, if we ever get to those good questions (and answers). Linking externally is not a lasting solution because links do break.

      • crpietschmanncrpietschmann commented  · 

        The majority (um let's say 99% maybe) of programming questions don't require a screenshot. Code is plain text, and so are the questions. If you really need to post a pic, then just host it on your own site or flickr.

        Also, this opens them up to all sorts of issues when users post inappropriate or infringing pics!

      • KyralessaKyralessa commented  · 

        I agree; sometimes this would save a thousand words. :)

      • darrenkoppdarrenkopp commented  · 

        why don't you pay for your own bandwidth? you can host all the images you want on s3! woot!

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