As I explained in this answer, all the links to images that were not uploaded via the "add image" button are broken. (EDIT: See also this announcement by Jeff for the background.) This has the consequence that lots of the posts of Gonzalo Medina show this

instead of the intended image. At the moment I see two possible ways to fix this, one even worse than the other:

  1. Manually remove stack. from all the image links in Gonzalo's posts. This would bump all the posts; moreover, it wouldn't move the images to the stack account, so they would be lost sooner or later.

  2. Manually remove stack. from the image links and re-upload all the images via the "add image" button. This would also bump all the posts, and it would be even more work.

So what can be done about it?

  • 1
    This sounds like one for an automated fix: awkward, but I guess doable by the 'powers that be'.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Jun 23, 2011 at 15:18
  • @Joseph: You're right, that would be the best thing. Just doing it automatically for all of Gonzalo's (old) posts would help a lot, I think. I'll try and draw Jeff's attention here ... Jun 23, 2011 at 15:28
  • I really hope there's some automatic way to fix this problem. In the worst case, I could start re-uploading the images using the "add image" button. I'll check this question to time to time to see if there's some (hopefully good) news. Jun 23, 2011 at 22:14
  • @Gonzalo: From Jeff's answer it seems that re-uploading them manually is the only option. If you decide to do that, do it slowly and start from your oldest posts (since those images will be lost most early). Jun 24, 2011 at 7:48
  • 1
    Anyway both points sound like a good way to get the Copy Editor badge :-) (Don't worry, I already have it.) Jun 24, 2011 at 11:14
  • 1
    @Gonzalo: A list of all your questions with images.
    – Caramdir
    Jun 24, 2011 at 12:19
  • @Caramdir: One has to point out that this is all the images up to the date where the recent data dump was created. Do you know when this was? Jun 24, 2011 at 12:21
  • @Hendrik: Good point. It was June 6 (I thought it was just a few days ago, but they seem to announce it quite a while after they actually take the snapshot).
    – Caramdir
    Jun 24, 2011 at 12:23
  • @Caramdir: Ah, good to know. I notified Martin about your list; see the comments to Jeff's answer. Jun 24, 2011 at 12:26
  • @Hendrik: well, I'll start re-uploading images today. Thank you very much for all your interest in this. @Caramdir: thanks for the list. Jun 24, 2011 at 13:18
  • Arghhhh! After my first five edits re-uploading I received this message "You have already edited 5 of your own posts today (not including very recent posts). Further edits are not allowed until tomorrow." This is gonna take for ever. @Martin Scharrer: is there a way to momentarily lift the restriction on the number of daily edits? Jun 24, 2011 at 13:41
  • @Gonzalo: Martin has no powers to lift that restriction; you'd have to ask Jeff. However, I think it's better to do it slowly in order to not flood the front page. 5 a day will indeed be very slow, but more than 10 a day would be already too much in my opinion. Jun 24, 2011 at 13:51
  • 1
    @Hendrik: I see. I agree that flooding the front page is not a good idea. Well, I've already bothered you all so much... I will take it easy and edit 5 posts every day. Jun 24, 2011 at 13:56
  • @Gonzalo: Sounds like a good plan. A tip (kudos to lockstep): Open the 5 posts you want to repair in 5 different browser tabs, repair each post and don't submit the edit yet (but put already your text "re-upload image" into the Edit Summary); then in the end submit your 5 edits in quick succession. This has the advantage that the posts will have the same timestamp and are grouped together, and people will know this is your daily image thingy. Thanks a lot for taking this into consideration! Jun 24, 2011 at 14:06
  • @Hendrik: nice tip. Will do it that way. Thanks again. Jun 24, 2011 at 14:12

4 Answers 4


I've gone through the list Caramdir provided and couldn't find any more broken images. I've been reuploading the images in batches of five for the past month or so (= solution 2 of the OP), and it looks like they're all fixed now. Dave Jarvis doesn't have as many posts and just a few still needed fixing. So unless there are more users who have been sneaking around the official uploading-interface, this issue can be regarded solved.

  • 4
    I've noticed you doing this and just wanted to say "Thank you" for taking the time and effort. I also thought that the "5 at a time" worked: it was enough that it was clear that there was some "housekeeping" going on, but not so many that it flooded the front page. Oct 6, 2011 at 13:45
  • 4
    I've also noticed that you were doing this. All I can say is "Thanks a million!". I really appreciate what you've done! Oct 6, 2011 at 19:35
  • Fixed morbusg's posts as well, just a few were concerned.
    – doncherry
    Jan 17, 2012 at 9:37

Hmm. I could easily replace the URLs on all his posts, but that sweeps one very important issue under the rug:

Unless you purchase a $24.95/yr imgur pro account plan, images you upload to imgur may be lost forever any time after 6 months.

That is, we NEED images to uploaded through the built-in image button here, because those images are guaranteed to stay around forever per our contract with imgur.

These images need to be re-uploaded under our network account, and I don't have a magic tool which does that.

  • @Jeff: Thanks a lot for looking into this. I agree: Even if you can do #1 from my question in one go, it won't really help. It's a pity that you can't do #2 with some magic tool! Jun 24, 2011 at 7:46
  • Hm now I see why my suggestion won't work at all. Thanks for the clarification, Jeff! Jun 24, 2011 at 10:18
  • @Hendrik, @Jeff: If there would be a list of all image URL in all of Gonzalo's posts I might be able to write a script to download and re-upload them while noting the new URL. Then a mapping table OLDURL->NEWURL can be created which could be used in a DB search&replace command/script. OK, sounds not trivial either, so I would understand if you SX people don't want to do it. Jun 24, 2011 at 11:11
  • @Martin: Caramdir made a query for all the posts containing images up to June 6; see the comments to the question. Jun 24, 2011 at 12:25
  • @Hendrik: Nice! I was thinking to create a SQL query myself. It would be even handier if the image URL would be listed instead of the post titles and IDs. Jun 24, 2011 at 12:36
  • @Jeff: thanks for your answer. @Martin Scharrer: Thank you and don't bother yourself writing the script. I'll start today the re-uploading process; don't waste your time because of my mistake. Jun 24, 2011 at 13:17
  • @Jeff: More precisely: "How long do you keep the images? As long as images are getting at least 1 view every 6 months, they will stick around forever. After that, your image may be removed to create more space for newer images. " (Source: imgur.com FAQ) Jun 24, 2011 at 13:18
  • @Martin: That goes beyond my SQL skills.
    – Caramdir
    Jun 24, 2011 at 13:34
  • @Caramdir: Beyond mine too. I was planning to look through the online SQL references to see if there is some command to extract and return text. Jun 24, 2011 at 14:09
  • @Jeff: Would my solution (see my answer to this question) be feasible? Jun 24, 2011 at 15:11
  • Correction (which Martin already gave above, but I missed it, so I quote other page), quoting imgur.com/register/upgrade: Normal images that are not viewed for 6 months may be removed. However, images with pro accounts can only be removed by you. So in practice it's a problem only for users who do not constantly view their all images at least once a few months (which is a good practice for many reasons). :-)
    – przemoc
    Jun 30, 2011 at 17:42
  • @prz that is the official policy, but we have seen images get removed that should have had a view in the last 6 months. So I would regard that as a loose guideline only, and all low-view images are risk after 6 months. Jun 30, 2011 at 22:30
  • @Jeff: It is pretty bad if imgur really treats own guidelines that loosely. I can only hope that what you've seen (actually not seen) was before they changed this guideline to current wording. Truth to be told, it may be changed again in future (e.g. for worse), so sticking to imgur SX is surely the best possible option.
    – przemoc
    Jun 30, 2011 at 22:41

One way to avoid the edit bumps would be the following, though it would need some action by Jeff (or another overlord). Gonzalo could upload all of the images to imgur in one go by posting a "question" here on meta which included all of the images added via the correct method. Then armed with a list of the old urls and the new ones, Jeff could replace all instances of the old ones with the new ones reasonably simply. That would get it all done in one go and would mean that no answers were bumped to the front page.

  • Sounds like a very good idea! Will you ask Jeff if he'd do the last step? Jun 24, 2011 at 14:43
  • sure, tedious, but there's no other way here that I can see Jun 25, 2011 at 18:57
  • @Jeff. Thanks. I've drawn it to Gonzalo's attention to see if he'll go for it. Jun 25, 2011 at 19:02
  • Sounds like a good plan. Just to have everything clear (for myself): I would post a question on meta in which I would include all the images, but this time using the "add image" button. I would also have to include two lists: one with the old URLs and another one with the new ones. Is that all that I have to do? Jun 25, 2011 at 20:01
  • @Gonzalo: Yes, that's right. Jun 25, 2011 at 20:34

I was thinking on a possible solution for this issue. But since we are part of the StackOverflow framework, this idea would certainly affect the whole structure.

Considering this announcement about getting rid of salutations, we could come up with a similar RegEx pattern to automatically fix the image links. At least, here in TeX.SE. Not sure it can be done locally, though. The benefits i see from this approach:

  • We don't need to do anything. Posts are fixed by themselves.
  • Every single image that matches the pattern will be automatically fixed, not only Gonzalo's.
  • We can prevent old, current an future image issues by simply adapting the pattern rules.

Anyway, those were my 2 cents. =)

EDIT1: As Jeff pointed in his answer, even if the image links are replaced by the correct form (from i.stack. to i.), the problem still remains as the images will silently and gradually disappear from imgur. The add button feature is linked to a SE contract with the imagehost, which garantees that the images will be preserved from an eventual spring cleaning.

  • Nope, that can't work. Note that this is only about images that were not uploaded by means of the "add image" button. I'm afraid the system doesn't know how an image was uploaded. I just happen to know that Gonzalo hasn't used that button so far :-) Jun 23, 2011 at 15:26
  • @Hendrik: oh I guess it can work! =) Gonzalo answered one of my questions and I saw the "code" of his answer. It seems there's no distinction between uploaded and pasted images, because the full image link is available, so it can be checked against a regex. There's still hope! =P Jun 23, 2011 at 15:36
  • @Paulo: Huh, I don't quite understand what you're writing. Isn't it the problem that there's no distinction between uploaded and pasted images if you look at the "code"? Am I missing something important? Jun 23, 2011 at 15:43
  • @Hendrik: oh sorry, sometimes I don't make myself clear. =). I'm gonna try to explain: when you use the add image button, the script uploads the image to imgur and returns the image link. It's just a convenience, in fact you can mimic this by manually going to imgur website, upload your image there, grab the code and paste in the answer (it's what Gonzalo did/does). In the eyes of the StackOverflow parser, it's just an image link. =) Jun 23, 2011 at 15:52
  • @Paulo: No, there's a crucial difference that I explain here. Did you read that answer of mine? Jun 23, 2011 at 15:57
  • @Hendrik: terribly sorry, I didn't read that. There's really a distinction. I'm gonna take a look on possible solutions. Damn, my master procrastination plan failed. Back to sketches. =P Jun 23, 2011 at 16:02
  • @Paulo: By bad, I guess. Maybe I should have pointed out in my question that that answer is a must-read. Jun 23, 2011 at 16:07
  • @Paulo: thanks for your interest in this issue. I've decided to do a manual re-uploading of the images. It will take some time, as I'm only allowed to do 5 edits in a day. Jun 24, 2011 at 14:01

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