There have been a few questions with images from external sources.

The most recent I can remember is the following question:
Iterate JSON GIF collection array to HTML file

It contains the following link:

It belongs to the Illinois Institute of Technology.

I'm not sure how it was obtained and what is the background. As some other images that show up around.

My question: Should we allow those?

Or should we ask the O.P. to replace the images with images from placeholder services? Some of those are:

Those are free to use and can generate images of multiple sizes with different parameters that fit most purposes.

The only reason not to ask this is when the code really requires one very specific image.


1 Answer 1


Your question here suggests that there is a problem with hosting images that are not on "placeholder" services...

I'm not sure how it was obtained and what is the background. As some other images that show up around.

My question: Should we allow those?

So, first up, what's wrong with having images that are not on 'placeholder' systems? Copying an image from one location to a placeholder does not change the "source" of the image from an "ownership" perspective, it just changes the hosting service. In the example you give, it does not change this statement at all: It belongs to the Illinois Institute of Technology.

So, the hosting location does not affect the ownership of the image. In many ways, adding the image to a hosting service is probably worse than linking the original location, from an ownership perspective - is it OK to make copies of someone else's picture? I am not a lawyer, but I suspect not (depending on the copyright licenses available).

So, the underlying premise of your question is flawed. It makes an assumption and then asks a question based on that assumption - but the assumption has to be shown to be accurate first, before the questions can be answered.

In addition, even if your assumption is true, that images should be hosted, why do you ignore the existing relationship that Stack Exchange has with imgur? There's a blog about it: New Image Upload Support.

When you upload an image on stack exchange using the special add-image icon here:

Add Image

... it gets added to the special domain i.stack.imgur.com. Like this:

Does your code work?

If you link an image "from the web", like from a wiki page on "image", you get:

enter image description here

So, if you are going to suggest hosting services, you should at least mention the one that is already implmeneted and that most people use without even knowing it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you partially got it wrong. Those services generate generic images just to fill space. They are placeholder images. Which, in the question I've shown, it is a good fit for those. The images won't be hosted anywhere. In fact, those services don't have a way to upload images because they aren't hosting services. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 19, 2015 at 13:23
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I understand more now, yes, you're right, the 'placeholders' you mention are different. At the same time, it's just a URL in some code (repeated). It's not even loaded in to the page (the Stack Exchange page). If you were to run the code, then sure, it will be used, but, I consider this to be a non-issue. Perhaps you should have made the use-case you were tyring to describe clearer in the question. When you ask a question it should not be necessary to follow links for the question to make sense. \$\endgroup\$
    – rolfl
    Jul 19, 2015 at 14:07

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