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Old 11-19-2012, 09:36 PM   #1
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FAQ: Don't Hotlink to Images, How to Include Images, and Image Size Info

Absolute Write Image Linking Policy

Absolute Write's official policy prohibits hotlinking (also known as inline linking) to images on sites that you do not own or where you do not have an account that is intended for image linking.

Definitions

Hotlinking or inline linking refers to using the vBulletin image link tool (accessed via this icon: ) to link to an image on a site that is not yours, or that is not stored on your account on an image hosting site like PhotoBucket or Flickr or Picasa or InstaGram, or a site you control.

Sharp-eyed member Mac H reminds me that some sites, like xkcd.com, explicitly provide permission (as explained here) for hotlinking; they too would be an exception to the rule, though I'd include a link in the post to the hosting site's policy as a courtesy.

Why is Hotlinking a Problem
  • Because it uses the bandwidth of the site where the image lives, and the owner of the site is therefore paying for AW bandwidth.
  • Because the image may not be in a context that the rights holder and owner find acceptable.
  • Because the site owner or image owner may be annoyed enough to swap out the innocent image of kittens and bunnies you linked to, and replace it with a pornographic or offensive image.
  • Because the image may contain code or malware.
  • Because the image you hotlinked to in all innocence may reside on a server infected with malware.
  • Because it makes MacAllister's eyeballs itch when she gets a nasty email from the poor person whose bandwidth jumped dramatically because someone on AW hotlinked to a cute kitty cat picture.

And for lots of other reasons.

Note: These Sites and Services Won't Work Correctly
  • Many of the camera manufacturer's sites for image uploads directly from a camera (like Canon Image Gateway) won't work.
  • DropBox and Google Drive don't work properly, even if you simple copy and paste the link.

How Should You Link to Images

Get a free account at PhotoBucket or Flickr or Picasa or Shutterfly or Postimage.org or a site or blog account you own, and upload the image there.

Image Shack works just fine, but it isn't free.

Look for a Share button or menu item on your site. Copy the image URL or use the Share feature to create BBulletin code, the code used by the AW Forums software, to link to the image.


Look for a link that ends in an image format, like .jpg.
  • Copy the address of the specific image on your hosting account that you want to link to in a post.
  • Write your post.
  • When you are ready to insert the linked image, position your cursor where you want the image to show.
  • Click the Image Insert button
  • Copy the URL for the image in the field.
  • Click OK.

PhotoBucket makes this especially easy because they give you a link that's already formatted; you can just copy and paste it into the body of a post.

You want a link that looks like this [IMG]http://somewebaddress.example.com/mypony.jpg[/IMG]

Caution

Please don't use the image tool to link to images on: Facebook, IMDB, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons or an AOL or Google or Bing Image Search cache.

Save the image to your own account on one of the approved image hosting sites, and link to that.
  • Please do not link to very large images; keep them to within about 400 x 400 pixels, and small files, please. Images from high resolution cameras (5 or more megapixels) may need to have their resolution (the dpi) changed to 72 dpi.
  • We have a lot of members who pay for Internet access based on how much data they use, and a lot who are still using dialup. Large images are really annoying to those members.
  • Be courteous and comply when a Mod asks you to reduce an image in size.
  • Ask for assistance if you need help reducing an image.
  • Don't link, post or use images in violation of copyright. Just Don't.
  • Don't link to, post or use images that involve strategically covered erogenous zones, sheer and see-through clothing, wet t-shirts, lascivious or sexually provocative poses, close-ups of breasts, buttocks, or crotches, or images that are designed to sexually exploit. That includes avatars.
  • Remember that resolution (the number of dots or pixels per inch) is different than the size of the image. Images for the Web are generally at 72 dpi. An image that has a higher dpi (say 300) is going to be a larger file size. It will not behave the way you expect, and will be larger as a file than is necessary.
  • I'm tired of having to track down malware reports because members link to an image on a site that's rife with malware. Don't link to an unapproved site. It makes me cranky.
  • Remember that chocolate is one of the basic food groups.

ETA: I'm having to remove an image hotlink to a malware site on an increasingly frequent basis. This is time consuming, and frustrating, because invariably the site is one that is clearly not allowed by this FAQ, which has been revised in small ways but is essentially the same as the one I first posted in 2007.

We will remove all ability to link images if we have to, but that would totally suck. Please work with us on this! If you see something that you think might be a problem, just click the report post icon. That alerts a mod that something needs to be looked at. Thanks guys--
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Last edited by Medievalist; 02-23-2014 at 11:13 PM.
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