New AboveTopSecret.com Image Hotlinking Policy (updated again)

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posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 02:33 PM
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This is getting confusing, it's almost a bother now to post a pic, or a link to a pic, or special authorisation to put a pic up.

Sheesh!




posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 02:35 PM
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Some Like It Hot

The issue of hotlinking has caused a variety of problems for the staff and membership of ATS.

Aside from the staff receiving nastygrams from webmasters about "bandwidth leeching" and other grievances, members who hotlink to image providers without permission sometimes get a nasty surprise: the frustrated image host substitutes a different image.

Sometimes the image simply says something like "please don't hotlink to our images", but sometimes the substituted image is hardcore pornography. This can lead to misunderstandings and unpleasant consequences, like the hapless member being banned for posting porn on ATS in violation of the T&C.

Yes, this is the Internet, and yes, when you make a website public, you pays your money and you takes your chances.

However, that's the point: Internet bandwidth is not free.

It costs money, and many webmasters consider hotlinking to be an abuse of their service.

The Road Less Trampled

Though it is clearly not a painless choice, the ownership of ATS has opted to do what they can to be good "Netizens" and respect the legitimate concerns of other website owners, which is the motivation for this policy.

Yes, it will be controversial and I for one encourage my fellow members to vent about it and be candid in your criticisms (just please don't be abusive about it). Yes, having our many embedded images autoconverted to links sucks and takes the impact out of visual-intensive posts.

But the alternative is allowing ATS to become seen as a tool of abuse as it grows in popularity and -- far worse than a simple code conversion by SO -- potentially being "blacklisted" and globally blocked by hotlisting victims.

Then, instead of an image or a link that works, our embedded images would end up looking like this:



Could be worse.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 02:40 PM
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This new policy appeals to me as an end user--stuck on 56k that is only 3/5 the speed it should be--and as someone who is familiar with their web site host being bandwidth-raped by popular sites like these. It is great to see a large site like this one move to a more responsible policy. Thanks for the change guys


[edit on 22-4-2006 by megamanXplosion]



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 02:48 PM
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I do have one question.

will resizing work with the new tags, ie.: [ats200x200.... ?



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 02:54 PM
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Originally posted by SimonGray
Just on an interesting side note, bandwidth usage is the reason ATS became a victim of it's own success and went down on a few occasions in the past.

I have been contacted on numerous occasions by upset webmasters and representatives from websites about the very subject of hotlinked images on ATS causing problems for them.

I fully support this, and despite the fact it may disrupt older threads, this is a good thing.

I'm sure many mods will no doubt take it upon themselves to edit older threads where images were vital supporting evidence to written content. I will also endeavour to do so if necessary.
it makes perfect sense what you guys are doing i am a webmaster and i know how much bandwidth can get sucked from you from this my wife has her graphics design site and that gets sucked from alot i disabled outside linking from the cpanel but the rules you guys are putting in place certainly helps webmasters from having to take those steps, hopefully more of the forum community's can step up like ATS



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 02:57 PM
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At first it seemed confusing, but take a deep breath and reread. Never clued into the headache this has been causing for websites.

This is a good move for everybody.

One question,

Does images I host with imageshack grant me the right to use [ats] [/ats]



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 02:58 PM
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Originally posted by Mechanic 32
I do have one question.

will resizing work with the new tags, ie.: [ats200x200.... ?


Resizing images doesn't or may not work with the new ats tags.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 02:59 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
One question,

Does images I host with imageshack grant me the right to use [ats] [/ats]



If you have the rights(or permission) to use that image, then yup!



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:01 PM
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And how can you be sure you have the right to use an image? I mean, if I find an image on a website that I feel would add to a thread how can I be sure I'm allowed use it?



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:06 PM
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Originally posted by Yossarian
And how can you be sure you have the right to use an image? I mean, if I find an image on a website that I feel would add to a thread how can I be sure I'm allowed use it?


Ask permission from the webmaster of the site in question. Most of the time they will be more then happy to oblige, if you give credit where credit is due.

If the image is covered under a Creative Commons licence then just about anyone can use it, within a limited set of restrictions.

[edit on 22-4-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:07 PM
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Thanks Sardion. Always wondered about that but never got round to asking. Cheers.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:11 PM
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sorry i,m a bit of an internt thicky when it comes to 'bandwidth' and stuff. surely if we post links. like i did a second ago
.the web owners would be happy as more 'hits' = more publicity= more cash from the sponsors. please explain in my self claimed'thicky' terms why this is so... and a method of posting pics without getting into trouble



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:19 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
I'll be sending out a U2U announcing this new issue, and we'll have a 7 day grace period where the restriction on post editting will be lifted so that members can review their older posts and modify the tags.

For images in your signatures, just use the new [ats] tag.

Sounds good. But what happens to those posts that we don't catch, or those members that may be on vacation, etc.? Will the images just become unreachable? I'd hate to see someone penalized for human error.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:27 PM
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this wasn,t by any chance caused by the recent spate of "my weapon is bigger than your weapon" posting of countries soldiers and weapons of war?



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:31 PM
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What I don't seem to understand is why we couldn't just transfer the images in question (the ones we want to post in a thread) onto a DESIGNATED image hosting service such as photobucket or imageshack. Wouldn't this take care of the bandwith issue for the external sites?

I mean as long as we give credit to the image source, I don't see how this would be a problem--unless the bandwith is somehow affected at ATS as well and they are trying to cut down?

I'm just having a hard time imagining this being a real problem because sites are so vast and plentiful that it seems doubtful everyone would be picking images to host from the same sites.

Ok that's kind of a-lot to take in but hopefully someone here knows what I'm talking about. Thanks in advance...



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:48 PM
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Liquidus wrote:
What I don't seem to understand is why we couldn't just transfer the images in question (the ones we want to post in a thread) onto a DESIGNATED image hosting service such as photobucket or imageshack. Wouldn't this take care of the bandwith issue for the external sites?


Yes, and that's exactly what is being said here. Upload your image to a hosting site, then place the generated link in [ats][/ats] tags. Just don't hotlink to the original site image URL.


I'm just having a hard time imagining this being a real problem because sites are so vast and plentiful that it seems doubtful everyone would be picking images to host from the same sites.

As I understand it, when you hotlink to an image hosted on another site, every time that ATS page is viewed it uses up bandwidth from the hosting site when the image is accessed/retrieved. So if you have an ATS thread with a hotlinked image getting 300 views in a day, the original site hosting the image is being accessed 300 times as well.



[edit on 2006-4-22 by wecomeinpeace]



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:50 PM
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Are you going to make alignment options available to the ats tag like the img tag?

imgr = align right
imgl = align left
imgt = align top
imgb = align bottom
imgm = align middle

BTW, these img tags are still active.

As for webmasters that allow hotlinking of their images and then complain about bandwidth usage, they should get the dumbass of the net award.

Comprehensive guide to .htaccess





[edit on 22-4-2006 by Regenmacher]



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:50 PM
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The issue is the BBcode tagging itself, and the way in which our core board code based (based on XMB) handles the BBcode replacements via regular expressions. One filter is applied across your entire post to convert the BBcode IMG tag into an HTML image tag. So establishing a conditional statement based on the URL of the image isn't possible.

We are however looking at alternatives to adjusting the replacement code so that anything currently hosted on the ATS member upload space is not replaced with an "external image" text link.

More later...



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:51 PM
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Originally posted by Mechanic 32
I do have one question.

will resizing work with the new tags, ie.: [ats200x200.... ?


At the moment it doesn't, but give us some time and it will.



Originally posted by chissler
Does images I host with imageshack grant me the right to use [ats] [/ats]


Yes, ImageShack's policy allows for images to be linked to message boards as embedded full-size images.

reg.imageshack.us...


Originally posted by Yossarian
And how can you be sure you have the right to use an image? I mean, if I find an image on a website that I feel would add to a thread how can I be sure I'm allowed use it?


Simple, ask the webmaster.



Originally posted by AGENT_T
sorry i,m a bit of an internt thicky when it comes to 'bandwidth' and stuff. surely if we post links. like i did a second ago
.the web owners would be happy as more 'hits' = more publicity= more cash from the sponsors. please explain in my self claimed'thicky' terms why this is so... and a method of posting pics without getting into trouble


Website owners do like to get hits, but they do not like websites "hotlinking" as users are not actually going to their website, simply accessing a file stored there which is eating up their allocated amount of bandwidth each month. This is a bad no-no in the eyes of most webmasters.


Originally posted by jsobecky
Sounds good. But what happens to those posts that we don't catch, or those members that may be on vacation, etc.? Will the images just become unreachable? I'd hate to see someone penalized for human error.


We'll see when the time comes. Us ATS staff aren't evil, we will do everything we can to transition image links back to visible images.


Originally posted by AGENT_T
this wasn,t by any chance caused by the recent spate of "my weapon is bigger than your weapon" posting of countries soldiers and weapons of war?


I didn't even know such a thread existed. So... no it wasn't. Again, this is something that we are doing to support common courtesy among webmasters not to hotlink.


Originally posted by Liquidus
What I don't seem to understand is why we couldn't just transfer the images in question (the ones we want to post in a thread) onto a DESIGNATED image hosting service such as photobucket or imageshack. Wouldn't this take care of the bandwith issue for the external sites?

I mean as long as we give credit to the image source, I don't see how this would be a problem--unless the bandwith is somehow affected at ATS as well and they are trying to cut down?

I'm just having a hard time imagining this being a real problem because sites are so vast and plentiful that it seems doubtful everyone would be picking images to host from the same sites.

Ok that's kind of a-lot to take in but hopefully someone here knows what I'm talking about. Thanks in advance...


Imagine one of our more prominent "popular thread" authors creates a brilliant research paper here on ATS... Valhall did the FEMA camp paper for example. This one page has over 350,000 views.

Now, imagine the 500 kilobytes of images in that initial post were hotlinked from a website with a monthly usage level of say 1 gigabyte.

1 gigabyte = 1048576 kilobytes

With just under 2,100 views that website's monthly usage level would have been reached, and that site would have either entered an over-limit usage level which would have become extremely expensive or the site would have been temporarily shut-down by the webhost.

We would have caused that site alot of trouble, and no doubt made the webmaster one unhappy person.

This is why we are doing this.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:57 PM
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Originally posted by wecomeinpeace

I'm just having a hard time imagining this being a real problem because sites are so vast and plentiful that it seems doubtful everyone would be picking images to host from the same sites.

As I understand it, when you hotlink to an image hosted on another site, every time that ATS page is viewed it uses up bandwidth from the hosting site when the image is accessed/retrieved. So if you have an ATS thread with a hotlinked image getting 300 views in a day, the original site hosting the image is being accessed 300 times as well.


Exactly correct.





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