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Imgur TOS change on May 15th 2023 could cause the loss of thousands of Stack Exchange images!

Note first that images with https://i.stack.imgur.com or https://stack.imgur.com URLs (those automatically uploaded through the GUI interface) are not at risk. Images with https://i.imgur.com or https://imgur.com URLs are perhaps at risk—we don't know which are owned by an Imgur account, & criteria around age & no. of views haven't yet been determined ("We plan to use a combination of total views and recent views, among other criteria, to define content as inactive"—Imgur Terms of Service Update [April 19, 2023]).

Glorfindel has already written & run a script to copy images from https://i.imgur.com to https://stack.imgur.com. There were 872 successfully copied, so these can be replaced if the current link breaks, or preëmptively—S.E. may be willing to help by automatically replacing them. There were 28 that could not be copied—for many of these it seems the link is already broken for some reason. (If anyone wants to find them, the post IDs are not given but you can use the site search with the URL e.g. url:"https://i.imgur.com/48kXw9k.gif".)

A site search shows 180 posts with https://imgur.com URLs. I hope Glorfindel will find the time to run his script for these too. [He did, just now, & there are a few that could not be copied—I'll post these when I get the chance.]

In fine I don't think we have a huge problem, given that 80% or so are now banked, that of the remainder only some will be removed (if they haven't already been), & that only some will be all that important to the post. On the other hand we only have eleven days before some may start to disappear.

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    $\begingroup$ We may be able to use the Wayback Machine to find archived versions. We could then update the links to WM, or copy the images to stack.imgur. $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2023 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ @gung-ReinstateMonica: Yes - in fact Glorfindel's script, when it comes across a broken link, tries to find an archived version; & if it succeeds, uploads the image to stack.imgur. I shouldn't like to have to do that manually for many, though. $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2023 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ It seems that we do not need to get into action quickly do we? The images are allready copied for the i.imgur.com url's (and will also be soon for imgur.com url's?). The two remaining issues seem to be 1) how to change all the hyperlinks (but the copying has already been done), and 2) how to fix the images that could not be copies (but they are not on imgur anymore anyway). $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2023 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ +1 I have wondered from the inception of this site whether reliance in Imgur would eventually break it. How evanescent all our work is... . For years now I have been routinely scraping CV of my own posts and archiving them because eventually CV will disappear, too. I was very active on other technical sites in the 90's and 00's, including some I hosted personally, and none of them are still around. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ @SextusEmpiricus: That's right, except that we have no guarantee that Glorfindel will find time to run his script for imgur.com URLs. (He's not an S.E. employee, just extraordinarily helpful.) $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2023 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber: Even the back-ups don't include images, only the links to them: stats.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4799/17230 $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2023 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Scortchi-ReinstateMonica I don't use backups: I scrape the entire thing. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/394833/…, in particular the last paragraph about scraping. $\endgroup$
    – J-J-J
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 10:50

2 Answers 2

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Two notes

1

For the record the 28 that did not get copied are these:

from https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Glorfindel83/SE-Userscripts/master/upload-imgur-images.md

For Cross Validated

Frequency URL Failure Fixed
1 https://i.imgur.com/48kXw9k.gif APIException: Image uploads are limited to 2 MiB; please use a smaller image fixed Reduced size a lot (17.5 Mb to 2 Mb), uploaded to i.stack.imgur, & edited link
1 https://i.imgur.com/5IWH9Qd.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/7NvnRJl.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/9tY9sLE.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/ALQfTcs.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/DJsKegq.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/EfcnrIf.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/Hudw20v.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/MC4AT8E.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/MQLsxMQ.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/VasiB3e.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/VpIj86Z.mp4 FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached. Inessential: the relevant snapshot from the linked animation is already embedded with an i.stack.imgur URL.
1 https://i.imgur.com/Zqgbc.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/a/Xd9JcHg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached. Fixed (OP had already provided text)
1 https://i.imgur.com/bB5iP6u.png APIException: Image uploads are limited to 2 MiB; please use a smaller image Reduced size slightly, uploaded to i.stack.imgur, & edited link
1 https://i.imgur.com/eyRBF7C.jpg/ APIException: You didn't enter a valid URL Fixed - re-uploaded image (which the script hadn't done on account of the trailing black-slash) & edited post.
1 https://i.imgur.com/fdX26L7.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/g8ERIjw.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/hYBiBwm.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/iv2eTlX.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/jqfjcwR.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/kHpvTQH.png APIException: Image uploads are limited to 2 MiB; please use a smaller image Reduced size slightly, uploaded to i.stack.imgur, & edited link
1 https://i.imgur.com/lJZM1mc.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/pon8eKL.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/q18e0zh.jpg FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/rN4eGRU.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/uyZMCLp.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.
1 https://i.imgur.com/vW6UuLB.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached.

For cross validated meta

Frequency URL Failure Fixed
1 https://i.sstatic.net/MRR8V.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached. fixed
1 https://i.imgur.com/RDR9I.png FatalException: Wayback Machine can't be reached. not fixed earliest snapshot from 2013 already broken https://web.archive.org/web/20130515000000*/https://i.imgur.com/RDR9I.png

2

I started searching my own posts and found an i.imgur.com image that I re-uploaded to imgur using the stackexchange accounts, but that was unnecessary.

I could have searched the list from Glorfindel and used the new link instead.

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    $\begingroup$ I fixed one of these broken images (it was available on wayback internet database but not easily found) and failed on another i.imgur.com/RDR9I.png (the database image from 2013 is alread the removed.png image). I am afraid that this is gonna be a manual job for the other cases as well. $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2023 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, this is v. useful. I note there are a couple that need shrinking. The magick package might be useful. $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2023 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ For the two png's that were over 2 MiB, I was able to reduce their size slightly using the image_scale function (with no apparent degradation of quality). Dealing with gifs looks to be more complicated in magick; Gifsicle is another option. $\endgroup$ Commented May 9, 2023 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ The large gif image from stats.stackexchange.com/questions/583472 could be changed by scaling down to 4 colours. (ping to @Scortchi-ReinstateMonica) $\endgroup$ Commented May 9, 2023 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ Smashing! (How did you do that, by the way?) $\endgroup$ Commented May 9, 2023 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Scortchi-ReinstateMonica I used gifsicle with some command that I found on stack overflow or elsewhere. $\endgroup$ Commented May 9, 2023 at 16:07
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Here is the list of the images that weren't copied to the i.stack.imgur.com domain on the latest run of Glorfindel's script (now including imgur.com as well as i.imgur.com URLs):

Uncertainties

Failures

Frequency URL Failure Post IDs Fixed
1 https://i.imgur.com/9tY9sLE.png Not found in Wayback Machine. 273446
1 https://i.imgur.com/ALQfTcs.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 94690
1 https://i.imgur.com/DJsKegq.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 94542
1 https://i.imgur.com/EfcnrIf.png Not found in Wayback Machine. 358226
1 https://i.imgur.com/Hudw20v.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 94690
1 https://i.imgur.com/MC4AT8E.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 94690
1 https://i.imgur.com/MQLsxMQ.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 394939
1 https://i.imgur.com/VasiB3e.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 423420
1 https://i.imgur.com/VpIj86Z.mp4 Not found in Wayback Machine. 499867
1 https://i.imgur.com/a/Xd9JcHg Not found in Wayback Machine. 375796 Fixed
1 https://i.imgur.com/eyRBF7C.jpg/ APIException: You didn't enter a valid URL 61711 Fixed
1 https://i.imgur.com/fdX26L7.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 394939
1 https://i.imgur.com/g8ERIjw.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 94690
1 https://i.imgur.com/hYBiBwm.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 94542
1 https://i.imgur.com/iv2eTlX.png Not found in Wayback Machine. 294432
1 https://i.imgur.com/jqfjcwR.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 94690
1 https://i.imgur.com/lJZM1mc.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 394939
1 https://i.imgur.com/pon8eKL.png Not found in Wayback Machine. 273446
1 https://i.imgur.com/q18e0zh.jpg Not found in Wayback Machine. 94542
1 https://i.imgur.com/uyZMCLp.png Not found in Wayback Machine. 273799
1 https://i.imgur.com/vW6UuLB.png Not found in Wayback Machine. 340199
1 https://imgur.com/ ProcessImageException: com.stackexchange.toolbox.editor.DownloadFailedException: Invalid Content-Type text/html returned for https://web.archive.org/web/20230509193115/https://imgur.com/ 96997
1 https://imgur.com/9wWdcjr DownloadFailedException: Image not found on imgur image page. 151482
1 https://imgur.com/a/U9OVAFO DownloadFailedException: Image not found on imgur image page. 601146
1 https://imgur.com/a/dTXM9a2 ProcessImageException: com.stackexchange.toolbox.editor.DownloadFailedException: Broken image, an error image is served instead. 465738
1 https://imgur.com/a/j0VXwZK ProcessImageException: com.stackexchange.toolbox.editor.DownloadFailedException: Broken image, an error image is served instead. 367174
1 https://imgur.com/a/zb2hM DownloadFailedException: Image not found on imgur image page. 59248
1 https://imgur.com/gqHQhVI DownloadFailedException: Image not found on imgur image page. 465738
1 https://imgur.com/vUPjsxI DownloadFailedException: Image not found on imgur image page. 232858
1 https://imgur.com/vsb DownloadFailedException: com.stackexchange.toolbox.RequestFailedException: Request failed: 404 - Not Found 161898
1 https://web.archive.org/web/20170815001603/https://imgur.com/a/g4CdU ProcessImageException: com.stackexchange.toolbox.editor.DownloadFailedException: com.stackexchange.toolbox.RequestFailedException: Request failed: 404 - NOT FOUND 297905
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