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Member input wanted about copying embedded images to our server

Discussion in 'Help and Feedback' started by Amin Sabet, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Most of our members upload their photos to an external host like Flickr and then use BBcode to embed those images in our forum. There are three main problems with this approach:

    1) Some hosts are very slow.

    2) Some members use unnecessarily large file sizes, eg 1.2MB size for 1024px wide image is visually indistinguishable on the web from 0.3MB compressed version.

    3) Deleting those posts from the external host means that the embedded image in our forum thread will be broken. Lots of examples of this in our older thread.


    One possible solution (suggested by @OzRay@OzRay ) would be to allow our forum software to import and locally host all embedded images as file attachments using high quality compression. This would allow us to substantially improve page load times and prevent broken image links. Image quality, for web purposes, would be unaffected.

    Of course, there is a copyright issue here. We would have to announce a change to the site terms of service notifying members of this practice. As well, members would always retain 100% control over their attachments and could delete their photos hosted on our server at any time.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
  2. Brian Beezley

    Brian Beezley Mu-43 All-Pro

    Would it be possible to display the compressed image and still provide click-though to the source to obtain a larger image?

    Incidentally, I've been skeptical that compressed images are indistinguishable from those with little or no compression. So I just compared three detailed images 1600 pixels wide using 100% and 90% JPEG quality settings in RawTherapee. I couldn't tell them apart. The total size for the three images was 6.94 MB using 100% and 2.42 MB using 90%. That's only 35% as much at 90%.

    Brian
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    A 2048px Flickr image posted with a link back to Flickr would be copied to our server at a size of 1300px, and the link back to Flickr would be maintained.

    A 2048px Flickr image posted without a link back to Flickr would be copied to our server at a size of 1300px, and there would be no link to a larger version.

    A 1024px Flickr image posted with a link back to Flickr would be copied to our server at a size of 1024px, and the link back to Flickr would be maintained.

    etc
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Brian Beezley

    Brian Beezley Mu-43 All-Pro

    I don't quite see how using local storage would reduce image-transfer size, at least for Flickr. I just checked an image I had uploaded there at 1600 pixels wide. The original file size was 2.70 MB. Normally I select the 1024-pixel BBcode link when I post an image here. The image at that size requires 766 KB. Isn't that what a user's browser would download?

    Brian
     
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    There does need to be some form of acceptable solution, as I'm sure that there are plenty of users that don't have broadband or very effective broadband, and these large photos (especially from slow servers) would have to create issues for many. The other thing to consider are those that may use mobile phone browsers where these large files can eat considerably into data allowances and can be extremely slow.

    If you've already posted an image somewhere else on the internet, especially in a large size, then you've more or less accepted that it could be pilfered if someone wished, so saving a smaller version on the forum server shouldn't be that big an issue. I'd suggest that all photos be converted to about 1000px (on the longest edge), with a link to the original source if people wanted to see the full sized image.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    That sounds like an improvement to me, for a reason you didn't even cite: For my posts with pictures, I load the pictures to my gallery here. The result is that I have a random and unorganized bunch of pictures where I really don't know how old the posts are so I'm not sure about deleting them. If the forum managed the photos, then there could be some uniform lifetime for pictures and they could be managed that way. Right now I know I am wasting your space on old pix that appear in posts that probably no one has read in years.

    Maybe "Showcase" photos have a lifetime of 5 years or more, while Buy/Sell photos live only six months. Other forums could be in between.

    Having now confessed my sins. I will go to Gallery and do some cleaning.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    When you posted the 1024px version which had been resized and compressed by Flickr, there is little or nothing to be gained by us re-hosting locally. But if you posted the original 1600px version, which Flickr left alone at 2.7MB, our compression on a locally hosted version would probably take that down to ~1MB, similar to a 1600px version created by Flickr if you had uploaded the full res (~15MB) version to begin with.
     
  8. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I'd say I like the locally hosted option for another reason, which is that some places block specific websites, and Flickr is sometimes one of them there are times when I go to a showcase thread and cannot see the images.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I like the Flickr approach, as it allows me to manage my pics from one on-line server.
     
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    If there are any members who would object to us copying their images for local hosting,
    So you wouldn't want a locally hosted copy of your images?
     
  11. Brian Beezley

    Brian Beezley Mu-43 All-Pro

    Thanks for the explanation. I would have rated your post OK, I get it but there is no icon for that!

    Incidentally, I see a bug. I clicked reply to your message, which had quoted me. But above you can see OzRay quoted.

    I never post an original image from Flickr, but I can see how local hosting would insulate the system from such large files. As a test, let me post here an original image from Flickr and check the file size that my browser loaded. I'll edit this message to delete the image after I check its size.

    Edit - Yes, it transferred the original image without compression.

    Brian
     
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    @Brian Beezley@Brian Beezley - I think a lot of members do what you do, and I am not sure that locally rehosting here would make a big difference. It would solve the issue with broken images in old threads, but I think there are some members we're not hearing from (Bill perhaps included here) who won't like the fact that we're mirroring their images.
     
  13. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Sometimes I post pics of my kids and other "semi-sensitive" images. I realize people can copy and download them if they want, but sometimes I just want them up for a short time, and then want the ability to remove them. Doing that from flickr rather than going through various boards, is easier.

    Also, I have more than m43 cameras, so hosting everything on flickr is easier for me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
  14. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I really appreciate this example. Pretty much exactly the type of situation that I want no part of.


    So how else can we help those with lower bandwidth? Should I look for an addon that rejects attempts to embed images greater than 1MB?
     
  15. jziegler

    jziegler Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Dec 15, 2012
    Salem County, New Jersey
    James
    A couple of thoughts.

    With some outside hosts (like Smugmug), viewing stats are maintained even for images viewed outside of the site. A local copy here would keep those views from being counted. I personall don't care at this point, some others might.

    Some of the external sites may still be faster than your server (though your server is fast). Picassa has google behind them, and should be fast. Smugmug works very hard to keep their site fast.

    I see both pros and cons to this, so seeing discussion is good.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I try to embed from flickr at 800 long side, mostly because that fits my laptop screen better.

    If possible, could you have a reminder on your image link tool (above in the editor toolbar) that says something "be considerate of others, and make sure your picture is less than X pixels wide" Though if that's a stock editor, maybe the tool isn't customizable.
     
  17. WhidbeyLVR

    WhidbeyLVR Mu-43 Top Veteran

    612
    Feb 14, 2014
    Whidbey Island
    Lyle
    The "forever" aspect of it concerns me. I would be willing to allow mu-43 to host a copy of an image for a limited time (say 30 days) to improve site responsiveness for the majority of network transactions (i.e., new posts), but I would want that permission to expire without further action on my part, so that I can still effectively manage access to my images through Flickr. So after 30 days, the photo would come from Flickr again (if it is still there) rather than from mu-43 servers. That would also decrease the long term server storage requirements for mu-43.
     
  18. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    It's clear that us automatically mirroring (hosting) embedded images in any capacity is going to be too complicated. No way to satisfy everyone's requirements. So I think we can consider that idea to be declined.


    We could do something like that, but actually image dimensions are pretty much besides the point. What matters is file size, which only loosely corelates with image size. How about a message that says be considerate to others and links to an article about proper image compression for web display?
     
  19. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    652
    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Mike
    Shame it would be a great benefit for broken links. I don't supose a 'please don't mirror' tick box whilst posting would solve the issues?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    That's a good idea!