Third-party hosted image linking disabled

Discussion in 'Forum Announcements' started by LowWaterMark, Jul 15, 2007.

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  1. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

    Aug 10, 2002
    New England
    The automatic display of images hosted on third-party webservers, (using IMG tags in posts), has now been disabled here at Wilders Security.

    This change has been made as a privacy enhancement. Many people dislike having connections made to other, unknown webservers when they are simply reading threads on this forum.

    From now on, the forum software will show only the URL link to such images, rather than causing the browser to connect to a non-Wilders Security website to download and display the images in the body of a post.

    While this will break some older threads here, where people placed their screen shots at image hosting services rather than uploading them here as attachments, the images, if they are even still available at those hosting services, will still be accessible by clicking on the URL links.

    In addition to the privacy concern with making such automated connections, experience has shown us that attachments at most image hosting services "go away" after time. Many threads here have long since been broken because of that issue. And, even when an image is available, there are many times when a remote server is either slow to respond or down, also breaking posts containing such image links.

    Several months ago we increased the attachment upload limit from 1 image per post to 5, and increased the maximum size of each attachment. These limits should be more than sufficient for documenting screen shots for the majority of posts here at Wilders Security.

    For the rare and special circumstances when it might be beneficial to have more then 5 images in a single post, say for a "how to guide" or a "product review" posting, or if a person wishes to use 5 thumbnails inline in a post, but still have the full sized images available here, we've created an Image Gallery forum section to house extra images.

    A secondary use for that section includes those times when a person wants to make many other images available, but, does not actually want them all to display inline in a thread they've made. (Mainly because too many images displaying can make a thread very slow to load.) Extra images can be hosted in the gallery and linked to as URLs instead of IMG tags. This will allow those who want to see all the images the ability to click through, while others are not encumbered with loading all the images if they don't want to.

    If you need to make use of the gallery, you create a thread in that section and upload all your extra attachments there. Then you can use IMG tags with the specific URL of each image in other posts where they need to be displayed, or simply refer people to your thread of images. It may be a bit more work in the rare case it's needed, but, it ensures that all images are here on this forum and will always be available.

    This change eliminates a privacy concern that has been expressed to us a few times. Our own analysis has determined that it is an exposure, and that it is safer for our users to prevent automatic connections out to unknown or unexpected websites. As a security forum, we decided it's better to be safe then sorry when it is possible to address such an issue.
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