A well-intentioned user has made a couple edits lately, where the only changes are updating "http:" links because they are "broken on HTTPS", by removing the leading "http:" in image (imgur) links. Note that the links aren't broken (the http: links still resolve). There are no other content changes in those edits.

Unfortunately, Stack Exchange has not implemented SSL site-wide yet. Until then, the image uploader will continue to generate "http:" links instead of "https:" links.

As of this posting, there are 4722 posts on Photo.SE containing "http://i.stack" (that is, http: links to the imgur hosting). It seems to me the way toward "https:" is not by editing every single post containing them; rather, a simple database script can update those when the sites go full HTTPS and when the image uploader creates the proper HTTPS links.

I rejected one such edit, and after seeing it, found another recent edit and rolled it back. But that got me wondering about the whole thing, and came here for calibration:

  • Am I wrong to reject such edits?
  • Am I wrong to rollback such revisions?

Example revision:

For the interested, here are various meta SE posts about the transition to HTTPS/SSL:

Update March 2017

As Philip Kendall noted in comments (and reflected in his answer), Stack Exchange is going to be taking care of this on all SE sites soon: Roadmap to HTTPS: serving and uploading HTTPS-images only.

  • Other than our time spent reviewing these changes, are they causing any issues? – Philip Kendall Nov 11 '16 at 21:47
  • No, none that I can tell. I suppose my only irritation is that there's churn on the Active page, which doesn't result in visibly better posts (grammar improvements, formatting, etc.). I realize that's entirely my own personal thing, so I'm prepared to let go if necessary. – scottbb Nov 11 '16 at 21:51
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    @Philip: Bumping questions just to change HTTP to HTTPS is annoying. The active list matters. How would you like it if you posted a question, then 10 minutes later someone did 15 trivial edits? – Olin Lathrop Nov 12 '16 at 12:41
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    "when the image uploader creates the proper HTTPS links." - from a quick test, it looks to me like it is; see e.g. photo.stackexchange.com/posts/84507/revisions – Philip Kendall Nov 14 '16 at 16:14
  • PSA: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/291947/… This has a significant impact on this; as such, I've updated my accepted answer. – Philip Kendall Mar 7 '17 at 10:34

Update March 2017: Our Benevolent Overlords are making this change for us (without bumping posts), so I'd now fairly strongly say this kind of edit is now not acceptable.

Original answer from November 2016:

My take: this is just about on the limit of acceptability. Noting that:

  • Imgur (which Stack Exchange uses for its image hosting) supports HTTPS perfectly well.
  • If you upload an image today, it gets an HTTPS link.
  • HTTPS is a good thing in general.

I wouldn't object to this happening as part of a larger change to a question, or as an occasional change to a particularly notable question. Bumping 15 questions to the top of the active list wouldn't be so good however.

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    It's actually funny how this post was edited by the bot to replace the HTTP link with the corresponding HTTPS link. – user Apr 3 '17 at 14:22

I wouldn't approve of a user suggesting edits that just change HTTP links to HTTPS ones.

However, I wouldn't roll them back either. For people browsing SE sites on HTTPS without extensions like HTTPS Everywhere, default browser settings block mixed content, so most images don't show up. So, this does help some people (it also does hurt people who're using very old browsers, but I don't know how well SE works on those in the first place).

If you absolutely must undo that change for some reason, then use protocol-relative links (https://i.stack... -> //i.stack...). These will take on the protocol used to visit the site, so people browsing on HTTP will see HTTP links, similarly for HTTPS.

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    Actually, I was inaccurate in my description. The user was changing http://i.stack... -> //i.stack.... So it sounds like on the rollback count, I was wrong. – scottbb Nov 13 '16 at 2:46
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    It's not our business to decide technology used by SE like this. This is for the SE devs to think about and deal with globally. We here at Photo.SE have no business getting envolved, and certainly shouldn't be adding noise to work around what is ultimately a problem of browser settings. – Olin Lathrop Nov 14 '16 at 12:47
  • @OlinLathrop that's called "passing the buck", and while you're welcome to have that stance, I'd rather not. – muru Nov 14 '16 at 13:12
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    It's not passing the buck, but rather the tail wagging the dog. This is a SE-wide issue, not just a Photo.SE issue. It also makes no sense to hurt this site just to appease people that can't be bothered to set their browser settings properly. – Olin Lathrop Nov 14 '16 at 15:30
  • @OlinLathrop Maybe you didn't read the first line: I wouldn't approve of a user suggesting edits that just change HTTP links to HTTPS ones. I don't see how anything I advocate is hurting Photo.SE in anyway. Note that rolling back an edit also counts as an edit and bumps the question anyway. – muru Nov 14 '16 at 15:32
  • I don't like rolling back such edits, but edits that mess with the basic mechanics of the whole system shouldn't be approved, no matter what else they contain. It's simply not our business as users to make this kind of change. – Olin Lathrop Nov 14 '16 at 15:33
  • @OlinLathrop Of course it is, that is why we have edit privileges. That SE is having trouble is no reason why we shouldn't help make the transition smoother. But, as I said before, you're welcome to your opinion about it. Photo.SE is also welcome to make whatever policy you guys want over it. I just described what's going on and what can be done. I'm not going to police your edits. I do enough of that on Ask Ubuntu and Vi and Vim. – muru Nov 14 '16 at 15:40

Yes, you're right. Nobody should be going around changing HTTP links to HTTPS. These edits should be rejected when encountered.

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