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As I was browsing some older questions on this site I have come across many posts containing embedded images which are no longer on their host websites and thus are no longer displayed on photo.stackexchange.com

In some cases the whole question ceases to make sense without the image. Some of the questions are interesting and useful but the hosting problem makes them irrelevant.

What can be done about this?

  • I was thinking about this exact issue today. Specifically, I voted to close How do i photograph rain? as a duplicate of How do you photograph rain?. The 2nd question (original) had lots of upvotes, and many really good answers, but its images were links to a Dropbox account, and I assume they're gone for good. The new question is legitimately a dupe of the old one, but without the pictures, the old one is so confusing. – scottbb Aug 2 '17 at 1:37
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    @benrudgers yeah, it's just difficult to feel good about voting to close a question when the "canonical" existing one reads hard. That is, if that were a new question today, with broken links that didn't get resolved, I doubt it would get any upvotes. Perhaps it should be converted to community wiki, so it can be massaged into a really good question with example "bad" rain photos? Just thinking out loud here... – scottbb Aug 2 '17 at 1:55
  • Yeah I was looking at the same question about rain, for that exact situation the links were not that important in the question as the question still made sense and the answers still had their photos – dannemp Aug 2 '17 at 6:08
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There's a limited amount that can be done due to potential image copyright issues. The best bet is to close as "unclear what you are asking" if an image goes invalid and renders the question unanswerable. Alternately, if accepted answers let you know what would work as an image, it might be possible to post an alternate image.

Additionally, encouraging users to post an image under CC-BY-SA via Stack Exchange's imgur account (by uploading an image) is a good way to make sure an image link doesn't go invalid as long as they are able and willing to CC-BY-SA release the image.

  • Yeah, if we can either add another sample image or edit the question with a useful enough description then it should be done that way. It's only unclear if it's actually unclear without the image and not able to be rebuilt. – AJ Henderson Aug 2 '17 at 3:54
  • +1 to this, but also I'd like to see questions which are rendered completely bewildering and are unlikely to be ever fixed not just closed but deleted. too. – mattdm Aug 13 '17 at 12:55

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