This bug was detected in 2011: the original policy was to use software centre images from
bit. ly/ software-small, but that mysteriously broke for some reason that doesn't really matter at this point. A quick query points to >500 posts that still link to this image, and which look sort of like this:
The answer to that bug report suggests that the image files to use should be
http://hostmar.co/software-large, which will "always" link to the appropriate Software Centre icon. This is quite obviously false, since e.g. in this other meta post you can see such delights as
More generally, hostmar.co is effectively a url shortener and that puts a huge fraction of posts at the mercy of service interruptions on Marco Ceppi's provider. Marco Ceppi stated back in 2011 (yeah, that's five years ago) that
Stack Exchange is aware of this and a fix is in the works with no ETA at this time.
I understand the value of having a self-updating icon, but an external hosting site is not the answer. Changing from one url shortener to another, less-well-known one is, frankly, just building fragile infrastructure. (In particular, note that the hostmar.co links are not robust: on my machine, the banshee link above oscillates from showing to broken. Or, put another way, the fact that you've changed a link to hostmar.co and that it shows on your machine is not a guarantee that it will show for other visitors, even at the same time.)
Given that this is an icon that only needs to be updated once every many months, for me there are two obvious solutions:
- change all the bit.ly and hostmar.co links to i.stack.imgur versions via a dev-side query, and then update as appropriate, or
- ask SE to add the image file to the site's graphic content (possibly as part of the sprites sheet, though that does require a bit more development)
Either way, this site has over 500 posts with fundamentally broken layout. Is this something that this site considers to be a problem? My inference, given that it's been obviously broken for five years, and that this can be quickly fixed dev-side by a quick query without dumping hundreds of posts on the front page, is that this sort of mangling isn't considered worth fixing. If that's the case, this site is pretty unique in the SE network in terms of how much it cares about its content. On the other hand, maybe I did miss out some systematic campaign to fix those hundreds of broken posts, which isn't documented on this meta.