Per this page on the Imgur website (under "What are we doing?")

Our new Terms of Service will go into effect on May 15, 2023. We will be focused on removing old, unused, and inactive content that is not tied to a user account from our platform ... You will need to download/save any images that you wish to save ...

I've omitted some irrelevant parts of that quote

Note that this change does not apply to the SE Imgur account

While a significant portion of images on AU are under the SE Imgur account (i.stack.imgur.com) (32123 in answers + 43982 in questions), a significant amount, quite a few are still not under that account:

i.imgur.com i.imgur.com, score >= 1 i.stack.imgur.com
Questions 1328 916 43982
Answers 542 463 32123

Those are the numbers, but what should we actually do about this? Some potential ideas include

  • Try to ask SE to ask Imgur to exclude those images from the deletion
  • Attempt to manually edit them to use the SE account

Also worth considering: if it isn't possible to save all the images (e.g., due to time), how should we decide which ones to prioritize? By question/answer score?

All that said, what should we do regarding this issue?

See also:

MSE: Imgur TOS change on May 15th 2023 could cause the loss of thousands of Stack Exchange images! (and Glorfindel's answer to that)

Query used (SEDE), with PostTypeId changed to 2 to get answers, and i.stack.imgur.com replaced with i.imgur.com to get non-SE-account images. The AND Score >= 1 removed when not applicable for the current query.

SELECT CONCAT('https://askubuntu.com/a/', Id), Score FROM Posts WHERE PostTypeId = 1 AND Body LIKE '%i.stack.imgur.com%' AND Score >= 1
  • 1
    Yowza. This could end up being quite a big problem... Does anyone know how are other SEs handling this? Also, how would we manually edit these images to go under the SE account except to download and reupload each image from each question/answer?
    – Nmath
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 3:32
  • 2
    @Nmath Here is a link to a list of other Meta posts about this, some of which may have suggestions. Glorfindel also wrote a script to help with auto-uploading to i.stack.imgur.com. But, this is enough posts that mass-editing would totally flood the Home page. One possible idea is for SE to handle it like the CommonMark migration (where SE had Community◆ automatically edit all the posts, so that the revisions would be logged but the posts wouldn't get bumped. Also, status-review might help
    – cocomac
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 4:11
  • 5
    Thanks for posting about this! I would much rather the homepage be flooded (I've always struggled to care about this, since I don't think people who want to answer questions use the homepage to find them) than posts become completely useless due to lost images.
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 8:37
  • I agree personally, but some people do care about the home page being clean. That said, I've briefly written up an answer outlining a potential path forward. It would require status-review, but I wonder if SE would be willing to do this under the community bot account. That would also have the effect of helping other sites too (OTOH, if not, I don't mind sharing the hypothetical script I could write). That also wouldn't bump posts, which would be nice
    – cocomac
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 9:12
  • Bumping posts has also the added benefit that people can also see and fix any potential problems in them. Commented May 5, 2023 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


Updated plan

This takes into account Marijn's suggestion. I also agree that we should focus on uploading as many images as possible to SE Imgur, and after that try to do the editing. This is mostly because I'd rather have all the images safe and have time to edit (at the cost of temporarily having missing images) vs. having some never break, but some potentially getting lost forever.

Glorfindel already has uploaded many of the images to SE Imgur (tons of credit to him!), but some weren't uploaded that way (either due to them not being available or due to a file size limitation).

For the ones limited by file size (~40 images), I'm taking care of those using a script to download them, and then apply just enough JPEG compression to get them below the limit, and then the script will upload them back to SE. That is being coordinated over in Tavern on the Meta (a chatroom).

RE the images that aren't available, the idea is to attempt to use the Wayback Machine, but that has some issues. Also being coordinated in the Tavern on the Meta chatroom, although that is being (mostly?) done by Glorfindel.

After images have been saved (either automatically via Glorfindel's script, re-uploaded after being downsized, or after being recovered via the Wayback Machine), I'll move to focus on editing posts. The best way to do that is TBD currently.

Original plan

Here's my proposal:

  • I (cocomac) write a small script using the SE API to edit the posts to use the updated SE Imgur account. Glorfindel has already uploaded them to the SE account, so I largely need to just do the edits.
  • Prior to use (beyond testing on one or two posts), the script is published here for the community to give feedback on (edit message, the actual script, potential issues with it, etc.)
  • I test the script on a small subset of posts (say, four posts), and if it works, then slowly do the rest, while monitoring for potentially issues


  • Concern:

    This will flood the front page with edits.

    Response: Yes, but as Zanna said, preserving content matters more. Also, other than SE stepping in, there isn't a great alternative

  • Concern:

    You would be single-handed editing tons of posts - would others be able to see this easily to ensure you aren’t adding something bad to the posts?

    Answer: my edit history is public, but I can also publish a log from the script as well

Prior to doing this, I would want a mod to read this over and approve it, and I'll leave this answer up for at least 24-hours prior to taking action here


  • 4
    I think it would be preferable to handle only the images that are at risk of becoming permanently deleted after May 15th. These are the ones that Glorfindel did not upload because they were too big or the wrong format. There are only 40 of those that were too big (see the "Failures" heading) and some others that have been deleted in the past but may be found by other means (another 75). All others might be replaced by SE without bumping if they see fit, otherwise they can be edited by community members using Glorfindels backup copies later.
    – Marijn
    Commented May 3, 2023 at 10:37
  • 1
    Note that this is similar to, e.g., the approach of Gaming.SE.
    – Marijn
    Commented May 3, 2023 at 10:38
  • 1
    @Marijn I agree, and have edited my answer accordingly
    – cocomac
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 6:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .