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Old July 1, 2017, 03:38 PM   #1
Aguila Blanca
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Important notice - Photobucket image posting problem

I've cleared posting about this with the staff, so please bear with me. There's a problem that's going to raise havoc with just about every Internet forum around, and I think we need to be aware of it and start thinking about what we're going to do about it. The name of the problem is Photobucket.

With no prior warning, a lot of photos on MANY forums that were posted as hot links to images hosted on Photobucket have suddenly disappeared, and been replaced with this:



It isn't clear why Photobucket has suddenly done this, but it's safe to assume (I think) that it means they aren't making as much money as they want, and now that they have probably millions of images stored on their site they decided to hold them hostage. The "p500" reference in the image refers to their high-dollar, paid hosting service, which costs $399 per year. They want all of us to pay $399/year so the one or two photos we put up here can be seen by other forum members.

It isn't yet clear how they have implemented the block. I have some photos in threads on another gun forum that are still visible. Other people's photos, on that forum just like on this one, aren't visible. I've seen multiple posts in which some photos are blocked while others are visible. We don't know (yet, anyway) if that means they're using an algorithm to select what to block and some images made the cut, or if they're going after everyone incrementally and the images I can see today will be blocked tomorrow -- or next week, or next month. What IS clear is that this is going to be a nightmare for Internet forum administrators and users alike.

Short term: Another forum, on which I'm a moderator, also uses vBulletin as the forum software. So does this forum. Although both that forum and The Firing Line have always recommended hosting photos on a site such as Photobucket and linking to the images in your posts, both forums now appear to support attaching images rather than linking to them. Starting immediately, it's probably a good idea to start attaching photos rather than linking to Photobucket.

However, I'm not an admin here. If we all start attaching photos, that's likely to increase the site's bandwidth and storage requirements significantly, and that may be a problem. I hope the staff will chime in on that, sooner rather than later. I don't want to step on any toes by suggesting a "solution" that's only going to cause another problem.

Another option, obviously, is to find another free photo hosting site, move all your photos there, and then come back here and edit all your old posts to replace the links. However, for that to work the admins would have to allow us to edit old posts. There are reasons why that's generally disabled on most forums. Possibly there can be a temporary revision of that policy, long enough to allow us a window in which to patch photo links.

What alternate photo site to choose? I don't know -- I'm looking. One that I've heard of is TinyPic. I went to the TinyPic web site, and the first thing I noticed is that it's owned by Photobucket. Ummm ... thanks, but no thanks. I'll keep looking.

If anyone has any further information or insights on this, please join the discussion. If we don't do something, we're going to lose forever access to a lot of valuable images that help explain what people are talking about on Internet forums.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; July 1, 2017 at 08:12 PM. Reason: Schpeeling
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Old July 1, 2017, 05:45 PM   #2
Mal H
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A note on uploading images as attachments to posts - we don't mind at all if members do that. The storage cost per image is practically nil, and the bandwidth would be the same no matter where the image is hosted.

There are limitations on the size of an attachment. So if you have an image that is too large and can't be uploaded as an attachment, simply run it through any of the several (and usually free) image processing apps available to make it a reasonable size.

As for image hosting sites still available, see post #5 in this thread:
https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=292842
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Old July 1, 2017, 05:46 PM   #3
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< http://postimage.io/ >
< postimage.org >

Seems to be straightforward/working.
Anyone know of any problems?
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Old July 1, 2017, 07:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mal H
There are limitations on the size of an attachment. So if you have an image that is too large and can't be uploaded as an attachment, simply run it through any of the several (and usually free) image processing apps available to make it a reasonable size.
Yes, a big yes to this. Another reason to do this is just that it makes images a whole lot easier to view if they fit within the size of the screen, or close to it.

And thanks, AB, for bringing this situation to our attention!
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Old July 1, 2017, 08:57 PM   #5
Aguila Blanca
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At least we're not the only people who were taken by surprise:

https://www.pcmag.com/news/354711/ph...s-the-internet
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Old July 2, 2017, 10:45 AM   #6
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Would it be possible for TFL'ers to sidestep the issue and pool together for a TFL-only Photobucket account?
I'm good for $10.
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Old July 2, 2017, 05:25 PM   #7
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXAX
Would it be possible for TFL'ers to sidestep the issue and pool together for a TFL-only Photobucket account?
I'm good for $10.
Unfortunately, that wouldn't help. Going forward, the solution is to simply attach your photos here, rather than link to them on Photobucket. But even if the members were to pony up for the $399 (remember, that's per year), the problem isn't going forward. The problem is all the images that members have already posted, that are linked to their personal Photobucket accounts. To save them, not only do the photos have to be moved (or attached), then each post with images has to be edited to point to the new image location.

And, for good reason, the edit feature for members' posts times out after a certain period of time. (12 hours? 24 hours? Dunno -- but it's not weeks or months or years.) So the admis would have to, permanently or temporarily, enable editing of legacy posts, and everyone with images posted would have to go back and manually edit each of their posts to redirect the images. It's a Herculean task ... which is why people all across the Internet are VERY upset. Basically, it's blackmail.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; July 4, 2017 at 11:50 AM. Reason: correct dollar amount
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Old July 4, 2017, 12:19 AM   #8
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I just checked a thread from 2015 that I had pics in, and they have all been replaced with the "update your account" graphic.

I have been unhappy with Photo Bucket since they changed their login process. Unlike the rest of the world (apparently) I don't use Facebook or Twitter, and I can't find a way to login to Photobucket now, without going through one of them. There might be one, but if so, its hidden well enough that I gave up looking before finding it.

SO, I haven't logged in to Photobucket in some time. As far as I'm concerned, I'm done with them.
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Old July 4, 2017, 12:02 PM   #9
Aguila Blanca
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If you still have access to your Photobucket account, you can download your photos. To do so, you have to do it one album at a time. Go to each album and, in the album tools menu at the right side of the screen, there's a choice for "Download Album." Click that, you'll go through an annoying "Captcha" verification screen, and then you can download. Each album will be compiled as a .ZIP file that you can save on your hard drive.

To find which of your posts on this (or any vBulletin) forum contain Photobucket-hosted images, the vBulletin search function supports wildcards. You just need to find any one of your posts with an image to start. For example, I found one of my images with the following info (I'm changing the brackets on the image tag to curly so they'll show up)"

{IMG}http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e193/AguilaBlanca/100-0097_IMG.jpg{/IMG}

Except for the last part, which identifies the individual image within my photobucket account, the bulk of that string is common to my entire Photobucket account. So, to search for all posts with Photobucket images, I go to advanced search and I enter the following as my search string:

*i39.photobucket.com/albums/e193/AguilaBlanca*

The asterisks are the wild card characters, and they're the key to making the search work. It doesn't work without the asterisks. The search should generate for you a list of all your posts that include images hosted on your Photobucket account.

Of course, the big question is what we can do about it once we know which threads/posts have images in them. I expect that our admin overlords are wrestling with that question even as I type.
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Old July 5, 2017, 06:34 AM   #10
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I've never been a big Photobucket user, but I'm disappointed that we'll lose so many images that our members have put up over the years.

Thanks to AB for bringing this to our attention.
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Old July 5, 2017, 12:03 PM   #11
Aguila Blanca
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Question for FRank, Spats, and any other attorneys:

I'm a moderator on another forum site. The owner of that site has a paid Photobucket account, but not the $400/year plan that's now required to continue 3rd party hosting. I have the user name and password to that account, so I can add photos to it for use on that forum.

This morning I noticed that some older posts have had the images disabled, while other posts still have the images visible. I went into the forum's Photobucket account to see if the blocked images still show up there. They don't. In fact, not only are the images not visible to the account holder -- the entire albums containing the blocked images have disappeared.

Is this legal? I don't think people gave Photobucket ownership of their photos. Photobucket agreed to host them, but they are still the intellectual property of the account holder. It's one thing for Photobucket to change the terms of their service and disable 3rd party hosting. The way they've done it is scurrilous and underhanded, but arguably legal. But if Photobucket has blocked the account holder from being able to access his/her own images directly on the Photobucket site -- isn't that theft (or misappropriation) of intellectual property?
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Old July 5, 2017, 12:14 PM   #12
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AB, I'd love to answer that question, but it's way beyond anything with which I have any experience.
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Old July 5, 2017, 12:28 PM   #13
Aguila Blanca
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From their current terms of service:

Quote:
Content & Privacy

You retain all your rights to any Content you submit, upload or display on or while using Photobucket. This means that you own all the Content you post and are responsible for its settings:
(Emphasis added)

If the clients retain all their rights -- how can Photobucket make it so the clients can't access their content on the Photobucket site? It seems to me they are just begging to be sued.

This is why I don't trust "the Cloud." Yes, it's convenient when it's working. What happens to your work when the Cloud stops working?
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Old July 5, 2017, 01:03 PM   #14
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My guess is that it would fall back into a discussion about photobucket not restricting your rights to your content, but is exercising its rights as to how its site is accessed.
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Old July 5, 2017, 02:16 PM   #15
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
This morning I noticed that some older posts have had the images disabled, while other posts still have the images visible. I went into the forum's Photobucket account to see if the blocked images still show up there. They don't. In fact, not only are the images not visible to the account holder -- the entire albums containing the blocked images have disappeared.
Time out. This may be misinformation on my part. I'm awaiting clarification from the owner of that other forum.
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Old July 6, 2017, 12:27 AM   #16
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I became aware of this early on because I was involved with a thread that was picture heavy and all of a sudden the blank picture with the update ad! Wow Hijacked, raped and held for ransom!!!

I belong to a total of 7 forums including a fishing and boat restoration forum. The boat forum is very picture heavy and dependent and is also a V-Bulletin forum and it is near impossible to post picture uploaded to that site.

I am fortunate enough that I have all my photos still on my computer so I don't need to go back and download my own pictures to get them back. But even though I still have all my photos I am not going back and editing all my posts that go back 15 years! Those links will be forever broken, damaged or missing. A lot of useless content w/o those pictures.

I believe what Photobucket did was deliberate and calculated! Was also very low and dishonest in the way they went about it. If this is their new business model then I do not want to be a part of it. I will not delete my account but I will not use it, it can take up space and I will block their constant email offers.

So either these forums or use users will have to adjust to this new environment.
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Old July 6, 2017, 11:06 PM   #17
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I hate photobucket anyway. It has gotten SOOOO SLOW! The past year or so I have dreaded uploading a photo and linking to it in the forum. It was a 15 minute process to upload the photo, oh wait it locked up on the upload screen so I have to do it again. Ok, upload the photo again. Now it works, click on the album so I can get the URL link. Circle spinning on the computer and the line on my web browser moving so agonizingly slow that it literally feels like I'm watching paint dry. Ok, finally made it to the screen and scroll down. Click on the proper tab to copy the URL link. The little "copied" icon appears and disappears. Go and paste the link in the forum. I hit paste and something that I copied weeks ago pastes. WTH! I literally just watched it copy! I go back to copy it again so I click on that browser tab. It takes it like 5 minutes to pop back up. Then I start to scroll down. Oh wait, the web browser tab is locking up because photobucket is SOOOOO SLOW! So I scroll back and forth but nothing happens. Until a couple of minutes from now and then all the previous scroll commands hit at once. So the screen herks and jerks for another minutes or so because of all the previous scroll commands. Hit the URL link again. "Copied" displayed again. Attempt to past in the forum. MAYBE it worked this time...

I digress. I'm not crying over it. It is messed up that we've lost all of these images, probably forever. I know I don't have the time or patience to go back and repair my old posts. So... yeah. Thanks photobucket. You could at least grandfather old content or something.
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Old July 7, 2017, 01:59 PM   #18
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There are additional issues.

I have all my pictures on hard drives so I didn't lose anything....but....it took 2 days to remove all my pictures from PhotoBucket and close my account. Why?, Because they are actively making it hard to do so, by dumping on their site with enumerable ads that come like vomit and make it hard to do anything. Most of the download operations are iffy, and pictures you have on 3rd party sites replaced by their blackmail notice, are not downloadable.....videos are not downloadable....in effect their "free" service was turned into a blackmail trap. Despicable excuses for people IMO.

There's another issue that comes from The Firing Line as well:

We can't go back to replace Photopuke images in older TFL threads using other picture storing sources, because editing here has a time limit for some reason. I'd be glad to edit them if I could.

Attachment are great for some things and I have a few here......but honestly I don't know what they are.....I've slept a few months since I added them. The only indication is a red line that says there are some......somewhere.... on the Attachment management page.

I'm trying Google Pictures right now....


One has to edit picture size to not fill up the page. (last line just before [/IMG])

Now if only I could use it and others to get rid of the Photopuke notices at
https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...0&highlight=62

Last edited by GWS; July 7, 2017 at 02:11 PM.
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Old July 7, 2017, 03:36 PM   #19
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GWS - it's not clear what the red line indication that you mentioned for your attachments is. If you go into your "User CP" (top menu), and select "Attachments" at the bottom of the left hand menu, you will see all of your attachments and their associated threads.
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Old July 7, 2017, 03:43 PM   #20
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There's a beautiful irony in this: photobucket maintains a placeholder image which essentially solicits new business--they are the ones benefitting from 3rd party hosting without an agreement at this point. LOL
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Old July 7, 2017, 03:48 PM   #21
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Good point. Good ironic point!
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Old July 7, 2017, 05:01 PM   #22
Aguila Blanca
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It's unclear how they are selecting what images -- or whose images -- to block. As of the last time I checked, my images still show up in two forums. I've seen other posts -- SINGLE posts with multiple images -- in which some of the images were visible and others were blocked. I'll leave my account until my photos get blocked -- if and when that happens, I'll delete the account. I have already downloaded the photos, as insurance. I should already have them on my hard drive, but I wanted to be certain.

Some people are abandoning Photobucket but leaving the images. I won't do that. Photobucket uses your images. Do a Google search on something like "dog" or "pony" and one of your top search results will be Photobucket -- and they'll show you a gazillion photos of dog or ponies. Guess where they get those photos?
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Old July 7, 2017, 05:31 PM   #23
GWS
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(Red line)In the reply mode/additional options/Manage Attachments, the red line showing your "sum of all attachments". In that screen there's no indications of what attachments one has.

I didn't know about the attachment section of User CP.......Thankyou for the info!

But still we can't go back and get rid of the blackmail notices, or can we?

I would think that a temporary lift of that "no edit" feature might make the forum archives look lots better.

What about us posting pictures in a new post at the bottom (in order) then lifting the no edit for a few hours allowing people to swap blackmail notices for pictures? Just an idea.

Last edited by GWS; July 7, 2017 at 05:38 PM.
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Old July 7, 2017, 08:21 PM   #24
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GWS
I would think that a temporary lift of that "no edit" feature might make the forum archives look lots better.

What about us posting pictures in a new post at the bottom (in order) then lifting the no edit for a few hours allowing people to swap blackmail notices for pictures? Just an idea.
A few hours? More like a few days or a few weeks. On the forum where I'm a moderator, I just heard from a member who just woke up to this issue. He wrote me that he has 433 images just on that one forum. If the administrator does decide to open it up for editing old posts, can you imagine how much work is involved in tracking down 433 images, and changing all the links?
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Old July 7, 2017, 11:04 PM   #25
GWS
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Yes, so true, not thinking clearly I'm afraid. This has all been a shock. The one I listed above I copied to Microsoft Word and added the pictures back in......for my own use....as it had a lot of valuable knowledge & experience from multiple posts by BartB and Walkalong. And maybe no one else needs or wants that particular education on sizing and seating difficult LC brass with minimum run-out."

Most of my "important" contributions are on "stickies" on the AR15.com forum not here....and they are trashed too. Unfortunately AR15 has their own added obstacle. Although they don't have the "limited time to edit" feature TFL has, my pictures loaded from Google Pictures, appear to load fine on repaired threads, and appear perfect on preview, only to turn into tiny blank boxes when the thread changes are saved. Can't win for losing.

Last edited by GWS; July 7, 2017 at 11:13 PM.
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