I forget, why don't we have the Img tag?

Three letter searches are not permited so I have to start a whole new thread, but I forget why we don’t allow the image tag?
I know that it was taken out shortly before I joined. I heard that it was because of trouble with a “post your desktop” thread. Is this true?
Outside of the occasion jerk posting something that is NWS, I don’t see why it is not allowed.

I believe it is another bandwidth issue - which is in scarce supply as it is…

[sup]IANAM; YMMV; TMI; etc.[/sup]

There’s word of the tag being “misused”, from what I remember of the explanations why we don’t have it anymore. Sorry, it was way before my time.

It wouldn’t be a bandwidth issue, at least on the Chicago Reader’s end, because they wouldn’t be hosting the images - the links would point to images stored elsewhere.

I’ve heard abuse cited as the reason as well. People already link to inappropriate things now and then - someone got the smackdown the other day for linking to an infamous goatey image. Imagine if the image automatically loaded in the thread.

We were having all sorts of abuse issues. People loved to post that goatsex pic, and many people COULD NOT or WOULD NOT understand that just because a picture is on the internet, it’s not necessarily copyright-free. One of the worst offenders was a guy in the music biz. So we (and by we, I mean the moderating staff) were always finding copyrighted pics on our website.

The images were also an incredible drag on speed. In fact, I believe that many pics WERE hosted by the Reader, somehow. But my knowledge of how this worked is rather sketchy, and I remember that the main reason we decided to disallow the image tag was because people kept putting up nasty and/or copyrighted images.

For the Straight Dope

I allow the img tag on my board, BUT you’re looking at a smaller user base, which consists largely of profesional urban planners and those interested in the built environment. The IMG tag is useful in that case, because folks may want to link to examples of ideal projects, development, buildings, maps, and so on. Considering the size of the SDMB user base, there’s more potential for abuse.
I temporarily suspended one of my users for posting eyeworm. Goatse and tubgirl will get a user banned. FWIW, the following is my policy, which is based loosely on that of fark.com.

Posting images that are “not safe for work” (“NSFW”) in the average professional workplaceis not permitted in the Cyburbia Forums. This includes, but isn’t necessarily limited to, the following categories:

[list][li]Nudity, partial nudity, or adult content: Naked people just aren’t safe for work. Exposed breasts, nipples (including ones visible through material), penises, vaginas, and butts aren’t allowable. Goatse and Tubgirl will get you banned. It doesn’t have to be complete nudity for it to be out of place at the office; a good example is the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. It’s not nudity, but most workplaces would frown on looking at it on company time - so anything you see in there shouldn’t be posted here.[/li]
[li]A more general reference point would be to think about what you wouldn’t want the IT department to find in your browser cache. Dildos, vibrators, butt plugs, ben-wa balls, masturbation sleeves, bondage devices, inflatable dolls, RealDolls™, and any other sex toys or devices used to penetrate or be penetrated are definitely unacceptable.[/li]
[li]Graphic content: Images that would make many people feel ill including, but not limited to, cadavers, autopsies, surgeries, vomiting, skin lesions and acne, severed limbs, alarming deformities, roadkill, scantily clad obese people, bodily functions, and bodily wastes.[/li]
[li]Links to such images, or Web sites displaying them prominently. Links to sites that may be seen as mildly offensive by some (see-through clothing, softcore nudity not showing genitalia, etc) may be acceptable with a warning that the link leads to a NSFW site.[/li][/quote]

Linked images absolutely slow down a message board for the end user – but not necessarily by affecting the message board’s home server.

It takes longer for the user’s computer to receive:

… than it does to receive just the message board text and formatting from the Reader’s server. In a linked-pic-heavy message board, the board server would be finished sending its stuff to the user’s computer – and then the board server would have to wait until all those other sites sent their pics along. Only then would the page be fully rendered to the user. That would make the board look really slow, but it wouldn’t be the fault of the board’s server.

That said, IIRC, VBB software can allow uploading of images to the board’s server. I’ve seen this on several other VBB boards, but I’m not 100% certain if it’s a stock VBB feature, or if it’s strictly a hack-in.

I know of at least three potential problems with allowing the image tag. First is thread vandalism: A user might post one of the ubitquitous offensive images mentioned by elmwood (if you don’t know which images he means, count yourself lucky… If you want to see them, you probably already have). Or someone might post an exceptionally large image, or one which expands out to being very large, in an unliked thread, to make it harder for others to read it.

Second is the issue of copyright: Just as most text found on the Internet is copyrighted, and we therefore don’t allow extensive quotes, so too are most images on the Internet copyrighted. As has been said many times in the past, the Chicago Reader (owner of this board) is a newspaper and depends for its very livelihood on the copyright laws, so copyright issues are enforced strictly on this board.

Third is an issue referred to as bandwidth theft. If someone has an image posted on their site, they probably want others to see it. But they also want folks to see the rest of their site, in context, and including the ads that let them pay the bills. When you put up an image from elsewhere on a message board, the host of that image still has to spend bandwidth on it, but they’re not getting the rest of their message across, or getting any ad money to pay for that bandwidth.

Now, certainly, despite these three problems, there are still some legitimate uses for the image tag. A poster in a GQ thread might draw up a relevant diagram in Paint and post it to his own personal webspace as a visual aid in his answer. This would not run afoul of any of the above problems, and it’d be nice if we were able to do so. But the moderators have decided (wisely, in my opinion) that the image tag would generate more trouble than it’d be worth.