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We're about to migrate to the SE 2.0 network. All of our externally hosted images will continue working just fine. The 2.0 software is tightly integrated with imgur, and the default method to include images actually copies the image into a special Stack Exchange account on imgur. This is great --- we already have a problem with images being lost as individuals' websites become inactive.
I think it would be nice if we could migrate our existing linked images into imgur.
It's possible to do this "by hand". For example, I edited one of Joseph's posts in the sandbox 2.0 site http://dev.mathoverflow.stackexchange.com/questions/103719/lattice-cube-minimal-blocking-sets, and just copied one of his existing URLs to an image, clicked the "add new image" button, selected "from the web" and pasted that same URL. You then need to do a little cleanup to replace the old URL with the new imgur link. Of course, because this is an edit, it bumps the post to the top of the front page, and can't really be done "in bulk".
Alternatively, quite likely we could ask the SE team to migrate all of our existing images, before the new 2.0 site goes live. I'm not sure that they'd be willing to, but I wanted to ask here if people think this would be a good idea before making a request. Any objections?
[Edit (Anton): you will only be able to visit the above link after setting the beta authorization cookie by following this link]
I think you should maybe stress in your post that people shouldn't go ahead and make these changes by hand now, since edits to the sandbox will vanish when the actual migration happens. It's easy to misinterpret your description of editing Joseph's post as an instructional guide!
Scott wrote, "quite likely we could ask the SE team to migrate all of our existing images..." I would very much prefer that. I've been worried about the long-term instability of me hosting the images I've posted on my own server. Scott's edit works, but as he says, it cannot be done in bulk. By one count I have posted 475 images. :-) It seems the SE team could write a script that would access every image in any MO posting, copy each to imgur and alter the link in the post.
Actually, I suspect that the licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ covers that.
It certainly could happen, and may have happened, that someone included an image that they did not originate themselves. In which case the CC license does not apply.
I've enquired with the Stack Exchange team about this.
They say that upon migration they will slurp down a copy of all the linked images for backup purposes, but won't change any of the links. We would be able to contact them to report large scale disappearances, but at the moment they don't want to do mass conversions to locally hosted versions. I suspect we could request one or two cases, e.g. Joseph's images, to be done on an ad hoc basis if that was appropriate.
@Scott: Thanks for investigating. If the SE team would help me transfer my images, I would appreciate that.