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To be able to post images on the Scratch Forums, one must upload the desired image to a third-party image host that is white-listed by the Scratch Team. If one was to try and link to an image that was not white-list, they would get an error. This is to prevent spam images, the risk of viruses from unauthorized sites, and simply to avoid inappropriate content.

Host List

The current white-listed hosts are as follows:

Note Note: Some of the hosts might not be seen properly in forums for users, such as scratch-wiki.info
  • photobucket.com (costs money; has a free plan of up to 250 images with a watermark)
  • cubeupload.com (used by most Scratchers, however users must sign up for an account to upload images, and occasionally experiences downtimes)
  • imageshack.com and imageshack.us (30-day free trial with account before payment is required)[1][2][3]
  • scratchr.org (The ScratchR domain is no longer owned by the Scratch Team, and is now an SMS sending service.)[4]
  • wikipedia.org and related subdomains
  • wikimedia.org and related subdomains
  • scratch-dach.info (Now redirects to de.scratch-wiki.info)
  • scratch.mit.edu and all of its subdomains[note 1]
  • modshare.futuresight.org and modshare.tk
  • scratch-wiki.info (This works with all language subdomains, e.g. en.scratch-wiki.info)
  • tinypic.com (Technically does still work, as it was never removed from the white-list, but the original website shut down in 2019[5], replacing all images hosted there with a message informing users that the image is no longer available. In 2023, the website relaunched as a blog, and the discontinuation image was removed, meaning all Tinypic image links from before the relaunch now display a broken image icon.)
Text saying "This image is no longer available. Visit tinypic.com for more information." below a cartoon character.
The image that all Tinypic-hosted images redirected to between 2019 and 2023.

Suggested

Previous Hosts

These are hosts which were formerly on the whitelist:

  • imgur.com (removed for inappropriate images on the host)[8]
  • any .edu domain outside of Scratch (removed because it was used to exploit requests to Scratch APIs from the user viewing the post e.g. to logout the user or delete replies)[9]
  • media.tumblr.com/tumblr.com (only whitelisted on the original 1.4 forums)[10]

Rejected Hosts

  • xomf.com (rejected because it fails to function)[11][12]

Controversy

TinyPic

Archive.png This article or section documents something not included in the current version of Scratch (3.0). It is only useful from a historical perspective.

TinyPic was subject to debate[13] by some Scratchers over the fact that it uses bad advertising techniques to generate revenue. For example, one user experienced warnings of hidden malware[14] when a malicious ad was shown on TinyPic. The site also showed adverts[15] that lead to downloading potentially unwanted programs. Another user also had to type a code that was locked behind inappropriate advertisements[16]. The Scratch Team also took part in the debate and decided it would be the best option to de-emphasize the use of TinyPic. The Scratch Team member, Paddle2See, said that they would be modifying all documents that mention TinyPic as a white-listed image host to warn Scratchers of the bad advertising practices.[17]

Imageshack

Imageshack also came to a debate[18] because of its subscription practices. The Scratch Team has yet to state their presence on the matter.

It has been also reported that the images can "expire" over time and be replaced with an advertisement.[19]

Cubeupload

Cubeupload has gained controversy for having frequent downtimes,[20][21][22] and for having a link to an chat website that is blacklisted on Scratch in its footer.[23]

"secure.wikimedia.org"

Wikimedia servers had a bug that allows dynamic images from another external website to be put into forum posts. Some Scratchers used it for creating dynamic images about post counts. However, it got fixed as of July 2020.[24]

Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and related domains

The whitelisting of Wikipedia is a subject of debate between Scratchers, and requested to be removed from the list due to the possibility of vandalism and posting inappropriate content that exists in Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia.[25]

Profit

Each image host has its own way of earning profit. Of course, money is necessary to run the sites. Many sites simply have ads, like with Tinypic and Photobucket, whereas some image hosts take a different approach of having paid accounts such as Imageshack. Some of the ads on Tinypic and Photobucket have been known to exploit malicious code on individuals' devices or use pop-ups since Tinypic and Photobucket do not regulate their third-party provided adverts.[26] There is also the possibility of an image host sustaining itself purely off of donations, which is the approach that cubeupload takes to maintain its site. However, in September 2019, their site was temporarily shut down as they did not have enough donations.[27]

Notes

  1. This requires putting /get_image/, /scratchr2/static/, /static/site/, or /w/images/ in the image path, which can usually be done for all paths by using /.%2E/ to go up a directory. The string scratch.mit.edu/get_image is disallowed by the censor, but nevertheless this domain is still on the whitelist. In addition, it can be used via any of the other paths, any of the other Scratch subdomains, or used in signatures where the filter doesn't apply

References

  1. jettypumpkin07. (19/8/2020). "I realized you only get to use it free for 30 days before they stop you from uploading new pictures. :/" post:4341430
  2. MClovers. (6/9/2019). "It's a 30-day-free trial. I need a forever-free one." post:3694013
  3. A subscription is required to have full access to all the features ImageShack has to offer. However, we do a free 30 day trial to give people a sneak peak into what we're all about. https://imageshack.com/faq
  4. https://web.archive.org/web/20230107155614/https://www.scratchr.org/
  5. Flowermanvista. (18/7/2019). "According to a notification on their website, TinyPic is shutting down their website at some point in 2019" topic:361842
  6. colinmacc. (1/10/2019). "Have you looked at ImgBB?" post:3717193
  7. Za-Chary. (9/10/2019). "I've brought up ImgBB to the Scratch Team. They will look into the website further." post:3724649
  8. BoltBait. (10/5/2013). "The problem is that the people in charge over at imgur don't do a very good job of policing for inappropriate images." post:25730
  9. thisandagain. (9/1/2016). "We no longer accept images from any .edu domain" post:1717123
  10. ar-post:775753 The signature of this user uses a gif from tumblr.com.
  11. Paddle2See. (1/10/2019). "The last couple of times we've tried to use Xomf.com, it doesn't seem to work." post:3717081
  12. Za-Chary. (9/10/2019). "xomf.com is indeed rejected for failing to actually work." post:3724649
  13. turkey3. (3/12/2014). "Down With Tinypic![title]" topic:69912
  14. cheeseeater. (7/12/2014). "[TinyPic] is showing malware infested adverts which possibly run drive by downloads!" post:602954
  15. cheeseeater. (4/12/2014). "[S]ome users may be more vulnerable to mal-advertising attacks." post:595276
  16. ChocolatePi. (3/12/2014). "[TinyPic] has these ads that whenever I try to upload something it asks me to type a security code… I have to watch a beer ad to get it." post:595028
  17. Paddle2See. (9/12/2014). "Because of the concerns you brought forward, we are de-emphasizing the use of Tinypic." post:609768
  18. Detriment. (24/11/2014). "Make the forums stop using Imageshack for pictures[title]" topic:67646
  19. gdpr533f604550b2f20900645890. (8/10/2015). "Apparently, images can expire and are replaced by an ad for RainApp!" topic:157358[dead link]
  20. LuckyLucky7. (19/7/2020). "Cubeupload.com gives me a 502 error when I try accessing it" topic:424278
  21. Harakou. (19/7/2020). "It's down, and unfortunately does somewhat often." post:4237800
  22. dude341. (10/4/2015). "Any CubeUpload image on the forums are gone. Instead it is just a blue square with a question mark." topic:156104
  23. ResExsention. (12/12/2020). "There's a working Discord server invite in the bottom bar [of CubeUpload's website]." topic:466314
  24. https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T151977
  25. topic:529130
  26. Zro716. (8/12/2014). "you cannot legally force them to moderate their ads because that's not their stuff." post:607122
  27. CubeUpload. (4/9/2019). "Sadly our primary sources of income (donations and Patreon) are no longer covering our costs and we are having to seriously consider closing the site down" https://twitter.com/CubeUpload/status/1169299066242682880