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Thread: Revising Rule 8

  1. #1
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    Revising Rule 8

    After a recent mild violation of Rule 8, the moderators have discussed modifying it to reflect modern realities. The relevant portion currently reads:

    Additionally, don't embed a huge image (meaning an image that's over 100kb or 800 pixels wide) or any video that automatically starts playing. We still have dialup users and others with limited bandwidth for whom downloading a large image would be a significant annoyance.
    This rule is well over ten years old, and we're thinking that these days a 100kb image can no longer be described as "huge". However, we're not sure where to draw the line and so are open to suggestions. Please share your thoughts below.
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    Personally I'd not want bigger than 1800 or so wide, as that could need scrolling even on a FHD screen. Size in bytes whatever works with that.

    Maybe a poll on the thread?

    Certainly never allow auto-play videos :-) , the reference to dial-up can probably be removed (but maybe not the limited bandwidth bit).
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    Quote Originally Posted by pzkpfw View Post
    the reference to dial-up can probably be removed
    Yes, I think you're probably not far from the point where some people ask, "what is dial-up?" If it hasn't happened already. I have definitely dealt with people who see a picture of a 3.5 inch disk, and have no idea what it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheManWithNoName View Post
    Yes, I think you're probably not far from the point where some people ask, "what is dial-up?" If it hasn't happened already. I have definitely dealt with people who see a picture of a 3.5 inch disk, and have no idea what it is.
    Something I posted for discussion in the mod forum: I couldn't quickly find global data but in the U.S., Statista.com shows that dial up usage ranges from 0.1% to 1.9% [among the states] for an average of 0.6% nationwide. If we apply that average to our 2882 members who've been active since 1 Jan 2020, about 17 of them log on with a squeal.

    I also mentioned the changes in monitor resolution over the years. When this rule was implemented, the most common resolution was 1024 x 768 and I assume there were still a fair number of folks who still had 800 x 600 models. Today, the most common resolution available for sale seems to be 1080p HD (1920 x 1080) and I can only guess at how many people may still have something like 1280 x 1024 (5:4 HD) or 1440 x 900.


    For me, one of the things I might hope to read in this thread is input from members who may be similarly situated, if there are any. Rather than guess at it, I'd like to know what impact a change to the rule would actually have.
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    That math only applies if members are "the average American". IMHO they aren't, many of our users are international, several are spamaccounts (that haven't spammed yet), and also, I think it's a safe bet in our actual target audience, at least the regular users, broadband is much more common than average US.

    It is my impression that heavy image usage is most common in the Babbling, ATM and CT forums. Not where I would expect a new, unsuspecting, dial-up user would go. And wouldn't they have their browsers setup to not automatically download images anyway?

    Anyway, I'd be ok with allowing 1920x1024 and a size of max 1Mb, ish. Leave it to moderator interpretation if image use is excessive. A little scrolling occasionally isn't all that bad, IMHO.

    And like PetersCreek, I would love to hear some more member feedback on this. How is this for Tapatalk users? I'm not familiar with the app, does it downscale images for smartphones?
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    That math only applies if members are "the average American". IMHO they aren't, many of our users are international, several are spamaccounts (that haven't spammed yet), and also, I think it's a safe bet in our actual target audience, at least the regular users, broadband is much more common than average US.

    It is my impression that heavy image usage is most common in the Babbling, ATM and CT forums. Not where I would expect a new, unsuspecting, dial-up user would go. And wouldn't they have their browsers setup to not automatically download images anyway?

    Anyway, I'd be ok with allowing 1920x1024 and a size of max 1Mb, ish. Leave it to moderator interpretation if image use is excessive. A little scrolling occasionally isn't all that bad, IMHO.

    And like PetersCreek, I would love to hear some more member feedback on this. How is this for Tapatalk users? I'm not familiar with the app, does it downscale images for smartphones?
    Tapatalk automatically resizes the in-thread image to fit the device window; clicking on the image brings up the original size. So yes, 1920x1024 seems to be plenty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    That math only applies if members are "the average American".
    Granted wholeheartedly. It's just that they're the only numbers I could find during a brief search. I thought they'd look okay if we stood back a ways and squinted.

    I'm not so sure about allowing 1920 x 1024, which would take up the entire width of an HD monitor. Going back to my guesstimate of the most common resolution in 2005, an 800px image took about 78% of the screen width of a 1024 x 768 monitor. If we scale that to HD resolution, we have an image 1500 pixels wide. We could consider allowing more image height to accomodate 2:3 portrait aspect of 1500 x 2250. I saved such an image in Photoshop with Quality set to the top of the "High" range and the file size came in under 500 MB.

    Mind you, I'm not strictly opposed to a 1920px limit. I have an ultrawide HD monitor, 2560 x 1080.

    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Tapatalk automatically resizes the in-thread image to fit the device window; clicking on the image brings up the original size. So yes, 1920x1024 seems to be plenty.
    Yes and the mobile device browsers in my experience (Chrome, Safari) do the same.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    ... the file size came in under 500 MB. ...
    Seems kinda large to me. I'd really like to keep the file size 1mb max. There is freeware available that can resize images quite easily.

    The other option is to have all images as attachments with a thumbnail displayed. Let users decide if it's too big to bother.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Seems kinda large to me.
    Sorry! Big typo. Huge. That should have been 500 KB.
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    I usually post pictures in BABBling so that they display in-thread, rather than posting just the thumbnail. I generally reduce them to widths ranging from about 600 to 800 pixels with a size of under 100 kb, none of which I mind doing. And that's in keeping with the current rule.

    My present monitor is 1920x1080, but I wouldn't want to be seeing in-thread images anywhere near that size. If an image is ~1000 px wide, and 2:3, then the corresponding height of ~670 leaves plenty of room for other parts of the post to show up, including a sense of whether another image is part of the post. So that works for my sense of "thread aesthetics". That said, I do enjoy seeing thumbnail links to larger images that I can choose to view. I just prefer if the largest images are accessed via a thumbnail.

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    If it were possible to have the server automatically down-scale large uploaded images to have a maximum displayed dimension of 1000 pixels and link those "thumbnails" to their full-sized counterparts, that would be great.

    Like Torsten, I use an FHD (1920x1080) display. I like to have the browser occupy only part of the display so that I can easily see and access other program windows and desktop icons while browsing. Also, having to scroll to read text which wraps to match the width of the largest posted image in a thread can be quite annoying. (I've encountered this situation in several forums. I dunno if it happens here.)

    ETA:
    As a test, I went through the motions of posting a 1920x100 image in the "Off-Topic Babbling" sub-forum. In the "preview post" window, the forum software automatically generated a small thumbnail. At that point, I cancelled the window and did not post it. This thumbnail generation for large images seems quite reasonable to me, although I don't know at what size it takes effect.
    Last edited by selden; 2021-Sep-11 at 07:19 PM. Reason: describe results of image size test
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    If we limit the maximum dimension to 1024 pixels, would the file size pretty much take care of itself?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    If we limit the maximum dimension to 1024 pixels, would the file size pretty much take care of itself?
    I resized a fairly rich jpg to 1024x768 at 90% quality and the result was 261 kb. Another resized to 1024x575 came in at 198 kb.

    Works for me.

  14. #14
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    Revising Rule 8

    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    If we limit the maximum dimension to 1024 pixels, would the file size pretty much take care of itself?
    To an extent. I think itíll depend on the default (or selected) compression settings of the camera/image software. As a test, I cropped and resized an iPhone 11 JPEG photo to 1024 x 1024 in ProCreate on my iPad. The image size came out to be 549 KB. When I save JPEGs in Photoshop, Iím prompted to select a quality (compression) setting with 12 being the highest. If I recall correctly, a 1500 x 2250 JPEG saved at quality setting 12 was 1.64 MB.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    To an extent. I think it’ll depend on the default (or selected) compression settings of the camera/image software. As a test, I cropped and resized an iPhone 11 JPEG photo to 1024 x 1024 in ProCreate on my iPad. The image size came out to be 549 KB. When I save JPEGs in Photoshop, I’m prompted to select a quality (compression) setting with 12 being the highest. If I recall correctly, a 1500 x 2250 JPEG saved at quality setting 12 was 1.64 MB.
    A 1500x2250 JPEG is 3.2 times the size of one 1k square, so an equivalent 1k square image would be 512k.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    If we limit the maximum dimension to 1024 pixels, would the file size pretty much take care of itself?
    Probably.. if the image is a JPEG. If it's a GIF, BMP, or PNG all bets are off. With below testimage at 1024x576 I noticed a factor 10 increase between default JPG to BMP. (I think you're aware of all these things, but maybe not all readers are.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    A 1500x2250 JPEG is 3.2 times the size of one 1k square, so an equivalent 1k square image would be 512k.
    That depends on both what's in the image, and the amount of information loss that is allowed in the JPEG compression algorithm. I just downloaded a 5120*2880x24BPP Perseverance image, 27.7MB. (as a BMP it grows to 43MB.) I let Irfanview save it with 100% image quality (the amount of loss I referred to), and it reduced to 12.9MB. Then I saved it with 50%, resulting in 1.6MB file. Finally, I set it to 1% quality... resulting in 135kB. Still 5120x2880, but not so nice anymore I attached it just for fun.

    Irfanview is a great example of the freeware software that Jim referred to, by the way.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1prc.jpg 
Views:	16 
Size:	134.3 KB 
ID:	26438  
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    Probably.. if the image is a JPEG. If it's a GIF, BMP, or PNG all bets are off. With below testimage at 1024x576 I noticed a factor 10 increase between default JPG to BMP. (I think you're aware of all these things, but maybe not all readers are.)
    When I gave my example above, I assumed most attached images were JPG. Would anyone ever think to attach a large BMP?

    That depends on both what's in the image, and the amount of information loss that is allowed in the JPEG compression algorithm. I just downloaded a 5120*2880x24BPP Perseverance image, 27.7MB. (as a BMP it grows to 43MB.) I let Irfanview save it with 100% image quality (the amount of loss I referred to), and it reduced to 12.9MB. Then I saved it with 50%, resulting in 1.6MB file. Finally, I set it to 1% quality... resulting in 135kB. Still 5120x2880, but not so nice anymore I attached it just for fun.
    Then at Irfanview's 100% setting, this file reduced to 1024 pixel width and proportional height would have a pixel count 0.04 that of the original image, for a final size of ~65 KB. Elsewhere, selden mentioned WebP format which seems to be even more efficient in compression.

    Irfanview is a great example of the freeware software that Jim referred to, by the way.
    Yes, I use it often enough that I felt obliged to donate to Irfan's mission!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    When I gave my example above, I assumed most attached images were JPG. Would anyone ever think to attach a large BMP?
    Maybe someone who wants to post a data sample from a scientific investigation? Or maybe someone who simply doesn't know any better?

    For example, many high resolution crystallography data acquisition systems generate TIFF images. For performance reasons, the detectors usually don't implement any data compression. They also don't implement any noise thresholds and, as a result, produce gigantic image files even when they're compressed, to the chagrin of the IT departments charged with supporting those devices.
    Selden

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    Probably.. if the image is a JPEG. If it's a GIF, BMP, or PNG all bets are off. With below testimage at 1024x576 I noticed a factor 10 increase between default JPG to BMP. (I think you're aware of all these things, but maybe not all readers are.)



    That depends on both what's in the image, and the amount of information loss that is allowed in the JPEG compression algorithm. I just downloaded a 5120*2880x24BPP Perseverance image, 27.7MB. (as a BMP it grows to 43MB.) I let Irfanview save it with 100% image quality (the amount of loss I referred to), and it reduced to 12.9MB. Then I saved it with 50%, resulting in 1.6MB file. Finally, I set it to 1% quality... resulting in 135kB. Still 5120x2880, but not so nice anymore I attached it just for fun.

    ..
    .
    It does look a bit like a colorblind artist's rendition of a landscape!

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    Quote Originally Posted by selden View Post
    Maybe someone who wants to post a data sample from a scientific investigation? Or maybe someone who simply doesn't know any better?

    For example, many high resolution crystallography data acquisition systems generate TIFF images. For performance reasons, the detectors usually don't implement any data compression. They also don't implement any noise thresholds and, as a result, produce gigantic image files even when they're compressed, to the chagrin of the IT departments charged with supporting those devices.
    /Sidetrack: TIFF is much better-suited for printing and was originally created for the publishing industry. /sidetrack

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    So given the available formats, the rule would still seem to need two parts, one for pixel width to deal with issues of scrolling etc, and one for size to deal with bandwidth.

    (Aside: I used to make a lot of geoTIFFs of maps and aerial photography for use in tablets and phones. At first I considered LZW compression to avoid loss (one of the options my software gives), but even that was not enough to tame the size of these things, so eventually settled on mid-quality JPG to make the file sizes reasonable.)

  22. #22
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    512kb and 1024px?

    (I'm a computer programmer - I like binary.)
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    They seem reasonable to me, but it would be nice if they were enforced in the uploader.

    ETA:

    I think you might have meant "512 kB". Usually a lower case b means bits, while B means bytes..
    Selden

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    Moderator consensus seems to be for 512 kilobytes and 1024 pixels. Unless there's any objection, I'll update the rules accordingly this weekend.
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    I have modified Rule 8 as stated and simplified it somewhat - I didn't see the need to defend it with the reference to dial-up, since we're not sure how accurate that is any more.
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    I like the new change.
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