In this answer a user included a picture of the apparatus they recommended would help solve my problem.

The picture struck me as large, so I "tinified" it, appending a 't' to the imgur link. (Version after my edit visible here.) My thinking was: Stacks are characterized by the highest signal-to-noise ratio on the web, the picture isn't adding much signal, let's stop it from pushing aside other answers by taking up so much real estate. (I mean, it's not like the answer hinges on some small detail of the recommended item, such that seeing the large image makes it clear when it's lost on the small picture.)

Another user came along and re-embiggened it. I don't want to start an edit war, so here I come to meta: is the large picture necessary? If not, shouldn't we use the smaller?

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    +1 for the word "re-embiggened". The smaller picture is better, but I'd like to know what the poster of the picture thinks.
    – ab2
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 3:16
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    Personally, I think the medium size may have been a good compromise, pictures that are too large do make it harder to read a page, in my opinion. But I think you were right not to engage in an edit war, as in the grand scheme of things it probably isn't that important.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 13:14
  • TIL that appending m will create a medium picture--never knew that, I'd just been sticking to tiny pictures. Thanks, @RoryAlsop!
    – nitsua60
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:51

3 Answers 3


I'm glad you brought this up. At Gardening SE, we un-embiggen many photos, because we ask for a lot of them and they can take up a tremendous amount of space. If the OP posts them very big, often we who edit will come along and make them smaller, and I've wondered whether or not I should do that here.

For the best of both worlds, you can make your picture smaller in the post, but link it so when people click on it, a separate tab opens showing the image in its original size. It's a little bit time-consuming, but very easy once you get the hang of it. I find it much easier than cropping the photo first. I almost always re-size images to medium. They're still easy to see in the post, and can be seen larger if desired. Using the method described below, I resized 6 large photos down to medium in this question. It looks clean and people can check out the larger sizes if they want.

With respect to @James Jenkins, I'm going to illustrate it using his answer you referenced.

Using the insert photo icon in the question/answer box, the SE system will upload the image with a link to itself in its own tab. The number in the last bracket is that link. In this case, 1.

[![weed burner image full size][1]][1]
[1]: https://i.sstatic.net/3IYUF.jpg

My posting of his large picture

To make the picture smaller without connecting to the larger, add one of the size letters to the end of the url, just before the .jpg. That's what he did with the “t”. (See chart below for size choices.)

[1]: https://i.sstatic.net/3IYUFt.jpg

My posting of his small picture

Clicking on that picture opens a page with that picture in the small size.

If you want to be able to see the large picture by clicking on the small picture, it takes two steps.

First, copy and paste the original image address, but give it a unique identifier by adding something onto the number in the first bracket. I use a small “f”, which to me stands for “full-size”. Some people use numbers or other things.

 [1f]: https://i.sstatic.net/3IYUF.jpg

Second, to link the two so that clicking the smaller will show you the bigger, add the f to the bracket box in the original string. In this case, 1f.

 [![small weed burner image linked to original full-sized image][1]][1f]     
 [1]: https://i.sstatic.net/3IYUFt.jpg
 [1f]: https://i.sstatic.net/3IYUF.jpg

my small weed burner image

Now when you click on the small image, it shows the original size large one in a separate tab.

To make sure people know you did this, post a little message like: Click on pictures to see larger view.

SE uses the sizing according to the Imgur system. This is a chart of names and sizes to help us choose what we want to use when posting or re-sizing. Imgur table

(I've posted medium (m) and large (l) just for reference)

This is medium, 320 by 320:

This is medium, 320 by 320

This is large, 640 by 640:

This is large, 640 by 640

  • I second @nitsua60 's recommendation to add the code blocks with the markdown you're using. I'm confused about the "'t' on the end" portion of your answer. I think seeing the markdown would clarify that.
    – Erik
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 19:25
  • @Erik, you're absolutely right that I need to fix this. I've been studying how to do code blocks, and I think (hope!) I've got it down! I should get something up soon. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:06
  • @nitsua60 or just put four spaces in front of it instead of wrapping them with back ticks.
    – Erik
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:32
  • @Erik sure, but then you start getting into tabs-vs-spaces politics, and that's hard to talk about =D
    – nitsua60
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:43
  • @nitsua60 lol agreed.
    – Erik
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:45
  • Hey Erik and nitsua60. Thanks so much for your help with coding, and for your patience. I absolutely could not have done this without you, and I really hope it's a helpful post. Please keep telling me how to improve it! Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 22:56
  • While the original picture was larger than it needed to be, the small one is too small to easily tell me what this thing is since I'd never seen one before. Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 20:07
  • @OlinLathrop, I certainly understand that, which is why the option to have the original size one click away is helpful. Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 22:54
  • I'm accepting not because I have any say in determining policy, but because this answer taught me all the different imgur options I never knew existed before--I'd only ever seen t before. I've been using them all over the place recently. Thanks!
    – nitsua60
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 0:07
  • I appreciate the acceptance, but mostly I'm just so glad you're having fun! Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 0:20

The core of my position is stated very well in a comment by Rory Alsop:

Personally, I think the medium size may have been a good compromise, pictures that are too large do make it harder to read a page, in my opinion. But I think you were right not to engage in an edit war, as in the grand scheme of things it probably isn't that important.

In general I think people should strive to trim excess white space from their images, and prefer medium sized images. That being said I feel like images should be generally encouraged, so I don't get bent out of shape if the cropping and size aren't perfect.

Here is a cropped version of the image which I feel is better than either the thumbnail or the original image. All I did was crop the image.


As you can see the extra white space caused most of the problems.

  • 1
    Funny, I still find this trimmed version to be way-oversized compared to the importance of the image to comprehending the post. I hadn't known before this Q&A that there existed a "medium" option on imgur links--I've only ever appended t! Now the comment about "the medium size" makes perfectly good sense.
    – nitsua60
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:25
  • @nitsua60 I agree that this picture isn't extremely important to understanding the post. I admit to favoring larger images which probably contributes to me liking the cropped image more than you. In any case I think it is clear that the cropped version is better than the original.
    – Erik
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:31
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    Yes, undoubtedly the cropped is better than the original. I would still recommend the medium, as it requires rather less work of the user, but here we're really just talking iotas of preference.
    – nitsua60
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:45

What makes the image load slowly if you have a slow internet connection is that it's large, and this site forces it to be shrunk to a lower resolution. It seems that no matter how big a image you include in a post, it gets displayed at about 640 (not sure exact dimension) horizontally.

I therefore make sure images I upload aren't more than about 620 wide. Anyone looking at the post will still see the same size image, but there are a lot fewer pixels to transfer from the server. Of course images should always be cropped to show just the pertinent parts. Expanding the information you want to show to 620 pixels wide will usually give plenty enough detail.

For example, I took a look at the original under discussion and found it was 1200 x 1200 pixels. That's lazy of the original poster, and obnoxious to anyone viewing it. I started with the original, cropped off large chunks of the totally content-free white background, then shrunk the result to 620 pixels wide:

This image is only 620 x 383 pixels, which is 6x less pixels than the original, yet conveys all the same information in a post here. This is what the original author should have done.

However, you were wrong to shrink the image as much as you did. I had never seen one of these things before, and I didn't really get what it was from the small thumbnail. You could have shrunk it less and still met your objectives.

So, to summarize, here are the guidelines for posting images:

  1. Crop off large background areas of the image, or parts that add nothing to the information you are trying to convey.

  2. If the result is still more than 620 pixels wide, shrink it to 620 pixels wide.

  3. Upload this cropped and shrunk result. The system will display it 1:1 pixels. Not only won't the browser have to waste time re-sampling to display a large image at lower resolution, but it won't create pixel artifacts in the process.

By following these rules, we get pictures that load quickly and show more information. Anything less is just lazy and rude.

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    "Anything less" than researching the Stack's image-transmission protocol then editing the image in external software "is just lazy and rude." I think that's an unnecessarily-harsh characterization of the majority of other site users and I urge you to reconsider both your audience and your tone.
    – nitsua60
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 16:40
  • @nit: Nowadays image manipulation software is readily and cheaply (freely) available. There is no excuse for someone not downsizing a image to the size it's ultimately going to be rendered on everyone's screen anyway. I know from experience that large images do load more slowly over slow links than images of the size both will be displayed in at the end anyway. Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 20:03
  • This has an incorrect statement. The posted image was not 1200 x 1200. That was its original size, but by the time of posting it had already been scaled in half. According to the image info: 3IYUF.jpg (JPEG Image, 1200 × 1200 pixels) - Scaled (54%). The Imgur chart above shows that this is very similar to the "large thumbnail" which SE uses in its model. If your statement is correct that images are automatically cropped to 640, there was no need to even mention the original size. Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 22:50
  • @Sue: I used the save picture as in my browser, and what I ended up with was a 1200 x 1200 picture. Yes, something resizes that when you view the web page. That's the point. It's better if this doesn't need to happen, which is accomplished by posting the picture of the size that SE will display directly. As I said, I got basically the same end result in the web page using 6 times fewer pixels to start with. What I show above won't load slowly with a low bandwidth connection. There is really no reason not to scale properly before uploading. Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 22:57
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    This will be my final public comment. @nitsua60 has expressed my feelings. SE has set up a system so people don't have to understand cropping, and should not be belittled if they don't. You've created "guidelines" as if they were policy, and called those of us who don't comply "lazy and rude." I respectfully ask that you remove the disparaging remarks from your post. They violate the first term of Be Nice. I'd like to end the matter here, but if there's anything else you feel a need to tell me, please use chat. Thank you. Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 23:32

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