There were, however, other problems.
Remember the “babe” pictures and other embedded images that literally were all over the site? I know a lot of you do, and a lot of you wish we would go back to allowing these images. But the fact was, we had become aware of potential problems in having embedded, copyrighted images. And just because an image doesn’t have a copyright or watermark or other similar symbol does not mean it is not subject to copyright laws and action.
Further, embedding images draws traffic away from the hosting site. If the reader doesn’t go to the site, the site does not get credit for their page “hit”. We don’t like it when we work hard and our images are ripped-off nor do other sites.
While we could have addressed the problem with one click by turning-off the ability for readers to post anyimages in the forums as many other sites do. It was decided that was unacceptable.
So we made a really hard choice. We decided we could not allow images to be embedded in posts except for certain specific circumstances, which basically comes down to the poster having taken the image himself (or herself). We would, however, allow a member to post an external link to the image.
We recognized this was not going to be popular. Worse than not allowing WCE by a long shot. In fact, we had to literally delete certain popular multi-page threads out of the forums. We could not allow them to remain.
Several other simulation sites did not have such a policy, and still don’t to this day. Their decision is theirs and ours is ours. But that fact offered up a clear contrast: No babe pictures (and other pictures at SimHQ) versus lots of babe and other pictures at other sites. Some people, understandably, decided they’d go to the other sites for their pix-fix.
And what could we say about it, other than offer the truth and an explanation of the truth? It was a tough decision, not one we wanted to make, but one that had to be made in the interest of the future of SimHQ. It was the right choice, but it would not be popular. And we knew it.
The embedded “babe” pics were traditional. If someone had a special event, a birthday or a posting milestone, the response was a babe picture (some of which got a little too risque, but that’s a different problem). These and the other images had been there since the beginning of time and now were taken away for reasons people just did not understand or appreciate.
People argued with me and others on Staff for weeks about this. I began to swear that our membership was made up primarily of copyright lawyers or aspiring copyright lawyers. As soon as I would finish yet another explanation which was slightly different than the one I had done 15 minutes earlier, someone would post “I still don’t get it. What about “XYZ” images over at ‘blah-blah’ site? We can use those, right?”, and “What’s the problem? No one’s ever to prosecute SimHQ for something like this? Why be so reactionary when nothing bad has happened, and likely will not happen?”, and so on.
As I said, we knew it was going go over like an anvil off the Empire State Building, and it did. A lead balloon would have been much preferable. If it wasn’t babe pictures, it was WW II pictures, airplane pictures, ship pictures, silly pictures, car pictures, news pictures, hurricane pictures, Homer Simpson cartoons, “caption this’ pictures, “prove I didn’t take this” pictures, and more. To this day, I am sure we have members who don’t know about this rule, others who don’t appreciate it, still others who understand the situation.