Back in the days when forums were new where you could have an account and an avatar in your profile, hotlinking was pretty common. I remember you could either upload a photo or post a url. It was the same on message boards too. You could insert link. So in games like picture association, I would look for an image to use and get the photo url and post it on the forum. I am pretty sure many people did that too then. I also did the same with my avatar photos too. If I wanted to use a personal photo, I would upload it to my photobucket and use that url for my profile picture. This was back when photobucket let you hotlink your content. It was easier that way because it would resize my image automatically for the website.
But anyway this started to become difficult as technology online evolved and got more advanced. Images were starting to get broken and so were avatars. I just thought then it was a bug or the website disappeared because it was abandoned and the owner had deleted it. I was on an autism forum and my Madonna avatar from A League of Their Own kept disappearing off my profile. I kept putting it back and I thought it was some technical issue with the autism forum itself so I kept putting it back. After about three times, the avatar turned into “No hotlinking please” and I realized this was no bug, this was the actual owner from the other website doing it or it was the admins on the autism forum doing it and they didn’t tell me they had removed my avatar or that they don’t want hotlink avatars.
On forums I have been on, moderators will not tell you when they have changed your profile or removed something in it or even tell you they had changed your post or even deleted it. To me this is a violation because of no communication. No communication, I am not going to know if it was intentional or know if I actually wrote that. If I make a post and it disappears, I am going to think “I thought I posted it but I must have forgotten or it didn’t go through” so I will post it again. Sure if a mod changes your post and leaves a note in it, that is fine because at least I know I am not imagining things or thinking “I thought I posted this, I guess not” or “I don’t remember writing that.” I guess many moderators assume people will remember what they posted or know they had done something wrong if they find their profile changed or profile image removed or post gone and stuff. That doesn’t work with me. Instead it’s like gaslighting me making me think I am crazy and I had not remembered or that I thought I had posted it but actually didn’t. If someone took something of yours and you went to get that item where you left it and it was gone, you would think you misplaced it, not think someone took it. That is what it’s like when any changes are made to my account or posts without me being notified about it. But I guess lot of people don’t know this that moderate forums.
But anyway I have learned more about online and servers. I have learned that when people have images on their website, they are paying for those images they have on their server. The more traffic they get, the higher the cost gets so they have to pay the difference which is why ads get put on their webpages. It is to help compensate for the cost so they won’t have to pay extra out of pocket. But what happens when you hotlink to their image from their site than saving it to your PC and reuploading it yourself? You are using their server and their money when you get traffic to your site and the more views that page of yours gets, the harder the server is working to load that image so it costs the website owner money. That is stealing their content but yet if you save their photo they were using and you reupload it, that isn’t stealing unless they say all their images are copyrighted.
I was actually lucky I got a polite message in my image than a nasty one. I have read there are nasty ones the webmaster would put when they change the url to shame you on your website. I am sure it was the website owner that did that to my avatar than one of the forum admins. But back then I didn’t know and knew nothing about hotlinking or paying for servers or that the more traffic they get, the more they have to pay. If you have never owned a website and never built one, you are not going to know this. I also read that people have shut down their website because of too many people hotlinking. That could explain why websites back then would disappear. But now there is a feature where you can not allow people to hotlink and I have been to sites where you couldn’t highlight any text.
But I have noticed how forums now will not allow hotlinks in profile pics so that is why I will do image uploads instead. That is what I did with diaper pics I was finding in search engines for my Tumblr and I saved them to my PC than hotlinked them. I knew it was frowned upon but didn’t know why.
Part 2 for another time I accidentally stole someone’s content despite that I didn’t take any credit.
On ADISC, someone wrote a funny story, the character was named Chris Hansen and he was a predator. He was ABDL and he was talking to underage ABDLs and trying to meet up with them but he kept appearing on a TV show that catches predators and he could never seem to learn his lesson no matter how many times he was caught and appearing on those TV shows. What was coincidental about it was the author had never heard of Chris Hansen and had never heard of the TV show either. The way the story was written seemed to be written in a satirical way and it was hilarious. So hilarious I had to share it on another website in a thread called “make someone Laugh” so I copied and pasted it and said I found it from another website and I didn’t write it.
That post was there for a year or two when out of the blue I got a PM from someone saying he was freaking out and said he had deleted the original post when he saw I posted it there and gave the url to that post for me to delete. He had registered on that site just to send me that message. I honestly didn’t understand what the big deal was and it wasn’t like I took credit for it and there was no money involved and it wasn’t like I was selling the story. But I deleted it because he had asked politely. Maybe he had mental health issues like anxiety which would explain why he didn’t take it well and why he freaked out when he saw it was reposted on another site. Honestly I would have been grateful to see my content being reposted because it means they appreciated my work so much. If it was on a freebie site, posted in public for everyone to see, it’s fine to share it just as long as they don’t take credit for it. Same as if people don’t take my photos to pretend to be me. But if it was some other post that is my opinion on something or a rant or personal experience, I will be meh about it. If someone had taken my story I had written and changed the location and town name and all the characters and genders and their dog breed they have and cats, I might leave a passive aggressive comment saying something like “I see you have enjoyed my story that you decided to take my work and do some changes to it because you seem to lack creativity” and I link to the original source of my story. The time stamps would show the story is stolen.
People copy and paste posts all the time to share and link it to the original source. People share memes all the time. People reshare photos they find. But I know if it’s something you paid for rather it’s from Patreon or Onlyfans or anything you had to spend money to see, it’s obvious you shouldn’t repost that content anywhere, same as if it was posted privately in email or PM or it’s on a protected Tweet account. But some people don’t seem to know this because I will find on their page sometimes that any content on their page may not be posted anywhere. I guess people are that stupid and pirates will just take it anyway so they don’t need to be told that. That is just for dumb people.