Needing to log in to see/hotlink to forum pictures...

Why is this and can it be changed?

It’s done to protect one of our most valuable resources; bandwidth. We publish a hell of a lot of images on the site, and people (not necessarily LB members!) are all too quick to share those on other sites, which means we have to pick up the bandwidth charges for no reason. We encourage people to save the images to their computer and attach/upload them to other websites themselves.

Cost isn’t the only reason, we also do it to preserve the bandwidth we do have, as there’s a finite amount and if every other bike site and their dog is leeching images off our servers then that reduces the amount of bandwidth left for LB readers, which will eventually slow the site down.

There’s also a political incentive to do this; if people can’t view the images casually, then they’re more inclined to come to LB, sign-up and help expand the LB community/readership. We noticed an incrase in registrations when we did this initially, so it’s working so far. We’re also trying to grow the LB ‘brand’, so getting the name out there as much as possible, even if it’s just a ‘ - no hot-linking’ message, really helps us.

I can see your point but guess re para 3, there will always be times when this does not work in a positive way.

For example the thread re the GSXR number plate. The photo has been taken off another site and relates to a member of another forum. I would think he would like to know his plate is being advertised elsewhere.

Not a big issue by any means but any thoughts on this?

Fair point, though when you put a picture on the web, you have no control over its distribution and can’t really expect to have any, so you need to make a decision before you do so, about whether or not it’s a good idea. All we can do is look after our own camp, and we do that via watermarking our gallery images, and this no-hotlinking system.

If the owner of the bike in question wanted his picture removed, of course, we would see it’s done, as we’re receptive to the risks of posting plates on the web, which is why we blank them all out in our galleries. Also, by not allowing hot-linking and viewing of forum images unless you’re signed-in, it means that where possible, only legitimate LB members will see it from our site, which means we’re doing our bit to reduce the risk of undisirables viewing the photo.