This question was just bumped to the homepage by a user asking if the image, which was hosted externally and is no longer accessible, could be fixed. This raises an interesting dilemma in that we now have a question that's totally unanswerable, because the actual puzzle was entirely within that image. The OP hasn't logged in again since they asked the question, so I'd say the chances of them coming back to fix it are exactly nil.

Is there anything we can do to salvage this question? If it's possible to find the image on another site, or via Wayback Machine or something, I think that would be preferable. Or should we just close it as unanswerable?

(I found this previous Meta question, but its answer only applies to one specific question, and not the general case of a question being broken by an inaccessible image.)


2 Answers 2


Gareth rescued the example you mentioned, but to try and answer the general case, I'd suggest*:

  1. Check Google's cache - If the content went missing fairly recently then Google will likely have a cached copy of the page. Open Google. Paste in the URL and search. Click the little down arrow next to the URL in the result that appears. Click Cached.

    google cache

  2. Check Archive.org's Wayback Machine - If the content has been missing for a while, another place that may have it cached is Archive.org. Open the Wayback Machine. Paste in the URL and search. Click on the timeline and the calendar dates to check a given snapshot (you may have to check multiple).

    archive.org cache

  3. Manually try to salvage - If neither of the above worked, then you'll need to do your own detective work...

    1. Is OP responding to comments asking for a corrected copy? (arguably this should actually be the first step)
    2. Does the poster indicate the original source they found the content (beyond just the image url)?
    3. Do any of the answers contain marked up copies of the original that could be either cleaned up/reconstructed, or used in a reverse image search to track down a copy of the original?
    4. Can you google the name of the host from the original content URL, to see if you can find the image manually on their site (or in case the host moved, as in your example)?
    5. Can you google the title of the puzzle and find one of the many Stack Exchange scraping sites that may have a copy?

  4. Close the question - If all else fails, then the question unfortunately now falls into the realm of the "unclear what you are asking" close reason.

* Noting or course that the ideal solution is:

  1. Ensure puzzles arr self contained in the first place! - This means using the built tools, which use i.stack.imgur.com hosting. These have been updated semi-recently making it super user friendly. You can even just copy/paste images straight into the post edit text box and get the upload + markdown generation automatically.
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Totally agree, but would actually make your #0 to be right on top and highlighted, as it is the only correct answer. And if any of the recovery-methods is used (by anyone but the original author) it should be made into an edit of the question. $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 8:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "Ensure puzzles arr self contained in the first place!" - I always knew you were a pirate, Alconja. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor - Clearly in my blood... If you do some further forensic analysis, you'll also notice the "Noting or course" on the line above. What's a pirate's favourite letter? $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 0:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja It be da C! $\endgroup$
    – JeffC
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 21:17

In this particular case it turns out that all that happened is that postimg.org moved to postimg.cc. I have edited the question to change the hostname, and all appears to be well again.

Of course this doesn't say anything about the general case.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It doesn't, but that's great to know, thank you. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 21:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think in such an edit case, we should replace the link by the (restored) image now hosted on i.stack.imgur.com, potentially with a reference to the original link. We should also discourage (and maybe flag) links to outside image-storage when we first spot them on new posts, except when there are good reasons. (Like copy-right requirements.) I think any good question here on SO should be made to withstand the trial-of-time. $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 8:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I agree that it would be better to have the image on imgur. But I'm not so sure that this not very interesting question merits the time and effort to transfer the image there. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 12:07

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