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Remote linking to avatars

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Avatars on this board are stored on our - that is, my - server. It has come to my attention that a number of users are now linking directly to avatars that I host, by using them as their avatars on other message boards.

By this, I don't mean to chastise people using the same image on many boards; I mean people using their avatar such that, any time someone loads a thread on a different message board, their avatar is loaded from this site rather than from their own Web space, or from the other message board in question, thus wasting our bandwidth.

This is not acceptable. I am providing free space and bandwidth for this board because I am a casual fan of .hack, and happen to have some spare space and bandwidth available. Use of .hack//INFO avatars on other sites does nothing to spread information about .hack, and disrespects the time and money that I am donating to this site.

I understand that this could be done unintentionally, as it may not be clear that some boards will link to an avatar, rather than storing it on their own sites. That's why I'm being as lenient as I am:

When I discover an avatar being linked to from another site, I will issue one polite warning, and immediately rename the avatar file, so that it will still work on this board. The old avatar image will be changed to a 200x200 one reading "PLEASE DO NOT LINK TO AVATARS THAT ARE HOSTED ON SITES OTHER THAN YOUR OWN," and this will appear as the user's avatar on the other board until it is changed.

If the avatar on the other board is changed to another one hosted here, and it is obvious that the offending user on the other board is also the owner of an account here on .hack//INFO, that user will be permanently banned.

I realize that this sounds draconian, and I apologize, but I think we can all agree that this is preferrable to requiring all avatars to be hosted off-site. That would not only be an inconvenience, but would slow the board down.

If you're currently direct linking, and really don't have anywhere else to host your avatar, just contact me, and I will gladly provide avatar hosting for a very nominal fee (e.g. $4.00/year for a typical amount of traffic).

Thank you very much for your understanding.

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