You know why people lock their doors? I mean, most houses usually have windows too, right? What's to stop someone from throwing a rock through it and walking in?
There's this theory that there's this group of people that will never enter a house with a front door unlocked and opened, because they're moral like that. There's another group of people who will always enter a house, lock or not. They can enter in through a window, or break in the back.
But the majority of people, some say 98% of people, are part of a third group. This group will enter a house if it's unlocked and open. But if it's locked, they won't think twice about going in. The fact that there's some obstacle in their way overrides any curiosity they might have. They end up thinking it isn't worth it.
Adding text to the images isn't going to deter space from being taken up. Rather, what we're hoping it will do is defer the majority of the people who do not have anything to contribute outside of that message. The idea is that most people, who will want to post an image, realize that there's more work to do it than they realize and will leave the post on the cutting room floor. It deters the post from being made in the first place.
We don't want to cut images out entirely, we don't want to cut our functionality out entirely. We don't even want to cut funny images/memes out entirely. But because of the level they can be spammed, because of how easy it is to spam them, we are adding our own little lock on the door. Will it defer the spam? To be honest, we're not sure. But, you'd better hope so, because if not we will actually have to start cutting funny images/memes entirely. We don't have the space or the money to keep it going otherwise.
Sidenote: it is also worthwhile to mention that we are 1. The people that determine what is spam and 2. the people that decide what is amusing. These are our boards, and we while we understand that not everyone has the same type of humor that we do, there does come a point where we will shut down trends that we think do not contribute to what we would consider discussion if they actively start hurting us.
So you can imagine that, when it comes to money we have to pay out of our pocket vs. images/meme replies that we don't even consider worthwhile, we are going to put our foot down. That's what we're dealing with.
The software we use directly reuploads the images to our boards in order to preserve archiving. This is so that topics can still be seen with the original context, going back to the beginning of the boards, in case those sites go down. This is an especially useful feature for us, because we in the LEGO community have been very weary of alternate hosting sites since Majhost and Brickshelf have gone down, and up, and down again. This way, we can see images like MOCs and Artwork in their original, preserved glory no matter when you look at our boards.
Where it starts making less sense for us is when images contain stuff we're not really that eager to host, like memes, funny images, or reaction gifs. But the software can't distinguish between the two, and we've already been burned by Majhost and Brickshelf to commit to moving everything offsite. And honestly, we don't find a lot of the non-original, creative content all to worth preserving to begin with.
So you can see why we're making this rule now, and why we're probably still going to stick to our guns.