Some of you who are regular visitors to SL-Feeds will have noticed that some images from other users' blogs do not reduce down to thumbnail size on the homepage. The bug causing this does not seem to be specific to our site, as other Second Life feed aggregators have similar experiences.
One of the causes of this problem stems from bloggers hotlinking to very large images, presumably stored on sites such as Flickr. Putting aside the issue it causes for our feed, from a blogging point of view this is very bad practise, firstly because your blogging platform has to resize such large images to fit on your blog, which takes up resources. This in turn can considerably slow down the loading of your webpage in some visitors' browsers.
Secondly, even though the image may have been automatically resized on the blog page, it will still eat up the bandwidth of your visitors and can potentially contribute further to slowing down their browsers. Not everyone has a high end computer than can cope with processing enormous image sizes efficiently, and many people do not have ISPs that allow them limitless bandwidth. Therefore, if hotlinking huge images to your blog causes issues for your visitors, this may result in them not returning to your blog. The consequences for you is of course loss of traffic.
The best practise for including images on your blog is to rescale them in image editing software, such as Gimp or Photoshop to a size you want them to appear on your webpage. You can then hotlink the resized images from Flickr or another image hosting site, or upload them directly to your blog.
Unfortunatelly I'm not sure what policy Wordpress has on upload limitations, but Blogger's policy is quite flexible. If the image is under 2048px it will not count towards your upload limit, and for most blogs an image half this size is more than sufficient.
For bloggers who continue to hotlink huge images on their blogs and consequently swamp our homepage with such images there is now an area for them on SL-Feeds called the 'Sin Bin', where their blog will appear stripped of any thumbnails. Blogs will be removed from the 'Sin Bin' once owners have taken steps to make sure their images do not take over the SL-Feeds homepage. I think this is the only fair option for all other users of the site.
If you have any suggestions relating to this, or would like your blog removed from the 'Sin Bin' please feel free to contact me.