WordPress 6.2’s Openverse integration is getting some last minute changes after some contributors expressed concerns about it hotlinking images by default. The new feature, which allows users to quickly insert free, openly-licensed media into their content, and also allows users to upload external images through a button in the block toolbar, but the problem with this is that it creates an extra step in the process and is easy to miss in the UI.
Several contributors cited the GDPR regulations and privacy concerns in the ticket that called for uploading the images by default. It was also noted that hotlinked images can pose problems for users who want to further manipulate the images by cropping, rotating, and filtering, and for developers like myself managing site migrations. Some went as far as to say the feature belongs in a canonical plugin, which would likely have had a less rushed implementation and better testing prior to landing in core.
“I am deeply uncomfortable with any integration of Openverse into core, philosophically WordPress is a personal publishing platform so it should be avoiding external APIs and dependencies. The only external calls it should make (by default) is to check for updates. No issue with the service itself though (I like it) but it should be a canonical plugin that site owners consciously install. Either way images must be on the local server though.”
WordPress contributor Peter Shaw said.
As the hotlinking issue drew more attention, WordPress contributors chimed in on the ticket to call for the feature not to be shipped in its current implementation.
“This cannot ship this way, or it will get unknowing users sued, next to that it has negative performance implications, as you can’t do
Yoast founder Joost de Valk said.
loading attributes on images loaded from remote. Sideload really should be the default, and in fact IMHO, only way.”
Gutenberg contributor Nik Tsekouras jumped in with a quick PR that changes the implementation to upload the Openverse images when they are inserted, wherever possible.
“We definitely want to upload to the site library for this flow and should treat this as a bug. There’s work going on in parallel to upload by default on other actions (like pasting) that are not as straightforward or general enough (hence the need for something like #46014) but this one should be straightforward.”
Gutenberg Lead Architect Matias Ventura said.
Tsekouras’ PR ensures that any images that are inserted from Openverse are uploaded to the media library. If they cannot be uploaded to media library due to CORS issues, WordPress inserts the Image block with the external URL and a warning about the legal compliance and privacy issues involved. Here’s an example of a successful upload:video credit: James Koster in PR #48501
WordPress 6.2 Beta 4 ended up being delayed this morning until March 1, due to an unrelated regression introduced in 6.2. Tsekouras cherry-picked the Openverse PR to the wp/6.2 branch to get it included in the next release, so the next beta should ship with the updated implementation for users to try out.
*update March 23, 2023, with the official release of WordPress 6.2 the openverse integration mentioned in this article is included in WordPress.