The general explanation of an instead of a picture is a broken link or for some reason, it failed to download to display.
Profile and Signature picture
That is true in most cases but not in uploads to either the member profile or signature pictures. All that means is that the picture was accepted by the server but not yet worked into display mode. Please be patient as increased activity can sometimes delay it for up to several hours, even a day or more in extreme cases.
Pictures in text message
There are several explanations for these and I'll try to cover the more common ones we see. First for the basics, see Posting pictures into message text. Click on Edit of your post and look for:
1. Picture URL or address starting with "C\My Documents...." or similar means you attempted to post a picture from your computer. They must first be on a website and then linked to it.
2. A proper URL starts with "[img ]" and ends in "[/img ]" without the spaces but with the address between them starting with "http://". Many photo host websites provide that address which includes them in which case you need only copy and paste it directly into the message - do NOT use the Photo Editor of the tool bar or you will end up with with two of each. See Using the Photo Editor.
3. Some website picture URL's are very, very long. The procedure here is to right click on the enlargement of the picture and select Properties. The URL will be shown in that popup window and if you can see it all starting with "http://" and ending in a ".jpg" or ".gif", you need only to copy and paste that into the Photo Editor which will add the "[img ]" and "[/img ]" tags. If you don't see all of it, triple click on it, right click and select Copy and then paste it to a NotePad or WordPad to be sure you have it all. You can then paste that into the Photo Editor of the toolbar.
4. Some websites that provide photo storage do not allow linking to them. The popular WebShots for example has this message in the FAQ at their website: "Webshots images can only be used within the Webshots Desktop software and on our website." The key here is to understand what is allowed so check the fine print and FAQ's at the host website.
5. The server of the photo host may be temporarily down. That happens to the best of them and you sometimes just have to wait it out.
6. Some websites want to place a cookie on your computer before letting you view their content. Paste the pictures URL into your browser address bar, go there and then see if that makes it show up. That would be a poor choice of website to link to requiring each member go there first to see your picture.
7. Your computers "cache", may be full, i.e., cookies and temporary internet files. Think of it as a bucket and when full, it will not accept any more. To clear it in Internet Explorer for example, click on Tools/Internet Options, then Files and Off-line content. You can delete cookies as well but that will also cancel any automatic website sign-ins you may have.
8. Internet Explorer needs to be able to read ActiveX controls, Java programs and cookies. To make sure it has this capability, click Tools/Internet Options. Select the Security tab. Click the Default button if it is enabled. Do the same with the Privacy tab.
9. HTML is not allowed due to it's ability to break a page when used incorrectly. You must use 4UMS code instead. It offers basic HTML functionality such as bolding words, linking to other sites, linking to an image.
10. A remote possibility is that of a file type your browser cannot read. Stick to those ending in ".jpg" or ".gif" to be safe. Remember, the problem may be limited to your computer only and not the other members.