One of the original images is here:
On my machine, it shows up sideways, and the orientation in the EXIF data is “Horizontal (normal).” Thus it seems like Discourse is handling this image appropriately. I am not sure what sort of iOS magic makes the image appear properly on the end-user’s phone. Conspiracy theorists might suggest that Apple does this intentionally to punish those who data export their images outage of the iCloud world.
We have people snapping photos directly from within Discourse. Several extra steps would be involved in telling customers to take a photo, edit it, save the edited version, and then add that to a Discourse post. Simply telling people they’re “empowered” because anyone can rotate an image does not lead to a great customer experience, and it sounds like the image “looks” fine on their phone, so I’m not sure exactly what I’d tell them to do. Ultimately, if a process is a pain, people won’t do it, and I (the one who pays for Discourse) ends up with lesser user community as a result. If I allow images in my forum, I generally want it to be easy for people to place them there.
I gather that image rotation is a fairly common challenge on forums, especially in this modern, phone-filled world. I agree with @Seth_Godin that a rotation button would be an easy fix, allowing even the most simple-minded of end users to fix any rotation issues on their own without exiting the forum software. I’d obviously prefer that there be some magical feature that “fixes” this image situation automatically, but I’m not optimistic that is possible.