I get annoyed with people putting unnecessary images in their questions and answers, but I wonder if there is any rational objection to the practice, or is it just irrational prejudice on my part? Is there anything wrong with posting a useless image, aside from making me waste my precious time scrolling past the picture so I can read the post?

  • 9
    -1 question has no pictures – Molag Bal Mar 26 '16 at 13:05
  • @randal'thor Perhaps a time to mention we could link to how to thumbnail uploaded images in some FAQ post. – user31178 Mar 26 '16 at 13:51
  • @CreationEdge Good idea. Maybe post it as a suggestion on the FAQ proposals thread? – Rand al'Thor Mar 26 '16 at 13:54
  • 3
    Is there a particular post that has irked you? – Valorum Mar 26 '16 at 18:27
  • I'd say posting a tangential image shouldn't be any different from putting in tangential text. If you put in tangential text, you'll waste a bit of the reader's time - and, if you put too much of it in without something excellent to offset it, the post may be closed for length/quality reasons. Or it will be edited out. And, unless you're funny, you'll get downvotes. But there is no hard rule forbidding any text that isn't necessary. I think there's no reason why images should be treated differently. – Misha R Nov 1 '19 at 18:24

(I've expanded this answer quite a bit from its original version. Even though the Question is a duplicate, I thought a more complete answer covering the current status of including images would be useful.)

I don't think much has changed since an earlier version of this question was asked 4 years ago:

  • images that illustrate exactly what's being said in the text are useful, even if there are a lot of them (e.g. "Batman wore such-and-such armour in this situation.")
  • images that are large and require a lot of scrolling to go past are distracting
  • unrelated or barely-related images in posts are distracting and many people (myself among them) find them annoying
  • there's a wide range of opinion as to what's related or not

How bad is the problem?

Not bad at all, IMO.

I spent some time looking at questions with images in them (search for imgur urls) and I didn't find too many that I thought were pointless:

  • looking just at questions, there are about 50 per month that have imgur links
  • even though I'm "prejudiced" against images, I'd say at least 50% of them are clearly relevant, and another 20%-30% are probably useful - I didn't think they were totally relevant, but I had to agree they were at least useful to illustrate something in the question
  • most of the images I thought weren't relevant were from relatively new users who probably just haven't developed a good sense yet of what's relevant or not

So overall I think at most 10% of images that get posted aren't relevant and could be edited out.

What to do about it

There are a few options:

  • Don't do anything, it's not actually that big a problem.
  • Edit posts and remove links to irrelevant images. If editing old questions, limit edits to one or two at a time so they don't overwhelm the front page.
  • If the images are hosted on stack.imgur, it's easy to edit a question to convert large images to thumbnails:

If the image URL is: https://i.stack.imgur.com/MGbrX.png

You can add an m or a t to the end of the filename to make the image a thumbnail.

This: https://i.stack.imgur.com/MGbrXm.png makes the largest dimension 320 pixels.

And this: https://i.stack.imgur.com/MGbrXt.png makes it a thumbnail with 160 pixels max.

I think this is the how you do an "m" thumbnail with a link to the original picture:

[![picture whose claim I am skeptical of][1]][2]

  [1]: https://i.stack.imgur.com/wa5kLm.png
  [2]: https://i.stack.imgur.com/wa5kL.png

More details on thumbnails on meta.StackExchange.

Again, if editing old questions, only do a couple at a time.

Fair use

This has gotten to be a bit long, so I'll just mention that one of the answers to the earlier question has some good comments on fair use.


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