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I've noticed a few recently... Answers that are completely within images. I'm not talking about an image of the result of the answer but an actual tutorial-type answer—text and multiple steps included—as a single image.

A few recent examples:

A few thoughts against this;

  • The images aren't mobile friendly. See these for example:

    enter image description here enter image description here

  • Search can't read images! Internal site search won't return anything and Google searches won't see the answer either. Other answers can show up inline in Google search results like this:

    enter image description here

Apart from the case where I actually couldn't see the image properly I'm not entirely sure whether to say anything or not... Thoughts?

Should we advise against this? Explicitly not allow it? Leave them as they are?

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  • Interesting observation. I'm still thinking about what I actually, well, think about this, but I want to throw this in here: there's a lot of good answers that hinge on an animated .gif, which also hits a lot of the downsides you mention.
    – Vincent
    Feb 6 '17 at 16:59
  • Well, I saw the third one, and I'm pretty sure it's a screenshot and probably plagiarism.
    – PieBie Mod
    Feb 6 '17 at 17:00
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    @Vincent That's a fair point. I use a lot of animated GIFs ;) but I explain the steps first and show the result in a GIF (or other image). I'm pretty certain having all of the text parts of an answer in an image is a bad idea, I'm just not sure how much of a bad idea it is and if we should do anything about it.
    – Cai
    Feb 6 '17 at 17:08
  • @PieBie Google reverse image search doesn't find anything. The screenshot looks like it has the very top of a AI scrollbar at the bottom too if you look carefully, I may be wrong though.
    – Cai
    Feb 6 '17 at 17:11
  • I think we should comment, but leave them as is if they don't edit Feb 6 '17 at 18:23
  • 1
    I believe you forgot to add "screen readers cannot read pictures". Feb 6 '17 at 20:08
  • @AndreaLazzarotto actually that is incorrect. Some readers and apps actually do OCR on the fly. App example, Evernote. Feb 6 '17 at 22:10
  • @DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ I do use Evernote, but I am talking about most screen readers for blind people. Feb 6 '17 at 23:02
  • @PieBie Can you back that last claim with a source? If yes, then please flag the post. Thanks!
    – Vincent
    Feb 8 '17 at 9:22
  • @Vincent / PieBie the content of that image has been changed a few times so I'm pretty sure it's not copied
    – Cai
    Feb 8 '17 at 9:25
  • No. tried to reverse search the image, and couldn't find it. So I can't be sure, that's why I didn't flag it.
    – PieBie Mod
    Feb 8 '17 at 9:25
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    That said, I still think it's easier to hide plagiarism in an image than it is in text (i.e. in function of reverse search), which is another reason why we shouldn't allow an image-only answer.
    – PieBie Mod
    Feb 8 '17 at 9:27
  • Another argument against (much) text, embedded in images, that it's inconvenient to improve such an answer for spelling mistakes and in general. For own answers, I came up with the solution, to put arrows and numbers in the picture graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/85122/17956, which I then refer to in the text. An improvement would be, if SE would allow SVG as a graphic format, since it can contain the text as text, indexable, accessible for translation tools and modification friendly, but this would only be convenient for those, who work in SVG anyway. Feb 15 '17 at 8:37
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Full image tutorials shouldn't be allowed but our site isn't as active as others so I would suggest encouraging the answerer to edit the answer. We could draft something like:

Thanks for your answer but text shouldn't be in your images but within the answer since text within images causes display issues and prevents others from finding this awesome answer when searching through an engine. If you can please edit your answer's image text to actual text I will plus one, too. Please reference: Are answers in images OK?

Thanks for your answer but text shouldn't be in your images but within the answer since text within images causes display issues and prevents others from finding this awesome answer when searching through an engine.  If you can please edit your answer's image text to actual text I will plus one, too. Please reference: [Are answers in images OK?](https://graphicdesign.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3086/are-answers-in-images-ok)
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  • I think this can be accepted as it seems to reflect the consensus.
    – PieBie Mod
    Feb 7 '17 at 8:14
  • I would remove the promise to upvote the answer, since this is an independent issue. Instead I would mention accessibility for automatic translators and screen readers. Feb 15 '17 at 8:41
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    Why? It's true, if the user went out of their way to fully demo and answer a user's question and did it to spec to help others I would certainly up vote them. Feb 15 '17 at 15:50

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