# Overuse of images in answers

eg:

## original post

I'm concerned that doing this too much makes posts harder to update (if blender changes), where:
3D View Header -> Mesh -> Clean up -> Fill Holes ... would do just as well.

My question is, should we discourage use of screen-shots for menu-items and other references which are easily described as text?

• I prefer looking at images in posts, because instead of sifting through the text, sometimes you can get your answer immediately just by glancing at the different images. But, like you say, making it difficult to update the answers in the future could be a serious problem. Mar 18, 2014 at 20:26
• I suppose one argument against would be that in the future, you could just delete the picture and replace it with the text... Mar 18, 2014 at 20:29
• Another factor to consider is that pictures are easier for beginners to look at. In your example, it's possible someone new to Blender might not know what the 3D View Header is. Mar 18, 2014 at 20:31
• If the community ends up agreeing there's too many images being used, we could start a separate community wiki When should I use images in my questions/answers?. And then have list out when you should and shouldn't: Node Editor setups, pictures of meshes, menu items, pictures of a panel showing multiple settings, render results, etc. Mar 18, 2014 at 20:47
• @Garrett - if the question is obviously from a beginner, then I think this is a case where using an image might be preferable, but beginners really need to go over some beginner tutorials first too, so they can understand basic terms in blender like the header or the viewport, otherwise answer's end up having to explain too much background info. Mar 18, 2014 at 23:13
• @Garrett, regarding a separate community wiki, of course anyone can start a wiki or host tutorials where they like. But I think this should be kept seperate from stackexchange Mar 18, 2014 at 23:14
• I'm not sure I understand your second point. I was suggesting that we have a page on Blender meta where there are general guidelines on when to use images in answers. Although, perhaps that's overkill if the problem is limited to images that show where menu items are. Mar 19, 2014 at 0:39
• Ok. setting general guidelines is good, and perhaps this issue can be included there, understand your point now & agree. Mar 19, 2014 at 0:41
• @Garrett - regarding comment #1, I disagree that sifting through the text is really a problem here, if there are 4 steps to perform a task, having each step in a dot-point really isn't a problem for the reader to follow (at least for common cases when its just accessing menu items). Mar 19, 2014 at 0:43

In the end it's a personal choice at most, it neither adds nor detracts from the post but is really not that necessary and can be obtrusive especially if the image is a large one (See How can I optimize images and screenshots that I embed in my post?). While Blender is a visual program and images help to convey the answer better. I don't think relatively simple menu operations such as this merit a full image that could just as easily be visualized with a string of text and the same goes for shortcuts entries that can be done with the <kbd> tag.

So, while not a bad thing per se, really not necessary. It's better to keep simple posts or points concise and straight to the point.

• Menu items are moved from time to time, so issue I have is if I edit and update an answer for the latest blender. is it reasonable to remove the image and replace with text? Mar 18, 2014 at 10:04
• @ideasman42 Another good point, yes, I agree it would be perfectly fine to do so. Mar 18, 2014 at 14:13

I think the main issue is that of the OPs skill level. If they are an intermediate/advanced user, the screenshot won't help at all. However, I think there should be screenshots for beginners, as finding menus can be rather difficult if you don't know where everything is located in Blender.

Text is easier to edit later on, but if the goal is to help beginners, I think we should use images.

• Should we only use images where the question is obviously asked by a beginner, or everywhere (which would help any beginners which find the question later)?
– gandalf3 Mod
Mar 23, 2014 at 9:08

Only add images to posts when simple text explaining where a menu or a panel is inadequate.

Considerations:

• This is not a tutorial site, users who don't understand terms like The header or The 3D view-port should be pointed to beginner documentation on the interface.
Trying to help users without this means including too much background info.

• There are many more people asking questions then answering them, if images are expected for even simple menu access, then it makes answering questions more work
... or anyone who answers questions without so many images will have lower votes because users are expecting images even for basic info.

• Reading text takes a little effort in some cases, but text can be searched, edited and updated significantly more easily.

As someone who answers questions on this site, I don't think its reasonable to expect image heavy answers unless its really needed (to show mesh topology for example).

I've noticed users voting up image-heavy answers, which weren't necessarily the best.

Contrary to Charles's answer i think that the OP is the least relevant factor. Just because the OP is advanced and doesn't need a visual reference, does not mean that the next beginner to view the article would have the same insight... SE is a place for learning and to punish those that don't understand what you mean by "Properties > Render" is counter intuitive to the idea of education...

However i do believe that to save on server memory only the REQUIRED images should be included. perhaps even in a minimal resolution

• Is there a problem with storage space on Imgur? Images are pretty small files typically. The images seem to never be more than 500kB. It seems like we don't need low-res images. Mar 27, 2014 at 23:09