Sometimes a GIF animation posted to illustrate an answer is too long. It would be convenient to pause, resume and rewind the animation. In other words, to have playback functionality for GIF animations. Is it possible?
I am of the opinion that GIFs should be as short as possible (I love that they cannot be longer than 2MB).
Long Gifs are hard to follow and sometimes it is confusing to understand what is the starting point or the end.
I prefer a structure like this for answers:
Step 1 (text explaining step 1)
Gif that reinforces what you just read.
Step 2 (more text)
Gif to illustrate
And so on...
Not all steps require a gif, so mixing stills and gifs might be more effective than a very long video that has to be watched several times before it makes any sense.
Additionally, long gifs can become a form of bragging as well: " Let me show you how fast I can do this!", instead of a proper educational tool.
Firefox browser has plugin for that like Toggle Animation Gif. Once installed it allows to pause or rewind the GIF animation.
Some programs for recording .gifs have option to include time elapsed which helps distinguish is it beginning of the animation or the end. E.g. Licecap tool has Elapsed time option available when you start recording.
I wouldn't agree with .gif player is being necessary, my opinion is that it's something user should decide according to their software, etc.
Lastly - if the gif is too long make sure to shorten it somehow. Include some of the instructions into image, include 2 gifs (although not the best solution), etc. It all depends on answer of course but generally if it requires that many gifs maybe you can demonstrate necessary information from other answers as there are plenty already.