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Video may have killed the radio star, but I don't think it fits well on SuperUser.

There have been a small handful of questions and answers recently posted in video form. While these do qualify as "link only", I believe it may be helpful to either add lines to one of the existing Help articles on good answers, or perhaps add another help article clarifying that unless there is a compelling reason to do so, the content of questions and answers should be written out.

Here's a recent question where the entire "content" is in video: i don't know how to replace a line in notepad++

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Not something we want to see for all the reasons. Pretty much we expect posts to be self contained, and if you need an external resource to get it at all you're doing it wrong. A lot of video only answers are also spam

If its an answer - flag. If its a question, treat it as you would a link only question and close appropriately

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A video may be added to the answer as a .gif. Therefore video answers != "link only" answers, and I don't think we should be against a video because it's a video. Sometimes videos are more efficient to convey information than texts. Therefore I'm against "add[ing] another help article clarifying that unless there is a compelling reason to do so, the content of questions and answers should be written out."

Here is one example where an image-only answer has received 320 upvotes and only 1 downvote (when I wrote this answer): How is Docker different from a normal virtual machine?. This shows that an image-only answer may be appreciated by users.

  • 1
    If an answer contains nothing other then an animated.gif, then if that .gif is ever not accessible (it could happen the Imgur link could cease to work), then the answer is unlikely to be helpful. Which is the reason an image only answer, should be either improved so it contained a written explanation, or deleted if that’s not possible – Ramhound May 18 '18 at 23:55
  • @Ramhound If i.stack.imgur.com disappears, there'd be some serious uproars as many posts depend on images and .gif. I believe the guideline is to assume images stored on i.stack.imgur.com will never be removed (at worst, moved to some other location, in which case links would be updated). – Franck Dernoncourt May 18 '18 at 23:59
  • Some other location could in theory not support animated images. It’s unlikely, but the point still stands, an image only answer without any explanation or even context is not helpful. If a single sentence cannot be written, to answer a question, that’s a serious red flag the question has an issue also. – Ramhound May 19 '18 at 0:01
  • Thoughts: 1) Good videos can be helpful, but very few of those linked are good. 2) You already address link-only. 3) Searches can't find information contained in a video. 4) People are sometimes unable to view videos (may be blocked, may be in a setting where it would disturb others, etc.). 5) Videos don't lend themselves to replicating the steps. The user needs to transcribe them or reproduce them as notes. So that content should be included in the question. – fixer1234 May 19 '18 at 0:08
  • 6) A video can be a good supplement to text. – fixer1234 May 19 '18 at 0:17
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    Just as links can be helpful as "extra reading" on a subject but should only support the solution text and not be required to perform the actual solution, videos can hold the same place. Frankly, I hadn't thought of search as a reason to avoid video content, but that's a very good reason. Another would be our visually impaired colleagues. – music2myear May 21 '18 at 15:59
  • @music2myear if you hadn't thought of search as a reason then what had you thought of?! The whole point of these things is a database that helps people, (which yes is searchable otherwise it's pretty useless). Hence the focus on no duplicates and on editing things to make them better even after the person asking them is fine. – barlop May 23 '18 at 16:19
  • There's plenty of reasons I had thought of why video should not be the sole source of content for either questions OR answers here, I just had not thought of search. I'm not sure what you're trying to get at @barlop. – music2myear May 23 '18 at 16:22
  • @fixer1234 Here is one example where an image-only answer has been massively upvoted: How is Docker different from a normal virtual machine? – Franck Dernoncourt May 27 '18 at 18:26
  • Out of several million answers on SO+SU, you found one that got massive upvotes during a HNQ run. It still suffers from the shortcomings of a textless answer. – fixer1234 May 27 '18 at 19:19
  • @fixer1234 It has shortcomings but the number of upvotes it received shows it was useful to many users. If you look at stackoverflow.com/users/2478933/manu97?tab=reputation the upvotes didn't come from HNQ but a consistent appreciative readership. – Franck Dernoncourt May 27 '18 at 19:21
  • Proves that there's an exception to every rule. It has been useful to a lot of people, but not to all readers who might have benefited. :-) – fixer1234 May 27 '18 at 19:37
  • video or pics only kills accessibility on so many levels – GoFundMonica - codidact.org May 27 '18 at 22:50
  • @FranckDernoncourt Your example is over at StackOverflow, I consider Superuser to have higher standards, then StackOverflow. – Ramhound May 28 '18 at 1:41
  • @fixer1234 to me my example proves that we shouldn't have any rule on systematically banning image/video-only answers, just let the users vote. – Franck Dernoncourt Jun 3 '18 at 18:49

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