Comments to this question made me wonder if illustrations are welcome on this site or not.

I do admit that in the question above the illustration could easily be replaced with wordy explanations why dogs are pets. However a painting may say more than thousand words here.

In addition we may also want to discuss here whether some occasional eye-catchers can make this site more interesting or if they lead to unwanted traffic that may put people off.

Just to have mentioned it: approx. 5% of my own questions and far less of answers contain pictures.

  • Much better now.
    – Em1
    Feb 23, 2012 at 19:45

5 Answers 5


In my opinion:

It's completely optional. Some like it, some don't like it. It might be annoying for some, enjoyable for some other. But the point is, in your case, it helps me a lot to get an idea of what's being asked when the question is in German.

In short, use it whenever you want but avoid overusing it.

  • +1; agreed 100%
    – Mac
    Feb 24, 2012 at 15:24

I'm a little bit surprised that so many people vote against people and for dull text. Oh, wait, it's a German site ;)

Joking aside, the bandwidth is a good argument, but if the pictures are small it shouldn't be a problem. I have a small bandwidth at till now no picture on GL&U disturbed my patience.

Pictures can partition long text blocks and make them more comfortable to read. It could make the difference between someone finding our site and staying here to read and someone finding our site and flee instantly.

As an example take a look at the blog from Joel Spolsky (one of the Stack Exchange founders). He puts arbitrary pictures into his posts to make them more enjoyable to read.

No, I do not think, that we have to decorate every post with pictures, but I also do not think, that we should rigorously avoid them.

  • Lol and +1 from this German for the first line :) (Ok, also for a very sensible answer)
    – Mac
    Feb 24, 2012 at 15:23

Stackexchange sites should generally be opposed to bloat. That is one reason why there is general consensus greetings should be omitted or removed.

In your particular example the picture may just as well be left out. Do you really need a picture to make the point that dogs are pets? I'm not sure (I do get the point you want to make however). In particular this image is pretty large and makes me scroll every time I want to switch between answers and question.

To sum it up: Yes, I'm against using images in this way. We should use them when appropriate however. For example there somewhere is an image of street signs (can't find it right now) that illustrates the usage of specific letters or something. I guess most useful uses of illustrations are limited to historical contexts, i.e. inscriptions on buildings or old books or stuff like that.

  • agree to the rather large size. Made it smaller in the question discussed here.
    – Takkat
    Feb 23, 2012 at 10:03
  • I disagree to the other points. The meta discussion you linked to entirely deals with greetings or salutations, not with illustrations. Knowing that people are lazy and might not want to read through endless paragraphs of text I do not consider an illustration as clutter. In the discussed post it adds the information that dogs are and were pets at a glance. Thus the explanatory remarks I added after the comments may not really be needed and could be omitted.
    – Takkat
    Feb 23, 2012 at 10:18
  • 2
    1) I was only referring to that particular discussion because it highlights the general stance to things that clutter. 2) Since a single painting can hardly be counted as evidence, I'm still not convinced. But I'm open to the community. Let's just wait for a few more voices.
    – musiKk
    Feb 23, 2012 at 10:31

Personally I think most times the pictures are needless but distracting and diverting, maybe even annoying (if they take too much space) (some recent examples: example1, example2).

Nice that you spend the time searching some pictures but it isn't worth.

Ignoring your questions I can scarcely remember a question with pictures but, however, they weren't missing. By no means at all.

In your questions I usually take a short view on your picture discovering that there isn't any helpful or meaningful information in it and from this point I ignore it. I remember one exception in which the picture is essentially.

So, as long as a picture does not convey any essential message leave it out.

  • 1
    The carnival pictures illustrated what I was asking for, Rosenmontag, and Butzen. For both I can not expect people that don't live or lived in Germany know what we are talking about. Honestly, did you know what "Butzen" are? Of course, they could google...
    – Takkat
    Feb 23, 2012 at 14:20
  • @Takkat Wen willst du mit den Bildern ansprechen? Wer durch Zufall auf die Seite kommt? Und wer danach googlet, der wird wissen worum es geht. Und die aktiven User wohl kaum, die wissen alle was Karneval ist. Zumal das Bild vom Rosenmontagszug imho gar nicht zum Thema beiträgt, da der Inhalt deiner Frage sich auf etwas ganz anderes bezieht als irgendein Umzug zur Karnevalszeit. Und lösen wir uns mal von Karneval. Dein Hundefoto?! Jeder weiß, was ein Hund ist... Auch am Ende der Welt :D
    – Em1
    Feb 23, 2012 at 14:34
  • It was on purpose that I did not use a picture of an attack dog
    – Takkat
    Feb 23, 2012 at 14:48
  • 1
    The picture of the Butzen was very helpful in my opinion (since this is something not widely known in Germany), but I agree that it took to much space. (Ping, @Takkat) Feb 23, 2012 at 20:30
  • @HendrikVogt: I changed the huge picture to a link now. Just a side note. I posted this one on the "schmotzige Dunschtig", the day when the "Butzen" traditionally go out to scare people. They really do. I could not resist to make the picture that huge because of the scary effect.
    – Takkat
    Feb 23, 2012 at 22:50

On low bandwidth, it is only disturbing.

The illustration is completely unrelated to the topic at hand, which you can easily verify, since every photo or graphic of a random dog would have had the same meaning.

When a graphic illustrates something, and adds information to a question, it is welcome - Google-ngram-charts for example, or if you don't know the word.

We don't need graphics for decoration.

However a painting may say more than thousand words here.

No. It shows a specific dog in a painting from long ago, from a different cultural region, it has nothing to do with hundsgemein, hundeelend or hundemüde.

You don't need to illustrate what a dog is. For those who don't know, the image isn't helpful though.

Bei geringer Bandbreite sind Bilder primär störend.

Natürlich können sie gerechtfertigt sein, wenn sie Informationen zum Thema beitragen, wie ein Google-Ngram-Diagramm, oder wenn sie etwas zeigen, für das man das Wort nicht weiß.

Hier zeigt das Bild einen spezifischen Hund der nichts mit hundeelend usw. zu tun hat. Es ist sogar ein französischer Hund, der also gerade nichts über das dt. Hundeelend aussagt, es sei denn man wüßte ohnehin, dass die Geschichte des Hundes in Frankreich und Deutschland sehr ähnlich ist. Aber was illustriert der Hund außer dem Fakt, dass ein Hund auf einem Schoß gemalt worden ist? Nichts.

Das Bild ist reine Dekoration.

  • Huh? The question was all about why a pet is used for a negative connotation. I am sorry I can't see why a prototype pet like a lapdog should be off topic.
    – Takkat
    Feb 23, 2012 at 15:52
  • 2
    Because every other picture of every other dog would have had the same meaning. You could as well have shown an sleeping child to illustrate "müde" and the slums of Mexico City, to illustrate "elend". Since the question wasn't an answer for "how did a lapdog lock like in France, 1770" - it illustrates nothing. Feb 23, 2012 at 16:09
  • Not true. An image of this dog would entirely have changed the meaning of the question. We do need to explain that we think of a pet, either with words or - as done here - with an image. The question would have made no sense at all if we had not explained this.
    – Takkat
    Feb 24, 2012 at 8:03
  • @Takkat: Du kannst doch nicht die Bedeutung der Frage durch Verwendung eines spezifischen Bildes beschränken. Jedermann weiß, dass es Wachhunde, Jagdhunde u. streunende, aggressive Hunde gibt. Das Vergisst man doch nicht, bloß weil Du einen kleinen Schoßhund zeigst. Dann könnte man in Konsequenz annehmen, Du wolltest die Frage auf Schoßhunde des 18. Jhr. in Frankreich einengen, was offenbar dem Forum nicht entspricht. Es heißt ja nicht "schoßhundsgemein" oder "schoßhundeelend". Feb 24, 2012 at 14:41
  • @Takkat: You can't restrict the meaning of the question by using a specific image. Everybody knows, there are dogs for chasing, to protect a house, ownerless dogs in streets, aggressive dogs. We don't forgtet this, just because you choosed a small lapdog. In cnsequence we would assume you're only talking about lapdogs of the 18th century in France, which would be off topic. You don't ask about "schoßhundsgemein" or "schoßhundeelend". Feb 24, 2012 at 14:44

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