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See How to remove 'Program Name: Adobe Photoshop' from the metadata? — this is a generally helpful answer (as long as you're using Windows 10), but doesn't contain any descriptive help in text. There's just an animation sharing what to do.

However, it's uploaded to Stack Exchange's image hosting — it's not an off-site link. Is this... okay?

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No.

This is somewhat similar to "Your answer is in another castle", at least from a searchability standpoint. Without descriptive text that summarizes or restates the actions described in the animated GIF, there is nothing that a search engine can do to "grok" or index the answer.

Additionally, this type of answer suffers from lack of ability to be automatically translated into other languages. Even as poor as some automatic translations are, sometimes key nouns or verbs are all that's needed to get the point across.

Finally, this sucks from a disability/usability standpoint. Now, it's certainly arguable that a site that is dedicated to visual media is discriminatory against the visually impaired by its very nature. But that doesn't mean that the information about how photography is done, its tools, processes, etc., needs to be locked into non-verbal or visual-only dissemination methods.

Stack Exchange is an exercise in crowdsourced search engine optimization (SEO). Information that is exclusively, or even primarily, locked in animated GIFs is the very opposite of SEO.

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  • Hmmm. I don't necessarily disagree, but I don't think "your answer is in another castle" applies. From that link, the three problems link-only answers have are: 1. Link is probably broken; 2. If link isn't broken, it's spam; and 3. If link isn't spam, it's to some broadly-related resource that the answerer found by pressing "I'm feeling lucky" when googling the question's title. None of those are the case here.
    – mattdm
    Apr 12 '17 at 11:25
  • @mattdm Yeah, it's a bit of a thin comparison. I guess I was getting at, if you can't see or load the image, then the answer is basically the same as a broken link, with absolutely no added explanation or context for the missing resource. Which really, I guess is the point of the rest of my answer. Yeah, that 1st paragraph is lame.
    – scottbb Mod
    Apr 12 '17 at 11:33
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    Ha. That point I understand — it puts into words what made me feel uncomfortable in the first place. It's kind of weird that no one else seems to have any opinion at all.
    – mattdm
    Apr 12 '17 at 11:36

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