I flagged this answer, which consists primarily of a large screenshot of a Wikipedia page, for moderator attention, and that flag was rejected as invalid.

I'd like to appeal this rejection, and get general site consensus that this is not a good practice.

There may be a case where, when the question is about some website that a small screenshot for illustrative purposes might be appropriate. Here, though, it really seems wrong. If the information is important to the answer, summarize it and link to the original. If it's not important, it doesn't need to be there. Either way, a big picture of text is not good.


2 Answers 2


100% agreed on the motivation for this meta question. Textual information stored in non-searchable image form is just wrong on so many levels (bandwidth, accessibility, text flow & responsive design, etc.). Especially when the original source for the information was presented textually rather than as an image of a scanned source.

Also agreed, on the margin, with AJ's answer and handling in this specific case.

As an aside, I had a few spare minutes, so I went ahead and edited the answer to blockquote WP's text, and removed the screenshot of WP's content.

As another aside, in this specific case, I assume the answerer (Mike S.) was just posting quickly from a mobile device (the link to WP was a mobile link), and just forgot to go back and clean up the answer. He is usually a good and considerate SE poster.


The reason for the decline is that the answer is not only a screenshot. Without the screenshot, the answer is fine. It may be worth editing out the screenshot as it isn't a good way to access the information and wastes space on the page, but it was an answer. Removal of the screen shot does not require moderator intervention since editing (or suggesting an edit) is broadly available to handle this case. There was nothing about the post that required moderator intervention, so I declined it accordingly.

An answer composed of only a screenshot of text would be similar to a link only answer in my opinion and should be removed since it is not indexable and will not be discoverable. There might be some exceptions to that if the answer really needs to be visual for some reason, but in almost all cases, there should be searchable text associated with an answer.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I could have edited it out, but that feels a lot more aggressive than something like spelling correction or markdown formatting fix. This kind of thing seems better coming from a moderator. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 23:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm Funny, that didn't even occur to me. I guess it should have. I guess that the information presented didn't change by even a single character (even though the text of the answer of course changed substantially). \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 1:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm - it's fine for users to make edits to correct problems like that. In general, if there's a content problem, it's fine for users to address it, even via suggested edits if they have to. The only time that it is really limited is when trying to correct content that is basically right. Removing things that don't conform to site standards (like the image, or a self-reference that doesn't conform to policy) is fine. If, however, you try to edit it and it gets reverted, then it's best to flag to have a moderator resolve the edit war if you really think it needs to be altered. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 6:17

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