I'm not asking about the pros and cons of this (that's a different question) but rather simply whether or not this is permitted.

If it is explicitly permitted or disallowed, please provide a supporting reference, e.g. link.

I have not been able to find any guidance in Help about it so far.

  • 1
    You might find this meta post on ELL helpful if you're going to include images: meta.ell.stackexchange.com/a/3318 It shows some tricks on how to make the images display at different sizes without needing to resize them in an editor.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 1:44

1 Answer 1


I think the answer is "Yes, it's allowed", but if the answer consists only of the image, then the answer is likely to be downvoted as "Not useful", since the information can usually be presented textually.

If the image is part of an answer, and actually illustrates something — rather than being simply an example of laziness in not bothering to transcribe content — then I don't see a problem, myself.

Any image has to be relevant, made accessible to screen-readers (with the correct alt-text), correctly attributed and not a blatant breach of copyright (i.e. fair use applies, as an illustration of a point). Here's one I prepared earlier: I'm sure there must be other examples, too.

An image which is not relevant and which can be edited out without affecting the answer should not be included and can be justifiably removed by anyone with editing privileges. There aren't many examples of those because they've all been dealt with.

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    Possibly of interest - an excellent answer on ELL, where images dominate and text is relegated to headings and links/citations. :)
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 3:25
  • 6
    I don't think that is an excellent answer. Perhaps it's an excellent answer on ELL, but I'd expect images on ELU to support text, not replace it.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 9:27
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    Perhaps I should have qualified that by saying that the answer possessed the quality of one of the properties it was trying to illustrate. At any rate, I thought it was quite cleverly done. I wouldn't expect such minimalism to be easily replicated in other answers, though.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 9:33
  • 2
    @AndrewLeach I don't think it's an excellent answer on ELL because while the pictures are a cute illustration that will make fluent speakers smile, it doesn't really help learners use those words in a sentence. The higher ranked one that wasn't accepted was much better in my opinion.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 1:48
  • @Lawrence - As a stand-alone answer, I'd regard it as clever, but not necessarily excellent. That said, it's not a stand-alone answer; it's an answer that adds some potentially useful images to illustrate what is being explained in the other answers. In that regard, I think it's quite useful.
    – J.R.
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 21:41
  • Well, now I see why I had the sudden unexplained downvotes. I've edited to make the self-evident answer a bit more self-explanatory. @AndrewLeach I would not have posted an answer like that on ELU; however, the dictionary definitions aren't particularly helpful (i.e. "not needing to be explained" and "not needing an explanation", respectively) and I thought a visual might be more helpful than more words. The OP wasn't actually asking how to use them in a sentence but rather for the subtle distinction, since the two can grammatically be used interchangeably.
    – 1006a
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 3:25

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