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Sometimes the best answer to a question is to post a video showing how to accomplish something (especially if it involves manipulating some sort of GUI, I guess). Can this be done? If not, can the capability be added?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a good question. It would be nice if we could post videos. There are some caveats though. (1) Unlike text, contents of a video are not visible to search. (2) If a video is hosted outside StackExchange, then the answer should not be link-only. In other words, there should some be backup information in case something happens to the video (e.g. instructions as text). \$\endgroup\$ Nov 23, 2014 at 2:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like this has been implemented on a per-site basis for YouTube and just needs turning on, although agree with Nick that link / video-only answers would be bad so I'm a bit on the fence: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/66397/… \$\endgroup\$
    – PeterJ
    Nov 23, 2014 at 11:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that videos can never completely replace text, since that would mean we can't search for answers anymore. The answer should still contain a brief description of what's happening in the video. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Nov 23, 2014 at 12:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can see in rare cases a video could be useful, like how to perform some tricky soldering operation. On the flip side, I'm worried that this will become a new lazy way out. I'm not sure if I like this proposal or not. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2014 at 16:52

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Scenario:

You're searching for a reason your widget circuit is foobaring instead of widgeting. You come across what appears to be a perfect match to your question: "Why is this widget circuit foobaring instead of widgeting?"

You click the link in anticipation, finally glad that your multiple search-engine goose chase is coming to an end! There, you find a link to a video, "How to make a widget circuit widget!" There's not much else in the "answer" besides a bit of text that says that the video explains how to resolve the issue.

You shrug and click the video link, but unfortunately the hosting site coughs up a 404: Not Found, or a "Deleted by Owner" message.

And the search continues...

Recommendation:

If you're going to post a video (or a PDF, or any external link), please summarize its contents. A link-only answer, regardless of media type, is never satisfactory. While it may require some work on your part, providing a synopsis of a video or other external material is often the best feature of Stack Exchange sites: Users paraphrasing technical detail from datasheets or explaining circuit functionality in different terms is precisely what makes SE sites successful.

Perhaps you were thinking you needed to adjust the timing of something in your widget circuit, but a datasheet that might have helped was referring to it as the "master clock" or the "widget oscillator." If someone were to re-word that information in the form of either a question or answer, which included words you were using to describe the problem, then the likelihood of finding it increases.

Even though you may not be able to describe fully the extent of the video, you should still try to explain it as best you can. At least then if the link dies, future searchers aren't completely empty-handed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, +1. Isn't this the same problem as linking to static images though if videos were supported similarly? I thought SE has some deal with imgur to host images, so embedded links to images properly uploaded thru the system should stay good. In any case, there should always be a basic text explanation accompanying any video. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2014 at 16:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Adding video or image description is very useful for search engine. If someone will post an answer with "It is explained on this video/picture" and just post video/picture - information in it is not searchable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kamil
    Nov 24, 2014 at 23:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Video only answers are the same as link only answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Nov 30, 2014 at 8:49

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