Should I edit questions to place a large image below the text?

With new questions I often see a large image at the top and the description and question only below that. I used to edit these questions to place the text on the top, so you can read that first. This makes the image more like an appendix.

Personally I really prefer it that way and think it's a lot nicer to read. But I see this reversed "style" so often that I started to ask myself: Does ist make sense to edit all the new questions in this way? What is your opinion? Is it a good idea to change the position of large images to the bottom of the question?

An example would be this question: Amplitude Modulation
You see the (not very desciptive) question title and then only a large image . You first have to scroll to even find text.

• The main problem with that linked question is that the title did not reflect what the question really was aiming to uncover. I like the questions first, right at the top and in the title (if it can fit succinctly) then, following that, pictures and definitely minimal words describing the schematic. So, I never got more than halfway down that Q before I switched off. – Andy aka Apr 4 at 13:50
• I noticed something subtly incorrect about the Amplitude Modulation question that would warrant a fix: The text of the question says, "...I try to simulate the diagram below..." [emphasis mine]. Maybe the question writer meant to place the image below the text, but didn't know how since it's their first question! – Theodore Apr 15 at 21:10

5 Answers

I prefer to see the schematic first, otherwise I have no idea what I'm reading when OP starts to discuss the circuit. The illustration gives a sort of backdrop. Articles and papers often start with an illustration to introduce the general idea.

I think the problem is more often the size of the image. In this case there's not much to do about it other than redraw everything - which would defeat the purpose since OP asks about that exact configuration in that exact tool, not a circuit in general.

In summary, I wouldn't want a guideline saying that illustrations should come after the text.

• There is something you can do about the size. SE Imgur images can be scaled if you take the link and add an s (smaller) m (medium) or l (large) Example: i.stack.imgur.com/tHE3vs.png i.stack.imgur.com/tHE3vm.png – Voltage Spike Mod Mar 25 at 14:59
• @VoltageSpike You're preaching to the choir, I've had that info in my profile for years :) – pipe Mar 25 at 23:51
• That's a cool tool! I just checked some of my own answers, if they would benefit from a reduced image size. Unfortunately the medium setting already reduces the size to half the width. An additional option with 75% of the width would be nice in many cases, I think. But I assume I demand to much there :D – jusaca Mar 26 at 7:51
• I agree, the size of the image makes up most of the problem. If the image is small, I would probably leave it where it is. But I would always place large images at the bottom. And no, I don't want another guideline for that as well, it would not be followed by new users anyway... The question was more about editing the question and if others see sense in doing so as well ;) – jusaca Mar 26 at 7:57

In many style guides I know of the text (the reference, we don't reference images here by number but they are still called out) comes first and the figure after. I think it looks good that way also.

I don't think we should require anything but if you want to move the picture below and it looks better then 'go for it' as this is the format most people use and are used to.

It's an opinion based edit that adds nothing significant to the question. Unless paired with another edit, it should be rejected.

Specifically under the edit queue, it would fall under:

Sidenote: there used to be a restriction against minor edits, but that was removed because even fixing a single letter typo is still a fix. Moving a picture above or below text for a personal aesthetics isn't a fix. Its trivial at best.

But a different reason like moving pictures around to reflect what the text is referring to, picture order, labeling etc can be valid.

• I think this is an interesting thought. In my opinion it never was a minor edit - when I open a question and just see a huge image and have to scroll a lot before even finding a question - I might just close the question again (because I get the feeling the question asker has put no thought whatsoever in). If others just don't care at all if they can't see any question when clicking on it then that is imporant info ;) – jusaca Apr 2 at 10:15
• What browser or screen/window size are you using that that is a problem? – Passerby Apr 2 at 16:23

I prefer introductory text then picture then more text e.g.

I'm having trouble with noise in my amplifier

CIRCUIT IMAGE

I have a problem with the feedback path, which...


As an aside...

My main objections concerning schematics/images in questions are (a) giant pictures and (b) photos of badly hand-drawn schematics. Both are natural human behaviour with the availability of smartphones.

(a) means a lot of scrolling on a smartphone. Some users post a host of photos that add little or nothing and they have to be scrolled past while trying to piece the scattered text together. The site's default picture insertion settings should be for a much smaller size. If users have to choose that setting, we can see that they won't, through innocence I'm sure.

(b) means difficult schematics to read and understand. In engineering, clarity is everything including clarity of documentation. An engineer's work and ideas are 100% useless if they can't be communicated to, and understood by, others. For that reason, I think clear schematics should be insisted upon. (Don't ask me for the mechanism to do it, though.)

Sometimes images belong in an appendix, other times, not. I don't think any such posts are unreadable. Such edits seem overly nitpicky, and risk discouraging new users from including useful information in their questions. I'd leave them alone.

• Fair point, but why do you think editing would discouraging adding useful information? – jusaca Mar 29 at 7:09
• I just think if the asker has already provided a good images, they may find edits in their message cue discouraging. – Scott Seidman Mar 30 at 17:40