Please add a system to allow file uploads attached to questions and answers
I often come across questions which merit the use of some file attachment functionality, for example, when the owner of the question is asked to provide some supporting data such as log files, packet captures, etc.
Of course it's possible to provide snippets of supporting data in a question using the blockquote and codesample tags, but if the supporting data is more than a few lines long, the actual question can quickly become difficult to find. When a large portion of a question consists of supporting data, does this not lower the overall perceived quality of the question, thereby deterring potential experts from answering the question? By keeping questions as concise as possible, we can encourage great answers, as discussed in Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand while still providing the facility for uploading necessary supporting data.
To prevent visual clutter, some people upload related data to external hosts such as Pastebin. The problems with uploading related data to an external host:
- It removes knowledge from SE. It could be argued that knowledge lies within the answer, but since the question causes the answer, the question and its supporting data does form part of the knowledge-base. If the externally-hosted supporting data becomes unavailable, we essentially lose part of that knowledge-base.
- Users may not always be aware of the implications of providing certain data. For example, a packet capture may contain passwords and by uploading this file to an external host we lose control over the data, whereas if the file was hosted on SE, knowlegable members of our community can easily flag or remove a sensitive file altogether.
What are the pros and cons to providing a file upload facility, and what restrictions should the file upload facility be subject to?
Off the top of my head, some restictions that could be imposed on file uploads:
- Only allow non-binary uploads
- Impose a small filesize limit (eg. 5-10kb) to encourage conciseness.
- Only users above a certain reputation threshold may upload files
Summary: Should we have a file upload facility on SE, and what are the pros and cons of such a facility?
Edit: This isn't an exact duplicate of this question. I'm asking for the pros and cons of a file upload facility, and the restrictions that should be imposed on such a facility. This question is not asking for "please let us upload any file we want".