My position on this is pretty clear so I won't repeat myself. With SO supposedly being a low-bandwidth site, are images encouraged or discouraged? If I see a post with an embedded image, should I replace it with a link?
Here's the transcript of the discussion for those too lazy to click the above link:
Neil: And by the way, I get really annoyed by people that post graphical IMG links that render without my permission on SO, which is explicitly intended to be low bandwidth. Some of us are paying for these bits - in future, please just provide a normal URL.
Welbog: Why wouldn't you just turn images off then, Neil?
Neil: Because sometimes I need them. I don't need any random programmer's UML designs, however. If SO degenerates into bunch of bitmaps and video clips, then include me out.
Welbog: So you would suggest the OP omit the image entirely? I think he did a good job making a small image that fits within the boundaries of the question layout. Usually users aren't even that courteous. I think you're being unnecessarily oafish.
Neil: This particular image is I suppose unexceptional, but if every post contained one?
Welbog: I don't see your point. There aren't many situations which can't be explained with words. A question about a diagram is a rare occurrence on this site. I think this is the first image I've seen in a few days on SO. Possibly weeks. It's definitely not a trend, and if it grows to a trend then you should disable images if it's that much of a concern.
Neil: The time to nip things is proverbialy at the bud. And as for examples of gratuitous images, I see them every day. Look at all the book recommendations that feel the need to post completely useless, uninformative bitmaps of the cover!
Welbog: You nip problems in the bud, Neil. Your bandwidth concern is a problem local to you and probably very few others. I definitely think we ought to encourage users like SimpleThings to post images in this kind of situation, as long as the image is well cropped (otherwise it should be linked) and relevant to the question (unlike images of book covers). I suspect that Jeff and the other moderators would agree with this as well. I maintain that if you have bandwidth concerns you should resolve them yourself rather than asking the sites you visit to solve them for you.
Along with a little side discussion between Gortok and Neil:
Gortok: Agreed. In this day and age, it's inconceivable that the cost of loading one image would be so much that you'd complain about it, but not just turn off images. The image included in the homework question made me more likely to answer it.
Neil: "it's inconceivable that the cost of loading one image would be so much that you'd complain about it" - from that I assume you do not live in the UK, and are not currently unemployed.