Is it permissible to include an animated image if it is used responsibly and illustrates a point more efficiently than a written explanation?

If so, are there any file size or dimension restrictions beyond using common sense?

For example, I want to demonstrate the way a layout works with a code snippet. I was intending to include this image:

alt text http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/8702/wpfuniformgridtiny.gif

Obviously, I can describe what is happening, but I feel this image explains the result more effectively. However, I generally dislike animated images as I find they can be very distracting, so I feel ambivalent about this.

Another alternative would be to show a sequence of stills, which would be significantly less distracting but still retain most of the benefits of the animated image.

  • If you post make sure you place a [Neil Butterworth Warning] in the title – Ian Elliott Aug 17 '09 at 22:30
  • I take it he's even more allergic to animated images than I am? Really, I feel like I'm the last person to ask this since I really, really dislike them. But it seems there are times when they are the most efficient method of explaining something. – Gregyski Aug 17 '09 at 22:31
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    What would happen if I created an image that just kept adding pixels on it? – Tyler Carter Aug 17 '09 at 22:36
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    You know, seeing it here, it's irritating me quite a bit. So I'm thinking about using a few stills to demonstrate my point in my intended answer and perhaps have that image link to the animated one on ImageShack. However, I feel this question is probably a good one to have on Meta anyways. – Gregyski Aug 17 '09 at 22:39

Create a still image or series of still images when possible. Then you can always link to the animated image on the image host.

(After seeing my animated image actually "in print" here on MSO I was really turned off by it. Since this is what I plan to do for my SO answer, I figured it would be okay to answer my own question with my intention.)

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    I don't think it would be so bad if it didn't repeat immediately. – Antony Aug 18 '09 at 1:21
  • @Antony: That's certainly another valid option. Might I suggest you add it as another answer so folks can vote for it should they prefer it. – Gregyski Aug 28 '09 at 19:19

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