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Currently, the file size limit for animated GIFs is 2 MiB, the same for still pictures. As a result, users are often posting low-resolution animated GIFs, and waste quite some time trying to make them fit within 2 MiB, or simply give up on trying to include animated GIFs in their posts. I'd suggest increasing the file size limit.

An important use for animated GIFs is in bug reproducing posts on meta sites - as an example, the image in this post takes up 4.56 MiB, more than twice the limit.

The standard Imgur service specially exempts animated GIFs in its file size rules, allowing them to be 200 MB. GitHub allows animated GIFs to be up to 10 MB.

Image size limit: Why it is set to 2 MB? is a different feature request, as that post doesn't talk about animated GIFs.

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    Those first two examples are 0.23 and 0.31 MB, nowhere close to the 2.0x MB allowed. – Rob Feb 14 at 21:06
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    @Rob just for illustration – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 14 at 21:08
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    If your examples were several times larger would they be OK, but even those seem barely sufficient for what is being demonstrated. It's possible to fit a lot in 2MB, example 1, example 2, or example 3. It's up to the uploader to compress correctly. – Rob Feb 14 at 21:17
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    @Rob my bad for adding examples. Yours are either low fps, black and white, low resolution or 2 sec short. – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 14 at 21:20
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    No, not "bad"; you just didn't consider that it's possible to have a multi-million dollar feature length film embedded, that we should pay to host it and for the bandwidth is another matter. – Rob Feb 14 at 21:25
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    @Rob the feature you mentioned is not available on most websites, and sometimes YouTube videos disappeared. – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 14 at 21:26
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    Does this answer your question? Image size limit: Why it is set to 2 MB? – Rob Feb 14 at 21:51
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    It would be nice if others pointed out arguments against this feature request, so they can be addressed. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Feb 15 at 3:09
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    @SonictheCuriouserHedgehog the gifs I have seen on non-technical sites, were non-essential and all (without exception) annoying because they simply would not stop. Screenshots, I believe, can show just as well instructions, errors, information, and procedures and take up less space. 2 MB is also pretty generous, imagine what me might see if no limits existed because that is what the OP is hoping for, isn't he? There is no reasonable limit suggested anywhere. – Mari-Lou A Feb 15 at 7:42
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    Here's another reason, not everyone has the latest state of the art computers with massive RAMs or whatchamacallits, or supersonic Internet connections, for these users, where Internet is slower, it takes considerable time to load heavy images and GIFS. – Mari-Lou A Feb 15 at 7:48
  • @Mari-LouA for slow connections: stop images from being downloaded on webpage. Regarding the limit, yes there should be one to prevent abuses; I recommend at least 4 MB, and preferably 10 MB. – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 15 at 8:01
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    2MB is plenty - enough space to produce whole movies i.stack.imgur.com/Cabt7.gif without making it even harder for users with slow connections – samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz Feb 15 at 9:24
  • @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz produced by the famous 1 FPS studio ;-) – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 15 at 10:00
  • @FranckDernoncourt I did not say it were an high speed action movie :) – samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz Feb 15 at 10:05
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    Could the limit be site-specific? On SO, I would be happy with a lmit of 0 bytes. – Martin James Feb 16 at 1:11
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I want to challenge the key assumption in this request, which is that animated images are important.

In my opinion, they are not. At least not enough to justify increasing the size limit for them.

  • Anything that animated image can show, can also be displayed using still images: 2, 3, even 5 still images can be posted instead, showing whatever the GIF meant to show.
  • Nothing wrong with low quality GIF - we don't need high resolution or 1000x1000 size to see a bug.

Those are my two cents. I'm not against the idea of increasing the limit (didn't downvote) but I'm also not really supporting it, for the above reaons.

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  • 5 still images take too much space + a bit time-consuming for the poster + sometimes less convincing for a bug repro. Low res makes SE look like a low-quality forum. – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 15 at 8:25
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    @Franck usually 2-3 are enough, showing key steps, 5 is somewhat extreme, but sometimes needed, probably, so I mentioned it. As for low quality, well, SE is Q&A site platform, the meta sites (where bugs are reported) are a "secondary" system which most people don't even know about. Those who do know really should not care about such things. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Feb 15 at 8:30
  • On main sites, gifs can be used to show how to do something when a purely textual description isn't efficient. – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 15 at 8:39
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    @Franck perhaps, but on the other hand having too many big gifs will give wrong impression that SE is platform where gifs are the way to describe problems, and people won't bother to write text. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Feb 15 at 8:46
  • For most answers gifs are not appropriate, so that's not an issue IMHO. – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 15 at 8:47
  • Sha, Here is an example of a question using an animated .GIF; the number of colors have been reduced, the resolution isn't very high, and there's not a lot of frames, but it's 1.95MB - and it replays the steps to reproduce the alleged bug and has sufficient clairity to read fine text. --- .GIFs can be useful, like anything they can be "important" for the purposes that they were designed for; but clearly increasing the size limit (and paying the price(s)) isn't worth it. – Rob Feb 17 at 5:53
  • @Rob useful yes, but not important. It's more "nice to have" than "must have" feature. (the ability to add animated images.) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Feb 17 at 7:06
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On a mobile phone with limited data volume it is seriously annoying to run into overly large gifs. You can burn through quite some data volume with this, and far too many people are not careful at all and post gifs that are tens of megabytes. Limiting the size of embedded gifs makes sense to me and avoids this situation for the most part.

If you want to upload longer videos, something like Youtube is an alternative and also embeddable on sites where this kind of content makes sense.

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    The issue with YouTube is the risk of the video disappearing. And >95% of stack exchange websites don't allow to embed them. – Franck Dernoncourt Feb 15 at 18:28

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