When linking an image, the word in square brackets is the alternative text (alt-text for short). This gets displayed if the browser can't show the image, but also gets used by screen reading software to describe the image being presented.

Please be sure to include meaningful alt text for screen-reading software

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    Saying "A screenshot showing the problem" or "a picture of the skill tree" does let them know what they're missing, but doesn't actually impart any of the knowledge that seeing the picture would to really help them understand the question or answer. What kind of text is considered "meaningful" in such cases? In terms of an edit effort, is there value in adding a description that at best just let them knows what type of thing they aren't seeing, or is it only valuable in the cases where text can give the same information that the image gives?
    – Sterno
    Aug 2, 2013 at 12:10
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    Seems to me that this will just needlessly bump old questions.
    – user9983
    Aug 2, 2013 at 13:52
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    "Needlessly" is a matter of opinion. Besides, what horrible thing happens if old questions are bumped?
    – Brythan
    Aug 2, 2013 at 16:04
  • Well, the front page is now flooded with old diablo questions >.>
    – shanodin
    Aug 2, 2013 at 17:10
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    @shanodin This might be better in its own meta question (Should we edit old questions to improve them? Or does it make the front page less useful?). It doesn't relate much to the original poster's suggestion that people do this going forward. My own opinion is that we shouldn't be scared of new activity. Late answers and edits can improve the site. After all, there still people playing Diablo 3 -- I'm one of them. Anyway, I think that discussion better fits its own question than to attempt to chat it out here. Especially since rejected edits don't give feedback.
    – Brythan
    Aug 2, 2013 at 17:44
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    I made a meta question for that discussion.
    – Brythan
    Aug 2, 2013 at 18:39

3 Answers 3


For ease of editing, here's a list of posts with the default image alt text in them ordered by score: http://data.stackexchange.com/gaming/query/127084/posts-with-default-alt-text

  • This won't work for my posts because I do ![](http://google.com) (leaving it blank)
    – user28379
    Aug 2, 2013 at 17:47
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    @jeffreylin_ A blank alt-text is actually more correct than one that says, "enter image description here". If we are going to fix these questions, perhaps we should start with those that are the most wrong.
    – Brythan
    Aug 2, 2013 at 18:43
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Further to Private Pansy's answer, I've written a short query that lists your own posts that contain images, so you can check your own posts and make sure that yours have appropriate alt-text


One thing people should note while creating Alt Text:

Alt text should be SHORT. 50 characters is considered fairly ideal, 100 is pushing it, and 125 is generally considered a hard limit, due to some screen-reader software cutting longer texts up as if they were separate images, which is often confusing. I had tried to reject the edit from the queue with a proper explanation, but it got approved while I was writing that up.

  • Care to provide a link to the question? I'm interested in what took up 125 characters :)
    – Robotnik Mod
    Aug 7, 2013 at 3:50
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    It looks to be this one. I was going to suggest switching to HTML5, but that seems to still use alt text. I'd thought they were planning on switching to embedded text, e.g. <img>Arbitrary HTML here</img>, where it would fail over gracefully if images were not supported.
    – Brythan
    Aug 7, 2013 at 4:24
  • I redid the edit with shorter alt-text. Billy, you might want to answer Sterno's question in the comment above. Time to update my meta.SO suggestion with a new feedback: rollback.
    – Brythan
    Aug 7, 2013 at 4:43
  • Incidentally, until they fix the interface, posting a meta question is probably a better way to reach an editor than supplying a rejection message. It's moderately difficult to view a rejection message. In fact, it's hard to tell that an edit was rejected unless you are paying close attention. You have to click on the Suggested Edit link and actively look for the result.
    – Brythan
    Aug 7, 2013 at 4:53
  • @Brythan and BillyMailman: Editors of a post get notified in their inbox if you @tag their username on a comment on the same post. Aug 7, 2013 at 4:54
  • @Brythan and BillyMailman: Here's the MSO post that discusses that: How do comment @ replies work? Aug 8, 2013 at 12:24

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