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Shorter explanation.

An accepted answer to a post contains images that are non-illustrative and just scans of text. I attempted to correct this by typing in the text from these barely readable “images” and removing the images since they seemed superfluous at best. The edit was rejected with the original poster stating in a comment, “Deleting images out of other peoples' answers is a no-no.”

Really? A “no-no?” Especially when the images are just scans of text? I realize many online resources only provide scans of text for scripts and notes from film productions for various reasons—such as bragging rights that someone found some “leaked” info—but in the context of somewhat academic dissection of content and context, shouldn’t the text of these images be given a higher weight/value than the—often—barely legible and copied to death source material?

Longer explanation.

With a new Star Wars film out, everyone be asking Star Wars questions! So saw this recent one:

Which is a decent question. And the answer posted by Tyler Durden presents a nice history of how dialogue changed between what was scripted and what was filmed, but it is ultimately “truth” (aka: wrong but sounds correct enough to pass as truth). The crux is that the answer presents the 2004 DVD re-dubbing dialogue as (Does the ret-conning ever end?) “As it was actually filmed…” which is just wrong.

I proposed an edit to the answer which would address the difference between the 1980 dialogue and the 2004 dialogue which was rejected. Okay, I understand original poster’s should be deferred to when it comes to edits. But still, this level of complete rejection—not a “reject and edit” seemed odd to me—so I mentioned as much in a comment to the answer in question which caught the same 1980 versus 2004 issue as I did:

The original poster of this answer rejected my suggested edit to this post that clearly differentiated between the 1980 release of the film and the 2004 DVD release of the film as well as my edits that took the images with text and actually typed them in. If this site is about preventing SEO and improving search ability on solid info, hey… Who am I to complain. Anyway, I posted an answer myself to address this issue so the record is straight.

Yes, I posted a new answer that attempts to correct the fairly gaping oversight in the accepted answer… But I hate doing things like that since it ends up causing confusion to have two “parallel world” answers on the same page.

Anyway, in the context of that comment, the original poster explained their rejection of my edit by stating:

My answer has images from the original script, which you attempted to delete. Deleting images out of other peoples' answers is a no-no.

A “no-no?” Really? I admit that in addition to adding info regarding 1980 dialogue and the 2004 dialogue I did actually type out the text in the posted images, but that’s it… These “images” are simply scans of text. These “images” in this case don’t hold value as images; they are not illustrative but rather just scans of text that would be—in my humble opinion—better served by being text. My desire to remove them was to improve the answer; had they been actual images of value to the content I would have left them untouched

And there is no SEO value in these images since—if anything—the text of the dialogue cannot be picked up by search engines including the site’s internal searching methods. So I just removed them. What value do they hold as “images” other than to show off the fact some scanned to death copy of a script has been floating around?

So my question is, were my actions wrong in removing the text-only images entirely? Or is removing any image from the site a supposed “no-no?” Maybe they can be placed next to typed in text but everything I know about Stack Exchange tells me that “screenshots” that could simply be copied/pasted text should not exit; the text itself should always be favored for the reasons outlined above.

  • Did you plan to replace the script images (e.g. with readable text) or did you just plan to remove them (e.g. because you felt that they didn't add value)? – user7812 Dec 19 '15 at 16:38
  • They are not "simply scans of text"... they are scans of original scripts, used as proof. – Catija Dec 19 '15 at 16:38
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    @catija an unsourced, unauthenticated, supposed scan of some unknown revision of the script (devil's advocate). – cde Dec 19 '15 at 16:44
  • @Richard Sorry but the link to the rejected edit was screwed up. Fixed it now to correctly be this: movies.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/33335 – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 16:44
  • @Catija As someone who has seen tons of “fauxthentic” scans of scripts in real life and online, it’s trivial to simply fake something like this. Others post scans of text but typically link to a source or provide some real reference. These are—essentially—just some random scans posted to an answer as gospel. – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 16:45
  • @JakeGould - Well. for starters I can see that your edit isn't a solid transcription. There are some very notable typos that change the meaning of certain sentences - "It is our destiny" becomes "it is your destiny", for example. – user7812 Dec 19 '15 at 16:46
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    @JakeGould You're arguing two utterly different points. If you want to say the scripts are fake, comment on the answer and downvote. If you want to say the images are un-useful, ignore the fact that the images are fake and focus on your argument of them being un-useful. – Catija Dec 19 '15 at 16:47
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    The better solution would be to include the image as reference and to add a in-line reading of the text to make the content more legible. – Catija Dec 19 '15 at 16:49
  • @jakegould the edit does have typos, and while a subjective choice,you changed the formatting of the quote which matched the style of the script image. That's an authors intent issue, since we don't have a style guide or anything. It's less in your favor in light of that. – cde Dec 19 '15 at 16:49
  • @Catija: “The better solution would be to include the image as reference and to add a translation to make the content more legible.” Exactly and agreed. There are multiple issues here. The authenticity of the images, whether the images should just be text since they are just scans as well as the presenting of 2004 DVD release dialogue as “filmed” dialogue. But this meta post is also about the overall issue of whether scans of text should just be presented as text or as some magical/special snowflake of an image. I contend pure text works best and the image might be linked as a source. – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 16:52
  • Links can die. Images added using imgur never die. It's safer, for posterity, to maintain the image itself along with the text... Which you did not do. – Catija Dec 19 '15 at 16:54
  • @cde FWIW, the supposed “level of typos” and formatting complaints are pedantic at best. The typos can easily be fixed. And the formatting of the text in pure, flowing text is actually how scripts are written. Having odd line breaks in a script are just a side effect of the way scripts themselves are formatted and really hold little content value as some “Holy text” and such. – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 16:55
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    @catija the imgur can be used as a simple link, it doesn't require it to be an image. – cde Dec 19 '15 at 16:55
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    @jakegould if you meant this question to be used to form Movies.SE policy, then it doesn't come off that way. It seems like a complaint about that specific edit. Since the edit has multiple parts to it, valid or not, it won't get the discussion you want. – cde Dec 19 '15 at 17:01
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    I haven't voted on this, but... downvotes on meta work differently. Generally, downvotes on meta mean that the person disagrees with the premise of the question, not that the question is poorly presented or researched. Based on the answers received, it seems that, in general, people disagree that it's OK to simply remove the images from a post. – Catija Dec 19 '15 at 17:31
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In this case, having a readable text quote of the image (a less than stellar picture of a screen play) would be a helpful edit, for seo, regular search, and visually impaired reasons, without removing authors intent or harming the post. I would have approved it.

A middle ground would be to link the image or have both.

Of course, any Stack is composed of people with different ideas of what's helpful or harmful edits. No edit is required to be approved. All you can do is suggest the edit and make a case for it in the edit reason. Some people will agree and some may not, it's a fact of SE, not just here.

Removing images is generally not helpful in most cases, unless you are fixing a typo, a better resolution or similar picture, a dead hotlink, resize for too big, or an error (ex. they pictured a x wing but meant to picture a tie fighter).


Update: OP on that question made the argument that the edit was not true to the image. That it was not formatted correctly and had typos. Having seen the suggested edit, it's safe to say that any proposed edit like this can't have format or transcription issues to be helpful.

They also made the argument that seeing the picture has inherent worth, even as just a screenshot of a screenplay. This is subjective, and as normal SE policy, should defer to the author's intent. In this case, the middle ground should be chosen Imho, even if redundant.

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    The “a less than stellar picture of a screen play” is understandable for this specific case, but in general—even if the image is crisp and clean—shouldn’t images of any text that is not stylized or illustrative just be typed in text? For example, when I read the original answer on my iPhone it just looked weird as well. Pure text at least can be formatted to be read everywhere on most any device. – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 16:36
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First off, the obvious bit, which you've already hinted at: if the OP didn't like your edit, and his post wasn't breaking any SE rules, then he's within his rights to reject your edit for whatever reason he wanted. (While legally, the posts are CC-licensed and editing it explicitly permitted, SE has a very long tradition of deferring to the OP's intent whenever possible.)

Secondly, while I'm not sure why you thought removing images from a post where they were relevant made a "good edit". The OP added those images for a reason, and the general opinion (based on voting patterns) is that images improve answers, not detract from them.

SE's software allows users to make edits to other users' posts to make it easier for us to improve them. We can fix grammatical/spelling errors, improve markup, insert references, etc. without needing to wait for the OP to come back. However, what we shouldn't ever do is change the basic meaning/content of someone else's post without good reason.

The OP wrote their answer based off of specific information, and felt that including actual images of the script improved their answer. There's any number of reasons they might believe that, anywhere from authenticity to simply being cool. Editing their answer to remove such images does border on a "too substantive" change, and I would likely have rejected that kind of edit myself if I had access to the review tools.

  • “While legally…” Whenever someone states “legality” of human created content on a site I want to groan. Of course any sane site defers to the original poster’s as much as possible because—news flash—100% all of the content created here is created by humans. Pull a “legal” claim every time you want to touch content and you alienate your core content creation base. But I disagree about the “images” in this case holding value; they are not illustrative but rather just scans of text that would be—in my humble opinion—better served by being text. But what have you; thanks for your time and opinion. – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 16:07

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