# How self-contained should questions be?

Every once in a while, someone posts a question that relies on an image or a Wolfram|Alpha link with a formula or the like. In the case of images, it's often because they don't have sufficient privileges to include the image, and then someone soon includes it for them. In the case of formulas, it's probably because they want to save the effort of typing the formula out in $\TeX$ when you can already see it nicely typeset by following the link.

The main reason I see for this policy is that questions and answers are meant to persist and be useful for people who find them later, and we have no control over what other sites do to their URLs or even perhaps their continued existence. Some also emphasize in comments that it's annoying to have to click through to another page, but to me that's secondary; if it would save the OP a lot of typing, I wouldn't mind clicking through to another page. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this (in particular further reasons you may see for this policy), and to get an impression whether there's a broad consensus on this, since I think it only makes sense to ask people to adhere to it if there is.

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I completely agree. Part of the raison d'etre of this site is that questions useful for one are likely to be questions useful for many. In this spirit, it is a good thing to make Q/A as self-contained as possible. Note that in this spirit all images uploaded through the user interface are uploaded to an account that SE set up, which they pay money for, so that the image will not be deleted after a few months. –  Willie Wong Jul 27 '11 at 16:28
I think that some people don't know $\TeX$, or that it is possible to use it on the website, so posting images is not always out of "laziness". –  Asaf Karagila Jul 27 '11 at 16:29
Also, when the gender is unknown, I have seen many people use "they" instead of "he or she". (For future reference :-)) –  Asaf Karagila Jul 27 '11 at 16:30
–  Willie Wong Jul 27 '11 at 16:31
Some similar sentiments were also expressed in the homework FAQ. –  Willie Wong Jul 27 '11 at 16:31
This is CLEARLY WRONG!!! Images are EXTREMELY useful. You dont care for Geometry? Chess problems, possibility spaces ? Geometric graphs?? –  Lebes Feb 22 at 14:10