This issue arose in connection to the question Is this a $C^0$ foliation of $\mathbb{R}^2$? where a foliation is described formally. I thought it would help to have a picture of it. Initially I wanted to place it in a comment but discovered that I cannot do it - only a link to the picture appeared in the comment. So then I placed it in form of an answer, with a warning that this is just an illustration rather than an answer.

Earlier a similar situation occurred with an answer (to the question Pathological product space norm) rather than the question itself.

So my question is what would be an appropriate way to illustrate others' posts? I could in principle edit the post itself, I have enough reputation points for that, but (a) is this ethical? and (b) what about those who don't have enough points?

Creating a separate answer bothers me simply because it is not really an answer, so in particular earning points for it (which is quite easy) is sort of not fair...

Could some new form of post be created for illustrating others' posts, or maybe just allow images in comments? Or maybe it is possible and I am simply doing it incorrectly?


Although I've accepted an answer which I think provides the optimal thing to do in given circumstances, the discussion that followed made me realize that probably I should formulate what I want more clearly.

The main point probably is that such illustrations have a status different from that of genuine answers. They might be useful and may deserve reputation points as such, but not in the same way as genuine answers. I have no idea how exactly to differentiate but that's why I am asking a question :)


2 Answers 2


Another suggestion, in case you have qualms editing forcibly OP's post : wouldn't it be easier to make your illustration answer community wiki ? This seems like a good way to avoid unintended reputation gain.

  • $\begingroup$ Excellent suggestion! I will do it this way from now on $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 9:26
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    $\begingroup$ ...well on the afterthought - it could also viewed as a trick to avoid reputation loss through downvotes :) But this is mostly not an issue I believe $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 9:32
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    $\begingroup$ Given the quality of your last picture, I highly doubt you could fear reputation loss. :) Nevertheless, I personnally think that potential reputation gain from your pictures would not be without merit. $\endgroup$
    – Hachino
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 9:34
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks :) But this is precisely what the question was about, except I now realize I did not formulate it clearly enough. I would not mind getting reputation for an illustration as an illustration, but when something is put as an answer when it is not actually an answer this seems to be wrong somehow. For example, it could be arranged that illustrations get less points than answers or something like that, I'm not sure... $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ Mh, okay, I see your point. $\endgroup$
    – Hachino
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 9:45

Good on you for taking the effort to generate and post the image.

I think you should be more concerned about whether posts are helpful to the community than "unfair" reputation. The system is set up to allow questions to be edited by others. In this case it seems that the image fits better in the question than an answer or comment, so you could edit the question in a manner that respects the OP. In answer to (a), if the OP is offended or some other problem, the edit can be reverted or further revised. In answer to (b), it joins a review queue for high rep users (my experience is that edits are usually approved, and in a timely manner). So, my answer is

Editing the question suits the spirit of the system, and images in comments are not required.

But the other options are not "bad." If you don't want "unfair" rep for an answer, offer a bounty on this or another deserving question. Comments are designed to help the OP improve their question; a link and/or advice to edit would be fine, though a new user may not be confident inserting images in their post.

  • $\begingroup$ I would accept this answer too if I could, thanks. I still accepted another one only because sometimes I (or anybody else) would still prefer to place illustration separately. In that case making it community wiki seems to be the right thing to do. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 9:27

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