I am trying to embed a Youtube video into my answer, but I can't seem to get it to work. I've seen it embedded on other sites (see this answer). Can the ability to embed Youtube videos be added to Ask Different?

  • 1
    This does not appear possible at the present time. Maybe change this to a feature-request asking for that ability? Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 18:34
  • @KyleCronin Okay, Thanks!
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 18:37
  • 4
    Good screencasts are difficult and time-intensive to create and then they aren't editable like the answers we encourage on this site. I can't think of any reason why we would want to encourage people to create screencasts to answer questions. Beyond screencast answers, I don't see a reason to encourage embedded YouTube.
    – Daniel Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 19:00
  • @DanielL Did you see my answer that I posted above? IMO, that's a legitimate use of an embedded YT video.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 19:02
  • Who needs video when there are animated gifs... meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3122/formatting-sandbox/…
    – bmike Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 19:55
  • @bmike Dang that is a complicated GIF. It looks awesome though... However, converting a YT video to an animated GIF takes some work. This feature is already present on other sites, so I don't see the problem with implementing it here on AD.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 19:57
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    Stealing this from an @bmike comment on another Meta Question: Please reconsider down voting any question if you feel the answer should be no. Instead - up vote the question to acknowledge that the answer is important. Down vote a yes answer and up voting a no answer will let others know the sentiment of the site. By down voting this, you are burying the issue on meta rather than raising it up for all to see...
    – stuffe
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 16:42
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    @stuffe For a policy clarification, I agree wholeheartedly with your position. For a feature request, however, I disagree. Burying a feature request that one thinks would be bad for the site makes it unlikely that said feature request will be implemented.
    – Daniel Mod
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 3:21
  • @daviesgeek The more I re-read your answer, the more convinced I am that it would be a substantially worse answer with embedded video. It's a fine answer as it is, and embedding video would not improve it.
    – Daniel Mod
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 16:29
  • @DanielLawson Ok. It was just an idea…
    – daviesgeek
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 16:30
  • I've run in to one case in my time here where I thought an animation in the answer was useful. That's it. And it was trivial to convert a screen cast to an animated GIF to embed it.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 19:27

3 Answers 3


Personally, I'm not sure that allowing embedded YouTube videos on Ask Different is a good idea.

I believe that videos are only beneficial under select circumstances, where a video is clearly the best way to communicate an idea.
I also think that any answer that includes a video should also summarize the contents of the video in text, similar to linking to an external site. This is helpful for searching and SEO, and it also allows people who can't watch a video (at work, e.g.) to still learn from an answer.

That said, you are correct that YouTube embedding has been enabled on the Gaming site (and the music site). Gaming has a very clear use case: walkthroughs, demonstrations, etc. The amount of situations where a video is the best option is considerably lower on Ask Different.

So, for now, I think the current system is good. You can always include a standard link to a YouTube video, or even grab a frame from the video and make that a link. Allowing embedded videos encourages a behavior that I don't want to encourage at the moment.

FWIW, this has been discussed before on MSO.


We have experimented with embedded video on a few sites, but I would be very hesitant about enabling it widely unless the site can show a substantial need for it.

One of the big problems with video is that it is not searchable. Remember that the lifeblood of this site is search, so every time a video replaces a well-worded post that describes the problem, you have that much less content on the site that can be searched. Videos are, essentially, a black box to the Internet — they break those mechanisms we rely on to bring people to this site.

Text is the primary means of communicating what we have here to the outside world. For every question or answer that is described "in video," that information becomes obscured behind a black curtain; One less opportunity for people to find the text that describes the solution.

  • Did you read my answer? IMO, that is a very good example of where an embedded video would be appropriate.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 17:26
  • 2
    @daviesgeek I've read your answer several times, and don't see how embedded video would make it a better answer.
    – Daniel Mod
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 19:52
  • It would be great if someone invented a searchable video format. I imagine that it would need to include a transcript of the words in the video and also incorporate some kind of semantic image search using artificial intelligence
    – user40661
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 11:01

While I agree strongly that

...the lifeblood of this site is search... (Robert Cartaino's answer, above)

I think there is a place for well-chosen embedded videos on the site. Not for screencast demonstrations, but for showing problematic system operations, weird bugs and behaviors. I.e. for example, a "drag and drop" problem where certain items don't drag-and-drop as expected. A question of this kind could be enhanced and clarified with a short embedded screen-capture video demonstrating the issue.

These could be vetted the same way any question is vetted, i.e. if the text answer isn't up to par, the question would be rejected as usual.

The screen-cap videos could be limited to 640x480 res. / 15fps and no more than say, 10 seconds length. (Or, the length limit could be a function of the poster's Reputation score, say 1 second per 10 rep. score points.)

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