Commons talk:Courtesy deletions

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to: navigation, search

Better name[edit]

I think it would be more meaningful to call this page "Courtesy deletions" rather than folks expecting this to be a guide on general civility and conduct on Commons. -- (talk) 08:44, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Agreed and ✓ Done. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 08:50, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Lame BLP images[edit]

I have heard from more than one BLP subject that they don't like the images in their articles. I have replaced them all on en:wp with provided images or ones I found on Flickr. Can we add a section about deleting the low quality or 'bad' images that were replaced?--Canoe1967 (talk) 09:44, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Gots one! Category:Grey DeLisle. Something tells me she doesn't like the 2008 image. Should these be deleted without much fuss?--Canoe1967 (talk) 14:07, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, both images aren't really good. However, the 2008-image is still available on Flickr. If there was no direct deletion request from the depicted, I wouldn't act in this case. One might directly contact the depicted person, ask her for her opinion and for a better shot (offering to remove the "bad" one). --Túrelio (talk) 14:29, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
I just went by the description in the other image: "This photo is Grey's official Wikipedia photo which she wanted to take after being unhappy with the previous pic." I haven't looked at her talk page to see if there was any dialog about contacting her.--Canoe1967 (talk) 18:05, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Commons should not be a repository of crap images. At least one of them does a pretty good job of dealing with the issue of consent of identifiable people :-) Delete the old and keep the new until we have something considered quality. Saffron Blaze (talk) 13:08, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Subject of photo[edit]

The above raises an issue I was going to suggest: when do we do courtesy deletions for the subject of a photograph, rather that for the photographer or other copyright owner? This is one possible case, are there others? Colin (talk) 10:04, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

I think these issues are critical to a good 'courtesy' deletion guideline. We should have clear guidance that shows we respect concerns for the subjects/models of a photograph. Models do have some legal protection under what is normally considered personality rights, however those of most concern for us may be where "non-celebrities" have identifying photographs where they are not happy with the images being promoted as free reuse on Commons. When the subject is both central to the photograph and there are legitimate grounds of concern as the photograph may be seriously unflattering, a candid-camera shot without permission or potentially defamatory (such as partial nudity, perceived as sexual (which may not be nude), or taken when the subject was unwell), then a courtesy deletion seems entirely appropriate.
We may need to agree a list of typical situations where this applies and courtesy deletions would be treated favourably.
We should also spell out how requests can be made confidentially, we do not want the subjects to be forced to out themselves just to make a legitimate privacy related complaint. -- (talk) 14:24, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Agree. Whenever the issue of deleting embarrassing photos is raised, people point to celebrities trying to remove less than totally flattering images. While we may legitimately be principled there, it is harder to justify be so stubborn when the person is non-notable. This crosses over into the COM:IDENT area, were we may consider that consent is required for some images and choose to delete them without waiting for the subject to find them on Commons and copied throughout the internet. I would like us to have the option of being pro-active in this area rather than completely reactive, though the threshold for doing so would be higher. Colin (talk) 15:01, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Agree. Personal and moral rights are big concerns indeed. And, I see your opinion much inline with the opinions of Kat Walsh and Samuel Klein. JKadavoor Jee 17:27, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
If we have category:Ducks with a bunch of 'bad' images then they can easily be deleted and just save the best 1000. Category:Paris Hilton could be treated the same way, I would think.--Canoe1967 (talk) 18:05, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
I think that quantity is a poor rationale but quality is a good one. For example we have no limit on the number of photos of a tourist landmark, and there are rationales that having 2,000 photos more of the same landmark every year is fine (one rationale is that in the future we may produce a derived 3D model that can go back and forth in time). However, unrepresentative or poor quality photos can be individually justified for deletion on that basis.
This may be a bit of a dead end for this guideline though, if a celebrity strongly objected to a photo as being unrepresentative or seriously unflattering (verging on defamatory) and nobody had a balancing rationale of public interest, such as this being the only photograph of them freely available, or the only photograph of them in their 20s, then a courtesy deletion seems reasonable if the photo is replaceable (for non-celebrities, replace-ability can be generic rather than a photo of the same person).
I suspect that the number of such requests may be tiny, it would be great if someone had some numbers to give this perspective. -- (talk) 10:07, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Category:Christopher Walken may be a good example. Without even input from any Mr. Walkens we could go through BLP cats and just delete the unrepresentative or seriously unflattering images on our own. I think 3-4 of his are such. Any future issues about creating 3D works from them could be solved by putting these deletions in a cat that never gets purged/cleaned off the servers. We could list them in the future if any 3D creators wish to have them temp undeleted for download.--Canoe1967 (talk) 10:34, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
The 3D thing would not apply to people... With regard to unflattering photos without any complaints, I think this would be limited to photos where there were realistic concerns that relate to Photographs of identifiable people, such as photos appearing to be invasive where there was an expectation of privacy, or where it appeared abusive or degrading. In this way, the current policies are sufficient and with regard to this guideline, all we need do is point them out. -- (talk) 10:42, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Those pics aren't really embarrassing other than for the photographer's skill in selecting which photos to upload -- Shankbone uploaded three images and one of them is rather good and the other two are awful. The "Redundant/bad quality" deletion policy covers this does it not? I agree with Fae that the celeb issue is probably not as big a problem as those fond of the slippery slope argument would make out. What I'd like this guideline to make clear is we don't necessarily need a complaint from the photographer or subject in order to decide that we don't really need this image and could delete it out of courtesy. Colin (talk) 10:53, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

I agree. We should have is a guideline/policy that we can go through and delete "Redundant/bad quality" BLP images without any requests. We could even create a project that would go through all of our BLP cats and trim them down to just the better images. Even if they are in use they should go because they are either wrongly selected for articles or just filling galleries. This would be a unilateral courtesy judgement by us. Category:License plates has far too many redundant/bad quality images as well but the people ones we should deal with first. I don't even want to think about dog/cat categories.--Canoe1967 (talk) 11:46, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

I fully support the approach Colin,Canoe1967 and are taking this. Obviously there would have to be a clear threshold and editorial judgement would need to be imparted but hosting poor quality images of people or images someone would object to for good reason, should not be a goal of Commons. One could what if this to death and that is where the editorial judgement will be key. (think starlet with two high quality images on with make-up in a beautiful dress and one with out make-up in sweats... do we delete the second if they object? Saffron Blaze (talk) 13:19, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
We could write our own guideline about consent for images taken in public. If they are paparazzi type candids they should be deleted unless they are of a notable event like a starlet in sweats buying crack from Obama's maid at the Academy Awards. Once we have consensus on a guideline to this effect then admin can delete images easier without taking flak or dragging them through DR drama. --Canoe1967 (talk) 16:34, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

A practical "problem" that occurs with potential courtesy-deletion candidates of the kind "this image shows me, delete it immediately", when filed by IP, is whether the request is authentic from the depicted person. A solution is OTRS, but sometimes the respective IP doesn't come back after the initial request. --Túrelio (talk) 08:34, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I have seen that happen when we only have one bad image of for a BLP article. I have had success by emailing their people for replacements. I have had failures as well. If they don't want to provide a good image then we keep the only bad one we have. If we have better ones then no reason not to delete and AGF that the IP knows more than us.--Canoe1967 (talk) 22:25, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Factors affecting courtesy deletions[edit]

I think the section "Deletion requests" needs some rework. I don't really like the decision-flow style. Possibly we should have guidance for the requester, guidance for the deletion discussion and a section on factors that affect our decision. The first four bullet-points are good advice for the requester. I think the guidance for the deletion discussion shouldn't go into any detail of our existing policy-based reasons for deletion, other than to say if there are legal/policy based reasons for deletion then they are considered first. Then we come to the factors that may tend us towards making a courtesy deletion. So some factors given already are:

  • Time between upload and making the request for deletion.
  • Whether the image is has alternatives in existing Commons stock?
  • The quality of the image.
  • Use on other Wikimedia projects.

Other factors may be

  • Whether the file was uploaded directly to Commons or was copied from another site (e.g., Flickr). How might this affect things?
  • Whether the upload or licence choice appears to be a genuine mistake or is a change of heart.
  • The age of the photographer or copyright holder.

I would like to say that I don't think "in use on Wikimedia project" should be as hard a reason to deny as is sometimes stated. For example, if the image can be easily replaced from stock, then deleting the image is a small hassle rather than an significant loss to the project. And how significant the use is (lead photo vs one in a gallery) can influence things. Ultimately, I don't think the photographer should be punished just because someone quickly snapped up their photograph to illustrate an article, vs the other photographer who's work hasn't been noticed yet. The "loss to Wikipedia" is more of a psychological barrier to us being courteous than it is a genuine reason to not do the right thing. Having said that, I do think it should have a small role in perhaps suggesting to the requester that their request does actually cause us loss, rather than it being "no trouble at all". Colin (talk) 10:19, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

As for "appears to be a genuine mistake or a change of heart", one factor that affects this may be whether the image was uploaded as part of a batch or other mass upload or as one single image - it can easily happen that you upload one you don't want to upload when you upload an entire directory on your computer.
One factor that should affect this is also privacy concerns. Earlier Inkscape versions - and I'm terribly glad they fixed this - led to enormous privacy invasions because when you saved as Inkscape SVG from them, the resulting <svg> tag had an attribute sodipodi:docnamedocbase (fixed darkweasel94 13:28, 3 August 2013 (UTC)) which would contain something like "/home/johndoe/images/commons" - outing the uploader's real name if that's their username. If somebody uploaded something like that, this should be deleted. darkweasel94 12:09, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, I'm not sure deletion is fully necessary for fixing metadata in a file. EXIF data in photos can also reveal the author which may or may not be intended. But if the tools exist to remove any offending data, and delete the bad version, then those could be used instead of full deletion. Colin (talk) 13:23, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that revision deletion will do the job in such cases. darkweasel94 13:28, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Types of requests[edit]

Currently the questionnaire for evaluating a Courtesy deletion request is prepared, assuming the requester is one who uploaded it. But it can be the Original Author, Current copyright holder, Subject of the photo or a third party. If the requester is not the uploader, I think that criteria (like how long, irreplaceable) are not considerable at all. So we need different set of criteria for such cases.

If requester is

  • The subject of the work, consider:
  • Current copyright holder, but not the Uploader or Original Author
  • Listen him with patience, kindness, and respect.
  • Original Author
  • Third party requests:
  • Listen him with patience, kindness, and respect.

This is somewhat related to Colin’s concerns above. Let us discuss. JKadavoor Jee 09:28, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

An actual proposal[edit]

To give us something definite to work on, I have boldly put up an actual draft proposal, incorporating so far as I can all the issues that have been mentioned above. It's by no means complete, everything is up for discussion, and I won't feel offended if everyone totally disagrees. Fortunately, everyone here so far is friendly and mellow :)

The basic principles are:

  • Public and private individuals should be treated differently in accordance with typical expectations in a democratic society.
  • There should be a higher threshold for removing old files than for recently-uploaded files.
  • It should be possible for any user to request a courtesy deletion, for example to deal with an intrusive image of a private individual, but the threshold for removal in such a case should be higher than if the request is made personally by the subject.
  • Where there are ethical concerns about a file of no particular educational importance that could be removed without much disruption to the Wikimedia communities, there should be a default allowing that to be done quickly and without drama (though, importantly, the community should always be able to override that default). Where the file is of great value to us, the default should be to keep (again, unless overridden by the community).
  • A subject who is not capable of making their own courtesy deletion request can ask someone else to do it on their behalf (by proxy), but the requirements should be quite tight to dissuade celebrities or politicians from acting via their press office.

The draft is a bit longer than I had hoped, but perhaps that's inevitable if we want a nuanced policy that can handle a wide range of ethical and moral issues in a flexible way. The 30-day period is suggested as a balance between allowing a reasonable period for errors/changes of heart to come to light (7 days is too short, in my view), and the need to maintain a good level of third party confidence in the long term availability of Commons content (long term files should not just disappear for no good reason). --MichaelMaggs (talk) 23:42, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

We could put a warning on all files that are <30 days old for re-users. A bot could add and remove the templates. We may have the same issue with non-BLP images.--Canoe1967 (talk) 01:41, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Michael. That is big enough to worth a thorough study prior to make any comments. JKadavoor Jee 03:09, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Hard Line[edit]

I think we should take a hard line right off the bat. Judging from recent drama we have a majority that should agree to:

  • 30 day limit with warning tags for re-users to avoid use of the files for 30 days.
  • Admin can delete any lame image on sight using their judgment, or a request from anyone.
  • Use in articles shouldn't matter because the images shouldn't be there anyway. They can upload locally if they wish.
  • Our scope should not be a host images that don't reflect any subject in a 'good light', unless it is a BLP buying crack and it hits the news.
  • If anyone whines then they can bring it up with an un-deletion request, without involvement of the deleting admin. Ban the deleting admin from the discussion to keep it neutral and cause less drama. The un-deletion request would need very good arguments and probably be outnumbered by many. If they slam the deleting admin then remove their comments as not valid because the admin can't respond. A lame image is a lame image. There are few reasons to host them and even fewer to un-delete them.
  • Thoughts?--Canoe1967 (talk) 05:22, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
    • I would strongly disagree with using this guidance to allow admins to by-pass the speedy deletion process for 'lame' images, in my opinion current policy is sufficient if applied correctly. Admins should be firmly held to account for deletions, and these should be for strong reasons (such as an blatant failure against Photographs of identifiable people where the potential for damage or distress is significant). For example, is this upload lame or are all images with sexual content lame? This would be a major change to the way the deletion processes are intended to work, and should have extensive community consultations before making this a guideline and will require both Administrators and Deletion requests to be changed. If necessary, I would be fully prepared to hold any admin to account through a desysop request if their behaviour shows a pattern of out of process deletions that starts to look like censorship against personal tastes, as such a new power is wide open to misuse. -- (talk) 06:58, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I haven't read Michael's expansion yet. I'm concerned if this guideline gets pushed too far into forging new policy. And I don't think "courtesy deletion" is really anything to do with "lame image deletion". Nor do I think that "delete on sight" should be done other than in the most obviously bad or obviously problematic image -- and any new "delete on sight" power would have to have strong community agreement and checks. Let's keep this focused and not run before we can walk. Colin (talk) 07:29, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I don’t think this section of discussion has any connection with Michael's expansion; It seems only an attempt to evaluate Denniss’ recent deletions according this proposed policy. We're discussing about DRs here; not about direct deletions. Am I right? (I cant see a deleted image; so unable to comment on that matter.) JKadavoor Jee 08:48, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
This thread was created before I raised my request for a report in the Denniss discussion, so it is the other way around. As for out of process deletions, this is not clear. If the guideline stays firmly within the current DR process, then there is far less of an issue and we will avoid getting side-tracked into discussion about new powers for admins to handle "lame" photographs. Thanks -- (talk) 09:01, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
That may be my fault. I may have hijacked the policy put forward with my harsh opinion on how policy should be changed.--Canoe1967 (talk) 09:04, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I understand your concerns; but prefer to discuss that matter on the COM:AN/U or any other subject specific (exclusively for that matter) thread itself to avoid any deviation from our current topic. JKadavoor Jee 10:32, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
(ec)I disagree with both and Colin Fæ above. Images are never truly deleted. We should run before walking because we have be hiding too long and not moving forward. If an admin is deemed to delete too many images without reasonable requests or solely on personal opinion then we can just ask them to stop without threatening the tools. If they take a break from unilateral deletions then they get to do more again and will only be dealt with in cases of abuse. The policy now should be changed drastically to: Admin deletes 90% of Category:License plates, 89% are absolutely useless, they get four files wrong, they either undelete out of courtesy or take them to drama DRs. BLP images could be treated the same. Go through Category:BLP fan cruft images, delete 90% on judgment entrusted to admin, undelete the minor ones and take the other four of the undeletion requests to drama DRs. 95% of deletions will have no whining because they are probably a waste of space. For sexual images they should be more cautious and perhaps we can add a two day warning qualifier for those. Re-tag it for DR drama or it goes in two days. I think we can trust 99% of our admin at least. A new drastic policy would filter out the 1% because they would stick out like a sore thumb.--Canoe1967 (talk) 08:07, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Er, I have a hard time taking this proposal seriously, but for what it's worth -- no, let's not. JesseW (talk) 07:39, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I have a hard time taking anything seriously but this proposal is something that is long overdue. Saffron Blaze (talk) 20:53, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I just thought that if we were going to adjust policy then we should come big or stay at home. I think commons is on high enough moral ground to pass my input into a new form of policy. Some that are morally bankrupt may argue but the undeletion/DR safeguard I mentioned will deal with those. This reminds me very much of w:First Monday in October (film). That plot summary doesn't say much so some may wish to see the movie to get the full picture as it relates here.--Canoe1967 (talk) 21:49, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
"Morally bankrupt", I guess that is what you call everyone who has a different point of view from yourself? With such blatantly offensive terms like this, it seems clear that your personal aim here is to create drama, rather than helping the community reach a consensus. -- (talk) 22:01, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

I wish you wouldn't put words in my mouth. I didn't say those that disagreed with me all were MB. I just said there may be some here and some of those will argue to keep. I think you are causing the drama. We have a moral majority which should get consensus to clean up the reputation of commons. We can revert the policy anytime of it fails by emptying commons of too many images that are argued over. Then just undelete them and go back to square one.--Canoe1967 (talk) 23:12, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Can we then agree to not label anyone who contributes to this discussion or guideline as "moral" or "immoral" please? There are many points of view that we will benefit from documenting and discussing. Everyone here is concerned about how we can best handle issues of privacy, personal rights and respect. There is no need to offend anyone who may wish to take part in this discussion by either calling them immoral due to their point of view, or by claiming that you have the "moral" high ground and somehow have better moral standards that others who may express alternative opinions or wish to critique your proposals. -- (talk) 23:29, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
You are still putting words in my mouth. I did not state that anyone in this discussion is MB. I merely stated that some on commons may be. Our definitions of moral levels may differ is all. My definition is actions driven by personal high standards. Logical 'Spock type' views do not include morality in many of their decisions. They do include things like existing democratic freedom type laws and logic; but not personal views to influence their input.--Canoe1967 (talk) 03:38, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
"Admin can delete any lame image on sight using their judgment": I think it creates our early issue that I read somewhere, "Kill him; he acts like an elephant in a china shop." JKadavoor Jee 04:18, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Jkadavoor. (Going small text as this is tangential)—I note Kat Walsh's comment in your linked diff about the copyright terminology "moral rights". This has a very narrow meaning under UK law (which therefore will be the same in India but may vary in the USA) of being the legally enforceable right to attribution and, as far as I understand, has nothing whatsoever to do with moral values with respect to the nature or subject of photographs. The legal areas of personality rights or the expectation of privacy may result in claims of damages (and there is existing legal precedent to point to) and I believe these are more relevant and less confusing terms to apply to our discussion. -- (talk) 07:29, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes; "Personal rights" and "Personality rights" are (IMO) the right terms while talking about the rights of the subjects. "Moral rights" is more suitable for discussion on author rights. JKadavoor Jee 08:05, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I would like to apologize again if I was misunderstood. We have a moral duty and we also have legal rights. Either one can override the other. Those with lower morals will argue for using our legal rights to continue to host images that those with higher morals wish to delete. If it were my 'hard line' decision to delete File:Peter Capaldi.jpg then I would. Even though it is the only image we have of this subject that just jumped in notability. In my view with no image in his article then his many fans would try to get us a better one. I did email his agent but no response yet. A fan dug up the email for me. Files like this will probably remain if they are the only one we have. If we do get more then the poorer ones can go. Deciding which is in the balances mentioned above. Samples--Canoe1967 (talk) 20:31, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
No need to apologize; you made a good point. I too think it is better if we delete such works (a work that makes the subject feel inferior). I can understand the requirement of Paparazzi photography for the sake of immediate editorial requirements of newspapers and magazines. But I think it is better not to host such works in a permanent repository like Commons.
I remember a somewhat similar case I read at AN. I assume, here the subject’s complaint is due to the awkward gesture that accidentally captured on the portrait. Waiting for a new version may sensible; but IMHO, we should give much wait for the subject’s complaints. And my advice to photographers: make sure your work will not make the subject feel inferior, prior to upload. A bad work is not only a disgrace to the subject; it will affect the goodwill of your profession too.
My only disagreement is on giving admins too much power without any discussion. A wise admin can use it effectively; but it seems a bit inappropriate in a democratic world. If worth, we can discuss it at Commons talk:Criteria for speedy deletion JKadavoor Jee 02:54, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I believe democracy works well, but it is not perfect. That is why so many laws are passed that people think are immoral. Commons differs because it shouldn't be a vote count on an image that involves morals. We could seek consensus to select 'wise' admins. Give all admins a flag to allow hardline deletions at the start. Those that abuse it would have the flag removed. They would be a 'soft bit' admin then. They would still have all the tools but if they hard line delete an image then we just have a 'hard bit' admin undelete it. The other admin can then take to it DR, but not participate in that DR.--Canoe1967 (talk) 03:38, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Wise/Trusted admins? A good idea; but afraid, not many agree with it. :) JKadavoor Jee 04:37, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I strongly disagree. Sure, File:Peter Capaldi.jpg is not a high quality pic, but I see nothing about it that should cause him any real embarrassment. It was taken at the 2008 Channel 4 Political Awards, an event that gathers a fair bit of media coverage, and his attire and activities there seem quite appropriate to the occasion. I see no need for pre-emptive deletion of this image, and I wouldn't look favourably upon a request for courtesy deletion, unless some unexpectedly good reason for deletion was given or we could find a better (freely licensed) shot of him. He may have jumped in notability lately among Dr Who fans, but a 1995 Academy Award winner isn't exactly a new kid on the block. He is an active public figure, who would certainly have the ability to provide a better picture of himself if he wanted.
Our project is based on volunteer labour. We often don't have the resources and the access needed to produce professional quality portraits of public figures, but we can often provide something that is good enough for a casual reader to recognise a familiar actor, say. There is nothing immoral about this IMO. --Avenue (talk) 04:08, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
That picture has (IMO) quality issues only; so we can wait till a better image available, or even leave it there. I would like to see the matter in a generic POV than based on that single example. JKadavoor Jee 04:29, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
This example is the only one put forward so far by the person who started this section (Canoe1967), so I think it's reasonable to examine it carefully to try to understand what Canoe1967 is proposing. There is something to be said for discussing general principles, but good examples can help the discussion a lot too. --Avenue (talk) 05:17, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Agree. Let us see whether he can explain his concerns more clearly. I assume he involves in editing BLP in Wikipedia extensively. JKadavoor Jee 05:41, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

The Peter Capaldi image I used as an hardline example at three degrees. The most extreme would be to delete even if it is the only image we have of him by a single admin without a request. I personally wouldn't have uploaded it. Although it is the only image we have of him it is not up to my standards. No image in his article may be better. I would put it through DR now if I thought I had a chance it would be deleted. If I were admin I would try the same DR and not act on my own. The middle ground is if we have more and better images of the same subject, or the subject requests deletion. The lowest level would be to host it at all costs even if the subject and others complain and provide better images. That would be the lowest moral level because it is only kept by the fact that we can legally host it.--Canoe1967 (talk) 06:24, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

I prefer the middle ground. Further, I think we can use it positively by making an offer to the subject or photographer that we’re willing to delete this poor quality picture if you are willing to contribute a better one (as suggested by Túrelio in the example I quoted above). But if the picture is really embarrassing (not in the case you mentioned), I would prefer to delete even if it is the only image we have of him. JKadavoor Jee 06:55, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Canoe, you keep mentioning "in his article". This isn't Wikipedia. It is for Wikipedia article writers to make the editorial judgement as to whether that is a decent enough picture to use for their article. It is their article and Commons must stay away from making these kinds of editorial judgements. There's nothing embarrassing about that picture and it shows what he looks like so it serves a useful purpose. I'm sure we'll get a better one and there's no need to delete the image in order to provoke that outcome. As for uploading it, well if we had other good ones of him, then I would be to embarrassed to upload it, but if there was nothing there then I would upload it. I disagree that "no image in his article would be better". WP editorial decisions are for the benefit of readers, not to make en:WP:POINTy deletions to force editors to find a better one. I'm loath to use celebrity pics as examples as I think a request from a celebrity is more likely to involve vanity than genuine embarrassment. Colin (talk) 08:29, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I see your points. I can't repeat email but I feel this is moving forward from his end. I agree we shouldn't make editorial decisions for the projects here. We could still seek consensus to not host images that we feel show subjects in a bad light if we have more. My standards for images are higher than many on the projects. The arguments for whether to include a poor image in articles can be dealt with on a case by case basis at the projects if it is the only one we have. My extreme examples will probably never come to pass. A subject may be more forthcoming if we include the poor image but may not if we include no image when we do have one. Both could be thought of as a form of 'do this or else'. I just came across another case with Category:Wil Wheaton. I never liked the 'open mouth with microphone in face' images and we may get consensus to delete those when we have others. These cats aren't hard to find and we may wish to start a project to clean them up. The poorer ones may not be in use in projects but re-users may derive 'parodies' from them. The open mouth ones I have seen as popular for the more immoral ones. If they follow licensing and link back here, this would just create more with us shown as the host source.--Canoe1967 (talk) 15:22, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I think Canoe's high standards for what might be a "bad light" has File:Wil Wheaton at WOOtstock 2.4 2010.jpg in mind, which happens to be a perfectly valid and useful photo of this actor performing on stage, just (as he intended) with his mouth wide open. This reminds me of Commons:Deletion requests/File:Kimono, Karin Beate Nosterud.jpg on one of my batch uploads, which was raised a few months ago as a claimed personal rights issue due to a man having an open mouth in the image, though there was no complaint from the subject, and, of course, it resulted in a keep as would be likely for all similar cases even if a future courtesy deletion guideline were invoked. Either of these images might be reasonable case studies to illustrate the guideline for what should not be deleted. Canoe is welcome to raise more DRs to prove the point. -- (talk) 16:20, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think I have ever raised a DR on a moral issue Fæ, but I could be wrong. I have raised DRs mostly on copyright and possibly scope. With the moral DRs I have chimed in at I usually just 'comment' my views and don't vote either way. The above two open mouth images you linked have a minor difference. Mr. Wheaton should have expected to be photographed with his mouth open. The other is a candid(?) where the subject may not have known it would be published for the world to see. If either subject requested removal then in a 'middle ground' we would delete one and keep the other. Hard line delete both, and softer line keep both. They are very good examples of how morals, legal standpoint, and subject input can affect our deletions. Without a new guideline we usually keep on the legal standpoint only.--Canoe1967 (talk) 20:44, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Well explained. We definitely need a new guideline instead of merely rely always on the legal views. JKadavoor Jee 06:13, 9 August 2013 (UTC)


While I appreciate that Michael has put a lot of work into this expansion, and there are ideas in it worth picking up on, I'm really strongly opposed this this huge rule-based approach. Courtesy deletion by its nature is an ad-hoc seldom-used procedure arrived at by applying common sense coupled with sympathy for another human being. What it doesn't need is a 3000-word set of regulations. All I can foresee is that rather than focussing on whether Commons should keep an image, any discussion is going to get bogged down in whether the original request was polite enough, the subtle distinction that arises on day 31, whether vote 11 counts, and so on. There's so much repetition on this guideline that it takes far too long to read, and it is very hard to see the difference (if any in some cases) between the before/after 30-day sections.

Some specific problems:

  • The background only mentions licence policy. The fundamental is project scope, supplemented by licence policy and our guideline on identifiable people. It should briefly mention the educational scope requirement, the irrevocable free licence requirement, and the ethical/moral issues with photographs of people. These are all reasons to consider regular deletion. At this point we briefly summaries regular deletion policy, which includes things like redundant bad images, and the precautionary principle. The aim should be that anyone reading this considers courtesy deletion as a last resort if there are no other clear policy reasons to delete.
  • We should make clear that not only is the licence irrevocable, and Commons can't fix any re-use issues beyond Wikimedia, but also that the terms-of-use of Wikimedia websites require user to not seek to revoke their licence and to agree their donation is essentially permanent. This means that a request to deviate from that will always be a goodwill gesture done out of courtesy, rather than demanded or required.
  • Politeness is not required. Sorry, but this is fundamental. We expect and would appreciate politeness, but anyone who has or can imagine what it is like to work in "customer service" will know that if staff required customers to be polite when complaining, very few complaints would be resolved. The most we can say here is please be polite. If anything, we should demand more from those handling the DR: the "treat him or her with patience, kindness, and respect" line. An example is the Arctic Kangaroo butterfly deletion issue where the user was anything but polite and Commons responded by being anything but respectful, patient or kind. Both sides could have handled that much better.
  • Arbitrary thresholds cause discussion over thresholds rather than focussing on the issues. The 7-day quickie is fine because that's just a shortcut for pragmatic reasons. But the 30-day threshold and all that 10-vote stuff should go in the bin. Admins should know how to judge consensus (or to make a sensible decision from limited comment).

We are in no rush here. We've done without specific wording for long enough that we don't suddenly need a book on the subject. Let's continue to discuss on the talk page. I think there is so much wrong with the approach taken by the current text that I wouldn't choose to begin with that. Sorry Michael. A completely different, and much shorter more concise guideline is needed. I'd love to help with this but am going on holiday in a couple of days time and am uncertain what internet access I'll have and will hopefully have other distractions :-) . So I may not be able to participate much for a couple of weeks. -- Colin (talk) 21:49, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

I agree the guideline is too long, the meat of it needs to be about 2 screenfulls of text if we expect the general public to read it and make sense of it. Perhaps a simple work flow diagram might help summarise when this applies and pointing the user to other policies (such as standard deletion requests) by following the work flow. I also agree about the politeness point, it seemed laboured in the text which rather reminded me of the organizations where the starting point is to blame the customer for being angry after forcing them to wait in a queue for more than 20 minutes. So yes, reshaping and reworking is needed here and will take a while - we probably don't have many volunteers who will spend time on writing guidance (after all, it's a bit thankless putting up text and having it shot down Smile fasdfdsfoiueire.svg). -- (talk) 22:09, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
We could put it into two or three sentences. "In order to comply with WMF request X, commons has received consensus to create this policy: Admins are now trusted to arbitrarily and unilaterally delete files without discussion at the request of others. If there is contention then a request for undeletion can be used or DRs to get more community input on the file in question."--Canoe1967 (talk) 23:23, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Isn't that rather the wrong way round - this is about not deleting. -mattbuck (Talk) 21:17, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Files are never truly deleted. We could just delete first, ask questions later. If there are any objections then they can be discussed at un-deletion requests.--Canoe1967 (talk) 21:53, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
But only admins can see a deleted file. So there is not much meaning in participating in un-deletion requests, without even seeing it. JKadavoor Jee 04:33, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
We can remember what they were or which articles they went missing from. If I had never seen an image I can't think of any reason to have it undeleted. I have come across many articles with deleted images I have never seen. I usually find a replacement but never asked for undeletion.--Canoe1967 (talk) 19:01, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Yep, it is too long. Usually inexperienced users request deletions out of courtesy, they don't want to (and probably will not) go through piles of policy. Regarding the politeness part, I would mention it somewhere that the community is more likely to grant the courtesy deletion when the request is made in a polite manner, but I would not make it a requirement. I like rule-based approaches though as my belief in the common sense of others faded away during my time on WMF-projects :) (you could also read it like this: As contributors on commons come from a lot of different cultures, age groups, have different education backgrounds and jobs, etc, they may have a different opinion about what commons sense is).
Also under the current proposal, if a courtesy DR only attracts 9 keeps votes it would still be deleted because it has "fewer than 10 valid keep/delete opinions"? (extreme example to make a point). I am with Colin here, admins should be able to judge consensus, even from a limited amount of comments. Also the current proposal is "in dubio pro deleo". As courtesy deletions should be the exemption, I would rather favour that the image is kept when there is no consensus or doubt. --Isderion (talk) 23:50, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Agree with Colin on removing the "Politeness is required." Clause or even replace it with "Politeness is not required." It is our responsibility to "Treat any person who has a complaint about images of themselves hosted on our projects with patience, kindness, and respect, and encourage others to do the same" as "urged" by WMF in many resolutions.
Agree with Colin on removing the "10 valid keep/delete opinions" threshold too, leaving the decision to delete or keep to the admin; but advise him to consider this policy as the base for his decision rather than mere consensus. I assume his attempt was to save the admins form many criticism they are facing if they make a decision based on their individual evaluation on our policies/guidelines.
I didn’t see the "30-day threshold" part. Colin, are you talking about the "Where the file was uploaded 30 days ago or less" under "Removal request by the uploader"? I think we already have a practice to delete files uploaded within 7 days to remove accidentally carelessly uploaded files. That is just procedural; not a act of courtesy. I think we can keep it separate to avoid complexity in defining "Removal request by the uploader".
I would like to appreciate Michael for his efforts; I know how difficult it is to make a start. It only requires some reworks to make it more concise. Thanks again, Michael. JKadavoor Jee 03:43, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
The table of contents is now scary, and I think this is way too prescriptive. When drafting the first version I wasn't trying to create new hard rules, I was trying to explain and summarise the consensus which had evolved over the past few years, namely that it is all quite subjective. -mattbuck (Talk) 21:17, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree. I liked mattbuck's original draft which basically just stated what we currently do. darkweasel94 22:33, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
No need of a White paper to explain what we had done earlier. Now we got a good advice from WMF General Counsel: "Our communities need to show forgiveness and allow second chances in appropriate circumstances. Showing empathy and understanding is what makes us a community." I think it worths a discussion. JKadavoor Jee 01:20, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I think that (apart from Canoe, who seems to have a different agenda) we are aiming for the same thing but we all go about things differently. I agree with Mattbuck that we should begin with describing current best practice, and then grow this, with discussion, into any areas we feel either need additional guidance or where the community would like to go wrt future practice. I don't think we need to invent a new complex procedure/policy overnight. It would be useful perhaps to list some examples (in a new talk section?), possibly with an explanation of what the image looked like prior to deletion, or examples where deletion was denied. I'm out of time for now... Colin (talk) 09:00, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I have boldly removed the politeness sections, as several editors have mentioned they should go. --Slaunger (talk) 21:22, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I agree with other commenters that it is still tl;dr in its current form. I do not fancy too much the very specific rules about number of days (7/30), and number of voters (10) in DRs. Courtesy DRs should not be votes. Instead I think we should draft some good example cases with specific hypothetical requests, time spans spans and outcomes to set the baseline for the policy, but I think that very specific rules will result in 'robotic' decisions leaving too little for the personal judgement of the admin (or another user?) dealing with the request for courtesy deletion. --Slaunger (talk) 21:22, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • (ec) I also changed some text from guideline to policy. I note below that Fæ argues it should be a guideline. That is OK with me, I will change it back. --Slaunger (talk) 21:22, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

I have not had much time over the last week to prepare a proper response to the above comments, for which I apologize. Unfortunately, I am unlikely to get much time before next weekend, either. However, I would like to say very quickly that I agree that my draft needs tightening up and significantly shortening. I also agree, after having re-read it, that there was an unnecessary emphasis on the requester's politeness. So, I'm very happy with Slaunger's edits to remove that wording. When I get some more time, I would like to discuss the respective merits of rule-based and non rule-based approaches to dealing with this issue. Perhaps my return may coincide happily with Colin's return from holiday, so that we can both jump in again then. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:08, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Elvey's clean-up is mostly very good, but has resulted in the loss of some careful distinctions I had made about what an admin should do if there is little community interest in a particular DR. The default should vary with the seriousness of the situation. I would like to come back to that later. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:29, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Question: Is this a guideline or policy?[edit]

I believe this document will be better placed as a guideline rather than policy. You can see some existing ones compared on Commons:Policy. A distinction I would make is that this document captures a working practice of the community, being optional courtesy deletions which might be rejected and are unlikely to be have rigid boundaries set in stone. Policies need to be firmly bounded as it is against policies that we block accounts, may desysop administrators or allow media as being in-scope, whereas guidelines are questions of style, norms of behaviour and working practice but folks would rarely get blocked over failing to comply with them. -- (talk) 21:13, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

This makes sense. I have changed it back to 'guideline'. Thanks for clarifying the distinction. --Slaunger (talk) 21:24, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree with that, but in any event we should perhaps leave a decision until later. I would make a distinction between policy (that admins must follow), and guidelines (which allow them greater personal discretion). The distinction is not in my mind to do with hard or soft edges, so much as the community's requirement that all admins must follow policy (in extreme cases at the risk of being de-admined). I feel that what's needed here is a flexible policy, in other words one without hard boundaries, but which requires admins to follow it, to avoid admins closing down DR's with a personal and discretionary decision which conflicts with the community's generally-expressed wishes. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:01, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Case examples[edit]

I think the proposal in its present form sets up too specific rules. I believe mattbucks original proposal was a better starting point. The courtesy deletions are often special and require special judgement, which cannot easily be grasped into fixed rules about number of days, how many should vote, wheather a DR is required etc. I think it will be a better idea to start out with a quite general guideline and then supplement it with some cases, which provides some examples of when courtesy deletions should be done and when not, and which outlines the process and which we can agree on. We do not need so many cases to start off with, it can be extended as we go along and as the need arise. --Slaunger (talk) 17:06, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Let me start out with one example. Does the form make sense? Feel free to improve or make more compact if you feel specific examples could be helpful. And feel free to add more examples. I guess the recent controversial Arctic Kangaroo example could be added as well? --Slaunger (talk) 17:06, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

A parent wishes to revert consent given on behalf of under age child[edit]

A informational and educational photo uploaded by a Commons user illlustrating a weather phenomenon. A prominent element in the photo is the uploaders under age girl showing the face and bare shoulders in a window frame. Explicit consent was not directly stated at the time of upload, but consent was implicit as the creator was a guardian.
Timing of courtesy deletion request
Three years after the upload.
Usage of the photo when the DR was requested
No use in Wikimedia projects besides internally in Commons, where it had been promoted to Quality Image status. One known external use in a minor travel blog.
Motivation for courtesy deletion
At the time of the courtesy deletion request the portrayed girl is still under age child and expresses that she feels uneasy by the fact that this particular image pops up in certain Google searches. In particular she finds it embarrasing that her bare shoulders are seen and that she is identifiable. She wants it removed "from Google". The parent regrets the consent given orignally and asks for a courtesy deletion by opening a regular deletion request for the image, explaining the embarassing situation for the girl, also offering to clean up the QI links on Commons after deletion.

--Slaunger (talk) 17:06, 8 August 2013 (UTC

Example anonymized and generalized following comment from Fæ. --Slaunger (talk) 07:28, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Your example is acceptable per Wikilegal/Removal of photos of minors: "This spirit is reflected in the guideline on photographs of identifiable people, which advises administrators to be sympathetic toward removal requests with good rationales. The community may well choose to exercise its patience, kindness, and respect in reviewing the request of a child to remove his or her photograph and find the age of the child, the nature of the photograph, and the claimed absence of ongoing consent as a "good rationale" to remove the photograph." So I added that link too to the reference list. JKadavoor Jee 06:41, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm slightly concerned about the potential for the Streisand effect on closed DR cases that we add to the guideline. It would well be that those highlighted will be subject to research, including trawling through internet archives with possible malicious intent. I do not want to get overly paranoid, but I recommend a careful and precautionary approach before drawing attention to cases that may include material that may cause distress, harm or lead to an invasion of privacy, even if this can only occur or be published off-wiki.
I suggest that any cases put forward to support the guidelines are comfortably "safe for work" in terms of nudity or potential to cause offence. I think the guidance can be sufficiently illustrated without pointing to images that might make the sort of audience with problems that may need courtesy deletions more worried. Thanks -- (talk) 06:59, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
That is a good point, Fæ (Funny, I almost feel I am insulting you with that sentence as Fæ means 'fool' in Danish...). I have removed link to the specific DR and also further anonymized/generalized the case example. --Slaunger (talk) 07:28, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm not insulted by being called a blockhead in Danish, considering you can find years of me being called far worse off-wiki. -- (talk) 09:52, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
This seems like a perfectly reasonable example to me, and what courtesy deletion should be about. I'm not sure I'd include the Arctic Kangaroo example because it got rather messy and spilled way beyond the initial "please remove these pictures". -mattbuck (Talk) 09:24, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree we should not include the Arctic Kangaroo case with direct reference (per Fæs previous point) but I think it is relevant to present and discuss a generalized case of an underage uploader disaffirming the license and thus leading to deletion (I am in doubt if this kind of deletion is actually 'courtesy' deletion?). For instance it is relevant to establish a baseline of how strong evidence there should be that the editor is actually underage, vs an adult pretending to be under age in order to draw the "underage disaffirmation" card for a case where courtesy deletion would otherwise be unlikely - like a highly used photo of an 'innocent subject' (e.g., a car) uploaded a long time ago.--Slaunger (talk) 22:04, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
I suggest we keep it in general terms. Any 'young' person (under 18?) requesting a courtesy deletion would be taken especially seriously (whether as subject or photographer), certainly it would be interesting to include cases. The issue of a 'minor' (under 16/18 in Europe/the USA?) having legal authority to licence content is more difficult and not a courtesy deletion issue of itself but should fall under licensing policy. I suggest we continue to distinguish content covered by policies relating to photographs that have been demonstrated to invade privacy or have potential to damage as these can, and should, be deleted by policy rather than by an optional guideline. -- (talk) 22:16, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes. I agree with your distinction about what should be covered by this guideline and the normal licencing policy. --Slaunger (talk) 22:24, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

A minor celebrity reveals too much[edit]

I haven't really participated in this discussion or much of the recent stuff on Commons, and I'm glad someone has taken the initiative to list cases and try to reason from example cases, rather than reason simply from abstractions and other people's comments. Here is an example I've dealt with from OTRS.

A minor celebrity is out walking their dog or at a public event. She accidentally reveals herself in a way she didn't intend: perhaps they have one of those infamous wardrobe malfunctions, or they fall over while tying their shoe, or they accidentally are photographed typing in the phone number of someone into a phone such that the phone number is revealed in the photograph. What should we do?

I have dealt with a case where a photograph of a minor celebrity revealed their own phone number by accident. I dealt with it by photoshopping the picture to make the phone number so it was unreadable, uploaded a new version and asked an admin to revision-delete the old version.

The discussion thus far has mentioned "morality" and "ethics", and a great deal has been said about the applicability of moral concepts to these discussions. There is certainly moral issues regarding Wikipedia's use of pictures (the 'obese child' and the 'skinhead' cases, where we take images of individuals and use them as illustrative examples of groups in a way they would not necessarily consent to) but here I don't see any particularly moral issues being raised, nor any legal concerns (except perhaps privacy, but even that is not necessarily cut and dried). The minor celebrity who has accidentally revealed too much through slight carelessness while out and about hasn't erred in some manner that might lead one to conclude that he or she has been unethical. Nor indeed has the Wikimedian who uploaded the image: at best they may have been careless in not scrutinising the images they've uploaded with enough attention to detail. But even if one spends a reasonable amount of time studying an image, one cannot necessarily always see all of the issues: we routinely fail in our perceptions (see inattentional blindness).

So what is it? It's basically a mistake. I can't think of a hard and fast rule we could use, but I think that reasonable people should be empowered to deal with these kinds of cases quietly and without incident. One problem is dealing with them in a way that won't cause Streisand effect style problems for subjects. Anyway, thoughts welcome. —Tom Morris (talk) 19:43, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

I agree and I would also take it further if we could get consensus. Others on this page have mentioned they agree as well except that many don't think this page is for discussing a guideline such as this. This page is mainly for discussing an existing 'courtesy deletion' process that has never had a guideline. These are usually error uploads or changing of minds soon (7 days?) after upload. We may wish to create other guidelines that are similar regarding the 'paparazzi' type images you refer to in regards to notable and non-notable people. A good method may be to empower WMF or OTRS to quietly have these images deleted by an admin. Once we get this existing guideline process ironed out then I think many would like to discuss your suggestions in another guideline proposal.--Canoe1967 (talk) 23:56, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Further concerns on the privacy of courtesy deleted contents[edit]

There is a suggestion by Delicious carbuncle at User talk:Jimbo Wales#Access to deleted images on Commons : "I am suggesting that all courtesy deletions also be oversighted (no additional request should be required) in order to be in compliance with the WMF policies. If we have reason to delete the image from public view, why would we allow hundreds of admins free access to the image?"... "Whether or not an image shows a human being is not a good way of determining if there are privacy implications. I suggest that in every case of courtesy deletion, the image and logs are oversighted. " JKadavoor Jee 08:01, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

In addition to the fact that DC choose (likely intentionally) the wrong venue to make such a proposal, the latter suggestion (to oversight all courtesy deletions) seems to be based on a basic misunderstanding of the term "courtesy deletions". Most courtesy deletions are not for potentially problematic content. Actually every deletion of an initially validly licensed and in-scope image (typically "I changed my mind") is a courtesy deletion. So, if taken serious, this proposal would not only put an additional work-load on oversighters, but would also rob admins of the possibility to detect re-uploads of such images by different uploaders, which might mean copyvio or sockpuppet. --Túrelio (talk) 08:17, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
BTW, I just followed Avenue's advice. JKadavoor Jee 08:32, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Per Túrelio, by definition this does not apply to this courtesy deletion guidance and is off-topic. If there were an issue serious enough for oversight, then current policies apply rather than this proposed guideline. This has been raised on several venues. If you are serious about this issue, or are looking for a change in policy, then please focus the discussion in one place rather than raising tangentially in lots of places as this will just dilute any rationale and therefore make change far less likely to happen. -- (talk) 18:24, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Concerns regarding the contents in a category or gallery which is linked to a BLP article in Wikipedia[edit]

I think my concern is somewhat related to the discussion at Commons_talk:Courtesy_deletions#Lame_BLP_images too. says "Taking human dignity and respect for personal privacy into account when adding or removing information". The related policy in Wikipedia says "Images of living persons should not be used out of context to present a person in a false or disparaging light".

While Wikipedia can ensure their articles follow the guidelines; they have no control on the contents in the linked COM categories and galleries. So it creates many conflicts, and sometimes they are forced to exclude any links to our categories and galleries (Examples: Talk:Pricasso#The_link_to_Commons_media, Talk:Pricasso#RfC_on_Commons_gallery_link, Talk:Jimmy_Wales#Pricasso_image).

So I think we should take care not to host media that are not compatible with the WMF guideline I quoted above. It should be our responsibility to ensure that material posted here is not defamatory. We should delete libelous material when it has been identified out of courtesy even if it is legally eligible to host, especially if it is related to a living person.

I expect opposing arguments like Commons is not Wikipedia; but Commons is another sister project under WMF and IMHO, there is nothing wrong in respecting WMF guidelines while compiling our own policies. JKadavoor Jee 06:21, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Sorry Jkadavoor, but quoting policies from the English Wikipedia is unhelpful here. If you wish to draw up a comparison of image hosting policies from en.wp, de.wp, fr.wp you will find them surprisingly different and en.wp has no monopoly on good practice. Speaking as a highly successful and productive administrator on en.wp for 2 years, I not only understand the policies perfectly well, but can assure you that they are frequently interpreted in ways that both damage the good will of volunteers and create unnecessary drama through endless wikilawyering. Part of the value of Commons is to improve through independent development rather than inheriting or cut&pasting en.wp approaches.
As for the WMF policy board resolution you have quoted many times in many threads over the last month, Commons already has adequate policies which comply with it, particularly for the area of demonstrably libellous or damaging material about a living person, such a scenario is not within the scope of this guideline as we should and must refer to appropriate policies which address it. If you believe policies such as Photographs of identifiable people are inadequate, please raise discussions about those policies on the policy talk pages or the village pump, rather than on this guideline. -- (talk) 07:36, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Those links are nothing but scaremongering and conspiracy theories of how Commons is out to try and "get you". Seriously, no one here gives enough of a shit to do anything talked about in the Pricasso RfC. en.wp can do what it wants, if they want to censor themselves, we won't help them. -mattbuck (Talk) 08:28, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Note: All other Wikipedias with an article on Pricasso do link to Commons and see no problem with that. (Disclosure: It was me who added it on eowiki.) The fact that enwiki doesn't do so says a lot about enwiki, but little about Commons. darkweasel94 11:04, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
BLP is a WMF mandated cross-wiki policy. Fae's statements above are misleading. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:30, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I did not refer to a WMF policy on BLP as it does not exist, the board resolution on "Biographies of living persons" that Jkadavoor linked to above does exist. The en.wp policy on BLP is not mandated for other projects while the WMF resolution "urges the global Wikimedia community" but is not actually mandated, this is up to the project communities to adopt and interpret. -- (talk) 19:47, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
" One of these values which is common to all our projects is a commitment to maintaining a neutral point of view. " Lines like this makes it clear that even Commons is connected to this core policy. Fae, your statements are obviously wrong and do not shine a good light on your conduct. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:46, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
No, you have not supplied any tangible evidence that a statement I have made here is factually incorrect, or made in bad faith, or has anything to do with my conduct. Perhaps, rather than making attempts to defame me, you might consider the guideline under discussion? -- (talk) 07:48, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
I have already provided evidence. It is obvious that you don't care. Why waste everyone's time by saying "I'm ignoring you" when not responding has the same effect? You have already denied reality, so there is no use trying to convince you. My statement was to everyone else. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:13, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
The WMF Resolutions are the basics for every policy in our projects, including Commons. We may have policies unrelated to any particular resolution; but we can’t have a policy or guideline contradicts with any of them. Commons:Photographs of identifiable people is based on; not based on Although that resolution is intended BLP articles; we can’t neglect it due to our presence in them as a related media category/gallery. Further, media can do same or even more harm to the depicted living person unless we take much care. I quoted the related Wikipedia policy to show how they implemented that resolution and we don’t so far.
I don’t want to reply ever to Mattbuck’s comments; His repeated use of vulgar words and rude words make him unable to participate in any healthy discussion. Further I don’t think to answer comment like "we won't help them"; WMF know what to do better than me. JKadavoor Jee 07:44, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
This was never really supposed to become a policy that accompanies COM:IDENT. It's mostly about cases where the uploader/copyright holder wants a file removed. So please don't bring the Pricasso thing to discussions that have little to do with it. That issue has been and is still being discussed in many other places, and I think everybody now knows your view about it. darkweasel94 08:33, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Just another case that I should ignore. JKadavoor Jee 10:12, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Courtesy deletions vs. other nominations of own pictures[edit]

What I've noticed is that some DRs that are opened against the nominator's own file are later interpreted as courtesy deletion requests even though it isn't entirely clear if that was the intention, or the nominator simply wanted to bring an issue up for discussion without wanting to be given more weight for being the uploader. One recent such case was Commons:Deletion requests/File:Rozi-2006.jpg, closed as "delete" even though to me it looked like a simple "no educational value" DR. Therefore I'd suggest we make it explicitly clear that if it's a courtesy deletion request, that should in some way be explicitly stated, e.g. as "I have made a mistake", "this wasn't meant to end up on Commons" or "this photo causes privacy problems for me" - but that "this is redundant to another file" without more explanation should not give the nominator more weight just because they're the uploader and could request a courtesy deletion. Any thoughts? darkweasel94 14:24, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

It is a slight side-issue as this happens for "positive" DRs which may end up deleted even not as a courtesy. For example Commons:Deletion requests/File:10000 Ft.jpg was raised by me to have a discussion in response to a speedy tag from Denniss. Unfortunately Fastily then deleted the file without explanation and I had to chase around afterwards to explain what was actually written in the DR. Improving this guideline is unlikely to make the fact that any apparently simple looking DR is likely to be closed without an admin spending a lot of time reading it, just due to the pressure on the few admins available to get the deletions completed. -- (talk) 14:50, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Why are we here?[edit]

I don't see a clear agreement from everyone posting above that the current approach to courtesy deletions on Commons is actually inadequate, and that we really do need to make some changes internally which will require us to be more ethical in our dealings with uploaders and subjects who ask for courtesy deletions. I for one do think that such changes are necessary, and that we are at present failing in our primary ethical duty to respect others. A useful consequence of making such changes is that we might hope get more respect from outsiders, though I would like to make clear my view that that should not be the primary motivation. Our primary ethical duty should be to respect others, and only after that should we worry about what others think of us as a community.

I therefore don't think that a guideline which merely aims to document our our existing habits, and which stops there, would be adequate.

If some editors think that change is needed, and others don't, we run the risk of discussing the issues aimlessly and never getting anywhere. That is what has happened repeatedly in the past, and of course it favours those who do not wish for any substantive change (generally because a more ethical approach to courtesy deletions will on occasion result in some otherwise in scope images being deleted). Without committing ourselves to any specific means by which change should be accomplished, I wonder how many editors would be prepared to join me in publicly agreeing with the following statement?

In view of some confusion in the comments below I should explain that at this stage we have as yet no definite definition of what is meant by the word by 'ethical', in the context of showing respect for others. That is the whole point of this: first we decide whether any change in that general direction is desirable, and only if the answer is yes do we then go on to define specifically the limits of what we want 'ethical' to mean in our policy. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 22:18, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support as proposer. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:46, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Though I agree that a clear problem statement would be useful, this vote side-steps perfectly valid problems of definition which have been dogging consensus. The confusion on this talk page with regard to what some have called "moral values" raises many alarm bells with me, and should the term "more ethical" be interpreted in a similar way, we will see administrators being called out in public for failing to be ethical enough, or failing to "do the right thing" when we have no definition of 'ethics' apart from the published and agreed project policies. If the Wikimedia Commons community is currently failing to be ethical enough, we can only change that by identifying where governance related policy needs to be more ethical. If you are concerned that we (all volunteers working on this project) are failing in our primary ethical duty to respect others, then as a bureaucrat I would expect you to (a) unambiguously identify the definition of the ethical duty that applies to this project, (b) raise specific types of failure and lead the recommendation of realistic solutions in order to motivate change to governance related policy, rather than having the community vote on statements which appear to condemn Commons generally. I oppose this proposal as it contains a commitment to substantive changes to policy when I remain convinced that policies such as Photographs of identifiable people are excellent, it is only on implementation for liminal and limited numbers of cases (in comparison to the tens of millions of images hosted on Commons) that improvement will help avoid repetition of the sort of real world damage or over inflated drama we have seen recently on this project (by implementation, I mean where detailed guidelines such as courtesy deletions should assist with interpretation and their associated help pages would support members of the public with complaints and issues about media to resolve). Normal cases (non-liminal) falling clearly within policy, probably being 99.5%+ of the media hosted by Commons that comes under discussion and review, is not the issue here. -- (talk) 15:41, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Hi Fae, you're coming across as rather angry-sounding there, and I am unclear why. Are you worried that we will end up deleting sexual or other content that a few users find challenging? If so, that's nothing whatsoever to do with my position here. It's entirely to do with the ethical duty of respecting others. I hope I made that clear and I am sorry if I did not. I have already made a definite proposal (on the main page) which is up for discussion, and which I hope makes it clear that this is about respect not about attempting to cut out sexual-related content. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:55, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
It's probably the italics, I'm formatting that way to imply issues of definition rather than stressing an emotion. I have not mentioned sexual content, my concern is that your chosen phrase "ethical duty" has no clear definition, to my mind it could mean almost anything or nothing. By the way, my assumption is that the word "respect" you are using in the sense that it is used (once) in Photographs of identifiable people which in turn borrows from the UDOHR Article 12, it would be handy to link your use of the word to that definition to avoid confusion. Unfortunately, though that same policy uses the word ethical and unethical, it does not do much to define it in relation to policies and cases. As I write this, I feel these policies really could do with a supporting gazetteer to navigate our difficult and specific use of language, particularly as we tend to borrow legal usage (from various countries) rather than common English usage. -- (talk) 16:13, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose - while being "ethical" is nice, we can't really commit to such a goal as a project, as it is entirely undefined. Ethics are relative, as many, many experiments have shown, and that's just within the same person. Times that up to a whole project, with different people's moral values and it is unworkable. I started this page not to define some sort of new policy, but to let people know what we do currently. -mattbuck (Talk) 17:06, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Very good points. We probably will have deletions that are in question from admin on higher ethical horses. We could just have those undeleted without discussion but put them into immediate group DRs. I doubt any new guideline would be abused. It will take a while to agree on a standard though.--Canoe1967 (talk) 17:43, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support. But what I think we need is a guideline adjustment for all images. At the end of my hard line section above it is kind of in a nutshell. As it stands now we can keep any image that passes our legal standards. What we need is a guideline on ethical standards. If an image does show the subject in a bad light then we can delete it on our own. If a subject doesn't like one of many images we have of them then it can be deleted as redundant. Compare File:6.30.13WilWheatonByLuigiNovi4.jpg to File:6.30.13WilWheatonByLuigiNovi5.jpg. Same time/place/subject but we don't need all the mouth open ones. If it were me I never would have uploaded them. We shouldn't need a request and just remove them on our own. I see no use in hosting all the redundant ones. Category:Statue of Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton) could easily fill up with images that are redundant as lower quality. I would say we need 5 or less good ones plus any unique ones like snow on the statue, birds, or unique photographic composition etc. I will side with just request of subject/uploader deletions but if we are getting consensus on a new guideline then we could include my above as well and change the guideline name to ethical and redundant deletions--Canoe1967 (talk) 17:29, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
    • So, the natural conclusion of running this project by an policy of "ethics" and "redundancy" would be to delete photographs of people solely on the rationale that a photograph shows someone with their mouth open? No, this point of view nicely illustrates the problems with this proposed statement, it takes us far away from the behaviours we need to sustain this project as a world class resource and preserve of media created through free collegiate collaboration. If we permit deletions on fantastic interpretations of what ethics might be, then volunteers such as myself will rapidly lose the good will to use this project as a reliable repository to donate collection of media. At any point in future years, someone may delete an image on grounds of thin arguments of redundancy or whatever passing fad or kneejerk reaction to negative publicity might result in new rationales based on personal ethical values and once deleted, nobody will ever challenge it and undelete as it passes into the vaults of the forgotten disappeared. -- (talk) 18:38, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose We already more than often enough do courtesy deletions from uploaders, and in principle our COM:IDENT policies are good enough for subject requests - they should be changed if something is broken in that regard. I think we should mostly just describe what we currently do so that people know what to expect. darkweasel94 18:17, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support with respect to subject consent only. Dankarl (talk) 20:08, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I do not think conflation of subject consent with other courtesy deletions is useful. Indeed, lack of subject consent should not be considered a courtesy but a policy deletion. In particular we should ensure that there is a route to avoid the en:Streissand effect, and subjects should not be subject to public criticism for wanting their images down. Dankarl (talk) 20:08, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree that separating out these two issues might well help clarify the discussions, as they are getting confused. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 22:06, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I think we can avoid the Streisand effect by adding a line to the personality rights template. "If you would like this image removed then email WMF or OTRS at X address. Then an admin can be contacted to quietly delete them.--Canoe1967 (talk) 22:19, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
    • This would need a bit of unbundling, though that would be a discussion for other policy pages, as I agree that this area is not a matter for a courtesy deletion guideline. For example, we would not expect to delete a photograph with educational value, taken in a public place in a country with freedom of panorama legislation, solely on the basis of a lack of verifiable evidence of subject consent, unless there were specific credible grounds given for an expectation of privacy (such as an unexpected intrusive zoom lens photograph making it candid photography). -- (talk) 20:18, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
      • I do not propose deletion of images of unambiguously public figures or of photographs legally taken in unambiguously public places. See below. Dankarl (talk) 21:44, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg CommentThe bundling (better - continual repackaging) that has been going on has proven counterproductive to discussion as we are repeatedly asked to continue on multiple pages with no acknowledgment of previous discussion, leading to perfectly understandable but repetitious concerns and misunderstandings, while having our issues and proposals lumped with unrelated issues. There was an ongoing discussion at Commons talk:Photographs of identifiable people that was making some progress, continued at Commons talk:Photographs of identifiable people/Update 2013/Removal requests and several other pages in the same discussion (see the sidebar on the linked page), and now continued here but suddenly all rolled up with underage uploaders and other issues. This leaves us either repeating ourselves endlessly, copying discussions across multiple forums, blindly hoping people will go back and read the antecedents, or simply giving up. These issues are hard enough to make progress on without continual re-definition and re-direction. Dankarl (talk) 21:44, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Who wouldn't buy the More Ethical brand? It's like wanting badness isn't it? But maybe we should stop to look at the contents of the box before we buy it. Is "ethical" undefined? The box empty, to be filled with goodies, later, after we have bought it and taken it home? Hmmm, I think I'm already a little less keen on More Ethical. And having had a peek in some of the boxes (discussions and proposals) already around I see that this empty box is quickly filled up with social conservatism, respect for authority and objection to anything that will cause offence. And the price is truth and freedom. --Simonxag (talk) 00:21, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, as per above. unneeded regulation & well-meaning mushy thinking. BLP @ wp/en is a HUGE mess, because of such "well-intentioned" rules. GPL-CC licensing is NON-REVOKABLE, what part of that does an uploader not understand? Lx 121 (talk) 00:49, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose This page solves a problem that does not exist. It can at best be a fine essay, nothing more than that. We regularly had courtesy deletions during the past many years without such a text. -- とある白い猫 ちぃ? 23:05, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

The proposal as it stands seems horribly strict[edit]

The proposal as it stands seems horribly strict against courtesy deletions. Most deletion discussions don't attract ten comments, so the criteria given here could rarely be met. Furthermore, consider the following scenarios that now normally result in rapid courtesy deletions, but would not under this proposal:

  • User uploads photo, realizes ten minutes later he/she did not mean to do so.
  • Subject of photo, where we have eight photos from a single session, requests deletion of two that he/she finds uncomplimentary.

In my opinion, things like this should get done "no muss, no fuss." There is absolutely no need for an onerous process in such cases. - Jmabel ! talk 18:29, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

I certainly agree with the 10 minute point. In fact I would make that more like any speedy request would be honoured within a few days of upload, so long as the image is not yet in use. Effectively this goes on already, though people who understand the system just say they made a mistake with the licence. Such situations, in my view, do not require a 7 day DR - which risks having the general public a chance to make copies (or public archives) or a minor Streisand Effect means that it starts getting used on other projects. -- (talk) 18:47, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, there should be some time period to allow speedy courtesy deletions. But I'd place it at less than one week as others proposed. 12 hours would be a good starting point that allows even for cases where your Internet connection fails right after the upload - within 12 hours you should be able to find a way to get on the Internet and insert a speedy deletion tag if it really was a mistake. Not sure if this is the best place to discuss it, or if this should be done on the talk page of COM:CSD. darkweasel94 19:01, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

You're doing it wrong[edit]

I just noticed this proposal, and there's all sorts of goofy standards in it - 30 days, public individual, 10 Keep votes, etc. None of these are needed. The theory behind courtesy deletions should exist, but be limited to, specific cases which arise when someone could say that the photo was never really valid for Commons in the first place, and we couldn't prove he was wrong. In other words, we do a courtesy deletion if someone could lie and say that we were violating policy, because we don't want to give them the motivation to do that. This amounts to two cases:

  • Photo uploaded directly to Commons or copied from a user-submitted site matches conditions laid down in COM:IDENT for photos taken in private of identifiable people which require consent, and we don't have any reason to think we have consent aside from the uploader's assertion. If the subject came to us and said "he took it without consent", we'd have to take it down under policy. So if the uploader comes to us and says "I changed my mind", we should also be willing to courtesy delete so she doesn't have to do this.
  • Photo uploaded without comprehending the license. Under 18, language difficulties, etc. make it possible that someone can claim it was an accident, or the uploader acting on someone else's behalf didn't establish for sure he had a release for CC-by-SA licensing from a third party who owns the photo, rather than just a license to "put it on Commons" (note the distinction). These are all going to be dubious cases that could be argued one way or the other but you might cut some of them loose rather than brandish ambiguous laws back and forth.

These are entirely different situations but have the same net effect. I think these are the standards you need, and the only standards you need, to be working with. Wnt (talk) 21:01, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

When I batch-upload photos, I always triple-check if no file slipped through that shouldn't end up online. But it's entirely possible that I, or somebody else, at some point misses one, and now accidentally shared some unrelated personal file with the world. (Perhaps not extreme as en:Anthony Weiner sexting scandals, but still.) I do think Commons should handle such cases more ethically than saying "no, you gave it to us and we won't remove it now!". So no, your two cases are insufficient; and let's please not revive the Arctic Kangaroo drama here as for "under 18". darkweasel94 21:25, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Actually that sort of batch-upload would be under the second scenario - if you included a file by accident, you didn't intend to release all rights to CC-by-SA, and if we fought a war to the knife, a court might well come to that conclusion and invalidate the license, so let's not. Wnt (talk) 19:35, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, I did comprehend what the cc-by-sa does in such a case, but yes you are right that this may legally be the case depending on what the judge thinks. However it should be stated explicitly in such a policy. This is actually the case that I'm most concerned with, not IDENT issues or changes of mind three years later. darkweasel94 17:26, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Is any new policy necessary here? Doesn't every upload that is either promptly or convincingly described, by the uploader, as a simple mistake just get deleted? --Simonxag (talk) 21:31, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
    • Yes - in my view that's what this policy is supposed to describe. darkweasel94 21:48, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
  • A new policy to do the same thing? --Simonxag (talk) 23:00, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
    • Policies (guidelines) often simply describe what we already do anyway. Newcomers should know when we do courtesy deletions, not just from lurking at COM:DR, so this page is useful. darkweasel94 23:28, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Please stop trying to create a proscriptive policy here[edit]

I started this page as a way of saying "this is what Commons does, and it's quite subjective and while there are things which make a difference there is no threshold above which an image will definitely not be deleted or below which it will definitely be deleted". This is not meant to be a policy setting out exact rules, and I don't think we could ever come to consensus on exactly what such rules should be. -mattbuck (Talk) 17:36, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support as proposer. -- (talk) 18:05, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support darkweasel94 18:08, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support. I know people are arguing above for changes to our deletion practices, but even if these are eventually accepted, I think describing our current practices (without trying to codify them in excessive detail) would be a useful first step. Mattbuck's initial edit seems a good starting point. --Avenue (talk) 20:01, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support. I had a hand in creating some of the above. I just thought if we were going to seek consensus on policy then we could expand the courtesy deletion practice we use now. Clearing this page and starting from scratch may be the best way to entrench the existing practice. The other matters can be discussed elsewhere.--Canoe1967 (talk) 20:25, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support I think the detailed policy proposal does highlight the complexity of the issue but I too would like to see a well written "lead" for the policy that summarises succinctly what can be done and under what considerations. If crafted carefully the lead could suffice as the guideline/policy. Saffron Blaze (talk) 01:06, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Simplify.--Amadscientist (talk) 05:47, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support. I have no problem with that. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 07:37, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

re: Please stop trying to create a policy here[edit]

What a crock. Obvious voting block is obvious. There is no actually addressing the content going on here, just a simple attack on the whole proposal by saying it's too wordy. HA! could you lot be more obvious. No, prove me wrong, come up with some actual concise improvements rather than saying 'oh' we have to crush the whole thing out of existence. What a hilarious attempt to overturn a proposal by not-subtle stealth tactics. Lol. Funny one.

"Suggest a guideline of less than 200 words" well who the hell is stopping you ? Go on, suggest a guideline of less than 200 words why don't you ? There is room for it on this talkpage. There is room for 100 less than 200 word proposals. You just want to prevent the whole proposal in it's entirety. Penyulap 21:48, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Please stop disruptive editing[edit]

Penyulap, could I ask you to stop with the battleground mentality. If I could collapse this thread as disruptive I would. Enough already!--Amadscientist (talk) 03:04, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Rough Draft - Proposal Summary[edit]

Offered as a potential starting point.

When someone uploads an image to Commons they must affirm several things for the image to be accepted. Primary to this is that the image is suitable for issuance under a free license.

Once an image is accepted into Commons the license is then active and cannot be revoked. Commons is under no obligation to ever remove any legal image once uploaded. However, there are circumstances where images may be considered for deletion upon request of the original uploader, the author of the image if different from the uploader, and any identifiable subject in the image.

An admin may delete an image summarily upon such a request if the rationale for the courtesy deletion is deemed sound and the impact to the project is minimal. In making the evaluation whether to delete or not, the admin will also take into account whether the image is legal, legally obtained, has consent from the subject(s) when appropriate, whether the person requesting is a private or public individual and many other valid considerations. In making the deletion the Admin will also consider how long the image has been with the project, its use across the Wikimedia and the image's value as an educative tool.

Any member may object to a courtesy deletion request for cause, which would normally require the image be brought to a formal deletion request process. Similarly an image that was deleted may also be challenged and brought to a formal undelete process.

Request involving images of a sensitive nature or where confidentiality is desired by the requester may be brought to one of WMF oversighters for consideration.

Saffron Blaze (talk) 01:43, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support A humble start. JKadavoor Jee 07:14, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Alternatively we could just revert to revision 101208708. darkweasel94 09:23, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't oppose that if it included requests for deletion from subjects of images and the 7 day limit be eliminated. Saffron Blaze (talk) 17:50, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
The 7 day limit is really more an issue for COM:CSD (a far more important proposal) than for this proposal. And I'm not sure if we need to have requests for deletions from subjects in this guideline either - that seems more like something for COM:IDENT. darkweasel94 18:40, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I see COM:IDENT as the "what and why" and this proposal as the "how". A link between them would be necessary at some point, but surely this is the catchall for these type of deletions. Saffron Blaze (talk) 02:51, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Deletion requests by the uploader and deletion requests by the subject are two very different things. I don't think it's useful to mix them together in one guideline. In the first case, there isn't normally really anything that requires us to do anything - though we might still do so out of courtesy (that's where the name of the proposal comes from). In the second case, we need to consider COM:IDENT - that's not really a courtesy deletion but a deletion that implements that guideline and the relevant WMF resolution. They are both important points but this policy should be about the first case. darkweasel94 12:07, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
But it seems your opinion only. Most of the other participants already expressed a different opinion. Do we need to split this policy/guideline into two? JKadavoor Jee 12:30, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support reversion, I think that was a fairly good summary. -mattbuck (Talk) 06:09, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support the OP wording. If we don't get any opposes in a few hours we should accept it as policy. After that we can move on to tweaks as Darkweasel suggests. We still have the undeletion and DR option until then, so no one will lose an image or an eye.--Canoe1967 (talk) 10:35, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose making anything policy. Support darkweasel's reversion as a starting point for future revision (which may include some of saffron's above; they'll be easier to evaluate as small diffs). Wnt (talk) 15:51, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

I don't think it matters if it is a policy or guideline. As long as we have a consensus review option then there can't be any abuse nor lost rare files because of it. I still don't like the argument that "How can we discuss it if we never saw it?" If you never saw the image then why argue to review it?--Canoe1967 (talk) 16:17, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Fully concur. You'd swear I paraphrased the diff darkweasel offered but I didn't, which might indicate there is a baseline that most people would consider acceptable/appropriate at least as a guideline. Saffron Blaze (talk) 18:00, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support as a guideline. If it works out OK, then make it policy. --Simonxag (talk) 12:51, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

I don't get it. People have been tinkering with this proposal some time - now somebody proposes completely starting over on the talk page, removing everything done on it so far, but make it a guideline right off the bat? This is no where near ready to be anything formal. Wnt (talk) 22:38, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Saffron, you'll need to remove the sentence "Commons is under no obligation to ever remove an image once uploaded." because there are countless legal reasons why commons has no choice whatsoever but to remove an image once uploaded. As a tongue in cheek suggestion "A-holes think themselves under no obligation to ever treat you as a human being once you've uploaded an image here, but occasionally you happen upon someone who wants the project to succeed." or some such. Penyulap 22:00, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

"a legal image"? Feel free to amend, I am not precious about it. I didn't realise a pretty good working draft was out there. Saffron Blaze (talk) 23:17, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
✓ Done--Canoe1967 (talk) 23:42, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose as a policy or guideline. This text manages to solve an issue that does not exist. Furthermore, has this been advertised to the general public? I see a handful of comments by a considerable number of people whom are new users. What has prompted this idea? -- とある白い猫 ちぃ? 22:45, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
The issue is we have been ethically deleting images without a guideline. We can keep anything that passes the laws in Florida but we have no option on courtesy deletions that are ethical in respect to human dignity.--Canoe1967 (talk) 01:16, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support This is a good start.--Amadscientist (talk) 03:06, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

I just reverted to the earlier version we discussed before and got reverted by Amadscientist, who, strangely, also supported a more concise guideline here. Could you explain what exactly are your issues with the version I reverted to as a starting point for further development? Do you think the long version that's now in place is better? Because this talk page IMHO shows a great level of consensus that it's not. darkweasel94 20:36, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

That reversion has only two supports (from you and Mattbuck); Saffron's version has more supports. JKadavoor Jee 07:59, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Less is more sometimes, we already do a lot of this sometimes with more latittude than outlined here and sometimes with less, "Uploader requested deletion of a recently uploaded unused file" already covers a lot of bases.--KTo288 (talk) 20:37, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Are you sure you are opposing what's being discussed here? In this section, {{support}} means that you think the version proposed by Saffron Blaze is better (as a starting point) than the current version, while {{oppose}} means the opposite. So if "less is more", why are you opposing? darkweasel94 20:46, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
No i'm opposing this formula, and I would oppose the main page too if that behemoth comes up for a vote.--KTo288 (talk) 14:36, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Ethical, moral, consent criteria are no good[edit]

I am not even sure what this.... thing... tries to cover but... I am picking up a small fragment from the block of text since it establishes the circumstances:

Courtesy deletions are rare, but are allowed in limited circumstances where
  • there is some ethical or moral issue with Commons hosting a particular file, including such issues relating to a subject of a file; or
  • there has been a mistake or a change of heart by the uploader
  • the existence, necessity, or continuity of consent of a subject.

First of vague notions such as ethical and moral reasons hits a brick wall. A simple question of whose morality makes it a very poor idea. Commons is a global project where we try to respect all cultures however some cultures are far more restrictive than others - including some that ban all images.

We have traditionally deleted mistake/change of heart uploads per common sense. Why does this need a guideline?

As for consent, what if the subject is dead or famous? DO we have the consent of Mona Lisa? What about photos of Patrick Stewart if he suddenly decides not to have any freely licensed photos. What about content such as File:CollateralMurder.ogv where we do not have consent of everyone on the video. What would the proposed text cover that Commons:Personality rights cannot?

This policy/guideline should get its basis from the law as it applies to where the servers are hosted. There will be serious issues with this criteria if common sense isn't exercised. This text manages to solve a problem that does not exist.

-- とある白い猫 ちぃ? 22:41, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

File:CollateralMurder.ogv was taken in public in a country where consent is probably not required to publish. Iraq isn't listed at Commons:Country specific consent requirements so we may wish to look into it.--Canoe1967 (talk) 01:26, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Why would Iraq law matter? It isn't binding in the US. It is not like consent laws would be binding or even relevant given the subject of the video. This is exactly my point! If we simplify, one persons sense of morality would see the privacy (delete) angle while another would see the justice (keep) angle. Morality shouldn't be the driving factor. -- とある白い猫 ちぃ? 17:35, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Necessity of this policy/guideline[edit]

I think we need to hold a poll if we even want a courtesy deletion guideline/policy. I feel we do not need it as commons has managed courtesy deletions of mistakenly uploaded works fine without it to this date. Also creeping in the culture dependent concepts ethics and morality will only lead to problems. -- とある白い猫 ちぃ? 23:11, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Note: Commons:Deletion policy can be amended with info on actual courtesy deletions we have on commons. -- とある白い猫 ちぃ? 00:07, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support (per above) -- とある白い猫 ちぃ? 23:11, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
So {{s}} in this section should mean we think we don't need one, and {{o}} that we do? Ok, then Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, because I think it is good to simply explain what we currently do to people who don't follow DRs and might not be aware of this practice. darkweasel94 23:29, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
We can cover that under Commons:Deletion policy as I have no problems with such courtesy deletions. We do not need a new policy littered with ethics and morality flavor. Would this be satisfactory? -- とある白い猫 ちぃ? 02:40, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
See Commons talk:Deletion policy#Courtesy deletions. -- とある白い猫 ちぃ? 04:02, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment. I think we need some kind of ethical guideline. WMF gave us suggestions long ago and we have yet to create a guideline from them. As it stands now any image can be kept for legal reasons only. We need ethical policy to delete ones that are within the law. The WMF recommendations were only recommendations that we should follow in writing our own guidelines. They are often claimed as a reason to delete but as they are now they are too vague and open to interpretation. This causes the 'wrong' images to be kept.--Canoe1967 (talk) 00:33, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Which WMF recommendation are you referring to? darkweasel94 00:38, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
  • That resolution is unrelated to deleting files because of an uploader request. That was the original point of this proposal - I have no idea why people at some point started thinking it was an extension of COM:IDENT, which is where we should implement the WMF resolution. darkweasel94 01:08, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I think some of you are not drawing a distinction between process and principles. We need a process that describes how things get courtesy deleted for a variety of principles. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:15, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose (This proposal. ie support the emerging simpler guideline/policy) The idea of spelling out the courtesy deletions policy for those who are not regulars here is a good one. The first attempt grew unwieldy by trying to make subtleties explicit. To this was added a dose of ill-defined and authoritarian "ethics". In response to the general controversy a much simplified version was produced which is also (IMO) much more accessible for newbies. --Simonxag (talk) 10:00, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. It is good to have a place for people to talk over these issues, but we should not be enacting anything without a strong consensus. The WMF projects are littered with proposed policies that never make it, and this may need to be one of those. Or perhaps people will eventually come up with something modest they can agree on, eventually. We should be very clear that there are various alternative drafts and proposals, none authoritative, right up until the moment such an agreement is reached. Wnt (talk) 19:20, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support in not having a hard and fast policy set in stone, admins already use their good judgement in such issues. Maybe instead we should create a page where there is a record of such deletions and the reasoning behind their granting, this would serve as both an exercise in transparency and as a reference for future requests.--KTo288 (talk) 15:04, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

My stab at it[edit]

User:Wnt/Courtesy deletions. (I would suggest that SaffronBlaze and others with proposed versions set up similar user pages during drafting, so that each can try to incorporate bits of the others over time) Wnt (talk) 20:50, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Good Idea. I quite like the little summary you have at the end. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:03, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Actually I didn't write that - it's a holdover from the reversion darkweasel suggested. (I started from that version, but drastically changed large parts of it) Wnt (talk) 06:23, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't understand the nutshell and the idea of a guideline to prevent someone lying. What odd thinking. If, for example, I accidentally upload a holiday snap of my family under CC to Commons, I wouldn't be at all tempted to lie in order to request it be removed. Colin (talk) 17:39, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm not saying you would be tempted. But someone else, in some other circumstance, might be. We can't prevent anyone from lying unless we give the same courtesy option to everyone, and it only seems fair to offer the same rights to those not wishing to lie. Wnt (talk) 04:58, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Brief comments[edit]

This talk page is such a mess that I have no idea where I'm supposed to comment, but I looked over the proposal as it stands today and I think it has a lot of good content that is effective in codifying current practice. That said I also agree that it is both too long, repetitive, and too specific, and in some cases very confusing. Specific issues:

  • It is clear that we accept courtesy deletion requests both in cases where the uploader had a change of heart or made a mistake, and also in cases where the subject disagrees with hosting it. The "Courtesy deletions" section is very confusing on this point, suggesting that both the uploader and subject need to make the request. The bit reading "Courtesy deletions are rare, but are allowed in limited circumstances where [...] the existence, necessity, or continuity of consent of a subject." is not even grammatical and makes no sense whatsoever (continuity of consent? what even is that?).
  • Requiring 10 valid keep/delete opinions is over-specific rule creep and absolutely unacceptable. What is required should be, as in all other deletion requests, a consensus. Likewise the hard line of "30 days" is inappropriate; a guideline of "recently uploaded" is better.
  • Most of the sections "Removal request by ..." could be summarized merely as: "The uploader, copyright holder, or subject has made a good case for the request. If the file is not recently uploaded or is currently in legitimate use, then the file should only be deleted if we can do so without significant loss to the overall educational holdings of Commons [...]" There is no need to repeat this zillions of times, nor should we give special consideration to private individuals in cases where the file is in legitimate use and irreplacable, except in compliance with existing policy (COM:IDENT).
  • A bunch of the material, particularly in section "General grounds for removal request", is redundant with COM:IDENT and a poorly-considered replication of it. In particular, this proposal does not even address whether the persons are identifiable. Let's just link to the official policy on such matters, and copy its nutshell for a summary.
  • I'm happy with the sections on deletion on behalf of minors or by a proxy, and requests requiring confidentiality, although they are a bit vague.
  • We need more examples, both fictional examples laid out for the purpose of illustration, as well as some links to past courtesy deletions that were closed both as keep and as delete, and some of the contentious ones involving multiple issues. These will help illustrate the principles in a concrete context and are common in other policies.

Hope this helps. Dcoetzee (talk) 01:54, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

In 100 words or less[edit]

I propose this as a coda to the main deletion policy page

Sometimes although a file passes all legal and licensing requirements to be kept, authors or subjects may nonetheless sometimes ask for deletion as a courtesy. Although free licenses cannot be revoked, and Commons is entitled to keep such files, the long term health of Commons and the free media movement lies in retaining the good will of current and future contributors. Administrators should use their good judgement in such cases.

I suggest that this page be changed and reformatted to the status of an essay which can be referenced if desired, but with no formal role as either guideline nor policy--KTo288 (talk) 14:57, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

I think the first sentence is a good start for a guideline that ought to be short. But the following reasoning is specious. The reason we engage in courtesy deletions has less to do with good will and a lot more to do with ethical obligation - the benefit of a file should outweigh its harm. I think many editors would blanch at the notion that more productive contributors should be more likely to obtain a courtesy deletion, which is suggested by the above reasoning. Dcoetzee (talk) 03:18, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, I think you are right. I avoided appeals to morality and ethics because these vary from person to person, and opted for an appeal to community self interest instead; forgetting of course that different people see self interest differently. My intention was to create a formula which says "As an admin use your best judgement as to delete or not." Better to remove all such instructions. I'll write a paragraph on why it is in the long term interest of Commons not to alienate people willing to release files with a free license and add it to the essay where it belongs.--KTo288 (talk)

In 100 words or less, take 2[edit]

Sometimes although a file passes all legal and licensing requirements to be kept, authors or subjects may nonetheless sometimes ask for deletion as a courtesy. Although free licenses cannot be revoked, and Commons is entitled to keep such files, administrators should use their good judgement to determine if the benefit of keeping a file outweighs any harm it may cause

The shorter you make this, the clearer the problem: it is not a policy, but just leeway for administrators to do whatever they want, for any reason they want. In User:Wnt/Courtesy deletions I made an effort to lay out a prescriptive policy which, though imprecisely, attempts to provide guidance about when a file should be deleted as a courtesy and when it shouldn't, and to provide a rationale for doing this. Wnt (talk) 16:01, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, I see coming up with a form of words which allow administrators to use their judgement as a success.--KTo288 (talk) 19:39, 25 August 2013 (UTC)


What is clear is that the expansion by MichaelMaggs hasn't got support. In the absence of an obvious shorter draft to choose, the easiest way to get to a short version is simply revert to Matt's original and start again, which is what I've done. It is simply too confusing (and time-consuming) to read the current version. We can either work on this page directly (it is a Wiki!) or create drafts in user-space and discuss them. I think we need to tame this talk page a little as it is hard to follow. Colin (talk) 17:33, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Actually this original isn't bad, and is something I can live with, the evolved version is very much a case of a mouse designed by a committee. Even though I dislike it the evolved version had its fans; I've created a fork of it at Commons:Courtesy deletions/2 for those who want to continue working on it.--KTo288 (talk) 19:58, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
As I said earlier I'd like to see the issue of consent make it in here as well. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:22, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
I can't find that comment and confused: most issues of consent really belong in the COM:IDENT guideline. Perhaps this is the parental proxy-consent issue raised above by Slaunger, where the parent regrets or the child later disagrees? Colin (talk) 08:32, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Explicit in the draft I put forth to get things moving again. COM:IDENT is fine but the section on removal does not discuss the process nor even provide a link to a process. Saffron Blaze (talk) 00:47, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
In terms of length, this is much better - but although it offers some guidance to the person seeking removal, it offers no guidance to us, the people discussing the courtesy deletion. There is clear precedent regarding the circumstances under which such requests are honored and not honored, and it's not just about the cost of deletion, but also about the risk of keeping the file. Right now, the list of criteria (although relevant) looks more like what we consider for an ordinary COM:SCOPE deletion than for a courtesy deletion. I'd like to see something like this: "Common reasons for requesting courtesy deletion include: the author or the subject of the image finds it embarassing, offensive, or uncomfortable; the image exposes private information or puts someone in danger; you were not aware at the time you licensed the image what the consequences would be; the image is not your best work and you wish to upload better images instead". Dcoetzee (talk) 20:28, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I support the change. Saffron Blaze (talk) 21:24, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I think the current text is a better place to start from than the huge procedurally complex set of rules that had been created from nowhere. I don't think this is where we want to be, though. I agree that we should not spend much time describing standard reasons for deletion that other policy and guideline pages cover. Your list of common reasons for request is useful. This is a wiki, you know (hint, hint). Colin (talk) 07:27, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
I tried to address that with my last edit. I agree with the revert of the expansion, but what about all the other contributors? Baby…bathwater… :-(. --Elvey (talk) 19:03, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Courtesy Deletions for COM:IDENT issues[edit]

I have raised this before. This guideline should include deletion requests for COM:IDENT issues not the least of which is that of consent of the subjects. Moreover, the COM:IDENT section here: should reference back to this article for process. Saffron Blaze (talk) 16:49, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

I think it is important to develop such a guideline (and perhaps also a process that isn't as prone to the Streisand effect as DRs are), but I still disagree that it should be on this page. If we receive a request to delete because of the subject's wish, we might actually be obliged to (by Foundation policy, COM:IDENT, etc.) act on it, depending on the circumstances. This policy is about cases where we could in good conscience keep the file but might still decide to be nice and delete it. These situations raise very different questions. darkweasel94 17:01, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
I am swayed by your argument. I will address this through COM:IDENT. However a catchall page that provides direction to the appropriate policy for each type of deletion request might help newer folk and subjects of photos find where they can get help. Saffron Blaze (talk) 19:06, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
I still think we should mention there are non-Streisand possibilities, for those coming here first. I think a comment such as this is short enough not to be problematic here. --LPfi (talk) 09:09, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
+1. JKadavoor Jee 09:23, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
COM:IDENT deletions are policy, not courtesy issues. The policies should cross-reference, but be treated separately. Dankarl (talk) 02:55, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

BLP resolution clarification[edit]

Related to this topic: the Board is updating the BLP resolution to clarify that it applies to media as well as text. --SJ+ 22:04, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

That's good to hear. Do you have any more details at present? --Avenue (talk) 00:42, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Samuel. JKadavoor Jee 06:10, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Please see Resolution:Media_about_living_people. Regards, --SJ+ 05:57, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Looks great; thanks. JKadavoor Jee 06:02, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Current examples[edit]

Case 1: User:Reddog11223 uploaded a half-dozen photos (of someone they claim is their spouse) over the past two to three years ago. A week ago they DR'ed those photos. None are in use on another project. Depending on the handful of people who show up to review the request, 4 are kept, 1 is deleted.

I started a discussion with a commentor and the closer here. Update: Continuing the discussion with Leyo below. --SJ+ 16:57, 14 December 2013 (UTC) & 05:21, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

This is a clear courtesy deletion case. I'm very disappointed in the two users in that discussion. The argument "Commons:Courtesy deletions is only a proposal anyway" is bankrupt for two reasons. Firstly, that this page is an attempt to codify long-standing unwritten policy that we allow courtesy deletions. Second, that so many Commons users seem unable to do the right thing unless they are forced to by written policy. If the DR is re-opened, ping me and I'll support deletion. -- Colin (talk) 21:00, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
I stand by my {{vk}} in the first, but the others should probably have been deleted. -mattbuck (Talk) 21:35, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
I can see that for the first: the posted reason was ambivalent, and (per wikistats) misinformed. Thanks for your past sensitivity in courtesy cases, Matt; when I browsed precedents, I saw a number that were closed promptly and kindly by you. --SJ+ 03:57, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Personally I don't like to review these types of contents; but would like to express my generic opinion here.
"Unused applies to Wikimedia projects only. Other uses or references to the Commons page may not be seen. - Leyo" - As we are not encouraging hot linking outside Wikimedia projects, I can't see a reason not to delete a file if not used in our projects. AS we are not deleting the file (only hiding), we can help the re-user in case he faced any legal issues, later.
"You should know that licenses are non-revocable. --Leyo" - Yes; a license is non-revocable. But the CC talk person Elliot Harmon already stated that "nothing prevents you from stop sharing your licensed works or removing form your websites". As far as I know, Commons is the only project prevents people from stop sharing their works.
"The person in the photograph is not recognizable. --Leyo" - In many DRs and file names (Commons:Deletion requests/File:April after !st act.jpg) we can see her name; so privacy issues are there. A copyright holder can release the rights he holds, he can't give consent on behalf of the subject, if the law demands it (as in case taken in a private environment). Consent to photograph and consent to publish photographs are different. So arguments like he/she is looking into the camera, so we can assume consented is not valid. I see a template, {{Consent}} which is useless in my opinion.
File:Sexual intercourse with woman in fishnet stockings.jpg - Athorship of some files like this is questionable, as he says she is his wife. Little chances that he himself took this photo. Jee 08:21, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
In the picture mentioned, the photographer is likely the male that is partly seen in the picture. It is well possible for the male actor to take the picture of such a scene himself. --Leyo 21:21, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The initial statement by SJ contains false claims: Reddog11223 did not upload any files after September 2011. All his uploads were made between February and September 2011.
  • The photographs on which the woman is identifiable were all deleted. This is certainly in line with the proposed courtesy deletion policy.
  • I would not oppose removing the EXIF data and/or moving the remaining files that have the woman's name in the file name (even without creating redirects). More than that is not needed.

--Leyo 21:21, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

(Time corrected.) The proposed policy has nothing to do with identifiability: private images with identifiable subjects are covered elsewhere. Courtesy dictates that all unused / marginally-used images should be deleted on the author's request. We have 20M images: commons isn't about to run out. In fact, we have so many that the community is avoiding adding a million images that are available, historically valuable, and part of a collected book - because of a lack of Commons curators.
Letting a few dozen creators each year delete their images won't hurt Commons. But unfriendliness will, and has. --SJ+ 00:30, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I disagree with your first statement: We may have pictures of identifiable persons (including the uploader him-/herself) in case there is consent. However, if they want to have such pictures deleted later, we are supposed to respect their wish and perform the courtesy deletion. IMO this is the clearest situation for courtesy deletions. --Leyo 20:11, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

I proposed to Leyo relisting the three images that Reddog clearly requested to have deleted, in a single combined DR. That way we will have closure on this discussion, and a single place to point any future interaction with the creator. --SJ+ 19:02, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Case 2: Commons:Deletion requests/File:Panorama from Kollhoff-Tower 02.jpg

A courtesy deletion; not involving any COM:PEOPLE matters. Jee 08:44, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Resolved with little drama, on the second nom. --SJ+ 19:03, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Past examples[edit]

Looking back through past courtesy requests, a few examples. Please add others. --SJ+

  • 2011 - a student asks for photos of her from her graduation be deleted. The uploader comes back and agrees. These are deleted after a long discussion that frustrates both parties, but grudgingly, with the comment "Ordinarily I would keep" [but this is taking too much of everyone's energy]. Indeed, that is a major reason for being courteous: spreading joy rather than frustration benefits everyone.
  • Arctic Kangaroo. This user, with 15k+ edits on various projects, fights very very hard to get one image removed. Rather than being considerate and accommodating, the community tells him to learn his lesson for next time. The result, after months of fighting by the user online and off, is that someone questions his competence to use Commons at all, deletes all seven of his uploads, and blocks him.
As with the case below, this problem began with someone giving the uploader bad or confusing (c) advice, and them expecting something other than the reuse that resulted. (See the user's mentorship/intro to WP.)
An unblock request was rejected yesterday. Hope an admin will take time to communicate with him, educate if needed, and ensure that he is now aware of the license concepts. Jee 03:00, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
While I'm not sure we are ready to have Arctic_Kangaroo back just yet, I'm shocked at Russavia's threat to undelete all the courtesy deleted images should he be allowed back, and by Russavia's claim nobody was rude to Arctic_Kangaroo. Shows great ignorance of the issue and a revenge attitude to admin powers. I hope that isn't an attitude here, that courtesy deletions could be restored if some admin is feeling grumpy. We need to recognise people make mistakes, fix the mistakes where possible, draw a line and move on. -- Colin (talk) 13:28, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Arctic Kangaroo is a very extreme case. I'm not sure it's useful to have this discussion from such extreme cases. Arctic Kangaroo claimed in the courtesy deletion request (a very bad example of how to do one - if you start from the attitude "Commons is a horrible mess, so delete my files, otherwise you clearly aren't respecting your contributors", then you aren't going to make any community very friendly) that he had not understood the terms of the license when he applied it. And after the files were deleted from Commons, he uploaded the files under the same license to another Wikimedia project (mswiki). (That wiki appears to meanwhile have deleted these files as well.) Strictly speaking, the files were not even deleted on a courtesy basis from Commons, but on the COM:PRP basis of lack of legal competence to release them under a free license. darkweasel94 14:13, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Darkweasel, do you think an admin has any right to undelete previously deleted files (as an action with community consensus after through discussion on COM:AN) as his own will? Jee 16:01, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
That AN discussion had a lot of things, but not any kind of community consensus. A.Savin's deletion was very much out of process, which of course isn't by itself a bad thing. I've no really strong opinion on what russavia has announced but I don't see an inherent problem in requiring Arctic Kangaroo to agree to undeletion as an unblock condition, since it was basically his insistence on legal incompetence that caused the block, so it would be a good-faith action to show that he now considers himself legally competent. darkweasel94 16:32, 16 December 2013 (UTC)


I don't want to caught russavia here; but we should be clear in our policies. A single admin is taking descion in a DR or UDR; so it is worth to reconsider such cases. But an action after discussion on COM:AN is not like that. We must have give it some value. And an admin come forward to threaten other admins in that way (see; he said that he will undelete all those works if any other admin unblock him against his will) is not worth to encourage here. How we can question the incompetence of a user, if our admin also have incompetence issue? I saw many complaints that Jimmy acted like a super admin here, earlier. So now we have another self declared super admin? Please don't ignore or encourage such behaviors.
I noticed your suggestion of undeleteing his works as a condition for unblocking. I don't think it is a fair, gentle behavior. Further I failed to see an act of forgiveness there (Christmas is coming. :D). Otherwise we should block every user who asks a courtesy deletion. Jee 16:53, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Glad to see MichaelMaggs assured him that. Jee 17:04, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) The Arctic Kangaroo case was in many ways special, so no, I don't think this would in any way lead to blocking every user who asks for a courtesy deletion. This case wasn't even a courtesy deletion case, the final deletion was made based on copyright reasons. In any case, this talk page isn't the right venue for deciding about sanctions against anyone (russavia or Arctic Kangaroo). I don't think this discussion leads to anything useful in construction of a courtesy deletion guideline. darkweasel94 17:08, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Sure it does. It makes us consider what happens to courtesy deletions that are done through the "discrete" process. Are they going to be subject to the whims of a spiteful admin? Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:47, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Simpio96 misunderstands relicensing procedure. At the moment of uploading, is already in a debate with Italian Wikipedians about CC-ND versus CC-SA, doesn't want derivatives made. Within a few months asks for deletion of her images that others helped to bulk transfer (for this same reason). The images are deleted, but the majority of votes were to keep.
  • Jaundiced Eye / adingoatemybaby: Uploads images to flickr under a CC license. 5 images are scraped and added to Commons. A few years later he notices, changes his flickr default license, asks for them to be taken down. Lies or misremembers about past license on Flickr, insults Commons. All kept, though only 2 are in use.
    Reposting for discussion. --SJ+ 18:28, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Burning Man (one of many examples): polite request, by both subject and uploader. Rejected repeatedly, even though some point out eloquently the value of just being kind. Later deleted as part of a batch of BM photos on courtesy + expectation grounds.
  • ObiWolf: Periodic, repeated request by subject and photog to remove. Kept many times; finally deleted on the grounds of personality-rights.
  • Toilet trained cat - Reward posts 3 photos of his toilet-trained cat to en:wp and Commons in 2005. In 2009 he requests that one of them be deleted; kept without comment. In 2013, he returns and (a while after uploading another 4 images to Commons) requests again that it be deleted. Denied again after no comments ("on principle... We rarely agree to delete an image on request of the author").
    Reposting for discussion.
    Even though the file is kept again, a version contains some "private info" get deleted. Jee 12:30, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Raquel Oliveira: a low-notability performer has 5 photos of her uploaded to Commons. They are from a performance she gave at a venue with closed ticketing, where ticket policy opposed photography; they are unused. (So: the photog may have (c), Commons doesn't need to worry about their violation of ticket conditions, but the performer's expectation was that this wouldn't happen). She asks for all 5 to be deleted, posting some for deletion multiple times (while figuring out how to use DR). The photos are unused: there is no article on her. Again, she's not very notable: a G! search for ' "raquel oliveira" flamenco' turns up two commons images as the first two images, and one of the commons pages as the second web result; so keeping them has a disproportionate impact on her public profile (or lack thereof).
~1 vote only on each; deletion denied on "public space" grounds (no legal requirement to delete).
  • Any example where the uploader or photographer finds the photo on Commons and requests its removal within a few months is handled politely and without debate, sometimes as a speedy.


It seems to me, based on the above, what's missing is a guideline for how to handle cases that are here for longer, or are in very minor use. Relevant special cases include: areas where we technically don't need the subject's permission, but they could reasonably have expected not to have photos taken of them (semipublic space, performance, &c); cases where the uploader was unsure about what license to use or its implications; cases where a replacement already exists. --SJ+ 01:42, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

  • Interesting investigation you are doing here. It certainly shines a light on how smug we can be about our legalities and dismissive of the artists and people they have photographed once we get their works. It might be helpful that in cases where folks ask for a deletion we ask if they would consider offering a "better" replacement image... create a bit of win/win. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:02, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
This is slightly unrepresentative, since for every one of these cases there are 2 that were handled without drama. But the tone of communication is not always gracious.
Sometimes a better image is requested. Sometimes, as in the case of user:Reward, they do upload a replacement and the original is still not deleted. --SJ+ 17:38, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Thoughts for further development[edit]

  • What does 'consensus' mean, particularly for discussions with only a handful of participants? Is there value in leaving courtesy requests open long enough to get 10+ a certain threshhold of comments?
  • Should keeping after such a request involve a harm/benefit analysis by the closer? That also would help avoid the situation where a discussion by a few participants is drowned out by others who don't believe deletion should happen for any reason other than (c), and simply say "licenses are irrevocable" (which is true but beisde the point in these cases).

--SJ+ 16:57, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

By their nature, courtesy deletions should not be kept open longer than is necessary where a delete is justified. Few discussion on Commons gain 10+ comments and nowhere else on Commons to we require this sort of minimum contribution. The level of discussion will vary with the situation. A DR may not even be recommended, never mind one that has 10 people participating. The whole point of courtesy deletion is that Commons is rising above both the minimum required by law (or licence) and the minimum required by its own policies. Therefore any arguments that do nothing more than repeat law or policy can be completely ignored. Yes, in the Arctic Kangaroo we had Commons users shaming us by chanting "CC is irrevocable" at a child. -- Colin (talk) 21:08, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
  • How do we avoid breaking the documentation of the license? We can't necessarily tell if an image has been reused or not. Now, in some cases, it'll be better to delete for whatever reason, but that a better image becomes available should almost never be that reason, in my opinion, simply because the risk of breaking documentation is much more important than a few unused photos remaining viewable in most cases. The not-as-good photos could be courtesy marked with {{superseded}}. Adam Cuerden (talk) 05:27, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Adam, I think you mean to say we should maintain the "file page" even though the file is deleted to avoid breaking the license documentation. I too think about earlier, as deleting the entire page will break links. Jee 05:37, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Reusers are not supposed to link to the Commons description page to provide licensing information, exactly for this reason. I think the new CC-4.0 licenses do permit that, in principle, but that absolutely does not mean that it is our responsibility to help them do that - if they want legal certainty they should copy the licensing information to their own publication. darkweasel94 10:08, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
      • I didn't mean hot linking. But reusers sometimes need to show the source from where they copied it. Those source link will break when we delete the entire page. Jee 10:25, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
        • That is true, but not different from any other source (e.g. Flickr). No source is obliged to keep all information no matter what. darkweasel94 10:44, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
          • Yes; that is only a matter of courtesy. But I think we can easily implement it as we are not deleting anything. Jee 11:01, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
            • Where things are unique to us, a bit of care as custodians cannot hurt. Adam Cuerden (talk) 02:19, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Adam that we should keep the metadata visible in many cases, even if the license doesnt require it. Obviously discretion is needed; if the media was outrageous/abhorrent/etc, sometimes leaving no record is the best option. However that rationale weakens the longer the media has been hosted on Commons. The easiest method that comes to my mind is we could enhance MediaWiki:Newarticletext such that , when a file has been deleted, it notifies the reader how the metadata can be obtained. That message already directs people to a Deletion request, which doesnt typically include a lot of metadata. Maybe we should add media history to the DRs as part of nomination or deletion process (that is simple for 95% of images - it will create a mess for files with complex history). Also we might put media history information on a subpage somewhere, like 'Talk:<pagename>/deletedhistory'. Finally we should include a set of instructions for how the reader can request a copy of the deleted history, such as OTRS commons info queue. A more difficult solution is for the mediawiki software to provide a publicly accessible copy of the 'deleted' history, without public access to the media of course, and only when an admin explicitly checks a box to enable this feature for an image (after they have revision deleted anything that is inappropriate). John Vandenberg (chat) 03:16, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

A good suggestion. Jee 05:34, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
I'd also suggest we should be very careful with deletions. As an off-hand example - if we had a freely-licensed sketch by one of the major comic book artists, it's conceivable that someone might nominate it for deletion as part of an effort to remove what they think is just some user's sketch - because an uninked, uncoloured sketch can look very different from a finished comic, and this deletion is particularly likely if the creator's name isn't linked to a Wikipedia article.
Remember that the average deletion discussion is probably two or three people. That's not enough to accurately pick out whole swathes of important content that needs a subject expert to explain.
And, yes, best practice is to explain when you upload, but we've been around for seven years, and were a lot more lax about documentation early on.
Now, soon after an upload, we can presume an uploader is around to defend things. But if we're going back to, say, 2006, the presumption should be that the uploader is gone, pending evidence otherwise. So older images should have a lot more care taken.
In short, if we can't get the checks on deletions when they're being proposed, we shouldn't create a culture where we encourage nomination of long-standing artworks happens too readily. We are custodians of our content, and this means that, if a deletion isn't necessary (copyvio, etc), we should start by presuming the file should be kept, and only move from that view if the case against keeping it is air-tight. Adam Cuerden (talk) 09:23, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
Adam, I agree totally with your view of how to protect images of long-standing artwork. But how do these artwork examples apply to this page? It is mainly (as I understand it) for requests for removal by the subject, creator, or uploader. In which case I would counter that we should start by presuming that the subject and uploader's wishes should be honored, and only moving from that view of the case for keeping an image against their wishes is airtight. --SJ+ 17:34, 25 December 2013 (UTC)