Commons talk:FAQ

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Unlike images uploaded on other projects[edit]

What does this phrase on the main page mean? "Unlike images uploaded on other projects, images on Commons can be embedded on pages of all Wikimedia projects." Can't the images I uploaded to Wikipedia be used in Wiktionary?

They can be, but you have to re-upload them. If you upload them to Commons, they can be used on all Wikimedia projects without any further uploading. - Andre Engels 19:20, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Another FAQ:

I found an image on Wikipedia that is under a suitable license. Should I just move (copy?) it to the commons? Should I write a robot to do this to all images tagged with an appropriate license?

Not added to the list because I don't know the answer.

current consensus seems to be that it is fine to copy individual images to commons on an as needed basis (for example you wan't to use an image from the german wikipedia in the english wikipedia go ahead and upload to commons) but mass copying/transfer should be left until a concrete plan (preferablly server side) is formed. Plugwash 02:07, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Some countries (e.g. France) nowadays have strict regulations, that you are not allowed to publish photos where people could be recognized, unless you have their permissions. What are the rules here on Wikipedia? Do I have to blur the faces or do something else to make them unrecognizable? --Balgair 10:36, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
There's a trademark-like right of publicity in many U.S. states as well. --Damian Yerrick 23:52, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Suppose I find an image on the English Wikipedia and want to upload a higher-resolution version of it. I'd like to put the hires version on the commons (license permitting, of course), but do I also upload it to the English wikipedia? Will a commons picture of the same name take precedence? Or vice versa? -- 19:18, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Apparently, if images of the same name are present in both, the en: image takes precedence and the image here is ignored (not even a link). --Andrew 20:27, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
So now that Commons exists shouldn't we just upload all new files to here? The only exception I've found is that Commons does not accept fair use content but Wikipedia does. So we should upload fair use content to Wikipedia, and free content to commons? Is this correct? - Pioneer-12
As far as I can tell, you should upload a fair use image to the specific Wikipedia where it will be used. Laws and interpretations regulating fair use tend to be slightly more consistent among countries with the same official language. --Damian Yerrick 23:52, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Unanswered questions[edit]

I have an unanswered question of my own. How does one search for images? I want to find pictures from the Abu Ghraib scandal for a wikipedia article. I know they are in the public domain. I feel sure they have been uploaded before. 01:51, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

I answered you question in general on the FAQ page. For Abu Ghraib specifically, I have not found anything on the commons, but the englisch Wikipedia has several of the pictures, see en:Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse and en:Lynndie England. It would be excelent if you could upload those to the commons and create a page or category for them. Thanks! -- Duesentrieb(?!) 11:14, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Batch uploading[edit]

Loading 130 photos in a go is such a massive PITA no-one will bother. So I added something about batch uploading. Anything else is useful here of course - David Gerard 15:56, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Refactoring proposal[edit]

I propose we refactor this into 2 or possibly 3 sections: 1 For Wikimedia users, 2 Casual users and possibly 3 Both/General/Misc. Any objections? pfctdayelise 06:47, 17 January 2006 (UTC)


I created this to put some Q&As before they get incorporated into the FAQ-proper. Our FAQ really needs a lot of work. :/ pfctdayelise (translate?) 15:40, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Formatting - needs numbers[edit]

I know the ";" method is really neat and all, but at least if you use ===third level headings=== you automatically get a numbered TOC. I really think this needs numbers in some way. It makes it easier to refer people to specific answers ("FAQ 3.13") and just gives it more structure, IMO. The "#" (autonumbered list) won't work well with so much whitespace, so... Thoughts? --pfctdayelise (translate?) 09:29, 20 March 2006 (UTC)


I'd like to clean up the section on categories a little bit. Based on this FAQ, I think some users interpret the category system incorrectly. What I think we should get across is that categories are great for navigation, but that articles and galleries are preferable for images because they allow more information and better organization. We shouldn't discourage people from adding images to categories when it's expedient, but we should discourage users from adding images to categories when the image is already in an article using that same category. Rklawton 16:19, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. I don't see any problem with that duplication. If the gallery is 'cleaned up' and some images are removed from it, they still need to be in the category so they aren't 'lost'. pfctdayelise (translate?) 01:20, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Alt. License ?[edit] i hope i can upload items under this license ;) i find it important that only non-commercial entities can use it.. like charities and educational institutes..

plus would this be a good enough indication 'Creative Commons by-nc-sa 2.5+'

B-rat 10:25, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

All material on Wikimedia projects must be allowed to be used commercially. This has been discussed repeatedly on the mailing lists and on Commons:Village pump and Commons talk:Licensing - please search the archives. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 11:41, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
mind telling me why ? or giving a link to an explenation.. as far as i know it wouldnt prohibit wikicommons from having it.. --B-rat 18:30, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
Our Commons:Project scope gives you the answer. Arnomane 20:19, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
Three links of many: [1], [2], [3] -- Duesentrieb(?!) 22:27, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
i see.. but i would still like my work to be protected against large businesses that have no intention of helping people and instead want to just make money off of me.. B-rat 09:31, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Most people seem to believe using a ShareAlike license is enough to do that. Is a large corp really going to want to release some advertisement etc under a free license? Not likely. pfctdayelise (translate?) 10:24, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
The GFDL license itself when applied to small pieces of text or images is quite prohibitive because the license text has to be distributed with each copy. On the web this isn't a problem, but as soon as you start printing out things... See this comic: Image:BD-propagande_colour_en.jpg. NielsF 14:02, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
what about a double license under the GFDL and a CC by-nc-sa license ? B-rat 09:23, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
That's possible of course. You can always multi-license with a non-free license as long as there's at least 1 free license such as GFDL or CC by-sa. NielsF 12:43, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Exact syntax for using images.[edit]

  1. I get the impression one can use images here elsewhere in the wikiverse. How does one do it with all the nice formatting?

Take this image:

  • Image:Peter Stuyvesant.jpg

wikipedia:Peter Stuyvesant uses a form of this image but locally with the syntax [[Image:Peter Stuyvesant.jpg|thumb|right|Peter Stuyvesant circa 1660]]

My question is how would this article retrieve Image:Peter Stuyvesant.jpg over here and display it just as nicely over there? I'm actually thinking about an article on Wikia New York.

Or is this impossible?

For the Wikimedia wikis, it works automatically. For non-Wikimedia wikis, there is a proposal called m:Instant Commons which hasn't been implemented yet. For Wikia, hmm.... I guess you can just try it and if it works, then it works :) if it doesn't, then you'd have to wait for InstantCommons too. pfctdayelise (translate?) 03:12, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

category nonsense[edit]

When should I use a gallery or category?
Files should always be added to descriptive categories, since if they are only added to galleries, they can be easily removed from them and thus "lost".

This is nonsense. A licensed file always has a license category. Also, a file can be as easily removed from a category as from a gallery. As the cited text contradicts the voted-on equality of galleries and categories, I'll remove it unless there is a good argument. -- Ayacop 18:16, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Do not remove it. Commons:First steps/Sorting is wrong; this page is correct. — Omegatron 20:46, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
A license category is obviously not a useful descriptive category, they are separate to the descriptive categories which we most often talk about. The reason categories are more 'useful' w/r/t images being removed, is that if an uploader has their own uploads on their watchlist (which is likely), they will be notified if an category is removed from an image. If their image is removed (or indeed added) to a gallery, they typically will never find out about it. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 05:27, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Not important. An uploader will never care about which WPs use her photo and on which page, so why would she care about it here? Have you seen any complaint about not being prompted about new uses at all? In most cases, there is only one such fitting gallery/category anyway. Thus, I think your argument is artificial and not based on a real need/problem.
@Omegatron: Can you please be more specific? On my mention of removing, I'd now rather amend the text above with: However, there is nothing wrong with other people removing photos from categories and putting them into galleries, as long as those galleries themselves are in meaningful categories connected to the main category tree. -- Ayacop 08:13, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
You ignore my point. Of course the new uses are more or less fine. My point was that if an image is orphaned from a category, the uploader will likely know. If it is so from a gallery, they will likely not. And I very much disagree that an image typically only has one suitable category/gallery, if that was your suggestion. I see plenty of images with up to four or five good, descriptive, distinct categories.
Many people get plenty upset about the behaviour you just suggested we endorse. So maybe there is something wrong with it.
I think policy should perhaps only prescribe required behaviour, not acceptable. We require that all files be in at least one category or gallery. Subsequent organisation is therefore maybe not a matter for policy but more something the community needs to work through. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 08:48, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I appreciated your argument, I only thought the scenario you stated (orphaning an image) does not happen very often. In the part of Commons which uses galleries extensively and where I work, I see that images are only removed from galleries when they are deleted, or when they are added to a different one. So, you have an argument but IMHO not a very practical one. Also, in that part of Commons, there is really only one gallery where the image belongs (the plant species).
You say many people get plenty upset, yes, but why? If there weren't not so absolutist statements in the FAQ, and people would be prepared that in plants and animals things are a bit different, then they would certainly not be as upset to see their categorical view of the world crumble suddenly.
I agree there is a difference between 'required' and 'acceptable'. Just make it clear from the start everywhere. -- Ayacop 10:06, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I guess that is where you and I disagree: I very much doubt the FAQ (or in fact, any other policy document the Commons has) has any bearing on people's preference for categories or galleries. I guess most people have already formed a preference before they arrive at the Commons, or they make their preference based on language access (then, galleries) or if they upload a lot (then, categories). If we made a new policy that said 'only galleries' or even 'galleries preferred', people would not suddenly start thinking it was OK. They would agitate for us to change that policy.
That said, you can change any statement that says 'images must be categorised' to make it say 'images must be categorised and/or placed in a gallery', since that is more correct, and that is policy.
My personal feeling is that categories can be removed as long as there is no net loss of information. But I am not sure that even this is a community accepted thing. So the only thing we can be 'clear from the start' about is my previous statement, images must be in at least one category and/or gallery. Anything beyond that is open to negotiation.
You are welcome to write something explaining why people don't need to get upset about this behaviour - just be careful not to frame it as universal iron-clad wholly accepted policy. Suggested behaviour should be OK.
Likewise, people implementing category schemes would sometimes do well to be more forgiving and patient to people who might not understand what they're doing. A link to the category scheme with an invitation to help improve/implement it, as well as leaving the offending file(s) alone for a couple of days, and above all NOT EDIT WARRING, might go some good way to reducing these kinds of conflicts. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 11:02, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
(BTW this is not a personal thing to you. I notice on your talk page you already do exactly what I suggest. Just a general observation about conflicts. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 11:07, 11 October 2006 (UTC))

That said, you can change any statement that says 'images must be categorised' to make it say 'images must be categorised and/or placed in a gallery', since that is more correct, and that is policy.

Where is this policy? As far as I know, policy has always been to put images in appropriate categories. Removing images from categories just because they have been put in a gallery is not acceptable. — Omegatron 14:29, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
This vote resulted in a 'mixed system' until a merged system is implemented. Your earlier statement that that means categories may not be removed is wrong, as a mixed system means:
  • mixed system: Images can be both on normal pages and in categories; some can be both, but only images that are neither are considered 'defective'. -- Ayacop 14:52, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
That does not say "remove categories from images if they are in a gallery". It says "images that are in a gallery but not a category are not considered defective". If you want to measure what the modern group opinion is (and voting is not the same thing as consensus), you'll have to take a new vote that explicitly talks about removing categories from images when they are moved into galleries. You yourself called this one "that old stale vote which is still not implemented". — Omegatron 17:05, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
So, I'm doing a in your opinion illegal thing by taking a non-defective image and leaving it in another non-defective state. Ridiculous. Implement that vote, and we'll see. -- Ayacop 17:56, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I would even state it is perfectly legal to remove an image from a category while placing it in a gallery with the same subject and the same placement in the Commons category tree, and vice versa. What's not legal, then IMHO, is to start an edit war on it, i.e., however, if the change is reverted, it may not be re-reverted. That way, both maintainers of a subtree can build some uniformity and individuals can have individual wishes. Opinions? -- Ayacop 15:51, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Ayacop, I support your change. It is always good if people have the freedom to choose. TeunSpaans 06:36, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

I see that user Pfct has added a disputed section on april 1, and I doubt that he has the right to implement such a requirement without a vote or wide community consensus. I think neither exists. So I have added a doubt-template to the page and informed him about my doubt. TeunSpaans 05:56, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Pcft gives as a reason: since if they are only added to galleries, they can be easily removed from them and thus "lost". Categories are useful as indiscriminately large "containers" of images on a topic.
I think I saw thjis argument mentioned somewhere in the village pump, but I do believe its invalid.

  • First of all, images should not be removed from galleries at all.
  • Second, the argument could easily be reversed. One could as well state: Because categories can easily be removed from images, they should alwayd be added to a gallery.
  • The second argument, that they are useful as "containers", adds imho insufficient weight. If there is a good gallery with all pix, there is noneed for another container.
  • Chances that an image is removed from a gallery are pretty low.
  • Even if an image without a category topic is removed from a gallery, it still can be found through google once it is indexed there
  • And we dont have to rely on google, even if no topic-category exists, it would probably still have its license category.

So, frankly, I find the motivation completely invalid, and I would appreciate it very much if Pcft was kind enough to remove it, or to add the extra sentence suggested by Ayacop. The introduction of this obligation has already cost me several hours last weekend, countless extra clicks for incumbersome navigation, and I is introducing chaos into the entire ToL project.

TeunSpaans 07:11, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Good grief. The question I posed (and answered), which I presume is the one causing the fuss ("When should I use a gallery or category?") is an answer of advice not rules. It says nothing about when MUST you use one or the other. It is intended as ADVICE for people who are confused about which they should use. I never made any requirements!!!!!
To respond to TeunSpaans' arguments:
  • Of course images can be removed from galleries -- if the gallery is serving as a "best of" a category, which a great many of our galleries do. Many (if not nearly all) galleries of places are like this, as well as generic objects (fruit, furniture, sunsets, whatever - I am sure all these galleries will be "best ofs").
  • Second, I possibly didn't word this well. My intent is to express that images can be easily removed from a gallery without the uploader noticing, based on the reasonable assumptions that (a) they have their images on their watchlist and (b) they don't have the galleries. Under these circumstances, a gallery removal can go unnoticed but a category removal cannot.
  • I have no idea how you state "chances that an image is removed from a gallery are pretty low" without any data whatsoever. We have no idea if the chances are high or low at all.
  • Have you tried to use Google to find images on the Commons???????? Please do this first, and then come back to me. There have been lengthy discussions about how to improve this state, with no result likely until major technical changes are implemented in MediaWiki.
  • A license category is never included as the kind of descriptive tag that all images need, either via galleries or categories. I don't know if you're being disingenuous here but please realise license categories never count, when statements are made about the need for images to be categorised (or not). All images must have a valid license. We already accept that. Then they will consequently have a license category. This category is not relevant to the discussion at all. No one says, "Hmm, I need a picture of an apple, I'll start looking in Category:GFDL."
Please explain what extra "obligation" I have put on anyone at all. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 12:08, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
You have added a new requiremtn that every image is in a decriptive category. This requirement did not exist before your edit.

To reply to your objections:

  • I feel that galleries are not a "best of" a category, but should display all. I regard the removal if images from a gallery as vandalism. Arbitrary selection of images as "vest of" will lead to unnecessary edits wars and discussions. Many people feel "beautiful" and "best" as identical, without any regard for instructional value.
  • This idea can also be reversed. Anyway, we have a vote that says that every image should be in either a gallery or category, so remving an image from a category is not allowed.
  • Yes, I use google many, many times. Try "acer" for yourself. Individual images do come up.
  • Indeed, a license tag is not intended as a descriptive tag. But if a category is needed for our internal search engine, it will fullfill this role. Our internal searxchengine, as well as google, will be able to find it.
You have added the rule that categories on images are mandatory. This faq is by many ragarded as a rule, and is quoted as such in other discussions. TeunSpaans 05:46, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
PS> Thx anyway for your time and considerations. Even your remark that your statement is an "advice", not a rule, is valuable. TeunSpaans 05:52, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
You might feel that galleries are "display all" and not "best ofs", but the plain fact of the matter is that many (most??) galleries are used as best ofs. Do you really need me to start going through them to point this out? Come on, work with me here. If nothing else, there is a very simple reason that galleries are more like "best ofs" than "display alls" -- they don't automatically update!! The vast majority of categories do not have people who look after them, sort the media regularly and update the appropriate galleries. Galleries are thus naturally suited to "best ofs" and categories "display all". You might wish it was another way, but you can at least acknowledge that this is the way it is at the moment.
Anyway, we have a vote that says that every image should be in either a gallery or category, so remving an image from a category is not allowed. I'm not sure what you mean by this.
"acer" gives just 10 images!!! Category:Acer has 36 subcategories alone! It is so extremely obvious that Google is doing an incredibly poor job of indexing the Commons that it beggars belief you could suggest it as a method of finding anything. "sunset" gives two images. :o
Categories are not needed at all, by our internal search engine. The category requirement only exists because a great many people like to look for images via the category system. That is all. And that is why the license categories don't "count".
I don't understand what the problem really is. Does not TOL use "family" level categories, anyway? Can you show me some situation where you would like to have only galleries?
I added some more explanatory text. I hope this is satisfactory. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 06:28, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I dont understand. When I do this search, I get 758 results, not 10. As for the rest, I am at the office now, and I hope to give a fuller answer later. TeunSpaans 06:50, 7 November 2006 (UTC). late note: searching under images indeed performas awful, I got only 1.... TeunSpaans 20:08, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi Pfctdayelise,

Lert me start to make clear I have the best for commons as a whole in mind, and that I am not just defending ToL practices.

I see what you mean. Google returns very few images when searched under the tab "images". The result of 758 I meant was when searching under text.

It is my impression that most efforst have been directed to get people list their images in categories over the past two years. People sincerely believed that this would be the easiest way to get images sorted.
Contrary to what you seem to believe, I do occasionally visit commons outside ToL ;-). One such excursion was to an artist, and it struck me as strange that the gallery was well filled and complete, while the category of the same painter held just a fraction of them. "Category propagandists" had always made me believe that the majority of images had been categorized. Then I encountered the provocative statement about Po river in the village pump. I checked and contrary to what the author suggested, it was the category system which had failed the worst. When I looked into it, I found that at the moment the category was deleted, it had only held 1 images, while the gallery held 3. So which system failed worse?

But to be frank: I believe we have a problem at commons. Both systems seem to be failing, as 10+ images existed. As a community, we have done everything to encourage new volunteers to add categories. We have done very little to encourage people to add their images to galleries. Despite this, images still go untagged at all.

Today I did a test. I selected 10 random images through the "random file" function in the left column. For each, I looked for a specific category and for a gallery. I found several surprising results.

My first surprise was that 4 out of 10 were in the ToL domain. I didnt know this made out such a huge percentage. It makes me wonder if this was a chance result, or that the random file function makes use of secret stored pref stats?

The second surprise was that 2 out of 10 pix were neither categorized or listed in a gallery.

The third result is that despite all encouragement to add a category to images, I found that slightly more images are indexed in galleries than in categories.

My conclusion is that wikipedians are no very enthousiastic about adding categories to their images. We have a fair number of people adding categories to images, and sometimes this is a good thing. Wikimedians seem far more enthousiastic about them.

I sincerely believe categories do have their uses. Categories are very useful for tying galleries together. A category "Renaissance painters" or better: "Renaissance artists" is very useful to navigate between these artists.
In some cases categories can be useful as a secundary index on individual images. In the renaissance example, individual images might be tagged with categories as "renaissance etchings" or "renaissance sculptures". I havent been able to come up with secundary indexing ideas for plantae, though I dont exclude categories like "leaves", "roots", "flowers" or "seeds".

To get back to the ext you added: Yes, it is a lot better. In view of the whole problem with images which are uploaded but not categorized or added to a gallery, I think we as commons must make a drive towards galleries.

Your suggestion below als looks good, I'll study it closer. TeunSpaans 20:08, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

You are very correct, that both systems are failing. This is because Commons does not have anywhere near the number of volunteers to do this kind of cleanup double-checking work, compared to the number of users who are happy to upload their stuff and forget about it.
I hope you are not drawing serious conclusions from a sample of 10 random images. You know that no meaningful conclusions can be drawn that way. I just did this test myself, here are my results:
  1. G - building/location
  2. C - book scan
  3. neither - historical drawing
  4. CCCCC - art
  5. G - map
  6. C,G - map
  7. C,G - building/location
  8. G - building
  9. C - space
  10. G - flag
  11. neither - art
So you see I found no ToL topics at all. I don't conclude that ToL is an unimportant part of the Commons, though. :P I know it is extremely important.
Another comment about your "test", you can't tell from just looking at an image, whether the categories/galleries were added by the original uploader, or by some other interested person cleaning up later. So I think we can't make any claim about what the random person prefers to do. --pfctdayelise (说什么?) 08:44, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

With categories what about the use of sort key such that when a category is added to and image a sort key can then be added which will sort galleries into some order, I've tried a couple of images in my user:photo category and it appears that image wothout sprt keys are listed first then the sorted images. when some puts an image into a gallery they change the category to [[category:plantgenus|galleryspecies]]. that eliminates one issue of galleries being an unsorted mass of images. Where an image has multiple categories then each gets done as it sorted. Gnangarra 10:29, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

I think that is an issue for ToL rather than the FAQ, but I personally would not recommend doing anything too fancy with the sort key, because it's a pretty "unobvious" method of organising anything. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 10:53, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

sample questions to add[edit]

I prefer to use <categories>|<galleries>, but someone has edited my uploaded file change it to the opposite. Who is right?
Firstly, it is worth nothing that these general principles govern all behaviour at the Commons:
  1. Be bold.
  2. Edit warring is unproductive and should be avoided.
  3. Media should be accessible through the maximum number of relevant topic enquiries.
Keeping these principles in mind, any edit that leads to a loss of information should be reverted.
The specific question of whether a given topic is relevant to a given image is usually subjective. That is, in making a query for a certain topic, could this file ever be a useful result?
Doesn't that mean people could just go around changing all galleries to categories, or vice versa?
No. This behaviour is not encouraged. The mixed system of both categories and galleries is what is currently accepted, and attempts to change it by "stealth" are not acceptable.
People may change how media are organised in attempts to "clean up" a topic area or domain. That is always welcome. If they are challenged (their changes are reverted) and cannot resolve the conflict through discussion, it is suggested to write a formal category scheme.
What is a category scheme?
Category schemes prescribe how media should be organised, for a given topic. They may prescribe the use of galleries as well. Category schemes thus should be considered the "rules" for organising media on that topic. They should be organised to maximise the ease of use to the Commons user.
If the rules are challenged, better rules should be formed through consensus. Rules about category schemes can be made by any interested party, anonymous or registered, regardless of whether or not they are interested in carrying out its implementation. This is because the implementation of category schemes affects all users. Members (people implementing the category scheme) should not actively implement rules that are being challenged. This is unnecessarily provocative: it never hurts to wait and discuss. The unsorted files will still be there next week!
It is not allowed to create a "fork" of an existing category scheme.
Members should always be polite to other users who question their actions, give them a link to the category scheme, and invite them to help improve it.

I think I've missed some stuff, but I can't think of it right now. Any suggestions/comments welcome. --pfctdayelise (说什么?) 07:07, 7 November 2006 (UTC)


Thanks for the note about ”action=purge“. I have more questions on that:

  • Do I get it right that to refresh, I don't have to actually make a change on the image description page and hit submit, I just have to call the URL with ”action=purge“ repeatedly, e.g. ?
  • How long or how many tries might it take at maximum to have effect?
  • Is there any known problem that this doesn’t work with SVG images?

One of the files we’re having the actual problem with is Image:BSicon ABZld.svg. Thanks, --dealerofsalvation 03:58, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

It looks OK to me. Is it fixed now? Or what size thumbnail are you having problems with?
There have been relatively more problems with thumbnails not updating properly, lately. Occasionally it is just a software issue thing that we can't do a lot about (unless we're developers). pfctdayelise (说什么?) 06:52, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Oh, sorry I forgot to tell, it’s the 20px version: BSicon ABZgl+l.svg. See the difference to 21: BSicon ABZgl+l.svg (looks blurred because the full svg image size is 500 px and the up-down line is 100 px wide, which gives an even edge when scaling to 20, but not to 21). And switching to 19 or 21, as described on the project page, would be a bad workaround for us, since they’re used in tables where the icons are all supposed to have the same size, see e.g. de:Main-Neckar-Eisenbahn. The old version must be stuck in some cache – isn’t there any OS level administrator we can ask to flush the cache? --dealerofsalvation 19:53, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Better now! Apparently, the new method is this: visit to force a new thumbnail to generate of the desired size. Sometimes they still don't seem to update, but this one has. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 03:19, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Hooray! Thanks. --dealerofsalvation 03:29, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
thumb.php should not re-generate the thumbnail. If it does, that is a serious bug. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 12:05, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, if you want to write a more clear explanation of how action=purge and thumb.php work together, please go ahead. I tried to get a clear explanation from the developers but maybe I misunderstood. All I know is that using them both (purging & thumb.php) in random combinations generally solves most thumbnail problems. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 03:05, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
And can you explain exactly what thumb.php does, if not forcing a new thumbnail to be rendered? pfctdayelise (说什么?) 03:11, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
thumb.php lets you request a thumbnailed image - it is generated only if it does not already exist. It should not purge thumbnails. thumb.php can be useful to force generation (but not re-generation!) of an image in various formats. I think it also bypasses the squid cache, so it can be useful in finding out what it going on on the "real" servers. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 12:03, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

What is the main namespace for?[edit]

I have a question/topic I'd like addressed. What is the main namespace for, and are there any guidelines for creating articles in it? As it stands, the FAQ, first steps, and other help resources deal mostly with how to upload and categorize images. —Psychonaut 15:13, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Good one. I will add something about this. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 05:45, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Image not rendering[edit]

I recently uploaded a large panoramic image (Image:Embalse Los Reyunos (panorama).jpg) and noticed that it doesn't display in its Commons page, though it shows up fine when loaded by itself ( and in thumbnails. Today I tried to use it in Wikipedia (w:Los Reyunos Dam) and it doesn't display (it only shows a rectangle with the caption). Is there a problem or a technical limitation that I'm not aware of? The image is not that large (1 MB, about 4000px wide). I'm using Firefox 2.0 to view it. —Pablo-flores 22:43, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

It's not saved as a progressive JPG, is it?
I'm playing around with urging and sometimes the thumbnails show and sometimes they don't. Very annoying. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 03:12, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Resolution of images[edit]

It says on the FAQ that the higher the resolution the better, however the software which produces the thumbnails cannot handle super high resolutions. See: Image:Parts of OS Edition 1 1880 25in Derbyshire Sheet 50.png, Should this be changed? Lcarsdata 08:11, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

The original highest-res should always be uploaded first, so that it is available under the file history. Uploading smaller versions so that thumbnailing works is ok. It's only PNGs that suffer from this problem. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 09:08, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
not quite correct: there's a hard limit of 12 Megapixels for PNG, but there are time and memory limits in place for all thumbnailing/rendering operations. So, a very complex SVG may also fail (this is usually due to bad conversion to SVG), and very large JPEGs may fail if they are in "progressive mode" (which requires the entire image to be processed in-memory, as opposed to the more common "baseline mode" which allows sampling without looking at all the data at once).
I'll update the FAQ to include this info. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 10:59, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Image orientation[edit]

My camera stores the image orientation in the EXIF data. Does the wiki software read and autorotate the pictures or should I do that myself before uploading?

(Sorry if this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find anything.)

You can try one and check, but I am pretty sure images in the wiki will look the same way as on your computer. So if they're sideways on your computer, best to rotate them before uploading. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 02:17, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Some photos I upload are vertical (taller than wide); within the past 24hr, these uploads are being rotated. What's up with that? --Una Smith (talk) 17:54, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

The fix is to put {{rotate|270}} on the page and let a bot automagically correct the rotation. --Una Smith (talk) 07:19, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Transferring Images Wikipedia to Commons[edit]

My upload speed is glacial, but I have 450 "clean" images (photos taken by myself - no restrictions retained) uploaded to Wikipedia. They are all associated with User:Sarah777 so they can be selected en masse. Is there a quick and easy way to transfer them to Commons? (The present software makes loading to Commons and then using a photo on Wikipedia too troublesome; so till there is a fix I'll still be uploading to Wikipedia) ( 10:54, 13 April 2007 (UTC)).

I don't seem to be recognised here! What am I doing wrong?? ( 10:56, 13 April 2007 (UTC))

Login at Wikipedia and Commons is still separate. If you haven't visited Commons for a while, you were probably logged out.
I am not sure why you think "loading to Commons and then using a photo on Wikipedia [is] too troublesome" -- the only trouble is you need a Commons account. You seem to already have one, so that is done. Once images are uploaded here, they can be used on Wikipedia as if they were uploaded there... so I am not sure what trouble you have had. -- pfctdayelise (说什么?) 11:26, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
We would all appreciate it if you did upload them here. People uploading at Wikipedia both create a tradgedy of the commons (no pun intended) situation, and waste people's time, including mine, in cleaning up after them. Create an account, link it on your Wikipedia page, and proceed to upload them here. Richard001 10:05, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Resolution of audio files[edit]

I'd like a section similar to "What resolution should the images I upload be?", but for audio. See also Wikipedia:Media#Audio.

The software doesn't create a "thumbnail" for the audio, so we should recommend uploading the raw audio as an ogg-wrapped .wav, and then uploading a compressed version after that so that the original is in the upload history? — Omegatron 20:21, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Moving categories[edit]

Do I have to do this manually? Take Category:Carnivorous Plants for example. It should be a trivial matter to rename it, no? Are there bots that can help me with this, or do I have to do it all myself? I searched Commons:Categories, but I find nothing there which explains how to move them. Richard001 10:08, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately it's not a trivial matter, but there is a bot that can help. Please see User:Orgullobot/commands. I will try and mention this more prominently in a few more places. --pfctdayelise (说什么?) 14:12, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Uploading Public Domain Australian Images[edit]

If i wish to upload Australian public domain images, do i use the same {{PD-Australia}} tag as i would on wikipedia? Can you please reply to my talk page, thanks Five Years 11:20, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Is it possible to use all the images in a category here, and insert them in a gallery on wikipedia?[edit]

For instance, lets say the Bridgewater Canal has 20 pictures - is there a command on Wikipedia that I can insert that will automatically display all the images in Category:Bridgewater Canal in a gallery on ? Parrot of Doom 20:41, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

I doesn't exist afaik. I'm also not sure why you'd want a 20-picture gallery in a Wikipedia article, but that's Wikipedia's concern :-). NielsF ? (en, nl, fr, it) 22:30, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Well that many images would obviously be a bit daft, but somebody has kindly posted a template for a link to the commons page, so that kind of answers my question :) Thanks for hte reply though :) Parrot of Doom 11:58, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Museums and Galleries[edit]

I ask this question about the National Gallery of the UK, but it could easily be applied to any one of hundreds of institutions. They have a large amount of copyright expired material in their collection, but they claim that all material, including the faithful reproductions on their website, is covered by copyright [4]. Who's right? Cheers, 09:30, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Even if the image is a faithful reproduction, it is protected by UK copyright - see Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag#UK. Images from the National Gallery's site cannot be hosted here.--Nilfanion 12:07, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Missing FAQ item: how to report a copyvio[edit]

Seems to me it ought to be listed among the copyright questions. --Concrete Cowboy 17:07, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

FAQ addition: when a Creative Commons license changes[edit]

Dear Commons FAQ maintainers: Could you kindly add an item to explain that when a photographer changes a Flickr license that does not mean that an upload has to be deleted?

Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable. This means that you cannot stop someone, who has obtained your work under a Creative Commons license, from using the work according to that license. You can stop distributing your work under a Creative Commons license at any time you wish; but this will not withdraw any copies of your work that already exist under a Creative Commons license from circulation, be they verbatim copies, copies included in collective works and/or adaptations of your work. --Source: Creative Commons FAQ, What if I change my mind, retrieved on 14 July 2008

I asked about this in the Village Pump to be sure. It would save uploaders at least me a lot of grief if commons users and adminstrators were in agreement on this. -Susanlesch (talk) 20:55, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposed text[edit]

What happens if a Flickr license changes?
If an upload from Flickr has a verified CC-BY or CC-BY SA license, the file remains in the commons. Verification appears in a Flickrbot FlickreviewR, administrator or trusted user notice on the image page. Works identified on the image page as a new version of a verified file also remain. Authors may change their Creative Commons licenses and often sometimes do, but their license at the time of upload of verification cannot be revoked.
Hope this helps. -SusanLesch (talk) 01:35, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
I will try to check back in a week to add this if there are no objections. Corrections welcome. -SusanLesch (talk) 00:13, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Hi. I will move this in. Copyediting and corrections welcome as always. Best wishes. -SusanLesch (talk) 20:13, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

What is wrong with the scripts?[edit]

I cannot create monobook scrip, so what is wrong with it and how should I fix it. Thanks in advance.--MacedonianBoy (talk) 22:10, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
You will need to move your monobook.js to your vector.js. ZooFari 22:24, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Link in Polish. I guess so.[edit]

OK, you replaced UI with this nonsense. OK, there's no way back because setting preferences to monobook does not reverse the shit done to this very edit window. But what on earth does this mean: "Domyślna skórka została zmieniona z Monobook na Vector. Więcej informacji znajdziesz w często zadawanych pytaniach. Uwagi i informacje o dostrzeżonych błędach można umieszczać tutaj." Linked to something in Polish. Alright, I can comprehend the writing. But user language is set to EN-EN. Usability, they say? NVO (talk) 16:21, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

There was cache problem with the translation of the sitenotice message. By acccident at moment the notice was cached a Polish visitor was on the site (blame him Face-tongue.svg) and thuss, since it's cached for a certain period of time the Polish version was up for a while. Same for Japanese, that one also got into the cache at some point. In the mean time it's fixed, it will make the Sitenotice dynamically adapt to the language in your preferences. –Krinkletalk 11:24, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Upload a new version[edit]

This feature is not available any more. The procedure for that contains now different bugs. First the file name of the image gets lost, then the link to the source, and after all the text for explainig the reason of the new upload is taken as the complete description for the file. Please, repair that, and enable “Upload a new version of this file” just as it was previous of this changes. -- sarang사랑 10:33, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Already addressed here: Commons:Village pump#Ugh, what's the problem now?Krinkletalk 17:47, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanx! Let's hope for a soon fix. -- sarang사랑 10:08, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Receiving permission to upload other peoples own work[edit]

"Only the producer of an original work, or those whom have been granted the right to license that work, can licence the work."

How, formally, am I granted this right? Do we have a standard statement granting me this right that I can have them sign or email along with pictures for upload? Keanu4 (talk) 11:13, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Upload limit[edit]

Hi, there should be something about the upload size limit, rationale and ways to overcome this (such as asking a dev as part of a partnership). I am not sure I know enough of this matter to do it myself though. Jean-Fred (talk) 09:20, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Different font for polish description[edit]

Why is a Polish image description shown in a different font than the English description, which displays in the default font (example) ? I as an IP user do not have any individual settings, nor do I have Java Script enabled. My personal language was set to German (uselang=de in url).
Is the answer to this question worth being added to this FAQ ? -- Juergen 13:48, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Do you mean description of the file in the template below it? The font is the same for Polish and English for me; I have tried to log out, change the default language, change the browser and it still is the same. odder (talk) 13:54, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the description of the file in the template below it.
Tried in IE: same font. Re-tried in Firefox 3.6.12: different fonts. Analyzed HTML: inner spans use CSS classes "language en" and "language pl", with divs outside using CSS classes "description en" and "description pl". Modifying the div/@lang from "pl" to "en" using firebug changes the font of the Polish description to the one used in the English description.
Could there be any language dependent setting in my firefox ??
Do you think I should make a screenshot ?
Is there a better place than here to ask this ? -- Juergen 14:19, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Strange I see the same font as well. --Jarekt (talk) 18:47, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
I also see different fonts in Firefox 3.6.13, but the same font in Firefox portable 3.6.9 (logged out and in) and Opera 11.00. Under Firefox the Polish has different kerning (characters closer together). I tried some test edits with Template:pl using Preview and it consistently displays a different, smaller, font. In both Firefoxes, encoding is Unicode UTF-8. -84user (talk) 23:22, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
And, of course, encoding is always the same for English an Polish text, meaning it can't be dependent on settings in options-contents-font-advanced. -- Juergen 23:40, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Should I ask that in a firefox forum ? -- Juergen 23:40, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

No help for search[edit]

Look at Special:Search and follow the hints and links there.

There are no hints there, only links that do not help the user.

Also, there is no Help:Search. There should be, but which is the best way to start a page?

Link to w:en:Help:Searching in the various languages?

I came here looking for how to search for a sound that is in two categories: public domain and English pronunciation.

I recall in_cat used to work on wikipedia, but we really should make this easier for the casual user. -84user (talk) 11:21, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Let us see what happens with examples from wikipedia's help: incategory:"Suspension bridges in the United States" incategory:"Bridges in New York City"

Ok, {{search link}} did not exist here on Commons, but I have just tried to port it over.

incategory:"Suspension bridges in the United States" incategory:"Bridges in New York City"

Full URL to a category-join search

For Commons:

Full URL to a category-join search

Or this for English pronunciation and Public+domain:

Full URL to a category-join search

Nope, that did not work. Can anyone help here? -84user (talk) 11:34, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Ok, File:Bak branch and bound tree.png is in twoi categories: Category:Screenshots of software and Category:Public domain. Will this search URL work?

A category join search of Screenshots of software and Public domain

Yes! getting somewhere.

How about English pronunciation and Public domain?

A category join search of English pronunciation and Public domain

No results.

A category join search of English pronunciation and Public domain

British English pronunciation?

A category join search of British English pronunciation and Public domain

Maybe PD-self? Does Wikimedia support category depth searching somehow?

A category join search of British English pronunciation and PD-self

Well that failed to find File:En-uk-LBNewham.ogg which is in both categories.

Maybe the "-" needs to be escaped?

A category join search of British English pronunciation and PD-self escaped percent 2d

Nope, can anyone help? -84user (talk) 11:50, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Update after searching for search using search I find Commons:Tools#Search covers somne of what a user would be looking for.

So I modified the Commons:FAQ#How can I search for images? to hopefully better help the user. Ideally Special:Search should link there. Could an admin do this? -84user (talk) 12:00, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Testing the FAQ

I tested my changes to the FAQ by first following the link to Commons:Tools#Search (that worked); tried the first Cat Scan (by Duesentrieb) which worked (results in [5] ); I also tried Cat Scan 2 by Magnus Manske but that returned "Could not connect to : User 'magnus' has exceeded the 'max_user_connections' resource (current value: 15)". The OggSearch link returns a 404 code. -84user (talk) 12:11, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Display from history[edit]

I looked around and tried a lot, but cannot find by myself: How can I display an image version from the file history? Of course, it is only for use at description/talk pages. It seems not possible with wiki syntax to make more than a link to a previous version. But somehow HTML may allow to display it? --sarang사랑.svg사랑 11:45, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

No, because the HTML <img /> tag is purposely suppressed by the MediaWiki parser. You can include a link to an old version on a talk page though. Here's how to do it in a Windows browser. In the File history list there are two columns headed "Date/Time" and "Thumbnail". On the appropriate row, right-click on either the date/time link, or the thumbnail image. From the menu, select "Copy link location". On the talk page, paste in the clipboard contents.
For example, consider the image File:Tom Rolt Bridge plaque towpath.jpg; there are two rows in the file history, and the first (the current version) is and the older one is Note how the older one has the date and time in its filename, i.e. 20100625080451 decodes directly as 2010-06-25, 08:04:51, that being the date and time when it was replaced and so was no longer the current version. --Redrose64 (talk) 16:11, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for all the explanations. sarang사랑.svg사랑 18:07, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Upload Time[edit]

Original post moved to Commons:Help desk#Upload time. Killiondude (talk) 00:15, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Missing basic item in Technical questions: Which file type should I use?[edit]

JPG, PNG, GIF Item When I tried to upload my file ... refers only to upload-process. You can also easily overlook it.--Wickey-nl (talk) 10:04, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Changing history[edit]

I made the following file but for different reasons it took me many tries to upload the correct version of the pictures. I am talking about this file: Phase transition first and second order de.svg

Is it possible, to delete all the old history with useless pictures? It is on the one hand confusing and on the other hand ugly, to have so many unwanted versions. --Minihaa (talk) 14:44, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

FAQ on Creative Commons by-sa-3.0 - Positioning of picture naming[edit]

FAQ to be added: Do i have to position the lisense and naming attributes near the picture?
I would like to have a frequently ask question be answerd regarding the position of the originator near a picture Are judements like this german judgment valid for the Creative Commons by-sa-3.0 licence.

Dabei ist das Gericht der Auffassung, dass eine Pflicht zur Nennung des 
Autors („copyright notice") eine Nennung des vom Urheber hinterlegten
Namens im unmittelbaren räumlichen Zusammenhang mit dem Lichtbild
(The court has the view that the duty of naming („copyright notice") requires 
the name of the originator in an immediate spatial connection with the photo)

Background: Several users opose this interpretation resulting in deletion request on pictures existing since years within commons and without a problem. The deletion requests has been applied to pictures with an exakt position attribution (like "below the picture") or even to a non exact position attribution ("near the picture", like the judgement above).

If nobody oposes, i would add the judgemet text to FAQ answer. Heinz-Josef Lücking (talk) 00:13, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Resolution of images II[edit]

The FAQ states that "The highest resolution available for images is more than welcome."

What happens if you upload a relatively low resolution image under the correct license? Bmwz3hm (talk) 03:11, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

We will keep it if useful. Wikipedia info boxes need only 220-250px width. Jee 05:44, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. The resolution is sufficient for Wiki Commons/Wikipedia. Does the license then apply to the image in any and all possible resolutions? Even if it were a billboard on Times Square? Bmwz3hm (talk) 05:52, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
We have no clear answer for it till now. See this discussion. But be aware of this risk while licensing your contents. Jee 06:56, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. Again very helpful. The European Press Agency licensed the file. I hope that, as long as the debate has not been resolved one way or the other, the image/file will be uploaded/undeleted. Bmwz3hm (talk) 07:37, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

FAQ says zip about audio files[edit]

Still searching to learn what file-types are accepted. Tony (talk) 04:17, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

@Tony1: Hope Commons:File types helps. Jee 05:30, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
@Jkadavoor:, thanks, yes. It's all framed in terms of videos (such as .ogv), so perhaps an outsider seeking to upload an audio file would benefit from explicit mention of that. Just something to think about. Cheers. Tony (talk) 10:13, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
@Tony1: I made an attempt. Enough? Jee 10:51, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, JK. Tony (talk) 13:10, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Edit rate limit[edit]

I've been trying to nominate several pages for deletion because of copyvios. It does not matter if I do it manually or try to use a script, in any case I get the message "Some edits exceed your rate limit of 8 edits per 60 seconds". There does not seem to be any explanation for it, reasoning behind it or suggestions how to bypass it for a script (a mass deletion by definition includes several edits, so this spam-avoiding limit does not even make sense in that case). Anyway, I think this limit might be at least stated in the FAQ, if not explained or commented in length. --Pildirüüstaja (talk) 08:40, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

You have enouth DR. Why do you no work here constructive? --Ralf Roleček 10:37, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
You have a strange understanding of laws, thinking that if we don't like it we can ignore it. Copyright violations mean people can sue the people who uploaded the photos, with very unpleasant results. Also, they bring bad publicity to all Wikimedia projects, not only Commons. --Pildirüüstaja (talk) 19:04, 14 July 2014 (UTC)