Commons talk:Featured picture candidates

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Featured sets[edit]

So we temporally banned set nominations. Now we need to review the guidelines (if needed) and make a procedure to handle them.


The current guideline is available at Commons:Featured_picture_candidates/guidelines#Set nominations. Please check it and make suggestions, if any.

Since the existing set guideline is just a few lines in a bulleted list, I find it relevant to copy them here in and then we can comment on the individual lines (typeset in green). Please do not apply a polarizing vote on lines. Let us try to discuss and reach a consensus --Slaunger (talk) 18:24, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
If a group of images are thematically connected in a direct and obvious way, they can be nominated together as a set.
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Agreed. Maybe 'direct and obvious' is a bit redundant and can simply be shortened to 'obvious'? An alternative word to bring into the game could be 'coherent'? --Slaunger (talk) 18:35, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I prefer a bit of redundancy because it prevents people trying to lawyer around the wording ("It's obvious to me that x,y,z is connected, even through it's not a direct connection"). --99of9 (talk) 03:35, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Agree with 99of9 - the more concrete the guidelines the less grey area...--Godot13 (talk) 00:25, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
1. All images should be processed and presented in a similar manner to ensure consistency amongst the set.
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Agreed. In practise I would propose this to be as a gallery with captions, much as how it was done for the now discontinued (due to technical problems) Valued image sets. For instance. check this nice VIS candidate page of Thespis, opera from Adam, and the way it is (after promotion) formatted as a Valued image set: Thespis, opera in a manner, which clearly highlights that this set has a special status. However, the templates used for VIS are really alienating to fill in for the nominator, so I would propose to make some smarter nomination templates, if possible. They were made before Lua, I do not know if something smarter is possible nowadays. --Slaunger (talk) 18:48, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
  • When I wrote this I was mainly thinking about image processing and presentation, not how they are arranged in the nomination or gallery. For example, in the VIS you mention, I would possibly want to critique the apparent differences in overall darkness of some of those images. --99of9 (talk) 03:35, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Arrangement of the images should be some part of the set's aesthetics, but the similarity in editing, processing, tones (if relevant) is important.--Godot13 (talk) 00:25, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
2. All images should be linked to all others in the "Other Versions" section of the image summary.
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I do not hink this should be a requirements for all sets. For some large sets, I believe this is better solved by having a dedicated subcategory for the images in a set., or have them organised in a gallery categorized to the main theme of the set. --Slaunger (talk) 18:54, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree that large sets could be an exception to this. One reason for having this requirement is to again prevent nominators from making vague thematic groupings when the images themselves are not truly closely connected. If you're willing to link them as an "other version", then I'm more likely to agree that they are closely connected. --99of9 (talk) 03:35, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
3. If the set of subjects has a limited number of elements, then there should be a complete set of images. This may result in images in this kind of set with no "wow" factor, and perhaps little value on their own. Their value is closely bound to the value of having a complete set of these subjects. The decision to feature should be based on this overall value.
4. If the set of subjects is unlimited, the images should be chosen judiciously. Each image should be sufficiently different to the others to add a great deal of value to the overall set. The majority of images should be able to qualify for FP on their own.
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Could 3. and 4. simply be shortened up to "The nominated set shall be complete and be extraordinarily valuable when presented in its entirety."? --Slaunger (talk) 19:00, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm going to question "complete" - I could see situations where incompletion might be required (say, I can prepare 65 out of 66 images from a book, but the 66th is badly damaged, and the book is very rare). I also think "extraordinarily valuable" may set the bar excessively high. Adam Cuerden (talk) 02:43, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
  • @Adam Cuerden: Then how about "The set shall, when possible, be complete." and "The set shall be highly valuable."? --Slaunger (talk) 09:39, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I think the badly damaged 66th should still be included in the set if it is to be considered our best work (although then it may fail the quality requirement). I favour keeping the completeness requirement. I would make an exception if it were the only copy in existence and the 66th page was missing :-). --99of9 (talk) 03:56, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
  • No, I think there is a clear categorical difference between objects in a finite set (e.g. plates in a book) and a set of images selected to represent an infinitely extensible subject (e.g. Kungsträdgården Metro station). It doesn't make sense to me to ask the latter to be "complete", and in my opinion the former should not be considered "our best work" until it is complete (I understand that this can be a tough requirement Adam, but IMO high standards are exactly what FP is about).--99of9 (talk) 03:49, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I disagree with dropping the concept of a selection from an unbounded set. On Featured Lists at Wikipedia [from memory when I participated there years ago] they handled both complete and unbounded lists/sets. Part of the skill and judgement for unbounded sets is selecting high quality images that are representative of the whole. As far as handling bounded sets where the nomination is incomplete, I'd suggest we word the desired situation. If we don't already have something, then we need an IAR-style clause where nominations that fail the normal guidelines may be accepted provided explanation is given and accepted by the reviewers. This would include such issues as low resolution, or some images being poor quality. -- Colin (talk) 07:18, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
5. All images should be of high technical quality.
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Agreed. I think the current, not so rigorous rule is adequate. I considered for a while if it should be required that all images were 2 Mpixels, but on second thought I can think of exceptions, where the resolution of each image matters much less than the completeness, especially when the sets is large. It is good to leave some room for interpretation here. --Slaunger (talk) 19:06, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I'd actually go more hard-line on this. Every image should be up to the minimum standards, or be an obvious exception (for example, the Face on Mars image doesn't exist at higher than low resolution, but it was that low resolution image and the errors that started the phenomenon. A set of it and a high-res modern image would be suitable, but that should be the exception, never - not ever - the rule.) Adam Cuerden (talk) 15:59, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • See my comment above about documenting the FP-standard guidelines as such, but providing the opportunity (in general) for a nominator to explain why their image/set should still be considered. -- Colin (talk) 07:18, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

I would propose to also add the clarifying statement to the guideline (I think it can be formulated more concise than I have done, please do so, if you see abvious ways to improve it):

  • Files in a featured picture set, will be tagged as being "Part of a featured picture set". Selected individual pictures in a featured set may also be nominated separately for featured picture status, if each nominated picture fulfills the normal (stand-alone) requirements for a featured picture. It is recommended to spread such single picture nominations out in time in order to avoid reviewer's fatigue from reviewing many thematicaly similar pictures consecutively. --Slaunger (talk) 09:50, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
I think that additional nominations from a set is somewhat of a bad idea. It increases the number of nominations, without any actual benefit. The point of featured pictures is surely to make people aware of work useful to wikis. If that's our goal, only one promotion is ever necessary, although we might want to discuss how to handle this in POTD/POTY.
Mind you, I have some grave concerns with POTY - the last two years, despite having category winners, they were not announced, not in the final announcement or anywhere else - which, in my opinion, makes a mockery of the goal of celebrating the diversity of images by using categories, and which would cause major, major problems with sets in POTY, since you'd surely need to treat sets in a separate voting, possibly not even allowing them in the final, but giving their own award. This is possibly a bit off-topic, though.
My suggestion to POTD is that it may be appropriate to have more than one image from a set, but they should be no less than, say, four months apart. Alternatively, we could come up with a way to handle multiple images in POTD, with a main image as a default fallback. Adam Cuerden (talk) 15:50, 30 June 2014 (UTC)



We need specific categories and galleries to showcase them. The current galleries for FP are under Commons:Featured pictures. So we need to create similar galleries either under Commons:Featured pictures or under a new Commons:Featured sets.


The current structure is Category:Featured pictures by subject under Category:Photography by subject and Category:Featured pictures by country under Category:Photographs by country.

There is one generic category Category:Featured pictures on Wikimedia Commons which is assigned on pictures having {{Assessments}}.

This is actually very spottily applied. I don't think any of my featured pictures are actually categorized under either type of category, because historical media doesn't generally appear to get categorized. And, of course, not every featured picture is a photograph. I'd suggest that the categorization scheme we have is actually far more broken than people think. Adam Cuerden (talk) 20:01, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Assessment tag[edit]

I think {{Assessments}} with featured=5/6 may be possible.

Don't do it that way: First of all, featured= is not just used to mark featured pictures. featured=2 marks former featured pictures, and there's also sounds in there using 3 and 4, but that's not very well-used at present.
Instead, realize the nomination for a set is always formatted Commons:Featured picture candidates/Set/DESCRIPTIVE NAME. Not only is it absolutely trivial to find out if an image is part of a set from the nomination alone, it's also trivial to put all images in a set into the category Category:Featured picture sets/DESCRIPTIVE NAME because the template has to link to the nomination anyway. That category can then be linked to from the Assessments template. Using basic magic words can find out the number of images in that category, giving the size of the set.
If ordering the images in the set beyond that is desirable, a setposition= or setpos= variable can be used to change the category position. Simplifying the code slightly, it'd be something like: [[Category:Featured picture sets/DESCRIPTIVE NAME|{{{setpos|{{PAGENAME}}}}}]] - although DESCRIPTIVE NAME would be, I think, the comnom variable or some #titleparts variant of same. I seem to recall that the Assessments template has some weird, poorly-documented code around comnom to check that the FP nomination fits the right format. Adam Cuerden (talk) 19:45, 25 June 2014 (UTC)


Please discuss under each topic above and make generic comments here. Jee 03:19, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

I would support specific categories and galleries for sets. Yann (talk) 07:53, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks @Yann:. One gallery alredy exists which I'm not aware of earlier; maintained by Ö. I think it only needs some sorting and splitting.
But we need to create categories. I thin we can create them either inside or outside of Category:Featured pictures by subject. Any suggestion? Jee 08:05, 27 June 2014 (UTC)


So there's been like no activity on this for a few days && we really need to get set noms up & running again (like I have three antarctica images I'm waiting to set-nominate) I'm going to summarize what's been said so far—

0 If a group of images are thematically connected in a direct and obvious way, they can be nominated together as a set.

  • Disparate & convoluted groupings should be disallowed

1 All images should be processed and presented in a similar manner to ensure consistency amongst the set.

  • Everyone pretty much agrees but could also be extended to captioning & galleries.
  • Templates for creating these galleries are long and annoying to fill out.

2 All images should be linked to all others in the "Other Versions" section of the image summary.

  • Possibly redundant and unnecesarry?
  • Used to prevent disparate & convoluted groupings
  • Large sets might be exempt
I'd be inclined to drop this. I don't think it's enforced, nor is it particularly enforceable, and it ignores the actual purpose of the "Other versions" section - which rather supersedes it. If you're using it to link to other images in the set, you aren't using it to link to, say, the unrestored version of the file. Lose the requirement completely.. Adam Cuerden (talk) 08:43, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

3 If the set of subjects has a limited number of elements, then there should be a complete set of images. This may result in images in this kind of set with no "wow" factor, and perhaps little value on their own. Their value is closely bound to the value of having a complete set of these subjects. The decision to feature should be based on this overall value.

Add "Or a good reason why the set isn't complete". Also, note that completeness is subjective. For example, you might think that including all illustrations in a book is simple, but I can name a few cases where it isn't - for example, Rudyard Kipling's Soldier Tales includes small images under the titles of the stories, and at the end. They're fairly simple and not half so useful as the full-page illustrations, so I probably would leave them out, but would that make my set incomplete? Also, I generally get illustrations from the second printing or so - much cheaper, and all the original illustrations are there. But this means I couldn't, for example, include the first edition cover, and, indeed, probably couldn't afford to, as second editions are usually pretty affordable; first editions... not so much.
There's a few books where the American 1st edition and British first edition have completely different illustrations. Would completeness require both? The point is not to give an answer, it's to point out that there's a subjective element to this rule. Adam Cuerden (talk) 08:43, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

4 If the set of subjects is unlimited, the images should be chosen judiciously. Each image should be sufficiently different to the others to add a great deal of value to the overall set. The majority of images should be able to qualify for FP on their own.

  • Issues arise with what to do when it is difficult or impossible to complete a bounded set
  • How should you choose members of an unbounded set?
Commons has a tendency to get bogged down in bureaucracy. People will vote it down if it's poorly chosen or unjustified as a set. We can let this evolve. Adam Cuerden (talk) 08:43, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

5 All images should be of high technical quality.

  • Exceptions might be made if there is a good reason for it.
That's always true. We should make it clear exceptions can be made at times - but probably not at specific points in the rules. Adam Cuerden (talk) 08:43, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

Classification of FPSs

  • Renominations as single images could be used to determine POTD/Y eligibility
  • A spacing rule could also be used to prevent set elements from dominating POTD
I really don't like the idea of having renominations as single images. That's pointless, and instantly negates any value to a set nomination.


  • FPS elements need to be placed in galleries and categories to keep them organized
  • The current category tree is broken and doesn't work for sets
  • Technical problems regarding the Assessments template

Love, Kelvinsong talk 19:32, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

I have been traveling in the last weeks and couldn't follow this discussion closely. I will try to relaunch it shortly to try to find a solution. Poco2 21:07, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I guess I have to apologize, I didn't manage it so far and will be in London/Wikimania and in other destinations until end of August. Sorry, I have been pretty busy with travel arrangements, work, preparation of my presentation in Wikimania, etc., but I haven't forgotten it. Poco2 07:09, 7 August 2014 (UTC)


I just stumbled across this page for the first time today, I wasn't actually aware it existed until now. I'm just wondering if anyone knows if it's supposed to be featured pictures on any project, or specifically featured on Commons? I ask because my statistics are way out of date (nt updated since 2009). I can update them, but I wanted to know if I should be removing images that were featured on the English Wikipedia and only add images that are featured on Commons, or if I should be adding more that were featured on the English Wikipedia since 2009.... Not that it's the most important thing in the world really, but it would be nice to have an update to day category for my featured pictures but I want to make sure it's the same what others are doing. Diliff (talk) 21:49, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Hi Daniel, those are only Commons FP and not all authors are represented; only those who cared to create a sub category with their names. -- Alvesgaspar (talk) 22:00, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
    • It's David... ;-) OK, well in that case, my category is wrong, because it contains mostly images that are featured on the English Wikipedia (some are featured on Commons of course, but not as many as I haven't been as active on Commons FPC). I did notice however that Poco's featured pictures category also states "This category is a collection of pictures by Poco a poco that were promoted as featured in any Wikimedia project.", as does mine (but my category wasn't actually created or maintained by me!). Diliff (talk) 22:10, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
      • I have only one image which is FP on English WP, but not on Commons, and I included it in my cat. I don't see the point to create a cat for only one file. Regards, Yann (talk) 22:15, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
        • "Commons" is "Commons ", and WPs are WPs. Here, it is "Commons", and we should not mix the projects. I strongly oppose to the FP in WPs, it does not add anything, only confusions, see the question. I have some pictures featured in WPs, but not nominated by me, and not by my will My own category includes only my "Commons" FP.--Jebulon (talk) 22:39, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
          • I agree. I don't see a problem with a category that includes FPs on any Wikipedia project, but it should have a different name. I don't think it should be a competition to see who can get the most FPs, but it would be nice if it could be compared properly between people. At the moment, it cannot, because different people use different criteria for adding images to their "Featured pictures by User" category. Diliff (talk) 23:41, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
          • Sorry to mess up your name ... David, and also for the wrong info. I had no idea that the category was used to also include other wikis' FP. But I agree with you, To Caeser's what is Caeser's and etc. Alvesgaspar (talk) 09:06, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
            • No problem. I think the issue is that there was never any guidelines on how the category should be used, and different people had different ideas. Diliff (talk) 11:18, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
            • Jebulon, I just re-read what you said. Are you saying that you disagree with the Featured Pictures projects themselves, on each language Wikipedias? I don't understand that. They are not really the same projects, because they are not just about the photo, they are about how the photo contributes to the article and an understanding of a subject. A Commons FP does not have to do that because it stands alone and isn't tied to any article. Diliff (talk) 11:18, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
              • I understand. But again, I think this is just confusing. I'm happy there is no FP contest in frwp...--Jebulon (talk) 23:39, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
                • It's not that confusing. FPs on Commons are great images. FPs on English Wikipedia (and others) are great images that also contribute to the understanding of an article - they are encyclopaedic images. A Commons FP isn't always encyclopaedic... There are plenty of good images that add nothing to the understanding of the subject in the photo. Like reflections in a puddle. ;-) OK, so I opposed that one, but there are many Commons FPs like that. Diliff (talk) 00:07, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
                  • As for me, I try not to support non encyclopaedical pictures in "Commons " FPC. Encyclopaedical value is one of the criteria of the FP in "Commons", if I'm not wrong...--Jebulon (talk) 00:37, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
                    • Jebulon, "Educational value" is a criterion, not "Encyclopaedic value". The latter limits WP:FP to images that are appropriate to illustrate an encyclopaedia article. Educational scope is broader. -- Colin (talk) 10:48, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                      • Mmmmh, if we were in QICpage, I'd push this statement in CR...;)--Jebulon (talk) 18:29, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                        • Jebulon. You would get an oppose vote from me then in CR ;-). In the guidelines for FPC it says "Value – our main goal is to feature most valuable pictures from all others.". It does not say anything about encyclopedic value, and if you look in Commons:Project scope it is pointed out that the objective of Commons is to provide "educational" media files. The expression "educational" is to be understood according to its broad meaning of "providing knowledge; instructional or informative". This is a broader scope than merely encyclopedic. For instance, the instructional series of photos in Rickenbacker 4003 (SN 9951807) repair are educational and clearly in scope of Commons, but do not belong in an encyclopedia. I'm with Colin there;-) Years ago I also could not see the meaning in the local Wikipedia FP projects, but I must say I have learned something else by sometimes participating in for instance EN:FPC, where the focus is more on the faithful, and less on the wow, to get further perspectives. The very latest example is my recent gravel pit photo which was promoted with overwhelming support on Commons, but when I nominated the same photo on EN:FPC it was found that the image could be improved and made more faithful. Going back to Commons leading to a unanimous delist-and-replace of the Commons FP with the Diliff edit. So a Commons FP was improved due to EN:FPC. -- Slaunger (talk) 19:56, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                          • Sorry, may I continue to disagree ? I think we could have a nice encyclopedic article about the repair of a guitar... And I'm not sure your own example is accurate. Anyway it is not convincing for me. Everybody could re discuss your picture in "Commons", especially Diliff who is a regular here (fortunately, I would say!), now or in the future.--Jebulon (talk) 20:20, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                              • Sure, Jebulon, you may continue to disagree! We just see the two terms differently. You see encyclopedic as such a broad term that it covers what I see as educational as written in the Project scope. This means, we actually agree on what is in scope! ;-) We just do not agree on the term to use for it. The latter is a minor detail:-) -- Slaunger (talk) 20:39, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                            • To be honest, the Gravel pit example was more due to Diliff spotting it and reckoning it could be improved than anything much to do with the difference between Commons and WP. In fact, I'd say your problems with the sky should have been less important on WP since it was illustrating an article on gravel pits, not sky. But more eyes reviewing does no harm. EN:FPC isn't what it used to be, though, and if one's photography is motivated by creating "article lead images" then that's a big constraint. -- Colin (talk) 20:18, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                              • Colin: You have a point with the specific example. It is really the "more eyes on it" I was thinking about, and seeing it in use from different perspectives, which I often find useful. I agree technical aspects are usually best reviewed on Commns, but sometimes in local FP projects aspects about useability or value get another perspective, which is useful. -- Slaunger (talk) 20:43, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  • My cat: "FPs by Alchemist-hp" are only for FPs on Commons too. --Alchemist-hp (talk) 06:23, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
The same for FP in eswp,enwp,frwp,arwp..... We need categories of that too? --Wilfredo R. Rodríguez H. (talk) 11:09, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
Fortunately, FP in frwp does not exist.--Jebulon (talk) 23:39, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
I guess we would need individual categories for that, yes. Either we don't consider each project's FPs as separate, or we have categories for each language Wiki. Diliff (talk) 11:18, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I wonder if actually, the FPC bot should automatically (or perhaps it should be done manually by the closer if that is too difficult?) add the "Featured pictures by User:xxxxxx" category to every featured picture that is promoted here. I notice it is not currently being done, so it relies on individuals to update their images with the category, and it therefore makes the statistics completely inaccurate. Of course, until everyone goes back on their historical images and adds it manually, the statistics will never be 100% accurate but it is surely better to start now than to give up entirely. Diliff (talk) 11:18, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
    • I doubt that could be done automatically. Who should be credited? The photographer, the original uploader, the last uploader (not necessary the same), or the nominator? Or all of them? Personally, I regard as my FP only those where I added a significant input, either as photographer or restorer (see my home page). So actually, I should create several categories: FP images created by me, FP images restored by me, FP images nominated by me, etc., and this for each project where there is a FP contest? You see that it quickly becomes unmanageable... Regards, Yann (talk) 12:12, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I think it can be done. Since in the vast majority of the cases, the category "Featured pictures by ..." refers to own photographs or drawings, it should continue to be that way. I see two other relevant categories to be created: "Featured pictures nominated by ..." and ""Featured pictures restored by ...". Three steps to make the adjustements: i) manually purge the presente category as to contain only own creations"; ii) Manually (or not?) feed the new categories (this should be done by the interested users); iii) Adjust FP bot to automatically insert the relevant categories in the just promoted images. Alvesgaspar (talk) 12:36, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  • And how the bot will know who is the photographer? It would need to be able to eventually read the EXIF data, parse the Info template, or the OTRS permission, etc. There are way too many cases for a bot to get the right information. Yann (talk) 12:46, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I think that this all is much unimportant for commons! A photographer can add hes own category or not ... I do it, other photographers do it too, and some other photographer don't do it. All of that are OK for me. --Alchemist-hp (talk) 13:30, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm inclined to agree that it's not that important, as we don't really need to know who has the most featured pictures. This is not a pissing contest after all. ;-) But if statistics are important, then it is important for the category to be accurate. Diliff (talk) 13:46, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes, people can add the category when needed. Statistics may be interesting, but not by photographers. Statistics by place, time, camera models, etc. could be interesting. Regards, Yann (talk) 14:33, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Agreed, those statistics could be interesting, but it relies heavily on complete EXIF data, which is not always available. Still, it could be implemented by someone I suppose? Anyway, I've updated Category:Featured pictures by User:Diliff by removing all photos not featured on Commons, and added images that were featured on Commons since 2009 (the ones that were previously missing), and I've ended up with virtually the same total. ;-) Of course, there are many featured pictures on the English Wikipedia which I think could be featured on Commons, but I'm limited to 2 nominations a week. Diliff (talk) 16:02, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I would propose to rename the category to the unambiguous Category:Featured pictures on Wikimedia Commons by creator. It appears most agree the category is intended for Commons FPs only, although it has never been explicitly written anywhere. Moreover, such a rename would align with the fact that all Commons FPs are in the category Featured pictures on Wikimedia Commons. -- Slaunger (talk) 22:12, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I would be very much against putting responsibility on the bot to categorize promoted FPs into user categories such as these. Some nominators have no interest in these user categories and perceives them as unnecessary self-promotion, other find they are convenient containers for themselves or for users who want to find additional FPS from the same creator. And for those who have user categories by creator there is no fixed syntax used by all users. Some use the (recommended) 'User:' prefix, some not, some use a creator name, which is formatted differently from their username. Let users maintain their own user categories. Also, I do not think we should police what people put in their user categories. We may drop them a note to point to the fact what the consensus is for the meaning of the category, if FPs from other wikimedia projects end in the same category. -- Slaunger (talk) 22:12, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Technically, the categories do not belong to a user. It's a free-content crowd-sourced wiki. Those who have no interest in them don't need to maintain them, but can't really object if someone else or a bot creates it or edits it. I don't think we should include other WP in these categories (some have really low quality thresholds). I'm surprised Yann thinks categories by camera are more useful than by photographer. People take featured pictures, not cameras. -- Colin (talk) 10:48, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
      • Statistics by photographer may help some ego, but has little educational value. Statistics by camera may show the evolution of technology, or the preference of some brand or model among photographers. Regards, Yann (talk) 11:18, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
        • I don't think it's necessarily for any individual to say what value statistics might have, and it's short-sighted to say that it's primarily about ego. Someone mentioned on the Indiegogo campaign (intenting to generate funds to replace Poco's stolen camera equipment) that Poco was the highest contributor to featured pictures on Commons, and they used the statistics to justify the claim. That's a very useful and philanthropic use for of statistics. But it's just one use. We can't even conceive of all the potential uses yet, as 'Big Data' advocates like to proclaim. :-) Diliff (talk) 15:43, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
          • Diliff: It is a user category; so relying on COM:USER policy. They are good to arrange our works based on assessment, camera used, subject depicted, etc.; but not intended for any formal use. We can't say which user has more FPs or QIs from it because not all users are compelled to maintain them. Further, we can't force one user to maintain them if he don't want it. I think the claim you mentioned above (Poco is #1 in number of FPs) is correct; but we can't use that category for an official statement.) Jee 16:24, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
            • Jee, I agree with what you're saying, except that you're describing what is currently the case, rather than what would be possible in the future if we actually maintain the categories better. If we were to actually keep a more formal account of featured pictures by author, I don't see how it would conflict with COM:USER... Nowhere does it say that the category can only be maintained by the users themselves, or that it cannot be used for statistical purposes. It is more of an issue of whether we decide that it's useful, and if so, what is the process for maintaining the categories. As I said, it could be maintained as part of the closing process, but someone would have to additionally go back through existing FPs to categorise them also. Diliff (talk) 16:32, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
              • Then it should be moved out of usercats. Now users can full freedom what to do with them. And, I may delete mine any moment soon. :) Jee 16:49, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                • Out of interest, are you considering deleting yours because you don't want your featured pictures to be categorised under your name, or is there another reason? Diliff (talk) 16:59, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                  • Diliff: I didn't decide so far; but not happy to give much priority for it. When I started here; I created it as most of us doing here. I lost my enthusiasm as usual after a while. But I'm not against people maintain such statistics as far as it will not affect the spirit of this project. I think there are many people here who are not making much self noms (eg: Archaeodontosaurus, JJ Harrison). JJH has more than 100 FPs; but not maintains a statistics here. (I was active in fpc maintenance for one year (from October 2013-October 2014), silently watching all nominations; have a good idea what is going on here. There are many good points; a lot of evil too (like revenge votes and pity politics). But overall, this is a good project.) Smile Jee 03:10, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
                • Jee, our COM:USER guideline does not say users own the categories pertaining to them. Nor indeed does one own one's user page, though we are usually polite enough to leave that alone -- ultimately, we may wake up one day to find a block notice on our pages :-(. I am sad to see talk of ego seems to have encouraged Poco to remove his stats. Please folk, consider that when you say these things are just ego stroking, you are making a judgement about someone's else's values which may simply differ from yours but aren't wrong/immoral/weak and this may be interpreted as boasting one's own ego is big enough that it doesn't need any external help. This information can be useful (so I know where to go to help identifying butterflies or with taking night-time panoramas or simply want to locate a great photographer). If folk want to collect statistics and categorise these things, let them be. -- Colin (talk) 18:18, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                  • Hi Colin, to be honest it was rather this discussion (sorry, it's in German) that moved me to edit my user page. I will do the same with the FP, QI and VI "by user" categories as soon as the campaign is over (end of January), otherwise the links there would make no sense, and I think that it would be disrespectful to do it now (it wasn't me who set all that up including the links and statements there). Poco2 18:51, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                  • @Colin: Ego motivations are not always that bad. ;oD There are ample studies showing that ego is one of the main motivations behind free software. And I believe this also apply to free content. So without ego motivations, Wikimedia, and Commons, would probably not exist as they do today. Regards, Yann (talk) 18:59, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                    • Maybe this is true, but you just said above that statistics on FPs may help someone's ego but has little educational value. You seem to have contradicted yourself by then suggesting that ego-stroking actually helps Commons. ;-) Anyway, regardless of its effect on ego, I think there are benefits to the statistics that go beyond it. Diliff (talk) 19:11, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                      • I don't think this is contradictory. I maintain that "FP by user" is mainly useful for helping ego (including mine ;oD), but if that encourages photographers to upload nice images, then the result is positive. Regards, Yann (talk) 19:32, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                        • It's contradictory because you said it has little educational value, but surely if it encourages photographers to upload nice images, then there is educational value in it? I guess you were referring to the educational value of the statistics themselves, whereas I interpreted it to mean that having the category has little educational value so it doesn't benefit Commons (which you agree it does, hence I saw it as a contradiction). Diliff (talk) 19:39, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                          • Then we agree. ;oD Yann (talk) 09:10, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
                    • I'm glad we agree on this (though there are of course cases where competitions and ego can turn nasty, and selfish motivations harm the comminity). -- Colin (talk) 19:17, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
                      • OK, so I see the point raised by Diliff that the statistics can be useful, but I also agree with Jkadavoor that really, then these categories shall be moved out of user space then to align with the objectives of user categories outlined in COM:USER, which says "In general: you are welcome to create things for your own convenience, as long as they won't disrupt other people browsing in a normal way." Although Colin is technically correct that anyone can maintain the user categories, it is not in the current written intention of the user categories to do that. You could do it, but probably not without upsetting a lot of users, who follows "the for your own convenience" idea, meaning they are primarily for the specific user the category is about. -- Slaunger (talk) 19:36, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Regarding "...created by" categories for other Wikimedia projects, I would propose to make categories like Category:Featured pictures on Wikipedia, Persian by creator and Category:Featured pictures on Wikipedia, Persian by User:John Doe as it aligns with the corresponding Wikimedia project-specific category Featured pictures on Wikipedia, Persian here on Commons.-- Slaunger (talk) 22:12, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I pretty much agree with Diliff on this subject and consider that the usefulness of categories like “Photographs by user”, “QI by user” or “FP by user” goes much beyond any ego purpose or even a mere personal statistical or archiving convenience. Remember that some of our creators are top level experts in their fields and having a quicker way to access their best works certainly adds to the project’s usability. Yes, I know that keeping a low profile is part of the wiki culture for editors, even when they are notable in the real world. But if living artists like the cartoonist Carlos Latuff can have their own categories in the system, why not Richard Bartz, who is an extraordinary macro photographer, or even David Iliff, an extraordinary panorama specialist? Knowing that Feature Pictures and Meet our Photographers were created with the explicit purpose of being Commons’ showcases why should it be considered politically incorrect to have there a shortcut to access directly the best works of our best creators? I agree that only Commons FP should be considered and see no need for using long names such as "Category:Featured pictures in Commons by some_user". In my opinion the short version "Category: Featured pictures by some_user" is the best solution. And yes, I still believe that the FP bot could do the job of categorizing the new entries. Alvesgaspar (talk) 12:23, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Alves, nobody said they are politically incorrect. But, as far as they are under user cats, they are upto users choice whether or not to maintain them. Our policy to restrict user cats as hidden categories is a different point. But due to that restriction, they are not available in Google search, etc. (if I'm right).
  • Regarding bot update. It will be nice if FPC community make some initiative to to talk with Daniel about the possibility to update the bot scripts. There are a lot of known bugs; delist, D & R need to be closed manually. Jee 15:43, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I know that nobody used the expression "politically incorrect", Jee. But the culture of low profile and inclusiveness (which I believe you share - please thake this as a compliment) is strong among some users, and that fact may contribute to make an open discussion on the subject a little more difficult. What I wanted to make clear with my comment is that the ego-feeding and personal convenience are not, after all, the most important components of the category!. Maybe we should discuss further if the "Featured pictures by user" categories should be taken out the user cat group (however I realize that this discussion is dying, probably owing to the influence of the sexier ones below...) -- Alvesgaspar (talk) 22:06, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks for explaining your POV. Got it. :) Jee 02:33, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Black and white photos and Alchemist-hp[edit]

Alchemist-hp opposes nearly every contemporary black and white photograph: "the world is colorful". This is letting one's personal tastes and prejudice intrude onto judgement over whether a photograph is any good and valuable. While b&w can sometimes be used to try to rescue an unexciting colour photo, or to give an undeserved impression of artistic talent, it remains a valid photographic choice in contemporary photography both in the documentary and artistic domains. There are excellent reasons for choosing this technique and, far from being just a loss of colour information, it has a powerful ability to present aspects of a subject that are not appreciated in colour. Excluding it from FP, as Alchemist-hp votes, is as arbitrary as opposing headshot portraits because one prefers to shoot environmental portraits, or nighttime cityscapes because daylight is clearer. I propose the community ask Alchemist-hp to abstain from voting on this issue. He may comment, of course, but unless the FP rules are changed to disallow all contemporary black and white photography, this should not be a valid reason to oppose. -- Colin (talk) 08:31, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

I agree that this is not a valid reason for opposition. Regards, Yann (talk) 09:15, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Hi Sir. IMHO It is important to assume good faith, it is likely that some votes may be meaningless because there is no knowledge requirements for voters. --Wilfredo R. Rodríguez H. (talk) 10:48, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree that if his opposes are systematic then perhaps he isn't open minded enough to judge fairly, but I do see his point to some extent. We've already established in the thread above that, as per the guidelines, Commons FPs should be educational. In most cases, B&W images can of course be educational, but I think it would be very rare that they are more educational than the equivalent colour image, unless it could be argued that the essence of the educational value is amplified somehow by the distillation of the image down to its mere luminosity. In most cases, additional information would be gained from a scene by seeing its colours. But to be clear, that doesn't mean I agree with Alchemist's systematic opposes. I'd still consider the merits of each image on a case by case basis. Diliff (talk) 11:36, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I think you are assuming that the colour pixels are educational. For example, by your measure there is no educational difference between a photograph taken on an overcast day and one taken in beautiful or dramatic weather (unless the subject is the weather) and night shots are nearly always less intrinsically educational than daytime. But their educational value is increased by being attractive or indicating form rather than colour or by removing distracting aspects. Publishers choose pictures not because they are simply an in-focused & well-exposed/lit image -- they choose them because they are fantastic images with an educational feature. Diliff, one mustn't oppose simply because personally one would have done it differently (in colour, say) or because someone else (with a better camera, say) could have taken a better picture. The nominator puts one image up for review and should be judged on its own merits, not against what might have been. Again, this is like opposing a headshot portrait because there is more educational value in seeing the person's whole body -- the whole-body shot isn't being nominated. I'm sure we (one person excepting) can all agree an b&w image can be educational (as someone who grew up with newspapers in b&w and must have learned something during that time) so really that isn't in any doubt. One might prefer a given image to be colour, but there are lots of things one might prefer that aren't reasons to oppose. -- Colin (talk) 11:56, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Is this colour image more educationally valuable than this original image? Would File:Allie Mae Burroughs print.jpg be more educational if the photographer used colour? -- Colin (talk) 12:06, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Colin The process of colorizing an original B&W has IMO little to do with the reverse (and irreversible) process of 'projecting' a color photo into B&W. When you colorize a B&W photo, it is guesswork. In that case the B&W is the most valuable of course as the colorized version may be completely wrong. -- Slaunger (talk) 12:19, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree. I wasn't saying that colourising a B&W photo is better than the original B&W image. I was suggesting that when you remove the colour from a colour image, you are removing information from the image. The less information about the subject, the less educational it is (generally speaking). It's not a hard and fast rule, and Slaunger mentions a good example of an exception below. I'll reply further in that part of the thread. Diliff (talk) 12:52, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
That was a bad example, I was just trying to find a colour equivalent. Colorization is irrelevant to this discussion. The point is, those are both fantastic portraits. Full stop end of story. There isn't anything you or I could have done to make them more educational by shooting with a colour camera. -- Colin (talk) 12:58, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
(ec) If you create a B&W photo merely from luminosity data from a digital image, one will most often get dissapointing results. It is far from trivial to do it right. If you work in, e.g., Lightroom, there is a series of controls, which helps you map luminosity and colors in a raw file into a B&W image. Photographers who do B&W on film often use color filters to achieve certain effects. I have read about it in "The Digital Negative" by Jeff Schewe, but it is not something I have a lot of personal experience with. I think that B&W in modern photography on Commons is not normally the best choise, only if the switch to B&W somehow amplifies the educational value, e.g., by adding a mood or 'roughness', which may be justified - or if the colors distract from the essence in the photo. A good example where B&W is justified is for me is this FP, which is from 2010 and on a film medium. The B&W and the grain amplifies in this case the sentiments expressed by the arrested refugees. For the specific cityscape, which has triggered this thread, I do not see B&W as a justified choise, and I am also not convinced that it has been converted optimally to B&W in the specific case. I do not necessaily see the oppose vote from Alchemist-hp as a systematic oppose to all B&W images, but I guess this is better explained by the 'accused' in this thread. -- Slaunger (talk) 12:12, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I just checked the original nomination page of the FP I referred to above. Here, Alchemist-hp also opposed as one of two reviewers, but the oppose reason ("yes, a simply perhaps valued snapshot, not more for me") did not refer to the B&W character of the photo. Thus, I see no evidence that Alchemist-hp opposes nominations just because they are B&W. Alchemist-hp is, as I see it, just a tough reviewer, who sets the bar high for FPCs, and I see no problem with that. It is only recently I got my first support vote from Alchemist-hp ever (after seven years) on an FPC of mine, and all my nominations have been in color;-) I do not always agree with the oppose reason, but they are explained and reasonable IMO. -- Slaunger (talk) 12:29, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Agree again. I think the main reason why B&W works for the photo of the incarcerated immigrants is that we don't care what colour the buildings in the background were, and we can imagine what colour their skin is. What really matter is the emotions of the people, and the barrier between them and freedom. That's the essence of the image. Everything else is a distraction. But that's not the case for 99% of our featured picture candidates. We're mostly evaluating buildings, landscapes, etc. The essence of these subjects is the details. the colours, the textures, the architectural flourishes. Accurate colour, good resolution and a attractive composition is vitally important for these images to reach their educational potential, and to stand out amongst the crowds of other mundane photos of the same subjects. A black and white photo of a building may accentuate the contrast of its lines (as B&W tends to have boosted contrast), but at the expense of other useful information about the building. Diliff (talk) 12:52, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

A few of our black and white (or desaturated/low-colour) featured pictures.

I strongly suggest reading The Complete guide to black and white digital photography by Michael Freeman, to anyone who thinks b&w is simply a loss of educational colour information. That's really like saying our still images are simply videos with all the movement and sound removed (the world moves and makes a noise -- didn't you capture that?). -- Colin (talk) 12:58, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

@Colin: Thanks for the book tip, I've ordered it right away. I've just finished Freeman's "Capturing Light", which I found very inspirational. Cheers, --El Grafo (talk) 14:08, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

I don't want to get into an argument over these individual B&W/low-colour image candidates. The point is the refrain that b&w is unacceptable for FP because "the world is colorful". -- Colin (talk) 13:13, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

As you've started a new thread with some bits that I had already partially addressed in my reply to you inline (edit conflict when I tried to submit), I figured it might be simpler to just put it all together. Bear in mind that it's primarily a response to your comment where you mentioned night photography: I'm not suggesting every photo must be taken in light that maximises the ability to discern the colours accurately. Of course a night photo will have different qualities and colour detail will often be sacrificed somewhat, but it's a compromise and it stills hows what a subject looks like at night. A B&W photo will never show what a subject looks like with any real accuracy, because the photographer has decided to remove the colour - useful information - from it. A photographer that takes a photo at night has not removed anything, he has still portrayed it reasonably accurately as it is at that point in time. Every photo involves some sort of compromise. I'm only suggesting that we should think twice about removing information that is useful, and in most cases, colour is indeed very useful. If at some time in the future, we could capture the sounds and the smells and a 360x180 degree video of a specific slice of time, then I would still be arguing that we should do our best to ensure that none of it is lost. Removing any of those aspects of the capture could indeed be an artistic choice (perhaps commentary on what it's like to be missing a particular sense), but it would not have as much educational information embeded, would it?
As for some of the black and white photos you've listed above, I would say that some of them do indeed suffer somewhat in educational value by being black and white. You say you don't want to get into an argument about the individual images, but I think it's important that if you use them as your argument, we're entitled to actually respond. Let me just use one of the photos as an example. If you were to ask me whether the train station in Sao Paolo is colourful or monochromatic, I wouldn't have a clue! I believe the same photo could have been taken in colour, and would have had the same impact on voters. I just don't think it benefits significantly from being B&W. B&W is an artistic choice. I know that FPs should elicit some emotion in people and that bog standard captures without any artistic endeavour tend to be less interesting, but I just believe that we can achieve that without having to sacrifice colour. Many of the photos above are very good, but I believe they could have been just as good, and more educational, in colour. Diliff (talk) 13:17, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
David, if you think black and white photography is simply removing the colour, then with all due respect, you have a lot to learn. Some of our (my) own attempts lack great talent but that partly reflects the gene-pool here and prejudice against artistic choices like this really don't help foster a community where that talent can grow or new talent is welcome. I disagree that many of the FPs in the gallery would have been improved with colour. If the train station was the sole/lead image in the WP article, then a colour version would be more useful to indicate what, in reality, the colours of the station are. But we are not WP and have no requirement to try to include all the information that one image could possibly contain in a lead photo. That is perhaps something you try to achieve with your indoor cathedral photos, but it isn't Commons mission to provide lead photos for WP. File:Falling rain in mexico.jpg shows the texture of rain on the ground and drops falling from the sky, the pattern of the chairs and the new silhouette of the couple. It has educational value (rain, lovers, etc) but is also beautiful in black and white. -- Colin (talk) 13:37, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
If you think that B&W photography is not removing the colour, then you need to open your eyes and show me where the colour is. ;-) I'm not suggesting that it's merely desaturation though. Obviously there are ways to convert to B&W using different blends of the colour channels to create a scene that is more nuanced than mere desaturation. It comes across as a bit disingenuous and condescending for you to suggest that I wouldn't know that already. But no matter what conversion methodology you use, you are removing the colour from the image and you are removing the colour information which can never be recovered again from that file. It absolutely is a loss of information about the scene. Only the tonality of the colour channel(s) remains, not the colour itself. I never suggested that Commons FP exists to provide lead images for articles. It's a bit of a misconception that FPs on Wikipedia need to be lead images anyway. It helps because it shows that the image is considered useful for the article, but it's by no means a requirement. Anyway, that's irrelevant though, since I'm aware of the difference between Commons and En FP. I just think we have a duty to convey as much information as we can in our images on Commons. This may just be a philosophical difference between us though. I'm not saying that every FP image must be the definitive image of a subject. Of course there are different views, different lighting conditions, different weather, different seasons, and each image would have its own merit. But if we have the choice between a B&W image and a colour image, and there is no reason why B&W is educationally superior, then I think it's a no brainer that we should retain colour information. To me, it's the equivalent of looking at the same image in low resolution and high resolution. A low resolution image might be capable of becoming FP, but of course we'd prefer the higher resolution image, because it contains everything the low res image has and more! I know it's not a perfect analogy, because it could be argued that a B&W image has qualities that a colour image does not, and I would agree, but not to the extent that it overrides the benefit of colour information, at least in the majority of cases. The exception for me is where the emotional and isolational benefit of B&W to get to the essence of the subject is the overriding quality that makes an image featureable. Diliff (talk) 14:09, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Diliff says "we have a duty to convey as much information as we can in our images on Commons". No. Absolutely not. There is no requirement and this is very unhelpful thinking. Educational value is a property, a necessary property, but just a property that an image on Commons has. This is really important but if you consider that maximum potential educational value is a necessary condition, then all sort of ridiculous arguments can be made, such as cropping is terrible, that all shadows must be lifted to midtone, etc. And "if we have the choice between a B&W image and a colour image, and there is no reason why B&W is educationally superior, then I think it's a no brainer that we should retain colour information" again no we do not and must not judge images solely or even mostly on their educational value. If the black and white images is fantastic and beautiful and the colour image is ordinary or distracting, then I'll pick the fantastic over the educational any day. -- Colin (talk) 18:48, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I've no comments about "current case"; but would like to mention my thoughts. 1. Alchemist-hp is not a native English speaker; comments of such people are too short to convey their thoughts. "The world is colorful" is much like Alvesgaspar's typical comment "let the poor thing breath". 2. COM:IG has a point "Quality images must have reasonable colors. Note that this does not necessarily mean natural colors." I think it should be elaborated to explicitly accept B/W themes. (In Wikipedia, there is a known hate to B/W themes; But here in Commons they can be acceptable as a artistic choice.) Jee 15:21, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
    • I don't think that Wikipedia hates B&W images, but it surely does detract from their encyclopaedic value, for the same reasons I've mentioned above. My only issue with B&W images as an artistic choice is that I still do not see how they can be considered more educational than a colour version of the same image. I don't disagree that B&W is indeed an artistic choice, but when they remove relevant information about the subject, should we encourage that? I'm not sure. I believe there are situations where B&W is appropriate and indeed better at isolating the essence of a theme or subject, but those situations are rare for images that Commons attracts. I'd like to see more arguments about precisely why an image is better in B&W than in colour. So far, most of the arguments in favour have been along the lines of "they just are, go read this book if you don't believe me'. The problem I have with that argument is that although these books will no doubt provide a lot of persuasive reasons why B&W has artistic merit, it won't necessarily provide persuasive reasons why it have educational merit, which is what we're primarily discussing here. Also, I would disagree with the guideline that states an QI does not necessarily need natural colours. Natural colours is a concept that is rather difficult to be entirely objective about, but to not even strive for natural colours is a terrible precedent to set IMO. 'Reasonable colours' is such a nebulous concept that it's virtually useless as a way of guiding evaluations. One person's 'reasonable' is another person's 'absolutely unreasonable', as is regularly demonstrated here on Commons. ;-) And just look at the HDR photography on Flickr to see just what some people consider reasonable HDR processing! ;-) Diliff (talk) 15:45, 9 December 2014
        • "educational merit, which is what we're primarily discussing here"' This is where you are going wrong, Diliff. We're here to celebrate fantastic images, that have many excellent properties, one of which is their educational value. We aren't here to celebrate educational images, some of which are fantastic. And you've got a narrow view of what "educational merit" is, if it only includes the information presented by the pixels on screen. -- Colin (talk) 19:13, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
        • Regarding my narrow view of what educational merit is, can you give me a single example of a digital image that has educational merit that goes beyond the information contained in the pixels? What could you learn from a photo that you didn't actually see in the photo? I honestly don't understand what you mean, because a photograph is by definition and etymology "drawing with light". Everything that a photograph is, is contained within it. Diliff (talk) 20:08, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
      • Playing "Devil's advocate" I'd say, that educational value is not maximized by maximizing the information content, but by making the point you want to deliver most clear. In the case of B&W one could argue that color may be a distraction in some cases, for example if shapes should be emphasized. --Dschwen (talk) 15:49, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
        • In that case, you are reducing information of one kind (colour) in order to increase information of another kind (shapes), which I don't think is the right answer. I don't necessarily see it as a zero sum game. Why not strive to increase the informational value of the shapes without sacrificing colour in the process? That could be achieved in so many different ways. Diliff (talk) 15:54, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
        • @Dschwen: Wow, I wish I had the scientific mind of Daniel and could express my ideas on this subject as succinctly and accurately as he did... Two examples of mine, where removing the color emphasizes the particular message I wanted to pass: a gloomy ambience (the original is BW, only the contrast was enhanced) or a stylized silhouette -- Alvesgaspar (talk) 16:09, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
          • Alves, not to disparage Daniel's scientific mind or your artistic endeavours, but if you're impressed with his argument but not mine, I can't help but think that you are unable to see that the artistic decisions you made in the images you cited might distract from the educational value of the image. How does emphasising a message or mood help someone to understand the subject of the images better? Other than it being an artistic concept in your mind's eye, which I can understand and appreciate (art for art's sake is great), what were you trying to convey in those images? Were you trying to describe the tunnel, or the building, or were you trying to describe the artistic style itself? I know another one of your similar images currently illustrates Contre-jour on the English Wikipedia, and that's great - that's an educational use for an image of that kind that I appreciate, but beyond that? The tunnel image is categorised as Category:São Martinho do Porto and Category:Tunnels. In my honest opinion, it does a poor job of illustrating either subject. A tunnel image that shows more texture and colour will tell me more about what a tunnel, or the tunnel inquestion, might look like than a stylised B&W photo. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should never have contributed them to Commons. Anything is better than nothing, but I think more educational images could have been produced that didn't include your stylised 'message'. This is where I think people are creating art but convincing themselves that it's educational. One is often at the expense of the other IMO. Not always, but often. Diliff (talk) 16:39, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
            • @Diliff: -- Let me explain. For me Photography is a means we use for interpreting reality, not necessarily to represent all its details. And the way we do it depends very much on what particular component you want to emphasize or what message you want to pass, depending on our sensibility and purpose. That is true for artistic photos as well as for strictly illustrative ones. For example, in a photo depicting some insect we often clone off (when we can) the elements which we consider to be distracting. Why are we so often pissed off by the cars, the wires or some other technological structure in front of the fifteenth century castle we want to photograph? Because they are irrelevant, anachronic and distracting. The same goes for details of the tunnel in my silhouettes or the color in my gloomy mansion. Analogous considerations and choices are made in map making (I am a cartographer), where the quality of a map is not measured by the quantity of information it contains but for its accuracy and clarity. A map intended for supporting military operations in some region is very different from another one constructed to help farmers or tourists. Alvesgaspar (talk) 17:52, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
              • Hmm. I don't really think that cloning some background details is the same thing as using B&W though. You're right that a branch that upsets the composition of a macro photo is distracting and irrelevant, so it's not a problem to clone out. And I agree that cars, wires and other distracting elements are annoying when all you want to do is reproduce the historical subject in isolation. But I think it's important to present a subject as it is, even if it does include modern distractions. You can choose an angle or crop that minimises distractions, but I don't think you should remove things that are permanently within the scene by cloning or darkening them out of existence. That's deceptive, because the physical space that an item permanently exists in is absolutely relevant to the subject. And I understand your analogy with maps, but I also don't see it as the same thing as using B&W in photography. There are an unlimited and arbitrary number of items could be placed on a map in any given region, so it's assumed that you have to be selective and target it to a particular audience. But colour is a fundamental aspect of our visual perception, and part of what we expect to see when we view something. Obviously we can cope with viewing B&W images, and for many years there was no choice because colour film didn't exist. But now that it and its digital equivalent exists, I think it is a shame if we don't take advantage of it to best describe the subject in our photos. The colour(s) of a subject is something that has educational potential regardless of what the target audience is. I ask again, how does the understanding of the subject benefit from your choice of B&W in the images you mentioned: a gloomy ambience and a stylized silhouette? Yes, it adds mood, but can you honestly argue that it adds extra understanding to the subject in any way? Diliff (talk) 18:28, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Some thoughts. I'm really shocked by the personalization of this topic. It just lacks "lets crucify him". @Alchemist-hp: is absolutely free to dislike wb pictures, and to oppose for this reason (and only for this reason) if it is his opinion, and even if it is a "wrong" (?) opinion. All the rest is "words", as for you, you are free too discuss indefinitely the comparative merits of wb or color pictures, I doubt you will convince each others, as it is just a matter of taste and circumstances. I've read above : perhaps he isn't open minded enough to judge fairly. Hey guys, do you know you are talking about one of our fellow colleagues here ? I strongly disagree with such public discussion, which are just under the limit of personal attack, and " Oh look how Alchemist-hp is a bad guy !". Again, he did not do anything against nor the rules neither people. Maybe a message on his discussion page should have been a better way to do, because less a public stigma. As for me, I'm able to oppose a bw nomination only because of a bw artistic choice I dislike...--Jebulon (talk) 18:04, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
      • Please stop diverting attention to drama. This conversation is interesting from an artistic point of view, have been taking note of Colin and Diliff. I probably misunderstood your comment because I'm not a native speaker. --Wilfredo R. Rodríguez H. (talk) 18:16, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
      • Per Wilfredor, you misinterpret. I don't wish to crucify or ban Alchemist. He has openly stated he is not a fan of b&w and repeated opposes such images. Yet somehow, outside of Commons, the world continues to take and admire such images for their unique qualities. We have no policy against b&w so opposing always simply because the image is b&w is disruptive. And sorry but reviewers need to just as thick skinned as nominators/photographers. Wilfredor has nominated a black and white photograph and (leaving aside its own technical issues) has been told such photography has no place on Commons because the colour information is missing. This is, I have to be blunt here, ignorant and disrespectful to our image creators, which I value above anything on Commons. -- Colin (talk) 18:57, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
      • Sorry, I don't divert to drama. You all divert a personal accusation to another debate, all right. Nothing forbid to oppose in FP because a picture is BW, this is not disrespectful and no disruptive, this is a matter of taste.--Jebulon (talk) 22:39, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
        • Don't worry @Jebulon:, no one will be lynched this time, because we have already left the initial subject and have departed to more theoretical grounds! Smile But yes, I fully agree with you in that Atchemist has has all the right to deslike B&W photos and oppose a nomination for that reason. What is amazing in this discussion is the so different opinions people have on the subject despite the fact that we are all informed and cultivated people... Or maybe our opinions are not so different after all and we are just playing (a bit of) the "Devil's advocate", like Daniel. Alvesgaspar (talk) 19:10, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
          • Well, Diliff has taken it off into information theory, but I find this voting just as disruptive as if someone regularly opposed images for being < 36MP. After all, cropping or failing to create a megastitch image is information-loss. If that happened, I'm sure I'd not be alone in telling that reviewer to change their ways. The word "right" is used rather a lot these days for things that are not fundamental at all. I think it very sad indeed if our creators can be discouraged by longstanding reviewers simply on grounds of prejudice. -- Colin (talk) 19:21, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
            • It's not really about information theory though. 'Information' is just a word I was proposing as one way of quantifying the educational value of an image. Otherwise it's difficult to argue that value is gained or lost by B&W conversion, it just becomes subjective opinion. And cropping or not creating a megastitch again is not the same thing. We don't expect perfection from an image. Not everyone has to go to as much trouble as I do to create a panorama. And cropping is ok because it still represents what is in the scene accurately and completely. B&W photography does not do that because information could be (and in my opinion should be in most cases) within the scene is missing for a fairly trivial artistic reason. Diliff (talk) 19:37, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
          • Is it really so surprising? Informed, cultivated people rarely agree on anything. ;-) Well, from my point of view, I'm not playing Devil's Advocate, but perhaps my real feeling about it is less extreme than it might appear here. I don't really care that much if a photo is black and white - it can have genuine merit. My honest belief is that it would still probably serve a greater purpose in colour, but a B&W image is not something that is going to enrage me. ;-) However, if we're going to debate this topic rationally, I will stick to my beliefs. Beliefs are still beliefs whether you believe them strongly or half-heartedly. I'm only likely to change my mind if a genuine persuasive argument is presented and to be honest, I haven't seen much in the way of arguments. Really, the only person so far who has actually challenged my position and tackled my questioning is Colin and it seems that we simply have a slightly different idea of what a Commons FP is supposed to be. I see them as educational, primarily. He sees educational value as just one aspect of a FP, no more important than the others. It could be that I'm truly in a minority on that, but not enough people have actually commented. I'm happy to bow down to the majority if that's what decided, but it does seem like we need to come to some sort of consensus about it. Does B&W photography detract from an equivalent colour image, and if not, why not? Explain in detail. And if not, is it indeed true that artistic merit should be more important than educational merit? If so, why? Again, explain. Those questions are fundamental for me. Without clear answers to them, the rest really is 'just words' because it appears we're not actually on the same wavelength. :-) Diliff (talk) 19:37, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • WOW, a very BIG discussion about me :-) I have no problem with this (we are a big Commons-photographer-family), but: I have my opinion about new actually B&W images. I also asked: "why a B&W image?". I'm still waiting for a valid answer?!?, perhaps for a new opinion from me. So you can discuss about that how many you like, my opinion remains as it was! Best wishes to all. --Alchemist-hp (talk) 20:03, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Images on this common repository should have value, not necessarily just educational value. Insisting on educational value is just pandering to WP's academic values and not Commons' artistic ones. Certainly FPC should be more about the latter rather than the former. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:10, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I support Alchemist-hp's right to oppose on these grounds - even systematically against all B&Ws if he feels strongly about it. I have opposed BW images in the past, and that is my default position unless the (usual) loss of (educational) value is IMO sufficiently compensated by increased artistry/wow. FP is ultimately based on the judgement of the voters, and it's important that the rules do not to boss the voters around too much. This is why the rules should not say colour only, but also why voters should not be harrangued because of how they balance the many factors involved in evaluating a picture. Even Colin agrees that most of our FPs would be better in colour if they were for WP pages, so maybe Alchemist's judgement simply aligns more with WP than it does with Photographic-art style competitions. That's perfectly fine, and I don't think he should be criticised for it. --99of9 (talk) 03:18, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • The way I see it Commons FPC is what its contributors and reviewers make out of it. There is no point in writing down a detailed itemization and mathematically weighted list of educational vs. artistic criteria to bind all the reviewers. Who would decide on those criteria anyways? The contributors... with a !vote. FPC is a !vote, so we might as well have the criteria be something organic that emerges from the voting behavior. As such the Alchemist should be free to downvote BW pictures, because this is ultimately an expression of what he thinks commons FPC should be. People who think that BW images and artistic aspects of images should be emphasized are free to cast their support votes. --Dschwen (talk) 16:48, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • There is a certain irony to this discussion given this week someone paid $7.8 millions for a black and white photo, which happens to be the highest price ever paid for a photograph. Saffron Blaze (talk) 05:36, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Saffron, see discussion below (There is some doubt as to the authenticity of this "sale", or its relevance to the worth of anything). I'm less concerned with some print only fit to be sold in IKEA for £10, than the thought that educational masterpieces like that produced by Sebastião Salgado might meet the same ###### response if anyone with even a fraction of his talent nominated their work here. It seems to me Salgado's work sums up exactly the difference between Wikipedia and Commons, and how a concern for coloured encyclopaedic images is deeply unhelpful to this project. But from the comments below I suspect it would be regarded as "art, nothing more, nothing less". -- Colin (talk) 11:06, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Great images are not necessarily maximally educational[edit]

Sony A77 II.jpg
Sony A77.jpg

The first image got a hard time here on Commons FP. No precedent. We have so few low-key images on Commons that this actually ended up illustrating the WP article on the subject, despite this being an important style of photography. I was told an educational photograph needed full lighting. Why would anyone, wanting to create an educational image, bathe it in shadow? And surely photographing a black subject on a black background is just a no no? Well it got promoted. And one might think the folk at Wikipedia FP would have even more conservative tastes on what was encyclopaedic/educational than the free thinkers at Commons. Not so: they loved the entire set of three images. But perhaps it has no use in educational publications outside of Wikipedia? How about the front cover of the textbook on the camera written by Gary Friedman, the top author of Sony camera guides.

I set myself the lighting challenge of a low-key image, a dark object on a dark background, and built my own homemade softbox with which to take it. If someone here wants to create and upload a fantastic black and white image, I'd love to see that supported rather than opposed merely because the colour is missing. If I wanted to take a merely educational image, I'd shoot the second style of image below. Which would come in very handy when I want to sell my camera on ebay, but doesn't raise my heartbeat one jot. Did anyone here take up photography as a hobby to create merely educational images, or to (attempt to) create fantastic images? Let's not discourage creative ambition with conservative voting. -- Colin (talk) 19:57, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

  • @Colin: are you always immaculate? Regards, --Alchemist-hp (talk) 20:11, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Gary Friedman didn't use your image because it was educational though, he used it because it was a nice, pleasant, sleek promotional image to sell his book. Which is fine. Not every educational publication uses every image educationally. They all still have to sell copy. The thing is, I see this low key image as a good example of how it can be used well. And there are situations where B&W can be used well too. But not every instance of either will be done well or be appropriate for the scene, and because by its very nature you are consciously withholding information, the value of the artistic expression must be greater than the value of the lost information. I think that's really what it comes down to, and I think that was probably the reasoning behind the opposition to your nomination, or near enough. Diliff (talk) 20:24, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
    • I think you do simply have a very limited idea of what constitutes educational are are confusing it with "precisely illustrative" or something similar. And you can dismiss my argument as "just words" or reject my suggestion that folk here should read some books over Christmas, but it isn't really my job to supply a full education on all the basics of photography in order to win some argument. I guess all the reviewers who supported Commons:Featured picture candidates/File:Big Ben at sunset - 2014-10-27 17-30.jpg were wrong because that isn't illustrative of reality nor is it more educational that a straightforward fast-shutter-speed photograph. Those light trails don't exist folks. Vote oppose. -- Colin (talk) 20:44, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
      • That last response seems more like a bit of a rant, as opposed to a systematic response to what I've said. I feel like I'm spending a lot of my time here defending things I haven't actually said. I never dismissed your argument as 'just words', I said that if we cannot actually agree on what basis we describe an image 'educational', we're not actually on the same wavelength as far as the discussion of the merits of B&W photography goes and it becomes 'just words' because we think we're taking about the same thing but it transpires afterwards that we disagree on those fundamentals and have made incorrect assumptions about each other. And I have no idea how you extrapolated my last reply to suggest that your image of Big Ben was not illustrative of reality. You may not have noticed that I actually supported it! Long exposures can indeed provide more educational value in some situations, because they can describe the path of lit objects over time. Please don't take one nuanced argument and try to pretend it was being applied to other separate situations in order to rave and ridicule it. Stick to the points raised and respond to them directly and we'll have far less confusion and frustration. Diliff (talk) 21:58, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Hi, The best examples of highly educational recent B&W pictures we have are the portraits by Claude Truong-Ngoc. Professional quality, no doubt, but also little chance to get FP here with the attitude against B&W images prevaling on Commons. Yann (talk) 21:08, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

For me that's not the best example; I find that regarding standard portraits of people, B&W is rarely preferable to color. I think it's best for scenes where there is a lot of contrast and texture and not much color to begin with. -- King of ♠ 03:25, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

The future will tell us about our B&W images on Commons ... I think we can close this discussion here. I don't wrote "all" B&W images are good only for opposes! I individual decide me. --Alchemist-hp (talk) 21:17, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

When Wilfredo asked you about all the existing b&w FPs, you said "I was not there, for a voting. But old B&W images are OK for me" and earlier wrote "I'm not a fan from BW images." Your prejudiced voting seems pretty clear to me. Perhaps you can provide evidence of supporting a contemporary b&w image for FP? -- Colin (talk) 21:48, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
"Perhaps you can provide evidence of supporting a contemporary b&w image for FP?" why? Do we have a rule for this? --Alchemist-hp (talk) 22:02, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I think Colin was noting that you said "I don't wrote "all" B&W images are good only for opposes! I individual decide me" which I think, if you'll allow me to paraphrase for simplicity, means that you don't vote oppose systematically, and that you decide on a case-by-case basis. He then asks, if this is true, then do you have any examples of where you have actually ever voted anything but oppose. I think it's a fair enough question. But of course you are entitled to say that you've never supported a B&W image but that you are open minded enough to consider it in the future. Diliff (talk) 22:09, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, I'll explain it differently when I'd like to vote with an oppose for an B&W image and don't with: "the world is colorful". I promise. --Alchemist-hp (talk) 22:29, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

For those who want to justify their choice of B&W on Commons...[edit]

... Please feel free to use this artist statement generator. Just copy and paste the generated statement on your userpage and nobody will be able to question your artistic choices or integrity ever again. ;-) Diliff (talk) 10:26, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

lol --Wilfredo R. Rodríguez H. (talk) 11:25, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Fine-art photography has a long tradition that includes respected artists/photographers one would only mock if one wants to look as ignorant and foolish as someone mocking Shakespeare. It includes images one would certainly regard as fully educational and others that are clearly not. (One only has to look at recent POTY winners to realise the community value wow over educational -- exploding lightbulbs?) Contemporary art (photographic or otherwise) does have its fair share of bollocks-merchants and talentless fools. Flick though a copy of Contemporary Art Photography if you want a full dose of art-curator bollocks-speech. The taste for colour vs b&w images varies over time (once a necessity, now a choice) but the argument for using that medium is absolutely nothing to do with arty farty bullshit. Dismissing it makes as much sense as dismissing pencil or charcoal when there are coloured paints and pastels. Or dismissing the still photograph when we can now take high fidelity moving images. Or dismissing the quartet as a musical ensemble when one could listen to an orchestra. If you don't appreciate it, and have to ask "why b&w" then perhaps the problem lies not with the photographer having to justify their artistic choice, but in the viewer.

Here, take some christmas sweeets my daugter and I made for you. Beware: They are three years old, so you may need an extra cup of coffee. -- Slaunger (talk) 20:04, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Diliff has stated the following about this B&W FP: I think the main reason why B&W works for the photo of the incarcerated immigrants is that we don't care what colour the buildings in the background were, and we can imagine what colour their skin is. What really matter is the emotions of the people, and the barrier between them and freedom. That's the essence of the image. Everything else is a distraction. -- Slaunger (talk) 20:04, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

I don't much care for rap music and can think of more entertaining ways to spend an evening than listening to Verdi's Requiem. Does my musical taste justify me to dismiss the artists producing those kinds of music and to judge their output as unworthy or even to mock them? Yet some here think that personal taste justifies opposing an image they are reviewing. It doesn't. If a photographic style or subject is not to your taste, then there are plenty other images you can review. -- Colin (talk) 12:20, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

I do not think Verdi's Requiem is the best either. "Ein Deutsches Requiem" by Brahms is much better: Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen wie des Grases Blumen. Das Gras ist verdorret und die Blume abgefallen. That is just so great! I love it, I love it! Mozart's (Kyrie eleison!) is brilliant too if you fast-forward the Süssmayr parts. That is FM (Featured Music) to me. -- Slaunger (talk) 20:02, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
"und mein Leben ein Ziel hat"...+1 Slaunger. But the trumpets of Verdi are not so bad. You should try the Berlioz too. But actually... Nah, read my user's page.--Jebulon (talk) 21:10, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Colin, you're attacking a straw man here. Just take the joke for what it was - a light hearted poke as a reminder not to take ourselves so seriously. Diliff (talk) 12:34, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes; I too sense the humour as Wilfredo above. Otherwise, will have removed your comment as posting such links are probably out of scope here. Fortunately Commons has no strong policies as in EN. :) Jee 12:44, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Diliff, I like to poke fun at arty bullshit as much as the next rational sentient being. But claiming "those who want to justify their choice of B&W on Commons" belong in that crowd of middle-class losers who wouldn't know an f-stop from an A-mount, is very unhelpful, whether done in jest or otherwise. You know the saying "Freedom for the pike is death for the minnows" -- you can all defend your "right" to sneer and mock b&w images and oppose them at FP if it helps you feel all equal, but its a shitty way to review images and a shitty way to treat content creators. -- Colin (talk) 13:17, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
      • Again, a straw man. You have on a number of occasions taken what I've said and extrapolated it to something completely hyperbolic. Nowhere have I explicitly or implicitly stated what sort of character a person who "want(s) to justify their choice of B&W on Commons" might be. "Middle-class losers" are your words, not mine. Even if I did imply it, it was a joke for God's sake. It wasn't intended to be taken seriously. Despite your insinuations that I wish to sneer down on people from my high horse, I feel I've taken the debate above seriously and tried to be as rational as I can, presenting arguments and a line of questioning that helped us to understand why it was that we were approaching the same issue from different angles. As it turns out, from my point of view at least, it seems that we have slightly different ideas about the purpose of a Commons FP in terms of its educational value, and I believe the FP guidelines are not explicit enough to determine who is right. This is just two people with different opinions - a battle of ideas. There are still a number of threads that are waiting for a reply. I'm not saying you should feel obliged to continue if you feel that it isn't contributing to a solution, but at least don't suggest that I'm not taking it seriously. I just assumed you no longer wished to continue them. I'm more than willing to continue the discussion at the appropriate point in the thread, but ignoring the existing on-going discussion and instead starting a new discussion with a rant about something I never said or even implied isn't helping IMO. Diliff (talk) 13:48, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not going to argue with every point you raise because I'm really not here to argue for argument sake. If folk here can't appreciate b&w then that is their loss, not something I'm going to try to justify or educate, and they shouldn't use their prejudices/tastes to oppose. We aren't voting about whether Alchemist should hang someone's b&w cityscape on his living room wall. We're deciding whether such an image is among the finest on commons. That should be as little about one's personal tastes as it is about whether you are Nikon fanboy or a love ornate cathedrals or have no interest in birdwatching. All this talk of less information == less education == oppose is just a ridiculous argument. Will I oppose the next image you crop? Or oppose Wilredor's 12MP camera because clearly it is less educational than a D800's 36MP. That, frankly, is the level of argument I see. -- Colin (talk) 18:13, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
The points I raise and the questions I ask you are fundamental to my position though, and are not just arguments for arguments' sake. More than once, you've made (IMO) a rather bold statement and when I've asked you for an example to demonstrate that the statement is correct, you've fallen silent. You're more than happy to keep repeating your own position though, and tell people that they're rude, insulting, ignorant etc, but you're unwilling to debate the actual points I make in good faith? I keep telling you that what you think I'm saying is actually not correct, that, for example, I'm not suggesting that any form of cropping or tone curve adjustments or using a lower megapixel camera are the same thing as converting to B&W. I've explained why I think it is not the same thing, and still you keep repeating the same false argument. Straw man, straw man, straw man. It's rather frustrating. This is exactly the reason why we're not making as much progress as we could be. If you're not willing to consider a differing opinion and follow the reasoning through to its conclusion, you're unlikely to be open to changing your mind about anything. If this discussion has only been about shouting loudly and telling people that they're wrong, then I guess I didn't get the memo. Diliff (talk) 20:21, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Diliff, you keep repeating this straw man thing but I rather suspect it is you that has been attacking one the whole time. Read my comment to Slaunger below. If I haven't answered one of your questions it is because it either isn't relevant to the issue of refusing all contemporary black and white images at FP (which is my complaint), or is much like asking me to explain why an orange is superior to a grapefruit. -- Colin (talk) 21:54, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

There is no reason to collapse this from sight. It was just a joke. Are we going to police every single comment to check whether it was "productive" now? We are doing all this as a hobby... ...for fun, aren't we? --Dschwen (talk) 16:34, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

This is the third discussion started within 2 days about the same topic. Why not people can spend there time for some useful purposes? No more policing or edits from my side in COM:FPC. Jee 17:02, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Jee, you might not find the topic important or useful but some other people do care so please don't delete it from view. -- Colin (talk) 18:13, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
I would say that it's all part of the same discussion in a way. And I still think it has the potential to be constructive discussion if it doesn't keep degenerating to hyperbole. I think most people took it as the joke it was, and not a serious snide attack on B&W photography as was suggested by Colin. I got a number of 'thanks' for the joke from people who didn't comment (and probably preferred to avoid getting involved). Diliff (talk) 17:41, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Diliff, it is a very funny link. But the topic heading "For those who want to justify their choice of B&W on Commons" is insulting because you are making a joke of people who upload B&W images on commons and are then forced to explain that choice in response to an oppose vote. -- Colin (talk) 18:13, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
@Colin you can discuss and discuss and discuss the next 10km duration here on Commons, but nothing will be in the future others ... "I" (and/or other voter) can still say: "no wow" (an also "valid" voting) ... And now? A discussion for nothing! Please go better to out FPC side an write us "your" oppinions for all the images. It is more interesting and instructive. I'd like to learn more. Thanks and EOD for me here. --Alchemist-hp (talk) 19:24, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
(EC) Colin I do not think, that Diliff intends to make a joke of people who upload B&W images on Commons with that heading. Most see it for what it is intended to be, a joke, and a digression from a discussion, which was getting hyperbolic, with (sorry to say) especialy you not really interested in understanding the other partys viewpoint. (I was one of the users thanking for the link). And I must say the bullocks art statement generator is hilarious Smile. The serious side of this is there will always be an element of personal preferences, life experience, cultural and personal background, age, faith, you name it in how we evaluate images and determine what is the "finest". It is a non-exact science with no fixed "correct" answer. Both Diliff and now also Alchemist and 99of9 have stated stated they they do not oppose B&W categorically, just because they are B&W, but on a case by case basis. I opposed the nomination by Wilfredor, because B&W did not work for me with the way the photo was made. It did not appear to be the optimal form for me for this kind of night cityscape, and it was not clear to me, what should be seen as the benefit in a B&W representation for the specific subject. That does not mean that B&W is never the optimal form for me. On the contrary I am very proud to have been able to help improve the photo shown from 2010, nominate it for FP and get it promoted, as I found this was the perfect way to portray the subject of that photo. Luckily, there are several voters on an FPC, which allows reviewers with a wide range of preferences to have a say on the final verdict. By and large, I do think the end result is normally that work is promoted, which we can be proud of using as show cases. Moreover, I think it is (very) seldom that clear FP material is being voted down because of one-sided or unreasonable personal preferences. -- Slaunger (talk) 19:54, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Slaunger, I suspect my opening paragraph to this whole thing was not completely clear on what I wanted to disallow. So several people, including Diliff, have argued against something I never intended. I agree with everyone that "This image does not work in black and white" is a perfectly valid oppose, provided the opposer gives some rationale why they think it doesn't work. There are many cases where transforming to b&w weakens the image educationally, not least Diliff's latest butterfly photo. But what started the whole thing, and is my point, is that "the world is colourful" is not a reason to oppose all modern black and white images. If one doesn't understand the artistic choices made, don't begin with an oppose and expect the creator to justify themselves to you. That's just rude. This is what the evidence says Alchemist is doing. And he says that the existing b&w FPs are simply ones he didn't vote on / wasn't there. Whether in future he supports a contemporary b&w image, we shall see. Can we not agree that point-blank dismissing an entire genre of photography is unacceptable? Wilfredo's city sky picture had technical flaws but guys, does anyone here really think black and white night city photos have no place on Commons FP? Just Google Image search for "black and white night city" and see some beautiful images that are just different to what can be achieved in colour. Or watch Wood Allen's Manhattan with New York filmed in black and white, and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue playing. All I'm asking is that such images aren't dismissed out of hand. -- Colin (talk) 21:41, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Colin I can agree with you that general point blank opposes of B&W nominations, just because they are B&W, are critiziable. I think that with that should normally follow an argument of why it does not seem to the best choice for the particular subject. I also agree that sometimes B&W may be a good option for night cityscapes, although most of the hits I get by doing the search you suggest brings up images, where I find it was not the best choice (at least with the way the conversion to B&W has been done), at least not for educational value photos, but maybe more for the fine-art photography genre you alluded to initially in this thread. But please also note that Alchemist-hp above now has explicitly stated that in the future he will provide reasons for objecting to B&W nominations. Can't we close it with that? In the FP given in this section, Alchemist also opposed, but gave an oppose reason, which was not related to the B&W character of the photo. And finally, also recall the multilingual character of the project, where non-native English speakers cannot precisely express what they really mean in English, which sometimes gives apparently unnuanced review comments. -- Slaunger (talk) 22:14, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Slaunger, are you referring to Commons:Featured picture candidates/File:Hong Kong at night B&W.jpg? I don't see "an oppose reason, which was not related to the B&W character of the photo". I don't even see an oppose reason that was related to the B&W character of this photo. Just absolute opposition in terms that I find unacceptable. I agree language difficulties are a problem. Does anyone need help translating " I feel somewhat discouraged by this type of vote". Let's hope things improve and move on. -- Colin (talk) 22:26, 10 December 2014 (UTC) Ah, I see you are referring to the refugee picture: I'm not sure that tells us anything other than he found another fault. -- Colin (talk) 22:29, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
(EC) Colin, I was referring to Commons:Featured picture candidates/File:20101009 Arrested refugees immigrants in Fylakio detention center Thrace Evros Greece restored.jpg, but see also (from today) Commons:Featured picture candidates/File:Bruno Doucey par Claude Truong-Ngoc décembre 2014.jpg. Completely justified oppose votes on B&W IMO. Time to move on? -- Slaunger (talk) 22:31, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Logically, those votes prove absolutely nothing and my original complaint stands. I am glad you at least are seeing my point about opposing all modern b&w. Sadly others seem to think taste can be regarded as an acceptable prejudice for genre-oppose voting at FP. Yes I think think this discussion has reached some conclusion and all we can do now is wait and see. -- Colin (talk) 23:35, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Not quite 'Phantom' but close - and in color

Peter Lik's photograph "Phantom" has sold for $6.5 million, making it the most expensive photograph ever. Johnathan Jones, art critic of The Guardian newspaper writes: This record-setting picture typifies everything that goes wrong when photographers think they are artists. It is derivative, sentimental in its studied romanticism, and consequently in very poor taste. It looks like a posh poster you might find framed in a pretentious hotel room. Phantom is a black-and-white shot taken in Antelope Canyon, Arizona. The fact that it is in black and white should give us pause. Today, this deliberate use of an outmoded style can only be nostalgic and affected, an “arty” special effect. We’ve all got that option in our photography software. Yeah, my pics of the Parthenon this summer looked really awesome in monochrome." Jones' opinion-piece generated 50 pages of comments and a follow-up piece by Sean O'Hagan, photography critic of The Guardian newspaper. O'Hagan doesn't much care for the photograph either, but kinda takes a different view on mostly everything else, especially the photographers can't be artists part. Just FYI :-) -- Colin (talk) 19:54, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Oh, just in case anyone thinks I'm quoting Jones because his opinions have any worth whatsoever (and I'm not defending that deeply unoriginal photograph, or the stupid amounts people spend), I'm quoting him because he's an arse and his flatulence was relevant to our friendly little chat above. For those who may not be familiar with his writing: he's a troll critic. His comments on the Tower of London Poppies probably made him one of the most hated men in the UK, but also briefly the most discussed, which is what he, like any troll, wanted. -- Colin (talk) 20:18, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

He, it is remarkable that we have en entire category Crepuscular rays in Antelope Canyon dedicated to "Phantom"-like photos. None of them in B&W though;-) -- Slaunger (talk) 20:14, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I think the "phantom" is the image make of the dust in the ray. None of the other pictures have that. That's the $6.5m difference. -- Colin (talk) 20:19, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, in none of the photos in that category did someone go and throw a handfull of sand in the air over and over again until it looked like a phantom.Smile Nice story and discussion though, Colin. -- Slaunger (talk) 20:25, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I thought this really got to the heart of the matter. It's very likely to be either money laundering (that one is for the Breaking Bad fans! And apparently money laundering is pretty common in the high end art world) or a publicity stunt to help justify the prices of his 'regular' work. Either way, Peter Lik is the man most likely to benefit from all the attention over the sale price. Diliff (talk) 21:28, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, this stuff has as little to do with art as crystal skulls and preserved sharks. The PetaPixel article's conclusion is accurate: look at Sebastião Salgado for a real photo artist, working in... black and white, and who's photographic mission is ... educational. What does someone described as "the world's greatest living photographer" know about that? -- Colin (talk) 22:21, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Maybe you could write a book with all these examples, quotes and opinions. But I'm afraid you will convince all those who are already convinced, and not convince nobody else anymore here...--Jebulon (talk) 22:31, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Jebulon, perhaps you should not be so bold to speak for everybody -- not everyone is speaking their mind here. I'm not really interested in changing closed minds by my own argument. I'm more interested in finding some spark to make us actually think and discover our own thoughtful response. Salgado said "I hope that the person who visits my exhibitions, and the person who comes out, are not quite the same". Is that not the boldest definition of "educational"? Does all this talk of coloured pixels suddenly seem utterly irrelevant when you stopone stops and thinks about what makes a picture educational? Are we really arrogant enough to think that the crowd of "point a camera at a building/landscape/flower/butterfly" photographers that most of us here are, are really qualified to stand in judgement of an entire genre of photography. Jebulon, I'm not expecting you or anyone to respond with "Yes, of course you are right". I'm asking youus to look around and to think. -- Colin (talk) 08:20, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Please Colin, don't try to accuse me to do (or to be) what you are trying to do or to be. It is a very well known rethorical process and I will not fall in this trap. "I'm asking you to look around and to think". What do you mean ? Do you think I'm stupid and not able for that alone, and therefore I need your help ? "perhaps you should not be so bold etc...". Who is "arrogant" ? I read, I watch, I look, I see and I think. Let me to remain free in my opinions (You don't know what they are, as I'm just talking here about your way to try to "drive" this discussion, I'm sorry, I know it is a little bit out of topic). BtW, as I've already said (and done !) I'm perfectly able to support in FPC a B&W picture, that's why I disagree with Alchemist-hp below about a supposed "colorful Commons". B&W pictures are VERY welcome in Commons, and the cream of the cream of them should be "featurable" too. No need of any quote for that. But I support Alchemist's right to think what he thinks, to say what he says, and to vote how he votes, even if "you" think his rationales are wrong. I hope I'm clear now.--Jebulon (talk) 12:57, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Jebulon, I'm not accusing you personally of unthinking (the word "you" is not always specific in informal English -- I should have used "one"), though up to now your contribution to the discussion has been simply to ask me to shut up. This is the talk page, is it not? If we can't discuss what makes a featured picture here then what is the point in having such a page? This has not been about opinion, but about prejudice. If one believes b&w has no place on Commons FP because "the world is colourful" then change the rules to say so or abstain. Repeatedly stating such a view is not a "right" but both disruptive and harmful to the project. With respect, Jebulon, I firmly disagree with your belief we have a right at FPC to say/vote whatever we like. And I don't extend anyone's right to "think what he thinks" to become "so never criticise anyone about it". I seem to recall a time when you asked me to stop voting because you thought I was being too negative. We are a community and part of that is making a stand when we believe members are not acting in the best interests. My reason for giving examples and quoting is because the discussion above used arguments (for disregarding all b&w at FP) I feel as unhelpful as trying to explain great writing by looking at sentence-length. No matter what arguments anyone here might dream up of why some style of imagery is more or less educational, if the experts in this field, and the rest of the world, disagree with that, then it's probably time to admit one hasn't thought about it or read about it enough. That's my point. -- Colin (talk) 14:00, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Ok, I understand. It is time for me to stop this personal debate between you Colin and me now. I'm terribly french, and therefore "cartesian". I don't ask you to shut up, I just read these three posts, and what ? Nothing new in arguments, and waste of time. But as I said: EOD for me. "Et le combat cessa faute de combattants" (Corneille, Le Cid, Act IV, Scene 3, Rodrigue).--Jebulon (talk) 16:32, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
@Colin you are right, but we are here on Commns. Our Commons is a colorful team of photographers. Your diskussion here is only a discussion about the arts. Not more, not less! We all have the liberty to vote about the nominated images (arts, also specially the B&W arts) with enthusiasm or without, we can like or dislike it. It is the risc of the nominator (author, photographer) to earn supports or opposes. The main: "There is no accounting for taste!" Do you understand all this too? --Alchemist-hp (talk) 09:03, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Just on the subject of Johnathan Jones again, it was particularly interesting for me to read the article about Phantom where he states "Photography is not an art. It is a technology. We have no excuse to ignore this obvious fact in the age of digital cameras", and then find an article he wrote less than two years ago declaring the exact opposite: "Photography is the serious art of our time. It also happens to be the most accessible and democratic way of making art that has ever been invented.". A hulking, ugly troll indeed. :-) Diliff (talk) 23:27, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I see someone raised the spectre of people's rights. So tedious those concepts get rolled out in a discussion like this where what people are demanding is the right to pre-judge. Sure, images that are B&W carry less factual information, but the process may reveal, as others have noted, more important concepts or focus our attention on the important facts. Dismissing these images out of hand is just a form of prejudice. Saffron Blaze (talk) 17:03, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Photographing churches in Paris[edit]

DXR, Jebulon, and of course anyone else who may have experience with this... I'm going to be in Paris for a few days just after Christmas and was thinking of using my time to photograph a few of the interesting and beautiful churches of Paris. From experience, I know that some of them are not particularly photography-friendly (I remember from many years ago that Sacre Coeur forbids it and I assume that is still true), probably even less so for tripods. Do you know which churches I shouldn't bother trying to photograph, and which ones are okay with tripods? I wonder if it will be a bit like English Cathedrals - most don't actually forbid photography, but many are very suspicious. I will of course have the additional disadvantage of speaking almost no French at all. :-) I'm sure it will be very difficult to find any of them quiet enough to get a nice architectural photo without crowds of people, especially around the Christmas period, but I'll give it a try. Any recommendations on must-see locations would be appreciated. If Paris is anything like London, there must be many less famous churches that are still worth a visit. Diliff (talk) 13:36, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Diliff, I'd generally say the less known, the more you can do. Sacre-Coeur is indeed not allowing it, Notre-Dame doesn't allow tripods (probably there's no way they could enforce no photos at all anyways!). I would perhaps suggest Saint-Germain-des-Près, which I found quite interesting (also with all the history etc.), but once I had received my pano head, that church was full with stuff for a concert (I then shot Saint-Sulpice instead, also pretty, not hyper-overcrowed). I do feel that this church does deserve a Diliff-treatment, even though it is not so fancy. I personally shot more churches elsewhere in France than in Paris and I never did get too hostile reactions. Unsurprisingly people ask, because tripods always raise alarm lights, but saying that you don't do it professionally usually satisfied people (though I guess I got more leeway being 20 than somebody older might get :D). I also experienced people actually finding it interesting and handing me maps and telling me what to shoot (though that was in Troyes). I must admit that the only time I see churches from the inside is to photograph them, so Jebulon probably knows much more about other locations. --DXR (talk) 14:47, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, I think they often see you shooting 'professionally' and think of it as a signal that they can make money from you. I visited a very insigificant church (but with a very beautiful rood screen, although the photos on Commons currently don't do it any justice) a few days ago that is only open twice a week for a few hours and gets almost no visitors at all. And they still tried to charge me to photograph it. I don't usually mind if it's a few £/€ as a donation but sometimes they want serious money. Usually when I explain it's only for Wikipedia and not professionally, they calm down. :-) I know these churches need to survive somehow but I do think they need to balance this with being open and accessible to visitors. Good photography will only make more people aware of it. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. Diliff (talk) 15:07, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Diliff, To be known: churches in Paris are belonging to the State, not to the Catholic Church. In theory, photographying should be free. but in real, of course, things are different. Remember that catholic churches are not only "monuments", but places where God is present in real (in the Holy Sacrament, symbolized by the little red light you see near the main altar). So the way to do is to be quick, discret and silent. Not far from Saint-Germain des Prés is one of the most interesting (and beautiful) churches of Paris (IMO), it is Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont. I've taken photographs all inside here with a tripod, absolutely free (see the Category:Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, you'll find some of my poor production). It is my parish church, and I know the vicar, so I may ask him for you, even if we already have many and many pictures of this monument. And I've used tripod in other churches without problems. I try to meet a priest and ask him a permission, and I've always been authorized. But 1):the main problem is of course the period of Xmas. 2):I'll live Paris for the New Year eve, so I think I could not be with you (a pity, send me your dates by private mail !!!). 3):Inside of parisian churches are generally very dark and not as "clean" as the english. Anyway yes, a lot of churches in Paris deserve visits.--Jebulon (talk) 16:22, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Jebulon. I'll send you an email. I'm actually not sure about dates yet, I will actually be north of Paris for almost 2 weeks as my wife's family is French. I assume also that the other major touristy churches like Sainte-Chapelle will also restrict or prohibit photography? I had a look at Flickr images and most were handheld, but I found one or two that were longer exposures and must have been taken with a tripod of some kind. Most had a very low position so I think maybe a mini tripod was used so that guards would not notice? Actually I did find this blog post by Trey Radcliffe ('celebrity' HDR photographer) which does suggest that you aren't allowed to use a tripod. Unfortunately the interior photography I do often takes 10-15 minutes per image so I really doubt I would ever be able to get away with it! Anyway, your parish church looks really quite interesting. Diliff (talk) 15:06, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
BTW: Sainte-Chapelle is managed by the CMN, so it basically treated like a museum with entrance fees, queues and stuff. So I would not be surprised at all if no tripods indeed applies and using one will get you more than a stare ;-) . And probably it is going too be too crowded anyway... --DXR (talk) 17:11, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I just saw the entrance fee of €8.50 too. A lot of the bigger and more impressive cathedrals in England charge that kind of money, but there is usually much more to see in a cathedral than just one small (admittedly very beautiful) room. You're probably right, there are some nice ultra wide angle images of Sainte-Chappelle looking upwards at the glass and ceiling which would avoid the crowds being in the shot, but I don't think it's worth trying. I hate crowds. :-) I visited Versailles in the summer and it was ridiculously busy. 2 hours of waiting in line to get in, and the rooms were totally overcrowded, it was hard to even move. It was almost impossible to appreciate the building. I think the trick is to find the hidden gems that aren't on the package tourism bus routes. Diliff (talk) 21:12, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Project to foster the creation of spherical panoramas[edit]

Hi, hopefully this is not considered spam...After having had some discussions with a few chapters and some photographers, I have finally put together the idea on a page that I would like to share with you: Commons:Project to create spherical panoramas of important monuments. Why this? we illustrate today our articles with a few photographs, some better than others, but IMHO we are not putting the required attention to the possibilites of spherical panoramas, especially when it comes to document building interiors. We don't have many of these full spherical panoramas and the tools to view them can also be improved by the WMF (not planned so far, though, I already asked Fabrice and Gilles of the WMF multimedia team). Maybe we are in a kind of endless loop now: since we don't have many of them, tools are not needed and since tools are not there this kind of photographs are neglected. I am convinced, though, that rather sooner than latter this kind of media will be expected since there is no better way to provide to a viewer with a more interactive way to discover a place. The project idea is fresh, so there is a lot of room for discussion or even drop the idea if there is not interest in Commons. Please, drop a line there with your thoughts. Poco2 10:59, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

The discussion on this topic can be followed here. Thank you, Poco2 20:26, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Categorizing Feature Pictures[edit]

  • Very recently User:A.Savin categorized this feature picture as Category:Featured pictures of Porto Covo. I reverted the change because the image only shows a fly and a flower, and nothing characteristic of the Portuguese village of Porto Covo is depicted. For me this was quite obvious and I considered the edit of Savin as a mere good faith mistake. However my revert was reverted with the following edit summary: it has been taken there (according to f.descr.), so pls leave it there. Thinking a little ahead, I can understand that certain users might be interested in knowing where the picture was taken (e.g. for scientific purposes). However there is a much better way to get such information which is through geolocation. Even assuming that we should categorize our FP according to the places where they were taken, the correct way of doing it should be by creating categories of the type "Featured pictures taken at location X" rather than "Fictures pictures of location X", which is obviously misleading. I bring the subject here because this particular case involves featured pictures. However, the general principle applies to any other picture. Thoughts? - Alvesgaspar (talk) 12:05, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
See Commons:Featured pictures: "You can browse Featured pictures from all Wikimedia projects by subject or by country." This is how we are categorizing pictures for years. After Dschwen's Help:FastCCI, some categorization like "featured/quality/valued pictures by..." is in a moot now; but not abandoned so far. I think most this work is done by Thierry Caro for years. Jee 12:16, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, the repeated making of a mistake doesn't make it right, at least in Commons. The work of Thierry Caro is certainly a useful one but shouldn't be carried out in autoamtic mode, that is, without a previous visual inspection. Alvesgaspar (talk) 12:53, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
It is very disappointing to see you are reverting without a single support from others. Are you going to destroy works that had be done by many people by years? Jee 13:24, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I have removed categories from 25 pictures in my watch list (most of them uploaded by me), only those where such categories were obviously displaced. And did not touch none of these, which you present as evidence of my disrespect for the work of others! Please don't be demagogic Jee, it doesn't help. Alvesgaspar (talk) 13:36, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Sorry; it was not presented as evidence of your disrespect; it was a model category explaining this concept. It was edited by Foroa, an ex admin have great experience in categorization. I see admins like Jean-Frédéric also added such categories; so this seems a long time practice. So you need to make a wide discussion before unilaterally reverting them. "Reverted only my photos" is not an excuse as COM:OWN strictly prohibits it. Jee 14:49, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Alvesgaspar, Flowers and insects Porto Covo are obviously not the only caracteristic of Porto Covo, of course, but are undoubtedly one of particular features of this place. This image is even less representative of Porto Covo, it may well be taken anywhere in the world yet it can be (should be!) categorize in Porto Covo since it was taken over there and it certainly shows one aspect of the place. In same goes with the fauna and flora. So I grant you a certain logic, the example I showed you did not categorize Porto Covo, however if I had seen this in QIC, it would not have been promoted before a correct and complete categorization. -- ChristianFerrer 15:04, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
I added 2 categories for your image. Don't thank me, now it is properly categorized. Since the categorization is one of the promotion conditions for the QIC, I will focus on how you categorize your candidates. Once again, don't thank me, it's a pleasure to make you this service. -- ChristianFerrer 15:22, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Sorry Christian Ferrer but your arguments are not convincing. Using the same type of logic, we should categorize with "Porto Covo" all pictures taken there, and not only FPs, VIs and QIs. That would be, of course, distracting to the users because e.g. all insect, flowers, people, etc. pictures taken in Lisbon would be categorized as "Lisbon" (if not "Portugal" as well). The correct way of doing it, as I said before, would be to create categories of the type "Pictures taken in ...". @ Jkadavoor, never did I use the expression "reverted only my photos"; my exact wording was I have removed categories from 25 pictures in my watch list (most of them uploaded by me). Once again, you are using either demagogical arguments (the COM:OWN rules) or arguments of authority (Foroa, an ex admin have great experience in categorizationin did it), without adressing directly the subject under discussion (as Christian Ferrer did) -- Alvesgaspar (talk) 15:48, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Yeah :), I've just ask you in the QIC page for to categorize more precisely your images of plants from a garden in Lisbon. -- ChristianFerrer 16:10, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • If you know the place, this must be shown as precisely as possible in the categories. I can understand that you do not consider it relevant, but others may find that relevant. There are insects and plants in Porto Covo, and it is very pertinent that we can find its by searching in the category Porto Covo, if you don't like that I suggest you to create a sub-category Nature of Porto Covo. -- ChristianFerrer 16:23, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Alves, I somehow understand what you are telling. So summarizing my reply one's again. We have two root categories (not limited to fp/qi/vi):1. Category:Photography by subject 2. Category:Photographs by country. "insects", "statue", etc are under subject; "Lisbon", "Portugal", etc. are under country. Every picture need both categories. That why File:Neorthacris at Nayikayam Thattu.jpg has two cats: Category:Neorthacris simulans and Category:Insects of Kerala. Now you will tell it is Category:Insects of Kerala; not Category:Kerala. Yes; because our mainstream categories are elaborate; so we have Category:Insects of Kerala and several other subcategories under Category:Kerala. But our fp/qi/vi categories are not elaborate; so we have only Category:Featured pictures of Kerala. We can create categories like Category:Featured pictures of insects in Kerala and Category:Featured pictures of landscapes in Kerala; but it is not needed now because we have only few pictures. But it doesn't mean Category:Featured pictures of Kerala is not suitable for insects.
To sum up. A parent category like Category:Featured pictures of Kerala is suitable for every types of subjects related to that place; not limited to a landscape view. But if there are subcategories like Category:Featured pictures of insects in Kerala and Category:Featured pictures of landscapes in Kerala exist under it, we need to use them instead of the parent category.
Removing the Category:Featured pictures of Kerala is equal to removing the Category:Photographs by country concept. Your concept Category:Kerala is only suitable for landscapes of Kadavoor is not true. Instead it is the container category for all subjects related to that place. If no subcategory exists, all pictures can be placed there.
Hope you understand what I'm telling. Jee 16:25, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Of course, these are flowers and you can not summarize Sète or Hérault with these both images, but yes you can find this flower in Sète, and yes it is a little part of the territory (not the town) of Sète, so yes finally it's a Featured pictures of Sète, or at least it is a featured image that, me, I have the (one of the) vision of Sète. Is it a wrong vision? no, it is maybe not the only vision that you can have of Sète but certainly not a wrong vision. -- ChristianFerrer 16:55, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Please check this category, these are all pictures of Sète, and these are all well categorized be being there. I hope yuo will have a good idea, or at least a more precise idea of what you can find in Sète by checking this category. -- ChristianFerrer 17:14, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment -- I understand perfectly the rationale of such categorization but still consider it is not appropriate because it can be confusing and misleading to the users looking for something. Now that we have expressed our points of view it would be nice to hear the opinion of other editors. Alvesgaspar (talk) 17:20, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
    • I'm not heavily involved in categorisation so I may be missing the point here, or missing the reasons why things are done the way they are... But if I understand it, the problem may be the wording of the category, and possibly the result of different interpretations of English. For me, as a native English speaker, if you refer to the category "Featured pictures of Porto Covo", my impression is that you are talking about photos in which the subject is the region, Porto Covo, not a photo of anything which merely happens to be taken in the region. Therefore I agree with Alves - adding a photo of a flower to the category doesn't really make sense to me because it is not a picture of a Porto Covo, it is a picture of flower which happens to be taken in Porto Covo. However, to use the example that Jee mentioned, the category "Insects of Kerala" suggests to me that the category contains photos of insects that inhabit Kerala, not necessarily photos that were taken in Kerala. An insect may be found in Kerala and also in many other neighbouring regions, so I can imagine that we might have two schools of thought here: One which believes an insect photo should only be a member of that category if it is exclusively found in Kerala, and another which believes that the insect photo can be a member of the category regardless of whether it was actually taken in Kerala or not, as long as the insect can in theory be found in Kerala. The wording is therefore very important in order to avoid misleading people. It is a more complicated way of expressing the category, but I think "Insects photographed in Kerala" and "Insects that inhabit Kerala" are more informative and less prone to confusion than the vague "Insects of Kerala". Am I missing the point, or could this be the source of the confusion here? Diliff (talk) 19:21, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
      • You understood perfectly but it's still worse than you say. The problem was born when this picture was categorized as "Picture features of Porto Covo". Alvesgaspar (talk) 20:05, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • And thanks to that I now have a better idea of the insects found at around Porto Covo. This is an asset for Commons, long live the diversity of subjects! -- ChristianFerrer 20:46, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree that the category is poorly named. Only pictures that show the entire place in some sense qualify for such a category. Thus this one fits, but this one does not. If the category were renamed "Featured pictures taken at Porto Covo", then all would fit, including the picture first mentioned in this discussion. Subcategories such as "Featured pictures of flora and fauna taken at Porto Covo", "Featured pictures of houses taken at Porto Covo" would be a nice addition if the parent category becomes large. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:52, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
    • I do think it is correct that categories called "Featured pictures taken at..." would be more unambiguous in their naming. However, instead of atomically removing images from the existing "Featured pictures of ... " categories, I would instead suggest that we just generally agree to rename those categories and let bots do the actual work. We are in no particular hurry in doing this, it is just an improvement. It will also take quite some time to carry out as it would require a lot of renaming requests. -- Slaunger (talk) 21:02, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
      • I agree, we should not "clean" those categories, in many cases, most or all photos would be gone from them. Renaming the categories makes sense, and can be done with care and over time. — Julian H.✈ (talk/files) 21:24, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
      • I don't think that is enough, Slaunger as we still have to distinguish between "Featured pictures of ..." and "Featured pictures taken at ...". Migrating from one to the other will also make the confusion (e.g. between houses, the sea and butterflies) migrate. Because the present problem relates to places, we have to decide what kind of subjects should be put in the "Featured pictures of some place" category. Of course, the decison taken here should be reflected in QI and VI, if not in all other images. Alvesgaspar (talk) 21:31, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
        • I see your point Alvesgaspar. Still, I do not think the existing categories should be removed arbitrarily from individual file pages, but dispersed over time and with care as commented by Julian Herzog above. I also agree with you, that if we decide to carry out a less ambiguous naming of the categories (I have personally been fine with the current naming and conventions of use, but see your point that their meaning is not clear) it shall be carried out more generally. In that case, this talk page is probably not the most adequate unless notifications about this discussion is added to the QIC and VIC talk pages, or alternatively, centralized at COM:CFD, where there are other users watching, who are familiar with consistent and good naming schemes of categories. But please be a bit patient with removing the existing categories from file pages, as it is my impression that the current categorization naming scheme is well understood by a majority of the FP regulars. -- Slaunger (talk) 21:51, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
          • Of course I will be patient with removing existing categories from file pages and ask exactly the same to the users who may be rushing to insert them [1]. I suppose not to be wrong by saying that most FP are still not affected by this category. Alvesgaspar (talk) 23:01, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
            • Alvesgaspar Don't thank me, this image is now correctly categorized, if you can provide a geolocation, it would even be better. -- ChristianFerrer 05:53, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

A general question with possible answers[edit]

Since this categorization problem is related to places I will try to focus the discussion on the subject by proposing one general question and listing some possible answers. Of course, other questions and answers are possible and please feel free to add them if you consider appropriate. In my opinion, it is for now premature to engage in any kind of poll. The purpose of this subsection is just to focus the discussion and identify possible solutions. I hope it will help. Alvesgaspar (talk) 22:52, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Question: what kind of subjects should be categorized as “Featured pictures of place A” ?
  • Solution 1: all photos taken in place A: static or mobile, indoor or outdoor, land, sea or sky, big or small. For example, a photo of a man, a house, a flower, a fly or an aircraft taken in place A;
  • Solution 2: all photos taken in place A, except when a finer category exists; for example, “Featured pictures of flowers in place A”;
  • Solution 3: only photos showing views of place A, e.g. views of land, sea, streets, woods, etc. Photos where a living organism, or group or organisms, is the main subject are not to be put in this category. The same for small objects except when they are recognized as characteristic of the place, for example a typical house, window or staircase.
  • I don't particularly like solution 1. It seems to be the way we currently do things, and it seems we agree that it could be improved. I strongly disagree with solution 2 because I think it's bad practice to have one naming convention for when finer categories exist, and another for when they don't. Finer categories are often created later, and we shouldn't need to rename a category just because we created a sub category under it - it should be a universal naming scheme (or as close to universal as we can get). I would prefer to go with solution 3 because I think it most closely matches the language used in the category. Diliff (talk) 02:04, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm against "Solution 3" as it is just a repetition of Category:Featured pictures by subject. We already have it. The purpose of this node is to categorize photographs based on location irrespective of subjects.
"Solution 1": It was the intention behind creating this node under Category:Featured pictures by country. But I wonder why the word "of" is used instead of "by" in subcategories. We may rename it to "by", "by location" or "taken at". But we need to discuss this in a more wider place and check why "our major categorisers" choose the current concept. Note that Commons is multilingual; more English words means more confusion for others. (I remember a discussion about category vs tags in Wikimedia-I recently. I see there opinions like "English phrases in category name" is a difficulty for others. It may be a reason why our seniors prefer to limit the conjunctions in one word, "in", "of" or "by").
Another possibility is to keep the current naming and procedure as it is ("Solution 1") and adding a message on every category like:
FP seal Featured pictures by <location>
The images in this collection are Featured pictures of all types of subjects (landscapes, architectures, objects, people, plants, animals, bla bla bla) taken at <location>. For subject specific categories, see Category:Featured pictures by subject.
(I edited only the English description; people who knows French and German can fill them. :) Jee 03:33, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment - Here is my opinion about the three solutions:
  • Solution 1: I strongly deslike it for the following reasons: i) it is irrational and misleading for someone looking for pictures of a certain place and find bugs (people, objects,...) instead; ii) it is not universal because not all image files identify the name of the places where they were taken. The solution of going up to the nearest identifiable region is just stupid, as it may end in something like "Featured pictures of Portugal" to categorize a butterfly; iii) it is superfluous when geolocation is present. Geolocation is a much better solution for those users looking for geographical distribution of things.
  • Solution 2: the same as solution 1, plus the incoherence mentioned by Diliff.
  • Solution 3: the best of the three, as the category is focused on the features of the place/region, as anticipated by most image users. I don't understand the comment above that this category is just a repetition of Category:Featured pictures by subject. -- Alvesgaspar (talk) 08:58, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • It seems you are assuming a place name = landscapes of that place. For me, I expect everything related to that place belongs to it. Taking your rational, I oppose adding anything to a category with just place name. Such category should be empty container categories for "landscapes of..", "Insects of..", etc.
  • I wonder why you didn't see any relevance to location for an organism. This butterfly is identified as Phalanta alcippe mercea Evans, 1924 because it is recorded from Western Ghats. If it were from Meghalaya or Assam, it will be Phalanta alcippe alcippoides Moore, 1900. [2]
  • Geocodes are not a substitute for categories; otherwise no need of any categories. See how the same picture is tagged in Flickr; binomial name, common name, and place. It is geocoded too. Jee 10:03, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment To be honest I think this is a diversion from the real problem with Commons: it's broken categorization system, which is based on Wikipedia. A proper picture library needs a hierarchical keyword tagging system. With that, each small hierarchy has no combinations at all (e.g. no Featured + London). Instead we have many simple distinct hierarchies of attributes: quality-rating, geolocation, subject location, subject type, dominant colour, weather, whatever. These attribute tags are then applied to the image and can be searched for in combination. The problems we face are no different to those of other folk categorising images here. Dschwen's cross category tool is a crude sticking plaster. It really is about time WMF spent a little money on Commons to make it a proper media/picture library. We should campaign for that, rather than falling out with each other over which category combination is least stupid. -- Colin (talk) 10:08, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
    • I agree with you that a better system clearly needs to be developed, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to improve the system we're stuck with for now. A new categorisation system, even if prioritised by WMF, is probably a year or more away. In the mean time, we need to do something with the multitude of images that we have and are receiving daily. Diliff (talk) 10:40, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
    • @Colin: -- The problem is much deeper than you imply in your comment and should be solved before a cross category searching tool is developped. For example, should the category "London" contain all pictures taken in London (as defended by some editors here) or only the views of London (as I defend)? Diliff's explanations below help to understand the nature of the problem and suggest possible ways out. -- Alvesgaspar (talk) 11:11, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
      • There wouldn't be a category "London". I wouldn't use plain names for keywords -- they need to belong to a grouping. There two aspects as you say. The first is geolocation and the world can be divided up in many ways and each have their uses. One might have a hierarchy of "geolocation:city=London" and "geolocation:county=Greater London", etc. The second is a description of the subject. Again there are many ways to tackle that and really a judgement call over how far one can narrow the focus of an image before it is no longer representative of a place. So a close-up of a hoverfly on a flower could have:
geolocation:parish=Porto Covo
species=Eristalinus taeniops
species=<whatever the yellow flower is, if known>
Without identifying what the keyword means, like above with "porto covo" then the user will make an interpretation that will sometimes be wrong.
When I look for a pair of trousers from an online clothing company, they have groups I can choose from like waist size, colour, material, style. They do not worry about whether "Black Flat-fronted 32R Grey Wool-blend Machine-washable" is a good category. Perhaps I will want to order both 32R and 34R or both black and grey. The combinations are up to me. -- Colin (talk) 13:50, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Jee, if you're right and there are good reasons for continuing with Solution 1, then at the least, I think we need to change the wording so that it makes more sense and has a more precise description of the category. I know that many contributors do not have a good understanding of English and do not understand the nuances of the language, but I don't think that more words = more confusing. Sometimes additional words can actually remove confusion, and there are always online translation tools for situations where someone doesn't understand.
Also, you mentioned that you didn't understand why Category:Featured pictures by country used the word 'by' whereas the sub categories used 'of'. It makes sense to me. In that context, the category uses the words 'by country' because it describes what the subcategories will be broken down as. That is the purpose of the category so it makes sense to define it in the category name. The subcategories themselves could not use the phrase 'by location' because the subcategories need to define each of the countries, and it doesn't make sense, grammatically, to say "Featured Pictures by location India". The most logical phrasing is "Featured pictures taken in India", not your suggestion of 'at' which would be worded "Featured pictures taken at India". 'At' is a word that refers to a specific location, whereas 'in' is a word that refers to an enclosed space or a region. I don't mean to be giving you an English lesson and I assume you know much of this already, but unless we actually discuss why certain words are better than others, we're no closer to improving it. Diliff (talk) 10:40, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks Diliff, I am aware of my limitations in English language skills. My comments above are very informal and more about the topic than about the exact wordings. I agree, we need a formal discussion at Commons:Categories for discussion, the place where we can expect participation of categorization experts in Commons. (BTW, I will be away for a week for Christmas; will not be able to comment further.) Jee 11:05, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I think we should keep Solution 1 and add Solution 3 where it's reasonable, for example in the case of a city for photos of a significant part of that city. — Julian H.✈ (talk/files) 10:44, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
    • But how do you define reasonable? That's an inherently subjective thing. I think it's important that there be consistency across Commons, because someone browsing for images shouldn't have to open a category page to find out whether someone has considered it reasonable enough to use solution 1 or solution 3. I really think the category naming system should be self-evident, with the category's purpose clearly labelled in it's name. Diliff (talk) 11:29, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
      • I don't have a definitive opinion about categories, but I agree 100% with Diliff here: it should be consistent across Commons. Regards, Yann (talk) 11:35, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
      • I'm not saying Solution 3 or 1 should be used depending on whether or not it's reasonable. I'm saying Solution 1 should always be available, and Solution 3 (with a different name, as a separate category) should be used whenever a location is a subject at the same time, i.e. if there are, for example, photos of the whole place. — Julian H.✈ (talk/files) 13:08, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
        • I think you've misinterpreted Alves's solutions. We aren't talking about having more than one category (although it would be a logical conclusion if solution 3 were used). We're talking specifically about what "Featured Pictures of <location>" should contain. What you're suggesting is that solution 3 is the correct solution when there are images of anything taken in the location and photos taken of the location, but when there are only photos taken in the location but no photos taken of the location as the subject, then you are happy for the category to contain only those images. This leads to an inconsistency as I mentioned above, and the category doesn't accurately describe what it contains. I think that solution 3 naturally leads to the conclusion that because images taken in the location but not truly of the location would be excluded from "Featured Pictures of <location>", then another category should be created called "Featured Pictures taken in <location>", or something similar. Shouldn't we just create consistency and create it as a parent category and add "Featured Pictures of <location>" as sub-category of it? After all, photos of a location are (usually) by definition taken from that location. A slightly different set of rules should apply to subjects such as plants or animals that are endemic to a region. As I mentioned above, and I see Wilfredor has mentioned below, there should be a distinction between endemic plants and non-endemic subjects so that when we view "Plants of <location>", we have an idea of whether they were merely taken in that location or are actually a plant that is notable in or specific to that location. Diliff (talk) 14:11, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
          • Yes, obviously, Solution 1 categories should always be named "taken at" and Solution 3 categories should always be named "of". If that's what the discussion is about, I don't get what the lenghty discussion is about. — Julian H.✈ (talk/files) 14:36, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, solution KISS, ordinary categories already cover "taken by foo" and "taken in bar". FP categories should be about procedural details (featured when, why, nominated by, or similar.) –Be..anyone (talk) 11:41, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Additionally, I believe that a kind of endemic plant of Porto should be Featured Images of flowers of Porto, however, a non-endemic plant of Porto should be in another category called Featured Images of flowers in Porto --Wilfredo R. Rodríguez H. (talk) 12:00, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Before this story it is a pity that all who wanted to illustrate an article on the fauna near Porto Covo had been forced to read the description of several hundred photo to find the one that was taken there. It is a fact. And even it's the finest!! -- ChristianFerrer 12:30, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
    • How likely is it that someone will specifically be looking for an image of the flora (not fauna?) of Porto Covo in order to illustrate an article on it? We need to be sensible with category organisation. We could organise Commons in an almost unlimited number of ways with extremely fine sub-categorisation, but it would probably make it more difficult to find what you were looking for, not easier. Diliff (talk) 12:52, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
        • See this flora and its use in EN. Even its binomial name is derived from the place where it grows. (My last comment this week) Jee 15:35, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
      • No, we need to stop second-guessing what our users will want to search for. Diliff, people already are categorising Commons with ridiculously fine levels and it doesn't "probably" make it hard to find a photo, it really does. Look at Category:Loudspeakers. Can I find a decent picture of a loudspeaker without drilling into random categories? I try Dschwen's tool on that category and the results are nonsense. -- Colin (talk) 13:50, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
        • One issue I have with the way categories currently work is that if you view a category such as Category:Loudspeakers, you only see the images that are not sub-categorised. I want to see all images including the sub-categorised ones. I may want to drill down further to find specific types of loudspeakers, but if I'm not bothered about what kind, I want to see them all. This has nothing to do with the number of sub-categories, it is a problem with the way the pages are displayed. A more modern browsing experience such as the way Flickr now displays photostreams would be a good start. Rather than having to click 'Next page' over and over, it would be nice if it would automatically populate the page with more images as you scroll down to provide a free-flowing browsing experience. These are functionality and user interface issues, not categorisation issues. Diliff (talk) 14:11, 22 December 2014 (UTC)