Without credentials, Commons photographers fall under the broad category of freelance photographers. Some museums have indicated disapproval of freelance photography of their collections, which is a significant stumbling block on obtaining good free photographs of historical items. By credentialing photographers, these museums might be persuaded to allow photography of their collections, for educational purposes.
Wikinews already has an accreditation process for reporters. Some individuals involved in that process have expressed an interest in having a pool of Commons photographers to accompany reporters. However, the photographers would also need credentials in order to gain access to the events, due to security precautions.
Interested photographers would need to be officially vouched by Commons. There will need to be a process for accreditation of users, and for revocation of credentials. Commons will need to respond to requests for verification. This will allow the requesting organization to make sure that the photographer is indeed accredited by Commons. In addition, the processes for Commons and Wikinews should at some point be merged on Meta to allow streamlined and efficient excahnge, issuing and verification.
Policy on Accreditation
Photographers will need to request accreditation from the Commons Accredition Project prior to attempting to claim accreditation. The request should be in the form of an entry, signed and dated, on a page specifically designated by the Project. The request must include a rationale for why the user wants accreditation. As an advisory precaution, the community will have 7 days to either voice objections or support for the request. At the expiration of this time period the user will either be granted a pending accreditation, or the vote removed.
The Issuing Authority will only issue a credential after the following criteria have been met.
- User has demonstrated that they are an established contributor
- Provision of their real name
- Verified their account
- Provision of a scanned ID with a picture of the user
- Provision of a passport sized picture that matches the one on the ID
Upon the fulfillment of the above criteria, the Project's Issuing Authority will generate a printable image of a personalized Commons Photographer ID Card that a user may print and laminate at their expense, and cause the addition of the credential to the Roster.
Policy on Verification
Commons credential verification will be processed by users who volunteer for the task. The request may come in in three forms:
- Visit to a protected page listing community-accepted users with Wikimedia Commons credentials.
- Voicemail message on a Commons phone line
- Fax to a Wikinews fax line
The protected page will be kept by sysops on Commons.
The voice line will be a VoIP line with online voicemail delivery to a mailing list of users who volunteer to deal with these requests. These users will verify the request against the listing of Commons users with credentials and personally place a call to the requesting organization with the results. Users who are able to respond to verification are current Commons sysops, and must never respond to verification requests about themselves.
The faxes will come in via an online fax provider line which will deliver the electronic version of the fax to the same mailing list of users responsible for voice verification.
Once a verifier processes a request, they must let the rest of the verification list membership know that they have handled the request (to prevent duplicate responses).
Policy on Revocation
Any user who misuses the privileges assumed by accreditation, or forges a credential, may have their accreditation revoked either by consensus of the Community or request of the Board of Trustees. Any user may request revocation of a credential, however the request must have a legitimate reason.
Upon revocation of credential, the Issuing Authority shall immediately place REVOKED on the Credential Roster. The user must immediately deliver all copies of the credential to the Issuing Authority in addition to a signed statement under penalty of perjury attesting to the destruction of any electronic copies. Knowingly using a credential after revocation is fraud and will result in notification of law enforcement and authorization to seize said credential(s).