Commons:Courtesy deletions/2

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

This is a fork of the page Commons:Courtesy deletions as it existed at 00:43, 11 August 2013‎, for the contribution history of this page up to that point please refer to the revision history of the original page.

Background[edit]

Uploads to Commons must comply with the licensing policy. This means that files must be either in the public domain or have a free reuse licence, such as the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike licence. Licences must be perpetual (no expiry date) and irrevocable. Once you release something under a free licence, legally you are not able later to change your mind and attempt to retract or revoke your licence.

If the file contravenes Wikimedia Commons policies, or would be illegal for Commons to host under the laws of the State of Florida, USA, then you are entitled to have the file removed. Otherwise, by default the file will normally be kept unless you are able to make out a case for a deletion with reference to this guideline.

Courtesy deletions[edit]

Courtesy deletions are rare, but are allowed in limited circumstances where

  • there is some ethical or moral issue with Commons hosting a particular file, including such issues relating to a subject of a file; or
  • there has been a mistake or a change of heart by the uploader
  • the existence, necessity, or continuity of consent of a subject.

Note that there is a long-established policy that Commons is not censored, and we do not consider there to be any "ethical or moral issue" merely by virtue of the fact that a particular file includes sexual content or content which you personally may consider to be objectionable or offensive. An "ethical or moral issue" must involve something more, for example a risk that keeping an image on Commons could be personally damaging to the uploader or to the subject.

It is important to realize that courtesy deletions are always at the discretion of the community, and that the Commons community can never be forced to agree against its will to any request for a courtesy deletion.

If you are thinking of making a request for a courtesy deletion, you should clearly understand that all files on Commons are held under a licence which is legally irrevocable. That is made clear during the upload process, and has to be accepted during the upload process by all uploaders. Neither you nor we have the legal power to revoke or otherwise cancel the licence (only a court can do that). Even if we agree to delete the file, we cannot do anything about re-users who may already have copied it from Commons and who may lawfully be using it elsewhere in reliance on the free licence.

This policy relates to requests for courtesy deletions only, where there are no legal considerations or other policies which would require us to delete. Nothing in this policy is intended to override any other policy on Commons which might require or allow deletion, for example Project scope, licensing policy or Photographs of identifiable people.

Alternatives to deletion[edit]

Not all requests for courtesy deletion may need the community to consider deletion of the entire file. There may be other ways of dealing with the requester's concerns, such as for example renaming the file, deleting EXIF information, pixelization, or removing attribution, and where possible those approaches will normally be preferable. Such file amendments may be carried out, as a courtesy, at any admin's discretion.

Courtesy deletions following a deletion request[edit]

All requests for courtesy deletions must go through the normal deletion request process, for the full seven days, to allow for community comment. At the end of that period, the closing admin will close the request based on the rules set out below.

Good Case[edit]

A 'good case' is defined as a case where the requester has sound, genuine and reasonable legal, ethical or moral concerns, or there is verifiable evidence of either a relevant genuine mistake or a change of heart by a creator or subject.

Removal request by the uploader[edit]

File is not in use on any Wikimedia project[edit]

For this purpose, uses that are merely trivial or which were not made in good faith may be ignored.

Where the file was uploaded 30 days ago or less[edit]

Accept the courtesy deletion request only if all of the following apply. Otherwise keep.

  • The uploader has made out a 'good case' for the request.
  • The community discussion in the Deletion Request attracts 10 or more valid keep/delete opinions resulting in a consensus to delete.

Where the file was uploaded more than 30 days ago[edit]

Accept the courtesy deletion request only if all of the following apply. Otherwise keep.

  • The uploader has made out a 'good case' for the request.
  • The file could be deleted without significant loss to the overall educational holdings of Commons (for example where we already hold similar files of equal or better educational value), or where it could without undue difficulty be replaced by another free file. In some cases this requirement may be met if the uploader or a third party uploads a suitable replacement before the Deletion Request is closed.
  • The community discussion in the Deletion Request attracts 10 or more valid keep/delete opinions resulting in a consensus to delete.

File is in non-trivial good faith use on a Wikimedia project[edit]

Where the file was uploaded 30 days ago or less[edit]

Accept the courtesy deletion request only if all of the following apply. Otherwise keep.

  • The uploader has made out a 'good case' for the request.
  • The file could be deleted without significant loss to the overall educational holdings of Commons (for example where we already hold similar files of equal or better educational value), or where it could without undue difficulty be replaced by another free file. In some cases this requirement may be met if the uploader or a third party uploads a suitable replacement before the Deletion Request is closed.
  • The community discussion in the Deletion Request either: (i) attracts fewer than 10 valid keep/delete opinions, or: (ii) attracts 10 or more valid keep/delete opinions resulting in a consensus to delete or in no clear consensus.

Where the file was uploaded more than 30 days ago[edit]

Accept the courtesy deletion request only if all of the following apply. Otherwise keep.

  • The uploader has made out a 'good case' for the request.
  • The file could be deleted without significant loss to the overall educational holdings of Commons (for example where we already hold similar files of equal or better educational value). In some cases this requirement may be met if the uploader or a third party uploads a suitable replacement before the Deletion Request is closed.
  • The community discussion in the Deletion Request either: (i) attracts 10 or fewer valid keep/delete opinions, or: (ii) attracts 10 or more valid keep/delete opinions resulting in a consensus to delete.

Removal request by the current copyright holder[edit]

Where different from the uploader, author and subject

Accept the courtesy deletion request only if all of the following apply. Otherwise keep.

  • The copyright holder has made out a good case for the request.
  • The community discussion in the Deletion Request attracts 10 or more valid keep/delete opinions resulting in a consensus to delete.

Removal request by the subject (or one of the subjects) of the work[edit]

eg a person whose image appears in a photograph

Where the subject is a public individual[edit]

A public individual is a person who, as a consequence of their public position and/or public profile, can or should expect in a democratic society to be the subject of the type of work under consideration. Depending on public position and/or public profile this may include images or other works that, while in themselves educational, are unapproved, unflattering, or are created in opposition to the person's views/actions or for the purpose of parody. A person who is the primary subject of any Wikipedia article can normally be assumed to be a public individual for an image or other file that is in good faith use on that article.

Accept the courtesy deletion request only if all of the following apply. Otherwise keep.

  • The public individual has made out a good case for the request.
  • The file could be deleted without significant loss to the overall educational holdings of Commons (for example where we already hold similar files of equal or better educational value). In some cases this requirement may be met if the uploader or a third party uploads a suitable replacement before the Deletion Request is closed.
  • The community discussion in the Deletion Request attracts 10 or more valid keep/delete opinions resulting in a consensus to delete.

Where the subject is a private individual[edit]

Any named or unnamed person who is not a public individual is considered for the purpose of this policy to be a private individual.

Accept the courtesy deletion request only if all of the following apply. Otherwise keep.

  • The private individual has made out a good case for the request.
  • The community discussion in the Deletion Request attracts 10 or more valid keep/delete opinions resulting in a consensus to delete.

Removal request by the original author[edit]

eg photographer or graphic artist

Accept the courtesy deletion request only if all of the following apply. Otherwise keep.

  • The author has made out a good case for the request.
  • The community discussion in the Deletion Request attracts 10 or more valid keep/delete opinions resulting in a consensus to delete.

General grounds for removal request[edit]

Requests made by third parties other than the above, eg a request by a press office, employer/employee of original author or subject, or anyone having concerns about the work being hosted on Commons. Removal requests by the uploader, copyright owner or subject may be based on these grounds in addition to those available to them respectively as uploader, copyright owner or subject.

Courtesy deletion requests from third parties may be accepted on ethical or moral grounds only (i.e. not solely on the basis of a mistake or a change of heart).

Where the issue relates to a public individual[edit]

Accept the courtesy deletion request only if all of the following apply. Otherwise keep.

  • Even in the absence of a deletion request by the person in question, the contents of the file are unreasonably intrusive for a public individual. (An example might be an up-skirt photograph of an identifiable public individual).
  • Retention of the file on Commons is in the context of a democratic society likely to cause the individual considerable distress.
  • The community discussion in the Deletion Request attracts 10 or more valid keep/delete opinions resulting in a consensus to delete.

Where the issue relates to a private individual[edit]

Accept the courtesy deletion request only if all of the following apply. Otherwise keep.

  • Even in the absence of a deletion request by the person in question, the contents of the file are unreasonably intrusive for a private individual. (An example might be a photograph of an identifiable private individual vomiting in a public place after having drunk too much).
  • Retention of the file on Commons is in the context of a democratic society likely to cause the individual considerable distress or embarrassment.
  • The community discussion in the Deletion Request attracts 10 or more valid keep/delete opinions resulting in a consensus to delete.

How to make a request for a courtesy deletion[edit]

  • To do

Guidelines for the requester[edit]

  • Be calm and explain clearly why you want the file to be deleted. You need to give more detail than "I don't want this here any more". The more clearly you set out your reasons, the greater chance you have of persuading the community to agree to your request. If you think there are ethical or moral issues with Commons hosting the file, explain exactly what they are. If you are the uploader or the subject and you have made a mistake or changed your mind, please explain the background to allow the community to come to a reasoned decision.
  • There is a community expectation that, as you are asking for a favour, you should do so politely and with respect. If you are intemperate, demand your 'rights', or create unnecessary drama, the community may well decline to help you.

Guidelines for editors taking part in the community discussion[edit]

Listen to the concerns of the requester, and treat him or her with patience, kindness, and respect. Remember that the requester may be new to Commons, and may well not be aware of or understand our policies. Initially intemperate demands can more easily resolved by sympathy, understanding and education than by peremptorily telling the requester to go away because 'the licence is irrevocable'.

Of course, patience, kindness, and respect do not necessarily mean that the community is bound to delete any file on request. In deciding whether to agree to a courtesy deletion or not editors may wish to take into account the following issues:

  • How reasonable does the requester appear to be, and how persuasive is the reason given?
  • If the request for deletion is a consequence of the requester's own action, does the action appear to be a genuine mistake/misunderstanding, or is it a change of heart? Since courtesy deletions are discretionary, neither is excluded as a matter of policy.
  • If the request is based on the community's consideration for the subject, to what extent might the file cause the individual personal difficulties that we ought ethically to try to avoid? Bear in mind that while public individuals might in a democratic society expect a certain amount of public interest and exposure, the same does not apply to private individuals. Even an outwardly non-controversial image of a private individual might be personally problematic for the subject for reasons unknown to us, and editors are asked to be sympathetic to requests for removal in such cases.
  • If the request is based on the community's consideration for the subject, was the file uploaded to Commons with the subject's knowledge and consent? Especially where the file was copied from another site such as Flickr, the subject may well not have been aware that the file was on Commons.
  • How long ago was the file uploaded?
  • To maintain a reasonable level of third party confidence in the long term availability of Commons content we want to ensure that long-standing Commons files do not disappear at random without a very good reason. If the file was uploaded long ago it may be more heavily used on non-Wikimedia Wikis.
  • Does the file have some distinct educational value over and above the educational value of our existing holdings?
  • Files which closely duplicate the educational content of other holdings may not be worth arguing about.
  • Low quality files may be less of a loss to the project than high quality files.
  • Is the file easy to replace, or is it pretty much irreplaceable?
  • Deleting an image of a specific newsworthy event is more of a loss than deleting a tourist image of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Is the file in (non-trivial and good faith) use on other Wikimedia projects, and if so to what extent?
  • Deletion of a file that is in the mainspace of another Wikimedia project may mean considerable loss of educational content, depending on the ease or otherwise of replacement, and even where a replacement file is available there will be additional disruption and work for the local community. This will be all the greater where the file is in use on multiple projects. Editors should balance these issues against the strength of the requester's arguments for courtesy deletion.
  • Should the requester, uploader, copyright holder or subject be accorded especially sensitive treatment because of their age (e.g. are they a minor?), or because of their probable or apparent lack of ability to understand our policies or the concept of freely-licensed content?

Courtesy deletion requests on behalf of minors[edit]

Where an issue relates to an uploader, copyright holder or subject who is a minor, a courtesy deletion request may be made on the minor's behalf by a parent or guardian, or by a proxy who has been requested and authorised to do so personally by the minor, parent or guardian. The minor may of course also make the request personally.

Courtesy deletion requests by proxy[edit]

Where an issue relates to an uploader, copyright holder or subject who is not capable of personally filing a courtesy deletion request (for example because they are not sufficiently computer-literate), the request may be made on their behalf by a proxy who has been specifically and personally requested and authorised to do so. Evidence may be required of a specific and personal request and authorization to that effect. A proxy may not act on the basis of a general or an assumed authorization: for example in the absence of a specific and personal request and authorization (with evidence if called for) a public individual may not be represented by a proxy who is an employer/employee, a member of a press office or the like.

Requests requiring confidentiality[edit]

Normally, requests for courtesy deletions are expected to be made in public, although for files that may qualify for speedy courtesy deletion there is no objection to a requester asking an admin privately (e.g. by email) to take the necessary action. Where a request is made in public there is no requirement for the requester to provide formal identification, and indeed requests may be made anonymously.

In very exceptional circumstances the reason why a particular file should be deleted may itself be confidential, and in such cases an email should be sent to one of the Commons' Oversighters, who are users with the technical ability to hide (suppress) files and data so that they can no longer be seen by normal editors or admins. Note that this is not a general way of side-stepping the above rules, as Oversighters are authorised to act only in serious and very limited circumstances.

See also[edit]