Commons:Requests for comment/File renaming criterion 2

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General notes
  • Originally, the RfC focused primarily on visual works, and there particularly photos and videos. Audio files, books and graphics are only touched tangentially.
    • It was pointed out that files should be generally renamed with the most possible care, especially when in use.
    • When a file is used on WikiSource, that project should be notified beforehand, if possible and not a matter of urgency (e.g. an offensive file name).
    • In case moving a file would justify a second consecutive move, it is better to take no action.
  • Whether a file name is perceived suitable often depends on the familiarity of the individual with the subject, which is often the place depicted. It also occurs that items are know under different terms to different users or they believe entities are more well-known under the specifier they are used with to describe this entity, neglecting cultural differences (even within countries). Not of less importance is the purpose the file name is believed to have; user frequently categorizing files have different demands than those who take, process, manage and upload them.
  • Uploaders often have schemas naming their files; moving files might break them. If possible, language and schema should be preserved. If possible preserve the camera or catalogue number.

Note by the closing administrator: Please also consider using file redirects where possible. They are cheap, usually do not break anything and are easily edited or deleted, if required.

Support to specific criteria
  • "Absolutely no information at all" lists files whose names consist entirely of camera numbers and image repositories as examples.
    • Support: 100% (13)
    • Support points: "Obvious", "random letters and numbers are simply unhelpful"
    • Oppose: 0% (0)
    • Concerns: The codes should be preserved while moving the files because they could be helpful information for the uploader.
  • "Only information is the photographer or rights holder" lists files consisting of image repositories, user names and codes (number/character combinations that are only useful to a very limeted set of users) as examples.
    • Support: 93% (14/15)
    • Support points: "filnames should be the first indicator of what the image shows", "a helpful title should be added", "Name belongs in author field in summary"
    • Oppose: 7% (1/15)*
    • Concerns: "appearance of an author's name is quite relevant", author's name in the title can be helpful, and re-naming a file to remove the author's name is inappropriate
  • "Only information is the date" list file names consisting entirely of dates and codes
    • Support: 100% (16)
    • Support points: "Every file one Commons needs to have at minimum what is in the picture", "The date should be in the description instead", "having this as the only useful information is inappropriate"
    • Oppose: 0% (0)*
    • Concerns: "having the date in the file name can be useful", exception required for "artistic works whose name is a date (there's a few)"
  • "Only information is the location (broad)" lists files whose names consist of names of capital cities (>=700 000 inhabitants), a general depicted-object type and codes.
    • Support: 83% (15/18)
    • Support points: "thousands of files related to London or Paris differentiated only by numbers after the city name", "broad location, such as a city, province, or country seems clear to me", "Filenames that include the country only are pretty useless to begin with, except for election charts and such", "problem I encounter when categorizing Category:Berlin and its sub-cats", "filenames should include what (and not merely where) as the bare minimum"
    • Oppose: 17% (3/18)
    • Concerns: "There isn't any obvious limit between a "broad" and a "narrow" location.", "What is broad?", "province and city (too difficult to define)", "wide-ranging photo, and there is no specific subject beyond the city itself"
  • "Only information is the location (narrow)" lists files whose names consist of Country+City+Park name, Name of Events + Ordinal number of that event codes.
    • Support: 0% (0/11)
    • Support points: "huge number of uploads with the name of one specific place as a filename", "depends on a case-by-case basis", "should explicitly be allowed to be a judgment call by filemovers"
    • Oppose: 100% (11/11)
    • Concerns: "Filenames don't need to be copies of the entire description page", "this level of specificity is more than enough for filenames", "have to draw a line in the sand", "cause a needlessly long filename"
    • Case-by-case basis (file mover's decision): 29% (4/14) [including comments]
  • "Generic category rather than specific item" lists files whose names consist of generic terms describing physical and virtual items as examples.
    • Support: 85% (11/13)
    • Support points: "the names are not specific enough", "would be fine if they are the only images we will ever have of the subjects", "all three examples given here are too vague", "smartfon.jpg/myfone.jpg/car.jpg isn't helping anyone", ""Smartphone" is ambiguous, and I would be looking to rename", "Very generic titles just aren't helpful"
    • Oppose: 5% (2/13)
    • Concerns: "if they're used as generic icons", "not all information needs to be on filename", ""Wiki.jpg" for a MediaWiki screenshot would be a filename that shouldn't be moved"
  • "Acronyms and initials"
    • Support: 69% (11/16)
    • Support points: "because acronyms are not always better known than the full name and even when they are it isn't always a helpful name", "often gibberish or lingo acronyms", "some are better known than the full form (NATO, ÖBB)", "should include the relevant keywords (image subject, location)" for Google ranking, "Generally I would say acronyms alone are far too vague in most situations"
    • Oppose: 31% (5/16)
    • Concerns: "No reason to treat acronyms any differently from their full forms, especially as in some cases the acronym is better known than the full form", "some abbreviations are meaningless"
    • There appears to be consensus that acronyms and initials well-known through international media don't deserved to be renamed.
  • "Very short names" (File name without namespace and file ending <= 6 characters)
    • Support: 47% (7/15)
    • Support points: avoids "unnecessary and excessive ambiguity"
    • Oppose: 53% (8/15)
    • Concerns: "arbitrary limit", but I and most of the people in my country are pretty comfortable with that file name, ""A.svg" is a meaningful name for an image of the letter A", "absurd because it isn't limited to filenames written in alphabets", "Chinese is comparatively information dense", "Short names may be meaningful", "If the short filename is confusing, it qualifies under the meaningless criteria."
  • "Names that are not meaningless, but do not describe the file" lists files whose names consist of interjections, comments or personal feelings about the file's subject (which are not sufficient to identify said subject), a source repository, and codes.
    • Support: 86% (12/14)*
    • Support points: "are as bad as random letters and numbers", "problematic in file titles as it makes files hard to identify, find etc, so should not be permissible", "Names should be descriptive of what is being pictured"
    • Oppose: 14% (2/14)*
    • Concerns: " should be discussed on the item's talk page", "weasel wording that would lead to arbitrary decisions", "do they represent "the title given to a work of art by the artist that created it" or not?", "what other name could have been chosen for them", "moral right [...] to substitute it with something of our own invention", "where to draw the line?"
  • "Images where the information in the filename, while normally acceptable, is inappropriate for the specific content" lists a file name consisting of a location (a museum and building) together with an ordinal number
    • Support: 67% (4/6)
    • Support points: "Titles should be descriptive and not misleading"
    • Oppose: 33% (2/6)
    • Concerns: "What is the "specific context"?", "Images don't have a context by themselves, only within categories, local project pages, search results"


* One individual is supporting/opposing nothing related to the topic of this criterion but suggests separate criteria for batch uploads from other repositories and those uploaded or transferred in a way that the uploader had to enter a file name.

Result
The scope of file renaming criterion 2 will be extended, producing the following:

Whether a file name is perceived suitable often depends on the familiarity of the individual with the subject, which is often the place depicted. It also occurs that items are known under different terms to different contributors or they believe entities are primarily well-known under the term they are used with to describe this entity, neglecting cultural differences, even within countries. Not of less importance is the purpose the file name is believed to have; contributors frequently categorizing files have different demands than those who create, process, manage and upload them. Uploaders often have schemas naming their files; moving files might break them. If possible, language and schema should be preserved, as well as the camera or catalogue number.

# Aim Examples (old name) Examples (new name)
1. At the original uploader's request.[1]
2. To change from a meaningless or ambiguous name to a name that describes what the image displays.[2] File:DSC 1342.jpg** File:Pretoria Venningpark DSC 1342.jpg
File:20110428 OH K1023900 0014.JPG - Flickr - NZ Defence Force.jpg** File:Helicopter A109LUH(NZ) by NZ Defence Force.jpg
File:20120519 3349.CR2.png** File:Sebkha-Chott 3349.png
File:Paris 319.jpg** File:Paris 75018 Rue Norvins no 018 Le Consulat z.jpg
File:Smartphone.jpg** File:Samsung Galaxy Note series (Original, II, and 3).jpg
File:RAS.jpg** File:Rodrigo Arias Sánchez.jpg
File:Flickr - law keven - Anybody know a Good Dentist^......Happy Furry Friday Everybody...-O))).jpg** File:Lion-tailed Macaque, Colchester Zoo, England.jpg
File:Louvre 12.jpg** File:Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.jpg
3. To correct obvious errors in file names, including misspelled proper nouns, incorrect dates, and misidentified objects or organisms.[3] File:Ayres Rock 3.png
File:Van Gogh portrait 1787.jpg
File:Unknown insect 02.jpg
File:Ayers Rock 3.png
File:Van Gogh portrait 1887.jpg
File:Hogna radiata 02.jpg
4. To harmonize the file names of a set of images (so that only one part of all names differs).[4] File:Bhf-BS-Icon.svg
File:Icon HST bs 1.svg
File:Dst symbol.svg
File:BSicon BHF.svg
File:BSicon HST.svg
File:BSicon DST.svg
5. To change a file name that would be a violation of Commons' policies and guidelines if it appeared elsewhere on the project as text. This includes gratuitous vulgarity, personal attacks/harassment, blatant advertising, and cases where revision deletion would be authorized.[5] File:Stupid fat idiot.jpg
File:Buy now NEW PAINT! 555-6200.png
File:<Name of the person>.jpg
File:2007 pink Honda Accord.png
6. Non-controversial maintenance and bug fixes, including fixing double extensions, invalid or incorrect extensions, character handling problems, and other similar technical issues.[6] File:Map of Asia.svg.png
File:Computer mouse.jpe
File:Map of Asia.png
File:Computer mouse.jpg
Additional information
  1. Unless there is a compelling reason not to, uploader requests should be honored. This is a courtesy, not an absolute, however. If a file mover feels that a proposed new name is disruptive or inappropriate, they can suggest a different name or decline the request.
  2. Including:
    1. Absolutely no information at all
      Composed entirely of random letters, numbers, and words like “Flickr”, “original”, and “crop”, which do not describe the subject of the image, but may indicate its upload history
    2. Only information is the photographer or rights holder
      The only piece of meaningful information is the name of the photographer or the holder of the copyright
    3. Only information is the date
      Only piece of meaningful information is the date that the photograph was taken on
    4. Only information is the location (broad)
      The only piece of meaningful information is a broad location, such as a city, province, or country. In this case, the location is so large that an average person would not be able to figure out where the image was taken or what the image depicted, without assistance from someone that knows the area.
    5. Generic category rather than specific item
      The only piece of meaningful information is a word, such as “smartphone” or “screenshot”, which broadly describes the subject of the file, but does not impart any information that would help someone identify the specific object depicted. This is not just restricted to inanimate objects, it also applies to broad titles or groupings, such as “queen” or “bird”.
    6. Acronyms and initials
      The only piece of meaningful information is an acronym or a person's initials. This differs from “Absolutely no information at all” in that the acronym or initials are related to the subject of the file, even if it takes a second to figure out how.
    7. Names that are not meaningless, but do not describe the file
      Contains a coherent description or message that do not describe the subject of the file. Does not apply in cases where the name of the file is the title given to a work of art by the artist that created it, even if the name has nothing to do with what is depicted (for example, many works of Dadaism)
    8. Images where the information in the filename, while normally acceptable, is inappropriate for the specific content
    Not including: Specific locations, such as a park, an individual building, or an event.
  3. If an object or organism was incorrectly identified in the file name (such as calling a Sylvilagus floridanus by the name "File:Sylvilagus audubonii.jpg"), this criterion covers renaming the image. If the file name includes words like "unidentified" or "unknown" when describing an object or organism, and that object or organism has been identified, this criterion also covers the change. This criterion does not, however, cover moving a file from its common usage name to its scientific or technical name.
  4. Just because images share a category or a subject does not mean that they are part of a set. There are two scenarios that this criterion is designed for. First, certain complex templates (such as those that use BSicons or that display football kits) assume that the images used in them will follow a specific naming convention. Wikisource also uses a specific naming convention for the source files they transcribe. Second, files that form parts of a whole (such as scans from the same book or large images that are divided into smaller portions due to Commons' upload size restriction) should follow the same naming convention so that they appear together, in order, in categories and lists.
  5. Note that Commons' neutral point of view differs significantly from that of English Wikipedia. A file like "File:Taiwaneese Tiaoyutai islands map.png" would be acceptable on Commons, even though it is not neutrally titled (see here). This does not mean that all non-neutrally worded titles are acceptable, however. An image of a person with the name "File:1BIGGest_nOSE_everS33n.JPG" would not enjoy the same protection.
  6. This is not a catch-all for anything that doesn't fit one of the above. This is for specific technical problems, generally which have a bugzilla bug and have been the subject of community discussion.