Commons:Village pump/Proposals

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Welcome to the Village pump proposals section

This page is used for proposals relating to the operations, technical issues, and policies of Wikimedia Commons; it is distinguished from the main Village pump, which handles community-wide discussion of all kinds. The page may also be used to advertise significant discussions taking place elsewhere, such as on the talk page of a Commons policy. Recent sections with no replies for 30 days and sections tagged with {{section resolved|1=~~~~}} may be archived; for old discussions, see the archives.

Commons discussion pages (index)

Please note
  • One of Wikimedia Commons' basic principles is: "Only free content is allowed." Please do not ask why unfree material is not allowed on Wikimedia Commons or suggest that allowing it would be a good thing.
  • Have you read the FAQ?


Symbols-Logo contest: draft proposal[edit]

I want to propose for a rapid grant for a Wikimedia Commons Symbols contest. Read the draft proposal below. I kindly ask you for:

  • Discussion whether the symbol contest should be a logo-contest for Wikimedia Commons’ symbols? So that the winner symbol will be used to mark symbols at Wikimedia Commons and also at the Category:Symbols category page and subcategory pages.
  • If you oppose the logo-contest, what other symbol specific content should the winner symbol be used for? What should the symbols specific focus be and how could the symbol be used?
  • Discussion whether the symbol contest should be announced at the Category:Symbols category page aand subcategory pages?
  • Jury participation and organizational help

Draft Proposal:

What content will the contest focus on, and why is it important to your community?

Current situation regarding access to symbols/icons:

  • There is no central repository that allows free access to symbols/icons.
  • There is a high demand for icons. “ has 1.3 million unique monthly visitors. [...] I do know that GraphicRiver boasts several millions. [...] iStockPhoto and Shutterstock have been around for at least 2 decades so they have tens-of-millions of monthly users, if not more.”

  • The demand for icons is met by icon online market places that resell icons with high commission rates (30-70%)
  • Wikimedia Commons has already a lot of icons and contributing designers (over 1 000 registered vector graphics editors).
  • The number of icons on Wikimedia Commons is insuffiecient though. The number of icons is also small compared to icon online market places.
  • Wikimedia Commons already has Category:Symbols.
  • Category:Symbols could be better presented to attract more designers of vector graphics.

The contest will therefore focus on symbols/icons. The symbols/icons-contest is important to the Wikimedia Commons community as it will:

  • increase the number of symbols/icons
  • attract already active designers of vector graphics to contribute
  • attract designers who have not yet contributed to Category:Symbols
  • increase the identification with Category:Symbols

How will you let people know about the contest?

The contest will be announced at the Wikimedia Commons Village Pump, at the Wikimedia Forum, via Wikimedia-I mailing list, on the Category:Symbols category site and subcategory sites.

How will you judge the contest and award prizes?

An international Jury will choose the winners. Rules:

  • Be self created: All entries must be original symbols uploaded by their authors. Symbols uploaded by anyone else than author (even with permission) are not accepted.
  • Be self uploaded during the contest period (1st December 2016 - 28th February 2017): You are also welcome to submit symbols you may have taken in the past. What matters is that the symbols must be uploaded during the contest period.
  • Be under a free license;
  • Contain a logo for Wikimedia Commons symbols.
  • Have the format .svg
  • A participant should have an activated e-mail address via Preferences of his/her account.

For photo contests, what is the strategy to get images used on projects?

The symbol contest is a logo-contest for Wikimedia Commons’ symbols? So that the winner symbol will be used to mark symbols at Wikimedia Commons and also at the Category:Symbols category page and subcategory pages.

Is there anything else you want to tell us about this project?

  1. Prize: 300 $ and the logo being used for Wikimedia Commons symbols
  2. Prize: 150 $
  3. Prize: 75 $
—Preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:01, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

Edited by GabrielVogel — Preceding unsigned comment added by GabrielVogel (talk • contribs) 15:04, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

Bystander selfie[edit]

Hi, I propose that this proposed guideline becomes an official policy of Commons. Regards, Yann (talk) 17:57, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

I am dubious, without actual legal precedent to support the position stated. Copyright depends upon a creative original contribution to the work at hand, and someone who says 'take a photo of us' is not composing the actual photograph. That the conveyance of the 'sole copy' of the copyrightable work effects an assignment of copyright has not been true, at least under US law, for decades. - Reventtalk 05:38, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
I would say they are at least a co-author, if not the only author. If you ask a bystander for a photo, you usually tell them what you want in the shot (the composition), the angle, etc. The other person may do some framing, but mostly just presses the button on the camera -- that in an of itself does not make someone an author. Many of the creative decisions were made by the pictured person, and as such, they share the authorship. And any co-author can license a work non-exclusively. Frankly though, this is a situation where the other potential author really just walks away from most any ability to control copyright anyways. This is a highly theoretical situation, which is normally not litigated, unless the person who pressed the shutter as a favor actually sues. As such, we are not likely to ever have a precedent -- and frankly, there is no real reason to disallow such uploads in my mind, unless we have an actual precedent which says it is not OK. The likelihood is that both people are co-authors, meaning they each have as much right to make licenses as the other. There were some copyright types who had some fun debating the authorship of the Ellen Degeneres Oscar selfie, see here. One of the comments notes this case, where a book author was granted co-author status on photographs because they collaborated on the content (even though he did not press the shutter). That would likely be the case in a situation like the passerby photo, to my mind. At any rate, we can note the lack of precedent for such things, but I think it would be silly to bar such uploads, since we also don't have any court case to point to, to show it's an actual problem. It's mainly theoretical copyright gymnastics which have virtually no chance of ever being a real issue. I would just assume enough authorship to allow licenses. So, Symbol support vote.svg Support. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Clindberg (talk • contribs) 06:04, 30 January 2017‎ (UTC)
It's nice to try to clarify this situation. I would tend to consider such a photo as a "work for hire": if A asks B to shot a picture, and B does it as A said, it is implicit that the final product belongs to A (copyright and everything). --Ruthven (msg) 11:41, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
While that may make some logical sense, "work for hire" now has a pretty rigid definition in copyright law, and it would be going outside those bounds to call the situation a "work for hire" -- in general, someone needs to be an actual employee under the law of agency. For a contractor, there is a specific list of types of works where it can apply, and it requires a written agreement. See this circular. More realistically, it would be virtually impossible to bring an infringement lawsuit in the first place -- to do so, you need to prove you own the copyright, and there is virtually no way a bystander could do that. And even if they could, as I said above, going by the letter of copyright law it would probably result in (at best) a co-uthor suing a co-author, which is an entirely different type of lawsuit (not infringement). So to me, it's so far out of bounds of a normal copyright situation that we really have no idea what a judge would do, and we shouldn't guess or claim to know with any degree of confidence. We should simply assume the pictured person owns the copyright enough to license it (and there is a good case for that, even following the letter of the law). If someone wants to dispute that claim, we can deal with those situations on an individual basis. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:24, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
@Clindberg: Consider the "work for hire" common law outside the US. The subject and the photographer come to a verbal contract wherein the photographer offers to take the photo with the subject's camera and the subject's arrangements in exchange for valuable consideration, short-term possession of the subject's camera or cameraphone; the subject then accepts the offer and hands over the camera or cameraphone with instructions, and the photographer takes the photo and hands it back. This should be a legal verbal contract in any court of equity in the world. That the US Copyright Office would bar a claim of infringement by the subject is immaterial; we should only be concerned here about potential claims of infringement by the photographer, of which there should be none. What if we would have the subject specifically ask the photographer for permission to license the photo CC-BY-SA and explain if the initial answer is "No"?   — Jeff G. ツ 18:13, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
My opinion is further bolstered by the decision in Effects Associates v. Cohen, 908 F.2d 555, 1990 Copr.L.Dec. P 26,605, 15 U.S.P.Q.2d 1559 that, even absent a written contract regarding copyrights, defendants Cohen et al had a nonexclusive right to use the work of Effects Associates for which it had not fully paid, but that Effects Associates still had the right to sue for fraud and breach of contract in state court.   — Jeff G. ツ 22:55, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
@Jeff G.: A license is not the same thing as a transfer of copyright ownership.... the law does not require that licenses be in writing, but does require that transfers of ownership are. I do not think that anyone would argue that the subject of a bystander selfie, who was given the sole copy of the image, does not have an implied license to themselves use the image. Possession of a license, however, specifically does not allow the licensee to themselves license a work to third parties. As stated by the court, "Section 204 provides that all transfers of copyright ownership must be in writing; section 101 defines transfers of ownership broadly, but expressly removes from the scope of section 204 a "nonexclusive license."" The subject of a bystander selfie, after receiving the sole copy as part of an informal transaction, does not then own the copyright interest held by the photographer.... they instead have an implied non-exclusive license to use the work. They can only themselves license the image if they were a co-author... as I have argued, they might be so in specific cases, but it is not reasonable (and open to abuse) to assume that the subject is a co-author of 'all' purported bystander selfies. - Reventtalk 04:16, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose - such a guideline would have no legal base. We should not be willing to ignore copyright regulations for the sole reason that we don't expect the author to execute his rights. It's also pointless, for a depicted person can often easily let someone take a new picture and write down their release if desired. Jcb (talk) 13:32, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

As I said above, going by copyright regulations themselves, the pictured person would be a co-author at least. We are not ignoring copyright regulations. It's actually really presumptuous to delete -- we are claiming way more authority on the situation than we really have or know. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:45, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
I hand over my camera to people from time to time to take a picture from me (e.g. this one taken by a colleague pilot), but I don't see how I would be the author of such a picture. Usually you don't tell such a bystander exactly where he should stand. The bystander himself will usually search for the best spot and use his creativity to create the best picture. I do not see how such a photographer would be not the author. In case of File:Coen_en_Sander_met_Jcb.JPG, taken by a bystander with my camera, we made a (hand)written agreement, which I sent to OTRS. Jcb (talk) 14:01, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
You usually tell them what you want in the shot -- the people to include, the background, and at least the general angle -- that is orchestrating the scene, if such arrangement qualifies for copyright. You can set the camera settings before you hand it over. Most of the time, that all should be enough to get the pictured person a co-ownership of the copyright -- they authored some of the expression in the photograph. The person who presses the shutter may be the author of other aspects such as the framing, but you'd have to prove that none of the expression is attributable to the pictured person giving instructions on what they want the photo to be -- and that specific aspect (directing the subjects) is often considered as an aspect of copyright. It is a mistake to assume the person pressing the shutter is the sole owner of copyright -- that is not what the law says. It would come down to the specific instructions given, which we have no idea about, and should simply trust the uploader, unless disputed by the other party. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:54, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
If several authors are involved, then permission should come from those several authors, not only from the author of some small aspect. And about the camera settings, this is very hypothetical. Well, I turn it on at least before handing it over. Not sure whether that would constitute a creative act in your opinion... Jcb (talk) 15:10, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Exposure settings, shutter speed, etc. could be creative. Automatic settings, not as much. But directing the scene, almost definitely. And a co-author is a co-author -- each person would have just as much rights as the other over the photograph. A co-author generally cannot infringe copyright. The law does explicitly say that any co-author can make a non-exclusive license without consulting other co-authors. While a free license may not have been contemplated by the lawmakers when enacting that, that is the letter -- and given all the other out-of-the-ordinary aspects of this situation, I would just assume good faith. Odds are they would be in the right legally anyways. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:29, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
This sounds ridiculous to me. If e.g. somebody writes a 500 pages book and somebody else advices him on what font and paper format to use, then do you think that the other person is also entitled to release the book into a free license, even if the writer would disagree? Jcb (talk) 17:44, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
No, but the nature of expression in a book is completely different than a photograph. If someone comes up with the detailed plot, and someone else writes the words, then that could be a co-author situation. But I linked to a case above where someone who did not press the shutter was given co-author status in photographs (and that was even when the photographer owned the camera in question). It's not ridiculous at all. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:10, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Extreme situations could occur and be assessed one by one, but the proposed guideline is bases on "Essential to "bystander selfie" is that the person operating the camera does not retain the image or data, hence has no power to publish the work.", which of course is very much against the spirit of what we are doing here. Did you read the proposed guideline? Jcb (talk) 18:19, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Indeed; who owns the camera and who retains the image data are irrelevant. I remember the early discussions with Abd about these. Jee 03:25, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
It's not an extreme situation at all -- it is quite likely the bystander is at most a co-author. If you want to change the rationale of the guideline to the co-author one, fine -- agreed that the basis being the ability to publish is not a good one, though it's entirely possible that would enter a judge's thought process. More accurately, the bystander selfie situation is already an extreme situation with regards to normal copyright law, meaning it's likely that some or many of the normal rules are void or altered in such situations -- and we should not claim that they do apply in full, without a precedent which shows they do. It's not a situation that is really contemplated by copyright law. Assuming good faith in these situations is plenty for me. We aggravate people enough with legitimate, precedent-based deletions -- deleting when we do not have any real idea what a court would do is bad practice.Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:47, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
"We aggravate people enough with legitimate, precedent-based deletions -- deleting when we do not have any real idea what a court would do is bad practice." Sadly it is what we're doing in Flickr PDM issue and in a recent case where a couple wish to jointly maintain copyright of their work. We're being hostile to any unconventional ideas. Jee 05:11, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, and I'm firmly of the opinion we should allow Flickr PDM works where it's obvious they are the author. I'm unaware about the case involving the couple, but joint copyright ownership issues often tend to confuse around here, sometimes leading to bad results. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:09, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Conditional Symbol support vote.svg Support if wording improved. Nowadays the technology is developed a lot (smile shutters, timer, motion triggered timers which can be activated by a predefined pattern of actions, etc.); bystanders job may be simply hold the camera like a tripod. So I'm in favor to support giving the uploader the responsibility to evaluate the copyright part. Co-authorshop seems a very reasonable argument. Jee 14:09, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

Hi Jee, Could you please suggest how to improve the wording? Thanks, Yann (talk) 16:19, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment - this proposed guideline is about to be abused as a blank permission to accept any picture where the uploader is the depicted person, even if there is no statement at all from the uploader about how he/she would be a 'co-author'. Jcb (talk) 16:42, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
Yann, the current wording in that proposal seems to make an argument that the subject owns the copyright because s/he owns the camera/storage device. It is not a valid argument. What I supported is 1. creative contributions in the work to claim a joint ownership 2. for whom the work was prepared. See (b) "Works Made for Hire.—In the case of a work made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author for purposes of this title, and, unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise in a written instrument signed by them, owns all of the rights comprised in the copyright." Here I see some people argued that a work-for-hire needs a written agreement. But what is written in the law is exact opposite. Jee 17:36, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
Jee, I can agree that the wording needs to be improved. If some native English speaker could help, it would be great. As explained below, ownership of the camera is only one of the point made. Regards, Yann (talk) 19:00, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
I would like to share my past experience when I was in OTRS. I had asked all people for further clarification when the permission mail came from the subject. If the photographer was traceable I got a mail from them stating they have no problem on how the subject use that works. I never got a mail from a photographer who rejected the subject's claim. Many photographers, especially professional photographers, expressed their discomfort on keeping their subject in guilty. My understanding from my experience is that whenever a bystander is requested or even professional photographer is hired for a photograph where the "intention to take a photo is 100% the need of the subject himself", the bystander or the professional photographer is noway interested to claim a copyright on it. For the case of professional photographers, they already received a payment for it. What remains and we are demanding is just formalities. Jee 02:54, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Ownership of the camera has no bearing on copyright, period. I have fought a lot of such claims in the past (related to astronomical images) and can not support this guideline while remaining faithful to my past positions. Ruslik (talk) 18:37, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
    • Ruslik, ownership of the camera is only one of the point made. I agree that the text may need a better wording. The point is that if I ask someone to take my picture with my camera, that I choose the pose, the place, the time, and the camera settings (that's why ownership of the camera is part of the issue), I am certainly at least co-author of the picture. More than that, if the person who push the button, and does only that, I deny her any copyright of my picture. I have at least 3 of my pictures on Commons taken with the above conditions, and I deny anyone to contest my capacity to release them under a free license. Regards, Yann (talk) 18:55, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree that the proposed text as it stands needs work, but the general concept - focusing on the extent of the bystander's artistic input or lack thereof - is promising. MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:19, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
You are repeating the arguments of one person who forgot his camera for monkeys to use. Ruslik (talk) 20:33, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support As per Yann and Carl Lindberg. The co-author idea is right on I think. When I take a picture of a friend or they take one of me, we don't do a lot of directing or discussing. The subject pretty much always chooses their pose and the location, which is an important detail. The other thing I would consider is that when I'm with friends and we take some phone snaps of each other, we're lucky if, when we get home, we even remember who took each shot. We upload them and share them with no thought of copyright. These photos are taken by friends and most of the time there's not much creativity involved. If you look through these images, you'll notice that a lot of the pictures are very basic and unoriginal. I think demanding OTRS/releases would be pretty harsh and would create drama and difficulty for uploaders, and may even chase some people away. Also, I've seen messages lately on VP that OTRS is badly backlogged. Profile pics are very common, so requiring OTRS would probably add quite a bit more strain to the OTRS system - unnecessarily in my opinion. Daphne Lantier 03:55, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose The Copyright Act of 1976 takes intent into account, stating a joint work is "a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or inter-dependent parts of a unitary whole". It would be very, very difficult to argue that a random passerby who doesn't know anything about copyright law "intended that their contributions be merged into inseparable or inter-dependent parts of a unitary whole", especially without even knowing what the contributions (if any) of the other person were. Also, note that many foreign countries (Germany, France) require consent from all authors before licensing a joint work, adding another layer of complexity. The arguments above focus largely on things that simply aren't recognized by copyright law ("not much creativity", "very basic"). Some editors are supporting saying "Well, the photo could be taken on a tripod with the bystander only pressing a button." If that happens, send it through OTRS and we'll approve it, as most of us know very well that that's a situation where the bystander is not the creator of the work. The vast majority of these cases involve the bystander choosing angle, timing (which affects lighting and pose), etc. Through working with OTRS, I know very well that almost everyone who emails us knows nothing about copyright. Turning it over to them to figure out if they're a co-author would be an absolute disaster. We haven't even had a comment on legal from this and we want to make it policy? Absolutely not. ~ Rob13Talk 02:18, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
    • Actually no, that is absolutely the situation here -- the two parties (the guest photographer and the person asking their photo be taken) collaborate to create a single, unified photograph. That meets the definition in copyright law squarely, and people collaborating over what the content of photos should be have indeed been ruled co-authors in actual cases, as mentioned earlier. Yes, licensing with joint works can be messy, but U.S. law allows non-exclusive licenses from any individual co-author. The policy though would just be that we simply allow licenses from one of the parties in this situation, without trying to dive into the details. If another party objects, we can deal with the problem then. If the photographed person claims full copyright, well, it would take another party to dispute that, and legally they may even be right. For this type of situation where really no court cases have gone before, we really shouldn't try to guess how principles of copyright apply, I don't think. But even if we do, there is a law-based argument to allow the policy. And the other likely possibility is that a judge would bend or change the norms of copyright to deal with this situation -- we just don't know exactly how. So, the policy should be to simply accept a license from the one party, and delete if the other possible author objects (or we get a court case which gives us a better precedent to follow). Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:03, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose May be possible in the US, but not in Germany. The potential for misuse is also very high. --DaB. (talk) 02:40, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Just a note, that this discussion affects at least 50,000 images on Commons when you include the profile images in Category:Media needing categories, Category:User page images, Category:Wikipedians, Category:Wikimedians, Category:Personal images, etc. 50,000 is a low estimate considering how many of these are to be found in the 1 million+ images in Category:Media needing categories. Deletion and/or OTRS for this large of a number of files would not be easy. Daphne Lantier 02:57, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • (Edit conflict) Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Some people commented that why not use OTRS in such cases. See how this discussion became active again. Most of these photos are from Wikimedians who are non-notable people who are not using a verifiable email address. If we ask their friends to send a permission mail to OTRS, we will get another unverifiable mail. It can be even from that subject claiming their friend, who knows. Another way we can offer is to suggest that subject to ask his friend to create a Wikimedia account and upload themselves. Again we get another unverifiable account. It can be even a sock claiming his friend. We can overcome the "legal issues" these ways; making our system less reliable. IMHO, the permission coming from the subject claiming copyright is more reliable than these two options. Jee 03:05, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • A good point. Another consideration is age and known Wikipedians/Wikimedians. If we tag newer personal images for permission, that's not likely to cause too many problems; but if we tag 5+ year old shots of well-known admins and other functionaries across different wikis, that's going to lead to drama. And how about personal images uploaded by Wikipedians who are now deceased? Are we really ready to delete those? Are we going to tag those for permission and risk having an email sent to their relatives via notices to remind them that their loved one is dead? That'll look real good for Commons. Some Wikipedians, like GorillaWarfare for instance, are OTRS members themselves and have categories containing numerous images like this taken at WMF events. It might be seen as a bias if they can quickly take care of the issue through OTRS while less savvy users just get confused and perhaps turned off when their personal pics get needlessly tagged for permission or deletion. This kind of thing adds another level of hard line to Commons. Daphne Lantier 06:05, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support per Yann, Carl Lindberg, and Daphne Lantier. The subject/uploader would be choosing the date, time, lighting, background, subject, any co-subjects, blocking, clothing, grooming, pose, and even facial expression; thus they would at least be co-author.   — Jeff G. ツ 05:26, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
@Jeff G.: The appearance of a person, in and of itself (clothing, grooming, pose, facial expression) is not copyrightable. I submit File:Aamir Khan at 92.7 BIG FM to promote Satyamev Jayate 03.jpg.. an image where the subjects posed for a photo taken by a professional, at a media event. The subjects chose their clothing, grooming, pose, and facial expression... yet they are clearly not coauthors of the image, and I doubt anyone would claim they are. - Reventtalk 04:22, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@Revent: In that case, the photographer retained the camera and the image therein, so that situation would not qualify as a "Bystander selfie".   — Jeff G. ツ 17:45, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@Jeff G.: I'm not saying it would. Transferring the 'sole copy', however, does not transfer copyright under US law.... the law explicitly says it does not. The point is that the subjects here exercised just as much control over the 'purportedly' copyrightable contributions of clothing, grooming, pose, and facial expression as they would if it 'was' a bystander selfie. If those were copyrightable contributions (and they are not) then the subjects here would also be co-authors... and they are not. They were even, rather obviously, 'asking' to be photographed....the only difference is ownership of the camera (which is irrelevant) and if the sole copy was handed over (and the law specifically says that does not matter).
There may be (and probably are) cases of bystander selfies where the subject makes a sufficient contribution to be a coauthor, but that is not going to be true in most cases, and I don't think it is reasonable to 'assume' that it is true about tens of thousands of images where it is not, and at the same time open the door to claims that images are bystander selfies when they are not.
The actual proposal (that they can be claimed as own work) is simply wrong, even if you do accept (and I do not) that the subject is always a coauthor, as the 'other' co-author (the photographer) has the right to be attributed as well, and allowing such images to be claimed as simply 'own work' denies them that attribution. - Reventtalk 21:32, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. Our bystander still chooses aspects such as timing, precise angle, etc.; this is significantly different from someone setting his camera on a tripod or wall and using a timer or remote-shutter-pressing device. As noted above, creating the scene doesn't give the subject authorship, just as creating the scene doesn't give the camera owner authorship when he "lends" the camera to a monkey in a certain situation. Addressing Daphne's comments just above mine — given the ease of auto-taking a self-portrait with today's technology, we can accept {{own}} claims for recent portraits, and "taken by another Wikimedian at this meetup" can be one of those rare exceptions to requiring OTRS; if nothing else, the photographer clearly knows about the upload and can be trusted to challenge it if the claim is false, which is quite different from you uploading a portrait taken by a random bystander. We should require proof of permission only if the photo predates the digital-camera era (when few average people would risk using film on what became a poor-quality shot) or if the uploader specifically says that the image was taken by someone else. Nyttend (talk) 01:16, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support per Carl Lindberg. - Jmabel ! talk 04:45, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose First... the point has already been made that while a coauthor can, under US law, license an image, this is not true internationally. That point, in and of itself, makes the proposed policy unacceptable.... as written, if adopted, it will be certainly applied to cases where it is clearly incorrect.
In the US, however, works are required to have "at least a minimum amount of creative authorship that is original to the author." This has been historically interpreted by the USCO to mean that there must be at least one specific, identifiable, and copyrightable aspect of the work at hand that is attributable to the purported author. The arguments made here for the subject to be a coauthor rely on either claims that aspects of the person's appearance at a point in time are copyrightable (which they are not, or a person could claim to be a coauthor of 'any' portrait taken of them) or that a subject can claim to be a coauthor merely because they conveyed 'ideas' about the proposed image to the person who took the picture. This is wrong... mere ideas are not copyrightable authorship.
I present a thought experiment.... a person requests a bystander selfie. At the same moment that the requested photo is taken, a second photographer, standing behind and to the side of the first, takes a second image. That image could be cropped down to produce an image indistinguishable from the first. Is the subject a coauthor of that image as well? I think most people would say no. The aspects of supposed 'authorship' that the subject contributes are either inherently uncopyrightable (their appearance) or uncopyrightable by law (the 'idea' of taking such a photograph). Arguments are also made about the settings of the camera.... such aspects of photography (technical skill) are also specifically excluded from copyrightability.
The argument is also made that, by conveying the sole copy of the image to the subject, the photographer loses any ownership of the copyright. This is also not true.... it was, in the case of unpublished works, true under the 1909 copyright act (as such works were only covered by a common-law copyright) but the current Copyright Act changed that... and this was intentional. Per 17 U.S. Code § 202, "Transfer of ownership of any material object, including the copy or phonorecord in which the work is first fixed, does not of itself convey any rights in the copyrighted work". The 'digital copy' of a photograph, that a person created, is something that the person physically 'owns', even if the media on which it is stored belongs to someone else.
To elaborate, if I borrow your camera for the day, and take a few dozen photographs, you do not 'own' them, physically. If I copy them to my computer, and then delete them, I have not deprived you of property. They do not become your physical property until I return the camera to you, with them undeleted. The Copyright Act specifically states that such a conveyance of physical property does not convey ownership of the copyright.
What it comes down to, however, is that the copyright situation of bystander selfies comes down, clearly, to the specific circumstances that surround the particular work. The proposed policy depicts the situation of bystander selfies as something crystal clear... that is not the case, and it's IMO not possible to write a policy that will not be misapplied. - Reventtalk 05:15, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
I do agree that the legal situation is quite unclear. To me, deletion in that situation is a claim of clarity that we should not assume. We are applying certain principles of copyright, assuming they do apply, and deleting based on that -- but we really have no idea. They are deletions without any court precedent to back us up. I think that reflects poorly on us. I would prefer that we simply accept such licenses, somewhat like the U.S. Copyright Office will accept some claims under the rule of doubt -- we really have no clue. It may well be just fine for the pictured person to control such licenses -- it has not been proven one way or another in court, and in interests of simplicity I would rather just accept them. Much like photographs from heirs. If another involved party objects, fine, deal with it then. Otherwise, it just appears that we are trying to find reasons to delete stuff and make people jump through hoops, and have certain requirements made out of paranoia which can be downright impossible to fulfill. However, for those worried about straight legal arguments, yes those exist too, which is what I have argued. And yes, when a bystander takes a selfie, quite often the pictured people will arrange themselves, determine the basic content of the photos and the background, choose the basic angles, and often check the results in the viewfinder to see if it met their needs. Some or all of those aspects can very much be considered authorship, and go beyond mere ideas. I linked to a case, here (Brod v. General Publishing Group, Inc) where someone other than the photographer was indeed named a co-author based on similar elements to the above. It is not at all far-fetched for a ruling like this. Given the situation, I don't think we should apply copyright principles in areas no courts have bothered to do so -- if nobody has ever had a viable dispute elsewhere, I don't think we should create them here. Note the uncertainty, sure, but don't delete. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:45, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@Clindberg: The proposal, however, is to adopt as policy a statement where the operative phrase is "For Commons purposes, uploaders may claim "own work" for such bystander selfies if they are the subject who arranged the photography as described", where 'as described' includes a description of the conveyance of the 'sole copy'... in a manner that US law specifically says does not convey any copyright. Furthermore, it would be impossible for us to determine if the described circumstances applied... the proposed policy could be claimed to apply to any photograph where we have the permission of the subject, regardless of the actual facts.
This is not a 'zero sum' proposal... there is no requirement that we delete anything if this is not approved, and not approving it does not create any new policy about deletion. In the absence of this policy, such images should continue to go to DR, for the community to decide on a case-by-case basis. - Reventtalk 06:13, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@Clindberg: Rereading what you said, I think it's worth making a separate, and somewhat 'meta', statement. I do not believe that it is the purpose of Commons to archive 'anything we can get away with'. I believe that the purpose of Commons is to archive everything that we 'know', to the degree that we can reliably assert so to potential reusers, is PD or freely licensed. Our goal, IMO, should be to be a reliable source for copyright information about the works we host, and that includes disclaiming any known caveats about works that might have a questionable status. The proposed policy excludes any such disclaimer... it's simply that such works can be claimed as 'own work'. No. Hell no. - Reventtalk 06:27, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@Clindberg: Regarding the article about the Brod case that you linked, it seems quite distinct from the case of a bystander selfie... both parties had the explicit intent of creating a work of commercial value. The article also mentions Childress v. Taylor, and notes that the extant case is different because 'both made substantial contributions to the final work'. In the vast majority of potential bystander selfie cases, we would lack any real indication that the subject contributed any copyrightable authorship, so adopting 'the subject can claim own work' as a general rule seems misguided. The difficulty in most bystander selfie cases would be in pointing out any specific, identifiable, and copyrightable aspects of the work at hand that were the contribution of the subject... in most cases the contribution of the subject would merely be the 'idea' of such a photograph. - Reventtalk 10:42, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Hi, The case mentioned by Carl, Joint Authorship for Photographs, clearly dismissed all objections presented so far. But what was the appeal decision? Regards, Yann (talk) 12:17, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Ah, sorry, the 9th circuit affirmed the ruling on appeal. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:24, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
That link is not working for me. However, the full cite appears to be "Brod v. General Publishing Group, Inc., 32 Fed.Appx. 231 (9th Cir. 2001)" per this subsequent case No. 06-12624 of SAM TANG v. HEKMAT HANNA PUTRUSS, et al. in the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SOUTHERN DIVISION, filed 2007-10-05 by Hon. Sean F. Cox, middle of p. 8, in which the photographer won because the other party "does not appear to have exercised a high degree of control in the actual taking of the photographs, like that of the defendant in Brod" (near the bottom of p. 9).   — Jeff G. ツ 19:16, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@Yann: No, that case (clearly) does not dismiss the concerns, as it describes a situation that is distinctly different from that of a bystander selfie. From here: "The Court of Appeals held ... photographer manifested his intent that he and author would be co-authors of photographs"... in other words, the intent to create a joint work was explicitly stated. Also, from the 'factual background', "Before Brod triggered the shutter, Collins viewed a preliminary Polaroid test photograph of each image and made suggestions regarding any changes he thought appropriate", and "Collins incorporated, arranged, and enhanced some of the photographs for inclusion in the book."
This is clearly a level of contribution to the work far above saying "please take my picture'. Generalizing this to 'all subjects of bystander selfies are co-authors, and have the right to claim the images as own work without attributing the photographer' is simply wrong. - Reventtalk 21:42, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@Revent: This case is very similar, and it was confirmed in appeal, so your objections do not stand. When a friend takes a picture following my instruction, he clearly intents to create a joint work. I don't see how you can dismiss that. And yes, I would usually check that the picture is OK, and ask my friend to take another one if it is not. That's similar to the Polaroid example. And I may also enhance the picture before publishing it. In the case of the bystander selfie, the subject has much higher degree of control that the person who push the button. So there isn't much difference with the case cited. Regards, Yann (talk) 09:52, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
@Revent: Sorry I let this slide for a few days. For bystanders, there is a wide range of possibilities. It is the poser who decided they wanted the photo taken, chose the basic composition, etc. Most often, they will check the result in the viewfinder to see if it was what they wanted. I've retaken them a couple times myself where they decided they wanted something a bit different. It's very, very possible they could be ruled a co-author. More to the point though... we really don't know anything about this situation. We have zero legal precedent, so to claim that the photographer would be ruled the author is incorrect -- certainly at least as much as saying the poser would definitely be ruled a co-author. That may be the letter of the law, but when you get to extreme situations, oftentimes those rules go out the window. If actually faced with a situation like this, do you really think a judge would rule that a person has no right to use the photo however they wish, instead being subject to the permission from someone they don't know and can never find? That would help neither party, and is not remotely the intent of copyright law. I'm pretty sure the judge would find a way around it -- they could rule it abandonment on the part of the photographer (i.e. it's fully public domain), they could rule the "written" requirement for transfer does not apply in this case and the poser now owns the copyright, they could create a new "work for hire" situation just for this case, they could rule co-owner status which is enough to license, etc., etc. Lots of possibilities. Similarly in Europe, do you really think the "no free licenses unless all co-authors agree" principle would really be upheld in such a case, where the other co-owner can never be found? Not likely. The written law gets followed to a point, as long as it is protecting rights the law intended to protect, but when extreme situations cause the written result to go off the rails, then modifications are made. This is how fair use, de minimis, etc. got created in the first place -- they certainly weren't written into the original laws; judges created the doctrines to deal with situations where the written law would end up with wrong or ridiculous results. For this type of situation, the poser has been using such photos (and presumably giving permission) for many decades without any actual dispute ending up in a court of a law, as far as we know. In other words, we are inventing a problem which doesn't really exist -- if such a case comes to court, and it gets ruled on, then we'll have precedent where we can give advice. Until then, we have absolutely no clue -- it's dangerous to think we do, solely based on that we have read the letter of the law. It could be public domain, it could be the poser owns full rights, or something in between -- we have absolutely no idea, and to indicate there is a possible problem is also incorrect. There could be an extreme, weird, one-in-a-billion theoretical oddball chance of a problem, but that's true of just about any work here. The most accurate policy would be we frankly don't know, and will simply accept a "self" license in the absence of a court precedent, since that seems to be general practice (for example, Ellen was the one asked for permission to use her selfie, even though someone else pressed the shutter, and that photographer was known). The fact these get deleted (and they do) is bizarre to me. Yes, we all like certainty, but the odds of a problem with a "self" license in this case is tiny, waaaaaaay smaller than the normal assume-good-faith "self" licenses that are uploaded every day and we seem to have no problem with. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:51, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
@Clindberg: Even the case of the "Ellen selfie" is not that clearcut.... Time, for instance, attributes the image to Bradley Cooper [1]. If you listen to either of them talking about it, one thing that's quite clear is that the actual photo is nothing like what Ellen intended.... she was trying to, as a joke, take a 'selfie' with Meryl Streep, and intentionally crowd Meryl out of the frame. Cooper didn't realize that it was a joke, and jumped in to create something completely different.... Ellen herself describes it as 'his' photo.
I would not claim that there are not, undoubtably, cases of bystander selfies where the subject is indeed a coauthor, but I seriously doubt that the argument extends to the vast majority of cases... Yann talks about asking a friend to take several shots if needed so he can get what he wants, and in such a case he would indeed have contributed authorship, but that is not really a typical 'bystander selfie'. A more typical situation would be that a passerby is asked to take a photo, does so, and then goes on his way... few people are going to impose on a random stranger to engage in some involved process of taking and reviewing multiple images.
I have two major problems with this proposed guideline. The first is that, with this, we are creating a very broad 'special case' where we are going to accepting the word of a subject about the actions of unknown third parties.... this would rather obviously result in us accepting photos that are not bystander selfies, merely because the subject uploaded them as 'own work'. The other is that the exact text of this proposed policy makes assertions about the 'ownership of the sole copy' that are not only legally unjustified, but were explicitly removed from the 1977 copyright act.
The statement "In other cases, where the camera is provided by the bystander or another, with, say, image data being emailed to the subject, the bystander has control of the data and could claim copyright" essentially asserts that it purely by the transfer of the sole and only copy that bystander loses the right to 'claim copyright'. US law specifically and explicitly says that is not true, as I cited above. Also, there is no need to 'claim copyright'.... copyright exists from the moment of creation, and is not transferred by conveying the sole copy.
It's my opinion that some of the arguments advanced here violate the 'arguments we do not accept' part of the precautionary principle. - Reventtalk 20:39, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose per Jcb. --Krd 05:37, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
    • @Krd: Jcb didn't make any legal argument, which is the point of this whole discussion. Regards, Yann (talk) 15:10, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
      • Quote: "such a guideline would have no legal base". I agree that in many countries the bystander will be the copyright holder in any case, unless _explicitly_ agreed on anything else. Your proposal may be good to go for some countries, but I don't see the possible benefit outweigh the complexity of the issue and the endless and fruitless discussions that will arise from it. --Krd 15:23, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
        • @Krd: Did you read the long and detailed arguments by Carl above. Regards, Yann (talk) 15:25, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
          • The part containing "we can deal with those situations on an individual basis"? Well, it may happen one day that we have more workers and supporters at Commons than actual work to do. At all other days we should IMO keep things simple and manageable. We have enough per-country-individual-review-required issues like Commons:Freedom of panorama and Commons:Photographs of identifiable people etc. I'd be comfortable with people cleaning existing backlogs instead of creating new ones. --Krd 15:35, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
            • This proposal has exactly that objective: simplify things by moving a guideline widely applied to a formal procedure. So I really don't understand your objection. Regards, Yann (talk) 15:41, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
              • No, most administrators still try to follow copyright laws rather than inventing their own ones. There may be a small group of administrators who 'widely apply' this bystander selfie nonsense, but it seems logical to me to stop that practice rather than trying to create some policy in an attempt to justify this mistaken behaviour. Jcb (talk) 16:27, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
                • Jcb, it seems you didn't even read Carl's long and detailed arguments. Considering the subject of a bystander selfie as co-author is a long practice quite everywhere on the Internet and on Commons. It is the people who say otherwise who are inventing laws which do not exist. Sorry to say, but here the nonsense comes from you. Regards, Yann (talk) 17:16, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram-voting-question.svg Question What is to prevent someone using {{Own using|a bystander}}?   — Jeff G. ツ 23:26, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
    • The software won't prevent that, but a {no permission} tag would probably follow. Jcb (talk) 23:41, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
      • Alternatively, how about "{{self-photographed}} with the assistance of a bystander, from whom I have a written assignment of copyright per Commons:Own work/Bystander selfie" (assuming this proposal passes)?   — Jeff G. ツ 23:10, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
        • If there is a written permission from the photographer, it can be sent to OTRS, like in any other case where the uploader is not the copyright holder. Jcb (talk) 23:35, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram-voting-question.svg Question Concretely, if the uploader (user) is on the photo, this proposed guideline is for user personal images? Christian Ferrer (talk) 06:19, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
    • @Christian Ferrer: Yes, the uploader would be the subject (or one of the subjects) of the uploaded photo. That having been written, photos of notable Wikimedians and Wikipedians sometimes get used in articles about them, and photos of groups of them (like chapters and their functions) sometimes get used in articles and other project pages about such groups.   — Jeff G. ツ 23:48, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
It is not written in the guideline, and if it is indeed for user page images then that should be precised. If it becomes a policy, an account can upload a photo of a well known people, claiming it's a bystander, and so what? we ask an OTRS confirmation of the account? and if OTRS confirm it's indeed the account of the known people, do we accept they license the photo? It is like accepting a license from a third party, and this is an issue because a photo of a star/well known people can easily be published on a cover of a magazine, and then the photographer seeing that can think "what?! I've not been paid for the photo I've taken". It's not exactly like a user page image or the photo I taken of my sister and her husband with her phone last week. Christian Ferrer (talk) 05:43, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support per Carl Lindberg. This situation seems to be quite common and person composing the image and latter cleaning up / post processing the image is a coauthor who can release the copyrights. --Jarekt (talk) 03:40, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
@Jarekt: The concern, IMO, is not that such co-authorship might not exist in some cases. The concern is that the assumption that such co-authorship exists in 'all' cases is obviously going to be wrong in some, and it opens the door for completely spurious claims by an uploader that some image was a 'bystander selfie' when it was not. - Reventtalk 04:32, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support with an example: Me and a friend at an event. I hate the selfies, and my good friend (who also hate the selfies) wants to take a photo of us. Then, she requested to someone strange to take a Bystander selfie for us with my friend's cellphone. The Bystander took the photo and returned the cellphone. The Bystander never told us who is and we never seen her again.
Conclusion: the only reason to questionate the copyright status of a personal bystander selfie is Copyright paranoia, and a good Policy is needed to avoid improper tagging and deletions.
Bystander selfies existed since the analog cameras epoch (do you remember when Mr. Bean wanted a selfie, but the bystander stolen the camera?), and I believe here are several personal bystander selfies that became part of the family album, therefore, nobody know who was the bystander and nobody will care about him/her. I'll never consider a bystander as "co-author" of a personal bystander selfie, and I believe nobody considered that since the early XX century. Nobody cares on copyright with personal shoots (including bystander selfies), just a beautiful memory. --Amitie 10g (talk) 05:06, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Carl is, as usual, clear even when the world is not. -- (talk) 07:20, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support After some discussions in here, I would like to support this proposal which I found very helpful Mardetanha talk 14:17, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment The proposal looks like common sense to me, but I submit some thoughts about how rights management are currently handled in files. The Exif metadata specification relating to rights management clearly distinguishes between the camera owner, the photographer and the image creator. Although the specification does give examples of both the photographer and the image editor both having copyright within the same image, there is no suggestion that the camera owner can also claim copyright with the other two. But perhaps this doesn't exclude the possibility that all 3 can be in the Artist/Creator tag, and in the same file for only the camera owner being the copyright owner.
The latest Exif 2.3 specification (which can be found at says this about the Artist (mapped to Creator in XMP) tag: "This tag records the name of the camera owner, photographer or image creator. Ex. "Camera owner, John Smith; Photographer, Michael Brown, Image creator, Ken James"". The same specification says this about the Copyright tag: "In this specification the tag is used to indicate both the photographer and editor copyrights".
The "Guidelines For Handling Image Metadata" by the Metadata Working Group also specifically mention that Artist/Creator tags can include at the same time, but differentiate, between the Camera owner, Photographer, and Image Creator.
To confuse the issue Commons has already used an example (based on Exif-tool) which shows that the camera owner can claim copyright distinct from the photographer (and distinct from the image editor). See advice regarding EXIF in images. --Very trivial (talk) 05:43, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support common sense (Commons is to much "affected" of idiocy, intern and extern). -- User: Perhelion 22:55, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Giving OTRS members the ability view deleted files[edit]

I'm suggesting to give OTRS members the ability view deleted content which (all content especialy the file itself), I believe, essential for handling tickets by non-admins. They can not see the photo that they discussing about, they can not see if there is a FoP problem there, personality rights issue etc. In fact, the restoring admin (which have to be also OTRS member) have to double the work of the non-admin volunteer.

We had a previous discussion about a similar suggestion back in 2014. but now I am not talking about giving them the ability to restore files. Only to view. OTRS members trusted users and they already signed on stringent privacy policy.

I understand that deletedhistory rights are only allows "viewing the list of deleted history items including author and summary of each item unless they are hidden or suppressed". So we need to ask for a new group title for that. -- Geagea (talk) 09:23, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Clarification: We will creat new user right group on Commons OTRS user have to request in COM:RFR and only approved users may accept the right. -- Geagea (talk) 13:18, 7 March 2017 (UTC)


  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support if technically feasible. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 11:00, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support Good idea. Yann (talk) 11:52, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support This is something that will help me a lot as aN OTRS volonteer. Some times picture are selleted before we receive the OTRS permission. Hanay (talk) 15:58, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  4. Symbol support vote.svg Support would be helpful in my work as an OTRS agent. Ijon (talk) 22:32, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  5. Symbol support vote.svg Support The OTRS members I know in person are trustworthy and this right would help them in their work. -- 32X (talk) 10:28, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  6. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose I cannot support giving editors who have not been approved by the Commons community for advanced permissions the ability to view material that the community has decided to delete. If anything, we should create a new userright on Commons, that the community can grant to OTRS members upon request at COM:RFR. Otherwise, we create the possibility of allowing editors who are OTRS members for other projects, with no access to Commons queues, and who have possibly never even edited Commons, the ability to view deleted material. - Reventtalk 10:45, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
    I would support the proposal, as clarified by Geagea after my initial 'vote', that specific OTRS members may request that the Commons community grant them the right to view deleted files, and that a new user group be created for that purpose. - Reventtalk 07:15, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
  7. Symbol support vote.svg Support After the clarification regarding a request for rights [2], furthermore this kind of permission for really active trusted Commons users with OTRS access will be likely much more usefull for the community than this de facto right for the (large numbers of) administrators who are not really active. In summary if we give these rights to non-active administrators, I don't see the issue to give these rights to active trusted users who will use really those rights and in a good way for to help the community and the Wikimedia projects. Insofar as we keep here in Wikimedia Commons the power to allocate or take over these rights of course. Christian Ferrer (talk) 18:14, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  8. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose With all due respect to the proposer and his work, this proposal appears not very well prepared to me.
    • Getting an opinion on a deleted file or getting it restored to apply an OTRS ticket can always be done in several ways, not least via IRC.
    • The Commons admin giving an opinion or restoring the file doesn't have to be an OTRS agent because the OTRS part of the work is still be done by the OTRS volunteer.
    • OTRS members are not trusted users regarding to Commons point of view as they are not appointed by the Commons community.
    • I'm still uncomfortable to broaden the view to deleted material to so many more users without actual need.
    • I everything else fails or becomes unmanageable, the OTRS user can request adminship on Commons, which likely will help the community in many more places, and is the easiest solution.
    --Krd 17:48, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
  9. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Per Krd's. In particular: OTRS members are not trusted users regarding to Commons point of view as they are not appointed by the Commons community. --Discasto talk 16:27, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  10. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose per Krd, et al. OTRS membership is not granted by or in consultation with the Commons community; it is highly inappropriate to grant a trusted right (view deleted) to users who have not had that trust confirmed by the community in which the right will be deployed. This also opens a perverse asymmetry. For example, a Commons admin and OTRS member could not view deleted on, say, the Estonian Wikipedia; yet an Estonian OTRS member--who may or may not have ever even used the Commons--could view deleted images here. Obviously that would be true of all other projects. That is a nonsensical (and dangerous) position, as is this proposal. Эlcobbola talk 23:13, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  11. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose as per the arguments of Revent, Krd and Elcobbola. Daphne Lantier 01:18, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
  12. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose mostly because the WMF has repeatedly stated over at enwiki that they will shut down any attempt to grant editors the ability to view deleted files unless it stems from a community process. Even if this got approved, the WMF would just shut it down. ~ Rob13Talk 02:20, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
    • This vote right here is the community process they wanted.   — Jeff G. ツ 04:21, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
  13. Symbol support vote.svg Support it would make COM:UDR acting on OTRS agents requests simpler. Ankry (talk) 08:23, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  14. GA candidate.svg Weak support iff the approval process is on COM:BN, with a criteria of OTRS agents that are also active commons users, and have a similar trustworthiness requirement as an LR. --Zhuyifei1999 (talk) 08:46, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  15. Symbol support vote.svg Support If the user right process will be done on COM:BN, provided that the requesting user are very active on COM:UDR (the definition of "very active" may vary, this will depend on the reviewing bureaucrat). The request will be reviewed by a bureaucrat, and will be open for 72 hours. Otherwise Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, per Krd, Revent, and Elcobbola, since they are not elected by the community, hence they aren't trusted to view deleted files, which is a very sensitive privilege. -- Poké95 11:57, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  16. Symbol support vote.svg Support – the level of trust required for deletedhistory certainly shouldn't be any higher than the one required for permission verifications. If "OTRS members are not trusted users regarding to Commons point of view", how can Commons trust their copyright status assessment? FDMS 4 12:43, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
  17. Symbol support vote.svg Support Natuur12 (talk) 16:31, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
  18. Symbol support vote.svg Support, maybe call it a viewdeleted right.   — Jeff G. ツ 04:15, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
  19. Symbol neutral vote.svg Neutral - I'm on the fence here. On one hand, giving OTRS the right to view deleted files is a good thing. On the other hand, currently OTRS is understaffed and backlogged, and I'm unsure whether its volunteers are skilled enough and trusted to be granted with such. --George Ho (talk) 10:04, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
  20. Symbol neutral vote.svg Neutral absolutely sensible. But I've to much respect to the opinion of very experienced admins here, so I made my vote neutral. -- User: Perhelion 23:33, 6 May 2017 (UTC)


  • Why are OTRS members trusted users? AFAIC trusted users are those elected by the community and OTRS members were never elected. In fact, a while ago a Russian Wikipedia user was banned by an ArbCom and remained banned for two years, but remained an OTRS member during the whole duration of the ban (and I believe still is an OTRS member).--Ymblanter (talk) 12:20, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
    Well, to avoid this kind of option we can add it as a request in COM:RFR and only approved users may accept the right. If the attitude of OTRS to let users be volunteers just because they asked to be so, this permission will be under Commons control (can be usfull also for local wikis). it will distinguished between OTRS volunteers withe the permission and who did not get one.-- Geagea (talk) 13:30, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
    As soon as they explicitly get a permission on Commons and do not get grandfathered in I do not have a problem with the proposal.--Ymblanter (talk) 13:33, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
    I want to emphasize that to be an OTRS member is not so easy. I know at least one user from Hebrew wiki that apply to be an OTRS volunteer and he was denied. Also I know another member that his permissions were removed because the way he handled the tickets. The application is reviewed by admins and other OTRS members. see here. Hanay (talk) 10:23, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
    This is a low risk permission as it is basically "read-only". What possible abuse could OTRS members cause by viewing deleted images? Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 13:00, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
    This is not a good argument, since it implies anybody should be able to see deleted images. There are some good reasons why this option is not available to everyone.--Ymblanter (talk) 13:04, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment That's seems to be a good idea and may be useful. But if the fact to give advanced permissions to users who have not been elected by our community is an issue. Then we can condition the access to this new group with 2 conditions 1/to be an OTRS member, 2/ to be elected in a kind of request for right within our community, with the possibility to remove this right if it is necessary while the user stay an OTRS member. In that case I tend to support. Christian Ferrer (talk) 12:06, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
I do agree with Christian Ferrer: it is necessary some sort of blessing from the Commons community, even if it's a quick check that the user has a clean recent contribution record. --Ruthven (msg) 13:35, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment. I agree with all the comments her, it shouldn't be an advanced permissions. The permission should be added only per request in COM:RFR. But this kind of permission does not exist yet and should be created. I made a clarification above. Hopefully it's clear now. If you think something should be improved in the original suggestion feel free to do so.-- Geagea (talk) 14:40, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • This has already been declined multiple times. Here's an email from krd:
This has already been discussed at Commons several times, and the fact is that these rights cannot be applied to OTRS agents but only to validly elected Commons admins. For the reason that deleted versions (copyright violations) may only be visible to as few persons as required, which are the Commons admins.
This is a requirement of WMF legal, and should not be discussed again and again. Please save community time and don't start public discussions on this topic.
DatGuy (talk) 16:56, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
To give advanced permissions to all OTRS members and to give, after a request for right with a vote, these permissions to carefully selected trusted users who have OTRS access is not exactly the same thing. Christian Ferrer (talk) 19:04, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
My email is at this pastebin. DatGuy (talk) 20:12, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Though every one is of course free to have it's own point of view, to read at least the 3 or 4 last oppose votes, I wonder if they have notified the proposal "request in COM:RFR and only approved users". That's said Krd's comment is not untrue, OTRS members can make a rfa... Christian Ferrer (talk) 08:51, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • As a former OTRS member, I always desired to see the deleted files. But, as trust is an important part of this project, I think only selected OTRS members may have this "special" permission. This may be implemented as a second OTRS group like "Advanced OTRS members" (for users who're already OTRS members), elected by the community. --Amitie 10g (talk) 12:43, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Instead of giving deletedhistory right, maybe this should give viewdeletedfile instead. (It only lets you view deleted stuff in File and file_talk: namespaces). Bawolff (talk) 21:28, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment
    @Counterargument: "OTRS members are not trusted users" This sounds absolutely implausible for me. In most cases on OTRS are much more sensible information visible as on files. An untrustworthy OTRS member would be much more hazardous as an untrustworthy "file viewer".
    @Official meta page: Volunteering for OTRS "confidential nature of the work" Willing to sign the OTRS users confidentiality agreement, considering the access to nonpublic information policy. -- User: Perhelion 23:33, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Oversight bans[edit]

Labelling for Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence[edit]

Would it be possible to have a tool for marking up the images with labels, pointing into Wikipedia - the combination of wikipedia's detailed meaningful text, and a huge database of images should be an awesome dataset for AI. Eventually you can imagine tools using convolutional networks to render imagery *from* the text, or vica versa. I imagine such labels would also be helpful for translation (visual vocabulary, including descriptive phrases).

How would this sit with community guidelines? I tried using 'image notes' to do this , and apparently that not's intended.

I also note it's possible to have image hotspots (image map not image notes) with links, these dont show up as 'annotations', but are still clickable. I think this is what I'm after.

artificial intelligence is dependant on labelled data; at present the best labelled datasets come from proprietary sources; You can get hold of labelled images, but the 'full context' of the wikipedia database jumps out as being a particularly great opportunity for the world. More data is always better. MfortyoneA (talk) 12:03, 15 April 2017 (UTC)

@MfortyoneA: There are already such projects, e.g. LabelMe of the MIT, I do not really understand why you want to duplicate these efforts.
But anyway: you can of course establish such a tool on your own server (e.g. using Drupal or Wordpress and annotation tools like [3]) and use images from Commons (you can find the corresponding guidelines on Commons:Reusing content outside Wikimedia/technical).
Regarding a tool within Commons: As I already wrote on your talk page I don't see any advantage for such annotations within Commons. And for a proposal of an extra tool (aka a Mediawiki extension) you would have to go to the developers at the Phabricator (see also Commons:Bugs) and to the Wikimedia Foundation (e.g. here) which will have to finance the development. And you will have to point out the advantages of your proposal for the Wikimedia universe (or at least for the world of free information). To produce a database for AI improvement is in my opinion nothing the Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to, but maybe I'm wrong...
Anyway: This is nothing we can decide here.
Nebenbei gefragt: Ist deine Muttersprache deutsch? (Dein Gebrauch von "eventually" lässt mich das vermuten... Dann müssen wir nicht mühselig auf Englisch aneinander vorbeireden). --Reinhard Kraasch (talk) 17:41, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
- LabelMe is good but far fewer people know about it ... In my view the opportunity is the extra context of wikipedia itself; e.g. trying to think what the best label is for something, one can go and search wikipedia for articles that give consensus on what things are actually called. Just about anything in this world has more detail behind it than the average person realises at a glance (domain specific jargon, subtle variations, details). The beauty of wikipedia is the linked structure leading you to things you didn't know you were looking for. Think how we also have 'wiktionary'. Imagine the labels also being available as hints for translation between languages (words with more context). The links will also enhance the searchability of the images, and suggest images that could become illustrations for wikipedia articles. each image would contribute by almost functioning as a search-index. Imagine a tool which used all existing data to provide hover card labels for any terms that have labels associated with them. There might be an intermediate stage with redlinks , where we might have image-labels associated with something but no article (yet), hovering on the redlink could at least show you visually what the phrase refers to MfortyoneA (talk) 19:04, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
- "finance the development." .. from what I saw the existing tool is nearly enough, so a simple modification should suffice (it just needs an option to make links without the popup note, to de-emphasise them or whatever). I could probably figure out how to do that but the difficult bit is actually getting a consensus to accept it. MfortyoneA (talk) 19:04, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
- "To produce a database for AI improvement is in my opinion nothing the Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to" .. it might not be their original mission statement, but the data is there, the format is already very useful, and data-driven AI is going to rule the world. wikimedia commons does seem to state a goal is "educational"; fine grain links to increasingly precise information might increase the educational value MfortyoneA (talk) 19:10, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
Anyway: You would have to go to the developers and ask for a modification of the ImageAnnotator. And to do so you will have to seek other Commons users supporting the idea (which mostly means: promising to undertake the additional workload of the labelling itself). Right now I only see you and me talking about the advantages and the disadvantages. Not that you misunderstand me: I graduated about machine vision in the 70s and am still interested in the issue, but I do not see how such a project will fit into the Commons community (and I for myself have enough other work, so I would not spend any time on labelling). Even if there were such a tool: there is nobody around to use it. BTW: The existing annotation tool is hardly used either, since most Commons users just upload images and nothing more. --Reinhard Kraasch (talk) 20:02, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
build and they will come. I dont mean to sound like 'encouraging spam', but you know how many people want to add content to wikipedia, and there's argument about 'notability' : anyone trying to add content to wikipedia might have an incentive to add labelled images (whether or not the actual page makes it through). The labelling can be seen as 'extending wikipedia' (imagine on that side, a 'what links here' tool will reveal the images). I sometimes kill time going through wikipedia finding things to link.. quite specifically this activity is an 'explorative' state. It's slightly more satisfying making a change rather than *just* reading. I'm sure I'm not unique.
but I do not see how such a project will fit into the Commons community - I see it as benefiting the whole inter-wiki; it's also not *just* machine vision, but enhancing the potential of machines to comprehend the wikipedia-text; humans have a database of life experience (including visuals) that each word is linked to. MfortyoneA (talk) 10:01, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
Try to find other supporters and then go on. --Reinhard Kraasch (talk) 12:14, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
It's an interesting idea but I don't think Commons is the place and I think it's a few years too late... In 2010 this would have been a fantastic idea but in 2017 companies (read Google) have already developed algorithms far more advanced than a human workforce for analyzing images and their contents... (See their posts about machine learning in street view, Google Goggles, REcaptcha, Google Crowdsource, etc) if someone were to implement this, I think it would be in Google-verse not Wikipedia as it really doesn't support our goals... Wikidata is about as far to the machine learning database as WMF goes to that right now... EoRdE6(Come Talk to Me!) 04:16, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Proposal on de-adminship for cause[edit]

It has been evident for some time, most recently during this discussion and this one, that our policy on community de-adminship requests is unclear and inadequate. It has not been reviewed for years, and cannot be relied upon either to support the right of the community to challenge admins where there appears to be evidence of serious problems, nor to protect admins from unreasonable de-adminship requests. Here is the current text:

I would like to propose a simple revised procedure. Cancel the current text, and replace with this:

Edit: strike 'consensus', per discussion. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:19, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

The main improvements are:

  • clarify that the community has the power to de-sysop on the basis of serious behavioural shortcomings, and not only for misuses of the technical admin tools.
  • involve the bureaucrats as a group in closing the initial discussion and the de-admin itself. De-admin requests happen rarely, but they can be important and expose strong community disagreements. It is reasonable for more than one bureaucrat to be involved, and would not represent a huge additional burden on the group.
  • replace the completely unclear phrase “some consensus for removal” with a more clearly-defined threshold (while acknowledging that judgement will be needed, as we don't want the closure to be done on the basis of a raw vote).
  • provide minimum time periods to allow for adequate preliminary discussion, for the community to review and comment on the draft de-sysop request, and for the responding admin to prepare a response without having to do so while voting is going on.
  • replace the unclear and internally-inconsistent expression "majority consensus" with a more definite rule providing greater guidance to the closing bureaucrats.

If this seems a reasonable way forward, I'll make minor amendments to the wording as discussion proceeds. Constructive improvements are welcome. MichaelMaggs (talk) 13:28, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

Discussion on de-adminship for cause[edit]

  • Much better than our old policy which is confusing. Though the phrase and widely-acknowledged concerns might be more food for Wikilawyers. Natuur12 (talk) 13:56, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
That provides required guidance to the closing crats, as we don't want a raw-vote threshold. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:12, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support in principle although "more than about 50%" seems to be vague. Rodhullandemu (talk) 14:03, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
It could say "a majority" or "more than 50%", but that would imply that the closing crats have no discretion other than to rubber-stamp the raw vote count. Adding 'about' emphasises their discretion. MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:39, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol neutral vote.svg Neutral I don't see any change, besides more words are used. No reason to support, no reason to oppose. --Krd 14:34, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
    The main changes are highlighted in the 5 bullet points above. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:42, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
    … and I for myself don't see anything that isn't already clear and set. Sorry. --Krd 14:46, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
  • BA candidate.svg Weak oppose if I have two choose between two texts saying same, I would choose shorter Mardetanha talk 14:47, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose A solution to a problem that does not exist. And for that by far too many words. --Reinhard Kraasch (talk) 14:49, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
  • I have quite a few concerns:
  1. The procedure does not seem to permit de-admin for a single gross violation of admin tools or horrendous behaviour. I think while rare, there may be cases where an admin does something that the community feels is, on its own, just too awful for them to be permitted to retain the tools. It may be they are blocked already for such behaviour. An example of tool-misuse could be INC unblocking Livio in full knowledge that recent unblock requests had not achieved consensus, combined with a personal feud with the blocking admin. INC knew that was beyond the pale and would lead to his de-admin but went ahead anyway. There were other factors and many previous events in that case, but that's an example I think of someone crossing the line, and for which only a single unrepentant act could be required for a de-admin vote.
  2. The three periods of seven days adds up to twenty-one days of continued admin power. Is there a need to be able to request a temporary suspension of admin powers, or to request an admin desist from engaging a particular action related to the complaint (e.g. block/unblock, or deletions/tagging) while their adminship is under review? Also, if the voting/consensus is snowball then may it be shortened?
  3. I agree with Natuur12 that "widely-acknowledged concerns" is unclear and open to interpretation according to the bias of any 'crat. Particularly when some people express their opinions on the form of "The community is sick and tired of..." and "we are all fed up with..." which gives a false sense of wide concern and agreement. In previous discussion on the consensus for Jcb, Natuur12 had a completely different definition of "consensus" to me, or to e.g. the Wikipedia:Consensus definition. For example, 10 support and 12 oppose is not a consensus, nor is 12 support and 10 oppose: both are clearly a lack of consensus. A consensus is a wide agreement among a group. Do we need to document this with a Commons:Consensus page that describes the term/policy in ways relevant for Commons?
  4. The "made in good faith" clause expects one to judge the motive of those commenting and dismiss on that basis. In such heated votes, viewpoints are expressed in an adversarial manner with polarized language and cherry picking examples to make a case. Given that Commons is as unlikely to improve here as politicians are likely to start being truthful, surely the job of any closing 'crat is to sift through the evidence and make a judgement in spite of the bad faith, selective evidence, and spiteful comments. So I don't think that clause helps.
  5. I like the idea that the decision to run a de-admin should be made by "a bureaucrat after consultation with the other bureaucrats". This will prevent any random person making a personal interpretation of the discussion and going ahead regardless. I think however, the 'crats should consider that where there is little or no consensus, then the subsequent de-admin is likely to be similarly divisive and unsatisfying. This does not mean that we should all disband and go about our own ways, but that there is a problem for which the community cannot agree on a solution. It is likely then that we expect the 'crats and others to work towards finding an alternative solution than de-admin. For example, further mediation, the success of failure of which, could provoke a more certain community response.
  6. There is an implication that the sole mechanism to deal with an admin who frequently falls below the standard expected of the community is to form a mob and chop their head off. The proposal talks of a "preliminary discussion" but really it is not a discussion because it is "focused specifically on the question of whether a de-adminship request should be filed" -- in other words a binary debate yes/no vote. Voting doesn't produce a consensus but can only document an existing range of polarised and nonconstructive viewpoints. It doesn't encourage any efforts to mediate with the admin and attempt to resolve the issue without a de-admin vote. Then when we go to de-admin, once again there is this immediate vote that only provides two outcomes: lose the bit or retain the bit. There's nothing here to suggest we should first aim for resolving the issue, and perhaps require folk to document that serious good-faith attempts have been made to do so, and they have been rejected or failed.
  7. The admin in question may in good faith believe their actions are for the best of Commons. While we don't want to create rules to prevent every stupidity, recent discussions have highlighted flaws in our procedures, tools, policies, best-practices, where the admin is exacerbating the system problem. The focus here, on simply debating whether the admin should be forcibly retired, does not encourage any constructive examination of those factors.
-- Colin (talk) 15:08, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Colin, your list of 'quite a few concerns' is significantly longer than the actual proposal. If you'd be prepared to work with me to develop the draft, that would be much appreciated. I'll comment on each of your points if so. Will you help with a policy that will overcome your concerns? The added complexity, though, may not be attractive to those editors who prefer extreme brevity over procedural clarity. MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:30, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
I think we'd be better to start with a list of what doesn't work currently and what changes might improve things. A bit like your bullet point list. Perhaps it would help to have a list of previous community discussions that have succeeded or failed to generate a de-admin. Some (including one 'crat) seem convinced there is no problem, and if that is the case, it is pointless to polish and refine policy text, if we can't agree on issues/changes. But if there is a consensus to change some aspects, then the exact wording of any policy can be decided afterwards. -- Colin (talk) 20:42, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram-voting-question.svg Question Sorry if I missed that, but I think it maybe lacks a clear definition of what is a "consensus" in the Preliminary discussion, I can read "The threshold has been reached if: there is consensus to that effect...". But in the last similar discussion, regarding Jcb, there was a vote, and it is a fact that there was disagrements about what should be a "consensus". Is it a vote? if yes then is 50% sufficient? Or is it a bit unclear in purpose? this is just a question. Christian Ferrer (talk) 11:22, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
There is no agreed definition of 'consensus' (just one of many problems with the existing policy). It would be useful to agree that, and to create the page Commons:Consensus. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 13:01, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Follow the Oxford English Dictionary definition. We do not need an essay which turns an existing word into an odd project specific neologism. The issue here is that the !vote should be simply a vote. The only reason we talk slightly inappropriately about 'consensus' for the RfA procedures, is that we wish the closer to have discretion to discount single purpose accounts or similar. This can be done by including the element of discretion in the vote procedure definition, it's a one-liner. The word "consensus" should probably be avoided becoming key for future wikilawyers, as it literally means reaching an effective unanimous result, which can never apply to a vote process where 50% is set as the boundary. If you review the past RfA cases, this has never been a significant issue. -- (talk) 13:26, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
✓ Done @Christian Ferrer: Reference to 'consensus' struck. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:19, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
The OED simply defines it as "a general agreement". There is no one official way of determining if we have a consensus but there's plenty advice out there on how not to go about achieving one: hence the essay on WP. By removing the word "consensus" from the proposal, but retaining "closed by a bureaucrat after consultation with the other bureaucrats", all you are doing is implicitly expecting the 'crats to form their own consensus or declare they failed to reach one themselves. And without this "consultation with the other bureaucrats" clause, that Fae objects to, it then falls back to the case that any random user, in good faith or bad, can interpret the discussion how they see fit. -- Colin (talk) 16:01, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose due to the implicit and avoidable increase in the role of Bureaucrats, conflating the leadership role with having more direct authority. In practice, a RfA, de-sysop request or the (theoretical) confirmation RfA are procedural votes that should not be ignored, the RfA procedure even states this quite technically with "normally requires at least 75% in favour, with a minimum of 8 support votes". Right now the RfC I started on gender neutral language on en.wp is being argued about, because a vote split is being claimed to not be a "consensus" despite a 20%+ majority and all the reliable sources happening to support the opinions of the majority; indicating to me there's quite a bit of confusion in the general community about what consensus actually might mean in practice. In the Jcb desysop case mentioned above, it is not acceptable that we went through a double jeopardy situation, where the noticeboard ended up being equivalent to holding a desysop vote, and yet a technically correct move to run a desysop process ended up getting ignored because of the opinions of Bureaucrats, so the community never got to state its consensus view. When it comes to a community vote, it seems highly unlikely and inadvisable that any bureaucrat would descend from the heavens to override a majority vote. If something goes wrong, such as excessive off-wiki canvassing, this can be openly discussed, and corrective action may be as simple as the community agreeing to keep the vote open for a significantly longer time than usual, or even close the vote, but have another one a week later. Either of these options are better in terms of governance and transparency, than Bureaucrats having some private off-wiki discussion which may include evidence that the community never gets to see, and then telling the community their result. At the end of the day, adminship is a question of holding the mop, which most people will say is "no big deal", so there's no excuse to craft an arcane process as if this were electing the Pope. -- (talk) 11:45, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
  • I think both Michael (here) and Fae (at Wikipedia) made the same mistake. They saw a problem (does everyone agree there is a problem?) they come up with a solution (does everyone like the solution, especially one that proposes multiple changes?) and then they propose some (lengthy, complex) text that codifies that solution in policy/guideline (does everyone like the text and where the text is inserted and agree its a policy or a guideline or applies only to English, applies only to articles/images/help/policy/talk, etc) and then we vote. Either because the proposer sticks their own support vote after their proposal, or because that's what people here do anyway, even if you ask them to discuss. There's so many opportunities for being unhappy with the proposal that it is no wonder it often fails and the discussion is an angry mess.
Whereas Wikipedia:Consensus describes a process (and various ways to achieve it). The aim should be to form a consensus. Step by step. Then a vote is just a way of confirming if you have achieved that consensus and could be decided by some arbitrary threshold depending on how serious the change is (though from recent UK experience, a 50% threshold is considered just fine for even the most serious of changes to your country). I don't see why it would be different for admin issues. First establish some agreement there is actually a problem with the admin (or whether the problem lies with other admins or uploaders or "the system"). Then establish some agreement on a solution (of which de-admin is only one of many options and comes with quite a penalty). Then perhaps agree the wording of such a solution (assuming it isn't simple like removing the bit). Adminship, particularly for those are are highly active admins or highly opinionated admins, most certainly is a big deal, and has the possibility of doing great harm to either our content or the users. But admins are humans, not machines, so switching them off is far from the only method of dealing with problems. -- Colin (talk) 13:19, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Pictogram voting info.svg Info An interesting series of responses so far. Some editors think the proposal is good, some don't see any problem that needs solving, and some agree that current policy is flawed but are dismissive of the proposal for a wide variety of reasons.

At present I can't see a way forward other than to ask editors to bear in mind that it's far, far easier to knock a proposal down than it is to make it in the first place. Telling a proposer at length that they've started from the wrong place or that they've got it all wrong does not encourage positive contributions from others. Quite the reverse. Actionable suggestions or counterproposals presented in a positive way to the community and driven forward by any editor who has a different perspective would help move the discussion on. I'll leave this open for further opinions. MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:08, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Michael, I've helped write several guidelines and proposed changes to such over the years. Some have succeeded (two on WP, one on Commons) and some have crashed and burned. I'm sorry if you think it discouraging, but I don't think presenting a 500-word complex proposal to the community out-of-the-blue is the approach to take. At the very least, if you are going to make a proposal that involves the 'crats, it might be good to start by getting them on board to begin with. -- Colin (talk) 16:01, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
  • @MichaelMaggs: firstly thank you for your several attempts to improve our guidelines and policies, though I did not participe very much, I look at your goodwill with a benevolent and grateful glance. Regarding my issue with "consensus", my suggestion is to arbitrarily decide on the limit to be atteined for the community can ask a De-adm. Exemple:
"The threshold has been reached:
if there is consensus to that effect,
by consensus we mean here, in an arbitrary way, at least 5 autopatroller users in favor of a De-adm, and at least a strict majority in favor of a De-adm
or there are serious, documented, and widely-acknowledged concerns, made in good faith, that the administrator routinely acts in a manner incompatible with their admin status, and it appears unlikely that this will change."
It is a limit easily attainable but also easy to counter to avoid the abuses. And "a strict majority" is an egalitarian and democratic side. And this makes it possible to avoid that all "decision power" or at least all the responsability go to bureaucrats to decide if there is indeed a consensus or not (with all the reproaches that can come afterwards). A rule has the advantage to be a rule. Christian Ferrer (talk) 17:06, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
  • @MichaelMaggs: what's the rational for the The de-adminship request step? Why not just move straight from the consensus to hold a de-admin request to a de-admin request? ColonialGrid (talk) 08:37, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
@ColonialGrid: Do you mean the drafting step? Its purpose is to encourage a well-written and thought-out request with input and support from more than one editor. It provides an opportunity for the community to point out potential problems and to fix them before the de-admin request is posted and voting is in progress. The idea worked well in this recent situation (see the discussion on the talk page, in which a variety of potential problems with the draft were pointed out). MichaelMaggs (talk) 09:44, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
  • @MichaelMaggs: sorry, yes the Drafting the request step, thank you for picking up on my mistake. Can you explain how the discussion you have linked to has aided in the de-admin process? All that appears to have happened is that the request has stalled; I consider this totally against the communities wishes as expressed in the preliminary discussion, where there was a consensus to move forward with a de-admin process. What benefit does this drafting offer that would not be picked up in either the preliminary discussion or the formal de-admin? Without any better justification that 'idea worked well in this recent situation' (which links to a stalled re-admin request, indicating to me that it clearly didn't work), I cannot support this bureaucratic burden, as I see it solely as a way of slowing down de-admin processes, potentially stalling them. I would support this proposal if Drafting the request were removed, or altered significantly so it could not be used as a filibuster technique. ColonialGrid (talk) 08:31, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
@ColonialGrid: I say it 'worked well' on the basis that the creator of the proposed de-admin request was sufficiently convinced by the arguments raised in that drafting discussion to change their view and (effectively) to withdraw their draft:
After a substantial amount of supporters for a desysop of Jcb expressed their opinion I went ahead and tried to prepare a DRFA but Jcb, Colin and Jee do have valid points. The case presented isn't a strong one. Either I suck at preparing a DRFA or the complaints aren't solid enough to actually warrant a desysop.
See the User:Natuur12/Jcb section of COM:BN. Others could write a new draft, but no-one has done so. Aside from this specific example, a drafting discussion does one of two things: it helps the drafter create a strong and well-argued de-admin request or (if no-one is prepared or is able to do that) it encourages the community not to press ahead with a poor, ill-prepared, or unlikely-to-succeeed request MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:19, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but I'm not at all convinced. We have no such procedure for admin requests, and have had no problem with de-admin requests in the past (that I know of). I feel the existing processes are robust enough, with a preliminary discussion and the actual de-admin request being the places to thrash out the ins and outs. I see this step as nothing more than needless bureaucracy (at best) or wanton obstruction (at worst). My biggest problem with the concept, as you have proposed, is that there is a minimum time, but no maximum; it can effectively be used as a filibuster technique. If you are seriously concerned about poorly drafted de-admin requests (which I am yet to see as an actual problem) then I suggest that the comments of the closing 'crat(s)/admin(s) be used as the wording for the de-admin request, which is opened immediately after the preliminary discussion is closed, by the closing 'crat(s)/admin(s). ColonialGrid (talk) 09:32, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Currently some bureaucrats seem to think that the community cannot remove/discuss about removing admins in some cases even where a lot of editors are asking for it, so there seems to be something to fix indeed. One simple solution could be to establish that the bureaucrats do not need to block a desysop discussion before it's completed, so that they don't feel forced to do something in such seemingly unclear cases. I'm not sure what the proposed text would go in the same direction. Nemo 17:56, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Make VFC installation a Gadget[edit]

It has been raised many times recently that the loading of the script being semi-"broken". The issues could be summarized as:

  • Using global function addPortletLink which had recently been removed in favor of mw.util.addPortletLink. (eg. @LX, Wcam: case)
  • Somehow importScript returns HTMLScriptElement which replace the whole page into [object HTMLScriptElement] after clicking the link. (eg. @EugeneZelenko: case)
  • Module mediawiki.util loads unreliably with module user (which contains the user common.js), and cause a race condition where mw.util may be undefined and mw.util.addPortletLink would fail. (@Speravir:)
  • Importing old unmaintained user scripts which there is little we can do about them.

The current installation process is entirely done by adding some lines in user's own js files (usually their common.js), and this has various issues:

  • Low significance: MediaWiki devs do not usually consider anything in the User: namespace a blocker.
  • Code duplication / Low maintainability: When issues like those that happened recently, to fix them, every single common.js that are broken must be modified.
  • Ownership: Pages in User: namespace are generally considered a property of a user, and modifying someone else's common.js for bugfixes may be frowned upon.
  • User unfamiliarity: Not everyone is perfectly comfortable to mess with code. When many people encounter issues in those JS code, they are likely to have a hard time solving them.

Given the popularity of this script, I suggest to make the installation a gadget; to install the tool, instead of adding the few lines to your common.js, you check a checkmark in Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-gadgets and save the preferences, and the "Perform batch task" link will appear in the sidebar as expected. This shall shall help solve the issues mentioned above. However, there will be downsides:

  • Enabling the gadget does not automatically resolve all the issues in common.js if you don't remove the original lines in common.js.
  • Enabling the gadget without removing the original lines in commons.js (if it works) will result in two "Perform batch task" links that both work at the same time.
  • Link text "Perform batch task" will not be customizable (some people call it "Mass nomination") (will be done with a global variable (i.e. window.something)
  • Advertising a tool that can be used for mass-vandalism. We could limit its visibility in Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-gadgets to "autopatrolled" only, but they may discover this tool anyhow given its wide usage.

If the community decides that doing so is beneficial, I will be happy to implement it. --Zhuyifei1999 (talk) 18:09, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support--Wcam (talk) 18:14, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support. I guess those who want customisation could still disable the gadget and install it the old way, and with a little bit of development, it should be possible to make the gadget customisable through personal js content, just like how AjaxQuickDelete allows you to add extra buttons. LX (talk, contribs) 18:19, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support --Yann (talk) 18:44, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support (ec) Great idea, and the same question arose recently in Commons:Forum (German). But the tool should be slightly rewritten then to make the string appearing in the side bar individually adjustable. Now I can change it on my own on inclusion in my common.js – and In fact I did ( 'Perform batch task''Visual File Change'). — Speravir – 18:49, 4 May 2017 (UTC) (Oh, you wrote about this … — Speravir – 18:52, 4 May 2017 (UTC))
    Hmm, it could be done with some global variable, but I'll test that later. --Zhuyifei1999 (talk) 19:25, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support --Thibaut120094 (talk) 18:55, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Raymond 19:36, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support I just asked for this. --Stepro (talk) 20:42, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support--Oursana (talk) 22:42, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support It's long overdue! Also great advertisement for great tool :-) --EugeneZelenko (talk) 02:29, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support — Racconish ☎ 10:25, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support very good idea Pyb (talk) 12:13, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support if we disable the gadget for new users (autopatrol), otherwise Symbol oppose vote oversat.svg Strong oppose, as there is no need to advertise a tool that can be used for massive vandalism --Didym (talk) 12:18, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
    It can be hidden from the list for non-autopatrolled so it is not advertised to them, but there is no way to prevent the script in its current state from being used by them. --Zhuyifei1999 (talk) 12:58, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
    Which is also true for the current situation, of course. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 19:46, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
    There are many trusted users across other WMF projects, which does not have yet autopatrol rights on Commons. To not let them deprived of this tool, there could be added such a message "You are fully responsible for the actions you do using this tool. Don't abuse this tool, otherwise you might be blocked!" when VFC is loaded on some page. --XXN, 14:43, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support, preferably only displayed to autopatrolled users. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 19:46, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support but only trusted users, as accordingly COM:AWB. Symbol neutral vote.svg Neutral but unfortunately it seems a very high technically tool and the maintainer is inactive. -- User: Perhelion 21:16, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support MichaelMaggs (talk) 06:25, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support   — Jeff G. ツ 06:41, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support --XXN, 14:43, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Christian Ferrer (talk) 15:40, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support --Arthur Crbz (talk) 20:15, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Hide it from the list for non-autopatrolled. - Reventtalk 00:14, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Ok, a week has gone by, significant support, and not much concern besides that only autopatrolled shall see it. Implementing... --Zhuyifei1999 (talk) 07:15, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

✓ Done. New install instructions at Help:VisualFileChange.js#Step_0:_How_to_Install. (Well, in general the proposer shouldn't close a proposal, but I don't really see who else will do it) --Zhuyifei1999 (talk) 08:25, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

If someone would oppose because the closer is also the opener, then consider this closure as mine then. ;) Poké95 02:19, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Thanks for switching to a gadget and for letting me know about it. --Nemo 17:57, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Remove yellow background from Tags[edit]

Hello, I propose to remove the yellow (Tag: 2017 wikitext editor) background from tags. Tags are widely used on commons and thus it is strange to have yellow stuff recent changes etc. Users can later change the color in theyr own common.css if needed. --Steinsplitter (talk) 14:59, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support as proposer. --Steinsplitter (talk) 14:59, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support works for Wikipedia but not for Commons. Natuur12 (talk) 12:18, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol neutral vote.svg Neutral I don't know what would be the benefit for this, the yellow background is not strange for me. Unless this would be more color-blind friendly, I would not support for now, nor oppose. --Poyekhali!!! 02:29, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support why use a different system than WP ? --Framawiki (please notify) (talk) 16:33, 22 May 2017 (UTC)