Commons:Valued image value
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To become a valued image (VI) or a valued image set (VIS) the candidate must be the most valuable illustration of all images on Commons which fall within the scope of the nomination. Value is judged on the basis of the candidate's potential for online use within other Wikimedia projects. Usability in printed form is not considered.
The concept of 'value' is to some extent a matter of personal opinion, and promotion to VI or VIS reflects a recommendation for use in Wikimedia projects by the Commons community, nothing else.
Does "most valuable" imply the best technical quality?
No. Valued images are less about perfect technical quality and more about your ingenuity in finding good and valuable subjects which matter, and about the useability of the information on the image page.
Does "most valuable" imply the highest encyclopedic value?
No. Commons is an image repository, not an encyclopedia, and nominations are to be judged on their potential value for all Wikimedia projects, not just for the various Wikipedias. An image of low encyclopedic value might be very useful for other Wikimedia projects (e.g., an image or sequence of images that act as a tutorial may be very useful for Wikiversity, even though "how to" articles and images are not generally accepted on the English Wikipedia; see Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook). Of course, the extent of encyclopedic value for any of the Wikipedia projects is one of the factors to be taken into account when assessing the candidate.
Does the image/set have to be in use?
No. It is not required that a VI candidate is in current use in any Wikimedia project. It may have been uploaded only recently and not yet discovered by relevant Wikimedia editors. One of the purposes of the VI project is to make these images stand out as recommended for their useability by the Commons community. Having said that, the current usage of an image or set in Wikimedia project content pages can be indicative of value, especially when it has been added to other Wikimedia projects by independent users. Referring to current usage is also a help for the reviewers when evaluating a VI candidate.
Can a comparison be made with Commons images that would not themselves qualify as VIs?
Yes. It is perfectly possible to oppose a nomination on the grounds that another Commons image is 'more valuable', even if that image could not itself be a VI candidate (eg because it is not geocoded).