Commons:Wiki Loves Monuments 2012/Feedback

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How was Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 for you? What was amazing, what was annoying? Help us evolve – present your positive and negative reviews here, and share your ideas for next year(s). Feel free to add more sections.

General comments[edit]


  • The traffic on the mailing list was too high in (at least) August and September; it was very hard to keep up with the news. I'd like us to have a lower traffic variation (wlm-announce?) next year. odder (talk) 18:56, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
  • There were some periods when we had plenty of e-mails waiting for replies in the OTRS queues; we should improve this channel of communication next year. odder (talk) 18:59, 3 November 2012 (UTC)


  • I guess that the FAQ was too much oriented towards the organisers; we got plenty of questions about the rules on the blog in early September. Having an organisers-oriented FAQ as well as one aimed at the participants might be a good idea next year. odder (talk) 19:03, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
  • +1 I also noticed the need for a participant FAQ separated from an organiser FAQ. Platonides (talk) 21:21, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Tools and technical aspects[edit]

  • I just remembered that some countries had horrible problems dealing with the amount of traffic coming from the banners during the first few days. We could do with a short how-to on how to set up a website so its server doesn't freeze every minute or so. odder (talk) 19:06, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
  • The fact that there's no edit history for the upload campaigns was a problem end of August. Some persons had editwars without knowing they were in one. (they think: "huh my edit didn't work" and edit it again.) It would be good to have a log for the upload campaigns so that issues can be adressed to the persons involved. Basvb (talk) 20:09, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
    • This is bug 30654 which we both have commented in, but I don't know how else we can make this enhancement come true, if not by voting on it/raising its importance and priority. odder (talk) 20:13, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
  • {{WLM-is-running}} was very helpful this year. We should be able to also do header-switching this way, so all work could be done in advance. Non-running templates could be shared, too. Blocked by bug 39910. Platonides (talk) 22:12, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
  • There was no central body or person responsible for all the technical aspects of the competition. The technical contact for the global organization team did all the Commons-related things, but not the external tools, which were run by several people, some of whom were particularly hard to reach. There should ideally be one body or person who can answer all technical questions, including those related to essential tools such as maps. —Ynhockey (talk) 23:35, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
    I would be strongly against a single person having all that power. Everybody should be able to contribute the way they want to the technical aspects of the competition without having a single person telling them what to do.--Strainu (talk) 18:52, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
    I think both of you are right. A coordinator who has an even better overview for tech stuff (this is a very hard task!) would be helpful. Maybe Maarten can help see how this could be done most effectively. Strainu is of course right this should not be about 'power' and it shouldn't be someone 'telling everyone what to do' - but that is obvious. Effeietsanders (talk) 21:12, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
    OK, perhaps I didn't express it in the best terms. The "one body or person who can answer all technical questions" would need to be aware of all the different tools and features out there. That would mean acting like a central registry where one would need to "register" all the work in order for it to be used by other. This sound wery wrong to me.--Strainu (talk) 11:50, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Monument list infrastructure[edit]

  • Switzerland had a real nightmare with the list of monuments because we managed four different lists (English, German, Italian, French) in three different languages and with three different standards. Finally we decided to have the list in German (which is the most complete) but the same list in German had some missed monuments and the interaction with tools was not perfect. The idea would be, next year, to have only one list in Commons and to use the local language to describe monuments putting a link to the list in the respective objects. --Ilario (talk) 09:40, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
  • The addition of new monuments has been a second nightmare. Basically WM CH had in mind to add the ISOS villages (The village recognized as national interest to be protected in case of disaster) but the German community decided to don't have them and the other communities (Italian and French) accepted the decision of the German one because it was adopted the German list as main list. --Ilario (talk) 09:40, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
  • In general there is no standard for templates and no standard for the inclusion in the monuments lists in case of multilingual project. --Ilario (talk) 09:43, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
  • did have some problems with art licenses at US monuments. i tried to sweep behind and add the correct license, but some photos of copyrighted art got deleted. problem for public art, going forward. Slowking4 †@1₭ 01:21, 23 November 2012 (UTC)


  • It'd be nice to have an app also for iOS-based devices, not only those running Android. odder (talk) 19:19, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Unidentified process to update the list of monuments on the mobile. --Ilario (talk) 09:41, 4 November 2012 (UTC)


  • I am very happy with the amount of translations that we got for the banners, the survey, and the thank-you message, but we could use a lot of improvement in this area, especially in the case of the banners; translating a sentence in a wikitable was not a great idea (though it worked quite well). odder (talk) 19:23, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposal for next year/permanent organization[edit]

WLM has nothing left to prove as far as running the world's largest photo contest (for 2 years in a row now) A couple of countries have "reached the limit" or nearly so, as far as number of monuments photographed (Andorra, Netherlands, perhaps UK which didn't see the need to start)

We should no longer try to be the biggest, but try to be the best (best in what? need to define our goals) or perhaps "easiest to use" or "most useful for Wikipedia"

I don't suggest a major move away from what we are doing well. I do suggest that it will take some time to turn around this battleship, and need to decide which direction we're going to point it in. A permanent organization will help us decide the new direction and implement changes. The form of organization can be decided when we've decided what it should do, but there are formats recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation - the thematic organization and user groups, which may provide some funding, and better integrate us into the Wikimedia mainstream.

What are our goals?[edit]

(please add material in the next 3 sections)

  • Current Goals
  1. To recruit and keep photographers and editors for Wikimedia projects (Key WMF goal)
  2. To document "monuments" and other cultural heritage (wonderful goal - perhaps a bit narrow, not a key WMF goal)

I suggest we keep goal 1, and broaden the 2nd goal to include, at first, all cultural heritage objects, architecture and other immovable objects that have organized Wikimedia groups interested in them, e.g. Public art, cemeteries, zoos. Later we could broaden further to things like wildlife, people (e.g. sports stars or politicians), events (Christmas, Halloween, the World Cup, the monsoon) which are more moveable or where the actual subject of the photo is less easily identified in advance. Which suggests goal 3.

3. To provide support for Wikimedia organizations which need photos to illustrate their articles, events, project, etc.

At first we can recruit projects that fit in with what we know best, later we can issue a general invitation to projects, chapters, and language versions "Wikimedia Loves your project!"

Our strengths[edit]

  1. Access to Wikipedia banners for recruitment, publicizing. Note that this can be narrowly focused
  2. Bot and technical processes needed for contests, lists, and a record of developing new ones as needed
  3. Federal style organization that works across national boundaries
  4. The ability to quickly place photos into articles and lists on Wikipedia, which can attract photographers and inspire writers
  5. A record of success - which of course can lead to confidence among editors and the public and thus more success. "Nothing succeeds like success!"

I suggest that we work on 3, to make it a "flexible organization that can work with groups of all sizes helping to organize photo contests at all levels: local, regional, national or international." For example we could help many small groups do one of the "Wiki Loves ..." one city-one day projects. (I'd love to do "Wiki Loves Dar es Salam" or "Wiki Loves Hong Kong" for Wikimania). Or we could help develop a local project e.g. "Birds of New Jersey", then work it up to "Birds of the USA" and then in the 3rd year "Birds of the World."


  • An emphasis on big for the sake of bigness - unsustainable growth.
  • Trying to mix some quite different things (e.g. situations in Italy, Switzerland, India, Ghana) into one big contest
  • Once a year focus (at least for the contest part)
  • Lack of major improvement over other Wikimedia projects on keeping newly recruited photographers (we do about the same as other projects in percentage terms)

I suggest:

  1. Keeping the goal of recruitment of new editors/photogs and strengthening it to emphasize "keeping" the new recruits. This might mean having organizers ready at the start of a contest to do extensive hand holding, suggesting to new photographers, when they are ready, to move on to cataloging, placing photos in articles and lists, writing articles, and having resources ready for them to use when they are ready to progress, i.e. planning out the whole track from new photog in 1 contest to active and continuing contributor.
  2. Broaden the goal of documenting "monuments" to anything about "cultural heritage" or, ultimately, to anything that large numbers of people like to photograph in contests - become "Wikimedia Loves Photographs" instead of "WL Monuments"
  3. Form a permanent organization, likely on Commons or a new site closely related to it, to have many contests, including small contests, at different times of the year, on slightly different topics, of different lengths. Gradually increasing the scope of the contests to all topics of interest to photographers within Wikimedia Common's scope.

Long term plan, that we can start now![edit]

This doesn't have to be done all at once. We WILL continue doing WL Monuments - but perhaps more flexibly (WL Monuments-Australia might want to do it in March?) We can start advising non WLM groups right now, e.g. Sweden wants to do something with Public Art this year, a one week WL Hong Kong should be easy to do for Wikimania, maybe that's enough for the first year. But Wiki Loves Libraries is organized and it should be easy to add a photographic component. Wiki Loves Universities should also be pretty easy to do something with. And if I don't get Wiki Loves Cemeteries for Halloween next year, I'll be disappointed! We might not even need any more formal organization to take on a few of these, but I think that need will arise fairly quickly as we do a few more projects.

Any additions, suggestions, appreciated. Smallbones (talk) 02:46, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

I think it's important to keep a clear difference between the more broad scope and Wiki Loves Monuments. It'd say: Lets keep Wiki Loves Monuments purely about monuments. On the other hand also start other photographic contest, but these should be clearly seperated from WLM, we can use WLM lessons, maybe even start up from here. But don't mix the two together, that wont really work. A good thing we could do here is write an overview. A page like: Commons:Photo contest where we link to every relevant photo contest organised around Wikimedia, you can also start organising contest from there, or discuss plans over there. Link to some relevant documentation on what to keep in mind when organising a photo contest. Also there could be a link from there to wiki takes (sort of one day contests without a price). The Wiki Takes Hong Kong next year (one week around Wikimania) is a good idea to start from that photo contest page. Basvb (talk) 16:59, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposal by Ymblanter[edit]

I think it is good if I move here my two posts from the mailing list. Feel free to move your responses or just to respond here.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:03, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

  • We are now completing the second edition of the contest, and I guess almost all of us were enthusiastic about the next year edition. I think we also all recognize that this is a lot of work, even if many things are ready (as several examples from this year demonstrate). And I think if we want to run the contest (with possible extensions whatever) on a regular basis, we also need a regular organization. This organization can go in two ways.
  • First, one can think of creating a real organization, affiliated with WMF, similar to what the Wikiproject Medicine is trying to do now. I personally would not be interested in creating this organization, and I am not sure I would become a member if it has an open membership, but this is an option worthwhile to be discussed.
  • Another option, which I personally find more attractive, is to create a permanently functioning meta-project, smth like Project Cultural Heritage (scope to be discussed). It could be based on Commons or on Meta (to be discussed, both options have advantages and disadvantages). This must be a meta-project, because it coordinates efforts of many different projects: Different language Wikipedias, Commons (with which the interaction was sometimes not ideal), and potentially different languages in Wikivoyage, may be even Wikidata. Many components of this meta-project already exist on Commons and are supported by Maarten and other enthusiasts.
  • The added value of this project potentially could be:
    Coordination of creation (including translations in different languages) and maintenance of cultural heritage lists;
    Coordination of creation of articles; creation of high-quality content;
    Creation and maintenance of metrics (including the stuff we have recently been discussing such as number of red links);
    Creation of a list of references which are currently scattered over different projects.
    During WLM submission periods, general coordination of maintenance.
  • What I generally find important is that this should be a year round project, not just seasonal preparation to the next WLM edition (though last time we started to prepare already in December if I remember correctly). It will not be only limited to participating countries. For instance, if a country (like UK this year) does not feel it can afford the WLM participation in a particular year, it can still expect to get help from the project and to contribute to help other countries).
  • Is there a general interest of creating smth like this? If there is some enthusiasm, I could start the initial phase. It is important however that I can not run such a thing alone. I view it as a general cross-project running collaboration, not as a collection of papers which gain moderate attention in September and have zero activity otherwise. A real Wikiproject.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:07, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

(In response to some suggestions/criticism): Actually, to me there is no contradiction between proposals, of, say, Peter and Lowewijk (to take two extremes). It looks like there is a contradiction if we think about the top-down approach. Then, of course, we are a small group of individuals, with pretty diverse interests, and if we try to accomplish a broad variety of goals like trying to organize at the same time WLM and also a photo contest on rivers and may be an article contest on ballet and also to provide at least one photo of every village on the Earth - we will certainly fail.

But I was thinking more about a bottom-up approach. We are good, let define this as building up a mechanism on characterizing cultural heritage. We have some instruments for it. We have more and more people who are interested in the same issues and learn that we have an organization - and they come and get assistance. Take Indian cultural heritage - what did we have a year ago and what we have now? And I think we should have more than just an organizing committee. (Note that I do not propose a year-round submission of photographs for the contest - I think the contest is doing fine). Indeed, Andorra has completed all of their monuments last year, and the Netherlands has a chance to complete them next year - at least if we do not include the provincial monuments. But then, for instance, are we interested in translating Dutch lists into English and placing them into English Wikipedia? Are we interested in translating Indian lists into Dutch? Are we interested in having more articles? I think there is certainly room for organized activity, and, indeed, cleanup is a part of it. As I mentioned earlier (answering Lodewijk) I would be interested in setting such portal.
But now, back to the bottom-up scheme: If we have a working portal like this, interacting with wikiprojects in different languages, and if there are similar portals specializing on different topics - these portals inevitably would have to talk to each other, and interact in some way, eventually building the Meta-community. There is an interesting thread on Meta, where we discuss why despite the fact that important decision should be taken on meta it is impossible to take any decision, almost all votes end in no consensus. And Jc37, who started the thread, explains that actually there is no coherent meta community. And actually having this bottom-up system of meta-projects would be a way of building up such community - finally, after 12 years of our existence.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:11, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposal by Romaine[edit]

  • For those countries where no chapter is or no team to organize, create a Wiki Loves Monuments Light: people can participate in Wiki Loves Monuments without winning prizes, or without local prizes (and still can get in the international competition). In this way in more people in more countries can participate. Romaine (talk) 05:11, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
    I fully support. We need to have the precondition however that the lists should be available either on one of Wikimedia projects, or on a dedicated external website. Otherwise we have no way to certify that a submitted photo is a monument.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:01, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Keep new editors[edit]

General wiki problem. But how could we improve this? Lots of new users do their first contributions to Wikipedia/Wikimedia with WLM. How do we get them to stay after September? Some users drop out imidiatly (they want to win). Others keep uploading for a while (they want to contribute, don't care about a prize). But not so many start editing articles. Would there be some way to improve this. Currently the way the contest work is taking as much work out of the users hand, because then it's easier to start, but by making it easier we make it harder for them to do something themselves (bit excaggerated probably). Maybe get the new user to more connect with eachother and us and tell them about writing as well. Thing to do now: Make a page: "Help writing" or something, specific on monument related editing on Wikipedia (lists or better on seperate articles, maybe country specific, because there are differences. Basvb (talk) 00:56, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

See 3 under weaknesses above. Planning, having material ready for them, some labor intensive hand-holding, mentoring, moving them step by step up to "fully active contributor." Smallbones (talk) 02:56, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
One thing we were talking about but came to nothing would be notification of users that their photos were added to the articles. It has to be done with great care (I am not sure I would like for every my 5000 or so photos which I myself added to articles to get a bot notification on my talk page), but in principle this is a useful instrument which would take novices to the pages where their photo is used.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:16, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
We could maybe use Platonides his tool for that, with maybe a small modification. The first image which gets used will triger the bot to give a used notification. It's easy for the bot to maintain a list of people he allready notified (so no double notifications). In the message there's a link to a place of list where you can find where all your images are used (is there a tool for that?) Based on the country the image is from we link to an explanation/project space on how to keep contributing (redirecting to projects on local wikipedia seems best to me, and then over there the workers should welcome and support them.) Basvb (talk) 16:45, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
May be pre-conditioned, smth like only one notification for lists in a given project (like all the lists on English Wikipedia, and then one more if it makes it to the lists on Dutch Wikipedia), and ten first notifications for the articles, with the option of switching it off at any point or making it indefinite duration. It should not be difficult to realize.--Ymblanter (talk) 16:50, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
and a notification that a photo was nominated for prize? more positive feedback Slowking4 †@1₭ 13:13, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Is it possible to contact local historical groups and organize a writing event? Maybe this helps to get new editors to overcome shyness about contributing and to get a positive vibe about contributing articles. Maybe writing events could be attended by a wikipedian to help new editors get started, what to publish and what not to. There is a lot of knowlegde about cultural heritage in these historical groups.(Muis&konijn)

This sounds like a good idea. There are lots of small historical societies, covering parts of a state, or a county, or a single village. May of them would love to have an organized presentation on how to write a Wikipedia article or otherwise participate. The size of the group might be quite small. Libraries might offer a meeting place or a place for an open meeting. The major stumbling block would be "can we get enough experienced Wikipedia editors out there to handle all the small requests?" Smallbones (talk) 22:34, 19 November 2012 (UTC)