Commons:Wiki Loves Monuments 2021 in the United States/Judging

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Wiki Loves Monuments - United States Competition
A campaign to improve our coverage of U.S. historic and cultural sites
throughout the month of October.

Judging for Wiki Loves Monuments 2021 in the United States takes place throughout the duration of November. Photos will be judged based on the following criteria:

This year, judging will be split into several rounds rounds, as described below. Judges will make use of the Montage judging tool. Please note that the process and logistics of the judging process may change at any time.


Judge Bio
Alex Stinson A longtime Wikimedian involved in organizing the international community.
Amy Trendler Librarian who has spent her career supporting researchers and collections in the visual arts and architecture.
Andrew Wang Originally from Philadelphia, they are currently the Art and Architecture Librarian at the University of Oregon.
Britta Gustafson A Wikipedian and amateur historian in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a particular interest in photographs that document the histories of ordinary houses and commercial buildings.
Dana Statton Thompson Photographer, librarian, and associate professor at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.
Ivan Silva Public librarian, wikipedian, and locawiki editor active in the San Francisco Bay Area. Originally from Cape Verde Islands in West Africa interested in editing anything related to the islands.
Kai Alexis Smith Architecture and Planning Librarian at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a visual artist working in the mixed mediums of photography and painting.
Katie Greer Associate Professor and Fine/Performing Arts Librarian at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.
Maggie Murphy A visual arts and humanities librarian, printmaker, meme collector, and Wiki editor at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Ryan McGrady A Commons regular and avid Wikimedia NYC member.
Sarah Carter Academic art librarian who hosts Art + Feminism edit-a-thons in the Midwest.
Serenity Ibsen Photographer, nature lover, art historian, and sometimes Wikipedian, Director of Library Services at Pacific Northwest College of Art at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.
Shannon Bay Program Manager, Adult and Community Engagement at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, NM, with a background in photography from Detroit, MI.
Skye Lacerte Curator, archivist, and instructor of popular visual culture at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.



Pre-Jury (November 1-3)


The pre-jury round takes place with the organizers, who filter submissions based on the following criteria:

  • The subject of the photograph is not an eligible monument for the US contest.
  • The image is a low resolution (below 3.5 megapixels); images that don't make the resolution cutoff will still be reviewed, and exceptional submissions will be kept.
  • The subject of the photograph is of a very popular monument that is already extremely well-covered on Commons (e.g., Washington Monument, Golden Gate Bridge), and the composition and quality of the photograph is similar to what is already available (i.e., it shows it from the same angle, or from the same time of day or season).

The purpose of the pre-jury is to remove ineligible or redundant photos and make the jury's pool of images a reasonable size to be able to judge in an efficient manner.

Round 1 (November 4-11)


All photos deemed eligible following the pre-judging process are included in the pool for Round 1. Round 1 judges each review a sub-set of these photos, and vote Accept/Decline regarding whether or not the photo should qualify for Round 2.


  • The photo is of high technical and artistic quality with regard to exposure, focus, depth of field, color, lighting, and composition. Review the image guidelines for photo components to look for.
  • The photo illustrates its subject in an informative manner, that serves to impart knowledge about it.
  • Image editing/digital manipulation of the image is limited, well-done, and not intended to deceive the viewer. Editing should be limited to cropping, perspective correction, sharpening/blurring, and color/exposure correction.


  • The photo does not satisfy conditions listed under Accept above.

Round 2 (November 12-19)


Judges review the qualifying photos from Round 1, and rank them on a 1-5 star scale. Judges should base their rating on their assessment of the photo's photographic quality and encyclopedic value.

For photographic quality, judges are asked to consider the technical and artistic quality of the image. Judges are asked to review the quality image guidelines before starting the judging process, and to keep these guidelines in mind when rating. For each image, judges should consider the extent to which it meets the quality image guidelines (good exposure, color, focus, etc.). Judges are encouraged to look through examples of featured pictures.

For encyclopedic value, judges are asked to go deeper into consideration of the photos' value as a representation of the depicted historical site. Judges should consider the extent to which the image serve as an illustrative aid that transmits knowledge as much as it sparks the imagination (or however you interpret the "wow factor"). The photo should provide understanding of the monument/structure, its history, and/or the social environment it is situated in.

When appropriate, judges are also encouraged to explore the coverage on Wikimedia Commons or Wikipedia for the particular monument depicted in the photo, in order to gauge how "well known" or "well-covered" that monument is. (However, this is not a requirement for this round, and common sense should be sufficient regarding evaluation of how "well-known" the monument is).

1 - 5 Star Rating | Guidelines:

  • 1 star:
Lacks sufficient photographic quality and encyclopedic value to advance to Round 3.
  • 2 stars:
Adequate photographic quality, and encyclopedic value, but lacks noteworthiness in some way (for example, its subject is already very well documented on Wikipedia, or the photograph is not particularly striking).
  • 3 stars:
High quality, thoughtfully captured photo that aids understanding of its subject.
  • 4 stars:
High quality, artistically captured photo that aids understanding of its subject, where its subject is less commonly-known (or well-known, but shown in a unique way).
  • 5 stars:
High quality, artistically captured photo that aids understanding of its subject, where its subject is less commonly-known (or well-known, but shown in a unique way), AND there is something indescribable beyond "wow" in the image that is thrilling and inspiring in a way that makes one want to go learn more about it.

Round 3 (November 19 - December 2)


In the final round, judges review the qualifying photos and rank them in a grid to determine the top 10 photos for the competition. The winning photos are those that receive the highest average ranking among the Round 3 judges.

For this final round, judges should think very deeply about the photos’ encyclopedic value by also looking into further coverage of the monument on Commons and on Wikipedia. This is in addition to evaluating each photo's artistic and photographic qualities such as exposure, focus, depth of field, color, lighting, composition, showing unique details, and the the overall “wow” factor. Judges are asked to review the quality image guidelines before starting the judging process, and to keep these guidelines in mind when rating.

Judges should make their assessment in two parts:

Photographic/Artistic Qualities:

For each photograph, ask yourself: Does the photo show a unique or informative detail of the monument, or evoke the experiential qualities of being in its presence? Is it captivating in a manner that inspires me to want to learn more about the monument and its history, and share that knowledge with others? Does it have exceptional aesthetic qualities including exposure, focus, depth of field, color, lighting, and composition?

Encyclopedic Value:

Check the current status of other photographs of this monument on Wikimedia Commons, as well as coverage of the monument on Wikipedia (e.g., does the monument have a Wikipedia article). Is the monument depicted not already well-covered on Wikimedia Commons? If there is a Wikipedia article for this monument, would this photograph be well-suited to illustrate it?

Rank the photos according to how affirmatively you answer the above questions for each photo. In other words, the photos which you place first in the visual ranking grid should be those for which you answer “yes” most emphatically, and those you place at the end should be those for which the answer is more in the direction of “No” for one or both questions.

For example: a stunning photo of a very famous monument that already has many photos on Commons should rank lower than a similarly stunning photo of a monument that has few, or no, other photos on Commons. However, a stunning photo of an already well-covered monument could certainly rank higher if it has some exceptional artistic or encyclopedic quality (such as showing it from a unique angle, or showing a detail that makes it especially informative or useful for a Wikipedia article).

Prizes and sendoff


Once round 3 has been concluded, the top-ten winners will be announced! Winners of the national contest will be notified via talk page message and e-mail. If you do not have your e-mail added and/or enabled, you may do so here.

The United States' top ten photos will also be submitted to the international Wiki Loves Monuments jury. The international jury will determine the winners of the international competition and award their prizes. More information on the international jury can be found here