Commons talk:Depicts

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Initial guidelines[edit]

Following Keegan (WMF)'s post I've chipped in some ideas for a guideline here. Feel free to edit, remove or talk about anything you disagree with. --99of9 (talk) 05:59, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Good coverage[edit]

Oops, I've already had to backflip on what I first wrote, after reading Commons:Structured data/Get involved/Feedback requests/Good coverage. Let's continue the debate at the talk page there. Should we remove decisive advice on this guideline for now? --99of9 (talk) 06:19, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

I think we are going to strive for good coverage, and within a few months when statements are feature complete then that's the way to go. My suggestion to keep advice to be conservative at first is only temporary. Ideally, people will keep things simple right now and then bring up statement complexity with more support within a few weeks. I wholly expect this policy/guideline to evolve significantly. Keegan (WMF) (talk) 18:50, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Add no location policy[edit]

I think it would be good so add a "no location policy". For adding locations the other statements released later will be better to describe this. So we should say that photographs of objects should not get the location as a depicts statement. Three examples to explain this:
1. A picture of a street. Depicts the street. (Street is liked to location -> not location need anymore)
2. A picture of a plant. Should only get the taxon item as depicts statement. The location can be added when other statements get released and not with the depicts statements.
3. A aerial image. This image can depict a location. --GPSLeo (talk) 10:21, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Activities, context, background, details, ...[edit]

Usain Bolt Olympics Celebration.jpg

The image shown on the right clearly needs a "depicts (P180): Usain Bolt (Q1189)" statement. But what else:

Clearly, not all detail belongs to the "depicts" statements, but which one do? Do we already have an idea which other properties will be available later, in order to cover at least some aspects of the details outlined above? --MisterSynergy (talk) 07:43, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

I would only add Usain Bolt (Q1189) and Athletics at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Men's 100 metres (Q754844) here. That are the main topics depicted by the image, all other should be added later with other statements like "clothing", "in the background", "reason for activity" or other ones. --GPSLeo (talk) 08:16, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
One that for some reason questions me: Should we add depict=Blue hour (Q882565) on eg File:Iglesia de San Francisco, Quito, Ecuador, 2015-07-22, DD 217-219 HDR.JPG? Jean-Fred (talk) 15:17, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
I would also say no. For time and weather we should wait for the other statements. --GPSLeo (talk) 16:22, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
All that interesting statements will be added soon or later. If they are added now, they can be migrated to new properties when they are available. I wouldn't overthink this. emijrp (talk) 08:45, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
In general I agree ; however I think that the lack of documentation & guidelines ahead of the File captions rollout contributed to some of the unhappiness with said rollout (I certainly don’t think guidelines ahead would have been everyone happy, but based on people’s reaction I think it could have helped). So big props to 99of9 for fleshing out the page − even if indeed we may be revisiting parts of it with more experience with the feature or when more people get involved. Jean-Fred (talk) 17:19, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it would be very difficult to craft a perfect guideline page even before the actual feature has arrived. In fact, the guidelines about how to use the feature are community business, not WMF or dev team business. Thus, I do not expect guidelines to be part of the shipped feature; however, as someone who has watched the SDC project from a rather remote perspective until now, I ask for community input here, because there may already be a plan how to continue with the depicts statements. If not, we now have a place for discussion :-) —MisterSynergy (talk) 17:29, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Excellent issues. I've tried to reflect these concerns on the page. Feel free to edit. --99of9 (talk) 05:26, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
I say Don't belabor minute details. That would probably hinder rather than help people find content. If an image depicts a full shot of a car, it will also depict tires, a windshield, mirrors, headlights, and dozens of other items. Name the brand of car, but don't sweat the nitty gritty: save "depicts windshield" for a closeup photo of a car windshield, or a windshield being crafted outside of an automobile. An image of a map will also have dozens, hundreds, or thousands of inherent subtopics depending on scale. Stick to the most relevant stuff. If there's a tiny element far back in a crowd shot, it's probably not going to be useful for people looking for images of that thing (we're not just training robots to take over the the world, humans still use Commons, right?) Use commons sense. --Animalparty (talk) 03:23, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

Missing Wikidata items[edit]

After a discussion about new Wikidata items for depicts statements I would suggest to include this in these page here. For that I wrote a short king of path-guideline:(This is definitely not finished yet)
There is no Wikidata item for the depict, what to do?
1. Check is the file es in the project scope -> If it is not request it for deletion. If it is only for usage on an userpage or an project portal look for an less specific item. As one example the image of yourself for you userpage could get woman (Q467) as depict.
2. Look for other spellings of the name. If you find the correct item you maybe should ad the spelling you searched first for as an alias.
3. Search if the depict dose have any sources in a Wikimedia project or external
4. Think about the specificity. Maybe these special depict dose not have an item but the class of these depicts dose have an item. As one example: not every tree in a park has his own item, but the park and the species of the tree have.
5. Create an item for the depict of the image. Give all statements you know and have a source to these item.
This is my first suggestion please change it or make a total different suggestion. --GPSLeo (talk) 23:07, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

Missing the purpose[edit]

The purpose can move mountains, the motivation to add information about what is depicted in the image should be included in this page. I know people who still wonder about the purpose of the caption, if there is already a description field. Just an idea. I believe in this case we could enable a search in the native language of the use, whatever this may be (versus the current categories/descriptions that have to be explicitly added). Best, --Poco2 11:58, 23 April 2019 (UTC)


Confused by marking as prominent. E.g. in File:Cornel happens to love pizza.jpg, the pizza is prominent in this photo but this is not a prominent photo of pizza. Which am I claiming with prominence? The pizza is prominent here or this piece of media is prominent in the media depicting pizza? —Justin (koavf)TCM 15:58, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

The prominence means on these photo. Otherwise it would crash the current QI, FP and VI system. --GPSLeo (talk) 16:24, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
@GPSLeo: How would it "crash" those systems...? —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:41, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
For getting a status a a good image that is the best or good for the topic new we have a proposal and review process. If everyone could just say "this image is prominent for this item" there would be a system that would look like to do the same but without these control. --GPSLeo (talk) 16:59, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

Bug? (Redirected items on Wikidata)[edit]

I added some items in the depicts. Before clicking the "Publish Changes", I merged one of the items with another item on Wikidata so the item which I added in depicts is now a redirected item on Wikidata. So it does not let me "Publish Changes" and mark that redirected item as not existing. Other existing items are not saved either. I can not do anything except "Cancel". It should save the existing items and redirected item should be automatically changed.-Nizil Shah (talk) 05:20, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Two-dimensional faithful representations of two-dimensional artworks not to be covered by Depicts?[edit]

Since several weeks, Wikidata has the dedicated property digital representation of (P6243), intended for Wikimedia Commons, to indicate that a file on Commons is a faithful representation of a two-dimensional artwork on Wikidata. It has copyright-related implications (roughly: if the work is public domain, the image is public domain too). So personally I'm not adding any depicts (P180) statements on Commons to images representing two-dimensional artworks for which I know there is a Wikidata item, because I think this new property digital representation of (P6243) should be used to point to it as soon as other statements are enabled. Do others agree with this, and is it something we want to document here too?

Also, how about the things depicted in the two-dimensional work? Do we put these under Depicts? The team will work on 'Depicts of depicts' search later, but that will only 'travel' through the Depicts statement on Commons for now. The team is interested to hear the community's input on whether to extend this to other properties. I'm wondering what we want to recommend as best practice now. FYI, I work for the Structured Data on Commons team as User:SandraF (WMF) but am writing this with my volunteer hat on. I truly have no strong opinion on the matter, and just want to put this on the agenda :-) Pinging Jarekt and Multichill who gave active input in the digital representation of (P6243) property proposal discussion. Cheers! Spinster (talk) 07:03, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Sandra, Yes the split of which matadata goes to SDoC and which goes to Wikidata is going to be an issue, but it makes sense that in case of several files showing, lets say, the same painting for which we have Wikidata item, than we will keep one set of Depict statements on Wikidata and not add them to individual files. However that will likely complicate writing code for search engines that search depict statements. It is probably not possible to prevent people from adding depict statements to individual files depicting object on Wikidata, So Wikidata depicts should be somehow inherited and displayed so there is less need to add them here. Adding digital representation of (P6243) should not be too hard as we will just have to go through Category:Artworks with Wikidata item and capture filenames and matching wikidata items. We might have to filter it so the items correspond to 2D artworks and that image is mostly of that artwork, but we should be able to populate digital representation of (P6243) quickly, once we can use tools like QuickStatements. By the way, are there plans to activate tools like QuickStatements for Structured Data on Commons? QS seems to have already interface that allows to pick a project (Wikidata, Wikidata-test or Commons) but Commons does not work yet. --Jarekt (talk) 12:35, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Jarekt! Yes, I agree with all you say. Concerning QuickStatements - some time ago I think Magnus Manske said that it would be doable/possible to make QS work with structured data on Commons too. I also just thought about PetScan, which I also sometimes use to edit Wikidata and which would allow us to play with Commons categories in a refined way. Not sure when Magnus would be able to get around to this though. Spinster (talk) 13:30, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
QS tool seems to be able to pick projects, so I think Magnus part for QS is probably mostly done. Something I am not sure about: Is there a way to communicate with SDoC, like through SPARQL, Lua, pywikibot, etc? And if there is than is there documentation for it. If there is anybody from Structured Data on Commons team at Wikimedia Hackathon 2019, I would love to learn more or help. --Jarekt (talk) 13:43, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
Jarekt, CParle (WMF) will be at the Hackathon, you two should talk about what you want to work on there when he gets backs from holidays next week. Any other folks attending the Hackathon who have projects they want to work on, or want a SDC-related project to work on? Abittaker (WMF) (talk) 20:23, 24 April 2019 (UTC)


I dont understand how to search. If I fill the keyword "haswbstatement:P180=Q146" to the search box it goes nowhere. I am not sure if I undertand the guideline well. Juandev (talk) 07:15, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Your search term is correct, but searches aren't working yet. It's currently being worked on and should be operational soon, though. See for updates. Mmullie (WMF) (talk) 08:41, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

UI observations of the Depicts feature[edit]

Now that I have been testing Depicts with actual content, I have a couple of comments/suggestions to think about.

  1. The tabbing hides the original metadata from where tags and facts are picked to be entered as structured data. Having them in the same view would be useful.
  2. It would be useful to have an option and a dialog to add a Wikidata item if it does not exist. For a similar UI I have created the search pulldown with the last item being "Create new item"
  3. Batch tagging came to mind, but is probably not high in priorities.

Great work, love the future landscape already! –Susanna Ånäs (Susannaanas) (talk) 15:09, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Replacing categories[edit]

Do we see depicts statements replacing categories any time soon? For instance, if a file today only uses depicts statements (and not categories), is that something bad? I'm trying to decide if WLE for Sri Lanka should encourage uploaders to use depicts statements only (as it is much much easier to use to non-wiki people). Also, when will those option be added to the upload wizard? Rehman 11:48, 25 April 2019 (UTC)

Maybe categories get obsolete one day but for now I would add both. Especial for WLE there is no way to use structured Data this year. We do not have them in the UploadWizard and we do not have the located in protected area (P3018) statement activated, that would be needed to show the protected area. A photography can not depict a protected area, that is just a juristic item. --GPSLeo (talk) 12:26, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, GPSLeo. Rehman 02:57, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
Its too early to kick categories. More over depicts is still on the beggining so I would not relay on it any official or semiofficial acitivity. There are still not qualifiers, nor search for depicts, so I would wait and maybe next year we can count with depicts. Juandev (talk) 07:23, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
Personally I would expect categories still to be in place in 5 years time (certainly); and still in ten years time (probably). The ability to curate and present a view of a particular group of images in an ordered way together with an overall free-wikitext description of what the group represents, with good established tools like cat-a-lot allowing those groups to be added to or refined or subdivided easily at will, is something that I don't believe the community is going to give up.
A while back I suggested that upload projects may be blocked if they fail to give good categorisations for their images. That was too strong, and I was corrected over it at COM:VP. Nevertheless, I do think that a project that didn't even try to make an honest attempt at categorisation for creator, source, and subject would be frowned upon (now and in future). Jheald (talk) 09:15, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
Agree with the above posters ; that said, as the WLE for Sri-Lanka organisers, I would say it’s fine if you prefer to encourage uploaders to only use depicts, and then as organisers you add categories based on it (ideally automatically or semi-automatically). That may well be an awful idea if it ends up taking lots of time to few volunteers (especially as such automation still has to be figured out) ; but hey, that’s up to you, if you think it makes sense for your context :) Jean-Fred (talk) 18:12, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, Jean-Fred. That could be something to consider :) Rehman 02:06, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

Wikidata Items[edit]


How to handle the pictures from items like An der Läuterau 2 (Q49346079). Is it possible to get the statements from Wikidata in structured Commons? I would give statements in Wikidata and the only statement in Commons would be the Item itself. Ist that ok? I want to prevent doubled work... In Wikidata we have for example Upper Lusatian house (Q1362233), inception (P571) or heritage designation (P1435). Thank you, Regards, Conny (talk) 13:30, 28 April 2019 (UTC).

If the object depicted has an item on Wikidata, then add such information there. It should be able to help image discovery here eventually; might eventually get summarised in the User Interface here; and should also be accessible from queries, once Commons gets its own SPARQL query service; but currently there is a lot of other stuff the dev team need to be working on first, before any of this. (Though IMO they should be moving ahead on SPARQL, because that will be being done by a different team).
If the object that is depicted does not have an item on Wikidata, then that opens up a more difficult set of questions. As a first option, consider creating an item on Wikidata, especially if there are reliable sources you can reference, that can verify statements you would make about it. In some cases, however, the underlying object might not pass the notability criteria at Wikidata. (This is still a bit of a grey area at the moment). In such a case it's not entirely clear what will be the best strategy. Jheald (talk) 14:07, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
Thank you very much, that sounds great for me. Have a nive day, Conny (talk) 04:52, 29 April 2019 (UTC).
Well, personally I understand structured data on Commons as a partial replacement of categories. So if someone will be looking for images of yellow houses and you would have under this image just An der Läuterau 2 (Q49346079), they wont find this image. So I would leave under the image also other items, even the guidelines say now. Juandev (talk) 08:36, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

Adding "depicts" info with a bot[edit]

I am using AutoWikiBrowser and wonder how to use it to add "depicts" info. Since the depicts-info is not in the wiki code I'm not sure how it's done. -abbedabbtalk 20:09, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

At first, just add depicts statements manually. When we are ready for them, bots should seek bot approval for this specific task. --99of9 (talk) 06:45, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I think AutoWikiBrowser dose not work with Wikibase. --GPSLeo (talk) 07:23, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
Indeed not: phab:T138754. Jean-Fred (talk) 18:05, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I just changed the Bots section. -abbedabbtalk 04:47, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Wikidata label text search?[edit]

@Keegan (WMF): I understand that haswbstatement does an exact search on the statement ; but would a depict statement also enable normal text search?

Ie, if I have a picture of Barack Obama, and there is no mention of Obama in neither the filename, the wikitext or the captions, but there is a depicts statement P180=Barack Obama (Q76), then would Special:Search/Obama return that file?

And same question with multingual labels, if I have P180=pumpkin pie (Q2118270), will it show up for Special:Search/tarte à la citrouille? Tested this quickly with there, looks like not :-(

Jean-Fred (talk) 10:36, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

There is advanced search for structured data in the works that will help find these things, I'll keep you posted as it's developed for testing. Keegan (WMF) (talk) 19:26, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

"Cat-a-lot" for depicts?[edit]

Is there a tool like "Cat-a-lot" to add the same statement to several files at once? For example, on Category:L’Union - Eglise Saint-Jean Baptiste, most of the files depicts d:Q38631748. As with "Cat-a-lot", I'd like to select these files and add P180: Q38631748. Is it or will it be possible to do that? Thanks. Ayack (talk) 10:58, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

There is no such tool at the moment. I added a “Tool support” section to document that.
Jean-Fred (talk) 12:20, 6 May 2019 (UTC)