Commons talk:Don't be bold

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Hm. I strongly disagree with discouraging people from being bold.

A protectionist attitude that envisages clueness newbies as screwing up all our hard work is totally contrary to how this wiki (and every other wiki) actually succeeds. We didn't get here by being protectionist, and since we're a never ending work in progress, why is protectionism suddenly going to help?

"Be bold" says "you have something worth contributing, every little bit helps" and both these things are true. There are millions of descriptions and other image annotations that will benefit from boldness, for example. There are thousands(?) of uncategorised images that will benefit from a little boldness. There are galleries to be updated and copyvios to be nominated that benefit from boldness.

Perhaps the rule should be "be bold, but respectful". Respect the work of the people before you, and don't alienate them unnecessarily by doing a major U-turn on their work without discussion.

As for categories - it goes both ways. They are a giant mess, telling people not to be bold is not a good idea when it's hard to figure out what following the status quo is supposed to be anyway. They need lots of people being bold in discrete areas, it's only when two people are bold in the same area that trouble ensues. ;)

It's interesting that we have "Bold, Discuss, Revert" instead of "Bold, Revert, Discuss". I never realised that before. :) BDR/BRD is my favourite mechanism for getting stuff done. --pfctdayelise (说什么?) 04:44, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Well said. And yet, there is truth in what the essay advocates as well. Your "be bold, but respectful" catchphrase seems to sum it up well. How to change the essay to preserve the truth and not disempower? ++Lar: t/c 17:20, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Hmmpf, isn't a man allowed to write an essay anymore?
The essay is not advocating "you shouldn't do anything". Correcting other people's mistakes or adding useful and relevant information is not something I consider require significant boldness. WP:BOLD, on Wikipedia, is mostly pointed to when people make major changes to articles. And Commons doesn't have articles (in that way)...
Sure, I think I agree with you even if we are saying the same things in different words. "don't be bold" does sound negative. However, the purpose of the title is that people shouldn't refer to WP:BOLD here on Commons. It isn't necessarily a policy.
Fred J (talk) 18:22, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Isn't a woman allowed to comment on an essay anymore? I thought that's how these things worked. :)
Correcting other people's mistakes or adding useful and relevant information is not something I consider require significant boldness. Well then, I think you have forgotten what it's like to be new to Wikipedia. :) I still think "Be bold" is an essential principle in all Wikimedia projects (any successful wiki at all, really). pfctdayelise (说什么?) 12:14, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps... well you know, it's an essay, so I only say things the way I see them :-), and I can't remember that WP:BOLD ever meant anything to me on Commons. If you have a different view, you can write a counter-essay....
Fred J (talk) 22:54, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

(undent) If I may comment on the initial maxim above: "I strongly disagree with discouraging people from being bold." From what I have learned on wikis (and in particular by answering 3000+ questions on the Wikipedia Help desk), one size does not fit all. "Be bold" is great advice for some people, and horrible advice for others. Whether "be bold" is good advice for "people" depends on which "people" you have in mind. Wikis are great for people with the following traits:

  • They are critical thinkers, rather than faith-based thinkers. That is, they empty their minds of preconceptions when approaching unfamiliar situations, and try to minimize their risk by proceeding in small steps, learning as they go. In contrast, faith-based thinkers assume they already know everything, often without any conscious awareness of their ignorance, which their minds automatically fill in according to their past experience, which may be dangerously inapplicable to the new situation.
  • They like to read the friendly manuals. Almost everything a person needs to know to contribute productively on a Wikimedia Foundation wiki is in writing somewhere, and most if not all of the experienced users on a given wiki expect other users to put in the time (just as they did) to read the manuals and avoid forcing other users to spoon-feed the information to them. That is, people who succeed on wikis are people who are willing to pull their own weight by self-educating, rather than forcing other users to clean up their mess.
  • They are bold only in proportion to their skill. Just as in real life, a novice skier does not head directly to the black diamond run, but instead begins on the bunny slope, a novice wiki editor does not start out by attempting to rewrite the existing high-use templates, the category structure, reverting the work of much more experienced uses, etc. The successful wiki user is able to perceive the order of difficulty of the various tasks, start with something simple, and move up only as his or her skills improve.

A lot of what I have written boils down to one measurable cognitive attribute: IQ. People with high IQs are more likely to think critically, read instructions, approach unfamiliar situations prudently and systematically, learn quickly, and see how to apply what they learn in one area to new areas (i.e., they innovate constructively). Of course "are more likely to" does not mean "invariably will", because humans are extremely complex and may have many conflicting motives. However, well-developed wikis such as Wikipedia and Commons are stupefyingly complex, and thus they are playgrounds for people with high IQs (since IQ measures a person's ability to handle complexity). If you have a high IQ, you can safely say "be bold" to your intellectual peers, but to the great mass of people with lower IQs, telling them to "be bold" may just be like sending sheep to the slaughter (of deletionists). To see the tangible fruit of inappropriate boldness, check out Deletionpedia, a virtual monument to Wikipedia's spectacular failure explain its rules to tens of thousands of bold but misguided users, before they plunged ahead and ended up wasting uncountable hours of their time. --Teratornis (talk) 20:12, 27 January 2009 (UTC)


Is there any real policy on this topic?[edit]

Is there any policy covering what is a minor improvement, and when one should or should not upload over an existing file? --Slashme (talk) 14:35, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Common sense would suggest first attempting to persuade the original uploader that the new image is an improvement. Then one might try asking some of the people who had put the old image into articles. The type of image is also an issue. Some images, such as hurricane forecast maps, have a built-in expiration time, and we expect to upload a series of updated images over the old ones. For other images, they are a snapshot in time of a given object or place, and they continue to have historical value alongside newer, separate images which can go under new file names. However, I don't know yet whether Commons has worked out a specific policy for this. --Teratornis (talk) 20:12, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
There is now an official guideline: Commons:Overwriting existing files. --Avenue (talk) 00:52, 4 October 2012 (UTC)