Commons talk:Project scope/Archive 1

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On Censorship

A word on which Wikipedia prides itself is "free" - The free encyclopedia. Up to now, Wikipedia, and the rest of Wikimedia, have fulfilled this ideal - freedom to edit, freedom to access, freedom to opinion. For example, recently an article on Wikipedia - w:Childlove movement challenged our bounderies. Some suggested we simply delete it, a contentious VfD arose - freedom prevailed. As an archive, Wikimedia Commons (or Wikicommons as it has been recently dubbed), will test how much we can take. One of the chief questions has been, shall we allow pornography?, or even shall we allow indecent images at all? Of course, this does not only take into account sexually explicit images, but also graphically explicit images - those which you find in medical books. Beyond this there are questions such as, if we do allow pornography, where do we draw the line? Where one country may consider ALL pornography illegal, the majority may only consider some illegal - which do we go with? If we do, for example, allow pornography to feature - it is unlikely we run by the harshest theocratic countries' guidelines on pornography — as an example, it has been suggested that we draw the line at things banned by 3 or more European states. Others suggest that we put a tag on media that is illegal in some juristictions - if a user is concerned about law breaking they can toggle their Commons' account to block any media with illegal tag. We could extend this and simply have a "sexually or graphically explicit" tag (though this would not be to my liking, some cultures would consider bare shoulders sexually explicit - who do we go with here) - users would similarly be able to block the downloading of this media.

I suggest, after discussion, we hold a poll - first to decide whether we allow hardcore pornography at all. Depending upon the decision, we decide where to draw the lines.

OldakQuill 23:03, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

There should be a discussion and a summary of views before there is a poll. It's not a good idea to create policies from votes without everyone being aware of the arguments. I'll start by saying that pornography and indecency are a red herring. The real issue is more general: What kind of images do we want on Wikimedia Commons? In that respect, porn is not really different from, say, your mother's holiday photos. What is useful and what isn't? In the original Commons proposal I suggested that the key criterion is that images must be potentially useful to at least one Wikimedia project. Most porn wouldn't pass the usefulness test. The other question is whether the pictures in question are legal to be publicly viewable the state/country where Wikimedia is hosted (Florida, United States). Much pornography wouldn't pass the legality test, but in cases where it clearly would be useful regardless, we might consider using some adult verification system. I don't expect too many cases like that, though.--Eloquence

"Much pornography wouldn't pass the legality test, but in cases where it clearly would be useful regardless, we might consider using some adult verification system." This is complely false. Virtually all pornography is legal in the United States, and this is particularly true in Florida. Please don't speculate about such things if you don't know what you're talking about. -- 13:49, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I think it will be hard to find media which will not eventually be included in a project. A picture of an eraser could both be in a Wikipedia article covering the workings of an eraser and a dictionary definition of the eraser. Several images of erasers would be necessary for the different styles, different companies, etc. In regards to sexually explicit images - they could be used in articles on sexual positions, sexual pheonmenas, and dictionary definitions of sexological terms. I do not believe we should essentially restrict ourselves to just that which will be used later as we do not know what will be used later - different languages are more liberal, they may use more of the extreme media English would not use - it would be nice for Wikimedia Commons to operate seperately, as an archive - rather than just as a pet of Wiki***. When it comes to verification systems, I do not think this is a very good idea, it is certainly not legally essential in most countries. On top of this there is the difficulty of the age at which this verification would come in: 14, 16, 18, 21? Verification systems require credit cards, this begins to ebb away at the freedom of the WikiProjects. Let's not buy in the overprotective mothering-culture, if parents don't want their childen seeing things, they can ask them to not. --OldakQuill 09:26, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Going with laws would be hard, because they are often vague at this point. Then again, any other criterion is going to be vague as well, except allowing everything or nothing. My proposal would be to judge by the way the material is shown, rather than by what is shown. That is, a picture showing anal intercourse or a series showing the various positions from the Kamasutra is okay, but it should be done in a way to maximize information content, not in a way to maximize erotic effect. - Andre Engels 10:38, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I agree - but I do not think we should go out of our way to avoid eroticism. If an erotic image best demonstrates a point, then why not. --OldakQuill 11:42, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
And you just know someone is going to write an objective and encyclopaedic sex manual using the images just to make a point - David Gerard 12:42, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The vagueness of the laws is a big problem, and I think we should lean strongly toward non-inclusion for this reason. Yes, not accepting these images is censorship, but accepting images with unclear legal status puts us in a position where we can effectively be shut down if we piss off the wrong people. In this sense being restrictive with regard to porn allows us to avoid censorship with regard to political content. The ultimate solution here is to simply hire a lawyer who has the final word on whether or not an image is "probably legal". In the mean time, I think we just need to be careful, and without setting any rules in stone come to the agreement that we should err on the side of caution with these issues. Anthony 12:42, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

This porn-issue can't be new; already it is possible to upload all kinds of pictures. How do projects handle that now? On the dutch wikipedia the requirement of relevancy works quite well btw; sometimes some kid uploads pictures of his/her friends, those pictures are removed fast. I've never seen a porn picture on the dutch wikipedia, and frankly I don't think it will be a big problem. Already it is required that the picture is of high enough quality, the author must be known (because of copyright-issues), and I think that these requirements will stop most porn pictures from being uploaded (without them being removed very fast). Fruggo 18:14, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think you need to run it and then decide and continually review in light of usuage... be interesting to see if pornographers bother to use as there would seem to be plenty of platforms out there.. Having said that the word 'pornography' is not that useful. I would be against taking any part in an site that condoned abusive material such as paedaphilia (including 'childlove' angles!) , especially an image site. Just as in the same breath I'd feel the same about racist material etc. Stefan, London

I think we should go with whatever the legal limits are in the jurisdiction that Wikipedia servers are located (the state of Florida, United States of America). No more, no less. Obviously, Wikimedia can`t let people put totally illegal stuff on the Commons (child porn, etc.) but as long as it doesn`t involve criminal activity... let freedom ring! -- 06:42, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC) (Ce garcon from the English Wikipedia)

Consider these three:

  1. Birth. Suppose I uploaded a rather complete picture of the process, with just the head sticking out. OK, or a problem?
  2. Once the baby is born, would a picture be considered child porn? How about if the baby is one year old? If a newborn isn't child porn, but a 13-year-old is, then where is the line drawn?
  3. What about breastfeeding? I know that Florida has amended the public nudity law to explicitly allow breast exposure during breastfeeding, but maybe that doesn't extend to photos of the act?

Does it matter if an image is greyscale or a bit blurred? AlbertCahalan 00:31, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

There are absolutely no problems with any of these. Where are people getting these strange ideas about US law?-- 13:49, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Gee, I don't know, maybe U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft's statements and some of the ridiculous prosecutions that have happened over the years? Florida is home to this famous prosecution even. Even if something is legal, one may have difficulty proving innocence unless the facts are clear. AlbertCahalan 00:00, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
1) It would be wonderful to have a better photo to replace the second one at w:Childbirth. Definitely okay. 2) "Child porn" involves more than just pictures of naked children. A naked 13-year-old in a non-sexual context isn't porn (though I don't see how it could be potentially useful to a Wikimedia project, either). 3) Category:Breastfeeding could certainly use more photos. Please don't blur or greyscale your photos; that will only reduce their value. dbenbenn | talk 02:41, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
One obvious use for a photo of a naked 13-year-old would be to show human development. One could have a whole series of photos, taken every 6 months over a period of 6 years, to demonstrate the concept of puberty. AlbertCahalan 00:00, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I guess I'd really like Wikimedia to get an actual legal opinion from a real Florida lawyer. AlbertCahalan 00:00, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)


We had argued with Allstar about keeping gay porn here File:Sblow2.jpg. So, is it correct to show so frank live examples here? If there appear live examples of people killing, child porn, anal relationship between strong and weak prisoners and other crimes at wiki commons in high quality, you'll associate it with educational material? Dmitry G (talk) 08:43, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

with respect; i disagree with your arguements in a plurality of ways.

1. you are associating human sexual activity with criminal activity.

2. you are blurring the distinctions between consensual & non-consensual sexual activity.

3. you are blurring the distinction between media files that are legal & illegal for wmc to host on their servers.

4. WMC:IS NOT CENSORED! that is a basic principle of the whole wikimedia foundation & all its projects.

(5. it is reasonably clear that your basic objection is based upon your strong personal feelings in the matter; while you have every right to feel & think the way you do, as every human being has that right, you do not have the right to impose your personal preferences on others, or on wmc. the simple solution to your concerns is this: if you find the material to be objectionable, don't go & look at it!)

human sexuality is a legitimate educational topic. it is both logical, and necessary, for wmc to provide resources about this subject.

not doing so would be a failure of wmc

Lx 121 (talk) 00:57, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

On Written Documents

It has been suggested by many that WikiSource by integrated into this. They will essentially have the same function - an archive for various media, WikiSource will never take up a great ammount of space. It would be great to have both Leonardo da Vinci's complete paintings AND complete notes in Commons. Any responses to this idea? --OldakQuill 23:53, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

To me, this is the last stage of the Commons; i.e. when it has reached a certain level of maturity and the technology is there, we should approach the Wikisource community and give them the option to become either part of the Commons or remain separate.--Eloquence

Eloquence is already familiar with my objection to migrating the Wikisource. WikiSource can take up a lot of space. Currently the largest article is a French version of the third part of the Summa Theologica which weighs in at 2.7 Mb. I personally think that that is far too big for a text file, but dividing it up will not make it smaller overall. The other thing about Wikisource is that the content should remain editable to the average user. This is not a requirement for multimedia files. Although one would hope that users would respect the integrity of the original texts they could still be edited to add footmotes or links to other articles or projects. Translations or annotations are also forseeable extensions of the existing texts.

On the other hand copyright issues are equally important to both projects, and I would hope that there would be a way of sharing experiences in that sphere. Eclecticology 20:42, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The primary reason against this is that the resources on Wikisource are language-dependent, while those on Commons (notionally) are not. This is why Wikisource has long since been broken up into language subdomains. -- Visviva 07:59, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Including only material useful for the Wikimedia projects

Material should only be eligible for inclusion in the Commons if it is useful to at least one Wikimedia project. This should include plausible future usefulness. The Commons Community could define further criteria for inclusion, for example, if a band is notable enough to have an article in Wikipedia, and their MP3s are freely licensed, they could be deposited; if a file is highly referenced from the outside and causes unbearable bandwith costs, it can be removed. The larger and more popular a file, the more pressing needs to be its rationale for inclusion.

One project that existed at the time of submission? How about one local wikiproject on a Wikimedia project? What if I start a wikiporn project on en: and, while debate about that is going on on Wikipedia, start uploading images for it to the commons? Do we wait until the discussion on Wikipedia reaches a conclusion before deleting uploaded content? Or will there be a quarantine area here for non-deleted content that can't be viewed outside of wikicommons, while its status is hashed out? Sj 04:41, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Their Ogg files, until the MP3 patents expire - David Gerard 12:43, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Or better, .flac or .shn, which are archival quality, publis, and from which ogg can be derived when needed, preserving the original bits Pedant 20:30, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Their MP3, OGG and other format (particularly lossless) files. There are no patents on MP3 in the vast majority of the world, the US and Japan being the notable exceptions, and MP3 is the current world standard for distribution of compressed digital music. Since the licensing issues of MP3 in the US and Japan will go away soon, we should also be prepared for that and the eventuality that there will be patent issues found with the OGG format after a decade or two of use, which is what happened with MP3, GIF and JPEG. Jamesday 17:28, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
That would eliminate this rationale: "We can provide the largest such respoitory of freely licensed material, with a quality control mechanism that other such projects lack (the community)". Eliminating that rational doesn't remove much: the proposed limitations on licenses already destroys the possibility of it being THE world's repository of reusable material. Really sad to lose that potential and ensure that some other project will be the place to go, though. Referrer checks can generally limit file availability to links only from wikimedia projects and that should control bandwidth problems should they arise. Jamesday 17:28, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

If it's legal, and we've got the space, we should include it. When issues of space arise, we should prioritize by what is being used in Wikimedia projects, followed by what will probably be used in a Wikimedia project, etc. This assumes that we can't generate a revenue source from this project itself. To the extent this project can generate revenue (be it from grants, earmarked donations, prizes, or whatever), its independence from other Wikimedia projects should increase. Anthony 12:51, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think the issue is not so much space as it is bandwith. I would prefer to include only material useful AND USED for the Wikimedia projects, otherwise we will quickly get to our limits in terms of bandwith. Actually, we're already there on some Wikipedia projects. -- Chris 73 02:59, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)
However, Google is taking up our bandwidth I guess. The best solution would be to have a direct connection to the backbone with a huge optical pipe. --Mboverload 04:42, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)
google may take over some of wikimedias bandwidth in future but who knows if that will pan out.
Also note that one of the developers/real admins informed me that bandwidth use from sites direct linking to our images is trivial atm and direct linking can always be locked down and possiblly charged for later. Plugwash 00:13, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The scope of commons is still not very clear to me. Is commons like a "Stock Media" collection or a repository only for media useful to the wikimedia projects? Let me provide a few examples:

More of the Same: take Fireworks. There are more than enough pictures of fireworks than wikimedia's projects need. Unless one has a picture of something radically different or of significantly higher quality, should more pictures of fireworks be uploaded? If someone wants a picture of fireworks for a purpose outside of wikimedia, the more choice the better (matching colors or different angle) but otherwise there is little scope in adding more of the same.

Abstract Photography: These photos would only be useful in wikimedia as examples of abstract photography itself. In that case all you need is a few top notch photos. But these photos, if there is a choice, can be very useful in other contexts (backgrounds, book covers, mashed up in artwork etc...)

Artsy Photos and other non-documentary photos of daily objects and events (crowds, empty bottles or streets, stones, landscapes etc...) : this is the same as the above, there is little scope for these as useful for wikimedia but the audience of wikimedia might make use of such images in there own work. While with some imagination one can try and consider what is potentially useful for wikimedia's projects, the idea of a stock repository is to focus on quality and let the users decide what is useful ... my imagination does not stretch that far!

In short, would images that are useful only as potential aesthetic embellishments of a potential future wikibook be acceptable? The use of the term "stock" implies yes; the body of the text of this page suggest they are not.

--Inkwina 08:35, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

"Non-documentary photos of daily objects", if I understand the phrase correctly, can be very useful for illustrating Wiktionary entries. In fact it can be quite frustrating to find simple images of common objects and activities on Commons at present; it is a paradoxically underserved area. -- Visviva (talk) 18:03, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Seriously, this goes against the concept of "Repository": If we delete anything that isn't currently useful, we shoot ourself in the foot for later. Further, it can often be useful to host files on Commons, and link from the other projects to here for a wider resource; for instance, to show more paintings by an artist than could reasonably fit on a Wikipedia page. Adam Cuerden (talk) 18:18, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Non commercial ?

See Commons:Licensing.

Do we accept non commercial pictures? There are quite a lot of them, f.e. all photos from ESA are available for non commercial purpose. Yann 22:45, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

it seems that "non-commercial" images are not allowed. -- Chris 73 06:05, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Better than words

We could use a "better than words" criterium: if a file has a inherent value wich makes it better than a equivalent text, it's OK. If not, it should be deleted. That way, we could have a way to keep out a lot of ways of nonsense and useless pictures, movies or sound files. --Comae 23:34, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

That could (should?) be one possible criterium, although it is a bit vague. Anything deleted on that basis will need a vote (i.e. vote for deletion or so). -- Chris 73 00:10, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Automatic transfer of images from localized Wikipedia?

I bet that most uploaders of images to localized Wikipedias would not mind in the least if their pictures would be transferred automatically to the commons repository, as long as no ambiguities are generated, no links are broken etc. - so wouldn't it be worth thinking about what could be done to organize such a transfer?

Well, given that we can only take certain classes of images, perhaps a list of what the template that links all of said images together on each language Wikipedia it is?
Of course, in the end we'd rather MediaWiki automatically uploaded to Commons in preference to the local Wikipedia for compatible licences (unless told not to, of course).
Also, I imagine the flood of new images could be quite overwhelming to the system (the community, that is, not the physical computers).
James F. (talk) 09:55, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The ability to upload to individual wikis needs to stay because individual wikis often have more leniant stances on what terms are acceptable than the commons (for example en allows fair use images commons does not for. various reasons
Images need to be catagorised in commons do we really wan't a flood of images moving here without any attention
Given the current situation (single login seems to be going nowhere fast) i would propose the following
On image pages for appropriately tagged images on the individual wikis a "push to commons" would be added
clicking on push to commons would take you to a transfer image page on commons. If you are not logged in to commons at this stage you would be asked to do so.
the image would be moved over the original image discription page would be left where it is complete with history
an image description page would be created on commons by taking the original image description page. making a series of preset replacements (for example for template names) and then adding a header like "this image moved from the dutch wikipedia please see nl:myimage.ext for history information" Plugwash 02:26, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Language of maps and diagrams

Acholiland, Uganda

I have just started to transfer my images from the English Wikipedia to here (see my contribs for a provisional list). What should I do with images like the one to the right, containing English labels and thus not being perfectly multilingual? Do those fit here or should I leave them on the Wikipedia in question? Precedents can be found in Category:Maps (and indeed, maps are often inherently language-specific) — I'm asking the question partly because I don't understand how this is intended to mesh with the multilingual approach of Wikimedia Commons. As I'm new here, this issue might have been raised before; I hope someone can provide me with some answers and/or point me to the right place! mark 23:01, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

You can upload them like any other pic. However, if the image was created by you, it would be good to also have either the image without any text, or the source file where the text can be edited (e.g. This way other language versions can be made easily. -- Chris 73 01:14, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Thanks! As for uploading blank or editable ones, that's a good idea — I'll look into it. mark 19:06, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Audio renditions of text

On the project page it says:

"Better than words: All files should have an inherent value that make it better than an equivalent text. For example, uploading a scanned image of a text available on Wikisource makes no sense, unless it is the picture or scan of the original papyrus or eluminated book and serves an illustration purpose."

I'm wondering if this project, which I've only explored to a small extent so far, is the right place for audio recordings of texts, i.e. what are normally known as "Audio Books". I'm very interested in this, but wonder whether it would work. In principle and in practice, would a recording of a text held at Wikisource be appropriate here?

I ask especially because I've noticed that while there are many thousands of incredibly cool images here, there are very few recordings.

I also ask because full-text recordings - even in Ogg - would take up a heck of a lot more space than images. If people could upload recordings of all kinds of texts (and Wikisource already says it has about 10,000 of them), would the Commons have the capacity to handle the onslaught? Would people at the Commons mind having recordings in all kinds of different languages (because that is probably what would eventually end up happening and it would use huge amounts of space).

A final problem I envision is professionalism: how could it be decided if and when an individual's recording of a novel or a classical text was of high enough quality to merit being here? Would we need professional narrators?Avi Kadish 17:55, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Disallowed file formats

I recently uploaded Image:United States quarter, obverse, 2004.jpg. I converted the file to JPEG from TIFF in a lossy way. I want to upload the TIFF original, for archiving. (When JPEG is replaced by some other image standard, the TIFF original should be used for converting, instead of the JPEG version.) But when I try it, I get an error,

".tif" is not a recommended image file format.

What do you think: should people be allowed to upload TIFF and other file types? Dbenbenn 23:20, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

what resoloution and bit depth is the original? png is generally a better choice of format than tiff because it gives better compression and most web browsers can show it. In this particular case though i see no real need to keep a lossless copy here as i don't see the original site going away. Plugwash 00:28, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Admittedly I'm being paranoid. Although is unlikely to go away, they might very well take down these particular images in 100 years. Dbenbenn 00:40, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Actually, is TIFF -> PNG a lossless conversion? That would solve my problem in this particular case. Dbenbenn 00:42, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

that depends on the TIFF in question. if the TIFF is 24 bit color, 48 bit color, 8 bit greyscale or 16 bit greyscale then it can be directly converted without any loss. Otherwise you will have to make a color depth conversion which will cause either loss or bloat (depending on which way you convert). Plugwash 01:24, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Ah! The TIFFs appear to be 8-bit greyscale. (I didn't answer your question at first, because I had to figure out how to find the bit depth.) So in this particular case I'll just upload the PNGs too. Thanks!
I guess there's still the question of whether to allow TIFFs in general. Dbenbenn 03:10, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The problem is much more general: Patents expire. File converters get better. File formats go obsolete. Conversion is often lossy. We should always keep a copy of the original data. We don't have to serve out the original data with a correct MIME type or file extension, thereby encouraging cruddy formats. We just need some way to store pristine data for future generations. Example: My video camera produces XviD (MPEG4+MP3) AVI files. Suppose I convert to Ogg Theora, which is today's cool format. Five years from now, BBC Dirac is the cool format and I'm not around to reconvert. You have to live with the old conversion in an obsolete format, or perform yet another lossy conversion. How can this get fixed? AlbertCahalan 04:17, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Any jurisdiction ?

I think this is not reasonable: All files uploaded must be free of use in any jurisdiction. There will always be somewhere where something is not allowed, so this requirement is too broad. As an example, with this requirement, we couldn't publish a picture of a bottle of alcohol because it might not be allowed in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia.

So I propose:

The picture must be free of use in all places relevent for copyright issues (where it was taken, where the photographer lives, where it is published, etc.). Yann June 29, 2005 22:36 (UTC)
That's why I introduced the "golden rule" in Commons:Licensing as it is IMHO a very resonable way within the complicated international aspects of copyright laws (although I was intoducing it at first only with respect to the question if we can consider a certain picture within the public domain). Perhapes we should place it more prominent as it is easy to remember and checkable by everyone. Arnomane 30 June 2005 11:29 (UTC)
It is more complicated than that, because there are documents in the PD in the USA, but not in the country where they were first published. For example, all works from Europe published before 1923, but on which the author is not dead for more than 70 years. There are hundreds on this case on Wikisource and probably as many here. Yann 4 July 2005 21:26 (UTC)

Criteria for inclusion

Please, I want more information about the "criteria for inclusion". --FML IconSP.jpg hi 21:18, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

SVG images

In meta:SVG image support and Commons:File types, it says we can use SVG file, and Commons talk:File types#Why can't we upload SVGs again?, too. But, Criteria for inclusion says "SVG files may not be uploaded until a filter is put into place to keep out harmful Javascript." . Is this text must corrected?Searobin 23:12, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Fixed. dbenbenn | talk 01:17, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Personal pictures

I've readded the

  • They are useful for some wikimedia project (for example an Wikipedia article, a Wikinews report, in a meta article, on a user-page).

To the "Personal picture" guidelines: the make the general case of "Relevance" in this specific case clearer: specifically, they *specifically allow* for use on a user page. Thanks MosheZadka 14:46, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Pixel dimensions

"For pixel images a resolution of 3000 by 3000 pixels is not too big" -- Is this really true? For GIF and PNG images, the limit mentioned on page was imposed, which means that a resolution of 3000 by 3000 pixels is close to being too big... AnonMoos 03:22, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

moved footnote

"1". Something more polished available? Arnomane 21:21, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

When will we be able to upload other audio free formats?

The rules on the project page seem to imply users cannot upload Speex or FLAC files. Those are free formats that fall into the Ogg project, and at least Speex would be pretty useful for spoken articles on Wikipedia (and the like). Where does one raise this issue?--Saoshyant 19:55, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Open Computer Graphics repository ?

I am not sure whether or not this is in Wiki Commons scope: There are several Open Source Software games that create CG graphics free to use in any game project. Examples of this include Wesnoth, Open Arena, Chromium, other like Ur Quan Master (port of Star Control 2) recently saw their content made available for free, such games like "Beneath a steel sky" have a more ambiguous status...

Is it okay to upload such CG files into Wiki Commons ? They probably could only be of marginal use for the wikipedia project but have a huge utility for the game development community. What do you think about it ? --Yvanhoe 10:13, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Adding a own point for Anti-Logos

see here. I belive it would be good to add that "official Anti-Logos" or those with any encyclopedic sense are okay, but those who are self-created and without any sense not. What do you think? abf /talk to me/ 14:29, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Although I sympathise, I see no way how we can install a process that filters anti-logo's (and images in general) with an objective and consistent sense/no sense filter that integrates all the connected cultural contexts. Without an objective rule, this becomes personal censorship. --Foroa 15:00, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Being outside project scope, except for obvious cases such as encyclopædia articles in the main gallery namespace on Commons, is not cause for speedy deletion, precisely because it can never be boiled down to a heuristic. However, one of the purposes of regular deletion discussions is to neutralise the biases of single individuals. There has been a tendency of those discussions in the past to weigh the value of an image in the main namespaces of Wikimedia projects against the potential offence it may cause. I don't think it's wrong to document this with specific examples. LX (talk, contribs) 22:59, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

We should really move away from using that word, "encyclopedic". We're not an encyclopedia and every other project besides Wikipedia isn't either. We're a media repository and that's it. Yes, all our images should have use somewhere on Wikimedia, but they definitly don't have to be encyclopedic. We have many many user created icons/logos just like the one that got deleted. So it couldn't have been because it was out of our scope, it was because people were offended. If want to start (officially) deleting images on these grounds, then we need to be clear about it. That's why I started a censorship policy discussion. I agree some images (usually related to Israel or sex/nudity) cause more problems than they're worth and it isn't a big loss if we ditch them, but I object to censorship out of principle. Whatever the case, we need to know where we stand on the issue as a community. And we need a new word to use in place of encyclopedic... "wikiuseful"? :) BTW, I say go ahead and add that part since it's already in practice. →Яocket°°° 22:32, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Category:Pdf files

I have been editing and creating Categories and pages for the 12,400+ PDF files that are mostly just floating out there with no links at all. I hadn't seen the Commons Scope page before and many initially do not fit into the scope. HOWEVER there are a lot of legitimate links for these notes, text, books, histories , biographies and scientific materials within Wikipedia and Wikimedia. Most of the 12,400+ files are in Spanish, German Chinese and Russian and it appears no one has gone through and read and categorized these files so I am taking on the task.

Someone is going through, however, and putting a Delete note on may of them and they are legitimate use files that can be connected to Categories and pages. Who has the authority to deal with these (sometime 6 months old) deletes or ask that this be stopped until better rules can be discussed and implemented. WayneRay 00:04, 14 April 2008 (UTC)WayneRay

I don't think that text material belongs to Commons: there are Wikipedia, Wikisource, Wikibooks, Wikiversity for that purpose. Scans of historical books are different story, but is PDF appropriate format for it?
Diagrams and images only PDFs should be converted to more appropriate formats (SVG, JPG, PNG).
EugeneZelenko 14:41, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes I agree now after having read the Commons Scope, My point though is since it seems 75% of the pdf files in existance in Commons seem to be peoples cv's and bios, foreign text less than a page and wikimeetings, some medical and other educational things and such and aren't linked to anything. Shouldn't an Admin who has the power of file delete just go through these and delete them? Some that have been put up for deletion are up to 6 months old and no one has dealt with them. A few of the historical books and things I have made the appropriate links to the subject already on Commons. That is part of the task I am giving myself.
Should I create a PDF Category for Things that really should be deleted pdf files' or something WayneRay 16:29, 14 April 2008 (UTC)WayneRay
I think the problem is many admins don't know what text files are in our scope and which ones aren't (myself included). However, the mere fact that we have so many of these files makes me think that the majority are in our scope simply because they are not being deleted by anyone else. Personally, I don't think things like these belong on Commons, but again, I'm not sure how the community feels about this issue so I just let them be. Community discussion is really needed and maybe some kind of transwiki system with Wikisource (Commons doesn't transwiki anything that I know of). Rocket000 17:30, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Here is an example of scans of entire old book, all text that should have been a jpg etc scan and not pdf HOWEVER as you can see it is a Wiki project so defeats the Commons upload scope. I am not justifting it just posting an example to the "mystery" I will create a category for pdf deletions and link it to both pdf files and commons WayneRay 11:53, 15 April 2008 (UTC)WayneRay

Category:De Wikisource book PDF From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository Jump to: navigation, search

Theses books have been put to Commons by Wikimedia's de.wikisource project. If any problems arise with these scans, please leave a message at the german language Wikisource:Skriptorium.

PS: Of historical documents, even scans of empty pages may be useful.

  • Publications in pdf format are collected in the Category:De Wikisource book PDF.
  • Publications in djvu format are collected in the Category:De Wikisource book djvu.
  • old (typically 16th or 17th century.) single sheet prints and short pamphlets Category:De Wikisource book_leaflet
  • Useful scans whithout useful categories will be at Category:De Wikisource book nocat.
  • Es gibt leider eine zweite Kategorie mit deutschsprachigen Texten Category:Scanned German texts. Manche Texte sind in beiden Kategorien vorhanden.
  • Oppose category Category:Against Commons Scope pdf files to delete. These should be addressed on an individual case-by-case basis, not lumped into a category to be deleted en-masse. Many are court documents from cases which are discussed on other Wikimedia projects, and have value as primary source references. Cirt 11:55, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Of course if some of these PDFs are, as described above by WayneRay (talk · contribs) - peoples cv's and bios, foreign text less than a page and wikimeetings, some medical and other educational things and such and aren't linked to anything. - then I would not be opposed to discussing each of those types of items on an individual basis and perhaps submitting some of them to a deletion process. But I think that lumping thousands of PDFs into a category with plans to delete them all at once is not the best way to go here. Cirt 12:01, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
PLEASE NO I meant to put them in the one main category to be gone through individually file by file. PLEASE don't think I wanted to do a mass delete. The one's that actually do connect to articles and galleries etc should be kept, but most I have found had no connection or I did some research and tried to connect them to be used. WayneRay 13:50, 22 April 2008 (UTC)WayneRay
If that is the case then I do not think that this type of categorization is the best way to go, if you agree with me that mass deleting thousands of files at once is not a good idea, then I would suggest that you ask that this category be deleted, and instead bring files you feel should be deleted to COM:DEL, one at a time, as you say. Cirt 15:50, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
OK I will go through the ones I have there and should I put {{delete or {{speedy-delete ?. Some seem to have been up for delete for quite some time. WayneRay 16:45, 22 April 2008 (UTC)WayneRay
Well, first I would suggest putting Category:Against Commons Scope pdf files to delete up to be deleted, because as these files should be dealt with on an individual basis just like anything else, that's not the best way to characterize them. Listing on a subpage of your userspace would be more appropriate. After that, I think that some people will object to some of these being deleted, so speedy would not be the best way to go, IMHO. Cirt 17:17, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions. I have moved the sub categories back into the main Category and am working on the individual files according to the deletion guidelines. I hope I am doing that properly and when the Against Scope is empty I will put it up for deletion. WayneRay 21:38, 22 April 2008 (UTC)WayneRay

Missing from Commons

Commons:Deletion guidelines I could not find deletions related to PDF files in this main Commons Category? Should it be here (re: above conversation) or somewhere else? WayneRay 12:02, 15 April 2008 (UTC)WayneRay

Honestly, it's something we haven't really addressed yet. The consensus is unknown. I think moving towards adding something to the guidelines, though. Rocket000 10:04, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Missing First steps tour


Please add a

{{First steps tour}}

towards the top of the page so as to keep the reader who started a Commons:First steps tour. Thanks. 18:50, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Done. giggy (:O) 02:19, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Commons:Project scope/Proposal

If you have any objections to the current proposal, please note them on the talk page. -- Bryan (talk to me) 13:32, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposal made live

I have updated the text with the agreed proposal wording. You can see the complete discussion at Commons talk:Project scope/Proposal.--MichaelMaggs (talk) 08:42, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Translations of new text needed

Translations of the main page and the sub-page Commons:Project scope/Pages, galleries and categories are needed. Please help. The current languages are:

  • Alemannisch
  • Asturianu
  • Brezhoneg
  • Català
  • Česky
  • Deutsch ✓ Done, but the spelling should may be checked --D-Kuru (talk) 16:39, 22 October 2008 (UTC); spelling corrected --Herzi Pinki (talk) 18:12, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Ελληνικά
  • Esperanto
  • Español
  • Suomi
  • Français
  • Italiano
  • 日本語
  • Polski
  • Português
  • Русский
  • Slovenščina
  • Tiếng Việt
  • 中文(简体)


Please indicated "Done" when updated. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 08:46, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

User Page deletion

My User Page was deleted because it didn't follow scope. User page are universally seen as places for the User to describe themselves. Since when does a User Page ever follow the scope of the project it's within? Wjhonson (talk) 06:56, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Responded here. --Herby talk thyme 07:15, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
I see you have requested undeletion, which is the right place to discuss this. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 07:19, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Bona Fide

I changed the many bona fide into "good faith" in this page, as "bona fide" is a latin expression. This mannerism oppose the informative purpose of this page and make it harder to understand. (also aiming at non native english speakers not used to this expression usage) Lilyu (talk) 16:01, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

My guess is that for most non native English speakers, "Bona fide" is better understood than "good faith". --Foroa (talk) 17:27, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Surely "bona fide" is known to most people? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:08, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Fakes or misrepresentations

Are false descriptions allowed? What about absence of a acknowledgment of media that misrepresents its subject? For example, what about an image of something that is deliberately faked, but the description doesn't indicate that or indicates that it is real? I don't see this specifically covered here. —Danorton (talk) 22:05, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Non-educational maedia files

Form com:sope:

"File in use in another Wikimedia project

An otherwise non-educational file does not acquire educational purpose solely because it is in use on a user page (the "User:" namespace) of another project, but by custom the uploading of small numbers of images (eg of yourself) for use on a personal user page of another project is allowed."
Maybe it should be there should be a seperation from "legitimately in use" (moreover an exact deffinition what "legitimately in use" (short "liu") really means (In my opinion "liu" could also mean that you upload a media file and supersede another file by yours just because it's your file even the other file was a bit better - in this special case your file would be also educational))
Maybe to the quotation above should be added (on com:scope) that non-educational file[s] does not become educational, because they are used in an wikipedia article.
--D-Kuru (talk) 21:12, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

The definitions explicitly state that a media file that is in educational use on one of the other projects of the Wikimedia Foundation is considered automatically to be educationally useful. Have I misunderstood your comment? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 21:45, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Please see related discussion at Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Michael Lucas to David Shankbone on the Iraq War.ogg. You've perfectly understood the question. -Nard the Bard 22:35, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
@ Nard: Next time leave it up to me to say what I think and what I don't!! The discussion on com:del is not more that a mirco segment. Pointed out that you don't know anything about the other segments! The segment on com:del was one of the last ones and it may looks as if I just do it because of the noted discussion. This del-discussion is not the first and not the only example for a "it's used on wikipedia, -> automatically educational + not deletable" (copyviofiles excluded)
@ MichaelMaggs: You missed a bit: It's good if an educational file is in use. A non-educational (short non-edu) file used on user pages is out of scope, but I would like to add that also non-edu files used in a wikipedian project does not become in scope. For example: A ego-perspective-video of a drunk person walking down a pavement, falling down and hurting him/herself is used on en:pavement to show how a pavement looks like (if you're drunk or generally) and on en:Alcohol to show what can happen if you get drunk. I would say that this kind of media is not in scope, because it's neither good to illustrate pavements nor to show the effects of alcohol, because of the ego-perspective (If you see the person just from outside it may would get deleted, because it infringes the persons personality rights). If the person wats to share the video with the rest of the world s/he can use youtube. Of course you can say that this media is educational, but I don't think that such files are in scope.
Maybe there should be added what is "educational enough" for commons. Moreover it should (if not even must be) included what nmakes a file "not lawful for Commons to host on its servers in Florida".
Two more example: 1) Photos of private parties are out of scope even they show how a party could look like (which would be an educational content). If you want to upload you images you can use flickr istead. 2) Hard porn, animal porn, etc. is also very educational, but out of scope and I also think not lawful for Commons.
Please correct me if you think that I got something wrong.
--D-Kuru (talk) 18:32, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, the policy is that we do not have an "educational enough" restriction, and that generally use in good faith on any WMF mainspace page is by definition considered educational enough. That is not accidental: it is deliberate policy, worked out over several years and it has wide acceptance here. You are welcome to suggest the policy should be changed, but to be honest I think that it works very well as it is. By effectively leaving it to individaul projects as to what they consider "educational enough", we avoid all sorts of political/nationalistic/religious arguments here, and we also avoid setting up Commons as some sort of uber-arbiter as to what other wikis can and cannot do. Some wikis do not allow local uploads, so would be stuck if we arbitarily told them that an image was not "educational enough" for their project, contrary to the wishes of the local community. So, generally, we try to avoid value judgements here, though we do enforce copyright restrictions rigorously, and we delete images which are not lawful to host in the US. The main exception to the rule "it's used on wikipedia, -> automatically educational + not deletable" is where an image is in bad-faith use on Wikipedia, eg where it has been forced into some unpatrolled page just to attack another editor, for example. That is very rare, though. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:43, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I know that there is no educational enough-clause (may it's better, because of the different opinios it would be a waste of time with no ending). Maybe it's possible to reduce the grey areas of the text: fe. 1) "The fact that an unused pornographic image could theoretically be used to illustrate an article on pornography does not mean that we should keep all pornographic images" This sounds like a big sponge where the beginning and the end can't be figured out. You'll find everytime a reason to keep an image even we have enough of them. If you just think about it for a while you discover why there should be more pictures of erected penis. 2) "An otherwise non-educational file does not acquire educational purpose solely because it is in use on a user page [...] by custom the uploading of small numbers of images [...] is allowed." how much is "small numbers of images"? 2, 5, 10, 20? Does it have an effect on this number if I uploaded 10.000 useful and educational images to commons? If yes: I'm I allowed to upload 50 even 100 images?
"and we delete images which are not lawful to host in the US" is there any webside where I can find the information what is allwoed?
--D-Kuru (talk) 13:27, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

may be added

I quick searched for, but I didn't found (but may should be added): I think that raw text on userpages are also out of scope (fe. listing more than 400 favorite fictional characters even you've allready listed them on your en.userpage)
--D-Kuru (talk) 21:28, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

edit: Tell me if it's allready in there
If it's not: could be included where the text says the you musn't use Commons in flickr style by uploading all your private images.
--D-Kuru (talk) 21:34, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
It is in COM:PSP#User_pages.2C_galleries_and_categories ChristianBier (talk) 00:48, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Do you mean "Private image or other file collections of no wider educational value" in "Non-allowable user page/gallery/category content"? Would be supportet by "Using Commons solely to chat with your friends, create personal profiles, etc, is outside Commons' scope." Commons:What_Commons_is_not#Commons_is_not_a_social_network
May should be added on com:ps to aviod that people don't know it and because people usually don't like to read all the subpages.
--D-Kuru (talk) 11:54, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Review of policy

Mike Godwin has recently commented on the deletion of this image which has prompted a discussion of our de minimis policy, with links to the policy here. Please join in at Commons talk:De minimis/Public scenes. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 18:02, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Useless but harmless

I came across a whole crap-load of these backdrop tiles (skip the ones at the beginning). You can see them all on User:Nevit/gallery2008. I'm curious as to what others think about these as it relates to our scope. In my view, almost all of these are out of it as having no "educational" use, but what would deleting them solve? Nevit is a highly valued user and has made countless contributions of all kinds (including FPs and QIs). He keeps these little works of graphic art well organized and does not cause needless work for others by them being here. I see no obvious benefit for deleting these. And, as always the case when mass deleting people's work, we run the risk of losing great users. (BTW, I don't mean to single out Nevit, he just happened to provide me with a good example to illustrate my point.) Rocket000(talk) 09:25, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

KEEP i appreciate your logic re: keeping nevit & others engaged in the project. however, i disagree with your assessment of "useless but harmless". without going into a complete debate about WMC project scope, i think such patterns can fall within the criteria of both useful & educational. they serve can potentially purposes both as examples of illustration/patterns/art design, & as a general-use media resource, for people working on graphical design.

Tangentally, i think we should consider adding/defining a new category(or categories) of "usefulness" on WMC, for such things; it could include: patterns such as these, other media that would be considered as "building blocks" in creating a larger media object, samples of surfaces & audio, etc.

we might also consider defining a grouping for (for lack of a better way of wording it) "obsessive-study" collections of media. i.e.: extremely detailed sets of media studying single subjects. that could mean both mass quantities of media on a a narrowly focused subject, & extremely detailed/close-up media; say fine detail pics of a type of woodgrain, or an art object, or the accoustics of a particular concert hall, etc...

(i'm a bit tired & burnt out right now, will return to edit my post later)

Lx 121 (talk) 08:44, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree that these could potentially serve as examples of illustration/patterns/art design, & as a general-use media resource, for people working on graphical design. I would keep them, especially as they are from an established user. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:16, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Well I didn't mean to present this as a potential deletion request or anything. Of course I would keep them. I was simply interested to hear how people would rationalize keeping them. I know some can be used as examples, but just like penis images, we don't need that many. This relates to Lx 121's post below. Rocket000 (talk) 05:47, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Cross linking related VP post: [1]. I'm thinking we might need to have something here about not applying this policy to the letter all the time. I would hate to think it's being used to limit potentially useful images just because they don't have an obvious and immediate educational use (like the ones I linked to above). After I said the following I starting thinking that, if it was true, maybe we should have something in the policy itself: I don't think COM:SCOPE was meant to limit our artistic side, as much as it is to limit our personal image side. There's a big difference between those, and it's not the educational thing, but the reusability. Clipart is made for people to reuse it and people will find uses for it. They probably won't for personal photos of your family on vacation. Rocket000 (talk) 03:37, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

On the wording of the policy page

i have objections to the wording on this policy page:

in several places the wording on the page goes out of its way to distinguish sexual content (of types that are acceptable within wmc policy criteria), from non-sexual content (also acceptable within wmc policy criteria). this creates a fine shading of distinction, and creates the possibility for a kind of backdoor censorship, which IS NOT a part of wm policy.


The fact that an unused pornographic image could theoretically be used to illustrate an article on pornography does not mean that we should keep all pornographic images


5.1 Censorship
Files and other material which are not lawful for Commons to host on its servers in Florida will be deleted on sight even if they otherwise fall within Commons scope as set out above. However, Commons is not censored and does quite legitimately contain content that some readers may consider objectionable or offensive. The lack of censorship means that a lawfully-hosted file that is within scope will not be deleted solely on the grounds that it may not be “child-friendly” or that it may or does offend you or others for moral, religious, social or other reasons.
The counterpoint to that is that the statement “Commons is not censored” is not a valid argument for keeping a file that falls outside the permitted Commons scope, as set out above. Photographs of nudity and male and female genitalia are sometimes uploaded for non-educational motives, and such images are not exempt from the requirement to comply with the rules on scope. Often (but not always) such images add nothing educationally distinct to the stock of such images we hold already, and hence fail the test of being realistically useful for an educational purpose.
A balance has to be struck between on the one hand accepting legitimate new high-quality educational content that some may find offensive, and on the other allowing Commons servers to become swamped with large quantities of quasi-pornographic images created for recreational rather than educational purposes. The latter would harm the reputation of Commons as a good faith provider of educational content.

the 5.1 section is nnpov-biased throughout. however, the final paragraph is blatantly so. arguing that legal nude/sexual images have to meet wm policy criteria is fine. BUT talking about "a balance has to be struck", "harm the reputation", & offering subjective opinions on the quality of content that would otherwise meet WMC criteria is clearly slanting this NNPOV. if the media is legal, meets basic WMC criteria, & copyright is in order: THERE ARE NO REMAINING CRITERIA FOR DELETION. we DO NOT have a WMC POLICY: WE HAVE TOO MUCH OF THIS STUFF, SO DON'T ADD ANYMORE.

WMC IS A MEDIA ARCHIVE. intended for free use both by wikimedia projects & EVERYBODY else. we do not have (serious) discussions about the merits of WMC maintaining mass quantities of images of cars, or trains, or any other non-controversial subject matter. if we are going to implement a policy that limits the quantity of images allowed, of a given subject matter, that would otherwise meet ALL wmc criteria for inclusion, then that policy has to be applied EQUALLY, to ALL media, & has to cover ALL SUBJECTS. anything else would be a violation of NNPOV & WIKIMEDIA IS NOT CENSORED. the same goes if we want to apply a policy that WMC media must be used on wikimedia projects, to be maintained here.

WMC recently celebrated the upload of its 4 millionth media file. if we want to implement a policy-rule limiting the quantity of redundant/repetitive images, & if we implement such a rule fairly & properly, then we should be able to delete WMC down to well under 1 million images, in no time. i don't think that's a very good idea...

I have spent a fair amount of time sorting & categorizing images that were recently donated from the 2 german photoarchives. a lot of that material was redundant & repetitive. that means 2 things:

1. professional media archives DO keep mass quantities of repetitive, redundant, simillar subject-content images on file, for use.

2. if we are going to establish a policy of limiting such repetition, then at least 10% of the stuff we got from those german media archives needs to be deleted as repetative & unnecessary to WMC.

WE DO NOT HAVE POLICY LIMITING THE QUANTITY OF MEDIA ALLOWED FOR A GIVEN SUBJECT MATTER, providing the media meets WMC criteria. this post has gotten overlong; i will edit it, once i've had some sleep. hopefully the central point is clear (& well argued) lol

Lx 121 (talk) 08:29, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

FOLLOW-UP; ok i've had some sleep (kind of), & some coffee (too much), & i'll try & summarize my key points from above, rather than editing the previous comment extensively.
the MAIN problem i have with the wording (see above) is that it is NNPOV & it is not being applied equally or fairly; it invites censorship, & violates both the purpose & the policies of wikimedia. we DO NOT have people engaging in serious discussion about WMC having too many pictures of trains, planes, automobiles, houses, trees, flowers, etc., etc. etc. these arguments ONLY come up when the subject is "controversial", most often relating to nudity/sexuality.
THERE IS NO WMC POLICY LIMITING THE QUANTITY OF MEDIA ALLOWED ON A GIVEN SUBJECT (providing the material meets WMC criteria). WikiMediaCommons is a MEDIA ARCHIVE; we are supposed to have lots of material, on every subject. (i have spent some time sorting the images recently donated by the 2 large german photoarchives; there is VERY great deal of redundancy & repetition in subject matter).
the purpose of wmc is to provide media "raw materials", both for wikimedia projects & for EVERYBODY who wants to use the material, for ANY (legal) purpose. it does not matter if we have "a lot" of media on a given subject. it does not matter whether all the items are being used on other wikimedia projects or not. the purpose is to stockpile media resources for POTENTIAL use.
personally, i don't think we should have a policy limiting the quantity of media allowed on a given subject; that would be a bad/stupid idea. BUT IF we are going to implement such a policy (after free & fair discussions, votes, etc). IT NEEDS TO BE APPLIED EQUALLY, TO ALL MEDIA, COVERING ALL SUBJECTS. right now, we don't have that; what we do have is small groups of people using "well we have too much of this stuff already (which i find objectionable, so i'm just going delete any more uploads, & try to reduce the quantity of stuff already here, using this rationale)".
so we get things like this
pointy, semi-comic/semi-rude notices claiming to represent a non-existant WMC policy. these notices then get used as a blanket justification for deletions.
IF wmc did implement a quantity-limit policy it would need to be clearly defined, applied fairly & equally (across the board, to ALL subject), & the relevant notices would need to be worded more appropriately. something like:
"wikimedia has a policy limiting the quantity of media allowed on a given subject & this category is full, please do not upload anything more here, unless it contributes something new, unique, or unrepresented in the current collection, etc... "
BUT right now, there is no WMC POLICY: QUANTITY LIMIT. these are the basic criteria a file has to meet, to be included on WMC:
  1. file must be legal, both in terms of content & copyright issues
  2. file must meet certain (rather vaguely defined & subjective) quality standards. we need to be careful about this one; there should be a clearly defined set of standards here, but if we set it too high, we are going to lose A LOT of stuff.
  3. file must meet certain WMC standards of usefulness/educational
as long as a file meets those basic criteria, it belongs on here. the fact that we might have a large quantity of media on the same subject is IRRELEVANT. (the fact that some people might find the subject matter offensive is IRRELEVANT). the motives of the uploader are IRRELEVANT.
wikimedia commons is a media archive. & THERE IS NO CENSORSHIP ON WIKIMEDIA. UNLESS there is a clear policy limiting quantity, which is applied equally, across the board, "we already have too much of this stuff (which i don't really like anyway)" is NOT a legitimate reason for deletion, or preventing contributors from uploading. i invite debate on this... (so much for keeping this short, lol) Lx 121 (talk) 14:13, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
    • If I understand you correctly you are arguing that certain statements within the Project Scope pages do not represent Commons policy. In fact these pages define the policy. You may not agree with it, but the policy has wide acceptance within the community here, and it is unlikely that your arguments (especially the parts in capital letters) will persuade the community to overturn it. Your argument that some of the policy is "NPOV" seems to show a lack of understanding of how we work here. We are a media repository, and we do not apply the NPOV rules you may be used to at the Wikipedia sites. That is, in itself, part of the policy: see COM:NPOV. The only reason that certain types of images are mentioned specifically is that there is a history of immature males (mostly) uploading very poor quality personal content of no educational use whatsoever, sometimes as a joke, sometimes to show off. We do not have similar levels of useless poor-quality uploadings of (say), birds or street-scenes and if we did they would be deletable in exactly the same way as the images you refer to. That is all clearly set out in the policy. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:09, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
actually, we do; you want i should show you some places where were wmc is stuffed full of high quantities of low-quality images repeating the same subjects? lol. also: no, i am not arguing that the statements "do not reflect commons policy" i'm arguing that some of the statements in this particular document are badly worded, & contradict major elements of commons policy, such as "not censored". when such contradiction occur, we need to resolve them. if that means eliminating "commons is not censored", then so be it. i just won't be around wmc much, after such a change. i'll find some nice, uncensored fork to go play on, instead. & yes i do understand the different application of NNPOV @ wmc. however the intent of that policy is to allow the hosting of a wider range of media file. it does NOT allow for the creation of a rule-set @ wmc that permits censorship, or bias, in judging the admissibility of materials to the wmc collection. also, regarding this line: "The only reason that certain types of images are mentioned specifically is that there is a history of immature males (mostly) uploading very poor quality personal content of no educational use whatsoever, sometimes as a joke, sometimes to show off." 1. that violates agf, one cannot presume to know the motives of other users, unless clearly stated. simply uploading a non-illegal file to wmc is not vandalism, merely because the content offends some viewers. 2. it is unwise to base policy on vagaries like "there is a history of"... that invites abuse. if we are going to implement a policy on this basis, there needs to be evidence, including hard statistical numbers. 3. i would challenge you to prove the allegation of "no educational use whatsoever"; i've spend more time trying to sort this material into a coherent, professional filesystem than anyone else has, in the x-years that wmc has existed. show me a file, & i'll cite potential educational uses, or i'll admit it should go. Lx 121 (talk) 05:10, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
      • No the wording of the scope pages is SUPPOSED TO describe the policies that have been agreed on. in this case, weasel words have been slipped in, allowing backdoor censorship on grounds that ARE NOT a part of policy. THERE IS NO WMC POLICY LIMITING THE QUANTITY OF MEDIA FILES ON A GIVEN SUBJECT, providing that those files meet the WMC criteria. if there is going to be such a policy it needs to be clearly stated, & discussed & voted on. if there is going to be such a policy, there is very large quantity of repetitive, redundant material on here, that needs to go. this is not about "we have too much of the subject". this is about using that as an excuse to remove images that some people find objectionable. if a policy is to be applied fairly, it needs to cover all subjects, & treat all subjects equally. if that means need fewer media in other categories as well, so be it. but this needs to be the subject of open debate, not some backdoor rationale, that is not being applied equally. if images can be removed on the ground that they violate copyright or other laws, FINE. if images can be removed on grounds that they are of poor quality FINE (but tread carefully on that, set the standard too high, & a lot of stuff goes). if it can be demonstrated that the images fail WMC criteria re: usefulness/educational FINE (another potential long list of deletes here tho, if we want to set a restrictive standard). BUT this is a ME4DIA ARCHIVE; it is absurd to argue "well he have a whole bunch of stuff on this subject, so we don't really need any more". that arguement is NOT being applied to non-controversial subject matter; it is ONLY being used is cases where it serves as a convenient excuse for censorship. that violates WMC policy. btw; i had a read-thru of COM:NPOV. it is written to be MORE inclusive, not less; it doesn't say anything about "if you don't like something or find it objectionable, delete it, make up a shoddy excuse, & you're good". Lx 121 (talk) 00:01, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Did you really have to post here and the VP? Anyway, yes, limiting the quantity of certain files is policy. Saying that it's not in all caps doesn't make it true. Having a page that's labeled as policy and backed by consensus, does. Rocket000 (talk) 05:37, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

so show me where we have an official policy @ wmc, re: quantity limits for files? Lx 121 (talk) 04:52, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Musical scores

Hi, are musical scores in scope, or should they go to wikibooks? I'm not talking of images of existing scores (e.g. historical), but self transcription of PD music (like, if I copy the score of the fifth symphony, make a pdf of it and release it under a free license). --Eusebius (talk) 19:09, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

That can definitely can come here as it's clearly both free and educational. Even if only one other wiki would find it useful we will still host it. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:51, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Good. I was wondering because I haven't seen many, although there are online repositories of freely licensed scores (I have to check the licenses, though). --Eusebius (talk) 20:23, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I think the only issue you might come across is whether pdf is the best format. I'm not sure of the answer to that. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:28, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I know, I guess I'll have to make DjVu files, although I'm afraid the pages have to be converted to a raster format (not sure about that, I've never done that). --Eusebius (talk) 20:48, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
what about putting them @ wikisource? or should we split it, so that facsimilie copies go here, & content transcripts @ source? Lx 121 (talk) 05:15, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
I have no idea what the scope of wikisource is. They have scores already? --Eusebius (talk) 09:30, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

clearer inclusion of files and images for wikisource

Wikisource's scope can include any primary source material available under a free license. A positive example of a collection of primary images or media being used / considered suitable on wikisource would be helpful here. (and related to the confusion above about what constitutes 'educational enough'). +sj + 13:19, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

For instance : a donation of 20k images, many of which will not immediately be used on a wikiproject, but all of which would qualify for inclusion on wikisource, and are part of an organized project to classify and find wikihomes for these archival images. Alternately, a donation by an author of a collection of their works -- either page images of a book or scans of art or sets of audio or video clips. +sj +

precautionary princinple concerns

There are concerns being voiced about the current statement of the precautionary principle on the village pump. +sj + 07:49, 28 July 2009 (UTC)\

images of the male genitalia

Right now the text says "Photographs of nudity and male and female genitalia are sometimes uploaded for non-educational motives, and such images are not exempt from the requirement to comply with the rules on scope. Often (but not always) such images add nothing educationally distinct to the stock of such images we hold already, and hence fail the test of being realistically useful for an educational purpose." What about adding a note that images below a minimum standart may be speedy deleted. A "minumum standart" could be a minimum resolutuion or minimum requirements for the image quality (like imge noise or that the main content is in focus and not wiggly or blurred). Images like SwAP84.jpg are (in my opinion) too low resoluted for a proper educational use and the image quality is also not what I would concider as acceptable (moreover we have enough better ones). However, a small note should be included that some images will may be kept even they don't meet the standarts because they show something special (like some sort of disease; Chancroid lesion haemophilus ducreyi PHIL 3728 lores.jpg and Penis syphilis.png would be examples for images which would not fall under low resolution restrictions because we don't have any other images with the same content. Both images are (compared to images I think should be deleted) pretty high resoluted and made of usable quality so they would be kept anyway I guess).
--D-Kuru (talk) 23:02, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Nominated for deletion, this grainy webcam shot is not in scope. Thanks for pointing it out. -Nard the Bard 01:43, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

i disagree with user:d-kuru on this issue.

we have (with great difficulty!) established policy on commons for dealing with sexual material.

this user's proposal would be highly disruptive, first to common's handling of sexual content, & then to the rest of commons' collection.

here is why:

commons is NOT censored

therefore, if we establish a "minimum standard" rule for materials, & allow admins to speedy-delete on that basis, it gets applied to all categories.

it is NOT acceptable to create "special criteria", or "special rules", for a category of images "because they're dirty". that violates very basic commons policy.

if we are going to establish a "minimum quality" rule, then it gets applied to everything.

the bulk-deletions proposed, like this one, created by admin-user D-Kur,:

Commons:Deletion requests/Images of the male genitalia (2009-12-21)

also need to be applied to images of kittens, puppies, flowers, landscapes, & every other category on commons where we have "lots of" material, & much of it is of "low quality"

& if we change commons policy, as d-kuru suggests, then those bulk deletions will be done as "speedy" too!

there is no concensus on commons for applying a minimum standard or it gets speedy-deleted" rule.

there are good reasons why there is no such rule @ commons.

does anyone here want to light the fires, for the project-wide edit wars that would result, if we did try to create such a rule?

07:30, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

upon reflection, & as a follow-up; common's core "scope" document really isn't the appropriate -place to have a discussion about this anyway. debates about detailed implementation issues, like "should admins be allowed to speedy-delete dirty pictures", belong on specific policy pages, or talk pages for related categoeries, or in specific deletion debates, etc., not @ scope. unless somebody else here thinks it's a good idea to give admins enhanced speedy-deletion powers, on the basis of a "minimum standard" quality rule, i suggest that we move the discussion elsewhere? Lx 121 (talk) 07:45, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

defining "media repository"

since i'm here anyway (see above section);

what about actually including some definition for the concept of commons as a media repository?

since this document is supposed to be about the "scope" of the wmc project, we should probably include at least an outline of what we mean by "media repository".

the text goes on & on about what files are (& are not) to be included, & even wanders quite far into examples, details, & digressions that sometimes border on "op-ed"; but we don't actually have any kind of a real outline of the concept of a media repository, or how one is supposed to work, which is germane & highly relevant to considerations of "scope".

offhand, i don't have a rough draft text proposal ready, but maybe we should open a discussion, among interested parties, about what should be said?

Lx 121 (talk) 07:58, 23 December 2009 (UTC) y

Portraits of non-notable people

Are such files mostly outside scope because the people are not notable and therfor will not have articles in Wikipedia (or other Wikimedia projects)? Or are they mostly in scope because it often useful to have photogrpahs of different kinds of people? I am asking because I sometimes find images which were used in Wikipedia articles that has later been deleted. Some examples is File:Judyta Papp.jpg in deleted en:Judyta Papp, Commons:Deletion requests/File:Cary Herrman.jpg in en:Cary Herrman and Commons:Deletion requests/File:MattaID.jpg in fr:Robin Matta. /Ö 13:55, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Such portrait shots that are nowhere used and which most likely are not realistically useful for an educational purpose can be filed for deletion by setting up a deletion request. (Please no speedy deletion.) --AFBorchert (talk) 14:24, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
2 quick points: 1. we do allow reasonable numbers of user images and/or images intended for use on userpages to be hosted @ commons. 2. it is important to be careful about defining people as "non-notable"; the wikimedia foundation's projects are (pretty much all) international in scope, as well as extremely wide-ranging in topics covered; one person's idea of who does & does not qualify as "notable" can be very different from another's. & the purpose of wmc is to serve as a supplier of media files to all wm projects, as well as being a media resource for general use, worldwide. so it's a good idea to "tread lightly" in questions of notability (as applied to deletions, in particular); especially where strong differences of opinion are likely to occur... Lx 121 (talk) 04:48, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Well, the point is that we at Commons usually do not judge the notability but leave this to the other Wikimedia projects. Whatever is used or likely to be used by another Wikimedia project, will be kept. --AFBorchert (talk) 09:51, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

an Excel file...

Maybe this is the the place to ask. I offered some statistics for en:Term Catalogue and thought I might also offer the xlsx file with the computations and the original diagrams. I felt such files would be useful and transparent, yet the system is not ready to accept such files. Any idea? --Olaf Simons (talk) 15:28, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Hi. I guess you refer to this. I guess the diagrams could be uploaded as images, but the purely numerical data could hardly be considered a media file, I'm afraid. This is just an opinion. --Eusebius (talk) 15:50, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
The diagram as image is relatively worthless. If I want people to work with data files are fine... Als if I want people to see how I did it and to correct me where I did not count properly... I understan, of course, the logic. We don't have our own format for spreadsheet information. --Olaf Simons (talk) 17:08, 8 January 2010 (UTC)


I've noticed that some files get nominated for deletion with the rationale personal image of no educational value, this could be the photo of someone's house,or living room or whatever. The fact is its normally an image with which we are so familiar that we are contemptuous of it, and for which the nominator cannot see an educational purpose.

Now imagine this how useful would a cache of such photographs be from say 1850, 1900, 1950. I would say that they would be invaluable to cultural historians and people just interested in how people lived at that time. That they were just family portraits or someone wanting to show off their houses at the time does not detract from their educational value now. Adding the goal of being an archive of material may not be immediately educational now, but it will be of service to wikipedians to come.KTo288 (talk) 12:58, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

The difference between now and 1850 is that we have a gazillion times more photographs available. Even 50 years from now, there will still be a few million boring family snapshots of people from 2010 sitting on Flickr. Thus older images, especially from before the advent of digital photography, are inherently more valuable. Kaldari (talk) 18:18, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Yep, I know but even images from just before the advent of digital photography have been so nominated, mostly because categorisers don't know where to put them. The worse case of this I can recall are the contributions of User:Drebert who donated scans of images taken in 1960s pre-revolution Nicaragua (which were intresting if not immediately useful), images from before the advent of digital photography, the more dramatic of his images have been kept, but his "slice of life" images from that time have been deleted. I guess its down to either accepting scans of pre-millenium images whilst the creators are still around to scan and release them or to wait until 2070+ and hope that someone at that time will make the effort to scan (or whatever it is they'll do in the future) whatever negatives and prints which remain.KTo288 (talk) 13:29, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I could possibly undelete some of Drebert's stuff? Adam Cuerden (talk) 10:26, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Because we can always undelete pictures we never lose them, but when people get the message that we don't want their stuff here and don't bother to upload we may lose them forever, okay they may still upload at Flickr or somewhere else but maybe not with a license we can use.KTo288 (talk) 23:37, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I partly agree - this is essentially the Commons version of the inclusionist/deletionist debate - should images of potential future utility be included even if they appear to have little or no utility at the present time? For every image that we leave up, there is a certain cost in maintenance and clutter (obscuring more valuable images) that we bear, and an overwhelming number (say millions) of useless images could become quite problematic. Also, it could be very problematic if a content provider is using Commons' bandwidth in order to host and distribute their own commercial content to a wide audience. The truth is that the scope rule is probably not usually invoked to eliminate clutter and bandwidth abuse like this, but rather to eliminate images that people find personally offensive and that are also out of scope. The problematic images which receive the most attention also tend to get deleted more often. Dcoetzee (talk) 01:30, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

In the aftermath of sexual content mess

One of the arguements raised against historical illustrations of a sexual nature was that we do not need all the files we can of an artists work to illustrate articles on that artist, since we cannot possibly use them all.

Being in scope in this arguement is that it must be immediately useful to wikipedia and our sister projects, and that images superferlous to these needs were out of scope and could be speedily deleted. Questions were also raised as to whether we really needed all the Bundesarchiv and Tropenmuseum images we have been donated (especially those featuring nudity) since they many are not used.

The opening statement on this page is

The aim of Wikimedia Commons is to provide a media file repository:

  • that makes available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content to all, and
  • that acts as a common repository for the various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation.

I highlight the word all . Our scope is to host files that are educationally useful to all scholars and users not just to wikimedia projects. Users here and at our sister projects are so used to Commons being a backroom supporting project that they sometimes forget that archives are educational and have a value in their own right and that if this is not what Commons is it is something that it should aspire to be, as a place to secure, sort and protect educational media files not only for scholars and wikipedians today, but for scholars and wikipedians to come. I therefore ask that the word archive be substituted for the word repository.KTo288 (talk) 22:10, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

I absolutely agree with your conclusion, but I'm not sure this word change would help much. I believe the policy should contain discussion on what I call "ready substitutes". An image should not be excluded if it could realistically be used in some educational context in which no other existing image of the same or higher quality could replace it. Artistic works fail the "ready substitutes" test because one work does not substitute for another for the realisitic educational purpose of describing that particular work. Dcoetzee (talk) 22:29, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Your intention is not really clear to me (I did not follow this thread here).
You wrote: "Being in scope in this arguement is that it must be immediately useful to wikipedia and our sister projects, and that images superferlous to these needs were out of scope and could be speedily deleted." "deleting unused images in multiple categories"
Do you support this view or do you think it is wrong? I guess you ment it is wrong, but thats not totally clear - at least if one like me is just skimming the text - and your message on VP looks to me like a summary of this thread. --Saibo (Δ) 22:58, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree that archive to replace repository is an improvement. The argument that we are here solely or mainly to supply images for use on Wikipedia projects is erroneous. I've just created an article on the river Amstel. It uses one selected picture at present. A link is given to the Commons Category:Amstel so that interested readers can browse the pictures there. That is common preactice, of course. What would be the point otherwise (Click here if you want to see the same image[s] on Commons?!). And bear in mind the GeographBot project: currently batch downloading 1.5 MILLION pictures of places in Britain. So, we should get rid of about 1.49 million of them? Of course not (apart from poor quality pix of no value, but replaceable, and duplicates). Anatiomaros (talk) 23:34, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I think I got it now. This is also my view - sadly this is not true for all people. I am defending the commonscat/commons external links in Wikipedia articles several times here in the undeletion requests. Requiring a selection of files about exactly the same topic (in the current case maybe 50 circumcised, long, white penises with a Ampallang piercing). But in my opinion there is no need for a change in the name (repository). It's just way more than a webspace provider for media used in wikipedia/wikibooks/… articles. This must be explicitly included in the scope. --Saibo (Δ) 00:35, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I absolutely agree that Commons is more than just a media host of potential material for the sisterprojects. This is one of the things that had me very worried in the board statements. If the foundation no longer wishes this, they should make it clear, because many contribute to Commons as an archive of works, as a library, that although curated, is as complete as we have been able to assemble. If we are JUST a backend for sisterprojects, then we should stop inviting full image donations from institutions in my opinion. TheDJ (talk) 23:27, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I added the topic to the agenda for the public IRC meeting this week. TheDJ (talk) 23:32, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't really see much point in the word change. Scope on Commons is not defined by the word "repository" (or "archive"). I don't see how changing from one to the other makes any difference. The thing we should be discussing is the definition of "educational", not splitting hairs about whether Commons is a "repository" or an "archive". Kaldari (talk) 00:12, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Its a question of semantics which will not be true for everyone. For me a "repository" is where something is stored, an "archive" carried for me the sense of actively understanding and sorting, of purposeful curatorship.KTo288 (talk) 17:24, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Editorialising on other projects

I want to suggest that it be made clear that we are not here to decide on editorial policy on other projects, and that if an image is in use on a non-user/talk page of another project then it is automatically in scope. I would like this added to the file in use on another project section, preferably in big bold letters. -mattbuck (Talk) 21:26, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Agreed, although I think it's reasonable to make an exception for "Files apparently created and/or uploaded for the purpose of vandalism or attack" (quoted from policy page). Dcoetzee (talk) 22:34, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, that would be fine. As long as it makes it clear we are not here to make judgements on other projects, it's all good. -mattbuck (Talk) 23:07, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
The section already says what you are suggesting. I don't see a reason for changing it further. Kaldari (talk) 00:18, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Because it's apparently unclear, read COM:UDEL, people are saying that it doesn't mean any use, it means any use as long as it "doesn't clutter the page", as long as there "aren't already sufficient images" on the page, as long as the page's topic is "sufficiently notable". All these have been advanced within the past 24hrs and justified using this section of SCOPE. Thus I would like it spelt out here that we do not require that image use be justified to some standard, merely that there be image use. -mattbuck (Talk) 00:57, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes. "On a non-user/talk page", of course. Currently some user keeps interpreting "not legitimately in use" by "I wouldn't have used it myself". What kind of process we need to rephrase this section of the policy? Could someone propose a phrasing? I tried but I suck at it. --Eusebius (talk) 14:22, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Recently added, pursuant to the foregoing: "It should be stressed that Commons does not exist to editorialise on other projects - that an image is in use on a non talk/user page is enough for it to be within scope." Really? So even if it was just recently added by the same person who uploaded it, to an obscure article on a Wikipedia in a language with only a handful of participants, it is ipso facto in scope? That sounds quite wrong to me. Some qualifications to that are surely in order. - Jmabel ! talk 03:35, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Like I said in the edit summary, I fully endorse people editing it. I know the wording isn't perfect, but I think it's important that we get the basic idea across. -mattbuck (Talk) 10:56, 13 May 2010 (UTC)


I think some aspects of Commons:Pornography should be adopted the scope. --Tyw7  (☎ Contact me! • Contributions)   Changing the world one edit at a time! 00:06, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

On the basis that COM:PORN is still just a proposal... I'd say no. Once COM:PORN is ratified it would be reasonable to provide a precis here and link to it. -mattbuck (Talk) 02:21, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Seconded, man there's not even a question mark or anything, it's like he's commanding us, lol. Ty (talk) 08:05, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Curently, there is no rule prohibiting the user to "gather" erotic images onto their userpage. In Wikipedia, such erotic imgs cannot be used outside of their apprioate articles. --Tyw7  (☎ Contact me! • Contributions)   Changing the world one edit at a time! 09:11, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Why should we ban it? If a user wants to make a userpage with sexual images, it could well be for a good reason, maybe to have a readily-available pool for some work they're doing elsewhere. -mattbuck (Talk) 10:54, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Please do not forget that Commons is an international project. You're talking from "the" Wikipedia. I guess you are refering to the English one. The case is different in other wikipedia language versions. For example, in the German version erotic images on userpages are not a problem as far as I know. --Saibo (Δ) 21:18, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
I've already marked this silly proposal rejected, on the basis that Commons does not make policy decisions for other projects. The more serious proposal related to sexual content is Commons:Sexual content. Dcoetzee (talk) 08:06, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Allowing ePub files on commons


The Wikibooks projects (or at least the English one) like to make PDF versions of books available for easy printing. The PDF versions (at least for the English-language Wikibooks) are preferably stored on Commons rather than in the native Wikibooks namespace/system. I've been given to understand that a change was even made to Commons' Scope policy to allow this.

PDF is a very useful "general-purpose media" file format for all sorts of distributions, mostly to PCs of various natures. However, the most popular format for e-Readers currently seems to be ePub. Which is also an open format. I'm sure everybody can guess where this is going: would it be possible to open up commons to ePub format uploads for use by/for Wikibooks? -- BenTels (talk) 11:57, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Comment: Nowadays on wikibooks you have to have an uploader right to upload locally. Otherwise commons is your only choice. That makes me think of something: if you want to upload an epub to Wikibooks, you get the uploader right and do it locally. Kayau (talk) 12:29, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I could do that. But the decision on Wikibooks seems to have been made explicitly (in the case of PDF) to move this sort of content to commons rather than keep it locally on Wikibooks. So my first thought in the case of ePub is "let's not start out by doing it the wrong way around and having to correct later — instead, let's put ePub books on Commons and get it right from the very start". -- BenTels (talk) 12:46, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

I second the suggestion of allowing EPUB files. Thenub314 (talk) 12:00, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

See bugzilla:17858. Apparently there are security considerations that would have to be addressed before the ePub format can be allowed on Commons. Basically, someone needs to write a validator / sanitizer for ePub files to make sure they really conform to the ePub spec and don't contain any potentially malicious extra content. (Incidentally, this is similar to the reason why OpenDocument files aren't currently allowed.) —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 22:14, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
That is very unfortunate. And even more unfortunate: I don't have time to write a validator. Very well, I will withdraw the request for the time being. -- BenTels (talk) 17:22, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Room for artistry

Can we distinguish between legitimate art and simple exhibitionism?

My primary concern with the current outline is that it leaves no room for artistry. Take for one example, the file File:Leaning on Barn Doors.png or File:Bundled Sketch.jpg. They are doubtlessly artistic, and future generations will be glad it was preserved as an example of erotic art from this era (much moreso than 5,000 "drop my pants and grab a webcam" photos that deserve deletion) - yet one could also perhaps realistically argue that it does not have a "clear educational purpose". But couldn't the same argument be made for the 1836 file File:Beauty Illustrated - Image 3.png or File:Endymion study.jpg - after all, there's no educational use to having another random nude painting by E. J. Poynter, we already have one to illustrate the article about him...what educational benefit does a second give us? Yet doubtless it should be kept - likewise the 1836 sketch demonstrating a "beautiful" nude body.

I think we do need some added wording to the scope, or at least to remove/edit the draconian mention of work "which does not have an obvious educational use on a Wikipedia project" idea.

Note that this is not specific to nudity, those are just random examples I chose - one may find a beautiful painting of a herd of elephants and find it deleted because "we already have pictures of herds of elephants, yours adds nothing educational". We don't want WMC used as an alternative to Flickr, for people to upload all their sketches here, but there is a place here for some sketches - even some that may not have immediately obvious "educational value".

Max Rebo Band"almost suspiciously excellent" 05:08, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

.blend files

Is there a good reason not to allow .blend files created by Blender? As far as I can tell, there's nothing proprietary about the format. This would be helpful to me because I'm working on a Blender textbook at WikiBooks. --Stepheng3 (talk) 17:23, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

Traditional place to discuss such matters is Commons_talk:File types (though that's not very active either); you might also look at Commons:Restricted uploads... AnonMoos (talk) 19:48, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

QR codes

What's the current take on them (QR codes as data format, rather than illustration of concept itself)? One of these was brought to deletion today (Commons:Deletion requests/File:QRcode Hellehonden.png). It struck me that ordinary users (like yours truly) don't even know what's there. Could be spam, could be slander, copyvio, anything - and totally illegible without special software. What do you think? NVO (talk) 12:18, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

There are QR code decoders on the web — for example, this one seems to decode the image you mentioned fine. In general, I don't think QR codes are intrinsically in scope for Commons: they typically encode a URL or some other short piece of text that would not be in scope by itself. --Ilmari Karonen (talk) 12:47, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

I believe that the infinite variety of QRcodes that can be generated from raw text should be out of scope unless there is a particular rationale to keep, such as artistic use of the redundancy in the image, placement (like someone with one painted on their face) or materals (such as having it knitted with wool and beads as I saw in the Victoria & Albert Museum). This is no different from the current text of the policy where it covers 'raw text', we just need to understand that QRcodes are effectively the same thing. See Commons:Deletion requests/File:This is a code edit by ( maxxc0m ) --My self photo and code- 2013-09-27 18-55.png as a case study. -- (talk) 06:06, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

File in use in another Wikimedia project

According to the present policy, a media file that is in use on one of the other projects of the Wikimedia Foundation is considered automatically to be useful for an educational purpose. I don't think this is an objective and realistic criterium of educational usefulness, as we all know how easy it is to insert a picture in some obscure article gallery or less known language project. If an uploader can use such expedient to keep a picture of his favorite pet, or his own penis, I suppose it would be perfectly legitimate for another user, in good faith, to replace such picture with a better one (or just remove it) before placing a DR nomination. -- Alvesgaspar (talk) 15:57, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

with respect, i don't see what the point of this discussion is?
of course one can replace an "in-use" images on a wiki with a legitimately better one; however, if you feel that a particular file isn't a good choice for a page on another wiki, you should either change it, or discuss it, ON THAT PROJECT, not here.
it would be completely inappropriate & highly disruptive (& a violation of one of common's stated purposes/goals) to simply erase an in-use file here, "because it's not good enough", & leave other wikiprojects with redlinks, or empty spaces.
if we start deciding, @ commons, which files are & are not "good enough" to be used on OTHER wikiprojects, that is going to create the mother of all edit wars!
beyond that, i am not clear what the original commentor hopes to achieve in this discussion? the terms of scope clearly state that "educational purpose" is meant to be interpreted BROADLY. "in-use" is a narrowest standard for that usefulness. commons is MEANT to serve as a media repository; a collection of useful media files including, but MORE THAN ONLY, the files "in-use" @ other wm projects.
meaning that, among other things, replacing a file @ some article on another project does not reduce that file's usefulness @ commons, or automatically mean that it should be deleted.
Lx 121 (talk) 21:00, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Sorry for not being cristal clear, my English is probably to blame. I tried to pass two messages: first, that the criterion stated above (the use of pictures in other projects) does not necessarily guarantee their educational value; and second, that there are simple, legitimate and effective ways for solving the problem and, in more general terms, to make a better use of our image repository. Yes, I understand the difficulty in enforcing the spirit of Commons Scope rule among the different projects, and that the present criterion is probably the only possible in formal terms. But we can do much better than feel helpless each time we find out that the substandard image we want to propose for deletion (a poor quality depiction of human genitaliae, for example) is used in some project. I really don't foresee the "mother of all edit wars" just because we have replaced some poor quality pictures by better versions and deleted some others from useless galleries. After all, that is something many of us do on a regular basis. One of the good things of working both in Commons and in other projects is that we can be more effective in increasing the usefulness of our available pictures. But nothing of what I have said is new... Alvesgaspar (talk) 22:01, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
The rule that files in use are automatically considered educational does not mean that we have to just throw our hands in the air and keep such files forever. What it does mean is that, if we find what we believe to be an inferior or useless file being used on some client project, we should at least have the common decency to replace or remove it from those projects ourselves, instead of just deleting it and leaving a redlink for a bot (or local editors) to clean up.
Delinking "useless" files before nominating them for deletion also serves to alert editors on the affected projects before the file is deleted, and allows them to express their possible disagreement (either by contacting the user who did the delinking, or just by plain reverting). Insisting that such "useless" files be unused when a DR for them is filed, and that they remain so for the entire duration of the DR, helps to further ensure that we don't delete files for which there is genuine consensus to keep using them on a client project (since, hopefully, a week is long enough for someone to reinstate the file after removal, if such consensus does exist). —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 22:42, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

WP logo is not a free image.

Commons should only contain free images, and if someone upload a non-free image, it will be deleted. But: The Wikipedia logo is copyrighted, but is avaliable here on Commons anyway. That can't be right!
/abbedabbWTF? 14:03, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

In this case it's the site operator's prerogative to ignore the rules (or create an exception, if you prefer). – Adrignola talk 14:09, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
You're not alone, I also think it should be deleted, and have said so for years. -mattbuck (Talk) 14:11, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
There was a discussion in the village pump about making some of the project logos free due to their simplicity causing them to be unlikely to exceed the threshold of originality for copyright protection. The Wikipedia globe wouldn't qualify for that, though, due to its complexity. Even if free, they'd still be trademarked and subject to protection in that manner. – Adrignola talk 14:15, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Could they be moved to somewhere else, like on the Wikipedia server, but not on Commons? That would be more "fair".
For me this is like if Jimmy Wales would have uploaded images of people, and said you can use them any way you want, except for the images of himself.
/abbedabbWTF? 14:48, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Many projects make use of the logos, but not all of them making use of the logos allow local uploads. The project has to grant an exception "Exemption Doctrine Policy (EDP)" and request that the developers alter user rights on the wiki. See Resolution:Licensing policy. Also, non-free uses would have to be justified for every use, which means the ability to plaster the Wikipedia logo on every page in a template would not be possible. (Theoretically it shouldn't be possible now if they're non-free, but that makes my head hurt). Maybe you could start a discussion on the foundation-l mailing list for wider participation? – Adrignola talk 15:25, 11 August 2011 (UTC)


Can I place a shortcut COM:PS#FREE to Commons:Project scope#Must be freely licensed or public domain? I frequently link to this section, its the only page that clearly explains what "free" means on this project. Of course also COM:L tries to do this, but that page is hoplessly encrypted and not readable for new users. --Martin H. (talk) 18:48, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Why not simply COM:FREE? – Adrignola talk 19:35, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Use of abbreviations

When an abbreviation – particularly initial capitals – is first used in any article, its meaning should be made clear. The only exceptions should be such widely used abbreviations as USA and NZ. A Wikimedia tutorial like this one should set an example in this respect. And yet in final paragraph of the section headed Excluded educational content (and nowhere else) the abbrevation WMF occurs twice. Presumably it means Wikimedia Foundation. That may be obvious to a seasoned Wikipedia user but it's not so obvious to a newcomer. Wikipedia itself gives six meanings of WMF. There are two logical ways to do the job properly: either don't use the abbrevation at all, or, at its first use, place it after the phrase it's short for as, e.g. (for example), here. If one of the aims of the tutorial is to familiarise the reader with the abbreviation, then the second method is the better. In fact, in this article the words Wikimedia Foundation have been used thrice before, and six times after, the two occurences of WMF. That's inconsistent.Bristol Filer (talk) 12:38, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Good catch - I've fixed it.
James F. (talk) 14:27, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

My Question about Fan Art

First of all, this page should really be archived :)

Secondly, I'm a new contributor and want to add some images, but I have a question first. The guidelines say that pictures by an artist that are unlicensed works of copyrighted characters aren't allowed. For example, this picture would not be allowed because it is of a character from the show Witchblade, not the artist's original character. But, if a character IS the artist’s original character, like in this picture, would it still be copyrighted or not? --SlimTRiPPY (talk) 02:26, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Welcome! Please ask questions not here (this is the talk page about improving / changing / clarifying the policy. Instead please ask at the Commons:Help desk. Cheers --Saibo (Δ) 20:27, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

New template to identify potentially NSFW images

I drafted a basic template, {{Nsfw}}, to identify potentially NSFW images, so that people who don't want to see such images on the Commons don't have to see such images. The opinions may be arbitrary, but they are popular in some cultures and thus we should give people the option not to see images that might embarrass them in front of other people. Rickyrab (talk) 19:38, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

For the record the template was deleted via Commons:Deletion requests/Template:Nsfw. Rd232 (talk) 19:10, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Removing some parts from the page, and moving them elsewhere

Got your attention? Please see Commons:Village_pump#Commons:Verifying_permissions. Rd232 (talk) 17:21, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Files used on a talk page on en-wiki was deleted

It only take a second to press the button. But the damage can never be undone...

What does "It should be stressed that Commons does not exist to editorialise on other projects – that an image is in use on a non talk/user page is enough for it to be within scope." (on Commons:SCOPE#File_in_use_in_another_Wikimedia_project) mean? Does it mean that files used on talk pages of articles can be deleted? Or should they be kept?

I've always thought that when a file is used on a wiki and the file was licensed freely and not a copyvio or in other ways illegal to host then they could trust that the file was not deleted.

Then someone told me about this DR: Commons:Deletion requests/File:Coords on linear features.jpg. I think that it is now impossible for us to convince wikis to close for local uploads and upload files to Commons if admins on Commons just delete the files.

It takes hundreds or thousands of hours to bild up trust but only a few seconds to break it... --MGA73 (talk) 17:32, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

"someone"? Who is this "someone" and why are you buying what they're selling? That file is still on English Wikipedia at en:File:Coords on linear features.jpg, where it has been since 2011, whilst the Commons file was deleted today, finally fulfulling a request of the original uploader at English WP, who didn't want the file transferred to Commons, because it's not widely useful. The case may illustrate a problem (too rapid transfer to Commons, of things that shouldn't be), but not of the problem you raise (which isn't to say that problem doesn't exist, but this isn't an example of it). Rd232 (talk) 17:51, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
It was actually deleted on ENWP (logs). I agree that this isn't illustrating a problem (because it was the uploader that requested deletion), but I don't agree that it was too fast, or that the image shouldn't have been transferred. The ultimate goal should be no free images on the other projects (we get closer every day). There shouldn't be anything that is "good enough" for WP but not for Commons; that sort of thing is ultimately counterproductive, though it will still be a while until we have to deal with those images. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja (talk / en) 02:59, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
Mmm, OK, it was effectively transferred back to enwp on 15 Sep. The main issue is it wasn't "just deleted" against local project wishes, which is the strong impression given by MGA73's post. Rd232 (talk) 06:10, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
My point is that files used in talk pages on Wiki projects are said not not be in scope. And that makes it impossible for Wikis to close for local uploads.
If a project thinks a file is no longer usefull they could remove it from the talk page to orphan it. We should never delete files that is in use with the reason it is not in scope. --MGA73 (talk) 17:35, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
files used in talk pages on Wiki projects are said not [to] be in scope - no, it doesn't say that. It stresses that use on non talk/user pages is enough to be "in scope", but it leaves leeway for use in other namespaces, include Talk. That leeway is in the first sentence of the relevant section ("File in use in another Wikimedia project"), A media file that is in use on one of the other projects of the Wikimedia Foundation is considered automatically to be useful for an educational purpose.... I don't know of any examples of files used on local talkpages being nominated for deletion as "out of scope", and if examples are found, we can see if those decisions were reasonable (i.e. that the policy's leeway was used appropriately). We have many real problems and backlogs; until or unless this is shown to be more than a hypothetical problem, I wouldn't worry about it. Rd232 (talk) 17:48, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Clarifying a rule

Wondering if people might consider expanding or explaining the rule prohibiting "Artwork created by the uploader without obvious educational use." I think generally that all original artwork, particularly when a would-be artist uploads his or her own creations, should be suspect and held to more stringent standards. The idea is to prevent Wikimedia from being misused by would-be nonfamous artists as a launching pad for an artistic career. Check out this deletion debate here.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 23:16, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

  • The image in question is PROBABLY NSFW, by the way. - Jmabel ! talk 00:46, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Diagrams are technically artwork. Clearly we want many diagrams.
  • There are certainly articles for which no photographic illustration is possible, and where a drawn illustration may be useful.
  • We actively welcome artwork from notable artists, including lower-resolution versions of their work, as long as rights are appropriately released.
  • Similarly for jackets of notable records, book jackets, etc., which incorporate artwork.
So any clarification is going to have to make sure we allow for these and probably some other cases I'm not thinking of off the top of my head. - Jmabel ! talk 17:28, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. My general sense is the rules here need additional clarification. The deletion discussion for this sketch has been a learning experience for me and maybe the community, itself, isn't clear about what sorts of drawings are wanted and unwanted.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 19:26, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Any public domain work

The page currently says "Therefore, scans of suitable editions of notable public domain works are almost always within scope for this reason." I'd like to change it to say "Therefore, scans of suitable editions of public domain works are almost always within scope for this reason." Wikisource accepts any sufficiently old public domain work, not just notable ones, so Commons should host the PDF/DJVU files for any old PD work.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:03, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support Ok for me. Yann (talk) 03:17, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose According to en:wikisource, All texts held by Wikisource must have been previously published; the project does not host "vanity press" books or documents produced by its contributors. We should not simply drop "notable" and allow "any public domain work", because Wikisource doesn't do that. If the current Commons definition excludes things Wikisource wants us to host, we can consider changing it, but we should not make it any broader than necessary. Concrete examples of things currently excluded which Wikisource wants would be ideal. Rd232 (talk) 08:15, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
The wording against vanity press is suppose to refuse recent works. All public domain works because of age are accepted. Yann (talk) 14:16, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, I'm not sure if it makes sense to assume that every work which is PD due to age is of interest to wikisource; but in any case, if we drop "notable" without replacement, that's not what we're saying: recent works made PD by release will also be included. Hence my point that replacing "notable" may be sensible, but simply dropping it isn't. Rd232 (talk) 14:31, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support The term notable is not verifiable, culture, country/region and language specific. --Foroa (talk) 12:34, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree "notable" is not a good term for Commons - but as I said above, simply dropping it without replacement by something else is not a good idea. Rd232 (talk) 14:04, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support As per above. --Trycatch (talk) 18:43, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
"per above" includes my opposition to dropping "notable" without replacement... any thoughts on that? Rd232 (talk) 19:03, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose I agree with Prosfilaes that it should be changed but I also agree with Rd232 that "dropping "notable" without replacement" can open the doors too wide. I do think every PD work created before digital age and which is "realistically useful for an educational purpose" should be in scope. --Jarekt (talk) 19:43, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Opps, I did not notice that this discussion is 2 years old. --Jarekt (talk) 20:26, 28 February 2014 (UTC)


People seem so keen to drop the "notable" that the potential negative consequences of doing so are of secondary importance. So here's an alternative version that drops "notable", without throwing open the doors to ANYTHING PD, as the one above unintentionally does:

"Therefore, scans of suitable editions of previously published public domain works (not including recent "vanity press" books) are almost always within scope for this reason."
Symbol support vote.svg Support as proposer Rd232 (talk) 19:08, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose I can image previously unpublished documents by notable authors. --Jarekt (talk) 18:42, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

alternative #2


Remember that Wikisource may use PDF or DjVu files in order to proofread or create source texts: Therefore, scans of suitable editions of notable public domain works are almost always within scope for this reason. That said, remember that editorial decisions involved in preparing a text from several sources may allow a new copyright, so the editions used must be out of copyright themselves.


Remember that Wikisource may use PDF or DjVu files in order to proofread or create source texts: therefore, scans of suitable editions of pre-digital public domain works are almost always within scope for this reason. That said, text must be realistically useful for an educational purpose and remember that editorial decisions involved in preparing a text from several sources may allow a new copyright, so the editions used must be out of copyright themselves.

--Jarekt (talk) 20:15, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support as proposer --Jarekt (talk) 20:15, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Propose changes to scope / user pages

There seems to be a lot of people saying there is no scope for images used on userpages, so maybe it can be made clear by removing the offending sentence here

"An otherwise non-educational file does not acquire educational purpose solely because it is in use on a user page (the "User:" namespace) of another project, but by custom the uploading of small numbers of images (e.g. of yourself) for use on a personal user page of another project is allowed."

Penyulap 00:13, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

This means that the rules say you simply can't have any personal images on your user page, but the community can, by discretion, allow you to break the rules if it wants to. Each decision of whether to allow breaking the rules is made individually and pertaining to the circumstances. -- King of ♠ 00:30, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Proposal: Further clarification on "Educational"

I propose the following expansion:

These are clarifications I seem to frequently make in Deletion requests and it would be handy to be able to say "This has justifiable cultural value" and link to a specific short-cut in Project scope, rather than potentially debating the matter each time. As well as "LGBT" above, we might want to list some minority cultures that are frequently under debate as whether there is value or not. -- (talk) 15:38, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support Although I would word it with two extra words "This includes *among others* material that..." to drive home the idea that this is not an exhaustive list. Sinnamon Girl (talk) 07:15, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. Will you be adding the proposal to the ongoing review, on this page? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 07:21, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for prompting. I'll sort this out and that can supersede this discussion.
✓ Done Added as "Proposal 1.1". Michael, feel free to renumber or move the thread. If you are acting as moderator, this sorts of formatting changes seem reasonable to make, in order to keep discussion on track. -- (talk) 07:59, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Review of Commons' Scope and Photographs of identifiable people is now OPEN

I am pleased to announce the launch of a comprehensive review of our existing policy & guidelines on Commons: Project scope, and Commons:Photographs of identifiable people. This is an important review and will cover a number of contentious issues that have recently been extensively discussed both on and off Wiki. As background, you might like to look at these recent English Wikipedia Signpost articles:

Please visit the main review page to take part. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:16, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Copyright holders' wishes about high resolution files

Following from the discussion at Commons:Village pump/Copyright#We desperately need a quick conclusion on this matter (permanent link), I suggest adding the following to project scope as a new subsection 3.5 Must respect copyright holders' wishes about high resolution files.

If a copyright image (or other audiovisual medium) has been granted a free license, the copyright holder may state that the file provided is of the maximum resolution that he or she wishes to be used in conjunction with the associated license. Any such statement is not to be regarded as a limit on the license itself and it does not necessarily have legal effect. Commons policy is to respect such wishes and treat higher resolution files as being out of scope for the project. Also, if a licensed file has no associated statement from the copyright holder concerning resolution, Commons policy is that higher resolution files are likewise out of scope.

Please note that this would not affect high resolution images of public domain 2D art (because we do not regard such images as copyright). Any advice or comments? Thincat (talk) 11:58, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I don't think this is a topic for "Project scope". It is matter for Commons:Licensing, particularly the "Licence information" section. Possibly the current "Scope of licensing" subsection could be renamed "Complex licensing" and a new "Licence scope" section be created to comment on how authors may be explicit about the scope of any licence and also what Commons would do in response to such statements, or in the absence of such statements. Further, it should include "quality" as well as "resolution". -- Colin (talk) 12:35, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
It may not be "scope" but I think we should steer well clear of "licensing". If we try and deal with it as licensing we will collide with CC who say their license must not be changed. Also, for existing licenses, the license details cannot be changed retrospectively. As for "quality" (and what is meant for audio and video), yes, we need more thought. For other peoples' benefit I am adding a note.
A note of explanation. Creative Commons licenses a "work" and this may not be the same thing as a particular image file. A photographer may have a high resolution file of an image but deliberately only make freely available a lower resolution version. She may also publish or sell a full resolution version as "all rights reserved". If the "work" legally comprises both versions, the high resolution version becomes free as well. Creative Commons take no position on what is a "work" because this is up to the interpretation of the many legal systems across the world. However, they insist that no additional restrictions may be added to their licenses. In particular, the situation about "work" is unclear in the US. All this may (and probably will) inhibit museums and photographers from making lower resolution files available to Commons. Thincat (talk) 12:54, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
(outdent)For the sake of keeping the discussion in one place, I'll continue here. I agree we can't change CC's licence and we must accept it is vague and legally uncertain in its scope. However, I think the new policy text still belongs on other page as it is best placed to consider what Commons requires of any licence. I think we should discuss any wording of explicit restrictions another time as it is a minefield. Let's stick to Commons policy on how we interpret image licences particularly when uploaded from other places. Here's my suggestion:
Licence scope
Most licences apply to the work of copyright rather than individual instance of that work, such as a computer file, audio tape or photographic print. The determination that two instances are the same work of copyright can sometimes be difficult, a matter of legal uncertainty and may vary by jurisdiction. This is particularly problematic where the difference appears to be simply one of quality (e.g., image resolution, audio bit rate, compression level or algorithm). Re-users should have no doubts of the validity of the licence for the particular file we are hosting. So, for the avoidance of doubt, where there is any uncertainty over the intended scope of the licence and the creator's wishes, Commons requires there be a clear explicit indication that the free licence covers the source media file at a give level of quality. In other words, tThe existence of a free licence for a low quality media file does not in itself permit the hosting on Commons of a higher quality media file that is or appears to be drawn from the same work of copyright.
-- Colin (talk) 13:04, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Your wording is much more impressive than mine! (but I don't think your last sentence follows from your previous one). We have slightly different aspects in mind. Are you wanting to give advice to our licensers and, by doing so, let future courts know what we think are reasonable expectations for licensers? That might in itself support the licensers even in advance of a court case. It might also give a nudge to CC. That's all fine – go for it! I have a more pragmatic and immediate thing in mind. I want to make it clear that such HR images are not wanted here and they will be deleted. That is not a matter of licensing, it is merely one of internal policy. It could be achieved with a change to COM:Deletion policy (and I thought about that) but it seemed to me that COM:Project scope is primarily there to deal with the type of images we do not want, regardless of whether they are free. And, by making "improper" HR images out of scope, they are automatically in scope for deletion. Thincat (talk) 13:51, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I've tweaked the last sentence a little.
Project scope is to be honest a bit of a mess. Concern what what type of image we want is really quite a different concern from concern over the licence/copyright status of the image and shouldn't imo be on the same page. But we have what we have. You are right that Deletion policy considers much the same things from another angle and is more about strictly enforcing the inclusion policies. Ultimately where it goes is a matter of convenience/preference rather than something we need to get too worried about at this stage.
My aim is mainly to give advice to users who are uploading someone else's work and my intentions match yours -- this is just Commons policy. I have no intention of giving advice to courts or legal advice to licensers. Some background info is vital to include, which forms the first half of the text. The issues that have prompted this discussion are where someone has uploaded a low-resolution copy with clear free licence (either stated on the source website, or given by proxy using OTRS, or uploaded by the creator themselves) and later someone has found a higher-quality version on the internet. This higher-quality version may lack a free licence or be explicitly "all rights reserved". So the above text makes it clear we won't allow uploading the higher-quality one (and so would delete it).
I think we should, somewhere, give some information to content-creators about the consequences of their licence choices, and whether and how they may express their wishes. But that is perhaps not a Commons Policy level discussion and more some information page. What might be Commons Policy is where someone has attempted to place further restrictions on a CC licence. Such a licence is no longer a CC licence and Commons is legally not allow to claim it is such (to use the name or logos of CC). Therefore we may need policy forbidding such text on image description pages [and if the creator refuses to change the text, then deletion of the file as not free]. That would certainly be a matter for the Commons licensing policy page.
I don't think someone can use a CC or FAL or GFDL licence and place a "this resolution only" restriction that has any legal power. Indeed, we have received no advice from WMF that such a restricted file would even qualify as a "Free Cultural Work". The most we can do at this point is perhaps for authors, if they wish, to explicitly declare the work free at any quality or resolution. But perhaps such a declaration would not be widely used. -- Colin (talk) 14:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, we have the same intentions. Uploaders can, and do, place requests on the file description asking, as a courtesy, for attribution to be in a particular manner (for example 'Attribution of this image to the author (DAVID ILIFF) is also required, preferably in a prominent location near the image. ... Suggested attribution: "Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0" '). This seems entirely proper. I am suggesting a "quality restriction request" could also quite properly be there and, more importantly, should be assumed by Commons as a default. I'll bow out now for the time being to see what others think. Thank you for your most helpful comments. Thincat (talk) 18:10, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Colin, the last sentence in your proposed text seems ambiguous about what is governing what is permitted. I read it at first as saying that the license would not legally permit hosting a higher resolution version, and I think this may be false, at least for certain licenses and jurisdictions. But from your later explanation I gather you were merely meaning that Commons would not permit hosting a higher resolution version; is that correct? If so, I think it should be reworded to make this clearer.
Personally I think the proposed text (and in particular the "any uncertainty" part) goes too far regarding situations where the licensor's wishes are even remotely unclear. IMO we should apply such a rule only where we know the copyright holder has explicitly imposed a resolution/quality restriction. Even that may be deviating from the definition of free content we say we follow. --Avenue (talk) 20:28, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
You are right, the text is just about what Commons permits, not legally permitted. I'll think about what could be changed. We could drop the "any" if you feel that is too strong. Yes the determination of how "clear" someone's wishes are could be a subject of disagreement, but it is probably impossible for policy to prevent the kind of boneheaded stupidity that arises here at times.
I strongly disagree that the copyright holder needs to explicitly impose a resolution/quality restriction for Commons to choose not to exploit the unclear scope of CC. We all know that nearly everyone has (and continues to, outside of a few participants here) regarded CC as licensing the image file, and are unaware of this possible scope extension. And we know there are many cases where low-resolution images have been licensed under CC with the intention (not explicitly stated) where the high-resolution images were kept non-free. So expecting people to explicitly state a restriction they aren't aware they need is too much. In addition, such restrictions are actually not permitted for CC-licensed works, so what you are asking for is impossible. I believe CC is unsuitable for such restrictions and we can't legally host files with such restrictions while claiming "This is licensed under CC" -- we'd have to call the licence something else, not link to CC's website, not use CC logos, etc, etc. And such a licence may not be "free" anyway.
I disagree that this self-imposed restriction is "deviating from the definition of free content". Commons is not required to host all free content, despite what some people think. This would be an example of where Commons chooses to do the ethical (and legally wise) thing. So I'm the opposite for you -- we need an explicit statement that their CC licence applies to all resolutions (or the specific resolution being uploaded), not the other way round. -- Colin (talk) 08:34, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I am concerned that the word "any" (in "any uncertainty") will invite boneheadedness, so I would be happier if that was dropped. I'll think some more about the situations where I fear requiring too much certainty could cause unnecessary problems. --Avenue (talk) 16:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I've dropped "any" and extended "hosting" to "hosting on Commons" to make the last sentence seem less like a legal statement and more like a policy statement. -- Colin (talk) 19:11, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Is this going to apply to any image or just those where a restriction has been requested by the copyright holder? The second issue is that CC makes it explicit that additional restrictions are not welcome on their licenses. So, will those that want to limit file size have to use a license like this? Saffron Blaze (talk) 02:09, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Regarding the second issue, custom licenses may not be possible for externally sourced images, or for historical uploads directly to Commons. Anyway I see CC's restrictions as their enforcement problem, not ours. Are they trying to enforce them in other venues? --Avenue (talk) 03:50, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
My personal view (and my original suggestion here) is that it would apply to every copyright image (on Commons and elsewhere) and that it would not be an additional license limitation. It would simply be a local policy that Commons would not host "higher quality" images than any particular instance that has been licensed as free by the copyright holder. The copyright holder wouldn't have to do anything and the legal situation (whatever it is) would not be changed. Elsewhere, any image user can do whatever they think is lawful with images. The devil's in the detail and it is not important to me precisely how we implement this. I still see this primarily as a matter of "scope" but if it fits better in "licensing" or "deletion" then good. Thincat (talk) 10:33, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
An entirely separate matter (for me) is what, if anything, Commons should do about allowing the licensing of files rather than works or ensuring that a file is indeed the "work" licensed. I would prefer not to deal with that here because it is a much more difficult problem. Thincat (talk) 10:52, 1 March 2014 (UTC)


I have completely recast my original suggestion but maintaining the original intent:

"Commons policy for copyright images and other copyright audiovisual media is to only host freely licensed material. Also as a matter of policy, Commons will not host higher quality versions of copyright media than any instance of a file or copy that the copyright holder has specifically made freely available on Commons or elsewhere."

As footnotes we could remark that this has no legal or licensing implications; that any CC license is unaffected; that copyright holders may say they are willing for higher quality versions to be hosted; that copyright holders may draw attention to Commons policy. I am coming round to thinking that, in addition, Colin's section under "Licence scope" (above) could should be added by way of background explanation (and this explanation could be in com:Licensing with suitable cross-linking to the updated com:Project scope). Thincat (talk) 11:36, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

What about material in the public domain? I think we should indicate that this policy wouldn't apply to PD works. --Avenue (talk) 12:32, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
By specifying "copyright" I think PD is excluded. If not, it should be excluded. I have inserted another "copyright" above in case it helps. Maybe CC0 (i.e. PD) is a form of copyright, I don't know. Anyway, it needs to be clear that any quality of public domain is fine and dandy. Thincat (talk) 12:48, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
You're right, "copyright" does cover it, although I confess I don't like using the word as an adjective like that. --Avenue (talk) 12:54, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
We could remove adjectival "copyright" by appending "that are in copyright" though it would be rather fussily more wordy. It looks as if CC0 is not a form of copyright but it is a form of license for which CC would not allow modifications.[2] But I don't think that it matters here. Thincat (talk) 13:24, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Maybe (also changing "copy" to "hard copy") "Commons policy for images (and audiovisual media) that are in copyright is to only host freely licensed material. Also as a matter of policy, Commons will not host higher quality versions of media in copyright than any instance of a file or hard copy that the copyright holder has specifically made freely available on Commons or elsewhere." Thincat (talk) 13:49, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I find the wording rather convoluted and sounds like it came from a committee of lawyers. Perhaps something simple like this:

Commons policy does not allow overwriting a file with a higher quality version (resolution, compression, bit rate, etc) unless that media file is supplied directly by the copyright holder or previously published with a free license or is in the public domain. Saffron Blaze (talk) 22:02, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Prohibiting just "overwriting" leaves open the possibility that the higher quality version could be uploaded under a different name than a specifically licensed lower quality version, or before the lower quality version was uploaded here. But I agree the initial "reboot" version seems convoluted, and redundant in parts. How about the following version? --Avenue (talk) 22:23, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Some people want to license their works only at a certain level of quality, e.g. by restricting its resolution or bit rate. Commons will not host higher quality copies than those clearly placed under a free license.

How do you upload higher quality version when that version is published with a non-free license? Saffron Blaze (talk) 23:02, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I would say the same way you upload any file. We often cite different source links for the image and the license. In that case the proposed policy addition would clarify how specifically the license has to relate to the file copied to Commons. Or perhaps I'm not understanding your question? --Avenue (talk) 00:32, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I meant uploading a higher res file as a new file would require that file being licensed in accordance with the source not the existing low res file. Perhaps there is a simple way to say exactly that as part of the policy. Saffron Blaze (talk) 02:03, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

I think all the suggestions in this "reboot" section are flawed quite fundamentally. Avenue in the section above wanted explicit restrictions but in the version offered here does not and offers something that seems like an summarised version of what I proposed above. The "overwriting" version proposed by Saffron is flawed because our view on what we should host should not be determined by what we (arbitrarily) already host. There is a point where one cannot simplify a complex problem without losing key aspects. So I suggest we go back to the section above and discuss if anyone has important problems with it, rather than these over-simplified attempts. -- Colin (talk) 23:43, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

  • Colin, lawyers have been using that argument for centuries despite plenty of evidence their convoluted writing is not necessary to convey issues, complex or otherwise. If the concept cannot be written so that the average user can understand it without others providing interpretation then it is fundamentally flawed bit of work. Find a way to re-write your proposal in simpler terms otherwise you risk be absolutely legally correct but failing miserably to actually provide useful information. Saffron Blaze (talk) 23:53, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Saffron, while I agree convoluted writing is wrong, I disagree that the text I offered the in the section above is convoluted -- it is straightforward plain English. I'm quite puzzled by this reboot which offers a single sentence added to a long policy page that will simply result in a WTF response from anyone who comes across it. The first sentence Thincat offered just repeats general Commons policy and is in fact not specific in any way to this issue -- so irrelevant. And your proposed text is fundamentally wrong, whether clear English or not -- overwriting is irrelevant. We need to explain the issues to readers unfamiliar with the tortured discussions we've had on talk pages. They need to appreciate that CC licences scope are vague, that copyright-holders may not have intended the other quality versions to be under CC, and that we will respect this and not assume that they have. I suggest you have a look at what you've written/offered and consider how someone coming across it on this policy page or another will react. Keeping the text very short, as suggested here, will not educate future readers about the issues and they may misinterpret why it was written and may remove it thinking perhaps it isn't necessary. -- Colin (talk) 08:45, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree a summary of the situation would be useful somewhere, to save people from having to plough through the "tortured discussions" we've had. But the situation is so ambiguous that I don't think such a summary would be very helpful on a policy page. IMO that should focus instead on what is and is not allowed, with only enough background explanation to let most people understand the essential points (although including a link to more details would be good). I don't think understanding the vagaries of CC licenses and their interpretation is essential here, and I believe my version covers the other two points you mention. (BTW, I think our proposed additions would be better placed on COM:L than COM:SCOPE.) I'm also not sure your explanation is entirely correct - e.g. when deciding whether two versions are simply copies of the same work, I suspect differences in quality would be one of the easier factors to resolve. --Avenue (talk) 10:26, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Can I clarify that your proposed version is the italic text below your comment 22:23, 1 March 2014 . Well the rationale given there probably wouldn't be accepted. The "Some people want to" comment might provoke a "So what?" response, especially by those unsympathetic to those wishes when they've been "stupid enough" to use CC/FAL or "stupid enough" to upload a high resolution somewhere. Unfortunately, I believe on Commons we need more than just "this is the moral thing to do" because there are so many on here with no morals whatsoever. So we need the "this the the legally wise thing to do" angle also. And I'm afraid some will simply argue that "clearly placed under a free license" means they clearly placed the "work of copyright" under a free licence, not the file. I'm using "quality" to cover many aspects including resolution and possibly additional post-processing work. It is, for example, quite typical for a pro photographer to upload barely-processed sample photographs from a wedding shoot to Zenfolio/Smugmug for the couple to choose from, and then to take this selection and work on them more in post to produce a final high-quality print. The question for someone coming across an image that "appears to be" simply a higher resolution copy is whether that is all that has been done. I'm afraid if it was "one of the easier factors to resolve" then CC would have categorically stated that two images that are merely different resolutions are considered the same work of copyright. They haven't. Absolutely they haven't. -- Colin (talk) 14:23, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose I do not like the whole idea. If someone licenses their work under some license like CC, then they agree to conditions of that license. If the license does not prohibit other resolutions of the same work than we should not be adding additional copyright restrictions after the fact. The uploder always has an option of just not releasing higher quality scans outside the Commons. But if they do than they should not be surprised that their inferior images will be replaced with the better ones. --Jarekt (talk) 03:19, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
You are completely missing the point that the license does not make that explicit or even implicit. In fact it takes some rather concerted digging and a pile of weasel words from CC itself to understand that you might be licensing much more than the file. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:28, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Agree Jarekt, you are missing the point. We are not "adding additional copyright restrictions after the fact". We are doing two things 1. Respecting the licence holders wishes despite the best efforts of CC to confuse them and mislead them and 2. Applying our Precautionary Principle because the scope of a CC licence is in fact legally unclear and undetermined in any court. So legally we cannot host, and re-users cannot use, the other "versions" of a file without exposing ourselves/themselves to the risk that any assumption the two "versions" are in fact the same "work of copyright" in whatever jurisdiction it is used. It is a complete mess that CC could have avoided. -- Colin (talk) 08:45, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

What we can agree on

I want to avoid a train wreck discussion as happens often on Commons -- we end up discussing seventeen versions of a proposed few sentences. This is a wiki. Things should be simpler and happen quicker than that. As is obvious from Jarekt's comment above, some people don't get it. I see three main issues:

  1. Challenge those on Commons who are grasping and have no respect for the wishes of copyright holders. There are plenty on the internet who have no respect for copyright or artists at all, yet they are fundamental to Commons for we will not get donations without showing respect. A view that the holder shouldn't have been stupid enough to use CC and they shouldn't have been stupid enough to upload a higher resolution version to 500px or Flickr is typical of a fundamentalist and inconsiderate mindset. So I would like Commons to agree in principle that wrt this issue, we will choose to respect copyright-holders's wishes and not exploit ambiguity or uncertainty in licenses.
  2. Recognise that most using CC or similar licences have and will continue to assume its scope is the file. We have a legacy of the misleading encouragement by WMF/CC/GLAM that one could apply different copyright licences to the same work of copyright. As a result, tens of thousands of files on Commons are hosted on the assumption that the CC licence only covers the low resolution copy donated.
  3. We need to explain the whole legal uncertainty of this scope. Despite long discussions, we still see people coming to the debate thinking either that "CC are wrong", "CC's view is irrelevant", "this isn't important until a court decides one way", "CC have said all resolutions are covered by the licence" all of which are unhelpful or wrong. This scope uncertainty means that we must warn anyone using CC/FAL about the potential for the licence to go beyond the file they are donating but also means we can't make assumptions that the licence actually does extend to another file which "appears" to be the same work of copyright.

Once we explain and agree on these things, the conclusion about the correct thing to do becomes obvious. I don't think it is sufficient to propose a licence text that merely states the conclusion of the above without any background as to why. Can we agree on these things? -- Colin (talk) 09:44, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

I agree with all that. I would, in addition, prefer to have a policy of not hosting such high resolution images rather than merely deleting on the precautionary principle because the law is uncertain. However, if it impedes change, I'll personally surrender that. @Colin, have you noted that the "reboot" section proposed adopting your "Licence scope" section verbatim? Thincat (talk) 10:42, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
No I didn't spot that, Thincat. I assumed "Reboot" meant "scrap that and start again" and when I returned to the discussion it had deteriorated into one of those "Proposed version 17: ...." kind of train wrecks. I think we need to agree on principles, stick something up and see how it is applied and then tweak if it is found to be misunderstood. There is the danger we all sit around polishing something and nothing gets delivered. -- Colin (talk) 14:23, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to submit that the first point of any section starting "what we can agree on" shouldn't accuse other people in the discussion of "a fundamentalist and inconsiderate mindset".--Prosfilaes (talk) 10:51, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I speak my mind Prosfilaes. I've seen former 'crats threaten to undelete someone's images if a decision didn't go their way way so I'm well aware there are some on Commons who don't give a shit about content creators, and I have no intention of coming to any meeting of minds with them -- they can take a running jump. -- Colin (talk) 14:23, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
What's your goal, to speak your mind or to actually work with other people and get something done? The fact that you accuse of other people of "just being unpleasant" while being unpleasant and justifying it by "I speak my mind" makes me roll my eyes; perhaps they were just speaking their mind, and if they don't get cut some slack for speaking their mind, why should you? I can't support anything that includes a personal attack on good users and I suspect other users are being driven away for the same reason.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:35, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Colin, I am sure you know we are on the same side on this and several other issues. I just think we differ on approach, as was evident at that other train wreck (which seems to be getting back on track BTW). I am not opposed to any point you offered. I would just like to see it written in a user's language not a lawyer's. Unlike the template issue I don't think we need to feel so constrained by being concise if it means keeping the language "human readable". Saffron Blaze (talk) 15:49, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Well I unwatched that other page a while back. There's a difference between "would like" and "absolutely require". The difference just fillibusters attempts to change/improve policy. You talk of lawyer's language but policy pages need precise language -- I've got a decade of experience writing and applying them on Wikipedia and Commons so I'm no newbie to this. My concerns with the proposed alternatives are with flaws in their text/argument, not whether one is friendlier than the other or the grammar is nicer in one or the other. So let's formulate something we all agree in principle on and doesn't have obvious flaws. And get it up. This is a wiki! -- Colin (talk) 16:41, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe precise language and ease of understanding are mutually exclusive concepts. If your decade of experience says they are then that would explain the situation we are in. Saffron Blaze (talk) 17:04, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I do believe you are now arguing for argument sake and just being unpleasant. Have you actually looked at the rest of the page we are trying to insert a few lines into. It is shite. Really, Commons has no concept of a wiki (just look at those frightening translation templates in the markup) and couldn't write a readable policy page if its life depended on it. What it needs is some talented writers from WP to wholesale redraft it all. Not just three sentences we've wasted these days discussing. I'm unwatching. Let me know if someone actually wants to improve policy rather than waste my time. -- Colin (talk) 18:54, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I am not trying to waste your time Colin.

Whether a license applies to the underlying copyright or the specific file is still open to legal interpretation. As such, content contributors should be aware when they upload a specific media file that most licenses may allow re-users to legally use other versions of that work including those with different resolutions, bit rates, compression or other measures of quality. This uncertainly in the law also affects whether Commons will accept higher quality files when it is not clear this is in accordance with the copyright holder's original intent when donating a file. In other words, the existence a freely licensed low quality media file on Commons does not necessarily permit the hosting of a higher quality version of this same work.

Saffron Blaze (talk) 21:21, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Despite unwatching, I had a peek. Mistake. Your first proposed sentence is just wrong. There is absolutely no legal doubt the licence applies to the "work of copyright". The only vague area is whether two given files are the same work of copyright. The second proposed sentence is also wrong. Most licences do not "allow re-users to legally use other versions of that work including those with different resolutions, bit rates, compression or other measures of quality." because of this Creative Commons FAQ answer. The correct statement needs to be "possibly including ... depending on the circumstances of the individual file and jurisdiction of the creator and re-user" -- it all comes down to whether those differences count as the same work and that the difference is worthy of copyright. In the UK the bar is very low. Your last two sentences assume the low-quality file was "donated" to Commons and is already present on Commons. I've already pointed out this mistake in your earlier attempt. It is quite possible that there is a low-quality file with CC BY-SA on Flickr and a high-quality file with all-rights-reserved on the photographer's own website. In this case, no "donation" was made and there is no pre-existing file. We have the further complication of even determining if two files are merely resolution-different and not that the better file has had further processing worthy of copyright. Both files may share a RAW negative but there's plenty creative activity goes on after that, much of which is certainly worthy of copyright. So this proposal is both incorrect in its description of the legal circumstances and misguided in its suggested application to policy.
Have you looked again at my original proposed text and honestly think that yours is clearer? Because it isn't even correct never mind clear. And Avenue's initial objection seems to have vanished in his proposed alternative too. So really I see no reason why that text can't be adopted into some policy page right now, and no reasons to debate 101 inferior incorrect incomplete alternatives. It is just a timesink.
I do know a thing or two about writing policy. I needs to be absolutely correct and carefully worded. Your mocking my claims of experience is like a DIYer mocking a proper electrician before installing a mains socket in his bathroom. Go ahead and fry yourselves if you like. I really am unwatching this time. -- Colin (talk) 08:22, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Colin's analysis is correct on the facts. Attempting to redraft his version given I couldn't understand it was the first mistake. Taking this offline so as to reduce the friction. Saffron Blaze (talk) 19:47, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

About agreement on user:Colin's 3 proposed statements

  1. I agree that "A view that the holder shouldn't have been stupid enough to use CC and they shouldn't have been stupid enough to upload a higher resolution version to 500px or Flickr is typical of a fundamentalist and inconsiderate mindset." I have never encountered that view. I upload many images to Commons (at full resolution) and CC seem just fine with me, I am not sure why you would want to upload lower resolution. I agree with "respecting copyright-holders's wishes" as expressed in the license and attribution requirements. Any other wishes are not compatible with CC licenses and possibly many other licenses.
  2. I do not assume that "most using CC or similar licences have and will continue to assume its scope is the file" - those licenses do not talk about files but "works". I am not aware of any "misleading encouragement by WMF/CC/GLAM" for uploading low resolution versions of the images, I was under impression that we always encourage of the highest resolution possible. However if some upload was done under assumption that the "CC licence only covers the low resolution copy donated" (Commons:Bundesarchiv?), then despite of availability of higher resolution versions, I am fine with voluntarily not overwriting the uploads with higher resolution alternatives.
  3. I agree that "that we must warn anyone using CC/FAL about the potential for the licence to go beyond the file they are donating but also means we can't make assumptions that the licence actually does extend to another file which "appears" to be the same work of copyright". As a result you should not upload low-res images under one license and make them available under higher resolution elsewhere.

Also may be I missed this but why are we disusing license issues under com:scope. Scope policy mostly deals with what files we want to host and the only license aspect is that they have to be under free license. Any clarifications as to how to deal with quirks of CC licenses should probably go elsewhere. --Jarekt (talk) 21:49, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Why "Scope"? Because this discussion started with me suggesting a paragraph at the top of this section to say that the sort of high resolution images under discussion should be deletable as being out of scope. See particularly the rewritten version immediately under the subsection "Reboot". Colin considered that a description of the underlying legal problem was needed at com:Licensing and I now agree that this is important in addition to a changed "scope" policy. However, the licensing aspect has dominated the discussion, which has also deteriorated badly with some remarks being ill-tempered and others being poorly thought out. Thincat (talk) 09:04, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Sorry if I'm late to this party. I saw 8 supports at Commons:Village_pump/Copyright#We_desperately_need_a_quick_conclusion_on_this_matter; but this parallel discussion too. Yes; we are very amateur in making/redefining policies. So what is the next step? Jee 07:27, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Yes it is a great (but not surprising) pity that the unanimity there has become bogged down here. My own feeling is we should first add a paragraph such as Colin suggested above at "Licence scope" to Commons:Licensing. I think (from this) that Colin and Saffron Blaze are discussing any rewording between themselves (but I may have misunderstood), but anyway agreement will probably have to be sought at Commons talk:Licensing. Then I would like to add a paragraph such as I (Thincat) suggested at "Reboot" to Commons:Project scope. I am not seeing specific objection to this here because I am taking the issues raised above as meaning that something needs to be done at "Licensing" rather than that nothing should be done here. I would personally rather take things a bit gently and get something achieved than be pushy right now and end up with a squabble. Thincat (talk) 11:41, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation; and I really appreciate your efforts. Thanks all. Jee 13:12, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Guys, I have concern regarding the broader implications of this policy. How does it extend to other aspects such as public domain.

a) Suppose a picture was taken in country X. suppose that picture (600x600) was published within 30 days in the US. Suppose that picture just entered public domain (and since it was published within 30 days in the US, it's not restored under URAA). Let's say that picture was then uploaded to commons. If recently a higher resolution version of that photo (say 2000x2000) become available, according to commons: Are we saying it's copyrighted? (restored under URAA since it's different resolution than the one published back in the day)
From what I read above, it sure sounds like it and this has some serious implications
b) Suppose I find a photo online of resolution 500x500 which is released under CC-BY. If I find the exact photo just with a higher resolution somewhere else, can I no longer upload it since we are not considering it a different license?

Those are two issues I can think of off the top of my head but I am sure there are many other cases that needs to be considered.

Honestly, I can't possibly see a Judge say that the same original "artwork" under different qualities constitute different copyrights licensing. Just because someone wants only their low-resolution photo to be licensed under CC, doesn't really mean they legally can. --CyberXRef 13:18, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

There are all sorts of problematic licensing implications but these are not matters for policies or decisions on Commons. They are matters for legislators and courts. What is proposed here is (1) a warning to uploaders about what may be implied in CC and other free licences and (2) a proposal that Commons should take its own decision not to host some types of file produced from copyright images. Neither proposal suggests any change to the law or interpretation of the law. If either proposal turns out to be unsatisfactory, we can change it back without any ramifications for copyright holders, uploaders or reusers. Thincat (talk) 13:37, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Your opinion of what a judge might say isn't relevant. CC have asked their legal advisers whether a high-resolution copy is included in the CC licence for a low resolution copy (i.e. are they the same work of copyright) and their answer is a resounding "maybe, don't know for sure, nobody knows, perhaps in some countries". This isn't good enough. In addition, just because you think the high-resolution photo is merely the same photo saved with different resolution doesn't mean it is. There are lots of reasons why it might actually be different enough, not least because it was shot DSC0456 rather than DSC0454 from the camera and was processed slightly differently and in one the model's hair has moved just slightly. The take home message to anyone bold enough to upload files they just happen to find lying about the internet is (1) these are not your files (2) do you know for sure that a free licence is available for this file and (3) do you have confidence the source website is responsible wrt authorship and care wrt licensing. Once you consider these things, if you find another photo somewhere on the internet without a free licence clearly attached to it, then leave it alone -- or contact the creator. Your first scenario sounds contrived and we have no examples to worry about so lets worry about it when someone does. Nothing we do here changes the law. We aren't saying something is or isn't copyrighted -- that's for a judge to decide. -- Colin (talk) 15:13, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I was clearly not talking about any random website; I want talking about reputable websites (such as museums); secondly, the first scenario IS NOT contrived, there are a number of museums (3 here in the northeast that I know of) that are publishing new high resolution versions of photos that are in public domain (from the negatives). That's exactly why I brought it up in the first place. --CyberXRef 18:30, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Further clarify that this is not just for use on Wikimedia sites

This would read more clearly to me if we changed

It acts as a common repository

to read

It also acts as a common repository

Currently one could read the first lines as implying that Commons is a common repository for media used on Wikimedia sites, and that people who are not currently editors on those sites can upload files here, for intended use on Wikimedia sites. Implying that if you don't have a specific Wikimedia-related use in mind you should not upload files to Commons.

This came up recently on the Wikieducator list, where educators in a community committeed to free licenses felt unsure about posting their media to Commons since it was intended primarily for use on a non-WMF site. --SJ+ 05:41, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Agree with the proposed change to make it clear. Jee 05:53, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Updating the Precautionary Principle

Opening of an RFC to discuss changes to the wording of the Precautionary principle

I have opened an RFC on a proposal to relax the scope of the Precautionary Principle policy to allow Commons to host more of the locally public domain files that are being deleted because of the US URAA law, and also to keep more photos that have freedom of panorama in their home country but which might be copyright-protected in the US.

Put simply, do you agree that Commons should aim to host more files that are public domain in their home country even if they *might* still be copyright-protected in the US?

Please contribute to the poll and discussion at that is starting now at Commons:Review of Precautionary principle. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 16:33, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Excluded educational content: suggest addition of Wikivoyage material-travel guides

Currently reads:

  • Files that contain nothing educational other than raw text. Purely textual material such as plain-text versions of recipes, lists of instructions, poetry, fiction, quotations, dictionary definitions, lesson plans or classroom material, and the like are better hosted elsewhere, for example at Wikibooks, Wikiquote, Wiktionary, Wikiversity or Wikisource.


  • Files that contain nothing educational other than raw text. Purely textual material such as plain-text versions of recipes, lists of instructions, poetry, fiction, quotations, dictionary definitions, lesson plans, travel guides or classroom material, and the like are better hosted elsewhere, for example at Wikibooks, Wikiquote, Wiktionary, Wikiversity, Wikivoyage or Wikisource.

-- OlEnglish (talk) 17:31, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

3D printing files

It should eventually fall within the scope of Wikimedia Commons to host files with public domain 3D printing instructions, which would allow a user to make a printout of an object serving some educational purpose (a working Geneva mechanism, for example, or a scale model of the Nefertiti Bust). Has this been discussed yet? BD2412 T 22:36, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't believe there's a open standard yet, which is step one.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:21, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
I think, then, that this proposal should be elevated to the Village Pump, and will do so. Cheers! BD2412 T 14:06, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

User page files

"An otherwise non-educational file does not acquire educational purpose solely because it is in use on a user page (the "User:" namespace) of another project, but by custom the uploading of small numbers of images (e.g. of yourself) for use on a personal user page of another project is allowed."

This is quite explicit -- a personal file may be kept only if it is in use on another project. In other words, a personal image that is solely in use on a Commons User Page is out of scope and should be deleted. That seems silly -- why can one of us post a picture of himself on WP but not only on Commons? .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 13:55, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

You are right, that is silly and not how that paragraph is usually interpreted. Can we just drop "of another project" from that sentence (in 2 places)?--Jarekt (talk) 14:22, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
That section specifically covers use on other WMF projects. Use on Commons only is covered in the next section "File in use on Commons only". As originally written, it was correct, but this helpful edit in 2011 was apparently made without realising that non-Commons use was covered in the section "File in use in another Wikimedia project". I have reverted that change, and the text now makes sense again. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:58, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks --Jarekt (talk) 17:59, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

"Artwork created by the uploader without obvious educational use"

I have boldly changed this example, strengthening it to "Artwork without obvious educational use." There are two reasons I would like this change to stick:

  • The current text causes confusion in deletion discussions, as it can encourage the view that Commons does not welcome self-created artwork which does have value for reusers. Examples of positive use are self-created illustrative maps for political and legal changes, which are impossible to source elsewhere.
  • The constraint "by the uploader" is irrelevant, whether the artist is a Commons contributor or not should make absolutely no difference to whether the file is considered of sufficient cultural, educational or historical value to be hosted on Commons.

-- (talk) 10:04, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

I have no complaint with your 'stronger' version. The real intent of this point, as I see it, is to simply rule out 'random' paintings or drawings created by artists of no note (usually self-uploaded for promotional purposes). This is still covered by your version, without the possible issues you mentioned above. Revent (talk) 10:26, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
Agree, though we should remember in deletion discussions that this is one item in a non-exhaustive non-definitive list of examples. The only rule that matters is "Must be realistically useful for an educational purpose." which is quite broad. The "obvious" adjective is overly restrictive if that was actually a rule rather than an example, because for many the only obvious educational use of images is to illustrate Wikipedia. It takes a bit more consideration to regard some images as being useful for an educational purpose (for example, conveying a mood or illustrating an abstract concept) rather than just being a documentary photograph of some object. -- Colin (talk) 10:37, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
No concerns, makes sense. --Steinsplitter (talk) 10:40, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support --Jarekt (talk) 12:34, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
No objections to stronger wording. The intent was to make it very clear that we don't encourage hobby-artists to upload collections of non-educational artworks for the purpose of showcasing their artistic skills as some do for example at DeviantArt. As this is a pretty regular and specific issue, I think we should continue to mention it: "Artwork without obvious educational use, including non-educational artwork uploaded to showcase the artist's skills". I've boldly made the change, but would be happy to discuss here if need be. There is some overlap with 'self-promotion', but this may be less blatant. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:46, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Rather agree. May be we could develop as it may be that the fact that the creation is done by a professional can encourage say that it is relevant, but it is not. "Artwork without obvious educational use, including non-educational artwork uploaded to showcase the artist's or creator's skills, that he is amateur or professional". -- Christian Ferrer 17:01, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
    The example is stronger without clarification or caveats. As I originally stated, we are better off if deletion discussions focus on the image and its cultural, historical or educational value to reusers, not who uploaded it or hold a position of bad faith if the artist is not 'professional' (presumably this means that they are paid for their work rather than an artist that creates their work purely for pleasure). -- (talk) 20:51, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
It may be a language issue as I never talked about the uploader. It simply states that the fact that the artist or creator (not the uploader of course! nor the photographer) is a proffessional is not enough to say that his works are useful to the project and is not an argument, there is nothing of strong by saying that. Unfortunately all proffessional and creator don't produce useful thing, it's a fact. -- Christian Ferrer 05:52, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

Proposal to simplify introduction

Are unused photos about non-notable people out of project scope?

In an otherwise unrelated discussion, admin Taivo justified a {{vk}} with this statement: «unused photos about non-notable people are out of project scope». The following discussion followed:
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment: «Unused photos about non-notable people are out of project scope», really? Excuse me, did you even read COM:SCOPE, at all? -- Tuválkin 00:00, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
See COM:NOTUSED Taivo (talk) 07:08, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Is this a joke, User:Taivo? The policy you refer to includes scope in its definition (offscope ∧ unused ⊢ delete), so it cannot support your sentence above, which purports to (re)define scope. Besides, your claim is both unreasonable and incorrect: We do host millions of images displaying, or even portraying, non-notable people which are eminently in scope — such as illustrations of body parts, clothing items, human activities, etc., in all its synchronic and diachronic variation. -- Tuválkin 21:01, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
"Unused personal photo" seems quite common rationale in deletion requests. During single day, 21st of January, it was used by me, Magog the Ogre, Christian Ferrer, Ghawden, Geagea, Jahobr, Mjrmtg, Ellin Beltz, Yann, Mattbuck and Wiki13. Taivo (talk) 19:10, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
In such cases "personal" is taken to mean that it has no interest other than personal, which is tautological to a definition of scope ("in scope" ≡ "of interest"): It is not a bold new definition of scope, or a thumb rule to “detect” scope, as what you announced above is. And you know it. And you almost certainly don’t even mean what you uttered, not litterally. But looks like you’re more keen to “win” a dispute with me (someone of no consequence), than to retract a misstatement that can harm your good name as an administrator. (And seems that you’re forgetting the first rule of holes, too.) -- Tuválkin 05:51, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
1) You still did not say, why the photo is in scope.
2) If I understand you correctly, then you think, that "Unused personal photo" is not a reason to delete the file and all the users I mentioned above have used incorrect wording. That case it is worth mentioning in administrator's noticeboard, because other people should know that too. Taivo (talk) 20:05, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
User:Taivo, you’re either pulling my leg, or you are genuinely lost here — considering that you’re a project administrator either possibility is worrisome. About your questions:
  1. (This concerning the original discussion.) Hmm, I don’t think it is in scope, obviously, or else I’d have voted for keep, which I didn’t. However although I agree with the result you voted for, I still took exception at the way you supported your deletion vote, and asked you to clarify — and here we are.
  2. No, that’s not exactly what I mean and I tried to explain it clearly — just read the above again. But indeed I brought the discussion here, a better venue for policy discussion than a specific DR, meanwhile closed.
-- Tuválkin 14:52, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I confirm, my opinion is that a photo focused on a no quite notable people have a big chance to be out of scope, only a few of these images are really in scope and interesting. This is of course only my point of view. Tuvalkin already said something about that subject in my talk page : User talk:Christian Ferrer/Archive16#Modern Muslim female headgear. I'm not going to repeat that I already said however I can add that body parts and sexual content are not more in scope just because they are body parts (sexual or not). I consider all personal photos of peoples in the same way : with clothes (religious or not), nude or not, sexual or not as "photos of yourself and your friends".
It is a fact that our policy say: "Private image collections, e.g. private party photos, photos of yourself and your friends, your collection of holiday snaps and so on. There are plenty of other projects on the Internet you can use for such a purpose, such as Flickr. Such private image collections do not become educational even if displayed as a gallery on a user page on Commons or elsewhere." Christian Ferrer (talk) 13:24, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
User:Christian Ferrer, interesting that you bring up that matter again, as I had let it slip. Read it again, carefully, and you’ll see that in the course of that argument, you turned your rationale around 180°. Anything new? -- Tuválkin 14:52, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I think it very much depends. Probably 99% of such images that we see -- one or more friends smiling into the camera with nothing particular in the background -- are out of scope. On an average day I probably delete 50 of them. Occasionally, though, we will get such an image which has something notable -- clothing, a landmark background, or something else -- and we keep it because we don't have a better illustration of the unusual thing. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 14:04, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Ah, yes, Jim, it does depend. So, if it depends, if some analysis is necessary before deciding to delete images of “personal” nature, then admin Taivo’s hard and fast rule above does not correctly summarize policy and may be misused for all kinds of discretionary deletions of content in scope. That’s what I want discussed and clarified here.
You mention cases of images of non-notable people being in scope as if it were an exceptional case. It is, from the viewpoint of DRs, where so many off-scope material that’s rightfully deleted is indeed “personal” (and less so is, say, landscapes or objects), but not when you look at what we do have in Commons, fully integrated in our curated repository and consensually in scope — like I said above, «millions of images displaying, or even portraying, non-notable people »,« as illustrations of body parts, clothing items, human activities, etc., in all its synchronic and diachronic variation.»
To be clear: Things like, say, most content of Category:Hand gestures are in scope even when not protagonized by celebrities (probably it’s even better to have a “random” person exemplifying, say, different types of handshakes, than having images of famous actors or sportspeople doing it — as it is less distracting). I’m sure that’s easy to everyone to agree (concede?) that that’s right and as it should be, and that therefore, admin Taivo’s hard and fast rule above is wrong.
-- Tuválkin 14:52, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I think you're quibbling over semantics here. "Unused personal images" are out of scope. Period.
If the image has something in it that puts it in scope, then it is no longer a "personal" image -- it's an image of a handshake, or a Russian national costume, or an interesting detail of the Taj Mahal, or whatever. Or, put another way, "Unused personal image" is common Commons shorthand for "Unused personal image which has nothing in it which would put it in scope for Commons. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 16:15, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, as already mentioned above. In some people’s quaint usage, "personal" means "nothing but personal" and therefore it means inherently "off scope". So, saying that personal images are off scope tantamounts to say that off scope images are off scope… Thanks for this moment of comedy (or really bad Philosophy or bad Formal Logic), Jim. It would be fun if this misleading “shorthand” were not routinely abused to delete on-topic material by those who still believe that Commons should not attempt to be more than a common repository for Wikipedias. -- Tuválkin 17:50, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Do you think an obvious attack image displaying a 10-year old girl which was uploaded along with a discription that includes reference to semen is a matter for jokes? Where’s your speedy deletion when it’s needed? -- Tuválkin 17:50, 28 January 2016 (UTC)