Commons talk:Project scope/Update 2013/Must be a media file

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  • Click on the 'Project page' tab, above to see the current policy/guideline wording that is under discussion on this page.
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{{divbox|amber|Proposal number and title|Introduction
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Commons-logo.svg Scope Review 2013 links:

Discuss stage 2 of this review



Links to current rules

Discussion: Introductory Scope wording

Discussion: Files

Discussion: Pages, galleries and categories

Discussion: Areas of particular concern

Discussion: Identifiable people

Other proposals

Proposal 1[edit]

  • I'm not sure this is the right place to talk about advertising/self-promotional content, since on its face, the current requirement of "must be a media file" is pretty uncontroversial. I think that discussion on advertising and self-promotion does need to happen though. Gigs (talk) 17:57, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that the wording "Advertising/promotional material does not advance Commons' aims" does not really belong in the section relating to whether something is a media file or not. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 12:23, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Request for clarification[edit]

Files which are representative merely of raw text (e.g. ASCII files, raw source code listings as mentioned above, etc).

This provision could, if I understand it correctly, result in removal of many files in Category:ASCII and Category:Mathematical equations and Category:Symbols. I cannot see why we would want to do this, as sometimes text cannot be rendered properly except in image format.   — C M B J   10:30, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Files that show how a particular symbol looks like should clearly be in scope, if only to display it in articles about that symbol (people's charsets or fonts might not display it correctly). As for equations, they should normally be rendered with a math tag, so when unused I think they are usually out of scope. darkweasel94 12:13, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
I would argue that tables are not "mere text". If we are going to ditch tables, we might as well ditch charts, graphs, and all procedural representations of raw data. That's clearly untenable, so I think there's a pretty strong reductio ad absurdum that even though Mediawiki includes a table function, tables are generally not mere text or raw data, they contain presentation formatting that qualifies as media. Gigs (talk) 04:26, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's right, and in practice this part of the policy has not caused any real difficulties. Its aim was simply to prevent people uploading an image which is nothing more than raw text which should be in Wiki format. That happens sometimes, a common reason being a desire to prevent easy re-use. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 12:29, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
I agree that in practice it hasn't caused any problems, but might we want to add an explicit exception for some uses? For example, as written, a file like File:Postfix-dia.svg is out of scope, but lots of Wikipedias use it as the header image in a topic box. Powers (talk) 12:47, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, interesting. Any thoughts as to how we might word policy to allow us to keep that and similar useful files? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 13:12, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
How about: being in use on a Wikimedia project is a sufficient condition to keep them? (I could e.g. imagine "raw source code listings" used in an article about syntax highlighting, which would definitely make them in-scope.) darkweasel94 13:43, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
It's a little broad, especially since erroneous uses on minor projects can be nearly impossible to remove (or to prove consensus for). Perhaps just make it clear that the prohibition is against textual content, not textual illustrations? Or is that too vague? Powers (talk) 14:16, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
I think that's something we can live with. Text-only images that are in use should generally be transcribed to editable wiki markup, but as long as the image versions are the best thing available, we'd do more harm than good by deleting them. LX (talk, contribs) 14:48, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
If you believe a certain use is an erroneous use on a minor project, then you can always remove it, nominate the file for deletion, and if it's still unused after a week, then obviously the "bold, revert, discuss" cycle gave sufficient consensus for removal. If your removal is reverted, then obviously somebody thinks it's really valuable and in that case we shouldn't delete it. I don't think we should decide for other projects how they should present things. darkweasel94 15:32, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
I would not feel comfortable removing an image from a minor project that uses a language with which I am not familiar. I can try to have an edit summary translated via various automated services, but I am leery of how that would come out, particularly in non-Latin scripts. Powers (talk) 17:39, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
The worst, and very unlikely, thing that can happen is that they block you unfairly. But if you don't speak that language anyway, why would that concern you? darkweasel94 18:03, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
I suppose, but then presumably my removal would be undone and we'd be back to square one. Powers (talk) 17:49, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
That's the point: if it is undone, then obviously somebody there thinks there is a valid reason to use it. So it should not be deleted. darkweasel94 19:43, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
Not necessarily; it may just be undone because they think I'm a vandal removing random stuff. Powers (talk) 23:04, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
The starting point of the discussion was not that you remove random stuff, but that you replace an image with equivalent wikitext. That's constructive, not destructive. darkweasel94 03:21, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
If it is wrong it is wrong, regardless if there is something equivalent or not. And there are many people who revert back to something being completely wrong. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:53, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
If you believe a certain use is erroneous, then it is more than "bold, revert, discuss". You have the information to correct it, so you shouldn't have to wait to see if it is undone. For instance, if there is a page on a bluebird in another language but the image is of a cardinal, you should be able to remove the image and not consider it appropriately used. Ottava Rima (talk) 00:38, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Even in such a case, you need to verify that the page really is "bluebird" and not Passeriformes. --Carnildo (talk) 22:57, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Ha, yeah, but I am aiming at the more obvious. Some foreign language wikis mistake different English words and choose the wrong image. Ottava Rima (talk) 02:24, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
Normally we'd have to wait some days anyway, because deletion discussions take up some time. I don't think any "out of scope" deletions should ever be done speedily. darkweasel94 23:05, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. Most of the content in Category:Tables (information) is mere text and would be better represented using wiki markup, which allows editing, dynamic sorting, inline referencing, wikilinking and much more. Exceptions do exist, like File:Compare and Contrast Example.JPG, where the formatting cannot be recreated using wiki markup (although I'd argue that the formatting is mostly chartjunk). Charts and graphs are entirely different, as they usually can't be recreated using wiki markup. LX (talk, contribs) 14:48, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

It seems that in practice the expression 'raw text' is being understood to exclude tables, since nobody has yet thought it worthwhile to nominate the tables in Category:Tables (information) for deletion on the basis of this rule. Although most of these images could be re-done in Wiki format, I don't myself feel strongly that we ought to force people to do that. Going back to the example of File:Postfix-dia.svg, which is just raw text, perhaps we could simply include a generic let-out in the rule, such as " ... unless the file is in use on a Wikimedia project and there are exceptional reasons for editors on that project to prefer the file to using wiki markup". Normally, it's best to avoid vague exceptions like that, but that would work in this case, given the rule's low visibility and lack of ability to create drama. Would anyone support that if I were to put it up as a proposal? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:08, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

I would relax it even more: ... unless the file is in good faith use on a Wikimedia project. darkweasel94 17:13, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
I think the existing rule deliberately does not say that, as an incentive to get users to make use of wiki format where possible. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:27, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't think it is or should be our job to tell other projects how to do things. If they do it in a way that requires an image, we should include it. darkweasel94 17:36, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
You can't draw that conclusion based on a few hundred mostly unused files lingering in an overly general category. The only conclusion you can draw is that tidying up among these files are nobody's priority. I do occasionally nominate unused files of this nature in the course of other activities, and they're usually deleted. Changing the policy one way or another probably isn't going to change the number of deletions, nor do I think there would be an outcry if we suddenly did delete all unused rasterized tables. As you can probably tell already, I do agree that whether or not the images are in use does make a significant difference. LX (talk, contribs) 22:25, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Also -- there are plenty of text-only or equation examples here for the wikibook, in many cases the whole point is to demonstrate something that can't be rendered using mediawiki. I suggest a test, that if the text could fulfil the same purpose as displayed in your favourite text editor, it counts as text, but if some feature of the text-image is lost, treat it as an image that happens to consist of characters. ChrisHodgesUK (talk) 14:48, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

This topic appears to be of lesser interest/priority to the community than some of the others in this review, and I propose that we should close it down now. That will allow us in part 2 of the review to focus our full attention on the most important and/or contentious issues. Please comment at Commons talk:Project scope/Update 2013/Stage 2. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:46, 23 July 2013 (UTC)