Commons talk:Welcome to Commons brochure/discussion of v6 draft

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Notes about the 2013-06-06 draft[edit]

Commons brochure draft, 2013-06-06, tentatively titled "Illustrating Wikipedia: A Guide to Contributing Content to Wikimedia Commons"

A few things to note:

  • The current title is Illustrating Wikipedia: A Guide to Contributing Content to Wikimedia Commons, but we're open to better suggestions.
  • Neither the design nor the content are final at this point, so if you want to propose significant changes, now is the time.
  • Many minor design and text changes will happen in the next revision, but if you notice anything that needs to be adjusted, please comment.
  • There is simply placeholder content for the section on adding images using the Visual Editor; once screenshots of the interface are stable, that content will be added in.

Public Domain is tricky …[edit]

… when it comes to works that have been created outside of the US. It was published outside of the United States and the author has been dead for more than 70 years is often OK for the source county but that does not necessarily mean that the work is PD in the US (and hence {{PD-old-70}} is not enough as a stand alone license tag). At the very least it should be mentioned that the current policy is that a work has to be in the public domain in the source country and the US (see Commons:PD#Interaction_of_United_States_copyright_law_and_non-US_copyright_law). --El Grafo (talk) 14:56, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

That's relatively rare, though, and something that the Commons community knows how to deal with. That's why the brochure says about the rules of thumb "A work is usually public domain if". In my opinion we don't get much added benefit from bringing up that detail.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 15:05, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Hi Sage,
The problem is imo not that that there is a significant number of files that fall under the PD-Old-70 rule but are copyrighted in the US - that is indeed rather rare. The problem is that we get a huge amount of images that are probably fine, but are only tagged with PD-old-70 and no tag for the US (and that's not rare at all). That is something we currently deal with by simply ignoring it, but if we would strictly enforce our policy, we would have to review them all and either find out which PD-US tag applies or nominate them for deletion. Why don't we do that? Because there are just too many of those files and since most of them are probably fine apart from the missing tag, this issue has a rather low priority. And as we look away doing more important stuff, the pile of images that are "probably fine but noone knows for sure" grows on and on. And if this brochure indirectly encourages people to upload files with {{PD-old-70}} only, that's counter-productive in my opinion. Just have a quick glance at the recent uploads:
The fact that our official policies require to respect the copyright status in both the country of origin and the US can not be considered a mere detail (imho) – that's something that applies to every single PD-file that was created outside the US. And since we have that policy, we maybe should stop ignoring it and start enforcing it (or at least start to encourage people to respect it).
But hey – maybe that's just me being pedantic: Usually no real harm is done to anyone and noone else seems to care … --El Grafo (talk) 16:03, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining your reasoning, that's really helpful. What do others think? Is it worth it to introduce the idea of being PD in US and country of origin?--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 16:33, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Just to be clear: I wouldn't go much into detail here. Just one sentence covering the essence of the first two sentences of this section. A general reference to Commons:Licensing might be a good idea too – maybe somewhere on page 10? --El Grafo (talk) 16:45, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
+1 El Grafo. PD/free license in the US and country of origin (if applicable) is a key principle of Wikimedia Commons and should definitely reach the target audience of this brochure. Regards, Christoph Braun (talk) 13:41, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
Okay, I'll think about how this could be worked in concisely.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 15:23, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

On page 11 in the column "Misconceptions about public domain" you might add "Content is published on a website and visible to everybody", as I've often heard this excuse from uploaders of unfree works. --Túrelio (talk) 08:52, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

Good suggestion; I think something along those lines would be a good addition.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 15:23, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

The dog[edit]

Hi, no serious issue but couldn't it be anything more useful than a dog? We've so many pictures of pets… and I am sure users are able to upload more useful pictures than those of their pets. BTW, Wikimedia Germany created a brochure some years ago: File:Wikimedia Commons web.pdf. It's not as detailed as this one but maybe you find the layout useful. -- Rillke(q?) 15:08, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. I do like some of the ways the German brochure uses featured pictures. Although it's a different visual style, I'll make sure the designer sees that one.
The idea with the dog is partly to make it relate-able and add a bit more personality to the character of Puzzly. Even with mundane subjects, there are plenty of opportunities to contribute valuable files that have a place in Wikipedia articles, etc. (That particular dog, incidentally, illustrates several Wikipedia articles and was in a Commons Media of the Day.) However, the text related to the dog throughout tries to emphasize relevance for illustrating articles as the key thing.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 15:43, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Per Rillke (and not because I am a fan of cats), I also oppose the dog image on the cover as it is not really an educational-type image. We don't really need more masses of pet images. It simply gives the reader a wrong message. We at Commons would have to take the rap, as it was (and is) the case with the misguided "mobile-upload feature"[1].
Another point is the statement "people photographed in public places" in the "What is allowed on Commons" paragraph on page 3. This statement is true for only for a few countries, such as China, Slovenia and the U.S., and thereby clearly misleading. See Commons:Country specific consent requirements for details. It should at least be amended by something like "depending on country" or "country-dependent".
--Túrelio (talk) 08:52, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
I just created this alternative title page. It wouldn't really fit into the current design though. Regards, Christoph Braun (talk) 01:30, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Alternative ideas instead of the dog?[edit]

We're getting ready to start the next revision, and I'm trying to find a solid photo theme instead of the dog (alas!). Please post suggestions, especially of specific photos / sets of photos that are:

  • high quality and interesting
  • easily recognizable across cultures
  • relevant for both a specific Wikipedia article and a specific Wikivoyage article (since the brochure will have screenshots from those two projects)

--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 14:01, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Sikh pilgrim at the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) in Amritsar, India.jpg
How about the winner of POTY 2009 (right)? It appears in voy:es:Asia and w:Place_of_worship. --Avenue (talk) 16:58, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
It's a wonderful picture, but I think it's too complex and not easy enough to take in if seen as one small part of a screenshot. The subject should be very simple, such that someone looking at it will immediately recognize it at a basic level.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 17:02, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Maybe not very inventive, but how about The Blue Marble?
Other possibilities - and avoiding politics, religion and military, which too easily can be seen as biased - could be: File:Gambia girl.jpg, File:Ammonite lamp post at dusk, Lyme Regis.JPG, File:Köcherbaumwald-01.jpg, File:Australia Square Sydney 2007.JPG ... --Tsui (talk) 03:56, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
Best to avoid File:Gambia girl.jpg, as (a) personality rights issues, and (b) could be seen as sexist - MPF (talk) 10:35, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
Are any of them used on Wikivoyage? I couldn't find any uses, except two of the blue marble, and those were in userspace. That photo doesn't seem like an ideal one for encouraging people to take and contribute their own photos, either.
How about File:Shuanglin Si Temple.JPG, File:Colosseum in Rome, Italy - April 2007.jpg, File:First London bus DN33509 (LK08 FMA) 2008 Alexander Dennis Enviro400 integral, route 23, 10 June 2011.jpg, or File:Virunga National Park Gorilla.jpg? They're all quite destination-specific, but that's natural for Wikivoyage. --Avenue (talk) 05:10, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
Allow me, in all self-centeredness :) - to suggest File:Road BTW Skagen and Frederikshavn.jpg. It may not be of the highest quality, but the motive is easily recognized, it's simple with clear colours and it is in use on both EnWiki and EnVoy. If not my favourite - of those presented here so far - would be File:Colosseum in Rome, Italy - April 2007.jpg. --heb [T C E] 07:31, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions! It doesn't necessarily have to be a file (or thematic set of files) that is already used on Wikivoyage, as long as it would makes sense. We can always add it. ;) For the next version, I think I'm going to have our designer go with a suggestion from LiAnna Davis: bonsai. It's an easily-recognized subject that is very international and cross-cultural, and it connects several important areas of Commons contribution: art, technology, the natural world, and museums.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 14:05, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

I would propose to narrow the search to files in Category:Featured pictures on Wikimedia Commons only. Those are usually high quality and interesting. I also think that animal would be fine, just not a pet. They are easily recognizable when displayed at low resolution. Below are some images I think look interesting at low resolution:

--Jarekt (talk) 04:02, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Please, not the bullfight - that's a highly emotive topic viewed with extreme disgust in many regions. Also, if selecting a plant or animal (a good idea), please select one which has location data; there are far too many pics on commons whose value is lost through lack of location data, and the more done to encourage people to add it, the better. - MPF (talk) 18:29, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
Agree about the bullfighting, I had the same thought latter on. As for geocoding of plants or animals, I agree in general it is always a good idea, and I always add them. However it strikes me much less important if we know exact camera location, since unlike with other types of pictures, the same photo could have been taken a mile this way or that way so narrowing it down to within a park, valley, or town should be enough. --Jarekt (talk) 03:11, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks all. As I noted above, we're using bonsai as the theme for the next draft (and this will probably be the final theme). It's a topic that's visually striking, and it connects several subject areas that are easy for newcomers to get started with (living organisms, art in museums) The photos in the brochure screenshots will include these:

These do all have location data, although there's only one image (of a full file page) that will actually show location data in the brochure. Since this is for newcomers, we want to avoid as many of the complex details as possible.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 13:00, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

The bonsai seems a very good theme, there is a lot of things to say about a bonsai and I hope it will attract newcomers \o/. --PierreSelim (talk) 13:22, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
I am fine with bonsai theme, but would prefer images that went thru the effort of becoming valued image or quality image:

The above 3 images are the only ones I could find, but I think File:Trident Maple bonsai no. 52, National Bonsai & Penjing Museum.jpg looks better as a thumbnail. So lets go with that one. --Jarekt (talk) 17:42, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

All three of the ones I posted above would be used: the trident maple as the main example, and the other two in screenshots for mobile uploads and adding images via wikitext (on Wikivoyage). I agree that using images that have gone through one of Commons' quality processes would be a nice thing; I've just nominated all three for QI.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 18:20, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Using files in print[edit]

Besides "Using files on other sites" there should be a comparable "Using files in print". I've noticed that almost always when people try to use my photos in print media, unless they actually contact me directly they get it wrong. - Jmabel ! talk 16:02, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

We considered adding that (I've found the same thing personally), but it's a rare use case relative to using files on the web (for the target audience, at least), so we decided that it's probably out of scope for this brochure. However, Creative Commons (working with the same designer who is doing this) is developing a more detailed "how to use CC media" project that will cover that.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 16:09, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Conversely, unlike wrong attribution on the web it is impossible to fix once it has been done. - Jmabel ! talk 23:36, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Support Jabel's view. For print usages there is nothing comparable to the gadget "use this file on the web" so that I see a crucial need for more information about how to use our materials in printed publications. --Martina talk 22:01, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
What is possible is to mention that there are other brochures, and that one of them is dealing with this issue. This way a person who is honestly searching for such information could potentially find it. Sinnamon Girl (talk) 02:39, 11 June 2013 (UTC)


  • The screenshot of the main page is out of date; it's recently been restyled.
  • Not sure about the 2013 POTY (it looks really vibrant) - perhaps those are the correct color configuration settings for the image? Or maybe not?
  • Some of the free license things can be a bit wordy. This depends on the audience, but you should consider a simple version for basic level users and people with limited English ability.

Apart from that, it seems nice. —Mono 16:11, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

  • Whoops, I took a recent screenshot that had a nice pair of featured files, it just didn't get substituted in yet.
  • For the POTY colors, it may be that we're looking at a PDF with a print color profile (which does crazy things sometimes on computers). We'll make sure the print ones look right, and I'll try to make sure we have a copy of the final PDF that is optimized for digital-only use as well.
  • Suggestions for improving the wording are welcome. The idea, though, is to hopefully get translated versions rather than use this same English version for all audiences.

--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 16:44, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Attribution missing[edit]

Sorry for being pedantic again, but as far as I can see the authors and licenses for the images from the main page (page 2) and those in the screenshot on page 7 are missing. Greetings, --El Grafo (talk) 16:37, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Yes. We'll get attributions for those before the final version. As I noted in the section above, the screenshot of the Main Page will be different, and others may change as well, but once they are set we'll add all the attributions.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 16:48, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Using media outside of Wikimedia projects.[edit]

I think that your advice is a little bit misleading. BY licences do not require a person to use the same title for the image as the original creator did, but they do require you to mention not only the creator, but also everybody who has modified the file. Sinnamon Girl (talk) 17:48, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

The example is intended as an example of a good image credit, not the required way. The way it is used here, "Creator" is supposed to mean the same as "Original Author" in the license, which refers to all the contributors. If an image is the result of someone making the first version and then someone else modifying it, both contributors are creators (and we reflect this on file pages, where all the contributors should be listed in the Author field). Most files on Commons, however, have only a single person listed as Author.
On the issue of title, the text does not mention title as an explicit requirement. However, note these highlights from the CC-BY-SA license text:

If You Distribute...You must...keep intact all copyright notices...reasonable to the medium or means You are utilizing: (i) the name of the Original Author...; (ii) the title of the Work if supplied; (iii) to the extent reasonably practicable, the URI... The credit required...may be implemented in any reasonable manner.

You can of course change the title for an adaptation, or use a different title in whatever context you use it, but you're supposed to keep the original title as part of the copyright notice.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 18:34, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the quote from CC-BY-SA license, I have learnt something new. Sinnamon Girl (talk) 02:39, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

A nice explaination: . --Túrelio (talk) 18:38, 8 June 2013 (UTC)


Page 5 suggests to add categories with wikitext. According to Help:Gadget-HotCat#How_to_enable, HotCat is enabled by default. It is true HotCat is powerful and may be confusing for users, but it might be better to tell users to use it? Jean-Fred (talk) 20:28, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

I agree that HotCat is easier to use than WikiText. But HotCat isn't a default gadget… perhaps it should but since it is a gadget, it isn't. Lupo may know why. This edit by Phoebe inserted the statement. -- Rillke(q?) 09:44, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
HotCat is now enabled by default for all logged in users. Might be worth a mention, what do you think? Jean-Fred (talk) 11:32, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm glad that HotCat is enabled by default. I'd say we only want to mention either wikitext or HotCat on page 5, but I'm torn because there's no guarantee that HotCat will be enabled by default down the road (for example, once we have VisualEditor on Commons). What do others think? How much easier do newcomers find HotCat versus wikitext? --Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 18:37, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Creative Commons[edit]

The brochure states on p.10 "Wikimedia Commons can’t accept works licensed with a NonCommercial (NC) restriction." Per Commons:Licensing#Multi-licensing Wikimedia Commons does accept works licensed with a NonCommercial (NC) restriction if they are multi-licensed with at least one free license. Currently +3900 files are made available under CC BY ND 3.0 - I don't approve multi-licensing or using restrictive licenses, but I think that the current sentence is misleading and stretching the truth.

Also on p.10, the brochure states that "A free license is a kind of copyright license that says the creator will allow anyone to use their work, for any purpose, without asking prior permission." Our definition of a free license in COM:L is based on I think we should convey this message in the brochure; most importantly the four freedoms. Here's a proposal:

“Licenses are legal instruments through which the owner of certain legal rights may transfer these rights to third parties. Free licenses do not take any rights away -- they are always optional to accept, and if accepted, they grant freedoms which copyright law alone does not provide. When accepted, they never limit or reduce existing exemptions in copyright laws. Free licenses usually apply worldwide, are royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual and provide four major freedoms:
  • the freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it
  • the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
  • the freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
  • the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works”

Also, the CC Zero logo looks very pixelated. Would be great if that could be fixed with the SVG from File:Cc-zero.svg.

Regards, Christoph Braun (talk) 15:11, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

I think the brochure should steer clear of the idea of multi-licensed works; the niche case of NC works that are also freely licensed is an edge case that doesn't need to be mentioned for newcomers.
I adapted a lot of the language describing what a free license means directly from the language, but I tried to strip away as much unnecessary detail as possible. I would be very hesitant to add in more complex language to what is already a fairly dense section of the page. For those totally unfamiliar with the concept of a free license, even the language can be pretty confusing.
Thanks for pointing out the pixelated logo; I'll let the designer know.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 15:13, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Adobe InDesign file[edit]

The PDF was created using Adobe InDesign. Since Commons doesn't allow .INDD files I'd appreciate if the InDesign file could be hosted on or any other suitable place like so people can make effective use of the brochure's free licence. Regards, Christoph Braun (talk) 19:45, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support. It was troublesome editing the German brochure without the source file in order to remove some flaws in it. -- Rillke(q?) 08:37, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
For the final version, we will put up a version converted for Scribus. I'm not sure if we can host InDesign files or not, but I believe we typically can provide any of them upon request. I'll look into this more.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 14:34, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
I use InDesign myself, so a Scribus file wouldn't really help. Regards, Christoph Braun (talk) 15:01, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Illustrating Wikipedia?[edit]

I'm a bit confused about the priorities here - is this a brochure for adding images to Wikipedia or contributing to Wikimedia Commons? The title should be adjusted as such (and perhaps other things). —Mono 00:01, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

  • I think it's OK if the subject matter is broader than the title. Illustrating Wikipedia will get people's attention. - Jmabel ! talk 00:13, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
    • It is a little bit unclear that Commons is not Wikipedia, but if people will take time to read this and actually start contributing media that can potentially be useful to educate about the subject matter of some WP article, they will be individuals that can understand COM:NOT when they read that this is not Wikipedia. But maybe we can save ourselves a step by adding something like "If you want to add to the Wikipedia article an image under Fair Use or something of low quality, please upload it to your local project." That will right away make the distinction in somebody's mind. Sinnamon Girl (talk) 02:19, 12 June 2013 (UTC)