Commons talk:Wiki Loves Monuments 2016 in the United States

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State sites[edit]

I wanted to know what is considered for the contest. Michigan has a list of sites on Wikipedia already.

Would this places count?

Jsgoodrich (talk) 17:14, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

Hi @Jsgoodrich: Yes, absolutely! Since those sites are recognized and designated by some sort of authority (in this case, the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office), you're welcome to submit them. Be sure to upload all your photos for Wiki Loves Monuments in the U.S. through this form. ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 21:52, 12 September 2016 (UTC).

Thank you[edit]

Thank you for organizing the event. Geraldshields11 (talk) 20:33, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

@Geraldshields11: Absolutely! Thanks for the kind words :) ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 20:55, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

No thanks. This is just another method for history and heritage haters to identify locations of historic pieces of art to be removed. Please do not participate, or if you do, don't provide the location of your subject matter! —Preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:10, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

The scope of Wiki Loves Monuments are sites that are already cataloged and recognized - in other words, publicly known and accessible. For any sites whose location is kept unpublished, it's fully expected that participants respect the privacy of the location - and if they appropriately upload photographs of such subjects, that they don't provide any information that would give away the location of the site. ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 06:32, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

Submitting already uploaded photos to WLM 2016[edit]

Hello, I have several photos which I have already uploaded to Commons and are active on pages, how do I go about submitting them to the contest? Thanks. Peetlesnumber1 (talk) 03:03, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

Hi @Peetlesnumber1: I noticed the photos you've uploaded this month are properly entered into the contest. Unfortunately, photos uploaded to the Commons before the month of September are ineligible for the contest. If you have any other questions or need clarification, don't hesitate to ask. Thanks for participating! ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 20:54, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

Eligibility Clarifications[edit]

Entries must be "identifiable"[edit]

  • Does "identifiable" mean X number of people have learned what & where a given monument is?
  • If so, how big does X need to be?
  • Ways to measure identifiability: Can X be measured in...
  • ...pageviews?
  • ...searches for its name made by different people?
  • ...videos of people applying learning techniques to the task of learning how to identify a specific monument for the purpose of helping said monument to meet the definition of "identifiable"?
  • If not, how will identifiability be measured/determined?
  • When does the entry need to be identifiable: at or before the time of submission, by the end of the submission period, before the judging begins, or some point after?

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Crawfordcomeaux (talk • contribs) 03:18, 17 September 2016 (UTC) (UTC)

@Crawfordcomeaux: Thanks for your question! "Identifiable," in this case, means that the site should have a designated name, reason for importance, etc. It's repetitive to, and closely ties into being recognized by a cultural/historical organization. This rule exists mostly to rule out people uploading photos of, say, an old unnamed gazebo in their backyard. Regarding the time of identifiably, I'll expand on that below. ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 23:59, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Entries must be "recognized as a historical or cultural site by some authoritative organization (whether on the federal, state, or local levels)"[edit]

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Crawfordcomeaux (talk • contribs) 03:18, 17 September 2016 (UTC) (UTC)

@Crawfordcomeaux: Regarding sites recognized by those museums and organizations: sure! As long as the sites are recognized for their historical and/or cultural significance. Just note that those locations themselves (Computer History Museum, etc.) don't count for the contest, unless designated as such by another entity. That being said, photos of those locations are definitely valuable for the Commons, regardless of their eligibility for the contest!
For sites that are close to becoming recognized: as long as the site is officially designated and recognized by the end of the month (September 30), it is eligible for the contest. As for sites that will be recognized after the end of the contest, let me discuss with the organizing team and get back to you on that. ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 23:59, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Images of things on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)[edit]

Some images uploaded for this contest have an incorrect parameter value on the {{NRHP}} template. In some images, the value is the name of the property. In some, it is the 8-digit NRHP number with a number sign before it. In others, it is the URL of the official page that describes the property. The correct value for the parameter is the 8-digit NRHP number with nothing else. When an incorrect parameter is used, the image is put into a cleanup category, Category:National Register of Historic Places without known IDs. Please use just the 8-digit number. If you don't know the number, here are some suggestions of where to look for it:

  • If Commons has a category for the property, the ID number might be given there. (If it isn't, and you find the correct number, it would be appreciated if you add it to the category!)
  • English Wikipedia has articles of the form "National Register of Historic Places listings in Foo County, <state>" (for example, en:National Register of Historic Places in Miami-Dade County, Florida). These list NRHP properties with their ID numbers and other information. It's possible that these articles don't list properties added more recently to the register.
  • If English Wikipedia has an article about the property, the ID number might be given in an infobox.

There have also been images uploaded using the {{NRHP}} template, or with Category:National Register of Historic Places added, that don't seem to be things on the NRHP. Not all US national parks or national monuments are on the NRHP. Neither are all things that are on other heritage registers. Before using the NRHP tag, please be sure that the image shows something on the NRHP.

On behalf of everyone who has been cleaning these up, I thank you. :) --Auntof6 (talk) 08:36, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

@Auntof6: Thanks for the note, and an infinite number of thanks to you and others who are helping clean up and categorize files! I added some clarification to the upload portal, and am trying to get some further clarification onto the upload wizard itself. If you can think of any other ways that I can make the upload process better from an organizer standpoint: please let me know! Thanks, ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 00:02, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

Freedom of Panorama[edit]

Can we get some clarification on some public sculptures examples that might be considered that are in an ambiguous area of the law? Two examples I can think of are: Mount Rushmore: "Completed" in 1941 (at least to it's present state), could it be copyrighted? I wasn't able to find an answer on Google. Stone Mountain: Conceived and started by a private organization in 1916 (public domain?). Then it was abandoned by the sculptor in 1925 (to work on the above), but another sculptor continued until 1928... It was then bought by the State of Georgia in 1958, where finally in 1964 a third sculptor continued working until it was completed in 1972. Which sculptor owns the copyright? Is it active? I couldn't find that answer either. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Danbert8 (talk • contribs) 00:53, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Hi @Danbert8: Check out this guide for an easy-to-reference table - I've also added this link to the event page.
Works created between 1923 and 1977 are in the public domain if they were published without a copyright notice. Most sculptures do not have such a copyright notice, but it is something to watch out for. Both Mount Rushmore and Stone Mountain are in the public domain :) ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 07:13, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
yes, works before 1978 about 90 % of the time are PD-US-no notice. we use the SIRIS database of American sculptures, for example [1]. they were pretty meticulous about the notices and metadata, although they are not 100 % right. sculptures will have to be evaluated on a case by case basis. if you think FoP germany is rock solid, you should check out the DMCA takedown for oldenberg. Slowking4 § Richard Arthur Norton's revenge 20:15, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

Adding images to Wikipedia articles[edit]

When adding images of NRHP properties to English Wikipedia articles, please consider the NRHP listings articles in addition to articles for individual properties. An example of a listings article is en:National Register of Historic Places listings in Baldwin County, Georgia. Many of those articles are missing images of properties. --Auntof6 (talk) 06:44, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

Thanks @Auntof6: I also added your instructions to this page. Will try to make the instructions more clear soon. ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 08:58, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

How to enter an image?[edit]

Hi, I took six images of the Manistique East Breakwater Light that would be eligible. How do I actually enter them in WLM?

(I thought WLM was only taking place in Ohio this year? When did that change? Was there notice given somewhere? Had I known, I might have actually tried to find monuments around me...) Ed [talk] [en:majestic titan] 21:12, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

Pinging Kevin Payravi :-) Ed [talk] [en:majestic titan] 18:13, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
@The ed17: Hi there! Sorry for the late reply - been a hectic couple of weeks and I lost your ping in my notifications! Since you uploaded those images in September, go ahead and tag them with {{Wiki Loves Monuments 2016|us-mi}} (placed right below the licenses). WLM was indeed going to just be in Ohio, but after receiving national interest and help from California, it was changed to nation-wide at the very last minute :) The primary notice was a central notice that lasted throughout the month. Let me know if I can help in any other way. Cheers, ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 22:11, 15 October 2016 (UTC)
@Kevin Payravi: Thanks for the info! :-) Ed [talk] [en:majestic titan] 22:33, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Incorrect WLM division[edit]

This image (File:Ben's.jpg) of Ben's Chili Bowl belongs in WLM 2016 in Washington, DC, not New York. ----DanTD (talk) 16:43, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

@DanTD: Fixed, thank you! ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 23:10, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for correcting it. Also, this one (File:Faneuil Hall, Boston, Evening.jpg) belongs in WLM 2016 in Massachusetts, rather than New York. ----DanTD (talk) 16:24, 15 November 2016 (UTC)
@DanTD: I'm late, but fixed! Thank you. ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 10:57, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

A critique of the elected winning photo for WLM USA 2016[edit]

Hi WLM USA organizers/jurors,

I noticed the elected winner for WLM USA (left image below). The reflection is fake! It is even stated in the file page description. It is derived from the picture to the right, which shows the monument is positioned on a concrete base. I am flabbergasted that the jury has chosen to select a grossly manipulated photo as the winner. Has no-one noticed this during the selection process?

Let me point out that I have nothing at stake here personally. I have not submitted a single photo for WLM this year, but I have been a juror in one of the national contests. I just find it a gross oversight to select a winner with an artifical reflection. -- Slaunger (talk) 21:27, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

The image is also a left/right reversal (the hammer for the bell is on the wrong side). The sky/surrounds are heavily Photoshopped/smudged, and some of this smudging has encroached on the monument itself (at the left/right edges and the very top especially). The monument is oversharped such that there's a clear 1px bright halo surrounding it. I can't see how the image has the educational / encyclopaedic value that is supposed to be a factor for WLM judging. It's a nice image, but for Flickr. For the sake of transparency, I have submitted a genuine reflection photo to the French WLM. -- Colin (talk) 09:21, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Full agree with Slaunger. I must admit we had similar case at WLE Russia last year, where a photo with a faked bird got finalist, but that fake was by far not as easy to detect. In this case, it is not only that this reflection has an absolutely unrealistic clarity like it was on a mirror (there is hardly anywhere a waterbody providing such clear reflection, afaik), but also the file description clearly states that the reflection is artificially added. So watching this image gives a completely wrong impression of this particular monument for someone who didn't ever see it (like me, for example). Is it really a purpose of WLM to award unrealistic photos? Not to mention the rather poor quality of the photo (both original and derived one) so it is already for this reason a puzzle how it could win the 1st place.
Pinging some WLM-US judges: Daniel Case, Evan-Amos, Frank Schulenburg, Jameslwoodward, as I'm not sure how many people (if ever someone) watching this page... --A.Savin 15:25, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for pinging me. I only participated in the first round of selecting photos for later rounds (which I wouldn't consider as "being part of the jury") and didn't even get through the 5,000 images that I was tasked to review. I don't remember this particular one. In my role as a Commons photographer, I suggest the WLM US jury disqualifies this entry retroactively. However, I leave it up to the WLM US jury – i.e. those who weren't just sifting through masses of snapshots – to decide. Best, --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 16:25, 3 November 2016 (UTC) P.S. Oh, and I also suggest to have the more experienced Commons photographers participate in later rounds of judging as I feel strongly that my expertise could have been put to a better use. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 16:28, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
I was one of the final round judges and noticed it only after it had been selected for first prize, when I went to the image to ensure that it had proper categories -- which it did not. I had put it sixth. Mea culpa. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 16:47, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
It's easy for something like this to slip through. So, IMHO no need to apologize. Just set it straight by disqualifying the image ;-) --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 20:29, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
I was one of the final-round jurors and while I support the idea that this is not the sort of image we should be honoring, disqualifying it would not be fair since we never told anyone submitting pictures that they couldn't edit or manipulate the images, and thus we have no grounds for doing so after the fact. Daniel Case (talk) 20:53, 3 November 2016 (UTC) 
I totally get your point, Daniel. And I also know how hard it is to catch an image manipulation like the one we're talking about. However, the description of the contest says "participants capture cultural heritage monuments and upload their photographs to Wikipedia". I don't think that's what happened with this specific image – someone captured a cultural heritage monument, then created an imaginary version of what's actually non-existant, and finally uploaded the result. I personally don't think the photo we're talking about is a "capture of a cultural heritage monument". That's why I'm suggesting to disqualify the image. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 21:05, 3 November 2016 (UTC) 
Daniel Case, I don't think it is fair to say the rules should have excluded this. The judging criteria for WLM USA is "Photos will be judged by their artistic qualities, perspective, encyclopedic value, and photographic quality.". This image has zero encyclopedic value, particularly so given that there is the (relatively unphotoshopped) original uploaded - any realistic educational use would be met by that image. If the jury believed the image was real, having glanced at the thumbnail only, then disqualification is still reasonable (think Photojournalism awards where they discover the image was staged or altered). It is dubious if it meets COM:SCOPE. -- Colin (talk) 23:27, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
@Colin: Perhaps we should replace it with the unmanipulated version instead? Assuming the photographer is OK with that? Daniel Case (talk) 03:40, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
Daniel I don't think you should replace it unless that copy would have got 2nd place, and it didn't. It is also fairly weak at 100%, with crude photoshopping of the sky and surrounds. -- Colin (talk) 09:01, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
Very, very interesting. Nothing to say. Dishonoured jurors should ban themselves from Commons for months. I thought for years that WLM is a kind of farce, of course this scandal will no help me to change my mind. Regretfully, when I think how I love Commons...--Jebulon (talk) 20:38, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Well, thanks for your opinion. We reviewed these images in Montage, where if we wanted to see the actual page we had to click on a button while we were sifting through thumbnails. I was unaware this one had been manipulated until after the winners had been announced since I never clicked on the actual page. And why? I invite you to take about a day out of your life to look through all 11,354 images submitted. Believe me when I say to you that this one stood out among that pile. Or don't ... review the images yourself.

To extend what I indicated above, not only did we not tell people we didn't want this sort of image, we were not told to exclude it ourselves. I think it is grotesquely unfair of you to suggest that we should "ban [our]selves from Commons for months" over this, especially without knowing or apparently even caring much to know about the judging process and the rules under which images were submitted and judged. Daniel Case (talk) 20:53, 3 November 2016 (UTC)

Sorry, the huge number of candidates in WLM-US is not a good excuse.--Jebulon (talk) 10:31, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
Hey Jebulon, I know you as a constructive participant here on Commons and I totally respect your work. In this specific case I feel like your comment is hurtful to the people who spent hours on judging the contributions. I don't see how your suggestion for the judges to "ban themselves from Commons" is actually contributing to solving the issue at hand. Would you mind apologizing? Best, --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 21:05, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Apologize ? Are you kidding ? Jurors have to apologize !--Jebulon (talk) 10:31, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
If you think that uncivil behavior is something that's accepted here, it's actually not. It's a pity to see that someone who uploads decent quality pictures every now and then is so far off when it comes to community norms. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 00:32, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
"Uncivil behaviour" ? Please don't turn over the matter. As said Colin (almost), what is uncivil is to promote a fake, when serious uploaders spend many time before carefuly and respectfully submitting an image. This is uncivil. And my last comment here.--Jebulon (talk) 10:08, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
Can I suggest Jebulon's suggestion that the jurors "ban themselves from Commons for months" should not be taken too seriously. I have participated in jury on WLM for Bangladesh and the UK in the past. I know what it is like to browse through hundreds of poor photos to find the gems and to spend dozens of hours helping behind the scenes. In the final stages one is selecting from e.g. 100 or from 25 and there is no excuse whatsoever for not looking at all one's selected handful of images full screen and at 100%. Daniel, you have to click your mouse a couple of times to view the images at FPC full screen. While I understand the initial rounds of thousands of images make this too time consuming, when choosing the final 10, is that really too much to ask? -- Colin (talk) 23:27, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Not really serious, indeed. Maybe they (the jurors) could hide for months in a monastery (no matter the religion), stay in bed under the cover, go alone in a small isba in Siberia for next winter, have a rest in the Kerguelen islands or so.--Jebulon (talk) 10:31, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
For many of the finalists, I think I can speak for more than myself when I say that we had seen those images before, in the first round. That was when I did much of my clicking to the file page, often to ascertain if the subject was an eligible monument if I didn't know. Or to include them in a category I knew existed (such as the various "Water reflections" categories, which I did a lot to diversify). Since we had not been told to look for possibly manipulated images, I didn't have that in mind. I may have looked at the winning image only to see what it was of and (I think) verify that it was something in the U.S. listed on the National Register or otherwise with some official heritage designation. No more (And yes, I did exclude pictures of things that are not landmarks, at least not yet—someone seemed to think pictures of a bunch of people parading in Continental Army uniforms was somehow eligible, and being that the contest was held during the September that was the 15th anniversary of 9/11 we got a lot of photos of the memorial in Lower Manhattan and the Freedom Tower. Pretty, but they aren't eligible (although I have no doubt they someday will be). Daniel Case (talk) 16:59, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
I don't doubt that screening photos for being eligible is tedious and sometimes requires close examination. But that's quite a different matter to judging whether an image is in the top ten of the thousands submitted for "artistic qualities, perspective, encyclopedic value, and photographic quality". While these qualities can be judged crudely at thumbnail for the initial rounds, I fail to see how the final rounds would not absolutely require examination of the actual image, not a thumb. But Daniel, you aren't alone. Both this year and in previous years, several countries have picked images that do not stand any scrutiny beyond thumbnail while rejecting spectacular images. What is frustrating is all the huge labour involved in those early screening stages only for the final judging round to wreck it. -- Colin (talk) 17:22, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
As an entrant too, it is worth noting also that each photographer gives up much themselves when taking such photos. Not just their time but also they donate their work for free. For my own genuine reflection photo I spent nearly two hours photographing the castle as the sun set, taking dozens of photos, and then spent hours at home choosing which images to use and laboriously processing them to produce the image I entered. It wins no prize, as far as I'm aware. Such happens in competitions. But please remember not just the feelings of judges who were not careful enough to scrutinise their top 10, but also the feelings of thousands of photographers who get no prizes. They deserve better. -- Colin (talk) 23:27, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Yes. Some years ago, french WLM was a contest like only for newbies in "Commons", and winners were often chosen among "no regulars" for advertising reasons. The goal (claimed) was to welcome in "Commons" new photographers. I think this is the case here, and I guess it will fail. Photographers come for the first time, submit a picture, and will disappear. Criteria were very surprising (not according with the FP or QI rules), IMO a lot of finalists should not have passed even as QI. Here, the pic is a fake, but not only: very visible sharpening white line all around the monument, and CA visible too...--Jebulon (talk) 10:31, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
Well, imo, there is absolutely nothing wrong in disqualifying this photo. It may be seen as unfair to its uploader, in case they are already aware of the current result; but on the other hand, keeping it as 1st placed would be a bad signal, since this could encourage future participants to upload similar fakes and we had then a contest of "best Photoshopped photo of Cultural Heritage" instead of "best photo of Cultural Heritage" as it should be. Currently, we already have had a postfactum correction of WLM Georgia results, where they originally missed some part of photos contributed to the contest so that they had not been reviewed, and the new results are now slightly different; so the precedent is there. The jury of WLM-US should actually have some kind of a shortlist, so that a re-review would be relatively easy: move the 2nd placed to 1st place, the 3rd placed to 2nd place and so on, and choose the new 10th placed photo amongst the best photos from the shortlist.
And needless to say, of course, that I find Jebulon's comment pretty inappropriate, as I am — even given all the disappointment about the selection of a faked photo — not tended to assume any kind of bad faith by anyone from the U.S. jury, which otherwise probably did a good job, or at least not worse one rather than any other national jury. It is also a puzzle to me how can WLM be in general a farce. WLM itself is a great idea; and only a particular national jury and/or organization comitee can be seen as failed. --A.Savin 21:30, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
I did not assume any bad faith, but no, the US jury did not "a good job", regarding the final result.--Jebulon (talk) 10:31, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
I think the biggest problem with WLM is the "winning" image selection, not the concept or image-gathering itself. WLM generates thousands of photos that I'm sure many will be put to good use and a small number of contributors will stay and continue uploading. But in terms of "great photos of cultural heritage sites", FPC produces more and better every single week, and requires less admin and no cash prizes. So it depends how you look at WLM and what you think it for. If you look at it as a photo competition to select fantastic images of buildings, I agree with Jebulon, I'm afraid. Each year, I buy the UK "Landscape Photographer of the Year" book, for the wonderful inspiring images it contains. I wouldn't buy a WLM book. And that's a shame. -- Colin (talk) 23:27, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Sure.--Jebulon (talk) 10:31, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
Interesting points Colin. Something else to keep in mind is the number of photos that end up being copyright violations, needing cleanup, aren't in scope, etc., which takes up editors' time. I've always viewed WLM as not a generator of the best images, but something that helps preserve history and publicize the project. That value could shift with time, too. Back when the Commons lacked photos of thousands of U.S. NRHP sites, WLM could arguably provide "more benefit" than now, when most NRHP sites are photographed. That being said, I personally see WLM as a net-positive: hundreds of photos for Wikipedia, photos of new sites, photos of sites as they have aged, photos of sites from new angles, and so on. You're right when you see it "depends how you look at WLM and what you think it for." ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 23:58, 3 November 2016 (UTC)

Hi all - I'm Kevin, one of the organizers of WLM in the United States. First, thank you all for the feedback! Second, I'd like to apologize for the confusion and disappoint this has caused. As one of the organizers, I'd like to provide my perspective and thoughts:

  • The selection of the top-10 results from the judging of over 11,000 photos in just a few weeks. I have the utmost thanks and gratefulness to give to our jury, who took a lot of their own free time to help judge these 11,000 photos. Jebulon, your remarks shock me. I see this as weight to be placed on us organizers of the event, not the jury - we were in charge of coming up with the rules, enforcing the rules, defining the judgement criteria, and delivering the photos to the jury to be judged. All those points could have been done better by us organizers, so I'd like to re-iterate my apology regarding that. I see no dishonor for the work the jury has done, and to even suggest a "self-ban" is ridiculous. Ultimately, we're all volunteers here. As fun, motivational, and high-profile the contest is, in my mind, the most important and impactful part of the event is the gathering of free photos of cultural and historical sites, and raising awareness of the Commons and its cause. That's why we're all here, and that's why I wanted to see Wiki Loves Monuments hosted in the United States in 2016...not that that detracts from the importance of a good and fair judgement process, of course.
  • I see two potential outcomes to this:
    • We keep the top-10 as is. As Daniel mentioned, "not only did we not tell people we didn't want this sort of image, we were not told to exclude it ourselves." Such a photo was never explicitly disallowed in the rules, and ultimately the winning photo was delivered to Round 3 by us organizers. Disqualifying the photo could be unfair to our winner, who is aware that he has won. The international team has been made aware of the image's manipulation prior to their judging process.
    • We disqualify the winning photo, and move each of the current placements up a position (we do have a shortlist, as A.Savin mentioned). I think the majority (if not all) of our final-round jury was not aware that the photo was heavily edited, something that would have changed the final results. We did have the judgement criteria of "encyclopedia value," which can impact the judgement of a manipulated photo. As A.Savin mentioned, maintaining the current winner could set precedent for future contests.
  • What we (the organizers) will do is work with our jury and international team to figure out the best way to proceed, taking into account the feedback left here. Again, thank you for the feedback.
  • Perhaps most importantly, is to ensure something like this doesn't happen in the future. For future Wiki Loves Monuments in the United States, things to ensure happen include:
    • A more clearly defined set of rules that sets clear boundaries on what kind of image editing/manipulation is or isn't allowed
    • A more clearly defined set of judgement criteria for the jury to use
    • Images in the final rounds will be combed over more closely for issues before judgement (for copyright, editing, etc.)
    • More people involved with the event organization.
    • A more balanced jury, to strike a better balance of judgement that takes into account technical vs. artistic vs. encyclopedic value. As Frank suggested, we could have a "more experienced Commons photographers participate in later rounds of judging."
    • For the final round(s) of judgement, the jury can be asked to more closely analyze each photo. The Montage tool, for example - as great as it is, the final round could ask judges to analyze each photo through its Commons file page, so that the full-resolution version is readily available, as well as the description of the image.

Again: thank you for the feedback, and I'm sorry for the disappointment this has caused! At this point I hope we can come up with the best possible solution. Updates will be posted here. ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 23:03, 3 November 2016 (UTC)

Kevin Payravi See my comments above. I disagree that community judges would be unaware of COM:SCOPE and your criteria "Photos will be judged by their artistic qualities, perspective, encyclopedic value, and photographic quality." includes both "encyclopedic value" (none here) and "photographic quality" which I interpret as "looking at the image in more than thumbnail!". See my other comments about considering the feelings of entrants, not just of judges. -- Colin (talk) 23:27, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
@Colin: Noted - good points on all fronts, thank you :) Will definitely take them into account. ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 23:48, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Kevin, you and your team have done a great job organizing this event in the US. In an environment where interactions are based on good faith, image-manipulations of this scale are extremely rare and not easy to detect for the judges. I really like how responsive and committed you are – I'm impressed by the timeliness of your response above and I also like your constructive and thoughtful approach to changing the rules for future contests. Finally, I have to admit that I'm a big fan of Wiki Loves Monuments and I hope that we keep benefiting from thousands of great images year after year. My apologies that I wasn't able to complete my first-round judging. The number of images was just too overwhelming for me. Again, thanks so much for your and your team's effort. Without your enthusiasm and hard work WLM US 2016 might not have happened. Other than that, I agree with Colin that the winning image has no encyclopedic value. However, I think it's up to the jury to decide how to proceed. All the best, --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 23:37, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
@Frank Schulenburg: Thanks for the kind words and feedback :) I regret seeing this result in disappointment and stress, but overall I think the event went well and I'm glad we did it. All this feedback is appreciated - and if anyone else has new thoughts to provide on how to either proceed with this year's nominations or next year's process, please provide them! ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 00:02, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
I think all of WLM should review whether external judges are helping, as my feedback from some other WLMs is that they don't share our values nor are interested in examining the technical quality at all. I think a basic requirement on quality, for a global image competition, should be "Could I print this to professional standard in an A4 photography magazine or in a coffee table book". I fear for some countries, the entrants are so poor that that requirement can't be met, but for the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, etc, etc all no excuses given the high quality of images from those countries submitted regularly on Commons. I feel that WLM requires an awful lot of admin and that the community do a good job with the early rounds of judging, but all too often the final selection is an embarrassment frankly. This isn't just unique to USA and not just about photo manipulation. Many of the images in the top 10 of many countries every year are just dreadful and obviously dreadful even at screen resolution (some don't even fill a screen) never mind 100%. So there's a real issue with lack of professional quality standards expected of the winning images. Competitions if they select great pictures will get publicity which will attract greater photographers next year and so on. Currently I think WLM is on a spiral the wrong way, where talented careful photographers decide not to bother with it. I would like a WLM where the photo magazines and national newspapers proudly display the winning images and interview the winning photographers. There's no fundamental reason why that can't be the case. -- Colin (talk) 09:10, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
the fundamental reason why it cannot be the case, is that you are expecting professional photo curation from amateurs. given the burnout in running this contest in the US, resulting in having no contest some years, there needs to be a permanent WLM management with grant support. you should expect with no support, there will be outcomes such as this going forward. Slowking4 § Richard Arthur Norton's revenge 12:43, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
That's simply not true. Other quality forums on Commons encourage and produce far better and consistently professional images on a regular basis, without money and without WMF support. Just look at FP or Photo Challenge and you will see amateurs reviewing images and selecting high quality photos. I don't see what adding "management" to the issue would achieve and in my experience the management has been good. The WLM project has historically chosen very mixed winners with a result that those who volunteered as helpers and those who enter get disillusioned. Perhaps there needs to be a change in the way finalists are selected. -- Colin (talk) 12:53, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
those other venues are inner directed, and have not bought into the WLM mission. in my experience, without leadership, change does not happen. you saw the hiatus in WLM-US; what makes you think it will not happen again? what makes you think a volunteer run WLM quality assessment will improve ? Slowking4 § Richard Arthur Norton's revenge 16:18, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
Because unlike you, I see no reason why "volunteer run" == low quality. Indeed, some of our expert judges have been quite hopeless. Photo Challenge isn't "inner directed" and my hunch is it has recruited and retained more photographers to Commons than any WLM has. -- Colin (talk) 17:24, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
This turned out to get much more attention than I had anticipated when I stated my critique. If I try to summarize the discussion above I see certain recurring points
  • The amount of images to review is overwhelming
  • In hindsight, the review process resulted in a wrong winner
  • The tools to support the review process are non-optimal
  • There was not sufficient focus on quality assurance in the last round
  • There is a lack of general guidelines for WLM for jurors and organizers and expectations are quite unclear
  • The current selection process of winners is in general discouraging for contributors who invest a lot of time and effort in submitting encyclopedic images of high technical quality.
  • Not enough volunteer reviewers with actual experience in reviewing images in the last stages.
  • A lot of good intentions.
I have been a juror in a national WLM this year as well. For the particular country I think the review process went very well, and I am pretty happy about the pictures that ended up in top ten given the initial material. It was the first time this country participated in WLM. A few proposals for a good review that you may want to consider next year
  • The organizer proposed that we should use Commons:Montage for the review process. I objected as it was too difficult to see the images sufficiently large in that tool as a juror, the organizer took the critique on board and went for the more mature Commons:WLX Jury Tool. Here view of images using about 70% of the screen is supported + some navigation. This is a good size for screening.
  • +8000 photos were submitted, but the organizer did an automated prescreening, where all mages of a too low resolution (I think the threshold was set around 2 Mpixels) were discarded. Copyvios are also often low resolution, so in the first round there were a little less than 2000 images to be screened by the jurors.
  • They approx. 2000 prescreened images were split among 4 jurors (all reviewers at COM:QIC and/or COM:FPC), such that each image had two pair of eyes. This meant that in round 1, a little over 1000 pics had to be screened by each reviewer with a yes/no vote. We were instructed to select 1-200 images, each, and if a single juror had voted yes on an image it would go on to round 2. In hindsight I think this should have been down to just 100 per reviewer as the number of images to review in the next round became too large and time-consuming. I could easily have boiled it down to 100 pics at this stage, as very many had obvious faults, like bad tilt, perspective, blown sky, bad crop, bad light, low value, strong CA, poor quality. This was actually a quite fast process, it only took me about 1.5 hours and I felt pretty sure not to discard gems in this process. And even if I did, the other pair of juror eyes would probably catch it.
  • The third round was the most time consuming, as here a rating 1-10 in steps of 0.5 was to be given to each of the remaining approx 1000 images, and we were encouraged to write review comments. I ended up spending a very long time on this step, opening many images in full resolution to look at them in detail, write comments, and in hindsight, I do not think we needed the comments at this stage, and if the screening in round 1 had been harder, it would have been even faster. At this stage it was again four QIC/FPC reviewers doing most of the reviews.
  • The organizer then took the sum of the votes (I assume that is what happened), and applied a threshold such that only the about 100 best rated went on to round 3.
  • In round three two local jurors joined with local knowledge about the monuments and each juror was allowed to select 5 images for round 4. This was a very fast process, and from round 2, you already knew which were the best images. At this stage I would say it would be adequate to add comments to the five pics you have selected such that you can communicate to other jurors what is particularly good and posssibly a weakness about this picture. And the five you pick should be scrutinized and assessed in full resolution including a quick check of the file page, including categorization. If a picture was picked by at least one juror it survived to the last round. About 30 got to the last round
  • In round 4, same 4+2 jurors, each were allowed to cast a vote 20, 19, 18, ... 1 on each of the 20 best pictures thereby ranking the remaining candidates. The organizers would then rank the 10 best by their accumulated scores from the six reviewers. I think this was a good process and not too overwhelming.
-- Slaunger (talk) 22:27, 5 November 2016 (UTC)

After consultation with the entire judging panel, the consensus leaned towards keeping the first-place image as-is and that is the decision us organizers have decided upon. We had six jury members !vote against disqualification, and another two (+Frank here) !vote for disqualification. Five abstained. The jury was provided a link to this discussion, as well as a summary of the key points of argument from both sides. This decision comes with the acknowledgement that the organizational and jury process will be improved for future contests.

Here are some of the summarizing points as to why the image is being kept:

  • It is unfair to the winner to be disqualified for something that the rules of the contest (unintentionally) set up to allow.
  • We don't all agree that the photo deserves to win, but this decision respects the defined process. A loophole / grey area may not warrant an overturning of the result.
  • The image edit was disclosed by the image's author on the file's page. At that point, it was the responsibility of us organizers to have caught the editing during pre-screening. Taking the award away would be in bad taste.
  • There was no specified weight for each of the judging criteria: while encyclopedic value was one criteria, jury members could technically place more value on the artistic appeal of an image if that's what they perceived as more valuable for the contest.

I know there are refutations for some of the above points, as well as several very valid reasons for disqualifying the image. Feel free to continue to discuss them (and thank you for doing so up through now!), though please keep in mind that this decision is effectively final. The top-ten have been sent to the international jury, and they are aware of the editing done to our winning image.

As previously mentioned, I think the most important thing to take away from all this is how we can improve the event in the future, and how we can ensure that this sort of thing doesn't happen again. I've copied over the key improvement points that I have identified from above, with some additions and modifications:

We're also looking to open a discussion with the international WLM team about how to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future, for any country...whether this be a common ruleset for all countries to follow (or at least voluntarily adapt), or a better set of resources for organizers to utilize.

I know this decision may please some and disappoint others; I know there is disappointment regardless. I regret any disappointment this caused, especially to any WLM contributors who feel slighted. I'd like to reiterate my apology on behalf of the national team for this incident. Everyone contributed fantastic photographs, and we only wish we could select more winners!

As important as a fair contest is, I do also view it as one component of the entire event. Wiki Loves Monuments provides thousands of valuable and encyclopedic photos of historical and cultural sites. They may not be of the highest quality, especially compared to other Commons projects and initiatives. While we strive for quality photographs, simply covering and preserving history and culture is another huge component. For WLM-US this year, we not only included National Register sites, but also state- and local-level designated sites. I think this was my favorite part of the event - many participants uploaded photos of locally-designated sites that we otherwise didn't have photographs of, which is great! While this contest may have ended with controversy, I think the event as a whole still succeeded in gathering and preserving some great sites here in the United States, while also raising the visibility of the Commons and its mission to the general public. Another positive of the event was that most of our WLM contributors here in the United States were first-time uploaders. Even if only a small minority stay, exposing more people to the Commons is a great outcome.

Hopefully next year, if and when WLM happens again in the United States, we will see a similar turnout of participants + have a much better jury system that better showcases everyone's contributions' :) I hope this turns into something positive for making improvements in the future, for both this contest and others.

I'd like to thank everyone who has been involved with this discussion up until this point. Please feel free to post thoughts and replies below, especially regarding how the contest could be improved in the future. Cheers! ~Kevin Payravi (talk) 09:18, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

  • Thanks for making this summary, Kevin Payravi. I support your concluding remarks and I also respect the decision not to disqualify the winner. As you state yourself, the contributor of the winning photo has in no way deliberately tried to deceive the jury as it was clearly stated in the file description that the image had an artificial reflection. The contributor has acted in good faith and they should not be stripped the reward as the guidelines were not clear. It is not the first time a jury has overlooked important aspects on a candidate in evaluating it, and it will not be the last time either. I think that since the international jury has explicitly been informed about the artificial reflection in this image, there is a good chance this will not set a bad precedent in the international contest this year. I also agree there is much more to WLM than the competition alone, but it is very off-putting for more serious contributors. I don't contribute with nominations, except a single one last year, simply because what ends up as winners appears very surprising at times for many countries year after year after year. This incident has again shown us that there is a general need for better guidance to the national organizers - not just for USA - and for developing a WLM best practise. I think there are weaknesses in the selection process in many countries, simply because evaluation criteria are not established and written down, and due to a lack of qualified reviewers and good tools. I am Facepalm (yellow).svged by several other winners in other national WLM contests this year, where it is just shockingly bad photographs, which has won, without being deliberate alterations of the real monuments though. -- Slaunger (talk) 12:23, 13 November 2016 (UTC)