From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wat Nong Bua in Nan Province, Thailand, is my most favourite temple of all that I keep going back to every time I am in the neighbourhood. This is an old photo, made with an older generation digital camera. It is also oversharpened but fond memories overshadow all that.

Travel, food, and photography are my main interests.

Here's my photo gallery, categorised by country, and sometimes subcategorised by subject: my gallery

All of my contributions to Wikimedia Commons can be viewed here.

Contributions to Wikipedia[edit]

These are some of my contributions that I am happy with:

Contributions to Commons[edit]

Besides contributing images, I also clear up and categorised media, for instance in:

And lots and lots more!

Why I enjoy categorising media here on Wikimedia Commons is because I actually enjoy looking at random photos made by random people of random subjects and then try to understand what I am looking at. Give it a try, you might like it too. I also catch out a lot of copyright violations and other inadmissible files this way.

I reduced the amount of categories that I have been maintaining at a certain moment, because I couldn't be bothered any longer. After once returning from a 3 week holiday, I discovered that too many of the categories on my watchlist have been again flooded with files that do not belong there, mostly because of "category spraying" by mass uploaders and over-categorisation (or just very incorrect categorisation) by newbies whenever a drive for images is organised. Perhaps a new system for categorisation can be implemented eventually which does away with the endless hours and hours of work forced upon volunteers by clueless and/or lazy uploaders? And perhaps a new way of handling uploads from drives to bolster images of certain subjects to Wikimedia Commons can be devised? I have some suggestions!

Why I stopped caring about categories[edit]

Apparently, people here on Wikimedia Commons just prefer to muddle through without much of a system. Everyone can just do what they feel like doing. Fine by me if that is what people want but it made me stop caring about how to streamline the categorisation process, and made me stop caring about many (often intentionally) flooded categories. People botching up categories because they think that it's better that way (like arbitrarily removing two categories that are of the same order as the 50-odd left), doesn't bother me much either any longer. It'll all be ok in the long run. :)

Adopt a "cat" here in Wikimedia Commons[edit]

Categories often get contaminated and/or too full. Please "adopt" a few categories, clear out the loose files, and revisit them regularly for maintenance. By putting them on your watchlist, you also get to see which files are added to them. If everyone does this, categories in Wikimedia Commons would be much easier to navigate, and files would be much easier to find.

Favourite categories[edit]


Food images[edit]

All three irritations show up here in this file: a disgustingly photographed image of an absolutely fake Thai curry. It was made by someone in the USA but of course not originally categorised as such. This is so completely wrong...
  • What irritates me a lot here on Wikimedia, are all the images of pretend-Thai, pretend-Chinese, pretend-Indian et cetera dishes that are uploaded here and used in Wikipedia articles as if they were the real thing. I've also heard these dishes called "faux cuisine" but why not just call them "wrong"? Unlike a California roll, or Balti cuisine, the vast majority of these dishes are never going to become a standard. I wish people would stop uploading things of which they know very little to nothing of.
  • I wish it were possible to have a category for "disgusting images of food". I don't mean a category for food that might seem disgusting but could well be extremely tasty and nicely photographed, but a category for when the photography makes the food look disgusting.
  • Too many people upload images of food without indicating where the food was made. Why??? How, for instance, a matsaman curry looks like in Thailand is completely different from what it looks like in Podunk, Boondocks County. If the photo was made in Podunk, say so! Another example: Pizzas in Italy are very different from pizzas in the US. We want to know the difference, so we want to know where it's made. And not just for food, for anything you upload here on Wikimedia! And also don't just upload to the main category, but try finding (or create) the country category for what you are uploading as this is crucial information for so many reasons. The foremost being to be able to see in which way things might be different due to the local culture in which it is created. So yes, the matsaman curry from Podunk is indeed interesting as it will reflect the local culture. So in future please state where whatever it is you upload was photographed or otherwise created.

General images[edit]

  • Another irritation is caused by users who upload dozens of near-identical images of exactly the same subject, each photo made within seconds of the previous photo. Do they really expect that these images will all be used??? Or are they just unsure which one is good and which one isn't? If that's the case, then probably none of the images are good. Choose one good image and upload just that one please!!! And if you want to document a subject, then please make photos from a very different angle, showing other sides and aspects of the subject.
  • Why do so many people insist on uploading extremely blurry images? Can't they see for themselves how blurry these images are? That these images are virtually unusable?
  • Not very specific locations! Sometimes you see images with a text such as "village in China" shoved into, of course, Category:China. As some might know, China is a big country. It probably has more than a million villages. So at least try to pinpoint it a bit more by stating in which province it is perhaps? The same goes for almost any country except really tiny ones like Liechtenstein. If it doesn't have this information, the image is virtually useless for Wikipedia it's an image of something in an unidentifiable location.

Bloody bots[edit]

Idiot upload bots that robodump 500+ related images into the same set of broadly defined categories whereas they could all have been put into one specific category, which would then be a subcategory of the set of categories. A suggestion to the unimaginative: try making the book title a separate category as most of these images that flood main categories are sets of illustrations that come from a book. I guess the bots themselves are not really to blame for being so idiotic, just the people using them....

Sloppy categorisation[edit]

Some people categorise media that are missing categories in the most simplistic ways apparently because for some reason or other, they are in a hurry. If for instance they see the word "district" in the image title, yep! quickly shove it into "Category:Districts of ..." and it doesn't really matter what else is shown on the image. Even the most gorgeous landscapes that would have been a credit to "Category:Landscapes of ..." are just lost that way until someone else accidentally happens upon them while perusing the "districts of ...." category and actually thinks of checking the categories of the images therein. Unfortunately, that lucky happenstance is not too likely to occur. It is actually a shame that these simplistic categorisors operate here on Wikimedia Commons because their method can cause great images to disappear into somewhat obscure categories where no one would think of looking for them. Some of these categorisors even pride themselves on the huge amount of simplistic edits that they have made, using it as a means of downplaying all well-founded criticism on their lack of true editing skills or lack of patience. If they don't seem to really care about the images that they are so hurriedly shoving into oblivion, then why do they actually do this kind of volunteer work? Is it that they want to further up their edit count as quickly as possible and that that has become an end in itself? Does increasing their edit count so rapidly perhaps in some strange way give them a feeling of personal empowerment? A dopamine kick? We'll probably never find out. I doubt it that they themselves know.
I gave the "quick and dirty" way of categorising media a try for a few images. It just doesn't work and stuff sometimes ends up in incorrect categories. That was the end of this experiment, at least for me. <- Update: I've come to the realisation that this sweeping style of categorisation actually works for processing files that are completely uncategorised. It only stumbles when processing semi-categorised files this way as these often need more "individual" attention to do them (and the Commons category system) justice.

Silly people[edit]

There are some surprisingly silly people busy here on Wikimedia Commons.

Suggestions for food photography[edit]

"Yummy" Thai salad
  • If you want to photograph food, please don't use the flash. Dishes tend to look absolutely disgusting that way. Wait until it's daytime or if its indoors, use a good camera with a sensor that is 1" or bigger, and a bright lens. This will give you good images in low light situations without having to use a flash or having to crank up the ISO so high that you only see a mess of colourful spots resembling a pointillist painting. If you still insist on using a flash, the only good way to do that is to get a photo studio after you've studied photography for a few years, or you could learn how to be very creative with an advanced photo editing program such as Photoshop.
  • When you photograph food from above, please try to get it from exactly above, not from "more or less" above at an 80 or so degree angle which just looks weird. Otherwise, just photograph it from the side.
  • Please have the main subject in focus, and not the background. It's really not that difficult to set the focus point on a modern camera.
  • Try using a normal to moderate tele setting (50mm-90mm in full-frame equivalent) when photographing food unless you really know what you are doing. Wide-angle settings just tend to look weird. Smartphones have very wide angle lenses so most food photos don't look at all good when taken with one but if you practice a bit, they might look pretty decent after all.
  • Move in towards the food so people can actually see what it looks like and what the ingredients are. No one is waiting to see photos that mainly show the table with a bowl of nearly invisible "blob" on it unless it is the whole setting that's your subject. You also don't need to photograph the whole dish either. Photographing only a part of the dish are often easy ways of making a dish look more appealing. I also started out always photographing the whole dish but not any more unless the subjects needs it.
  • When photographing food with artificial lighting, learn how to set the white balance on the camera to adjust for the light source because many cameras get it wrong. Or learn how to compensate for a wrong setting when you edit the image in your computer. Even smartphones can do that nowadays.
  • Most photos that have been made outside in direct sunlight don't look very good due to the extremely high contrast that direct sun will give you. Lighter parts will be extremely white, devoid of colour, and the darker parts of the subject will be nearly or completely black, with not much left in between. Luckily enough, cameras are getting better and better at compensating. But still, photos made in the shade or on a cloudy day, where the light comes from a bright part of the sky but not directly from the sun, tend to have more nuances and therefore make the image look better. Just beware that some shade is actually blueish in colour so again, learn how to use the white balance settings of your camera or compensate for it when editing the image on your computer.

Commons policies and guidelines[edit]