User talk:Nilfanion/Galleries

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I've got a few thoughts on this idea.

  1. It seems to be too specific and only applies to one type of gallery. It recommends specific file sizes and encourages users to be selective and not include all relevant photos. That may be applicable to some types of gallery, but is completely inapplicable to a gallery like Iowa State Senators of the 84th General Assembly which should be complete and where the size of the files is going to be driven, in large part, by the fact that there are a certain number of photos to be displayed.
    Your post, at least, suggests that galleries should be dynamic and change with time. For galleries like my example, that is not true - such a gallery can be completed (once the relevant term of office is over) and should rarely, if ever, be changed after it is completed.
    Actually, I don't know where I got this idea, it seems to have not been your essay.
  2. Your page seems to suggest (in the section about image size) that low-quality images should not be used. That is only the case if there are usable high-quality images to use in their place - that may not always be the case. It would be better to say that high-quality images should be preferred to low-quality images. Imagine a gallery where the only available photo of a topic central to the theme of the gallery was low-quality. Such an image is still preferred to having no image at all.
  3. It suggests that galleries be monolingual. Isn't there a feature that allows for multilingual features with only one language being visible at a time? I don't know where it is or how it works, but I think there is one.
  4. Why not take advantage of the feature in galleries that allows you to specify a size for the images? You don't really explain why that is insufficient.
    Perhaps you did meant to suggest that the gallery tag should still be used. That should be clarified if it is the case.

Anyway, just a few points to ponder. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 21:30, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

A few modifications to my post after a more careful reading. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 21:38, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

I actually agree with most of the above (and I thought my essay did say as much), but my writing skills have gotten slack lately. In response to your points:
  1. Stating the need to be "comprehensive" is something I overlooked, which is partially the result of the initial angle I took. Clearly when there are a discrete number of sub-topics like Iowa State Senators of the 84th General Assembly, that dictates some of what should be included. That's not necessarily all of it though - tere may be justification for shots beyond simple portraits there too. Group shots, the seal of the Illinois senate and so on perhaps? As an aside - Navigational templates are something we need too, your example would benefit from links to the previous/next senates. Mine to adjacent villages etc. And you still need to have a degree of selectivity - you want one portrait of each senator, if you had 4 high quality ones (eg annual pictures), you'd choose the best for the purpose.
  2. My section on image size isn't referring to the quality of the files themselves, but the size of the thumbnail on the gallery: Saying 120px wide images (size from default gallery tags) are bad, and should be at least 220px to be better than the 220px thumbs used on WP. Size is not same as quality either of course. Probably should rephrase (changing to "thumbnail size" might be enough) :)
    Noticed that the senator photos are "low" resolution. In that sort of case, its best to fix the size to a standard as you have done, boosting thumb size in that case would make the pictures look worse, not better..
  3. Language support is one thing I'm really not impressed with current handling (see my crit of the London gallery) - I believe only one language should be displayed at a time, I'd like every language supported. My section on Languages goes into a bit more detail on it. I don't think there is a perfect method available at present. The workaround I'd propose is basically the style of the pre-autotranslate templates (like this). That is have a language bar at top with all available languages, and have the French/German/Dutch/English/whatever versions on seperate subpages. Langauge selection, which I think is what you are referring to, is just as unwieldy as seperate pages, results in spurious "English:" tags all over the place (even if you do remove all French info) and requires every language's text to be loaded in full. That last massively increases the size of the page, slowing viewing speeds.
  4. Again, this is poor writing on my part in image size section. The image size section says the default gallery tag shouldn't be used and I should expand that to say how the width/height tags should be applied. Gallery tags may be inappropriate for unusual aspect ratio images, such as panoramas. Its possible multiple panos could be put in a gallery, but they certainly shouldn't be included with normal shaped images.
Thanks for feedback :)--Nilfanion (talk) 22:32, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Looks like you've put a decent amount of thought into this.  :) I like galleries, even if I haven't edited them outside of my own projects, so I appreciate this effort! I like/agree with most of what you say here.
  1. Good idea on the group shots/logos/etc. I hadn't thought of that - I guess even a "fixed" gallery will have potential room for improvement/editorial selectivity in those ways. I'm handling the "multiple pictures" thing rather easily because there's just one official photo per person per General Assembly, but other galleries may have more choices than that. I also agree about navigation templates - do you know if any good ones exist? I can just code one myself or borrow code from an en.wikipedia template, but perhaps it'd be best to have an established set of Gallery templates. Perhaps at Category:Gallery namespace templates (subcat of Category:Commons templates by namespace)? But that's may be beyond the scope of your proposal... --Philosopher Let us reason together. 23:20, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I'll have a look at amending the essay tomorrow, too tired to think straight now :)
Other galleries will likely have more choice than yours, eg Presidents of the United States. The reason I emphasised about being selective so much is when you have an excessive numbers of pics, the choice is very hard. Try going through your last set of holiday snaps and pick the best 3.
Actually navigation in general (and not just via templates) is worth considering. For instance the ideal form of your senator gallery would link to other Commons galleries preferably (instead of Commons categories or Wikipedia) so if you click on the link to Jack Kibbie you find more pictures of him. Category:Navigational templates is the starting point, galleries should have their own sub-category - copying from category or WP navigation templates is logical if you can't find what you want here already.--Nilfanion (talk) 00:00, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
True points. Thanks for the link to the nav templates, I'll see if I can find one that will work. Ideally for the links, we should link both to the local gallery (what has he looked like) and to the Wikipedia article (who is he). Creating such local galleries is so far down my to do list that it'll probably never happen, though. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:33, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

more comments[edit]

  1. Please replace links to "bad" galleries with links to specific revisions (pages can change, can't they?).
  2. There is an already existing convention for taxa galleries (a very large number of pages). Contrary to your suggestion, this convention uses standard thumbnail sizes, and contains multi-language elements ({{VN}}).
  3. As you said, caption and even section headers must be in a single language (anything else just won't fit), but surely the header can be in different languages? As long as the number of languages is limited, it's no big deal. London, with almost half of its screen taken by header, is quite extreme, but not really bad.
  4. Oversized gallery thumbnails are an eyesore. Yours truly prefers to see as much as possible on a single screen, so although 120x120px is the standard, I'd prefer 80x80px on my (good) screen at home and 100x100px on a (not so good) office screen (that's for "regular" photos, not panoramics). You need far more opinions (and a wide variety of hardware) to make usability judgements.
  5. Another argument against oversized thumbnails: categories show small pics. Toolserver tools show small pics. File upload histories and upload forms use small pics. Is there a compelling reason for breaking the convention?
  6. Tangential issue: interwikis. What (category, gallery) on commons should be linked to what (category, article) on wikipedias? (plural: one wikipedia has an article on a subject, another has a category, yet another has both article and category...).
  7. I agree with your advice on structure and selection, - they need better emphasis in the beginning (examples are great, but awkwardly placed in the very bottom). Think of a simple "four bullet points" mnemonic, hammering simple statements into the reader:

NVO (talk) 13:03, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

  1. Good point :)
  2. Is convention codified anywhere - link would be handy? Differences are differences, and part of point here is to present a contrarian POV :)
  3. I assume you mean the main page header? Yes, I suppose that could be multi-language (including usage of {{VN}}), London's header looks broken at present actually. Multiple language support needs to be in place somehow. The logical way to my mind is via subpages, and possibly copying {{autotranslate}} for that purpose?
  4. My objective is to make the gallery an effective standalone resource. So if Wikipedia reader follows the link here for more media, they get media. The media they view should be "good enough" and it seems counterintuitive to go from small pictures on WP to tiny pictures here. My goal is to make the gallery the equivalent of a photo album, not of an index print, so the casual viewer shouldn't need to click beyond the gallery to get to reasonable viewing sizes. Also bear in mind, small images still need captions. Those captions will be larger than very small thumbs, restricting number of images anyway.
  5. Categories and tools like category intersect are designed to display all relevant media, not a select few, a different purpose to a gallery. They are more equivalent to an index print, in that they are to allow the user to find the image of their choice, not have one chosen for them. The small images on upload tools are for recognition purposes only (Is this the right image? Is this the image same as old one? etc). Both of these are different purposes to presenting an end resource to a viewer. There is no reason for gallery images to have to be the same size as category images, the image size should fit the purpose.
  6. IMO articles should link to galleries (and vice versa), likewise category to category. Ideally no encyclopedic subject should have a category, but no gallery, just as no encyclopedic subject should have a category but no article.
  7. I'm thinking this page needs a rewrite, as those two points (structure and selection) are probably the most crucial things that make the difference between a good and a bad gallery :) I put examples at the end so that the "rules" were clearly explained at start. A 4 bullet point statement might be something like "comprehensive, selective, structured and captions".
In more general terms, usability is something that needs better consideration (both by me and community at large). Guidance on image sizes and language support. There's possibly a need for better underlying tools too: Improved language support, making it easier for logged out users to change viewing size.--Nilfanion (talk) 13:44, 3 December 2011 (UTC)