Nice chat with someone from FourDocs
(http://www.channel4.com/fourdocs/) yesterday, about freeing content
or at least making it a useful resource for our projects.
"We'd love our stuff on Wikipedia. It's all Creative Commons!" They've
released a pile of documentaries under CC by-nc-nd, which is about as
paralysingly unfree as you can get and still tag it CC. We talked
about really-free-content licences - where you can take something and
reuse and remix it, and even make money off the result, without prior
permission - and how scary they are to those who've spent years
learning the ridiculous twists and turns needed to clear a piece of
footage for a single with-permission use.
That FourDocs could even manage CC-by-nc-nd with streaming only (not
downloadable files) was remarkable given the state of movie copyright.
Even the BBC, which is all about the content, has about half the staff
keen to release everything freely and widely and the other half
horrified at the idea.
Today's question: what the hell can we do to come up with something
big content producers will feel able to release under an actually free
licence? Something they can feel safe to relax control on? If we can
get one, we can get more. What can we do to get that first one?
(Thanks for not much to Creative Commons for making some versions of
CC by-sa 3.0 - not all, just some - not actually free licenses, with
onerous codification of moral rights that are default anyway in the
countries affected. Well done. And then you have wikis using licenses
like by-nc-nd that are nonsensical in a wiki context - thinking a No
Derivatives license doesn't contradict the whole idea of text anyone
can edit, because it's Creative Commons. Stallman was right again.)
This stems from discussion in the Commons IRC channel last night, and has my
own thoughts expanded somewhat.
Both of the procedures are somewhat broken, they basically come down to the
opinions of the reviewers. I feel the current system somewhat
disenfranchises people who are not regulars; both when nominating imagery or
when commenting on nominees. Part of this is it is *extremely vague* what
the two processes actually want.
Ignoring the difficulties that multiple languages bring lets compare the
English-language guidance for the three processes of interest to
English-language contributors: 1. Commons FPC, 2. Commons QI and 3. the
English WP FPC.
Firstly, COM FPC. It has two sections providing information to help people
inexperienced with the process:
[[COM:FPC#Guidelines for nominators]] and [[COM:FPC#Guidelines for
The first gives *very* brief details about what sort of imagery is expected
and the second drones on and on about technical details. This makes it hard
for new users to begin participating in either side of the process. A lot of
the votes are [[w:WP:IDONTLIKEIT]] or [[w:WP:ILIKEIT]], which isn't
objective - and leads to inconsistency (it depends who votes and what they
like). For example, images of animals taken in a zoo are frowned by some
regulars upon *merely* for being in a zoo. It is not clear from the criteria
why it is a big deal, or if it should be a big deal. Likewise, if you have a
stunning picture of an unidentified beetle, it will fail for being
unidentified - it is not clear from the guidance *why*.
Next, COM QI. This process is designed to be below FP - and is treated that
way. Unlike FPC it has a whole page giving useful guidance on the sort of
things that should be expected of a QI at [[Commons:Quality images
guidelines]]. These focus solely on the technical stuff, which seems
reasonable as QI is about the technical quality of the imagery first and
Finally, en FPC which I'm using this for comparative purposes here. Compared
to its counterpart on Commons, enwp FPC seems a much more hospitable
environment for new contributors. There is clear guidance on what is
expected at [[w:WP:WIAFP]]. The comments tend to be significantly more
wordy. Even more positively, when images show flaws regulars there will
often upload edited versions. Currently there are 46 images on COM FPC and
36 on enwp FPC. Over 12 of the en nominations have multiple images, but I
only count about 5 versions with edits on COM FPC.
My conclusion from all this is that enwp FPC is a more collegial process
than Commons. Of course its not perfect, but there are clearly lessons to
learn which we should apply. The fact it is English-only and we are
multilingual is a hindrance for us, but we can work with that. One thing I
noticed, and I think is bizarre is the following. On enwp FPC there is a
section [[w:WP:FPC#Is my monitor calibrated correctly?]] This gives
instructions to on how to carry out gamma correction; which is of key
importance before you can assess technical quality. COM:QI uses one of the
image on its guidelines page. COM FPC doesn't even mention it.
Actually, after an examination of what we "on paper" want from QIC and FPC,
I believe QIC has the more concrete definition and it is *harsher*. This is
clearly back to front. QI is the lesser of the two simply because of
inconsistency in review; its process is designed that way.
Anyway, that's my thoughts on the problems as they currently exist with
these processes. Now what to do about them?
Firstly, lets get Featured picture *criteria* analogous to en's WIAFP.
Obviously our requirements are different (encyclopedic value isn't a major
issue), but a set of concise, precise criteria makes it easier for all
people with any interest in the process. I'll expand on my thoughts as to
what we should include further on. The guidance for monitor calibration
should be copied across ASAP for the obvious reasons.
Secondly, reform is needed in how FP works. If the criteria become more
transparent and less precedent based, that encourages a broader community
giving input. Basically, we want positive feedback given and when a minor
fix is possible, for example reducing noise, ideally it should be carried
out by a reviewer; and the other voters would then review the edit. As well
as improving the atmosphere on the process - it will also improve the
quality of the output.
QIC is in better shape, but needs simplification and clarification. Is it
only about technical quality? If so it should say that. If not what else
matters? If it is only about technical content, should we really expect
everything to be *perfect* - what is reasonable leeway? How about some
enforcement of consistency allow a transparent method of review for
uploaders to say "I disagree with the review by X, I think it was a QI".
As for FPC: Here's my thoughts as to initial criteria - in no order of
1. Technical quality. Any FP should be able to pass the QI guidelines on
this front, and probably held to even tighter rules. It might be worth
explicitly stating low-resolution is bad.
2. Licensing. We don't actually *say* the image must be free. If we do, we
might actually get the reviewers investigating that properly...
3. A good caption: at a minimum the info needed for a POTD description. If
geo-data would be helpful, it should be included.
4. Value of image. We want to reward good images of difficult subjects and
we should probably give really hard subjects a bit of leeway on technical
quality to get it.
5. Neutrality and accuracy. This would be particularly relevant to maps and
similar images, but would be true for photographs too. In general, the image
should not promote a specific agenda or POV.
I am currently working on a new project to create an annotated, illustrated
version of the Iliad by Homer. I have done the first book, using images from
Commons, and linking terms to the appropriate Wikipedia articles. I need help
and ideas for images for the remaining books. If you have suggestions, please
let me know, or better yet, add them to the wikisource Iliad at
_http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Iliad_ (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Iliad) . For an exa
mple of how it should look, see
_http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Iliad/Book_I_ (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Iliad/Book_I) .
Here is an ideal opportunity to integrate three projects, Wikipedia,
Wikisource, and Commons to produce something that is bigger than the sum of the
three. Your help is greatly appreciated.
************************************** AOL now offers free email to everyone.
Find out more about what's free from AOL at http://www.aol.com.
I want to proudly announce that we have harvested more than 2.5 GB of photos
on 'Metalmania 2007' festival :)
In next few weeks Commons will gain photos of metal bands listed here:
If anybody want to help in recognizing band members, etc. please contact me
I'm waiting for wikipedia encyclopedia. I hear its going to be very
in-depth with lots of articles!
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2007 01:14:02 +1100
From: "Brianna Laugher" <brianna.laugher(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Commons-l] Getting our content out there
To: "Wikimedia Commons Discussion List"
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
On 25/03/07, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> On 3/24/07, Brianna Laugher <brianna.laugher(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > Ubuntu desktops:
> > http://art.ubuntu.com/main.php?g2_itemId=592
> > (although 'Wikipedia Commons'... argh...almost!)
> I suspect thats a battle that we're not going to win. ;)
> Perhaps we should change our name to match perceptions?
>I agree. And also 'Wikipedia Books', 'Wikipedia Source Library',
>'Wikipedia News', 'Wikipedia Dictionary' and of course all managed by
>the 'Wikipedia Foundation'.
Anyone seen this? This site seems to do NOTHING but mirror Wikimedia
Commons! (plus add fancy gadgets and drop the technical-license speak)
I found it by accident during a vanity search when it claimed these
two photos were mine:
pictures on your userpage must be BY you...)
anyway click on the coloured graph and try out the 'find
similar-coloured pictures' - now that's pretty cool!
the 'popular searches' are quite amusing, because 99% of them must
have 0 results.
their search also seems quite shit in general.
really weird stuff.
mostly I take this as a sign that Commons is suffering because of the
limitations of the current MW implementation, which has no fancy
gadgets for images and no easy handling of them. Goddamit, it is
frustrating to have all this fantastic content and feel that no one
knows about it because it's too hard to access. GRRRRRRRRR. This site
should not be able to exist because WE should be able to do the fancy
some of it at least.
as it happens, I found some other photos actually by me being used in
mention of license: no
attribution: no? (mouseover text??)
mention of license: no
mention of license: YES! linked, even
we have a winner.
link: yes (to de.wp image page, close enough)
mention of license: yes, and linked
(maybe a german speaker can tell me something about this site?)
mention of license: yes
wikipedia content appears in a crazy number of places.
anyone else find their photographs in a home beyond commons?
Sexually explicit imagery is a problem for Wikimedia in general, and we have
had child pornography uploaded to Commons (and presumably other projects) in
the past. We can't prevent the upload of underage imagery, but we should do
our best. See further discussion at the Village Pump:
We may not be able to meet the legal requirements of that US law, and if we
cannot we certainly should have a disclaimer stating that - I've had an
attempt at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Nilfanion/2257 At the very
least, such a disclaimer helps downstream users of our content avoid legal
issues of their own.
Even if we cannot create records satisfactory for legal purposes, we have a
moral obligation to confirm as best we can. To that end, it might be
beneficial to create a special OTRS queue; we could then have a record
asserting that the image is legal. That way we will know to our own
satisfaction, which given the nature of many of the penis pics on Commons is
a lot better than the status quo.
To avoid fragmentation of the discussion, it is probably best to discuss
this on-wiki at the VP.