Did someone on Commons really try to pull such crap?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: teun spaans <teun.spaans(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Making Wikimedia Commons less frightening
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Cite: <i>Adding to this, a culture of deletionism and arrogance has
infested Wikimedia Commons in the last year or two. </i>
I think on the whole i can agree with this. And it is not limited to
copyright violations. Commons has turned celf-centered more and more over
the past years.
Out of disgust over its bad organization, i have limited my presence on
commons as much as possible. But one of the last times I logged on, there
was a poll or vote which looked like it was designed to limit voting to hard
code commonists: volunteers had to do at least 20-50 edits a month to be
able to vote. I think it is ridiculous that a small bunch of hard core
volunteers try to lock out those of who are actually contributing the media.
Luckily it was stopped, but mainly on technical grounds, not because it is
ethically incorrect to lock contributors out.
(But may be I am prejudiced, once an enthousiastic supporter of commons, i
nowadays avoid it as much as possible in wiki contexts - which forces me to
use it regularly, much to my charin).
A good question is of cource: why are flickr, webshots and picassa so much
more popular than commons? And: can we create a free alternative that can
compete with them?
Sometimes i wonder if some wikia like organization could do a better
service, with a wider scope of images - if i would try to upload my holiday
pix on commons they would speedily get deleted as "not encyclopedic". But
while some are not encyclopedic, many would qualify for free usage, such as
cities, panoramas, and even some people pix.
I wish you health and happiness,
On Sat, Dec 6, 2008 at 11:31 PM, Lars Aronsson <lars(a)aronsson.se> wrote:
Geoffrey Plourde wrote:
That might be a hell of a incentive to change.
Before we talk
about getting out the torches, I think we should see if we can
make Commons functional. The incentive of being shuttered makes
it more relevant to those who are in denial. I have made two
suggestions on improvements. One is a training program with
specific handling, i.e. no more we delete in 7 days, a different
template that is more collegial. The second is to cross appoint
administrators from underrepresented projects who agree to
undergo a boot camp program. Thoughts?
Maybe we are too fast to discuss solutions now, when we should
first discuss the problem. I brought this up on commons-l before
it spread to foundation-l. With the risk of making myself a
target for "tl;dr" (too long; didn't read), here's the problem
that I see:
Wikipedia in many languages is at a stage where the basic articles
are written (apple is a fruit, Paris is the capital of France) and
we need to recruit more people who know more areas, both academics
and people who lived through the politics of the 1960s. This
includes events such as Wikipedia Academy and also courses for the
elderly. We can't hope that these people are skilled in PHP
programming or fluent in English, as many people are on this list.
Some might be able to write good text, but not used to wiki
markup, and completely disabled in wiki template design. Perhaps
they should stick to scanning and uploading their old photos from
We still have all kinds of vandalism on Wikipedia. If patrolling
is efficient and finds and reverts 95% of vandalism, it might also
spill over to falsely "fighting" 1% of beginner contributions.
We're scaring serious people away by our own mistake. This is
where we need to improve. It's like having a zero tolerance on
crime, without becoming a brutal fascist state. Within each
(small/medium) language of Wikipedia, this is quite easy. We all
speak the same language and we know each other.
But as soon as it comes to image uploading, an area where the
elderly have decades of photos to contribute, we're sending our
beginners off to Wikimedia Commons. Even if the menues and most
templates are localized in every major language, this is not true
of the admin community there. If a beginner fails to fill out all
details of free licensing, their user talk page will receive an
image deletion request in English. Even if there is a translated
version of that notification, the user's explanation in a local
language might not be understood by the admins. If the user has
good credentials that are easily verified (retired schoolteacher,
museum manager, ...) and has built a solid reputation in the local
language Wikipedia, a Commons admin from another language might
not fully understand this.
Adding to this, a culture of deletionism and arrogance has
infested Wikimedia Commons in the last year or two. So many
copyright violations and half-free images are deleted, that little
attention is paid to the individual contributors. The focus is on
the image, not on the user. This system is also an open target for
abuse. Sometimes deletions are requested anonymously or without
substantial reasons, but this is not preceived as a problem. Only
copyright violations are preceived as a problem. Wikimedia
Commons might have a shortage of admins and other problems, that
need to be sorted out. But that's not my main issue.
My main issue is this: If we invest in recruiting newcomers and in
fostering our local admin community to receive and greet
newcomers, how can we get the best value from that investment?
Sending our beginners away to Wikimedia Commons and a whole new
set of foreign language admins doesn't seem optimal. That's like
pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom.
Either we should send newcomers and admins in pairs to Commons,
somehow stating that this new user account is a Swedish speaker
and that Swedish speaking admins can take care of any issues, or
we should allow local uploads again, so the newcomers can stay
within the Swedish Wikipedia. After images have been patrolled
locally, they can be forwarded to Commons by a system of bots, and
only the bot operators would have to deal with the international
admin community at Wikimedia Commons.
Lars Aronsson (lars(a)aronsson.se)
Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
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