[Commons-l] Vision for Commons, 2007

Brianna Laugher brianna.laugher at gmail.com
Thu Feb 8 13:38:09 UTC 2007


Although 2007 is already 1/12 over, there's no reason we can't still
think about what we'd like to achieve in the remaining 11/12 of it. :)

This has two parts - my hopes for 2007 (medium-term future), and my
hopes for the next 3-5 years (long-term, or still medium?).

Here are some things I would like to see Commons achieve or continue
to do, for 2007.

* Continue its aggressive approach to multilinguality.
By this I mean actively seeking out translations and translators,
rather than passively waiting for whoever feels like it to translate
whatever they feel like. This also refers to making sure the most
vital pages (policy, newbie guides, signup process) are translated,
and making an effort to communicate with users in their preferred
language (for example, by asking a bilingual admin to work with them).

* Continue its relaxed and welcoming approach to new administrators.
Our current attitude is doing a good job of attracting reliable
admins. By 'reliable' I mean: I can't recall any case where a month
after sysopping someone, we have had reason to doubt that decision.
(Or even any length of time, really...) We have also shown respect for
users' local experience and there are many cases where a 'image
warrior' on a local project has gained adminship at Commons - not
*because* of that, but it certainly helps. (I like to think such folk
would be successful without the inevitable flood of local project
voters such cases usually attract. :))

* Improve clarity and appropriateness of help documentation, and
consolidate information on a topic in one area.
This is always tricky in a wiki environment, because of the dispersed
and usually undriven approach (whoever feels like writing something
writes it, as opposed to something being ordered to written because it
is needed). But it's something we need to keep reviewing and checking.
Consolidating our help files is useful because it decreases the
translation needs, and it decreases the potential for conflicting
information to exist.
The number of users who clearly ignore or don't understand our
requirements shows that this needs constant improvement. We have to
concentrate on finding  SUCCINCT and clear ways to express ourselves.
I would suggest that Special:Upload as it stands, needs to be
rewritten again. I don't know exactly how. But this is a constant
For a start, I would like to see us emphasise and separate help files
for people contributing  their own work. There is no reason these
people really need to look at Commons:Licensing and get so scared (or
worse, ignore it). For these people, who are our BEST USERS, because
they are typically contributing original, unique, exclusive work, we
really need to make their lives easy.
I suggest we start by writing a guide [[Commons:Contributing your own work]].

* Continue to develop quality review mechanisms, and highlight
high-quality work.
The development of [[Commons:Quality Images]] is a great one I think,
and I hope mechanisms like this continue to grow. [[Commons:Picture of
the Year]] is also proving very successful which is fantastic.
One area we are possibly lacking in is in pushing our high quality
stuff back out to wikis. It is easy to miss this small %age which is
our best of the best. We can promote this stuff by perhaps organising
more translations, organising a weekly/monthly newsletter out to wikis
that lists these images and suggests possible uses, ...? how else?

* Reach out to local Wikimedia wikis and actively promote "Commons
only" upload policies.
Switching to Commons only has massive benefits for both the local wiki
(hugely reduced maintenance burden) and us (new contributions). But we
all know now that preparation is required to make the transition a
success. WE need language-speaking active admins; THEY need to promote
Commons policy beforehand and attempt to educate their users as much
as possible before the switch.
I suggest we create a guide [[Commons:Turning off local uploads]] (or
choose another name) to smooth the path for wikis who want to go down
this road. We can offer tips from the ES.wp and PT.wp cases (is there
another?? I have a feeling there was but I can't remember it, maybe
Maybe one of the steps will be a small group (even one?) of volunteers
from the local wiki making contact with a small group of volunteers
from Commons, and both groups committing to work together to move to
Commons only uploads (community approval pending, of course). For
example the Commons person can look for existing language speakers and
encourage them to become admins or translate, and identify key pages
for translating.
I suggest we also start finding out more about the new-wiki creation
process, and get involved with groups there, to encourage groups to
consider starting their wiki with "Commons only" uploads from the very
Also, it should be a much easier task to convert non-Wikipedia
projects, where there is already a large number of that language
admins. For example: EN, DE, ES, FR, NL?, PL. Wikinews, Wiktionary,
Wikisource, Wikibooks, Wikiquote, Wikiversity. Some thirty-odd
projects there that we already have the capacity to deal with, were
they to turn off local uploads.

* Adopt a simple-to-use media rating system.
Having a star-rating system (a la Youtube) on all Image: pages would
be an incredibly simple way to quickly amass information on media
quality. Imagine how useful it would be to view a category ordered by
average star rating - a very simple and effective filter.
http://www.wikihow.com/WikiHow:RateArticle-Extension should be able to
be developed towards this purpose. I'm not sure we'd be able to get it
adopted within 11 months, but I hope we should make some progress
towards putting this on the radar for the developers.

* Continue to push local projects to adopt CommonsTickers.
Related to several points above. Vital tool for inter-project harmony!

* SUL implemented. (bug 57)
We don't have anything to do with this, but it will be a major
improvement for us of course.

* Introduce user recognition system.
We are all volunteers, but there's no reason we can't develop an award
system that aims to recognise the time-intensive effort and/or
outstandingly high-quality contributions that longterm users have
made. The benefits of such a system are two-fold: they give the
contributors in question tangible, public and formal recognition of
their efforts, which thanks and encourages them; and it offers
concrete examples to other users of what kind of conduct is
appreciated and needed.
I have started writing about this on my user page, but I have some
more ideas in my head, that I hope the community will welcome when I
finally write them down. :)

Here are some things that I hope Commons can achieve over the next 3-5 years.

* FileStore implemented
This will allow image moving/renaming (bug 709), and extension-free
image names (I think).

* Core functionality integrated into native MediaWiki.
** Bulk uploading (bug 488)
** User galleries (bug id?)
** CheckUsage (bug 1394)
** Automatic transfer of images from local projects to Commons
(automatic as in when requested by admins) (bug 5283)

* Some progress towards resolution of galleries/categories into one
tool. (bug 3712)

* Some progress in multilingual support for categories (bug 3311, 5638)

* Some degree of press recognition and fame :)
We have a great project, let's get it out there! How can we promote it?
I noticed my newspaper now runs about 6 blogs, and the bloggers
regularly use photos from Flickr. One recently was 'licensed under a
Creative Commons license' and I went and checked the Flickr page, and
it actually said 'All rights reserved'. So I left a comment on the
blog to that effect, and with links to two lovely photos from Commons.
they didn't publish my comment, but the blogger emailed me to say
thanks. :)
there's no awareness out there!
Why are we a fantastic media archive?
* All media free to use however you like in any publication, with
minimal conditions
* Huge range, constantly being expanded
* Multilingual access (potentially...)
* High quality original contributions found nowhere else on the web,
especially in the SVG field
* Useful specific descriptions and annotations (this is totally
missing from all stock photography archives I've seen)
* ...

Comments on any of this, or further ideas or hopes are always welcome,
of course.


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