[Commons-l] Making Wikimedia Commons less frightening

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Sat Dec 6 13:31:51 UTC 2008

When people who speak no English, they will not benefit from Commons. People
who do not speak English are not able to find useful images on Commons. As a
consequence there are several Wikipedia projects that do not promote the use
of Commons. When you combine it with "drive by deletionism" I find the
arguments against using Commons persuasive.

2008/12/6 Lars Aronsson <lars at aronsson.se>

> I'm a man, I'm a C/UNIX programmer since 1986, I speak English,
> I've been on Wikipedia since May 2001, I have 4,000 edits on the
> English Wikipedia, 27,000 on the Swedish Wikipedia, and 1,500 on
> Wikimedia Commons; in 2005 I introduced page scanning on
> Wikisource.  I don't claim to be better than you, I'm just saying
> that I'm not a complete newcomer. And yet, my user talk page on
> Commons is full of deletion requests.  I occasionally contribute a
> lot to Commons, but in between I might be away for a few months,
> often long enough for deletions to go through.
> The idea that I might be a stable, long time contributor, well
> versed in copyright law and GNU and CC licences, fully able to
> take legal responsibility for what I have uploaded, hasn't
> occurred to the people posting these deletion requests.  Instead,
> images are deleted 7 days after the warning is posted.  This is
> completely equal and democratic, in the worst sense: Loyal
> veterans get the same treatment as anonymous drive-by vandals.
> Sometimes the deletion requests are anonymous.  Sometimes the
> conclusion is that the request was invalid because the image was
> perfectly legitimate. But I don't see the requestor being punished
> for this. In the last year or two, the community culture on
> Commons has made this kind of drive-by-deletion-request something
> normal.  When I pointed out to another user that she needed to
> explain why some images should be deleted, *I* was told to behave.
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:LA2
> The Swedish Wikipedia is among those that no longer allows image
> uploads, because everything should go on Commons.  This means we
> are recruiting Swedish newcomers to join Commons and upload their
> images there.  These are not programmers.  They don't always speak
> English.  They might be afraid of technology, and think that
> anything that goes wrong is their fault.  (Yes, this includes
> women and older people.)  Still, we want them to contribute
> because they might have unique pictures to share.  Typically, if
> they are helped to set up a user account, the user interface at
> Commons will be set to Swedish.
> One person who is not a newcomer, but a computer user pioneer in
> his field since the 1980s, is Sven Rosborn, archaeologist and
> manager of the viking museum at Foteviken in southern Sweden.  He
> has contributed dozens of his own photos and maps.  He was a
> speaker at the Wikipedia Academy conference in Sweden some weeks
> ago. He does speak English, only perhaps not as eagerly as I.  He
> is not a programmer.  His user talk page is also full of deletion
> requests.  Two months after the fact, he enters and anwers in
> Swedish that these are his own self-made images and maps.  But
> then the result of the request is already "the media was deleted".
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Sven_Rosborn
> Both myself and Sven are people who don't give up easily on
> Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Commons.  We could take a lot of
> mistreatment.  But what about the real newcomers?
> With the current behaviour of the Wikimedia Commons community, I
> find it pointless to try to recruit new contributors.  It would be
> like pouring water into a bucket with a hole.  This hole needs to
> mended first.  So, how do we do that?
> How do others manage to recruit newcomers to Wikimedia Commons?
> Are there any success stories in public outreach on Commons?
> If a user only contributes to the Swedish Wikipedia and has the
> Swedish language user interface setting on Wikimedia Commons, then
> why should their user talk page receive image deletion requests in
> English?  Some of these template messages have links to
> translations in other languages, but that is an awkward solution.
> Will the requestor be able to read the user's answer in Swedish?
> Shouldn't it be possible to assign Swedish speaking admins to
> patroll contributions by Swedish speaking newcomers?  That's how
> it would work if all images were uploaded directly to the Swedish
> Wikipedia.  And the reason we moved images to Commons is not
> because we wanted to confront our newcomers with English messages
> or admins who fail to speak Swedish.
> Maybe we should turn the system around, so our Swedish newcomers
> can upload images to the Swedish Wikipedia, where they are
> patrolled by Swedish speaking admins. Then, the patrolled images
> can be automatically forwarded to Commons, instead of the other
> way around. Even though this would require software development,
> this seems a lot easier than trying to manage the admin community
> on Commons.
> --
>  Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
>  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
> _______________________________________________
> Commons-l mailing list
> Commons-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/commons-l
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