[Commons-l] [Foundation-l] Making Wikimedia Commons less frightening

Bryan Tong Minh bryan.tongminh at gmail.com
Sat Dec 6 22:50:22 UTC 2008

On Sat, Dec 6, 2008 at 11:31 PM, Lars Aronsson <lars at aronsson.se> wrote:
> 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.
I can think of two solutions here. One is to simply have more
multi-project admins. Wikimedia ought to be one big community with a
commons goal. Unfortunately (but not unsurprisingly) Wikimedia has
been separated into many different islands separated by language
borders, which are very hard to open up. Commons was born as a
multilingual project, but in that aspect has failed I believe.

Another solution is to make image uploading much more transparent.
Uploading from the local wiki should be possible without needing to
browse to Commons. I cannot see unfortunately how we should handle
messaging in that case, but it would certainly make it easier to
communicate and monitor users.

I do not believe that returning to local uploading is a solution. It
will simply mean that the problem of categorizing images, deleting
copyright violations and similar will move to local projects where
obviously less attention will be paid to them.

> 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.
That is certainly true. I have noticed myself that if you patrol new
uploads for some time your threshold for deleting or marking as bad
image is going down. It is then time to stop doing that for a while.

What I am wondering is how we can change the focus from the image to
user. What fundamental changes should be made for this?

> 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.
Every system where anybody can make edits is inherently an open target
for abuse. The question is how we deal with abuse. I actually
currently do not know how we handle this. Do you have any examples?


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