[Commons-l] Making Wikimedia Commons less frightening

Delphine Ménard notafishz at gmail.com
Mon Dec 8 12:49:13 UTC 2008

> From: Magnus Manske <magnusmanske at googlemail..com>

> How about this: Keep uploads at Commons, but automatically tag the
> image description with a (hidden) category of the interface language
> used on the upload page (except maybe for en)? That would allow for
> * determining the
>  language to use when contacting a user
> * subgroup/filter images (e.g. all deletion requests uploaded in Swedish)

On Sat, Dec 6, 2008 at 21:08, Patricia Rodrigues <snooze210904 at yahoo.se> wrote:
> That's a wonderful idea! But many times our main problem is the lack of
> manpower in different languages to actually address different users. Don't
> let [[Special:ListUsers/sysop]] fool you: only a handful of those 244 sysops
> is actually very active. The problem runs deeper than multilingualism; it's
> the cultural differences between communities that really messes things up.
> This said, I still think such a categorization would be very useful :).

I agree that such a categorization would be useful.
I agree too that many admins on commons are not active. I am one of them.

One of the reasons that I am not an active admin is that to me, one
admin task takes for ever. Because I try and reach out, retrace the
steps of one person to their upload on commons, go to their home wiki
to talk to them to make sure they see my messages etc. That of course
where the suspicion of copyvio is not clear to me. Which makes it
difficult to even get the 5 admin actions needed to keep my admin
status once in a while, because I don't have much time to devote to

I am, like Lars, not better than anyone else, I'm just doing things
differently, maybe because when I started working on commons (that was
at the very beginning of the project), I had a dream that it would be
this amazing international image resource. Which it has become, to
some extent, and which it has failed to become, to other extents.

Anyway, I would be willing, for example to help those delete-maniacs
(mind you, we need those as well) enter fruitful conversations with
new and/or old users. I am passed the time where patrolling was a cool
thing to do and having lots of edits was my goal in life (and Commons
is really nasty in that regard, it's a lot of work for few edits), but
I have come to that time where I think that making sure that the
humans behind the uploads are taken care of, because I believe that we
have something to achieve.

I have read the thread further, so I am going to comment on a few
things and throw in a few ideas.

Geoffrey talks about mentors. I think the mentors should not be for
the new comers, but for the existing admins. Admins should go by pair:
the "deletionist" and the "patient" or something like that. So that
the "deletionsist" can do their job right (ie. keep Commons free and
cleanà and the "patients" would be the ones to engage in conversation
(and lose time ;-)).

David Gerard states: "Commons appears to have forgotten it was created
as a service project
for other WMF wikis."
As I understand it, that Commons is "at the service of", I tend to
disagree with that, strongly. I still have hope that Commons can
become,apart from an extremely useful resource for the other Wikimedia
projects, a resource in itself for free media. If memory serves, when
Commons was started, there was already this debate of whether Commons
should just be for WM projects or more. It's a never ending debate.
One thing is sure, with the actual interface and lack of
internationalization, it will "only" ever be used by WM projects and
never develop its own "community".

I find Lars' idea of sending back the uploads to local Wikipedias
worth looking into.

I have a few ideas about making it easier for Commons admins to
discuss with people:
A) With SUL, it's probably easy enough to make sure that at least the
"homewiki" of a user is prominently shown on their Commons user page.
This would allow for:
*Better communication (you'd know what language those people speak)
*Better and more to the point warnings (you'd know if someone is a
newbie or a long time contributor)
B) Could the  Commons talk page be embedded in the homewiki talk page
somehow, allowing for people to get their message where they are at.
Or at lest have a warning "your talk page on commons has a message!"
C) If SUL does not allow link to homewiki, or if someone creates an
account directly on Commons, maybe in the login page, they could be
asked to link to their homewiki account.

These are just ramblings. Commons is my project of choice, because I
think it is one with the biggest potential, so I'm biased :)

Another thing that might be worth looking into is whether the Stanton
Grant [1] is only for Wikipedia (as is stated in the press release) or
whether Commons enters into that overhaul. Because if it does, we
might have a chance to make Commons the cool project it deserves to



[1] http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Wikipedia_to_become_more_user-friendly_for_new_volunteer_writers

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