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

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Mon Dec 8 16:16:03 UTC 2008

Did someone on Commons really try to pull such crap?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: teun spaans <teun.spaans at gmail.com>
Date: 2008/12/8
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Making Wikimedia Commons less frightening
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l at 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,
Teun Spaans

On Sat, Dec 6, 2008 at 11:31 PM, Lars Aronsson <lars at 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
> the 1970s.
> 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 at aronsson.se)
>  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
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