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

ChrisiPK chrisipk at gmail.com
Mon Dec 8 16:57:41 UTC 2008

Yes, the archive is here:



2008/12/8 David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com>:
> 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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