[Foundation-l] Uploading free images to Wikiepdia

Brianna Laugher brianna.laugher at gmail.com
Sat Jun 9 01:32:16 UTC 2007

There are several reasons why projects might still allow or even
recommend users to upload free-licensed files locally instead of to
Commons. (see below.)

It's not efficient, but efficiency is not the only criterion people
use to make decisions.

On 09/06/07, Yoni Weiden <yonidebest at gmail.com> wrote:
 How can you expect users (i.e., me) to do
> this extra unnecessary step of moving the images?

Hello, it's a volunteer project. If you don't want to do that, simple
- don't do it.

OK why might projects not encourage/mandate Commons uploading?

* lack of SUL - hassle to create another account, monitor another talk page

* lack of language support at Commons.

* lack of knowledge about Commons' purpose and how it works,
technically (ie images are automatically available on all Wikimedia

* lack of knowledge/familiarity about Commons' methods, categories,
templates (especially combined with lack of language support). People
will almost always prefer to use a method they're familiar with rather
than one they're not, that has no appreciable benefit. (Yes there are
benefits for the rest of Wikimedia. But unless they're explained on
the local wiki, they're not going to be obvious.)

* lag in image use policy maturity. This is a major factor. It is
unrealistic to imagine all projects of all sizes should have an image
use policy as detailed as Commons' (leaving aside fair use). All
projects go through stages of policy development where the community
slowly realises this gap, or that loophole, or this requirement... in
my opinion it simply won't work if anyone tries to "short-cut" the
maturity process by, e.g. expecting a toddler project to have an image
use policy like Commons. The project community just won't be ready and
able to accept such a policy.

What this means is that as projects mature, and their image use policy
evolves closer to Commons' (I hope), the community has a realisation
that many of the images they formerly accepted are no longer
acceptable, because they have e.g. no source, or unbelievable source
claims, or misunderstanding (such as believing screenshots can create
new copyright). So the community goes through a process of review and
many of the old images are deleted. People protest and complain but
slowly the understanding sinks through the community.

The local community are the right people to do this. If Commons or WMF
tried to impose a review like this "from on high" it would mix in a
bunch of other complaints and may prevent the image use message from
being successfully communicated. Instead of understanding "Having
source info is important because having unsourced images weakens us as
a free-content project", people might just get the message
"WMF/Commons are intefering in our local community with this useless
bureaucratic requirement".

You can try to nudge this maturing process along but I believe you
can't skip ahead...it won't be accepted. Being right is not enough,
you also have to be convincing. :)

* lack of trust in Commons community.
This is unfortunately a real factor from time to time. Trust takes
time to build up, and with one bad deletion it can be straight out the
window. It is sometimes related to the previous point, but not always.
A few influential community member's bad opinions can easily spread to
the whole community.

As always, I encourage anyone who wants to try and improve Commons
relations with their local project to feel free to contact me to
discuss the local opinions on Commons and how they might be improved.
This might also be useful:


They've just been waiting in a mountain for the right moment:

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