[WikiEN-l] Changing fair use tags

Anthony DiPierro wikilegal at inbox.org
Sun Feb 5 21:09:16 UTC 2006

On 2/5/06, Fastfission <fastfission at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm not sure what you're getting at here. You seem to be saying that
> 1. there are instances of images with this template on them which are
> mistagged and that 2. people might think the tags are correct when
> they might not be.

Yes, but also 3) this problem is becoming more and more widespread
among these types of image tags.

> I'm not sure how this is different than any other
> image tag, whether they have been changed or not.
It's different because when the template changes it makes makes tens
or hundreds of tags incorrect all at once, as opposed to when an image
is simply mistagged, that affects only one image.

You're right that both are a problem.  The one of changing image tags
seems to be easier to resolve, though.  Don't change image tags except
for minor grammatical changes.  If you break that rule, at least go
through all the tags and remove the tag from the images where it no
longer applies.  If that's too much work, start a new tag instead of
changing the existing one.

> A lot of fair use tags were changed around then to make their
> definitions tighter, easier to understand, etc. I don't think that was
> a bad thing, and it makes it easier to spot when they have been
> misapplied.
It is, of course, possible to define when a tag is supposed to be used
without rewriting the actual text of the tag.  Personally I'd suggest
that policy changes should not be enacted by changing the text of
templates, but that's just me.  Another possible solution would be to
remove the tag from the images where it no longer applies - a job
which most naturally would fall upon the person changing the tag.

It seems to me that the result is quite obviously a bad thing - lots
of images are mistagged.  I don't really understand how you can
suggest that there's nothing wrong with that.

> Perhaps it would please you if "is known" is changed to something more
> ambiguous? Is asserted by the person placing this tag?
Changing "is known" would be one possible solution, though changing it
to "is asserted by the person placing this tag" would be false and/or
misleading in most of the same circumstances.  I'd say such a change
would actually make matters worse, because now anyone changing the tag
is putting words into someone else's mouth - on top of being negligent
now we're being libelous (and not just in the legal sense, giving
people bad advice and attributing false statements to others is just
plain *wrong*).

> Perhaps we should put a little disclaimer on all tagging templates
> that they may in fact be incorrectly applied?
> FF

Probably.  But if a tag isn't correctly applied, what's the point of
having it in the first place?  Seriously, I'd rather have no tag at
all than have an incorrect one.  Image tags were originally
descriptive, not prescriptive, and frankly I see no reason that should
be changed.

Saying "this might be wrong" is arguably a good first step - but the
real problem is that so many tags are wrong in the first place.


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