[WikiEN-l] "I want to at least simplify the problem a bit."

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen cimonavaro at gmail.com
Tue Feb 5 00:47:37 UTC 2008

On 2/5/08, Rich Holton <richholton at gmail.com> wrote:
> All question of censorship aside, does it really make sense to have any
> image of historical persons that is not based on the actual likeness of that
> person on any page except [[depictions of...]] pages?
> Maybe there are a few exceptions, where a particular depiction has become
> universally identified with the subject. But that's not the case with most
> historical figures, Jesus and Muhammad included.
> Many, many depictions of Jesus look very European, which doesn't seem to be
> encyclopedic to me. But there's also a trend lately to have other depictions
> of Jesus that are targeted to a particular audience, without any concern for
> historical accuracy. This may be fine in liturgical settings, but not in an
> encyclopedia. But this is only more obviously wrong than a more
> "historically accurate" depiction. They're both still wrong.

It's worse than that. We still have no overarching policy that would
give us even *slight* guidance on what kind of imagery we should
include on wikipedia beyond the licensing issues and vague talk
about quality. There is no equivalent of NPOV for pictures worth
a damn.

Let's say we would like to have an image illustrating an article
about Andy Warhols depictions of Marilyn Monroe, to pick a silly
one with as few attached strings as possible. Which one of the
ones he printed would be appropriate? Any of them? Should we
have at least two, to give an idea of the variation between them.
Should we depict fakes? Does it matter what the resolution of
the images is? Assuming there would be no licensing issues...

Should we be guided by what Andy Warhol himself considered
his best copy of the Marilyn Image? Or by the auction price for
a particular copy? Or the preponderance of critical opinion on
what the most Ur-Marilyn-Copy is?

Really it would help to approach images by starting with the
cases that aren't so loaded with controversy. If you want to
make progress unraveling difficult issues, start unraveling
at a point where you can unravel at least a few loops.

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, ~ [[User:Cimon Avaro]]

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