[WikiEN-l] The allure of images

Peter Jacobi peter_jacobi at gmx.net
Thu Feb 21 13:27:51 UTC 2008

There are only a few things, that accumulate faster in our 
articles than "Trivia"-sections: categories, weblinks, and 
flag icons come to mind.

But the offender I want to concentrate on (yep, driven
by the Muhammad controversy) is the useless or misleading 
image. As this has become a "customer driven (not-quite-)encyclopedia",
the attitude of the majority of our customers, to prefer pictures
over textual content will always be a good argument for adding just 
another image.

So, we have pictures of [[Paul the Apostle]] of which only
can be said the the species of portrayed living being is
almost surely correct. Or the portraits of the victims
of [[Jack the Ripper]] which add nothing to an encyclopedia,
only give a strange feeling of the darker parts of a wax museum.
My favorite oddity is the "artistic impression", as promoted by
NASA, of e.g. [[90377 Sedna]] or a  [[Black hole]]. NASA needs funding
and everything that gets public attention helps this, so I understand
their rationale for using these misleading and pointless pictures, but
what is our?

Anyway, and back to the religious part of this. It's obviously
OK that there are pictures of Jesus and crosses and saints and whatsnot
in many Christianity-related articles, as Christianity did (almost)
always rely on these visual impressions. It's just documenting
an important aspect of this religion. But Islam just works the
other way around. Providing artistic impressions of Muhammad in
the Muhammad article itself doesn't serve to actually show him, nor
does it serve to show the Islam's picture of Mohammad. 


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