[Foundation-l] Are Wikimedia websites a proper venue for an artistic contest ?

Teofilo teofilowiki at gmail.com
Sat Jun 12 12:25:03 UTC 2010

Let's have a look at the mission of Wikimedia :

"The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage
people around the world to collect and develop educational content
under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it
effectively and globally." (1)

Is there any room in this mission for an artistic contest ? Is there
any room in this mission for promoting little known young or older
artists seeking recognition ? And should the recognition of the
artistic skills of some contributors be done at the expense of the
contributors who contribute with other skills, while their artistic
skills are those of a beginner ?

Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Day (2) is an artistic contest. Why
on earth is it allowed on a Wikimeda website and given a prominent
space on the main page of one of the main websites ? Should it not be
abolished ?

If that artistic contest remained doing its business on its dedicated
pages without interfering with the rest of the project, there would
not be too much need to think too much about it. But I am afraid that
the artistic virus is slowly contaminating other parts of the project.

I discovered this morning "poor composition" as an argument for
deleting a picture (from someone else, not me). It means that the
"picture of the day" people are slowly highjacking Wikimedia Commons
to turn it into a beauty contest.

None of the pictures I take with my small 29.95€ made in China camera
can compete with pictures that could be taken with a professional
camera. If the destiny of my pictures on Wikimedia Commons is deletion
because of their poor artistic qualities, I ought to be told right now
so that I don't waste my time taking them and uploading them.

But if Wikimedia is about education rather than about art, does it
matter if the school's architecture or the textbook is ugly, while the
teacher teaches valuable skills and information to the pupils ?

I think there is some space for beauty and art within Wikimedia
projects, but that space is very thin. Beauty fits the mission
statement only as a pedagogic tool, as a part of the "effectively"
adverb of the mission statement, thinking that it is easier to have
the pupils feel comfortable at school if their school's building and
their textbooks are somewhat attractive. But I don't see how beauty or
art could be a top level priority.

Why don't we ever read on Wikimedia Commons' main page "look at this
picture: it is quite awkward, poorly lit, but it is the first picture
we've ever had to illustrate Wikipedia article "<name of page>". We
are grateful to the contributor who sent it. AND we will never delete
it even if no longer used in any Wikipedia article when better
pictures are sent by professional photographers later.

(1) http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mission_statement
(2) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Picture_of_the_day

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