User:Aaron Schulz/Image concerns

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Preamble[edit]

When adding images to a page, occasionally there tend to be large disputes, sometimes reaching WP:DRV and WP:AN in contentious bitter debates. This seems to represent an ongoing problem that is not only strongly related to a lot of trolling here, but even administrators and long-standing users cannot seem to agree on.

The problem typically stems from one of the following:

  • i) A lack of a general laid out image criteria for these situations, which causes "common sense" decisions that often are bitterly split without any kind of consensus. I am proposing a reasonable, pragmatic inclusion guideline below.
  • ii) People often feel strongly about what they perceive as blatant censorship.
  • iii) Sometimes people actually are just trying to censor images for minors or what not. This is against policy, see WP:NOT.

Basic criteria[edit]

Here are the main two thing to consider when adding an image.

Other considerations[edit]

There are other factors that always go into every image. Many of these are far more subjective than the above typically. For very informative images, these can often have little to no importance.


  • In what exact ways is the image informative?
  • Is it "free" or "fair use"?
  • Are there any iffy copyright issues?
  • Are there any other legal issues?
  • Are there any special sensitive issues?
  • Does this image have shock value?
  • Will this image clutter the page up?
  • Will this image offend large groups? (e.g. a picture of Muhammad)
  • Is this image pretty/interesting looking?

And finally, considering the above for any alternative images:

  • Is this the "best" image to represent the concepts?

Often, all of these extra consideration simply don't matter or only result in a slight size/move adjustment. However, for images that have very limited, questionable value, these can become the sticking points of contentious debates. If an image does not appear to be informative, then, small issues can become large ones; things like prettiness, size, caption, clutter, specifics of the copyright, shock value, and other more subjective things can come into play. There is not really anything wrong with this, since the issue becomes "do we want to decorate this page with this image" to a significant extent. This is why pages like sky often get needless, decorative images, where as pages like sex are less likely to. Its not because most people are "prudent" about sex, but that the shock value is enough to bring down needless images, where as the needless sky picture images stay, not because people feel it is somehow useful, but because someone thought it was decorative and nobody had reason enough to care to remove it.

Note: It is offensive to accuse others of "censorship" without looking into the reasoning that actually went into that decision. Please avoid doing this, as it tends to kill any chance for an intellectual argument. Yes, "censorship" might turn out to be the problem, and that is a shame, but you need to realize that there are far more considerations to make than "shock value". Chances are, that if an image is useful, well taken (photos)/drawn(diagrams), and have no copyright issues, like those on Penis, Vagina, etc., then people won't complain much.

Be aware that there is a "gradient" to the application of any criteria; what one may consider "pretty" or "useful to most" many not be what another sees. In such cases, a consensus and discussion should be sought.

Informative/useful?[edit]

What if persons A and B disagree on whether an image is useless or not?

Well, here is a criteria to help to determine that, and hopefully to eliminate some of the fuzziness. This basically is an ordered, logical way to deduce "usefulness". It breaks down "common sense", so the reasoning behind a decision can be further debated on a more fundamental level, rather than just leaving "common sense" disagreements as "sticking points". However, what some may call "common sense", gets pretty complicated when analyzed and organized.

Determining how informative/useful an image is[edit]

First, what are we talking about? Are we talking about a place, object, action, event...?

  • Think about the "derivative" or "node" objects/locations of this event/action/object. The "nodes" (usually made of "nodes" themselves and so on) are the abstractions that when combined, link the object.
    For example, if the event is the "Columbia disaster", then "Space Shuttle Columbia", "sky", "o-ring", "fire", and "smoke" are among the "nodes".
    For example, if the object is "computer", then "microchips", "wires", "monitor", and "outer shell" (the covering), "mouse", "keyboard" are among some of the "nodes".
    For example, if the action is "driving", then "car", "steering well", "pedals", "road", "street sign", "highway" are amount the "nodes".
  • Now you want think about each of these "nodes", ask yourself:
    "Is this an obvious, common knowledge, object that almost everyone who reads this has seen and has basic visual understanding of?" An example would be "car", "cloud", "leaf".
    "Are images of this object readily findable on its own article pages?".
  • Ask yourself "How specifically is this image representative of the aspect of this article it is used to illustrate?". An image of a man in a tee-shirt is not very generalizable to the wearing of tee-shirts nor men in tee-shirts in general. On the other hand, a photo of a tee-shirt is very representative of copies of the same tee-shirt. A photo of The Louvre is very representative of part of The Louvre, likewise with a Large Hadron Collider photo.
  • Now you want to think about the complexity of how these objects are bound to form the event/object/action. Is this is too complex for the average reader to image using the derivative "nodes"? Does the image give representative detail over just using words? It may help to ask yourself:
    "Will our average reader honestly be able to imagine the event/object/action first, then see a picture of it, and not find their original mental picture mistaken?"
    "How much does the image capture the essence of the topic?"

Example cases[edit]

Here is an example case from Female ejaculation. As you can see it gets kind of messy and complicated. However, its better than just shouting each side down or just vote tallying, which is prone to trolls, especially for sex articles (as they seem to be troll magnets for whatever reason). Here is the text below:


While I support a testes image, I don't see the use of this. I strongly support having several images at sex organ pages like vagina, because it is a derivative page. Once you see those, you can easily the same thing, except with urin coming out. The image licenence, source, and credibility (as a true ejaculation is iffy/non-existant), and it does not add anything. To give a non-sex related example: I support pictures of stables, but not pictures of "what a staple looks like when a guy throws it". On top of this, this image does have shock value, and is right at the beginnning. Now shock value alone is nt enough to stop an image per WP:NOT CENSORED, but when that adds on to a list of grevienes to an already pointless page, it only acts as the nail on the coffin.Voice-of-All 06:23, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Your argument against "derivitate [sic]" images seems silly. Why do we have Image:Mexico coat of arms.png? I mean, since we have eagle, snake, and cactus, it's easy enough to imagine an eagle perched atop a cactus eating a snake. Heck, why do we need Image:Flag of the United States.svg? It's just "a banner Gules, six bars Argent; the canton Azure charged with 50 mullets Argent." If you've seen a banner gules, an argent stripe, an azure canton, and an argent mullet, there should be no problem putting them all together. It seems like Wikipedia might be operating under the general belief that if a topic is notable enough to have an article about it, it's probably worth having a picture of the topic, too. LWizard @ 06:45, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
Cough, cough to both of you =D. AmiDaniel (talk) 06:55, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
It sounds complicated, but it is really a way of putting words into practical ideas. As for the "Mexico coat of arms", you still do not know where they are. If you askd 50 people to draw a "flag, eagle, and banner", you would come up with 50 totally different images, even though there is only one correct answer. As for a healthy women urinating, what does that add? It is an issue of the average (assuming low intelligence too) reader to be able to accurately and easily picture an image in an accurate way, its a trait present in many animals. If you can't picture what a women urinating looks like, or a staple thrown by a guy looks like, then you won't be able to comprehend any of the text anyway. It only seems complicated, because it is describing something simple. 50 average people, when given a text description of that may see different images, but none of them should be wrong, like the logo case. When people challenge practical or common sense ides based on things we take for granted, no matter what, it will take a LOT of explaining. And "derivative" is the correct spelling, I was writing down what I was thinking about as fasts as I was thinking :). But seriously, the issue is "what does it add", "is this necessary". I don't see how it is.Voice-of-All 07:08, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
So, you agree that we don't need an image of the US flag, because the heraldric description is sufficient? Never mind, those are bad examples. How about polydactyly. We have six images of it, when, come on, anyone can imagine what an extra finger would look like.
Anyhow, look, I can settle this part of the debate easily. I did not picture female ejaculation the way it is portrayed in the image. I expected more of a stream with less splatter. I also expected a slightly different color and consistency of the liquid. Okay? I, a reader of at least average intelligence (I hope), did not picture female ejaculation properly before viewing the image. The image gave me more information about the nature of female ejaculation. LWizard @ 07:21, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
i)Do you represent the "average" reader though? It should be independent of a single person's experience. ii)Is the image even ejaculation or pissing? No confirmation given, and it looks exactly like how piss does (if it does, then the text can just say that, and if it arcs more, then it can say that). iii) Another image's problems don't justify this page's, though if there s cruft there then it needs to be timmed out. Now lastly, does its matter that much that it tricklies and forks out a tad more than you though (assuming the pic is a genuine ejaculation)? At this point, we are possible at gradience; I say no, and it seems fairly obvious. Nevertheless, someone may think that it does matter enough. However, it is soo minor that I hope that even if you think it matters, then you would see practicallity issues to it, in that every article would need at least 3 more images on average; I am serious. Think about it, every topic has many possible images with some little tiny twist that some people may find interesting, when does it stop? We'd have pages cluttered with images left and right. I just don't see the practicallity. Its not about censorship, but about what the average reader will not be able to picture on his own accurately. Also, if there are any relavent sex images I would gladly support you or us any admin tools if warranted (if the person is disruptive) to stop reverts against them, and I have supported some images before like this, I have removed special characters that censored words (like writing fuck as f*ck), and I have removed "this page contains adult content" tags before. I know that we are not censored. My general image standards just rule this one out. If you can find non-sex articles that are crufted it up, then I'll deal with those too.Voice-of-All 07:41, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
i) I may not be average. We don't have that data. By the data we have, half of all readers find the image informative. You're the only one who has clearly stated that it has no informative value at all. We shouldn't base judgements on your sole opinion.
ii) We don't know if it's ejaculation or piss for sure. There are lots of images that we aren't sure of, but trust the uploader. As a random example, can you prove that Image:OxfordshireCountyHall20041024 CopyrightKaihsuTai.jpg really depicts Oxfordshire County Hall? Probably not - we're taking Kaihsu's word for it.
iii) I wasn't citing polydactyly as a problem. Wikipedia has a lot of pictures, even of things that are well-known or easily imaginable. Sky. Sun. Cube. Tree. Even human. Think of any common object that anyone can recognize, and Wikipedia will probably have at least two images of it. If you disagree with the image use at all those articles, then I think it's clear that the consensus is against you.
Finally, as a point of my own, I will note that I find the doubt with which some editors approach this subject offensive. Kymmeh just edited this article to chime in with her own personal experience with female ejaculation. You have a right to your opinion, of course, but be considerate. LWizard @ 04:17, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
I will use "idea" so as not to make it seems so "listy", since that usually starts to seems passive-aggressive to me. Idea i) I don't think I am the arbiter of all things. I do think that as a user, of many, that it should be discussed in a wide as possible medium to see where most user's lie on something being curious enough to go in on those grounds. Anyone can add an image first, per WP:BOLD, but if it not everyone sees value in a A)picture of that sort or B)that specific image, then it may have to go. Now that it is transcluded, the shock value on the article page itself is removed from a borderline or less useful image, so that makes me more inclined to not care if its there. Idea ii) But this image has far less credibility, who is it? Who took it? Why is the name a huge random number? And we all now that sex related topic on the internet have even less credibility than most others, especially from porns sites. It just is that way, mainly due to people being either immature (like when people added hordes of made up words to sex slang lists here) or porn business faking things for profit. That is not to say there are good sex informative sites, but you really have to check where it came from and their credibility, more so than a lot of the stuff out there on the internet. When I see sex pages here and pages on politically divisive topics, I am alert for foolishness/fabrication and vandalism, its just higher there. As for random realistic pictures of buildings uploaded here being faked, what is the motive? There is no profit, you'd have to spend a lot of time and money to photoshop it that well; it just does not happen. Idea iii) As for pointless images elsewhere, only about 1-2 of the images on most of those pages are minimally useful. 3 of images on sun are striking(a plus I guess), while the others are just there to contrast them (i.e. "A typical daytime sky."). So they mainly act as decorations. Some of the examples on cube are really not needed, like the Dice, but are simple there for iconic decoration. On the otherhand, I have very little or no reason to doubt their validy, and they have no shock value on the page or the image, so I maybe I'll clean up a few, but I, nor anyone else, am not really inclined to care much (hence they stayed). The problem is that this image is borderline useful at best (and IMO, not useful at all) and it had shock value(a minus). For most images, everyone agrees enough that they are clearly informative or no one objects. Sometimes everyone agrees that they make "good decorations" even though they aren't really needed, even though that is kind of subjective. Useless useful images with shock value are almost never included anywhere, since there tends to be agreement, especially if the license is crappy. To be clear, I would likely support a linked image (like how it is now) with a picture that has a good license, caption and credibility, and a more serious look to it (more like medical images) rather than porn, (though if a porn image could be cropped and had the object and event focused on, without some other guy over there, and facing the reader more, like medical journals, then that would be fine). If a credible source describes ejaculations as clear or not clear, then it would clear up color issues for readers. Nevertheless, that could just be described in words, but at least such a picture would not have shock/license/caption/source/credibility issues. It would have very little usefulness, but it would also not have enough downsides for it to have to go, so I wouldn't care if it stayed. Regards.Voice-of-All 20:01, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

See also[edit]