Wikipedia talk:Image use policy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Peacedove.svg The project page associated with this talk page is an official policy on Wikipedia. Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard for all users to follow. Please review policy editing recommendations before making any substantive change to this page. Always remember to keep cool when editing. Changes to this page do not immediately change policy anyway, so don't panic.

What is the recommended way of referencing images inside the same article[edit]

Wikipedia articles mostly contain informative images. However, there seems to be no common-practise in referring to images inside the same article. A vast majority of scientific journals and books apply the technique of numbering images by preceding "Figure N:" to the caption. A later reference than uses a phrase like "as shown in Figure N".

LaTeX (another markup language for typesetting) makes this kind of referencing and labeling very easy by using keywords like \label{name} and \ref{name} to reference an image without the need of manually numbering it.

To my knowledge, a system like this does not exist in Wikipedia. This leads to most images not being mentioned in the text, so readers have to use a lot of context to interprete the figures. Referencing a figure at the beginning of an article at a section far towards the end is very clumsy. Users would have to write something like: "cf. the second picture from the top in section X".

So to sum it up and since I did not find it anywhere in the style guides or the FAQ: What is the recommended practise here? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sethur2 (talkcontribs) 14:26, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Hi Sethur2,
The answer is that we don't have a perfect solution. Don't use "on the right" or other positional things, because images display in different places on different screen sizes/font sizes. "Figure N" is sometimes used, and it might be the best one. However, it doesn't help you find the image on the screen (without using Command+F). WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:41, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Hello! Just as a note, additional anchors in form of {{Anchor}} templates placed inside image captions could be used to make clickable "figure N" links, though I've never seen that used in articles. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 18:23, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Vulnerable people[edit]

The immediate cause of this proposal is the apparently endless debate over the ISIL beheading videos (a nearly interminable discussion at VPP; consensus is solidly but not unanimously against hosting the videos for a variety of legal and moral reasons). However, I want us to consider a broader and only somewhat related issue of privacy during serious illness and death.

Question: Does Wikipedia benefit from having non-consensual images of identifiable people who are severely ill, dying, or being victimized? For example, should we accept non-consensual videos of someone on the street in the manic phase of bipolar disorder? A video of manic speech might be very educational, but should we accept such a video if it's recorded and posted by a friend without consent from the person being depicted (or someone else legally capable of giving consent for the person)? A video of an Alzheimer's patient being abused might be somewhat educational, but is it okay for us to make the abused person be a non-consenting poster child for the abuse of vulnerable adults?

We already restrict non-consensual images taken at a medical facility. We already restrict non-consensual images that interfere with the subject's personal or family life. We already restrict images of people in their swimsuits or underwear. Under our current policy, if you go outside in your underwear to pick up the newspaper or let in the cat, you're not going to find your picture at the top of Underwear that afternoon. All of this is subject to editorial judgment: If Queen Elizabeth goes outside in her underwear, we might write an entire article about it. But for non-notable people, it's consent or no image, and for notable people, it's consent or only if the image itself is clearly important (e.g., Gary Hart, whose political career was derailed by a single photograph).

Problem: However, if you're severely ill, perhaps emaciated from cancer, but not currently in a medical facility, then there's no explicit and specific restriction on posting your image without your consent as an example of someone who has a given disease. If your picture gets taken as you get into a taxi en route to a medical facility, then you're fair game to be at the top of Cachexia. If you're dying on the sidewalk, and your crazy brother-in-law decides to videotape your last moments, the world's image of you could be reduced to a video of you breathing your last at the top of Death rattle or Myocardial infarction.

And here's my concern: The English Wikipedia is a big place. There's always someone ready to cry "censorship" or wikilawyer over the exact wording of the policy to keep images that people object to on moral or privacy grounds. There's always someone ready to say that your medical situation or death isn't really part of your "personal life" (which is already nominally protected by this policy, although the policy doesn't define the term). Because this policy doesn't specifically and explicitly recommend against non-consensual images of vulnerable adults and terminally ill people, these discussions are needlessly disruptive, even though they almost always end up in the same place: we don't normally want those images in articles.

Proposal: I propose that we add one short item to Wikipedia:Image use policy#Examples that says "Images of visibly ill, vulnerable, or dying people".

This would not be an absolute prohibition. We would still be able to include such images when they were important or especially relevant; for example, dying AIDS activists involved in political protests could still be pictured as very ill people in article or section that talked about their activism. You could still post any image that the subject consented to. But it would have the effect of strongly discouraging non-consensual images of people with medical problems, especially non-notable people, and it might make some of these conversations much simpler: policy says (normally) no, so if your grandmother didn't agree to have her picture on Wikipedia under "dementia" then we're not using it.

I think the addition of this example would help. What do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:46, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Oppose. This policy already goes far too far to disallow images that might legally be permissible. This proposed extension goes much further. Assuming the Wikipedians involved aren't posting from Raqqa (I think we might be frowned on in those parts) then they are not posting self-made pictures if they post images from the decapitation videos. The "image use policy" is, theoretically, supposed to concern amateur first publication rather than censoring the public domain. For example, we have illustrations in My Lai Massacre and many other such articles. And the "this is not an absolute prohibition", far from tempering the impact of this policy, would only make it worse -- it facilitates racial/national based decision making and the suppression of specific ideas and concepts that certain authorities don't want discussed, while avoiding taking the heat on other examples they don't care about. Wnt (talk) 21:31, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I think you've missed the point. First, I'm talking about images of people with bipolar disorder and Alzheimer's and terminal-stage cancer, not people involved in wars. Second, please go read the bottom third of the policy, which is all about protecting people even if the images are legal. There's even a whole section called "Moral issues" that begins with the words, "Not all legally obtained photographs of individuals are acceptable." The policy isn't restricted solely to what's legally permissible, and never has been. (In fact, legal issues weren't even mentioned in the early versions of this policy.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:53, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I think you've missed the point. How can you apply all this 'ethical' hocus-pocus to pictures taken by third parties, published elsewhere, released to the public domain? The rule will be that pictures released to the public domain by the British government, probably the U.S., are OK because they follow our ethics, and that pictures released by The Islamic State, Iran, China, etc. are not OK because they don't. It's codified bias, and an invitation for further bias by the editors. Wnt (talk) 22:04, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
We already have a policy (and so does Commons) saying that pictures of unidentifiable people that editors believe were taken unfairly, are demeaning, are inappropriately invasive, etc., must not be used. Do you propose to change that? Does your slippery slope argument mean that you support using non-consensual pictures of identifiable people entering psychiatric facilities or down-blouse photos, so long as the copyright is okay? Are there no other considerations in your mind? (Commons won't take any of those, by the way. We copied their policy pretty closely.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:39, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I see you know more about this policy and its Commons precursor than I do, because a few editors, yourself included, completely rewrote it recently. One aspect of which is that there is complete confusion about whether it applies to photos found free or photos taken by contributors and published for the first time here. But there is a difference between publishing a non-consensual picture of someone entering a psychiatric facility when you took it yourself vs. when it was already published by a third party and well-known.
I should add that I am thoroughly disgusted by the implication that "ignore all rules" supports the removal rather than the retention of images that can be found in reputable sources -- the implication being that destroying content, rather than creating it, and imposing personal bias under the flag of "editorial discretion", rather than neutral point of view, makes Wikipedia a better place. This site is going to shit with multiple kinds of hidden censorship becoming commonplace, articles being slanted and censored so far from what is publicly available like reputation management was our business (for all I know, for some people it might be), and our best work showcased on the main page being, half the time, slickly produced ads for video games. And you just want to throw in more concealment of the main data. I sure hope, for their sake, that if you have kids you've bought them a subscription to Encyclopedia Brittanica, because I fear the bottom line quoted from our little social experiment is going to be, if you want an encyclopedia you gotta PAY for it. The only thing you get for free is censorship, spin control, and legal threats. Wnt (talk) 04:11, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't believe that anything in this policy or in my proposed change to it prevents us from using reputably published images.
  • I had relatively little to do with the update to Commons. The section of the policy here has been in place since 2008 or so, which is hardly "recently". If you'd like to complain about the changes to Commons, then try talking to User:Colin or User:Kaldari.
  • I don't understand how refusing to put an image of a specific, identifiable person in an article about Vomiting would make that article be "slanted" or "censored". Perhaps you could clarify? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:03, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
  • 'Support I think this is a straight-forward and sensible proposal to promote ethical use of images. --Tom (LT) (talk) 03:52, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Comments How do we determine that the image is "non-consensual"? Does this mean we delete all images that are questionable? (ie everything that is more than 10 or 20 years old because ethical standards may not have been as high back than) Or that anyone considers questionable? What about those images that are not identifiable versus identifiable? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 04:06, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
    • I think we determine "consent" the same way we already do for all sorts of pictures: The uploader asserts that he has obtained consent from the subject, and we trust that unless and until we have a good reason not to.
      The entire section of this policy applies only to identifiable people. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:59, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose us getting into the line of work of the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of the world. Within the medical environment they are the ones who have the staff, mandate and powers to address these issues with respect to the medical environment. We have neither the staff nor the authority to take this on. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 04:09, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the following reasons:
  1. How do we determine consensuality? By community consensus for each picture? That only pushes the problem one level deeper.
  2. How do we determine who is and who is not a "vulnerable" person? Is a wife grieving over a dead husband in route to the funeral "vulnerable"? How about an uncle? When does a person begin to die? Does a 90 year-old man out for a ride in his wheelchair with his nurse and dribbling meet the new criteria? (BTW, has anyone tried to add this rule to WP:BDP: Recently dead, probably dead or almost dead?)
  3. This addition, by virtue of its placement in Examples, really implies to "use this as a very weak bias in consensus discussions because of community morals in favor of the victims". But the Example section doesn't say that explicitly. So people will quote this rule as policy and other people will think that settles the matter.
  4. What other groups of people will we want to extend this privilege to later? Pictures of people brought into the police for questioning, mug shots of arrested but not convicted people, mug shots of people convicted of a misdemeanor but not a felony, soldiers with their heads blown off. I agree this is a slippery slope argument but, since this would be the first example of protecting a specific group of people, I think it's valid. Even the example of a child has some context (titled "An obese girl"). Do you really want to say "use this as a very weak bias in consensus discussions for all ill, vulnerable, or dying people" or just some?
  5. The proposal text should really read (for consistency, without the "Images of" prefix): Visibly ill, vulnerable, or dying people (unreasonable intrusion because of moral considerations?).
  6. @WhatamIdoing: Search your memory. Do you have any personal bias on this issue? Was there one specific picture that you were directly involved with? I only ask if it's pertinent. Otherwise, please forget I asked.
--RoyGoldsmith (talk) 09:48, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  1. The same way we do now for pictures of naked people.
  2. By using common sense. A vulnerable adult requires supervision and is legally incapable of giving consent.
  3. People seem to manage just fine with the other examples, so I'm not sure why this would be any harder than the existing examples.
  4. I'm not impressed by slippery slope arguments, and it is not the first example of protecting (or not) a specific group of people. We have an example that defines the specific group of people, "street performers", as not being protected, and another that defines the specific group of people, "nudes", as being protected.
  5. I'm open to changes in the text.
  6. I've got no particular images in mind. I've been in remarkably few image-related disputes. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:59, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure this will accomplish the stated goals without some problematic collateral damage. I don't think it's as nefarious as suggested above, but I'm not convinced it's the least disruptive way to go. Protonk (talk) 13:17, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose this proposal I would support strengthening and clarification of Wikipedia's policy on personality rights. If, for example, there was a photo of a person being used to illustrate an article on a stigmatized medical condition, then that use could infringe on that person's personality rights. It should be for Wikimedia Commons to decide whether to host that photo at all, but here on Wikipedia, we can modify, add to, or further discuss Wikipedia:General_disclaimer#Personality_rights. I am not convinced that this proposal is a medical issue, as it sounds like part of a broader concern about using people's likenesses in ways that encroach upon their dignity. In the Wikipedia LGBT community, people have requested to have their photos removed and deleted from Commons when they did not want to be associated in media with support for LGBT rights. That would be an example of what to me is the same concern. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:07, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Do file sizes of animated gifs still matter?[edit]

User:EEng took out the animated-gif optimisation tips and the line that "Inline animations should be used sparingly; a static image with a link to the animation is preferred unless the animation has a very small file size." back in July, with the rationale that "I'm guessing all this stuff about software-can't-handle-it and look-out-for-file-size is way, way out of date" and the invitation to revert this if this was incorrect.

I've no opinion on the first part, but how out of date is the file size issue? I know the Conway's Game of Life article had users desperately blanking the huge animations five years ago because the amount of rendering required was crashing their browsers. Technology has come on since then, but obviously some Wikipedia readers still use low-end computers, and somebody reading an article over a 3G mobile phone connection isn't going to be served very well by a 5MB animation. Given that the animated GIF is the one file type that doesn't compress much when presented at thumbnail size, do we still need a limit on animation file sizes? --McGeddon (talk) 12:34, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Irregardless of crashing, it is still a bandwidth issue , which is something we should be cognizant of, and as such we should still make it a limitation. --MASEM (t) 15:30, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree that we should still suggest a limitation but I think we can do without the optimization instructions in the policy proper. Protonk (talk) 15:37, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
With two agreements I've gone ahead and restored the line about animation file sizes. --McGeddon (talk) 09:34, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Does Hitler's baby pictures meet the requirement?[edit]

Look at this picture please. File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1989-0322-506,_Adolf_Hitler,_Kinderbild_retouched.jpg Does this meet the requirement that "Images are included in articles to increase the reader's understanding of the subject."? How does looking at Hitler's baby picture help you understand him better? Those familiar with the rules and how they are normally enforced, please give me your opinions. Dream Focus 15:28, 23 October 2014 (UTC)