Wikipedia talk:Non-free content

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Video game screenshot size limitations[edit]

I previously raised this issue at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Video games/Article guidelines and was advised to bring it up here for additional input. In the modern age of gaming, being able to show a game's HD graphical fidelity and smaller minute HUD elements can be very important to the reader. At present, a 400 x 300 screenshot of a modern game has questionable encyclopedic value due to its small size. Since gaming is such a visual medium, shouldn't this guideline receive an exception by the VG project? Even when requesting the higher resolution exemption due to whatever reasons, the reviewing admin usually just applies the blanket low-res policy to the image regardless. It is in my opinion that the resolution limitation of our non-free screenshots be raised to at least HD quality. Any thoughts? DrNegative (talk) 05:39, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

It depends on the details of any HUD or equivalent that need to be seen. VG articles (speaking as one from the VG program ) should not be detailed manuals of how to play so the details of the HUD components are not normally significant - a 400x300 shot can show like where a mini-map, info display, and other features can generally be found. If, however, there is a need to call out a specific HUD aspect as documented by secondary sources, it is fine to use larger sizes, but still should be as small as possible to still make out the detail. And in terms of fidelity, remember that the average reader is not a gamer and is not always going to appricate this - fidelity only matters when comparing shots, not as a standalone. --MASEM (t) 05:44, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
  • The purpose of a non-free image is always to be used in an article. Other potential uses, such as the ability to view the image on the file information page, are irrelevant and can be ignored when judging whether the file satisfies WP:NFCC#3b or not. If the article uses the wikicode [[File:Example.jpg|400px]], then the purpose of the use of the image obviously isn't to show small details, and then it is safe to reduce the picture to 400x300 pixels. On the other hand, if the article uses the wikicode [[File:Example.jpg|4000px]], then displaying small details might be a purpose of the use of the image. --Stefan2 (talk) 14:23, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
It was my understanding that we keep images small as thumbnails to present the article in a cleaner looking fashion. The option for the reader to click on the image and pull up a higher resolution has always been present, but our screenshots are never able to enlarge beyond their original, small resolution without misrepresenting the game. This is because it is impossible to ever have a free image of a copyrighted videogame. All modern games are natively HD now and we are still limiting our screenshots to the same resolution of 3rd and 4th gen video games. Using our arbitrary 400 x 300 size limit is a very old rule from the project that has slowly become obsolete and unnecessary. We even have an image expander built in that enlarges the image after clicking it without taking the user to the file information page. The game itself is the copyrighted work in question and we are unlikely to ever have a free equivalent in our lifetime My concern wasn't the size of the image being displayed within the article, but the size of the original image we are uploading for the thumbnail. If a user wants to blow it up by clicking on it, they should have that option. And when that is done, they shouldn't need a magnifying glass to see the finer details or the higher resolution textures as a whole because of our ancient blanket policy. A picture says a thousand words, our little postage stamps only say a couple. DrNegative (talk) 16:19, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
First, we actually have been able to get CC-licensed screenshots of various games, mostly indie, by politely asking the developers (see, for example, Dustforce). That said, we don't expect, under NFCC#1, that game screenshots can always be made free.
Second, we as a general encyclopedia and not a game guide, are not interested in the finer details, unless secondary sources have put emphasis on that. You don't need to be able to make out the specific text of a HUD if the only thing important is to identifying where things like maps, life meters, control buttons, etc. can be found. There are plenty of other sites out there that have loads of screenshots for the gamers that need to know, we do not need to provide this same functionality. --MASEM (t) 16:28, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
With all due respect Masem, we are not talking about other gaming websites here, we are talking about a policy/rule within this website. Websites outside our project are irrelevant to this discussion. I also don't see how you are linking "game guide" with a proposal of a higher resolution screenshot to represent a game article. We only provide 1, maybe 2 screenshots on average for the reader. I just don't see how that could be looked at as a guide by bumping up their resolution and quality a bit so as the reader could see the game in its native resolution as intended to be seen by the developers. It wouldn't hurt or tarnish the game's commercial value, in fact it may very well do the opposite. This rule was made back in 2006, when the majority of web browsers were running on a 15" 4:3 cathode ray monitor. Times have changed, I'm simply proposing we look at it from that angle and reevaluate our policy on the arbitrary NFC resolution we have chosen. I'm not trying to push an agenda though, just wondering what other people thought, as it seems I'm in the minority here in believing it would help our encyclopedia more than it would hurt it. DrNegative (talk) 17:00, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
Non-free policies requires minimum use both in the number of files and the size of those files. Most games can be described in an encyclopedic manner using a screenshot that is no larger than 400x300 which shows enough of what the game's visuals, art style, and GUI are like for how we describe them in a non-gaming manner. We are an encyclopedia so we do expect other sites to cover more specifics than we do. Similarly, we don't use larger shots for films or TV shows (which arguably have the same increase in resolution since then), so there's no need to increase here. --MASEM (t) 17:08, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
Feel free to ignore those size limitations if you can justify it. I've never adherred to the arbitrary 100000px and 400x300 "rules", because the resolution and detail required are subjective and require your judgement. File:Sword and Sworcery - Gameplay.png is 598x384 because any smaller would wreck the 1px fine details, it's still 4 times smaller than native, and below SDTV resolution. Here's what happens when you allow bots to make decisions about image sizes, File:Dear Esther Screenshot Large.jpg, one of the most beautiful games turned into useless noise. - hahnchen 02:30, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
NFC, like BLP, is not a policy readily applicable to IAR, because it is based on a Foundation mandate. And if people are uploading at full size (that Dear Esther was at 1920x1080, no way we'd allow that), they are going to be shrunk down. --MASEM (t) 04:01, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
100,000 is a number plucked from the air. It just means that your already low resolution image is at risk of some automaton tagging such as File:DuckTales Remastered.jpg & File:Pinocchio-1940-poster.jpg. Ignore the size of the source material, ignore the detail and the content, ignore the quality of the scan and encoding, because File:Dishonored Lady poster.jpg is 0.14 MP! Why not have the bots fight one another to degrade the images as much as possible? File:Thor-272.jpg!
I trust the judgement of a video games editor who knows the source material over the box ticking brigade. If the image requires more pixels, give it more pixels.- hahnchen 15:01, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
I'll have to check into what TLB is doing on those images, as while 0.1 MP is a suggestion, it is not a hard-coded requirement and those resizings its done seem very pointy - just that if you have an image that far exceeds that, we're probably going to look into reducing it unless you clearly have justified the resolution. But we aren't about to allow 1080p-resolution images if the resolution requirement is not clearly made. --MASEM (t) 17:28, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
The point of the non-free content criteria is to deliberately restrict the amount and quality of non-free images. I would ask DrNegative what case examples do we have where the HUD is the subject of critical commentary and requires a non-free image to illustrate it, or else the article is irreparably harmed? Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 17:04, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
My feelings are that we do not have to "deliberately restrict the amount and quality of non-free images" for video game screenshots, at least not to the level currently implemented. Not only does it provide to reader with a better understanding of the game visually, but represents said game more authentically. As an example, I took our arbitrary 0.1 megapixel rule and overlaid it on the same picture from which the developers intended the player to see it. Not only are the HUD elements more detailed and visible, but the models, textures, lighting, post processing and the world in general created by the game engine can now be prominently displayed for the reader who clicks the thumbnail seeking this enlargement. Providing this would not hurt the commercial value of the game in any way, as I said earlier it might even help it. It is in my opinion that every single video game article we have on the encyclopedia would benefit from an HD (>=720p) screenshot, so choosing one would be trivial. I've seen past discussion of this nature that have really found no consensus. One discussion here started by Masem himself seemed to stall, another discussion summary had consensus to find an exception for video game images which I'll quote:
In the case of screenshots from video games and computer applications (which are meant to be showing the game or application itself), though, because the original source image exists only digitally (and has a resolution of around 92 px per inch), resizing the image could cause the loss of important information contained in the screenshot, and would ultimately make the final image noticebly less useful for an encyclopedia. (Additionally, in video games there is a well-established culture of using screenshots for discussing and identifying games, potentially making it a less problematic legal category in any case.)
I think we should up our maximum resolution, plain and simple. In closing I will quote Masem from another discussion which summarizes my other point clearly: "there are times where's its practical to have the small version ("thumb") in the article to give the flavor while reading but with a click to give more details." DrNegative (talk) 20:19, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Your feelings aren't grounded in policy. From WP:NFCC, the purpose of the policy is "to support Wikipedia's mission to produce perpetually free content for unlimited distribution, modification and application by all users in all media; to minimize legal exposure by limiting the amount of non-free content, using more narrowly defined criteria than apply under the fair use provisions in United States copyright law; to facilitate the judicious use of non-free content to support the development of a high-quality encyclopedia." Minimal extent of usage is explicitly declared as a part of the policy. No doubt it'd be great to have high-res copies of screenshots from games; we have in the past gotten publishers and developers to release screenshots under free licenses to allow it. But the point is that unless you can justify it strongly for each and every case, there's no automatic allowance to even include any non-free content, let alone high-definition versions of that copyrighted material. Again, unless you have a clear example of where our coverage of a game is severely inhibited without high-resolution images of specific HUD elements, these seems like an academic exercise that goes nowhere. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 20:29, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Come now David, that is why we are here. Policies can be amended, all of them have been now many times over. If you would have tried to increase the then 100px limit back in 2006, they would have told you to stop your "academic exercise", 0.1 megapixels is much too large for non-free content. Yet here we are now. It's subjective really. DrNegative (talk) 20:55, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
0.1 is not policy. Is this flimsy argument all it took to set 0.1 as a guideline? That guideline has succeeded in turning all the factors one has to consider about image quality into one single overriding standard that unthinking persons can outsource to a bot. It's lead to the pointless downscales we see above, a one way degradation of image quality, which are irreversible to most. If you don't watch your files, if you're not active, and if you do not have admin rights, 0.1 just may as well be policy. Just fucking look at this File:Drchaos boxart.jpg. Here's a downgrade of a (actually free) file File:All Men Are Mortal, 1946 French edition.jpg. Here's ET. Here's a bot telling DrNegative he's not fit to resize images, File:Dragon's Prophet logo.png. The detail on this cover? File:Discworld 2 cover.jpg Nope, says the bot. - hahnchen 22:57, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
@Hanchen: I don't see any reason to disagree with you that you probably shouldn't be having a bot come along and make an arbitrary sizing decision; bots can't see anything in the images. That's something worth bringing up with the bot ops. @DrNegative: Then you need to start an RfC, but "I think having .1 megapixels as a rule of thumb is bad" and "We should be allowed to use high-definition images" are two different arguments, and the latter one flies in the face of the spirit and practice of one of Wikipedia's bedrock principles. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 00:17, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
I will agree that TLB should ignore image reduction requests that are just outside the 0.1MP range (the examples give are bitey for the most part), but as David says, the bot can't see the images - the fault they were tagged is on users that are misreading NFC's page which is a guideline (not policy) , and in the IMAGERES section, is clear that 0.1MP is a suggested limit but not a a hard one. However, we're not going to be allowing higher-res shots (say, 640x480) just becuase "the pixels!" - the art direction or the elements of the GUI have to be of significant discussion to necessitate an image of that size. --MASEM (t) 00:32, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
The argument is not "we need high res", it is that the 400 x 300 guideline and the arbitrarily bot stamped 0.1 guideline are out of date. Given how games left 4:3 behind a decade ago, I agree. File:Starcommand2013battle.jpg, which I saved from the clutches of TLB, is nearer double the guideline and is fine. I'm loathe to describe any new guideline given how ridiculous the unthinking have taken 0.1, instead we should have a short series of links to various acceptable images at different resolutions and their rationales. - hahnchen 19:09, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Regarding bot use, please see Wikipedia_talk:Bots/Requests_for_approval#Request_for_re-examination_Wikipedia:Bots.2FRequests_for_approval.2FTheo.27s_Little_Bot.2C_Task_1. - hahnchen 21:54, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
The bot does not tag the images. The bot only responses to human editors that tag the images. I will agree the bot should not operate on pointy resizes - like native iOS to 0.1MP ranges - but it is not the one to judge when the tag should be applied. Take that up with editors that are reading WP:NFC guideline as a "policy" and tagging those images. We do need bots to deal with images far over the practical limit, so it is very silly to be blaming the bot when it cannot tag images. --MASEM (t) 22:43, 15 February 2015 (UTC)