Talk:Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster

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RfC about the infobox image[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
There does not appear to be a consensus here, and this RFC has been going on for almost three months, with both sides resorting to rather weak arguments. I'll point out that the illustration linked in this RFC proposal doesn't exist, neither in nagualdesign's gallery nor in that user's deleted contribution history. There is an illustration by that user at File:Tesla Roadster mounted on Falcon Heavy upper stage.png so I assume that is the one being discussed. The question is whether the lead image should show just the astronaut mannequin seated in the car or the whole assembly of the object actually in orbit (the car on the launch body).
Concerning the guidelines quoted, these are my views:
  • MOS:LEADIMAGE recommends using the image with the least shock value, and that would be the photograph. Otherwise, I find the other arguments put forth by the photograph proponents to be non-compelling. Equally non-compelling are the arguments by the illustration proponents that the photograph isn't appropriate because it doesn't show the entire assembly, but I find no policy or guidance to support this; it seems like nothing more than an WP:ILIKEIT argument for the illustration and against a specific photograph.
  • MOS:IMAGERELEVANCE applies to both the photo and the illustration; both are relevant, both illustrate the subject, which is a car in orbit. What the article's subject happens to be mounted on doesn't matter for whether or not it appears in the infobox.
  • WP:FIDUCIAL isn't relevant here, and doesn't necessarily apply to lead images. We have a large number of lead images of small bugs (see chigger for example) without a scale reference, and I doubt anyone would be in favor of replacing them all with images showing a pinhead alongside for scale. Images with scale references are typically included later in the article, as is currently the case here. Therefore we should impart a sense of scale of the car by displaying it alongside another object, but not necessarily in the lead image. Readers will already have a pretty good idea of how big a roadster is. The fact that the car is much smaller than the booster doesn't matter in the lead image but at the same time there wouldn't be a problem in showing it. Neither the photo of the car and mannequin, nor the drawing of the car on the booster, will violate this guideline.
Based on my analysis of the guidelines, I find that the photograph has perhaps a slight edge, but neither the photo nor the illustration unambiguously stand out as "best" for the infobox in the context of guidelines. Hopefully these comments will aid a future discussion. ~Anachronist (talk) 23:51, 24 September 2018 (UTC)

Should the infobox contain the this illustration created by nagualdesign or one of the official SpaceX pictures such as this one?

Related discussions above.

-- GreenC 05:31, 29 June 2018 (UTC)


  • Official picture. The purpose of an infobox image is to identify the article topic. The article is about the car. There were previous attempts to rename the article around the spacecraft but they never achieved consensus. The reason is most sources are focused on the car, Wikipedia correctly reflects/follows the majority of sources. The image runs against the grain, nagualdesign says he wants the image to change popular understanding to include car + spacecraft. Wikipedia follows the sources it doesn't try to get ahead of them by changing perceptions of what is important. I'd also rather use an available photograph vs an illustration. The illustration can be used in the article body. -- GreenC 05:31, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Photograph . This is aligned with the Manual of Style, which advises to use the least surprising pictures, pictures used elsewhere as well. The official pictures have been used everywhere, we should do the same (that's the guideline, not just my personal opinion). The illustration can be shown below the infobox. --mfb (talk) 06:28, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Photograph preferred, however I would advocate using a picture of the car mounted on the PAF prior to fairing encapsulation, namely this one. Nagualdesign's illustration can remain in the article body to clarify what exactly is floating in space. — JFG talk 07:39, 29 June 2018 (UTC) Clarification: I'm fine with keeping a view of "Starmsn driving around in space" as the top image, but I would complement it by the suggested photograph of the PAF-mounted car. — JFG talk 08:11, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Illustration, because none of the images from SpaceX actually show the spacecraft in full. (And I don't agree with the characterization of the photo(s) as being somehow "official".) For that actual WP policies please see Dennis Bratland's comment below. nagualdesign 09:37, 29 June 2018 (UTC) 
  • Comment, the order of least confusion is probably (1) earth-based image photograph of car in car park, (2) space-based photograph of same car in low-Earth orbit, (3) diagramatic side/front/top renders or line-art plans of combined object in free space. (4) earth-based photograph of same combined object object prior to fairing encapsulation. This order starts with something that is mostly immediately familiar and gradually introduces more detail to the reader where each new image/diagram directly supports the text being read. —Sladen (talk) 10:13, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Original photograph - Because it is real, not synthetic. Rowan Forest (talk) 14:40, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Photograph A real image is less subjective. No matter how good or accurate the illustration, it's still the creation of the illustrator. Fcrary (talk) 19:52, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Illustration Tesla can put all the "official" photos they want at This article belongs to Wikipedia, not Tesla. It is definitely a widespread misconception that it's just a car in space, rather than this much larger object. MOS:IMAGERELEVANCE says to avoid ambiguous images, such as a closeup photo that crops out most of the object. It says "Images should look like what they are meant to illustrate, whether or not they are provably authentic." An authentic, official photo that fails to show what this thing really looks like is inferior for that reason. WP:FIDUCIAL also suggests that we should include an image that gives a proper sense of scale, and that means the rocket needs to be in the picture. Per MOS:LEADIMAGE, this is a classic case of when "it is impossible to avoid using a lead image with perceived shock value" -- many readers will be shocked to learn what this thing really is, and that's good in this instance. MOS:LEADIMAGE also contradicts the claim that the purpose of the lead image is merely to identify the subject -- the guideline describes the fact that it is common for editors to have chosen a lead image for that reason, but what the guideline prescribes is several other goals, including "natural and appropriate representations", as opposed to a narrow crop, leaving out critical facts. This photo solves none of the problems, since it crops out most of the mass of the object, and anyway, it's licensed no-$; we can't use it. The MOS has no prejudice favoring photos over drawings or renderings, and photographs are not inherently truer than drawings is; WP:TRUTH not as simple as that. Any technical or quality issues with the illustration can be overcome in future versions; they are not reasons to favor a less informative, and in fact misleading, photo. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 23:06, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for finding the pertinent policy links, Dennis. I knew I'd read that stuff before but couldn't remember where, and I haven't got the energy to deal with flimsy rationales like the illustration being "synthetic" or supposedly being "subjective". Hopefully, whoever closes this RfC will place greater weight on such policy-based reasoning than on people's opinions, however heart-felt they may be, rather than just totting up !votes. nagualdesign 03:26, 30 June 2018 (UTC)
Re:it's licensed no-$; we can't use it. Just a note that SpaceX has released all their pictures to the public domain, so we can use them. — JFG talk 04:34, 30 June 2018 (UTC)
I would expect the license they chose to attach to the actual image would have precedence, rather than any generalizations at their About page. Generally Wikimedia takes a cautious and conservative approach to copyright, and presumes that if they wanted a broader license than CC BY-NC then they would have said so. I'd suggest you resolve that first, then upload it to Commons, and then you would have a viable alternative to discuss. At this moment, it's a red herring. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 05:20, 30 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Illustration, because none of the images pubically released from SpaceX that are included on this page show the spacecraft in full. Since the Roadster is permantently attached to the second stage, it makes one object. Also, I would support a request to rename this article to something that somehow mentions that this is car/rocket combination is an object in space. --Frmorrison (talk) 23:48, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Right now, today, the article topic is Elon Musk's Roadster. The infobox image accurately reflects the article-topic - not what we aspire it to be in the future eg. a complete spacecraft, an advertising campaign, etc.. Keep the infobox image on-topic and change only after the article topic has been changed, not before. Not everyone agrees the article topic should be changed at all. -- GreenC 04:31, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
All you’re doing is re-stating your opinion, then re-stating theirs, then implying that the other editor’s opinion is less valid for no reason. They and others !voted that the topic should be broader than just the car. You had already !voted that it should only be the car. By replying again, adding no information other than those two facts, you’re bludgeoning the process. The reason I’m saying all this is in the hopes that you don’t re-post the same things on all the subsequent !votes favoring the broader topic of car+rocket. —Dennis Bratland (talk) 15:47, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
False. The overwhelming consensus was to make this article about the car, not about an imaginary and "masterful commercial". Your POV on a commercial was rejected by the commubity, multiple times, and archived. The present issue is whether the composite diagram could replace an actual photograph. Rowan Forest (talk) 17:15, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
Again with the bludgeoning. Some editors here, now are !voting that they think this article should be about the entire object in orbit, not merely the car piece of it. Whether or not editors in the past did or didn't have consensus that it should only be about the car, editors now are free to reach a new consensus that the topic should cover the whole thing. Those who which to keep it about only the car have already !voted. It is misleading to keep implying that it's invalid to take that position now just because of past consensus. All you're doing is repeating your !vote, pretending your !vote has greater weight than it does, and treating those who disagree as if they don't count because they're "wrong". Don't bludgeon the process means you already said that and you don't need to keep saying it. Also, the "imaginary" insult you threw in there implies that I made an unsourced claim, which is not true. Please see aspersions and reconsider this kind of behavior. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 16:37, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
While the article is nominally about the Roadster it covers the whole shebang, including the launch, the landing of the two boosters, etc., and the infobox is clearly about the whole spacecraft. Right now, today! nagualdesign 17:08, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
Apart from the mass and the "spacecraft type" entry, the infobox wouldn't look any different if the car would have separated from the second stage. --mfb (talk) 23:54, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Photograph MOS on infoboxes is pretty clear on this. If photos are available, they are always preferable over a painting, a drawing, or any other manufactured representations. Policy found here reads: "It is common for an article's lead or infobox to carry a representative image‍—‌such as of a person or place, a book or album cover‍—‌to give readers visual confirmation that they've arrived at the right page...The lead image is perhaps the first thing to catch the reader's eye, so avoid lead images that readers would not expect to see there. Unlike other content beyond the lead, the lead image should be chosen with these considerations in mind...Lead images should be natural and appropriate representations of the topic; they should not only illustrate the topic specifically, but also be the type of image used for similar purposes in high-quality reference works, and therefore what our readers will expect to see." Based on this, using the photo seems like a no-brainer to me. -- ψλ 02:45, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Nagualdesign's image or something like it. I'm glad I read all the responses above before answering. The argument isn't about the image, it's about the deceptive nature of the article, as revealed by JFG who wrote 'The article is about the Roadster, and whether we like it or not, it is perceived as "a dude driving around in space"'. When an article is about a subject whose properties are widely misperceived, this should be made clear in the lead. The article on Jesus says in its first paragraph "Most Christians believe him to be the incarnation of God the Son". But this article reveals the misperception only in the final sentence of the third section, with "The Roadster is attached to a Merlin 1D Vacuum second stage with extended nozzle by a payload attachment fitting." Wikipedia should make the truth clear both in the wording of the lead and in its choice of image, rather than playing along with Musks's amusing marketing ploy. Maproom (talk) 06:37, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Photograph, but not the payload photo - as per prior comments, a photo would work better for visually understanding the car and for following the MoS. However, the payload photo would not be an appropriate photo for the infobox, since it doesn't show the car as a whole. A regular photo of the car taken on the ground would be the best fit, official or not. 𝗧𝗢𝗠𝗔𝗦𝗧𝗢𝗠𝗔𝗦𝗧𝗢𝗠𝗔𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗟𝗞⠀ 22:49, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Photograph Summoned by a bot. Just think the illustration looks kind of tacky. Comatmebro (talk) 04:24, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Photograph - Per User:Comatmebro; illustration is not encyclopedic. NickCT (talk) 21:19, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
  • One of the space photographs. Photographs are almost always preferable over illustrations, and the image of the car in space is iconic. We should include car+spacecraft in the body of the article, to provide greater context on what's actually up there. Alsee (talk) 08:32, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Illustration per Dennis.(Summoned by bot) And for "illustrations are not encyclopedic" take a look at our NSFW sexual act position articles.Thanks, L3X1 ◊distænt write◊ 00:14, 22 July 2018 (UTC)
These articles have a very specific reason to use illustrations, that reason doesn't apply here. The roadster in space is clearly SFW and child-friendly. Why didn't you use some spaceflight articles as examples? --mfb (talk) 04:20, 22 July 2018 (UTC)
SFW or not had nothing to do with my article, it was a "get in trouble with the manager at your own expense". Also, plenty of our sex articles have real photographs in them as well. In most of out spaceflight articles there is nothing hard to understand to illustrate. And check out Project Gemini#Spacecraft, the illustration is there to illustrate so people have an understanding of the entire thing. The Gemini 8 photographs make it clear that it wasn't docking with a beach ball or something the size of a B52. Thanks, L3X1 ◊distænt write◊ 12:22, 22 July 2018 (UTC)
That is part of the article not the lead image. What is your point? Many support using the illustration in the article - just not in the infobox, and that's what this discussion about. --mfb (talk) 19:29, 22 July 2018 (UTC)
Not many, Mfb. Less than half of those !voting want an illustration. Eleven want a photograph, five want a drawing. -- ψλ 00:48, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
As I wrote already: The survey was about the infobox. Five users who voted for a photo in the infobox explicitly mentioned that they accept or actively support an illustration in the main article. That makes at least 10 out of 16. As far as I see only NickCT is against any form of illustration. Comatmebro doesn't like the existing one. --mfb (talk) 14:54, 23 July 2018 (UTC)

As of July 21/22, I count 8 votes for a photo in space, 5 votes for an illustration, 2 vote for a photograph on Earth, and 1 comment including an order of least confusion where a ground-based photo is first. This is a majority for the status quo, and there is clearly no consensus for a change. --mfb (talk) 04:20, 22 July 2018 (UTC)


The article is about the car. The second stage, while larger than the car, is waste that didn't get discarded (as would have been done for regular missions). While we do not have a picture of Zuma, we wouldn't show it with second stage either. I think the illustration is useful, but somewhere below the infobox. "it's" was correct--mfb (talk) 00:28, 30 June 2018 (UTC)

That's mostly an artifact of the problem of editors being unable to agree on a better title for this article. The only reason this article exists is because of the use of it in the Falcon Heavy test, and "it" being left in solar orbit -- the "it", the subject of this article -- is not merely the car. The article exists because of the car in its context, its placement in space. The guidelines at MOS:IMAGE I pointed out above favor scale, setting, context. The subject's relationships with other things. This piece of hardware so large it dwarfs the car is a vital part of that context. The Zuma is not analogous at all -- it was destroyed. This object, car and rocket, are still there, and in the configuration in the illustration, looking very little like the romanticized official photo, letting people imagine it's like the car in space in the movie Heavy Metal. It looks nothing like that. Much of the grousing about this car being a hazard or space junk is based on the misconception that the car was the junk -- when in fact the car hardly adds anything to the far larger piece of "junk" that was going out there anyway. The fact that seeing an accurate illustration upends so many attitudes about is the greatest resaon to favor the more accurate and complete illustration. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 01:18, 30 June 2018 (UTC)
Whether this orbiting artifact is merely junk or an inspiring message is a matter of personal opinion. Wikipedia does not deal in opinions or in WP:TRUTH, it deals with a balanced representation of mainstream views about the subject. See also WP:RGW. — JFG talk 04:33, 30 June 2018 (UTC)
And here it is. I expected one of you would try to drag this down to this level. It's obvious you're misrepresenting what I posted, and making a straw man argument. Everyone else is capable of reading what I actually said, so I won't respond. If you wish to tell yourself that my arguments are "opinion" and yours are "balanced", knock yourself out. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 05:01, 30 June 2018 (UTC)
I did not say that your arguments are opinion; I said that the interpretation of this artifact by each person is a matter of personal opinion: yours, mine, Musk's, journalists', space enthusiasts', Wikipedians' and lay people's. NPOV means that Wikipedia should provide an overview of facts and various interpretations in proportion to their weight, seriousness and prominence in sources. — JFG talk 18:22, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
Ages ago, Jimmy Wales rejected the notion that NPOV on Wikipedia means occupying some middle ground between liberal and conservative United States world views -- no matter how deluded the Fox News-fed portion of Americans became, we had to find a false equivalence with the "other side". Instead, Wikipedia finds a neutral position in a much broader scope, not just the benighted US, and beliefs that are scientifically false, like climate change denial, are not taken seriously. The fact that a lot of media are guilty in misleading the public doesn't mean NPOV requires finding some middle ground between a flat and a round Earth. That's false equivalence. The belief that the car is all by itself out there is simply wrong, and doesn't need to be given equal weight, or any weight, in relation with the verifiable facts. Your suggestion that WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS requires us to go along with the fiction is false. RGW merely restates the WP:NOR policy. We couldn't say the rocket is attached unless it were verifiable in reliable secondary sources. But it very much is, so RGW has no bearing. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 07:08, 7 July 2018 (UTC)

I'm a bit disappointed to have received no response to my Layperson Challenge (posted above). As a point of discussion I think it's important for editors to either deny or confirm the idea that the current infobox image only adds to the widely held misconception that Musk's Roadster is floating freely through space, as the "official" SpaceX animation would have them believe, and that the proposed infobox image would serve to dispel that misconception. If nobody actually disagrees with this idea then the fact that people are arguing that we should disregard it because the current photo is "official" or "iconic" (neither reason having any basis in WP policy) even though it's misleading, in my opinion, undermines the purpose of Wikipedia. Are we seriously suggesting that because people expect to see the roadster on its own then it would somehow be remiss of us to disabuse our readers? nagualdesign 17:32, 3 July 2018 (UTC)

The article is about the Roadster, and whether we like it or not, it is perceived as "a dude driving around in space", so that an actual picture of the flying Roadster should remain the top image about the article subject. Your illustration is very helpful to dispel the myth that the car is orbiting by itself, so that a layperson who comes to Wikipedia to learn more will actually be educated, and can educate their friends in turn. — JFG talk 18:19, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
Re. whether we like it or not, it is perceived as "a dude driving around in space", so that an actual picture of the flying Roadster should remain the top image, so you agree that our readers are probably confused, but you believe that that's a good thing? Frankly, I'm stunned. We're not here to affirm misconceptions, folklore and old wives tales! Who else here agrees with JFG's line of reasoning? nagualdesign 19:42, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
Don't invent strawmen please. The readers simply care about the car and cameras which sent videos much more than they care about the trash that didn't separate from it. --mfb (talk) 23:56, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
It isn't a straw man, I'm simply trying to engage in discussion. In my opinion, RfCs are pretty pointless if editors simply tack on their !vote without being willing to debate their reasoning or possibly alter their position. Your claim about what readers supposedly care about, as well as your characterizing the upper stage of a Falcon Heavy as "trash", suggests that you're trying to rubbish the point I'm making, but you're actually confirming my suspicion that you think it's okay for Wikipedia to be a bit 'tabloid'. I disagree is all. nagualdesign 19:50, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
@Nagualdesign: I appreciate the debate; your initiative allowed us all to illuminate the essence of this article. Irrespective of our personal opinions, Wikipedia must reflect first and foremost the mainstream view of any article subject. An encyclopedia follows and does not lead. We may find 10 years from now that the Roadster is only remembered as a piece of junk used for marketing purposes, or we may find that it got renewed public attention next time it comes in close proximity to the Earth and gets imaged again. We may also find that dark matter does not exist, and that Erik Verlinde's theory of entropic gravity was right all along, but today Lambda-CDM is the mainstream view, just as in 1880 the ether theory was mainstream. — JFG talk 20:28, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
Re: you agree that our readers are probably confused, but you believe that that's a good thing? I'm not saying it's good or bad; I'm just saying it is what it is. — JFG talk 20:30, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. nagualdesign 21:10, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

It doesn't matter if the article is ever retitled. Any glance at a Google image search shows that sources almost exclusively focus on photos of only the car&spaceman in space. It's what is most salient. The second stage is like the back of a painting, it's there but most people aren't very interested in it. The fact about the second stage should be included and illustrated in the body of the article. Alsee (talk) 09:18, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Tesla co-founded by Elon Musk?[edit]

In this article, Elon is cited as a founder of Tesla, with [1] cited as justification. The Tesla section of the Elon Musk article gives a different story, citing [2] and [3], and a recent mini edit war has resulted in "co-founder" of Tesla being removed from that article's infobox. My interpretation is that Elon was not one of the original founders but came to a legal agreement that he was entitled to call himself a co-founder based on his early involvement. Rather than start another edit war here, can we agree to change "founded by Elon Musk" in the lead of this article to "controlled by Elon Musk" or similar? Whether or not he founded the company is immaterial to this article in any case, IMO. Rosbif73 (talk) 06:49, 19 September 2018 (UTC)

Follow the citations, and add an (equally cited) footnote noting the specifics. —Sladen (talk) 08:10, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
Follow which citations? They are somewhat contradictory... Rosbif73 (talk) 10:27, 19 September 2018 (UTC)

Ok controversial but I think it would require an RfC to establish consensus before people go around changing every instance as part of an ongoing miniwar somewhere else. It's difficult to find a single word that best describes both SpaceX and Tesla other than "CEO" which is technically accurate at the time of launch, but looses something of his history and role in these companies. Controlled isn't accurate for Tesla as no single person controls Tesla (board etc) and makes it sound sinister. "Headed" might also work but again looses some importance/weight of his involvement. -- GreenC 12:15, 19 September 2018 (UTC)

Musk is the founder of SpaceX and was clearly involved in founding Tesla. Taking it any further is outside the scope of this article. Otherwise it becomes a point of view fork. The statement "The car and rocket are products of Tesla and SpaceX, both companies founded by Elon Musk." is fine. Richard-of-Earth (talk) 20:18, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

Appearance in safari browser[edit]

Re: my edit adding   between the references and Western Australian... and Škoda produced... When viewing this page in safari browser there is no space between them without the two   Unoc (talk) 11:06, 14 November 2018 (UTC)

I did some fixes. How does it look now? Richard-of-Earth (talk) 02:43, 15 November 2018 (UTC)