Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-01-24/Dispatches

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This wasn't discussed at WT:FCDW, and we're still working out whether there is going to be WP:FCDW/December DYK contest. We can probably run this (if its finished) on December 8 unless the DYK contest materializes. Please coordinate at WT:FCDW so we don't have these last minute surprises: it was listed at the Newsroom even though it's not yet ready. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 07:17, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

I linked in the two earlier Dispatches that discuss free and non-free images, in case any of that information is repeated here and can be deleted. It would be helpful to explain the criteria up front since they are frequently referred to. Also, the image sizes were so large that the prose was lost. I temporarily added section editing. Done for now: I've asked other people to help. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 07:58, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
The featured picture criteria are (implicitly) assumed knowledge and it was the first link in the article anyway. I think it's more convenient to have them in separate tabs rather than scrolling through the whole lot. MER-C 11:19, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I've started explaining the FP criteria. Since most editors don't participate in the FPC process, you can't assume they know the criteria and most readers are lazy. They won't click through and read the criteria carefully. Awadewit (talk) 17:20, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Non-photographic media[edit]

This article contains no examples of engravings, lithographs, diagrams, paintings, documents, and all the other types of featured pictures. At a minimum, I'd throw in a Lady of Hats diagram, an engraving, and one of Durova's document restorations - possibly the Islamic calligraphy. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 13:30, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

I threw in a few things to try and show the variety of FPs a bit better. IT's now more about images, less about text. It might be a little over-illustrated, actually. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 15:20, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Deleted material[edit]

This is far, far too detailed. I'll do a brief summary instead. This should probably form part of a dispatch in its own right. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 17:13, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes. The entire thing was too long and overbearing, too heavy on detail. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:27, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Now comes the interesting bit—assessing the technical quality (criteria 1, 3 and 8). Use a raster image editing program such as The Gimp to assess photographs. A vector graphics program may be more appropriate for diagrams. Before you get started, you should calibrate your monitor by following the directions at "Is my monitor calibrated correctly?"

Download the full-resolution image to your hard drive and open it up with your image editor. Now start checking for problems:

This FPC of a poplar hawk-moth was not promoted because part of the caterpillar was cut off.
  • Use the eyedropper tool or the histogram to check for clipping, often referred to as blown highlights or blacked-out shadows. An image should show detail in both the highlights and shadows. The eyedropper tool will reveal the loss of detail in flat regions of identically colored pixels. The histogram of a clipped image will count a disproportionately large number of white or black pixels.
  • Draw horizontal or vertical lines near features that should appear straight, for example the sides of buildings, to check for tilt and distortion.
  • Is the image underexposed, overexposed, or both? This is related to clipping, and the same tools will help to identify this problem. Overexposed images will appear too bright, and tend to suffer from blown highlights. Underexposed images are, conversely, too dark, and tend to lose detail in the shadows.
  • Is the subject cut off or partially obscured for no good reason? This both reduces EV and shows poor composition.
  • Are the corners of the photo darker than the center? This may be caused by vignetting and indicates poor technical quality.
  • The subject of the image should be in sharp focus, but the background may be blurred by controlling the depth of field. Blurring the background can reduce distracting elements of the scene.
  • Does it look good? Does it stand out from ordinary photography? This is often referred to as wow factor.
This would be a great illustration for battlefield medicine, except the detail wusses out where it matters most. The resolution is simply not high enough. Another version blows out at the same location. Nomination page: Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/FieldSurgery.

Zoom in so that the picture is now at 100%.

  • If the image is a JPEG file, as most photographs are, you may see squarish inconsistencies. These are compression artifacts, and none should be visible.
  • Is there sufficient detail in the picture? (criterion 2) Is the subject in focus?
  • Check for chromatic aberration. Chromatic aberration generally appears as colorful fringes around bright objects, or as a rainbow effect where the image should show only white.
  • Look for noise, most often seen in the shadows.
  • Is the image aliased? Improper processing of an image can cause odd and distracting patterns to appear.
  • If the image is a panorama, check for stitching errors. Panoramas are often stitched together from several photographs, called frames. The boundaries of the individual frames should not be visible in the panorama. Objects split between different frames must fit together perfectly, without disjoint lines or blurry "ghosting". The frames should show consistent exposure, lighting, color, and focus.
  • Check for signs of over-sharpening. Photographs should realistically depict the subject instead of inventing detail. Over-sharpening can also cause halos around bright or dark objects. Do you see any other signs of overenthusiastic post-processing?
  • Is the image upsampled? Upsampling increases the size of a picture at the expense of quality. This is done automatically in many point-and-shoot cameras when digital zoom is enabled.

Also, check scans for several additional problems. A bad reproduction can scupper an otherwise feature-worthy image.

  • Check the image for moire patterns or other odd halftoning artifacts. Halftoning was often part of the printing process used for older pictures. These problems can appear when the image is scanned at the wrong resolution.
  • The scan should be detailed enough to read any text present in the reproduced work. (criterion 2)

For a general idea of what we are looking for, see Commons:Image guidelines. Here are some example reviews.

Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Mid-Continent Tower
Original Comments
Mid-Continent Tower Sept 23, 2006.jpg Assessing FPCs - MidContinentTower.png


Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Capitol building in Palau
Original Comments
Capitol-complex-melekeok-palau20071220.jpg Assessing FPCs - Capitol.png
This example was cropped to reduce upload size.


The main problem with this picture is underexposure. Nevertheless, it was brightened in an edit, which is featured. Nomination page: Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/New York Skyline.


Here's an example of a (non-obvious) stitching error: the two sea levels of this 360° panorama differ in height by some 60 pixels. The panorama was rotated and featured. Nomination page: Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Panorama of Dar es Salaam.

This one is probably not useful, and criticises an actual nominator.

Here is an exercise nomination as would be presented on Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates. Editors entering a declaration should summarize the critique in a short paragraph, stating exactly what the problems are.

Original - A juvenile Sulawesi Crested Macaque in its habitat at the Buffalo Zoo

Juvenile Sulawesi Crested Macaque at the Buffalo Zoo

Encyclopedic and beautiful image. (Featured on Commons.)
Articles this image appears in
Celebes Crested Macaque, Buffalo Zoo
  • Support as nominator --Dweeebis (talk) 15:43, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Final FP gallery[edit]

The gallery at the end seems a little gratuitous to me. Do all the images in the gallery have a reason for being there? Will they help readers understand how to review candidates? Wronkiew (talk) 07:44, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I think it could be cut in half; the Dispatch is still enormously long, and we should remember it's a Signpost Dispatch, not an article. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:31, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I'd also like to cut the image in the lead, as it's fighting with the Signpost banner and giving a cluttered appearance. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:32, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I removed the extra formatting from the lead image, and perhaps it's not so bad now. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:40, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
If we need to cut some content to reduce the length, I think these sections add the least value to the article:
  1. What types of images can become featured pictures?
  2. The list of criteria; a link to the criteria might also serve the same purpose
  3. What makes a featured image?
The rest of the sections are essential, though they might be compressed further. Some explanation of the technical aspects of photography is needed, for example, for readers to understand the discussions at FPC. Wronkiew (talk) 00:07, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm happy with the text so far: just think the gallery is large. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:58, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
I really think at least the gallery section should be cut. It does show readers what kinds of non-photographic images they might see at FPC, but it does nothing to help them understand how to review them. Wronkiew (talk) 07:10, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Can someone else do the pruning? As I am not involved with images, I can't decipher which are the most essential. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:54, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting we prune it. I think we should cut the gallery entirely. It is a neat collection of images, and shows the diversity of FP submissions. However, I don't think it's helpful in this dispatch, which is supposed to be about helping people review FP noms. Maybe we could save it for the hypothetical future dispatch? Wronkiew (talk) 18:13, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see: I wouldn't object to cutting it entirely. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:16, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Deleted gallery[edit]

I removed the following section from the dispatch to reduce the length. Wronkiew (talk) 05:23, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

What types of images can become featured pictures?

Any type! While this Dispatch mainly concentrated on photography, here's a sample of some of the slightly more unusual images that have been promoted to featured picture status.

Dispatch ready[edit]

I have finished proofreading the dispatch, and I think it's ready to go. I'm a little uncomfortable about leaving people hanging at the end. However, from reading the other dispatches it seems they also omit a conclusion.. Wronkiew (talk) 02:19, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

It should run in the next Signpost; thanks for the work !! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:19, 21 January 2009 (UTC)


The FP version of Gin Lane is not Hogarth's work from "Davenport's edition", but a later copy engraved by Davenport (probably around 1806-09 for Trusler's Hogarth Moralized). Sorry to jump in at the last minute (assuming it hasn't been used yet), but comparing the two as if they are both Hogarth originals doesn't strike me as a good idea. The first image isn't a good quality scan admittedly but it is from Hogarth's original plates. Yomanganitalk 20:44, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

With so many editors involved, I don't know who added that, or who might correct it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:31, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
The images are illustrative but they could be deleted if necessary. If they are kept, I don't think the captions need to be ultra-precise, because what is being compared is the readability of the text in the scan, not the artistic merit. Wronkiew (talk) 01:26, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
True but having Davenport's copy attributed to Hogarth is one of the reasons I was wary of it being promoted to FP in the first place. I've reworked the captions, what do you think? Yomanganitalk 01:48, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
While it's important to note that it is reworked by Davenport (e.g. Davenport's edition), I don't see how what's agreed to be a pretty exact copy needs much more disambiguation than saying it's Davenport's edition. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 01:54, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
However, if it's really an issue, since I rewrote this story, some Gustave Doré works have been promoted which have low-res versions on the commons. The Doré is definitely authentic, so we could use him instead. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 10:37, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
This gets published today. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:02, 24 January 2009 (UTC)