Wikiquote talk:Image use policy

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Proposed: BD2412 suggested criteria[edit]

From this comment by admin BD2412 (talk · contributions) at Village Pump:

Proposed additions under new subsection, "Image use"
  1. The goal of images added should be to assist in conveying quotes.
  2. The connection between the images used and the subject matter of the page as a whole, and individual quotes on it, should be obvious.
  3. We should not use images in the first place merely because they are ambiguous or abstract and could refer to anything.
  4. We should not use images at all if they embody a specific cultural meaning that is distinct from the meaning of either the page or the quote.

Proposed, taken directly from wording by admin BD2412 (talk · contributions) at Village Pump. -- Cirt (talk) 19:27, 4 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Implemented above proposal[edit]

Implemented above proposal, diff, per talk page consensus after discussion and poll were open for over one month. Cheers, -- Cirt (talk) 05:48, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Procedural objection: A straw poll is a nonbinding assessment of the prospects for further deliberation. Therefore (1) the policy revision should be reverted pending a non-hypothetical deliberation;[1] and (2) the section above should be un-hidden so that it can inform further deliberation.[2]

    I believe the correct conclusion for closing the straw poll should be something like this: "There is consensus that we should have a policy along these lines. Point #3 is not supported as something distinct from point #2. The proposer has invited alternatives or tweaks to the suggested wording." ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:09, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Comment: Having indicated an interest in proposing alternative wording and additional points, having respected the impropriety of doing so during a yes/no poll, and having relied in good faith on the question being framed as a nonbinding one, I am aghast that this misuse of process has the effect of foreclosing deliberation rather than informing it. Being personally aggrieved, I am too involved to impartially revert the above linked edits myself, so I request that someone else review these actions by the original proposer in closing the straw poll. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:09, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No. The poll was open for over one month. How long is long enough for you? These pre-conditions seem laboriously artificially constructed so as to never change anything. -- Cirt (talk) 18:20, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Any wise and prudent person generally seeks to change most things very slowly and considerately, acting swifly ONLY when they MUST to prevent what they perceive to be great harm, while the recklessly dictatorial often seek to either seduce or panic others into various forms of rigid conformity and obedience in rapid manner. And as is TYPICAL for you, you seek to rush VERY drastic and draconian measures through, on your familiarity with the fact that they will likely receive very little consideration by more than a very few people, after which you would be free to RAMPAGE with impunity in destructive ways, DISRUPTING policies and practices that HAVE stood the test of time, citing such policies as you have VERY recently framed to YOUR OWN particular tastes and aims as seems your wont to do. As I have made clear at times, I have no personal animosity towards you, as I barely know anything about you as a person, but your behavior is such as I find to be very power-hungry, power-seeking and generally deplorable in the ways you either ingratiate yourself to your fellows or superiors and seek to intimidate all who will not ally themselves to your ways and whims, with drastic penalties for what should be respected as honest differences and dissent. ~ Kalki·· 18:42, 17 March 2012 (UTC) + tweaksReply[reply]
  • Although I was one who voted in support of this proposed change, I too did not believe this was anything more than an attempt to gauge opinion - and not a vote up or down on official policy. I happen to agree with the suggested revisions that Ningauble offered. I would have expected that the result of this poll would have been to take the comments, work on the draft of the proposed policy changes, and then offer a formal vote (announced on the Village pump for any who wish to participate). As such, I agree with both Ningauble and Kalki that while the closure of the poll was appropriate after a month, the changing of the official policy was premature. I am reverting the change based on this. The next steps should be as I outlined above. ~ UDScott (talk) 19:15, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So we just had a poll to judge whether or not we should have another poll????? -- Cirt (talk) 19:22, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually yes. Do you even know what a straw poll is? It is a nonbinding way to gauge opinion. And in that straw poll, a 5-2 vote is hardly enough to make an official policy change. If this is your intent, then state this up front and do not call it a straw poll. ~ UDScott (talk) 19:27, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Understood. Now that we've had the poll to have the poll, I'll next work on having an actual poll to follow the poll and hopefully be the last poll about the poll on this particular issue about this poll. Next, as there are other changes I'd like to make to this policy, I guess we'll have to have another poll to discuss whether or not we should have a 4th poll, by that point. -- Cirt (talk) 19:31, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sarcasm does nothing to further productive dialogue on this subject - and what you are suggesting does not accurately capture my point. I am not suggesting in any way that we need poll after poll to decide things. But there is quite a difference between a straw poll and a formal vote on an official policy. If you cannot appreciate or understand this difference I can't help you. ~ UDScott (talk) 19:36, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I hope you can see that this is quite frustrating for me. I should not have called it a "straw poll". I will follow the steps you have suggested. -- Cirt (talk) 19:37, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We are in no hurry. If it takes us six months to craft a policy that serves the project for decades, then that is six months well spent. BD2412 T 20:18, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Thank you, UDScott, for restoring a process of open deliberation. I am now confident that I can resume participating with good faith in due process. Activities in "meat space" will preclude doing so until tomorrow. ~ Ningauble (talk) 21:07, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Re-stating points with 71 percent support[edit]

  1. The goal of images added should be to assist in conveying quotes.
  2. The connection between the images used and the subject matter of the page as a whole, and individual quotes on it, should be obvious.
  3. We should not use images at all if they embody a specific cultural meaning that is distinct from the meaning of either the page or the quote.

These points received 71 percent support from the above straw poll that was open for over one month. It was suggested that the wording can be tweaked slightly. Then, we can vote on adopting these points as policy, and adding them to the main policy page. Are there any suggestions, as to how to tweak the wording on the above 3 points? Please suggest them, below. Thank you, -- Cirt (talk) 19:41, 17 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Other than Kalki (talk · contributions), Ningauble (talk · contributions) was the only one that voiced opposition - who actually said "this is salvageable", and offered to suggest some specific ways to tweak the wording a bit. However, Ningauble (talk · contributions) has said he is a bit busy at the moment, and might not be able to make such specific suggestions, at this point in time. Does anyone else have any specific suggestions on how to alter some of the wording from the above proposed additions? -- Cirt (talk) 03:01, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's an attempt to provide a suggestion (taking from some of Ningauble's prior suggestions) - obviously could use more tweaking:
  1. Images should directly support or embody a theme of the provided quotes.
  2. The connection between the images used and the subject matter of the page as a whole, and individual quotes on it, should be obvious and specific. The relevance should not be so ambiguous or abstract that it could refer to anything or nothing.
  3. Images that could connote a specific cultural meaning that differs from that of either the page or the specified quote should not be used.
~ UDScott (talk) 13:35, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like the direction of these revisions. I am working on some rewording and some additional points for consideration which I will try to post later today. ~ Ningauble (talk) 15:36, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Whereas the foregoing poll on a specific draft precluded discussion of points not included in that draft; Whereas the question did not expressly posit limiting the scope or content of the policy; Whereas the question was called without a discussion period; and Whereas the poll was, in any event, nonbinding; now Therefore: discussion shall not, as a consequence of that poll, be limited to tweaking the wording of that draft only. ~ Ningauble (talk) 15:33, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I completely agree with what you have written - and do not mistake my above suggestion as an attempt to circumvent process, but rather suggestions for one part of this discussion, the part that is currently on the table. I agree that much more discussion is needed. ~ UDScott (talk) 15:37, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I drafted that before you posted your suggestions of 13:35 today, and fully appreciated that your post did not express or imply limiting the scope of discussion. My remark was intended to address language in the opening two posts of this thread that could give the appearance of doing so. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:24, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

General policy considerations[edit]

I think that, perhaps precedential to such a statement, we should have some language stating that the primary function of Wikiquote is to serve as a reference work containing quotes; and that although images are not necessary for this purpose, they are permissible within certain constraints aimed at promoting our primary function. I think that we should specifically encourage the inclusion of images in the following instances:

  1. Pages on particular authors should include at least one image of that author.
  2. Pages on a tangible, concrete subject such as gold, horses, or blacksmiths, should include at least one image of that thing.
  3. Pages on abstract concepts for which there are images or symbols closely associated with that concept such as Love, Judaism (which currently has no images), and Law (which currently has many unrelated images), should include at least one such closely associated image or symbol.

I would also propose that we should phase out the hosting of images on Wikiquote altogether, and limit images to those that are subject to inclusion at Commons. I know that these proposals are off the topic of the limitations under discussion, but I feel that if we are going to set forth a policy on the use of images, it should be a complete policy. BD2412 T 15:55, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I support all of BD2412's proposals stated above. And I would agree that the final policy should address all aspects of images on the site. ~ UDScott (talk) 15:59, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding hosting images:   This was decided years ago. Uploading new images has been disabled and most images have been removed. Of the five remaining pages in the File: namespace (complete list) two do not contain an image file (nor any usable content) and three are draft versions of Wiki logos. I think the "grandfather clause" can be greatly abbreviated, and does not need its own section. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:43, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let's keep this discussion subsection relevant to its original posting. I'll start a new section to get rid of the Grandfather clause. -- Cirt (talk) 17:15, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding encouraging images:   I support the notion of using a positive tone in prescriptive statements, and would like to frame proscriptions as exceptions to what is generally a good thing. (This is always a challenge because the impetus for policy formation is usually a reaction to something one wants to deprecate.) ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:22, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • At present, the policy lacks a preamble or lede section, and I think it needs an introduction. I have thought about Cirt's item 1 concerning the "goal" of image use, and BD2412's call for some "precedential" language about purposes. Finding it quite difficult to formulate a good "statement of purpose" for including images, and not wishing to characterize them as merely permitted, I think it may be best for the lede to begin with remarks that are descriptive of the practice, and conclude the lede with a brief overview of the purport of prescriptions and proscriptions that follow. Here is a first approximation to what I have in mind:

The aim of Wikiquote is to collect and present quotations. It is customary to embellish the presentation with images from Wikimedia Commons that illustrate the subject of the article or the quotations therein. The use of images is governed by Wikiquote's general content policies, and should always be relevant to subject of the article or the quotations.

This is a bit redundant, and would need to be expanded to introduce other main points that are, or come to be, incorporated in subsequent sections. If this seems like the right approach for a lede, please help to improve it. ~ Ningauble (talk) 19:22, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The word "embellish" should be removed. In fact, that whole clause can go. Just replace with: "It is customary to use images from Wikimedia Commons that illustrate the subject of the article or the quotations therein." Otherwise, that type of wording invites irrelevant image usage, as is currently done unfortunately on multiple pages. -- Cirt (talk) 19:38, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't want to nitpick too much, but I think "customary" implies that it is good or desirable merely because it has been done frequently. One could also say that it is "customary" for IP editors to create stubby pages lacking adequate context, or to add walls of trivial quotes to pages of particularly crufty interest. At the same time, I would note that there are probably more pages with no images (although I would love to get some statistics on this), and that there is nothing inherently wrong with a page not having any images. Most of our media pages (i.e. pages on films and TV series) have no images, and can't really have many relevant images because the related images are not in the public domain.
I would say, therefore, that "The consensus of the Wikiquote community is that it is permissible to use images from Wikimedia Commons that illustrate the subject of the article or the quotations therein". BD2412 T 20:54, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Point taken about "customary", I will think about reformulating. I still don't like "permissible" either, because that just says we tolerate it, not that it is a Good Thing™. We tolerate a lot of things that are not so good, but policy for an entire class of content should indicate some affirmative reason for including it.

I chose the phrase "embellish the presentation" [of quotations] to indicate something of positive value (syn: adorn, decorate; Latin roots: bel [beauty], bonus [good]) that is expressly secondary. Maybe I was just unclear, but my intent was to indicate that illustration is beneficial but is subordinate in relation to the primary objective of presenting quotes. We could use neutral language that does not imply benefit, but I thought the policy should have at least one word suggesting why bother with illustrations at all. There is no need for images "to assist in conveying quotes", it is embellishment. Saying "embellish" should not be taken as an invitation to add irrelevancies, as the body of the policy should make clear. ~ Ningauble (talk)

Respectfully and strongly disagree. "Embellish" encourages irrelevant image usage for superfluous reasons in the mind of the user that are silly and downright ... odd. "Embellish" should be removed. -- Cirt (talk) 23:06, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about this: "The consensus of the Wikiquote community is that the use images from Wikimedia Commons that illustrate the subject of a page or the quotations therein is generally beneficial to the page". BD2412 T 00:40, 20 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, yes, but if consensus is that it is beneficial, then that is the policy. In the context of a policy page we could just say "It is also beneficial to include images...." ~ Ningauble (talk) 01:22, 20 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In my mind, the real meat of this sentence lies in the clause "with images ... that illustrate ..." and what follows, because it indicates specific purpose, and because doing so implicitly deprecates that which does not serve the stated purpose. As such, I prefer to end the clause with a full stop (".").

Granting that "embellish" can apparently be taken the wrong way, I would still prefer something non-neutral in the particular sense that, by referring back to the first sentence, it indicates a subordinate, supplementary purpose with respect to the presentation of quotations (which was my intent, however unclear, with "embellish the presentation"). My desire to emphasize purpose is motivated by 121a0012's remark at the Village Pump that "unrelated images on WQ pages ... are inappropriate ... because it's not what WQ is about."[3] I think the policy for including this type of content should directly relate it to what we are about.

If we leave aside, as self-evident, my feeble attempts to indicate the purpose of including images is virtuous, and if we leave aside saying images are permitted, tolerated, or agreeable in favor of simply describing what we agree to do, but if we retain my idea for relating images to Wikiquote's fundamental purpose, then I am left thinking of something like "The presentation is supplemented [augmented?] with images from Wikimedia Commons that illustrate the subject of the article or the quotations therein." Would something like this be agreeable for a second sentence in the lede, or have I thrown out the baby with the bathwater? ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:52, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I think we need some elaboration regarding Neutral point of view. Some of what I am suggesting will be controversial, because it deprecates things that have been going on for a while and have generated heated discussion on article talk pages. I am not really pleased with this wording, but I want to throw the general idea on the table for discussion:

Images are used to illustrate the subject of a page or a quote, not to express an opinion, interpretation, or commentary by, e.g., introducing metaphors, analogies, comparisons, or relationships that are not explicit in the captioning quotation.

This is related to current proposals addressing relevance and symbolism, but is both more subjective and more pointed. The rationale, as I indicated in an earlier Village Pump discussion,[4] is that "Wikiquote has a longstanding practice of firmly deprecating original commentary and interpretation within articles, however much it may have to do with the subjects or quotes, when it is expressed using text rather than images," and I believe it is equally inappropriate to do so using images. ~ Ningauble (talk) 00:49, 20 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we are going to take the "consensus of the Wikiquote community" part as a given because it is a policy page, that would leave (from my proposal): "The use images from Wikimedia Commons that illustrate the subject of a page or the quotations therein is generally beneficial to the page". I agree completely with a prohibition against using images to editorialize about quotes. BD2412 T 03:42, 20 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like the way this discussion is headed. :) Good stuff, all around. -- Cirt (talk) 05:01, 20 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Many comments here are very much to the point, and there doesn't seem to be much to add to comments that have already clarified the situation in a very effective way. I would merely like to reiterate that a very large number of the images that are now on WQ act as personal interpretations of the text, and that such interpretations are clearly contrary to WQ policy. For example, on one page that I've edited, there is a quotation about the "mask" that people wear in public; in the context of the quotation, and in the quotation itself, this refers to a person's style and manner, not to a physical object - but it is illustrated by a picture of someone actually wearing a cartoon-style mask. The quotation is about the invisible "mask" of a person's manner, but the illustration is of an obvious, visible, and physical mask. This is only one of many similar examples where the illustration provides a personal - and highly questionable interpretation - of the content. (I'd like to emphasize that I have not added my interpretation of the quotation on the page itself - I've only used it here as an example of interpretation which should not be on WQ pages at all.) Surely it can't be consistent with WQ policy to let dozens of pages be filled with one editor's interpretation of the contents, when there should, of course, be no interpretations at all. Macspaunday (talk) 15:36, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Strongly agree with this comment by Macspaunday (talk · contributions), directly above. Cheers, -- Cirt (talk) 16:15, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also agree, although I will add to that the caveat that where articles generally would benefit from having images, and few people volunteer to do the work of adding images, the images that end up getting added will tend to be the ones that those few volunteers find meaningful. BD2412 T 17:47, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Absolutely yes about the images that end up getting added - but I think I'm right in inferring that you do not mean that this ought to be what will happen in the future, only that this is unfortunately what has happened in the past. It seems to me that there are many pages where illustrations are almost entirely inappropriate because they act as interpretations of literary texts. For example, a passage from a poem or novel can be read in an ironic or sentimental way - and the illustration interprets it only as sentimental. That clearly shouldn't happen on WQ. Macspaunday (talk) 18:13, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't mean "unfortunate" so much as, let's not point any fingers of blame at the editors who have added abstract images, or sought to add their own interpretation through images. Some of these additions may seem to defy common sense, but there has been no express policy to guide anyone to the contrary. BD2412 T 18:22, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Macspaunday (talk · contributions), going forward, in the future, from now on, this should not be the standard on WQ. Cheers, -- Cirt (talk) 18:33, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, agreed on all points. The right goal seems to me not to point fingers at anyone who acted in good faith and did not violate explicit policy; the goal is to find a consistent policy for WQ and to act on it so that WQ fulfills its goals. So, again, yes - agreed on all points! Macspaunday (talk) 20:35, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Macspaunday's example of a mask raises some interesting questions. (edit, image) The issue is stated broadly, in terms I would characterize thus:
Images depicting the literal meaning of language used in a figurative sense
Is this something that the policy should deprecate categorically as a distortion meaning, or are there circumstances when this is appropriate? The same issue might arise, even more starkly, with homonyms.

In the example, it could be argued the first occurrence of "mask" in the quote is figurative but the second is more literal. Does this make it acceptable, or is there a problem of undue weight because the first sense is the primary subject of the quote and the second is a point in contrast? The latter would be very difficult to codify because it leads to subjective interpretation of the quote.

Or is the main problem with this example that it depicts a recognized symbol of a movement or group that bears no relation to the quote (BD2412's idea put forward here by Cirt as polling point #4 and restated as discussion point #3)? Would a more generic mask be acceptable, or only one that obviously relates to the first sense of social affect (if such could be found)? The latter would be very difficult to codify because it leads to subjective interpretation of the image.

I lean toward deprecating attempts to exploit figurative language and homonyms, but the issue may not be entirely black-and-white.~ Ningauble (talk) 17:10, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Amended per an objection about attribution. ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:53, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When in doubt, best to just remove the image in question, and default to images of the authors, of the people the quotes are attributed to, directly. :) -- Cirt (talk) 17:15, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think there are some interesting contrasts on the current version of that page. For example, there is a quote about the moon landing used as a caption for an image of an astronaut walking on the moon. That, I think, is an appropriate use of the image. However, the quote about the masks that people wear in their youth is used as a caption for a picture of someone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, which is specifically symbolic of anarchy and rebellion against the government, themes most definitely not inherent to the quote itself. That is exactly the sort of editorializing by imagery that we should avoid. BD2412 T 17:31, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I agree with everything in this comment by BD2412 (talk · contributions), above. -- Cirt (talk) 17:39, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I think this case is well covered by the abovementioned point #4/#3. What about Macspaunday's broader point about interpreting the language of a quote too literally when it is a figure of speech? Just saying that something expresses an editorial opinion seems too subjective a judgement for a practical policy. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:10, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quoting BD2412 (talk · contributions), "We should not use images at all if they embody a specific cultural meaning that is distinct from the meaning of either the page or the quote.", this is quite clear. -- Cirt (talk) 18:12, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, we already agree about that. My question relates to the broader issue raised by Macspaunday in the top level bullet point. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:23, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I sincerely doubt that "when in doubt" makes an effective policy formulation. It would be a recipe for removing everything that is contested, regardless of the merits. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:23, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well it's certainly better than doing nothing, resulting in complaints from OTRS by viewers of Wikiquote who see clearly inappropriate image usage. -- Cirt (talk) 18:57, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Apologies for taking so long to come back to this discussion. I've been trying to find a formulation that would take into account the important issues raised in the comments above by Ningauble and BD2412. Would it make sense to say that the discussion has begun pointing toward something like the following paragraph, which is an attempt to spell out a clear and practical policy? Obviously this paragraph is not in the right form for a policy statement - I'm only trying to see if this is a useful of summing up what has already been said:
An illustration is appropriate when it is a factual illustration of the object named in the quotation, and there can be no dispute about the nature of the object being illustrated; so, for example, a picture of a raven would be suitable to illustrate Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven." However, an illustration would not be appropriate if the words in the quotation have multiple meanings (including but not limited to metaphorical meanings), and any illustration would inevitably favor only one of those meanings: for example, if a picture of an actual courtroom were used to illustrate a quotation about "the court of public opinion."
Does something like this more or less correctly suggest the direction this discussion has been taking? - Macspaunday (talk) 22:12, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with the gist of this, but I fear that this specific language could lead to interminable debates over whether a given illustration would "inevitably favor" a single meaning. I would be more favorably disposed towards a rule that says that an image of an author or thing or event that is directly what the page is about is always permissible (e.g. a picture of Edgar Allen Poe in Edgar Allen Poe, a picture of a raven in Raven, a picture of a heart at Love, or a picture of a Civil War Battle at American Civil War), but that any picture that does not clearly fall within this set may be removed by any editor who believes it to be inappropriate for the page, and once removed for this reason must not be restored to the page absent a discussion yielding consensus that the picture is appropriate for the page in question. That way, clearly permissible images are given a safe harbor, while questionable images can be cleared out by any editor, and such cleanup can not be reverted without discussion. On the other hand, I suppose we need to have some guidelines to prevent an editor from merely replacing one set of inappropriate images with another different set, and to avoid having someone put a hundred pictures of Poe on the Poe page, or a hundred pictures of ravens on that page. BD2412 T 22:32, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's admirably clear and helpful - thank you. But here's one question: I think everyone can agree that a raven, Edgar Allen Poe, and a Civil War battle can all be illustrated, but I wonder whether it's the same thing to illustrate love by a picture of a heart. Some of the illustrations on Love seem to be interpretations, not illustrations. For example, a quotation that treats love as something like a process or an activity is perhaps misrepresented by pictures of hearts - and I wonder whether this would open WQ again to exactly the same problem that this discussion is dealing with. Just a thought. - Macspaunday (talk) 23:35, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are undoubtedly some images at Love that are too abstract to reasonably belong there. However, I think it is fairly noncontroversial to say that the heart is fairly universally recognized as the symbol of love - as long as we're talking about this kind of heart, as opposed to this kind of heart. BD2412 T 00:41, 28 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No one could argue against what you said, but I think there are some implications worth thinking about before this gets put into policy. For example, if it's appropriate to use the heart as a symbol for quotations about love, then WQ would open the door to dozens of irrelevant (or wildly inappropriate) heart symbols - for example, W.B. Yeats has a poem with the lines "For Love has pitched his mansion in / The place of excrement" (where "Love" means something like the erotic instincts that are put into effect in a certain physiological location); or William Blake's "Eternity is in love with the productions of time," where an editor could (if hearts are deemed acceptable as illustrations for Love) claim that Eternity's love can be illustrated by a heart (which raises the question of whether eternity has a heart); or William S. Gilbert's "Time was when Love and I were well acquainted," where any illustration would distort the meaning; or the biblical "God is love," where an illustration would imply that God is a red heart; or Tennyson's "The shackles of an old love straiten'd him," which really should not be illustrated, probably, by pictures of a shackles and a heart. I think the history of WQ shows that these examples are fairly similar to the problems that this whole thread is dealing with. I hope it may be possible to consider this problem further. It has many implications that could produce results that no one who is participating in this discussion really wants. - Macspaunday (talk) 01:19, 28 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was thinking in terms of using heart symbols on the page Love, not necessarily for quotes on other pages. I don't think that it would be misleading to use a heart to illustrate a quote saying "God is love", because the symbol would universally be understood to be the symbol for love, and not intended to be an image of God. I think that a picture of a raven or of Allen Poe to illustrate that quote would be inherently confusing, and subject to action being taken. BD2412 T 03:28, 28 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You're right - I misinterpreted what you had written as if it had applied to other pages, though I suppose I still worry that this whole discussion may occur again if WQ includes illustrations of symbols rather than of objects.
Meanwhile, apologies if I'm asking the wrong question as a newcomer to these discussions, but I wonder what the next step will be toward putting a new policy into effect? I would be happy to help out, though it seems that the sysops have the situation very well sorted out already. - Macspaunday (talk) 04:15, 28 March 2012 (UTC) 04:14, 28 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some further thoughts: the comments on David Hockney and T.S. Eliot in an earlier thread here - [[5]] - seem to be quite relevant, and suggests how long-lasting this problem has been. Incidentally, the last image on the Hockney page is used on a total of 70 pages; surely it's unlikely that's appropriate to all of them. Is there anything that needs to be done to put a policy in place so that this obvious problem can be cleared up? There certainly seems to be quite a strong consensus in favor of such a policy. Macspaunday (talk) 04:51, 29 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And one more thought: it seems to be not quite true that the heart is the universal symbol of love; see the sentence about the Buddhist meaning of the symbol at the foot of [this page], which is cited in the Wikipedia page about love. I think the policy of avoiding culturally-specific symbols is very intelligent and appropriate. Macspaunday (talk) 00:38, 31 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that goes too far. This is, after all, the English language Wikiquote. Certainly in most countries where English is the dominant language, the heart is the symbol of love, and vice versa. BD2412 T 01:52, 31 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can't argue against that! Meanwhile, are there any further steps that non-admins can do to help get a revised policy set up? Editors have been trying to remove irrelevant images for years (I started trying in 2010), and there seems to be very clear consensus about the issue - the number of editors who try to remove irrelevant images or suggest removals seems to be quite a bit larger than the number of editors who insert and restore them. There's a very clear contrast between the kinds of illustrations on Wikipedia and Wiktionary and the kinds of illustrations on WQ. Macspaunday (talk) 02:59, 31 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed: Get rid of "Past images grandfather clause"[edit]

Proposed: Get rid of "Past images grandfather clause"

Thoughts? Anyone have any objections to this? -- Cirt (talk) 17:16, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm going to remove this part, as Special:Upload already makes this clear. -- Cirt (talk) 19:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Y Done, removed grandfather clause, essentially per Special:Upload, which makes this quite clear already. -- Cirt (talk) 19:32, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update: Please see pages in "file" namespace locally here at English Wikiquote, all have been taken care of, not sure why those 2 still show up there, oh well. -- Cirt (talk) 19:37, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Y Done, all cleared. :) -- Cirt (talk) 19:50, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Nothing shows up there now. I must note that I find it a bit disturbing that you post this as a question, and then wait a grand total of two hours and twenty-one minutes before completely implementing it, in the middle of the day on a Monday, when many of us are at work and can not check developments here as frequently. It would have harmed nothing to have waited twenty-four hours before taking unilateral action. However, the action seems noncontroversial to me, so I'll just caution you that overeager movement makes it look like you are trying to enforce a consensus of one. Cheers! BD2412 T 21:01, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Erm, BD2412, it's totally noncontroversial, I moved one file to Commons. Another already existed on Commons. The others were all unused. And, I would add, unlicensed for years. The more shocking thing is that the Wikiquote community allowed this copyright violation and shoddy image policy to exist, for years, with files that had no licensing whatsoever on their image pages. Thanks. -- Cirt (talk) 23:05, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • My issue is not with the administrative actions that you took, but with your asking "Thoughts? Anyone have any objections to this?", and then acting without providing a reasonable amount of time to respond to your questions. Why bother asking? BD2412 T 00:37, 20 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Any possibility of a decision?[edit]

I wonder if there is any possibility that a policy can now be set? There seems to be a fairly clear consensus that interpretive images do not belong on WQ. I'm not sure of the exact number of editors who have taken a position for or against this consensus, but, if I've interpreted the discussion correctly, the division seems to be "everyone minus one" in favor of removing interpretive and irrelevant images, and only one in favor of leaving all the current images in place.

It occurs to me that this issue may have had a serious effect on the history of the WQ project. It seems at least possible that a visitor who comes here with the ability to contribute might be discouraged to see all the irrelevant, sentimental images that clutter up the pages, and might decide that this is not a project that he or she wants to join. Also, if an editor tries to remove images that the editor - with much justification - thinks are irrelevant or sentimental, only to have those images restored, then that editor might well be discouraged from trying to do some further useful work on the project. These are just thoughts, of course, and I am definitely NOT suggesting that policy should be based on speculation of this kind. Of course I understand that policy should be based on overall Wiki policies, including NPV and similar issues that have been discussed at length elsewhere on this page and on many talk pages. - Macspaunday (talk) 04:46, 10 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that there is a general consensus here that a change is warranted, though the exact contours of that change are yet to be brought into precise focus. However, I doubt that we have repelled potential contributors through the presence of excessive images. I think that the reason this particular policy has been slow to draw the kind of resolution you are thinking of is that it is a fairly low priority. I am personally interested in having a good images policy here, but I am more interested in first incorporating large numbers of missing quotes from various public domain sources. Cheers! BD2412 T 15:29, 10 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is indeed consensus to do something with this, and some very good ideas have been brought forward. We still need to sort out the best formulation for an objective policy statement about a matter that is fraught with subjectivities, and to find a good balance between constructive prescriptions and injunctive proscriptions. Good rulemaking gets a bit tedious and, as BD says, there are competing priorities.

It will take some patience and perseverance, with attention to detail and to the big picture. I don't feel that what we have thus far is quite ready to synthesize into an actual policy draft. In the coming days I intend to put forward some questions aimed at resolving differences between some of the points that have been raised, and to introduce some additional points for consideration. I encourage others to do so as well, with an aim toward finding consensus on specific policy language. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:19, 10 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Patience is my middle name, from this point on. - Macspaunday (talk) 01:05, 11 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This issue seems to have been dormant since April. Could it be revived? Thanks! Macspaunday (talk) 17:48, 15 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have begun to assemble a working draft incorporating the ideas and language discussed above, and expect to post it early next week for review and refinement. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:02, 15 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would remind Macspaunday that although an image policy is useful, we have many other policy considerations underway that are more important to the goals of this project, including what to do about copyright and quotability guidelines. BD2412 T 19:15, 15 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Understood! Macspaunday (talk) 23:06, 16 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Links to those other pages please? -- Cirt (talk) 14:45, 16 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ongoing discussion about more immediate policies can be found at WQ:VP#Voting on guideline status for Wikiquote:Fictional characters; Wikiquote talk:Sourcing#Adopt as policy; and WQ:VP#And also, to begin with. There is also a long-standing proposal to relax some quotation limits at Wikiquote talk:Limits on quotations#Moving to relax, and the discussion right after it on whether this page should be policy at all. BD2412 T 17:38, 17 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Other than sourcing, this discussion is more important than all those other ones. -- Cirt (talk) 19:47, 17 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that's a matter of opinion, but this discussion is more about presentation then content, and I think we can afford to be more flexible with the latter. Of course, I've advocated some guidelines for image presentation, but I think determining the bounds of quotability and fair use are more important than deciding what pictures accompany permissible quotes. Cheers! BD2412 T 22:15, 17 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not when the pictures are so numerous in quantity as to impede the loading of the page and prevent viewers to Wikiquote from easily reading content on the website. -- Cirt (talk) 05:20, 18 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Working draft[edit]

There is now a working draft at Wikiquote talk:Image use policy/Draft1, incorporating the ideas and language discussed above. Please help to improve this draft by commenting here or by editing it directly. Here are a few points to consider:

  1. I have omitted a few suggestions that seem to have been superseded by subsequent discussion, and I have included a few suggestions that may not have received enough discussion. Please discuss.
  2. I have taken the liberty of rewording some of the suggestions for clarity and style, quite substantially in some cases, and it is entirely possible that it is not an improvement.
  3. There was extensive discussion about the second sentence of the opening paragraph in particular. The version I used may be regarded as an arbitrary and capricious choice for the purpose of restarting the discussion.
  4. Item 3 under "relevance" ("not to express an opinion, interpretation, or commentary by...") may be faulted for suggesting ways of doing so.
  5. In order for the lede paragraph to summarize the rest of the page, should it have a sentence about the "Dispute resolution" section? (When in doubt, leave it out?)
  6. No recommendations have been offered for limiting the size or quantity of images. (I have occasionally resized large images and removed animations that take a long time to load.)

Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas for developing this policy. ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:24, 19 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't think the "Dispute resolution" section needs to be in the policy's lead. --User:Tryst (talk to me!) 17:57, 19 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would add a qualification to the sentence regarding an image of the author stating "if a public-domain image is available". There are many authors for whom no such image exists. The way it reads now, it sounds like we are saying that every page should have an image, when we really mean to say that it is permissible (even advisable, perhaps, but not mandatory) that images be included along these lines. BD2412 T 19:15, 19 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By the way, this is excellent work, and your effort is very much appreciated. Aside from the one point raised above, I would have no qualms in supporting the this proposal being made policy imediately. Cheers! BD2412 T 19:45, 19 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. This is very impressive. Clear, sane, concise, practical. One especially useful point is the one you make about images that could illustrate everything or nothing. One way in which the current situation goes wrong is that the same metaphoric image get used on a dozen different pages, with no specific relevance to any of them. I think a policy like this one will serve to improve WQ in a very substantial way. Meanwhile, BD2412's comment seems to be very much to the point; the policy should not imply that images ought to be added, only that they may be added when appropriate. Macspaunday (talk) 19:22, 19 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support, excellent, great work by Ningauble (talk · contributions), thanks very much, quite commendable! -- Cirt (talk) 20:04, 19 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support, well-written policy which will significantly improve the project if implemented. --User:Tryst (talk to me!) 22:08, 19 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Are we voting already? Support, with the one tweak I mentioned above. BD2412 T 00:47, 20 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think this is an excellent and much needed policy (even if it will make certain editors unhappy). 121a0012 (talk) 01:29, 20 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I can only think of one editor that will be unhappy with it. BD2412 T 02:33, 20 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support (with BD2412's proposed amendment) - well done! ~ UDScott (talk) 12:33, 20 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Again, this is a really excellent policy and it's very encouraging to see anything as clear and concise and convincing as this is. May I ask a question about it? I just noticed that the image at the top of the God page is actually not an image of the God in any religion, but William Blake's illustration of one of his invented mythical figures, Urizen, as explained (accurately, I believe) in the WP page on Urizen. I think the new policy will make it easy for that inappropriate image to be removed; is this a correct assumption? Macspaunday (talk) 18:09, 20 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure whether that picture would be inappropriate under the policy, because Urizen is essentially a representation of God, but I've replaced it because I don't really like The Ancient of Days (feel free to revert). --User:Tryst (talk to me!) 18:19, 20 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In light of the clear consensus in support of this policy, and the apparent tapering off of the discussion, I have now implemented the changes to the policy page. Of course, we can continue discussing ammendments, such as limitations on the total number of images on a page. Cheers! BD2412 T 17:26, 29 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I don't understand whether the custom of duplicating quotations in the images' captions, creating a double flow of the page, has been discussed as well. Now that images have been reduced and there's more space on the pages, and given that an actual correlation to the page's topic is needed, I don't see how it's difficult to just place an image beside the relevant quotation (if any) without duplicating it. Giving unnecessary relevance to a particular quotation is IMHO a violation of NPOV (see m:Neutral_point_of_view_on_Wikiquote; it was forbidden on it.quote some years ago and I don't find such practice on other Wikiquotes). Nemo 08:44, 14 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some quotes are objectively more important than others. I don't think it's a problem if the captioned picture is on a different part of the page from the quote. BD2412 T 16:24, 14 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nemo's reference to the Italian version of WQ led me get a look at it, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in image policy. A page like Dante or Shakespeare has a large single image of the author at the top, and the rest of the page has no illustrations at all. It doesn't look at all like a kindergarten art project where pages are filled with photographs of random galaxies or images from 19th century academic painting that have been pasted on more or less anywhere. Very impressive and admirable. Macspaunday (talk) 18:27, 14 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I prefer ours. There are many historical images of Shakespeare, and much disagreement about which ones actually best reflect his appearance, so even picking just one represents a point of view. There are also many paintings by notable artists depicting scenes from Shakeaspeare's plays, and even specific quotes. A single image is too little for so long a page. BD2412 T 19:44, 14 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fewer, larger pictures would be a good thing, however. Most of the images on WQ are 144px, which seems too small. --User:Tryst (talk to me!) 21:37, 15 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal to add section Notability[edit]

In accordance with a recent discussion on the Village Pump, I propose to add a section Notability with the following content:

In cases where both non-notable and notable images are available that are relevant, notable images should be used. An image is considered notable if it is a photograph of a relevant subject or an artwork created by a notable artist.

All comments and suggestions for improvement are gratefully appreciated. ~ Peter1c (talk) 19:53, 19 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for initiating a concrete policy proposal to address problems raised in the linked discussion. We need a definitive resolution of the issue, and this is a good start. I will present some questions and ideas for improvement after sleeping on it. ~ Ningauble (talk) 21:08, 19 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Peter1c: Agreed--this is a good start with some reasonable language. I don't want to entirely discourage abstract images which are generally pleasant but we shouldn't have a lot of them or misleading ones. —Justin (koavf)TCM 21:45, 19 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I am uncomfortable with defining something as notable if it is a photograph (relevance notwithstanding). I thought about suggesting a change from "photograph of a relevant subject" to "photograph of a notable subject", because this section is about notability and we already have a section about relevance. However, this could preclude acceptable photographs of examples that are not individually notable (e.g., as in the Cats article). Does anybody have a better idea for heading off the blanket argument that it's a photograph so it must be okay? ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:08, 20 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree with Peter1c's proposal in principle. But I sometimes disagree with its application. Here's an example: I don't mind this picture as an illustration of Eyes at all because it is clearly relevant to the subject matter of the article (even if not notable). To me, when it comes to images, relevance > notability. Ningauble writes: "...this could preclude acceptable photographs of examples that are not individually notable" – that's my concern too. ~ DanielTom (talk) 18:29, 20 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]