Proposal talk:More photographs

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Diskussion in german

I wrote a comparable proposal in german:,_einfachere_Lizenzierung and my summary was:
An article of 20 lines without a photograph is an article of 20 lines without a photograph.
An article of 200 lines without a photograph is a bad article.
An article about a person with no photograph of that person is no article about a person. -- 21:28, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How and costs

I agree, clearly, but I don't think this is a fleshed out proposal (and I can't read the German either). And I think we need a clear proposal beyond "users should convince celebrities to give photos". Here are two of the bigger problems I see.

  1. It's hard to get a Wiki approved license from someone who doesn't understanding licensing. As an admin once active in image deletion we've had many problems that go basically like this. User e-mail celeb/photographer asks for usage. Response is "sure". User then tries to get rights owner to agree to a license. They reply "I agree". User tries to get more clear language. They get frustrated. And often this process breaks down. (Thanks to Flickr this is easier for photographers who host there.) Also, once you get permission the OTRS system isn't the easiest to file proper claims. I think these all make it more difficult in getting more photos and if it is possible to address this then we would get more.
  2. Wikipedia has clout, Wikipedians don't. I think David Shankbone got in somewhere with a Wikipedia press pass but he was already a photographer. But if we are trying to get photos from other people we need someone who can speak from authority of representing Wikipedia in some way. Of course, this is somewhat un-wiki like... and the community can decide not to use those 'better' photos but we still need something more than saying "I'm an editor, will you please license this image under creative commons". This is where costs come in. To have a WMF staff member to negotiate on image related issues would take money but could solve at least some of the problems. Someone expressly authorized by WMF to go to press agencies and explain the problems (do you want _this_ image for your client? do you want no image for your client? our interests align in having a good free image). Some in the Wikipedia community might have a problem with us soliciting what are basically press photos in some cases and they might have a problem freely licensing an image which might not even be used if the community decides it's not suitable (although I doubt it would be the case if it's a portrait from the proper era).

Those were just the issues I was thinking of and I think for this proposal to have any chance it needs to have clear guidelines of how to solve this problem which we all agree needs to be solved somehow (or at least that NYTimes article agreed...). Grenavitar 06:56, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am more of a pure Wikipedian (as are most of us I imagine), so this is my first visit or contribution to Wikimedia. I was not trying to make a fully fleshed out proposal, nor was I trying to come up with some novel idea (I was a little surprised actually that there was only "Mehr Fotos" – which is saying pretty much what I am apparently – and that I was able to put my two cents' worth in); that is why I called for a task force. However, the kind of images I think Wikipedia needs are professional photographs of the type that are used for promotion or publicity, rather than press images: the kind that are seen on album covers and movie posters, not the National Enquirer (not to put too fine a point on it). Maybe licensing for those photographs is still acquired from press agencies, but I doubt it. As to the first point, if there isn't a standard, brief image license that could be e-mailed as the third step in the example you made, there needs to be. I think there are any number of copyright holders of photographs who would be delighted to see their work on Wikipedia articles. Finally, my proposal on "more photographs" doesn't just mean "each article needs to have one": An article on an international star like my example of Linda Ronstadt could have easily half a dozen or more photographs that would contribute to the understanding of that person. It should be just as wiki-like to say that this photograph doesn't make it, and here is another one that does – but as an addition, not always a deletion. Shocking Blue 09:46, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm very interested in what folks from Wikinews might think about your thoughts. I've cross posted to there, hoping to get some input. -- Philippe 07:02, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nice try proposer, but I don't think there's a hope in that place where the Devil lives of changing things.--Andreasegde 20:37, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

related proposal

Proposal:Wiki Expeditions - fund photographers to get out there and get some better images! Sabine's Sunbird 23:33, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some practical actions related to this proposal

I tend to agree with most remarks in this proposal: in some topics article illustrations are poor or non-existent. As a contributor to early 20th century history, I should find locating images for articles easier than those contributing to more up-to-date topics: it is not. The agreement with the bundesarchiv was a great contribution to history articles but many remain with no illustrations due to lack of available pictures. From the point of view of historical articles (the one I deal with most often), I propose the following actions that would improve the situation tremendously:

-Reach an agreement with Polish national archives similar to the one signed with the German Budesarchiv. They have a great array of interwar and WWII relevant pictures at

-Do the same with the Yugoslav archives at

-Try to convince other such institutions to donate their media to wikimedia in a similar fashion (the ownership would remain with the institution but wikimedia would get enough rights to use the items). I am thinking about the Spanish whose funds are not properly catalogued and licensed, the Russian archives that must contain very relevant Free material our the conspicuously silent British and French archives...

-Try to reach an agreement with TIME regarding their photograph stock. I am thinking of the very impressive LIFE photographs recently uploaded online but rather useless unless the license is changed for them.

I am pretty sure wikipedia could succeed at least in some of these undertakings if it addressed the above institutions and companies officially. This would improve some articles incredibly.Rowanwindwhistler 10:45, 23 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:13, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regarding your question I think we have 2 sides: articles are made up of:
a) Text
b) Illustrations
On a) I would say the main issue is achieving long enough articles that were at the same time reasonably accurate and based on references. The impact on users of this item is not relevant to the discussion here (though it is of course crucial for wikipedia in general).
On b), I would say the importance is somewhat secondary to a) but still very relevant. Well-illustrated articles are easier to read and understand. Let me give you a few examples:
-On [1] we could say he was a pro-fascist Romanian politician of the thirties that repressed the opposition and passed anti-Semitic laws. And that would be correct. But, if we add to that information a picture like this [2] I think that we will agree any reader gets the quality of this gentleman in a flash...
-I can talk about the horror of life in WWI trenches but, if I added a picture such as [3], don't we all understand the issue much better?
-When describing a building it is all very well to give its main architectural details and characteristics but, don't we all like to see it and get a better idea of what it looks like, say [4]?
-We can try to describe Michael Jackson's way of performing on the stage but, wouldn't we convey it better by adding to the article a short video like [5] ?
So, to put in a nutshell: illustrations are a complement to the text in wikipedia articles but they can greatly improve many of them. On history articles (the ones I deal with more often) pictures or videos are basic. We don't want just to read about Hitler getting extraordinary powers in a momentous session in the German reichstag, we want to see it happen - and Time has the pictures...--Rowanwindwhistler 09:19, 1 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]