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Star Wars Fanon

Discussion of the Image Policy

  • Hi everyone. There's a fairly important policy issue that's been under discussion lately, namely, the Image Policy (as well as the accompanying tutorial). As the policy currently stands, users are required to source and license every image they upload with the Information template.

    However, some time ago, the former bureaucrat of the wiki, Brandon Rhea, began to let the enforcement of the policy slide, citing the fact that Wikia/Star Wars Fanon isn't legally responsible for copyright infringement claims (see this thread). That persisted for a while.

    More recently, however, this issue has started to come up again. There are a lot of new users (which is great! Way to go everybody!), and that means that the amount of image uploads has also increased. This has led to an inclination on my part to start enforcing the already standing policy more strongly. You can see an in-depth explanation of my reasons here, but I'll summarize them quickly.

    1. The number of active users and amount of image uploads has increased.
    2. Many of these are artistic in nature (computer generated, hand drawn, etc.)
    3. Without sourcing/licensing, it's impossible to know if the uploader is also the creator, or if they've taken another person's work.
    4. As a site based on creative work, we're responsible for fostering an environment of appreciation and respect towards such work. To take another artist's image and use it without acknowledgement isn't in the spirit of what we should be standing for.
    5. Just because we aren't legally responsible for copyright claims doesn't mean that we shouldn't be taking steps to acknowledge the hard work of other people.
    6. It seems wrong to arbitrarily apply the image policy only to certain images. If we want to apply it to these images, we need to apply it equally.

    As some of you may have seen, I've been leaving some users messages asking them to start sourcing and licensing their images. There's a long backlog of images in many cases, but I'll point that that Special:Upload does tell the uploader to use the Information template to give a source and license. Everyone, ideally, should have been following the policy up to his point.

    All of that said, there's another side to the issue. As Firedance noted in the aforementioned thread, it's a lot of work to enforce this policy on every image if users aren't particularly cooperative, and it's a very unfortunate reason for users to be getting blocked. (I'd particularly love it if nobody got blocked over this. It seems like an issue that can be solved through other means, and if worst comes to worst, images can be deleted without the user getting blocked). I'll summarize her point in brief as "trying to force good behavior is the wrong way to go about it" and "users should be encouraged to source and license, not forced."

    So that brings us to everyone else. This is a discussion that affects more than just four users, and it really requires a strong community consensus. Back when the image policy was relaxed, that was a fairly unilateral decision. I'd rather whatever choice we make as a community, moving forward, is one that everyone feels comfortable with. With a little more encouragement and guidance, are you all willing to make a greater effort to source and license images? Is there something that the administration can do to make it easier for that to happen? Please feel free to jump in and offer your opinion on the matter. Cheers!

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    • I'm in total agreement with points 3-6 above (I agree with the others, but they're less impactful to me). I strongly support enforcement by warning-then-deletion, although only bringing in bans for egregious and repeated violations which show that a user is clearly indifferent to the policy.

      To Firedance's point that "trying to force good behavior is the wrong way to go about it", that could apply with equal force to any policy governing users' behavior—assuming good faith, edits, and even remaining civil. The only difference is that the harm there is for users we can see, while the harm for violations of the image policy (and the underlying issue of refusing to acknowledge the work of artists or seek their permission to use their works) is to faceless people with whom we rarely interact. While that's my interpretation of the difference, not any other user's stated argument, I'm strongly opposed to such "out of sight, out of mind" disregard for other creators. Artists (including writers) above all others should model respect for one another's work.

      I'm not persuaded by arguments of alienating new users; we expect users to comply with a number of site policies, and from what I've seen of the influx of new users, none appear unwilling to conform. Off the top of my head I can think of two occasions in the last week when a new user was advised of a policy violation and took immediate steps to correct it. New users are new and sometimes inexperienced, but that doesn't make them stupid or obstructionist.

      Insofar as precedent is concerned, as I've expressed to a number of people (including Brandon Rhea himself), I have great concerns about any admin unilaterally amending policies or neglecting enforcement without a community vote. If the majority of the community does have concerns about the Image Policy, the proper redress is a community vote to amend the policy, not pretending it isn't there.

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    • LoL I still source and liscence all my stuff :)

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    • A Fandom user
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