Submissions/Why is Commons poor – from a technical viewpoint?

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This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Submission no. 3032 Subject - T3
Title of the submission

Why is Commons poor – from a technical viewpoint?

Type of submission (lecture, panel, tutorial/workshop, roundtable discussion, lightning talk, poster, birds of a feather discussion)

roundtable discussion

Author of the submission

Isabelle Kleinheuer

Language of presentation


E-mail address



Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (up to 300 words to describe your proposal)

Wikimedia Commons is a free media repository with over 38M of media licensed under a free license.

But if we have a look on the technical side, it is MediaWiki just like any other WMF Wiki, and MediaWiki was developed for written text, not for hosting media.

Hence, Commons is not the best choice for publishing media under a free license; e.g.for images there are platforms like Flickr or 500px, which also allow Creative Commons licenses and were designed with specific features for images in mind. So we are running a bot transferring images from Flickr to Commons instead of having the photographers on Commons itself.

The same issue exists for videos. We only accept videos in free file formats, making uploading videos directly to Commons impossible from a variety of devices. The necessary file conversion discourages a lot of potential uploaders. All other big video platforms, like YouTube or Vimeo, accept unfree formats and convert them into the right format server side.

On almost every media repository you can search the content of the media and not only the description, but not on Commons. A media file without a good description nor categories will get lost. It is impossible to search for the resolution, the camera model or any other EXIF data or even the content (like colors, etc.), because the search function is hardly adjusted to media.

Some tools attempt to bring these needed features to Commons, but they run on external platforms or are JavaScript applications.

To make Commons be as valuable as our other platforms, we have to improve a lot on the technical side.

In this discussion I want to figure out what we can do for improving Commons to make it more attractive for new contributors.

What will attendees take away from this session?

Attendees, who want win new volunteers for Wikimedia Commons will know better, on which points they’ll have to teach more.

Attendees, who are developers will know better, on which aspects they will have to focus and what they need to do, to improve Wikimedia Commons.

Theme of presentation
  • Technology, Interface & Infrastructure
For workshops and discussions, what level is the intended audience?

For everyone, who is interested in improving Wikimedia Commons and making it better for new volunteers. Regardless, if they is a beginner, intermediate or advanced

Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)
45 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

I got a full scholarship, hence I would discuss this topic in other commons related discussion rounds on wikimania.

Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests

projector for showing some examples, how other platforms have solved the same problems.

Is this Submission a Draft or Final?

This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with a hash and four tildes. (# ~~~~).

  1. --MF-Warburg (talk) 20:37, 8 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  2. --Alangi derick (talk) 20:55, 8 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  3. --Lingveno (talk) 21:40, 8 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  4. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 22:45, 8 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Poco a poco (talk) 10:43, 9 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Kritzolina (talk) 17:18, 9 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Jamie Tubers (talk) 17:20, 9 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Also interested in other kinds of media files, e.g. audio, 3D and tabular data. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 02:31, 10 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  9. EpochFail (talk) 15:38, 10 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Wuselig (talk) 18:25, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Birgit Müller (WMDE) (talk) 21:05, 25 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  12. SDKmac (talk) 12:50, 1 June 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  13. ...