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Content issues

Discussion on all aspects of content and content policy, including inclusionism, audience, original research, neutrality and copyediting

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Images from WikiMedia Commons

George has pointed out here that this wiki can now display media directly from WikiMedia Commons, rather than requiring us to upload it here first. We don't have a specific rule on this. There are two possible problems that I can see: firstly, the media might have an incompatible licence, so that needs to be checked carefully. Secondly, and more seriously, any changes to the image on WikiMedia Commons will also be reflected here, i.e. we don't have complete control. I personally would download and re-use the image here by uploading it, as we've always done. John Stephenson (talk) 07:28, 23 March 2022 (CDT)

John, These are all good points. My first reaction to the news that we could link images was, yay! it will save server space and it's way faster to do it so I'm more likely to put an image up, and it encourages me to put my own images into Wikimedia Commons. But your concern is perhaps more serious. So, I could easily disable this feature if you think it's important. I'm fine either way. We lived without it for years and years. Should we disable? Pat Palmer (talk) 07:31, 28 March 2022 (CDT)

fair use claims

I rearranged the order of my requests for discussion around fair use to put the shorter, simpler request first... George Swan (talk) 14:15, 27 March 2022 (CDT)

Okay, my second time claiming "fair use" is on the Savannah Phillips article. It is a widely republished image. These images were so widely republished attribution would be difficult. Many newspapers didn't bother to try to credit the image. I agree with the editors of those newspapers - a verbal description of this mischievious moment would fall short, making a fair use claim valid.

I wrote, a day or two ago, about Template:Creditline. I've reminded myself a bit more about how it works. if it exists it is automatically used, when an image is enclosed in {{image}} template. But, I just determined, not invoked when an image is used in an {{Infobox Person}} template.

Is the text I put in Template:Cousins Savannah Phillips and Prince William playful moment went viral.jpeg/credit too long? I put "unknown author, very widely republished image shows playfulness" in the author field.

Cheers! George Swan (talk) 14:12, 27 March 2022 (CDT)

The text should be as long as it needs to be. I wouldn't worry about it. Pat Palmer (talk) 07:29, 28 March 2022 (CDT)

Fair use, IP rights, and the general belief in "progress"

This image: File:Claudene Christian and cheerleader dolls - company-pic.jpg is the first I have uploaded under a fair use claim. has an NFCC policy. I frequently came into conflict with purists there, who I felt placed an excessive concern over the rights of the copyright holders. So, after years of this conflict, I looked into the history of the policy, to see why it seemed to support a very limited use of "fair use" compared with what the law required.

I found nothing. At a certain point the WMF required all wikis to have a policy. There was no broad discussion. A small group of purists drafted the very restrictive policy they have in place now.

In my opinion, it is important to consider the underlying justification for copyright, when considering fair use.

The underlying justification for copyright - like that for patents - is that lawmakers believed in what we use to call "progress. When I was growing up "progress" meant new inventions, new ideas - like Tang. Granting copyright holders special rights to exploit their creations, or patent holders their special rights, was thought to serve the public good. Inventors would invent more inventions, when they could profit from their earlier inventions, and that was thought to be good. Similarly with authors, painters, photographers, composers.

I spent over a decade living in Mennonite country. I helped typeset a book on the history of Mennonites. I got to know some old order Mennonites. Well, like the Taliban, like the Amish, they do not believe in "progress". Disbelief in "progress" is not crazy.

The "fair use" exemption, under which someone other than the copyright holder uses an image? The restricted terms when the outside party gets to claim "fair use" are supposed to apply when the public's need to be informed is more important than the creator's right to make a profit. Under those conditions the copyright holder is supposed to live with it.

It is the same with patents. During World War 2 there was a tremendous need for a vehicle like a jeep. The patent holder was a very little firm, that was orders of magnitude too small to produce the million jeeps the war required. As I understand it the US Government told the owners of that little firm they had two choices. (1) they could license the right to build jeeps to their design to the big detroit firms, and to tractor manufacturers, etc.; or (2) the US government would simply seize and nationalize their intellectual property. So, they chose to license. The rationale there was that the public interest would be better served by nationalization.

Canada was struck about 100 times more severely by the SARS epidemic than the USA. Allan Rock, then Canada's Minister of Health, personally contacted the executives at a firm that owned the Canadian rights to an anti-viral drug that it was believed would protect front line health care workers from getting infected, and passing their infection to other patients. He asked the firm for a bulk deal for enough doses for every frontline medical worker.

Well, the company was the Canadian branch of an American company, and those executives were American patriots. They told the Minister of Health they couldn't supply any drugs, because they decided to reserve all doses for the USA.

So the Minister contacted every other drug firm in Canada, inviting them to submit a bid. That original firm screamed blue murder - due to their ownership of the intellectual property rights.

If I had been the Minister I would have expropriated their rights to that drug. And I would have asked my colleague to deport those executives, and bar them from ever returning to Canada... unless it was discovered the drug wasn't actually effective.

Anyhow, I saw it as an instance where the greater public good outweighed intellectual property rights.

As to this image... Okay, Ms Christian is obscure now. The article I started on her on the wikipedia was deleted, years ago. I acquired this image when I ported that article to wikialpha - a wiki with looser rules. I don't seem to have recorded the specific url of the page where I got it.

Her story interested me as I see her as an example of a phenomenon we see with other creative young women - like Taylor Swift and Beyonce. All three women loved their dads. All three women trusted their dads to help manage the enterprises based on their own creativity. Christian, who had been a cheerleader, in high school and at University, came up with the idea of making dolls the size of barbie dolls, fitted out in the costumes of popular cheerleading teams. The dolls would be sold in the University bookstore of their team. The idea was a success - until it attracted the attention of Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls.

The best thing that could have happened for her, at that point, was to figure out a fair price, and sell her rights to Mattel, or maybe licensing arrangements. But her father, who thought he was a business genius, seems to have decided to play hard ball with Mattel, without discussing it with her. Very sad.

We see a similar thing with Taylor Swift, who wanted to buy back intellectual property rights to the masters from her recordings, now that she was rich enough to afford to do so. However, her original manager, who owned those rights, sold them to a competitor, with a bad relationship with Ms Swift. She portrays this as a betrayal, an instance of a deal being made behind her back. But the little publicized fact that undermines viewing this as being done behind her back is that, like Ms Christian, teenage Taylor had given her dad a role in managing her career. Her management may not have told Ms Taylor they were considering selling the masters to the guy who hated her, but her dad sat on committees where the sale was discussed. Either he didn't understand those discussions, or he didn't understand his daughter's wishes.

It seems like an interesting cautionary tale - to me. George Swan (talk) 08:52, 23 March 2022 (CDT)

An interesting essay, George. Pfizer and Moderna haven't been in any hurry, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to release rights to their newly developed vaccine technology, even though it was at least partially developed using publicly-funded research grants. Greater good and all that. But back to images on this wiki, deciding fair use has always been a difficult judgement call. I recommend making a good faith effort to decide, and if anyone complains, we immediately take an image down. Pat Palmer (talk) 07:37, 28 March 2022 (CDT)

On the term "concentration camp"

This discussion has been moved to Talk:Concentration_camp. Pat Palmer (talk) 06:04, 23 July 2022 (CDT)

What about stuff that got moved to User:George Swan/sandbox/...

Back when we had a heirarchy, where editors ranked above mere contributors, there was an editor - I won't name him - who really didn't like me.

I saw a comment where he told someone else he planned for all my contributions to either be deleted, or, the more important topics, he would rewrite himself.

He never made any meaningful effort to explain what he thought was wrong with my stuff.

I was working on an article on Vanessa Guillen - an ordinary soldier, who was murdered. It was only after the inquiry into her murder that the history of the sexual harrassment she endured came to light. Very remarkably, senior officers who hadn't been paying attention to the risks female soldiers faced were admonished, or dismissed.

Anyhow, while writing it, I came across redlinks, and, when I looked into them I found I had already written about some of those topics 13 years ago.

Since even a stopped clock is correct twice a day I won't move any of those sandboxed articles back to article space, without asking for input from other people. But I updated User:George Swan/sandbox/Benjamin G. Davis, and I would like that scrutiny there, please.

Thanks! George Swan (talk) 13:48, 13 August 2022 (CDT)

supplying links to archive sites?

Okay, how should I get citations to offer up mirrors on archive sites, like

If our local versions of the {{cite}} templates support an archive field, I must be using them wrong.

As a workaround I have been putting the url between the end of the {{cite}} template and the closing </ref>. George Swan (talk) 21:19, 20 August 2022 (CDT)

requesting more eyes...

I am requesting opinions on User:George Swan/Bikini controversy at Kolkata's St. Xavier's University. I won't work on this topic, if other people think articles about thopics like this are a bad idea.

I think it might be a good idea because, as a topical "breaking news" kind of topic, on a topic the wikipedia is unlikely to cover, it might attract more readers to the Citizendium, who would not be attracted by articles on topics that aren't breaking news.

Ideally, in my opinion, it would be best if it were entitled after the principal person, the fired professor. However, none of the articles I have read have named her. In the 2 images which triggered her dismissal she was wearing a blue bikini, but alone in her office, not on a beach. Although some articles were illustrated with pictures of a bikini, none of them were the fatal image, because the bikini in question was not blue, or the image was not taken indoors. Why did she take the pictures in her office? She wrote something, on Instagram, not shared publicly, saying something like, "I would have trouble, at the University where I am about to accept a job, if pictures of me wearing a bikini like this were made public."

Apparently instagram has a mode were posts only exist for 24 hours. So she is mystified as to how someone could have found the non-public image months later.

Student protests, $12 million USD lawsuits, public solidarity from celebrities, who posted their own bikini photos, I think that should be sufficient to establish she merits an article.

I know some people on the wikipedia would argue she deserves privacy, as a non-public person. This argument for deletion is routinely made there for people who are demonstrably public people.

Anyhow, I am requesting more eyes...

Cheers! George Swan (talk) 22:58, 4 September 2022 (CDT)