Last modified on 20 November 2013, at 19:40

Commons:Upload Wizard FAQ

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Upload Wizard: Frequently Asked Questions

The Upload Wizard is the default method to upload files on Wikimedia Commons. (A set of alternative forms is available for advanced or highly specialized use cases.) This document seeks to answer basic questions about the tool.

See also:


General questionsEdit

What is the Upload Wizard?Edit

The upload wizard is the default way of uploading files to Wikimedia Commons, the media library associated with Wikipedia and all other Wikimedia projects. The upload wizard is also an extension for MediaWiki, the software that powers Wikimedia's websites. It was originally developed through a grant to the Wikimedia Foundation by the Ford Foundation (see Multimedia usability project report) and continues to be enhanced by the Wikimedia Foundation on an ongoing basis.
It's our goal to make uploading files a delightful experience, and to ensure that completing basic uploads doesn't require any advanced knowledge on the user's part.
The upload wizard can be launched from Special:UploadWizard. JavaScript is required; if not available, it will fall back to a simplified upload form.

Will the Upload Wizard be integrated directly in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects?Edit

Because Wikimedia Commons serves all Wikimedia projects and many other wikis, it was our initial goal to make the upload experience here as intuitive and understandable as possible. However, we'd ideally like to make uploading (including uploading of permitted fair use media on projects allowing some non-free content) an integrated experience. It should be easy to add a photo or another media file while editing an article, without any need to copy and paste filenames across different websites. This will likely be a goal for future improvement efforts, and you're certainly invited to help.

How can I get involved? Can you also add feature X or Y?Edit

If your question wasn't listed on this page, we warmly welcome your feedback, comments and questions at Commons:Upload Wizard feedback. We value the feedback provided by the Wikimedia community and we'll do our best to address your concerns. Please check our list of open issues first to save your time. To request improvements, you can also file an enhancement request against the UploadWizard extension in Bugzilla.
While we don't necessarily have the resources to implement every good idea ourselves, we wholeheartedly welcome volunteer developers who would like to help us, and we'll do our best to support them, for example by sharing our sketches & designs. Please leave a note on the feedback page if you're interested, or just get started by following the introductory steps at How to become a MediaWiki hacker.

Advanced user questionsEdit

Is the Upload Wizard available for third party MediaWiki websites?Edit

Yes. The upload wizard is available as a MediaWiki extension and released under the GPL. It is possible to install it on any MediaWiki installation (1.16 and above) and it can be customized, depending on the policy requirements of the wiki regarding media files and licenses.

Why do you allow the user to upload without first asking for a license / author / description?Edit

First, we're trying to get closer to the user's mental model, by providing an interface they're expecting, rather than a wall of text and fields to fill in. Also, we want to be able to display a thumbnail of the uploaded files, to make it easier to add information such as a description. Similarly, uploading the media file first allows us to extract as much information as possible from the file metadata. For example, the current upload form requires the user to add the date of the work in a very specific format. Our upload wizard extracts that piece of information directly from the metadata and suggests it in the form. This wouldn't be possible in all browsers if we didn't upload the file first.

What happens if the user never provides the basic required information?Edit

The file is automatically discarded if the minimum required information is not provided.

Why did you remove choices like "uploading someone else's work from Flickr" or "free software screenshot"?Edit

Pictogram voting info.svg Outdated. 1.: uploading from flickr is (basicly) possible. But use more advanced, automatic tools if possible. 2.: You can put the free software screenshot license tag in the custom license box of Upload Wizard.
Our goal is to provide a simple interface that guides the user and doesn't overwhelm them with questions. Most alternative choices in older upload forms do not actually provide any field specific to those cases. They mostly differ in the verbose documentation we impose on users, and which has been proven to be ineffective.
Some cases will hopefully be handled better in the future, for example by allowing upload from a URL, recognizing the URL and fetching metadata & copyright terms when possible. Some toolserver-hosted tools like DerivativeFX and Flickr2Commons would definitely benefit the users if integrated into MediaWiki or an extension. Your help is more than welcome.

Why did you remove the "traps" from the current upload form that catch possible mistakes such as fair use?Edit

In designing the Upload Wizard, we tried to provide as much education about Wikimedia Commons policy upfront as possible without overwhelming the user, and moved away from "traps" which assume that users will not be able to do the right thing. However, based on the experience so far, we will likely implement at least an "I don't know" trap for uploads that places them in a post-upload review category, because the alternative tends to be that users classify uploads incorrectly.

Why did you remove all the instructions from the current upload form? How do you expect the user to do what's right now?Edit

Much of the complexity of the original form was in explaining how to work around various defects of the form itself. For example, we've avoided having to tell the user about proper extensions, by eliminating the extension from the interface entirely. Instead the user only has to give their file a title and the program does the rest.
There are some issues which are necessary to explain to new users, such as licensing. However, we do not believe the "wall of text" approach is helpful. Our research showed that most users were intimidated, or simply didn't read it.
Instead, where issues are complex, we prefer to suggest and explain good default choices, so the user will naturally "get it right". Also, the licensing tutorial is an essential part of this strategy.

Why do you give CC-BY-SA such a prominent/default/recommended place? Why don't you use a step-by-step license chooser?Edit

The Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA) License is the primary license used for all text in Wikimedia Foundation projects. While more licenses are permitted for media files, the set of licenses permitted is constrained by the Licensing Policy. We believe that the CC-BY-SA license represents a good default choice for works authored by the uploader, consistent with the same values and principles which led to it being chosen as the default license for text contributions.
A default choice also has significant user experience benefits. New users cannot be expected to have any mental model of licensing, and our user testing has shown that some users will click through any license chooser in the understanding that such a choice screen represents "the step where you have to agree to the site terms". This means that we are losing an important opportunity to have an elevated engagement with the user about the core principles of free culture and free licensing, by confronting users with too much detail early in the process of uploading a file. Instead of doing so, our strategy is to a) educate users through a licensing tutorial that is clearly separate from the uploading process; b) have sane default choices for the uploading process consistent with Wikimedia's principles and values, but make it easy for experienced users to change those defaults.

Where are the other licenses?Edit

The current implementation only offers the most common licensing options, but there is also a "custom template" option for advanced users.

Why do you make it so easy to multilicense works?Edit

Releasing your work under several licenses has been a long-standing tradition on Commons; it wouldn't make sense for us to use the interface to remove the ability users have to multilicense their work. Instead, we're suggesting a recommended license, for new and occasional users, and we're leaving experienced users the possibility to multilicense their work if they wish to do so.

Why don't you use HotCat for categories?Edit

The latest version of HotCat is powerful and, as a consequence, was mostly built with experienced users in mind. We have included a basic version of HotCat to avoid confusing new users, but improving the category adder is definitely on the list of things we would like to do next. Another possibility would be to improve HotCat to have both powerful features and a user-friendly interface. Also, we're trying to make the upload wizard compatible with the HotCat gadget, so that users who have it enabled can use it transparently when uploading.

What can I do if Upload Wizard crashed after uploading some files?Edit

If your file has been successfully uploaded but was not published yet, it's possibly temporarily stashed. If you have some experience with Commons, go to Special:UploadStash and you'll see whether you can recover your file. The tool is meant to be powerful, not nice and friendly and is provided without warranty by the Community.

Didn't find your question?Edit

This Questions & Answers page was written based on the feedback provided over the last few months. If your question wasn't listed above, please leave your comment or question at Commons:Upload Wizard feedback and we'll do our best to answer it.