Commons:What Commons is not

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Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to all. It acts as a common repository for the various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The project has a particular scope, and there are certain things that Wikimedia Commons is not.


Commons is not an encyclopedia, dictionary, guide, or book.

While we can help supply images for one, Commons itself is not an encyclopedia, dictionary, or any sort of written work. Content within these categories should normally go to an appropriate Wikimedia site, such as Wikipedia or Wiktionary for example.

For the policy, see COM:PS (Project Scope: Excluded educational content).

Commons is not Wikipedia

Files on Commons do not necessarily need to comply with Wikipedia policies and guidelines such as neutral point of view and no original research. Commons acts amongst other things as a common media file resource for all Wikimedia projects, and we stand apart from the rules that may be imposed locally by each of those individual projects.

For the policy, see Commons:Project scope/Neutral point of view.

Commons is not your personal free web host

Although we do host media and images on Commons, all content must be within our project's scope, which requires, among other things, that all media must be realistically useful for an educational purpose. Unless your images are educationally useful and in the scope of this project, Commons is not a place to store your vacation photo collection.

For the policy, see COM:PS (Project Scope: Must be realistically useful for an educational purpose).

Commons is not a social network

Using Commons solely to chat with your friends, create personal profiles, etc, is outside Commons' scope. User pages created to assist in communication with other users for the advancement of the project are OK.

For the policy, see COM:PSP (Project Scope: User pages, galleries and categories).


Commons is not a place to advertise

As dictated by our scope, content which constitutes advertising or self-promotion may be deleted from Commons.

For the policy, see COM:PS (Project scope: Must be realistically useful for an educational purpose). For information about the content of your user page, see COM:PSP (Project scope: Non-allowable user page/gallery/category content).

Commons is not censored

Due to their educational value for the understanding of certain subjects, Commons may host material that some users may find objectionable, distasteful, or offensive for various reasons. Unless the image has possible personality rights issues, is possibly illegal in the United States, or violates other Commons policy such as our scope, Commons will not censor or remove media that users find objectionable or offensive. However, the statement "Commons is not censored" is not a valid argument for keeping a file that falls outside the normal permitted Commons scope.

For the policy, see COM:PS (Project scope: Censorship) and Commons:Nudity.

Commons is not an amateur porn site

Low-quality pornographic images that do not contribute anything educationally useful to our existing collection of images are not needed on Commons. As a result, uploaded low-quality photographs of genitalia are generally deleted quickly. Deletion of such photographs should nevertheless follow ordinary deletion procedures. If the quality is bad, we may keep the file if we have no better file on a subject it can illustrate.

For the policy, see COM:PS (Project scope: Censorship) and COM:PS: Must be realistically useful for an educational purpose. The relevant specific official guideline is Commons:Nudity.

Commons cares about copyright even when a copyright owner does not

Commons respects copyright and licensing restrictions regardless of whether copyright holders care about enforcing them. Uploading non-free media in good faith with excuses such as "the author won't find out", "the author would be glad that we redistributed their work", or similar statements is not how things work on Commons. We take copyright seriously; any image or media with questionable authorship may get nominated for deletion, and media uploaded without proper permission or licensing information may be speedily deleted.

For the policy, see Commons:Project scope/Precautionary principle and Commons:Deletion policy.