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I propose that we use a system of taxoboxes to organize plants and animals. We can use the things specified at Commons:Taxobox Here is what I Propose:

  1. Species have there own pages.
    1. These species pages must be categoriezed under the Family they fall under.
  2. All other pages will be purely category pages -- Sam916 01:34, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
I hope that with half a year or a year wikispecies has been reorganized in such a way that it is database based instead of text based. I understood that when thats done, we can generate taxoboxes from the data in wikispecies. I suggest that we dont waste time on implementing taxoboxs now. We can probably have a robot insert taxobox statements in species articles when wikispecies is ready.

As for articles on species level anf families as categories: thats the de facto standard which has developed over time. The tendency over the last two months is to insert categories at the genus level for large genera or large families. 19:20, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

I am not in favor of taxoboxes in commons. Header lines like in Malva sylvestris serve the same reason. I prefer to use names of taxonomic ranks in Latin (familia, ordo etc.). This is the language Linnaeus and his followers had used, when they developed their methods of naming and classification. And commons is supposed to be multilingual. --Franz Xaver 21:27, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Being systematicEdit

A project like this doesn't seem like so much of a pipe dream if it has some kind of a strategy for success. You can't be complete until you have rare species or ones from remote areas; how are we going to get those pics? There are beetles for which the only known specimens are in the bowels of a museum's collection, so the best we can do is to get access to the collection to take pictures (or make drawings). Part of compiling want lists should include "easy" vs "hard" pictures to get - a fish on display at the Baltimore Aquarium is "easy", some photographer just needs to stop by. A tree found only in Costa Rican cloud forests would be "hard" - unless it's known to be in a botanical garden somewhere. So a useful thing to research and record is where specimens are to be found. Such a list is not really a WP thing so much as a commons thing, so it should be here somewhere, but not necessarily in every user's face. One possibility is talk pages of categories and articles, so for instance the currently-unused [[Talk:Category:Agave]] could have the list of all Agave species, and after each red link, add notes as to how and where pictures might be obtained. (Could be done for blue links too, if the gallery is incomplete.) Stan Shebs 00:52, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Drawings are often more useful to people than photographs, too; we should keep that in mind. ¦ Reisio 02:37, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, we will have to develop strategies for getting drawings and photographs of rare species. In some cases we may be lucky when a volunteer makes a holiday trip to a remote area, or when a local wiki volunteer happens to live in such a an area.
In other cases we will have to visit zoos or musea. I got the idea for this project after a photo visit to a university en:hortus botanicus. At the moment I am in contact with them by email about permission to publish the photos; they want to give it a quality check before i publish the photos. When you visit them, explain what you want to do (preferably before), and you might get more cooperation then you expect.
There is also a special butterfly garden in the north of our country, one day we may pay it a visit and if they allow i hope to return with a number of photos. TeunSpaans 19:20, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
That's a good point. In general institutions have a stronger interest in publicizing the species they study rather than trying to make a couple dollars selling picture licenses, and now that WP is a top-20(?) website, they would get more visibility than they could ever hope to manage on their own. Stan Shebs 21:25, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, they havent since replied to my emails. TeunSpaans 19:08, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
For me this idea sounds extremely ambitious. How many thousands of plants and animals are already known to science? And how many species still are undetected or undescribed? At the moment still many species are missing that occur in Europe or North America and which are not rare in these regions. Concerning plants, species not used in horticulture still are underrepresented. Wikipedians obviousely prefer taking pictures from gardens. Maybe some kind of contest could encourage photographers to take missing pictures. (I have found such a contest in a German Lepidoptera forum - see [1]) Anyway, taking photos from the free nature should be promoted, if we want to be complete in some regions and in some taxonomic groups. However, with photos from the wild, it seems to be more difficult to get correct identifications.
I myself already uploaded some photos of species with very restricted range and some species from more remote areas, e.g. Georgia, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica. And some more photos will follow, when I successively will scan my collection of diapositives. --Franz Xaver 22:17, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
According to the english wiki, there are 300.000 species of plants, and 800.000 species of insects. And especially with the latter, there are probably many still undecribed. Yes, our goal is extremely ambitious. TeunSpaans 05:59, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Actually, my favourite way of taking flower pics is by making walks through nature, either during lunch or on saturdays, and photographing the plants I encounter. TeunSpaans 16:01, 2 March 2006 (UTC)


As for strategies, I see several courses of action.

  1. Wikipedians keep photographing, filming and drawing whatever we encounter. Personally I find this a very satisfactory way of working, so I will probably continue doing so even though it may not be the most time efficient way;
  2. We can actively collect the images present in the local wikipedias here at commons. Storing them in a central collection has, imho advantages, as we have a better view on what we have and what we dont have. As an example, I am currnetly working on a series on on the Dutch wiki, and I write an article on every species I find. When I started, about 20 species were documented here at commons, when I am finished, I expect to have here some 30, or a 50% increase.
  3. Making wishlists for visists to zoos, butterflygardens, hortus and so on. I have tried to start one at Category talk:Primates. They can be expanded to a format where for each species we list the zoos and the native areas.
  4. Searching the web for large collections of media. As we often already have the most basic species, our problems will often be for the more arcane and rare species. We might search for large collections. Many of our present plantae photos are from the Kurt Steuber collection. There may be more around.
  5. Seaching the web for specialized collections. Universities sometimes have specialized collections, and there are specialized websites who might be willing to share their photos. As we grow, we might have to go more and more in this direction, as we will have greater need for specialized knowledge. Examples in the area of plants are [2] and [3]. No doubt there are specialist clubs of volunteers dedicated to special families of Lepidoptera, mammals and whatever you like.

TeunSpaans 19:08, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Something that could be done with zoos and such is to make articles/categories for them, and make a list of their holdings. So someone can come and see "oh, they have dwarf lemurs at the Berlin Zoo, but no pictures of them here - time for an expedition". I've been contemplating that for local natural areas as well; I've racked up some percentage of native plants nearby, but am not sure what's still missing, and wildflower season starts in just a couple weeks... Stan Shebs 00:07, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
I've tried to set up a sample for a search aid at Category talk:Hominidae TeunSpaans 08:21, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Cool! I see we have our pics in Category:Gorilla gorilla rather than a gallery page Gorilla gorilla... Stan Shebs 04:49, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I do not regard the structure within Category:Hominidae to be ideal. Did you also see Category:Pan (mythology) in Category:Pan? There should be some changes. --Franz Xaver 09:54, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I took a look but I must admit I dont know what you find better at Category:Pan?

Meanwhile, I have tried to setup a (very incomplete attempt) to start a list of magnoliaphyta flowering in march or april in northwest europe. Please let me know whta you think of it. Should we insterad have a list of all species regardless of flowering season? Should we include all continents and list the continent in a separate column? TeunSpaans 18:48, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, this is a start. This example also demonstrates that flowering period might not be the best criterion for inclusion in such a list. For example, Salix species are very difficult to identify, when there are only twigs and flowers. Identification is more easy later, when they are in fruit and when leaves are well developed. Photographing wood is independent of season. Maybe it is more promising to start with spring-flowering geophytes (Corydalis, Hyacinthoides non-scripta) or annuals (e.g. Erophila verna). --Franz Xaver 20:29, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I am trying to work my way through the main families. I fully agree that salix species are near impossible to identify in this stage. TeunSpaans 21:02, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Categorizing PagesEdit

I was wondering if WikiProject Tree of Life has a mandate for how pages are categorized. If not, here is my Proposal:

  1. Species pages are categorized under their Family or Subfamily
  2. Species will not be categorized under Genus
  3. Starting at the Family category, it gets categorized under the dominant class. Example: Family Agavaceae gets categorized under Order Asparagales

All my categorizinf info comes from Wikispecies.

I think we should have genus categories when they are large. Many plant genera have 100 or more species, and some go to over 1000. Stan Shebs 05:41, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Genus categories often are helpful or even necessary for subdivision of big family categories. However, we should not start a genus category when there are only two or three species pages. How many species pages will be necessary to establish a new genus category? --Franz Xaver 13:59, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Subdivision of a (sub)family category makes sense, when there are more than 200 elements (pages, photos) included. I prefer subdivision by genus to subdivion by tribus/tribe. --Franz Xaver 14:03, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Subdivision by genus is for example not practical in Category:Asteroideae which is the next candidate for subdivision by tribe. Fortunately, most articles have the name of the tribe included in the header, so even a bot could do the subdivision. This is a good reason for including the subfamily/tribe in 'big family' articles. -- Ayacop 17:57, 16 September 2006 (UTC)
Noting that the category system in some of the larger groups of birds has deteriorated to a point where it became all but unusable, a proposal:
  • If any practical, categorization should go down to genus. For most animals, this should work OK, for many plants not. There is no need to stick to a rigid system just for the sake of it - it is more unscientific than to keep things flexible as every taxonomy is only a best approximation.
  • No species categories usually - pages w/galleries instead. Some taxa already have 4-5 pages (proper pages and categories) in total! A unified page layout would be good though not necessary
  • If there is a high number (say 10 or more) of images for one species, change the species page into a species category so that the genus page doesn't clutter. But the species category should ideally only serve as a image dump for the species page.
  • No genus category for monotypic genera (one could generally say: no category if only one page would go there) and accordingly for monotypic higher categories.
  • Images should be sorted into as low a category as possible (i.e. genus). If not identifiable, use the next higher category. Images should not be sorted into multiple taxonomic categories as this creates a horrible mess. BUT images can well be sorted also in common-name categories which would be listed as follows: the category "Ducks" would go under "Waterfowl" and "Birds" and itself would contain the genus categories Anas, Aythya etc. It is a bad idea to mix taxonomic and common naming in categories; they should be kept separate entities and tied to each other, not jumbled around.
This may be a bit drastic, but the point is: if you try to use Commons as a source for duck images, for example, you may just as well forget it at present. Since the categorization is the only somewhat reliable way to find what you are looking for and since taxonomy is an international convention, it is best employed consistently. w:Category:Birds by classification works rather well that way, although its value is obviously limited save as a functional alternative to Wikispecies (which IMHO should be burned down before it contaminates things; the scientific value approaches zero as nearly nothing is properly referenced and a lot is obsolete, and thus the most significant purpose of Wikispecies is to perpetuate spurious and outdated systematics and nomenclature. Rely on what it tells you and you're deeply screwed.)
Bear in mind that nomenclature changes. Taxa get split or merged, which creates a problem for any system that is too rigid. Dysmorodrepanis 03:19, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Addendum: Categories should get pages like this one if possible, and a remark directing ppl who are looking for taxa by vernacular name to these.

I totally agree with Dysmorodrepanis. In fact I didn't see any point in not allowing categories on individual Image-pages due to some weird rule making the category obsolete if the image is already in some "gallery" - why not have both. So I've started (just a start, not much yet) in Category:Coccinellidae to split things up, upto the species-level, into cats and galleries. Have a look at Category:Coccinella and Coccinella to get the basic idea of where it's going. With this I'm using the gallery Coccinella as a clickable "visual index" to link through to the individual species galleries too, with a selection of images of 'primary' examples of the species. For now I've put such index galleries like Coccinella both in Category:Coccinella and in Category:Coccinellidae (one level up). I think this "visual" system provides maximum service to users of the Commons image collections, providing various methods for browsing and finding images, and even some help in determination of species. It also avoids the category vs gallery discussion. I frankly don't see any good reason not to go that way (at least for insects etc) - ofcourse, cats and galleries for single species genera can be skipped. Pudding4brains 20:30, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

have a look at Banksia article which links to the genus and species categories Gnangarra 03:32, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
The "weird rule" you're referring came about as a result of people trying to figure out just what had already been uploaded - one would have a plant family category with a combination of precisely identified species images and "purple flower" pics for which the family could be ascertained by a knowledgeable person, but which are lacking the botanical characters necessary to do any better. Insect pics would have the same problem. If you leave them all in the same category, then every single person going through it ends up wasting time reviewing the same poorly-described images over and over. If every uploader always put an image into the most precise taxon cat/gallery possible, this would not even come up as an issue, but that's not what happens. As it stands now, without an agreed-upon sorting system, I don't even bother looking at family categories anymore. Stan Shebs 11:43, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, sorry fot that term, I just thought it strange not to use a perfectly good category system if you have it. In fact, your reasoning only tells me it is a good idea to have a finer grained category and gallery system down to the species or in some cases maybe even 'variety' level. The only thing missing would be to have an extra category (and/or gallery) at each level that either holds pictures that can definitely not be determined with more precision than that family or genus or whatever level or for new/undetermined images. As uploaders that are unaware of this would probably dump new stuff in the main 'family' or 'genus' category (if they take the trouble to do any of that at all, that is!?) it would probably be best to shuffle "stuff that has been determined to not go anywhere with more precision" out of the way into a Category:Genus_sp or whatever and keep the cats clean for new "to be looked at by experts" images - maybe inviting people to do so with a simple text in each category such as "Please put images into this family category if you are unsure about what subfamily or genus your image depicts - experts may move the images to the appropriate genus or species category later". It just seem strange to me to 'forbid' usage of a detailed category on an image page just because the image is in some gallery somewhere. So I guess I'm saying that everything that can be determined to the species level should be sorted in a Category:Binominal_name and images that cannot be determined to more detail than genus or family or so should also get a category. With the last thing you can go two ways: Either create categories Cat:Genus_sp or Family_spp or whatever you want en put them there, or have them in the main Cat:Genus or Cat:Family and make sure it is clear to everyone that new stuff should go into Cat:Genus_newstuff_please_determine or whatever. To me these sem better approaches than to 'forbid' category usage on 'determined' images. Pudding4brains 22:39, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
It could probably be made to work that way - image reviewers would have to get in the habit of moving unidentifiable images, but not a big deal. Stan Shebs 04:20, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Categories present images unordered, categories cannot be searched, moved easily, moved with version history, nor is there a simple way to redirect them. Also, they aren't cached, so they are slow.
So, I disagree with User:Pudding4brains' notion that we have a 'perfectly good category system'. -- Ayacop 09:49, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
insertedThere certainly is 'room for improvement' but looking at it from the uploaders perspective (a fairly important moment in time) it can hardly be easier than adding (a few) category tag(s) to the image page. Having to look for galleries that the image might fit into and edditing every gallery to add the picture in the appropriate spot in every gallery for most of us would be considered a hurdle that could easliy result in choosing not to upload anything at all. If the problem is that category pages get too cluttered to find anything the solution should be to split them up in sub-categories. We then end up with a system that offers users the choice of sorting to (fairly small) categories that contain 'everything' at that category-level and galleries that offer an organized view and maybe only selected 'highlights' instead of all. Best of both worlds. Pudding4brains 13:32, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Some of this comes down to working style - I tend to upload plant pics in groups of 2-6 for each species, and it's a matter of seconds to create the gallery for these, and caption the one or two images that need it. I don't go looking all over commons for other galleries to add to - other people are free to do that if they want. Stan Shebs 14:22, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
The logical is to ask people to categorise with the most detailed taxonomical name they are able to identify. If that species then its species if they onl know Genus then they put it there. Gnangarra 10:58, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
We ask and ask and ask people just to put a most basic category on each upload, and they still don't do it. So any proposed system needs to have a way for other editors to clean up afterwards, and efficiently - we have far too many images to have the luxury of spending much time on each one individually. Stan Shebs 13:32, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Also the system needs to recognise that ToL are not the only people who know what and how to identify plants. Gnangarra 14:59, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

In an effort to create an example of structuring galleries and categories down to the species level I had started working on some of the pages in Category:Coccinellidae. With this I had:

  • Created categories and galleries at the genus and species level.
  • Shaped "genus-level" galleries in a way that they can be used as an visual index to the species in the genus with one or a few images for every (available) species and links to the species-level galleries.
  • Used the available taxoboxes to provide structured information about taxonomy and links to the galleries on other taxon-levels.
  • Used the available {Lan} template to provide structured information on (some) vernacular names of the species/genus and links to the Wikipedia articles in those languages if available.

In my opinion the system I was building and would have liked to demonstrate has thes advantages:

  • Solves the problem of cluttered categories at the family-level that was the 'reason' for not having categories in images in the first place.
  • Enables uploaders to dump new pictures in the now basically empty family or genus categories so they don't have to bother with galleries if they don't want to or are unable to determine the species on their images themselves.
  • Enables us to make choices at the species (or if needed subspecies or 'variation' level) to have all available pictures unorganized in the category and a nice set of organized (subsections/headers) and well documented (captions) images in the gallery.
  • Provides better navigation by having both the category-system and the gallery-system available.
  • Provides better navigation both within commons and to the wikipedias by means of the links in the taxoboxes and {Lan}-template
  • Eventually even provides a system where the "Tree of Life" can be navigated as a Taxonomy tree through the galleries where family- and genus-level galleries provide a visual index for those who don't know the names of what they are looking for, thus even helping in some way in the proces of determining species on images one might want to add.
  • Furthermore the Taxoboxes can be usefull for wikipedia-editors as they can copy them to the wikis also.

Now Olei comes along and destroys it all, nominating categories for deletion, removing the taxoboxes (and the info in it), removing the vernacular names etc etc. I feel very strongly that this destroys valid/usefull information and helpfull structure for users of Commons and really don't see the benefits of deleting all that work in making Commons "better".

However I don't want to start a simple edit-war over it by restoring my additions so I would like to get some more opinions here about the proposed genus and species categories and the usage of Taxoboxes (with links) and {Lan}-template (with links).

There is no point anymore in providing some links to what the categories looked like before as categories have been removed from everything many of the 'navigational' aspects and the 'idea' of the genus and species categories is no longer visual anyway.

As to the use of taxoboxes and {Lan} template compare these and ask yourself which version is more helpfull to the user and which provides better navigation up-and-down the taxonomy tree: Some species-level galleries:

  1. Current versions: Coccinella septempunctata, Harmonia axyridis
  2. Taxo/Lan versions:Coccinella septempunctata, Harmonia axyridis

Some genus-level galleries:

  1. Current versions: Harmonia, Coccinella
  2. Taxobox versions: Harmonia, Coccinella
This was already discussed, and there are much better (and less optically intrusive) solutions to the navigation problem. Please read the point 'Taxoboxes' on this very page. Please do it. Then have a look at Malva sylvestris and tell me why you would want a big box instead of it. -- Ayacop 09:18, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
Just a couple observations. Genus galleries as visual index to species is a good idea, in fact I wrote it into ths project page, and no one has yet complained about that... I don't think we need multiple images per species, although multiples for adult/juvenile/form/flower would be helpful. The fullblown taxobox is overkill; while useful in the WPs for first-time readers, the users in commons tend to know the basics, and really only need a reminder (so many taxa!), thus one line is efficient and sufficient. Finally, a downside of "being bold" is that everybody else can be bold and undo your efforts; if you're going to try a radical experiment, best to note it on talk pages, or make the trial layout in a subpage of yours, only move to regular namespace if others like it. Stan Shebs 13:33, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the pointer Ayacop - I see a few different opinions there and no decisssion. However, I don't care much if it's a "Taxobox" or a "Taxonav"-bar and yes, ofcourse it would be better to have the texts in "Latin"-ish. But that's hardly the point. Using either a taxobox or taxonav template provides structured information and navigation. How this eventually is presented can be (re)arranged by changing it in one place - the template. I'm pretty sure it would even be possible to change the 'Taxobox' template in such a way that it would display the same as the Taxonav-bar (and in Latin). Now however, structure, information and navigation have simply been deleted. I don't see how that helps Commons or it's users.
  • The simple fact that Wikispecies might have this info available from a database sometime in the future doesn't help me or other users now. If I create/edit a page now I feel it's a fairly small but worthwhile effort to add the structured info/navi this way. My reason for choosing the taxobox over the taxonav is that the boxes provide help and ease of use for wikipedia editors who may, for the most part, just copy then 1:1 and I fail to see how they are so darn obtrusive on the page, most displays nowadays have ample space to the right of the galleries. Also, if people object to the appearance and language both could be changed by simply working on the template.
  • Furthermore, not only the Taxobox has been removed, but also the information on vernacular names (on the species pages). Once more, I fail to see how deleting such information helps anybody and, also once more, that information was also presented in a structured manner through a template so even if the appearance is not to 'our' liking that can be remedied in a central place. Now, the language info and navi-aid is simply gone. Big help!
  • I'm not too sure it was all that radical an experiment, as I've found taxoboxes on various other pages before I started inserting them in mine - I didn't invent it and if the taxoboxes are really that much of a "bad thing" then why do they even exist? I think this is just another example of someone enforcing his point of view on a subject where there is no fixed guideline or consensus. Same goes for the {Lan}-template with the vernacular names.
  • As to the genus-level galleries and categories: Especially with insects, if these are to be used as a visual navigation aid to find the appropriate species I think the goal should be to have a few pictures in the genus-gallery: Male, Female, Pupa, Larva and maybe even a few 'varieties' if these look very different from standard specimen. For plants I can imagine something like, leafshape, flower, seeds or whatever - the things you might have in your hand (on your image) that help to determine the species.
  • I feel it's a bit of nonsense to (re)create a category system down to the species level in my userspace as an example. I would have to add bogus categories like Cat:P4bCoccinellidae to all existing pages/images that currently have Cat:Coccinellidae on them (etc etc etc) and at the same time someone would probably come along just the same and remove those bogus/example categories again just as happened now. I also don't see how adding the 'real' categories is a nuisance. What the heck is the problem with having a category at species level on an image page? How is that sooo disturbingly 'in the way' for anyone? It's also just a logical stepp in an existing (if heavily debated) category system. If a category gets too full/cluttered or you feel it would benefit from a more fine-grained structure then the next logical stepp is to create sub-categories. No, not here it isn't - here we just toss out the categories altogether!? Where's the logic in that? And how does it make thinks 'better' or more 'useable'. And, no cluttered family-categories where no one can find anything and everyone is doing double work, is no reason for not having sub-categories - it's a strong reason to do have them, along with well sorted and organized galleries. Pudding4brains 15:02, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
      • Certainly it is helpful that some kind of navigation add on the gallery pages is to be desired. Personnally, I dont care much weather they are taxoboxes, a family cat, a navbar, or a taxobox template that simulates a navbar. For me, the standard Category:familyname such as in Cantharellus xanthopus provides sufficient linkage for navigation, so I see no need to introducing taxoboxes. But if a majority wants more navigation, such as the afore mentioned Malva sylvestris, it's ok with me.
      • I do dislike the cumbersome navigation which develops when a species galery is in a species category, which is in a genus category, which is in a familty category. This afternoon I had to work through some of them, and found them a real nuisance. TeunSpaans 17:17, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, if you do have galleries (at whatever level) that you want to be able to reach (one or more levels up/down) the simple category links won't do, as you will probably want to link to the child/parent galleries, not categories. What it will eventually look like is secondary.
One solution to the cumbersome navigation is to have the galleries in multiple levels of categories. For example, in the system I had buildt as an example on the Coccinellidae genuses Coccinella and Harmonia these 'genus'-galleries where listed both in the 'family' category and in the 'genus' category. Likewise species galleries where listed in both species and genus categories. Of course, now these categories don't exist anymore or are empty as all references to them have been removed everywhere. Anyway, the idea behind that was precisely to have better, more direct navigation and to me it also made sense when looking at the category pages. For example, to see a species gallery listed in a genus category seems to make sense as the species is part of that genus and at the same time having the species gallery listed in the species category also seems logical.
It's probably also a matter of size that dictates if 'genus' or 'subfamily' etc categories are needed. On small families I can image you may want to skip the 'genus' level and have al species cats and galleries directly accessible from the family category. As soon as the number of (available) species grows it seems you will have to make the choice between either 'more clicks navigation' or 'cluttered family categories' at some point. As an intermediate solution you could even choose to just go ahead and create the genus categories anyway, but also list the species galleries and categories in the family category (aswell as the genus/species ones). This enables direct navigation to these while things are small and when things start growing and the family cat becomes cluttered the 'direct' listing in the family cat for lower taxa can be removed while the now needed more fine grained system is already in place. Pudding4brains 01:46, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
Pudding, what I do like in your example is that Coccinella quinquepunctata (18:49, 27 October 2006) displays the images in a well ordered and neat way. I also like the direct link from the gallery to the family cat. It is different from the situation I encountered at [[4]], which my remarked was aimed at. TeunSpaans 06:58, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Hi Teun, actually that is the version I was not too happy about ;o(
For "my" version you would have to compare Coccinella quinquepunctata with this one. Please keep an open mind to the lay-out issue of the taxobox and try to concentrate on the extra information (help to wikipedia editors) and navigation provided by both the taxobox and the vernacular names in the {Lan}-template. Of course now the cats it linked to don't exist any more. See below for how that was supposed to work. Also, note that in the current version there is:
  • No means of navigating to the parent-gallery Coccinella - I think that's really thick(!)
  • Therefore also less direct navigation to sibbling-galleries (go to the family cat and work your way down again)
  • Even the navi to the family category one would have to resort to is only available at the bottom of the page (cumbersome).
  • No navigation to taxa higher than family level - neither to categories, nor to galleries (to be created as visual indexes to the family).
  • No information on vernacular names
  • No quick glance at the place of the species in the taxomytree
  • No help for wikipedia editors who wish to create an article with the images
I just don't see how that is "better"??!! (please do explain)
The Amanita navigation problem could have been remedied, as I suggested above, by having Amanita_phalloides not just in the Category:Amanita phalloides that it had been placed in, but at the same time also in the genus-category Category:Amanita and/or family Category:Amanitaceae (depending on how cluttered the family cat is getting). I see the current version is to have it in Category:Amanita only.
So, the big question is: In what way would it hurt or would it be inconvenient to also have a category Category:Amanita phalloides that holds all the pictures of that species and the gallery?? In my opinion this would not have a negative impact on the current situation as it wouldn't change navigation (not more clicks, same navigation options remains available side-by-side) and would simply make the pictures available through an unsorted category aswell as the sorted gallery. What's soooo bad about that? Thanks for aby explanation. Pudding4brains 15:46, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Pudding, you went to a lot of work to explian it, and I highly appreciate this. I always value other volunteers highly when they take ample time to understand the needs of others, and to make an exaple of how they think it would work best. I took a look at your example.

  • You say that the categories have been deleted, but i do see 2 categories in blue, so they still exists or exist again.
  • Speaking personally, I dont like the link to category:Coccinella quinquepunctata, simply because I dont think I will ever use it, and because will expect me to update it when soem new DNA research turns out the species belongs in another genus. So my preference: please not.
  • I see a section releated images on the description pages of some images. I wonder to what relation you are refering? (I dont say it is bad or wrong, I just dont see the relation, and I dont recall having seen it before. I am just curious.).
  • Individual images do not seem to be tagged, which I like, as that would cause extra work when the gallery is moved. On the other hand, it will probably not satisfy people like Juiced lemon, who want tons of categories on each pic (I exaggerate, I know ;-))
  • There are indeed in the proposed version some layout issues, but I find these comparitively minor. The use of a taxobox as a navigation add might be an idea worth consideration. For example, if we had a template for a navigationbar with just family (linking to category:familyname, an optional subfamily, genus linking to category or gallery (choice), and an optional tribus, I think this might have advantages. We currently have two systems in use, and it would be slightly better to have one.
  • I feel no need for vernacular names. We should limit text here to a minimum. I know that in some articles people list the vernacular names with templates. If we list them, this is better done with the {{ln|text}}
  • I can not speak for the others, but I have never felt the need for higher taxa than a family here. So I consider the current lack of ordo and regnum an asset rather than a disadvantage. Itb is superfluous information here, and if we introduce it we are bound to maintain it. As a good softwaredeveloper, I am extremely lazy.
  • I dont understand your remark No help for wikipedia editors who wish to create an article with the images.
  • No quick glance at the place of the species in the taxomytree: An editor who picks up a species, usually knows what family he is working on. And from the familyname, the higher levels of the taxa can usually be found, though there are some exceptions. But it is not up to commons to decide on taxonomic questions, that area belongs to wikispecies.
  • The one category I am missing in your example may surprise you: the direct link to the family category. I have come to really like the categories at the family level.
  • Once a new bot has done its job, I might even change my mind about adding categories to individual images within ToL.

TeunSpaans 19:52, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

As to the genus-level galleries and categories: Especially with insects, if these are to be used as a visual navigation aid to find the appropriate species I think the goal should be to have a few pictures in the genus-gallery - It seems that this provides excellent support for determination - please do. TeunSpaans 19:53, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Teun, thanks a lot for taking the time to look at it in detail and answer me on it (!)
  • The category links are still blue, but a click on them will tell yoy what I mean (click Category:Coccinella_quinquepunctata) plus of course now there are no pictures or galleries in it anymore so there is no more function/point to be demonstrated.
  • I use the section "Related images" as an extension of the general idea "other versions" (for crops etc) to interlink various images of exactly the same animal in different views or stages of life.
  • I don't see a problem with 'updating' category links in a bunch of pictures/galleries when scientific insights change - it would be tipically be work to hand over to a bot when such occasion occurs.
  • As to the lay-out issue - I totally agree it would be good to propose and decide on one system, at least say within "Animalia" or "Insecta" or so.
  • I tend to think vernacular names are a must have as they will show up in searches when people search in their own language if they do not know any better. I also often _only_ find pictures by searching for a vernacular English or German name because these are listed on the image description (or filename) while at the same time the pictures are in _no_ gallery or category. The {{ln|text}} templates you mentioned should be used and are also part of the {Lan}-template that places the names in the box to the right - again, more of a lay out issue maybe, but I feel strongly that they are helpfull in making things searchable and provide help for (wikipedia) editors.
  • I think I'm probably more of the "Juiced lemon"-variety - having more cats on pictures makes them easier to find and use for the purposes they might serve and I fail to see how they would get "in the way" much. Yes it means (robottic?) maintenance, but what's the point in storing images if no one can find them. Extra cats like "Yellow", "Animal sex", "Iridicense" etc etc (and yes "Binominal name") can only be helpful.
  • The help to wikipedia editors I think would be in providing a ready-to-copy taxobox, interwikis and/or vernacular names that make it easier to find more info on the species etc, while at the same time also providing Commons editors with helpful info and navigation.
  • Higher taxa: I wouldn't be too sure that all people that come here to find pictures of "wasps" are aware that these are not just Insecta but also Arthropoda and Hymenoptera - it could help those people.
  • Today if I simply search for "Hoornaar" or "Hornisse" I find the gallery Vespa crabro and it helps me in placing the animal and preparing an article for say sa.wikipedia that doesn't have it. Tomorrow a user like Olei will probably have destroyed that and searching for "Hoornaar" will only render indirect results (because luckily the name exists on some image pages) through which I might find the gallery (or not?) and if I do find the gallery, there will be no more directly visible info available on the taxonomy and vernacular names that help to inform me about what animal it is exactly that is shown in the images. Destroying that taxo/lang info doesn't make commons a better place me thinks. Pudding4brains 00:20, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Some category oddness that needs fixingEdit

Now, I'm not an expert on this type of thing, but something tells me we shouldn't have Category:Snails competing against Category:Helicidae. If this was WP I'd call it a POV fork. ;) pfctdayelise (translate?) 12:06, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

That's true of many groups actually. It's useful to have the common-name cats, so non-experts can do a first categorization, then the more knowledgeable can easily find images to put into a formal taxon category. Every common-name category ought to have a note directing people to the one or more formal taxa categories that correspond to the common name. There aren't actually many common-name cats, for instance people who don't know fish are going to use just "fish" as category, not "freshwater hatchetfishes". :-) Stan Shebs 21:39, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Article documentationEdit

I've added quite a few images and species articles. I think a bit more needs to be done to document identification and taxonomic resources used to create the article as we add material. This is sometimes a problem with vertebrates, but really a problem with invertebrates, where taxonomy is changing constantly, and identification is often difficult. (Actually, there are problems with vertebrates as well, see Pantherophis obsoletus.) Can I suggest that the following be added at the bottom of species articles? This is a start:

  • Range: in general, such as North America, Eurasia, Africa. Or one could use biogeogrpahic terms such as Palearctic, Nearctic, etc. This is helpful in making sure we are talking about the same taxon when adding images or moving things around. Lots of recent molecular systematic work tends to show that groups previously believed to span continents, are, in fact, different taxa, e.g., the North American rat snakes, Pantheropsis, now split from Old World rat snakes, Elaphe.
  • Taxonomic reference, if available, such as:
    • A link to other wikis with a good article would be appropriate. I've added a link to English Wikipedia at times, though some have been removed by others, with the comment no special status for En. This was unhelpflul--I am simply trying to document the taxon, and I speak English. I feel others should add links to Wikipedia articles in other languages if they are helpful. There's plenty of room at the bottom of a species article for links.
    • Link to a taxonomic authority on the web would be great. Several are already available, such as [ITIS]. All have imperfections.
    • Referring to Wikispecies would be great as well, if the taxonomy is complete in that area.
    • Printed references. My experience working on BugGuide for two years is that the Internet is still pretty thin on identification references for biota. Reference to printed material is often essential, especially for documenting identifications. Many invertebrates, especially, can be identified only with specialized keys from printed references.

Thanks for listening to my input. --Cotinis 13:23, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

People are removing interwiki links to en: articles? Tell me who they are, I'll block them indefinitely. 1/2 :-) In general, commons should be pretty minimal on text, not least because more text means more translating. Even links to authorities I'd rather have in WP articles, because that is a better place to explain the imperfections (last thing we need here is edit wars over plant families!). As a media repository/gallery, commons' best role is just to describe what's in the images or other files. Stan Shebs 12:02, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Right, I understand that, but with biota you quickly get into deep problems with that describe what's in the images part. If the description includes an identification, and it should, other users of the image really need to know how reliable the identification is. The problem is really, really, bad with invertebrates, and probably pretty bad with plants. On BugGuide, we have been through this over and over. People confidently upload images with incorrect identifications based on popular guide books that have only a few species. (There are perhaps 100,000 species of insects in North America, and on BugGuide we have about 40,000 images, with about 4,100 species documented. That has taken over two years, with dozens of volunteer editors, several being entomologists.) Others upload images correctly identified, but with no documentation of how they got there.

  • Referencing a Wikipedia article is not always possible--they often do not exist at the species level, and they usually do not have the level of detail needed to document species-level identifications.
  • This project is extremely ambitious. If it is going to be more than photographs of common vertebrate species kept in zoos, there needs to be some documentation built along with the structure.
  • The translation problem, I don't feel, is huge. If the documentation is simple statements of identification with references, they will hardly need translation.
  • Edit wars over plant families, etc., are possible already, because the category tree uses a taxonomy.

Again, thanks for listening.--Cotinis 10:34, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree about the identification problem - there are a bunch of desert plant pics I haven't uploaded because I'm not sure of the species, don't want to mislead anyone. So I can see where you'd like to have someone be able to verify that the picture is what it says, so yeah, the authority for an identification would be handy to have. For instance, a picture from a botanical garden or zoo might mention the sign as authority, while a picture from the wild would mention exact location plus a reference used as basis for the ident. Stan Shebs 03:51, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree that identification and documentation go together. When photographing plants, I try to circumvent the problem by photographing as many properties of a plant that are helpful for identification as possible.
For example, here in the Netherlands the Heukels Flora is the most authorized flora available, I note the answers to all questions guiding me to the species, and try to take pix of most or all relevant details.
In general, to correctly identify a species, I understood we need its scientific name, the author, the publication and the date of the publication. Mostly we list just the scientific name, which is insufficient. When species becomes available in its new format, I hope we can use & link it.
TeunSpaans 10:46, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that sort of thing is exactly what I am referring to--relating the photographs to the identification reference. Certainly the identification references should go in the photographic Information. I was pushing for some references in the article pages as well. Ah, perhaps those could go in the Wikispecies articles, if that becomes more of a going concern. I have always been putting author notations in new species articles, and I'll strive to to put identification information in my photo Information. I urge others to do so as well. (Maybe I'll sneak some references into the articles, discreetly at the bottom, when I feel like it, and I think it is relevant.) --Cotinis 17:05, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Photos at family categoryEdit

We have many photos with a family category. Some have been identified as belonging to a spoecies, others are not. Many of the photos with a category:Familyname are not listed on a species page.

It seems the best to me of only those photos for which we dont know a species or genus, are categorized at the family level, but that those photos which can be identified are listed and categorized at the genus of species level.

For example: Category:Boraginaceae has about 20 photos categirised at the family level. For many of them no species article has been created. It would be much clearer if these photos were listed on a page rather than cluttered in the family level.

Do you agree?

TeunSpaans 20:59, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

A few days ago, your example Category:Boraginaceae was included in my cleanup, so the specific problem is gone. Generally, there is no way around someone putting all those photos into articles, after at least checking that the name is an accepted one, using a taxonomy database. Regarding unidentified pics, my strategy is to leave them in the family if there are less than eight, but otherwise create a category 'Unidentified FAMILYNAME' which is then placed in both the family and Category:Unidentified plants. This way, both people coming to the family will see the category, as well as the identification team. -- Ayacop 18:08, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Hi Teun, I guess the discussion above #Categorizing_Pages is somewhat related. The way I see it we may want to distinguish between three cases here:

  1. Images that have been determined to greater detail than the category they are currently in, but the appropriate sub-cats/galleries have not yet been created.
  2. Images that will (probably) never go beyond being recoginized to the current (family/genus/whatever) level.
  3. New images that no expert has looked at yet.

My approach would be to give all of these their own place/category. I would suggest something like:

  1. Either create the sublevelcats (and rudimentary gallery?) immediately or have a Cat:Familyname_to_be_organized or Cat:Familyname_various or so to shuffle them out of the way for now.
  2. Create Cat:Familyname_spp or Cat:Genusname_sp or such for those.
  3. Use the "Unidentified_FAMILYNAME" system mentioned above or Cat:Familyname_unidentified or whatever name seems appropriate.

My 2ct Pudding4brains 22:56, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Category nameEdit

I am not sure about the correct naming of categories with an explicit species. What is the correct name for Category:Pyranha? Is it Category:Pygocentrus? Thanks for your help. --тнояsтеn 11:08, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

"Piranha" is not a species, in fact it's not even a formal group (according to en:). The genera tend not to be large enough to justify their own categories, so piranha pictures should be either in per-species gallery articles, or in Category:Characidae. Stan Shebs 20:28, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
But therefore I have to know the exakt name of the species shown in Category:Pyranha. I was just asking because Pyranha is not the correct writing, neither in English nor in German. --тнояsтеn 09:16, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
If you don't know the species, then the family category is the most appropriate, many of the plant family cats have large numbers of pics that cannot be id'ed down to species. I don't know what "Pyranha" is all about, maybe just a mistake. Stan Shebs 20:12, 16 July 2006 (UTC)


I was directed here from Commons:Village_pump#Articles_or_Categories.

I was told there were specific guidelines on when to use an article and when to use a category. The project page seems pretty vague about this to be honest. It describes how one should name an article if one is creating it in the first place (which doesn't answer the question) and it describes some of the higher level categories you might want. If you have ever discussed this and come to a definite conclusion on whether "leaf nodes" (e.g. binomial names) should be articles or categories, I recommend you make this very clear (along with some justifications) on your project page, and try and get links to it from the FAQ. If, instead (as I suspect) a standard has just emerged because it was what one person did and everyone else followed, can I tentatively suggest that moving (gradually) to categories for binomial names would make everyone's life easier? A few arguments follow:

  • For Commonist users placing images in categories is a lot easier than placing them in articles. Every minute of time saved is going to be important if you hope to photograph every species! I have not uploaded that many files and already I'm finding the faff of moving images around, putting them in the right place etc. tedious. There must be thousands of people like me with nature photo libraries on their computer who don't bother uploading files because it seems like quite a lot of work. I know there are also many people who are prepared to spend time doing this, and they have my respect, but I suspect many of them also find the process tedious at best.
  • With categories, images can easily be moved from a species to a sub-species. (And the sub-species' category can be placed in the species' category.)
  • With categories the full tree of life is viewable with the Category Tree tool.
  • With categories you don't have to bother forming galleries manually.
  • Given a photo, it is a lot easier to find out what category it is in, than what significant article it is in. The "linked by" section of the image page is likely to contain assorted personal galleries, talk pages etc. etc., whereas the category section should only contain a GFDL tag and (hopefully) the category the image should be in.
  • The chief argument against using categories for leaf nodes seems to be that categories can't be easily renamed. For latin names, this surely isn't an issue.

Let me know what you think. --Cfp 13:01, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree the process with articles is more tedious than the process with categories. My main argument for articles was/is that the wikis tend to link to articles, but they can linjk to categories as well.
I am curious about what the rest of you think about this topic.
TeunSpaans 08:33, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
One problem I see is that images listed just in categories do not seem to show in the seach results. For instance, I just searched for Umhausen, but Image:Umhausen.jpg did not show up. I can not but imagine that this topic has been discussed here before? TeunSpaans 11:35, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that's true (and if it was it would be a bug). I just searched for Umhausen and I found "Image:Map at umhausen.png" which is not linked from anywhere (I deliberately didn't link it just then...). I certainly expect this to have been discussed before, but until someone points us to an archive somewhere, I don't think it would hurt to discuss it again. --Cfp 19:32, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
I changed my preferences forth and back and it does show up now. A bug, but I can't nail it down exactly. I cannt reproduce the problem, alas. Well, not really relevant to the topic. TeunSpaans 20:28, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
you're right, when uploading a picture, it's easier to just enter a category. but when browsing the categories, and sorting the pictures, having them in galleries is a lot easier (you don't have to edit every picture page, you just move the image name around).
having a "deep" taxonomical category tree would probably be ok if there were pictures for every species. but this way, it's a bit tedious to click from family to genus to species category, if the whole family has only one picture. when i started uploading half a year ago, i was also preferring deep treeps, but now i realize flat trees are better: put the species gallery into the family category is IMO ideal ATM. the good thing about gallery pages is that you can define the order in which pictures appear, and you can annotate them (eg., male, female). i spent the last hour or so categorizing pictures from users that dumped them in very general categories, but i think this is how wiki works: a newbie uploader puts her spider picture into Category:Araneae, and somebody else with more experience finds a better spot for it.
about sub-species: these should be a section of a species gallery page. once you have clicked your way through endless category nodes, just to get an overview over what pics are there, you will see that the current system is pretty good :)
oh, and one random peripheral argument for gallery pages: it's a bit easier to link from WP using {{wikicommons}}.
--Sarefo 21:11, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Another advantage of galleries for species is that the Latin names aren't really as stable as most people think, and it's easier to rename a page and have redirects for synonyms than to the same with categories. About a dozen of my ToL pictures uploaded the past year are now under different names than when they were uploaded, for instance. Genus and family cats tend not to need the same kind of renaming, it's more common to have their circumscription change, entailing moving gallery pages from one category to another. Stan Shebs 01:15, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

OOK I sense I'm not going to win this one. Does someone want to volunteer to write this somewhere visible for new users? I'm off to submit a Commonist feature request for automatic placing images in galleries... (^_^) --Cfp 15:32, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

I was working through category:sedum to move all pix into articles, when user Siebrand started to undo my work. He had started a discussion in the village pump, Commons:Village_pump#Removal of category tags because image is in a gallery?, where I explained why i had been doing what i had been doing. I would welcome the input of others in this discussion. TeunSpaans 04:48, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I have tried to do a technical summary there. -- Ayacop 18:33, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

articles why?Edit

I've read the discussions above I'm confused why are articles being created and images being removed from categories when the upload page, commons welcome message and other pages specifically state "please categorise your images" Gnangarra 01:47, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Categorisation of images is a first approximation to good organisation, and even with the explicit request on all those pages, many many images are uploaded without being linked or grouped anywhere, so they effectively disappear (kind of makes you wonder why somebody would bother...). But we can do better than that minimum effort, and that's one of the reasons we have this project. Stan Shebs 05:27, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Although it is possible to have galleries using categories only (see the categories in Category:Banksia), you would still have to convert all the existing articles. But even if someone wrote a bot that is able to convert between 'category only' and 'categories+articles', we would be faced with the following disadvantages:
  • People have to write 'Category:' with every link and engine search.
  • Moving categories with the version history is impossible.
  • There is no standard consensus on how to redirect categories.

Now there is this old vote people are pointing to. Assume it is implemented and the abovementioned disadvantages of categories are removed. You are faced with the following problem: project maintainers want to find all pictures in a family that have not been categorized into species, to create new species categories etc. But, when all pictures are keeping the family category tag, how will they find those pics that are in a family, and that are not categorized into species? Impossible! -- Ayacop 06:47, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Category Banksia is precisely the reason I've come here we created what was needed via categories only to have some of them change to this format with the message see this project. From what I have read it hasnt been implimented and given the structure that has been created why pull sections out of it for a policy that hasnt been implimented. The people who built the Banksia section here are major providers and users of the image as they are also members of the en.wikiproject Banksia and that by changing the categories around without first warning people it created red links through the 100+ artciles that have been created on en.wikipedia. I suggest that when you find a complex structure the people who created it should be contacted first and advised of policy. Gnangarra 00:33, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

My only plea would be that you restrict your way of doing things to Banksia because using categories only in the plant kingdom in general is bad, as long as you can't put galleries into it, can't move them with history preserved, can't search them and can't consistently redirect them. Maybe there will be a vote on this at some time, or the mentioned old vote is implemented, which will resolve the debate (though I guess not some technical problems).
The old vote explicitly allows for both schemes to coexist. However, please make a test, choose three random plant families and look how species are realized there, then follow this scheme the next time. Thank you. -- Ayacop 07:13, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
I really think it is not a good idea to mandate that categories shouldn't go down to species level. We already have over a hundred Banksia images, and more are coming in all the time. To insist on putting them all in one category is already silly; it will be downright stupid when we have a thousand Banksia images. Furthermore, but for entirely different reasons, I think it would be unwise to insist on merging Category:Panthera leo and Category:Panthera tigris. I think the convention should simply be categorise articles no deeper than necessary, without attempting to define in advance what that depth should be.
Further regarding Banksia, I am firmly in favour of retaining the species categories, but I don't feel so strongly about the absense of articles. If you guys all agree that there should be an article for each species, I am quite prepared to conform to that. But before I go to all that trouble, I'd like to be sure that we have a stable convention, and the first step to achieving that is to document it. Snottygobble 02:32, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
I now understand that my statement above is predicated on the assumption that images in article galleries will remain categorised. Evidently this is a bone of contention. It urgently needs to be settled, and until it is, people should refrain from imposing their point of view on the content. Snottygobble 03:05, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

name of family picture category?Edit

Hello, after rereading the thread Village_pump#Removal_of_category_tags_because_image_is_in_a_gallery? I came to the conclusion that it's indeed better to keep the Category: line in fresh pics. But, as was hinted by some participants of that thread, a solution would be to have a second category under the family containing all the identified pics. So, for us, to identify pictures that were put into, e.g., Category:Asteraceae, the pic is included in an article, and the tag Category:Asteraceae is renamed instead of deleted. The new name would, of course, include the family word, amended with --- what? What about:

  • Category:Asteraceae Photos
  • Category:Asteraceae Pictures
  • Category:Identified Asteraceae (a bit strong but why not)
  • Category:Registered Asteraceae
  • Category:Asteraceae in articles (most correct, I believe)
  • Category:All Asteraceae

The category would also have a a short explanation. Unfortunate would be if people revert this change in categories as we have no way to tell except looking at the pic Link info or the history. Also, what would be needed for realization of this scheme is a bot that creates those categories with entries for the present database. Such a bot could also re-revert the revert scenario. And yes, I'm even willing to write such a bot, even if I'm a C++ and not python guy. So what do you say. Is there a disadvantage? -- Ayacop 17:08, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

You can also use a sort key, so all the new images will be on top/bottom; an example:
  • Unregistered Category:Asteraceae|Bellis perennis
  • Registered Category:Asteraceae|®Bellis perennis
--Juiced lemon 18:13, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Nice idea, but you misunderstand: the full category with all registered pics will not have the pure family name. Reason: large families would then contain lots of articles AND lots of pics, and whenever there are more than the 200 limit what happens is that I see only part of articles AND part of pics on the first page while I could have seen all articles (or pics) on one page if we had two categories. Also, one would need a separator picture to mark the point where registered pics start in the whole mess. -- Ayacop 18:31, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
When a category is overpopulated, you must move images to more precise categories; that is a separate management.
Example: Registered and moved Category:Bellis|®perennis. --Juiced lemon 19:04, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
This will not help with categories where there are also so much genus categories that the first page still does not show everything (see Category:Asteroideae). Okay, then it should be subdivided further (and Asteroideae is a hot candidate for tribe subcategories, in fact).
Also, it appears you're not against removing 'Asteraceae' from the category tag, you're only against it if the whole category tag is removed? If so, then you are a supporter of the no-article/only-categories scheme, and you'll have to answer how to make sorted/commented galleries out of the pictures. But this has been all said enough now in the mentioned threads here and the Village Pump. I cannot help further if people don't read the referenced stuff.
Since there is no new argument here, maybe it's best to collect everything known and vote on it. Anyway, I'm against using categories only, as long as you can't put galleries into it, can't move them with history preserved, can't search them and can't consistently redirect them. -- Ayacop 07:05, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
According to Commons:Language policy, articles can use any language. Since a multi-language classification will be unmanageable, Commons classification has to be based on categories. Articles are optional; you can write as many articles as you want, as long as you don't affect categories management. In Acanthospermum australe, I find the image Image:Acanthospermum australe.jpg : you have removed the category Category:Asteraceae, so it is now uncategorized. The result of uncategorization is :
--Juiced lemon 08:18, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
  • The tree of life project uses Latin only for species, so no need for categories solving a supposed multilingual problem.
  • That you cannot find new images under Uncategorized images is a technical problem that should be solved by technical means. I have offered you the choice of moving to a different category but you didn't appear to like that either. My impression is you are not able to agree on compromises, and this will lead to noone offering you them any longer.
  • You should not move images in the Tree of Life Project to different categories because the maintainers have them identified and classified, and put all belonging to a species into an article. Species is a term that is very important to biologists. Species can be moved within higher categories, of course. Subdivisions of species are handled within articles; there is no need for subdivision in the near future, anyway (see previous threads here).
  • I do not discourage uploaders (you gave no example for it), on the contrary, see for example this statement from a satisfied user. I think I will even implement the idea of an additional category to remove any complaints some users might have. This will wait, however, until I'm able to use a bot for this.

Since I'm stating usual policy within the Tree of Life Project, and no one else than you objects to it, I'll now take the freedom to ignore your complaints unless you are willing to go back a bit. -- Ayacop 09:51, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Bot proposalEdit

Please read User:LifeBot. It includes a slight change in policy for the Tree of Life Project but also makes things easier for everyone. If there are no objections that haven't been already discussed above, this will start, I don't know when but the code doesn't look terribly difficult, so maybe in a few weeks. -- Ayacop 15:19, 24 September 2006 (UTC) In short: after policy change (now?) it will be no longer necessary to remove the family category from images after you put the image in a species article. The bot will see that this image is in an article and move it to a special category named 'Registered Asteraceae', for example, as was discussed in a previous thread. You can, of course, move the image yourself if you want. But please no longer delete family categories, as you can see how sensitive people react to it. -- Ayacop 16:22, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Moving them seems ok to me. I wonder if this lifebots operates just on family categories, or also on subfamilies and genera categories? TeunSpaans 08:31, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
At the moment, the idea is to put all family pictures that are in all articles in one Category (Indexed). As this category has no other use, there is no reason to subcategorize. This could be done later automagically if needed. -- Ayacop 08:38, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
I think this bot is a very bad idea. And I don't think that that the "policy" that it expounds has been agreed to. And i don't think User:LifeBot is an appropriate place to be determining Tree of Life policy. Snottygobble 23:09, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Snottygobble that implimenting this bot is inappropriate as there are still ongoing discussions at Village pump, with alternative options. Gnangarra 23:26, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Additionally the use of this bot is opposite to what you are telling the wider community at Village pump Gnangarra 23:38, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
That you are against anything here is nothing new. But you have to be more specific than that. The arguments at the moment are 'nothing agreed upon' (you agree with the previous policy but do not with the current? is that right?), 'discussion should take place here' (well, finally, it does), 'there are still ongoing discussions elsewhere' (huh, I thought you wanted the discussion here?), 'use of bot opposite that what I'm telling' (please be more specific, what is opposite what?), and 'there are alternatives' (which have a lot of disadvantages, see the discussions). It seems to me the best would be a vote on this, within thin community. However, your arguments will have to be more specific. Simply throwing in buzzword does not suffice. -- Ayacop 08:14, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

The problem here is that you have preempted this discussion by declaring your proposal to be "policy", and starting up a bot to implement it. Even if your proposal is sheer genius, it is still wrong to present us with a fait accompli as you have done. Snottygobble 08:23, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

You are not able to support your badmouthing with facts. Here is the timeline:
  • 2004-Sep-24: Posting here 'Bot proposal'. Creating User:LifeBot with info.
  • 2004-Oct-01: Bot testing. See User:LifeBot#When_will_this_happen?.
  • 2004-Oct-02/3: Policy amendment with compromise. Bot running.
Seems to me time enough. Others have positively commented in the meantime. Why are you so late? -- Ayacop 08:53, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Why am I so late? Because I didn't think there was any rush. Because I never imagined in my wildest dreams that you would unilaterally update the policy page and turn on a bot to implement your changes when you had only one comment in support here, and the wider debate was absolutely raging elsewhere. Snottygobble 00:10, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Late you are misrepresenting the dates above they have all occured in the last 2 days not 2 years ago Gnangarra

Now ignoring that the dates you have stated are incorrect by 2 years. the Ongoing discussion here Commons:Village_pump#Proposal_on_Categories_vs_Galleries_Problem your last post was this: This is no longer ToL policy as you can see from its webpage! So please discuss this with the people involved. I personally do not endorse it, and the policy no longer makes it necessary. -- Ayacop 18:57, 2 October 2006 (UTC) Then there is this one Commons:Village_pump#11_August to which you attached Commons:Village_pump#images_being_removed_from_categories_and_being_placed_in_article_galleries Then here its been requested that the policy be made available to all editors for comment and linked to help pages to enable new editors to follow what is going on neither of these have occured yet. Finally in this Commons_talk:WikiProject_Tree_of_Life#Documenting_our_conventions the issue of metadata not being transfered with image when the image is in a gallery, thus denying the authors copyright provisions has also not been addressed. Personally responding to your claim of being negative to this project I only responding in the manner to which I have been treated. Gnangarra 09:11, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Oops sorry about that year typo. 'Neither of these have occurred yet'. I do not understand what you mean. The stricter policy in the Tree of Life project was available here and here, and 98 per cent of images followed this policy. Now you come here and state this has not agreed upon? The fait accompli you're lamenting about has happened long ago, you just are not able to adapt to it. Now I have even added a compromise, and you still don't accept it. You are none of the people doing much work here, and you expect still that people follow your reasoning? Please, that's a bit strong yourself, don't you think? The metadata is a strawman as BerndH has already proved to you. -- Ayacop 09:35, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
The two articles you refer to have been edited by yourself in the last 6 hours Commons:WikiProject_Tree_of_Life&oldid=3149681 to include this "policy", even after you have said that they are no longer policy. Additionally until I came along and questioned what/why was this being done there was no information on this project page, or in any commons help files that this "policy" even existed. As expressed to Village Pump by other editors ToL isn't its own "wiki" that it needs to comply to the policies of Commons and where it wishes to significantly differ it needs to gain consensus from the wider community. Gnangarra 10:48, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Contrary to your claims, this version of the ToL page from 2006-Aug-22 has the policy you do not want, apart from the whole database being in that format. To wit:
  • Each species gets its own article, titled with the scientific name. ... The primary purpose of the article is to serve as a gallery for all images (and other media, such as bird songs) for the species.
  • The article should be categorized in at least one higher taxon, typically a genus or family category, ...
  • Images that are known with certainty to represent a particular species should appear in the species article, and not be categorized in any of the taxa categories.
And, again, to cite what I myself added, and what is a compromise between your opinion and the above cited policy:
  • Do not remove any categories from the image after you put it in an article. Instead, create a category at familia level with the name 'FAMILYNAME (Indexed)' (where FAMILYNAME is replaced by the name). Then rename, in the image, 'Category:FAMILYNAME' to 'Category:FAMILYNAME (Indexed)'. This way, the image is both out of sight, and in a pics-only category. Also, this was automated in the plant section, where a bot does the renaming, so you can just put the image in the article if you want.
  • Please do not remove existing categories at species level. I know they confuse users as they expect articles but the solution is not to remove them but to put all its images in an article and then put the Category in the 'Category:FAMILYNAME (Indexed)' as described in the previous section. This way they are both out-of-sight and in a pics-only category, where they belong. The reason for this demand is that some time ago there was a vote where people explicitly decided that both articles and categories are legitimate means to group images, and this overrides our policy. While we therefore cannot forbid species categories we can decide if they are visible in the family category.
Please tell, why will you not shake the hand of compromise offered to you? I really want to know. -- Ayacop 14:14, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Until I rattled this Tree there was no where within commons help nor on this project page when I was directed here that explained what/why of the policy, I still believe from what I have read through the help pages that the flaws with galleries are significant enough that as an author/photographer my rights are being dimished. As I have just stated at Village pump I'm happy to let this discussion fall by the way side and I'll stay away from ToL categories in the future, including further uploads. Please advise once the adjustments to banksia have been started and wait until I've had time to make any necessary adjustments to wikipedia articles, before any moving/deletions occur. Gnangarra 14:38, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Geez, in or out, make up your mind. Your "rights are being diminished"?!? Then this is a serious issue, and you need to make a formal complaint to the Wikimedia Foundation. Stan Shebs 14:50, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Documenting our conventionsEdit

There has been a lot of discussion above that indicates to me the dire need for us to agree upon and document our conventions. I would like to draft some documentation, but the more I read the more confused I get. It seems there is a lot of conflict over whether or not images in article galleries should also be categorised. Rather unhelpfully, it also seems that some people are denying that any such disagreement exists. Can we please settle this? Snottygobble 03:03, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

No solution will eliminate all complaints nor cause obnoxious people to go away, so we'll have to live with that. I guess there is some kind of a project to track down stray images (which are unfortunately frequent) and put them in categories. A noble cause, but it is apparently problematic when images in galleries don't have categories. So Ayacop has proposed a bot User:LifeBot to put images in galleries into a special set of categories that nobody would ever actually look at. Stan Shebs 04:02, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
There is still the concern that "Tree of Life" is creating on a differing method to that used for all other images, ths alone will cause confusion because ultimately most photographers start to up load plant/flower image. When they do this they use the format they have been using for all other images, commons help and welcome bot specifically say "categorise" your images use the the category tree tool to assist you in finding appropriate categories. Commons help also discourages the creation of articles even to the point of suggesting that if you want to write artciles then the various wikipedia projects are the place for them. Gnangarra 05:09, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
  • example:
    • Adding images and other kinds of media files to categories is preferred over galleries as the former associate the media files with their relevant metadata information, which the galleries, while apparently prettier looking, do not do from Commons:First steps/Sorting
  • Further reading:
    • The category structure is the primary way to organize and find files on the Commons. It is essential that every file can be found by browsing the category structure. from Commons:Categories

Evidently, these text snippets do not agree with the mentioned vote, so they are wrong. Thanks for bringing this to a wider audience. -- Ayacop 07:25, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Evidently wtf these arent snipets they and statements like them are thru all of the help files, the welcome files, the instruction files. Yet this policy you keep referring is nowhere to be found in any of these. Gnangarra 07:38, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Do not swear at me. Where are your arguments now? The first snippet is gone, and the second explicitly states that you can use galleries too (if you read on a bit). To allow this, each file must be put into a category directly, and/or put on a gallery page which is categorized. -- Ayacop 07:50, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

None of the initial help advice actually forbids us from doing anything more sophisticated than dumping images into large categories, and in fact there are thousands of gallery pages, not just for species. Categories for images are better than nothing at all, which is why we encourage newbies to use them, but why stop there? Think of things from a WP reader's point of view. The WP article is short, only room for one or two pictures, but oh look, there is a link at the bottom saying commons has more. What do I want to see when I get there? Ideally, I would see a gallery with more images, each captioned if there is something non-obvious about it (like it's a cultivar, not a wild specimen). Opuntia littoralis as a category would be hard to interpret without the article's ability to have sections, since the subspecies and varieties would be all run together. Stan Shebs 13:51, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

This is all well and good but the use of galleries/articles doesnt include/transclude the metadata from the images. Metadate contains the unqiue images details and copyright status of images, this enables the photographers to ensure that their rights are protected. Most images are released with CC-by-1.5,2.0,2.5 attribution requirements Commons of all places should be endeavouring by its actions to protect those rights. Gnangarra 14:49, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Metadata? You mean you can see the license of the picture in the category? I can´t. I can only see the file name and its size.
By the way, I agree with Stan Shebs.--BerndH 15:22, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
You're right, galleries don't do anything for most metadata - they are part of the progressive disclosure category->gallery->individual image, the last of which gives the maximal detail. Gallery pages are certainly not as critical to wikimedia operations as are image descriptions or categories, but they have empirically proven to be a useful intermediary between the WPs and commons. If all the features requested for categories are implemented, then the galleries have no further use, but we've been waiting two years now and in the meantime I have 3,000+ already-uploaded pictures of my own to organize, with more on the way... Stan Shebs 16:02, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
When you right click on an image in a gallery and use "save as" option it saves the image without the metadata, when the image is in a category the metadata gets included. Gnangarra 05:40, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Which image are you referring to? the fullsize image or the thumb? It sounds like you are saving the thumb or the html. Can you be a little more specific?--BerndH 06:30, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
I tried to reproduce what you meant. It seems you are not saving the image but the html file which has the file extension .jpg instead of .htm or html. The license and every other information which you can see on the image page is therefore contained in the .jpg file which should have the extension .htm/html. No matter where the image is located - category or article - you have to click on the thumb to see the page with the image, license and other information. You can save the image using right-click and "save as..." and you will have an image reduced in size. To save the original fullsize image you have to click on the image itself or the link under it.--BerndH 10:56, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

I've put up some new Ideas regarding the Categories vs Galleries conflict at the Village Pump ! Regards Sean Heron 23:13, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Category titlesEdit

From the project page - "When possible, these should use the common name in the plural". I'd disagree very strongly, they should be by scientific name. Common names vary hugely from one language to the next, whereas the scientific names are the same everywhere. This should be changed. As far as I've noticed, every subcat in Category:Plantae already is titled with the scientific name - MPF 16:21, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Agree. Snottygobble 00:07, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

additions to articles/categories sectionsEdit

Hello, as the mentioned bot is churning through Plantae, I have added the policy changes that resulted from all the discussions to the main page. Please review and have your say.

Also, I'm lacking an overview of the animals kingdom, so I'm not sure if the LifeBot can be applied unchanged to it. Is there something like an 'Animals by family' category? Anyone interested in running the bot in the animal kingdom please give me a hint. -- Ayacop 18:44, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Please can you point me to the discussion where these (indexed) categories were agree to? Snottygobble 00:54, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Ah, you finally saw that I opened the discussion in a previous posting several days ago. Thanks for your feedback. -- Ayacop 08:05, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Is that it? Am I to understand that you opened a discussion about a major proposal, received one comment, then declared your proposal to be "policy" and started up a bot to implement it? Snottygobble 08:20, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
I have received comments from several people supporting the older (even stricter) policy. Don't you see I'm doing you a favor with that comprise? If not, please go away. -- Ayacop 08:46, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
It's one of WP's slogans after all - "Be bold". Empirically, people either respond to proposals within a couple days, or months and months later, and I don't think it's good to let problem situations fester for months. Anything the bot does can just as easily be undone, so it's hardly a lifetime commitment. Stan Shebs 14:45, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Technically, what you say is indisputable. Socially, I think it is very very hard to overturn something once it has been put in place in a very large number of articles. In six months time this will be the status quo for better or for worse. The time for discussion is now, not later. Stan, shall I assume from this comment you support the rollout of (indexed) categories? Snottygobble 23:53, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
You're absolutely right that the time for discussion is now. In fact it's always the time for discussion. :-) Anyway, just a couple months ago there was a discussion of whether to name country subcategories "Fooian bars" or "Bars of Foo", the decision was to go with the "of" version even though the majority of the cats created over the past couple of years were the other way, and Mak did some massive bot-crunching that changed everything to be consistent. Any ToL-specific change would be puny by comparison! On the indexed categories, I personally don't have any need for them, but they help both people using tools that track down the many orphan images by finding the ones that lack categories, as well as people going through categories to further organize the images. But who knows what will be the vogue in the future? I'm still occasionally finding leftover thumbnail images, from the days before image resizing when we had to upload two images each time, a full-size and a thumbnail, and write html to do "see larger version". Stan Shebs 12:07, 4 October 2006 (UTC)


You've said quite a few times that this matter has been discussed a lot, and perhaps some aspects of it have, but I am really only concerned about the introduction of the (indexed) categories. Can you give me a definitive answer whether and where the introduction of the (indexed) categories has been discussed, other than in the LifeBot section above?

If not, then the numbers that have commented for and against your idea are about even. I therefore think that it is very important that the ToL page be rephrased to remove any suggestion that this is "policy". "Policy" implies that the idea has wide acceptance within the community.

Finally, no I will not go away; this is a collaborative project and I'm here to help. I find your request that I withdraw from the project offensive. I also find your accusation of "badmouthing" offensive. Please show me where I have been uncivil to you, as opposed to civilly disagreeing with your way of doing things.

Snottygobble 23:53, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

The indexed categories had been proposed 2006-Sep-23 in Commons_talk:WikiProject_Tree_of_Life#name of family picture category? first, other alternatives were discussed in the Village Pump discussion. A summary of the discussions is at Commons:Administrators'_noticeboard#User:LifeBot.
  • using DPLs. Disadvantages: not supported by devs (imagine we hit a bug), and the bug in categories with more than 200 images that prevents subcategories from being shown 'all first'.
  • changing Category:FAMILIA to Category:FAMILIA|@ or similar. The same bug mentioned will hit us.
  • changing Category:FAMILIA to Category:FAMILIA (Indexed). Advantage: we now even have a category showing all images in FAMILIA.
Of course, the 'go away' is a figure of speech, I have never made a request that you withdraw from the project, and plants needs your help. However, I feel you are sometimes deliberately misrepresenting past discussions or what I'm proposing here, for rethorical reasons. I wish you would stop doing that. -- Ayacop 15:12, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
As I joined this discussion only recently, I don't have a clear handle on what has been discussed when and where, so I suppose I might have misrepresented past discussions; I apologise if I have done so. I assure you it wasn't deliberate. Snottygobble 12:19, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

As for Ayacops proposal, I can imagine a lifebot comparing the pix in a family or genus and check to see if they are already in a gallery. Any pix in a cat not indexed in a gallery could be listed in a gallery (e.g. betula unsorted), which would provide a DPL result.
Btw, did anyone ask Brion to install DPL here? Imperfect as the solution is, it may be better than nothing. The situation is detoriating fast. TeunSpaans 15:08, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

LifeBot stoppedEdit

Hello, as can be seen at Commons:Administrators' noticeboard#User:LifeBot, SnottyGobble succeeded in stopping the work of the LifeBot. Please give your opinion on the issue. -- Ayacop 07:04, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

I think it's now incumbent upon Snottygobble to make his counterproposal, and reasonably promptly. Lifebot is a good solution to a knotty problem, and I have yet to see any better suggestions. Stan Shebs 17:35, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't currently have a counter-proposal. I don't think the fact that I opposed the rollout of Ayacop's proposal obliges me to have a counter-proposal to hand.
The reason I dislike Ayacop's (indexed) categories proposal is because it smears together internal and external matters. Until now every page on every WikiMedia project has been either an internal (i.e. project management) page, or an external (i.e. what we are actually projecting to the outside world) page. It is a fundamental design principle that these should be kept separate. Casual users of Commons should be able to browse and retrieve images without having to become aware of all the internal maintenance activity that goes on to make this possible. Under Ayacop's proposal, people who came looking for Banksia images would have had to look in two categories, Category:Banksia and Category:Banksia (indexed); they would wonder why there were two categories, and they would wonder why the second category had such a strange name, and the answer would be that it had to do with internal maintenance procedures. In this way we damage the user experience in order to make out own work easier. I'm opposed to that. Snottygobble 06:11, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
No, there is only one (Indexed) category per familia. Rather, people are confused because they see Banksia ericifolia species galleries and categories. Genus Banksia has nothing to do with this. Also, how would a user look for Banksia pics? By searching for it. So he would hit a (possible) genus gallery at once, or, if there is no such thing, he would be given the search result list with Category:Banksia near the top. He would never see 'Category:Proteaceae (Indexed)'. The search results will be the same, regardless of existence of that (Indexed) category. -- Ayacop 07:08, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I must concede that having both galleries and categories covering the same taxon is also confusing to the casual user. And the duplication is distasteful.
Regarding your other comment, when I said "search", I was speaking more generally than "type something in the search box and hit the search button"; and Banksia was only a not-so-randomly chosen example. So I'll rephrase:
People will browse the plant categories, and when they come to Proteaceae, they will discover that there are two categories, Category:Proteaceae and Category:Proteaceae (indexed). They will wonder why there are two categories, and they will wonder why the latter category has such a strange name, and the answer will be that it has to do with internal maintenance procedures. In this way we damage the user experience in order to make out own work easier. I'm opposed to that. Snottygobble 12:22, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
leaving aside my other concern, from this category:Proteaceae (index) is the hidden, so in which does the category:Banksia sit. How does indexing Proteaceae help when I upload images directly to Category:Banksia menziesii or Category:Banksia distribution maps. Gnangarra 12:29, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
@Snottygobble:>>>>...People will browse the plant families...>>>> I guess you mean in Category:Plantae by family? The (Indexed) categories are not there. There is one in each family. Why should, for example, people be confused by Category:Unidentified cacti or Category:Cactus collections in Category:Cactaceae? If you mean the word 'Indexed' is something only used by this project and, thus, difficult to understand, then I propose Category:Cactaceae in galleries or Category:Archived Cactaceae or one of the many choices I mentioned previously on this talk page. I even like the simple Category:Cactaceae photos, as there will be most of the photos of the family collected in this one place. Confusion is not an argument if the name is worded right.
I said "people will browse the plant categories", not "families". And I never said that people would be confused. When you see the boom mic during a movie, you're not confused, just disappointed. Snottygobble 22:00, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
@Gnangarra: Category:Banksia will stay in Category:Proteaceae. However, Category:Banksia menziesii will end up in Category:Unordered Proteaceae (another name idea) so confusion with Banksia menziesii disappears. I propose putting a line 'See also Category:Banksia menziesii' into the gallery article to not miss any pictures you've uploaded, but you surely would want to present your pictures in an orderly manner, i.e., in a gallery first under Category:Banksia. -- Ayacop 14:17, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

<-- moving back right

So what your saying is my images will go from the taxa tree Proteaceae - Banksia - Banksia menziesii to Unordered Proteaceae - Banksia menziesii. and that a seperate tree Proteaceae - Banksia will exist from there you'll add a gallery to category Banksia for Banksia menziesii and copy all the information thats already on the image page. The banksia category will have 76 species galleries plus galleries for distribution maps, diseases, and other necessary topics. Gnangarra 15:00, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
No, they will not 'go from' the taxa tree, they will stay there, in its galleries. But if the number of species categories in 'Unordered Proteaceae' disturbs you, no one would object against their deletion, as the images are in galleries in the taxa tree, anyway. Additionally, the work you put in maintaining those species categories is extraordinary and quite unusual in the plants. Nowhere else could I find so many. So I think in this case there would be no problem to add the genus category 'Unordered Banksia' under 'Unordered Proteaceae' if this stays an exception. -- Ayacop 15:17, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Note:This only concerns species categories, not your maps or pest info categories. Also, I will not add a gallery, the bot will not do anything. You are encouraged to do that, as you have the expertise to present the pics in an orderly manner. But you can do that with galleries only. -- Ayacop 15:27, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
So let's get this straight: if we create a gallery for Banksia integrifolia, then your bot will remove all the contents of Category:Banksia integrifolia to Category:Proteaceae (indexed)? In that case, you are quite right that Category:Banksia integrifolia would have no purpose and should be deleted. Next time you document this proposal, be sure to disclose that it mandates by stealth the rule that there will be no categorisation of images below familia level. Snottygobble 22:00, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
No. At the moment, the behaviour of the bot regarding which pictures get into Unordered is to only scan the main family category. You can easily see this by looking at one of the first A families, with Category:Apiaceae the biggest done. So, the case of species within a genus category would be done by hand. The implementation to go deeper than only family needs only a few lines of code, however. So, you decide if you want it to go through everything. Creating an all-pics-only gallery appears to have some support (and I agree) so, yes, the bot will add the Unordered category to the image but it will not remove the species tag. In no way, therefore, can you say that did I mandate by stealth any rule. The only category tag that ever is removed by the bot is 'Category:Familyname' to get the pictures which are in galleries too out of the main family page. -- Ayacop 06:33, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
Although I generally favor a DPL solution (which at the moment is unfortunately not available), I have to put in a word for Ayacop here I think. Rather than wanting to introduce by stealth the rule described above, I think the life bot was created to address that this is (so I've been told) standard practice in large parts of the ToL. And some non-project members had, similiarly to you, been protesting the removal of valid categories from images for the sake of internal maintenance procedures. Thus came the compromise solution, that an (indexed) category be introduced, so that the articles be in a category, while at the same time keeping the maintenance simple. This proposal therefore is actually a step away from organizing things according to ease of maintenance, and therefore should not be so harshly criticized I think. If you disagree with the removal of categories, I think you need to adress someone else. Regards Sean Heron 00:31, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Snottygobble that having images in both galleries and categories is distasteful, but there are actually quite a few editors that consider it desirable, because they figure that things linked from several places will be easier to find. A root cause of all this confusion is we don't have a consensus on the purpose of Commons; for some it's simply a media repository, and readers should never come here, while others think it's also useful to have it be like a big picture book that supplements the WPs, Wikibooks, etc. Editor-oriented categories help with the former purpose but detract from the latter, for instance. My view is that repository is the primary purpose, so anyone that wants to make Commons reader-friendly needs to work in a way that doesn't interfere with that, and accept that some bits of friendliness may not be possible without software improvements that have yet to be written. Stan Shebs 03:22, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

BTW, I had actually a use for a big bag of unsorted cactus photos the other day - I wanted to find the best image illustrating w:tubercle. The fastest way would have been to scan a big category of all cactus photos, but instead I had to know that Mammillaria is typically the most tuberclized, and click on species galleries one by one until I found a good pic. Stan Shebs 03:27, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Quote: ...and readers should never come here... Guess they haven´t seen the templates on the wikipedias yet suggesting to look on commons where more pictures and other media can be found.--BerndH 08:31, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

lifebot functionEdit

Thinking aloud' DPL isnt yet a perfect solution, galleries arent a perfect solution, categories lack detailed descriptions and lifebot has been put in the cupboard for now. As I understand the purpose of using galleries was to make interested editors aware of new images/media being added to Commons, and to provide additional information on images. When taxa naming is altered article pages are easier to move, hidden categories will still need to moved as to will image pages.

What if Lifebot ran a DPL type query that identified images uploaded since the last time the category was reviewed, where this occurs lifebot removes the previous images from the article/gallery and posts the new images there with the image description and uploader. The article page has a link to the category so that when people come to the page they are able to follow the link to category for further older media.

the advantages I see are:

  • Only the newest images are displayed with details
  • As image quality is always improving the galleries will more likely have higher quality images.
  • Article pages are dynamic
  • Users watch lists show when the page has been altered, Knowing that when this occurs the images are going to be all new this will encourage people to stop by and view.
  • All images are retained in the category tree no need for hidden categories


  • Categories need to be adjusted m,anually if/when taxa name changes occur
  • LifeBot needs to altered,
  • DPL may need activation at Commons.

Aside from this article pages ahould all have a section that displays the images within the subject scope that have achieved COM:FP and COM:QI Gnangarra 13:12, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

First short comment: I think it is possible somehow (I don't know how long it takes to scan everything and do this) and, fortunately, you don't need DPL's for it. The problem IMHO is that the current way of doing things doesn't need a bot, while your approach makes it necessary. I'm positive on the COM:FP and COM:QI sections within galleries. -- Ayacop 14:01, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
A bots ok, even preferred as it would be tedious and require DPL to do manually. As for the time issue, You wouldnt want daily updates, for most categories monthly or even quarterly would suffice. Only the unid categories may need more frequent. Gnangarra 14:18, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
For some things, there already exist bots:
This gives you all changes in the last 5 days to pictures under Category:Unidentified plants including subcategories! I haven't found out how to get new images, however. -- Ayacop 15:25, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
It only shows all images in a cat/cta tree, interesting tool though it doesnt appear to be able to do whats wanted Gnangarra 15:56, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

This will not work the way you want, anyway. You want to keep all uploaded pics in the family category? Then you will get the same problem I described with the DPL solution: after more than 200 pics+galleries in the family, subcategories are spread over several pages, the more pics the more spead. This means, with 1000 pics+galleries (easily done in Asteroideae, for example), getting to a genus category starting with Z will need 5 clicks! This bug is reported but appears to be difficult to fix, so don't wait for it. -- Ayacop 07:56, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Uploaded pictures should go into a category at the lowest level of positive identification ie species or even subspecies. Then lifebot runs at genus/family level creates populates a gallery with only those images that have been uploaded since the last time lifebot ran. Gnangarra 12:45, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Most people just put it in the family category. Tell me: what should we do? Let them fill up the family category? Unless we have a decision here, discussion of further methods is useless. -- Ayacop 14:21, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
So Gnangarra, you're basically coming down on the all-category-all-the-time side of the c-vs-g debate? Since the commons group as a whole has simply agreed to disagree on the issue, are you suggesting that ToL people should all take a particular side and enforce on ToL files, irrespective of the general (lack of) consensus? I can live with it either way, the part I hate is having to argue about it over and over - this is about the fourth round for ToL pics alone since commons has started, with no end in sight. Stan Shebs 16:39, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Firstly these are not ToL file they are Commons files.
  • Why with a general lack of consensus, was ToL impossing a delete all category process (since changed to hide categories).
  • Since the lifebot was stopped Why are Users continuing to do this.
  • Why was the gallery system added as "policy" to the ToL project page while these discussions have been occuring.
I haven't imposed anything on anyone I have been seeking to learn why and while doing that I found serious flaws in galleries not previously discussed, I also highlighted a possible alternative tools not yet to made available to Commons. As for this discussion, I noted my concern on metadata then put it aside and offered an alternative approach. To which you haven't taken the time to comment you've just decided that I'm on the category side of the debate and complain that the discussion is still ongoing, it will continue to occur while ToL members continue to impliment this false Policy. Gnangarra 00:27, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
You're surprised users adapt to the Indexed categories? So there is support for it, after all. You still chose to ignore my argument against your bot idea, namely the bug with more than 200 entries. You could not give exact steps to reproduce your metadata problem, then talked about having read about it somewhere but not giving the reference, and still want people to take you seriously? Of course, the discussion with you is ongoing, you will take care of that. -- Ayacop 07:54, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I think the problem with duplication between categories and galleries is caused by the fact that we aren't selective about what goes in galleries. If I ran the Commons, we would start by creating a category for each taxon, which would hold every image for that taxon. Whilst there is only a few images in a category, there is no need for a gallery, so the gallery entry would simply be a redirect to the category (e.g. Acacia aneuru would start off as a redirect to Category:Acacia aneura). As more and more images are added to the category, we reach a point where visitors will start to have trouble finding the really good images amongst the not-so-good; and/or they will have start to have trouble finding the particular type of image that they are looking for (e.g. drawing versus photo, flower versus foliage, various croppings and contrasts of the same image). At that point, we recognise the advantages of replacing the redirect by a gallery that picks out a representative set of quality images, and presents them in a structured way. The gallery would make it easy for visitors to quickly locate the best we have to offer, but it will also clearly state that it is not necessarily a complete set of images, and that the full set can be seen by visiting the category. Snottygobble 03:41, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

So, just to support your one-picture-categories (which are frowned upon in regular WP so you will draw heat from a lot of people) you would create a parallel gallery scheme for redirection to that categories? Talk about complicated. And everytime a taxonomic change happens, categories have to be deleted, not preserving the history of who contributed to it? It appears you still haven't had time to think about all the category disadvantages. -- Ayacop 07:45, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
No, not "just to support my one-picture-categories". Your continual incivility is beginning to strain my tolerance. Snottygobble 13:23, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
The idea that galleries should have only the "best" pictures has been suggested a number of times, most recently by Makthorpe on the pump. The thing that makes me apprehensive about it is the subjective assessment that is injected into the selection process. It will be like the featured pictures process magnified a thousand times and extended into endless arguments over a so-so but informative image (only closeup of a thorn, perhaps), vs a more attractive but less-useful image. So while the idea is theoretically attractive, I don't see how we avoid continuous editwarring over each gallery. Stan Shebs 21:20, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

I strongly oppose the idea that galleries should only list the best pictures available. Galleries have much better organizing facilities than categories. Outside ToL I came across an artist, the gallery contained hundreds of pix neatly organized by topic. very accesible. From a wikipedia, I can send visitors to that gallery, the category had only a fraction of them and was completely unordered. As a wikipedian, I'd never sent visitors to it. The same holds true of many ToL pages. I do not wish to give up the order existing in for example Quercus robur by someone who just selects pix on beauty or some other irrelevant criterium. The galleries should imho contain all images, not just a selection. TeunSpaans 15:02, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the galleries should probably contain all/most pictures, but often they won't - because the uploader didn't want to bother with 'sorting' the new images into the gallery - finding the proper category and sticking it on the image was "quite enough effort, thank you" ;) But galleries link to cats and vice versa so we can have both: a highly sorted/organized gallery with helpful captions etc and a category that just might have a few (still) unsorted images extra. Pudding4brains 23:03, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
I am glad that you do not support the removal of pix from galleries. We will probably always have a situation where either the gallery or the category has a few more pix than the other. We may one day have a bot to compare them and complete both.
Personally I still wait for the reason to duplicate the gallery in a category. TeunSpaans 23:11, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Policy amendments revertedEdit

Hello, following the new proposal by User:pcftdayelise (see Commons:Village_pump_archive/2006Oct#A_general_proposal_to_reduce_gallery.2Fcategory_fights), I have removed support for my solution using an (Indexed) category. Therefore, I also reverted Tree Of Life policy to the previous version. -- Ayacop 08:48, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Tree of once LivedEdit

I recently met a user on the Dutch Wikipedia that is in possession of a large collection of fossils he'd like to publish and document here on Commons. We are currently exploring possibilities to gather as much information as possible, without making things to difficult, and with a maximum of usability, so that the source material can be easily used by other projects. I have just created an extension for the {{Information}} template, called {{InformationFossil}}. A complete demo of all its properties can be seen at Image:Alethopteris grandini.jpg. Images will be uploaded using Commonist, so using {{Information}} is a requirement. My questions to you are the following:

  • which possibilities for improvement of the current method do you see?
  • are any, in your opinion, required fields missing? Currenly only a scentific name for the fossil is required.
  • which possibilities for additions to the current structure do you see?

Thank you very much for your input and remarks. Siebrand 19:53, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

I have already created the following fossil article Ginkgo biloba fossils if you want to add to it instead of creating a duplicate. You might want to add or create Categories or articles in that fashion ie: Fern fossils or Category:Fern fossils etc etc. WayneRay 14:23, 31 October 2006 (UTC)WayneRay
Hi Wayne, thank you for taking the time to reply. We're currently not considering creating categories in the English language, but rather in the scientific names. As the (mostly Latin) names are used in taxonomies all over the world, this will provide easier access. We are currently not (yet) considering creating galleries, as they take a lot of time additional effort we currently do not wish to make to create. We will, however, provide a lot of information on each image. I do know know the producers of the images in real life, but from what I understand a photo camera that can be mounted on a microscope is underway, opening up the opportunity to create even more interesing images. In total we're looking at, I estimate, 2000-3000 images of about 1000 fossils. Siebrand 15:40, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
I think Ginkgo biloba is the scientific botanical name (LOL). If they are not going to be in articles or Category galleries, how will researchers or interested persons find them?? I hope the camera is going to be digital because some flat bed scanners do a great job on three dimensional objects for example one of mine [5] Keep us informed and good luck WayneRay 13:26, 1 November 2006 (UTC)WayneRay
They will be in categories, at least 3 categories per image: geological period/era/age, taxon and location where the fossil was found. Siebrand 15:32, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
Galleries "take a lot of time to create"?? Usually takes me 30 seconds tops, less time than I spending pondering the right cropping for each image. Do people have some kind of special slow procedure that I don't know about? Stan Shebs 14:09, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
I slightly reworded the phrase you commented on to make things more clear for you, I hope. Siebrand 15:32, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

New life botEdit

The september/oktober discussion in the village pump deprives me of the possibility to remove a category from a picture when I sort it into a gallery.

I was thinking that if we had a bot that: a) sorts through all pictures in a category b) checks each picture if it is listed in a gallery c) if not, puts them in a gallery "genusname_unlised" Then we can have as many pix in the genus as the category proponents like, and by running the bot we can sort them into galleries to present to visitors.

I would welcome your thoughts on this, both positive but especially the negative ones.

TeunSpaans 23:16, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

I've stopped contributing altogether until this mess is sorted, so yes I would like a solution too. But sorry Teun, I'm very confused as to what it is you are proposing. I had created genus-level categories only to see these (and more work) removed/destroyed a few days later. Now you're proposing we should have genus-level categories? Or only the "genus_unlisted" thingee?
Personally I think it'd be good if we could work this way:
  • Have family- and genus-level categories that uploaders who don't wish to think/search or just don't know/care much can dump their pictures in.
  • Have people who do care and know biology sort these pictures "out of the way" by ...
    • If species can be determined stick the picture in a species-level gallery and in a species-level category (or have a bot do that after it has been put in the gallery). Maybe the species-level category should be Category:Species_name_(indexed) (or such) so that lazy uploaders can use Category:Species_name for new stuff, but I doubt that would be needed soon.
    • If only genus can be determined stick the picture in a genus-level gallery. I would very much like to create all galleries named Genusname in such a way that they can be used as a visual index to reach species-level galleries. So we should ask ourselves if the pictures that can only be determined upto genus-level should go into a section "=Undetermined=" of such a gallery or maybe into a seperate gallery named Genusname sp. or such. At the same time these pictures can be sorted out of the way into a Category:Genusname_(indexed) or Category:Genusname_sp. or whatever - if need be by a bot.
    • Same system that works for genus-level determination could be implemented for family-level determination with a gallery Familyname (and Familyname spp.?) and a Category:Familyname_(indexed) or Category:Familyname_spp.
Yes - this will eventually have every image in at least one gallery and also in an equivalent (unsorted) category to keep both sides happy. I fail to see how giving the images a category too would be "in the way" of anything/anybody as long as it is done 'smartly' and fine grained and prevents the basic Category:Familyname and Category:Genusname (or even Category:Species_name from overflowing. It also does not mean more maintenance as a bot can check the galleries on a regular basis and make sure every image in it is also tagged with an equivalent category. But actually that shouldn't even be needed as it should be just as easy (one edit) to change an existing category-tag instead of removing it.
This gives us a system for letting uploaders easily dump new pictures into the most obvious family/genus/species category and subsequently sorting them out of the way into both galleries and categories.
Next step is to make them easily accessible without too many clicks. As the main family- and genus-categories should eventually carry only very few 'new' or 'very general' images their main function will be to index subcategories and galleries. Here we can make choices to balance 'quick access' and 'clutter'. Meaning that for small 'families' the species-level galleries and categories can be tagged so that these will appear directly in Category:Familyname and for large families they can be tagged so that they will only appear in Category:Genusname (which in turn, ofcourse is listed in the family cat). That makes navigation throug the category system fast (same as now) for small families and 'unclutterd' (but with an extra click) for large families.
In parallel there will be the 'Gallery-navigation' that allows you to view a family- or genus-level gallery instead of a category and use these as visually guided indexes to find genera/species (with a few images for each to visualize what the genus/species looks like). From these (order?)/family/genus galleries it's also easy to link one or more level(s) back/up by having some form of taxobox or taxonavigationbar that informs the viewer of the place in the ToL and at the same time providing links.
Now, there are also people who hate "one image categories" (or galleries?) and want to be able to look at "the big picture". Why not accomodate these souls aswell and have every image that is tagged with a species/genus level category also tagged with a Category:Familyname_(all) or something like that?
All of this does not interfere with the current practice (not consensus?!) of 'cleaning up' family-level categories by placing images in galleries. It just provides a structure whereby it is possible to also keep the same pictures accessible through the category system and leaves room for all sorts of "overviews" and "navigation aids" at various levels if people care to create these by simply allowing people to create a finer grained category and gallery system without forcing others to go through a fine-grained navigation at the same time (as long as it can still be avoided).
The only thing needed to make it all work is simply to be less rigid. To allow subcategories and galleries (and images?) to be tagged with categories that are each others (grand)parents/childs so that both "fine-grained access" and "overview access" are supported at the same time (as long as the overviews don't get too cluttered). Pudding4brains 03:44, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I have consistantly been going through the Plantae Categories and creating gallery articles of species within the Categories, After a few suggestions and criticisms, I hope I have honed it enough that I am not interfering with the above discussion. I have found many single species or topic Categories more useful than creating gallery articles and I too, hope that uploaders will find and use Categories over individual article galleries unless they know what they are doing of course. User: Kenpei has been doing a great job for example, whie others who have great images have had no category or gallery links or connections. I agree with Pudding4brains just above and wish us all luck cleaning up the mess where it occurs. WayneRay 14:04, 7 November 2006 (UTC)WayneRay

Pfctdayelise has sugegsted a new q&a at Commons talk:FAQ. She welcomes comments, and so do I. TeunSpaans 20:10, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

When creating galleries instead of changing category names(adding _indexed) why not add a sortkey to the category tag ie [[category:plantgenus|galleryname]] images without sort keys are listed first by adding a generic ToL image to the category with a sortkey thats causes this image to be sorted first, then images before are unsorted and images after are sorted. When the sortkey is added to the image page leave a summary of category sortkey added then the uploader knows that the image has been sorted but not taken from the category. When viewing galleries ToL members will be able to visually identify unsorted(not in a gallery) images and then place in the appropriate place. Gnangarra 15:10, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
The other advantage is the the sortkey can be used to actually sort the images in a category at the same time so that species images can be gathered together irrguardless of the image name. Gnangarra 15:14, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Gnangarra, I am sot sure I understand your idea. Could you please give an example? TeunSpaans 19:40, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
I noticed some volunteers starting to make series of species categories by simply taking all images in a gallery and adding them to a category. I corresponded a bit with one of them, but failed to note the ip-address of the other. TeunSpaans 21:52, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

@Pudding: If Gnangarra's idea works, it would be a solution. It becomes more work when people create species categories, as we would have to synchronize gallery and category for every species. TeunSpaans 21:52, 15 November 2006 (UTC) @Gangarra: I tried your idea with category:Geastraceae, but I dont see how it would help. TeunSpaans 22:08, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Where should I categorise scale insects?Edit

I've got several photos of scales (as well as other homopterans, though maybe they're not called homopterans anymore?), and would like to know where to put them. --SB_Johnny|talk|books 23:17, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

According to w:wikipedia, they should go in Category:Coccoidea. -- Eugene van der Pijll 10:54, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
So categories here should follow categories on en.wikipedia? --SB_Johnny|talk|books 22:39, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

family: EriophyoideaEdit

I just created Aculus tetanothrix, I understood that it belongs to the family Eriophyoidea. What category should be assigned to this category? Insecta by family? TeunSpaans 19:43, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Category:Eriophyidae, actually. I've created this category, in Category:Acari (mites). Eugene van der Pijll 16:44, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Thx! TeunSpaans 22:09, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

unknown or unidentifiedEdit

Where should I post picture of unidentified mammal under Category:Unknown mammals or Category:Unidentified mammals? --WikedKentaur 20:01, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Plant ID quizzes on en.wikiversityEdit

I've been experimenting with templates for making "identification quizzes" on en.wikiversity. They're coming out pretty nicely: up to 4 photos for each plant showing different aspects, etc. I think it's a nice way to put commons photos to use, and invite everyone to add to the list with new quizzes.

Making these for fungi, arthropods, and other animals would be nice too. The template is easy to adapt now (I had a bear of a time getting it to look nice, but it's nice and stable now. --SB_Johnny|talk|books 15:23, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

Image quality issuesEdit

A lot of the galleries for plant species have an odd mix of high-quality and low-quality photos, which can be a "time-waster" when contributors from the various projects come through and look for images to use in ToL articles. For example, Jasminum nudiflorum has a few very good images, but mostly images that have exposure problems (one is overexposed, several have depth-of-field problems), and/or are simply out-of-focus.

For now, it might be a good idea to simply divide pages like that into "high-quality botanical images" and "low-quality botanical images" (some are ok as thumbs, but bad otherwise). In the future (if policy can be brought through), deletion tags could be made for images of low quality that have suitable high-quality replacements.

I've chatted about this on IRC (#wikimedia-commons on freenode), and will eventually bring this up on the VP, but it seems easier to try to work on this in ToL first, since the images in this domain are less often contributed for artistic reasons (which brings up POV problems when selecting "best" images). It might even be possible to create a series of tags specific to ToL issues. --SB_Johnny|talk|books 14:24, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Beware, sometimes the "low-quality" images are illustrating something non-obvious, like a specific physical characteristic, or the occurrence of a species in a particular location. I figure one of these days somebody is going to inadvertantly upload an image that is going to extend the known range of a species or otherwise be of special interest to science - unless you're an expert on the species in question, you won't know enough to be able to safely delete. Stan Shebs 14:37, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Yep, it would require expertise. "Labeling" the photos on the Image page would be a key element of this, for just that reason. Fortunately, there is enough expertise here to at least get a start on it... the best way to go about the deletion part would of course be to get in touch with the uploader, who could then either mark for an "author-requested deletion", or point out what they were trying to illustrate. --SB_Johnny|talk|books 14:46, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I'd be interested in helping out in this effort, too. A couple weeks ago, I replaced a terrible Dracaena sanderiana (w:Image:Lucky_Bamboo.jpg) with a misidentified photo (Image:LuckyBamboo_2005_SeanMcClean.jpg). The latter is still a bit out of focus, so if you have any "lucky bamboo" in your house and want to photograph it, go for it! The former doesn't seem to be used anywhere else, so it could be deleted. At the time I had wondered what to do with the orphaned, out-of-focus photo. Thanks for getting this started. --Rkitko 17:44, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

That's exactly what I'd like to be able to do: have some way of marking "images with better replacements", and perhaps even "species needing better images". I think with Stan Shebs's precautionary note, I'm ready to go to the pump and propose this. We don't need to get into actual deletion policy for a while, but we can organize around tagging and informing contributors to see how it goes. --SB_Johnny|talk|books 22:00, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Here's my proposal on the pump... I hope this will be OK. --SB_Johnny|talk|books 23:09, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Obviously it is a good idea to make a difference between good and not so good iamges. I also like the idea of differentiating them within the gallery. It also becomes more important to describe which features or aspects of an animal / fungi / plant / bacteria is shown in the photograph, so that we can be sure we dont replace an image with something which is no replacement at all.
Something we will need more than ever is multilingual support for gallery descriptions (the text after "|"), some people from Poland / Japan / India / Italy / France are contributing, but not commenting possibly because of lack of knowledge of the english language.
Teun Spaans 20:04, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I've been wondering about that. The classification systems tend to use latin, but I don't think that would work so well. I wonder if maybe it could be links to babel disambig pages? --SB_Johnny|talk|books 14:01, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Wandering a little further afield, I'm thinking about experimenting with visual galleries in either Wikipedia or Wikibooks, where they can be monolingual and explanatory in a way that is going to be hard to manage in the commons context. Stan Shebs 18:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
That doesn't solve the problem of making the commons galleries easy to use, unfortunately. But it would be a good project on wikibooks (not sure about wikipedia... I can imagine this becoming an issue for unhealthy debate there). --SB_Johnny|talk|books 19:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Many wikis refer visitors to commons with a {{Commons}} tag. To be multilingual, we'd need to have translations in every language of the section headings and most of all of the descriptions added to individual images. At the moment, I occasionally add a detailed description to my pix in galleries on the Dutch wiki, such as "the leaves of xxx yyy are broadest at the base, as opposed to those of xxx zzz, which are broadest in the upperhalf." It will be difficult for non-dutch speakers to judge why I added this image, and if we have a replacement available. And while Dutch as a germanic language still has some similarities to english and geman, it will be harder for japanese, thai and chinese.
Reversely, though my english is good enough for general descriptions and discussions, I'm afraid I'm not capable of adding descriptions with professional botanic expressions, and I won't be the only one. Even where I often do know the Dutch equivalents, these terms are not in a regular dictionary. So I feel handicapped in adding the detailed description to commons. Teun Spaans 08:12, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

<--- shifting left That's actually a good argument for making these pages into separate, language-specific pages, linked from either the main page or the category. --SB_Johnny|talk|books 11:19, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

No, that would double, or rather multiply, our maintenance load. If weh have separate galleries for each language, you would have to add a new image to all galleries. I would prefer some general language solution, something like a user language preference, which is picked up by a description tag, which then substitutes a local language. For example: we now have:
In a true multilanguage solution we could have something like:
Image:Polyommatus.icarus.3455.jpg|{{translate|{{en}}female{{de}}weibliche form{{fr}}femelle}}
The english text would appear when someones local language is not available. Soem descriptions of images would of course tend to become very long as the number of translations grows, so in the end we might have to look for a more subtle solution, but up to 10 -20 languages wouldnt pose big problems. Teun Spaans 07:07, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
That idea seems quite plausible, but for rougly 90% of the descriptions we can even do one better. In many cases the descriptions in the commons-galleries would (or could) be held in very general terms such as "male", "female", "larva", "seed", "leaf", "bark" and even more elaborate 'terms' could very well be reusable, such as "typical mating position", "hairy underside of leaf clearly visible" etc etc. These could probably be given a template form such as {{male}}, {{typical mating position}} or maybe {{xlat|male}} (etc) or whatever and the templates could be made to hold al vernacular versions of the term, while the software could then present either the vernacular version (based on browser langauage, referer, or user preference maybe?) or the english/"latin" one if no other is available. There would be a considerable gain as we/someone would only need to edit one template to add, say the Esperanto version of "male", and all images that use it would hence be presented with correct description in Esperanto. The idea needs tinkering, but I think something along those lines would be our best bett. Pudding4brains 23:10, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Image quality issues updateEdit

I've done some chatting with the people on the en.wikipedia Plants project, so I'm going to go ahead and make a project subpage about this later today. I'd like to develop some templates for making the "prospectus" versions of ToL gallery pages and see how it goes from there. --SB_Johnny|talk|books 18:09, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Oops... dropped the ball there didn't I? See Commons:WikiProject Tree of Life/Prospectus for a start.