Appropriate content

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I'm starting this page to organize discussion about what makes content appropriate for Wikimedia projects.

Most freely licensed content that has an educational purpose is appropriate for the Wikimedia projects.

For related discussions, see

Material that could harm the subject[edit]


Statements about a living person, especially in their biography, should be well sourced. This is particularly true if the statement is likely to be embarrassing or harmful to the subject.

Negative statements should not overweight the normal balance of a biography, even if that is most of the sourced information about a person -- it should be proportional to the rest of the bio.

Images of people[edit]

When an image of a person is recognizable, unless there is clear consent from the image subject, the image may not be appropriate to keep. Especially if it is likely to be embarrassing to an unwitting subject.


Negative statemetns should not be extremely unbalanced in an article about an organization. Sometimes a slightly-notable organization may only have information about it on an attack site targeting it.

Material that gives offense[edit]





Fair use is considered appropriate in context on some specific subprojects.

Non-free licenses are generally not appropriate on projects. Non-free file formats are not considered acceptable formats to upload to Commons.

subject matter[edit]

Some topic areas are considered illegal or taboo in many parts of the world, and are restricted from Commons and other projects. For instance, media of child pornography, or of people being killed, are not considered appropriate.

Other topic areas are taboo in some parts of the world or for some cultures, and should be treated with care and respect. Bear in mind that every image of such topics causes offense to some in our audience, which should be weighed against its educational value.


  • (mutilated) corpses
    • cannibalism


  • torture
  • bondage and masochism, even consensual


  • the prophet Muhammad
  • satire involving other deities


  • racism
  • sexism
  • anti-religious works


  • graphic sexual acts
  • nudity, particularly:
    • naked children
    • sexy rather than clinical close-ups of the body


  • text that paints the government in a bad light, particularly in


Death and violence[edit]

Standards about whether images of corpses are offensive or not vary widely.


Standards about what can be done with images of a deity vary widely.

General Prejudice[edit]

Cartoons and books demonizing different races or religious groups. Some are banned without a country strongly associated with the target religion or culture.


This is the most popular topic on Commons, and is considered offensive or inappropriate for many religious audiences and for youth. Standards vary widely. There is a specific page for policy about sexual content on Commons.

Additional issues complicating this category:

  • many people enjoy posting images of themselves or others, often without getting approval, naked or engaging in sexual acts.
  • images of others often fail to have formal model releases for the people involved, despite the fact that such photos can be highly embarrassing to the subject.
  • people sometimes upload sexual images simply to have a gallery of them online

These images turn away schools and families who sometimes block all of Wikimedia for lack of alternatives that allow access without giving access to the well-organized archive of sexual images on Commons.

Content debates on Commons

If you feel that appropriate content on Commons has been deleted recently, please check the deletion log and delinker logs, and make undeletion requests at commons undeletion requests.


Any image of Muhammad is considered offensive to some Muslims. This is compounded by the fact that some images of Muhammad, such as those involved in the Danish Muhammad cartoons controversy, are historically notable. These images result in a good deal of ill will and turn away many readers, something to be balanced against their value.

Discussions elsewhere[edit]