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Roundtables/Roundtable 3

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Multimedia Roundtable 3 - Slides
Multimedia Roundtable 3 - Video - Part I (58:00)

The Wikimedia Foundation hosted a roundtable discussion about multimedia at Wikimania 2013 in Hong Kong on Thursday, August 8th, 2013. This pre-conference session was held at 10:00am local time, in Room M108 of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

This third Multimedia Roundtable brought together a couple dozen community and WMF team members to discuss how to create a better multimedia experience on Wikipedia and Commons. We talked about new ways to view, contribute, curate, discover and use or publish media files -- and grow our audio-visual knowledge base in the process.

During this creative workshop, we first reviewed current multimedia workflows on Commons and Wikipedia, and identified some key issues that need to be solved in coming months. We then focused on a few possible solutions and invited participants to brainstorm ways that we could improve current practices to make our media ecosystem thrive.

See also:

This report will be updated shortly to give a deeper overview of what we discussed, based on the video record, not just the Etherpad notes.

Learn more about other events in this new experimental program on the Roundtables overview page.


The goal of this roundtable was to improve Wikipedia's multimedia tools with community participation -- and to inform Wikimedia's product development with insights from these conversations.

This new Roundtable program is an experiment with new forms of collaboration between community members and Wikimedia product teams. We plan to host more roundtables later in the year, which will be posted on this (see Roundtables page).


A couple dozen community members joined this roundtable -- which included a mix of creators, curators, developers, editors, and administrators active on Commons and Wikipedia. Participants were invited based on their constructive contributions to prior discussions and related projects. This roundtable was facilitated by five Wikimedia team members, listed below.

Community members[edit]

(other participants will be added here shortly)

Wikimedia Facilitators[edit]

(other Wikimedia participants will be added here shortly)


This two-hour discussion brought together a couple dozen media-savvy contributors to discuss how to create a better multimedia experience on Wikipedia and Commons. We talked about new ways to view, create, curate, and publish media files, as well as engage more users to contribute to our growing audio-visual knowledge base.

Here was our agenda for this roundtable:

  • 10:00 - Introductions
  • 10:15 - Multimedia overview
  • 10:45 - New feature ideas
  • 11:45 - Multimedia priorities
  • 11:005 - Roundtable ends

All times above are Hong Kong local time (UTC+8) and 24-hour.

We started our meeting by presenting an overview of current multimedia workflows --- then discussed new feature ideas together and brainstormed ways to improve them, as well as prioritized them together at the end. We collected many great community insights to guide the Wikimedia Foundation's development of new tools in coming months.

Here are the Roundtable slides we reviewed together, to guide our discussion.


Multimedia Map of Key Workflows

To start this discussion, we outlined these main types of multimedia workflows and their user groups, as shown on the map to the right:

  • View (watch / listen to media files) - 500M viewers
  • Contribute (upload files, info, categories ) - ~21k uploaders/mo.
  • Curate (rate, review, discuss, edit, feature ) - ~1k+ patrollers/admins.
  • Use (place files on wiki projects) - ~82k active editors/mo.
  • Engage (organize media campaigns ) - ~30+ campaign organizers

We then invited participants to describe some of the multimedia workflows they use regularly on Commons and Wikipedia, and identify some of the issues they think need to be solved for those workflows.

We will expand this section shortly with user recommendations, based on both verbal comments from the video and written comments from the Etherpad.

Feature ideas[edit]

We then discussed new feature ideas which the multimedia team has been considering for each of the main types of workflows above:

  • Media viewer - view images in larger size
  • File notifications - keep track of new activity for your files
  • File curation - review files more effectively
  • File feedback - rate or compare files
  • Media finder - add files to articles
  • Campaign tools - organize multimedia campaigns

We presented a couple slides and/or demos for each feature idea, then asked for community feedback: Is this feature useful? What do you like most? least? How could it be improved?

Participants responded verbally, as well as wrote notes on our shared notepad. Here are some short descriptions for each feature, as well as highlights of what participants told us.

For more info, check out these roundtable slides.

Media viewer[edit]

Media viewer mockup
Provide a richer multimedia experience to match user expectations and display images in larger size, on the same page as the thumbnail
All users, including 500M 'readers/viewers'
  • Show images in larger, media viewer panel when you click on them
  • Include a description and credit below the image, link to file page
  • Option to go to next image if it is part of a category or collection
Comments from Etherpad

File notifications[edit]

Current notification example
  • Inform file creators when something happens to their files
  • Make contributors aware of what's happening on Commons
All Commons contributors or curators
  • File Upload Complete (for large files)
  • File Marked as Reviewed
  • File Tagged for Maintenance
  • File Marked for Deletion
  • File Rated/Featured
  • File Page was Edited
  • File was Used in Article
  • File was Overwritten
  • File was Deleted
  • Congrats on your 1st upload
Comments from Etherpad
  • Notify on: usage, ratings
  • Also on deletion, curation (i.e. edit to the file page), replace, link-to, etc., depending on preferences (probably) --MarkTraceur
  • Deletion notification for articles would be good as well! Files probably not unique in this regard. AG
  • Possibilities for gamification here, congrats on 1st, 5th 10th upload and such.
  • Andrew suggests notifications for watchlisted files. +1
  • On Commons, watchlisting = probably cares about this file. I can always dewatchlist! AG
  • This seems a very logical idea to me. Could work quite well too, and wouldn't be too crazy for new users who wouldn't upload a whole load of files.
  • Potentially useful for fair-use\problematic images as well. Watchlist "popular" vandal images = notifications when misused! AG
  • Aggregate notifications for multiple files (Mike's suggestion).
  • Is there currently an option for aggregate (daily) batched emails? Probably should be at some point as we're scaling up use of Echo. AG
  • The biggie: CROSS-WIKI notifications! Definitely on our roadmap. --MarkTraceur
  • Sophisticated preferences on what to get notifications on.
  • This also seems logical - people aren't always going to care (unfortunately :( ) if someone puts their photo on some page in another language for instance.
  • Sure, but for others that is a driving motivation, I met an editor whose image had been used in 30+ language versions organically. He was very happy! But he was notified by a chapter, not by the software..
  • Especially for newer users, this can be a real boost. But granular opt-out is good. AG
  • Awesome :) But not all users feel the same - some notifications are going to annoy some users - that's just what happens. Opt-out is always good if it's possible.
  • Notifications triggered by traffic: this file was among the top trending media in category X. GLAM uploaders would be obvious customers

Note: You can now see how notifications work right here on Meta, where our team just deployed this tool on July 25th. To learn more, check this Notifications FAQ.

File curation[edit]

Page curation example
  • Curate new files to identify useful media for Wikipedia
  • Make it easier to tag files or nominate them for deletion
All Commons patrollers (and Wikipedia curators?)
  • A list where editors can preview files that need to be reviewed
  • A review tool that helps editors curate files more easily
  • Repackage existing tools in a better UI ('Nominate for deletion')
See also
Comments from Etherpad

File feedback[edit]

Feedback prototype: Which is better?
Surface useful files, rated by quality
Commons or Wikipedia users
  • A quick rating tool to tag files that seem useful
  • Can be thumbs-up/down -- or compare 2 images
  • Sorting / filtering tools for ranking lists or galleries by rating
Try these demos
See also
  • See e.g. http://tools.wmflabs.org/bawolff/whichisbetter/index.php?title=Special:WhichIsBetter
  • Comparisons are great for "identify cutest cat" or "clearest map", less so for all of Commons! AG
  • We would definitely restrict it to like-images - probably by comparing files within categories --MarkTraceur
  • Of course, we could also use it to surface Common's cutest cat photos...
  • YES. That is all. +1 ;)
  • I'm reminded of Hot or Not...
  • Comparison has the benefit of being able to apply Elo rating system, which allows you to derive a lot of information from few data points: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elo_rating_system
  • Personally I don't like the concept of "thumbs down" as it carries serious negative connotations.
  • Thumbs are identified to a website hated by Wikipedians : "the Facebook effect"
  • Sort of. Facebook doesn't have a dislike button because it's pretty horrible to be disliked. I think this would be a bad idea for Wikimedia Commons if we're trying to retain and develop contributors.
  • Also I don't know if it's worth allowing this negative view of another, completely separate website to cloud our vision.
  • "Hide this image"?
  • A positive/negative system is easily-gamed.
  • Very true. This is why a "this or that" system is probably the best, assuming we can avoid false-positive matches. (i.e. we need to find a way to make the system find two similar images first)
  • In terms of identification or a subjective "which is better" system?
  • Fifty pictures of a 1973 Ford Escort from the same category, and which one is best at showing it? Five hundred pictures of George W. Bush, ditto? AG
  • Yes to both. Remembering of course you have limited screen real estate on articles to use files in. I'm not sure how we could use this to show users solely looking for images which one is best.
  • Can comparison\rating work be done off Commons (but with Commons/WM badging) and funnel the rating data back into Commons? AG
  • The "readers/public curation" may be a fourth image label, as FP, QI & VI.
  • Galaxy Zoo http://www.galaxyzoo.org - or more general, https://www.zooniverse.org/ . User:Mike Peel can provide intros to the team behind it.
  • Partnering with crowdsourcing projects, applying tools http://www.citizensciencealliance.org/proposals.html
  • The big problem with overall rating of any kind that gets a single number out of it - our "useful" is not everyone's "useful". AG
  • Commons may not like "usage for Wikipedia", or nlwiki may not agree with arwiki's "useful". AG
  • I would imagine that, if a file is good enough for Wikimedia projects, it's also good enough for the average joe. Perhaps that's misguided.
  • I think "useful" is going to be contentious however you present it. It's a very tricky word. AG
  • Most popular = pictures of naked ladies. And if we use "most useful" to affect search rankings, you're going to get very undesirable results. AG
  • "Useful" = high revelance, and gives considerable infomation from the image. That is "useful".
  • In theory this is spot-on, but everything is subjective.
  • Very hard to get everyone rating to think this way! AG
  • Fabrice suggests a "thanks" feature for images, built into a media viewer. Seems to get strong support.
  • Not convinced by this, as obviously the currently displayed image will get exponentially more "thanks" than a non-surfaced "hidden" image.
  • Pictures which got more "thanks" will snowball. +1
  • Can we filter files by reasonable arguments, if quick judgement cannot be right? (e.g. with tags/keywords?)
  • Is it possible to make a metric on how often images show up in search results. If images never even show up there, there is a problem with the description/tagging/category
  • Improve a file may be a game idea.
  • Andrew suggests opt-in comments for certain images.
  • See RFC :-) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Requests_for_Comment/Feedback - triggered by category or specific donor tags
  • Requesting comments could trigger a +1 for an image

Media finder[edit]

Visual Editor: 'Insert Media' tool
  • Make it easier to add multimedia on Wikipedia articles
  • Help find quality media files and place them quickly
Any Wikipedia or Commons user
  • Expand the Visual Editor's 'Insert Media' tool
  • Support extended search by category, rating or review status
  • Easier to sort or filter recommended images in VE
  • +1. I think this could be profitable. But interlanguage use is key
  • Faceted search
  • OCR every image and include that in searchable description.
  • Could be very useful for images of documents, but perhaps tricky if you're talking about getting the software to locate signs, etc.
  • Well, even if you have a photo were there is a restaurant sign, most OCR would handle that and it may be quite useful.
  • MWCore team at WMF is working on replacing our old lsearchd implemenation with Elastic Search
  • Search status: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Search#Status

Campaign tools[edit]

Visual Editor: 'Insert Media' tool
  • Invite more users to join campaigns (e.g. Wiki Loves Monuments)
  • Make it easy for campaign organizers to set up campaigns
  • Make it easy for users to participate in campaigns -- and stay engaged
Any user with a camera/phone -- and campaign organizers
  • Tools for organizers to set up and customize campaigns
  • To-do lists with clear assignments for contributors to follow
  • Leaderboards and recent contributions to keep participants motivated

No comments for this feature on Etherpad. Will add more from video, when transcribed.


We will expand this section shortly, based on both verbal comments from the video and written comments from the Etherpad.

Group Favorites[edit]

For now, here are the features that received strong interest from the group:

  • Media Viewer
  • Structured Data / WikiData Integration (supports Media Finder)
  • Thanks (one form File Feedback)
  • File Notifications


Here are photos from our Multimedia Roundtable at Wikimania 2013 in Hong Kong on Thursday, August 8th, 2013.


Here is the video footage from our discussion hosted in open source WebM format on Wikimedia Commons:

Roundtable Video - Part I (58:00)

Roundtable Video - Part II (59:00)

This video is also available in other file formats on Vimeo:

This HDTV footage is divided into two parts, each an hour long. They can be downloaded from either Commons or Vimeo and re-used under CC-BY-SA terms.

This documentation is intended for transparency reasons, as well as to insure better knowledge transfer with other community members who couldn't join these events.


We invited participants to write down notes throughout the roudtable, to augment our discussion. Here is our shared notepad, which includes these notes.

Now that this event is over, we encourage participants to add their final notes about this roundtable on this discussion page.

Learn more about other events in this new experimental program on the Roundtables overview page.