Structured Data Across Wikimedia/Image Suggestions/Feedback August 2021

The following is a summary of the first round of feedback and comments about the Image recommendations tool, held during the month of August 2021.

Feedback was originally collected on the following pages:

In the next weeks, this feedback will be used to review our current plans and designs. We will track all updates on the main page.



We reached approximately 200 users via MassMessage from German Wikipedia, and 100 from Swedish, Russian, Portuguese Wikipedia each. These were users with at least 10k edits. We also reached out to approximately 300 users from Commons via MassMessage. These were users with at least 200 photos uploaded.

41 users responded: 15 from Commons, 6 from German Wikipedia, 6 from Swedish Wikipedia, 9 from Russian Wikipedia, and 5 from Portuguese Wikipedia.

General Summary

  • The feeling shared by several contributors is that it is difficult to find and then correctly place the image they want to use in a Wikipedia article, so there is room for improvement in these fields.
  • Several contributors were interested in engaging with image suggestions, maybe through an opt-in notification system instead of articles’ talk pages, while stressing the necessity for good-quality suggestions.
  • Almost all contributors stressed the importance of keeping at least some human control, due to a number of concerns (to name a few: curating metadata, copyright, respect of local guidelines, quality of the image, context of the article).
  • Some contributors shared a desire to “guide” users newer to their project over the usage of “depicts” statements, how to write an image caption, or over the choice of an image to reuse in an article.



What’s the hardest part of adding an image to an article?


Several contributors agreed that the hardest part of adding an image to an article is finding an image to add in the first place. Many also agreed it is currently technically very difficult to place an image exactly where you want it in an article.

On the other hand, some contributors said that adding images to Wikipedia articles was not hard for them at all.

General reactions to machine-generated image suggestions


Some contributors were against machine-generated suggestions altogether, as some people were also worried about lack of evaluation of the images from less-experienced users. Some other contributors wanted our work to focus on making images easier to find, rather than automatically suggesting them. Some noted that automatic suggestions could harm the diversity and autonomy of the individual projects. Some other contributors were concerned because they felt that “Wikipedia Pages Wanting Photos” resulted in a lot of bad edits and spam. Some suggested that it would be better to add images to Wikidata, so that they can be pulled into infoboxes.

There was also some generally positive feedback about image suggestions, and some contributors were open to image suggestions - but wanted to make sure that the suggestions were generally accurate, did not violate copyright, and did not encourage users to otherwise violate rules. Some contributors felt that suggestions should be limited only for unillustrated articles. One contributor noted that most images are not suitable for an entire article, but are better suited for the section level.

Upload Wizard improvements


We also asked contributors what they thought about Upload Wizard encouraging more specific “depicts” statements that would help generate better image suggestions.

In response, some noted that Upload Wizard should be kept as simple as possible, so as not to discourage users from uploading content. Some contributors suggested that “depicts” guidelines should be more clear and agreed upon in the Commons community, before encouraging users to add that property.

On the other hand, some contributors had suggestions about how to encourage better “depicts” statements and other metadata to improve image suggestions. One suggestion was to make depicts a mandatory field in Upload Wizard; one was to generally integrate metadata better into the upload process; another was to have a pop-up category tree; another was to encourage better filenames.



With regard to notifications in general, several users were open to it, but wanted to make sure that there aren’t too many notifications with poor suggestions, and that notifications are opt-in only.

Talk pages


With regard to notifications of image suggestions being posted on talk pages, some contributors thought that talk pages should just be for humans, and perceived automatic notifications on talk pages as spam. One contributor was alternatively open to adding notifications to talk pages, as long as the accuracy was high, because they believed that image suggestions are about developing articles, which is what talk pages are for.

Tool to review suggestions


Contributors stressed that it was important that the tool allowed them to review the article text, so they could write a suitable caption, and review all image metadata. One contributor noted that the “suggestion reason” field was particularly valuable, and also noted that the tool should not automatically place the image.

Visual Editor


There was no feedback about the idea to put suggestions in the VE search interface, or about the blue dot in VE indicating there’s a suggestion.

How to ensure that users follow local conventions


When asked how we can help users follow the conventions of a project when placing an image, or how we can help users write a caption, several contributors suggested tutorials. Others suggested simply linking to pages or guidelines that explain local conventions.

On the other hand, when asked how we can help users follow the conventions of a project when placing an image, or how we can help users write a caption, several contributors believed that we just simply ensure that only users who are very familiar with a project add images to that project in the first place.

Commonists and NPOV


General feedback indicated that Wikipedians do not think of users adding their own images to articles as a potential violation of NPOV. Much more attention was given to making sure that users are familiar enough with the Wikipedia they are working on to follow conventions.

Placing images as the lead image


Based on the answers we received, it seems that our question was not formulated appropriately. Many contributors thought we were asking if it was okay to automatically place an image without review, rather than whether the lead image is always the right place to put it.

One contributor did figure out our intended meaning of the question, however, and still had concerns about placing the image as the lead, because they do not think it is always appropriate.

Adding captions


When asked how we can help users add appropriate captions, some contributors suggested we give more guidance in the caption creation process, including guiding the user to answer who, what, when, and where.

In this case too, contributors were asking that only users who are very familiar with a project should be adding image captions, because of the specificity of their context. Several also felt that auto suggesting captions or using the ones from Commons was a bad idea. One contributor felt that it wasn’t a problem that needed to be solved.