Friday, February 05, 2010

Image use on the wiki

Hi everyone,
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Tuesday evening (in the US) and that European viewers who will be seeing the season premiere over the next few days will have just as much fun as the North American fans in rediscovering the majesty that is Damon and Carlton with all guns blazing at their keyboards. We've had an amazing influx of editors from around the globe taking part in Lostpedia in the last few days, but I just wanted to speak out about the use of images on the wiki.

Lostpedia uses images under the United States Fair Use Doctrine. Basically this means that the images on Lostpedia within articles should be used in such a way to illustrate the point being made within the text content.

In several articles, we have seen an influx of images that do not do this. They are from the correct show that they are trying to reference, but they aren't necessarily informative images. I will use two images from Sawyer's article to illustrate the issue at hand.

Firstly, we have this image of Sawyer with Locke's father, and the original "Sawyer", Anthony Cooper. The image is entitled: "Sawyer gives Cooper the letter he kept with him most of his life." then links to the article for the episode The Brig from which it came from. It is also in line with the content written within the wiki which tells the story of Cooper's arrival on the Island, the conversation Sawyer finally had with the man who caused the death of his parents and Cooper's death at the hands of Sawyer.

This is an excellent use of images on the wiki. It illustrates the situation, and most importantly, the content in the article. It is a great aid visually to the text content in the page.

Now for the otherside of the issue. We have this image to the right. This is from the episode Eggtown, and was on the article with the subtitle "Sawyer agrees to help Kate release Miles from the boathouse."

Now, I think we can all agree that its a good photo of Josh Holloway as Sawyer, and the image does in fact come from Eggtown, and does come from the scene it is said to have come from. However, there is a problem with it. The image doesn't actually convey any information relevant to the article, even if it is from the correct scene. It says he is agreeing to help Kate to release Miles, but Kate is nowhere to be seen. He is smiling, almost jovial looking and is casually holding his hand on his hip. At no point does it actually help convey the context of the article. It is really a superfluous image.

The vast majority of images on articles are there to aid and benefit the contents on Lostpedia, and they do just that. But we need to make sure, as editors, that the images are used to illustrate the content of our articles, not just illustrate the article and make it more visually palatable for the users.
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