Wikimedia Commons

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Wikimedia Commons logo Wikimedia Commons –
the free media repository

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Wikimedia Commons – the free media repository — is a major part or 'Project' of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF). More commonly known to Wikimedians as merely Commons, it is a very large wiki of an online depository database of over 49 million freely usable educational media files to which anyone can contribute. The files, which include images, videos, and audio; are primarily for use by all language versions of the various Wikimedia projects, such as Wikipedia, Wikinews, Wikivoyage, etc. With specific regards to Wikipedia, whilst the English Wikipedia will accept 'fair use' images, the Wikimedia Commons will not; all media files uploaded to the Commons must be completely free to use (either public domain, or an unrestricted copyleft license). Other individual language editions of Wikipedia have their own differing standards for fair use; e.g. Español Wikipedia will not allow fair use media.

All textual content on the Commons wiki was initially released under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL, or more commonly GFDL). An additional license was subsequently added; the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license (CC-BY-SA 3.0).[1] As of 1 September 2018, the total file size on hard disc for all files is a whopping 183.36 terabytes (TB)![2]

The InstantCommons extension for MediaWiki will allow non-Wikimedia Foundation sites to use Commons media on their own independent wiki.

Wiki Size: 49,122,429 pages see stats...
wikiFactor: 6

(Files count as of: 2018-09-01
wikiFactor as of: 2015-10-18)

Mission and culture[edit]

The exact boundaries of the mission for the Wikimedia Commons have seemingly not been clearly defined. It is generally agreed that the Commons should host images that will be useful in other Wikimedia projects; such as Wikipedia, Wikiversity, etc. Less clear is whether it should serve as a general repository for images that are likely to only be useful outside the scope of existing Wikimedia projects. For example, a photograph of a girl holding a flower might be useful as a stock image in corporate promotional brochures, but if there is no Wikipedia (or other WMF wiki) article that requires that image (as could be the case if Wikipedia already has a suitable image to illustrate its articles on flowers, or if the image is unsuitable for Wikipedia or other WMF wikis), then it is an open question whether the Commons should host that image. These matters are generally decided on a case-by-case basis, with little consistency, and are heavily influenced by whether existing Commons users like the media in question; e.g. whether they think they are aesthetically pleasing.

Sometimes, debates arise as to whether users are adding content for the benefit of the Commons, or for their own promotional purposes; e.g., a user may say "These are some images I took, posted to my website, and am sharing with the Commons", other Commons users may object, implying that the true agenda is to promote their website by listing its URL for attribution on the image file page. Another scenario is that frequently, users have uploaded images of their genitals, and been accused of exhibitionism; this has occurred so often that the Commons community has announced that no more images of genitals are needed or welcomed, unless there is a specific request, e.g. if a new genital-relevant article is created on Wikipedia or other WMF wiki that needs an illustration.

See also[edit]


The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (WMF), founded 20 June 2003, is the wiki company and non-profit charitable organization responsible for a very large number (over 900 in total) of very active wikis, grouped together and known as 'projects'; as well as the wiki engine software initially developed by themselves, known as MediaWiki. The Foundations' major wiki projects include Wikipedia (encyclopedias), Wiktionary (dictionary and thesaurus), Wikiquote (quotations), Wikibooks (open content textbooks), Wikisource (free content primary and secondary source texts), Wikinews (news source), Wikiversity (open learning community), Wikispecies (free species directory), and many others as listed below. Most of these projects have separate wiki versions written in many different languages. There is also the Wikimedia Commons (shared repository for documents, images, videos, and other media files), Wikidata (central space knowledge base for data used on all WMF projects), and the Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (coordination of issues common to all Wikimedia projects). The Foundations' global reach is nurtured in its Incubator, where all new language versions for all projects are initiated and developed before being rolled out. Its most recent major project, Wikivoyage (a 'travelpedia'), was inducted to WMF in late 2012.

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a member of the Open Source Initiative.

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