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Tech note: Image use policy change

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IndexTech notes → Tech note: Image use policy change
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(Try The Howling, instead.)
In my capacity as tech admin, I have unilaterally made a substantive change in the image use policy. Please be aware of the following technical recommendations, as regards pictures:
  • Use JPG format for screenshots. Do not use PNG for photographic images.
  • Use SVG format for line drawings, logos, icons and the like, but if you can't do that, use PNG
  • Do not use GIF or BMP formats at all.

Rationale

  • Screenshots should be in the JPG format. This includes photographic screenshots, as would occur when taking a shot of an episode, and scanned imagery from printed publications. The PNG format is much bigger than the JPG format, and we simply don't need that kind of scale to illustrate our articles. Yes, PNG is of a better quality, in many instances, than JPG, but since our pictures are generally only displayed at thumbnail level, we just don't need to waste the space on it, and thereby make our pages load more slowly.
  • SVG is the preferred format for icons, line drawings, logos and other files that are fairly simple, but PNG files of this type are also acceptable. We recognise that more graphical manipulation programmes support PNG than SVG, and most line drawings or logos require the transparent backgrounds that PNG and SVG allow.
  • There is almost never a reasonable cause to upload anything in the GIF or BMP formats. BMP is an uncompressed format which takes up way, way too much space, and GIFs aren't scalable. Yes, GIFs allow for animation, but animation simply isn't required on any of our pages.

Exceptions

In keeping with our general user page policy, you may of course use any format you want on your own user pages. But you are restricted to uploading no more than three pictures specifically for your user page.
czechout@Wikia   21:49:32 Mon 04 Apr 2011 

Possible problem with SVG

There's quite a bit of talk on that other wiki about restricting the quality of logo image files to avoid falling afoul of fair use/fair dealing restrictions. We aren't that wiki, but we are hosted in the same legal jurisdiction under similar circumstances. Properly-crafted SVG files generally result in far higher-quality output than comparable raster image files; their quality is theoretically infinite. For this reason I wonder whether using the format for logos and other copyrighted and/or trademarked material is something we should actually be avoiding. Rob T Firefly 03:06, April 6, 2011 (UTC)

This is a good point, and we should certainly be aware, on a case-by-case basis, of attempts to use the format in ways that might substantially threaten another party's legal rights. However, we can's ban the format outright, as it has plenty of perfectly innocent usages. One major advantage to the format is its handling of transparency, which is absolutely required in some circumstances. In truth, we don't actually host that many .svg files anyway. Almost every logo I'm aware of on this site is either done in .jpg or, if transparency is required, .png format. Still, if you see any potentially problematic .svg files, please let me know.
czechout@Wikia   17:00:37 Mon 16 May 2011 

Possible use of other types

BMP files are usually only uploaded by people using MSPaint with limited knowledge of how to properly edit the filename. I'd suggest that if anyone uploads BMP or GIF that it should be converted to JPG (screenshot) or PNG/SVG (logo/drawing) and the original deleted. GIF animations are potentially acceptable, however, if we ever need to show a transformation (regeneration?) of some kind for informative purposes. I can't think of anything right now, but I don't think we can unilaterally restrict it out of hand. A size limit, perhaps one substantially lower than what Wikia allows, may be put into effect to keep pages manageable.--75.49.218.60 19:10, April 8, 2011 (UTC)

We absolutely can ban animated GIFs, but it's not "out of hand". It's actually a reasoned decision. Animation of a scene, like regeneration, is effectively a video. Thus animation falls under ouf video policy, which allows motion pictures on this site only to the extent that they have been released by the rights holder in such a way that embedding is allowed without restriction. In other words, there's no need of an animated gif showing a regeneration; if there's proper video of the event on the BBC's YouTube channel, we should grab that instead. If the Beeb haven't made such video available, then we're not going to allow someone to create it through gifs. Fortunately, as far as I'm aware, the Beeb have made every regeneration available, and a ton of other videos.
As for BMPs, I quite appreciate that they are the first kind of images that a lot of users might make with MSPaint or the like. But they're still not allowed. It's not fair to force other people to convert and resubmit your work. Moreover, once it's uploaded with a certain extension, you can't just "convert" it anyway. You have to upload a completely new file to a completely new page.
For instance, let's say you had the file, File:Sample.bmp. In order to get a .jpg out of it, you can't just upload a .jpg to File:Sample.bmp. You have to create the new page and then have an admin delete File:Sample.bmp.
Thus completely banning BMPs is simply more efficient than sayint to new users, "Don't worry. Give us whatever you can. We'll fix it for you." It's better to teach new people how to create proper files than to have to clean up after them.
czechout@Wikia   16:53:06 Mon 16 May 2011 

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