Global deleted image review


The following is a proposed Wikimedia global access group. The proposal currently has the following status: Pending the results of an RFC.

Policies and guidelines Global deleted image review
This page provides information about Global deleted image review, which will permit Commons administrators to view deleted images on all WMF wikis.

Global deleted image review is a new feature first proposed at Commons-l in response to a 2 June 2008 message titled "Commons admins should be able to view deleted images Wikimedia wide". There has been additional conversation on Commons' administrators' noticeboard in regards to global deleted image review. After a successful vote with over 80% support, this proposal is currently awaiting implementation.


Global deleted image review is a privilege allowing trusted users to review deleted image pages on all Wikimedia sites, but without the ability to undelete them unless they are already local administrators. (For the purposes of this privilege, an "image" is defined as any media file uploaded to the File: namespace, which includes GIF animations, OGG sound files, etc.) This privilege is limited to only viewing deleted image pages. It does not grant any of the other privileges associated with adminship, nor does it allow viewing deleted pages in namespaces other than the file and file talk namespaces.

The manner in which deleted media may be reviewed is identical to that granted to local administrators. In detail, these are:

  • the ability to see the upload history of an media file, or files in the case of multiple uploads to the same file name
  • the ability to review deleted revisions of the media file
  • the ability to see the edit history of the deleted media description pages
  • the ability to review deleted revisions of the media description pages


For almost as long as Wikimedia Commons has been around, it has had problems with images moved from the scores of active Wikimedia sister wikis and then deleted on their home wikis. The problems include:

  • Some Commons image descriptions refer to information on local pages which are now deleted, creating frustration when licensing information has to be verified. For example, if a Commons image page states, "from Foo Wikipedia. First downloaded from Flickr under CC-BY-SA", but doesn't give the Flickr link, a Commons administrator is obliged to delete the image because (1) the terms of the license have been broken by not naming the author and (2) the lack of a Flickr page address means that the licensing cannot be verified.
  • Images will be transferred to Commons from other projects, then be deleted from the source project. An issue with the Commons image will later be found, which requires checking of license or image description on the source project—this can not easily be done with the image deleted.
  • Users will occasionally claim that the licensing of images has been falsely or erroneously changed during the transfer to Commons. The only practical way to judge such claims is to review the deleted image pages for licensing, as well as if there was a change of licensing on the home wiki before transfer, which may be the cause of the dispute.
  • Users will occasionally claim that images are falsely or erroneously claimed to have been transferred when they are actually entirely different. The only practical way to judge such claims is to look at the deleted local image and visually compare it to the Commons image to see if they are identical.
  • Users attempting to get images on Commons speedily deleted will occasionally claim that the image was already speedy deleted on a local wiki, which is unverifiable without looking at the deleted local page.

Commons administrators have dealt with the need to evaluate deleted image pages on multiple wikis in a number of ways:

  1. Becoming administrators on other wikis and projects.
  2. Asking stewards to grant temporary adminship on other wikis, which potentially may feel like an infringement of the local community. The steward policy is silent on if this is a legitimate use of the tools, in particular when users who are both Commons admins and stewards give themselves temporary adminship on other wikis.
  3. Asking for help from local administrators, who are usually friends contacted on a case by case basis.

All of these are inefficient and unreasonably burdensome, and discourage checkup work which Commons administrators should be doing. An initial survey on Commons' administrators' noticeboard as to whether this potential feature was worth pursuing prompted unanimous support.


Wikimedia Commons administrators with unified and global accounts should have it, either automatically or with a separate global user group granted by stewards.


Merely reviewing deleted images on local wikis will not leave local traces there. "Stepping on the toes" of local administrators will not happen, but unnecessary bureaucracy and delay will be avoided to improve efficiency.

Users with global deleted image review rightsEdit