Grants:IdeaLab/Cameras for Commons photographers

status: idea
Cameras for Commons photographers
idea creator:
project contact:
Provide a limited number of high quality compact or entry level DSLR cameras to Commons contributors who cannot afford them.
created on: 05:55, 15 July 2013

Project idea edit

On Commons there are some contributors who create valuable images that would be of higher quality if they had better cameras. I have noticed this issue especially with contributions from photographers who live in less prosperous parts of the world. To encourage them to continue contributing to Commons and to increase the quality of the contributions that they can provide, I propose a grant program, "Cameras for Commons photographers", that will grant one camera on a bimonthly basis to a Commons contributor who has a good track record and who cannot reasonably afford a better camera. The selection will be made by the Commons community.

If grants are awarded quarterly for an entire year I believe that the total annual cost of this program to WMF will be in the range of $2000-$3000 plus shipping and labor, depending on the frequency of the grants and the budgets requested from grantees. This is a relatively low cost program and I think it will be welcomed enthusiastically by the Commons community. In addition to benefiting Commons, it will indirectly benefit other Wikimedia projects that reuse Commons photographs.

For the pilot phase of the project I suggest that one camera be granted on alternate months for the first six months, meaning 3 cameras during that time period. If successful then the project can continue to distribute camera grants on a quarterly basis, so 5 would be distributed in the first year. The first 6 months with 3 grants would cost approximately $1800 plus labor and shipping.

Project goals edit

The quality, and hopefully the number, of photographs contributed to Commons from diverse parts of the world will increase. This serves the strategic goals of Increasing participation, Improving quality, and Increasing reach.

Project plan edit

Scope edit

See "Project idea" above

Detailed procedures and conditions edit

When a camera grant is available an announcement will be made at Equipment exchange, nominations can be made, and the Commons community will vote on who gets the camera for that quarter. The choice of camera will be discussed between the grantee and the Wikimedia Foundation. Generally the camera will be in the US$300-$600 price range. If the camera is at the lower end of the budgeted range then the remaining funds may be used to purchase accessories.

Conditions of the grant include

  1. All images taken with the camera for Commons will be uploaded at the highest size and quality available.
  2. Grantees promise to continue to contribute to Commons for at least six more months or to return the camera to WMF for a giveaway in a future quarter if the grantee's circumstances change.
  3. All photos uploaded to Commons must be uploaded with a CC-BY license.
  4. Grantees must have been active on Commons or another Wikimedia project for each of the previous six months before they apply for a camera grant. Someone who is active for a year then becomes inactive for a month must become active again for six months before applying for a camera grant.
  5. Grantees will actively nominate their uploads for Valued, Quality, or Featured status on Commons as appropriate
  6. Grantees will write reports that describe the number, quality, diversity, and encyclopedic value of their contributions. These reports will be published on Meta and reviewed by WMF. Reports will be made monthly for the first 3 months and an additional report must be completed at 6 months.
  7. After 6 months each grantee must inform WMF if they want to keep the camera and continue to file reports every 3 months. If reports are not completed or if the grantee no longer wants to participate then the camera and any accessories purchased with the grant must be returned to WMF for re-granting.
  8. Any lost, stolen, or damaged equipment must be replaced by the grantee, or the grantee will become ineligible for future camera grants and must return any remaining equipment to WMF immediately. Loss or damage that is covered by the warranty of the camera such as a defective shutter, and loss or damage that is beyond the reasonable control of a grantee such as damage from a surprise flood, will be viewed with more understanding than losses caused by theft or negligence. Grantees are responsible for the care and custody of the granted equipment.
  9. Shipping to and from the grantee will be always be paid by WMF. Any shipping for warranty repairs will be paid by WMF if not covered by the manufacturer or seller. Shipping for repairs due to damage caused by grantee negligence must be paid by the grantee in addition to the cost of the repairs, or the grantee must return the camera and all granted equipment to WMF at WMF's expense and the grantee will not receive a replacement.
  10. These camera grants will not partially pay for equipment that exceeds the $600 cap such as a high-end camera or lens.

Tools, technologies, and techniques edit

High-end compact or low-end DSLR or mirrorless cameras. Examples may be found at


Budget for the first 6 months edit

$600 per grant x 3 grants, plus shipping and labor

Total amount requested: $2100 plus shipping and labor edit

Budget breakdown edit

  • $600 per chosen recipient for camera and accessories
  • + shipping
  • + insurance
  • + import duties
  • Maximum combined amount of $700 per shipment

Intended impact edit

  • Increase the number and frequency of Commons contributions from grantees and those who want to become grantees
  • Increase the diversity of Commons contributions from grantees and those who want to become grantees
  • Increase the quality of Commons contributions from grantees and those who want to become grantees
  • Increase the value of Commons content to Wikipedia and other projects

Target audience edit

Commons photographers, Commons downloaders, and other Wikimedia projects that use images from Commons

Fit with strategy edit

This grant serves the strategic goals of Increasing participation, Improving quality, and Increasing reach.

Sustainability edit

  • Cameras distributed should continue to work long after the evaluation period has ended.
  • Cameras that are no longer used can be returned to WMF for re-distribution.

Measures of success for the first 6 months edit

  • 3 grants are distributed based on consensus of the Commons community to eligible Commons participants
  • At least 300 images taken with these cameras will be uploaded to Commons with the required quality and licensing. However, quality and diversity are more important than quantity.
  • At least 30 images taken from these cameras will receive Valued, Quality, or Featured status on Commons or other wikis within the first 9 months.
  • Grantees will actively nominate their images for Valued, Quality, or Featured status on Commons.
  • Equipment is not lost, stolen, or damaged while being shipped.
  • Equipment loss, damage, or theft while the equipment is under the control of grantees is kept to a reasonable level.
  • Grantees complete reports that explain how they used their grants and account for their outcomes.

Participant(s) edit

Discussion edit

Community Notification: edit

Please paste a link to where the relevant communities have been notified of this proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions, here.

Endorsements: edit

Do you think this project should be funded? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. Other feedback, questions or concerns from community members are also highly valued, but please post them on the talk page of this proposal.

  • Community member: add your name and rationale here.
  • This is a low risk Commons focused project, being easily measurable as all uploaded photographs could have a project credit template tracking back to the unique bit of kit used. There have been similar projects coordinated by chapters, it would be great to empower a lightweight group of interested volunteers outside of the chapter system and with no need to pay for the overheads of employees, lawyers and accountants, to help with small equipment grants like this where individual proposals would be bureaucratic and unnecessary. -- (talk) 10:43, 5 May 2014 (UTC)
  • A great project that I'd be happy to get involved with. Got some other ideas as well that might be useful for down the track. Russavia (talk) 03:35, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Really good. WM CH is going to finance a similar internal proposal. It's going to finance a photographer with 200.000 uploads considering that the IT equipment may improve the quality. Anyway take care that photographers may already have camera, what they miss is the lens because really expensive. --Ilario (talk) 13:21, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

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