Grants talk:IdeaLab/Encourage profile photos

Add discussion
Active discussions


During the course of my online experience, I have found that having pictures of women on forums mostly serves to promote an atmosphere of attention-seeking by some women and eventual fawning (intentional or not) by men. Yes, I know many of us are mature people here, but everyone knows the stories of the men posing as women so they can get ahead in a game or, worse, as a woman, having a photo demanded of her so I can be compared to other women and evaluated on a factor that has no relevance to my intelligence or talents. Pictures could upend a relatively level ground. I don't think that women would suddenly flock to Wiki to sign up to become editors if selfies were part of the equation, and I imagine there are a number of us that prefer to retain our privacy. Wikipedia is not Facebook or Pinterest, it is a repository of information. Perhaps graphic avatars or caricatures could be used instead, if people are truly in favor of having faces. LovelyLillith (talk) 01:30, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for providing some feedback. I don't see "attention-seeking" and "fawning" as problems stemming from the user icons on other sites which have profile images such as Github, Dropbox, or Wikimedia's own phabricator. Perhaps because these sites are also "not Facebook or Pinterest". Wikipedia's harassment policy is already in place against anyone who might harasses users to upload an avatar. If profile images were to be a major problem on Wikimedia sites, we'd have already seen the issues, as users have been uploading their own picture for the last decade. The proposal is to make this process easier and less problematic.
Of course caricatures could be used instead of photos. The idea is to allow users to have more expressiveness, not to add more restrictions. Perhaps Wikimedia could hold a competition to encourage the creation of freely-licensed generic avatars for anyone to pick from in order to make finding an alternative easier. Pengo (talk) 19:41, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

Working for the common goodEdit

The flip side of "working for the common good" is working for personal gain, i.e. to earn money; profile photos don't have anything to do with that. If we want to alter this, we should pay editors, and that's been shot down many times. As regards profile photos, though, being able to take down photos of yourself makes sense, but we should also make it clearer that copyrighting your picture is an option if you want to just upload it to Wikipedia (it is, isn't it? Commons is the site that requires everything to be free (well, and a handful of other wikis, but not all of them)). And perhaps the user page policy could be summarised in a more accessible form (it seems that Wikipedia has a bad habit of being TLDR where possible). LovelyLillith makes good points as well, and I know I'd never agree to post pictures of myself because one gets a better "picture" of me from what I do than from what I "am". Finally, I don't care for the choice of websites for comparison, as they serve very different purposes and should remain fundamentally different. Ekips39 (talk) 06:14, 24 March 2015 (UTC)


  • Strongly Oppose – I understand that you want to help, but this is definitely not the answer. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia which attempts to synthesize and summarize the world's knowledge. This is not a social networking website, nor should it be treated as such. This is a collaborative, global project with people of all backgrounds working together in order to develop an encyclopedia which could rival all others. The User Pages already suffice as personal spaces for users to express themselves however they please, including (but not limited to) the posting of a profile image. People are not restricted against writing a short autobiography about themselves on their User Pages. There is no need to enforce people to start uploading photos of themselves, which would only detract from the relative anonymity Wikipedia offers and mandate a profiling of users which could easily be used as a basis for discrimination. People are less likely to become the victims of discrimination if there is no knowledge about how they look or what their background is. Forcing users to reveal this is a breach in anonymity and would only exacerbate the problem, not resolve it. If this Idea is accepted, I would honestly leave Wikipedia. –Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 08:10, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm sorry I didn't make it clear that a profile image would be optional, just like every other website which uses profile images, including Wikimedia's own phabricator. In no way should there be any suggestion that Wikipedia "enforce people [...] start uploading photos of themselves". The title of the idea is "Encourage profile photos" not "Enforce profile photos". Pengo (talk) 19:10, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
I apologize if I have misunderstood you. If profile images would be optional, however, I'm confused as to how your proposal would meaningfully change Wikipedia. Do you intend to have it so that Wikipedia has an integrated profile image uploader and/or profile builder on one's User Page, which could either be ignored (perhaps a tutorial which could be skipped?) or which does not need to be fully filled out? If you could expand, elaborate, and elucidate on your goals, it may help me better understand how it would impact Wikipedia in a meaningful and positive way. In doing so, I may change my stance from opposition to ambivalent commentary or even support. The reason why I assumed that you meant a requirement is because even though your Idea is couched in non-enforcing language, if it could be called that, I don't see how your suggestions in its current iteration could meaningfully impact Wikipedia if it wasn't forced. Sorry about that. –Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 15:14, 28 March 2015‎
Return to "IdeaLab/Encourage profile photos" page.