Blue check.png This page is not an official Wikimedia policy. It constitutes the guidelines for user and operator conduct on the #wikimedia-commons IRC channel. Since the IRC channel constitutes an ever-changing community, these guidelines should change from time to time to reflect the current attitudes and wishes of the members of the IRC channel. As with all (official or unofficial) Wikimedia processes, community input on these guidelines is both welcomed and expected.
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#wikimedia-commonsconnect is the Wikimedia Commons central IRC channel. In addition to Commons users who frequent the channel, #wikimedia-commons is also visited by newbies and by people who are looking for the foundation or other projects. Users from many other Wikimedia projects, along with users from totally different projects can also be frequently found on the channel.

The channel is a multi-lingual channel and discussions may be conducted in any language. There is no expectation or requirement that you use English, though if you're seeking assistance, you may find that asking in English reduces the time it takes for someone to respond to you.

In summaryEdit

#wikimedia-commons is the first port of call for many who come to IRC for help or information on the Wikimedia Commons repository and media files on our sister projects, and this should always be borne in mind. It's important to think of the impression you might give a newcomer as you chat. While the channel endeavours to be fairly relaxed, there are limits. These limits are largely "common sense", but it is easy for discussions to get heated; if they do, the channel operators may need to step in to resolve things. Remember that these ops are only volunteers, and are simply trying to keep things on-topic and to stop the atmosphere within the channel and on the project itself becoming toxic. We're all here for the same reason and we should all remember this.

Channel guidelinesEdit

#wikimedia-commons is, first and foremost, a Wikimedia Commons related channel. Discussion there should be relevant to Commons in some way.

Illegal materialEdit

Wikimedia Commons, as one of the largest repositories for free content on the internet can, from time to time, play host to material which is illegal. The most common illegal material is material which violates copyright, which administrators will happily remove when asked. It is ONLY ever acceptable to link to copyright material when requesting deletion of such material or when attempting to determine the copyright status of the material. We also ask that you don't share links to repositories of illegal material.

Graphic content of any sort which you believe to be illegal in either your local jurisdiction, that of the uploader or that of the Wikimedia Foundation MUST NEVER be shared via the IRC channel. You MUST report this content (in private) to the Wikimedia Foundation's Legal team via e-mail

Graphic contentEdit

Wikimedia Commons contains material of a graphic nature, which can cause upset to viewers. Users are expected to use their judgement about when it is and isn't appropriate to link to such material, and to warn users about the nature of the material when linking to it. We expect all users to be sensitive and to accord any graphic images the respect they deserve.

General rulesEdit

#wikimedia-commons does not permit public logging. It's acceptable to save logs of channel discussion for your own purposes, do not publish them. That said, participants in IRC should note that channel logs are sometimes published without consent; do not say things that you would be uncomfortable having made public.

In addition to the above rules on graphic content, users must not:

  • Insult others
  • Swear excessively
  • Canvass for votes in RFA/RFB, DRV, etc.
  • Plan or incite actions against Wikimedians, trolls, vandals, Wikimedia critics, or anybody
  • "Out" others by publishing personal information about them
  • Extensively discuss private matters or subjects unrelated to Wikimedia
  • Make graphic descriptions, solicitations, or promotions of sexuality, violence, or illegal drugs
  • Spam links or the same phrases repeatedly into the channel, either all at once or over time
  • Operate bots without receiving permission from the channel contacts.
  • Operate bots that publicly log the channel
  • Publish logs of the channel

These guidelines are not exhaustive. Please use common sense when using these channels.


If you need help from an administrator, checkuser, or oversighter, it's best to first ask if one is available. If no one replies and the request is urgent, you may type !admin@commons. If the request is not urgent, you should either wait for someone to reply, or make your request through another medium (generally on-wiki or via email). Under no circumstances should you post any material needing to be oversighted into the channel.

Similarly, if you need urgent help from a channel operator (generally in the case of a very disruptive user), type !ops in the channel where the issue is occurring or join #wikimedia-ops to discuss the issue more discreetly.

These "stalkwords" should be used with care—using one when the issue is not urgent is frowned upon.


For a list of channel operators, see IRC/wikimedia-commons/Operators

The channel operators ("ops") are experienced members of the Wikimedia Commons community and IRC channels who are known to be level-headed, reliable and trustworthy. The majority of channel operators in the Wikimedia Commons channel are administrators on the project and new channel operators will normally only be drawn from the administrator user group.

Channel operators have the ability to take various actions involved in the maintenance of the channel. The ops are expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct on IRC and follow certain guidelines, which can be seen at IRC/wikipedia/Channel operator guidelines. We generally expect the channel operators to be catalysts for good behaviour and to endeavour to keep the discussion within the channel generally relevant to the purpose of Wikimedia Commons. We accept the purpose of Commons will result in wide ranging, disparate discussion and that the channel will never be 'on-topic' in the same way as some of the more specific IRC channels.

As with all Wikimedia IRC channels, ultimate responsibility lies with the group contacts. However, on a day-to-day basis, the accessmod level users have responsibility for managing the op team that, in turn, manages the channel. All concerns should be directed to them.

The purpose of the channelsEdit

The functions of the channels are:

  • To be the front lobby of Wikimedia Commons' IRC presence
  • To be a helpline for Wikimedia Commons and for media file and related issues with other projects
  • To provide admin help for users of Wikimedia Commons and other projects
  • To be a "reference desk" for help with finding media on Wikimedia Commons and other sources of freely licensed content
  • For discussion about and collaboration on articles and content across all Wikimedia projects
  • For general discussion about Wikimedia Commons and freely licensed content
  • To provide help and advice, to the extent we can, about copyright and licencing matters

Please note that we are not qualified to provide legal advice and it remains the responsibility of those uploading, downloading or otherwise making use of media files to ensure they comply with relevant legislation in their own jurisdiction and any other relevant jurisdictions. Users in the channel will provide help and advice where we can.

Talking in the channelsEdit

The channels are often lively and there may be several discussions at once. It may look confusing to unaccustomed eyes, but don't worry about it—simply go ahead and ask your question. If the channel seems to be deserted, ask your question anyway, and somebody should be along shortly. The topic of the channel, which should be displayed when you join, is well worth reading. It may contain useful information or even the answer to your question.

The tone in the channels is usually anywhere between relaxed and academic. Try to tune your language to the register you would use between colleagues at the office, not in your living room or when addressing a public assembly. Consider that people in the channels are of many different ages and from many different places, and have different language skills. Bear in mind that although IRC is an immediate medium, it doesn't transmit facial expressions and tones of voice, therefore subtle irony, cynicism and humor are likely to be misinterpreted. Consider this both when writing and when reading. Although English is the most often-used and -understood language in #wikimedia-commons, there is no "official" language of the channel.

If you find somebody too annoying, rather than trying to fight it out, make use of the "/ignore" command (if your IRC client supports it) to hide their messages from your channel window. If somebody appears unwilling to talk to you, it's best to leave them alone. Channel operators are expected to refrain from ignoring anybody in the channel, as they may then be unaware of any action required of them.