Encyclographia (blog)

  • Wikipedia: No original research

    After receiving that message from the Wikipedia editor who was policing articles for problematic content/images, I’ve become curious about how the parameters of “no original research” (and “original research” in general) relates to visual content. For written content, the ability to cite reliable, published sources that are directly related to the topic of the article, and directly support the material being presented is a requisite that meets the standard of “no original research”.

    Serving the purpose of encyclopedic content, can images/visual content be cited? Can they be neutral? Can they be verified?

    The images included in Wikipedia articles are for the most part:

    • photographs scanned/photographed/otherwise extracted from original source
    • photographs taken directly by Wikipedia editors
    • illustrations scanned/photographed/otherwise extracted from original source
    • photographs/scans of paintings
    • charts/diagrams/graphs/maps, scanned/photographed/otherwise extracted from original source/composed according to data that can be traced to existing sources (THIS is where I can understand visual content containing “no original research”, as these forms are most often derived from existing data points)

    Below are the image guidelines as outlined on the Wikimedia Commons upload page:


    (The use of the word “created” is problematic, as they evidently value visual content of a documentary and/or photographic nature. Hoping to photographically punk Wikipedia (without the use of photo manipulation) sooner rather than later.)



    “You can upload your original works”, my ass. And exactly how does this conclusion align with that Wikipedia editor’s assessment of my content as problematic because it “[violates] WP: no original research”?

    I’ll tell you how:  The original images uploaded by Wikipedia editors to bridge the gap of free + available visual content are not considered original research as long as they do not illustrate or introduce unpublished ideas or arguments. But if I’m generating my visual content according to these cited, verified, and published articles, how am I introducing unpublished ideas or arguments?