Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year & how about commons promotional of the year?

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I always recommend voting for the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year and perusing past winners. I see it as an all-too-rare instance of structured peer-produced cultural relevance, even if nearly all candidates are still images. The first round is difficult to vote in. There are so many stunning and useful images. Fortunately in the first round you can vote for as many as you wish, so no need to be particularly careful. This year’s first round concludes April 10. Go vote. If you haven’t edited a Wikimedia site, it’s not hard to do so a bit so as to qualify to vote next year.

I found it interesting that one of the 9 moving image candidates is basically a 3 minute ad (voting page) for 0 A.D., a free-as-in-freedom game.

There should be a contest to select the best promotional material for any free work. This could usefully encourage such material, further promote the promoted works, and filter out non-promoted works, all in the interest of creating free cultural relevance and working toward real competition with the marketing and distribution engines of proprietary industry.


There are all kinds of smaller competitions and related projects on Wikimedia Commons. If the Picture of the Year candidates have too much emphasis on “stunning” and too little on “encyclopedic” for your taste, the recent European Science Photo Competition might be more to taste.


Round 2 (final) voting is open through May 28.

So many great images. I’m tired!


Results: Pluto won/Pluto #1.


English Wikipedia Signpost has an op-ed on the Commons Picture of the Year contest which makes some good points:

  • The voters are not photography experts (most definitely this includes me), leading to rather flawed winners. This could be fixed by having the second round be judged by an expert jury.
  • Many entries are by people who don’t regularly contribute to Wikimedia projects, perhaps a missed opportunity to highlight their work and strengthen the movement. It’s fantastic that non-“Wikimedians” are uploading or even just freely licensing elsewhere high quality images, but perhaps the POTY contest could also be used to highlight Wikimedian contributions.

I’ve been somewhat aware of both issues. The first, just in realizing I’m completely unqualified to have an opinion about which of the entries is better than the rest: nearly all look amazing to me. In part to compensate for this, I try to vote in a way that might favor engaged contributors, though I hadn’t thought of it in that way: I do not vote for any image with explicit copyright notice and attribution instructions (I assume photographers attaching those are primarily engaged in self-promotion and likely to be litigious) and I try to vote for images that are “encyclopedic” rather than just stunning. In any case I would enjoy seeing tweaks to the Commons POTY contest which addressed these issues.