My uploads to Wikimedia Commons have been flagged for deletion, and I am in the midst of defending them to the administrator who flagged them. I think I'm honoured to be doing this with this particular admin, P199, who speaks English, French, Dutch, Tagalog, and German, and who has been a part of Wikimedia for 15 years. That's about three lifetimes in internet years.
Here is our exchange so far:
"Commons talk:Deletion requests/Files uploaded by Whythealgarve
Hi. I am quite new at this, as is obvious, so I am not sure if this is the way to join or start the discussion. Some of my contributions have been flagged for deletion,and I would like to respond to that. I can't find any info about which uploads or why, so I will say this about the images: every ingredient that went into making them was found in the Commons under a CC0 or CCBY, or at least eligible for remix, redistribution, and commercial applications. In the description of each, I have given the contributor's username. If needed, I can provide URLs. If the objection is about style of presentation or the admissibility of "artistic" works, I am open to discussion. Thanks. - Justus — Preceding unsigned comment added by Whythealgarve (talk • contribs) 22:32, 14 February 2021 (UTC)
In this case, it doesn't matter that each image was properly attributed, because they fall outside the scope of Commons. Your artwork has no educational purpose or value over the original photos that are already on Commons. See COM:PS. Regards, --P 1 9 9 ✉ 01:42, 15 February 2021 (UTC)P199 -
Thank you for the quick response. I believe that these images do have educational value over the original photos. To start with, though, it's necessary to distinguish between the black and white versions and the textured/filled versions. I am happy to concede that the textured/filled versions might cross the line into artwork and so may not be eligible. I could argue that the choice of texture is a commentary on the individual depicted, making it a kind of satire. Is satire and political commentary a fit subject for education? I think so. I will be the first to admit, though, that this argument is a little weak.
As regards the black and white versions, I believe they have even more educational value than the textured versions, and also have value over the original photos. To begin with, they are value-added, in the sense that some time and skill went into their preparation. I did not simply use a Posterized filter and call it done.
Second, they are valuable within a Visual Arts educational context. One of my express goals when creating these pieces is to make something that is useful for remixing and inclusion in artwork/graphic design. I would argue that one of the major applications of the images in Wikimedia Commons is as ingredients in artistic endeavours. Collage and composition artists need images that have been deemed public domain or at least free of copyright restrictions. Wikimedia is a great resource for this. It's one of the main reasons I sought it out in the first place.
Third, these images have value within a Political educational context. If, e.g., a grade 7 teacher is teaching American politics to their students, and asks them to make a poster about it, or a multimedia presentation, or whatever along these lines, the images I create in this stencil style are potential pre-made ingredients for such efforts. They are strong, simple, and punchy, and allow the student to make a visual statement quickly.
Fourth, they are valuable as a resource for a variety of media and communication spaces. By this, I mean blogs, vlogs, magazine articles, newspaper articles, even talk shows. Anyone who needs to throw up a graphic while they talk about something could use these images in some form. If the goal of these communications is to educate and inform, then anything used to further that goal is also educational.
We live in a world of symbols, icons, and avatars. These images are an attempt to portray these individuals in an iconic and symbolic way. By reducing these photos to the simplest possible representation - two colours with no gradients - they are transformed into iconic, textual shapes. They can perform the same function as a letter or symbol or wing ding.
I recognize that the textured versions of my uploads are less defensible (although a little defensible), and so if this is a sticking point I am happy to delete those versions and replace them with the black and white versions only.
I look forward to your thoughts on the matter.
I think I defended the work quite well. We will see what P199 thinks.
***Edit Feb 21:
I uploaded two more images to Wikimedia Commons yesterday, and they got slapped with deletion flags right away. This time by Ytoyoda. I think I posted the above in the wrong place, so I reposted everything along with a new response. Here is the new exchange:
File:Rush Limbaugh - High Tension Fire.jpg
File:Ted Cruz Dreams of Cancun.jpg
Hello again. :-)
I see that two more of my uploads have been flagged for deletion. See my points above, although those points do not apply to "Ted Cruz Dreams of Cancun." Regarding that image, I would love some feedback about Wikimedia Commons' policy/attitude about images constructed for political or social commentary. I did look through various Scope articles, but didn't see anything specific to the topic. Could you point me in the right direction, please?
I've noticed that there do exist images in Wikimedia Commons that have been created for commentary reasons, usually with an artistic flair. If you like, I can dig up a few examples that fit this description, including such images as caricatures.
I will also note here that two of these images have been used in online articles: https://creativedestructionmedia.com/news/politics/2021/02/13/impeach-mcconnell-full-federal-investigation-required/ and https://medium.com/ruminato/lindsey-graham-scolds-mitch-mcconnell-after-second-trump-acquittal-5713395a17a0 As mentioned in my previous post/edit, this is one of the applications that gives these graphics educational value.
I am more than happy to discuss all this further. If this is not the place to do it, and I should be discussing elsewhere, please let me know.