Monday, June 27, 2011

Portraits on Wikipedia

Part of the "We got your Wiki Back" project.

A large part of what makes a Wiki page engaging is the use of pictures on the page.  By profession I am a portrait photographer (I specialize in people who don't want their pictures taken, usually the very young and the old and cranky).  Portraits on Wikipedia fits right into that skill set. 

Lets just go to the category American Skeptics for a quick look at how we are doing with photographing our spokes people.  Remember you can access this page by just going to a skeptic's page, scroll down to the bottom of the page and under Categories you should see this link.  If you don't see the link then it probably needs to be added and you can see my other blog on how to add that.  At the moment we only have 93 people listed on this page, something tells me we are a bit behind. See this blog about how to add a category.

Looking over this list I'm really surprised how many I've "tagged" with my pictures.  Some are the main image, others are somewhere else in the page like Hal Bidlack "relaxing" on the stage at TAM8 while some nameless "psychic" tries to discover who is missing a kidney.  (there is no accident that she is missing from this picture as well as her name in this blog) Same picture and reference is on Derek Colanduno's page. 

Brian Dunning, Harriett Hall and several others have pictures from the IIG 10th anniversary party up where they received awards for their contributions.  When I do this kind of post I'm able to link back to the IIG page for a bit more publicity.  They are also mentioned on the IIG page.  We are small fish in the ocean that is Wikipedia, we need to use our resources (each other) to become mainstream and linking to each other is a way to do that.

George Hrab has a great picture of him wearing a balloon hat.  Mark Edward took my camera away from me when we were at the Drinking Skeptically party at TAM7 and snapped it.  Tim Farley is the person who wrote this page and asked if I might have any images of Hrab, I searched my library and found this one.  In fact I think this was one of the first I've posted.  Again a plug for the JREF with this picture reference.

I've talked about Yau-Man Chan's picture in another blog, but want to mention it again.  This man is famous for his ping-pong skills and his two Survivor shows.  Only in our little world is he known as a skeptic. But now someone who might be looking him up for other reasons is going to come across this adorable picture with the JREF Pigasus.  Another hit for the JREF.  And someday when SkeptiCalCon gets enough notoriety this will link to their page with free publicity.

Here's an interesting image that I uploaded for Power Balance Bracelet, it was taken during the test done by Dominique Dawes and IIG.   I hyperlinked to the IIG under the picture and also in the article itself. I know people are clicking on the hyperlink because I am watching the IIG's "stats" page and can see where the hits come from.  You might notice on Dawes page that there is also a reference to the IIG and Power Balance that I left there some months ago.

Ray Hyman, Barry Beyerstein, James Alcock and Wallace Sampson all get linked together through this picture and it gets a quick mention of the Skeptic's Toolbox as well.  (The toolbox is in very bad need of a page, I just haven't managed to get to it yet). Most of these men are in bad need of a new picture for their site, so don't wait for me.  Barry's daughter is going to upload some images for me someday soon and I'll post them when she does. 

Several are missing pictures, Dr. Dean Edell and Elizabeth Loftus are just a couple.  Then again I'm sure Roger Ebert is wishing he didn't have a picture up, check this out?  Is there an award for worst Wiki portrait? 

The Robert Lancaster picture has a funny story behind it.  When I'm going out with my camera I usually have a picture goal I'm hoping to get.  At TAM6 I had heard that RSL was going to be attending, and I'm a big fan of his site.  My photo goal for TAM6 was to get a picture of me shaking his hand.  My friend Paulina Mejia took this image, you can't see me because when Tim Farley wrote Robert's page he asked me if I had a picture, I cropped out my mug and this is what we were left with.  The photo was taken pre-stroke.

Here's a great example of guerrilla skepticism on Harold Camping's page.  I managed to put up a picture of the IIG at the rapture party on May 21, 2011. (click on the image to read the signs) And a great quote from American Atheists while I was at it.  Use your resources.

Michael Stackpole's portrait is linked to the Dragon Con page more publicity for a skeptical event, good job.

Here is one that needs a new portrait, Greg Epstein 

And now a list of people who are missing their profile picture.
Claude Allegre, Farrell Till, George Abell, Isidor SauersRobert Sheaffer, Stanislaw Burzynski, Andrew Weil, Stephen Barrett, Bart Bok, Chris French, Drauzio Varella. Eddie Tabash, James Oberg, Jerome Clark, Kendrick Frazier, Linda Howe, Michael Goudeau, Sanal Edamaruku, Sherwin Nuland, Phillp Klass, Dean Radin, Robert Priddy, Victor Stenger, Curtis Peebles, Donna KossyGerald Glaskin, Terence Hines.

James Moseley Not sure about this guy, I found him on the Rational Skepticism Project Page, I'm sure someone will let me know. 

Really sad pages here, I had to take a look at them again as I linked them to Wikipedia, and we really have our work cut out for us.  This list is long, but the list of people missing are even longer.  Please, if you know of people to add to this list let me know here and then others can see and help out.

How to post a picture on a site.  It isn't as easy as you might think, you don't just upload it from somewhere on the Internet.

First you have to open an account on WikiCommons.  Then you go to the "upload" page.  Follow the instructions and hopefully you will be left with a .jpg file that can be stored for someone writing a page, or for you to upload that very minute.

It will ask you for categories, I'm not sure how to find these categories, so I just start typing in the word skeptic and it usually gives me several choices.  I "add" all that pertain to the person.

How to actually edit a picture onto a Wikipedia site.  Place your courser on the WP page you want the picture to appear.

Select the 5th image from the left side of this image.  (The rectangle photo)

A box will appear.  In the "Insert File" you are going to place the file name of the image that was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

In the lower box is where you write your caption.

When done the edit may look like this below.  You can see that the | is in-between each area.  You do not have to have the picture size in your edit.

If you want your image to appear on the left or center side of the WP page, you can add the word, "left" or "center" to this edit.  Make sure you have a | before and after the word.

[[Image:Four Founding IIG.jpg|thumb|250px|Four founding members of the IIG, James Underdown, Brian Hart, Milton Timmons & Sherri Andrews, celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the IIG, August 21, 2010]]

The 250px is where you change the size of the picture.  Play around with different numbers in here and keep hitting "preview" on the page you are inserting the picture in.  Look at what the result is and see if you should raise or lower that number.   This writing is the name of your uploaded picture. Four Founding IIG.jpg Do not change anything, otherwise your image will not load. 

This writing Four founding members of the IIG, James Underdown, Brian Hart, Milton Timmons & Sherri Andrews, celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the IIG, August 21, 2010 is what you want to appear under the image.  You can [[ hyperlink ]] to other Wiki pages even in this area.  Which is what I have done on several pictures I referenced above.  See Ya-Man's picture with Pigasus.

I have quite a few pictures just sitting in the Common's area waiting for a page to be made.  This TAM9 I'm photographing everybody separately for their future Wiki picture, you never know who will need it next.  

Get Shooting!

p.s. Here is my Wiki Commons page with all the pictures I've uploaded.


  1. ohhhh get the camera out for TAM!

  2. Yes Anon, we could have a swarm of Wikipedia photographers out to get "the" shot. Look out anyone who is already on Wiki, better look spiffy all the time. Wear the outfit that makes your eyes sparkle. Cause I'm not shy and I will "get you".

  3. There may be more to one's portrait choice than you might expect... I would suggest that Ebert's 'worst Wiki photo' is probably one he is happy with, considering that he lost his lower jaw to cancer?

    He has mentioned how he finds his post-cancer appearance somewhat distressing and has recently sought a prosthesis:

  4. Well that is news to me.

    Still portraits are not usually chosen by the page holder.

    I'm sure Ebert has millions taken of him over the years, and no one said it has to be a current picture.

  5. Robert Sheaffer just uploaded an image of Phillip Klass. What an improvement of that page. Thanks Robert!

  6. Kendrick Frazier now has a page re-write with awesome images.