Proposal:Get another CMS for Commons

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The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

This proposal is associated with the bolded strategic priorities below.

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Ensure that the underlying project infrastructure is secure, stable, and sufficient to guarantee the permanence of the projects and support ongoing growth.
  5. Encourage Innovation.

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Requests and KB per data type on Commons main page

Wikimedia Commons is the free media archive of all the Wikimedia projects. It is, like all (I think...) other Wikimedia projects, run by the MediaWiki software, developed by the Wikimedia Foundation. While this software might be suitable for multi-author collaboration on text, its support of images can be described as, at best, basic. Many missing features have been added by user-made JavaScript which results in a lot of JavaScript being served with the pages. The graph shows KB and requests per data type for the Commons main page as an anonymous user.


The Wikimedia Foundations needs to acquire (buy or develop) a software which supports image hosting better than the MediaWiki software. Other image hosting services, such as Flickr or Picasa, are much more advanced than what we have to offer. The new software should include key features like

  • Tags to replace the current category system and make searching easier and more efficient
  • License rights management, meaning that not everyone should be able to change the licensing of an image. There are very strict rules which license can be changed into which other license and by whom. The current system does not account for this and many image pages have in the past been vandalized or had their license changed. This results in a huge mess when other users derive works from images with wrong license. All those works need to be relicensed once the disallowed license change is discovered.
  • Album support allowing users to create albums with their favorite images and share them with the community (similar to the Book feature on text projects).
  • Contribution overview to get thumbnails of a user's uploaded images. Currently this is only possible via an external tool on the toolserver.
  • Metadata support to allow searching and sorting by them.
  • Advanced search engine to allow searching for images with specific licensing/author/dominant colour/date etc.
  • Better visibility of comments or what is currently stored on talk pages. Those are rarely found by inexperienced editors and rarely read by the average editor.
  • Batch uploading to allow users to upload a lot of images at once. Currently this is only possible by running external tools on the uploader's computer.
  • Localization for templates and the like. Current template localization on Commons depends on a bug in the MediaWiki software and will break completely once this is fixed.

This software should, of course, be able to interface with MediaWiki so that the images can be used in MediaWiki projects like they are now. The above features are only a view ways in which current image hosting products are superior to Commons and where we should improve. Adding these features into MediaWiki would mean removing the focus from collaborative editing of text; I am not sure whether this is the way we want to go.


Commons is currently mainly powered by JavaScript and not by the actual software running on the server. This is not what web applications should be like; the major part of processing should be done by the web server and JavaScript should only be used to add dynamic content which does not require interaction with the web server (or loading stuff via AJAX). Right now the web server does only the basic processing because the software is incapable of doing all the things which are required for convenient image hosting.

Key Questions

  • Should this functionality be integrated into MediaWiki or rather a different software be used?
  • Does such a software already exist and is it Open Source? What would it take to make it compatible to MediaWiki?
  • Does the Wikimedia Foundation have the ressources to fund development of such a software, if neccessary?

Potential Costs

  • Developer costs for software creation or modification.
  • Possibly increased costs for hosting as this software might consume more processing power than MediaWiki.


Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Get another CMS for Commons.

Want to work on this proposal?

  1. .. Sign your name here!