Topic on Talk:Wikimedia Search Platform

Non-free images in search results

Sdkb (talkcontribs)

@MPham (WMF), there was recently some discussion on en-WP about whether or not to allow non-free images in search results. Many editors were hesitant because of concern that it might be valid under fair use rules. I recently got input from WMF Legal that it is extremely likely that this would be acceptable fair use, which makes me inclined to reopen the discussion. Before I do so, I wanted to check with you, as the product lead for search, to see whether you have any thoughts about this topic that we should know going into the discussion. Cheers,

Sdkb (talkcontribs)

@MPham (WMF), I plan to launch the discussion later today. If you're intending to get back to me but just haven't had a chance feel free to lmk and I can postpone. Also pinging @CBogen (WMF) as I'm not 100% sure who the best point person is. Cheers,

MPham (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks for reaching out. I was out of office and am only getting to these messages now. I saw that you moved ahead with reopening the discussion, so thanks for moving this along! For future reference, @Sannita (WMF) has been a good point person for funneling relevant information to the right people.

Sdkb (talkcontribs)

Thanks, @MPham (WMF)! As I mentioned in the comment where I pinged you, I'm curious if there is any research or documentation about why the team added images overall to search results in the new search format. I think it'd be helpful context to link to that, as some editors seem to be describing them as merely "decorative", which to my understanding misses the fact that good images can help make search results easier to parse, making them a navigational aid. You're also welcome to comment directly in the discussion there.

CBogen (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hi @Sdkb, thanks for this question! This is the project page for the Search Improvements project -- the thumbnails were part of the Round 1 mockups at the bottom of the page. This is the phabricator ticket that describes the thumbnail work specifically - it says that "thumbnails can provide a visual anchor on a text heavy page and assist in locating an article". We did user research that shows that images were very important to users when navigating search results. Like you said, it makes search results easier to parse and offers a navigational aid. I hope this helps!

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