The WordPress Photo Directory is taking off, growing to more than 1,400 approved free photos in under two months. After a successful call for testers and volunteer photo moderators, the directory has an enthusiastic team of contributors ready to move the project forward.
Angela Jin’s pitch for photo moderators resonated with a lot of people for a couple reasons – it outlined an approachable time commitment (1-2 hrs/wk) and didn’t require any special skills beyond appreciation of photography:
Photo Directory Moderators can expect to spend 1-2 hours in coming weeks learning about the Photo Directory and current moderation tools, and discussing future best practices. To keep the Photo Directory a thriving resource, Moderators are needed for the foreseeable future, perhaps dedicating up to an hour of their time each week.
Nearly two dozen people responded to this call. It was a good strategy for building a wide base of contributors instead of depending on a smaller team that would be required to devote more hours.
This week Jin formalized the new contributor group, announcing the Photo Directory as a new WordPress Make team. Collaboration is now happening at the new #photos channel in WordPress Slack and the team will begin publishing at make.wordpress.org/photos. They will be working on two handbooks – a public one and a private one that will outline processes for moderators handling topics like curation and inappropriate content.
There has been some confusion about the difference between the WordPress Photo Directory and the Openverse project, which indexes 600 million Creative Commons licensed and public domain image and audio files. Openverse pulls from many different sources, and the WordPress Photo Directory is a new source that will be included with all images licensed under the CC0 license.
Automattic-sponsored Openverse contributor Zack Krida explained the difference between the WordPress Photo Directory and Openverse:
The WordPress Photo Directory is both a new curated source of free, high-quality photographs and a new submission tool for Openverse, powered by the WordPress community. Without it, you’d need to use Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, or other sources to submit your work to Openverse.
Another way to contribute to the Photo Directory is by submitting photos. I am quite fond of making steel-cut oats for breakfast, so I decided to test out the submission process with a photograph of my oatmeal. The process is simple and takes less than a minute once you have already selected the image you want submit. Pending photographs are listed in a table after you submit, and the moderation queue for each account is limited to five at this time.
I was surprised by one of the agreements before sending my photograph: “Photo must not contain any human faces.” The guidelines state that submissions cannot contain faces of people at this time for legal reasons. Hopefully, this limitation is being worked out before launch, because the directory needs faces to have the best chance at becoming a world class resource for free images.
No attribution is required for CC0 photos, but it would be nice to have an easy way to copy attribution info and credit the photographer with a link back to the individual photo listing. This would also be helpful for furthering adoption of the photo directory, with links back coming from around the web. I filed a meta trac ticket requesting the feature, as it looks like this is the best way to request an addition to the directory’s roadmap.
The Photo Directory has so much momentum right now and offers a good opportunity to contribute back to the WordPress world without having to know how to code. Meetings have not yet started for the project, but contributors can jump in on the new Slack channel and subscribe to the new Photo Directory blog on the Make network once it launches.