FANDOM


  • This post aims to give you some more context on why Fandom is introducing file page redirects for anonymous users (announced in today’s Tech Update). Our goal is to make search engine improvements for the content you create across Fandom and to give logged-out readers a more straightforward, satisfying experience.

    As you probably know, Google not only pays attention to what is on a page, but also to how it’s presented. It looks for user-friendly pages that are easy to navigate on mobile and tends to rank these higher. The vast majority of traffic to your wikis comes from Google searches, so Fandom’s team is constantly working on making sure the great content you create is valued by Google and not falsely categorized as “low quality” for structural reasons. Late last year, we made an update to how category pages look for that same reason.

    File pages (those with URLs ending in …fandom.com/wiki/File:) are vital elements of a wiki community, used frequently by editors and play an important role on the wiki. For casual readers, however - and those make up the vast majority of people visiting your wiki - they are confusing. Visitors who land on a file page often end their visit right there because they find little information that’s meaningful to them. That’s why Google thinks file pages are “low quality” pages and doesn’t like to show them in search results. To make matters worse, this can have a negative effect of Google’s evaluation of a wiki’s content as a whole, and result in article pages being ranked lower as well.

    We figured, redirecting anonymous users (which includes Google bots) from file pages to the corresponding article pages, where they can see files in context, might help solve both of these problems. We ran multiple tests to confirm this hypothesis. In the spring of this year, we tested file page redirects for several weeks on ten larger communities such as the Harry Potter Wiki and the Pokémon Wiki and indeed found that it increased the wikis’ visibility on Google overall. As we found no negative consequences, we expanded our test in September to 100 communities on many different topics, and were once again satisfied by the results.

    An important point about changes we make for the sake of search engine optimization is that they’re not always about directly boosting traffic. Often, they’re about fortifying ourselves against future Google algorithm changes and making sure search engines continue to view our wikis as high-quality content sites.

    That’s why we will be redirecting logged-out users on all Fandom communities to the first article page a file was used on instead of showing them the file page itself, starting tomorrow. That way, they will see context and additional information, and have a better opportunity to discover more of the great content you created. At the same time, it ensures that Google’s bots don’t get hung up on what they perceive to be “low quality” file pages.

    Logged-in users are not affected by this change. The vast majority of traffic even from logged-out users falls on content pages, not file pages, so even among anonymous users, few should notice anything changed.

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    • As mentioned in the TU, the "first page" is the first/oldest still existing page the image was added to, not (necessarily) the page at the top of the list of uses on the file page.

      I've got another question - does using images in maintenance notices negatively impact this part of search engine algorythms?

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    • Can you be more specific about what the “first” page a file is used on is considered to be? It is literally the very first page a given image was ever added to, the first Wiki that appears alphabetically in Special:WhatLinksHere as a file link, or the most high-traffic page a given file is used on?

      3fast Tupka xD

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    • Just to clarify (since I personally found Tupka217's wording a bit confusing), it is the first page the image was added to; not the oldest page the image was added two. The difference being that one criteria is concerned with when the image was added and the other is concerned with when the page was created. At least, that is my understanding from what was said in the other thread.

      Here are my questions:

      What about pages that use to have the image? I am assuming they are ignored like deleted pages but that has yet to actually be stated.

      I am assuming images in infoboxes count. Working with that assumption, if the image is not the first tab in an infobox image gallery, will the tab be auto-selected when the redirect occurs or will users have to find the correct tab themselves?

      Is there a way for anons to override the redirect behavior? For the wiki I admin, a lot of our images show up in Google's image search. If a user is following the link from an image search, I would imagine they are indeed interested in the image itself. On a related note, how would this change impact Google's indexing of the images themselves?

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    • Andrewds1021 wrote:

      (since I personally found Tupka217's wording a bit confusing)
      

      That's what happens when you add caveats later for completeness' sake. New attempt: the first page it is added to. If that's been deleted, the next page it's been added to. If the image is unused, it redirects to main page.

      The list of page uses on a file page, as well as the list in WhatLinksHere, is based on the order of page creation, not image addition, so that's not relevant.

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    • Exactly, thanks, Tupka.

      @Andrewds1021: If pages used to have an image, but don't have one now, they're not relevant in this particular case. A file page won't redirect to a page that doesn't actually have that image on it - unless the image isn't on any pages, in which case it redirects to the main page.

      To your question about images used on an infobox tab: That's a good one, I don't actually know. Let me ask the devs and get back to you!

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    • Similarly, what happens if an image is included in an infoboxe's section tag or tabber? So, I guess my previous question could be amended to ask about tabs in general, not just infobox image galleries.

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    • will registered users be able 2 specify that in their preferences?

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    • F039A6C4 wrote: will registered users be able 2 specify that in their preferences?

      This won't apply at all to registered users.

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    • Andrewds1021 wrote: Similarly, what happens if an image is included in an infoboxe's section tag or tabber? So, I guess my previous question could be amended to ask about tabs in general, not just infobox image galleries.

      Ok, so for tabs in general, the correct tab won't be selected when an anon user gets redirected. They get redirected to the page URL, by the page loads its default setup (first tab showing). There's no alternate URL for specific tabs, so that's the best we can do. The few anon users who will go through this use case will have to find the image on the page by looking for it.

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    • Okay, thanks for the answer. That being said, I know for a fact that it could be done for top-level Tabber tabs. I don't recall when it was but I remember you guys turning the Tabber tags into anchors some while ago; and it appears to still be the case. Of course, it may not be worth the effort to put that in as I am pretty sure it only works for Tabber and only top-level tabs (i.e. won't work with nested tabs).

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    • It could probably be done, yes - but it's not worth the extra effort, given what a small number of people would be impacted.

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    • So this new behavior seems to violate the spirit of some licensing (not being able to see info about the source, the license, and any additional credits), if not exactly the exact wording. I don't think you can see any licensing info in the lightbox.

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    • I hadn't even thought of that. Here are two observations that I don't think have been mentioned yet.

      1. The image name displayed by the lightbox becomes regular text instead of a link to the file page.
      2. Clicking the info icon in the lower right of the image (which links to the file page) seems to always take you to the lightbox on the homepage even if the image is used on a page.

      To answer my own question, it doesn't look like there is a way for anons by bypass the redirect. At least, there is nothing obvious and the "?redirect=no" that MediaWiki uses for redirect pages also doesn't work. Anons can still, however, access the image on vignette via the same links registered users would.

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    • The image on vignette has no licensing info or credits... so maybe licenses are actually being directly violated, not just in spirit.

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    • 452

      Ah, I had been wondering why people were complaining of downloaded images being broken.

      Exactly how are anon users supposed to be able to download the original version of the file?

      If they click "See full size image", they aren't taken to "&format=original", they are taken to your shitty webp version, which saves as a .jpg or .png, and they are told it is corrupt if they try to open it on their computer.

      Here's an idea: when you display an image recompressed as a webp, simply don't LIE about what type of file it is. It you're going to convert it to webp, then show .webp instead of .jpg!


      Mira Laime wrote:

      [...]we tested file page redirects for several weeks[...]

      [...]we found no negative consequences[...]

      Several weeks? In less than 1 week, someone told me an image they downloaded was corrupted.

      Now that I know what is going on, I've thought about this for several minutes, and come up with a list of negative consequences.

      • Anon users have no convenient way to download a usable image.
      • Anon users have no convenient way to download the original image.
      • Anon users have no convenient way to see the page history.
      • Anon users have no convenient way to see the file upload history.
      • Anon users cannot see previous file versions at all.
      • Anon users have no convenient way to see where else a file is used.
      • Anon users have no convenient way to access the file talk page.
      • Anon users have no convenient way to add a delete template to a file page.
      • When redirected to an article after clicking a used file, there is no indication that a redirect has taken place, no "redirected from file". An anon user will have no idea why they were taken to that page, and will think they clicked the wrong link.
      • When redirected to an article after clicking a used image, there is no lightbox displayed, and the user has to hunt through the page to find the image they were looking for.
      • If an image is formatted in the article as [[File:Image.jpg|link=File:Image.jpg]], (EDIT: and is only used in that 1 article) then clicking that link just refreshes the article, and does not show the lightbox, so the anon user has no convenient way to see a larger version of the image. (Edit: if the image linked that way is used in multiple articles, then it will take them directly to the other article instead of opening the lightbox)

      This may be the first time I've agreed with something Andrewds1021 has said, but simply allowing "?redirect=no", and using it in a "see file page" link in the lightbox, would fix the majority of these. (And if you don't want Google to index the "?redirect=no" File page, there's "noindex, nofollow" to do that.)

      The other 2 can be fixed by ALWAYS showing the lightbox popup when redirected, and not only for unused images.


      edit: And exactly how the FLYING EXPLETIVE are anon users supposed to view/download PDFs now?

      Or did you forget AGAIN that other files exist which are not images?


      Edit: Also: File:Anon_users_CAN_see_the_image_licence.png

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    • Well, if they don't have a way to get the licensing, perhaps it is a good thing they can't (easily) get usable images. That being said, I think making it impossible for them to see the file page is going a bit too far.

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    • To add on to 452's list of oversights: If a wiki has made any effort to organize its images, say by categorizing them according to their subject or origin, then that organization becomes largely useless to readers who aren't logged in. See for instance the convenient link provided at w:c:harrypotter:Harry_Potter#Appearances, which sends readers to a category of 2,898 images of the Harry Potter character. How are readers supposed to take advantage of this? As of last November, the thumbnails within the category are so small as to be worthless, and now readers potentially need to scour the dozens of articles that they're redirected to just to see what the tiny thumbnails are supposed to be of. It's actually the images that aren't used in any articles that are the easiest to access, because those are at least opened in a lightbox on the main page (example).

      Some way of overriding the redirection would be appreciated, or if not that then force all image redirects to open in a lightbox, even those displayed in content pages.

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    • Tupka217 wrote:

      F039A6C4 wrote: will registered users be able 2 specify that in their preferences?

      This won't apply at all to registered users.

      why

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    • F039A6C4 wrote:

      Tupka217 wrote:

      F039A6C4 wrote: will registered users be able 2 specify that in their preferences?

      This won't apply at all to registered users.

      why

      Why would you want to set this behavior for you the same as for anonymous users? It seems to be worse in every way and is only implemented as a necessary evil.

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    • Evil, yes... necessary... debatable.

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    • Please disable IP's being revealed for anonymous users.

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    • PigLoverGoComics wrote:

      Please disable IP's being revealed for anonymous users.

      This is the wrong place for this request. Try "Contact us".

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    • For anyone who cares about this IP thing, see this separate thread.

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    • Andrewds1021 wrote: To answer my own question, it doesn't look like there is a way for anons by bypass the redirect. At least, there is nothing obvious and the "?redirect=no" that MediaWiki uses for redirect pages also doesn't work. Anons can still, however, access the image on vignette via the same links registered users would.

      For those very rare anons that really do want to see the file page, for whatever reason, they can log in. Someone who knows what a file page is and why they need to see it is likely savvy enough to figure that out (and indeed we've not had complaints during the months that we tested this). There is still going to be the odd user who is negatively impacted, by this, yes. That's a price we decided is worth paying in order to get the SEO improvements.

      It's entirely possible that there are still bugs to iron out, and the issue with downloaded files that you can't open sounds like one. We'll have to look into this.

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    • Heh, I am a Content Moderator(tropico.fandom) and no longer can simply right-click to open an image in a new tab to get to the 'File:' page. Instead I am given a image displayed. Nothing in preferences for me to check off. Must be one of those glitches to iron out, but I'll probable just find another means until the gamepedia merger is finished in 2022, shrug.

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    • Jade Emperor wrote: Heh, I am a Content Moderator(tropico.fandom) and no longer can simply right-click to open an image in a new tab to get to the 'File:' page. Instead I am given a image displayed. Nothing in preferences for me to check off. Must be one of those glitches to iron out, but I'll probable just find another means until the gamepedia merger is finished in 2022, shrug.

      If you're logged in, that sounds like a bug, have you tried to contact Fandom Staff about it? (since there's no preference, it just shouldn't redirect you from the file page if you're logged in.)

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    • Sophiedp wrote:

      Jade Emperor wrote: Heh, I am a Content Moderator(tropico.fandom) and no longer can simply right-click to open an image in a new tab to get to the 'File:' page. Instead I am given a image displayed. Nothing in preferences for me to check off. Must be one of those glitches to iron out, but I'll probable just find another means until the gamepedia merger is finished in 2022, shrug.

      If you're logged in, that sounds like a bug, have you tried to contact Fandom Staff about it? (since there's no preference, it just shouldn't redirect you from the file page if you're logged in.)

      I am sure they tested the changes and it works exactly as they intended; so authorities in this thread states. Not wasting my time filing in a form when I just reported my issue to the authorities in #25.

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    • Jade Emperor wrote:

      Sophiedp wrote:

      Jade Emperor wrote: Heh, I am a Content Moderator(tropico.fandom) and no longer can simply right-click to open an image in a new tab to get to the 'File:' page. Instead I am given a image displayed. Nothing in preferences for me to check off. Must be one of those glitches to iron out, but I'll probable just find another means until the gamepedia merger is finished in 2022, shrug.

      If you're logged in, that sounds like a bug, have you tried to contact Fandom Staff about it? (since there's no preference, it just shouldn't redirect you from the file page if you're logged in.)

      I am sure they tested the changes and it works exactly as they intended; so authorities in this thread states. Not wasting my time filing in a form when I just reported my issue to the authorities in #25.

      Mira also says that "It's entirely possible that there are still bugs to iron out" in the reply right above yours.

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    • Sophiedp wrote:

      Jade Emperor wrote:

      Sophiedp wrote:

      Jade Emperor wrote: Heh, I am a Content Moderator(tropico.fandom) and no longer can simply right-click to open an image in a new tab to get to the 'File:' page. Instead I am given a image displayed. Nothing in preferences for me to check off. Must be one of those glitches to iron out, but I'll probable just find another means until the gamepedia merger is finished in 2022, shrug.

      If you're logged in, that sounds like a bug, have you tried to contact Fandom Staff about it? (since there's no preference, it just shouldn't redirect you from the file page if you're logged in.)

      I am sure they tested the changes and it works exactly as they intended; so authorities in this thread states. Not wasting my time filing in a form when I just reported my issue to the authorities in #25.

      Mira also says that "It's entirely possible that there are still bugs to iron out" in the reply right above yours.

      lol, Its their server time and bandwidth to waste on an extra page serve. Interim solution seems to be left click and select the 'File:' page from there using right click> new tab.

      imo, Only real justification for this change was Google Bot page hit count. Unregistered permissions can handle any vandalism issues. Still, no way of curbing image theft until they implement no right clicking for the UU which is just 'kids-at-play' easy to circumnavigate. Yep, Fandom needs to make the service pay-to-play private; Im deaf so shout as much as you like, it is mostly a joke too.

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    • 452

      Mira Laime wrote:

      [...]we found no negative consequences[...]

      Mira Laime wrote:

      There is still going to be the odd user who is negatively impacted, by this, yes.
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    • For the sake of SEO I think this change will outweigh the negatives considering tech savvy anons (such as myself) know how to manipulate the URL i.e. add ?redirect=no to see the file. Anons coming in from Google who don't know what URL queries are, never mind MediaWiki ones, should be fine. Although I do agree with 452's suggestion with noindexing a file link with the ?redirect=no

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    • Mira Laime wrote: For those very rare anons that really do want to see the file page, for whatever reason, they can log in. Someone who knows what a file page is and why they need to see it is likely savvy enough to figure that out (and indeed we've not had complaints during the months that we tested this). There is still going to be the odd user who is negatively impacted, by this, yes. That's a price we decided is worth paying in order to get the SEO improvements.

      It's entirely possible that there are still bugs to iron out, and the issue with downloaded files that you can't open sounds like one. We'll have to look into this.

      Perhaps, this was already thought about. Indeed, most anonymous users would primarily be readers and not dig so far to know these savvy stuff. It should be kept in mind, though, that anonymous users can still be prolific editors. Not every wiki has anonymous editing disabled, so it's entirely possible for users to become savvy enough to be contributors without identity.

      They could sign up, but it would not be too wise to force users to create an account. Some users likely didn't create an account for a reason, whether it's from necessity or personal reasons. I don't think the choice should be swept away to regain important permissions like viewing the file pages. That's my opinion, at least.

      452 wrote:
      If an image is formatted in the article as [[File:Image.jpg|link=File:Image.jpg]], then clicking that link just refreshes the article, and does not show the lightbox, so the anon user has no convenient way to see a larger version of the image.

      I tested this with a non-existent image. I'm taken to the wiki's home page, but the lightbox (not sure that's the name) displays. Supposedly, the lightbox will only appear if an image link is non-existent. Perhaps, an image linking to a page should then be viewable at a bigger size if the redirect will lead to the current destination. Good catch.

      Fandyllic wrote: So this new behavior seems to violate the spirit of some licensing (not being able to see info about the source, the license, and any additional credits), if not exactly the exact wording. I don't think you can see any licensing info in the lightbox.

      You can. See this image as an anonymous user and hover over the file title to display the licensing info.

      Anonymous users will basically see the image as described on the file page. You can add more info to tell anonymous users more, like on this Steven Universe image. The biggest question is how to make it look prettier to anons. Hmm.

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    • Cheeseskates;

      Have you tried to copy and paste relevant info for a complete citation from the overlay popup? I'm thinking the net effect is going to increase frustration for Image gallery surfers, who are simply looking for something to put on their 'website'. Frustration means more likely to not properly cite the images used.

      Just takes a 'right click > open in new tab' to get the full sized image, then the frustration start for the ethically minded individual.

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    • Jade Emperor wrote: ... no longer can simply right-click to open an image in a new tab to get to the 'File:' page. Instead I am given a image displayed. Nothing in preferences for me to check off.

      I sort of understand this problem. There are two scenarios:

      1. A file page for the image does not exist. Left-clicking the image would do nothing.
      2. A file page does exist, but you're clicking "open image in a new tab" instead of "open link in a new tab", which is what leads to the file page than the image page. An alternative is hovering over the image and clicking the (i) symbol, which takes you to the file page.

      Hope this helps!


      Have you tried to copy and paste relevant info for a complete citation from the overlay popup?

      > I'm not sure what you mean here. You can copy-paste the text displayed in the overlay.

      I'm thinking the net effect is going to increase frustration for Image gallery surfers, who are simply looking for something to put on their 'website'.

      > I would personally use sites like Imgur or Shutterstock.

      Frustration means more likely to not properly cite the images used.

      > Indeed, it's good not to frustrate users too much. In my experience, the mere requirement to always search for licenses for images has convinced me to only use sites with free licensing, which itself was difficult to find. Though biased from experience, I think image gallery surfers who are concerned about citation or licensing would take the extra care to cite their sources properly. Since my above link is of images under CC-BY-SA and Fair use respectively ordered, all the surfer has to do is give the same proper attribution.

      Just takes a 'right click > open in new tab' to get the full sized image, then the frustration start for the ethically minded individual.

      I'm not sure what you mean. You can right-click and open the image in a new tab. You save the image, and you go to the origin tab to copy-paste the overlay details/licensing for citation. You could also copy the details first and then save the image without frustrations amounting moreso than if you weren't an anonymous user. If I misunderstood, let me know.

      As of now, though, I'm not seeing much issues with the experience received by image gallery surfers searching things for their own website. It's difficult and tedious to comply with licensing and citation on any website, so complying people would already understand the work needed. Even then, the solution is simple or can be replicated better by sites like Imgur or Shutterstock, which intend to be image hosts. Fandom does have things that could be improved or are misguided, but they have done many things right that are yet to be considered so.

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    • From fandom.com/licensing page, "Non-text media on FANDOM should not be assumed to be available under the same license as the text. Please view the media description page for details about the license of any specific media file."

      Do you now see the greater issue, fandom is requiring registering to view the licensing. Sure there is some info on that overlay, but not the entire media description page.

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    • 452

      You do NOT have to register to view the licensing information:

      I do not understand why everyone is acting as if the image license is unavailable for anons.

      It's right there.

      There are many other valid problems, but everyone seems hung up on this one thing which is a non-issue.

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    • Hmm, can mediawiki take legal action and prevent Fandom from using their software if found that they are violating the spirit of the software license?

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    • Mediawiki is free and open source... "spirit" is not a concept defined in any legal or, well, any, way.

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    • I don't click on images often, so I could be mistaken. However, this doesn't seem like new behavior to me. You should still be able to get to teh file page by hovering over the image and clicking the info icon that appears in the lower-right corner of the image.


      I had some comments for the Jade Emperor-452-Cheeseskates discussion but they all seem to have been mentioned eventually somewhere in the long exchange.

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    • Tupka217 wrote: Mediawiki is free and open source... "spirit" is not a concept defined in any legal or, well, any, way.

      Mediawiki license [1] includes this clause "No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits. "

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    • Fandom's forked MediaWiki is on GitHub. The relevant parts have a similar license to the original, I think. So they don't apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits. That sentence does not mean what you think it means.

      Mediawiki has innate features that restrict editing and restrict reading for logged out users. Anons not being able to view an image license except through an extra step... how?!

      Also, fix your link.

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    • Cheeseskates wrote:

      You can. See this image as an anonymous user and hover over the file title to display the licensing info.

      Anonymous users will basically see the image as described on the file page. You can add more info to tell anonymous users more, like on this Steven Universe image. The biggest question is how to make it look prettier to anons. Hmm.

      Well, this is a good thing, but still there should be a better way for anons to see licensing info... like a (?) button or something.

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    • Oh the right click behaviors have changed for me as a registered user with Content Moderator privaleges so I gather they are working on the issues.

      Thanks to whomever is fixing it. -may be a while before it filters down to other wiki, I'll check back tomorrow.

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    • Vengir wrote:

      F039A6C4 wrote:

      Tupka217 wrote:

      F039A6C4 wrote: will registered users be able 2 specify that in their preferences?

      This won't apply at all to registered users.

      why

      Why would you want to set this behavior for you the same as for anonymous users? It seems to be worse in every way and is only implemented as a necessary evil.

      why, u ask? well just 2 try it out since i HATE logging out of fandom

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    • That seems like a rather frivolous reason to add a user preference.

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    • A FANDOM user
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