Star Trek Expanded Universe:Image use policy

USS Enterprise Command Pin.png This page is part of Star Trek Expanded Universe: Policies and guidelines.
Please read this to familiarize yourself with our common practices and rules. If you have questions, suggestions, or complaints, post them on the talk page.

This page outlines rules and guidelines applying to the use of images on Star Trek Expanded Universe. While not absolute, it is expected that these rules be observed unless there is good cause for ignoring them.

  1. Obey our copyright policy when uploading images.
  2. Use the image description page to describe an image and its copyright rules.
  3. Use a clear, detailed title for the file. An obscure name like "qua_047.jpg" won't help anyone!
  4. Remember that an uploaded image will replace any file already under that name.
  5. Edit (crop) the images to show only the necessary information.
  6. Don't include watermarks or text in the image. This includes copyright notices, which belong in the text of the image description page.
  7. Use the JPEG/JPG format for photographic images, and PNG or GIF for diagrams and other low-contrast images.
  8. Keep the size of static image files below 150 kilobytes.

Remember that this is not an image gallery! Wikia has a finite amount of disk space and bandwidth available, and that space would be best used for adding more articles. The old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" is quite literally true, considering average file sizes for images. Please upload images solely for the purpose of illustration. Generally, no more than one or two images should be used in an article. More images are acceptable for long articles, but they should not overcrowd the article.

Describing images

When creating an image, it is important to include text to describe the content of the image. This can be done by editing the [[File:]] page text. In all cases, the images should be accompanied by a specific note with:

  • Credit for the original author of the image or other media file (if the file is a fan-created work) including a link where the original author may be contacted, or
  • the original source of the image or other media file (if the file is derived from an official Star Trek work, e.g. screenshots and sound bytes).

You must also include:

  • whether the file is uploaded to STEU with express permission of the author, or under fair use rules, and
  • the source of the file, being a specific episode, movie, book, other official work, a website, or any other medium. (Note, do not redlink such sources. Use an [external link] to the source, if possible.)

Adding the appropriate descriptions on the File: page not only ensures that we remain compliant with copyright rules, but also provides more practical information for anyone who may want to use an image in the future.

Editing images

To replace an image with an edited version, use the upload file page, and make sure that your file has the same name as the one that you want to replace. When converting an image to another file format, the (end of) the image name changes, hence one gets a separate image description page.

Deleting images

  1. Contact the person who uploaded the image, telling them of your concerns. You may be able to resolve the issue at this point.
  2. Remove all uses of the image from articles - make it an orphan.
  3. Add one of these notices to the image description page
  4. List the image on one of these links:
  5. The image can then be deleted after a week in the normal way - see our deletion policy.

To actually delete an image after following the above procedure, you must be an administrator. To do so, go to the image description page and click the (del) link. Do not click the Delete this page link, as this will delete the image description page but leave the image intact. To delete the image talk page (if any), you can use the Delete this page link as usual.

Image titles

Before uploading an image, please check whether there are already images of the subject. Then decide whether your image should replace one (in each article that uses it) or be additional. In the first case, give it exactly the same name, otherwise a suitable other name.

Using the same name

Using the name of an already existing image means replacing that image. You may use the same name in the case of a different image that replaces the old one, and also if you make an improved version of the same image - perhaps a scanned image that you scanned again with a better quality scanner, or you used a better way of reducing the original in scale - then upload it with the same title as the old one. This allows people to easily compare the two images, and avoids the need to delete images or change articles. However, this is not possible if the format is changed, since then at least the extension part of the name has to be changed.

Using a new name

Using a new name means creating a new file. Suitable names are descriptive titles that are useful in identifying the image. An image of the USS Enterprise could simply be called "enterprise.png", for example, but quite likely more images of the Enterprise will exist. In this case, it is good to be more specific, e.g. "uss_enterprise_(ncc-1701-d)_in_orbit.png".

As a rule of thumb, the name of any new image you upload should start with the article title of the object or person it shows. If there's more than one object or person, choose the most important one. After that title, you might want to add a (very short) description, or a qualifier such as a year, the abbreviation of a title, etc.

Avoid special characters in filenames or excessively long filenames, as that might make it difficult for some users to download the files. Note that names are case sensitive: "enterprise.PNG" is different from "enterprise.png". For uniformity, file names should consist of lower-case letters only.

Renaming images

Renaming images could be done through the move feature. This process is the same as moving an article.


Use the following guidelines to determine what file format should be used for your images:

  • Drawings, icons, political maps, flags and other such images (basically those with large, simple, and continuous blocks of color) should be in PNG or GIF format.
  • Photos and photo-like maps should be in JPEG format.

Generally, if you have a good image that is in the wrong format, convert it to the correct format before uploading. However, if you find a map, flag, etc. in JPEG format, only convert it to PNG if this reduces the file size without causing artifacts.

Try to avoid cropping or otherwise editing JPEGs too frequently — each edit creates more loss of quality. If you can find an original of a photograph in 16-bit or 24-bit PNG or TIFF, edit that, and save as JPEG before you upload.

It is not recommended to use animated GIFs to display multiple photos. The method is not suitable for printing and is not user-friendly. (Users cannot save individual images and have to wait before being able to view images while other images cycle around.)


There are many technical hints in this section that some people may not have the tools or expertise to deal with themselves. If, for example, you find a great image that needs to be cropped, resized, or recoded and you don't know how to do that, ask an admin or someone on the forums to do it for you.

Scale and crop images to a size appropriate for the article. Keep in mind that many browsers still use 800x600 displays; images wider than 200-300 pixels may overwhelm the article. Larger images take more time to download over slow links. Likewise, images smaller than 100 pixels wide may be difficult for users of larger displays to see. An optimum size for images with text flowing around them would be 200 pixels. Images without text on the side can be wider.

Images appearing in sidebars should be resized to a width of exactly 200 pixels; larger images stretch the sidebar while smaller ones leave an unused border. Don't put all images in a sidebar. Floating images are preferred. (See Help:Displaying images for the available syntax.)

It is not necessary that images be the exact size as they are to be displayed in the article. The MediaWiki software resizes images so that thumbnails of larger images are displayed in the articles themselves, and links to the full-size image are automatically generated.

In terms of image file size, also bear in mind that not everyone has a broadband internet connection. A considerable number of people have 56kbps modems or connections slower than that. Images stored in an article should generally be kept below 50 kilobytes in size, and 35 kilobytes or smaller is even better. Larger images are okay to use as a link, but please warn people that the image is larger.

See also: Help:Displaying images

Revision history of articles containing images

Old versions of articles do not show corresponding old versions of images, but the latest ones, unless the file names of the images have changed.