Everyday thousands of pictures get deleted from Commons because they are not public domain yet (any picture of recent architecture in France, for instance). Most of these pictures are probably lost forever, as the contributors are unlikely to store them safely and try again 30 years later.
Instead of deleting them, these pictures should be put in a "dark archive" with a reconsideration date. Picture of the dark archive can not be seen by anyone (except probably a few trusted Wikimedia employees), only metadata can be seen (description, categories, copyright status, reconsideration date, file size), some of this metadata can be edited. In some cases a low-quality thumbnail might be legal. -- Syced (talk) 07:50, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Open questions from comment below: (T120454#2106676)
- Does this require a search feature for deleted images, to prevent reuploads? (Or comparing the [[ Secure_Hash_Algorithm | SHA ]], but that would have to exactly the same image?)
- Can/Should we add a feature to automatically undelete, when an image becomes legal? (e.g. copyright expiration after e.g. 70 years after death of author)
- Currently such categories in Commons exist, but work is done manually. See subcats of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Undeletion_requests (Plus copyright laws might change in the meantime due to legislation - which might be an argument for keeping it manual.)
- Wondering: Are there more ways to hide images (the media itself), e.g. via "oversight" instead of deletion?
- Stakeholders potentially involved here: Discovery team, Multimedia team, WMF-Legal team.
This card tracks a proposal from the 2015 Community Wishlist Survey: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/2015_Community_Wishlist_Survey/Commons#Dark_archive
This proposal received 52 support votes, and was ranked #13 out of 107 proposals.