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Notification: Your file was used
Open, HighPublic


Proposed in Community-Wishlist-Survey-2016. Received 45 support votes, and ranked #27 out of 265 proposals. View full proposal with discussion and votes here.

Also proposed in German-Community-Wishlist'15 and was ranked #12. Task is here T143002

Some general and up-to-date developer details are at

Questions and problems to consider

(please add more questions or any answers here, or comment in the discussion below.)

  1. Single image opt-out. Example use-cases...
    • "I've uploaded a flag image, and it is used as an icon in thousands of places" - I.e. I don't want to be spammed thousands of times.
    • "I've merely cropped/rotated an existing image, and am not interested in following it" - I.e. I don't want to be spammed for hundreds of images that I've merely fixed/tweaked.
    • "I've uploaded a new version of a file, and the original version was subsequently deleted" - I.e. (clarification needed)
  2. Who to notify:
    1. only the uploader of the original version.
    2. only the uploader(s) of the original version, and of the current version.
    3. All uploaders of the file.
    4. All uploaders who were not just reverting to an earlier version

Old task description - updates are needed


As a user, I want to know if know if my file was used in an article, so I can see how it was used -- and feel good that my work is useful.

Acceptance Criteria

We want to let users know if a file they uploaded (or overwrite.

To that end, we need to do the following:

  • Check the Global File Usage API to see if a file I uploaded has been used recently
  • If a file has been used since the user's last file notification, show a file notification (e.g. '<file name="">was used by <username>on '), on the web (and via email if the user has email notifications enabled)</page></username></file>
  • We would leverage the Echo notifications infrastructure to make this happen
  • The proposed specsfor this new notification are listed in the Echo section below, as well as on the Echo Feature Requirements page.
  • We would also use Echo's bundling feature to make sure we don't flood the user with too many notifications in a row for the same file (same as what we did for Page Link notification bundling)

Design Notes & Mockups

This is a very rough mockup from our Echo tool, in case you're not familiar with this project.

The actual text and icon of the notification will be different, as specified on this card.

Screen_Shot_2014-02-06_at_3.38.05_PM.png (301×515 px, 64 KB)


  • Use the Global File Usage API to trigger each notification
  • Look up all users who uploaded or edited a file that was just used
  • Use the Echo extension to show/send notifications to those users
  • Bundle the notifications if multiple pages use this file within the same 4-hour period

Echo Specs

This notification occurs when a media file you uploaded or edited is used on a page:

Golden-crowned sparrow close-up was used by Smallbones on <Bird Migration> at English Wikipedia.

or, if the file was added to multiple pages since the last notification, bundle additional notifications as so:

Golden-crowned sparrow close-up was used on Bird Migration and 2 other pages at German Wikivoyage.

Here are some key attributes for this notification:

  • Trigger: User edit (on a page that now uses your file) > as reported by Global File Usage extension
  • Main Link: page that uses your file (if only one page)
  • Secondary Link: Commons file info page's File Usage section (ideally shown in Media Viewer, with meta-data panel open)
  • Payload: None
  • Frequency: Medium
  • Priority: High (positive)
  • Category: Media files
  • Flyout Summary: [icon]Golden-crowned sparrow close-upwas used bySmallboneson <Bird Migration>.
  • All-notifications Summary: [icon] <golden-crowned close-up="" sparrow=""> was used by ~~ on **.</bird></smallbones></golden-crowned>
  • Email Subject 1: Your file was used on Wikipedia
  • Email Summary: <golden-crowned close-up="" sparrow=""> was used by ~~ on **. <view page="">.</view></bird></smallbones></golden-crowned>
  • Web preference default: Enabled for all users
  • Email preference default: Enabled for all users
  • Web bundling: Enabled
  • Email bundling: Enabled
  • Dismiss feature: Enabled (web-only)
  • Metrics group: Positive
  • Metrics type: "file-use"

Special requirements: This notification will only be shown/sent to users on Commons -- as cross-wiki notifications do not currently work. It would be ideal if it could be sent to all users who uploaded or edited a particular file (not just to the uploader, who may no longer be active).

New category: Note that we need to create a new category called 'Media files' in Notification settings , so that users can enable or disable these types of notifications.

New icons: We will also need to create a new icon for 'Media files' in Icons and types , so that file notifications can be distinguished from others (if necessary, we could re-use the 'cross-reference' link icon, but a cool 'media' icon would make these notifications stand out more.)

New metric type: We also will need to add a new Metrics type to our schema: "file-use" -- as well as update notification dashboards for Commons, so we can track the usage of this notification.

(Old task description, above)

Event Timeline

MingleTerminator raised the priority of this task from to High.Dec 8 2014, 4:27 PM
In mingle on 2014-02-07 at 13:53:24, @Pginer-WMF wrote:

Need ‘media file’ icon for file notifications.

In mingle on 2014-02-07 at 13:54:25, @Pginer-WMF wrote:

General question: Do we want to communicate differently about different kinds of files?

a point to consider: many users upload files, and then link them across the wiki, no one wants to be pinged about his own actions.

Thank you @Quiddity for adding me here! Since my suggestion on the wiki was auto-archived after several weeks with no response, I assumed the idea had 'sunk like a stone'. So, I'm very glad to see it's not just a valid idea but one that is being actively worked on!

One thing I would add to the suggestions above is that we ALSO need to know what wiki the file was used on. Because these notifications are on Commons, it's possible that many different wikis might be using the file.

So, for example:
[icon] Golden-crowned sparrow close-up was used by Smallbones on <Bird Migration>.

Should say:
[icon] Golden-crowned sparrow close-up was used by Smallbones on <Bird Migration> on English Wikipedia.

Hi, I saw that this was supported as part of the 2016 Community Wishlist. I wanted to note that there are other applications of data about when images are used, under which revision, including but not limited to, notifying folks of deletion discussions if they have used the media file in their own projects, tracking if mass uploads have been used by users, where the "uploader" may be an institution or bot operator, not the creator themselves, etc. I have outlined a bit more robust way of tracking that kind of data at: T137758 , which could then be used to populate these kinds of notifications.

This task was proposed in the Community-Wishlist-Survey-2016 and in its current state needs owner. Wikimedia is participating in Google Summer of Code 2017 and Outreachy Round 14. To the subscribers -- would this task or a portion of it be a good fit for either of these programs? If so, would you be willing to help mentor this project? Remember, each outreach project requires a minimum of one primary mentor, and co-mentor.

General question: Do we want to communicate differently about different kinds of files?

I believe that would be overdoing it. I think it is just fine with the same sort of communication regardless if it was a jpg, webm, pdf or midi file that was used.

One thing I would add to the suggestions above is that we ALSO need to know what wiki the file was used on.

I agree completely.

In addition to the single-image opt-out it would be useful to have:

  1. opt-outs for multiple (sets of) images (so someone who has created lots of icons but is interested in other files they have created) doesn't have to uncheck all of them individually
  2. opt-ins for single images, e.g. if you request an image or collaborate with someone to improve an image you might be interested in following where it is being used
  3. opt-ins for multiple (sets of) images, e.g. if you want to track all images of a certain topic.

For multiple images I think something similar to the cat-a-lot inferface would work - load all the images (a) on a page, (b) in a category, (c) you uploaded, (d) you are following and being able to check/uncheck each one with options for select all, select none and invert selection.

In its current shape and form, this project does not feel ready to be promoted via Outreach-Programs-Projects. Also as it is now under Growth-Team's umbrella as well, removing the OPP tag.