Motorway Services Online

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Help Uploading Photos

Uploading photos to Motorway Services Online is easy - you just need to head to the page Special:Upload and fill out the form. You can get to Special:Upload by tapping 'website' and then 'upload photo'. To do this you must be registered and logged in.

We appreciate people heading out and taking photos for us, but ask that you respect our Photography Code Of Conduct.

The main thing to check when uploading a photo is that the file name you are choosing to save the uploaded photo as is appropriate. It needs to end with an extension (normally '.jpg'). It shouldn't have any punctuation. You might as well make it human-readable, as that'll be easier to find. It's better to have a long name than a nonsense name.

What We Are Looking For

Quite simply, we need photos that will illustrate the pages of our website. We have a list of pages which are most in-need of photos at Category:No Photos at All.

For most service stations, brands and operators we have a gallery, where we are looking for a range of photos to illustrate what that service station (or branches of that brand/operator at a service station) can look like. These can be useful for looking back on at a later date.

When you go to upload a photo, you can add up to seven galleries which you think are appropriate. You should try to add at least one. Pictures without any galleries will be sent to Category:Miscellaneous Pictures, where they won't receive much exposure, unless they are specifically added to a page (this is a good idea for generic stock photos).

What we absolutely can't accept is photos where the photographer hasn't given permission for us to use them. This includes photos taken from Twitter/X or Foursquare, and especially includes commercial photography like you may find on a newspaper website. Websites like Geograph automatically give us permission. We generally aren't looking for photos which don't relate to a service station covered by this site, unless it is especially relevant.

You should try to fill out all the boxes you can, as this is useful for logging the photo. For example, the 'date' settings help sort the gallery.

Pictures Of A Picture

If you are uploading a picture of a picture, you should fill out the details as they would apply to the original image. This makes sure it will appear in the correct place in the gallery. You must be aware that copyright restrictions on any image you copy will apply to the copies you correct. We cannot have a situation where the original creator is offended that you have copied their work.

The system makes a distinction between "photos" and "anything that isn't a photo". The first category should include 'pictures of pictures', while the second category can include drawings, sketches, graphics, compilations and obvious Photoshops. The second category does not need a photographer to be added, but it still needs a gallery and a rough date. The second category is activated by adding the code |normal = no to the image page; it is not currently possible to do this automatically as the tag was being abused.

Displaying Photos

If the galleries have been filled out, then the photo should automatically be visible at the start of those galleries. To view the full photo yourself, you can go to the page (spaces should be replaced with underscores, but only when doing this).

To add a photo to a page, you need to link to it like you normally would. So you'd write: [[File:PhotoName.jpg]]

But don't just do that, or the photo will be massive! You should add some parameters:

  1. The size. Simply write the width of the photo, in pixels (px). We normally use 250px.
  2. A format. We normally use 'thumb', which will decorate the photo with a grey box. Other values are 'border', 'frameless', 'frame'.
  3. The position. We normally use 'right'. In other words, you want it to float to the right.
  4. A caption. Simply write the caption that will go with the photo. In HTML, this will be recorded as the "title", because often it's like giving the picture a name.
  5. Alternative text. This is important for accessibility. It describes what the picture shows for people who can't see it. There is an art to this: it's not for saying "that's the M1", it's for saying "that's a motorway with three lanes and a sign". It must start with alt=
  6. Tapping on the photo will normally enlarge it. If you don't want that to happen, use link= to send it somewhere else.

Putting these all together, you get something like: [[File:PhotoName.jpg|250px|thumb|right|This is the caption.|alt=This is what you're missing.|link=PageName]]

You will note that each parameter uses a slightly different format, so you can put them in any order (or skip some), and the website will still keep up.

If you want to link directly to an image without embedding it, use an extra colon: [[:File:PhotoName.jpg]]

More information is available from MediaWiki.

Other Places With Images

Pages with an infobox will accept an image, if you add:

|image = FileName.jpg

Note that the "File" namespace isn't necessary. Don't be writing "File:FileName.jpg".

We do this to give an example of one photo which neatly summarises the topic. See also the template called Template:Gallery, which is a bit like an infobox, used during trivia pieces.

Creating Galleries

This section refers to the code called a gallery, rather than creating a whole new gallery. The gallery code can be used to display several photos side-by-side. It works like this.

<gallery widths="150px" heights="120px" perrow="4">
File:SECOND FILENAME|Second description.
File:THIRD FILENAME|Third description.

... |alt = can be used here too.

The Importance Of A Lead Image

Every page on the website should have a 'lead image' set (also called the 'main image'). When other websites, such as Google, want to link to us and want a photo to illustrate that link, they will normally use the one we have set as the 'lead image'. If you don't set one, they are unlikely to find one, and the link will look less attractive.

The following templates set a lead image automatically - if the 'image' (or similar) parameter has been used:

If none of those are being used, you can set a lead image yourself. All those templates do is automatically do the next step for you.

Wrap the name of the file around the #setmainimage tag, leaving out the 'File' namespace. For example: {{#setmainimage:FileName.jpg}}

Note that doing this will cause that text to appear on the page, so you'll have to hide it somewhere. The best way to do that is to actually display that photo on the page. For example: [[File:{{#setmainimage:FileName.jpg}}|250px|thumb|right]]

This sends the file name to the extension we use, OpenGraphMeta. That will get the URL for the full version of the photo and add it to the source code of the page.

How It All Works

When you upload a photo, the information you submit to the form is turned into the format of Template:Photo. We will explain how that works in a moment.

Before that, a word about galleries. Each gallery you select will cause the photo to be added to a category called Category:Gallery Name pictures - but only if a page with that name already exists. If there is no corresponding page with that name, you should create one which redirects somewhere, and if you don't then the photo will just sit there without appearing in a gallery. It will still be viewable and can still be added to pages.

Sometimes, even if there is a corresponding page for that gallery, the actual category won't have been created yet. This is harmless, but to keep things tidy you might as well create it. All 'Category:Gallery Name pictures' needs is the following content:

#REDIRECT [[Gallery:Gallery Name]]

...that will tidy up the back-end a bit. Notice how we are redirecting to a page called Gallery:Gallery Name. Now that does need to be created, assuming it is actually relevant to the website. The only code 'Gallery:Gallery Name' needs is:

{{Picture gallery|country=UK}}

'UK' can be changed to 'both' or 'IE', depending on which versions of the website the gallery should be available in.

That code will automatically search for all photos which are in 'Category:Galley Name pictures'. In other words, it will cause the page to display every photo which has had "Gallery Name" added to its list of galleries. You can add one more parameter to that search, which can be used to look for spelling errors, punctuation confusion or a recent name change:

{{Picture gallery|Old Name|country=UK}}

...will look for photos which had been added to 'Category:Old Name pictures' and whatever the name of that gallery page is. If you don't want it to display that it's searching two galleries (for example if one of them is spelt wrong, we don't want it displayed), add: |s=yes

Using Template:Picture gallery runs a DPL query to get all the photos in that category, adjusted for the page number which you are on.

If you are adding a photo which you took, your username will act like an additional gallery. The same process will apply, but this time with your username instead.

If you have just created a gallery, it might take a while for your photo to appear. Using the 'purge' button on the photo, category and gallery pages will normally get things unstuck.

When you are uploading a photo, you may notice that when you use the galleries box, it normally provides you with some suggestions. Creating a new gallery will not cause it to appear here. Those suggestions are maintained in two javascript files (one for UK, one for IE), which are saved within the code of the site. They are only suggestions, so they don't need to refer to galleries which already exist.

Photo Template

Every photo that uses the site's upload system will have the following code added. Each line can be skipped if it's not relevant.

|description = A description of the file. This will appear in the gallery sections, so keep it short!
|extra = A longer description, if necessary, which will be displayed when viewing the photo only (and not in the gallery). This should be used to list the vehicles visible in a very old photo, for example. This line needs to be added manually.
|type = This will replace the line 'Photo taken...' with what you specify, but it's not really necessary. This line needs to be added manually.
|normal = See comments above about things that aren't a photo. Set it to no if it's not.
|direction = The direction you were travelling in, for services which are on either side of the road.
|year = The year the photo was taken, or thereabouts. AND:
|date = To be used instead of year: specify the full date if available. Any format is acceptable, but DD/MM/YYYY is preferred.
|photographer = The person who should be credited for the photo. For ease's sake if yourself, put [[User:YourUsername]] or [[User:YourUsername|YourNickname]] - the form will do the formatting for you.
|licence = If the photo has been taken from another website which allows you to do so, enter the licence here. Currently Creative Commons 'by-sa', 'by-nc-nd' and 'by-nc-sa' are accepted (check the licence's URL if you're not sure), or you can enter 'Geograph' if it came from the Geograph project.
|source = As with the licence, but enter the address where the photo came from here. NOT the search engine used to locate it or Creative Commons page.
|country = UK or IE, depending on which version of the website you used when uploading the photo. It should match the territory the picture was taken in.
|feature1 = This is where the galleries are added.
|feature2 =
|feature3 =
|feature4 =
|feature5 =
|feature6 =
|feature7 =

When you upload a photo, the 'photographer' field will accept two shortcuts: "GSV" and "USGS", to save time when using Google Street View or the KH9-6 satellite. This will input the full name into the photographer field in the template, which will have to remain.