Open Wiki Graphics

If one looks at WikiGremlin, you'll see that there was once a picture of a gremlin, but it has been taken down at the copyright holder's request. (Currently there is the green thingy below, which replaces another external link to a commercial graphic artist's copyrighted work.) I get the impression that there are a few icons/graphics being used like that. Also, due to the nature of wiki, to add an image, you have to direct-link. Not only is this bad because it introduces an external dependency, is basically illegal and copyright infringement, but it is generally considered impolite in the GraphicDesign community.

So, being something of an artist, I made a few icons for WikiFairies, WikiGnome and (in the future) WikiGremlin, and perhaps other pages that I notice around here. Perhaps we can start to build an Icon set of sorts that would be freely usable across wiki.

The problem of a central server location is something of an issue. I am currently providing space, but having a mirror would be nice too. Best if it were on Ward's server, but then, how would I update the icons when changes were necessary?

Good points. Useful graphics would include various symbols not in the default character set.
Existing Graphics

WikiGnome WikiFaeries WikiGremlin

Drawn by JonathanArkell, released under the following creative commons license:

All of the symbols at are available for direct (wiki) linking at These are released under a "Shareware" license. [Actually, the symbols are mostly from]

Four other symbols are available at

Note, if this becomes a huge draw on my bandwidth, we might have to find a mirror for them elsewhere.

For a list of graphics, visit

Graphics ToDo

Please list off graphics that need to be built, including their pages if necessary. If you do a graphic, please mark the item done, and contact JonathanArkell, or link to this page directly if you feel like hosting them. Caveats

Caveats Discussion

"Perhaps we can start to build an Icon set of sorts that would be freely usable across wiki." It's a fun idea, but watch out. Wiki is about text information. Whatever graphics appear on this site are almost always decoration and not essential to the page, paragraph, whatever (GriefCertificate being an exception). Suppose I have a cute icon for myself, and I go around signing my entries to the Wiki using my icon. I, for one, won't be able to see the icon. Why? Because I have my MozillaBrowser ignore all graphics that don't have height, width, and alt attributes. (This trick and a few others prevent a lot of annoying page layouts and ads from cluttering my window real estate.) I also sometimes use LynxBrowser, which is a text-only browser that can talk to me. Because of the way Wiki works, the graphics we manually stick into a page using EditText don't end up with height, width, and alt attributes. Also see WhyDoesntWikiDoHtml.

"Useful graphics would include various symbols not in the default character set." Not particularly. As I said above, Wiki is about text information. As soon as you use graphics for characters you can't type (or can't figure out how to type), you have a mishmash of text and graphics. Graphics can't be resized; text can. Graphics don't show up in some browsers; text does.

"Latin characters with diacritics, misc. punctuation (em dash, proper open/close quotes, etc." Learn to use your own computer, friends! If you're really dying for curly quotes, learn to create them yourself. (Rant, rant.) Wiki already displays these just fine. It seems to handle Latin-1 and Windows-1252 character sets. As far as I can tell, it handles the MacRoman that I type, too. Look around on this site and you'll find some nicely accented characters, the British pound symbol, and so on. Look around in your MicrosoftWindows "Start" menu until you find something called "Character Map". (It's probably buried by default in Accessories->System tools, which is why no one uses the dang thing, or even knows it exists.) Or look for something called "Key Caps" on a Mac. These'll tell you how to type the funky extended-ASCII characters. Math symbols are another matter.

Maybe one of the standard links on the bottom of each page is called "EditText" for a reason...

-- ElizabethWiethoff and my not-so-humble opinions

I strongly agree. People have experimented with using icons on the web for these purposes for years now, and it's clear that they are highly undesirable unless absolutely necessary. For instance, effectively you can't search on them. -- dm

Graphics without alt attributes don't mean diddly to the search spiders out there. And our own FindPage can search for graphics only by a word-like portion of the URL. As for math, if you want to type something about gamma functions, type the word 'gamma'. And remember, EnglishPlease. -- Eliz

Mathematics uses both lower and upper case Greek letters (plus various symbols whose names are not particularly well-known), and typing 'lowercasegamma' or 'uppercasegamma' gets very clumsy.

Oh, one correction, though: use of Latin-1/Windows/Mac character sets is always the wrong thing to do, because it's not a question of the wiki handling it, it's a matter of which browser on which platform set to which character encoding, which is to say, in general those codesets just do not work correctly anywhere on the web, including this wiki. If they seem to work, it's an accident of sharing the same assumptions between your own browser/platform and that of the page author.

Therefore AsciiOnlyPlease?. (Unicode fixes all this, but even after all these years, one still can't depend on being able to communicate in it over the web.) -- dm

I agree with AsciiOnlyPlease?, as in ASCII-7, the original ASCII. Indeed it's an accident when any browser can correctly display extended ASCII. That's why HTML has entities like &emdash;, and correctly displaying those is also accidental. Even displaying Unicode correctly is an accident. It assumes the users out there have the correct fonts. So, for example, when I have my browser set to auto-detect the character code and our bi-weekly Chinese spammer 221.15.71.nnn floods pages with bizarre characters, my browser display goes kablooey on that page because I don't have the correct font, the correct character set installed. Finally, our FindPage can't find non-ASCII-7 characters. They're not considered "alphabetic." -- Eliz

It seems that there are a few pages out there that various WikiFaeries have decided for one reason or another need icons. There may be other instances where images may be useful (or even necessary!) Also, I don't relish the thought of building the first few unicode pages just because "They might be useful." (Note, while making photoshop spit out the text, chopping, and saving isn't that difficult, it would defeat the purpose of OpenWikiGraphics, because the font would most certainly be copyright, and therefore we can't control the license.) -- JonathanArkell

When I mentioned "various symbols", I had in mind the type of use accomplished in the SymbolicLogic page, and certain occasions when Greek letters are useful. I'm looking into the availability of a few other gifs of a similar nature.

What about using the official HTML 4.0 standard entity codes?

The problem with using Entity codes is that Wiki will expand the & into &amp, rendering the entities unusable. Other than that, it is a good idea.

It's not perfect, but I wouldn't say unusable. Many people have already memorized these entity codes. When reading "Omega" they visualize that horseshoe shape. These codes are less ambiguous (and more standardized) than the WikiAlphabet.

And if (hypothetically) everyone on Wiki were to use these codes everywhere, it wouldn't be too difficult for Ward to change the WikiEngine to pass them through without expanding the &. People UsingWikiWithLynx won't be able to tell whether Ward has made that change already or not. Many other browsers would Do The Right Thing after that change.

Even if Ward never makes that change, these entity codes are *more* usable for people UsingWikiWithLynx than any other proposal I've seen. (Well, except for just saying "gamma" without decorating it with the & and ;).

Good point. Excuse my previous WikiButchering -- ja

[Are any statistics available on browser usage by wiki users?]

the font would most certainly be copyright

Really? What about the Gentium font? -- DavidCary

"Gentium -- a typeface for the nations" "a free multilingual font to bring better typography to thousands of languages around the globe."


I should have figured that there would be a free font available for exactly that use. That being said, given that there is one set of mathematical characters already, and another set will be made available shortly, is there really a need any more?

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