FAQ 19 - Qualification #9

“A source the viewer doesn’t mistrust”

  • 1901. What’s the purpose of Q9?

    Q9 helps the viewer apply Characteristic #9 of trusted photographs by ensuring that viewers of a “Guaranteed TCQ” photograph know who is responsible for the photograph.

    The “human element” of trust cannot be underestimated: the Trust Checklist is meaningless if the viewer doesn’t trust the person who attaches the “Guaranteed TCQ” label.

    That’s why the “Guaranteed TCQ” label is really about trusting the photographer, not merely trusting the photograph.

  • 1902. But Q9 doesn’t really “check” for the presence of the ninth characteristic the way Q1 through Q8 each checks for the presence of its own characteristic, correct?

    That is correct (Q9 is here). There is no way to “check” whether the photographer who attached the TCQ label is someone that that viewer “doesn’t mistrust.”

    That’s why Q9 only requires identifying the photographer who is making the TCQ Guarantee: so that viewers can decide for themselves.

    Q9 is called the “handoff” qualification of the Trust Checklist. After everything trust-related about the photograph that can be checked has been checked, the issue of trust is handed over to the viewer.

    Q9 is where the photographer says to the viewer, “I’ve given you all of the information I can; now it’s up to you to decide whether you trust my claims.”

  • 1903. What counts as “the name of the photographer” in Q9?

    Anything the photographer chooses. The photographer can use whatever name they want for themselves or even the URL of their personal website.

    See also the guide page on labeling.


  • 1904. Who is considered “the photographer” when multiple people are responsible for the creation of a photograph that is labeled “Guaranteed TCQ”?

    In those cases, it is up to the creators of the photograph to decide whether all of them, some of them, or just one of them should stake their reputation on the guarantee.

  • 1905. Who is considered “the photographer” when no human pushed the shutter button the instant the photograph was recorded?

    (Examples include things like interval timers that periodically trip the shutter, shutters tripped by wildlife, or even the famous monkey selfie.)

    Typically the person who knows most about whether the photograph fully meets the Trust Checklist would be the person best suited to making the guarantee.

  • 1906. Characteristic #9 says “a source the viewer doesn’t mistrust,” but Qualification #9 only refers to the photographer. What about the context in which the photograph is published?

    The context in which a photograph is published is a huge factor in the level of viewer trust, as discussed in this brief.

    But of course there’s no way a photographer can make any guarantees about how trustworthy the viewer will regard the context where the photograph is published!

    What contexts are most likely to be trusted?

  • 1907. What if the viewer trusts the photographer but not the context?

    Most people trust anything only as much as they trust the weakest component in the “trust chain.”

    Thus with regard to question #1907, most people would not trust the photograph if they did not trust the context (in part because an untrustworthy context could name-swap the photographer).

  • 1908. What if a “Guaranteed TCQ”-labeled photograph comes from a country where the government is known for controlling what citizens can say?

    It may often depend on the subject of the specific photograph, but for many viewers in places with more freedom of speech, that country may not represent (to use the language of Q9) “a source the viewer doesn’t mistrust”

    and those viewers might disregard the photograph for that reason.

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