More on FAQ #520

520. Why isn’t TCQ’s definition of “undoctored” more strict?

Because the Trust Checklist was designed to be a helpful tool for real-world use, not mere theory.

The reality is that billions of digital cameras and cellphones automatically change photographs using built-in tools that often are not disabled by the user (see this background brief).

Disallowing any of the changes that are allowed by TCQ would mean locking out billions of people’s photographs — including citizens’ spot-news photographs that might end up being circulated by respected news agencies.

TCQ would have very limited value if it wasn’t applicable to photos made with billions of cameras and devices!

The definition of “undoctored” used on this website is a balance between the strictest elements of every widely held definition of the term “undoctored” and the realities of what kinds of devices billions of people use to take photographs.