This page is an entry in the Key.

strictest common denominator

In order to gain universal acceptance, TCQ has to represent the “strictest common denominator” of the general public’s skepticism about photographs they encounter.

That means that the label must incorporate ALL of the major sources of “viewer mistrust” if the label is to be useful and trusted.

If one viewer is most concerned about “doctoring,” and

another viewer is most concerned about “subject manipulation,” and

a third viewer is most concerned about “composites,”

. . . then the label must address all three of those things (as well as all other major concerns).

Even viewers who don’t share others’ concerns will dismiss any label that doesn’t address their own personal concerns about photographic trustworthiness.

For example, viewers will not fully trust an “undoctored” photograph made using a definition of “undoctored” that is less strict than the viewer’s own definition.

What that means for TCQ

Each of the 9 characteristics that the Trust Checklist checks for addresses different viewers’ personal concerns about photographic trustworthiness.

Any label that didn’t address all of those concerns would be dismissed by people who felt their personal concern was being ignored.

(That’s why a labeling standard like TCQ has to address all 9 characteristics, not just 6 or 7 of them.)

The “strictest common denominator” model also applies within the 9 characteristics.

For example, if one viewer defines “doctored” one way and another viewer defines “doctored” a different way, any “undoctored” label like TCQ will have to incorporate both viewers’ definitions or it won’t be trusted by both viewers.

Why isn’t this website’s definition of “undoctored” more strict?

Why not make a “trust”-related standard that is like TCQ but less strict?

Don’t all photographs lie? Aren’t all photographs fiction?