Wikipedia talk:Categorization of people

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by place[edit]

Having looked over our actual usage, I would say we are not following the directive of the by place category. We start off with "The place of birth, although it may be significant from the perspective of local studies, is rarely defining from the perspective of an individual." This seems to suggest we should not put Mike Lee (U.S. politician) in Category:People from Mesa, Arizona since although he was born in Mesa his family moved away when he was under 2 years old. Yet my removal of Lee from the Mesa category was reverted and I was told "The consensus is a person being born in Foo has always qualified for being categorized 'People from Foo'." by User:WilliamJE where is this consensus?John Pack Lambert (talk) 23:50, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

First, I would not call the recommendations on this page to be "directives". They are guidelines. According to the tag at the top of the page:

"This page documents an English Wikipedia editing guideline. It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus.

"Generally accepted standard," "common sense," "attempt to follow," "occasional exceptions" and "should reflect consensus" all make these guidelines fuzzy, not written in stone. Not every Editor working in Categories knows or agrees upon the "generally accepted standard" which is quite realistic because not every standard is written down. And the people who argue differently might believe they are using "common sense" to disagree or that the categories they are talking about are "exceptions".
Second, consensus is a messy, messy affair, it is not the 10 Commandments carved into rock. Consensus depends on a) the individuals who chose to participate in the discussion and b) the understanding, Editor or Admin, of whoever closes the discussion and c) the consensus today might be different from the consensus in a month. Look at how attitudes changed about the Actor/Actress/Male Actor categories changed, from swinging in one direction ("Everyone is an 'Actor'") to the situation now where we have Actresses and Male Actor categories in almost every instance. Bottom line: Practices "we all agreed to" might have changed because the "we" has changed...some Editors will no longer be active and new ones start participating. And sometimes, when pressed, the "we" turns out to be less than a dozen people and doesn't reflect a wide-spread consensus, just the opinions of the most active Editors at the time the question is posed.
Finally, Editors who are coming to respond to a notice about a CfD or have other questions about categories should not be expected to know everything about categorization. They are responding to a particular category or issue that concerns them. It often happens that categorization guidelines are mentioned in the nomination which is great but this doesn't always happen. And, unless they are disruptive, the participation of Editors new to CfD should always be welcomed, whether they show up for one CfD discussion or every day.
Please note, these points aren't directed to any person, just to the process of CfD and the guidelines that are used. I'm sorry if they sound too WP:Pointy. I just believe that, in their wisdom, the people who crafted these guidelines purposely made them flexible knowing that opinions about correct practices can change over time. And they do. Liz Read! Talk! 19:32, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Here's another by place question. Should we categorize an historical figure with residing in a place that was not recognized as a separately-named entity at any time during their lifetime? As far as I can see, the Categorization of People guidelines are silent on this issue, but my instinct would be to avoid such linking. Otherwise, for consistency, Angela Merkel would be identified as being from Prussia, and Jesus should be listed among Israeli Jews.

The current issue, discussed here, concerns a category reversion dispute about Leland Stanford, Jr, who (probably) spent time as a child residing near the future city of Palo Alto, California. The city was not established until several years after his death at age fifteen, and the actual location of the Stanford residence was not incorporated into the city until over half-a century later, which was long after the house itself had been destroyed. Thoughts? jxm (talk) 22:03, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Jxm Your Merkell example is different from your Stanford example. With Merkell, you are asking if a "past" category is ok. With Stanford, you are asking if a "future" category is ok. As you mentioned, the Merkell example is not ok.
The Stanford example has a "depends" attached. If somebody lived in the British Isles during Roman times, they wouldn't be included in People from England. As the difference time gets closer or the association to a place gets stronger, then it can become ok. If you died in 1720 at New York City are your an American? Yes, even though there was no notion of "America", it was all colonies. If you died in Seattle, Washington in 1850 are you from Oregon or Washington? Washington Territory was split from Oregon in 1853 and was originally called Columbia. Yes, you would be from Washington, not Oregon. Did Stanford live in the future Palo Alto and is he associated with the city? Then it is a strong yes. Bgwhite (talk) 23:27, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I like the idea that closer proximity in time should strengthen the potential for future categorization. Perhaps we should consider including a comment about that in the guidelines.
With regard to the specific Palo Alto category question, I think there's probably a reasonable argument for both Stanford parents to be associated with Palo Alto, even though neither actually lived there. As for their son - I can see no justifiable connection at all. jxm (talk) 00:37, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
Jxm About Stanford Jr... Looks like he lived in San Fran and Sacramento, so he should have "from" categories for those two cities. Palo Alto is a hard one. I can see an argument made for either way. This could be a case where the association to a place is stronger than the time lived there. I wouldn't put Santa Clara County. It is is either Palo Alto or nothing. Bgwhite (talk) 05:52, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Putting creative professionals in categories for their works[edit]

Many creative professionals have produced enough notable works to warrant the creation of a category for the works; the issue that prompted this question is architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe (died 1820) and Category:Benjamin Henry Latrobe buildings and structures, although comparable categories exist for many other architects, singers, authors, etc. Is it appropriate to put the creative professional in the category for his own works, assuming that no parent category (e.g. Category:Stephen King) for the professional exists? For example, Latrobe isn't in the category for his works (he didn't design himself, and he's not a building or structure), but it could be argued that we should include him in the category because it's important to have his own article categorised together with articles about topics related to him; presumably this was the rationale for putting 19th-century architect Samuel Hannaford in Category:Samuel Hannaford buildings. I know virtually nothing of professionals other than architects (the Stephen King example was provided by someone else at WP:HD), so I'm only guessing that this problem appears in other fields. Nyttend (talk) 02:15, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

I would say no. The creator can be Linked from a hatnote in the category. We should try to keep set categories to contain only elements of the set if possible.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk),
Actually, this came up from the other direction: how do we get readers of the biographical article to know about the category? See my original WP:HD request for more context. I'm familiar with templates such as {{Cat more}} and am happy to use them atop categories. Nyttend (talk) 03:32, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it's appropriate, and practically necessary as explained immediately above. People who use the category page-count need to be alert to pages listed at the head or foot of the alphabet, which are different in kind from the alphabetical listings.
· For someone with a narrowly eponymous category (WP:EPONCAT) that has subcats, it may be adequate to put the biography in the eponcat only. We do always put it only there, afaik. That one should be first in the category list at the foot of the biography, as for Ursula K. Le Guin#External links. Sophisticated users know and some others may suppose that that link is a point of entry to multiple aspects of our coverage of Le Guin (there are subcats and subsubcats of cat Ursula K. Le Guin). The biography should be sorted to the head of the list of Pages in the category --as Le Guin's biography and bibliography are both sorted in her eponcat.
· For someone without a narrow eponcat, the biography must be in all the broadly eponymous categories in order for the category list to provide navigation, as it is for cat Samuel Hannaford buildings in his category list Samuel Hannaford#External links. Offhand, I would list it first.
· For an intermediate case see Anne McCaffrey#External links, where a navigation box (WP:NAV) dedicated to McCaffrey's works is displayed just above the category list. That navbox lists every page in her only broadly eponymous category Novels by Anne McCaffrey or in one of its subcats (which are not limited to novels). Probably it serves as well or better than to include her Novels cat (or Works cat, etc, if 'twere renamed) in her biography category list. The same goes for her bibliography category list Anne McCaffrey bibliography#External links --and would probably go for any plausible head article because any one would probably be in her navbox.
(The McCaffrey bibliography and Novels/Works category should be in her Works navbox, as they are for Le Guin, immediately below the navbox title. The Le Guin navbox should be in her bibliography footer Ursula K. Le Guin bibliography#References, as it is for McCaffrey.) Yes check.svg Done --P64 (talk) 00:18, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
--P64 (talk) 04:18, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
WP:CAT#Sort keys instructs how to manage the order in which member pages (or subcategories, separately) are displayed on category pages. The 7th to 9th of 10 bullet points concern display at the head, before 'A', and the tail, after 'Z', of the alphabetical listings.
For example use [[Category:Benjamin Henry Latrobe buildings and structures| ]] and [[Category:Benjamin Henry Latrobe buildings and structures|*]] in the category lists at the foot of Benjamin Henry Latrobe and List of works by Benjamin Henry Latrobe to put that biography and that list in the category and display them under (blank) and (*) at the head of the Pages in category "Benjamin Henry Latrobe buildings and structures". --whereas Category:Benjamin Henry Latrobe buildings and structures now excludes the biography and lists the list under 'L'.
Last hour I "fixed" the display of Category:The Chronicles of Narnia, in my opinion --Subcategories and Pages, but not yet the preface or unusual set of three main pages. It may be a useful illustration technically regardless whether you agree, or know anything about the substance. --P64 (talk) 02:18, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Categories for works should not contain the creator (i.e. I disagree with P64). Similarly, categories for awards recipients should not contain an article about the award itself (I've seen cases of such categories holding just 2 articles - one about a recipient and one about the award). (1) Such categorization is inconsistent with the way WP categorization normally works (e.g. the topic "Xs created by Y" should be just about Xs created by Y; not about Y or X); such inconsistencies may make it harder for people to understand WP categorization. (2) Allowing the creator article to be in the works category in some cases (e.g. unless there's an epon cat or a list article) would add further complexity to WP rules (instruction creep). (3) This sort of categorization would mean the creation of one article/category could make another article ineligible for a category - that's not normally how WP categorization works. (4) There are other means to navigate to a category from the article about the creator to a category for their works (e.g. the article can refer to the category or by following a link from the creator article to an article about one of their works and hence to the category). (5) Categories are, in practice, primarily a tool used by editors rather than a navigation tool for readers (e.g. when viewing WP from mobile devices categories aren't usually shown). (6) The reference to the sort key guidance in the previous comment may give the impression that the guidance supports the type of categorization proposed here; it doesn't (see "Note: If the key article should not be a member..."). DexDor (talk) 07:27, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Defaultsort of Irish surnames starting Ó[edit]

Should an article about a modern Irish person named Seán Ó Murchú have

  1. {{DEFAULTSORT:O Murchu, Sean}} or
  2. {{DEFAULTSORT:Omurchu, Sean}} ?

IMO most books in English in Ireland follow #2, and therefore so should Wikipedia. See Google books search: o'brien index "o murchu" User:Bgwhite at User talk:Bgwhite#Defaultsort of surnames starting Ó argues for #1, with references which to my mind do not support the contention. jnestorius(talk) 13:10, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Seeing as the editor in question twice refers to the "University Cambridge of Dublin", I find it hard to take him/her seriously. My gut instinct is to follow #2, per the phone book and Dictionary of Irish Biography. Just for interest, what is the current procedure for Mc, Mac (no space) and Mac (space)? Scolaire (talk) 18:47, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Scolaire's argument says I can't be taken seriously because I wrote the University's name wrong. Egads.
  • Phone books are irrelevant. They don't follow standards.
  • Mc vs Mac is: "Surnames beginning with Mac or Mc are sorted as they are spelled."
  • Sources for {{DEFAULTSORT:O Murchu, Sean}}:
  1. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), ed. (1996). Names of persons : national usages for entry in catalogue. UBCIM publications ; new series, vol. 16 (4th revised and enlarged ed.). Munich; New Providence; London; Paris: K. G. Saur. ISBN 3-598-11342-0. . Publication uses University College Dublin and National Library of Ireland
  2. Nic Cóil, Róisín (June 2011). "Irish prefixes and the alphabetization of personal names". The Indexer (Society of Indexers). 
    The Indexer is the official publication of all English, German, Dutch and Chinese indexing societies and published by Society of Indexers, a professional body for indexers in the United Kingdom.
  3. Library of University College Dublin — They have Ó (page 1) coming before O' (page 31) in their list of authors on their own website.
  4. National Library of Ireland — They have Ó (page 1) coming before O' (page 117) in their list of authors on their own website.
  5. The concise Oxford companion to Irish literature. Oxford University Press. 2003. ISBN 9780192800800. 
Bgwhite (talk) 22:11, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
Maybe you should check your own talk page before trotting out the same claims again. Not one of the sources you linked to support your claim that they make the space mandatory. Two of the three randomly mix O-with-a-space, O-with-an-apostrophe and O followed by another letter. The third deals only with names in the Irish language (where you don't see O-with-an-apostrophe or O followed by another letter) and merely says that Ó Murchú would be under Ó rather than M. Scolaire (talk) 23:44, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
  • The discussion is taking place here and not all over the place. #1 (UBCIM publications) does. #2 (Irish prefixes and the alphabetization of personal names) certainly does. #3 (Library of University College Dublin) clearly does. It has Ó start on page 1 and O' on page 31. #4 (National Library of Ireland) clearly does. Ó starts on page 1 and O' on page 117. #5 (The concise Oxford companion to Irish literature) clearly does. Neither #3 nor #4 randomly link names. 117 pages of Ó and then over a 100 pages of O' certainly isn't random. The pattern is very clear.
  • "The third deals only with names in the Irish language (where you don't see O-with-an-apostrophe or O followed by another letter)..." The third reference (#3) clearly gives names of Ó and O'.... It has Ó start on page 1 and O' on page 31.
  • No sources have been given to say otherwise. Please list your sources. Phonebooks do not count. Bgwhite (talk) 03:57, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
Bgwhite, sources #1 and #2 state to sort Ó Murchú under Ó rather than under M; they say nothing about whether to sort it before or after Oakley or O'Brien. Your sources #3 and #4 are on-the-fly database queries using generic catalog software that has not been customised for Irish collation practices. To quote yourself from the earlier discussion on your talkpage: "don't look at a web page which was generated on-the-fly from a database. Sorting depends on what the default collation the webmasters set up (Mysql and its variants default to Swedish). You have to at look a printed or non-database generated web pages." That leaves your source #5, which is one book. See my earlier Google link for other books. jnestorius(talk) 09:30, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
  • #1 shows it sorting with a space. If the space were not to be included, it would not be there. #2 spells out to sort with a space AND before 'O. #3 and #4 are databases generated by THE authorities in Ireland, that is different than a database by a book publisher. #5 is a book by Cambridge and it should be viewed as secondary. But, it does show that Oxford University Press does follow the same pattern in print form.
  • The British National Bibliography from the British Library, THE source in the UK, does the same thing. For books written in Irish, Ó starts on page 30 and O' starts on page 143.
  • On my talk page, I was saying to be careful as you don't know what sorting algorithm websites use. I would expect National Library of Ireland (NLI) to use one different from the National Library of Sweeden (NLS) or some book publisher. I would expect NLI to be based on Irish and NLS on Swedish. Big libraries use MARC 21, which is specifically designed (actually specifically messed up) for libraries. Book publisher websites use Mysql or other various general databases.
  • No sources have been given to say otherwise. Please list your sources. Bgwhite (talk) 07:55, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Quigg, Patrick J. (December 1967). "The entering and systematic arrangement of Irish names in catalogues, indexes and directories.". An Leabharlann: journal of the Library Association of Ireland 25 (4): 150. "O'Brien can be filed after Ó Briain (ignoring the distinction between O apostrophe and O fada)"  jnestorius(talk) 22:37, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Just to chip in, without any sources, I'd say "O'Brien" and "Ó Briain" should both be sorted simply as "O'Briain" and "Ó Briain" respectively. Soring as "Obrien" or "OBriain" means names like this will be mixed up alongside with "Obama". Better to separate out "Ó" and "O'" names, me thinks. (Similar questions around "Mac" and "Mc" names to. In those names, the question is to default sort with a space or not, even if no space appears in the subject's own spelling of the name.) --Tóraí (talk) 12:03, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

X people from Y descent overcategorization[edit]

People are often categorized by their descent. Are their any rules or guidelines on when to do this, and when not? Self-identification only? Going back X generations? I have read Wikipedia:Categorization/Ethnicity, gender, religion and sexuality, but this doesn't seem to address the problem of where to stop.

The concrete examples I noted are Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, Prince Emmanuel of Belgium and Prince Gabriel of Belgium, three of the children of King Philippe of Belgium. All three are categorized in multiple "descent" categories, the most striking being Category:Belgian people of Portuguese descent. Their parents are both Belgian, and Philippe of Belgium is listed in the category as well. His parents are Belgian and Italian, and his father former king Albert II of Belgium, is listed in the same category.

The parents of Albert II of Belgium were Leopold III of Belgium, and Astrid of Sweden. Her parents were Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland and Sophia of Nassau, his parents were Albert I of Belgium and Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Belgium.

Finally, her mother was Infanta Maria Josepha of Portugal. Ah, the link is found. So, is it sufficient if one of your 32 Great-great-great-grandparents is from X to be labeled "of X descent"? I don't think this can be considered a defining or important characteristic of these people. Where do we draw the line? Personally, I would argue for grandparents, but opinions may vary of course... Fram (talk) 15:26, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Personally I think it should be parents, no further, but perhaps in extreme cases grandparents. But definitely not further than grandparents. Otherwise this leads to category clutter. Ultimately we are all of african descent.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 15:28, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Categorize all Icelandic names by first name[edit]

I think this revert was hasty. The reason given "Unsourced" is untrue. Both names I added as non-patronymic/matronymic, are alreadly in the source for the sentence I changed (as I said in the edit summary). I realize now however that this might be thought of as a widening of a narrow exception. I just thought I was clarifying how things are done in Iceland and thought the exception should cover all Icelandic name cases.

[I thought this policy also controlled WP:Persondata. That may have been an error of mine.] comp.arch (talk) 22:06, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

This policy does not cover persondata. They are two separate beasts. Bgwhite (talk) 22:31, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Is there then no objection to changing/correcting this policy (on your part)? Please do so (or I can). If no one objects here I assume that meant consensus. Regarding persondata, I'll keep in mind that, that is different. comp.arch (talk) 10:07, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree with Bgwhite on that. I spent several hours in the past discussing on the matter. As far as I recall WikiProject Iceland was also informed and there was a discussion there too. The current version reflects the consensus gained after this discussion. -- Magioladitis (talk) 12:05, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Agree with him on what? The revert or "This policy does not cover persondata" that is not a problem. Not discussing WP:Persondata (here) only WP:SUR that is unrelated. I'm new to this, haven't seen the discussion or any arguments except "unsourced" that is bogus. comp.arch (talk) 14:42, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Again, you are getting close to doing person attacks on my page and here. I reverted your edit as "unsourced" because you added material that *was* unsourced as you provided no reference. It was added to an already sourced sentence. The already present source did not back up your changes. You added material to MOS without discussion. You added material then used the addition to bolster your argument on another discussion.
Again, this is a discussion for sorting, not persondata. Magioladitis is saying to keep the status quo. Magioladitis was part of discussions held at WikiProject Iceland and here on how to sort Icelandic names. Bgwhite (talk) 18:41, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry, did not mean for this section (or anything on your talk page) to be a personal attack. Maybe I'll refrain from editing for a while. This is not important enough for me. I just wanted to know about these things and tried to fix an error. Probably there is some rule about changing the MOS that I don't know about. I guess consensus can't be assumed there. Some of the things you say I did, I did but in error. Other are misunderstanding, I guess we all, me included should reread *this* section. comp.arch (talk) 09:36, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Categorization by previous occupation?[edit]

Should a person by included in a category by occupation after they leave that occupation (not necessarily retiring)? The specific article I'm looking at (and updating) is Russell Woolf who was previously an ABC radio and TV presenter, but has resigned from the ABC. Should he stay in Category:ABC News (Australia) presenters, Category:Australian radio personalities etc? Mitch Ames (talk) 03:36, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Assuming he's achieved notability as an ABC News (Australia) presenter (see WP:COP#N), he should stay in that category. Categories should be for permanent characteristics (e.g. having achieved notability in a field) rather than for indicating current status (excepting special cases such as Category:Living people for administrative purposes). Note: We don't generally use "Former <occupation>" categories for people (example CFD). DexDor (talk) 06:11, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
If we removed categories as suggested, then dead people would be uncategorised. That someone held a particular role or position continues to be relevant even when they no longer do so, though of course the article should include dates and sourced info about any changes. PamD 08:48, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Categorisation by wartime military service[edit]

There's an ongoing discussion at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2014 April 29#Category:Veterans of the Battle of Kursk. There's a general consensus to delete the categories in question (categorisation by participants of a given battle), but it's raised a broader question:

should categories like Category:Soviet military personnel of World War II contain all biographies of people who saw active military service, or just those who are notable for being military personnel?

The categorisation-notability guideline as written seems to suggest that it should be restricted just to those who are notable as soldiers; however, actual practice (certainly for the UK categories) seems to be to include anyone who had active wartime service (see, eg, the large Category:British Army personnel of World War I), and I'm not sure if we'd gain anything by removing these categories. Thoughts appreciated. Andrew Gray (talk) 15:32, 4 May 2014 (UTC)


I would like to see an historical person categorized in "Category:Feminism", Christina, Queen of Sweden. However, I cannot find any articles under "Wikipedia Search" that offers step-by-step instructions. Can anyone categorize (if so, how?) or must an administrator be contacted to do it or a Feminism interest group contacted (again, how?)? As you can see, there are a batch of sub-categories. How does one known which one to choose - would "Feminism and history‎" be correct? I am confused! >_< Thank you for your time, Wordreader (talk) 20:23, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Terribly overdone section[edit]

This section Wikipedia:Categorization_of_people#Ordering_names_in_a_category is terribly long. Do we really need such detail, and here? Could it be placed in a different guideline? I have trouble believing this is the only place where such sorting of names is discussed. But here we're talking about categorization but we spend 2200 words discussing the best way to sort the names. Could we at least trim it somewhat? --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 18:01, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

I see your point. See this talk: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies#de, von, van, etc. I repeat what I said there "But yeah then there are all the sensitivities... ".
The General considerations section should at least be above this more technical section. --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:56, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Did some more cleanup and reordering, for instance the bots converting lists in categories is less of an issue nowadays I suppose, so moved it down, etc. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:36, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Proposed changes[edit]

Proposed changes

I suppose all other updates I performed on the WP:COP guideline yesterday are uncontroversial. If not, discuss here. --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:32, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

The discussion in this section is no longer active in order to avoid fragmentation of discussion.

The discussion of the same topic is continued at #Proposed language change to WP:COP#N below --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:52, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

WP:COP#N: Occupations only?[edit]

Background information: how come WP:COP#N was changed to only apply to occupations (instead of the example just being an example)?

No discussion, no apparent consensus for the guideline change, and most of all: not thinking of consequences. WP:COP#N was written specifically with all kinds of contentious categorizations in mind (surely, nobody must have thought about freemasonry at the time). As for all sensitive categorizations, they were never exempt from this: WP:COP#N was invented with those in mind.

See Category:Freemasons for the current category definition. As the version of WP:COP#N that served until february last year is still quoted there, I can only conclude that Freemasons is perceived as a sensitive category. This makes also clear that there was never any consensus to exclude freemasons from WP:COP#N. Then, what happened to Frederick the Great? He is safely included in the sparsely populated Category:Monarchs who were Freemasons, probably less contentious for mere mortals who don't want to be associated with their more belligerent predecessors. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:58, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Francis you're trying to do too many things at once. You did a bold page move that was reverted, so you need to wait for the page title to stabilize before going around renaming it everywhere else. As for COP#N, there is wide scale practice that intersection of ethnicity/gender/sexuality with a notable job is perfectly acceptable: in other words, the defining test is applied to the job, not to the intersection of job + whatever. Freemasons is sort of like a job, but it's also sort of like 'alumni of' as it's a sort of membership-of-a-club sort of thing, maybe that is a specific example we need to discuss and decide whether club memberships should be based on cop#n or not. Religion seems to be different - for whatever reason - my sense is that religion categories are only added when the expression of that religion is a notable part of their work. There are a great many writers who happen to be catholic but we seem to only cTegorize those for whom catholicism was important to their writing. Otoh, ethnicity, gender and sexuality seem to behave differently.
I think we should not expand the section on gender/etc here, in order to keep the guideline all in one place.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 12:26, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
In sum, we don't need to distinguish between job-like things and non-joblike things (and which of the two applies to freemasonry, Rjensen and Obiwankenobi appear to disagree on that while I couldn't care less): WP:COP#N as well as WP:DEFINING apply to both. --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:58, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
Actually, I think we need to be more explicit. There are not just a FEW categories which are automatically applied (eg birthdate, where X is from) - there are a great number of them - including things like alumni, awards, and, in some cases, membership in certain groups. We do have clear consensus that jobs should apply the WP:DEFINING test, but I'm not convinced that the same test applies to ALL categories put on people's pages - we have a number of exceptions, so we just need to identify what those are more clearly.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 14:29, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
WP:COP#N applies to all people categories, no doubt about that. --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:09, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
I really wish it was that simple. It seems so simple to just state that, but you have to look at HOW categories are used, and which categorizations are accepted without issue. For example, if someone is a novelist, and a woman, are they a) automatically added to "women novelists" or b) Only added if sources can be found that demonstrate that women+novelist is a DEFINING intersection for this person? Your answer seems to be b), but the broad consensus on this matter is a) - which goes directly against a broad reading of COP#N. We all agree COP#N applies to jobs - does it apply to alumni? What about to winners of awards? What about to members of clubs or societies? It's not an all-or-nothing proposition Francis, some categories seem to be all-included, in that anyone who qualifies can be put in, whereas others are more limited, and only those for who it is defining are added. So, if someone was born in new york and grew up in new york and spent most of their life in New York, even if reliable sources don't regularly mention this fact, they will be in Category:People from New York. That's just the way categories are used right now.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 19:16, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

WP:COP#N applies to all people categories, really don't know what you're going on about. If someone is notable for being a woman novelist, you place her in the Category:women novelists. Really. Cogent is the word here.

Sensitive categories need not be all included, and the reccomendation, according to the WP:COP guideline, is to have a separate list that is more inclusive for such categories. As such that isn't the part of the wording of the guideline we're discussing here. You're referring to Not all categories are comprehensive (etc.), which isn't a part of WP:COP#N.

Category:People from New York has the template:catdiffuse template on top. So, I go from the supposition that the people listed there currently are notable for being from New York, unless they still need to be moved to a subcat. What is problematic there? --Francis Schonken (talk) 20:57, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Francis, you're misunderstanding my critical point. Someone can be "notable" as a novelist, and also happen to be a woman - but she isn't necessarily "notable" as a "woman novelist". The same applies to someone who is gay, and is a novelist. They may not be "notable" as a "gay novelist", in that biographies of the person wouldn't say "Jim is a well known gay novelist"- in fact, his sexuality may not even be mentioned in the lede. The same again applies to ethnicity - someone might say "Julie is a well known novelist" and then much later "Both of Julie's parents were from China, and she identifies as Asian-American" - so should Julie go in "Asian-American novelists" or not? Your changes suggest no, whereas I point to the way these categories are used a strong consensus is YES. They key question is whether the intersection itself must be notable for the individual. (whether the intersection is notable more generally, and thus whether the category should exist, is a matter for WP:DEFINING and WP:EGRS)--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 21:14, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Really, if someone is not notable for being a "gay novelist", don't put him in that category. See Category talk:LGBT people#Make non-diffusing?, I just added the example of Harold Nicolson who is not notable for being a LGBT writer, so he shouldn't be in Category:LGBT writers. Again, simple.

Other example: Virginia Woolf is not notable for being a Bisexual writer. She is notable for being a LGBT writer, also for being a LGBT writer from England. To derive the appropriate categorizations from that appears pretty straightforward to me. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:03, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

This proposal mistakes defining characteristics for characteristics that make the subject notable. A vast swath of our category structure is based on defining characteristics that are of very little relevance to the subject's notability. Most obviously, Einstein is not notable for being born in 1879, but it is a very defining feature of him. Very few historians that are women are notable for being "female historians" (they are notable as just historians). Similarly, place of birth can often be very little relevance to a subject's notability (like many people born in a maternity hospital, I have never lived in my town of birth). Defining attributes and notability are completely separate issues are far as current practice goes, so on that basis your proposition is not just controversial, it is a highly radical reworking of how categorisation currently works. SFB 17:16, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
For clarity, this is what WP:COP#N would read like (apart from the examples):

Apart from a limited number of categories for standard biographical details (in particular year of birth, year of death and nationality) an article about a person should be categorized only by the reason(s) for the person's notability.

(bolding added)
Place of birth is in itself neither notable nor defining (in Wikipedia context). Nationality is defining, and is also included per WP:COP#N.
So neither for year of birth nor for place of birth is there any difference between WP:DEFINING and WP:COP#N
If a female historian is notable for being a historian she should be in the category historians (e.g. Geneviève Hasenohr). If the gender doesn't make a difference, then it is not defining, and she should not be in a female historians category either way (nor for WP:DEFINING, nor for WP:COP#N), same example: Geneviève Hasenohr.
Hope that clarified a bit. Notability and Definingness are not the same (I never said they were). On the other hand WP:COP#N is usually all you need to know about the WP:DEFINING concept when applying categories to biographical articles, because it is notable characteristics + year of birth + year of death + nationality, which are indeed a practical representation of the difference between defining and notable for biographical articles. You don't need to understand the whole complex paragraph in WP:DEFINING which I quote here:

Often, users can become confused between the standards of notability, verifiability, and "definingness". Notability is the test that is used to determine if a topic should have its own article. This test, combined with the test of verifiability, is used to determine if particular information should be included in an article about a topic. Definingness is the test that is used to determine if a category should be created for a particular attribute of a topic. In general, it is much easier to verifiably demonstrate that a particular characteristic is notable than to prove that it is a defining characteristic of the topic. In cases where a particular attribute about a topic is verifiable and notable but not defining, or where doubt exists, creation of a list article is often the preferred alternative.

Hope you still can follow by the end of that paragraph. The simple formulation of all that for biographical articles is:

For biographical articles: Defining characteristics equals notable characteristics + year of birth + year of death + nationality.

--Francis Schonken (talk) 19:43, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Francis, the simple fact is, your interpretation is WIDELY disregarded, thus we can clearly state that consensus lies elsewhere. To say that we should start removing women from "women novelists" because we can't establish that they're notable as women + novelist is ridiculous and would never meet with consensus. All we have to establish is "notable as a novelist" + "is a woman". The same applies to "notable as a musician" + African-American or "notable as an actor" + "publicly gay". The one exception I've seen is religion, whereby someone can be publicly roman catholic, but they are not added to "Catholic writers" unless their catholicism is an important theme in their works. I can't really explain why this is the case, maybe because the sexuality/gender/ethnicity identity crowd is more tag-happy than the roman catholics, I don't know, but there you have it. For sexuality, gender, and ethnicity, it suffices that the person identify as such, and then they are placed in any relevant intersectional categories - trying to sort this out on a job-by-job basis would be a mess - e.g. is someone notable as a gay writer but not notable as a gay politician? Is Jane REALLY notable as a woman novelist? during the woman novelist fiasco, a great many female writers were incensed that they were not simply called writers, so our some of our public wants it the OTHER way - e.g. no gender categories at all, but that didn't meet with consensus either. The arguments simply aren't worth it? This is longstanding, whatever happens to be written in one line of policy somewhere aside. The place "defining" is used in this case is to determine whether the intersection itself is defining - e.g. if "African American" + "Writer" is notable and studied as a group (as opposed to "Canadian-American + writer" and whether a reasonable head article could be written about African american writers. Additionally, your formula is incorrect - in practice, it is much more than location and date of birth that gets added automatically (regardless of "notability" or "definingness") - for example, alumni of school X, winner of award Y. The policy now is in need of help, but in the other way - we should explicitly spell out all of the instances where "notability" or "definingness" doesn't come into the picture, and it's a rather long list, but that's the way the categories are used and its better than the alternative.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 20:12, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

I see no reason to make this more complicated than it is. A lot of talk in the previous contribution, not a single real example where WP:COP#N (without the questioned addition) would be lacking in giving succinct guidance.

Copying from an archived debate regarding Jodie Foster:
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
I have not studied the case of Jodie Foster in enough detail to have a legitimate opinion about that issue. But I can speak about my own experience in a way that I think is relevant in this context. For a time, I was categorized in a category of either Athiest or American Atheists (I can't quite remember). I objected to this. I would object to it again if it came up again, because I think it is a matter of WP:UNDUE. Atheism versus religionism is not an issue that I campaign about and including me in such a category would mislead people even if in some sense it might actually be true. (Notice that I'm not saying - not because my own beliefs are uncertain, but because I wouldn't want anyone to take this comment, which is about Wikipedia, as an excuse to add me there!)
I think many categories run the same kind of risk. Unless someone actually self-identifies publicly as belonging to a category, we should be very careful about adding them to that category. I don't know enough about Jodie Foster to know where she fits.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:43, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
We have had precisely the same debate in respect of Joan Armatrading. Wikipedia can cover the facts, but we are not here to allow every interest group to claim their own through categorisation, since this does not allow for any nuance (in the way that list articles do). Guy (Help!) 20:12, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Hi Jimbo. You're right about the atheism category - in general the rule is WP:DEFINING as well as WP:EGRS. Someone like Richard Dawkins should clearly be in that cat, but I doubt RS regularly say 'Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and noted atheist, today said...' So for the vast majority of people, no matter their religion, we don't categorize them accordingly since it's usually not an important part of their public life nor discussed in detail in reliable sources. LGBT is treated slightly differently - all it takes is public self-identification to merit the 'gay' tag. As for Foster, it almost seems like a custom-built set up for a Wikipedia battle - rumors have plagued her for years that she was gay, and then finally in a public speech she admits that she came out long ago and mentions her relationship with a woman, but she - whether on purpose or not - does not use the word gay or lesbian, and never says 'I am a XXX'. Then you add the winner-takes-all aspect of categories (eg you're either in or out) and voila, wikibattle royale. The debate here has been raging ever since. And then she marries a woman, adding fuel to the fire. Plenty of reliable sources have claimed she had finally come out as lesbian as a result of her speech, while some editors here state that she could be bi, or could eschew labels entirely - we simply don't know and we cannot trust newspaper's guesses in this matter since they have no means to fact-check short of asking her, again (Foster would regularly stipulate that questions from reporters about her sexuality were off-limits). The compromise arrived at in the RFC was sort of like 'she's said enough to put her in the LGBT tree, but we won't categorize her as a lesbian as that's a step too far' My guess is until she comes out with a clearer statement (which is unlikely as she's guarded her privacy for 40 years and I don't see a press conference in the future) this will go on and on and never be settled - as you can see a recent community wide RFC is now being disputed. I think we should just refer the whole thing to the WMF editorial board. Wait, does that still not exist? :)--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 20:31, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I object to the queers are special idea that speaks from the previous. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:51, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Slightly similar to Armatrading we have Tom Daley, who recently mumbled a vague reply to a jokey question on a UK comedy panel game show, from host Keith Lemon. He does not seem keen to make his sexual preferences public, but still gets three separate LGBT Category templates. By being more of a "celebrity" than Armatrading is his categorisation somehow more justified? The criteria are rather unclear. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:53, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
WP:COP#N could get some more attention I suppose. I'm not such a fan of presenting thoughts just by a shortcut, now I do. Because I think that is one that was lost out of sight for a long time and summarizes part of what Jimbo said as something we already knew but just didn't think of. Of course I should only speak for myself. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:47, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Obiwankenobi, how is "she's said enough to put her in the LGBT tree" not completely at odds with the policy which says she must "publicly self-identified with the belief or orientation in question"? Despite what some have argued, LGBT is not a catchall category for anything other than heterosexual. Janeane Garofolo is open about being asexual, yet she was previously married and has been in a relationship with a man for over a decade. Should she be in the LGBT category? Some have argued that it includes asexual people. (talk) 22:30, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Guy, thank you for the further example of Joan Armatrading. I was surprised to see that she is not included in the LGBT Wikiproject. Nor is Queen Latifa and there is no mention in the article of the longstanding press speculation about her sexuality. I wonder why Jodie Foster attracts so much more attention? (talk) 22:35, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
As has been stated several times, because she came out, "proudly" (her very own words), and she confirmed that she married (see, gay marriage). Now questions for you: What do you mean LGBT is a sexual orientation that someone identifies as being? Assuming it is such an orientation, as you seem to argue, how does someone self-identify as L,G,B, and T? What exactly are your requirements? -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 00:44, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
And as also has been pointed "out" She never self identified and her "outing" was not about sexuality but about being single and was tongue in cheek.--Mark Miller (talk) 00:50, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
I was answering and asking the IP, we already know that we disagree, but really your dispute is with Jodie Foster if you think contrary to her words, that she did not come out proudly. You have not articulated answers to my questions, so perhaps the IP will. Alanscottwalker (talk) 01:04, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
No, you just don't understand the entire situation. You seem to think that by stating "I am coming out" that is means someone is a homosexual. That is just best.--Mark Miller (talk) 01:11, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm merely taking her at her word, which is the understanding that is needed. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 01:29, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
No. You are leaping to conclusions. And you appear to lack sensitivity on the subject of other people's lives.--Mark Miller (talk) 01:32, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
No. You are leaping to deny what words mean. It is you who appear to lack sensitivity to other peoples lives. Taking people at their word is being sensitive to them. But I would still like the IP to answer my questions. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 01:44, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
You don't know what you are talking about and I strongly urge the IP to ignore your question...whatever it was. You lack both sensitivity and knowledge to what "Coming out" actually means. You can come out as anything you want but in this case you are actually filling in the blanks to suit your opinion and even, perhaps, an agenda.--Mark Miller (talk) 02:17, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Alan, I find it strange that you are so sure that Jodie Foster "proudly came out" yet did so in a way that was so ambiguous and cryptic that even supporters were confused by it. Recall that her statements were also taken to mean that she was retiring yet she almost immediately disclaimed this. Obviously it would not be possible for anyone to give you a definitive list of statements that would be acceptable as self-identification but if there is doubt, we should not make assumptions. In this case there is doubt. If someone in the public eye is "proudly out" we can reasonably expect that a less ambiguous statement will eventually be made. This may well be the case for Jodie Foster. (talk) 02:30, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Note, I said she used the word "proudly" to describe her coming out: ". . . I already did my coming out about 1,000 years ago, back in the Stone Age," Foster said. "In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, everyone she actually met." [1] So, it's not strange to me that sources write what they write, which is now viewed not a few minutes/hours after, but in the light of time and the public confirmation by her of her marriage. [2]. What is strange to me is people demanding more of her. 'Say it louder, Jodie Foster' does not seem to me either respectful or needed by anyone for anything. Alanscottwalker (talk) 03:37, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Leaping to make her what you want and not waiting for them to say so is just not anything Wikipedia has as a standard. Where is the "Draw your own conclusion" policy? I've never seen it.--Mark Miller (talk) 03:46, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
No. There is no point in discussing this with you. You've made it clear that you cannot believe that others disagree with you in good faith. That breaches the cardinal rule of discussion on Wikipedia. It's neither unheard of, nor unimaginable that many Wikipedians disagree with you considering what the sources say, and it's no crime to seek fidelity to the sources, quite the opposite. Alanscottwalker (talk) 03:59, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
You are right about one thing, there is no further point in discussing this with someone who throws around unfounded accusation of bad faith just because they believe they have a right and/or ability on Wikipedia to make up whatever they want about living persons. We have policies, guidelines and procedures, which you seem happy to ignore to suit your own opinion. It certainly doesn't improve the project.--Mark Miller (talk) 04:22, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Well, at least I am right, then. Except, there is nothing unfounded (some assumed "agenda", your words), or outside policy (V, NOR, NPOV, BLP, IAR) or made-up ([3] [4]) concerning what I have said. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 04:47, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Except that you have actually demonstrated an agenda to label Ms. Foster for some reason. That is not a stretch. And you are indeed suggesting original research, POV editing, violating BLP policy as written, violating (what was once called Burden) the first section of Wikipedia:V as well as IAR as this in no way improves the article or the project. While you do all of this, I have never suggested you were doing it in bad faith. Many people have agendas on Wikipedia. Some good, and some bad, while others don't even realize they do have an agenda. However, per Wikipedia:Advocacy: "Advocacy is the use of Wikipedia to promote personal beliefs or agendas at the expense of Wikipedia's goals and core content policies, including verifiability and the neutral point of view. Despite the popularity of Wikipedia, it is not a soapbox to use for editors' activism, recruitment, promotion, advertising, announcements, or other forms of advocacy." You are clearly advocating for the label of LGBT on a person who has never self indentified. Look, we can do this all night. Go ahead, have the last word. I have said what I need to. Thanks for the debate. It was civil until you made accusations.--Mark Miller (talk) 06:01, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
That's not an agenda. That's an editing dispute. Otherwise, you have just accused yourself of a political or personal advocacy agenda. Of course, you are just wrong. I have not ignored policy by making any of my arguments. (See eg., regarding interpreting policy, in addition to the many editors who have disagree with you.) -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 09:26, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
There are just as many or more editors that disagree with you. And you do make stuff up. You just did above.--Mark Miller (talk) 19:09, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Most of this is my fault for using you as an example and the behavior or arguments you use. While I may honestly believe you act a certain way or demonstrate a certain behavior, not everything has to be typed out for discussion. So I offer an apology for any sentiment that you felt was in bad faith. I don't even know if you, yourself, have edited the article. I know I haven't.--Mark Miller (talk) 20:54, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, Jimmy. I think your answer will help guide people to the best result. (talk) 22:36, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes, thank you Mr. Wales for weighing in on the subject.--Mark Miller (talk) 00:51, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
  • "LGBT" is not a sexual orientation, and neither is "gay". These are constructed identities that entail identification with certain communities and a particular "gay identity". Engaging in either homosexual behaviour does not make one "gay" unless one says one is "gay". The majority of people that engage in homosexual behaviour or desire do not consider themselves "gay". Being engaged in a same-sex marriage does not make one "LGBT", if one does not identify with that label. I don't understand this attempt to pigeonhole people into identities with which they haven't identified. RGloucester 01:41, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
    • As an openly "gay" homosexual male who has worked within the LGBT community.......I have to say, this was, perhaps, the wisest comment I have seen yet. A big thank you to you RGloucester.--Mark Miller (talk) 02:19, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
      • It occurs to me that consensus is most likely reachable by reference to WP:COP#N. I think Jodie Foster is homosexual. That she is in a publicly acknowledged same-sex marriage is sufficient to prove it. I don't think there's any serious doubt about that fact, and were it less emotionally charged, we'd probably not have any troubles about it. But I think what might persuade warring parties to put down their keyboards is a close look at WP:COP#N.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:53, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
        • Hmmmmm. This isn't the first time I have disagreed with you Jimbo, but I want to at least be clear. Just thinking they are homosexual doesn't seem to be enough to categorize as LGBT. Gay and homosexual are two different things and while Manning hasn't removed any male parts we refer to them as "her" and changed a name over it because they have self identified, while here we are determining what Foster is based on the rumor, accounts and reports of her relationship. You know we kept all mention of the relationship out of Tom Daley's article until such time that they openly admitted it. I haven't edited the article over any of this. Not sure I have ever edited the Foster article. As long as Foster has outright admitted to being in a same sex relationship and named the person than I can see why we would label them LGBT. I don't think we have a famous homosexual category. Perhaps Lesbian actress? I don't know, but I still strongly disagree with this and don't think anyone has really even bothered to offer much in the way of demonstrating Foster self identification. But, I always support the consensus, whatever it is.--Mark Miller (talk) 19:23, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
        • So, I went ahead a re-read your post Jimbo and the link you left. You stated; "I think Jodie Foster is homosexual. That she is in a publicly acknowledged same-sex marriage is sufficient to prove it." No, it isn't. I know men who, today are married, with children and have been in same sex relationships. Just being in a relationship with the same sex does not make one homosexual. Jodie foster has two natural sons. Using the very same logic we could not categorize Foster as homosexual. We would have to assume bisexuality. Still a part of the LGBT umbrella. But when looking through WP:COP#N I am not seeing the same thing you are. Perhaps WP:DEFINING is a better example where it states:

One of the central goals of the categorization system is to categorize articles by their defining characteristics. Categorization by non-defining characteristics should be avoided. It is sometimes difficult to know whether or not a particular characteristic is "defining" for any given topic, and there is no one definition that can apply to all situations. However, the following suggestions or rules-of-thumb may be helpful:

  • a defining characteristic is one that reliable, secondary sources commonly and consistently define, in prose, the subject as having. For example: "Subject is an adjective noun ..." or "Subject, an adjective noun, ...". If such examples are common, each of adjective and noun may be deemed to be "defining" for subject.
  • if the characteristic would not be appropriate to mention in the lead portion of an article, it is probably not defining;
  • if the characteristic falls within any of the forms of overcategorization mentioned on this page, it is probably not defining.

Often, users can become confused between the standards of notability, verifiability, and "definingness". Notability is the test that is used to determine if a topic should have its own article. This test, combined with the test of verifiability, is used to determine if particular information should be included in an article about a topic. Definingness is the test that is used to determine if a category should be created for a particular attribute of a topic. In general, it is much easier to verifiably demonstrate that a particular characteristic is notable than to prove that it is a defining characteristic of the topic. In cases where a particular attribute about a topic is verifiable and notable but not defining, or where doubt exists, creation of a list article is often the preferred alternative.

In disputed cases, the categories for discussion process may be used to determine whether a particular characteristic is defining or not.

In some ways that comes very close to making an argument for the categorization but by the end seems to defeat it. I also took a look at Category:LGBT actresses. There are currently only three subjects listed. This seems to be a less than notable category. A subcategory is Lesbian actresses‎ where Ms. Foster could not be placed as that is a much more narrow category. Is a woman a lesbian just because they are in a same sex relationship but have natural children? I did notice that the actual category states: "Consider rewording the inclusion criteria of this category if they are unclear.". Perhaps that is something to consider. I don't know. I do have concerns about the other category, Category:LGBT entertainers from the United States. I noticed Nell Carter is listed there but on reading the article I see no mention of her sexuality at all.--Mark Miller (talk) 20:54, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Well, I'm off to start dinner. If I don't get this chicken in the oven we won't be eating till 8:00 pm. Have a good day Jimbo. And thanks again for the discussion. I do feel it is an important one.--Mark Miller (talk) 21:01, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

There's still basic technical progress that could be made. A category like "LGBT actresses" should be assembled automatically from a Category:Actresses AND a Category:LGBT. This would reduce the issues involved in small categories. Wnt (talk) 21:34, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

There is a reasonable question regarding "defining characteristic", and I have to say that in this case it does not seem to be defining, although, I suppose, that might depend on the amount of weight and space given to her in an LGBT dictionary, and might be impacted by the amount of WEIGHT such a source might give the topic. This seems to me to be maybe closely similar to a question whether Marranos should be counted as Christians, and to have at this point many of the same potential problems and difficulties. It would not be unreasonable I think in this instance to err on the side of caution and not include such a category yet, although, I suppose, in time, like everything else, this might change as events warrant. John Carter (talk) 22:03, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
It could well be argued (not that I am) that since Foster spent most of her life not being known as gay, bisexual or lesbian, and her supposed statement was very much ambiguous, that it seems less likely for this to be a defining characteristic. However, at the moment the wording in the personal life section on top of the fact that there is nothing in the lead, makes me currently feel it is not considered a defining characteristic.--Mark Miller (talk) 22:28, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

In sum, finding the answer to the question whether or not J.F. came out as lesbian, bisexual or none of the previous is irrelevant for inclusion:

  • For lists this question needs not to be solved, and she can be included [5]
  • For categories this question needs not to be solved and she should not be included: her notability is not (or too marginally) depending on LGBT aspects of her (public) life — a.k.a. following the WP:COP#N recommendation.

--Francis Schonken (talk) 09:44, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

I think it's clear where the consensus lies.

Is this consensus challenged? Really, I don't think so. --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:39, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes, Francis, that consensus is indeed challenged. You're using Jodie Foster, but that's a pretty bad example, since her coming out speech was so confusing for the world and the matter of which categories to place was the subject of a community wide RFC. So, yeah, very bad example, total edge case. I'm talking about tens of thousands of other biographies. I have never seen a "gay" biography where all aspects of their lives were not gay-tagged, as it were - e.g. I don't recall ever seeing a gay poet/musician who was tagged as a gay poet but not a gay musician, and if such edits were made I don't remember ever seeing those reverted. Most of my experience has been with women+cats or ethnic+ cats, but the same rule applies.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 05:25, 11 June 2014 (UTC)


No problem if you want to challenge the consensus, you know the ropes --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:30, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Re. women+cats, ethnic+cats (& sexuality+cats, religion+cats): it is specifically discouraged to diffuse to such subcats following this incident, see WP:EGRS#General / no. 5.

Giving some examples on gendered musicians:

Gay novelist/poet: Erwin Mortier, only a single LGBT cat, is a counterexample that multiple cats referring to the person's activities would need to be sexualized. --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:19, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Francis, I'm sorry but I strongly disagree with both your approach here (eg I Francis alone can determine consensus) and your conclusions. I am well aware of the diffusion rules around gendered/ethnic categories, probably moreso than most. Finding a single person whose LGBT cats aren't fully filled out is a bad way to prove a point, and I'm quite sure if I added LGBT people from Belgium and LGBT poets to his bio no-one would complain. The lived consensus - ignoring a single discussion on Jimbo's page and focusing on things are categorized in the real world - is much more complex than you are trying to enforce here, and we should align the policy with lived consensus and not with 'only those things which are defining' + 2 exceptions - which if actually applied to article space would result in hundreds of thousands of categories being removed.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 12:18, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
You're the only one challenging the consensus. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:34, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Francis you cannot use a talk page discussion about how to categorize a single individual and translate that into a proposal to change guidance. Also, as someone who is involved, you cannot properly judge consensus here - you are the only one arguing for this change. I've reverted your change since the occupational focus had longstanding consensus and reflects how cop#n is currently used. I would welcome a discussion of how to improve it and make a list of those characteristics for which we apply the 'relevant to their notability' test and which ones we do not. However just leaving it as 2 exceptions then everything else is cop#n is simply wrong. Your confusing style of argumentation, attempt to change multiple things all at once, and pasting of large swathes of text here has caused other editors to stay away.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 12:47, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The case is simple:

  • There was a strong consensus to apply WP:COP#N without "only profession" limitation some 10 years ago when this became a guideline.
  • That consensus was at least silently continued for odd 9 years.
  • Somewhat over a year it was changed to imply "professions only", without discussion/consensus
  • Obiwankenobi claims silent consensus which is OK by me, until...
  • ...the silence is broken...
  • The new consensus may have its limitations (spin-out from a particular debate, m:The Wrong Version#Involving Jimbo, no formal closure, ...), nonetheless its application is much broader...
  • A consensus with limitations outdoes silent consensus, I don't think anyone is questioning that.
  • Again, let that not stop anyone from trying to find a new consensus, but until that happens, the guideline should reflect the current consensus.
  • Additionally: seeing the argumentation up till now in #Proposed language change to WP:COP#N below, my impression is that this is going nowhere. Wouldn't say WP:SNOW but close. Just one person eagerly trying to defeat the obvious. So, keep the discussion tag (I don't want to prevent anyone from presenting a decent rationale), but in the mean while remove the no-consensus insertion from the guideline, it is misleading. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:31, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Francis that's not how consensus works. If youd like to take this to the third opinion board be my guest, or if you'd like to Work with me to formulate a neutral RFC we can do that too. What is obvious to you goes against thousands of categorizations that have gone uncontested. The insertion around 'occupation' had consensus since no-one opposed, and because it reflected current practice. You are now trying to edit this and other guidelines to reflect your ideal state, vs current practice - that's fine but it needs a strong consensus to do so, and so far you are an army of one. Please stop making changes to this guideline until others come along and support you. The proposed language I placed below aligns much closer to current practice so I think we should start there.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 12:39, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Re. "...I don't agree re LGBT": even Obiwankenobi finds it self-evident that WP:DEFINING applies to any LGBT people intersection category --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:06, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

No, Francis, you're misinterpreting. What isn't defining is the combination of "somehow associated with, but not a member of, the bloomsbury group" - and then you add LGBT to it. In any case the main reason I'm opposed to that category is that, even if it was trimmed down to just be "LGBT members of the Bloomsbury group", it would still fail WP:EGRS as a final rung category. If you want to change this guideline in the way you are suggesting, you need to get a strong consensus and a group of people who are willing to actually do the work required to comply with your new proposed guideline, which I would estimate would result in the removal of thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of people from various LGBT + job categories. Personally I think it's simply not worth the work, and it doesn't align with how people use these categories today.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 13:47, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Category:Bloomsbury Group is not a professional category. Being associated with the Bloomsbury Group is not a professional category. Intersecting that with another non-professional category led you to talk about WP:DEFINING. What about this would be inapt for WP:COP#N in your view? --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:38, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

WP:DEFINING applies to all categories/categorizations including sensitive categories like Category:Atheists and Category:LGBT people. Not changing anything. Stating the obvious. --Francis Schonken (talk) 14:18, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

I agree it does apply to religion (and lack-of-religion like atheism), we should not tag people who just happen to be atheists even if they don't actively pursue this in their public lives, and this is already covered in WP:EGRS. However, I don't agree that it applies to LGBT categories - rather, the practice has been, as soon as someone has come out as publicly gay, they are tagged accordingly. If you want to argue this is a bad idea, fine, but you need actual people to agree with you that the language needs changing in the specific ways you're proposing - and the amount of work that would be required to go through and de-gay-tag thousands of biographies for whom being gay isn't that big of a deal in their public lives - well it would just lead to big edit wars and drama. Why?--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 14:44, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
WP:DEFINING applies to sensitive categories/categorizations like Category:Atheists and Category:Freemasons would be a no-brainer then? --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:44, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Freemasons seems to have had some dispute around it, and they seem to have settled on applying the "harder" test - e.g. DEFINING - for membership within. This is really case-by-case Francis, you can't make any broad statements. One distinction that seems important is whether the characteristic is intrinsic or extrinsic - e.g. is it something you chose, or is it something you are? You can't (really) choose your ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationality, date of birth, etc, so those things we tend to categorize on regardless of whether they are defining. You can choose your job, which clubs you belong to, what you believe, what religion you follow, whether to become a freemason or not, etc - thus, for those sorts of things, jobs, beliefs, clubs, religions, we tend to apply the stricter DEFINING test. This sort of evolved naturally, but it's how categorization seems to work today and seems to be the rough consensus we've arrived at. You're trying to change that, but I don't think it's a good idea to extent "defining-test" to LGBT+(x) cats, such as LGBT writers - if we did so, we'd have to go through the LGBT writers category and remove everyone for whom being a "gay writer" is not defining - but it's quite hard to police such things, so why bother?--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 15:55, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

WP:DEFINING applies to all categories/categorizations. There are no distinctions made in that guideline. It is a standard test, applied to any category including Category:People associated with the Bloomsbury Group if anyone would propose it (I don't). --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:13, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

DEFINING is MOSTLY, however, applied as follows: "Definingness is the test that is used to determine if a category should be created for a particular attribute of a topic." - in other words, DEFINING is used to decide whether a category should exist, or not. Once that category is created and accepted, there are many cases, such as those I've enumerated below, where everyone who qualifies is added, whether it is PERSONALLY defining for them or not. Also please stop out-denting, it makes the conversation extremely difficult to parse.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 16:47, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
What it is most used for is an unprovable subjective assumption. And even if it could be proved it has no relation to the current debate. --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:41, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

This should work:

Apart from a limited number of categories for standard biographical details (for example year of birth, year of death and nationality)[under discussion ] an article about a person should be categorized only by the reason(s) for the person's notability.

Bolding not intended for the guideline page, just to show that the definition of "standard biographical details" is perceived wider now (and can be discussed in the next section).

I outdent every time the discussion risks getting trapped in ancilliary topics (away from the bigger picture) --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:33, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

I think because there seems to be confusion on this issue, we are much better of enumerated cases where "standard" categories are applied, and cases where they aren't. That's what the section below attempts to do. Your constant out-denting is also disruptive, in that it seems an attempt to highlight your own comments as somehow "more" essential and "less" ancillary. That's not the case, at all - you don't have a monopoly on the big picture.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 17:42, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Sorry for the outdents then. --Francis Schonken (talk) 01:11, 19 June 2014 (UTC)----
The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The discussion in this section is no longer active in order to avoid fragmentation of discussion. The discussion of the same topic is continued at #Proposed language change to WP:COP#N below --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:52, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Proposed language change to WP:COP#N[edit]

To align the language with how categorization is currently practiced in wikipedia, I proposed the following change - for now the below is a draft, so please don't !vote yet, just comment on how to improve it first.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 15:32, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

"Apart from a limited number of categories for standard biographical details (in particular year of birth, year of death and nationality) an article about a person should be categorized (in terms of occupation) only by the reason(s) for the person's notability."

"Occupations/jobs/roles and membership in clubs, and categories relating to stances on issues (e.g. "Critics of X") should only be categorized if they are relevant to a person's notability."

Standard categories:
A number of "standard" categories can be placed on any biography regardless of whether the characteristic in question is closely linked to the notability of the person. The list includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Year of birth and year of death
  2. The place(s) people are closely associated with being from (e.g. Category:People from New York)
  3. Awards received
  4. Being alumni of a school
  5. Political candidacies
  6. Intersections of characteristics - i.e. if the person is a woman, and a novelist, she can be placed in subcategories of Category:Women novelists even if "Woman" + "novelist" is not WP:DEFINING of her work. The same applies for intersections of nationality, ethnicity, and sexuality. The only exception is religion or other philosophical views; we should not intersect religion + occupation/nationality categories unless the subject's religion is relevant to their public life.


template:trivia --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:25, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

I understand you feel that way, and I suppose you're unlikely to support this. (that said, this is a very snide way to reply to a good faith suggestion) However, having dealt with categorization of biographies for a very long time, and having de-ghettoized hundreds of biographies, I can assure you that this is standard practice. If someone went to a university -> alumni cat. If they are black, then they get "african-American" + "every other category they are in". If they are a woman, or a lesbian -> "woman" + "every category" and "lesbian" + "every category". Look at any of our featured articles, which get thousands of page views, with hundreds of watchers, and you will see the same thing, for very famous people, a LONG list of categories at the bottom.The main areas where there is resistance to adding new categories is (a) religion - e.g. not everyone who is catholic is so-categorized and (b) jobs/occupations/roles/club memberships - in this case, we apply the WP:DEFINING test - is actor X really known as a Category:Restaurant staff? Otherwise, the evidence and silent consensus of thousands of editors across tens of thousands of biographies is that most of these biographical categories, such as the ones enumerated above, are intended to be filled with everyone who fits, regardless of the extent to which it "defines" them.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 19:43, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
A great example is Ellen Degeneres - she is in the following categories:

Now, does Ellen really pass the defining test for all of these various intersectional categories? Probably not. However, she is clearly notable as a lesbian, and she is notable as several jobs, so she gets LGBT+(each job she has). That's just the way things work here. Trying to enforce something different is just likely to lead to lots of complications - e.g. "Yes, I know she's a woman, and I know she's a writer, but she's not really a "woman" writer, is she?" It's ultimately a waste of time. If we want to trim categories on bios, we should focus on eliminating jobs - which are numerous over one's lifetime, as opposed to trying to eliminate other things, which are much less so.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 19:52, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Here's what I think we should do:
  1. Delete the "descent" categories (don't categorize by the ethnicity/nationality of the persons great^n-grandparents). (that removes 4 categories from Ellen)
  2. Delete (listify if necessary) the award recipients categories. (that removes 4 categories from Ellen)
  3. Delete the "from" categories (that a famous person lived in Fooville for a while may be of interest in Fooville, but isn't really defining). (that removes 2 categories from Ellen)
  4. Delete the "LGBT+from" categories. (that removes 2 categories from Ellen)
  5. Delete the "occupation+from" categories (upmerging the occupation if necessary). (that removes 5 categories from Ellen)
  6. Create a "Lesbian" category. (that adds 1 category to Ellen)
  7. Delete the "LGBT/Lesbian+occupation" categories (upmerging the occupation if necessary) and replace them with a link showing how to use category intersection. (that removes 4+ categories from Ellen)
  8. ... DexDor (talk) 21:58, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
yes, category intersection is the way to go. Meanwhile we need to solve the problem in front of us. Francis is trying to tighten the language and assert that woman novelists would be removed from any women novelists for whom we haven't established that women+novelist is notable (vs woman and novelist individually). It would also remove award winners if such awards aren't referenced by the majority of reliable sources when referring to the person or an ongoing part of their notability. None of this matches current practice, which I'm attempting to encode in the policy through the draft above.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 22:06, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
imho you're misreading DexDor's comments: Create a "Lesbian" category ... Delete the "LGBT/Lesbian+occupation" categories... does not amount to ...yes, category intersection is the way to go. Of course I only want to speak for myself. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:38, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Exceptions to COP#N - Proposal 2[edit]

All of those listed above should be "exceptions", indeed they should not be thought of as exceptions, rather for COP#N we should enumerate the (rather few) fields for which we actually strictly apply the DEFINING/notability/etc test. The above is an expressed desire to limit the number of categories, however in practice this is difficult - when going through a list of winners of prize X, must one really attempt to discern if the winning of said prize is worthy of being noted? Similarly, if one is known to be a woman, and known to be a novelist, must one really reflect carefully before placing this person as a woman novelist? People do categorization en-masse, especially such intersections - adding the requirement that we establish a DEFININGNESS or NOTABILITY test for such intersections is just a barrier to categorization. If you think a particular category is useless, the proper course is to delete the whole category. If it's decided that a category can exist, like Category:American women novelists, it would be folly to walk through the several thousand articles categorized there and remove ones where we felt that "women novelist" was not a defining descriptor of them, even if "novelist" was.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 06:11, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
I think this is the wrong way to go about proposing this change, Francis. The current undeclared consensus is that all the above constitute valid forms of categorisation because people don't apply the notion of notability when categorising. As I've stated above, I think the language of WP:DEFINING should be mirrored here – not the creation of a heavily notability-based category system (which I haven't seen widely in practice).
For example, I have never seen anyone support active maintenance of an award category to excludes some of the winners on the basis that the award was not an aspect of their notability (while for those present it is). My position is that this makes category maintenance more difficult not easier – would we need hidden notes to explain why each category that could be added to a person (but isn't there) has been excluded? If not, how do we prevent dozens of editors making the mistake of re-adding the category? Where is the consensus on notability of a certain category for an article subject stored? The defining criteria as applied now actually simplify the process. If you believe we shouldn't be categorising certain things – ethnic descent or alumni, for instance – then please nominate the tree for deletion and let the discussion show why people think it is defining or not. While there is logic to your proposal, I don't think it there is any support for it. The above discussions have been more aimed at application of LGBT type categories and issues present on a couple of specific articles – not the overhaul of the categorisation culture of "cat when defining" + "delete bad cats through consensus at WP:CFD" (which the silent majority clearly see as satisfactory). SFB 09:36, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Discussion of proposal 2[edit]

Note to participants joining this discussion. In spite of my requests, Francis has still not reverted his recent change made to the guideline absent any consensus on the talk page, and indeed this change was made against my strenuous objections (similar content was reverted multiple times before). Francis claimed elsewhere that he mistakenly believed this edit had consensus, but even after I clarified this was not the case, he has steadfastly refused to revert this change, which dramatically changes the scope of WP:COP#N and makes it apply to ALL categories instead of just occupational ones. I think it is inappropriate for Francis to make a change to the guideline and then canvass people to come comment on additional changes, so I felt it best if people were informed that the current version of the guideline does not represent consensus, I haven't reverted myself as I (and Francis) were recently blocked for edit warring, so I'm trying to talk things out, but he's not responding or showing any willingness to discuss reverting this unilateral change to a policy.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 06:54, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject LGBT studies#Two categories --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:20, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
It would be good, if neither of you edit this guideline without consensus, I have undone the edit. Alanscottwalker (talk) 09:12, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Exceptions to COP#N - Proposal 3[edit]

Starting from the current language:

Apart from a limited number of categories for standard biographical details (in particular year of birth, year of death and nationality)[under discussion ] an article about a person should be categorized (in terms of occupation)[under discussion ] only by the reason(s) for the person's notability.

I propose to go back to the older language:

Apart from a limited number of categories for standard biographical details (in particular year of birth, year of death and nationality) an article about a person should be categorized only by the reason(s) for the person's notability.

Reasons: see above #WP:COP#N: Occupations only? --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:32, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Discussion of proposal 3[edit]

  • Support as nominator. Below (#Counter-proposal to remove notability) nobody was able to demonstrate there would be any difference (nor even any friction) between defining and notable for + standard biographical details for people categorizations. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:37, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Counter-proposal to remove notability[edit]

I fundamentally disagree with this edit that applied WP:Notability to the category system. Viewing the discussion at the time of that change, no editor other than DexDor agreed that notability should be applied outright – the sole supporting editor specifically raised questions around that kind of application. The introduction of this section also brought immediate dissent from several editors. The pre-existing idea of "defining characteristics" was suggested as a better choice. Wikipedia:Notability has never concerned non-article aspects of Wikipedia.

The above proposals by Francis Schonken are looking to square the circle – exceptions to the rule are only needed because the link with notability fundamentally does not work, does not reflect consensus, and is not reflected in current usage. I propose immediate removal of reference to notability in this category guideline and the initiation of a discussion of including a summarised version of the widely-supported WP:DEFINING criteria. SFB 15:18, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

  • agree with counter proposal. The purpose of categorization is to help readers find related articles. Notability goes against this purpose and the proposal above makes things even worse. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with an article being in many categories if that is what it takes to achieve the purpose of categorization: navigation. Hmains (talk) 16:10, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • agree with counter proposal. I agree with Hmains. The goal here is to help find people. Rjensen (talk) 16:14, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • disagree
    • an easier link to the archived discussion of 2012: Wikipedia talk:Categorization of people/Archive 8#Limit the number?
    • categories is also what is visible at the bottom of the page, that's a concern too (no trivia list etc...)
    • easy navigation is a myth without the notability aspect. I've done some work on categorizations lately and what I found was appaling. Needed to click half a dozen times to link two people living in the same region, same language, same occupation.
    • if you want to see a discussion with more participants, more agreement, etc... there is a section retrieved from an archived talk page enclosed in #WP:COP#N: Occupations only? above.
    • I agree with DexDor's take on this. See also above, the example DexDor gave at #Discussion --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:13, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
      • @Francis Schonken: I would argue that the main problem you're experiencing (not finding similar people in close categories) is actually a technical problem, not a policy one – Wikipedia:Category intersection would solve this. This would allow people to appear in all the relevant parent and child categories at the same time. German Wikipedia tries the opposite approach, so de:Jack Nicholson is listed in a category with all men and also with all American people, but it doesn't solve the technical issue of allowing readers to request for "Men+American+actor+born 1937+New York people" to see if anyone else fits that intersection. Removing defining categories from an article would actually disrupt this kind of solution. SFB 20:02, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
        • I'm all for keeping defining categories, so I'm not sure what you're actually talking about. --Francis Schonken (talk) 20:11, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
        • Re. "is actually a technical problem", no it was not. The problem is about people going clueless. --Francis Schonken (talk) 20:13, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Your above proposals are for categorising via notability-based characteristics (with exceptions). This is de facto a departure from categorising by defining characteristics. I can see that the exceptions you've stated above are the only non-notability based features that you consider defining, but that is only your definition of defining characteristics. Others may find your proposal excludes characteristics that they interpret as defining. SFB 17:29, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I can agree with that. I mean, finding consensus on what is defining and what is not. Actually, it's the same discussion. Anyone can agree (I suppose) that things someone is notable for are already defining. So, the bulk of categorizations is already out of the way. Then there's the known standard biographical details, no real discussion there either I suppose. Then there's categories like Category:Deaths from abdominal aortic aneurysm — do we accept them as defining? Do we accept them as a standard biographical detail? Same difference as far as the discussion goes, and also: the real discussion I'd like to concentrate on (I mean: the discussion of whether there's consensus for such categories or not).
Now maybe have a look at how DexDor proposed to treat the Ellen Degeneres cats above in #Discussion. As far as I can see DexDor worked through the list along the lines of WP:DEFINING. Or along the lines of the 2012 version of WP:COP#N. If you see differences, I'd be happy to hear. --Francis Schonken (talk) 20:13, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't think the list is necessary. Place of birth and dates of existence are obviously defining for a human being. No basic biography is complete without them. The other four types listed (awards, alumni, candidacies, intersections) should be up for debate as much as any other category (e.g. occupation, citizenship) and do not need enshrining as protected areas. SFB 20:21, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
  • At the top of this thread there are statements that it was me (DexDor) who (first) applied WP:Notability to categorization. That is incorrect. Category:People by occupation (and hence its subcats) has been based on notability since 2005[6]/2010[7] and even the previous WP:COP text included "career was notable in its own right". DexDor (talk) 22:47, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
  • We shouldn't categorize people by every occupation/hobby that's mentioned on their article; it would lead to some articles being in many categories (e.g. "[She] taught skiing in New Zealand, became a waitress in Hawaii, then spent five years as a stewardess for Qantas Airways and a brief time as an au pair in Paris. In 1981 she returned to Los Angeles and decided to become an actress."). Categories like Category:Flight attendants would be much less useful for navigation if they contained hundreds/thousands of articles about people who did that job before becoming notable for something else. Hence I oppose the proposed change to remove the reference to notability. DexDor (talk) 05:46, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
    • @DexDor: My counter-proposal does not suggest Sachi Parker should be categorised by every single job she has done. The proposal is to allow people to make the decision of whether occasional au pair, waitress and stewardess work is a defining aspect of Parker's life (most will clearly consider those as non-defining). Is your argument actually that you think notability criteria should be applied to occupational categories? Your previous statements around exceptions to the notability for categories rule seems to be for all non-occupational ones. SFB 17:03, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
      • @Sillyfolkboy: Can you give any examples where a person is notable for a particular occupation but you would not consider that occupation to be a defining characteristic of them - or vice versa ? Category:Fooers should be (just) for notable fooers. That way the categories are useful for navigation (some editors will take any opportunity to add non-defining cats to articles) and we avoid unnecessary complication in the category system and its guidelines. For categorization to be most useful it should be applied consistently and if it's just left to article editors without (simple) guidance then it won't be. DexDor (talk) 20:27, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
        • @DexDor: I think Barack Obama is a good example. Without his political career, he probably would not have been notable as a lawyer. But that part of his career has been a defining aspect of his life and subsequent political career. What do you make of non-occupation categories? SFB 22:04, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
          • @Sillyfolkboy: IMO Barak Obama is notable as a lawyer - if I was clearing out Category:Lawyers then I certainly wouldn't remove the category tag from his article. Consider someone who had a job (e.g. farming, military, factory worker) which did not make them notable, they had a serious injury (e.g. loss of limb/sight) and then became notable (e.g. as disability rights campaigner or para-athlete). Their former career is a factor that led to them becoming notable, but we shouldn't categorize them for that - e.g. if someone saw a TV programme that shocked them into becoming a (notable) campaigner on some issue we shouldn't categorize that person as a TV viewer. DexDor (talk) 05:36, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
            • @DexDor: What about Bradley Manning, whose work as a US Army soldier and time in Iraq in themselves are not notable (the whistleblowing is the notable aspect)? SFB 06:35, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
              • (not wanting to interfere in this conversation I hope there's no objection to chiming in?) (1) also the transgender topic and namechange are notable for Manning, which makes also (US) Army combined with Transgender notable; (2) the whistleblowing is notable in large part because Manning was part of the US Army, and more precisely in Iraq; (3) there's nowhere in the guideline that categorizations should be limited to the single most notable aspect, it's always about the set of most notable/defining aspects, which for Manning would be something like "US military in Iraq who became a WikiLeaks connected whistleblower, for which he is serving a sentence in prison, and who transgendered"; (4) that being said there's some overcategorization going on in Manning's article, for instance Category:Iraq War legal issues is not part of the people categorization tree, and should not include persons (note that United States v. Manning is correctly included in that category, and should not be doubled by including the person in that category). --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:51, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
...and undercategorization in other fields, eg. NYT characterizes Manning in a single sentence as a "former United States Army intelligence analyst", why is the Manning article not included in category:American intelligence analysts (and/or in a category relating military intelligence analysis)?
I agree with Francis. Manning became notable for what (s)he did (unofficially) as a soldier so there's nothing wrong with that article being in Category:Soldiers. Similarly a soldier-spy or a doctor-murderer should be categorized both as a criminal and by their employment. WP:COP#N shouldn't prevent that categorization - maybe clarification of the guidance (e.g. an example) would be an improvement, but COP#N is needed (unless we want, for example, Clint Eastwood categorized as a grocery clerk and firefighter). However, if someone has truly achieved notability in many fields (example) then they can be in many occupation categories. DexDor (talk) 20:24, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
I added "and/or relevant to his acting career" to the existing example in order to cover that [8] --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:10, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment — see related discussion at WT:EGRS#Defining - someone thinks the "defining" concept entirely unpractical for categorization. I don't agree, but I do think the clarification ("defining characteristics" for biographical articles =equals= standard biographical details + the characteristics the person is best known for) useful, in order to avoid qualifying "defining" as a vague concept. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:53, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

How about this:

[1] add the following to the definition of Categorization of biographical articles in Wikipedia:Categorization of people#Definitions and scope:

The main biographical article of a person is the single main namespace article named after that person. When there are split-outs, the main biography should be a summary style article (see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (people)#Several articles treating the same person).

[2] in Wikipedia:Categorization of people#General considerations, replace:

Apart from a limited number of categories for standard biographical details (in particular year of birth, year of death and nationality)[under discussion ] an article about a person should be categorized (in terms of occupation)[under discussion ] only by the reason(s) for the person's notability. For example, a film actor who holds a law degree should be categorized as a film actor, but not as a lawyer unless his or her legal career was notable in its own right and/or relevant to his acting career. Many people had assorted jobs before taking the one that made them notable; those other jobs should not be categorized.
Similarly, none of the celebrities commercializing a fragrance are listed in the perfumers category: not everything a celebrity does after becoming famous warrants categorization.


Biographical articles should be categorized by defining characteristics. As a rule of thumb for main biographies this includes:
  • standard biographical details: year of birth, year of death and nationality
  • the reason(s) for the person's notability, a.k.a. the characteristics the person is best known for.
For example, a film actor who holds a law degree should be categorized as a film actor, but not as a lawyer unless his or her legal career was notable in its own right and/or relevant to his acting career. Many people had assorted jobs before taking the one that made them notable; those other jobs should not be categorized.
Similarly, none of the celebrities commercializing a fragrance are listed in the perfumers category: not everything a celebrity does after becoming famous warrants categorization.

? --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:30, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Oppose. I disagree with using "best known for" (BKF) - if a person is (genuinely) notable in several fields (example) then they should be categorized for each of those fields and BKF depends on who you ask and when. You haven't explained what the exact changes proposed are (and why). Incidentally, I also disagree with the insertion of "and/or relevant" as that's likely to make it harder to use/maintain these categories. DexDor (talk) 19:23, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, I just try to get rid of the "underdiscussion" tags that have been up for too long. As the counter-proposal is apparently going nowhere consensus-wise, and nobody else is taking initiative to produce a wording proposal, I'll be going for my #Exceptions to COP#N - Proposal 3, the only one currently having a 100% support after a month and half of being up here.
On the content of DexDor's remarks:
  1. I wrote "the characteristics (plural, emphasis added) the person is best known for" in my proposal above, which is something else as BKF (singular). I think it a helpful alternative phrasing of "the reason(s) for the person's notability". Re. "(it) depends on who you ask and when" — platitude: we look it up in reliable sources. When being a dog trainer is one of the characteristics a person who has a biographical article in wikipedia is best known for (a.k.a. one of the reasons for this person's notability) we list the person in Category:Dog trainers, etc. — simple as that.
  2. Re. what explanation: I quoted existing and proposed versions next to each other above — what else can I do?
  3. Re. why explanation: see all the previous discussion, starting from #Proposed changes (and all other previous discussions linked to from these sections). I could make a personalized summary of all this, but I suppose you'd still have to read the rest to see how others defend their case.
  4. Re. "and/or relevant" if an actor has a previous career as an erotic dancer, a career not notable in its own right, and then has a first major success appearing in a dance film, then the previous career is somehow relevant to the acting career and we apply the erotic dancers category (see Channing Tatum). Don't see how this is relevant to category maintenance issues: such categorization is correct, and that's the kind of categorization we should do.
--Francis Schonken (talk) 07:19, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
No further objections then? I'm leaning towards implementing the last solution I proposed. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:07, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Implemented [9] --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:49, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Ordering names in a category: names with prefixes[edit]

The suggestions for name sorting are proposed to follow the national conventions of the country that an individual might be from. This seems to ignore the overriding principle that this is en.wikipedia, an English language publication. Thus whether (for example) a Dutch catalogue would put 'van Aaardwolf' before 'de Wolff' is irrelevant: the recommended source, 'Names of persons : national usages for entry in catalogue', is clear that in an English language directory, such prefixes are borne in mind in sorting. Any list of names in en.wikipedia is, by definition, an English language directory, so should be sorted according to the principles of the English language, and 'de Wolff' should precede 'van Aaardwolf'. Kevin McE (talk) 19:43, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

@Kevin McE: I think this point is more nuanced than "sort as the English do". Quite a few English speakers who are knowledgeable about the given topic (thus more likely to be searching the category system) will be expecting a native style sort in specific categories. From my own perspective, I would expect first name sorting in Category:Ethiopian long-distance runners (e.g. Haile Gebrselassie in H, not G. That said, this category is also a counterpoint because lack of knowledge about Ethiopians has meant this category is a complete mish-mash, which isn't desirable for anyone. I'm happy to support either English or native style sorting if a consistent approach is possible. SFB 08:40, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
I very deliberately did not say that we should 'sort as the English do', and am rather annoyed that you put the phrase in speech marks. I said that we should sort according to the principles of the English language in regard to the use of prefixes. Identification of the appropriate name to be indexed does of course follow the principles of the language in question, but whichever name that is carries prefixes as part of that name. Kevin McE (talk) 12:15, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
This subject has been discussed extensively in the past (see Archive 3, for example). We've gravitated to sorting categories the way articles appear in reputable English-language encyclopedias, like the Britannica, the way the Chicago Manual of Style suggests they should be indexed (chapters 18.69 to 18.85 are dedicated to it), and the way English language library authority controls, like the Library of Congress Authorities, sort them. Fortunately, these sources nearly always agree with each other. The authorities do not always follow the Style Manual rules perfectly, sometimes by mistake, but other times because they've specifically contacted people (e.g. emigrants authors) to ask what their preference is when standard rules are hard to apply. The Virtual International Authority File site is a great new way to find the way most everybody's name should be indexed (okay, not of most sportspeople) and a link to the VIAF entry is now a standard part of a bio.
By the way, you seem to have arrived here because you took issue with the sorting of Robin van Persie in a small table on the World Cup page. I doubt the guidelines on this page are meant to guide such small issues. Afasmit (talk) 21:01, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
If it has been discussed extensively and a consensus reached, that should be recorded somewhere as a policy, otherwise such consensus building is futile, except as ad-hoc dispute resolution. If the principles of 'Names of persons : national usages for entry in catalogue' are not what has been agreed in discussion, it should not be the advice given at wp:sur.
Your final point is exceedingly patronising, though perhaps I should be flattered by your researching of my edit hstory. If one is seeking clarification on sorting surnames in a list, where better to seek clarification than in a section entitled 'Sort by surname'? Kevin McE (talk) 17:12, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't see the difference between sorting as English speakers do and "sort according to the principles of the English language in regard to the use of prefixes". It's the same thing to me, and I didn't intend to frustrate you. As I said, above I see the value is both systems. SFB 18:11, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
No patronizing intended. I should have spelled out "small-scale issues", but give WP:GF a try: I tried to be nice by suggesting that this page on categories may not bind you on formatting a small table on a page. With respect to your first paragraph: you want the consensus that has evolved over the years to be on record, which is what this guideline page is. Wikipedia is messy: you won't find all discussions on sorting in this talk page's archives, as they were held at multiple places (I got only involved here) and a lot of negotiation has been done via edit summaries as well. Afasmit (talk) 06:41, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Eponymous categories - Reconsidering the guideline WP:OC#Eponymous[edit]

Info talk.png

The guidelines for creating categories named after people, which is of interest to this WikiProject, is being discussed to see if it still has consensus. If you would like to participate in the discussion, you are invited to add your comments at the Overcategorization talk page. Thank you. RevelationDirect (talk) 05:24, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

By-century categorisation query[edit]

If a writer dies in 1999, but has a collection of their poetry published posthumously in 2001, does that make them a 21st-century poet? —Xezbeth (talk) 08:43, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Definition of "sensitive categories"[edit]

Francis made a number of undiscussed changes to this guideline. Some of then I agreed with but the creation of a section on sensitive categories I removed since sensitive categories was rejected as a title for WP:EGRS and there is no agreement to use such a term in the guideline. Instead I simplified it (see edit history). As an alternative, I'm happy to revert all of Francis' undiscussed additions to discuss them all as a group, or we could discuss just the most recent tweak I made to his changes to see if people prefer his version or mine.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 10:48, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

??? The expression "sensitive categories" is used multiple times in the guideline since it existed some ten years ago. Really don't know what you're talking about.
Since WP:EGRS is not (nor will be in the foreseable future) used to define this concept, the guideline that uses the concept since it existed is the excellent place to define it. It should have been a long ago (my bad probably), but there is no argument to not clearly define it.
Obiwankenobi's argument is evidently based on a misunderstanding. --Francis Schonken (talk) 11:02, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
before defining it, then we should discuss the definition here. I don't agree with the definition you had placed, and that doesn't seem to me to be the point of sensitive categories.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 11:09, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Here's the definition I proposed:

Sensitive categories
Categories are defined as sensitive when they recur at Wikipedia:Categories for Discussion giving way to extensive and convoluted discussions. This includes:

--Francis Schonken (talk) 15:21, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

I disagree with this change of scope. I do not believe the idea of sensitive categories is contiguous with categorisation by identity or view. While "sensitive" has appeared for a long time in the guideline it has not explicitly referred to this group of categories, but rather more to defining people with potentially libellous labels that do not represent the subject (e.g. criminal). The construction of the General considerations section since 2006 has been simply to list general considerations (hence use of furthermore after the sensitive statement), not sensitive considerations. SFB 16:51, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Note that the General considerations section is not the only section referring to the concept of sensitive categories: also WP:COP#Creating a new category does so, with category:atheists as an example. From the discussions when this part of the guideline was written it is clear that LGBT people (for instance) are included in the concept, the example might as well have been relating to those categorizations, or on a religious faith, etc...
There's no extension of the scope, the scope of the guideline is as explained in the lede: "this guideline was developed in response to some prolonged Wikipedia:Categories for discussion procedures that debated the categorization of people in articles." These categories didn't become less sensitive over time, proof of that is the recent "categorygate" (Kevin Morris (2013-05-01), Does Wikipedia's sexism problem really prove that the system works?, Daily Dot ) which was about gendered categories. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:19, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

No further objections then? --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:56, 20 August 2014 (UTC)