Category talk:Year of birth missing

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Name of category[edit]

Resolved: Already handled at WP:CFD and with new category
(copied from User talk:Quuxplusone)

I think you should rename this Category:Unknown births to conform to the style we now use (i.e. Category:2003 births. Interesting idea... part of me really likes it, part of me thinks it might get VfDed. gren 02:25, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, I'm not sure of its utility. I'm trying to be symmetric with Category:Year of death missing (note: not Category:Unknown deaths — that sounds weird anyway). There's some related talk on Category talk:Year of death missing; the gist of it so far is that there's no clear policy as to which categories should be listed on a page with an approximate birth or death date. E.g., I added Juan Ponce de León to this cat as an initial feeler: will the people watching that page think it's a helpful addition, or not? (Ponce de León is listed with "c. 1460" as a birth date.)
I admit that the word "missing" is a poor choice, since it implies that someone needs to fill in the "missing" information — when in fact it may not be available at all. "Year of (birth/death) unknown" would be best, I think. --Quuxplusone 08:22, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The word "missing" is a poor choice in many circumstances. It does not differentiate between people whose birth year is unknown or not known with certainty (such as Guillaume de Machaut) and articles that simply don't have a birth year listed (such as Daniel Bernard). This category should be reserved for articles of the latter type, and an entirely separate category should be used for examples of the former. If such a category does not already exist, then one needs to be implemented. I don't have a problem tagging a biography as both "1430s births" and "Year of birth unknown", but I do have a problem tagging one as both "1430s births" and "Year of birth missing". In the second example, the two categories are directly contradictory, and we don't want that.
The same argument applies to Category:Year of death missing. Microtonal 23:49, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
see Category talk:Year of death missing. -- User:Docu
Marking this "Resolved" as precisely the opposite happened vs. this proposal; a then-extant Category:Unknown births was renamed to Category:Year of birth missing in the first placed! And the knowable-but-missing vs. missing-and-never-knowable problem has long since been solved with the creation of Category:Year of birth unknown. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 12:10, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Known to have been born[edit]

Resolved: The Category:Unknown births ambiguity no longer exists after the category rename.

Surely everyone who has a Wikipedia article has been born? Not everyone has died, of course, so the explanation for the respective death category is OK. JIP | Talk 19:23, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

Female/Male Split[edit]

Resolved: Proposal rejected by consensus.

My idea to reduce the size of this category is to have something like Category:Females with unknown births or Category:Males with unknown births. The female/male split would just be for humans. If there were non-human creatures that would get listed, list them here. --Midnightcomm 00:11, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't see the point. They would still be huge, but they would be harder to browse. It is an editorial category so it doesn't need to be subdivided . ReeseM 02:13, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree with ReeseM that the category doesn't need to be subdivided, and that an artificial male/female split would be harder to navigate with no appreciable benefits. However, I do think that this category is very large, and might benefit from some kind of subcatting. At the moment, it includes at least three somewhat distinct categories of people:
  • People who were born so long ago that their birthdates are almost certainly unrecorded (Hotepsekhemwy, Nothelm). Note that some civilizations' records go back a lot further than others', so some medieval Britons might be at home here and yet some Roman-era Britons have well-established birthdates.
  • People whose birthdates are uncertain due to lack of research or intentional obfuscation on their part; some Hollywood actresses fit here. A dedicated researcher could probably track down primary sources in these cases, but nobody's bothered.
  • People whose birthdates are definitely recorded (birth certificates, e.g.), but aren't considered notable enough to make it into any secondary sources yet; lots of contemporary authors, musicians, and educators with bios on Wikipedia fit into this category.
So that's why I'm unsatisfied with the "one big category" approach. However, I strongly do not support splitting up this category along the above lines, because those lines are so fuzzy and subjective. This topic needs much more discussion, if splitting is really thought to be a good thing. --Quuxplusone 06:20, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Strongly disagree with the female/male split too, not that it's ever likely to happen.--HisSpaceResearch 18:27, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Marking this "Resolved", since over a year later this proposal (which also came up in several related categories) has gained no traction at all, and some "bold" attempts at creating such subcategories have been WP:CFD'd out of existence. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 12:10, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

My Subcat Idea[edit]

Resolved: Proposal rejected by consensus.

ok my idea is that we have it sorted out by occupation, for example all actors and actress go into one catergory one for writers and one for potilcian leaders, does this good —Preceding unsigned comment added by LeafGreen Ranger (talkcontribs)

Same objections as to the male/female suggestion — that's an artificial division that doesn't provide any information or help to the editor or browsing reader. --Quuxplusone 15:14, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Marking this "Resolved", since over a year later this proposal (which also came up in several related categories) has gained no traction at all, and some "bold" attempts at creating such subcategories have been WP:CFD'd out of existence. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 12:10, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Nice idea but...[edit]

Resolved: No longer problematic.

I kind of saw the addition of this category to a page I had worked on as a criticism, a kind of "please provide a year of birth for this person". And actually, looking at the category text itself it does direct the user to Category:Year of birth unknown for historical figures. I think there are some people in the wrong category on both sides. -- Francs2000 23:56, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I think there are too, but it's a formidable task to weed through them and research in each case which is the case! This category implies that no information about the year of birth has been provided in the article, and that can be true of both historical and contemporary figures, whereas Category:Year of birth unknown implies that there are no sources anywhere that can state the year of birth with certainty. This is a self-ref category, but 'unknown' isn't. Ziggurat 00:01, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Over a year later, this is no longer a serious problem, as editors have been recategorizing, and the categories have much better documentation. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 12:10, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Self-reference to Wikipedia?[edit]

Resolved: Already dealt with at WP:CFD.

My impression of categories is that they logically group Wikipedia articles according to the subject matter. From Wikipedia:Categorization:

"Categories (along with other features like cross-references, lists, and infoboxes) help users find information, even if they don't know that it exists or what it's called."
Are we helping users find information? How many other self-referential categories exist? Is this a candidate for category deletion? (Big disclaimer: I haven't done a lot of template work.) Thanks, GChriss <always listening><c> 20:14, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

This has already been resolved at WP:CFD, where the consensus was that that Category:Date of birth missing (along with other "non-defininging characteristic" cleanup categories for details, such as Category:Date of birth missing (living people), Category:Place of birth missing and Category:Place of death missing) should be used on articles' talk pages, while the "defining" Year-of (birth missing, birth unknown, death missing) categories go in the article, in the same way that some other crucial WP selfrefs do (stub tags, cleanup/dispute templates, etc.) — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 12:10, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

What if year of birth is supplied but undocumented?[edit]

Resolved: Obvious solution.

I'm working on the article for author Truddi Chase. As long as I have known of her, Ms. Chase wouldn't give her exact date of birth. However, this morning the words "DOB 13 JUNE 1939" turned up at the bottom of the article, attributed only to an IP address which I traced to Australia. Now, I've gone ahead and put it as her date of birth in the article, but I have not removed the "year of birth unknown" category and won't until I get confirmation. Is this proper procedure? Should I make it "possibly June 13" instead? Thanks, --Bluejay Young 18:39, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Add it as normal as if you knew the information for sure and use the 1939 births category, then tag it with this immediately after the date: {{fact}} --HisSpaceResearch 06:17, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm thinking: hang on, if you know that she doesn't want her year of birth to be public knowledge, then how about just not including it? For goodness sakes', we don't want WikiPedia to become oppressive to people. I'd like to think that we are kind and gentle folks here at WikiPedia. Tmrussell 00:44, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
I am now thinking, that is right, if she doesn't want that published, leave it off and besides that was a pretty 'iffy' source. Maybe it could be said in the article that the date of birth info is left off by request. --Bluejay Young 04:42, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Let's reduce this big list[edit]

Resolved: No consensus at WP:CFD; wrong venue.

Here's my ideea. I don't know it it can be done, but it would be nice to see articles (in this case - people) that belong to more categories. Example: Let's say I'd like to reduce this list of people (Year of birth missing). I am a hungarian guy. So the easiest thing for me it would be to reduce this list (Year of birth missing) to a list like : "Year of birth missing" + "Hungarian". See where I'm going? It would be a lot easier for me to go after a few guys and get their birthdate, if I'd know where to look. And I know where to look for hungarian-related stuff. And this is also true for every other article on wiki. Let's say you are looking for people, who got an Oscar (Academy Award) and also got an Emmy. Makes sense? I don't know how. Maybe this is a totally new feature to wiki. Maybe we can even do this right now. Maybe it's only me and I cannot find the information I am looking for. Csabadapp 14:30, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Subcategorization has been proposed before and not gained any consensus at all. I realize that you are attempting to re-opening the issue, but I think the case would need to be compelling and well-thought-out to gain any traction. The only way that will happen is if the well-crafted proposal is aired in depth at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Biography and if consensus reached, proposed as a multi-category splitting-CfD that covers all related categories. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 12:10, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Year of birth missing - living person[edit]

Resolved: Wrong venue; take it up at article talk page.

Please, remove the "year of birth missing" line -- I fear that having my date on the page will be used to discriminate against me by reason of age. Sadly, I already have the female Hispanic dilemma with which to contend. Do I need another one? Please respond as privately as possible. My name is very Googleable. Thank you for your time and ettention to this concern Mig 16:04, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Category:Year of birth missing and Category:Year of birth unknown as mutually exclusive[edit]

I adjusted the paragraph/sentence "This category and Categories Date of birth missing and Year of birth unknown are intended to be mutually exclusive" to read "This category and Category:Date of birth missing are intended to be mutually exclusive". While I found (and corrected) numerous instances of editors appending Category:Date of birth missing and Category:Year of birth missing to the same article (in the mistaken belief that the absence of the month/day of birth and the absence of the year of birth must be separately documented for the same individual), I have never seen a single instance of an editor appending Category:Year of birth missing and Category:Year of birth unknown to the same article. Those two categories are also, of course, mutually exclusive, but the exclusivity appears to be of such clear nature as to virtually eliminate any possibility of confusion.—Roman Spinner (talk) 18:06, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

I reverted this without intending to (that is, I didn't know you'd previously made this change). I stick by the revert though, as while the mutual exclusivity of the missing/unknown categories may be obvious to some, everything about this talk page suggests that many people have been confused by the difference, and simply making the sentence shorter does not to me justify making it ambiguous and missing the logic. That is, if the sentence is going to state what C:Yobm is mutually exclusive with, it should include both C:Dobm and C:Yobu even if the latter is obvious to many of us. Does no harm, and makes more sense. :-) — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 12:10, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Goes in articles not talk pages[edit]

Resolved: Self-resolving FYI.

Per consensus at WP:CFD this category is considered "defining", and unlike most related categories goes in the actual article itself. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 17:04, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Please "un-hide" it, then. It isn't appearing at Wu Fei. Badagnani (talk) 19:31, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
And correctly so. At the time of the above comment it was not possible to hide categories, so that question would not have arisen. Now we have the ability to hide categories, it is clear that this one is of the type that are hidden (it doesn't refer to a property of the article subject, only to a property of the article in its current state). If you want to see this kind of category, just enable the option in user preferences.--Kotniski (talk) 10:52, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
This is a highly problematic assertion. The category should be un-hidden. Wikipedia strives to operate in a transparent manner, without such hidden items, so that it is as easy as possible to know something is missing or broken, and needs to be fixed. If editors cannot see that an article needs a birth date, this makes it that much more difficult for our project to continually improve itself. Thank you for this consideration of the benefit of real-world experience over arbitrary rules apparently attempting to make Wikipedia "cleaner" in some way. We don't cater primarily to "hacker" types who know how to enable various preferences, etc., but to all of our users, and thus the category should be visible to all of our users and editors without the necessity of implementing the "hacker"-type actions you specify. Badagnani (talk) 18:11, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Well up to a point, but we also try to keep messages to editors out of the way of people trying to read the thing. Readers are expected to want to use the category function, so mixing the useful categories up with cats that apply only to editors (and aren't really much help to them either) makes WP less usable. Certainly there's no need to be told in the category section of a page that an article is missing the year of birth - any editor will notice that fact immediately anyway. Also this category is not just distracting but potentially misleading to some readers, as they are quite likely to interpret it as meaning that the person's year of birth is unknown.--Kotniski (talk) 19:12, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Again, this assertion is highly problematic. There is no necessity to "clean" Wikipedia in such a manner. I am a long-time editor and can say with certainty that the category is not distracting. On the contrary, it allows editors to immediately identify a lacuna that needs attention. In this light, the category really does need to be "un-hidden." We do have separate categories for year of birth "missing" and "unknown," and these words do clearly have different meanings in English, so your final point is not a serious concern. Badagnani (talk) 19:19, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
As a "long-time editor", precisely my point. Editors get used to these things and stop seeing them how readers see them. As a long-time "reader" of WP (before and since becoming an editor), I found maintenance categories of this type to be an annoying and often confusing feature. I don't find they serve much purpose for me as an editor anyway (I can see that key information is missing from an article or that someone's placed some kind of tag on it without needing that fact reiterated in the category box, which is there for a quite different purpose).--Kotniski (talk) 20:09, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Such unnecessary "cleaning" or "hiding" of Wikipedia categories is highly problematic and unnecessary for both long-time and new editors. If you are disinterested and confused by seeing such categories, please do not look at them. Do not, however, "clean" or "hide" them from other editors who are quite interested in utilizing them to continuously improve our content. Badagnani (talk) 21:17, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
In April 2007, following complaints about clutter in the article category space, two CfDs dealing with a number of the maintenance categoriesarrived at a consensus. Twelve of the fifteen Year/Date/Place---missing/unknown categories (considered non-defining) would be repurposed to discussion pages of pertinent articles, while the three "defining" categories, Category:Year of birth missing, Category:Year of birth missing (living people) and Category:Year of death missing would be allowed to remain on article pages. As has been pointed out, if the "hidden category" option had existed then, perhaps all fifteen would have been allowed to remain on article pages with, again, the same argument that the "defining" three categories should continue to be visible. The wholesale transfer of categories was achieved through a bot in June 2007 and there doesn't seem to be much appetite to revisit the matter. As a result of forceful action by another editor the most populous of the three "defining" categories, Category:Year of birth missing (living people) became visible again, while the other two remain hidden. To put in perspective the unique nature of these three "defining" Year missing categories, there are, as of the moment of this writing, 2,416 hidden categories, used on both article pages and discussion pages, all of which, except the three in question, are not directly articulated, but programmed inside templates which then retranslate them in the form of extremely specialized categories such as, on page 1, letter "A", Category:Anime and manga articles using obsolete infobox parameters. Only "our" three categories must be spelled out and placed among "regular" categories.
Incidentally, at least as far as Wu Fei is concerned, the "hidden category" problem becomes moot since she is among the living and thus eligible to participate in Category:Living people as well as Category:Year of birth missing (living people). The other two categories are for those who are beyond speaking for themselves, although Category:Year of birth missing is also applicable to Category:Possibly living people. That category, however, for all intents and purposes may well be entitled, "Dead people who have not yet met the threshold established by Category:Births of the last 123 years".
Again, as to the definition of "missing" and "unknown", they do, indeed, have different and well established meanings. I can't help but recall when Eric Idle told the story of having received a letter from the law firm representing the producers of Camelot, warning him of the legal consequences of using the title Spamalot, since the Camelot licensees would be likely to suffer financial losses as a result of theatergoers being unable to distinguish between the two titles. Over eighteen months ago, on May 9, 2007, I wrote a paragraph (seen just above this thread) about the "Year missing/unknown" uncertainty (and received a response pointing out to me that some people may be confused no matter what). I have also previously indicated that in the rare instances when "Year unknown", "Date unknown" or "Place unknown" is applicable to a recent individual, elucidation should be provided in the body of the article.
There was also a longer discussion on the "hidden category" topic over two months ago at Category talk:Year of birth missing (living people)#Hiding this category.—Roman Spinner (talk) 22:06, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the info, but I'm confused as to how these three categories could ever have been considered "defining". In my understanding, categories are normally referred to as "defining" if they express some essential feature of the article subject. These three don't refer to any feature of the article subject at all (only a feature of the article as it currently is), so they cannot possibly be considered "defining" in the normal sense.--Kotniski (talk) 08:11, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
In any basic approach to the discussion of a subject, the participants must first establish the parameters of meaning for specific key terms. Although Wikipedia does not (as yet) have a set of guidelines for the placement order of categories, there seems to be a tacit understanding that those should represent some form of gradation of importance, rather than chronological order. Thus, "American philosophers", "American writers" and "American military leaders" would figure at the top of the category list and "Alumni of the University of Minnesota", "People from Kansas City", "1908 births", "1973 deaths", "Living people" and "Year of death missing" would be at the bottom (not of the same person's entry, needless to say). Some editors prefer opening the category list with the "{Lifetime}" or "{B|D}" template or simply place categories in the order of the article's progression of events—"Living people", "1950 births", "Alumni of Columbia University"... and, when time comes, remove "Living people" from the top and place "2008 deaths" as the final category or, as the next-to-last-category in the event the last category is "Year of birth missing". That is one measure of "defining", but in another sense, no category is truly "defining" for an individual, because it simply groups him or her among all other individuals with the same or similar attributes. Whether the person in question is one of "American presidents", "American playwrights" or those who are counted among "1809 births" and "1865 deaths"—none of those mean much and may simply serve as a minor research tool to find notable alumni of certain institutions or notable natives of towns, counties and so on.
The true defining elements, therefore lie not in the categories themselves, but in the key points of information (or lack thereof) and notability established in the lead paragraph. The various writing guides advise editors that, using a maximum of four sentences, the lead should encapsulate the elements which define the individual in question. By consensus, we indicate the full known date of birth and, if applicable, death, then nationality and then the essence of the person's claim to notability. Thus, "Year of birth missing" is only "defining" by extension, in that it expresses the absence of the defining elements specified in the lead paragraph. Other than the actual descriptive encapsulation of a person's life, only birth/death dates and nationality constitute those within the English Wikipedia. The relatively rarely used Category:Nationality missing must also, therefore, be considered a "defining" category but, in practical terms, its actual utility may be measured by the fact that, as of the moment of this writing, it contains a grand total of ten names, mostly sprinkled on discussion pages. In comparison, Category:Year of birth missing (living people) has 35,850 names, Category:Year of birth missing has 9,183 names and Category:Year of death missing has 6,084 names.
The concept of what is "defining" is further diluted by the fact that the great majority of Wikipedias use a feature borrowed from print biographical dictionaries which condense lives by including years and places of birth and death at the opening of each entry and eschewing the dates altogether or including them later in the text. English Wikipedia editors have, however, settled on a consensus that places of birth and death are very rarely key points of a lead paragraph and should be the respective opening and closing details of the biographical entry itself. A legitimate point can be made for including solely the year of birth and, if applicable, death (the "defining" data), in the lead, and the full date(s) (the "non-defining", discussion-page data) in the body of the text, as some editors, borrowing the format of their source material, have done, but the unwieldiness and difficulty in maintaining uniformity, militates against the general implementation of such an arrangement. As is evident from this response, I tend to write (and have previously written) at length about these and related matters, including the degree to which the years of a person's life and lifetime establish the parameters of their notability and place in history, but I will leave those for another discussion.—Roman Spinner (talk) 16:53, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Phew, maybe I've missed it somewhere in your lengthy response, but you don't seem to address the basic question: "People with year of birth missing" is a totally different type of category from "People born in 1973". Membership of the second category depends on a property of the subject of the article (and is therefore likely to be useful to readers); membership of the first category depends on a property of the article (and is likely to be useful - if at all - only to editors).--Kotniski (talk) 11:42, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

This category on redirect pages[edit]

I removed this category from 4 redirect pages, Mohammad Ahman al-Naziri, Nanny Agsteribbe, Alfred Agsteribbe and Dawn Hochsprung. I'm making the assumption that someone without an article or at least a paragraph in the target article doesn't need to have their date of birth known. Perhaps a bot could remove the rest or at least move them to a sub-category for review. Richard-of-Earth (talk) 20:14, 11 July 2013 (UTC)