Category talk:Year of birth missing (living people)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Biography (Rated Category-class)
WikiProject icon This category is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
Category page Category  This category does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.
WikiProject Categories
WikiProject icon This category is within the scope of WikiProject Categories, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of categories on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.

Category history[edit]

This Category:Year of birth missing (living people) is a direct linear descendant of Category:Year of birth missing, created by Quuxplusone on June 21, 2005, as well as Category:Year of death missing, created ten days earlier (June 12, 2005) by Docu. The two categories remain the earliest continually used sorting devices for identifying the absence of these crucial elements of biographical data. Since their appearance, both steadily accumulated entries, until by today, May 1, 2007, nearly two years later, Year of birth missing has 18,207 names, and Year of death missing is third, with a much smaller, but still comparatively impressive 2,397.

Eleven additional related categories were created between March 10, 2006 (when the earlier Category:Unknown births became the present Category:Year of birth unknown) and November 4, 2006 (when Categories Date of death missing, Date of death unknown, Place of death missing and Place of death unknown came into existence). A small group of dedicated users gave diligence to these categories, with Icairns creating four, and Mais oui and Crazyd782, each creating two. One of those, Place of birth missing, created by Mais oui on July 2, 2006, has grown exponentially from less than a thousand entries at the beginning of 2007 to its present-day, second-place position with 4,079 entries.

The thirteen [now eleven] birth/death categories (ordered by number of entries as of today, May 1, 2007) are:

Seven of the still-existing eleven categories do not even have discussion pages. Of the four that do, Category talk:Year of birth unknown has only a brief, apparently sarcastic, comment, but the remaining three, Category talk:Year of birth missing, Category talk:Year of death missing and Category talk:Date of birth missing contain discussions which include rejected suggestions for subdividing the categories by gender, national origin, occupation or other artificial means. In any initial subdivision, it would seem, the most logical separation would be the living from the dead.

In the six remaining "death" categories, no separation, of course, is needed, but the remaining five "birth" categories all commingle living people with those who are no longer. Three of those five "birth" categories are still, however, of (barely) manageable size. The fourth, Place of birth missing will, seemingly, need to be subdivided in the same manner as is currently being done with the fifth, Year of birth missing which, at 18,207 entries, needed to divide into two.

This new Category:Year of birth missing (living people), has the capability of cross-referencing with the key Category:Living people, which will be among the categories in each one of its entries. Between fourteen and fifteen thousand entries from those currently in Category:Year of birth missing wiil now be duplicated in this category, allowing for their eventual deletion from the original category if the consensus for such a move is reached, and for placement of this category on the article pages of the appropriate individuals, instead of Category:Year of birth missing.

Finally, the creation of this category should also (almost certainly) end the practice of having present-day individuals in the same category as people from past centuries and even ancients from past millennia who should have been exported to Category:Year of birth unknown. —Roman Spinner (talk) 09:06, 2 May 2007 (UTC)


There are now also:

Due to the different take at CfD on most of these categories, as for use on talk pages not on articles themselves, Category:Cause of death missing could possibly be also restored, and Category:Cause of death unknown possibly safely created as well. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 12:25, 27 May 2007 (UTC)


Hi, sir or madam: My year of birth must remain confidential while I'm alive and looking for employment because a lot of people use age to discriminate against you in the work place. Please remove that flag from my page -- thank you kindly Mig 16:11, 27 November 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Migdiachinea (talkcontribs)

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)

Category:Living people & Category:Year of birth missing (living people)?[edit]

Resolved: Simple WP:OFFICE issue; Category:Living people is mandatory, regardless of other categories.

I've been routinely tagging people with both categories, because that seemed to be mostly what was done. However, I have no other reason to feel committed to doing so, and have noticed a few people beginning to avoid duplication of this category with its parent category. What do others feel the current consensus to be? Is it now time (as Romanspinner above envisaged would happen at some point) to agree to use just the one category, and delete redundant Category:Living people categorizations? Dsp13 (talk) 11:51, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

The key element in resolving the uncertainties surrounding the purpose and use of the categories in question is an understanding of the term "maintenance category". For the purposes of this discussion, those which concern us are in Category:Articles missing birth or death information. Among the sixteen categories there, the nine "missing" categories (three "Year", three "Date" and three "Place") serve only as temporary place holders to "maintain" the spot until the missing data is appended to the biographical entry, while the six "unknown" categories are "maintenance categories" in name only—they are intended to remain permanently on discussion pages of specified biographical entries in order to indicate the absence of data lost to history and considered unrecoverable. For the most part, the "unknown" years, dates and places of birth and death concern individuals from antiquity and the remote past in general, although in some instances which should be noted in the affected biographical entries, the "unknowns" may apply to recent or current individuals who were born or who died under undocumented circumstances. Rounding out the sixteen is a small "orphan" Category:Year of birth uncertain, which seems to have some use in characterizing recent individuals whose age is given in newspaper accounts, thus highlighting the uncertainty in question as having two possible adjoining years of birth. This characteristic makes it more precise than Category:Year of birth missing or Category:Year of birth missing (living people), but very few editors know about the "uncertain" category or choose to use it.
With that introductory material out of the way, we can now tackle the crux of the question, Category:Living people. As it evolved from Category:People in January 2006 and was sanctioned by Jimbo Wales, it soon became Wikipedia's largest category and contains, as of the moment of this writing, 286,818 names. It is not a "maintenance category", but a permanent, administrative one and is ineligible for subcategorization. Since the names of the three categories which denote the absence of modern-day year, date and place of birth, Category:Year of birth missing (living people), Category:Date of birth missing (living people) and Category:Place of birth missing (living people) contain the familiar phrase, "(living people)", a number of editors have assumed that they must be subcategories of Category:Living people. In actuality, "(living people)" was chosen solely as a familiar reference point and Category:Year of birth missing (living individuals) would have worked as well, even without the familiar ring of the name.
Finally, to the matter of using Category:Living people with one of the three "missing (living people)" categories. Since both Category:Date of birth missing (living people) and Category:Place of birth missing (living people) are discussion-page categories, they would not, of course, even appear on the same page as the article-page Category:Living people. The category at the heart of the question, Category:Year of birth missing (living people), is one of only three "defining maintenance categories" which, since they denote the absence of crucial birth/death data (Category:Year of birth missing and Category:Year of death missing are the other two), are entered on the article page. Therefore, although it contains the phrase "(living people)" and would be the only "defining maintenance category" eligible to appear alongside Category:Living people, it is ultimately viewed as a temporary addition, scheduled for elimination as soon as the year of birth becomes known. In many cases, of course, only the year of birth is known, thus eliminating this category from the article page, but still leaving Category:Date of birth missing (living people) and Category:Place of birth missing (living people) on the discussion page. Category:Living people, however, is the one immovable constant for all biographical entries about living people. It has a correlation to the three "missing (living people)" categories, but ultimately each category serves its own purpose and none can serve a duplicate role in eliminating the use of the other.—Roman Spinner (talk) 15:48, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
I was wondering about this myself. I'm willing to go either way and will wait for a consensus before proceeding further. Stepheng3 (talk) 16:19, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
They have to be in both. Remember that Category:Living people is a special category, not a normal one, mandated (as in WP:POLICY, not a guideline) by WP:OFFICE for legal reasons. Every single article about a living person or living people (there are a number of articles about pairs or groups of people who are notable as pairs or groups rather than individually) must be in Category:Living people. To also add them to Category:Year of birth missing (living people) is not redundant, because of the special nature of the former category. In all other cases, it would be redundant (e.g. eight-ball should be in Category:Pool, but not its parent category, Category:Cue sports). There is no consensus issue to decide here; it was long ago decided by WP:OFFICE. Lastly, unless something changed semi-recently, Category:Year of birth missing (living people) is not a talk page category, unlike Category:Place of birth missing (living people), because WP:CFD decided by a pretty clear consensus that this particular category is in fact a "defining characteristic" while the other categories of this sort are not (or at least that some of them, like the place one, are not; Category:Year of death missing may or may not be considered "defining"; I don't remember.) — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 08:32, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
This is about as clear as mud to me. Can you point me to the order mandating inclusion of Category:Living people? I read WP:OFFICE and didn't see how it applied to this question. Stepheng3 (talk) 00:29, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
I'd also appreciate the clarification which Stepheng3 asks for. Dsp13 (talk) 01:36, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
The introduction to Category:Living people, delineating its purpose and use, begins with the sentence, "This is a category for all articles on individuals currently believed to be living persons". Although the word "all" is not bolded or italicized, its meaning is, nevertheless, categorical, no pun intended. There is, however, much more—Category talk:Living people includes an information icon with the notice, "This is not a typical category! Read the archived discussion and reasons for its existence before complaining about the "point" of having this new, administrative-style category.". Below the notice are links to three CfD debates, January 19, 2006, a much longer one four days later, January 23, as well as another try on September 3, 2007. The key sentence appears in the January 19 debate when, on that first day of the debate which lasted until closing on January 27, Jimbo Wales stated, "Let me be clear about this. This category is desperately needed and is not optional. I am willing to impose it from top down if necessary.". Many editors disagreed with this final decision, numerous others accepted it and/or agreed with it, but the placement of Category:Living people in all appropriate biographical entries has been an accepted part of the Wikipedia community for over two-and-a-half years.—Roman Spinner (talk) 16:41, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks very much, Roman Spinner - a really helpful reply, though I should have found my way to the CfD. I certainly wasn't complaining about the point of the category Category:Living people, having added hundreds of people to it myself :) I didn't realize the extent of previous discussion. Thanks again - and if you fancy having a go at categorizing people by whether or not they're living, I've put some lists up at User:Dsp13/People needing categorization as living or by year of death. Best, Dsp13 (talk) 17:02, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Always glad to be of any assistance. As the creator of this category and the associated discussion page on which we are now communicating, I feel derelict in my obligations if I perceive myself as not making a full attempt of elucidating its existence. Having previously visited your user page, I am aware of and strongly applaud your monumental collection of categorizing projects and realize, of course, that the word "complaining" is inapplicable to your inquiry regarding Category:Living people. The original notice containing that word has remained unchanged since 15:41, 3 February 2006 and was written in the heat of then-ongoing discussions over its existence. I have, therefore just replaced "complaining" with the more-neutral term "commenting" and also deleted the two-and-a-half-year-old category's description as "new". Also, as you may have already noticed, the extensive text in the three CfD discussions linked on Category talk:Living people pales into insignificance when compared to Archives 1 and 2. The enormous amount of material there also includes some historically interesting (although not necessarily significant, except perhaps to the editors who contributed them) statements and comments which have been deleted as inappropriate, redundant, etc. and now can be seen only through the laborious process of visiting the archives' revision history and clicking through each deleted edit. Few editors would know to do it and still fewer would see any reason to bother with such outdated material from (primarily) January–February 2006. Nonetheless, it's all there, for anyone intrigued by the mention of "incomplete" archives, "page blanking" and seemingly "censored" comments.—Roman Spinner (talk) 22:04, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I've started going back and correcting my recent edits to comply with this policy. To avert confusion in the future, I think it would be prudent to put a policy notice on both category pages--somehting to the effect that "Category:Living persons is mandatory for all articles about living people, even those also categorized under Category:Year of birth missing (living people)." Stepheng3 (talk) 00:24, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Hiding this category[edit]

I believe it should be hidden (WP:HIDDENCAT). This is not a category that describes the subject of the article. It does not mean "this person's year of birth is unrecorded" (that would be a different category), but "this person's year of birth is not in the article yet". As such it is a category which points out a deficiency in the article (like "articles with unsourced statements" etc.), and should therefore either be hidden, or be placed on talk pages. Displaying it, apart from providing clutter, is liable sometimes to mislead readers into thinking that the person's year of birth really is unknown to history.--Kotniski (talk) 09:23, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

This cat should not be hidden on the pages. Also, the title is precise. The year of birth is missing on the article page. It is silly to mention clutter in the category section with so many members trying to add new cats every day. Also you have not yet reached or even tried to reach a consensus about hiding these so you should not have made the change on the main page. Please do not change it again until full discussion has happened. MarnetteD | Talk 21:08, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Policy is quite clear on this (see WP:CAT#Maintenance categories). If you want to make an exception to policy, it is you who must argue for it and gain consensus. The title may be precise to us, but not to every reader. The category should either be hidden or else placed on talk pages instead (like many other categories/templates of this type are).--Kotniski (talk) 08:51, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
One reason to keep the category on the page is that it allows a simple & useful rule to operate: every page about an individual should be categorized by some subcategory of Category:Births by year. Dsp13 (talk) 09:10, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Well yes, it still would be. But this subcategory is not one that would be of any use to readers of the encyclopedia (why would anyone want to browse a list of people whose Wikipedia articles lack a date of birth?), and might actually mislead them or at least obstruct them in finding the categories they are interested in. Therefore, like other maintenance cats, it shouldn't be displayed to readers on article pages. The category still exists and editors can still find it; indeed, there's a user preference you can set so you always see hidden categories anyway.--Kotniski (talk) 09:25, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Thank you Kotniski for raising the issue, & I do understand the rationale for the general rule in the guideline which you'd like to see consistently implemented. (Though I'm not sure it's helpful to invoke 'policy' here: WP:CAT#Maintenance categories describes itself as a guideline (i.e. 'more advisory in nature' than policy). My own feeling is that discussion & effort at consensus should precede changing this cat to hidden. We should think through where the balance of utility lies, especially where (as here) the guideline is recently written & needs to be integrated with longstanding WP practice. But this may just reflect an uncomprehending luddite uneasiness about hidden categories on my part ;) What do others think? Dsp13 (talk) 09:44, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
As of today, September 10, 2008, there are 1,988 categories gathered under the parent Category:Hidden categories. Approximately 65% of those are hidden from appearing on article pages, while the remaining 35% cannot be seen on discussion pages (except, as has been pointed out, for a [perhaps-little-known] setting in my preferences under "Misc" section "Show hidden categories"). All of those 1,988 categories, except for the subject of this discussion, have one aspect in common—they are entered in the form of templates. Therefore, as veteran Wikipedians know well, they are not placed at the bottom of the page, but appear as a result of such discussion-page additions as "{WP Biography}" and article page "{citation needed}". There are only three exceptions—the recent addition to Category:Hidden categories of this (now visible again) Category:Year of birth missing (living people) and the still-hidden Category:Year of birth missing and Category:Year of death missing (an infrequently-used recent template, "{Lifetime}" has attempted to incorporate "Year of birth missing" and "Year of death missing", but the great majority of editors seem to find it confusing and complicated and shy away from using it. Moreover, as an apparently unwieldy replacement for DEFAULTSORT, it must still be placed at the bottom of the biographical article, above the regular categories). In April 2007, as a response to some editors' complaints about category clutter, twelve of the fifteen biographical article categories denoting the absence of the years, dates and places of birth and death were repurposed to discussion pages, with only the three categories indicated above designated as "defining" and thus permitted to remain on article pages. In view of this process, it defeats the very purpose of the existence of these three crucial categories to hide them from view and to lump them together with the nearly-two-thousand extremely specialized hidden categories such as Category:African military history articles needing attention to referencing and citation. Finally, as to the suggestion in the discussion's August 19, 2008 opening paragraph that the presence of this Category:Year of birth missing (living people) might mislead a reader into confusing it with the discussion-page Category:Year of birth unknown (used primarily for individuals from the remote past), a quick glance at each category's introductory paragraph, setting forth its purpose and use, would immediately put an end to any such uncertainty.—Roman Spinner (talk) 04:18, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Only if they happen to go to the category page, which is highly unlikely. In fact, would the best solution not be to put this category on discussion pages like the 12 others you refer to? That's what's apparently done with Category:Date of birth missing, and I see no reason for the two categories to be used differently. This category isn't in any way "defining" - it says nothing about the person, only about the current state of his/her Wikipedia article.--Kotniski (talk) 17:19, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Implementing that suggestion would make adding a birth year unnecessarily inconvenient, since it would then involve adding a category on the page itself & also checking & editing the talk page to delete the category there if needed. Pages would inevitably proliferate with birth years on the page & year of birth missing (living people) on the talk page. Even if that didn't happen, subcats of Births by year would be a confusing mix of pages & talk pages. Dsp13 (talk) 00:46, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Good points. So why do we have "Date of birth missing" on talk pages, and this category on article pages? Presumably this all happened before hidden categories were available. The obvious and standard solution now would be to put all these categories on article pages as hidden categories. I guess I'll bring it up at CfD.--Kotniski (talk) 07:41, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Category:Living people[edit]

This category is currently up for deletion at CfD here.Dsp13 (talk) 23:25, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

"please prefer using XXXXs/XXth-century births instead"[edit]

So this category is only for children with unknown year of birth, since most older people obviously were born in the 20th century and should be in Category:20th-century births instead? —Preceding unsigned comment added by A998800 (talkcontribs) 19:09, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Privacy of personal information[edit]

WP:BLPPRIVACY states [...] people increasingly regard their full names and dates of birth as private. In the case of material (e.g. date/year of birth) which is either unsourced or sourced to primary sources, the policy indicates that the material should be removed. In such cases, therefore, my understanding is that the appropriate subcategory of Category:Births by year should not be added to the article. I suggest that guidance along these lines be added to the main Category:Year of birth missing (living people) page and elsewhere as appropriate. I don't think I've missed any conflicting guidance elsewhere, but if so please say so. Thanks. -- Trevj (talk) 11:08, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

But the year of Birth is still missing and it could become in the public domain at some point. As you have said it is not an invitation to add unreferenced material but is a maintenance tag to flag that it is still needed at some point. MilborneOne (talk) 20:06, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree with MilborneOne. If any category is unsupported by an article's own text, it should not be applied to that article, and as long as we do not have an appropriately sourced statement of birth year in a BLP, the birth year is "missing" and the maintenance category is therefore appropriate. postdlf (talk) 23:53, 22 July 2012 (UTC)