Wikipedia talk:Categorization

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Exceptions in WP:SUBCAT[edit]

WP:SUBCAT has long included this: When making one category a subcategory of another, ensure that the members of the subcategory really can be expected (with possibly a few exceptions{{clarify-inline|date=April 2014|reason=what are these exceptions and where would one find a list and/or explanation of each}}) to belong to the parent also.

The section which I have shown in italics was removed on 24 June 2015 by user:Bilorv.

IMHO it should be reinstated. I doubt that a comprehensive set of detailed principles could be produced for this, but common sense should suffice. Cases of dispute could be discussed on the talk page of the sub-cat, or somewhere centralised if there were broader issues. – Fayenatic London 09:34, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Common sense already takes precedence over every policy and guideline we have. IAR and all that. The parentheses as they stood contained nothing useful: anyone who doesn't know what counts as an "exception" is left just as unaware as they were before reading this (there is no explanation), and anyone who already knew that there should be exceptions sometimes didn't need telling again. I still don't have a clue what "exceptions" we're talking about. Can you give an example of when you would need to make one? Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 10:22, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
Sure. Category:Yiddish-speaking people contains Yiddish-speaking people by occupation, even though some Yiddish-language writers might be mute. – Fayenatic London 13:35, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
Um -- I think that is wrong - "speaking" generally includes people who can either read/write or speak/hear a language. ASL users would be aghast to learn they were not "English-speaking" to say the least. Collect (talk) 14:12, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, that's helpful, although not obvious to all. Another that came up in a recent discussion is Category:Jain organizations which is a sub-cat of Category:Religious organisations based in India even though it has two members in North America; the other 10 out of 12 member pages are in India, as are 21 of 22 in the sub-cat. – Fayenatic London 15:00, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm removing the "clarification needed" tag. – Fayenatic London 21:33, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Politicians convicted of crimes[edit]

I'm currently involved in a debate about whether or not politicans who received criminal convictions before their political careers began ought to be included in Category:Politicians convicted of crimes. I've no strong opinion on the matter but amn't happy with the disparity I've seen. A list of US politicians with criminal convictions stipulates they committed their crimes while in office, while the only countries I've seen that include politicans whose convictions precede their political careers are Ireland and South Africa. Both of these countries have had recent conflicts, which introduces a more fraught note to discussions. Gob Lofa (talk) 15:49, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps there should be two categories, to cover both cases? DonIago (talk) 16:23, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
I thought about that, but it seems to me that at least one would have a cumbersome title, e.g. [Politicians convicted of crimes before their political careers]. I don't know if there's a limit on the length of category titles. There's also a political element; some editors feel strongly that freedom fighters whose actions took place in the context of a conflict ought not to be labelled as criminals, others that the terrorist criminals must be labelled as such. Gob Lofa (talk) 17:08, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
I think the latter point is somewhat contingent on the reader to sort out, though I can see how that could be contentious. That is to say, the category is merely claiming that they were convicted of a crime, it's not making any assertion as to whether the conviction was justified.
As to the former point....[Politicians convicted of crimes] as a parent cat, with [Politicians convicted of crimes while in office] as a sub-cat may be a way to go, though I'd recommend seeing what other editors have to say on the subject. DonIago (talk) 17:44, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable. Gob Lofa (talk) 17:49, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
Uh oh. If I made a suggestion that sounded reasonable you should probably brace for all kinds of trouble. :p DonIago (talk) 17:51, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
I'll batten down the hatches accordingly. Gob Lofa (talk) 17:54, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
No, if politicians convicted of crimes while in office is the norm, then no way should it be the subcat. Also, I think we should consider the POV aspect a little more deeply if you think (and I agree) it's likely to be contentious. Scolaire (talk) 19:10, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

Misuse of categories is rampant, alas, on Wikipedia. IMHO, such categories should be restricted to only those politicians whose crimes were specifically related to their careers in politics - that an MP was convicted of drunk driving as a youth is useless as far as categorizing the adult as a "criminal". Collect (talk) 19:53, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

It's just been pointed out to me that the parent category Category:Politicians convicted of crimes stipulates "Politicians who were convicted of a crime while in office, or while as an election candidate seeking office." and has done for five years. Gob Lofa (talk) 20:55, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
In that case, other politicians should simply have that cat removed. There is no need for a subcat. I've added that header to the Irish and NI politicians cats. Scolaire (talk) 23:25, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
TBH, Wikipedia would be better off, if it got rid of categorizing. GoodDay (talk) 00:59, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
First, it's too late in the day for that; second, it's a WP:VPR matter. --Redrose64 (talk) 08:35, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

[[od}}It may be me but I can't see an agreement here which reflects on the edit war here. Can we try and get a one time resolution? Adding Irish politicians as a category is contentious. I can see the argument (and have some political sympathy with it). One solution is to get rid of British and Irish from the links. ----Snowded TALK 18:31, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

When is nationality/ethnicity/religious affiliation non-defining[edit]

If you have been on WP long enough, you have probably seen at least one endless debate about whether Person X should be categorized by a given nationality, ethnicity, or religious affiliation. Such debates can get quite heated.
It seems that there is a natural desire to establish that a notable person is "one of us" (or to establish the negative version of this - that the notable person is not "one of them")... I get that... however, far too often no one involved in the debate asks the more fundamental question: "Is X's nationality, ethnicity, religious affiliation (etc) worth categorizing in the first place? Is being an <insert your nationality, ethnicity or religious affiliation here> really a defining characteristic of person X?"
Note I am not saying that a person's nationality, ethnicity, religious affiliation (etc) is never defining... for some bio subjects it can be. However, I don't think this is true in every case. I think we need more clarification as to when a person's nationality, ethnicity or religious affiliation should be considered defining (and thus categorized) and, more importantly, when it isn't defining (and thus not categorized). Please share your thoughts. Blueboar (talk) 14:18, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

My position has been pretty consistent from the get-go: No categories should be used for any living persons which can be remotely considered to be contentious which are not "self-identified" and of significance to the biography. Including ethnicity, religion, political or economic beliefs, gender, race, ancestry etc. Too often such categories are used to make guilt-by-association or other imputations which are harmful to the encyclopedia. Collect (talk) 19:14, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Nationality is nowhere near as contentious as the other kinds of categories you mention, and is overwhelmingly the consensus-supported manner of subcategorizing just about everything about people, especially occupation. Disputed or controversial nationality cases are a relatively tiny minority of WP biographies. As for the other demographic criteria you list, you've asked such an abstract question that the answer is bound to be meaningless or have no consensus for any hardline rules that would somehow apply across a wide variety of cases. That difficult cases arise here and there does not mean that we need clarification, or that a kind of clarification is even possible that would eliminate all such disputes. Time and time again the consensus has been to judge on a case by case basis, whether it's to determine whether a single category should intersect Occupation A with Ethnicity Y, or whether Biography B should be categorized at all by Religion Z. postdlf (talk) 21:24, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
    • It certainly can be quite contentious - vide "Polish", "Russian" , "German" for persons born in territory which rather had changing or disputed borders, any Balkan area claims of nationality, claims of Armenian nationality, claims of Israeli nationality, inter alia. In all such cases, the suggestion here is that self-identification is the best basis for categorizing people, and especially living persons. Collect (talk) 13:32, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
I not really concerned with figuring out "which" nationality/ethnicity (etc) to categorize someone with, as whether to categorize them with any nationality/ethnicity (etc)... to figure out when to categorize someone in this way and when not to do so. I especially see this as an issue in regards to sub-categorization. I think too many of our categories are sub-categorized by nationality/ethnicity/religious affiliation etc, when these factors have no real connection to the parent category. They turn a defining category into a non-defining subcategory.
To give you an example of what concerns me... take a look at the categories at Nicola Tesla. Endless debate over whether to call him an American engineer, a Serbian engineer, an Austrian engineer... To my mind, what is defining in terms of Tesla was that he was a brilliant engineer... not the nationality/ethnicity of his engineerhood. Blueboar (talk) 13:53, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
Hard cases make bad law. And his intro presently describes him as a "Serbian American engineer". It's not only typical to categorize nationality, but also to lead with that in the lede as one of the most basic and important facts about a person, which along with birth/death dates serve better than anything else to present a basic context for when and where this person lived and did notable things. So if you have a problem with the presumed emphasis on nationality, it's not really a category issue because the categorization just reflects how we handle the information generally. And, I think most would argue, how reliable sources fundamentally describe people (and, particularly if of a cultural nature such as art or literature, even their works...John Singer Sargent's paintings are housed in "American art" wings of museums even though he made many of them living in Europe). One could also consider how libraries or publishers would classify a subject (some Tesla biographies I see previews of online apply classifications such as "Electrical engineers--United States--Biography"). We also have the further benefit of being able to apply multiple categories for the same characteristic if they could equally apply. Your opinion here basically seems to be "I would categorize fewer things than other editors", as well as (maybe a less fair characterization) "I don't care about a person's biography or demographics, only their resume". Fine, then don't apply those categories; I ignore the ones I don't care about when I create or edit an article. Leave it to other editors to engage in what you consider "endless" debates, which wouldn't occur if those editors didn't think it mattered. postdlf (talk) 15:51, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

Specific issue[edit]

I saw a bunch of boys choirs in Category:Men in the United States. I think that category is a bit too general to have boys choirs in it. I think there are two possible solutions: create a specific American subcategory of Category:Boys' and men's choirs and put the article in there and that category in Category:Men in the United States, or simply delete that category. Opinions, other ideas? Debresser (talk) 07:37, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

WP:SUBCAT clarification[edit]

Further to an ongoing discussion at Category talk:Southern Levant, I would like to propose adding a clarifying sentence to WP:SUBCAT, along the lines of:

Apart from certain exceptions, an article should be categorised as low down in the category hierarchy as possible, without duplication in parent categories above it.

Please could editors confirm if they agree with this? It's purpose is to ensure the guidance is in plain English and even more difficult to misunderstand.

Oncenawhile (talk) 12:55, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

That sounds true enough. Apart from non-diffusing subcategories. Debresser (talk) 19:20, 13 January 2016 (UTC)