Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Archive 10

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Wikipedia:Category types

Since getting rid of {{subst:tl|CatDiffuse)) seems to be a dead end, I'm taking a different tact. I've been working on a new set of labels for categories that I mentioned several weeks ago on this page (see above). These will hopefully help people understand how the categorization system works. The examples are based on the discussion happening now at Wikipedia:WikiProject Films/Categorization but they would be applicable to most of the categories the way they currently exist. I'd appreciate some feedback. Thanks. -- Samuel Wantman 01:08, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Counting articles in categories

Is there any way of counting the number of articles in a category without going through the whole category and multiplying the number of pages by (usually) 200? There is a bot which does this for certain categories, but not for others. To be more specific, I am a member of WP:ALBUM and at certain times we would wish to know the exact amount of articles in Category:Needs album infobox or Category:Albums without cover art, for instance. Anybody come across a handy auto-process? Bubba hotep 09:43, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
By the way, I've just been informed that AWB does this in a matter of seconds. I hadn't thought of that and have only just got AWB. But is there any other way(s)? Bubba hotep 09:49, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

This is also very straightforward to do in the pywikipedia 'bot framework. Could you say a little more about how you'd like this to happen? Roughly how many categories would be affected, and roughly how often, for example? Any particular form you'd want the results in? Alai 07:36, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

It would literally be just the two categories mentioned above, plus Category:Uncategorised albums, Category:Album stubs, and Category:Non-standard album infoboxes. It would ideally be done on an on-demand basis and would simply display the number of articles in each category, basically to tie in with the project's "To-Do" list. So simple, I could do it with AWB and a table I fill in manually every day, actually. Bubba hotep 20:45, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

editing of categories

New users seem to have the idea that you add pages to categories by editing the category page itself. Could we add something to the boilerplate for editing Category pages, so it tells them not to edit in an article, but to add the category wiki-text to the given article? This would save me and many others a good deal of time in reverting mistaken edits to categories, and would therefore allow us to focus further on articles. Please share your opinion on this idea, --Urthogie 23:38, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

There doesn't seem to be anything handy already built in (like the "This is a talk page..." message when editing a talk page), but I wouldn't think it would be hard to add something that could do this. It sounds like a reasonable idea to me. -- Rick Block (talk) 03:19, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Where would I go to get this implemented?--Urthogie 04:14, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Enhancements are treated the same as bug reports, please see Wikipedia:Bug report. -- Rick Block (talk) 14:15, 15 January 2007 (UTC)


Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-01-02/Technology report announced a new "magic word" added by using {{DEFAULTSORT:''Sort Key''}}. Something about this should probably be added to project page.

Note that this "magic word" itself is case-sensitive: using "defaultsort" will not work. Gene Nygaard 16:52, 15 January 2007 (UTC) See also Help:Magic words 16:14, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I've started using this as well (see J. R. R. Tolkien). It has its pros and cons. You can still overide the default for any specific category tag by using the pipe sorting as normal. Carcharoth 14:27, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Awesome! This will be particularly useful for any biographical article tagged as a stub. I've always found it annoying that the stub categories were forced to sort by first name rather than last. — CharlotteWebb 01:19, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I tried adding it to {{Lifetime}} but something went screwy with the fancy conditional code and I couldn't find an answer as to how to fix it. If anyone wants to take a look at this it's a great opportunity to sort vast swaths of biographical articles. Bryan Derksen 04:22, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

In the short term, this is actually more likely to cause problems with the stub categories, as it'll take a long time until any significant number of the bio-stubs (vast swaths indeed) have default sort keys, and stubs being stubs, one wonders if anything approaching consistency will ever actually happen by this route. And if consistently-by-first-name was annoying, people are likely to find a mashup of by-first and by-last much moreso. That's why the stub-sorting project has been non-keen on previous suggestions to do this (typically using an optional argument to stub tags). I was trying to think of a way to recode stub templates to do something more sensible by default, but firstly, I don't think it's possible without the StringFunctions being enabled here, and secondly, doing so would actually override the defaultsort, rather defeating the purpose of the exercise. Currently I can only come up with either a) recoding the stub templates to ignore the default sort, for the sake of consistency, or b) doing a vast amount of 'bot-tagging of two-word bio-stubs with "second word, first word" default sort keys. If I'm missing a better fix... Alai 06:59, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's the better fix. Don't worry about sorting of stub categories one way or the other. Nobody much cares if all those zillions of overcategorized stub categories are missorted. It isn't all that helpful to the purpose of stub categories (if they are jumbled up a bit, maybe that will help someone find an interesting one to fix). If you cut the number of stub categories to a tenth of what they are, all those stub sorters might instead have time to go expand some of those stubs. Gene Nygaard 23:40, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
OTOH, properly alphabetizing the subcategories of Category:Stub categories should have been done ages ago. People looking for a specific category to work on should be able to find it. Something like the DEFAULTSORT magic word wasn't necessary to fix that; it could easily have been accomplished with ordinary sort keys. Yet that hadn't been done, before I did it yesterday or the day before, whenever it was. Gene Nygaard 23:44, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
On the first, I largely agree. (If we filter out the side-swipes about "overcategorisation" and general "all those foolish stub-sorters wasting their time" rhetoric: are you even remotely serious, and have you seen the size of some of those puppies? And if you reduce the number of stub categories by a factor of ten, you increase the size of the categories likewise.) The ideal model of a stub type is "set of articles a given group of editors are likely to be interested in expanding any given one of", not an indexing service for people looking for a particular article. If anything, my main concern is that people don't spend an excessive amount of effort in "fixing" sort keys in stub categories by some manual method, which is essentially what people have proposed/unilaterally started in the past.
On the second, I have no idea what you mean. There aren't any "eponymous" stub categories, at least that spring to mind, so the question of last-name indexing doesn't arise. What else is not "properly" alphabeticised? Are does it come under the category of "sofixit"? Alai 00:08, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
LOL, I happened to find {{Zappa-stub}}. Might want to nip that one in the bud. — CharlotteWebb 21:46, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
The problem wasn't last-name indexing; that's far from the only sorting issue. The problem was indexing under characters other than the digits 0 to 9 and the 26 letters A-Z of the English alphabet. Gene Nygaard 00:15, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
For example, Category:Île-de-France geography stubs was somewhere off in oblivion after Z. Gene Nygaard 00:19, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
You mean top-sorting? That's a feature, not an oversight. It makes it a good deal easier to find sub-categories in large stub types (which would be a good deal larger if you had your way), by consolidating them all on the first page; and it doesn't effect alphabeticisation. If you're doing these "properly" by changing sortkeys from " blah" to "blah", then I take it back, please don't "sofixit" at all. Alai 00:24, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean by "top-sorting" in this context. What I'm talking about is where that category is found in its parent category. It is now found under I where it belongs. It used to be off in oblivion under Î which was after Z, after d (all the lowercase letters follow their uppercase version), and various other characters. Gene Nygaard 00:38, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Another example is Category:Côte d'Ivoire stubs which now properly appears in Category:Stub categories before "Category:Country album stubs", not after "Category:Czech writer stubs". Gene Nygaard 00:42, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Ah, those. If you consider "sorted under the accented character that the article title starts with" to be "oblivion", and under the unaccented equivalent (or otherwise, depending on language) to be "correct", then I can see why you might see it that way, though the rhetoric seems pretty over-the-top from where I'm sitting, and the whole topic pretty unrelated to the original (other via "yet more ways in which stub sorters suck"). IIRC the latter is what French uses, so I don't know why the default behaviour is as it is (perhaps other languages use the same character, and sort it differently). Alai 00:52, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
To second Alai, I have occasionally forced accented words to sort in "un-accented" order and been reverted by editors who insist that this is wrong. <shrug> I think it's the least of our worries. As for the stub cats being temporarily jumbled, we stubbers are used to making order out of chaos. <g> Her Pegship (tis herself) 01:25, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
This is why I'd like to get DEFAULTSORT put into {{Lifetime}}, since it's transcluded into so many bio articles it'll "flip the switch" on tons of them all at once. Once upon a time I argued against making {{lived}} a subst-by-default template for similar reasons, I just knew someday we'd have something more we could do with that information. Ah well, Cassandra's curse. Most of the remaining bio articles should be possible to handle with a relatively simple bot, at least. Bryan Derksen 08:44, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
But nothing like all, so even if this were an option, it'd just make the situation more manifestly inconsistent more quickly. I agree that it seems pretty straightforward. However, it'll be a lot of edits, as there are hundreds of thousands of bios, and it's likely not to be 100% accurate, either, since people do insist on having strange names that don't conform to the standard pattern. I'll ask over at WPBIO to see if they have some pertinent input. Alai 00:07, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
My notion for what the bot would be doing would be for it to look at the birth category and death category and if they've both got the same sortkey associated with them assume that this is the "proper" sorting for that person's name and add a DEFAULTSORT to match. As long as the birth and death categories were added with proper sort keys to begin with I imagine that should be a fairly safe way to approach things. But since I'm not a botsmith myself I guess it wouldn't ultimately be up to me, so take it for what it's worth. :) I don't think we should be too concerned about inconsistencies during transitions since Wikipedia as a whole is a work in progress, as long as we come out the other side with an overall improvement in quality a short-term (and in this case relatively minor) disruption is IMO worthwhile. Bryan Derksen 10:53, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
That would be a bad assumption. There are still a large number of birth/death/living categories added by foolish editors who didn't add sort keys, even though other categories in the article already had proper sort keys. Gene Nygaard 21:52, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Possibly lazy, rather than foolish. The assumption sometimes is that someone else will eventually come along and fix it... Carcharoth 00:29, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
In cases where there's no sort key to begin with no DEFAULTSORT would be added, so no harm is done. I don't see how this makes the assumption bad. The bot could perhaps make a list of such articles for further attention by human editors if their existence is a problem. Bryan Derksen 00:48, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
No, no good will be done. Part of the harm would be the false confidence due to a belief that a bot has gone through and fixed everything so that it is all now hunky-dory.
Furthermore, if both the birth and the death categories are already correct, odds are the rest of them are correct as well. The biggest problem areas are those which have no sort keys on any of them, or maybe one category. In that case, such a bot would just be an exercise in futility, frittering away its time for no benefit. When birth/death categories do currently differ from other categories, sometimes they are correct, sometimes the others are correct, with no clear probability either way--and sometimes "all" of them are correct; all categories are not necessarily sorted the same way.
Third, there are a great many of them in which all existing sort keys are incorrect. There is more to it than how many of the names are used and in what order, too. Often this is because they include letters with diacritics. Sometimes it is because titles have not been stripped out. Then there is the pervasive problem of putting "Jr." and the like between the last name and the given name. Or not including both a comma and a space to separate the last name from the first name (this is one particular area in which you are more likely to see discrepancies between the sort keys in various categories).
Fourth, unless you are going to have the bot actually remove existing sort keys, any that now have the incorrect sort keys will not be changed, so the bot will again be ineffective. Even if a default is added with DEFAULTSORT, sort keys override it.
Fifth, OTOH, if you do remove existing sort keys, then, for one example, those categories that should be first-name sorted instead of last-name first will be made worse, will now be missorted when previously sorted properly. In that case, the bot would do clear damage. And it would be damage that might go unnoticed for some time.
Related to the last, the first-name sorting is a property of a category (family name categories, for instance), not of a person. And just defaulting to the article name for certain categories would not solve the problem, either—even first name sorted categories need to be stripped of diacritics and indexed on the basis of the 26 letters of the English alphabet. English peerage categories are another problem area. Gene Nygaard 02:14, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Categorising sections using anchored redirects

Please contribute to the Village pump discussion started at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Categorising sections of an article. Thanks. Carcharoth 14:25, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Does subcategorization automatically imply a proper subset?

user:Ashley Y and I are having a disagreement at Category talk:Anti-Zionism. According to the article, Anti-Zionism#Anti-Zionism and antisemitism, there is reliable and verifiable discussion whether or not Anti-Zionism is a form of Anti-Semitism. According to my understanding of WP:CAT, the operative clause is “If you go to the article from the category, will it be obvious why the article was put in the category? Is the category subject prominently discussed in the article?” which is eminently fulfilled in this case. Further, WP:NPOV states “The policy requires that, where there are or have been conflicting views, these should be presented fairly. None of the views should be given undue weight or asserted as being the truth, and all significant published points of view are to be presented, not just the most popular one.”

user:Ashley Y beleives that adding category A to category B implies that All A are B, in which case placing AZ as a subset of AS implies that all AZ is AS, which I agree is not a given conclusion. I believe that adding category A to category B implies that there is an overlap between A and B and that there is a relationship between A and B, which I do not believe anyone can argue when it comes to AZ and AS. Further, being that the point here is that AZ MAY ACTUALLY BE a proper subset of AS (per the discussion in the article) it is a violation of WP:NPOV to artificially hide this by removing the category. user:Ashley Y understandably believes that its presence is a violation of NPOV.

Thus, I believe that there are two issues that need to have some consensus here:

  1. Does subcategorization ALWAYS imply a proper subset, total containment of the child category in the parent category?
  2. WHich is more NPOV, to deny the debate or inform people of it?

Thank you. -- Avi 19:32, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

It does not always imply exactly "proper subset", but there must be some kind of "containment" or "parent-child" relationship, not just some (typically symmetrical) linkage as implied by "overlap" and "relationship". —Ashley Y 20:18, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
That's my understanding as well. In light of the many different ways the wikipedia categories / subcats are used, it couldn't relaly be a proper subset -- they're used for taxonomies -- but they shouldn't simply be "related" categories. If they are merely "related" then a "see also Category:X" at the top of the category page is more appropriate. --lquilter 20:24, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
I would also say that no, it does not imply a proper subset. There are numerous examples to the contrary. Gene Nygaard 17:20, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand the distinction between taxonomies and superset/subset relationships. Surely the former is an example of the latter? The felinae being a subset of the carnivora, say, and thus a constituent taxon (or taxon of a taxon, or however many levels there are currently), and this a subcategory (of a subcategory...). Alai 07:49, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I wish we could reach a consensus about this sort of thing. I think there are 3 types of category relationships:
For more about this see my proposed Wikipedia:Category types. -- Samuel Wantman 08:04, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
Suggest reading related discussion on Wikipedia talk:Overcategorization#The tree organisation and a key word: relevance. Taxonomies & subjects are two different scopes of classification, and suggest different trees. Parent/child (or ancestor/descendant) just describes the container-ness of categories. Wikipedia categories cover both taxonomies & subjects. Because it covers both, and because we have a flexible way of developing systems for subcategorizing, wikipedia categories are not always "proper subsets". Forget the jargon. Think about it this way. A proper subset would be, for instance, parts of the human body > bones > femur. We have those in wikipedia. However, we also have things like Awards > Lists of awards. You can see that "list of ..." is not an award, per se; however, it is included under "awards" because it is part of the subject. Does that make sense? --lquilter 14:40, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
But technically you can still, with the appropriate wording, integrate stuff llike this. You need to name the categories properly. Thus 'Award (topic)' would include general articles about awards, as well as include a subcategory 'Awards (index)' which would be a grouping of various indexes of actual awards, such as lists of awards, and articles about actual awards. In reality though, this can quickly become overcomplicated. Carcharoth 14:54, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree, there's a stronger "subset" relation here than there is than with many of the weaker "related to" categories, which are often where the sillier forms of circularity or nonsensical Chinese whispers effects start setting in. I also agree that in principle, truly systematic category naming is the better approach in the longer term, and is preferable to the "honking great big template" solution, or overly fined-grained meta-classification. Alai 21:53, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Category vs. List question

I'm considering a category or list that is going to be fairly dynamic (American soccer players by country currently playing in). First, a suggestion of a better name is always encouraged. Now this list/category would change fairly often, every time a player transferred. It seems that categories are more static and as such I should use a list article for this. Lists are certainly easier to keep up with but have the disadvantage that categories are easier for people to find, and thus have an increased chance of people maintaining. Any suggestions or knowledge of Wikipedia precedents on such matters would be quite helpful. Captkrob 23:01, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I suspect that either one would be nominated for deletion as not being encyclopedic. The data is dynamic, as you say, and the intersections are not ones what are generally considered encyclopedic. But that's just my opinion. Vegaswikian 08:18, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I partially suspected that. But the detail to which sports are kept track of on wikipedia (up-to-the-hour stats on thousands of players, teams, etc) seem to make the "dynamicness" of this seem almost encyclopedic by comparison. For example, the monthly UEFA coefficient (more dynamic than player's teams) is constantly updated for each national side, club side, and league. Captkrob 14:58, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Excessive category clean-up template

I would like to propose an excessive category template that can be applied to articles that appear at the top of Special:Mostcategories. This could be used to indicate that some type of category clean-up is needed (whether it involves removing redundant or unnecessary categories from the individual article pages or consolidating or deleting impractical categories). This would be particulalry useful when the categories for an article grow beyond 30 or so; the categories begin to look like an unreadable blue mass after about 30 categories or so. I would be willing to write a draft of such a template. Please comment on the proposal here. Dr. Submillimeter 09:39, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

WP:SOFIXIT; just weed out the unnecessary ones. What in the world would you need a template for? There are only a hundred articles with more than 30 categories; only 35 with more than 35 categories; only 9 with more than 40; and none with more than 45. And most of them are probably legitimate and useful.
Maybe you could at least show us that it would be reasonable to reduce those 9 with more than 40 down to less than 30, or even a couple of them. Discuss it on those talk pages, etc., and see what you can come up with. Gene Nygaard 22:00, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
On second thought, I think there ought to be a place where this problem (or whether it is a problem) ought to be discussed, and some place for you to get some guidance to fall back on as you try to weed out some of the excess if there is some, and that place might as well be here. So I certainly don't wan't to discourage others from expressing their views about it here. Gene Nygaard 00:13, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
And remember that templates have talk pages, too, so that you can start a discussion with your reasons for creating it there if you create a template, and cross-reference discussions here or elsewhere, so that editors know they have a place for feedback on how well the template works. I wouldn't wan't to see some articles with a permanent ugly cleanup box, for example, so you need to consider when it would be okay to remove the template. Gene Nygaard 00:17, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Actually, see Talk:Alanis Morissette. The Alanis Morissette article is a good example of where the category system appears to be working poorly or applied improperly (as Morissette is classified as both a Canadian whatever and an American whatever, thus doubling the number of categories in her article). From the discussion on the Morissette page and the Talk:Floods in the United States pages, it is unclear that people working on those articles have realized that the category clutter is problematic until I mentioned it. This is why I suggest a clean-up template. Dr. Submillimeter 09:46, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Found the old version with all those categories at the bottom... Carcharoth 03:05, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Wow. They actually put 10s of 'Meteorology by year...' categories on a list of floods article? That is... insane! :-) Putting them on the individual year articles is fine. If the flood will never have its own section in that articles (possible in some cases), then the category can go on the redirect. This puts a link in the category that takes people from the category to the article. Sending people the other way, from the article to the category, is more problematic. And talking of articles with excessive categories, I wibble when I see the category clutter at the bottom of J. R. R. Tolkien. I should know what to do, having some experience with categories, but I still wibble. Is that a word? wibble. Hmm, interesting. Carcharoth 02:34, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Yea, he does have a few. You may want to look at Category:Natives of Free State Province and Category:Natives of Worcestershire. That sounds like an error. Vegaswikian 02:46, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
They are both true, but are probably examples of overcategorisation. He was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, left when he was three, grew up in Birmingham, and spent most of his adult life and career in Oxford, working at the university. That explains most of the categories, but not why people feel the need to document someone's entire life using categories... :-/ Carcharoth 03:01, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
You can only be a native of one place! I'm not aware of any people that were born in two countries on two continents. Vegaswikian 03:17, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Yah. 32 categories. I should really discuss them over at Talk:J. R. R. Tolkien, but I'll list them here to see which ones people think are excessive in terms of categorisation: Tolkien articles with unsourced statements | Spoken articles | 1892 births | 1973 deaths | Tolkien | J. R. R. Tolkien | Tolkien family | Tolkien artists | English fantasy writers | English novelists (seems to duplicate the 'English fantasy writers one') | English linguists (seems to duplicate the 'English philologists' one) | English academics (seems to duplciate the university of Oxford categories given later) | Inventors of writing systems | English philologists | Mythopoeic writers | British Army officers (he was a British army officer, but that is not what he is famous for) | British people of South African origin (well, yes, but this sort of thing is best tacked with persondata and 'what links here') | Natives of Free State Province (not relevant to Tolkien, and if the SA origin one is kept, this duplicates it and is needlessly specific) | British World War I veterans (again, not what he was famous for, though this has more merit than the 'British Army officers' one, as Tolkien is now recognised as being an author whose fiction was heavily influenced by his war experiences - possibly a 'war author' category, similar to the 'mythopoeic writer' category would be better) | Fellows of Merton College, Oxford | Fellows of Pembroke College, Oxford | Alumni of Exeter College, Oxford (three stages in his Oxford career - do they all need to be marked by a category? His time at Leeds University is not tagged with a category - maybe lose all these and keep only the 'associated with Oxford University' one, vague as that is) | Roman Catholic writers | People from Birmingham, England | Natives of Worcestershire (if origin categories are needed, then only have one - no need to have two duplicating each other) | People associated with the University of Oxford | People from Bloemfontein (see comments on the 'natives of Free State Province' category) | Commanders of the Order of the British Empire | Inklings | People commemorated by blue plaques | Marquette University (his works are archived there - probably doesn't warrant a category) | English Roman Catholics (overlaps with the earlier 'Roman Catholic writers' category and the other 'English...' categories - so not needed).
I've bolded the dodgy ones and added comments in brackets in italics. What do people here think of this as an example? Possibly Tolkien needs a lot of categories, but possibly not. Which should defnitely be removed? Carcharoth 03:01, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Wow. I found Category:Natives of Worcestershire (before 1974) - that would fit Tolkien. That is partly why the Birmingham one can't be subsumed in the Worcestershire one, but still, the argument exists: for people that have been in many different locations, do all the locations get a category? Carcharoth 03:10, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

It sounds like I should proceed with drafting a template. Also, see boar as another example of a category system that has gone awry. Dr. Submillimeter 10:53, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Here is a first draft of a proposed template. The here link would lead to the template page, where a series of suggestions would be presented on reducing the number of categories in the article. Dr. Submillimeter 23:25, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Interior design category for a general university???

I don't know my question can be answered here, but I'll ask anyway, since this board discussed topics related to Wikipedia categories and related topics.

Is there a reason why University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart is classified in the Interior Design category, other than for advertising? The name of the school is not listed alphanumerically in this category; instead, the name appears about the category alphanumeric category listing.

From what I see in the main article for this school, the school is not solely an "interior design" school; the schools offers programs beyond interior design. So, can anyone enlighten me on this? I assumed that categories were designed for similar topics (such as interior decorating, furniture, and so on), not for routing readers to a specific school that uses the category as an means advertising to direct traffic to its article. lwalt 00:57, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Definite and indefinite articles

I would like to propose an addition to the guidelines for categorisation. The addition being that when using DEFAULTSORT or indeed the old way of sorting, definite (the, la, le, der, el, etc) and indefinite (a, an, un, une, etc) articles be omitted. The reason for this can be seen on this page [1]. Transporter 2 appears before The Transporter. If, The Transporter were sorted as simply "Transporter", this wouldn't happen. I'm sure there are other examples of this elsewhere in Wikipedia. Basically, The and A aren't necessary for sorting and in fact cause problems by being included.

Any opinions? Mallanox 23:52, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

As soon as I saw the {{DEFAULTSORT:Noun, Article}} arrangement I knew that a comma after "noun" would create sorting problems, since "(Space)" comes before ",". I have often removed ", The" from category sorting, but since the defaultsort comes as above, I figured there must be some reason I ignore, so I started using it too. But I still think it makes no sense. I agree to change the guidelines to "ignore", which basically means: no comma after "noun". I am for "inteligent sorting" (in this case it would be "Transporter 1"), but this implies that one takes a look first at the category he is assigning, checks how preceeding or following items are sorted and acts accordingly. Of course this is not always practical, as when one has a lot of categorization work to do. Hoverfish Talk 08:17, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
The English articles (a, an, the) should be omitted. Any foreign articles should normally be included in the sorting. An English speaker looking for information should not be expected to know the meaning of various foreign spelling elements in order to be able to find the article.
Whether or not you include ", The" and the like at the end of the sort key when an inital English article is omitted will rarely result in any change in actual sorting, and on those rare occasions where it would matter, it is not at all clear that including ", The" would give the most desirable results. The practice of including that comes from print media, so that the fact that the article is there is shown; in Wikipedia, the article still shows up at the beginning of the articles name in the listing even when it isn't used for sorting, so we don't have that same consideration here. Gene Nygaard 20:48, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
OK, not as much opinion as I would have liked so I'll be bold and hope that might get me a (hopefully positive) reaction. Mallanox 23:20, 12 February 2007 (UTC)


Hi, I'd like to invite everybody here to get involved with the discussion. There currently is a confusion on what the inclusion criteria supposed to be.
At the moment unrelated articles such as airline companies, rivers, mountains, towns, cities, city squares, long dissolved countries, among other things are categorized under the same category.
--Cat out 05:22, 2 February 2007 (UTC)


I removed the following:

This article provides guidelines on creating and organizing categories. Where possible, Wikipedia categories should be kept as close as possible to Wikimedia Commons categorization schema in the main category tree and its major sub-categorizations. See the mirror page Wikipedia:Commons categories for a reference on that, and spending some time seeing if the category need has been handled on the commons is highly encouraged before creating a new category name. This will at a mininum prevent redundant category creations, or the necessity of renaming categories on either sisters WP:CFD forum to maintain compatibility.
While the two sisters do not share the same category needs in full, the task of organizing millions of media pages into a system of findable groupings probably has a solution already in place. All other language projects link via interwiki tagging to one or both category systems, so commonality is highly desireable—it saves work for a lot of people speaking many native tounges.
There is an ongoing effort to interlink matching categories, and this is simplified when these two large repositories of categories match as close as possible. The two are very similar since both (and indeed most sister projects categorization systems) were devised on the foundations Meta-Wiki recommendations as part of it's work co-ordinating across foundation projects and language projects. In some areas, that top-down direction is excellent, in others, the effort did not anticipate interlingual and ambiguity of names issues. The communal experience is clear concise unambiguous names, even when longer, are the best choices. Many redundant new categories can be prevented by searching for keywords that might be in an alternate phrase before creating a category.

I don't think the beginning is the place for this. While it might be a goal to have some consistancy between wikiprojects, we are quite far from that now, and I'm not sure that Commons has any insight to categorization that is superior to what we are doing here. Some languages are categorized very differently from English (German is a notable example). So before we all start copying commons (or any other project) there should be some more discussion. Pending some more discussion, I think it best not included. -- Samuel Wantman 07:59, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't see where Commons (a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files) categories would have much relevance at all to English Wikipedia categories; they serve different purposes, contain different kinds of stuff. Furthermore, if anything, Commons should model its categories after Wikipedia's categories, not vice-versa. It should be driven by our better discussed, better developed, and more comprehensive categorization schemes. For some strange reason, the talk page for the copy of the Commons categorization page, Wikipedia talk:Commons categories, redirects to this talk page. So consider this my comment with respect to both of them. Gene Nygaard 22:42, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

"tags" & tagging versus categorization

A lot of people seem confused about tags versus categorization. I've noticed this in discussions, based on people's arguments; at least one argument where someone explicitly stated that categories were tags; and just the way people use categories (see, e.g., Category:Shelley. I propose that we need an FAQ that explains this. User:SamuelWantman has laid out a bigger proposal for Wikipedia:Category types which would address this, but getting consensus on that proposal seems hard. In the meantime, a simple explanation with examples of tags versus classification (WP categorization) might solve a lot of the problems. I could start drafting but thought I'd wait & see if someone had done this already. <g> --lquilter 18:06, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Guideline to use information in article for categorization?

I thought there was something in one of the categorization guidelines regarding the issue below, but since I can't seem to find it I'll ask here to see if someone knows where to look or to see if it's something that possibly should be added to this guideline.

All editors are technically supposed to only be using verified information for article changes. That includes categorization, meaning that as a rule articles should only be categorized using verified information contained within the article itself. As an example, if an article never verifiably mentions that someone is a practicing lawyer, they shouldn't be categorized under Category:Lawyers . So even though it's possible Shaquille O'Neal might have passed his bar exam, since his article makes no mention of him practicing law he shouldn't be categorized as a lawyer. Another example from a recent cfd is that even though Margaret Thatcher obviously publically commented on just about every air disaster and terrorist attack during her political life, she shouldn't be included in Category:Airliner bombings or Category:Pan Am Flight 103 since her article doesn't discuss those issues.

So, although this appears to be common sense and based in large part on the principles of WP:V, is it worth including a short section in this guideline that says "Articles should only be categorized using verifiable, referenced information from the article itself. Do not categorize articles based on information outside the article, such as unverified information, speculation and trivial facts not notably included within the article"? If this already appears in a guideline somewhere, could someone include a link? Or if you don't think this would be a good addition or have a question or problem, I'm interested to hear any feedback. Dugwiki 18:19, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

I think that would be an important & useful feature to add. I'm not sure about the wording. Most of what you describe is about WP:V but "trivial facts not notably included" strays from Verifiability to Notability. (We should also be talking about Notability, of course, but just in trying to keep your current proposal narrowly tailored to the problem.) --lquilter 22:00, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Sorting of non-standard letters

The rule is to convert letters with diacritics, or non-standard letters to the nearest standard letters. But it doesn't give examples for the really non-standard letters. Would you recommend I pipe "Þagað í Hel" to sort as "Thagað í Hel"? -Freekee 04:55, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Personally I think "Thagad i Hel" is the closest you're going to get to latin alphabet notation. Mallanox 23:18, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and that illustrates an apparent misunderstanding on Freekee's part. All the letters are sorted (and not just letters, but spaces, punctuation marks, whatever). It isn't just the thorn that needs to be fixed; the "ð" and the "í" need to be fixed as well for it to be properly indexed.
I thought I had added an example which involved more than the first letter, to make that point clearer. But I don't find it, so I may have to do that now. Gene Nygaard 09:01, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
It's not a misunderstanding, it's a willful ignorance. I don't believe that alphabetizing past the first four letters is important enough to worry about. But I haven't categorized it yet, and who knows what mood I'd be in on that day. Or how much work I'd be willing to go through to do it completely properly? For example, now I have to ask whether "Þagað" would better be spelled as "Thagath" or Thagathe" instead of "Thagad"? Or should we go with the d because it looks like an eth? -Freekee 06:12, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I deal with documents in Icelandic language on a daily basis, including those written in Icelandic on an English keyboard. Never have I seen eth transliterated as anything other than d. Mallanox 02:04, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Moving categories?

What is the procedure for moving a category or sub-category? Does it need to go through Cfd?--Vbd 08:14, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Affirmative!  Regards, David Kernow (talk) 08:21, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
If you mean recategorizing a sub-category from one category to another, that would not need to be discussed at CfD. If there is disagreement, it can be discussed on the talk page of the sub-category. -- Samuel Wantman 11:39, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Samuel. Recategorizing a sub-cat from one cat to another is exactly what I have in mind.--Vbd 18:07, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes; sorry to overlook this possibility. Since renaming involves "moving" a category (as with renaming articles), I thought this is what you meant. Regards, David (talk) 18:55, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Common Categories/Shared attributes

Is there a way of listing all the articles which belong to two (or more) groups: e.g. composers born in 1947 (ie. are in [category:composers] and in [category:1947 births])Chendy 00:42, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

There's a "list comparer" feature in AutoWikiBrowser. –Pomte 00:57, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Order of listing of categories within an article

There is a general convention that the categories within an article are listed from most to least important. I can't find this mentioned on Wikipedia:Categorization or this talk: page, though I haven't searched the archives. I do seem to recall people complaining about a bot that was sorting categories alphabetically. Anyway, I think listing by importance is a good enough idea to be formally added as a guideline. There would be a couple of further consequences:

  • it would lessen the force of the argument about the dangers of overcategorization. Hunting for the important categories in a large unsorted list is hard. But if the important ones are first, then you can just stop reading when you reach mundane categories. IMO the test for including a category in an article should be "am I cluttering up the Category page", not "am I cluttering up the Article page".
  • someone has suggested at Wikipedia talk:Guide to layout#Order of templates, categories, and interwiki links that stub templates should be listed after Categories, so that the stub categories appear after other categories (which would include the stub category's supercategory). I already do this for that very purpose, but am often frustrated to see this being "fixed" by other editors. Having a policy to point to would prevent us working at cross-purposes.

There are some downsides I could see:

  • it could be an excuse for lazy category inclusionism.
  • there could be lame edit wars about which category is more important.

As ever, policies and guidelines are no substitute for common sense. jnestorius(talk) 23:38, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

If we are to have an order, I would favour alphabetical. There can be no argument as to the order then. If, for example a film wins a BAFTA and an Oscar, which is more important? Do we add a rule that it depends on the country of origin of the film? Far easier to say Academy Award is alphabetically before BAFTA. Mallanox 00:01, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Can we adopt the important to less important guideline in a looser fashion that perhaps says that similar categories should be grouped together, and that categories or groups of categories should be ordered roughly from more important to less important? I'd also add that since this is going to be a matter of opinion, there is no need to quibble over this. There can also be room to have conventions about categories that always come first, and that all of this should probably be discussed at wikiprojects. -- Samuel Wantman 00:25, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Also, if I can just say, let's not lose sight of the fact that Wikipedia is intended as a reference work. Cross referencing would be easiest with alphabetical categories. Mallanox 00:31, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
"Academy Award is alphabetically before BAFTA."...Until "Academy Award" is renamed "Oscar". Presumably numerals come after letters? The names of categories are difficult to predict (Quick, is it "Singers from Denmark" or "Danish Singers"? No peeking!), making alphabetical order little more than random order. Whatever, if it's not obvious which category is more important, I would say either is fine. If it becomes controversial, there are Projects that can establish consensus (Wikipedia:WikiProject Films in your example). Currently Shakespeare in Love has the following categories, in the listed order:
1998 films | 1990s Romantic comedy films | Drama films | Shakespeare on film | Best Picture Academy Award winners | Films featuring a Best Actress Academy Award winning performance | Films featuring a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winning performance | Films shot in Super 35 | Best Musical or Comedy Picture Golden Globe | Miramax films | Universal Pictures films
I would order these as follows, where categories listed together are "equally important" and order is arbitrary:
  • Shakespeare on film | 1990s Romantic comedy films
  • Best Picture Academy Award winners | Films featuring a Best Actress Academy Award winning performance | Best Musical or Comedy Picture Golden Globe | Films featuring a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winning performance | Films shot in Super 35 | Miramax films | Universal Pictures films
  • Drama films | 1998 films

"importance" I understand as "significant to the topic" rather than "objectively important", based on:

  • central aspects listed before incidental aspects
  • specific before vague
  • prestigious/famous before obscure

As I hope my example makes clear, I envisage only a few broad bands of importance, I guess like SamuelWantman. I would never see this coming down to detailed calculations of priority. The current absence of policy would be far preferable to that. jnestorius(talk) 00:48, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I would like the freedom to use either method as the article warrants. Leaving it open also allows ordering a large crop of categories by putting similar topics together. Like putting all of the people from..." cats together. -Freekee 05:20, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that's true. If I understand SamuelWantman's idea, I like it: group similar categories together; then arrange the groups in descending order of importance, and within each group arrange its categories in descending order of importance. Without getting too anal about it, of course; it could only be a guideline rather than a policy. But I do think for example categories like Category:Living people and Category:1978 establishments are peripheral to almost any applicable article. jnestorius(talk) 23:01, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm probably going to dissent on this particular "consensus". The reason is that, as a reader and editor, I find it easier to locate categories in an article if they are presented in alphabetical order. Ordering by "importance" actually makes it more difficult for me to navigate categories in an article that has numerous categories. So, me personally, I definitely prefer when articles sort their categories alphabetically.
As a side note, when sorting alphabetically, the one exception is that I think "YYYY births" and "Year of birth missing" should always appear in the same place in the category structure, either at the very beginning of the category list or the very end. That's because those two categories are intricately linked, and so you are always expecting to find the birthyear (or lack thereof) in the same place in the category block. Likewise, year of death or "year of death missing" should always appear immediately following the year of birth.
Anyway, that's all just my opinion of what makes article categories easiest for me personally to use. I can't really speak to other people, but I can't imagine I'm alone in preferring alphabetical order to subjectively based "importance" grouping. Dugwiki 23:56, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Having said that, though, I'll say that I do support some sort of guideline for category order. Even if the guideline ended up being something I don't like, at least it would help make the ordering consistent across articles. Right now it's a bit of a random hodgepodge. Dugwiki 00:01, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

This has probably been asked before, but...

on the automatically generated category lists, is there any way to correct for single-handedly long titles so that they don't screw up the entire table and "squish" the other columns aside? —Lenoxus 17:43, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The only way I can think of is rather odd, and I don't know what reaction you'd get if you tried it.
  1. Remove the categories from the article with the long name.
  2. Manually make a section that lists the categories as links, for example, [[:Category:Bridges]] adds Category:Bridges to the list.
  3. Create a redirect with a shorter name, and add the removed categories immediately following the redirect and make everything -- redirect and categories -- part of the first paragraph.
I've never actually done this for the problem you mention, but I've done each of the steps, so I think it will work. Whether this is or isn't a good way to handle the problem is a different question. -- Samuel Wantman 20:28, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Redirect pages should not contain main namespace categories. They either duplicate those on the target page (if those are kept) or else (if they're moved from the target page as you suggest) they are not visible on the target page. Having an article-category link that only works in one direction defeats the purpose of categories, which are meant to be bidirectional. Adding the include-not-transclude hack will only be transparent in (at most) one particular skin; everyone else will be confused.
Yes this is a hack, but the link you mention about redirects says that redirects should not "normally" contain categories. There are some instances where they have been routinely used. One example is when there are two equally good titles for an article that are not close alphabetically. By categorizing both the article and alternate name (the redirect), both appear in the category, which aids browsing. For the question posed here, if a name 's length is causing real problems, the article could be renamed to something shorter, and there can be a note at the top of the article with an explanation. For an example, see Marat/Sade. -- Samuel Wantman 20:43, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, those two ways are both different from your previous "only way I can think of" :) The two-titles-Categorized suggestion intrigues me. Have you an example to point to? I think it should be teased out and perhaps added to the guidelines, rather than expecting people to extrapolate an exception out of the aforementioned "normally", which to me reads as allowing Template:R with possibilities type categories, not main namespace categories. How widely used is this? It's not on any of the aliases of Led Zeppelin IV for example; nor should it be IMO in that instance: my feeling is that, if you don't find Zoso in Category:Led Zeppelin albums, then so what? You already know what you're looking for, just type Zoso in the search box. And if you don't know anything about LedZep, you'll be annoyed to click six links and get to the same page from each. However, it would aid browsing from Category:World War II national military histories to list The Emergency via a redirect Irish state during World War II. How about a convention that in such cases the main article would have a special sortkey, akin to the μ used for Templates; thus in The Emergency: [[Category:World War II national military histories|ξ]]? OTOH, if bugzilla:491 is fixed, it's all moot anyway. jnestorius(talk) 23:15, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I can't find an example, but I thought this was used so something that has two or more well known names can be in a category under both or just either name, as appropriate. For example, both English and German titles for operas could be made to show up in Category:German-language operas. Another use would be for authors with pseudonyms or performers with stage names, where different names are better known in selected contexts. -- Rick Block (talk) 02:37, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
There's Vertical lift bridge and the redirect Lift bridge which I created to solve a problem from this CFD. Since both ended up categorized, and there's a redirect, it really didn't matter which name was used for the article. I think categorizing redirects for alternate names is very useful, like the normal practice of having "see blah blah blah" in a paper directory. I've never attempted writing it into guidelines because the practice does not seem to be widespread. -- Samuel Wantman 09:55, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure that bridge example solves much. I would certainly oppose this practice in "complete" categories which list (or aim to list) all applicable entities, since listing some entities multiple times will give an incorrect impression of how many there are in total. Unless you segregate duplicates under sortkey ξ as I suggested above, which would defeat the purpose of double-listing in your cases. As regards "See blah blah", that's what the redirect page does. We seem to have different conceptions of what a Category is for, or of what a Category page is for. jnestorius(talk) 11:54, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Is there a real problem here? In my browser, My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows is split across several rows of Category:1968 albums and doesn't make the column unduly wide; wider than the others, but not ridiculously so. jnestorius(talk) 17:36, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Hmm, I do something like this quite a lot when merging stubby little articles that have little hope of every being expanded, but have a different name than the target article. For example Category:Unincorporated communities in Michigan has quite a lot of entries, but many of these are redirects to a target article with a different name (usually the township). Without being able to do this sort of categorization of the redirects, I would be inclined to keep all the little stubby articles as separate. olderwiser 15:23, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like this could be handled at List of unincorporated communities in Michigan. See Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes. jnestorius(talk) 16:07, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
It could, I suppose, although it is a very dynamic list because there is no single authoritative source for such a list. Such stubs are frequently created and the category is a useful catchall for them. The category would need to exist in any case, and it might seem odd that some communities appear there while others do not. I don't really see any problem with categorizing the redirects though. That category would generally be completely inappropriate for the target merged articles. olderwiser 19:03, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I very much like what you have done with Category:Unincorporated communities in Michigan. I don't see a downside in what you have done. Categorizing the redirects in this case makes the category very useful for finding articles. People are unlikely to know the name of the township, and hence the name of the article where the information can be found. Without the redirect being categorized, it is very possible that a user might think that no article exists and proceed to create a duplication. Categories are Wikipedia's index. Many articles contain sections which are linked to by redirects. In a book, these sections would all appear in the index. Shouldn't they also appear in our index? -- Samuel Wantman 08:41, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't agree with the index analogy. Indexes are what people used before Search buttons were invented; I never use Categories that way. But in any case, I don't have a problem with others doing so: I don't see it as any better than a list, but if others do I have no objection. Moving forward:
  • If this is to be an agreed except to the "redirects should not normally contain categories" guideline, then it should be incorporated and explained in the guidelines
  • For lists, there are templates {{expand list}} and {{complete}}; if Categories are to be used in a similar way, then similar templates should be added as needed to the relevant Category pages to help those unwary readers we all worry about.
  • Since category–article links are intended to be bidirectional, some way of emulating that will be needed. You can click to Huron Bay, Michigan from Category:Unincorporated communities in Michigan, but not vice-versa.
  • I think simply adding [[Category:Unincorporated communities in Michigan]] or [[:Category:Unincorporated communities in Michigan]] at the bottom of Arvon Township, Michigan is clearly inadequate
  • better would be to add the wikilink in the relevant section; in Arvon Township, Michigan#Communities this might be:
There are no incorporated municipalities within the township. There are several [[:Category:Unincorporated communities in Michigan|unincorporated communities]]:
  • better still IMO would be to add a page List of unincorporated communities in Michigan, which initially would redirect to the Category. In the various articles, link to this page rather than directly to the category. If someone subsequently goes to the trouble of adding, say, a list of the communities grouped by county, or depicted on a map, then value will be added to those links; in the meantime the Category supplies an alphabetical list. jnestorius(talk) 22:38, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Name with a ' in them

What is the correct way to deal with them is it

  1. [[Category:Dublin Gaelic footballers|O'toole, Anton]]
  2. [[Category:Dublin Gaelic footballers|Otoole, Anton]]
  3. [[Category:Dublin Gaelic footballers|O toole, Anton]](Gnevin 16:46, 19 February 2007 (UTC))
You're specifying the sort order, so how do you want them to sort? (1) makes all the O'anythings sort before any other name starting with O. (2) sorts them as if the ' is not there. (3) sorts them like 1, but unless everyone else does the same thing they'll probably be haphazardly mixed. My phonebook (in the US) does #2. -- Rick Block (talk) 02:44, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Retroactive application of a category

A question has come up recently regarding an actor with dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship. He was previously categorised as a "Canadian expat actor in the U.S." Then he became a U.S. citizen, which means he stopped being an expat. Does his past status as an expat mean that he should still be included in Category:Canadian expatriate actors in the United States? Are there guidelines on retroactive application of categories?--Vbd | (talk) 22:28, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Generally speaking categories aren't supposed to differentiate between "current" and "former" status. So if he was an expat in the past, then he would still probably be categorized as an expat. Dugwiki 18:27, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
The distinction between an immigrant and an expat is determined by citizenship status. Once he becomes a U.S. citizen, he is no longer an expat. He can then be categorised as an "American actor," but it seems odd to also continue to classify him by his former status as an expat.--Vbd | (talk) 22:47, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't see anything in the definition of "expatriate" which would suggest that an expat who becomes a citizen of the place they've moved to ceases to be an expatriate. An expatriate is someone who either resides in a foreign country or has renounced their native country. john k 09:38, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Total article count

Could we display the total number of articles in a category? For instance, it would be nice to know the total number of disambig pages. This total might include or exclude articles in subcategories, or maybe we could get both counts. --Smack (talk) 06:11, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

  • You can generate it with WP:AWB. Last I checked, the disambig category had 60,000+ entries. it would be nice if the server software generated more useful category statistics though, but this isn't a likely place to get the attention of developers. --W.marsh 06:40, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Interested users, please see WP:VPT#Counting articles in categories. --Smack (talk) 06:12, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Advice requested

I've been attempting to overview and tidy up the geography cats which involve the places where people live. From the top level down to local neighbourhoods. There has been some overlapping and various mis-routings. It's been interesting looking at it all. However, there appear to be two useful ways of doing it - by region, and by size. And these can operate side by side quite usefully. The by region isn't a problem. But the by size has become difficult because User:Hmains wishes to use the term settlements to cover all sizes of communities, and has altered dictionary definitions [2] to fit his own understanding of the term - [3]. Community appears to be the term used most often to describe the places where people live, regardless of size. This is the definition of community - [4]. I did some sorting, placing the cat Human communities under Human geography. Human communities splitting into Urban geography and Rural geography. And those splitting into appropriate sized communities - cities, districts, neighbourhoods, villages, settlements, etc. Hmains has reverted much of my work, and insists on settlements being the term we should use - basing it on this decision, which was a declined proposal to rename Settlements by region to Populated places by region. What do people think? Is settlement an acceptable term for covering human communities ranging from well established cities down to refuge camps. Is Human community a viable alternative? Are there other choices (apart from populated places of course!)? I have started a discussion here and here, with the above wording, but no response as yet. I have left this message on the talk pages of active Geography Project members. And now I have discovered this page. Is this the right place to raise this issue? SilkTork 19:27, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

While I'm not sure I like using "settlement" as the catchall term, I somewhat grudgingly acknowledge that I don't think any other better term has been suggested (at least not one that didn't have it's own shortcomings). Regarding usage of the term, I might note that the United Nations Human Settlements Programme apparently subsumes the entire range of human habitat. olderwiser 20:47, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Discussion moved to Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (settlements)#Settlements SilkTork 11:17, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

PROPOSAL: A moratorium and a new categorization procedure

Many new categories quickly find their way to CFD and get deleted. Many more remain that probably should be listified. I don't have statistics to back me up, but I suspect that well less than half of the categories currently being created are without problems. As the categorization system matures this will only get worse not better.

It is also difficult to create a new category. You have to visit and edit every article you want added to the category.

Category management at CFD continues to require more and more effort by an increasing number of people. It is not scaling well.

The categorization system, and the guidelines we have created are imperfect. It is hard to understand the intricacies of how it is set up, and there are competing visions of what belongs and what does not. This increases the likeliness that categories will be nominated for deletion.

To deal with these problems I propose a change the way that categories come into existence:

  • A moratorium on the creation of any new categories. This means that creation of category pages would be fully protected. The moratorium would apply to administrators as well, except for the process outlined below. Once created, anyone could edit a category page, same as now.
  • Articles could still be categorized, but red category links would be removed automatically by bots.
  • Anyone who wants a new category would first create a simple list that has the text to be posted on the category page and a list of links to the articles that belong in the category arranged in alphabetical order.
  • CFD would remain, but would also become the forum where category creation is discussed. If someone wants to create a category, they would be propose that a list be converted into a category. If it is decided that the list would make a useful category that is in keeping with the categorization guidelines it would be approved. Otherwise, it would remain as a list.
  • Approved categories could be turned into a category by a bot or an admin.
  • Criteria could clarified to better explain when a list should and should not be turned into a category.

By reforming the process this way, there would be several advantages:

  • Categories would be populated as soon as they are created.
  • Clear criteria for article inclusion could be established from the start.
  • The category would be named according to guidelines from the start.
  • It would be easier to create a fully populated category (bots could do most of the work)
  • There would be consensus that a category should exist before it is created.
  • There would be less contentious debates about removing categories.
  • The work put into creating a list and proposing a category would not be destroyed because the list would remain if the category is not approved.
  • The number of CFD discussions would decrease dramatically. Categories would not be created capriciously because the bar would be much higher. You'd have to put the work into creating a list, as well as nominating and discussing it.

The only disadvantage that I can think of is that it would take time to get your category approved. Some might see this as being contrary to the spirit of a wiki, but I see this similar to other mechanisms that we have where we nominate before approval (admins, featured articles, portals, DYN, etc...)

Any opinions, comments? -- Samuel Wantman 07:07, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

  • I completely disagree. As an editor who focuses on article diffusion, your proposed process would grind to a halt the work that other editors and I do on a regular basis. Also, the reason we have approval mechanisms behind DYNs, portals and featured articles is because these are highly-frequented parts of Wikipedia; we have approval mechanisms for admins so that we can ensure only the finest contributors are trusted with those tools. --Hemlock Martinis 08:45, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
    There would be no problem diffusing categories into existing categories, and entire families of categories could be approved at once. As it is now, people are working at cross purposes. Categories get created by one group and deleted by another. Categories cannot be reverted, so if someone decides to diffuse some long established categories into subdivisions that others disagree with it is not easily reverted. Considering all the work involved in diffusing and undoing the diffusion of categories, wouldn't it be better if they were all discussed first? -- Samuel Wantman 08:54, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
I really don't think it would. It is important not to overestimate the amount of trouble that people are prepared to go to to get things done on Wikipedia. When I want to do something on Wikipedia, I want to see instant results - indeed that immediacy is one of the main incentives to contribute. ReeseM 01:51, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Overall, I like the idea. A couple of quick reactions: (1) I'm not sure that making CFD the forum where category creation would be discussed is such a good idea. Although the number of CFD discussions may decrease over time, it may take awhile; there are plenty of existing categories that need to be re-considered. CFD is busy enough, so I would suggest creating a new area for Category Creation that can parallel CFD. (2) "Criteria could clarified to better explain when a list should and should not be turned into a category." -- Please say more!! I lean toward "listifying" rather than categorizing (see my current effort to err on the side of lists), but I know others don't. What are the current criteria (are there any?) and what changes do you have in mind? Thanks for your efforts!--Vbd | (talk) 09:09, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
    There is Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes which is good at explaining the pluses and minuses of each, but it not not do a good job explaining when a list should not be turned into a category, or when a category should be turned into a list. The categorization guidelines do mention things related to category vs. list criteria like when it mentions that category entries are made without annotation so they should be NPOV, As part of this new process, we could bring all these things together. Since the criteria would be directly part of the process of creating a category they would be much better implemented. -- Samuel Wantman 09:47, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I think this approach is needed. The category system is currently the a major part of the infrastructure in Wikipedia. Unlike the creation of individual articles, the creation of new categories has major effects on Wikipedia as a whole. Novice users and belligerent users have wreaked havoc by creating new categories or even new category trees in the system. Moreover, many novices are prone to unintentionally recreating deleted content. Some changes are needed to the system. (I think that some changes to the category software are also needed, but that is another subject.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dr. Submillimeter (talkcontribs)
  • Completely disagree. This is contrary to WP:BOLD and in any case unnecessary. I don't see much wrong with the present situation. —Ashley Y 10:43, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I don't think it is fair to assert that this proposal is contrary to WP:BOLD. A careful reading of the guideline reveals that it encourages users "to be bold in updating articles" (emphasis added). But further on, under the heading "Exceptions," it states: "being bold in updating or creating categories ... can often be a bad thing." (emphasis in the original).--Vbd | (talk) 14:52, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I think it's a good idea (in fact I proposed the same about two years ago) but I believe the community will reject it as unwiki. Failing this, there was a suggestion on the OCAT talk page about "approved" categories, and some mechanism for flagging them as such. Both this and that would counter the kudzu of cat wildgrowth we have now. >Radiant< 13:13, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm probably ok with this approach overall. However, I do want to point out that one thing that's so far been overlooked above is that it might not save as much editorial time as desired. The reason is because you are in part simply shifting the tasks from discussing new categories on cfd to discussing new list articles on afd. Thus you're not really saving much time in those instances where an editor might have made a category without a list but instead is now making a list and not a category. So you're decreasing the workload for cfd but that's mitigated by increasing the workload for afd. Still, in balance, it sounds like the proposal would probably make things a little more efficient.Dugwiki 16:15, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

As the number of categories listed on CFD per day is far less than the number of categories created per day, it is clear that there is not really such a problem as the one described by Samuel Wantman, making this overly complex scheme totally unnecessary. Tim! 17:23, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Um . . . I'm not sure I follow your reasoning. There are fewer cats listed daily on CFD than there are created daily? That's because it is easy for users to create categories; it takes a lot more effort to identify and post CFDs. I think that is exactly the problem Wantman is trying to address.--Vbd | (talk) 01:40, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
  • You can compare the number of categories created per day through Special:Newpages to the numbers listed at WP:CFD. With 2000 categories created in less than four days, and only about 100 cfd nominations, this is nowhere near the "I suspect that well less than half of the categories currently being created are without problems", and not even all those CFDs will end in a delete result. Tim! 18:04, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I've been scratching my head trying to understand your response. Part of the problem was that it took me a few minutes to figure out where your quoted sentence came from. I didn't write it -- SamuelWantman did. As I noted before, it is precisely the situation that you describe that Wantman's proposal is aimed at remedying. That is, the unneccessary creation of large numbers of categories (see some of the examples given below) with which the Cfd process does not -- and cannot -- possibly keep up. Right now, it takes little effort to create categories; it takes a lot more effort to go through the CFD process to clean them up. As I understand it, Wantman is suggesting that more effort be made up front so that 2000 categories do not get created in four days. However, if you don't think that the excessive, willy-nilly creation of categories is a bad thing, then I can understand why you question the need for change raised by this proposal.--Vbd (talk) 18:55, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
  • "That is, the unneccessary creation of large numbers of categories (see some of the examples given below) with which the Cfd process does not -- and cannot -- possibly keep up." (from you rather than Wantman) - you assert that most of the categories are unnecessary but this is unprovable and the fact that so few relatively are listed at CFD make it it likely false. "excessive, willy-nilly creation of categories" (you, rather than wantman). Again a false assertion that most of these categories are incorrectly created bordering on a strawman. Tim! 07:16, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Please consider the examples provided below by Dr. Submillimeter and Radiant (and CovenantD) of excessive category creation. I'll say it again -- it is easy to create categories; it is much harder to get rid of them. That more of them don't end up at Cfd is likely a function of these categories not being identified by users who know or care enough to use the Cfd process.--Vbd (talk) 14:34, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I just took a look through recently created categories and they seem to fall into three big groups. The first group is good categories many of which are created by the same person, and often all part of the same hierarchy. The ones I just saw were all categorizing wetland areas by US state. The second group is categories created as a result of CFD renames. The third group, a random assortment seems to be mostly junk -- mis-named, pov, multiple intersections, trivia. My proposal will not impede the first group. They come to CFD (or whatever the page is) and tell us their plan and it quickly gets approved perhaps with a naming suggestion or something. An entire hierarchy could be approved and created at once. The second group is not affected. The third group would be affected, as is the intent of the proposal. They'd have to put some thought into what they were doing, and get it approved. By going through the process, they'd hopefully learn why some categories are acceptable and some are not. If they don't have the patience to learn how we do things they should probably not be creating categories. -- Samuel Wantman 06:50, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
How would you even be able to differentiate between the three groups you describe, and who would make the decisisions? Who appoints who makes the decisions? Isn't this far too bureaucratic - Wikipedia is not a bureucracy? CFD is backlogged with the discussions on whether to delete the small number of malformed categories, a process which would need to approve 20x as many categories simply could not handle the throughput. Tim! 07:16, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No, though I agree with some of the premise, this isn't the solution. SchmuckyTheCat 17:42, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
    What do you think the solution is? -- Samuel Wantman 01:01, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Well defined CSD criteria for categories? SchmuckyTheCat 01:29, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm all in favor. I'd also be amenable to having a similar process for creating categories (such as you ask an admin to create a category from a well defined criteria for speedy creation), for example, if you are adding a category of professionals from a country in a well established existing hierarchy. --Samuel Wantman 02:07, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Any solution that involves asking someone to create a category is a non-starter. SchmuckyTheCat 04:15, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Why? -- Samuel Wantman 06:38, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
It destroys the momentum and enthusiasm of volunteers. SchmuckyTheCat 02:06, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

I think much of the "CfD" problem could be solved if people don't bother with it so much. If there's a consensus that a category should be removed or renamed, of if you think it's unlikely that anyone will object, then forget CfD and just go ahead and do it. Only if there's a big argument about it is CfD necessary. —Ashley Y 00:36, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

You seem to spend about one day a month at CFD. I suspect that I'll be spending about one day a month (or less) at CFD if things don't change! Making changes to the categorization structure take quite a bit of effort. If category changes were as simple as the process of making edits and reverts is for articles, discussions beforehand would be unneeded. But it is far more difficult. A single bad article can go unnoticed for months, it does little harm. Eventually someone notices it and it gets prod'ed or listed at AFD. A single procedure deletes it. A bad category can put a blemish on hundreds of articles. Editors get very defensive when they are nominated for deletion (probably because of all the good intentioned work that went into creating the category). Once a decision is made it takes a bit of effort to delete. If we were to bother with CFD less, it would mean that we are abandoning the system we have been creating and allowing it to become a pure tagging system. This is a possibility, and perhaps I will resign myself toward this result eventually, but for now I'm hoping we can continue to create something more encyclopedic. -- Samuel Wantman 01:01, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
  • In further support of this proposal: I just came across an example of a well-intentioned user creating an empty category. On the Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Biography page, the user (who has been on WP for years and is actually an admin) posted the following:

Deaths by poisoning

Hi all. I wasn't sure which WikiProject might be most involved or concerned with this subject, but I noticed the lack of a category for people who were killed by poison. Thus, I created the category, and would like to notify people who might be interested in helping populate it properly. Thanks.

This new category is populated by one entry. The user failed to take note of List of poisonings, which provides an extensive list of people killed by poison. The creation of this empty (and thus useless) category would not have happened under this proposal. Instead, if there was consensus that such a category should exist, it would be generated from a developed list (which happens to already exist in this case). That seems to be a much more efficient way of creating a useful category than posting a random request for assistance in populating an empty category.--Vbd | (talk) 03:39, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
And gosh, the solution is to move the article into the correct category, and blank the incorrect category. That's all of two edits. People create duplicate articles all the time, and yet no-one is suggesting approval before creating articles. —Ashley Y 07:10, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Two edits and an article that was missing from a category is in the category, which sounds like a success to me. And what is more the duplicate category should be redirected with categoryredirect rather than blanked, so the same thing won't happen again. Any further articles added to the duplicate category will be moved by bot. Two edits and two pieces of progress. It's a good system. ReeseM 02:28, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
  • I think that, as Ashley suggested above, we could definitely do with more speedy-renames, speedy-merges and speedy-deletes regarding categories. The death-by-poisoning, above, I could make a plausible case for speedying it as a user test, because there's already a better alternative in the list. >Radiant< 10:18, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
And it's worth mentioning that you don't need to be an admin to do them (though it does leave empty blank categories floating around). —Ashley Y 18:45, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
  • People reading this discussion may want to look at the edit history of Srstorey. This is a novice user with less than 50 edits. In the past week, the user has created several categories that have all ended up in WP:CFD. Some of the user's categories meet the criteria for speedy deletion. This is the type of editor who can easily wreak havoc on the category system. This is why better regulation of the category system is needed. Samuel Wantman's approach would be preferable to the status quo. Dr. Submillimeter 10:58, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Indeed. Nor is that rare. In the past month there was also this guy who made tons of religion- and missionary-related cats, and this other guy who started classifying all Simpsons episodes based on which characters appear in them. I'm sure there are other examples. >Radiant< 11:37, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
      • Pastorwayne was the person creating religious categories, He created over 100 categories in Dec 2006 alone. As a consequence of these actions, administrative action was used on multiple occasions to stop him from creating more categories. (At the moment, Pastorwayne is blocked.) Dr. Submillimeter 16:21, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't believe there is any kind of "wreaking havoc" here that cannot be undone with the same number of edits that the havoc wreaker did. This is a wiki problem with a wiki solution. —Ashley Y 18:49, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Ashley, I'd agree with you if categorization was a wiki problem with a wiki solution. I don't think that is the case. I could spend weeks categorizing hundreds of articles into a structure that is clean and follows guidelines just to return some time later and find that someone has totally screwed it up. If there were a wiki solution I could just revert the change back to my version. But since it involves hundreds of articles (and even in individual articles cannot usually be fixed with a revert) this is a huge effort. Considering that there is no assurance that things will get mucked up a second, third or fourth time, I'll just give up. I think that this is the reason that categories continue to get divided up into microscopic sub-categories. It is a nearly impossible trend to stop without going to CFD. That means that the process is such that categories get created in a wiki process but can only be reverted or deleted through a CFD process. When the categorization system was just starting it made sense to create the categories first and discuss when there are problems. As it matures, there will be less and less valid categories and more and more junk. I see the switch to discussing first as an inevitable part of the maturation of the categorization structure. -- Samuel Wantman 20:27, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
It's no more a "huge effort" than whatever effort the "someone has totally screwed it up" represents. Sounds exactly like a wiki problem with a wiki solution to me. Someone can expend a huge effort screwing up Wikipedia in all kinds of ways, and the effort to fix it is no more than the effort they went to, in categorisation or anything else. It is simply not true that categories can only be reverted or deleted through CfD: anyone at all can do it. I've done it myself. Sure, if there's an argument about it that's different, but that's the same with any edit dispute.
Also, I like fine sub-categories. If I find at least three articles or categories with something in common, I'll create a new category. I'm really not seeing a problem here. —Ashley Y 22:59, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I think what you are describing is a tagging system, and not the categorization system as it has evolved, and as many of us here see it. We can all resign ourselves to categories becoming a tagging system, that is a possibility if all else fails. Also, when I talk about reverting I am talking about the difference between the work involved when someone screws up an article (you revert to the last version that was ok which is just one edit) and the work involved tracking down all the categories that have been removed from a category (there's no history of what used to be in the category), and adding and removing scores of categories. There's no comparison between the wiki process for articles and the process for category changes. There's no history and no way to easily revert. If someone spends hours rewriting an article I can revert it in a few seconds. If someone spends hours trashing a category, it will take hours to fix it. We can let anyone make any ridiculous change to an article because it is so easy to undo. But it is not easy to undo ridiculous changes to categories.-- Samuel Wantman 06:33, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
No, I'm describing a fine-grained categorisation system: indeed, exactly the fine-grained categorisation system that has evolved and is currently in use. If you have some plan to delete large numbers of categories, you'd better put it in your proposal. If you're not willing to put in the necessary effort to fix problems (and indeed, just yesterday I manually changed Category:Religious Demographics to Category:Religious demographics) you still have the option of using a bot. —Ashley Y 18:29, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Ashley, I'll be sure to go to you the next time the Batman Fan/Dr. McGrew/Creepy Crawler/EJBanks/LedgerJoker sockpuppet gets going again with categories like Soap Opera Characters and Batman Actors (complete with caps errors). Those two alone can (and have) encompass hundreds of articles and take hours to correct, especially when s/he is recategorizing and not just adding. This may not be a perfect proposal but SOMETHING has to change. I'd rather put the effort into educating new editors before the fact than have to do it in the middle of a CfD. It only fuels the "You're deleting my work!" complaints. CovenantD 09:48, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Stop whining and do the work. Or use a bot. —Ashley Y 18:29, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Stop whining? In other words, shut up and don't participate in consensus? Thanks. Glad to know that people are encouraged to be mindless, silent drones. CovenantD 00:46, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
OK, "stop whining" was out of line, and I apologise. —Ashley Y 05:57, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
No problem :) CovenantD 06:35, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I have mixed feelings about the proposal. However I think if we do something like what is suggested that continuing a series should not need additional approval. When the decision is made to subdivide a category, there may only be content for some categories. There is no reason to create all of the possible subcats at the start since some would be empty. Vegaswikian 07:09, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
This is an utterly terrible idea The category system is still grossly incomplete, and over focussed on the main Western and English speaking countries. I am currently creating many missing national symbol categories. There is no way that I, or most other people I should think, would go to the trouble of making lists first (which in this case I don't see the need for) and then begging to be allowed to convert them into a category at a later date. The underlying idea that we need to clamp down on category creation is completely wrong. We need thousands and thousands more categories and it would be destructive to make the process any harder. Haddiscoe 14:54, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
This simply isn't necessary. There may be a small closure backlog on categories for discussion at the moment, but the solution for that is for a few admins to pull their fingers out. The number of discussions per day is little or no higher than it was when I first started categorising in 2005, and the proportion of them which are highly contentious is certainly lower than it was then. I am finding problematic categories less frequently since my return than I was back in 2005. On the other hand there are still vast numbers of categories that need to be created. CalJW 18:15, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
There are fatal problems with almost every line of the proposal. To name a few:
  • The claim that things will only get worse not better is unsupported by any evidence, and is not compatible with my observations. What I see is that more and more conventions have become established and once they are in place most people respect them.
  • The claim that less than half of categories created are without problems is not credible. The number that end up on cfd is miniscule relative to the number that are created.
  • Making lists is more trouble than starting or adding to a categories, which is one of the main reasons why categories are more widely used than lists. I would feel that if I wanted to make a list it would have to be a damn good one, or the category proposal would be rejected and the list deleted. We would lose the ability to do things in stages and the collaborative dynamic that contributes so much to the development of categories.
  • The idea that the list would be safe even if the category was rejected is simply wrong. Lists are often deleted.
  • It would be harder to create a fully populated category. Bots would only do the work when they had been given a manually prepared list.
  • Categories that didn't get created because of the increased obstacles wouldn't get populated at all.
  • Whenever it was necessary to use the pipe trick one would have to type out a list of instructions on how it was to be done, or the bot would botch the category creation - assuming it could handle the pipe trick at all. One would also have to write the introduction to the category, and write out the list of parent categories. It could all add up to a lot of work, and as one would not know if and when it would see the light of day it would be very tempting not to bother.
  • There has been a backlog on Wikipedia:Categories for discussion for a few days. It has happened before and it isn't very important. What other evidence is there that the process isn't scaling well? I would say it is scaling just fine.
  • One of the implied problems that this proposal supposedly addresses is a shortage of admins to close debates, yet it would require more admin input, not less. If a user's first category creation proposal had to wait a fortnight, they most likely would never try again.
  • This proposal would undermine the credibility of the claim that Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

ReeseM 02:04, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Are there other alternatives?

I appreciate the concerns of those that want to make categories easy to create while not encumbering the voluntary feel of our wiki. I ask everyone for suggestions as to how to create the minimum mechanism possible to stem the proliferation of poorly conceived categories. I have no desire for a bureaucracy complicated with rules and procedures. I can imagine many different ways of creating a new system for creating categories such:

  • A way to distinguish between "encyclopedic" categories and user categories. Perhaps they could be in different colors, or listed in different sections (I'd call the user category "tags"). Anyone could add user categories and they'd only be removed for the most egregious of offenses. "Encyclopedic" categories would be promoted from the user categories after discussion.
  • Allow users to create categories after they have been approved by some mechanism. This would be an interim step between general user and admin.
  • Restrict category creation to admins.
  • Restrict category creation and deletion to a categorization WikiProject.
  • Restrict category creation, but have a simpler way than outlined above to create a category. This could be a simple quick review process (discussion would only be necessary if something is questionable, all others would be created speedily). The review process could be a centralized page, or by asking any admin.
  • Modify the software so that all empty categories do not appear in the categorization hierarchy. This way pages could be created for an entire hierarchy with a single request, but the categories would only appear as subcategories when they are populated.
  • A software modification so that redlinks for categories never appear in the category listings of articles. This would mean that by deleting a category page an entire category would disappear. Recreating the category would restore all the links from the articles so categorized. This change would mean that creating and deleting categories could happen with a single edit. Bots could remove redlinks from any articles that have been red for a certain amount of time (a month?). This would move the system to being more of a pure wiki system. This would make it harder to make categories because there would not be a red link to follow when an article is put in a non-existent category. To get to the category, you'd have to type the name in the search box or follow some other procedure.

Any other ideas? Wikis are great for collaboration. It was not my intention to present a fully formed proposal and have everyone state their opinions pro and con, but to collaboratively come up with solutions to problems that can find consensus. -- Samuel Wantman 10:53, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

I think category creation should be restricted to administrators or pseudo-administrators. I would also suggest, if possible, modifying the software to show more than 200 articles in a category at one time. I also suggest somehow incorporating this category intersection tool (with credit to the tool's creator, Duesentrieb) into Wikipedia. With this tool, people can then look up odd cross-sections that are impractical for categorization. Dr. Submillimeter 11:34, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm currently working on a policy/action proposal that will hopefully make categorization a lot easier. As soon as I hammer it out into a fully understandable essay, I'll post it for discussion. --Hemlock Martinis 00:50, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
A multi-leveled approach might be best. Increase the time an editor has to be registered before they can create categories, say to a month or so. That would take care of overenthusiastic but ignorant newcomers. Throw in a mechanism to turn off category creation on established accounts, say as an admin function handled at AN/I. That would mitigate the cycle of blocking somebody only for them to return as a sock, because they can still edit articles. Couple those two with a bot that removes redlinked categories, no waiting, so modifications made to articles aren't perpetuated. I'm sure there are other ideas that could be incorporated as well. CovenantD 06:35, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
None of these proposals are necessary or acceptable. The basic premise that too many categories are created is the opposite of the real problem - I am disappointed that the best part of two years after first started doing my bit for the category system it remains in a highly incomplete state. Anything that involves creating more complex hierarchies of users will just create more politics and induce some people to concentrate on enhancing their status rather than improving Wikipedia. The idea of giving yet more privileges to admins is just offensive. In so far as there is any issue at all at present, and it's a very minor matter that there is a backlog on categories for discussion, that is the admins fault, and the idea that the way to respond to it is to give more rights to admins and take away some of mine, when I have created thousands of categories, not one of which has been deleted that I know of, shows just how unappreciative some people are to the contributions made to the project by non-admins. CalJW 18:29, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
    • The issue isn't too many categories; it's poorly thought out categories and pernicious category-creators. There are ways of adjusting the process to weed out those without having an impact on those who are doing good work. I hope you noted that none of the ideas I suggested would have any impact on you, based on your self-described habits. CovenantD 19:29, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Is category creation on new accounts restricted for a few days, as it is article creation? If not that could be introduced. But only for a few days, as anything more restrictive will discourage the volunteers Wikipedia needs from getting involved. Long bans on category creation should be available for vandals - months rather than days. ReeseM 02:16, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
  • I think what we need here is more than just a policy change. What does everyone think about a large-scale project to tackle the incongruity of categories? One thought I've been tinkering with is subtly tag all articles edited before a certain date, and then go through all of those one by one to create a uniform tree. --Hemlock Martinis 06:18, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I don't think that is a very practical suggestion, firstly because of the number of articles involved, and secondly because the category system needs to remain dynamic to respond to the growth of Wikipedia. The level of detail required changes over time, and sometimes changes in the real world require new types of category. It is an illusion to think that a set of "correct" category decisions can be made at one point in time and fixed in stone. Anyway, we already have an increasing number of conventions, and generally the category system is getting more accurate, complete and consistent. The existing mechanisms work well, but they would be implemented faster if more people contributed to them. That is what we need: more people working within the existing tried and tested methodology, not duplicative additional bureaucracy. CalJW 14:58, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Orthogonality of categories

I recently came across the categories Category:Free computer algebra systems, which surprised me, because it seems to be the combination of two orthogonal categories, Category:Free software and Category:Computer algebra systems. In fact, there is a whole tree under Category:Free software of subcategories of free software by domain. It seems like a really bad idea to combine orthogonal categories like this. Should this have a subcategory Category:GPL-licensed computer algebra software written in Lisp or Category:Computer algebra software on Sourceforge? How about Category:Arabic-speaking constitutional republics? Any chance we can change this? --Macrakis 22:48, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Mass-tag them for CfD? Xiner (talk, email) 23:16, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
This is done all the time for people categories: for instance Category: Russian-American Jews is a subcat of Category:Jewish Americans, Category:Russian-Americans, and Category:Russian Jews. I don't think it's always a bad idea. —Ashley Y 23:02, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps the real problem here is that we currently have no tools (as far as I know) for exploring the Category hierarchy and looking for the intersection of two categories, e.g. Category:Asian countries and Category:Constitutional monarchies rather than having a non-orthogonal category Category:Constitutional monarchies in Asia, which would have subcategories Category:Constitutional monarchies in East Asia, etc. Is anyone working on such tools? --Macrakis 15:43, 1 March 2007 (UTC)


This page is 265k and needs to be archived. This code will have Werdnabot archive every 60 days, which seems about right for this page. {{subst:User:Werdnabot/Archiver/Template|age=60|target=Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Archive 9|dounreplied=1}}

I just archived 2/3 of the page. -- Samuel Wantman 11:03, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

China categorisation: People's Republic/Mainland revisited

Previously, I mooted some categorisation issues relating to China, here. I won't pretend there was exactly a clear-cut outcome, and since then there's been renewed edit-warring, a large dose of arbcom apathy, and a general lack of resolution either way. Currently, the stub categories do one thing (or did until the last round of reversion), and the permcats do another. I suggest we either: create additional permanent categories for "Mainland China" such-and-such; or delete the MC stub cats in favour of their PRC parents. If you have a preference either way, or a meta-preference for consistency one way or the other (or for a cessation of edit-hostilities along some sort of defined line, at the worst), please contribute your thoughts at SFD. Alai 02:25, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks so much Alai for bringing the matter to discussion. But please let us know if you'd actually read the information posted in the discussion archived. — Instantnood 11:55, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Requesting 3rd opinions for illuminated manuscripts

Please see Talk:Illuminated manuscript. We are discussing a categorization scheme and are just about ready, but there is one last issue that needs settling. So I am requesting help from editors familiar with categorization. What it boils down to: should we have a Category:Christian illuminated manuscripts to group the existing 3 subcategories (Psalters, Gospel Books, and Illuminated Bibles) and the literally hundreds of other Christian illuminated manuscripts (and possibly create new subcategories for the Books of Hours, Prayer books, and apocalypses). Does this create an unnecessary layer of hierarchy, and the Christian subcats (Psalters, Gospel Books, etc) belong in the main "Illuminated manuscripts" category? The main argument for the former is there are a lot of Christian illuminated manuscripts and subcategories that logically should be grouped together to clear up the clutter from the parent cat. The main argument for the latter is Christian works like the Book of Kells are the most notable Illuminated manuscript, so they shouldn't by buried in subcats, but should instead be as close to the parent cat as possible. See the talk page for further discussion. I support the former, so people be aware of my possible bias in posting this. Thanks for your consideration.-Andrew c 22:09, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

{{DEFAULTSORT}} question

Ok, the variable {{DEFAULTSORT}} sets our sortkey, but is there a corresponding variable that templates can use instead of {{PAGENAME}}, such as something like {{PAGESORT}}? The idea being here that {{PAGESORT}} would display what {{DEFAULTSORT}} is set to on the calling article or just use {{DEFAULTSORT}} on it's own. I bring this up because templates don't inherit the page sorting. Dread Lord CyberSkull ✎☠ 01:08, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand your question, so apologies in advance. Do you want {{PAGESORT}} to be equal to the sortkey defined by {{DEFAULTSORT}}? If so, that wouldn't be needed as {{DEFAULTSORT}} sets the sortkey for any category without a sortkey (ie [[Category:Foo]] not [[Category:Foo|Bar]]) even if the category is defined in a template. Is there a sort key defined for the category defined in the templates in question? mattbr 23:50, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Sorting names in categories: special considerations, a proposal

I've been dealing with some categories like Category:Fairchild family, where most members have the same surname. Sorting by surname tends to overload one index, F in this case. User has set these pages up with the sort as [[Category:Fairchild family|*]], which puts all the names under the * index. This is a nice idea, except they should be appear in sort order there.

So here is a proposal for a convention: In cases where a category is chiefly populated with names having the same surname (as with the family cats), these should be sorted into the asterisk index, then by given name, like this:

   Category:Fairchild family|*David 
   Category:Fairchild family|*Grandison 
   Category:Fairchild family|*James 

This places the important members, i.e. with the target surname, first in the list, and then sorted by given name. Sorting by surname places these folks in different places in every cat, depending on the spelling of the surname.

What say y'all? -dav4is 02:03, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I say no. You'd just be overloading the * header rather than overloading some letter, no improvement whatsoever. Just sort everybody in that category given-name first. In other words, for your examples, Category:Fairchild family|David Fairchild for example. And also by first name even for those who might not have that surname in the name of their Wikipedia article. Most surname catgories are already sorted that way. Gene Nygaard 21:00, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

"Categories that should not be created" section?

Back in February, the decision was made that all "Actors by series" categories would eventually be removed. The reasoning given in that CfD made perfect sense when you get down to it, but given how popular that cat type was, I see it as one that will be created again and again. This brings up the following: since there are many other cats not allowed that may not directly violate any specific guidelines outside of a CfD, should a section added to this article to address those category-types as they arise to make it more clear? — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 21:49, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

The guideline Wikipedia:Overcategorization is pretty much intended to cover this sort of thing. In fact, Performers by Performance is one of the sections, and the topic of actors by series was discussed in the talk archives. WP:OCAT seems to cover a lot of the common problem categories. Dugwiki 22:12, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Useful magic word not yet mentioned at Wikipedia:Categorization

I think it would be a good idea to add a description of the use of the {{PAGENAME}} magic word to the section which currently describes the use of {{DEFAULTSORT}}. It's useful when categorization is done with a template (such as a WikiProject notice) placed on talk pages. This prevents all the talk pages from being sorted into one huge "T" section, since they will share the format "Talk:Somearticle" . If there aren't any objections, I'm happy to add that description myself. -Tobogganoggin talk 01:27, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Er, I added a section about this (here), then noticed it has already been mentioned at Help:Category. I apologize for the duplication. I'm leaving it in, but if anyone would like to revert my edits, have at it - I won't take offense. -Tobogganoggin talk 22:02, 2 April 2007 (UTC)


I have a question about the citations required to insert a Cat. I know it might be answered in the archives, but.... maybe someone would be kind enough to give a quick answer?

Do you need to have sources for a Cat the same as you do for other parts of an article?

I am currently having trouble on the Parapsychology page. I have good sources which call parapsychology a science. There are also some sources for calling it pseudoscience (though not nearly as WP:V as for calling it science). However, some editors are deleting the cat:science, and putting the cat:pseudoscience in. This seems to be only because they believe parapsychology is a pseudoscience. Since the sources for calling it science are much better, I think it should be either 1) in the science cat, 2) in both the pseudoscience and science Cat, or 3) in neither (example sources for calling it science: James Randi, Ray Hyman James Alcock, and the AAAS; many of these are skeptics of the subject. Example source for calling it pseudoscience: Any enlightenment on this issue would be appreciated. Martinphi (Talk Ψ Contribs) 02:10, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

One does not need sources for categories per se; the article should imply the categorization, not the other way around. As for the parapsychology question, that would probably be more appropriate on that article's talk page. --Hemlock Martinis 01:44, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Moving a category

Hello. Is there a way or procedure to move a category? The move tab does not appear on the category page. For example, I created Category:Early Middle Japanese. It is for texts of the period so I would like to rename it Category:Early Middle Japanese texts. I could create a new category and nominate the old one for deletion, but I figured I would ask first. Regards. Bendono 00:17, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Helpful - Wikipedia:Category_renaming#Speedy_renaming_and_speedy_merging SchmuckyTheCat 00:19, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Links and categories

There seems to be a dichotomy between those who are looking to hone categories into encyclopedic taxonomies and those who are looking for a tagging system in which they can do keyword searches. The more we push at removing overcategorization, the more there is a need for a simpler tagging system. If we can answer that need, it might make everyone happier. Towards that end, I've written up a proposal to do keyword searching based on wikilinks. Please take a look. I'm calling it Wikipedia:Link intersection. Comments would be appreciated. Thanks, -- Samuel Wantman 06:45, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

A problem in film categories

We have attempted to organize a categorization department in WP Films (currently hosting about 22.000 articles). The guidelines are not yet in a stable form, as discussions keep bringing out factors that create needs to modify them. One of the most important decisions has been to categorize all film articles primarily in four all-inclusive categories, ie Category:(Year) films, Category:(Country) films, Category:(Language) films and Category:(Studio/production company) films. Then we have the most important but also most diverse (and sometimes considered "subjective") categorization by film genres. It is beyond any doubt that genre plays a central role in films. Yet a film more often than not belongs to several genres and often to several cross-genre categories. The four primary film categories are used also as our primary film indexes. They are often huge, but very useful (at least for project purposes). Now we have the problem of an editor who decided to take films out of the parent "Country" category and dissipate them in genre cross-categories with the argument that an article belonging to a subcategory shouldn't also be in the parent. This creates the following problems: 1. the country-films category index is not any more usable, 2. we will have to recategorize the articles by the parent category (to solve 1) inspite of the general rule that an article souldn't be both in a child and parent category, 3) if this cross-categorization spreads to more areas we will have a serious problem of overcategorization soon. We are open to opinions and assistance. Hoverfish Talk 17:04, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

this is confusing

1. Your "category" article does not begin with a definition 2. I can't see anywhere you have said how to display these categories 3. Example was "Golden Gate Bridge" but I looked there and where is category displayed 4. This comes after "editing info", mention should be made that Categorization is activity mainly for article creation people 5. Is category creation affected by same syndrome as the old cross-posting problem of news groups? Also today in groups like Gather? Categorization is one area where "let a hundred flowers" is NOT a good idea. --Myles325a 12:09, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

You may be looking for Wikipedia:Categorization FAQ. --Hemlock Martinis 01:42, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Controversial categorizing

General guidelines #8 states:

Categories appear without annotations, so be careful of NPOV when creating or filling categories. Unless it is self-evident and uncontroversial that something belongs in a category, it should not be put into a category.

This is a good guideline, but there is a highly disturbing trend of groups of editors making up attack categories in order to push a POV and simply discounting anyone who objects as "irrelevant" to their agenda. These groups of editors are violating neutrality by always trying to categorize various articles about the religious texts of major world religions as "Fiction" or "Mythology". This would appear to be blatantly against the spirit of the guideline, but they say that only their POV counts, while the views of actual adherents of said world religions or texts do not count and are relatively insignificant, therefore they say it is "neutral" and innocent for wikipedia to officially endorse labeling major world religions and beliefs as "fiction" or "mythology" despite all controversy this might generate, and despite the polemic history of such language. What can be done about this? ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 03:17, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Can you please link to some of these "attack categories"? We might be better able to understand the problem then. --Hemlock Martinis 05:12, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
I strongly object to the way that a cadre of editors has foisted the controversial category: Category:Mythological ships, this category was invented two days ago solely for the purposes of attacking the article Noah's Ark by a group of editors who spend practically all their time on the talk page, instead of debating the article content all they do is scoff at anyone who believes the Biblical account and try to engage editors in debate over whether or not it could have happened. I have pointed out to them many times that it is not wikipedia's job to decide if the Biblical doctrine is true or false, nobody is asking them to believe it, but they are asking nobody to believe it and see wikipedia as a platform to effect change in people's firm beliefs. Although this small group has argued with many editors who point out that all Churches still consider Genesis part of the Bible last time anyone checked, they are always arguing that it is fictitious and trying to classify it as mythology, usually starting with this article before they move on to others. They are entitled to their POV but not to violate the careful balance of neutrality that we strive so hard to achieve here. It is not wikipedia's role to take a stand on whether or not the Scriptures are true or false. It should stay neutral and take no position on this whatsoever, leaving it up to the reader. They are using semantic arguments to state that the word "mythological" is intended to signify something other than false and is therefore neutral, but the word has an ugly history of being used to attack freedom of religion, and it will never be acceptable. Any category that labels a modern religious text of a significant, huge world religion, as "mythology" be it the Quran or the Bible or any other, is pushing a POV and is controversial. But their tactics are to deny anyone the right to dispute their action, because they say anyone who disagrees with them is "insignificant", even the Pope. Wikipedia declaring the religious text of Christians, Muslims, Hindus or any other large religion with millions of followers "mythology" will NEVER be neutral and will NEVER be acceptable. Where can I go to protest the controversial nature of this categorisation??? ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 21:34, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
If you want to debate the categorization of an article, that discussion should take place on that article's talk page, or in this case, Talk:Noah's Ark. The category seems to have merit, since even should Noah's Ark be removed there are a number of boats from mythologies that are listed. --Hemlock Martinis 00:33, 16 April 2007 (UTC) Actually I just checked the talk page and it looks like this discussion has already started there. Never mind. --Hemlock Martinis 00:36, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
You should have seen the articles for several historical ships the creator first put in the 'mythological ship' cat to justify his definition, like U.S.S. Constitution and Mary Celeste... they all got quickly removed, because people regard 'mythological' as meaning 'fictional' -- proving my point. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 03:07, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Let's look at your arguments logically. First off, you talk about a "cadre of editors", for which I direct you to this essay. You then go on to claim that this cabal is doing the mythological changes on a massive scale, yet you provide only one category with only one example, thus defeating that argument. Next, you claim that there's a silent majority of editors (which is an insupportable claim in and of itself) who "point out that all Churches still consider Genesis part of the Bible last time anyone checked", but that "point" furthers a systemic bias in favor of Christianity, Judaism and Islam and against other major religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism. In short, you're making a big deal out of one categorization that could have been resolved with a simple discussion instead of posting warnings here that claim a massive conspiracy of editors bent on categorizing all religions as mythologies is ganging up on you. I urge you to relax and try to argue future debates with more civility and less accusations. --Hemlock Martinis 04:49, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
No, that is not what I am saying at all; you have completely mischaracterized my position. Let me try to explain it to you again, since you have me all wrong. I did not say, and have never said, that a "silent majority" of editors is supporting me. That would be a ridiculous statement. There is a very vocal majority of editors that has been clamoring for a very long time, to have this Biblical subject officially declared "mythology" through the use of categories. I have been the principal editor arguing that this is objectionable and a p.o.v., and indeed the very kind of polemical abuse that the NPOV policy was carefully crafted to KEEP from happening. I have not been the only editor making this point. This has been going on for at least two years. At one point, we had editors who were indeed going around tagging a wide variety of Biblical articles as "Mythology", causing massive revert wars far and wide. I could dig up all the diffs for you, but just check the contributions for one of their old accounts, User:FestivalOfSouls, to see the massive scope of the articles they have edit-warred in order to call Mythology. I am in favor of NO BIAS. I don't want ANY of the major world religions with significant followings today to be called "mythology" by wikipedia. I do not want Wikipedia to declare Buddhism mythology. I don't want Wikipedia to declare Hinduism mythology. I don;t want Wikipedia to declare Islam mythology. I don't want WIkipedia to declare Judaism mythology. I don't want Wikipedia to declare Christianity mythology. Word choice is very important. I have explained time and again that wikipedia should not be in the business of declaring whose beliefs are mythology and whose beliefs are not mythology. It should quote the opinions of others, but not present those opinions as fact. It seems to me that this is all something VERY VERY BASIC, and the entire REASON that we even have such policies in the first place, but the nature of these editors is to congregate just outside of wherever the policy line is drawn, looking for any way or loophole to flout it if they possibly can, since in the long run after all, that is EXACTLY what they want wikipedia to do. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 11:24, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Port cities by body of water

I have been trying to diffuse Category:Caribbean, and have found that a lot of the articles in the root cat are port cities on the Caribbean Sea but not in a "Caribbean country" (i.e. cities in Mexico or Panama). Category:Port cities is currently sorted only by continent/region; there is a Category:Port cities in the Caribbean, which is used for cities in Caribbean countries only. I'm thinking of creating Category:Port cities on the Caribbean Sea to tie all the Caribbean Sea port cities together, what do you think? jwillburtalk 22:56, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Template:Popcat nominated for deletion

Template:Popcat has always irritated me. It more or less states the obvious. Almost all categories need more articles (except the very large ones). I've never really seen any value in having this template, so I have nominated it for deletion at Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2007 April 21. Feel free to agree or disagree with me. Dr. Submillimeter 19:43, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Categories stuff

I thought those reading this page should be aware of this, this and this - not really sure what is going on, as the language is over my head, but just thought people would be interested. Carcharoth 09:59, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Tracking parent categories

{{Parent category}} has been developed to track categories that should remain relatively empty, and to advise editors to not categorize pages under them. See the motivation at Wikipedia talk:User categories for discussion#Parent categories. –Pomte 10:48, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Multiple year categories

This is not so much a question about a category more about the contents of a category. Over at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Video games there is a discussion going on [5] which has two opposing viewpoints.
One side says that it is OK for a game to be listed in multiple Year X Video Games categories because if the game was, for example, released in Japan in 1990 and then the rest of the World in 1991 then it should have an entry in both year categories. Some then take this argument a step further and say that if a game was released on a different games platform then that year should be added too, and if it was re-released as a mobile phone game in 2005 then that should also be added. Now that old games are being made available for download on new consoles with systems like Virtual Console some people want 2007 added to a game's article. Some games could end up in both the 1982 Video Games and 2007 Video Games categories at the same time. A bad example of this is this [6] version of the Castlevania article.
The opposing viewpoint is that the Year X Video Game categories should follow the year category format of all other Wikipedia Arts based subjects and have just a single year. Movies list a single original year for the first release location, as do Music and TV.
That is the situation. Opinions would be gratefully received? - X201 11:08, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

I should think that just the year of first release would be sufficient. Tim! 11:18, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
I concur with Tim!. --After Midnight 0001 16:45, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
And in the UK? It's not the "first year" for that region. - A Link to the Past (talk) 19:20, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
True but the same could be said for books published on different dates in different countries, and films released in different territories. Tim! 19:44, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
Far less of a similar situation - this is the, meaning we would only have to cater to English countries' release dates. - A Link to the Past (talk) 21:40, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
That doesn't have anything to do with it. All that means is that the articles are written in English. We cover any subject, regardless of cultural origin. Notable is notable. But in response to the original question, someobdy just asked that same sort of question with regards to record album release dates. My response was to say that the first release date was the most important because that's when the product was completed. After that the date of release in the band's home country could also be considered significant. Beyond that, additional release dates would only be proper to include in the text of the article - not in places intended as summaries or navigational aids, like infoboxes or categories. In particular, it diminishes the usefulness of the categories to include every item in six different year categories. -Freekee 04:49, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Soliciting WP:Essay feedback

Please see Wikipedia:Categories are different from articles. -- Kendrick7talk 20:10, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Added bullet point recommending avoiding categorizing without verification in article

I've been following a general rule in cfd and afd, and it seems to be a reasonable practice so far, that you should only use a category in an article if the article itself provides some verification that it belongs in that category. For example, you shouldn't categorize someone under Category:Lawyers unless the article talks about the person being a lawyer. This rule of thumb follows directly from the principles of verification and neutral point of view. If an article doesn't provide evidence that it belongs in a category, then it's not verifying the placement is accurate and objective. Additionally, by asking for articles to show evidence for each of their categories, you help avoid placing articles in otherwise tangential and largely irrelevant categories that have little to do with the subject (such as labelling someone who earned a law degree but never practiced it as a "lawyer", even if such a label might technically in some sense be true.)

To that end I inserted a bullet point that reads as follows:

An article should normally possess all the referenced information necessary to demonstrate that it belongs in each of its categories. Avoid including categories in an article if the article itself doesn't adequately show it belong there. For example, avoid placing a category for a profession or organization members or award unless the article provides some verification that the placement is accurate.

Please feel free to discuss, reword or revert as desired. I'm pretty sure most of us agree on the general principle I'm trying to get across, but I'm sure my phrasing can be improved, and there's the off-chance I'm wrong about the principle having consensus (hopefully it does). Dugwiki 16:31, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

This probably makes sense, but I have seen many situations where stubs were categorized with non-trivial categories before the text was added. There seems to be a value to this because if let's say an actor stub is categorized as an actor before the article mentions it, it is more likely that it will be looked at by people interested in acting. This "pre-mature" categorization may help stubs develop into articles. On the other hand, it is not difficult to add the major information to the stub, when you add the categorization. So if we notice that the text is missing for a major categorization it makes more sense to add the information to the stub than to remove the category. -- Samuel Wantman 23:09, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm ok with temporary category additions to stubs. That's why I worded the paragraph above with the qualifier "normally", since there are some reasonable exceptions. The main snag is that temporary additions can turn into permanent ones if editors stop paying attention to improving the article, and that can mean some categories turning out to have no verification in some stub articles. So ideally it's better to add the information to the article at the same time you add the category. Even if the information isn't yet verified, you can add a "citation needed" tag to it as a flag that it needs to be checked. Dugwiki 18:01, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Section "Look before you leap" is inaccurate

The paragraph beginning with "You may see some inconsistencies when first creating the category" no longer seems relevant. Would someone else be able to back up my assertion that redlink categories are a non-issue? Is the "manual creation" aspect still true? --AlastairIrvine 07:49, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand your question. Category pages, the text that appears above category listings, still need to be manually created. Until they are created, the category links remain red. Red links, wherever they appear, indicate pages that need to be created. The point of the paragraph is to encourage creation of a category page at the same time articles are categorized. -- SamuelWantman 09:15, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Categorisation problem

Please can someone take a look at Category:Spy films and see if they can see why baseball players are turing up in there? Thanks, Mallanox 13:53, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

  • This was caused by vandalism to {{Infobox baseball team}}, in which someone copied one of the Bourne movies. Null edits will likely be required to clear them out, since the vandalism was revered over 24 hours ago and they are still there. --After Midnight 0001 14:03, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
    • I think that I got it all cleaned up with AWB. --After Midnight 0001 14:54, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

To "put" an article in a category

As a completely new user it is slightly confusing when one it told that one can "put" an article in a category. There is nothing technically or grammatically wrong describing it as such, but it implies that one might be performing some kind of placement operation (like putting a file in a directory). However, this is not what is done at all. One is declaring that an article is to be included in one or more categories. I think one could more clearly describe it as categorizing an article.

I suggest changing the subtitle "How to put an article into categories" to "How to categorize an article". (The same put verb is also used in Wikipedia:Tutorial_(Wikipedia_links))

Another area of potential confusion is the first sentence of which states "Adding an article to a category is as simple as editing the article and adding a link to the category." This is confusing because "adding a link to the category" is used in Wikipedia:Tutorial_(Wikipedia_links) to mean exactly the opposite where is says " make a link to a Category page..." one does:


but here we are categorizing, as in:


I think the sentence would be much clearer as:

"Categorizing an article is simply performed by editing it to include a category declaration."

If people think this makes sense I would be happy to try an make these changes myself, but as an absolute beginner I would cheerfully defer to a more experienced editor.

--Nsmith999 00:51, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

  • I think it is good to have new perspectives here; thanks for sharing. I like your idea about the subtitle. Your 2nd point, while more technically accurate may actually be a bit more confusing to some users, but I'm not sure. I would suggest that you watch this space for comments for a couple days, and if you see no objections, go ahead and make the changes you propose. --After Midnight 0001 03:31, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I think calling it a "link" to the category is more confusing when new users get into a situation where they would want to link a category. "Categorizing" should be just as easy to understand and it's always good to avoid ambiguous language. –Pomte 03:38, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the feedback. As nobody has objected I'll make the change.--Nsmith999 05:27, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Maybe the perspective is that we are attaching the article to a category? Vegaswikian 05:36, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Hi Vegaswikian, It looks like I got my edit in only a few seconds before your comment. My rational for using categorizing rather than linking or attaching is that categorizing is less overloaded verb, and this is better because it is it is less likely that someone will make an incorrect assumption as to its meaning (which is fully explained later in the article). Linking and attaching are terms that tend to carry with them a meaning from Graph_(mathematics), and while a category hierarchy can of course be viewed as a graph, I think the operation that we are describing here is more declarative, as in "I declare I am a believer" rather then "I link myself to the believers" etc. Also, as we also talk of cataloging a book, perhaps we can usefully talk of categorizing an article which is a very similar operation. Nevertheless, this is not my field of expertise and so I'm more than happy to be corrected, and I thank you for your comment. --Nsmith999 06:33, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Single/Few article catagories

There's been some talk at the classical music project page about creating single article catagories that can never be expanded (like this one being mentioned a few times), to help seperate scope and other reasons. While it may look like I'm against it and trying to 'rally support', I'm not really, it's more that I'm curious what people here thing about it all. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ 03:40, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Having a category for Beethoven operas is not outside of categorization policy. This situation is specifically mentioned in the guidelines, and there are long standing examples of this happening elsewhere such as Category:Albums by artist. That example is mentioned at the start of the categorization guidelines and Category:Songs by artist is mentioned as an exception to the small category overcategorization guideline. There is no reason to argue about this. It is OK, not a problem, and follows current policy and guidelines. -- SamuelWantman 07:49, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Ah, so it's ok, because it's part of a subdivision, and isn't also on the parent category. That makes sense. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ 11:31, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Categorizing templates

See Category:National Football League staff templates. I've never seen this before, but before I nominate it for deletion, are we now putting templates into categories? Corvus cornix 21:49, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

As navigational templates are useful, a category of them is useful for navigation and for maintenance. See Category:Template categories and the parent category of that one you're concerned with. –Pomte 21:59, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
OK. That's why I checked. Thanks. Corvus cornix 22:02, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

New proposal - Wikipedia:Categorizing redirects

Following discussion at Wikipedia talk:Overcategorization#Categorizing redirects, I've started a proposal at Wikipedia:Categorizing redirects and would like community input and help to edit the proposal and see if it is acceptable. Please discuss on its talk page, and suggest other places to get input. Thanks. Carcharoth 23:20, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

When and where to link to Cats?

When and where does one link to categories in article namespace, if ever? How bout navboxes et al? Just curious, MrZaiustalk 15:13, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

In navboxes such as {{The Beatles}}, it is useful for "Related articles" to link to the eponymous category since the navbox can't contain every single page in the category. Other than navboxes, I've seen categories linked with "See also", for example at Toronto#Tourism. –Pomte 17:16, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
"See also" has been the customary place to link to related categories. Of course there is no need to do this if the article is already in the category. -- SamuelWantman 23:32, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Cat sorting - capital and accented letters

Why is it that capital letters always come before lower case letters in category sorting? And why do all accented letters come after all non-accented letters? E.g., in category:Egypt stubs, TEData would come before Tâb if I hadn't piped TEdata to Tedata, and piped Tâb to Tab. I.e., the default order of the four characters involved is:

  1. E
  2. a
  3. e
  4. â

I'd prefer:

  1. a/â
  2. E/e


This isn't a policy, it is a technical thing. If a category is not piped, the sorting follows the unicode order as you describe above. A better order can be obtained by using the "pipe trick". I am unaware of any way around this. I suspect to make this automatic would involve some programming. Each language would need to have a map for unicode that would be used for sorts. This could be brought up at the technical village pump. There also might be something already in the works. You'd have to check the bug report to find out. -- SamuelWantman 23:29, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Categories in previews?

When I add a Category to an article and preview my edit, I never see that category in the preview. Am I doing something wrong or is this a small problem with the MetaWiki software? Thanks Urdna 02:30, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like you're just not scrolling down far enough - They show up for me, using a close-to-stock Monobook theme. MrZaiustalk 05:43, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
I wondered the same when I started out. I suspect this is almost universal among newcomers. Is there a bug report on this? The categories should be at the bottom of the preview above the edit window, not the bottom of the page. -- SamuelWantman 06:19, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
I couldn't find a bug report for this so I submitted one[7] Urdna 17:14, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

double level categorization

Does anything in the 'topic category rule' section of Wikipedia:Categorization and subcategories or any other rule justify what has recently been done to Category:States of the United States where all 50 states' articles are now directly included in the category in addition to the original the 50 states' categories which was the purpose of the category. To me, this is misuse of the category rules (but the rules are not clear) and in any case, unhelpful to WP as it negates the purpose of categories. Hmains 00:10, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

My take would be the opposite -- the articles should be included, because they are actual states. On the other hand, the categories really should not be included, because they include many things which are not states (nor even directly related to states). I think I'm on the losing side of this one though. -- Visviva 02:43, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem with both the categories and the articles being here. Usually my take is like Visviva, and if anything it is the categories that don't belong. In this case it seems useful to have both. The only thing that seems not to belong is the templates. I'd get rid of those. -- SamuelWantman 06:31, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Where to put {{DEFAULTSORT}}?

I've been putting the {{DEFAULTSORT}} key at the top of pages, on the assumption that it will then work for all categories on the page. However, I've noticed some editors then move it to the bottom of the page, just above explicit [[Category]]s. Is there a preference either way?--Rossheth | Talk to me 11:57, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I've only ever seen it immediately above the categories, presumably on the basis that that's what "DEFAULTSORT" affects and so the two should be together. It's then easier to see whether or not there is a DEFAULTSORT tag in the article, and so avoids having another editor adding a second, possibly conflicting (e.g. some names are Surname Firstname, and so don't need a tag really) DEFAULTSORT tag immediately above the categories. Bencherlite 12:03, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
The reason I've been putting it at the top is you might get a situation like this (for example):{{DEFAULTSORT:surname, firstname}}{{unreferenced}}...[[Category:foo]][[Category:bar]]. If you put the defaultsort above the categories, the article will be sorted differently in articles needing sources and foo/bar (I think-unless it doesn't matter where the magic word comes on the page, and affects all the categories regardless>).--Rossheth | Talk to me 12:16, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Personally, I'm not bothered if clean-up categories are sorted by Surname or Firstname. My view is that it's better to have DEFAULTSORT by the article categories rather than at a distance purely so it can modify internal housekeeping categories. Bencherlite 12:30, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
OK. Thanks for the clarification.--Rossheth | Talk to me 12:51, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

The placement of DEFAULTSORT does not matter (I think). I would place it where people now expect to find it - just before the categories. I deduced that the placement does not matter by looking at George Washington. All the categories there are due to categories tags at the bottom of the article, except for four that arise from templates in the articles. In Category:Articles with unsourced statements since May 2007 and Category:All articles with unsourced statements and Category:Articles with trivia sections from June 2007, the article appears under "Washington, George", as expected. The one where it appears under "George Washington" is Category:Semi-protected, which is due to the template in question, Template:Pp-semi-protected putting articles in categories by the {{PAGENAME}} magic word. This is to allow semi-protected User pages and Talk pages to appear in the right place in the category, but I'm not convinced by that argument. I will raise it over there. Carcharoth 13:35, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Ah, I see. I assumed that DEFAULTSORT only affected categories added after (i.e., further down the page) the sort key was set. But since it's a parser function, it makes sense that it would affect the whole page. Thanks for the information.--Rossheth | Talk to me 13:51, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
In case it wasn't clear (and I've confused myself over this) the fact that PAGENAME is a magic word doesn't matter. It is merely a specific case of the pipe-sorting key (regardless of whether it is a magic word) over-riding the DEFAULTSORT key. Carcharoth 15:04, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Secondary categorization rule

I'm referring to WP:SUBCAT#Secondary categorization rule which says:

When an article is put into a subcategory based on an attribute that is not the first thing most people would think of to categorise it, it should be left in the parent category as well.

...which could reversly be expanded into: "When an article is in a subcategory, it should also be in the parent category."

The definition of "most people" is quite loose. Take Liverpool: It is listed in a number of categories including Category:Liverpool, but it's also listed in it's parent Category:Cities in England, furthermore Category:Port cities in the British Isles and it's parent Category:Port cities in Europe, but also the more lucid categories Category:Coastal cities and Category:Towns in Merseyside thrown in the mix. I'm not saying that this is over-categorization (well, it is, but that's not the point now). E.g. London does not feature the same (or equivalent) impressive list of categories. What I'm trying to convey here is that the rule above is practised inconsistently.

If now all articles in Category:Port cities in the British Isles should also be listed in the parent Category:Port cities in Europe. Adding all this information of parent- and sub-category is redundant, error prone and as such can become notorious difficult to maintain over time.

One way to simplify things would be to make this a property of the sub-category and not each individual article. Would this be a route to go; to enhance wikimedia with the above functionality, or are we "stuck" with the hard labour? If so, would it be possible to specify the above rule further? --Frodet 19:58, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

When you turned the sentence around you dropped the part which says "that is not the first thing most people would think of to categorise it". This was the point of the duplication. Categories are for browsing. Lets say I want to browse through Category:Bridges in England, as an American, I know very little about the counties of England. I could probably name very few. I'd want to browse through all the bridges of England. I'll admit that this is something that bothers me more than many of the people who categorize articles, so duplications like this don't often happen (the bridges are not yet duplicated). I think it is reasonable to fully populate English bridges, but I wouldn't advocate fully populating any higher bridge levels. If the duplication is seen as a serious problem, then I'd advocate having larger, more broad categories. Eventually, we will have the ability to create category intersections on the fly, so a bridge could be categorized as a bridge and by its location separately. -- SamuelWantman 05:41, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

People from

Ran into an interesting case and decided to check here before I reverted. This was an article about a person. She was born in Chicago, and from the article and the research so far, she was not involved in politics in Chicago. Another editor changed Category:People from Chicago to Category:Chicago politicians. This seems to be completely out of line with what I understand the method for including people in categories. Should I revert or is my understanding flawed? Vegaswikian 23:32, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Apparently the editor is planning on creating Category:Politicians from Chicago to cover everyone who is from Chicago and is a politician. Seems like over categorization and a trivial intersection. Vegaswikian 23:35, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

WP:ALBUMS naming scheme enigma

There is a proposal in the works for making all album titles include the artist name in parenthesis following the title, ie. Second Genesis (Wayne Shorter album). This is because there is a problem categorizing artist albums into subgenres with our current categorization and naming schemes at WP:ALBUMS. Take the example of Category:Hard bop albums. Per the album's project own guideline, actual albums cannot be placed in that category. So adding Category:Hard bop albums to an album article is not allowed, instead one must create Category:John Coltrane hard bop albums and then make that new category appear in the Category:Hard bop albums category. If you are still with me here, I congratulate you. So I have personally tried to do it according to the guidelines, only to find that it requires way too much work and that there is a much simpler solution. If an album title included the artist name in parenthesis like the example I gave in the opening sentence, then editors could just list an album directly into Category:Hard bop albums without creating a new category for every artist that might have an album that falls into that category. It should be said that often an album that performs hard bop may also have bebop elements, or some other subgenre like free jazz. That means just one artist album may require 3 or even more unique categories just to fall into accordance with WP:ALBUMS guideline. And that is to be done with every musician known to man. It just doesn't make sense. The problem stems from the fact that I can't just place Category:John Coltrane albums in the Category:Hard bop albums category, because not every John Coltrane album is hard bop. I realize that the naming proposal is "controversial", but it seems to me that this is our best solution. Otherwise, WP:ALBUMS is satisfied with mediocre coverage of albums, categorizing Category:John Coltrane albums in Category:Jazz albums, end of story. But some of those albums REQUIRE a breakdown by subgenre to be both honest and accurate in their coverage. Otherwise we cannot even have subgenres, not because albums don't fall under subgenres- but because current rules governing albums will not permit proper categorization in a logical and straightforward fashion. I can tell you personally that I have tried categorizing albums using the Category:John Coltrane hard bop albums method, and I can testify that it is a waste of time and time consuming. It has also been called overcategorization by some users. The current scheme makes it possible for albums to only be placed in the most generic of genres, ie. jazz. If one wants to categorize a Frank Sintra album as a swing music album, they have to create Category:Frank Sinatra swing albums for it to "legally" appear in Category:Swing albums. Note that albums you see that reside at the swing albums category page that appear there by themselves are incorrect per WP:ALBUMS guidelines. A discussion is underway at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Albums#Yet_another_proposal, and the reception has been anything but enthusiastic. I'm not sure those involved with the discussion have taken the time to even deal with subgenres, therefore they cannot understand the scope of this problem. I thought I'd introduce the discussion here also, to get more input on the matter. Thanks. (Mind meal 18:47, 13 July 2007 (UTC))

Categories with a couple of pages?

Is it within the guidelines to add a new category for just one or two pages? 12:35, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Depends. For example WikiProject Albums has consensus that a category should be created even for an artist with one album. But if the category in question is something random not part of a greater scheme, then probably not. –Pomte 22:42, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
For most categories, probably not, unless you plan on expanding them further. There are exceptions, like the one mentioned by Pomte. I would also add that for categories that are part of the established categorization structure for countries, they'd be acceptable (i.e., a Category:Foreign relations of Foo even if Foo has few articles to populate that category with). --Hemlock Martinis 22:32, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Category page appearance

The template {{Military aircraft by nationality}} is included by all of the military aircraft articles. I dropped one template from this template, but I still think these templates take up too much space at the top of each category page. Before I changed the template, it was taking up my entire screen. You had to scroll down to get to the category data. Is this use of the category page acceptable and reasonable or does the template need more changing? Vegaswikian 23:58, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

And images. Should this stuff really be on cat pages? -Freekee 03:28, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, there is the image, but I believe that everything linked in the template is also in the parent cat. So I don't see a reason for the info box. Vegaswikian 05:39, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree. There might be a case of adding "For aircraft from other nations see: (the parent category)", but it seems fairly obvious how to find all this information for anyone with familiarity with the categorization system. -- SamuelWantman 06:14, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
So we might be able to bar templates due to redundancy. Does anyone have an opinion on whether images should be disallowed, and why? -Freekee 04:27, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Listing templates in article space categories

I think it is a very bad idea to add a template to an article space category, because then the template itself gets listed along with the articles. For example, if you look at Category:Metabolism (as of this writing), it lists, along with some reasonable articles about metabolic topics, templates such as Template:Alkaloids, Template:Carbohydrates, etc. The reason this is a bad idea IMO is that the category should categorize articles, not internal Wikipedia pages such as templates that will just confuse people (of course, categories specific for templates, such as Category:Biology_navigational_boxes are not a problem). The current version of this guideline says (at Wikipedia:Categorization#Sorting_with_templates) "This is usually reserved for pages not in the article namespace, such as talk, project, or user pages." I suggest a stronger wording, such as "Template pages should not be listed under article categories". --Itub 16:46, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Carcharoth 17:00, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Simply bad coding in the template. To fix this add <includeonly> before the category in the template and add </includeonly> after the category. You may have to remove the category from other options. I fixed Template:Alkaloids if anyone needs a sample on how to fix these. Vegaswikian 20:22, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
You meant "includeonly" not "nowiki". And the Alkaloids one was a bad example, as it is not being used on any articles. Carcharoth 21:53, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

And now, any article using that template, such as User:Nuklear/Nocaine, will get put in Category:Metabolism, which may or may not be the desired behaviour. I think what someone wanted to do was put the articles on alkaloids in Category:Metabolism, and thought that putting the template there would do that, or something. Anyway, I've put {{alkaloids}} onto alkaloid. Carcharoth 21:58, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

This seems to happen qutie alot. I used to remove categorization from templates, but recently, I'm finding it very difficult to figure out where the categorization is coming from. For example, I spent a few minutes trying to track down how this category's talk page ended up categorized in its own category. Any one understand how this happened? Is there an easy way to figure out which template is causing the problem? -- SamuelWantman 08:30, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

A common cause is somone including the category as an example and forgetting to the the leading ':' That requires editing the entire page and searching to find. In the case of multiple included templates you need to search. I usually edit the page and then go to the bottom and look at all of the included templates. Yes, I believe this does list all of them. I think the one you are looking for is {{WikiProject United States}} but my quick test change did not appear to work. Vegaswikian 16:27, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Rick Block has solved the problem. Full details here. -- SamuelWantman 11:01, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Companies based in

What criteria determines this for US companies by state? Is it where the headquarters is or where the company is incorporated? The introductions for most of the categories don't make this clear. Vegaswikian 21:40, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

"Based" would imply to me where its headquarters is. --Hemlock Martinis 22:40, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Then where do we categorize where a company is incorporated or is that not important? Or do companies that have their headquarters in one state and are incorporated in another get listed in two categories? We can do that by adding a few words to the category introductions. Vegaswikian 00:49, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
I would recommend doing it as people are done, which seems to be by common sense and by the content of the article. For example, author/cartoonist Alison Bechdel is listed as both a person from Williamsport, PA, where she was born and about which she recently wrote an award-winning book, and as a person from Burlington VT, where she currently lives as has for some years. If from the article, a company appears to have a major presence in just two states, (say, a beloved Hamburger chain of Texas and Oklahoma), then I would say, mark both the categories. If the article does not indicate headquarters or main selling area, then I think for now they are just a Category:Companies of the United States. Scarykitty 17:46, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Only if a defining characteristic or related to their notability

At the pending Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2007_July_23#People_by_former_religion the argument has been repeatedly voiced that this category should be removed because it is not a defining characteristic for all people who left a religion. While, I agree that this is not a defining characteristic for all or even most people who leave a religion, there are others for whom I strongly believe it is. Examples of the latter are Steven Hassan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Karen Armstrong. Is the fact that it is not a defining characteristic for some or most people a reason to delete the category? Personally, I hold the opinion that it should not be a reason for deletion, because to, use an analogy, the category:painters shoul not be deleted only because it is not a defining characteristic for Adolf Hitler].

On the other hand, I agree with the extra condition for inclusion and I have tried to solve the main stated reason for deletion at Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2007_July_23#People_by_former_religion.

But I also believe that this extra condition should be applied consistently e.g. for current religions and ethnicities. See e.g. Category talk:Jews.

Andries 18:06, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Templates in aviation

Can someone take a look at {{airntd}}? This shows up on a bunch of categories and its use means that you have to page down before you can see any entries. It also does nothing to explain what the category is for. Should the included templates be removed or should some other action be taken? Are we at the shoot on site level yet? Vegaswikian 05:35, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

  • I agree that some templates can be used to navigate among categories, but it should probably be something simple, like what you see if you look at Category:1999 births. I think it should be culled somewhat. If people feel that all of this needs to stay, it could at least be modified to make it smaller. The lists at the bottom should be either removed or auto-hidden. The either 3 boxes, should be made a smaller font and whitespace should be eliminated. --After Midnight 0001 11:05, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Intersection by location

I am curious to see if any editors may realize that categories like Category:People from New York City or Category:People from Dallas may need to be broken down in some logical way. This currently is not possible due to the intersection by location guideline, which leaves room for states but not large cities. Please see Category:People from Cincinnati for examples on an attempt to break down the large category. The subcategories all will deleted eventually due to various nominations. All have not been nominated, but they all will be eventually. Since I founded WikiProject Cincinnati, I wanted to find a way to better organize categories pertaining to the city. I believed that the project would also give more weight to such categorization, but also knew I'd face challenges. If I were a researcher trying to do a book or paper on Cincinnati, such categories would be very useful for me in such a pursuit. For instance, if it was about science I would have Category:Scientists from Cincinnati. If the I was doing a paper on law in Cincinnati, there would be category:Jurists from Cincinnati. None of these will exist soon enough, and they will just get merged right back into category:People from Cincinnati. Does anyone perhaps see such categorization as undercategorization, or am I alone in this sentiment? I'm just curious to know how I go about gaining consensus for a change to that guideline, as I think it works well for smaller cities but not well at all for larger ones. My proposal is that we allow cities with very large categories of people to be broken down by umbrella occupations. Not, ie. "Cincinnati musicians, but "Musicians from Cincinnati". This would allow for categorization of people born in Cincinnati, and those articles where that person has a very strong connection to the city. I ran into no trouble breaking categories pertaining to Cincinnati except those pertaining to persons. (Mind meal 21:53, 13 August 2007 (UTC))

Another bot request

I was thinking it might be useful if there was a bot (or some other type of program like the ones that make the recent edits and newpages lists) that created a list of all articles that are in a parent category and at least one of its subcategories. Anyone else think this might be useful or want to have a crack at it (or does such a thing already exist)?--Eloil 00:22, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm pleased to say that something like that exists already, and anyone with permission to use Auto Wiki Browser can do it. The 'list comparer' function allows you to load list of articles in category 1, a list of articles in category 2, and see which are duplicates and which from each list are not. I used the function a while ago to check whether there were any GAs or FAs tagged with WP:WALES labels that hadn't been included on the project's honours board, and it found a few. BencherliteTalk 01:36, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Bot request?

I'm not familiar with bots, but it seems like this would be a good task for one. All of the subcats in Category:Years in country music are sorted by a lowercase "c". Could someone set up to change them all to an uppercase C? Actually, everything past 1990 is sorted properly (though they use the old style pipes). Thanks -Freekee 03:47, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Maybe someone already got to it. It looks correct to me. --After Midnight 0001 00:06, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Still needs to be done. All of the 19XX in country music articles. See Category:1956 in music. Notice how the article shows up in the lowercase "c",at the end of the list. Everything after 1990 is categorized like Category:1956 in music|Country, while everything before it reads like Category:1956 in music|country. The uppercase is the correct form. -Freekee 02:23, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

OK, I see now. I had only looked in Years in country music and had not checked how the articles looked in other cats. I'll take care of it for you shortly. --After Midnight 0001 03:46, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done --After Midnight 0001 11:57, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Ummm, help?

I've been trying to tidy up Category:Discworld by moving various pages from the main category into a set of subcategories. I had just managed to get the main category down to about five pages when all of a sudden, a hundred pages suddenly entered Category:Discworld, even though the are not linked from there on their pages. Well, they are, but only on the main screen. In the edit window they're not. The link just appeared out of nowhere and I can't get rid of it. I can't figure out what I did. Serendipodous 16:10, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

The 'problem' appears to be {{Discworld}} which is dumping all of these items into the main category. I fixed the book template so that dropped about 11 entries. Since there are sub categories, it is in my opinion not good to force things into the parent. Based on that I may removed that category from the template. Vegaswikian 19:26, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
Thank you! I feel very very stupid... Serendipodous 20:08, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

New category structure for journals

I started a new category structure for journals. See Category:Journals by publisher. Before I go any further, does this look helpful? In some cases the categories duplicate existing lists. In other cases they gather articles not listed anywhere. What should be done small, independent publishers that only have a few journals, or even just one? Carcharoth 13:33, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Synergy between lists and redirects and categories

Have a look at Category:Trends journals and Category:Current Opinion journals. Does this look like a good way to combine lists, categories and categorization of redirects in a synergy that allows people to see the existing structure of redirects with disrupting the list and still prompting people to expand the redirects into stubs if appropriate? Category:Trends journals directly categorizes the redirects, while Category:Current Opinion journals lists the redirects in the editable part of the category page. Which way do people here think is best? (In both cases, the redirects are still categorized in the "journal by topic" categories, so Trends in Molecular Medicine still appears in Category:Medical journals, regardless of whether it is listed at Category:Trends journals, or categorized there). Carcharoth 13:52, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Personally, Category:Current Opinion journals is the wrong way to go since the introduction is not the right thing for a category based on many past discussions. Both of these categories can be speedy deleted as empty based on the lack of content. Vegaswikian 18:20, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Could you expand on that a bit more? Where are the guidelines for what a category introduction should say? Have people in the past tried what I've done there and the discussions said that this is not appropriate? If not, then new discussions are needed. Have a look at Category:Nature Reviews journals. The only difference between that and Category:Trends journals and Category:Current Opinion journals, is that the Nature Review journals have articles. Are we deleting categories now because the articles haven't been written yet? What we have in each case is a list article that might, eventually, produce separate articles for each of the journals. It would seem silly if I had to write stubs for each journal to 'justify' the existence of the category. Let's take another example. While browsing through the journal articles, I came across List of pharmaceutical sciences journals. If I created Category:Pharmaceutical sciences journals, and put List of pharmaceutical sciences journals in there, would the same argument apply? Does List of pharmaceutical sciences journals have to sit in Category:Pharmaceutical sciences until enough journal articles have been created to start to fill a category? What is the tipping point, one, two, three articles? Carcharoth 22:40, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Maintenance Categories

Is it possible to split maintenance categories from the normal categories?

Example, the categories of Cat are now:

 Categories: Semi-protected | Domesticated animals | Spoken articles | All articles with unsourced statements |
 Articles with unsourced statements since June 2007 | Articles with unsourced statements since May 2007 |
 Articles with unsourced statements since July 2007 | Articles needing additional references from July 2007 |
 Wikipedia articles needing copy edit from July 2007 | All articles needing copy edit | Cats | Invasive animal species |
 Cosmopolitan species | Animals kept as pets

It makes sense that Cat belongs to a category "Domesticated animals", but that Cat belongs to "Articles with unsourced statements since June 2007" is something entirely different that belongs to another listing.

This looks much cleaner imho:

 Categories: Semi-protected | Domesticated animals | Spoken articles | Cats | Invasive animal species | Cosmopolitan species | Animals kept as pets
 Maintenance Categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since June 2007 |
 Articles with unsourced statements since May 2007 | Articles with unsourced statements since July 2007 |
 Articles needing additional references from July 2007 | Wikipedia articles needing copy edit from July 2007 | All articles needing copy edit

Or even:

 Categories: Domesticated animals | Cats | Invasive animal species | Cosmopolitan species | Animals kept as pets
 Article Categories: Semi-protected | Spoken articles
 Maintenance Categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since June 2007 |
 Articles with unsourced statements since May 2007 | Articles with unsourced statements since July 2007 |
 Articles needing additional references from July 2007 | Wikipedia articles needing copy edit from July 2007 | All articles needing copy edit

I'm personally really distracted by the large amount of maintenance categories with long names like "Articles with unsourced statements since May 2007" that are abundant in most articles now. I really wouldn't have minded if there were only a few in a few articles, and I agree that it's good to have such a system of maintenance, but currently any article is so flooded with them and the name of those maintenance categories is so long, that you can't really see the normal categories (like cats being a type of domesticated animal) anymore.

Does the wiki software support giving a different listing for normal categories and maintenance categories? Is it possible to have a type of view where the maintenance categories aren't shown? Are there any plans to have something like it or find a different system for those articles with unsourced statements and so on?

--Lodev 21:45, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

This is a good idea. Perhaps the maintenance categories could be totally hidden, and there could be a "+" at the end of the list that would display them if you clicked on it. Like this...
Categories: Domesticated animals | Cats | Invasive animal species | 
Cosmopolitan species | Animals kept as pets | [+]
-- SamuelWantman 06:31, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I know of no way to affect this change. You would probably need to make a request at the village pump. You also may want to look into getting all the maintenance categories repurposed to the talk pages. --After Midnight 0001 23:52, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Most of the maintenance categories don't actually need to be categories at all. The same function (an automatically maintained list) can be achieved by creating an invisible link to an existing (or even non-existent) page and using "whatlinkshere" to find the articles with the links. I'll bring this up at the VP. -- Rick Block (talk) 23:50, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
  • They're much easier to browse if they're in categories, although maintenance categories should have a different categorization tree separate from mainspace cats. --Hemlock Martinis 07:55, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
    The only differences between a list presented from whatlinkshere vs. a category are:
    1. Categories are presented alphabetically, vs. the seemingly random arrangement of whatlinkshere (it's actually time ordered unless the database has been rebuilt)
    2. Whatlinkshere lists default to 50 per page but the user can select 20/50/100/250/500 (or any other number by manually modifying the URL), vs. a fixed 200 per page for categories
    Do we care about alphabetical lists of pages needing maintenance? This is the thread at the VP. -- Rick Block (talk) 18:16, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Displaying all subcats on one page

I'm under the impression that there is a way to force a large category with multiple pages to display all of its subcats on the first page, instead of spreading them out over succeeding pages. Assuming that I'm correct about this, I'd appreciate it if somebody would be kind enough to explain how to accomplish this. Thanks! Cgingold 14:39, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

The only way that I know how to accomplish this is by using the pipe trick to sort them all to the start of the list. --After Midnight 0001 17:07, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. I see how that would do it -- but of course it would mean going through all of the sub-cats just to make that tiny alteration on each and every one of them. Ughh. Plus, it means losing the alphabetical dividers -- though they'd still be in the right order.
Hmmm. I was hoping there was a simple and direct way to accomplish the objective, through a tweak of the parent category. Perhaps something along the lines of adding __FORCETOC__ to make the TOC appear when there only 2 or 3 sections.
There really needs to be a simple way to do this, because I strongly suspect that many (if not most) people don't realize that there may be additional sub-cats spread out over successive pages. (I know I didn't, for a long time at least.) Any tech sorts want to make this happen?? :) Cgingold 23:04, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
If you go to one level up in the category tree, then you can get a listing of all the subcategories within subcategories of that level in one glance. olderwiser 18:48, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
The missing instruction there is to click on the little "+" symbol next to the subcategory name. That should display as collapsed by default on most people's views. Carcharoth 03:04, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
This is a great cleaver suggestion, but unfortunately, a very un-intuitive solution to a common problem. Very few people are likely to think about going up in the hierarchy to find what they are looking for at the same level. Another possibility is to create a new category to hold all the subcategories, and thus divide all the subcategories from the articles. There should be something in common to all these subcategories, and often they are a different grouping from the articles, so it shouldn't be that difficult to come up with a good descriptive name for the grouping. The new category would only contain subcategories, and the old one would only contain articles. This might add an additional level to the taxonomy. Also, often the subcategories are eponymous categories which if they deserve to exist at all, should not be in many of the categories they end up in. So yet another alternative is to delete and/or remove the redundant eponymous subcategories (see WP:OCAT for more about this). Sometimes getting rid of all the eponymous subcategories is all that is needed.-- SamuelWantman 07:18, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what a "cleaver suggestion" is, but I agree that it is not intuitive for the purposes of navigation. But the question seemed to be related to maintenance -- that is, if you are concerned that there may be subcategories that are not showing up on the first page because of not using a sort key, then you can check this by going up one level in the tree. But for the purposes of navigation, I think it'd be great if there were a TOC-like magic word or navbox sort of thing that could make the all the subctegories appear on each page of a category listing. olderwiser 08:42, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

I know we can add a sorting string, but...

I kind of want a little more in a few cases. Let's say for instance that I have a type a LOT of articles on one kind of thing, covering all of these things in the world. They're categorized by country already, which is clearly most logical, but I have templates that I can use to auto categorize by model, status, and other sorts of things. The result of one of these queries is large enough (say 30) to be non-trivial, but still large enough that it needs further categorization (just visual NOT another darned category). Furthermore, the names of the articles frankly aren't very important, and a reader will value the information of "which are in which country" higher than the ability to scan alphabetically (I think you would just search...).

Now, we could sort the items by country name (which is available and trivial to do), but then the reader has no indication that they're sorted in such a manner. So my question is: is there a way to either contain the sorting index in the articles title shown on the category page, or to display the some index in place of "A", "B", "C"? Thanks for your help, I really want to find some way to use the categories beyond a deep dark unhelpful maze. -Theanphibian (talkcontribs) 05:01, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

There is no way to change the index in place of alphabetical, or to rename what is used for the listing. It is possible to create redirects to the articles using alternate names, and then categorize all the redirects. The redirected titles will appear in the category. For more see Wikipedia:Categorizing redirects. I'd love to write a more helpful response, but I have a very sketchy idea what you are asking. Could you explain with a concrete example? -- SamuelWantman 06:53, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I was just thinking that like Category:Nuclear power stations with closed reactors really should be organized by country, but it also kind of wouldn't be helpful to break them up into country sub-categories. Now I'm kind of thinking that a dual-categorization could be appropriate. So, I'm kind of thinking about making a tree like this:
  • Nuclear power plants
    • Nuclear power plants by country
      • Country x
        • items unknown amount
        • Country x closed reactors
          • Small list - overlap with below
    • Nuclear power plants by type
      • stuff
    • Nuclear power plants by status
      • Nuclear power plants with closed reactors
        • items x40 about
        • Country x closed reactors (same as above)
      • Nuclear power plants with reactors under construction
        • items x10 about
      • etc.

But... eh... it's cumbersome. -Theanphibian (talkcontribs) 02:51, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Guidelines cleanup

I don't think that one should make statements such as "Check to see where siblings of the article reside" without first establishing what "siblings" means (if nothing, putting in a link). Also, the sentence "If there are few if any articles in a category, the article probably belongs in one of the subcategories" doesn't make sense. Perhaps the author mean "few if any sibling articles"? "For example, avoid placing a category for a profession or organization members or award unless the article provides some verification that the placement is accurate" is even more nonsensical. My best guess for the meaning is "For example, avoid placing an article in a category (such as profession, organization, or award recipients) unless the article provides some verification that the placement is accurate."

Seeing as how it's parenthetical anyway, it seems to me that it should either be rewritten or deleted completely. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Heqwm (talkcontribs) 22:38, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I think part of the difficulty is the X or X or X list. How does "avoid placing an article in a category for a profession or award unless the article provides some verification that the placement is accuate" sound? Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 01:54, 8 September 2007 (UTC)


526 cycles were found. The list of cycles is presented at the page User:AKA MBG/Cycles. Welcome to resolve it. --AKA MBG 18:58, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Compound categories?

So far, my understanding of categories at WP has been that if you create one and then add corresponding tags to a bunch of articles, then the titles of those articles will show up as links in the new category. The system searches its index and lists all of the articles that include that one tag. However, wouldn't it be nice if it were possible to create categories that corresponded to multiple tags? I can imagine that the Wikipedia system might have to be modified somewhat to make this possible, but think of the possibilities! If a group of articles were provided with a range of descriptive tags, creating really specific categories would then be a snap. One old problem that would be easy to solve with this would be organisms by geographical location; category tags like "Venomous Snakes of Rwanda" would no longer be necessary, as long as all the relevant articles contained tags like "Venomous", "Snake" and "Rwanda" tags (among others). Wonderful!
On the other hand, this idea suddenly strikes me as really obvious; surely someone has thought of it before! So, I wouldn't be surprised if it's simply not possible. Still, it's worth a try. Any idea? --Jwinius 17:56, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like the Wikipedia:Category intersection proposal. --Itub 09:57, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. That page is now over a year old; being a proponent of this solution, I don't know if that's good or bad. --Jwinius 11:13, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
There appears to be broad support for implementing category intersection. The reason it hasn't happened yet appears to be mostly technical -- it would slow the servers down too much. However, every now and then there is discussion about possible ways to deal with the speed problem. I think the technical problems will eventually be solved, but I wouldn't venture to guess when. Also, take a look at the link intersection proposal. -- SamuelWantman 10:08, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Controversial categories

Under general guidelines, it says “#8 Unless it is self-evident and uncontroversial that something belongs in a category, it should not be put into a category.”

I propose re-wording this sentence to something like “Categories that are not self-evident or are shown through reliable sources to be controversial, should not be included on the article.”

My main concern is the term “uncontroversial” is too vague (defined as “discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views”[8]). Some users are trying to remove categories like Category:Homophobia and Category:Censorship from certain articles because they think the categories negatively portrays the article and they cite this guideline as their rationale for removing the categories.

As a result of this guideline’s wording, these editors seem to believe if there is any controversy, such as controversy amongst Wikipedia editors, then the disputed category should be removed; these users have not proven controversy through any reliable sources. This troubles me because if editors feel they have the right to remove any category because of controversy surrounding Wikipedia editors, then a large array of categories may be removed via users citing this guideline.

Please offer your inputs, comments, or suggestions, on if this sentence should be re-worded. Thanks. —Christopher Mann McKaytalk 01:42, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

I see your point, but I'm not sure how this should be reworded. The issue isn't so much about whether the category is good or bad, but how articles are being categorized. Using "Homophobia" as an example, if an article discusses the topic of homophobia it would make sense to put it in a category called homophobia. If people are labeled as being "homophobic" by their critics, I don't think they should be in the category. If people are notable because of their views on homophobia, such as; by coining the phrase, advocating its use, or campaigning for it not to be used, that would seem like a reason for putting them in the category. This is very similar to the discussions about Racism/Racist, Anti-Semitism/Anti-Semite, etc... The distinction is whether the topic is discussed as opposed to making a value judgment about an individuals beliefs. If the category is named and defined so that it encourages POV labeling of people it is a bad category. -- SamuelWantman 06:40, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Hello all. Here is an interesting point about controversial categorization. Just a recap: There has been a long category dispute at the AFA article. One of the participants (I am another btw) of that dispute made an edit to the guidelines on controversial categories [9].

Firstly, despite Christopher Mann McKay’s statement above, editors on the AFA article were not trying to force removal of a category with reference to editor controversy, only controversy with sourcing [10] and that situation continues [11].

The prior line only required that it is “self-evident and uncontroversial”:

  • Unless it is self-evident and uncontroversial that something belongs in a category, it should not be put into a category. A list might be a better option.

The new line in question makes a very suspect change in emphasis in requirements. Don’t be distracted by the reliable sources RS recommendation. We all like the idea of good sourcing. I’m focusing on the core first part of the sentence.

  • Categories that are not self-evident, or are shown through reliable sources to be controversial, should not be included on the article; A list might be a better option.

Is there such a thing as a self-evident category? Are we able to provide one? The category is here so its here? Well that seems to be how they are handling it right now on the AFA article. The self-evident category of homophobia: its self evident that someone calls someone else a homophobe or anti-gay.

I believe that to be the wrong emphasis according to consensus use.

According to Sam above, it’s the belonging that needs to be emphasized and not the category. Something must be self-evidently ‘’belonging’’ to a category. That means article about Prof with a PhD in homophobia gets put in the homophobia category if his article contributes to the reader’s understanding of the concept of homophobia.

In short, in Sam’s statement above, the emphasis is on self evident in terms of the core reasons for categorization (helping the reader etc). However, in Christopher Mann McKay’s edit the belonging is removed completely, and now it seems more about self evident in terms of “if someone makes the accusation, then it can be added”. Removing “belongs” baffles and confuses the meaning of the sentence.

So here is an alternative that I believe solves the problem of the suspect edit:

  • Unless it is self-evident that something belongs in a category, or if it is shown through reliable sources to be controversial, it should not be put into a category. A list might be a better option.

I’ll not place it there myself as I am involved in the current category dispute in question. Feel free to add and/or comment/adjust. Regards Hal Cross 04:17, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Geographical sub-categorization standard?

I'm having a little back-and-forth about whether a particular Australian category should be a sub-category of the related "Asia" or "Oceania" category. I'd prefer to follow the U.N. standard (Australia as part of Oceania), but if Wikipedia has chosen a different standard, that's fine too. Anybody have a reference at which I can be pointed? Studerby 06:30, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

While I am not sure we have a standard per se, whenever we have regional organizational designations, Australia has always been listed under Oceania. Examples include Category:Wikipedia requested photographs in Australia being part of Category:Wikipedia requested photographs in Oceania, Category:Australia stubs being a member of Category:Oceania stubs, etc. --Kralizec! (talk) 14:31, 3 October 2007 (UTC)


Category:Creationism is labeled as both Category:Pseudoscience and Category:Denialism. While I can understand that some aspects of the modern creationist movement do play psuedoscientific games, and maybe the fuzzy concept of denialism applies to some of them, but I think it is unfair and derogative to broadly apply such labels to old spiritual traditions, especially when they don't claim to be scientific. I would appreciate it if someone would reorganize this so that only relavent terms (e.g. Intelligent Design) are placed in such categories rather than painting all of creationism with such views. 20:31, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Its not that they claim to be scientific or not. Its many factors including the explanations that scientists give to say that something is pseudoscientific. Creationism will most likely involve concepts that will help the reader understand the concept of pseudoscience. Also, Wikipedia has a policy that places science highly as an explanining force. So it should probably apply. Realbie 07:27, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
Err, on the last point, Wikipedia most emphatically does not have a "policy that places science highly". The fundamental Wikipedia policy is neutral point of view, which asserts the exact opposite: that we must neutrally describe all viewpoints. In any case, I tend to agree with 75.61.*.*: it's simply factually incorrect to call Native American creation myths "pseudoscience", for example. Pseudosciences are things like phrenology, and intelligent design is one as well, but many creation stories are simply cultural artifacts, often predating science, not "pseudoscience". --Delirium 01:00, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't this belong in the category talk page? Orpheus 04:30, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Controversial Categories

Hello again. I just realized that some editors don't browse via edit history etc and can miss discussion if it is higher in the talkpage. There is an addition to the controversial category section above: [12][13]. Regards Hal Cross 07:19, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Most likely users are ignoring your comments; no need to post another section. —Christopher Mann McKaytalk 06:56, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Proposal parenting on intersection categories

See CfD Sept 30#Category:Jewish football players, where there is proposal which I think has much wider implications. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:56, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Categorization and subcategories as it relates to Rivers Categories

There does not seem to be consistency in river categories and their tributary subcategories about whether articles listed in the tributary subcategories should also be listed in the parent categories. In some cases parent cats are listed, in others not.

An argument against is overpopulation of the main river categories. This would seem to support removing articles from parent categories wherever possible.

An argument in favor is that without listing articles in the parent river category, one would not know in which tributary subcategory to locate a river. How would one know to find stream x in subcategory y? Listing articles in the parent cat seems to solve this dilemma, making it easier to locate river x in state y.

An example is Category:Rivers of Pennsylvania.

It would be nice to reach a consensus so that we can move forward and establish consistency, at least in the rivers categories. Gjs238 22:24, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Disagree I think that the category cited above is a prime example of an overpopulated category that needs to have appropriate streams and creeks moved to the appropriate subcategory. --evrik (talk) 14:29, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Displaying all subcats on one page - resumed

Thanks to all for the discussion above. Carcharoth's suggestion is certainly very helpful, even if it doesn't directly address & resolve the issue of displaying the subcats on the page you're looking at. But why on earth is there no explanation of those clickable [+] symbols on every page that shows subcats??? What a terrible oversight. It's not just "newbies" that aren't aware of this. I'm an experienced editor (and I've worked extensively with categories), and somehow, I didn't have a clue. Moreover, I re-posted the first part of this discussion on two pages at the Village Pump, and nobody there suggested doing that either. Clearly it needs to be spelled out on every single category page. Hey, at least it doesn't require a technical fix! So what's the best way to get that taken care of?

By the way, this whole issue apparently bothers a heck of a lot of people, judging by this response I got at the Village Pump"

See bugzilla:1211; it's a known problem and has been for a while. When I checked bugzilla a few weeks ago for a Signpost article, I found that this was the most requested bugfix ever, in terms of the number of people who had 'voted' for it on Bugzilla. There is, as explained above, a known workaround, but it's not an ideal situation. (Apparently, it's not trivial to implement in a way that doesn't cause excessive server load.) --ais523 14:44, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

What I'm wondering right now is, if we add an explanation to the category pages about the clickable [+] symbols, can we also explain very simply & clearly that in order to view all of the subcats, one needs to go up a level and expand the chosen category -- can this be done in such a way as not to confuse things even further? I'm not entirely confident that the average user will necessarily understand exactly what's being explained. Anybody care to take a stab at this? Cgingold 12:16, 10 September 2007 (UTC)


Well, what do you know. It turns out there IS a simple way to get all of those subcategories displayed -- any time, any place. All you have to do is add <categorytree>Category:Name of category</categorytree> to any page, and voila! (I came across this at Category:Psychology, if you want to see what it looks like.)

Still not a perfect solution, seeing as it duplicates whatever part of the normal subcategory display is shown on the main category page. But it's better than trying to explain how to go up to one of the parent categories in order to use the clickable [+] symbol to expand the subcats. Cgingold 06:10, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

That's a great find. Please document this on as many relevant pages as you can. Carcharoth 12:17, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Help on how to cat articles on musicals

Over at WikiProject Musical Theatre, we've been having LENGTHY discussions as to how to handle categorization of articles on musicals. Mainly, it's how to categorize them by nationality: in some cases, it's obvious that a musical is American (American creators, first major production on Broadway), but in others -- and in a world where creators are increasingly less bound by spatial considerations it's becoming much more frequent -- creators of different nationalities produce a musical, leaving it more difficult to categorize. If you look at our talk page, you can see the conversations we've had. If anyone with a little more expertise can help us out, it would be GREATLY appreciated. —  MusicMaker5376 15:09, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Large categories and subcategories

There is an issue illustrated at Category:People from North Holland. There are about 260 pages and five subcategories. But only four of the subcategories are visible when initially loading the page and so it says There are 4 subcategories in this category, which are shown below. More may be shown on subsequent pages. This is not really satisfactory, so one option is to label all subcategories as "*" as in [14]. But that is not satisfactory either. --Rumping 15:12, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

See Wikipedia_talk:Categorization#categorytrees above. Carcharoth 12:17, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
So it seems. Thanks. Indeed, this trick was already described in the project page, but not very obviously --Rumping 18:47, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Category:Nobel Prize nominees

Although Nobel Prize nominations are kept secret for 50 years, I think it would be a useful category. Please let me know your opinion! — Tirkfltalk 08:36, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

I have doubts. First, it would have to be restricted to the official lists and so far there are only two. Second, it would add categories to those already over categorised (Stalin seems to have been nominated twice for the Peace Prize). Third, it would not particularly aid navigation.--Rumping 10:58, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
ad 1) The category could be named "Unofficial Nobel Prize nominees". Or there could be a category for the officials and the unofficials. I made a quick search and found 14 persons (unofficials included). If the nominees are made public after 50 years there are already a lot of people, who could be put in this category. ad 2) There are always "over-categorised" people, but the ones I found are definitely not. Finally, I disagree with your 3rd point: everybody can easily find the winners, but if you are searching for the nominees you have to click through several search results. — Tirkfltalk 14:57, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
'Unofficial Nobel Prize nominees is totally vague. Why not put this in a list where the source for inclusion can be included? Vegaswikian 17:59, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

State/Provincial Representative Districts?

We have categories for U.S. Congressional Districts, and I'm sure(or at least hope) that there are similar ones for Parlimentary Districts in places like Canada, but where are there categories for State repersentative districts, like for Pennsylvania's 93rd Representative District? ----DanTD 02:56, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Category:Pennsylvania General Assembly seems to be being used at present. --Rumping 11:30, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Good to know. Thanks, Rumping. ----DanTD 15:08, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Look of a category page

I know that we discussed this some where, but I can't find it. Basically consensus was to keep the introductions short. I'd like to add something to the Wikipedia:Categorization FAQ#What goes on a category page? or in Wikipedia:Categorization that points this out. Besides some rather longish text entries, I'm seeing navigation templates which in some cases are being included in every child of some parent categories. But as a general rule, I think navigation templates should not be inclued execept when they specifically provide for navigation within the category structure.

I'm thinking something in Wikipedia:Categorization FAQ#What goes on a category page? like:

Introductions should be short and only navigation templates that facilitate moving between categories or category pages can be included.

Vegaswikian 21:36, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Is there a way to list all the subcategory articles in the parent category?

I apologize if this is mentioned somewhere, but I have read this article and done some searches and can't find the answer. I have the need to not only list the subcategories of a parent category, but also do crawl down to each subcategory and generate a list of all the articles there (assuming no loops). Is there such a control/program?

Special:CategoryTree -- John Broughton (♫♫) 18:19, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Request for more opinions

I got involved trying to moderate the discussion at Talk:American Family Association, but as I am out of town, have limited computer access, and little time, I haven't been able to keep up with it. There are some sections above that relate to this, and it is pretty obvious reading the talk page what the issues are. It relates to categorizing the American Family Association article in Category:Homophobia. The two sides involved in the debate seem to be talking past each other. I'm concerned about how this debate relates to the categorization guidelines, and if they need clarification to handle controversies like this one. We've removed many categories at CFD that categorized people and organizations as being racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, etc... However the remaining categories dealing with the larger topics have become a defacto way to categorize people by their beliefs. Personally, I don't think this is a good thing. Without the efforts of many, this will continue and spread. So I'd like to get this cleared up before things get worse. I think people and organizations who are clearly associated with a certain belief could become a perfectly fine annotated and cited list, but should not become a category. I think this is already the consensus of opinion, but without the efforts of those of us who care about categorization, the consensus may get away from us. If I'm misreading the situation, please let me know. -- SamuelWantman 04:55, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Category Search

Hi, I've had an idea to improve category navigation, but I don't have the programming skills to handle it. The idea is to create a search facility to find things by multiple categories. As an example, this could be used to find articles about all 21 year old Argentine football strikers who have Wikipedia articles, by finding the common occupants of Category:Argentine footballers, Category:1981 births and Category:Football (soccer) strikers. If this facility already exists please let me know, if it doesn't could some computer genius please design it and let me know. regards, King of the NorthEast 02:14, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Yes, category intersections are a long-desired and oft-requested feature of the mediawiki software. --lquilter 02:30, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:category intersection and Wikipedia talk:Category intersection. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:25, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Plus, such a tool, called CatScan, already exists, as described at m:User:Duesentrieb/CatScan, for two categories. I suspect it could be modified to be recursive - that is, to do an initial compare of two categories that generates a temporary list, to then be compared to a third category, but you'd have to talk to the author about that. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:15, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Thankyou all for your advice. catscan is exactly what I was looking for. It would be good if it allowed more parameters, but I mustn't grumble when I've just been shown such a useful tool. Regards King of the NorthEast 17:03, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Defining attribute

Nearly three weeks ago, I posted to WT:CFD#Defining_attribute a proposal that we try to spell out what WP:CAT by the term "defining attribute". There was not quite a deafening silence, but only one reply.

The notion of a "defining attribute" is becoming a crucial one in many CfD debates, and I think that it would be very useful for WP:CAT to clarify how this term is to be understood ... not as instruction creep, but as an explanation of an existing instruction.

The proposal attracted little comment there, so I am moving the discussion here, which is probably where it should have been in the first place. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:16, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Discussion at the lengthy CfD on Erdős numbers turned to the question of what we mean by the frequently-used CfD term of "defining attribute". It is used in the nutshell box at the top of WP:CAT, but nowhere else in the page.

I was asked for a definition of the term, and offered the following which I think goes some way to crudely encapsulating what I understand to the be consensus on its usage over the last year at CfD:

For biographical articles, the consensus appears to me to be that it is one or more the following:
  1. a thing for which they are notable per WP:NOTE and/or WP:BIO, and hence the reason for which there is a wikipedia article on that person (e.g. being a notable mathematician); or,
  2. a fundamental detail of biographical data which assists in identifying the person through the usual records (e.g. nationality, year of birth and death); or,
  3. (more controversially) a significant quality of that individual which may be unrelated to either of the the above but which sets a person apart from the majority of her or his peers and which groups people with a similar quality, which is why for example we sometimes categorise LGBT people, through the principles set out at WP:CATGRS.

I wanted to ask what other CfD regulars thought of this as a summary of how CfD generally approaches ... and whether it might be a good idea to take it over to WT:CAT. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:18, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

I have seen it defined somewhere as something which it would clearly be wrong to omit from a shortish article on the subject - say a bit over stub length. 1) above is only a partial definition, 2) yes, but unhelpful 3) is certainly included, but hard to define, as we know. Johnbod 03:47, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
I rather like your more practical formulation, though I think that I would prefer "short but well-balanced article", because many short articles are rather overwhelmed by one or two small and rather trivial items. I'm not entirely sure that I'd want to drop the reference to WP:NOTE, but there is a case for doing so, because too few editors seem to understand the general principle in WP:NOTE (most focus on the exceptions). --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:58, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I like having the reference to WP:NOTE even if editors don't always get it. I think it does, indeed, capture one of the things we mean when we say "defining" -- that this is what they are notable for. More generally, BHG's enumerated list formulation offers the benefit of precision, but I'm not sure if there is, yet, consensus that there are 3 categories, or that these are the three. So I think I lean, at this point, toward a prose-ier definition like Johnbod's. --Lquilter (talk) 17:07, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
While I sometimes have mixed feelings on the topic, I do not disagree with what Johnbod said here. --Kralizec! (talk) 17:28, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Considering this with the example of Erdos Number categories:
a thing for which they are notable per WP:NOTE and/or WP:BIO, and hence the reason for which there is a wikipedia article on that person... Erdos Numnbers provide merely a degree of notability, i.e. a "Two" is more notable than a "Six", as "graduated from Harvard" is more notable than "graduated from Diploma Mill of the Americas". You requre that the category must be "the reason for which there is a wikipedia ariticle..."? That would eliminate the Erdos categories but, maybe, all categories? The only category that could be the sole reason for notability is "Category of persons who are notable solely for membership in this Category", which might be me if I invented the category. I'm sure that is not meant.
a fundamental detail of biographical data which assists in identifying the person through the usual records (e.g. nationality, year of birth and death)... Library research is a small part of mathematical research (unlike, say, History) but it's normal that to find material that might help a particular project, we look at papers by an expert on a topic, papers that author cites, papers that cite that author, and then expand the search by that author's coauthors. For example, among Carlitz's many papers on many topics, there might be a few on lattices; and among those he may have coauthored with Rota on several. So I might look to Rota's papers for more about lattices. In mathematics this can be expedited by MathSciNet. On account of Erdos's historic number of coauthorships, he serves as a natural reference point for the process.
  • I don't see how those two points omit the Erdos categories. Pete St.John (talk) 19:59, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

As far as I'm aware (I may have overlooked something), the term "defining" in connection with the Category guidelines occurs in just two spots:
  • In the This page in a nutshell of Wikipedia:Categorization: "Categories are for defining characteristics, and should be specific, neutral, inclusive and follow certain conventions."
  • In a section title of Wikipedia:Overcategorization: "Non-defining or trivial characteristic".
The second one is the one that is relevant for deletion of categories; "overcategorization" is mentioned as one of the reasons for deletion in Wikipedia:Deletion policy. Given the text and the examples of that section, I interpret "non-defining" as another way of saying "trivial", as contrasted with "notable". The examples given there support that interpretation: all are clearly about trivialities.
The term "defining characteristic" is less felicitous, in view of the fact that usually it is something applied not to individual items, but to a category (in the general sense, not necessarily specifically the Wikipedia sense), as in "the defining characteristic of a marsupial is its pouch". In this sense, also Wikipedia categories need a defining characteristic: something that allows one to decide whether an article belongs in some category or not. In informal speech the term is also applied to individuals, but then it is usually something that we definitely would not want to use for Wikipedia categorization: "Sanders was able to dazzle onlookers at an ESPN slam dunk contest by jamming comfortably from a flat footed position demonstrating his other defining characteristic: explosiveness."
Clarity would be served by avoiding the term "defining characteristic", replacing it by "notable attribute" as opposed to "trivial attribute".  --Lambiam 12:40, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Unlike Lambian, I see a distinction between non-defining and trivial, which suggests both terms need clarification; or perhaps as Lambian says, replacement with some other term. Something could be non-trivial but not define someone; contrarily, something could be defining to someone or of someone but on some level be quite trivial. For instance some attribute about hair -- Susan Sontag's long black hair with a white streak is trivial but defined her, made her recognizable, and is often described as a trademark. (This example may not wholly work -- Visual recognition or physical description is not quite the same as "defining".) But we're not going to do categorization on long-hair-with-white-streaks because it is trivial, no matter who defines themselves or is defined by a particular attribute. On the other hand, sometimes nationality or place of birth are wholly undefining of someone, but they are rarely considered trivial pieces of information; rather, standard biographical details which should be revealed or whose unimportance merits explanation. ("John was a world traveler and never identified with his home of legal citizenship.") --Lquilter (talk) 13:48, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Of course I am and was aware that in general, and also in most contexts, non-defining and trivial have different meanings. What is not clear to me that the author of the section title in Wikipedia:Overcategorization meant to make a distinction. If they meant to do so, it is rather remarkable that "defining" is not referred to in any way in the body of the section, which only contrasts "notable" with "trivial".  --Lambiam 09:40, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
In the phrase "Categories are for defining characteristics..." quoted above, are we to read "categories are to provide definitions for characteristics" or "categories are to provide characteristics which are defining"? In Set Theory, a set can be considered as defined by it's members, and then "Category Erdos Number 2" would be a definition of a set, ergo defining. But also categories provide characteristics which are (generally) pertinent to, and/or descriptive of, the subject. So both senses have some relevance. Pete St.John (talk) 17:39, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Well, to quote a dictionary, 'characterize', 'distinguish', and to 'determine or identify the essential qualities or meaning of whatever defines us as human'. So maybe some thing like; For individuals a defining characteristic would be something that distinguishes them from most other people and is an essential quality that makes the individual unique or makes them stand out when compared to others in a notable way. The significance of the characteristic should be evident from the article text. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:37, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
    Are we talking about people categories only, or about categories in general? As to people, applying the above to the Category:People from Ohio, it seems hard to maintain that being from Ohio makes the individual unique or makes them stand out when compared to others.  --Lambiam 09:27, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
    I agree that the "people from foo" categories are in many (and probably most) cases no more than a borderline example of a "defining attribute", if we treat "defining attribute" as being things for which people are notable. However, as above, like dates of birth and death, these do fit the second definition I offered, of a "fundamental detail of biographical data which assists in identifying the person". Some people are notable overwhelmingly for their identification with a place: e.g. Ken Livingstone with London, Huey Long with Louisiana, James Horan with Knock, Samuel Pepys with London, etc. For others, it's marginal (or even irrelevant) to notability, but crucial point of identification: Gordon Brown from Kirkcaldy, Nye Bevan and Neil Kinnock with Tredegar. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:22, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    While it may be a defining characteristic to be from some place, I don't think that parent categories have the same need to show defining characteristic. The parents exist for the purpose of collecting smaller categories that are defining characteristics. I did not intend to limit my comment to people only categories. Vegaswikian (talk) 19:17, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

A circularity

Feel free to move this topic if there is a better page for it.

Category:Businesspeople in real estate and Category:Real estate and property developers each include the other. This suggests that this hasn't been thought through, but I'm not sure how it should be instead. - Jmabel | Talk 05:23, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Football (soccer) disestablishment cat

Hi, in every year the category for football (soccer) clubs disestablished appears in both the general disestablishment category and the sports clubs disestablishment category (example:Category:Football (soccer) clubs disestablished in 2000). And I believe it's the same on the establishment side of things. Before I start monkeying around, is there a point to this kind of duplication? It would seem to be simpler if the football (soccer) disestablishments were not duplicated in the general 2007 disestablishement cat, but in sports team disestablished only. Thanks, Shawn in Montreal 19:35, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, you're absolutely right -- it should just be in the Sports disestablishments! That will maximize findability. Let me know if you have issues with this; I'm working on the establishments & disestablishments categories these days. --Lquilter 20:53, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
That's great. I'm guessing (and hoping) there's some automated way to do this, rather than manually changing it for each year? Shawn in Montreal 21:53, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Err, I wish I knew! I keep meaning to check out the various bots because I do a lot of category editing that gets very repetitive and boring. I'll be watching this section eagerly to see if someone walks us hand-in-hand through the best bots for category editing. --Lquilter 22:05, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Cyclical userbox categories!!

There are a lot of categories under Category:Wikipedians by interest which include themselves as subcats, e.g. Category:Wikipedians interested in photography or Category:Wikipedian snorkelers!

The problem here is that these categories reference the userboxes associated with them, and these userboxes contain something like:

 <includeonly>[[Category:Wikipedian snorkelers]]</includeonly>

So, by referencing their userboxes, these Categories form cycles. It's kind of a mess, as you'll see if you browse Wikipedians by interest! What to do??

ǝɹʎℲxoɯ (contrib) 22:25, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Just incidentally, when I made my recursive user box, described here I was worried I'd break something, but seems to only limit the recursion. Pete St.John (talk) 22:33, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Articles vs. subcats

So let's say you've got a category like compilation album series. And it's got a subcategory, RCA Country Legends which is comprised of all the individual albums in that series. Simple enough. But there's an article called RCA Country Legends. You don't also put that article in the compilation album series, do you? But if you had an article about an album series, and it didn't have individual article that could be categorized, you would put that article in the category. Right? -Freekee (talk) 06:41, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

See the "topic article rule": WP:SUBCAT#Topic_article_rule. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:06, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Okay, so the answer to both questions is yes, you do put both the article and its subcat in the category (if appropriate). Categorization seems to logical, but I often end up confused. Thanks! -Freekee (talk) 23:53, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Non-Latin characters causing problems?

Okay, what's going on with these two categories? Category:µ-Ziq albums Category:µ-ziq albums Albums are split between the two cats, but I'm curious about how the categories are displayed on their pages. One of them shows "μ-ziq albums" at the top of the page, and "M-ziq albums" down in the "Pages in" section. Why is that? I want to change the albums so they're all in the same category, but I want them to display correctly. It appears that the only way for it to show the Greek letter is to use a lower case "Z," which appears to be incorrect. And even the lower case "z" shows wrong in some places on the cat page. Any help? -Freekee (talk) 06:36, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

All pages must technically begin with an uppercase letter, which is why capital mu appears. The discrepancy is because one category was using {{lowercase}} while the other didn't. What {{lowercase}} does is cause the title to appear lowercase. I'm not sure whether this can be fixed with the pages inside the categories. –Pomte 07:56, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I have referred to this question at the village pump. –Pomte 08:20, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for doing that. The answer given (as of now) is to use and   or ​ (zero-width space) at the beginning of the category. What does everyone think about that? It sounds like it has been done before. -Freekee (talk) 00:42, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

User namespace

I added the following clarification to the user namespace section:

  • "User categories must facilitate collaboration regardless of any sociality they may facilitate. User categories are defined by users."

Hyacinth (talk) 22:47, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

After discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Categorizing in a deleted category I propose that the guideline at Wikipedia:Categorization#User namespace read that users may add themselves to deleted categories given the lack of harm caused and userpage privileges. Hyacinth (talk) 22:51, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Why? If the category should exist, then it should be there. Adding anything to a red category is something that should be avoided. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:13, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Why? Why should we disregard the privileges we normally give editors in regards to their user pages? What is the harm caused by "red categories"? Hyacinth (talk) 14:12, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Replacing the use of cross-hierarchy categories

I see interminable lists of categories under deletion on the grounds that they are narrow and not very useful, largely because they amount to "people who are in category X and are also in category Y". An example might be Mexicans of Cherokee descent, a cross-product of the category citizenship and the category ethnicity. Another might be Islamic nations in the British Commonwealth.

Why not do away with these altogether and provide a facility for people interested in generating such cross-hierarchy lists for whatever use they have mind? Let them choose two or more categories, each from within a single hierarchy, and request a list of all articles in the intersection of those categories? Then create a way for registered users to save cross-category searches like this for reuse. Perhaps, for fun, even create a general page of "Most recent 100 cross-categorizations that Wikipedia users have created."

Largo Plazo (talk) 18:18, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Removal: User categories

  • "User categories must facilitate collaboration regardless of any sociality they may facilitate. User categories are defined and populated by users. The possibility of the categories to be used for collaboration will be judged as indicated by the title of the category such that "Category:Tall Wikipedians" would be judged inappropriate while "Category:Wikipedians interested in height" would be acceptable."

Why was the above text removed? Hyacinth (talk) 11:46, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Because the naming conventions are listed on a different page, and because there are some "current convention" discussions currently underway, as I believe you know. - jc37 12:02, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
What page are the naming conventions listed on? Hyacinth (talk) 12:33, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Looks like Wikipedia:Naming conventions (categories)#Special conventions for some Wikipedia-related categories. --Kralizec! (talk) 21:26, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Topic articles

There is a little bit of a dispute about how articles (like Jerusalem, Bill Clinton, etc.) that have categories of the same name (Category:Jerusalem, Category:Bill Clinton) are supposed to be treated. IZAK (talk · contribs) believes that there can only be one category on the aforementioned articles (the categories I mentioned above, the ones which share the article's name; [15], [16]). I, however, feel that in light of Wikipedia:Categorization and subcategories#Topic article rule, that is not the case and topic articles can, and often should, have additional categories. This disagreement led to a lengthy discussion here and later here. Does anyone have any opinions or interpretations that could break this deadlock? -- tariqabjotu 15:05, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

To me, parent categories of categories are supposed to apply to all articles within that category. So something like Category:1946 births does not belong on Category:Bill Clinton, because it applies only to one article within that category, not all of them. Category:1946 births just belongs on the Bill Clinton article. Wasted Time R (talk) 16:15, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Question on venue categories

Are all of them notable? See Category:Sports venues, and Category:World Wrestling Entertainment venues for examples. In my view, ones like the WWE probably should go. They tour all over the place. What's the point of listing all venues they took place at, when many were for small shows that didn't have much importance? The logic of "let's jam anything into the category, notable or not" seems poor to me. RobJ1981 (talk) 12:24, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


Is there a way to perform a search for articles that fall within specified categories? Specifically when I am at a wikiproject page there is usually a table that shows the number of articles that are assessed and their importance. I would like to be able to get a list of articles that are both unassessed and High-importance, as it seems to me that High-importance articles are a priority for assessment. But you can normally only get a list of one or the other, which is like finding a needle in the haystack. Ham Pastrami (talk) 11:45, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Gave you tried a google search for both terms in one query? Vegaswikian (talk) 16:52, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: Wikipedia talk:User categories

Populating primary categories

Please see Wikipedia:VPP#Some thoughts on categories and User talk:Betacommand/20081201#Over-categorization. More opinions are needed. Carcharoth (talk) 18:16, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

So it appears that we have a bot adding top level categories to many articles? Vegaswikian (talk) 19:58, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Not yet. I think (ask Betacommand to get a definite answer) that Betacommand uses manual editing and scripts on his own account to do fairly fast editing, but that is not using a bot. If you look back through his recent contribs (as of the time of writing) you will see that he came off a run of adding ref tags and sections, and started populating the Scotland category with Scottish islands (ie. an attempt to fully populate the primary category "Scotland"). A perennial suggestion with regards to categorisation, but not something that has ever really happened (I think the German Wikipedia actually use this system). Betacommand bot did around 50 of these, but then someone ask him to stop and he did. Seems to be being discussed at the moment. Carcharoth (talk) 00:56, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind separate all-inclusive categories, but it is rather annoying to have a category about a topic and have 200 minor articles in the top category. Thats usually why some cats like Law say that new articles should be sub-cated. MBisanz talk 05:12, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Anyone who knows anything about categories knows this proposal represents a complete overturning of all our existing categorization structure. Anyone who knows anything about betacommandbot knows that the consequences of him taking an interest in categorization could easily wreak havok. He admits the main reason is to make things easier for bots. We must act quickly and firmly by establishing a concensus here that this particular initiative by Wikipedia's most controversial editor ([17], [18] and the latest etc) is not a good idea. I would like to go further, and establish a precedent that - say - all bots attempting to do something new with categories, should seek approval, or at least explain their proposed edits, here. It is altogether typical of Beta that he suggested his proposal in a four-line comment (first link at top) on completely the wrong page, and that he took as a go ahead the absence of comment as frankly negative as I am being (second link). You can't mince your words with this guy or he will claim you are agreeing with him. Johnbod (talk) 11:07, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree. The reason I haven't come down so hard against Betacommand is that it will help to have some bot operators help out with the sort of thing that Sam is suggesting below. If we can all work together, this might actually get somewhere this time. Carcharoth (talk) 12:14, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree that for the time being betacommandbot should back off and work to establish consensus. However, I do think there is merit to having this discussed. On the surface it may seem mad, but moderated, I think it has merit. This is an issue I have been concerned about for several years and have discussed often. I'm willing to make yet another stab at it. I've been hoping that category intersection would come along and put an end to this debate, but I'm not sure when and if it will happen. To that end, I am making the following proposal... -- SamuelWantman 11:38, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

  • As the proposal is long & we have not done with this section, I have given it its own section. Johnbod (talk) 12:11, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
  • There must be thousands of articles about Scotland. Betacommand's addition of Category:Scotland to many small Scottish islands and places can be seen at [19]. I oppose such categorization. Many categories would quickly become too large to be practical for manual browsing. And I think that is the most important function of categories for our readers who should come first in considerations. PrimeHunter (talk) 14:44, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
I also believe there is a function in AWB that can be used to cross-tab various cats and drill down (recursive) search, although I havent played with it enough to be sure. MBisanz talk 23:26, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
To be clear, I am NOT proposing that every article that is currently subcategorized under a category be duplicated at the top level. Most category taxonomies would continue as they are. What would change would be the "plural categories". Using the Scotland example, perhaps "Places in Scotland" would be a fully populated category, as would Category:Scottish people. The guiding principal of what I'm proposing is that someone who knows little about a topic should be able to find what they are looking for if they only have a vague idea of what it is. For example, perhaps someone hears something about a place in Scotland called "Lock Tess" or something like it, but they don't quite remember what it was and have no idea what a loch is. By browsing through a category that has every article about a geographical place in Scotland, they should be able to find it. -- SamuelWantman 04:24, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

British novel? English novel? Neither?

This may have been discussed somewhere before, but after scanning dozens of long pages such as Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels/Novel categorization, Wikipedia:Categorization and subcategories, this one here, and all their corresponding talk pages, and now being none the wiser, my rather simple question (not rhetorical) is this:

What is the point of having a Category:British novels and a Category:English novels if both are removed from an article on a British / English novel (A Heritage and Its History)?

For my previous confusion on this subject, see this discussion on my talk page and the arguments propounded at this deletion request, both of which I found only partly enlightening.

I have already posted the same question at Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels/Novel categorization but so far haven't received an answer. Who can help? Thanks in advance, <KF> 12:05, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

WP:SUBCAT might be worth a read. Especially the Secondary Categorization rule. - X201 (talk) 12:20, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Appropriateness of "Songs featured in (music video game) series"

In this specific case, we are considering making a category for songs that have been featured in the Guitar Hero (series) of video games, but the general arguments would apply to any music video game. Generally, these games already have lists of songs that are included, so it's not like the information can't be found, but reading through here and Overcategorization, there's nothing that seems to explicitly state this would be a good or a bad category. Would this be a reasonable category to create and populate? --MASEM 16:45, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

These categories are a very bad idea and have been deleted in the past. They are somewhat like the "artist by performance" examples of overcategoriztion. If songs are categorized by the games they appear in, it would also make sense to categorize them by the TV shows, commercials, movies, political campaigns, etc... in which they can be heard. This is why we have lists (though I suspect that the lists would end up on AFD as well). -- SamuelWantman 00:33, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
I've nominated Category:Songs used in the Guitar Hero video games for deletion. -- SamuelWantman 00:36, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, we've argued the viability of the lists before (since these are "playable" songs, it is more important than just a soundtrack to a game). However, if the categories have been tried and deleted before, then it makes sense not to try it again. (And the "Artist by Performance" was the only case that seemed close to what we were looking at.)--MASEM 01:09, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Speaking as someone who deletes a lot of trivia from band and album articles, I think this is trivia institutionalized in categories. X song was heard in Y movie is very trivial trivia. I don't let any of that stuff stay unless the song featured had something to do with the plot of said movie or TV show, or was the theme song. I would delete the sentence, "this song was featured in Guitar Hero" in a heartbeat. A category listing is exactly the same thing. Or maybe less worthwhile, since there's no opportunity for commentary. -Freekee (talk) 02:27, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
My view is that there is no need to mention the game in the song articles (that is trivia), but the songs can be listed in the game articles (that is not trivia). No categories needed. Carcharoth (talk) 13:46, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

New proposal

lets do the Category:Index-<TOPIC> and use HIDDENCAT on the index categories. that should make everyone happy :) βcommand 00:33, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

  • I think this could be a good suggestion to try in a few limited areas. Maybe Category:Operas if the maintainers there are willing to participate. Since they are deeply involved, they may be able to correctly implement this quickly and provide some feedback that we may not get from other less managed categories. We would be able to use the bots to restore the old structure if the experiment is a failure by referencing the discussions as the approval to revert back.

Shorten hatnote?

The hatnote currently reads:

You may be looking for Wikipedia:WikiProject Cats, a wikiproject to organize articles related to felidae and all varieties of cats; Wikipedia:WikiProject Categories, a wikiproject to organize categorizing; or Help:Sorting, a page on sortable tables.

First of all, I don't think we should try to wikify it by using {{dablink}}, as most hatnotes do, as that gets rid of a fraction of a line space below the note and before the 'Editing guideline' template box, which I think makes the page easier to look at.

But I think we should shorten it to:

Multiple shortcuts redirect here. For other uses, see: WikiProject Cats, WikiProject Categories or Help:Sortable tables.

This fits in with the examples of hatnotes, which use a similar form - not directly addressing the reader; also I think the explanations we had before are really implied - of course Wikiproject Cats is about cats, and the average reader of this page won't need to be told about that :)

So yeah - that's what I think! Thanks, Drum guy (talk) 19:56, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Sensible suggestion. Changed. Thanks. Carcharoth (talk) 23:47, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Bridges (is it really necessary to include articles in subcats as well?)

Why is it necessary for bridge articles to be located in parent & child cats simultaneously? Why should a toll bridge in New York City have to contain all the following cats:

  • toll bridge in New York City
  • bridge in New York City
  • toll bridge in New York
  • bridge in New York

It seems that an article for a toll bridge in NYC should be located in one cat and that the cat hierarchy should look like this:

  • article (toll bridge X in NYC)
    • category: toll bridges in NYC
      • toll bridges in NY
        • bridges in NY
          • bridges in USA
        • toll bridges in USA
          • bridges in USA
      • bridges in NYC
        • bridges in NY
          • bridges in USA

On each end is one article and one category, with branch paths in between. Gjs238 (talk) 13:53, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

I personally agree with your thinking, though I know that there are others that do not and bots that have added the parent category to articles that were only in a subcategory. (I could not find the discussion but specificly it related to BetacommandBot and Islands in Ireland.) Dbiel (Talk) 17:57, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Maybe I can describe this another way... If one were looking at Category:Bridges in the United States searching for the proper place to locate an article about a toll bridge in NYC, three routes would become apparant - but all terminating at the same subcategory, Category:Toll Bridges in New York City:

1) Category:Bridges in the United States > Category:Bridges in New York > Category:Bridges in New York City > Category:Toll Bridges in New York City.
2) Category:Bridges in the United States > Category:Bridges in New York > Category:Toll Bridges in New York > Category:Toll Bridges in New York City.
3) Category:Bridges in the United States > Category:Toll Bridges in the United States > Category:Toll Bridges in New York > Category:Toll Bridges in New York City.

Gjs238 (talk) 17:53, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Normally I would agree with your reasoning, but this is one of those cases where I don't. Suppose you're looking at a category which lists bridges - you might not know that the bridge you're looking for is a toll bridge, so you'd have no reason (except elimination of possibilities) to click on a subcategory of toll bridges. It's a bit like the example on Oscar-winning actors (see Wikipedia:Categorization and subcategories#Incomplete sets of subcategories - where incidentally I see that this (toll)bridges question is also addressed directly). Being an Oscar-winner shouldn't exclude someone from a general film actors category; being a toll bridge shouldn't exclude an article from a general bridges category.--Kotniski (talk) 18:38, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
I tried making this argument with Mill Creek (Schuylkill River). If one were looking in Category:Rivers of Pennsylvania for this Mill Creek, how would one know to look in the subcategory Schuylkill River? Using your explanation above, it would be acceptable, and perhaps preferrable, to include the article in the parent cat Rivers of Pennsylvania as well. (?) Gjs238 (talk) 22:58, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Right, though if applying that policy led to the parent category becoming too big (like stretching over several 200-item pages), with no other sensible way to partition it, that might be an argument for keeping articles in the subcategories only. After all, there are other ways to search for Mill Creek than via categories.--Kotniski (talk) 08:08, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

There's are several very good reasons why these categories should be duplicated. Here are my reasons:

Many of us first consider categories as a way of classifying things, and the "put it in the lowest subcategory" approach makes perfect sense for a classification system. However, that isn't the primary function of categories. The primary function of categories is to help people browse through articles and find articles that are of similar things. Fracturing categories into many levels of finely defined subcategories without duplication makes it terribly difficult to browse at higher levels. For example, if I want to browse through the bridges in England, I have to look at all the subcategories of English counties. I know nothing about English counties, so the subcategories makes it more difficult for me to find things. Subcategorization often imposes distinctions that are irrelevant to the the people browsing through categories. This is true of many categories of people's occupations. Either the nationality or the occupation of the person might be irrelevant to the user, but they are required to browse through these subdivisions. At some point we are going to have the ability to undertake dynamic category intersection queries. The developers are committed to implementing category intersection as soon as they can overcome some technical hurdles (they have to redesign the database structure to make the process less server intensive). For category intersection to work, categories need to be populated at higher levels. I'm repeating points that I have made above in my proposal to repopulate categories. I'm hoping we can combine these discussions below, because I have some new information that is relevant... -- SamuelWantman 09:15, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Maintenance categories

Not sure if this is the right place to raise this, but I find it annoying to see "maintenance categories" (if that's what they're called; I mean things like "Articles with unsourced statements from November 2007") mixed in with the more useful categories. Look at the article on Wrocław, for example. 99% of users will have no interest in the maintenance categories, yet their presence makes it more difficult to find the categories which might actually be useful. Would there be any support for a change of policy on this? The maintenance categories seem unnecessary anyway: editors wishing to find a list of all articles with unsourced statements etc. could use What links here from the relevant template(s).--Kotniski (talk) 08:49, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I think these categories are more harmful than helpful, and am wondering if anyone can make a case for keeping them. I do recall some maintenance categories that were deleted and the argument to delete was the same as put forward by Kotniski, mainly that you can use a template and "What links here". All the templates and links to the "What links here" listings could be posted in a maintenance project, so it seems that nothing is lost. -- SamuelWantman 08:05, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
I also agree and I would sugest to separate meta categories as "Wikipedia cleanup", "All pages needing cleanup" etc. into its own metacategory namespace, for instance called Metacategories and list them separately on article pages. (hdrb) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:48, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
I would prefer to keep the maintenance categories; I see them as a tag at the top of articles (I use the classic skin) warning that they need cleanup. They're a bit less in-your-face than the {{cleanup}} templates, but still an incentive for me to try and keep the articles I work on tag-free.-gadfium 19:34, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
The templates aren't enough of an incentive? -- SamuelWantman 06:49, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
I think on article pages the end-user experience ought to take priority over what editors find useful. I'm not sure exactly how your skin looks (I see categories at the bottom of articles, which I assume is the default), but I suspect that if a user saw "Articles with unsourced statements" at the top of an article they might be misled into thinking that the whole article was unreliable (when all it probably means is that someone has queried one sentence somewhere with a {{fact}} tag). And if these categories are to be retained for the reason you mention, could we not reduce their number to just one or two? At the moment some articles have a whole bunch of maintenance categories (Articles with unsourced statements from month1, month2 etc.) which really overwhelm the other pertinent categories - the ones which the category feature is presumably intended for.--Kotniski (talk) 10:18, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the maintenance categories have reach nuisance level on many pages. Brainstorming some options. I think the ideal solution would be that maintenance categories still exist as they are now, but don't appear in the category list on article pages. I'm not sure this is technically possible, though. One problem with the "template/what links here" method is that maintenance tags from different months all link to the same template: we'd used the ability to keep track of the older tags, which are very useful to clean-up projects. I would only support getting rid of the categories if there was some work-around for this problem. --jwandersTalk 08:51, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree that there would be no problem if the maintenance categories were hidden on article pages. I don't know if the developers would be prepared to implement that. A work-around for the months problem would be to have different (sub)templates for each month. For example, we could write {{fact/January 2008}} instead of {{fact|date=January 2008}}. This would mean populating template space instead of category space - and it's these categories in particular which accumulate in large numbers at the foot of some articles, so it would be particularly beneficial to get rid of them.--Kotniski (talk) 13:50, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I strongly agree. Every maintenance template shouldn't add two long categories to every article. There must be an easier way to do it though. Reywas92Talk 22:35, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Hey, looks like we have a solution! See Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#HIDDENCAT. This means the categories can be retained, but won't show up on articles, which should keep everyone happy.--Kotniski (talk) 17:32, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

I support removing maintenance categories from the bottom of articles, particularly by way of using HIDDENCAT on the maintenance category pages. However, it would have been nice if someone had notified the individual maintenance projects about this discussion; it took me a few minutes to find it after someone had started placing HIDDENCAT on some – but strangely not all – of the wikification categories. Nevertheless, I wonder if HIDDENCAT can be added to the {{MonthlyCleanupCat}} template; if it works, it should filter down into all of the monthly maintenance categories. Cheers. Liveste (talkedits) 11:07, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Has there been a final decision to use HIDDENCAT on all maintenance cagegory pages? I know that the discussion has continued below under the heading of Hidden categories, but it seems to still be in the discussion stage. It would be nice to close this thread with a resolution if at least that part of the topic has been resolved. Dbiel (Talk) 04:28, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

As far as I can tell no-one seems to be objecting to maintenance categories' being hidden. There may not yet be such a clear consensus regarding stub categories, or categories like "Spoken articles". I'll leave notes on a few other pages to give others a chance to join the discussion and hopefully reach consensus soon.--Kotniski (talk) 08:28, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
There may have been no objections when Kotniski's comment was written, but there are now at least two: see below at #Update_WP:CAT. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:50, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

award-winner template

Working with awards and award-winners and CFDs -- and now TFDs! -- all this time it occurred to me that perhaps the best solution is a single compressed template. So, I drafted Template:Awardwinners; other editors' thoughts would be appreciated. Maybe it'll work, maybe not, but I thought I'd at least ping some other folks involved in award-winner discussions for their opinions and thoughts. --Lquilter (talk) 19:20, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Proposal by Sam

Note: see also previous section (proposal is not by me) Johnbod (talk) 12:11, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I've long been of the opinion that categories should be fully populated at the "topic article" level. If you have an article about bridges, the category about bridges should be organized to find all the useful articles related to the topic. Organizing categories this way means that we may have to rethink how things are organized and named. For example, there is a difference between the articles about bridges as a topic (the different types, their construction, etc...) and articles about specific bridges. We should not lump the topic articles with the specific instance articles. These are fundamentally different. We already organize the categories about topics fairly well. If you are organizing Category:Science it would not be useful to include every article in every subcategory. Every article in the category should be relevant to the broad topic of science, not just a specific detail about a specific science. On the other hand, a category called "Sciences", should contain every article which is about a branch of science.

The best way to make decisions about this is by thinking about what a user might want to find out when they go to a category, and how to organize it in an intelligent manner that makes it easy to find what they are looking for. For the most part, we have organized our categories to help users find things. The main problem is that we make it difficult for users when we divide articles into small subcategories without providing a larger category to browse. This is a problem because a user who knows very little about about a topic and the way it is subcategorized will not have any idea where to look. Also, in many cases the subcategorization may be irrelevant to the topic. Here are some examples: Bridges in England are subcategorized by county. As an American, I know nothing about the counties of Britain, so these subcategories make it more difficult for me to browse. I suspect that British users may have the same problem with US subcategories by state. Category:Film directors started out years back as a single category, but were later divided into subcategories by nationality. Nationality is often irrelevant in the film world. I tried correcting this by creating a hierarchy Category:Film directors by language. There have been many comments objecting to the category because of its size. Civil War battles are subcategorized by the campaigns of the Civil War. If you don't know anything about the campaigns, it makes browsing through the battles very cumbersome.

So the question is how should we deal with this. The German version of Wikipedia has long populated topic level categories. They have refrained from creating numerous small subdivision categories. I think this is a very good way to handle categories. I would propose that for every topic categories should try and use the following model of organization:

  1. The Topic level category these categories would contains articles about the topic and subtopics. A user can also navigate to the subcategories. Example:Bridge topics which is currently called Category:Bridges and has articles about the different types of bridges, Suspension Bridge, Arch Bridge, etc... Another example is Category:Film.
    1. Sub Topic level categories When topics have so many articles that they are difficult to navigate, or if there are subtopics that have their own set of articles, they can be divided into subcategories. Each subcategory would contains articles just about the subtopics. The Bridge example would not need these sub-categories. The Film category probably would.
    2. Member index category I call these "Index" categories, because they contain all the specific instances of the topic, and you can use the category as an alphabetical index of the members of the set defined by the topic. This category does not exist in the Bridge example. If it did, it would contain every article about a specific bridge (eg Brooklyn Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, etc... This might be called Category:Bridges, but it would not have the same contents as it presently does. Category:Films would have every article about a specific film.
      1. Member navigation category This is the place to find the subcategories of the member index category. This category is needed whenever the member index category grows to be bigger than can be contained in a single page (200 articles and subcategories). For the bridge example, it might be called Category:Bridges by type, and only contain subcategories like Category:Suspension bridges, Category:Arch bridges, etc... If there is more than one way to subcategorize, there might be an additional navigation level. For example, all films would be found in Category:Films and below that would be Category:Films by type, Category:Films by genre, Category:Films by year, etc... Each of these would have yet another set of subcategories.
        1. Member subcategory These categories would contain the specific instances for each subcategory.

For most topics this would be sufficient. If it is necessary to have smaller level(s) of organization it might be possible as long as that level of organization was not a category intersection. So for example, if films are organized in the subcategory level by genre, by nationality, by year of release, etc... there would not be any subcategories for American films from 1971. If the intersections are useful, a list can be created and added to both of the parent categories.

The main difference between what I am proposing and the way things are now is how we will treat the member index categories. I'm proposing that we separate them from the topic articles, and create fully populated index categories at the topic article level. For most articles this will add just one or two categories. At the same time, I'd replace many of the microscopic categories and intersection categories with lists. This would most likely result in a net decrease in the number of categories for each article.

The types of categories I've mentioned could become standardized. A while ago, I proposed a system of templates to help users understand how this system would work. For more about this see Wikipedia:Category types.

Adopting this scheme for categorization would make categories function better as indexes while preparing us for category intersection. -- SamuelWantman 11:38, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree totally with the above. Wikipedia:Category types was the most sensible thing in a long time, and we should have done more with that. Were there major objections last time round? If not, we should advertise it again and start rolling the system out. If it catches on, then the repopulation would be the next step, but I think the first and most crucial step is to get people thinking about how categories vary in their function, purpose and structure. There is no one size fits all. Carcharoth (talk) 12:17, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
I found the objections at Wikipedia talk:Category types - is there any way to address those (most objecting seemed to be dead set against it, unfortunately), before moving it from "historical" back to "proposed" and advertising it again? By the way, a good example of a very large 'Member Index Category' is Category:Living people. I've often pressed for the creation of a super-category for all biographical articles about a single person. A way to navigate such super-categories can be seen at User:Carcharoth/List of living people compact index. If they have been included in this category and properly pipe sorted (usually using DEFAULTSORT), then a link such as this should give you all articles on living people called Oates. Five of those are not listed at Oates. This may be because they are non-notable people (or not), but the point is that this is a common situation across Wikipedia - lists and categories are not synchronised. Fully populating index categories may be a big help here. Carcharoth (talk) 12:27, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm finding it difficult to imagine the effects of the proposal. I think it would be better if a trial was proposed, limited to one defined subject area - something not too large, popular/busy, already fairly well organised - perhaps a science or games? Is there much new code etc required for this - I guess not? Johnbod (talk) 12:35, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Category:Gaelic Athletic Association would match your criteria if you ask me Gnevin (talk) 13:27, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Not my turf, but it looks promising - thanks for the suggestion. Johnbod (talk) 14:55, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
As I recall, there are already a few categories that are organized as I propose above. When I get a chance I'll add some links here. -- SamuelWantman 00:41, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
I would just like to add an additional endorsement of Sam's proposal. His concept of types of categories, and how best to structure index-type categories, in order to be useful to people browsing the encyclopedia, won me over 2 years ago. I would be thrilled to see this more widely adopted, and to be able to populate index-type categories, up to the topic-article level, with member articles, and to have this practice be accepted by the general consensus of Wikipedia editors interested in categorization. --Lini (talk) 12:36, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Support. Looks like a well-thought-out scheme; categorization in Wikipedia certainly needs a lot of tidying up if it's going to be of any use at all.--Kotniski (talk) 08:49, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

The best example that I know of for a subject organized as I am proposing is Operas. This is the work of the Opera Wikiproject, which has strongly resisted pressure to depopulate Category:Operas. Take a look... -- SamuelWantman 06:55, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Maybe you could list the categories and state which templates would get stuck on which categories? I still fear that the current templates are a bit overwhelming. Can they be made smaller? Carcharoth (talk) 13:04, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
The current configuration of the opera categories would not change:
The TOPIC level category isCategory:Opera
Filenew.svg This is a "Topic category" about Opera.
All opera title articles would continue to be placed in:
Find.svg This is an "Index category" of Operas.

This category can be used to browse through all articles which are about individual opera titles.

Operas are further categorized by composer, by genre,by language and by year. There are navigation categories for organizing the sub-indexes they are:
Category:Operas by composer, Category:Operas by genre, Category:Operas by language, and Category:Operas by year
Forward-2.0.svg This is a "Navigation category" of operas by composer.

Each subcategory found here contains operas by a specific composer.

All the remaining categories are SUBINDEX Categories:
Operas categorized by language:
by genre (which should be plural and in the original language to avoid confusion):
and normally by composer, i.e.:
Find.svgFind.svg This is an "Index category" of Operas by Giacomo Puccini.
  • This index is a Sub-index of Category:Operas which is an index of all opera titles.
The templates can be made smaller. All the lines of template are options and are not displayed if the parameters are not used in the templates. I'd be happy if other editors worked on them. -- SamuelWantman 19:58, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Pending the implementation of any code for the category intersection queries, is there a way to compromise? I wonder if there could be a standard subcategory to which any or all members from the other subcategories could be added. This way the main category remains usable for most users and there is a category that contains the mass content list when desired. Maybe the wording from the templates above is the clue. Call them topic or index categories say Category:Index-Operas? If you categorize into the subcategories by using a template then the topic category could be automatically populated. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:53, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
A bot could easily use the parameters of the subindex template to populate the index categor and confirm that the target category is also one to three levels above. As for renaming Category:Operas to Category:Index-Operas, what would be gained? It is working just fine as it is. The only thing that may be an issue is navigating the subcategories if they are very numerous -- to numerous for all of them to be put at the top of the page using the pipe trick. In those cases, rather than renaming the index category, I'd prefer splitting off subcategories and creating navigation categories. This is in essence, what has already happened in the case of operas. The main navigation categories (eg. operas by composer) CAN be piped to the top of the page, and it is still easy to navigate. The only real question is whether Category:Operas should be fully populated, or fully depopulated. I see no advantage to a user having it depopulated, and a big advantage to having it populated. -- SamuelWantman 07:48, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
The reason for proposing something like Category:Index-Operas is to move the full list from the top level category and still have it available. Doing this pretty much means that all of the subcategories would fit without using any tricks. Also the current structure provides a really simple way for category maintenance. A user can go through the articles listed there and find the correct subcategories for these articles. If everything was included this tool would be lost. Vegaswikian (talk) 09:03, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
While I dislike the rest of the proposals in this suggestion (I'll post at length below), I strongly agree with Vegaswikan's suggestion of a Category:Index-Operas as a remedial measure. The current Category:Operas is a disaster, because it tries to perform too many functions at once: as a container for its many sub-categories, as a repository for articles which have not yet been allocated to sub-categories, and as a catch-all index for operas. It is rigorously defended by a few maintainers, contrary to guidelines, with the result that when I worked on that category last year I found many articles which had been omitted from the appropriate sub-categories, but which didn't show up in the normal way as being in need of sub-categorisation because the notion of dispersal no longer works.
However, I do see this as only a remedial measure to rescue Category:Operas, and it's not something I would want to encourage in any way for wider use. Many articles could be included in multiple "catch-all" categories such as this, and the result would be horrendous category clutter if the catch-all categs are unhidden. (For example: a Mozart opera could also be included in Category:Index-Operas, Category:Index-Mozart, Category:Index-18th-century-music etc). --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 20:35, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Of course it would be a clutter, and a terrible one too. Moreover, it would lead to widespread inconsistencies because it would be impossible to expect even most articles to feature all the correct tags. (Can you see the "but" approaching?) It could be done by bot, of course, but it would be a great burden for the servers to tag all the articles for all the categories they are supposed to appear in, and this would still not solve the aforementioned clutter.
But... (Here it is...) It sounds very strange to me that automation of the category system has yet to be mentioned. Of course, I might be as stupid as to have missed it (I also happen to suffer from a cold), but I'll state my opinion anyway. If a [[Category:Category name]] tag can categorise an article in one category, why couldn't it do it for the whole family? Under this system, [[Category:Operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart]] would categorise The Magic Flute in categories "Operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart", "Operas by composers", and "Operas" simultaneously with the least possible clutter; the upper-level categories would be hidden by default. (By the way, I do not find the "Index" prefix necessary.)
A certain tecnhical change would have to take place for this idea to be implemented, but I think it's worth it; a well-organised category would support well such a system, and would also have an added benefit: it would help us combat the problem of over-general links—in this example, an editor tagging The Magic Flute simply with [[Category:Operas]] would result in an invisible category which would soon be fixed by someone else. Waltham, The Duke of 11:52, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm too high on the page, aren't I? One needs a map with these bloody talk pages... Waltham, The Duke of 02:48, 8 March 2008 (UTC)


Am i right in thinking that a redirect should not be placed in categories. The article K52EG, about a minor tv station, was deleted at AFD a few months ago, and redirected to its parent broadcaster. Shortly after, the creator(i think) of the article added it to several categories, which i reverted. However, today, they have re-added it to the cats, citing WP:TVS, which says nothing about re-directs. So should it be in the cats? My gut feeling is that it shouldn't, but i thought i'd bring it here to check, is there a specific policy against/for putting redirects into categories. Thanks--Jac16888 (talk) 15:39, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

There are guidelines for this. See Wikipedia:Categorizing redirects. -- SamuelWantman 01:49, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Question about Image categorisation

Whats the deal with adding Wikipedia categories to images that have been deleted and transferred to Commons? Should we be doing that, since it appears to to recreate the image on WP (though whether it actually does or not is unclear to me). Advice would be helpful, thanks. Rockpocket 20:36, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't think images should be added to any Wikipedia categories except categories that are defined as image categories. Even in that case, there should be some good reason why the images cannot be on commons. Otherwise it is a duplicated effort to commons and counterproductive to our use of categories. The best practice is to create the category in commons and link it to Wikipedia pages and categories, when appropriate, by using a template. I think this has been the customary practice, has been discussed in the past on this page, and if it is not stated clearly in the guidelines we should add it. -- SamuelWantman 09:20, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
OK. That makes sense. Thanks for the advice. Rockpocket 07:41, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Categories with only one entry

What's the current consensus on these?

I'm thinking of examples like Category:Triumphal arches in Romania and Category:Norwegians of Spanish descent.--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 19:30, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

See WP:OCAT. If they complete an established hierarchy, or have the possibility of growing into a larger category, the consensus is to keep. If they show no potential of growth, and are not needed to complete a hierarchy the consensus is to upmerge. -- SamuelWantman 20:44, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Category intersection

Not sure if I should ask here, but isnt it possible to see articles in multiple categories (or intersecting categories) ?? Just an example: - Suppose I am looking for real-time strategy games. But it's not any strategy game. It's for a platform. For example ps2. Also I lets say I was looking for the ones released in 2006.

Is it possible to look at multiple categories to help searching, insted of looking up multiple lists (for example ps2 games of 2006 and real-time strategy games)??

Maybe there could be some tool that find articles that coexist in the given categories?

Thanks alot --Foundatorx189.33.159.46 (talk) 00:46, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

This is not an existing feature of the software, see Wikipedia:Category intersection and the associated talk page. -- Rick Block (talk) 01:13, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
But there is a tool - see m:User:Duesentrieb/CatScan. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:48, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Another image cat question

Category:Non-free Logos currently contains 58,738 images, is it worth marking this with {{CatDiffuse}} or not? This is the category that {{Non-free logo}} places images into unless someone specifies a particular subcat in the template variable, e.g. {{|Non-free logo|sports logos}}, and is currently horrendous to try and navigate through to find a particular image. Nanonic (talk) 13:16, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Are subcategories really needed? Would an editor really need to look through images that are sports logos, for example? Perhaps a note at Wikipedia talk:Logos could start a discussion as to whether there is significant value in have subcategories for logos. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:47, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Project pages being included in the main encylopedia categories

Any ideas on how to fix Wikipedia:WikiProject Television Stations/TV Markets so it does not appear in all of those encyclopedic categories? Is there any way to exclude all categories for a page? Vegaswikian (talk) 00:01, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

As far as I know, there is no way to suppress categories on a single page.
More importantly, you really ought to think about taking the information on that subpage and spinning it off into separate mainspace pages (articles), such as List of broadcast television stations in the Paducah / Cape Girardeau / Harrisburg (IL) market. Then you could just have a list of lists on the WikiProject subpage. Or you could take advantage of existing categories, and simply make the subpage into a list of those, having entries such as Category:Television stations in Paducah / Cape Girardeau / Harrisburg. It really depends what you're trying to do with the page - identify red links? Provide quick navigation? -- John Broughton (♫♫) 14:05, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Categorization#Maintenance_categories considered harmful

We are in the nth stage of a recurring circular discussion in Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Geographical coordinates‎ regarding the tagging of articles as needing the addition of geographic coordinates. Each previous attempt to do this has resulted in the removal of the tags or categories to the talk pages of articles, where they are invisible to casual readers, and frustrating their intended purpose.

In this case, the attention of the mass of casual readers is exactly what is needed to help fix these articles, since the articles in question are precisely those which have evaded all attempts at systematic automated and manual tagging, and need the specific expertise of someone interested in the subject of the article.

Yes, there are numerous project-specific maintenance tags that belong on talk pages, but tags and categories intended to be picked up on by casual readers must appear on the article itself, or they are effectively useless. We're here to write an encyclopedia, and if the efforts to keep pages pretty and clean of extraneous tags and categories are preventing progress towards this goal, they are harming the encyclopedia and should be ignored. In this particular case, I believe that applying the Wikipedia:Categorization#Maintenance_categories guideline is a bad idea, and should be ignored where necessary to improve the encyclopedia.

Comments, please? -- The Anome (talk) 00:49, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't really see how this case is different from the others (articles needing cleanup, citations etc.) The tag is visible on the page; the tag can include a link to any relevant category if needed; so the maintenance category doesn't need to be displayed mixed in with the subject-matter categories.--Kotniski (talk) 06:05, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
To echo Kotniski - if the tag indicating a problem is visible on the page, it's okay to hide the category indicating that same problem". Relatively few readers look at categories, and when they do, they're presumably looking for similar articles, not for ways to do fixes similar to the fix that they were considering doing to the current article. (In fact, once they make a fix and remove a tag, the category vanishes, so it's impossible for them to look for similar fixes anyway via clicking on a category link.)
The only argument I can see for keeping a category visible is if (somehow) it encouraged readers to visit the category page in order to find and fix similar problems. This is extremely unlikely with most maintenance categories, so hiding such categories has no downside with regard to casual readers. -- John Broughton (♫♫)
I think I agree with Kotniski and John. There might be some rationale for placing an unobtrusive tag in the article indicating the lack of coordinates and asking for help. But I don't see much reason for displaying the maintenance category. Persons interested in fixing groups of such articles will be able to find the category with a minimal amount of digging. Casual passers-by will not care and the presence of the maintenance category will only clutter the article. olderwiser 19:39, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Category:Stock characters by characteristics

I would like to create a subcategory for this category called "Fictional martial arts masters." I'm sure there are plenty of articles that could go into this category. I followed the instructions and tried to create this subcat, but its not working. Please help. --Ghostexorcist (talk) 18:38, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Correction. I want "Fictional elderly martial arts master". I created Category:Fictional martial arts masters, but it needs to be deleted. --Ghostexorcist (talk) 18:53, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
Already taken care of. --Ghostexorcist (talk) 19:44, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Category Template creation

I'm trying to create a template here to help with categories at the wiki where I edit. I'm having a problem trying to figure out how to make the "categorize as" bit optional - i.e., I have an article named "Quicksilver Style", but want it to show up in the boss category as "Geryon".

When I tried last to implement this function, it made the "categorize as" bit mandatory, and all articles using the template had screwy code show up unless I added the piped title.

Ideally, I would like the template to work so that

{{enemy|3|boss=yes|chardevil}} would show the "Bosses", "Devil May Cry 3 Bosses", "Characters", and "Devils" categories, and file them under the article's name, while

{{enemy|3|boss=yes|chardevil|Geryon the Timesteed}}

Would show the same categories, but in those categories file it under "Geryon the Timesteed".

If this question is innapropriate for the help desk, could you direct me to the correct place to ask it? Thanks.Not even Mr. Lister's Koromon survived intact. 02:46, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Hidden categories

Proposal amendment: Hidden categories

For background, and the proposal this amends, start higher up on this page.

I've been having some discussions with developers about categories and category intersection. There has been talk of starting the work that will lead to category intersection being implemented. In the course of the discussion, I found out that there is a category feature, already implemented that we have not been aware of. It is possible to have hidden categories. By adding __HIDDENCAT__ to a category page, it is possible to add the category to any page without having it appear in the list of categories.

To see how this works, take a look at Category:Bridges to Rockaway, Queens. I have made this a hidden category. You can still browse to it from Category:Bridges in New York City, but if you look at one of the articles in the category, it will not be listed.

I think this is a fabulous feature. It means that we can create an interim step on the way to category intersection. I want to ammend my proposal above that we repopulate index categories to the parent levels and (in most cases) hide all the subcategory intersections. So, for example, the George Washington Bridge would be in:

and the hidden categories:

The developers are considering adding a button that would expand the category listings to show hidden categories. Even if they are not shown, you would be able to find them from the parent categories. Many more intersection categories could be allowed because they would not clutter pages.

Let's consider how this would look for a user. Someone browsing through categories would still navigate as they do now. If they find more listings than they want in a category and they know of a relevant subcategory they can navigate to it and still find articles in the small subcategories as they do now. For others, who want to see indexes of larger groupings, they would now have that option. Someone coming from an article to the category would first encounter the large grouping, but could find smaller groupings if desired. We will probably need to add some navigation categories to divide listings of subcategories from categories with a large number of article listings. This already happens now (eg. Category:Films by genre). There is nothing inherently wrong with having large categories.

Hidden categories should be labeled as hidden so that people understand why they are not appearing in articles. A link to WP:CAT where this is explained would be helpful. I'd also like to see all these intersection categories labeled as being intersection categories (see the proposal above which mentions labeling different types of categories).

I wonder if we could use other templates to help us organize all these categories. For example, bridge templates could have fields for type of bridge, year completed, country, state, city, etc... and would populate all the visible and hidden categories at once. There could be similar templates for other sets of articles such as buildings, people, films, etc... I would like us to start implementing this, but I think we should discuss some new guidelines and how best to undertake this effort. -- SamuelWantman 09:15, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Hey, why didn't they say that HIDDEN CAT was a step towards category intersection? I'd have shut up with my objections like a shot! :-) What you might want to do is get the CfD people on board, as I would predict this becoming an option different to keep, rename and delete, namely to Hide (and label as an intersection category if needed). Carcharoth (talk) 13:33, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
I left a message at WT:CFD. -- SamuelWantman 06:41, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I think this is going to take a lot of effort in education and acceptance. I can see many people wondering why Cat X isn't showing up in Article Y, only to find that it's hidden, and upon discovering that, unhiding Cat X. And then we'll have the people who understand why a category is hidden, but disagreeing with it and unhiding it. And since so few categories are in people's watchlists, these edits are going to go mainly unnoticed. Hopefully I'm wrong about that. I just don't want to see a good idea killed because it causes more problems than it solves. --Kbdank71 14:48, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
If we do this without dynamic category intersections the "intersection categories" have to be statically maintained just like regular categories. We could do this using templates. Another approach we could consider is doing this with a bot, but I'm not sure even a bot would be able to keep up with the workload if we created a significantly useful set of intersection categories (we have something like 500,000 people articles, so anything running in the background updating intersection categories would have a huge job to do). I think any approach involving statically maintained intersection categories falls far short of where I'd like this to be, since it relies on a precreated set of intersections which will necessarily be a very, very small subset of all possible intersections. For example, with your list above the intersections don't include Bridges on Interstate 95 or Toll suspension bridges or Bridges between New York and New Jersey (the point is the combinatorics of intersections quickly get out of hand).
Making the existing manually maintained intersection categories hidden and fully populating top level categories is certainly possible, and the latter piece would be required to make a dynamic intersection feature useful, so it's probably not a bad idea to get started on this. -- Rick Block (talk) 15:48, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Just thinking of this and CfD. So any hidden category would he allowed if it contained factual classifications and these categories would not have to be notable or defining or pretty much anything else. If so, then a good number of CfD debates would be eliminated since the hidden tag would make them acceptable for use. The logic being that this is a necessary step towards category intersection and could be of use today by eliminating some of the categories displayed on articles. Vegaswikian (talk) 07:36, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
It might make moot many of the discussions of the past. If there is not category clutter, and someone wants to put the effort into creating an intersection, what harm is there? The only one I can think of is that if it went overboard, we'd end up with subcategorization clutter. Subcategories can expand geometrically if every possible intersection starts being created. There could be hundreds of subcategories if left unchecked. This doesn't seem like a difficult problem to manage, and I'm sure we can adapt Wikipedia:Overcategorization to handle this. The upside is that if someone wants to create Category:Baptist Ministers in Mississippi and it is hidden, it would no longer be a problem. The only visible categories would be Category:Baptists, Category:Clergy and Category:Living people and Category:from Mississippi or some similar arrangement. -- SamuelWantman 08:12, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I think it is a bad idea to hide any content categories; only WP status categories should be hidden. Hiding content categories will create a maintenance nightmare. How can readers/editors of an article know what categories the article is in, if they cannot see the categories (all of them)? How can editors know whether the article is in the correct categories or not if they cannot see them? Hmains (talk) 05:24, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
    Editors will easily know which categories an article is in when they preview. They will all be listed. Readers will have the choice of seeing all of them in their preference page. You will be able to navigate to all of them. If they are added to children using templates, and bots monitor the templates, they will all be properly categorized. It will not be a nightmare if properly planned and implemented. We will be able to keep many more categories than we have previously. Articles will be well classified. People will be able to browse through many different groupings. We will be on the path to implement category intersection. There are more pluses here than minuses. -- SamuelWantman 19:24, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I haven't read through all the previous discussion, but I really dislike this plan, mostly because I really dislike the idea of huge categories. When categories get too big, they are useless to someone who is browsing because there is just too much information presented. The current categorization system also doesn't necessarily include all of the categories on the first page, which would make it even more difficult for someone who was defaulted to the main category to find the specific piece they might be looking for. To create a lot of categories that only list subcategories would require a lot more maintenance. I think this could also lead to disagreement for categories that are subcategories of multiple things. Category Z is a subcat of Category A and Category B. One parent category may think this category should always be hidden, and the other might think that the subcategory should be available. I think this could lead to a lot of edit warring over the visibility of categories. Karanacs (talk) 22:32, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
    • I believe the point is to get away from viewing individual categories and to use intersection as a means of creating user specific category listings to actually make it easier to find what your are looking for. Dbiel (Talk) 02:02, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the whole point of dynamic intersection categories that it would prevent the overhead required of a static system? I'm not saying that templates wouldn't be a step towards automating this, but I'm skeptical that it will be as efficient in the long-run. Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 03:12, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

There were several points to having dynamic category intersections. The main advantage is that you can create many more intersections than we have now. We have limited multiple intersections as an overcategorization. Dynamic intersections would make any intersection possible. When categories started out the categories were broad, and there were just a few defining characteristics for each article. As more and more are added, more and more intersections are possible. Imagine a category with 8 defining characteristics. There would be 28 (7+6+5+4+3+2+1) ways to intersect them two at a time. With our current system, if we were to allow all of them, that is 36 categories. Consider all the categories by country, by state, by nationality, by country of origin, by city, by town, by neighborhood, by occupation, by national origin, by religion, by association, by alma mater, by year of birth, by year of death, by political affiliation, etc...etc... People constantly want to see intersections with each of these. As the discussion about bridges above makes clear, it clutters categories with many seemingly similar categories. Toll bridges in New York City, Bridges in New York City, Bridges in New York, Toll bridges in New York, etc... The historical solution to this is to put things at the bottom of the hierarchy. But this often is not a solution conducive to browsing. I think it is more likely that someone might want to browse through all the bridges in the United States, than to browse through the toll bridges in New York City. Even if both are equally valid, it is now very difficult to browse through all the bridges in the United States because it has been split into well over 50 categories. So the proposal is to just show the top levels, have each be a single attribute, have the category fully populated, yet still allow people to navigate to the smaller (hidden) intersection categories (if they have been created). Since all the intersections would be hidden, there would not be clutter problem when intersections are created. When (and if) category intersection gets implemented, the intersection categories would no longer be needed because they would be created dynamically. -- SamuelWantman 04:20, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm usually interested in browsing more defined categories which are more closely-related to the article. If I want to look at broader categories, I can easily escape from the article-level category to higher-level categories. I will value finding more defined categories at the end of articles until dynamic category intersection is introduced. Broad categories are too large and complex to navigate easily. If we are to hide content categories at all, surely the broader ones should be hidden before there is a dynamic way to intersect categories. --Oldak Quill 19:18, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Update WP:CAT

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

Closing this since the update to WP:CAT has now been made. I suggest discussion continue in the new sections below: #Maintenance category policy and #Stub category policy.

Can we update the WP:Categorization guideline to reflect the new HIDDENCAT feature? I would suggest expanding the short paragraph that currently says "Note that articles are in Wikipedia maintenance categories since their corresponding cleanup tags are placed directly on them, not on talk pages." For example, the new wording might be something like:

  • "Categories which refer not to the subject of an article but to the present status of an article (categories of stub articles, articles needing cleanup, articles containing unsourced statements etc.) are known as maintenance categories. These do not help users navigate the encyclopedia, but assist in Wikipedia maintenance projects. Articles are normally placed in these categories through the addition of certain templates, such as {{stub}} and {{fact}}. Since these categories do not aid navigation, they should not be displayed in the Categories section of article pages. This is ensured by adding the magic word __HIDDENCAT__ to the category page."

Inclusion of stub categories here might be a bit controversial, but logically to me they seem to be in the same class as the other maintenance categories, and the same arguments apply.--Kotniski (talk) 08:20, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Has there been any objections to using HIDDENCAT to maintenance categories? The only concerns I've seen have been Carcharoth's about the vandalism potential. I noticed that there have been some recent updates to the feature:
  • Hiddencats now are shown as being in Category:Hidden categories, however that category doesn't seem to have any members. I've added some explanatory text to the page.
  • Hiddencats are not hidden in Category-space. There is separate listing for hidden parent categories.
  • Hiddencats are listed when previewing a page.
There still does not seem to be any way to find all the categories have been hidden.
I'm in favor of adding Kotniski's language, and would expand it to include stubs. -- SamuelWantman 08:42, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
As long as they all show up eventually in Category:Hidden categories (see the explanation here), I'm not too fussed. That was my main concern. I'm now going to hunt down the developer that localised the magic word use into a category, and force plead with them to do this for DEFAULTSORT... :-) Carcharoth (talk) 12:27, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, what about Category:Spoken articles, for example? It's not a maintenance category, but it's not really about the article itself, either. Should all categories which are intended for our editors (and not for our readers) be hidden? --Conti| 13:36, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

In my view, the spoken articles category should be left visible. In general, questions like this will come up regularly. Is WP:CfD set up to handle that sort of discussion, or should it take place somewhere else? Carcharoth (talk) 13:58, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't think WP:CFD should be used in most cases, since most of the time, no one is trying to actually get a category deleted when he wants to hide it. This page sounds fine to me, or maybe we could set up Wikipedia:Hidden categories and discuss things there? --Conti| 14:04, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Though many CfD debates will now end up with "why not just hide the category", so the volume of debate there might die down. Or increase. Who knows. Carcharoth (talk) 14:13, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
That's true. But there are other cases like the ones discussed here that would never end up at WP:CFD. So while that would be one place to discuss the hiding of certain categories (I can think of the "Fauna of STATE" and "Fauna of COUNTRY" categories which got deleted and recreated multiple times), it shouldn't be the only one, IMHO. --Conti| 14:17, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I would favor hiding even the Spoken Articles category. After all, the "listen to this article" box already contains a link to "More spoken articles", which is where anyone is going to click if they want to find more such articles. I suggest a similar solution in the case of stubs, e.g. the stub template could say "You can help by expanding this and [[:Category:xxx stubs|other similar articles]]." This way every article's Categories section will by default display only categories which classify the subject of that article, not the article itself.--Kotniski (talk) 14:35, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Some of these "more here" links will be to lists, not categories. But if the categories are still linked in that way, then yes, hiding them is fine. I think a good rule of thumb would be whether someone looking for the category would look at the bottom of the article for it. For non-subject matter categories, people may have to learn to look and navigate in a different way. Carcharoth (talk) 14:48, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I support the use of this (presuming I understand what I've been reading), but only for maintenance categories. I'm concerned that there will be those who will attempt to categorise either to hide a personally wanted cat that was deleted through CfD or speedy or whatever; or to force "cruft" or some other subjective criteria for subjectively categorising encyclopedic information. In other words, if it's directly part of the encyclopedia, it should not be hidden. If it's part of the work of maintaining (and possibly contributing) to the encyclopedia, then I wouldn't oppose those being hidden. I think I'm restating some things which have been said already, but I still wanted to share my own perspective : )
As an aside note, I wish there was a (non-scripting) way to "reveal" hidden categories on a page if wanted. Meaning by clicking, or setting a preference, or some such, rather than needing to edit the page. (Or perhaps there is, and I missed it?) - jc37 03:40, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, there is apparently such an option in "my preferences".--Kotniski (talk) 08:18, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. It is under "misc". Other options are pointed out at Wikipedia:VPT#HIDDENCAT, the most informative revision links being: here and here. Carcharoth (talk) 09:23, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

I would prefer to have all maintenance templates and tags on talk pages (including stub tags), in which case we wont need to use the hidden category option. Otherwise, I support the proposal to hide maintenance categories in articles. -- Kildor (talk) 23:10, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't think that's practical though, since the tags are there to provide information to the reader/potential editor (see the exchange below), and as far as I know there's no way of making a tag on an article page add the associated talk page to any category.--Kotniski (talk) 21:13, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with using hiddencat on maintenance categories - in doing this, we create a stronger divide between editor and reader, when we should be constantly striving to do the opposite. Maintenance categories prominently displayed at the bottom of the page have the potential to encourage 'readers' to help out by showing them exactly what problems exist with the article. guiltyspark (talk) 18:26, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Don't the maintenance templates (that produce the categories) already have that effect? Being within the article, they are far more prominent than the categories anyway (and usually indicate the relevant section or even sentence which is a problem). To me, having the maintenance categories displayed seems to add nothing except clutter, getting in the way of the categories which might actually be useful.--Kotniski (talk) 21:13, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I've thought about it, but I'm going to have to disagree with the idea of using HIDDENCAT on stub categories in general. I'll grant that ideally, every stub article would have the appropriate permanent categories, but often they don't. When I do stub sorting I may not be familiar with the permanent categories involved and thus I'm dependent on using the link to the stub category to get me to information that helps me quickly find the appropriate permanent categories. I realize that there is an option to unhide hidden categories, but how many casual editors/readers will be aware of it? Maybe if we were to change every stub template from something like this:

 This foo article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

to something like this:

 This foo article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it and ensuring that it has an appropriate category.

I could see hiding the stub categories, but that will take a good deal of work. Caerwine Caer’s whines 00:49, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I agree that when a stub category is hidden, the corresponding stub template should be expanded. I made a similar suggestion somewhere above, except that I proposed linking to the (otherwise hidden) stub category, rather than to the "appropriate" category for the article. In fact I think something like this would be a good thing to do anyway, independently of the hiding of the category.--Kotniski (talk) 06:50, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

We seem to have several proposals on the table here: adding HIDDENCAT to maintence categories, adding it to stub categories, and adding it to intersection categories. On the intersection categories, I think it is the sort of idea which might be considered if a massive restructuring was adopted, but we are a long way from such a consensus.

In principle, I rather like the idea of separating the stub and maintenance categories from the content-classification categories, but only if the reader can easily enable their display them on a per-article basis. Hiding them entirely from readers accentuates the divide between editors and readers, and it's also unhelpful to editors, who would have to edit and article to see how it was actually categorised. So far as I understand things for now, HIDDENCAT does mean "hidden" rather than "collapsed" ... and while collapsed would offer several advantages without much downside, hiding categories has too many downsides. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:37, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

In reality, maintenance categories are not being "hidden" on article pages as they each apply their own info tags to the article. They are simply being removed for the summary list of categories found at the bottom of the page in normal view mode. I do not believe that I have ever seen any maintenance category added to any article page directly. They are added indirectly by adding the appropriate template and the template is far more noticable than the category listing. It is actually rather redundant to include the category in the list of categories at the bottom of the page. Well, it is not really redundant as the category name does not genearally appear in the template tag; but I do not see how anyone wanting to find the maintenance category would have any problem in doing so.Dbiel (Talk) 03:41, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that's an accurate description of the situation: the categories don't apply tags, it's the tag that apply the categories.
Applying HIDDENCAT does mean that the categories are hidden. Sure, the tags will still be visible, but a reader who sees a tagged article will be unaware that there is an easily-accessible list of other articles with a similar problem. Some of the tagged problems, such as {{wikify}}, denote issues which can easily be resolved by a newbie editor, and setting to work on a category like that can be a really good way of getting started in editing.
And I have to disagree with your comment that you don't see "how anyone wanting to find the maintenance category would have any problem in doing". How exactly does can an editor looking at the article even become aware of the existence of the category? And how on earth is a new editor going to know how to find the category, even if she somehow infers that it may exist? So far as I can see, a hidden category added by a maintenance tag leaves no trace in the article, because it won;t become visible even when the article is edited.
The same applies with stub categories, which can be another good route for a newbie editor to get stuck in. If the stub tag is hidden, how can the editor find the category? There is no mention of it in the displayed text generated by the stub template.
Sorry folks, but while this HIDDENCAT idea is a good one, it's crudeness means that it will cause a lot of problems. However, I would be very enthusiastic about a COLLAPSEDCAT facility, which removed maintenance categories from the general category list, and allowed a reader to display them if they were interested, but that's not what we have here. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:17, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
The following quote taken from the previous post is inaccurate:
So far as I can see, a hidden category added by a maintenance tag leaves no trace in the article, because it won;t become visible even when the article is edited.
When you edit an article and scroll to the bottom of the page you will find the entire list of categories, templates and hidden categories that have been applied or used in the article. An example follows: copied from the following link [20]

Pages transcluded onto the current version of this page:

This page is a member of 2 hidden categories:

Note: the preceeding example does not include any article categories as the page has not been categorized as of yet. Dbiel (Talk) 03:25, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Dbiel, for the example. The situation evidently isn't as bad as I had thought, but it's still not great :( My previous description should be rewritten as
  • "a hidden category added by a maintenance tag leaves no visible trace in the article until it is edited, and even then becomes visible only if the editor scrolls all the way to the bottom the edit page.
Even on my reasonably hi-res screen, that's nearly a whole screenful below the edit box, and many editors will have no reason ever to scroll down that far. Even if an editor is aware that the info is available there, it's still a nuisance to have to edit the page and scroll to find the maintenance category. I don't think that categories should be hidden until they can be unhidden by the reader without either going through all that palahver or knowing about the preferences setting -- something which is unavailable to anon IPs and which many other editors will be unaware of. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 06:55, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

(unindenting; replying to various points made by BrownHaired Girl) I understand your objections, but I think they are satisfactorily addressed by the idea of including a link to the relevant category in the maintenance/stub template itself. This would indeed be far more prominent and accessible than a category tucked away at the bottom of the page (cf. your comment immediately above), and it wouldn't get mixed up with the subject-matter categories, which conceptually have a quite different purpose than the maintenance/stub categories. This suggestion is probably impractical only with the "citation needed" type of template; but in this case it seems highly unlikely that a newbie editor would want to launch into the relevant category (and the categories generated by this type of template are particularly undesirable when displayed, as you tend to get lots of them - for different months - on the same article). Of course I would have no objection to a button to unhide the hidden categories on the current page, but that means talking to the developers... --Kotniski (talk) 10:12, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

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

Depopulate Parent Categories

In light of the above discussion, should the work I have been doing depopulating Category:Education and Category:Schools be put on hold? Dbiel (Talk) 04:18, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

The proposal would not probably not affect Category:Education as that is a topic category (without an "s" at the end). Eventually, Category:Schools could possibly become a fully populated index category. There would need to be discussion about where to place the top level index category. For each topic there is probably an optimum level for an index. The criteria is that it should be obvious to someone browsing through a higher level where to look. For that reason, I would not advocate populating "Entertainers", but I might want to fully populate "actors". I can see populating all people categories up to the level of their occupation. If a category can fully described by intersecting two other parent categories, I would hope that in most cases the parents would be repopulated, and the intersection would be hidden. It was fine when we had just an occupation and nationality to combine the two, but if there are categories for many other attributes they cannot all get intersected and remain visible. -- SamuelWantman 09:24, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Location of magic word

The location of the magic word __HIDDENCAT__ on most category pages should not make much of a difference, but when you get to a page like Category:Category needed it does become a issue/question. So what is the recommended possition/location of the magic word? top of page, bottom of page, somewhere else? Dbiel (Talk) 01:19, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

  • It would appear that the proper syntax to use for our magic word is not " __HIDDENCAT__ " but rather is {{hiddencat}}. see the following recent edit by User:Hmains [21] and [22]
    • {{hiddencat}} is a temaplate, specifically: Template:Hiddencat, which uses the syntax __HIDDENCAT__. The template is not a magic word. See Wikipedia:Magic word for an explanation of the difference. Just to confuse people though, some magic words are applied with curly brackets, such as {{DEFAULTSORT:}}, where the parameter is placed after a colon. In a template, the parameter is placed after a "|" character. Carcharoth (talk) 21:15, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Does the magic word work?

The magic word has been added to Category:Uncategorized from February 2008 but all articles in that category continue to include the maintenance category in the list of categories, which of course would generally be empty. Or is this a case where the maintenance category should not be hidden? Dbiel (Talk) 01:26, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Well it does work, it just needed to be added to the correct category Category:Uncategorized pages Dbiel (Talk) 01:34, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

simplified proposal

for relevant categories, have both "Topic (by subtopic)" and "Topic (alphabetical)," and if appropriate "Topic (by Geographical area)" & "Topic (by Period)" and call them just that, which everyone will understand. The choice of which categories to handle that way would need discussion individually or in relevant groups. Presumably it would apply only to the vary large categoriesDGG (talk) 19:43, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

query / concern

This is all very exciting, but I'm concerned about the the implications. Consider for example taxonomy or anatomy. Are we now proposing that "homo sapiens" be included in homo, hominidae, primates, mammals, chordates, animals, and (i guess) "living things"? Or consider fingers: "parts of the hand", "parts of the arm", "parts of the limbs", "parts of the body". Any "subject" about a "thing" has many, many higher-level categories that could be "exploded". Stuyvesant High School -- the highest-level category isn't "schools"; other higher level categories might be "educational institutions", "educational organizations", "social institutions". The HIDDEN feature is very powerful, but I really think we want to be very careful to not take it to mean that each and every applicable parent category can or should be applied. The level of atomicity is still a problem for that kind of thing.

So if we do use it to handle certain intersection categories (e.g., the intersections envisioned in WP:CATGRS, such as "Category:Women scientists"), then what would be the proposal? To HIDDEN "Category:Scientists" and Category:Women (both of which, under current guidelines, should be only parent / container categories anyway, not holding individual articles) but leave Category:Women scientists? Or to HIDDEN "Category:Women scientists"?

Help me understand this better. --Lquilter (talk) 21:22, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

These are all good questions. This issue is discussed at length at Wikipedia:Category intersection. The basic idea is that our current set of categories be populated at higher levels. How high up is a matter of discussion. For some categories -- topic categories -- little would change. There is no point to add every article that mentions "science" to Category:Science. It would make sense to have all the articles that discuss science in broad terms. So in essence the proposal is saying this. "Each category should have a useful index of all the articles someone would expect to see in an index of the topic article". Category:Science should have all articles about the topic of science in general. Category:Sciences could have all categories that are about a specific scientific disciplines. Category:Film would have all articles that broadly discuss film, Category:Films should have articles about individual films. I think it is important that we start defining membership criteria for each category. For instance, what is meant when we create Category:Mammals, It could be defined as every specie of mammal, but it could also be defined as every order of mammal. Both are reasonable ways to categories mammals. I can even imagine both ways coexisting. I am not saying how we decide the criteria for defining categories, I'm just advocating that they ARE defined, and all articles that fit the criteria for membership are included. So yes, I agree that we want to be very careful to not take it to mean that an article would be put in each and every applicable parent category. The key questions for me is "Would someone -- unknowledgeable in the field -- know where to browse to find articles?" and "Are the subcategory distinctions related to the field?" If someone doesn't know where to browse, the subcategories are too narrowly defined and the parent should be populated. If the subcategory distinctions are not related to the field, they will make it more difficult to browse and the parent should be populated. For all the "fooian foo" categories, I would expect there to be fully populated categories for each occupation and each nationality. Users interested in nationality, might not care at all about profession. Users interested in professionals, might not care at all about nationality.
Deciding whether a category is visible and hidden would also be related to the definitions of categories. We'd only need to hide the intersections that are easily found by navigating from parent categories that are not hidden, and the category can be fully described by intersecting the parents. For instance, both "Directors" and "Film directors" would be visible categories because there is no accurate way to define "Film directors" as an intersection. If there was a category "Film people" and another one called "Directors" it would not necessarily mean that someone in both was a "Film director" (for example someone who was a film actor and a stage director). "American film directors" would be hidden. So there might be visible categories at a few levels in each hierarchy, such as Category:Actors, Category:Child actors, and Category:Film actors. It might not be necessary to create a fully populated Category:Entertainers. But if we decided it made sense to fully populate Category:Entertainers, it would not mean that everything below it needs to hidden.
With what I am proposing, having all women in Category:Women would not be a problem. The reason it was a problem was because it intersects with virtually every other category of people. That in effect, doubles the number of people categories in our present system. If the intersections are hidden, it is not a source of clutter. The criteria we have made for WP:CATGRS might be adapted into the criteria for whether the intersections are significant enough not to be hidden. But my first take on this is that these currently visible intersections could be hidden if there are broader populated categories for gender, race and sexuality.
Someone goes to a category because they are interested in browsing articles about the subject. It is our task to organize the category so that it makes it easy to browse. For the most part we have done that. The shortcoming that I am trying to address is that we have often made it difficult by dividing so many of our categories into microscopic pieces. -- SamuelWantman 07:22, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

An interesting analysis but a bad idea for restructuring

I'm coming in late to this discussion, but having read it all, I think that while it's clearly an interesting analysis of how categories are used and a well-intentioned proposal, most of this is in practice a very bad idea which would greatly disrupt the category system and make it considerably less useable than it is now, as well as confusing editors. I'm afraid that what I have to say is unlikely to be welcomed by Sam, because I have some strong criticisms to make ... but I hope that this can be read as I intended it, which is as critique of the ideas, not of the person.

There are two fundamental problems here: an attempt to pre-empt dynamic category intersection (by proceeding as if we had that functionality, when we don't), and an attempt to define different types of category, an attempt which is very useful in promoting consideration of the role of categories, but which I believe is too simplistic to stand up to scrutiny as the basis of a scheme for organising them.

Dynamic category intersection

Taking the pre-emption first, I fully accept that it would be useful to consider how dynamic category intersection might be used if implemented. There's a limit to how far we could go on that discussion, without having a much clearer idea of the nature of any proposed implementation. Would it be based on users typing in category names, like catscan? Or would be it be menu-driven? Or would be it be an editor-oriented feature, intended for use not by readers, but buy editors who could define intersection categories for use in particular contexts? Would there be limits on its use, to reduce server load? Would it allow the creation of what might be described as low-priority intersects, e.g. between Category:British women writers and Category:People with disabilities, and if so how would these be handled? Would category intersection be capable of handling intersections between multiple depths of a category tree (like catscan does), or it would it be limited to a flat intersection between two categories? (That's only a quick start at a kist of the issues: I'm quite sure that there will be many more)

Those are not just technical questions. Just as current techical limitations have constrained how we manage categories, we will also find that future technical decisions made in respect of issues such as those I have outlined above will define how editors can use dynamic category intersection, if and when it becomes available.

In the meantime, it seems to me to be a very bad idea to set about restucturing the category system in anticipation of a technological development whose shape and arrival date are both unknown. We run a real risk of going through a lengthy process of restructuring, and quite possibly going down a dead end from which there will have to be a reversal if and when dynamic category intersection arrives. In the meantime, Sam's proposed restructuring is likely to have all sorts of disruptive consequences for wikiprojects and for editors, and I see big rows as a near-inevitability. Sure, a lot of painful restructuring will be needed if and when the dynamic features arrive, and it's a really good idea now to try to analyse what the category system actually is — and Sam has made a valuable contribution to starting that process — but I really don't want wikipedia to have to go through a category restructuring twice, and it will be very hard to persuade editors to follow a particular path on the basis of a vague promise that it will lead to something undefined at some stage in the future.

Types of category

My objection to Sam's attempt to define types of category is not to the effort itself, which (as above) I welcome — I think it's very useful for us to consider the different ways in which categories are deployed — but rather to the premature leap from that exploration and an attempt to deploy the analaysis.

In a nutshell, categories cannot be consistently and easily broken down into the various concepts of "subject", "topic" etc — human knowledge cannot be squeezed into the sort of structure that Linnaeus devised for life forms, and the structures used on wikipedia for categorisation of articles have as much to do with the current existence of articles as with the inherent properties of the areas concerns. I'm afraid that I have to agree with Cloachland's description of the scheme as "naive and inaccurate"[23]

The first flaw is a very simple one: the assumption that there are clearly defined "topic" categories which are distinguishable from "index categories" and "Sub-index categories". There may be some cases where this is true, but there are many where it is not. As but one instance, the example cited in Wikipedia:Category types is Category:American silent films as intersection category, with Category:Silent films and Category:American films as the "topic categories". This is wholly arbitrary: the topic category could just as easily be defined higher up the tree, at Category:Films or Category:American media, or even at a higher level such as American culture.

What this seems to amount to is taking a point in the categorisation system, usually one or two steps above the lowest level, and declaring it to be the "topic" category; that's essentially a random approach, based solely on the self-referential starting point of the existing category structure. Yet, many parts of the category tree are not amenable even to that logic.

Take for example Category:Conservative Party (UK), a starting point for articles related to the British Conservative Party, covering a range of topics, from politicians of different types to policies, leadership elections, epithets attached to politicians, party ginger groups (e.g. Bow Group), predecessor parties, conservative governments, political controversies (such as Zinoviev Letter), people associated with the Conservative Party (e.g. Stephen Ward) etc etc. It's a long long list, and I believe that there are several thousand articles in all.

If we take a look at the nature of the contents, it's quite clear that while there is some material which can under current guidelines be neatly diffused to sub-categories such as Category:Conservative MPs (UK), and there is more which could be sub-categorised.

But is Category:Conservative MPs (UK) an index or a sub-index or a topic? It's not an easy question to answer, because the Conservative party is not a neat and discrete entity. The Category:Lists of Conservative MPs (UK) could be labelled either as a sub-index or as intersection, but what about Category:Tory MPs (pre 1834)? That's currently a sub-cat of Category:Conservative MPs (UK), but it could equally be argued not be, depending on one's view of the degree of continuity in the restructurings of British politics which occurred at that time .. and depending on which view one takes, it's either an index or a sub-index. Both could of course be topic categories as well: it would be quite possible to write a series of encyclopedically significant general articles on the subject on "Conservative MPs" or "Pre-1834 Tory MPs", covering all sorts of issues from career progression to social background, selection processes to corruption scandals, demographic analysis to floor-crossing. At what point in the addition of those articles does such Category:Conservative MPs (UK) become a topic category rather than an index category?

Consider too, the Category:Conservative Party politicians (UK), which if I understand Sam's system correctly is potentially an index category with sub-indexes. Unfortunately, that depends on how one views Category:Scottish Unionist Party MPs, which is currently a subcat of Category:Conservative Party (UK), but (rather inconsistently) not of Category:Conservative MPs (UK). Whether or not it should be a sub-cat of either or of both depends again on how one views the Unionist Party (Scotland): was it a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Conservative Party (UK) (as it appeared in Westminster) or a separate entity in permanent alliance (as it presented itself in Scotland)? (There's no simple answer to that question)

So the topic/index/sub-index distinction breaks down when applied to a vaguer and more complex situation than the examples initially used. But this isn't just a problem for Sam's idea, it's a problem for dynamic category intersection, which is why it's a good idea for us to think about it now. You might think that with dynamic intersection, we could collapse a lot of these static categories, e.g. Category:Conservative MPs (UK) could be upmerged to Category:Conservative Party politicians (UK) and Category:Members of the United Kingdom Parliament.

Wrong, I'm afraid: if we lose the static intersection category, dynamic intersection cannot accurately replace them, because there have been plenty of politicians who changed party in the course of their notable political career, either before or after their parliamentary career. Take Peter Hain, who was a very notable member of the Liberal Party from the 1970s until he joined the Labour Party in the 1980s. A dynamically generated category of (Liberal Party politicians (UK))intersect(Members of the United Kingdom Parliament would include him, but he was never a Liberal MP. I don't know how widespread this sort of tangle is, but the question of this "A+B but not both at at the same time" intersection is something we will need to examine very carefully in each individual category in the event of any move to dynamic intersection.

Fuzziness of the category tree

The Conservative Party example brings me to a wider issue: that categorisation and sub-categorisation in wikipedia is as much an art as a science, and lends itself poorly to rigid rules. It's just too fuzzy for that.

At the end of last year, I set out about adding the {{WikiProject Ireland}} tag to all Ireland-related articles (a job I have not yet finished). I knew that a lot of checking would be required, but my starting point was to get a list of all articles in Category:Ireland and its subcats, and a parrallel list of categories. Ouch! I knew that there would be strange anomalies, but those I found included most Welsh bishops, large chunks of Scottish society, the whole of the British Conservative Party (through Category:Unionism), zillions of Irish-American people, and through them everything to with the assassination of JFK.

In most of the cases which I examined, the categorisation of an individual category was, at least on balance, the right thing to do ... but the overall effect of a few marginal categorisations at various points in a category tree is that a category tree cannot be viewed as progressing logically to ever-greater levels of specificity, in the manner of Linnaeus's taxonomy. I know that categories do not form a tree, but nor is it adequate to consider them as directed acyclic graph (DAG), because many of the links in that DAG are of variable (or even disputed) weight. Particularly when it comes to people or to ideas, the choice of parent categories may not be clearcut, and this has serious implications when considering concepts like sub-indexes.

Some of this could lead to explosive arguments. Category:Ireland and its subcats are made painfully complex by the existence of Northern Ireland for part of the island's history, and by the fact that the rest of the island was for 121 years a part of the United Kingdom. In general, that has been resolved to the satisfaction of all sides by carefully separating historical periods, and by separating all most categories into separate trees for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with difft parents, so that categories relating to Northern Ireland are in general parented under both Category:Ireland and Category:United Kingdom. Upmerging categories into "index categories" runs a real risk of some of this delicate balance being upset by causing contested adjectives to appear in an article's list of categories.

I am most familiar with the Irish context, but I expect that similar minefields exist with regard to the Balkans, Israel/Palestine, and hordes of other geographically contentious topics, never mind religious ones. Wanna try making an "index category" of bishops? Stock up in advance with your migraine tablets, because the apostolic succession arguments there about who is really a bishop could be fearsome, but are much less acute when the different denominations are kept in separate sub-cats.

Sorry, Sam to be so negative. I really do think that your ideas serve a very useful purpose in illuminating how categories are constructed and how they might be used, but I don't think that they are anywhere near forming the basis of a scheme for restructuring. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 06:30, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

BHG, I am not sorry at all. In fact, I've kinda been expecting to hear from you about this because I remember how strong your thoughts were about this when discussing the categorization of Operas. I have just read through your comments once, and want to go through it in more detail and examine the categories you cite as examples. On first reading though, I think you actually make some of the same points that I made further up on the page. Many categories that seem at first to be intersections are not. We must be careful, in what ever systems we apply, to be careful about this. Further up on the page, and on the category intersection page I used the example of Category:Film directors NOT being the intersection of film people and directors. They could have been film actors and stage directors. My proposal is only in relation to categories can be fully described as the intersection of two other categories. Having a test for what makes a category an intersection is part of the idea. But if we are clear that it IS an intersection, we should label it as such, and the existence or creation of the intersection category is not a good reason to depopulate the parents. If the parents were useful for browsing before the intersection was created, they will still be useful after.
The proposal I present is PRIMARILY about Index categories. And these are the categories that usually have an "s" at the end. I am not proposing much of a change to the topic categories, and it seems like most of the examples you mention are topic categories. Those will continue to be -- as you say -- more of an art than science to categorize. I do think that we have obsessed too much about depopulating parent categories if there are subcategories. Instead we should have criteria to help people understand what belongs. Those criteria should be based on meeting the needs of users, and not just based on the status quo of how we have been doing things -- most of which is an artifact of not having a category table of contents when the system was set up.
There have been a few reasons that are often repeated for keeping the current system:
  • The first is that populating parent categories clutters pages with too many categories. This wouldn't be the case if many of the children intersections were hidden. It is better than the current way of dealing with clutter which is deleting categories entirely, or depopulating parents.
  • The second is that large categories are had to navigate. I have no problem using the index of my film book that reviews thousands of films. It lists every film in the book. In a later addition it broke all the films into genres. That's nice when I want to look at genres, but it is often a distinction that gets in my way. If genre is the objective to my browsing, I don't want to be forced to browse by genre. I want to give wikipedians the choice to browse at different levels. We have table of contents for categories. Even Category:Living people is navigable.
  • The third is that the category system will be difficult to manage if there is duplication. For this, I think we should create index specific templates to populate all the appropriate levels in the hierarchies. For example, templates for people could contain parameters for nationality, profession, etc... that populates the parent and intersection categories.
I would like to hear BHG's ideas about how some of the problems about categories can be fixed. They really are a mess. We have categories for where people were born, where they now reside, what their citizenship is, but often they are not clearly defined and overlap or are all dumped together. Many of these categories do not meet our own guidelines for what a category should be, which is something essential about the subject, and not a loose association. We populate microscopically small sub-groupings using these defective categories. I want us to get more rigorous about defining categories and their functions. We're creating an encyclopedia, and not tagging photos. It seems that categorization is much less suited for a wiki than articles. The history is not kept, the process is extremely difficult and time consuming. I've spent days working on setting up some categories only to return to find that someone has undone the effort. For example, after my dismay in finding that Category:Film directors had been broken into categories by nationality -- which I find to be irrelevant to film making -- I created Category:English-language film directors and populated it with hundreds of articles. It is slowly getting depopulated. Why would anyone like me want to put more effort into categorization if efforts like this are going to be undone? After 4 years here, I find myself more and more frustrated. As a result, I spend less and less time dealing with categories.
I'm really glad you've put so much effort into your response. I really would like to see if all of us that care about categorization can come up with a set of guidelines that will create a better system. I'm not wedded to my proposal, if we can come up with something else that works, I'd be just as happy. But first we have to identify the problems. If we can agree on what the problems are, we can create criteria that any solution would need to fulfill. It might take some new policies and practices, new templates, new software features, etc...
I'll have more specific comments when I go over BHG's response in detail. -- SamuelWantman 10:02, 1 March 2008 (UTC)


FWIW, {{hiddencat}} is currently at TFD: Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2008 February 28#Template:Hiddencat. szyslak 02:22, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

This was kept as a speedy close. -- SamuelWantman 20:15, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Hidden categories and CfD

I'm arbitrarily creating a subheader to discuss the issue of hidden categories and CfD. Obviously, we first have to agree on what we should use hidden categories for, but eventually, we should decide whether we want "Hide" or "Unhide" decisions to be made through CfD. One of the dangers of that is to see 90% of the debates for deletion closed as "hide". It's a convenient compromise: supporters find it better than deletion, deletion supporters think "at least I won't see the damn cat". But then we are simply washing our hands of the editorial tough choices. For instance, I recently nominated the subcategories of Category:Fictional characters by religion, in large part because the contents are meaningless. Category:Fictional Christians, for instance, is almost entirely composed of fictional Italian-American mobsters and characters whose religion is completely tangential to the storyline. I suggested that a new cat be created for Category:Portrayals of Christians in fiction which would make it clear that only those portrayals which are meaningful as far as representation of Christianity in fiction. However, if you look at the debate here you can see that "Hide" would likely end up as a compromise solution, but in the end, we're still stuck with the same meaningless category which happens to be hidden. If we're not careful, hiding might end up hurting proper, meaningful categorization. Pichpich (talk) 18:57, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't see anyone advocating meaningless categorization. Since HIDDENCAT is an option, we need to assume that there will be many users who show all the hidden categories. In essence the new feature is the choice to show a small or large group of categories. Along these lines, the developers talked about the possibility of having two different magic words. There could be MAINTCAT as well as HIDDENCAT. They could both function the same way, but would have separate option checkboxes on the preference page. At some point there could be a button added to the category display to show either group of hidden categories. I think we should keep this in mind when discussing any redesign of categorization. -- SamuelWantman 20:30, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
If I did not make that clear, let me say that I don't believe anyone here is advocating meaningless categorization. I'm just pointing out that if we don't craft careful guidelines on how and when to use this feature, there's a distinct possibility that we'll get a whole bunch of mediocre categories surviving as hidden mediocre categories. Pichpich (talk) 22:51, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
First HIDDENCAT, then MAINTCAT ... this is starting to show real possibilities. May I put in a bid for CREATORCAT, an admin-added tag which can be attached to a category so that it shows up only fort the category creator? ;) --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:01, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Random thought

why not create a separate system of categories used for indexing all pages related to a major topic? and have those index categories hidden. that way we can leave the current structure intact and also archive our goal of large index categories. we have a categorization of the index categories, and a master index of all the Category:Index- also. βcommand 20:40, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

This is a reasonable possibility. Some questions and comments arise when I elaborate this idea in my head and contrast it to the current system. Let's assume that some form of indexing is created and it is parallel to our current system. For the George Washington Bridge, as I outlined above, you'd end up with something like this:
One possibility, which I broached on the wikitech mailing list is to create a new namespace for indexes, and use them for category unions. So each category can be "indexed" by adding an index link on a category page. For example, adding [[Index:Bridges]] to a category would add all the pages in that category to the index. I haven't gotten a definitive answer as to whether this is doable. I can see that this could be done with or without a new namespace. Even if category unions were not implemented, it would be nice to be able to designate a category as an index by using a new namespace. Index:New York Bridges would be more concise than
Category:New York Bridge Index.
If implemented as categories, and most of the index category hierarchy was hidden from the category display box, then we'd probably want to create a template to display it somewhere on the page, most likely above the category display box. It could start out collapsed, and then open to the first level where the topic level indexes are shown. Using the category tree tool, we can add plus signs to open up the sub-indexes so users would be able to quickly see intersection levels.
Later, if and when category intersection gets implemented, the needed fully populated parents would all ready exist.
I can embrace this way of doing things -- having two alternate arrangements side by side but I still have one major concern: While I understand how to define and populate categories for the new index system, I don't yet understand what the remaining normal categories should be. Of the current list, which remain, and which go? Do we just keep the current guidelines and practices (while depopulating everything)? My first take on this is that the index categories should show indexes near or at the top of the taxonomies (the lowest non-interesection index) and the categories should show the bottom of the taxonomies. If the are both the same, they could be listed in both places (as noted above). How would we label and name categories that belonged to both systems?
I think this idea is worth discussing and maybe trying out. This approach might make both systems more rational. -- SamuelWantman 22:10, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Simple Solution

There has been talk that the hiding of categories would cause problems for newbie readers. The simple answer to that is to change the default setting in user profiles to show hidden categories. Readers who understand how Wikipedia works would continue to have the simple choice of changing the setting to hide the hidden categories. One real question that should be addressed, and it needs to be addressed from the point of view of the reader new to Wikipedia, is how should the default setting for "Show hidden categories" be set? The current default is not checked meaning that hidden categories will be hidden. This should not be an issue for experienced users (readers or editors) they can simply change the setting to what ever they desire. Dbiel (Talk) 21:02, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Since hidden cats are only to be used for admin cats, they are hardly of visual use to anyone, least of all to new users. The default not showing them is just what it should be. Hmains (talk) 02:22, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
    • There is rather a strong argument that new editors may follow these categories to find other articles to wikify, and get more interested in Wikipedia that way. For that reason, I would only support the hiding of maintenance categories (a clearer name than "admin" categories), if the maintenance tags linked to the categories, as has been suggested. Carcharoth (talk) 00:12, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
      • Of course, it's also possible that new editors will actually make things worse by diving into these categories, if they start to "put articles right" in the wrong way (I've seen this happen). But since there seems to be a consensus on this now, I'm going to be (reasonably) bold and go ahead with updating the guideline.--Kotniski (talk) 11:53, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Maintenance category policy

As announced above, I have edited the guideline in line with what seems to be the consensus reached in the foregoing discussion. I suggest that any further debate of this start here.--Kotniski (talk) 13:16, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

From what I can tell the direct use of the magic word in categories is not desired but rather the use of the following template: {{hiddencat}}
Additionally it appears that maintenance categories related to uncat are not be be hidden per discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump#technical Dbiel (Talk) 22:58, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
If an article is uncategorized, and then tagged as uncategorized, it makes sense that the "uncategorized" category should appear as a category. (What a strange sentence, but I can't think of a better way to say it!) If the uncategorized category is hidden, then an empty box appears. The "Uncategorized" category might be self-referential, but it also informs the user that there are no categories. Otherwise, the empty box looks like there's something wrong. I was going to un-hide all of them, thinking is was just a small number. But there are more than I thought, and I don't have any time right now, and for a few days. If there is no further discussion about this, could someone un-hide all the "Uncategorized" categories? -- SamuelWantman 09:49, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
There will still be a templated message on the article that say that the article isn't categorized, so I don't see why you also need a category to tell this. Rettetast (talk) 13:36, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Having it appear as "Category:Uncategorized" in a box makes perfect sense to me, and more sense than just an empty box. But if others disagree, I'll desist. -- SamuelWantman 09:23, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
I think "Uncategorized" is a good exception. Is there any real objection to this being an exception? Carcharoth (talk) 10:49, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Stub category policy

There doesn't seem to have been much concluded specifically about stub categories. Should they be treated the same way as maintenance categories (i.e. hidden, but with the recommendation that links to the category be included in the template content?)--Kotniski (talk) 13:16, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

  • I think this is a good idea, but we should have a separate magic word (such as 'hiddenstub') and the stubs should end up in a separate category (such as Category:Hiddenstubs. Why separate: the Category:Hidden categories already has 300-some members while the stubs could have many, many thousands of members. This will overwealm any attempt to manage the possible misuse of HiddenCat--which we can currently handle by visually scanning the Category:Hidden categories periodically. Misuse of the hidden stubs is less likely, as every such item uniquely has the word 'stub' in in its name so little examination will be needed. Hmains (talk) 04:11, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

This is a great idea. It is also easily implemented by adding the hiddencat magic word to {{Stub Category}}. Rettetast (talk) 13:47, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

If there are no further thoughts on this, I'm going to try and find a friendly developer who will introduce a second magic word as suggested by Hmains.--Kotniski (talk) 10:08, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I was asked by mistake (I'm not a developer) about a new magic word, but let me offer a suggestion - use the the magic word we just got; it's quite adequate. Consider, for example, Category:Accuracy disputes. All of the subcategories of that category are hidden. Someone interested in seeing all accuracy disputes doesn't need a magic word hiddenaccuracydispute to gather together all related subcategories - the master category already exists - it's Category:Accuracy disputes. Similarly, Wikipedia doesn't need a hiddenstubs category, since there already is a stubs category. The stubs category will still continue to exist when all stubs categories are hidden from readers; it will still be a central gathering point for all stubs; it's just that all the stub subcategories will have a second parent - "Hidden categories".
So - a suggestion - if there really is consensus that stub categories should be hidden (I hope that the editors who monitor the page Wikipedia:Stub and/or belong to Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting are aware of this proposal, for example, and it wouldn't hurt to post a note on the village pump proposals page, if not already done) - get a bot to take care of the details of adding the magic word hiddencategory wherever it should be placed. (Request at WP:BOTREQ.) No reason to do this manually. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 12:31, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for mistaking you for a developer (hope you took it as a compliment;) ) The point about these categories, though, as made above, is that people monitor them to check that categories aren't being hidden inappropriately. And because there are so many stub categories, if they were hidden in the standard way they would soon swamp Category:Hidden categories. The purpose of the proposed second magic word would in fact be to keep the stub categories out of that category.--Kotniski (talk) 12:38, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
My apologies for not completely reading the prior postings. I'll stick by what I said about consensus, but withdraw the larger point about a new hidden word not being needed - it would seem it is. But I do suggest that rather than finding a developer (the actual work is pretty trivial - just cloning the existing magic word - I think), that you post to the village pump proposals page, with a cross-reference to the VP technical page, and see if you can get someone via that route. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:46, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

As a stub-sorter, though I like the idea in principle, I don't see how it would work with many stub templates in practice, so I'd advise holding off on this until such time as some solution is found to the problems, particularly of double-upmerging. I'd also suggest waiting until such time as WP:WSS has had a chance to comment (I'm about to notify the stub-sorting project now... no-one seems to have done so yet!). It'd be fine on those templates which feed dedicated stub categories, but would make for difficulties for stub sorting maintenance where templates are upmerged to parent stub categories (since it would be harder to tell from the template that that was the case), and would be impossible for stub templates which are doubly-upmerged (probably close to half of all stub templates. An example of this sort of template is {{SanMarino-geo-stub}}). There are also concerns with new "unauthorised" stub templates, which are often lin ked in peculiar ways to inappropriate categories. At present, a quick glance at the template tells a stub patroller all he or she needs to know about category linking - it would become a more complex process with this scheme. Grutness...wha? 23:05, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Apologies... there does seem to have been notification, but with little explanation of how widespread an effect this would have on WSS - I'll add a note. Grutness...wha? 23:10, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
There is an option under user preferences to display hidden categories - if a stub sorter checked that box, wouldn't that solve the problem?--Kotniski (talk) 06:10, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm not really seeing the "win" in this proposal, and I can see clear downsides. Stub articles are unlikely to have "category clutter", and in the not-terribly-uncommon extreme case, can be the only categories on a stub. Suppressing them seems likely to decrease the "passing trade" through the category -- which is rather the whole point of having them in the first place. It doesn't help for this purposes that stub-sorters can "opt in" to see them, which would also have the side-effect of un-hiding the grab-bag of other hidden categories, some of which may be so for more pressing reasons.

If this could be done on a basis where the stub categories were a distinct hideable class, and where the default (at least for logged-in users) was "not hidden", I'd feel more positive about this. Alai (talk) 20:47, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Something is broken

Category:Zoologists with author abbreviations is strange and incorporates Einstein and some others with have no such cat given--Stone (talk) 21:34, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Categorical Order vs. Article Interconnectivity

There seems to be a great deal of confusion between categorical order (which is hierarchical) and article interconnectivity (which is acyclic) - even in the text of the project page guidelines. Would it not be better to separate these two things in practice? That would seem to overcome many of the difficulties mentioned here and experienced in the categories themselves.

To give an example: Does it really make sense to include an article in a category of the same name? This kind of thing would be understandable for a tag-cloud, but does it not defy the concept of categorization altogether? The guideline grants that listing an article at multiple levels in the same hierarchy is generally to be considered bad practice, but at the same time suggests that we include articles in categories of the same name. Perhaps the confusion is all mine, for I fail to see how this kind of inconsistency is supposed to help people find the information they are looking for. Aryaman (☼) 14:49, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it is all rather a mess. The category feature is often used for interlinking related articles rather than for strict categorization, which is in any case done according to different philosophies in different places in the encyclopedia. I believe there are attempts under way to overhaul categorization, as described in some of the very long discussions above (any news of recent developments, anyone?)
I don't see the objection to having articles in categories of the same name, though, assuming such a category does have a reason to exist in the first place. What seems strange to me is the opinion that putting an article in its eponymous category should exclude that article from all other categories of which that eponymous category is a member/"subcategory" (i.e. if Paris is in Category:Paris and Category:Paris is in Category:Capital cities then the article Paris should be excluded from Category:Capital cities). This seems to be overapplication of rules which serves no useful purpose. But the problem is perhaps that the software forbids distinction between subcategories and member categories.--Kotniski (talk) 15:34, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I think a workable solution (requiring no software tweaks) is to make full use of the layout of the category page itself. There are four main parts, as I see it:
  • Description: Manual; Should describe the intent/organizational principle of the category. Should also be used to direct to eponymous articles (instead of having them included in the category itself). See Wikipedia:Classification for possible examples/styles of direction/organization.
  • Subcategories: Automatic; Lists all subcategories inluded under the category.
  • Pages in category: Automatic; Lists all individual articles included under the category.
  • Categories: Manual; Should list all higher-order categories under which the category is included. Could be highlighted by receiving its own heading (which would force a ToC, aiding navigation).
Regarding your Paris example: If one were to use the Description section appropriately, Paris would be included in Category:Capital cities by virtue of its being at the top of Category:Paris. (Btw, why doesn't that cat exist?) Do you see what I mean? Aryaman (☼) 16:04, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
No, not really... Putting Paris in the description section of Category:Paris won't cause it to appear on Category:Capital cities. --Kotniski (talk) 16:27, 25 March 2008 (UTC) PS Just

checked - turns out it's Category:Capitals.

I don't see any good reason why it should appear on Category:Capitals - given the fact that there exists a more appropriate subcategory for it (in this case Category:Capitals in Europe - a page which, in my opinion, makes perfectly clear why the current system is not working: the second half of the page is almost entirely redundant when the adequately developed category pages - such as Category:Athens, etc. - are taken into account). That's my point. There is no need to have these pages listed twice; all we have to do is use the system in the way it way (presumably) designed. Aryaman (☼) 17:57, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
All right, now I think I understand you. So the disadvantages I see with this approach are: (1) on a category page containing a few eponymous categories as members, you get two separate alphabetical lists - one of so-called subcategories, one of category members - which for browsing purposes ought to be one single list; (2) the article page doesn't have direct links to the categories which would normally - in the absence of an eopnymous category - be considered relevant to that article (random users have to guess to click where it says "Categories: Paris" in order to navigate European capitals).--Kotniski (talk) 18:21, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Good points. The only solution I can see involves forcing a split between 'member'-style and 'subcategory'-style categories. But, the more I think about it, the more it seems that any such effort needs to be limited to a specific topic - like that normally covered by a specific project with a relatively small and cohesive team - and attempted there. Wikipedia as a whole is far too large to attempt weeding out the cat-system as a whole. I'll stop bothering you folks here and see what can be done closer to 'home'. Thanks for the feedback, though. ;) Aryaman (☼) 19:59, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
The problem is, and always has been, that the meaning of placing an article or category X into a category Y is not precisely defined (other than in the obvious sense that "some user has put X into category Y"). At one level this means categories are effectively tag clouds. The fact that many categories exist in hierarchies is not exactly accidental since the name of the feature sort of implies a taxonomy, however without any sort of control over its use categories have effectively become "collections of related things". I'm not at all saying they're useless, but if you're looking for well defined semantics (or even consistency) you won't be finding it here. Someday there may be a semantic Wikipedia, until then expect ill-defined inconsistency. -- Rick Block (talk) 00:39, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Hiddencat Usage Instructions

Could someone adept with technicalese please update {{Hiddencat/doc}} and Category:Hidden categories with the recommended usage, with examples. Thanks :)

(I was trying to determine whether Category:Aircraft without specifications was meant to be hidden, or if there's some cascading thing going on that needs to be applied, or even a suggestion on how to help out, but couldn't find a good synopsis quickly..) -- Quiddity (talk) 18:09, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

City vs City, State

Wondering if anyone wants to hash out a naming convention regarding city categories. So far we have some as "foo of city", some of "foo of city, state", and everytime one comes up for renaming at CFD it seems to have a different outcome. Some consistency would be nice. --Kbdank71 20:57, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Shouldn't we be following the main article in essentially all such cases? I'm not saying these are necessarily infallible guides (many of the US cities seem to me to be oddly "over-disambiguated"), but certainly I can't think of a reason for the categories to differ from them. Alai (talk) 21:15, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
As long as the category contents are for the city, then yes, we should follow the article name. However jumping to the conclusion that it only contains articles about the city will quite often be an error. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:15, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
The question posed was about "city categories". Alai (talk) 22:42, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Right, I've seen that argument. Do not rename Category:Widget factories of Albuquerque to Category:Widget factories of Albuquerque, New Mexico because of the factories that are in the "Greater Albuquerque area". My question is this: So what? Category:Widget factories of Albuquerque, New Mexico doesn't assume that it doesn't include the "Greater Albuquerque area" any more than Category:Widget factories of Albuquerque does. In fact, assuming that Category:Widget factories of Albuquerque includes the "Greater Albuquerque area" is probably the error. The rename is not saying "We're now just accepting widget factories in the prescribed city limits of Albuquerque, all other articles must vacate", but rather "This category is specifically for the Albuquerque in New Mexico, not any other Albuquerque in any other location, no matter how great or small (and if it wants to continue to encompass the greater area, so be it)". --Kbdank71 13:18, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
That was the consensus. However in several of the last renames, several editors clearly stated that after a rename, everything not in the city needs to be removed since that is not the correct category. So consensus has changed. This issue needs to be cleared up. Either the city categories cover the surrounding areas or not. Right now there does not appear to be any consensus that they do. Hence the problem. If you think there is consensus for this, then let's update the guideline to make this clear so that we can stop waisting time. If the consensus does not exist, then we need to use area and city categories. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:17, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
If the purpose of the category is to correspond to some different area, then we should follow the name of the article corresponding to that scope. If there's no such article, I'd be strongly inclined to presume that it's not, in fact, a very good scope. Whether the scope of a "city" category is as precise as the city limits may often be questionable, but if it's going to be markedly and confusingly different, such as a well-recognised "Greater <city>" area, or a USCB-defined MSA, etc, there generally ought to be a distinct article, and a distinct name for the category to follow. I see no bearing that the (over-)disambiguating by state would or could have on this. Alai (talk) 05:02, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Live Music Archive category

I would like to propose a category listing all bands who permit their recordings to be placed on the Live Music Archive. Here is a list. What can we call this? Does anyone agree? Tenacious D Fan (talk) 19:44, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

New category added - opinions please

Hi. I've created a new category - Category:Satellite operators. The rationale for why I thought it was necessary is on the categories' talk page. Before I spend too much time on adding articles to the category etc., can I have some feedback on whether the consensus is that the category is suitable, in need or redefinition, or just plain not needed :-) Cheers. CultureDrone (talk) 19:03, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

To link to a category, use the following mark-up: [[:Category:Satellite operators]], which produces: Category:Satellite operators. The category looks fine to me. Carcharoth (talk) 21:48, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Eponymous categories (topic categories)

This has no doubt been discussed many times before (including a short distance above on this same page), but we need to do something about the way we handle these "eponymous" categories (basically the same as the "Topic Categories" of Sam's proposal). I can't see any really satisfactory consistent way of dealing with them without asking for a software improvement. Basically the issue is which categories the topic category ought to be placed in, and which the corresponding article should be placed in. I notice that different policies on this are used in different parts of Wikipedia, and none of them give totally satisfactory results (either categories are unnecessarily duplicated, or else either articles or topic categories are missing from their natural categories).

So what I propose asking the developers to consider is something like this: define a way of mapping an article to a corresponding topic category (e.g. by some variation on the [[Category:...|...]] syntax). On the topic category page, as well as its own parent categories, show (separately) the categories of the mapped article. Meanwhile in all category pages, on the list of member articles, next to the name of any article which is mapped to a topic category, include a button linking to that category. And at the same time, maybe introduce a more general syntax for placing a category in another category as a member, not as a subcategory (causing it to be listed among the member articles, not among the subcategories).

The policy would then be to place articles in their natural categories, and topic categories only in categories of categories. Everything would show up in the appropriate place, and information would not have to be entered in duplicate to achieve this. We would also have the ability to distinguish in general between member categories and subcategories (which would be useful in the case of categories of categories, although that's a separate issue).

Thoughts?--Kotniski (talk) 09:16, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

After thinking about categories for over 3 years now, my thought is that they need an overhaul. The problem is, and has been, that there is not a consensus about what categories are, what functions they should have and what functions they shouldn't have. Perhaps, what is needed is some discussion about the big picture. Should categories be a system of classification? a system of indexing? a system for browsing? a way to do database searches? It seems to me that many of the people who spend time categorizing are more concerned with classification (where articles belong) than with browsing (where articles should be found). Since this is a wiki, we have let things evolve on their own, and this has led to people working at cross purposes. On top of this, the wiki software has not been friendly to categorization work -- there is no history and things cannot be easily reverted. The current system could work sufficiently if we could all agree that categories should be optimized for classification, indexing, browsing or searching, but it cannot be optimized to handle all these goals. I have stopped actively creating and populating categories because of the frustration wrought by these insufficiencies.
So perhaps an entire new system needs to be designed. If so, we should be clear on what we want it to achieve and create clear criteria that any such system needs to fulfill. It might not be Categories that fulfill all the criteria we create, but something different or a combination of features. -- SamuelWantman 06:26, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
And there's not even a consensus that there need to be a consensus on any of these things. I share your analysis in terms of dissatisfaction with the amazingly ad hoc status quo, and the desirability of something much more systematic. However, the realities of the wiki process, and in particular the tendency of "topic ownership" to win out over any sort of global standards and consistency, makes me more than a little skeptical as whether it's an area that one is likely to get much traction in, compared to the considerable effort involved. Alai (talk) 06:48, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not actually so totally pessimistic (at least, not yet). Agreed, it can sometimes be hard to get anything changed on Wikipedia, but on other occasions it turns out to be surprisingly easy (like with the hidden/maintenance categories thing, which I never expected to happen so fast and with so little community resistance). I think that if a few more software improvements were introduced (like the one I'm proposing here, and like the intersecting categories thing, if work is still being done on that) then categories could be made to work in a useful and fairly consistent way. Not necessarily optimized for any single goal, but working well for a number of purposes. --Kotniski (talk) 09:28, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Some features would be helpful, but it seems that for anything more than "tagging" you really need to be able to keep a history and be able to watch and revert changes. Imagine what articles would look like without histories, watch pages and reverts. Considering that these are missing from categories it is quite amazing that they are in as good a shape as they are. I don't think they can be much improved without adding those key "wiki" features. Perhaps, as an alternative, we could start to systematically define and approve categories and their taxonomies with the stated goal that all undefined and unapproved categories would be deleted after a certain date, and afterwards all category taxonomies would need to be "preapproved". I proposed something like this at one point and it was not received well. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, what I'm pointing out is that the status quo is about as good as it can be considering the technical limitations. If we want to move past those limitations, we should have a very broad discussion about our goals. The technology that runs this wiki is very much responsible for its strengths and weaknesses. The decisions that are made and the design of any upgrades will have huge impact on the policies and practices that result. In a sense I am saying that the we need to put the cart in front of the horse and steer it in the right direction. -- SamuelWantman 01:13, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
  • "Meanwhile in all category pages, on the list of member articles, next to the name of any article which is mapped to a topic category, include a button linking to that category." - amazingly, I suggested something like this recently (before reading this). See here: "ie. Have a softlink [to the eponymous category] appear automatically next to the article name." I think this would solve the "problem" of eponymous categories overnight, though there would still be the problem of where to categorise them. Carcharoth (talk) 15:00, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Yep, looks like we're on the same wavelength. As for where to categorise the eponymous categories, if my suggestion were adopted, then they would only need to be placed in appropriate "categories of categories", such as Category:People categories or subcategories thereof. For that purpose it would help if it were possible to add a category to another category as a member rather than as a subcategory, but when I proposed that on Bugzilla it was quickly shot down by a developer.
I think we should discuss and develop here a comprehensive proposal about category-related software enhancements to take to the developers, based on our various ideas. Maybe we could even get a developer or two involved in the dialogue (or maybe there's a better forum for such purposes?) It's unfortunate that there seems to be this divide between the WP community (in fact between the various language WP communities as well) and the developer community.--Kotniski (talk) 08:45, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Which cat?

I don't know what to categorize List of Elena Paparizou awards as. Grk1011 (talk) 21:40, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Standard work

I'd like to see the above turned into a Wiki category. Every known text or study considered to be such should be classified as such on Wikipedia. Thanks for any help. By the way, the above is currently under consideration for deletion as a mere definition. I happen to oppose. Any views on the matter, for or against, will be more than welcome - by me at least. --Ludvikus (talk) 00:48, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

The biggest problem with the article, Standard work is that of original research It needs to have some references. As such it really is not possible to create a category for it. Dbiel (Talk) 01:28, 25 April 2008 (UTC)


Am I right in saying, that in articles at the bottom, categories should be listed as 0 to 9; then going from A to Z? I am pretty sure this has been mentioned somewhere before, but I just wanted clarification. So just as an example, instead of it being:

[[Category:Japan]] [[Category:1989]] [[Cateogry:Animals]] [[Category:Water]]

in an edit box, it should instead look like:

[[Category:1989]] [[Cateogry:Animals]] [[Category:Japan]] [[Category:Water]]

Am I right, or am I talking dribble? :)) D.M.N. (talk) 17:50, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

No, I think it's generally agreed that catetgories should be ordered by importance and logic rather than alphabetically.--Kotniski (talk) 18:48, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
There is a discussion about this higher on the page. -- SamuelWantman 19:57, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. There needs to be a proper consensus on this though, so people are not left confused. D.M.N. (talk) 20:07, 28 April 2008 (UTC)


The current guideline on whether to include subcategories on articles is majorly at odds with the whole concept of depopulating large parent cats. For example, there will be many geographical features that go beyond one subdivision of a country, say, where each subdivision has a "Geography of Foo" category, so there will be many items at the national level leading one to follow the rote if, then instructions to put subdivision specific articles at the national level and at the subdivision level. This is what is done in the Italian WP for Italian comuni (municipalities) - they appear in the provincial, regional and national categories. Does that make them easier to navigate? Not sure, but if we did likewise in the US, every town would be in its county, state, and along with a few hundred thousand others at the US level. If we believe that specific and narrow categories aid navigation and ponderously large categories hinder it, we should make the default: don't duplicate. I can see the argument made at the subcat page, that a casual reader would not know to look under a subcategory, because he or she didn't know whether so-and-so-actor won an Oscar or not. Most readers access categories first through articles, so if so-and-so-actor were in the Oscar subcat and someone wanted to find non-winners, accessing the Oscar winners cat will show the obvious parent sticking out for the user to find the rest of non-winning actors so duplication saves one click and really doesn't aid navigation. Same for most of the other categories: articles should be put in the narrowest category that applies because navigation in categories with thousands of entries is basically not possible. I think the page ought to be updated to reflect this. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 02:08, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Isn't this already covered in WP:SUBCAT? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:30, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
This is coverd by WP:SUBCAT. I don't know about other people, but I use categories to search for things that I have forgotten the name of. So small categories can make this task much more difficult. If for example, I don't know the nationality of an actor I am looking for, I won't be able to find him unless I look through dozens of subcategories. What I fail to understand about the objections to large categories is why they bother people if you also have the option to select a smaller subcategory for browsing? Also, see the next section for another reason why we need larger categories... -- SamuelWantman 07:29, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Subcategorization and the "secondary categorization rule"

Confounding Wikipedia:Categorization_and_subcategories#Secondary_categorization_rule reads:

When an article is put into a subcategory based on an attribute that is not the first thing most people would think of to categorise it, it should be left in the parent category as well.
This includes articles placed in ethnic subcategories within national menus, for example articles in Category:African American baseball players should also be left in Category:American baseball players.

How am I supposed to know if an attribute is "not the first thing most people would think of to categorise it?" Why would it be likely that someone would think of Hank Aaron as an American baseball player, but not as likely that someone would think of him as an African American baseball player? Isn't it more likely that he is thought of as a baseball player in general than any national or ethnic subcategory? Is someone from Los Angeles more likely to be though of as someone from Los Angeles, someone from California, or someone from the United States? Or just someone? This is an impossible and counter-intuitive rule as it asks us to 1.) deliberately create redundant categories, 2.) based on something that seems virtually impossible to know in almost all cases. -Justin (koavf)TCM☯ 07:54, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

You've hit the nail on the head without realising it. The secondary sub-cat rule works in the way that you explained it, but as a way of helping people find things in a category that they would expect not ordering people where to file stuff. Most people would think of him as a baseball player first and then a African-American Baseball player second. The Secondary sub-cat rule is there to address editors who feel the need to categorise things down to the Nth degree. If another editor has filed him away in the black baseball players category but he isn't in the baseball players you can invoke the secondary categorization rule and place him in the baseball category as well. Think of it as a rule that solves disputes and lets both points of view win. Hope that makes sense. - X201 (talk) 14:38, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
No That does not solve it: how do you know that he is thought of as a baseball player first and an African American baseball player second? Where is an American baseball player? Where is American? What about the teams for which he played? Is he "more likely" to be thought of as a Brave or an African American baseball player (both of which are subcategories of American baseball players; itself a subcategory of baseball players)? This is impossible to know and defeats the purpose of a subcategory, since by definition all members of a subcategory are members of the parent category as well. This doesn't solve the problem, it elucidates it. -Justin (koavf)TCM☯ 22:18, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
This issue has been a problem since the time categories were first implemented. The discussion above, about repopulating large categories is directly related to this issue. The current categorization cannot handle this situation well. On the one hand articles could get put only at the very bottom of the hierarchy. This is problematic because people may be just as likely or even more likely to want to browse through a complete list at a higher level. If all the higher levels get populated, then articles fill up with multiple categories from the same hierarchy. The current compromise was worked out to try and deal with the inadequacies of this system. I think of the current compromise as an "all or nothing" decision. If some baseball players can be found in Category:American baseball players, than all American baseball players should be similarly categorized. If there are subcategories for every ethnicity of ballplayer, and consensus is to remove articles from the parent category and only populate the ethnicities, then there would not be a duplication. The situation we don't want is to create subcategories where only some people are removed from the parent categories. I really hope we can eventually move towards a more sane system that fully populates these larger categories, and uses category intersection to find the smaller ones. This is in the works. See the sections above for more details... -- SamuelWantman 05:42, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Removing a hidden category from an article or talk page.

Hello, I need help removing a hidden category. A while ago, someone placed Talk:Crush 40 into Category:All articles that may contain original research, which is a hidden category. I have a feeling it was a couple of months ago, when the article did have this problem. Since then, the article was cleaned up and even passed a GA nomination, which states that articles cannot have original research to pass. When I found the category this morning, I couldn't figure out how to remove it. I'd like some help with this, because it really does not belong in that category anymore. Red Phoenix flame of life...protector of all... 14:08, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Done It came from {{or}} in a comment. Ugh. -Justin (koavf)TCM☯ 23:41, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Category intersection update

I recently updated the project page with instructions for using Search to perform category intersections and category unions. (I'm not sure how long this feature has been available in Search, and it makes me wonder how many other undiscovered features there might be!) The current version available by using Search has some major drawbacks;

  • The results are not displayed like a category page.
  • The results are not alphabetized.
  • Articles categorized by using templates (or anything transcluded) will not be found by searching.
  • Subcategories and articles are displayed intermixed.

I saw (Wikimedia CTO) Brion Vibber this past weekend, and had a good conversation with him about the future of categories. He seemed very clear that a better version of Category Intersection and Union is coming. He thinks it will initially take the form of dynamic page lists, which will be able to post queries on any page. There has already been an extension that does this for quite some, but it has not been implemented on Wikipedia for technical reasons. Brion said that he expects that a new version of dynamic page lists will be made compatible with Wikipedia. This feature will make it possible to create pages that look like categories, using intersections and unions, without having the articles actually be in those categories.

There are basically two ways to make this feature work with categories. We can have very narrowly defined categories (like we have now) and use category unions to get larger groupings, or have very broadly defined categories and use category intersection to get the smaller groupings.

Both Brion and I think that ultimately we will want to have large broad categories. Here are the reasons why. Let's say you are looking for a category intersection for two traits that have not been intersected in the current system, perhaps because the result is not considered a notable defining characteristic, or some other reason considered an overcategorization. For example, we don't have Category:LGBT Buddhist actors. If you want to do this starting with our current categorizations you would first have to create the union of all the articles in the subcategories of Category:LGBT actors and intersect this with the union of all the articles in the subcategories of Category:Buddhists. It is already possible to do these queries, but since most categories have been divided into small pieces, most of the queries that users might want to make are ponderously difficult and time consuming tasks.

On the other hand, if we have broadly defined categories, this query would be fairly simple. It would simply the intersection of Category:LGBT people with Category:Actors and with Category:Buddhists.

It seems clear to me that it will be much much easier to do these queries if we have broad categories to intersect.

From previous discussion, higher on this page, several options were discussed:

  1. We can repopulate bigger categories (I like to call them topic level categories) and delete all the smaller ones that are intersections. For example we'd repopulate Category:LGBT people, Category:Actors and Category:Buddhists and delete Category:LGBT actors
  2. We can repopulate topic level categories and leave the smaller ones as they are. If it becomes difficult to navigate from the topic level categories to the subcategories, the subcategories can be put in a new intermediate subcategory. This already is a common practice for categories with large numbers of subcategories. For example we'd repopulate Category:LGBT people, Category:Actors and Category:Buddhists and keep Category:LGBT actors. If it were difficult to navigate to the subcategories of Actors, we could add Categories:Actors (index) to hold all the subcategories.
  3. We can create new categories for the topic level categories that would be fully populated and make them hidden. In this example we'd create Category:LGBT people (all), Category:Actors (all) and Category:Buddhists (all) which would all be subcategories of the existing categories.
  4. We can create the same new categories mentioned in #3 without making them hidden.
  5. We can rename our existing categories that just contain subcategories and call them indexes, and then recycle the old name for a new subcategory that contains all the articles. For example, Category:LGBT people would be renamed Category:LGBT people (index), Category:Actors would be renamed Category:Actors (index), and Category:Buddhists would be renamed Category:Buddhists (index). A new fully populated Category:Actors would be a subcategory of Category:Actors (index), etc...

If we make the categories hidden, people are much less likely to see and use them. For the purpose of doing queries it would be easiest to just repopulate our existing categories. There is no need to delete any existing categories until we have a better functioning Category Intersection process and created or repopulated broad categories.

The difference between #2, #3, #4 and #5 is basically how categories are named, the order of the hierarchy, and if they are hidden. To illustrate:

  • Category:Actors -- repopulated to contain all articles about actors. It has just one subcategory:
    • Category:Actors (index) -- just contains subcategories.
      • all the current subcategories of Actors.
  • Category:Actors -- just contains subcategories (as it is now).
    • all the current subcategories of Actors.
    • Category:Actors (all) -- A new category to contain all articles about actors. (Hidden)
  • Category:Actors -- just contains subcategories.(as it is now).
    • all the current subcategories of Actors.
    • Category:Actors (all) -- A new category to contain all articles about actors. (Not Hidden)
  • Category:Actors (index) -- just contains subcategories.(Category:Actors as it is now, but renamed).
    • all the current subcategories of Actors.
    • Category:Actors -- A new category to contain all articles about actors. (Not Hidden)

I'm thinking #5 is the best option. There were several suggestions to do something similar in the previous discussions about this, but by renaming the categories we'd solve some additional problems. Having the large categories simply named would make it easier to use them for queries, and it would also likely be the category name most likely used by inexperienced users. I'd like to hear what other people think. -- SamuelWantman 08:29, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't particularly like this. First, how many (hundreds) of categories would become indexes. Where does it stop at Actors and not People? Converting them would require a great deal of work and affect nearly every single article. What I would strongly support is an intercategory search feature such as the one you listed on WP:VPPR or a special page. I understand the subcategory problem, but I'd be willing to wait for it to be effective. I also don't like how some categories would be populated and then have thousands of articles in them making them unnavigable. If I was forced to choose one of the above, it would strongly be #3, the same of yours but order reversed, as every topic category would not need to be renamed; and the category shown would not be the extrememly large one. Reywas92Talk 21:23, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I feel like we are stuck in the status quo. With a full implementation of category intersection and union, we can start replacing many of our categories with dynamically created lists. For example, eventually all of the "fooian fooer" categories can be removed and replace with categories for nationality and occupation. This means that we would not be constrained by peoples nationality when looking at occupation and vice versa. As we create more and more categories this becomes more and more of a problem. Please take a look at Wikipedia:Category intersection for more about how we might fully implement a solution. Also, I do not understand why everyone thinks a large category is unnavigable. They all have tables of contents. Even Category:Living people is navigable. If you have the choice of looking through either a big OR small category, you will pick the one most suited for you task. -- SamuelWantman 07:19, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm guessing that there is a technical reason for this, but why not just allow the search to search through subcategories? - jc37 22:30, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes, the problem is technical. Even with fully populated categories speed and server load will be an issue. This is what has prevented implementation up till now. -- SamuelWantman 07:19, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

{Start of discussion moved from Village Pump}

Well I imagine that the category "Bridges in New York City" is in the category "Bridges in New York" which is in the category "Bridges in the United States" (hence the name "sub-category"). So why doesn't someone just make the category search recursive? Kevin Baastalk 20:37, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
That would work, but would also be incredibly slow. Intersecting "Suspension bridges" with "Bridges in the United States" takes two database searches. Intersecting with "Bridges in the United States" and all subcategories would take over a hundred, and would need to deal sensibly with the incredible mess that the category hierarchy is. --Carnildo (talk) 20:47, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
This is a much-awaited feature and ought to be quite useful for a variety of things - like searching for images of certain objects under a particular license, for example. I don't think the category hierarchy ought to be flattened, but instead a technical solution should be sought for intersecting category hierarchies (based for example on a per-category cache of all articles in its category hierarchy). Dcoetzee 20:53, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) There shouldn't be any category loops, if that's what you're implying. That would contradict the definition of "category". And even if there were, one could write an algorithm that creates a list of all the loops, and then one that checks for loops when a new category is added to a category. But I highly doubt there would be any. I wouldn't imagine it would be overly deep, or overly wide, for that matter, when compared against the size of wikipedia.
And really, if this is not done then to get the same result "flat" levels would have to be mantained, and it is not feasible to expect this to be done manually, so someone would have to create a mechanism that will add an article to all the super-categories whenever its added to a subcategory. That would move the load from time-of-access to time-of-create, but it would make for some HUGE categories and some articles in lots of categories.
I know it would be slow, but I don't think it would be "incredibly" slow -- category hierarchies aren't really that deep; on average, they're pretty shallow. And I think it might ultimately be necessary, regardless.
The analogy I used to consider it was to directories/folders in a computer file system. Often times one wants to search them recursively, and often times one does. One would never think of duplicating each file link to the parent directories. Kevin Baastalk 21:04, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, there shouldn't be any category loops, but there are. Yes, the typical hierarchy isn't deep, but that doesn't mean that nobody will ever try an intersection involving Category:Contents. Category intersection needs to deal with Wikipedia as it exists, not Wikipedia as we wish it would be. --Carnildo (talk) 21:48, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
(ec)This is a useful start. m:User:Duesentrieb/CatScan can do category intersections that go some levels deep, but such searches are - as noted above - significantly slower.
I suppose that as storage continues to get less expensive and CPU cycles continue to get cheaper, one solution would be to create "invisible categories". Then if article A is in category X, and category X has parent categories Y and Z, article A could be "invisibly" in categories Y and Z as well - that is, the database would consider the articles to be the latter two categories, but they wouldn't display on article A's page. [Restricting this sort of "upward" addition of categories to (say) two levels up could reduce the number of articles that end up in large numbers of categories, while still addressing the needs of most readers and editors. And it would avoid the problem of category cycles.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 21:54, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

{End of discussion copied from Village Pump}

If there are category loops, when way to deal with this is to remove them. A script could be written to compile a list of all the loops (if there are any, which i doubt). And then they can be cut, one at a time. RE: "Yes, the typical hierarchy isn't deep, but that doesn't mean that nobody will ever try an intersection involving Category:Contents" - As/regards categories like Category:Contents - such special categories could be restricted (or be ignored/have no effect). Beyond that, the average case is what matters, not the worst case. And the average case is shallow. Kevin Baastalk 17:50, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I moved the discussion above from Village Pump. If any of the participants end up on this page, I hope you will read the longer analysis of the problem at the top of this section, and comment on the options presented. -- SamuelWantman 07:26, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

  • Category:Actors contains, as far as a search is concerned, articles in that category and in subcategories.
  • This is done by creating an additional field (flag) to show if a category of a page is actual or virtual.
  • "Actual" means "category link is visible on the page"; "virtual" means "page belongs to this category by virtue of belonging to a subcategory.
Yes, this involves programming. And it requires additional server resources and storage (which are getting cheaper all the time). What it doesn't require is (a) a massive reconfiguration of the existing category structure; (b) the permanent destruction of much of the value of subcategories and (c) retraining the entire Wikipedia community on how categories and subcategories should and should not be used, and then enforcing the change at the cost of both effort and editors who leave the project because they disagree with the rationale for the change. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 15:37, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
OPTION #6 sounds wonderful (and would also populate the category 'Actors (all)' of Option #3). My Qs about SW's options are: do the parent/index categories get populated automatically (immediately or in due course) if something is added lower down; and who decides which are 'index categories'? (Eg we have footballers, subcat of sportspeople.) -- roundhouse0 (talk) 16:07, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps I was not clear, or perhaps I'm not understanding your concerns. Except for Option #1 (which I am NOT advocating for a short term solution), no subcategories would be destroyed. So I don't understand your item (b). As for (a), some options (#3 and #4) are not massive "reconfigurations" at all, they just involve adding some more categories. The ones that do involve "reconfigurations" are mostly just renaming. So I don't see that your item (a) is an inevitable result of creating some large categories. And (c) offers a wonderful rationale for creating the second edition of "The Missing Manual"! Seriously, the current system makes more sense for categorizers than for users. Yes, often people are looking for a small set of clearly defined articles. But, I think it is just as likely (I won't venture a guess if it is more or less) that people want to browse through a larger collection of articles. I'm often frustrated that I can't browse through all actors, bridges in the UK, films, novels, film directors, Civil War battles, etc... This insistence of creating microscopic categories is an artifact of the wiki technology left over from when categories were first introduced. I am advocating that we make it possible to browse more than one way. -- SamuelWantman 20:20, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

It seems that an excellent long-term programming solution for categorization (and many other features) would be to implement Semantic MediaWiki on WP. And ideally as some kind of link between English and other language WPs. (See my vague ideas, written up some time ago, here.)--Kotniski (talk) 16:33, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

It seems like the question was misrepresented to me. Rather than saying "Bridges" is broader than "Bridges in New York City", I would say that "Bridges in New York City" is a complex or compound category, whereas "Bridges" is a simple one. Or that "Bridges in New York City" is an explicit intersection, which could be broken up into "Bridges" + "In New York City" (type + location) I think this would be a good move.

However, this wouldn't solve the problem that a search for "In America" would have to include all the states and cities. The two obvious options are :

  • recursive search - more processing power, no additional storage
  • pre-recursed categories - no additional processing power, more storage

But there is also a third option, in-between the two:

  • recursive search w/result caching.

And as regards the above proposals, (except for #6), it should be kept in mind that category:actors is probably in category:people - i.e. that the proposals would have to apply to every hierarchy level, not just the top, because people aren't always going to be searching just the top, or just the bottom. Kevin Baastalk 18:04, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Not necessarily. This only would involve a specific class of category -- roughly the plural noun categories. For example, there would be no change at all to "Film", the change would only effect "Films". It is also not clear if all of the categories within the class would need to be repopulated. For example, I think "Actors" should be fully populated, but I don't think "Entertainers" has to be. For me the distinction is whether we can expect a user to know where to go when they are browsing for something. I'll give you examples. If someone wants to browse through Civil War battles, will they know which campaign to look in? If I go to "Film directors", will they know what nationality to look in? Whenever we break up categories into smaller pieces that are not defining characteristics we do a disservice to Wikipedia readers. -- SamuelWantman 20:20, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I would like to point out that the developers are struggling to come up with an implementation that will do a category intersection using fully populated categories. Suggesting alternate solutions which involve even faster servers and complications does not seem very likely to come about. So my question about #6 is how these "virtual" flags are implemented. Is this sort of like the hidden categories? Would each article be put in the larger categories (a) the same way as now by editing the page and adding a link to the category, but with the addition of setting this new flag, or (b) would all the articles in a subcategory be part of a larger one by virtue of setting the flag in the subcategory? Choice (a) isn't all that different from having a separate hidden category (Option 3). It would require more programming to implement and would function much differently for users. It might be harder to understand conceptually for editors. (b) I think this has been called "category flattening" in the past. I'd like to hear what the developers think of this, but ultimately I don't think it is needed (read on).

Conceptually, it might help if we imagine what things would be like in the future. If intersections and unions are implemented, and there are dynamic page lists that create them, then a large fraction of our current categories could be replaced with dynamically created pages. From the point of view of the user, this would look very similar to what we have now, with the exception that many more categories would be fully populated. The proposal outlined at Wikipedia:Category intersection suggests check boxes for selecting the categories that you want to intersect. So if an actor is categorized as "American" "People" "in France" "in Paris" "Actor" "Buddhist", you could select which ever you want by clicking on a check box next to each, and then clicking a button to create a dynamically created list with your selection, for example "Buddhist Americans in Paris". There is no need to keep the intersections listed on the article pages. Category pages for these intersections could be replaced with list pages that are dynamically created each time they are visited. So for users who are browsing through categories, all the current information would remain on the replacement lists. Instead of finding subcategories, the user would find (dynamically created) lists with the same information. There would be more options for those getting to categories from the article pages, as every possible intersection would be available. As we discuss the options we have now, I hope we can keep in mind and discuss where we ultimately want to end up. What we do now should be a step in that direction as well as offering current utility using search. -- SamuelWantman 20:20, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

It is difficult to visualise some of this, though the examples help. Are there test wikis where people can view the results of what this sort of thing would look like? I've supported category intersection and still do, but would really love to see working examples that can be tested and played around with, rather than mock ups and pre-selected examples that may look good but don't really tell us what to expect. Carcharoth (talk) 01:43, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I've heard that Wikinews already uses dynamic page lists. I don't know an example page to mention. The interfaces mocked up at Wikipedia:Category intersection have not been created. Flickr does "tag intersection" -- all tags are one word, so if you search for more than one word you get the intersection. I'm hoping that perhaps we can mock up sample category hierarchies using the different options under consideration and see how they look and feel. -- SamuelWantman 07:03, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Option #6

Perhaps an example would be useful. If article A is in category X, and category X has parent categories Y and Z, article A would be "virtually" in categories Y and Z as well - that is, the database would consider the articles to be the latter two categories, but they wouldn't display on article A's page. Nor, looking at category pages Y or Z, would you see article A listed; you'd only see subcategory X listed. For a database viewpoint, there would be a three records:

  • Article A belongs to category X, flag="actual"
  • Article A belongs to category Y, flag="virtual"
  • Article A belongs to category Z, flag="virtual"

For search purposes, the flags are ignored, which accomplishes "flattening" without eliminating subcategories. But when actually displaying a category page, flags are used, as noted above, to hide/ignore "virtual" pages in a category.

This option is different than having an "Actors (all)" category in a number of ways: first, it avoids the confusion of having both an "Actors" and an "Actors (all) category; second, users are searching on actual/real categories, not "(All)" categories; third, no one has to decide at what level of a hierarchy of categories the "(all)" categories will be created.

How would this actually work in practice? Let's say that someone adds category X to article B. Then multiple records would be created: one actual record (Article B belongs to category X) and multiple virtual records (Article B belongs to categories Y, Z, etc.)

If you envision categorization from the perspective of a page in a lowest possible category (there are no daughter/sub-categories), then there could be a large number of categories above it (an inverted tree). To make option #6 feasible, I think, it would be necessary to limit the number of levels that the system goes up in building records of virtual membership in categories - perhaps only 2 or 3 levels up, at least initially. That would make searching on large (upper categories) like "People" ineffective, but that seems to be the case with all of the other options.

Again, the advantage of all this is that it is completely behind the scene - it requires no "flattening", no choice of what level(s) or categories to create "flattened" categories, no new (hidden) categories (just hidden/virtual records/membership), and no changes in editor behavior/training. It's also compatible with any approach that splits up currently manually-created intersection categories ("Amerian architects", which would become "American" and "architect"). -- John Broughton (♫♫) 01:54, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

The big question for me is would this actually work in practice. Let me see if I'm understanding this correctly, All articles put in a child category automatically get added, albeit virtually, to their parent and grandparent (and perhaps great-grandparents). So does that mean that all articles in Category:Federal Reserve economists get added virtually to Category:American economists and Category:Federal Reserve and the parents of those two categories Category:American people by occupation, Category:Economists by nationality, Category:American social scientists, Category:Central banks, Category:Independent agencies of the United States government, Category:Economy of the United States, Category:Banks of the United States, Category:Interest rates, Category:Monetary reform and perhaps even the parents of those nine categories, but for now I'll stop at two levels. Likewise, Category:People from New York City also get categorized virtually in Category:New York City, Category:People by city in New York and Category:People by city in the United States along with the parents of those three categories, Category:Cities in New York, Category:Coastal cities in the United States, Category:New York metropolitan area, Category:Regions of New York, Category:People by city in the United States by state, Category:People from New York, Category:American people, Category:People by city, Category:American people by state, and Category:Categories by city in the United States. Therefore the intersection between Category:Banks of the United States, and Category:New York metropolitan area will include former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. BTW, I started from a random article. Option 6 would regularly lead to intersections returning articles that should not belong. This doesn't seem right. -- SamuelWantman 06:53, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
From what I'm envisioning, the intersection would be something like Category:Banks and Category:In New York City metropolitan area. And since Alan Greenspan is not a bank, he would not be in the intersection. If he was in the banks category, he would be removed from it. Perhaps there would be a category Category:Banking that he would be in. (and that banks would be a subcategory of.) Kevin Baastalk 00:02, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think Alan Greenspan should pop up if you intersect Category:Banking and Category:In New York City metropolitan area or if you intersect Category:Banks of the United States, and Category:New York metropolitan area. -- SamuelWantman 07:33, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I think there will be bizarre results however this is done as some editors think that, given 2 categories, one must be a parent of the other. Look at the parents of Category:Latin American and Iberian Britons - I expect we can get Geri Halliwell into Banks without much trouble. -- roundhouse0 (talk) 14:06, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and for an example from Wikinews of dynamic page lists w/category intersections, just follow any of the portal links at the top of the main page. Kevin Baastalk
The Alan Greenspan example, above, involves a mistake in the categorization scheme: Category:Banks of the United States is both about banking and about individual banks. There should be a category Category:Banking in the United States; and both Category:Banks of the United States and Category:Federal Reserve should be subcategories of that. If this mistake is fixed, then (ignoring levels for the moment) Alan Greenspan is at the intersection of Category:Unites States banking and Category:New York metropolitan area, which is where one would expect to find a person who lives in that geographical area and is involved in banking (but is not a bank).
More to the point - I had assumed that Option #6 behaved exactly the same way as all the other options with respect to what articles would fall into various intersections, except that some other options involve picking levels for (virtual or other) flattening - say, "Actors". I'd welcome any proof to the contrary, but without that, any examples of odd results from category intersections for Option #6, not present in other options, is simply because those other options would be doing far, far fewer intersections. And perhaps that's a good thing - in which case we can modify Option #6 to say that only categories marked as (say) {{SubcatsForIntersection}} would have virtual records added for articles in subcategories. Or that the other options involve lots and lots of manual decisions as to which subcategories to include.
As for Wikinews, while it's interesting, the dynamic lists being generated seem to look something like this:
category=Crime and law
Which isn't quite the same challenge as at Wikipedia, which all the levels of categorization here. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:16, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
It may be possible to get #6 to work, but that would likely involve a fair amount of recategorization, even with the addition of your {{SubcatsForIntersection}} template. The problem is that categories and their parents sometimes have a "A is a B" relationship, but often they have a "A is related to B" relationship. In many previous discussions here and elsewhere, the "A is related to B" relationship has been found to be acceptable. It adds to the richness of our categorization system. Now it is possible to clean it up, and I have even supported cleaning it up (by adding manual "See also" links instead of subcategorizing), but I want to point out that along with proposing a system that no developer has expressed an interest in creating, and that does not work with our current search capabilities, it will also need a good amount of categorization work and disruption to become functional. Options 2 through 5 would work with search as it is, would not change the relationships of any current categories, and some options do not even change the articles contained in any existing categories. Dynamic page lists WILL work with all the levels of categorization that we have, as long as they are populated. It is for this reason that I want to have populated categories that we can use with our current search capabilities and with future page list capabilities. On top of that, we'd be making our categories more intuitive. Newbies are always adding people to categories like "Actors" and "American people" and "Biologists", we wouldn't have to fight this natural impulse any more. Ultimately categories should be usable for doing searches, for browsing, for indexing broad and narrow topics as well as functioning as a system of classification. It cannot currently do all these things at the same time. With populated high-level topic categories, and category intersections being created dynamically, it could do all these things. Best of all, it would be easy to explain: Each defining characteristic gets its own category. So my question for John is, what is the advantage of keeping our strangely kludged together system which: would not be easier to browse; would not be easy to explain; adds many intersection categories that would not be needed; and isn't as clear as a system of categorization?
It is possible to implement the repopulating of large topic categories in stages:
  • STAGE ONE: we create new broad categories such as described in Option #3 and #4. They could start out hidden and named Category:Fooers (all), and at a later stage be made visible if there is a consensus to do so. As hidden categories, they would not be at all disruptive to our current system.
  • STAGE TWO: At some time in the future, after many of these categories are created, we can have a discussion about renaming them to match option #5. This would make it easier and intuitive to do searches.
  • STAGE THREE: When category intersection is fully implemented we can discuss deleting all the intersections to complete option #1. Intersection categories could be replaced with dynamic page lists. Hopefully, the user interface will make it easy to generate these lists (see: Wikipedia:Category intersection, and the pages could still be reached by browsing through categories (they would be pages instead of categories). Articles would no longer be cluttered with intersection categories, yet many more intersections could be created.
Each stage in the process would be incremental, and each would be advantageous. If I have learned anything about Wikipedia in the last 4 years, it is that we have to work with what we have, and change has to be incremental, improving things at each step. Stage one and two would be useful now as things are.
I don't want to dismiss Option 6 totally, but if we are to consider it, it needs to be fully fleshed out, and some discussions should happen with Brion and other developers to find out if it has any chance of being implemented. There are probably some daunting technical questions. Try posting on the wiki-tech mailing list, and see what type of response you get. If the developers are positive, so might I. -- SamuelWantman 07:24, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Option 6 retains one keep point, that is the ability to easily located mis categorized and under categorized articles. That's a plus going forward as long as most if not all articles are in sub categories. Vegaswikian (talk) 17:18, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Semantic categories with magic words

(moved from Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals).)

I tried searching for this idea in Wikipedia and on the web. In Wikipedia i found nothing and on the web i found a couple of academic papers that propose something similar. My idea, however, appears much easier to understand and to implement.

The current categories system in Wikipedia is already better than anything else i've ever seen in any other encyclopedia or digital catalog. Nevertheless they have a weakness - they are not semantic. They aren't so good at telling the kind of relationship between the article or its subject and the category.

In practice, categories today are used for several kinds of relationships. Let's take the city of my birth as an example:

  • Relationships of the article's subject to categories - "Moscow ...
    • ... is a: | | Federal cities of Russia | Capitals in Europe | Hero Cities of the Soviet Union | River cities
    • ... is related to: Golden Ring of Russia
  • Relationships of the Wikipedia article itself to categories - The Wikipedia article Moscow ...
    • ... is the main article in: Moscow (encyclopedic category)
    • ... is a: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since May 2008
    • ... is a part of Wikipedia maintenance project:: Wikipedia external links cleanup

I can think of a few more types of relationships, but no more than ten.

Many pages have been written about making MediaWiki closer to a relational database model. OmegaWiki seems to progress slowly in that direction, but my impression is that people who don't understand database normalization will find it very complicated. Semantic MediaWiki is somewhat similar to my proposal, but it appears to me as very repetitive and overly complicated (and its websites appear to be dead). My proposal is more natural for Wikipedia, which thrives on free-form linking and editing.

Category:Hidden categories solve this problem partially, but they are more about presentation than about meaning (although in practice it us usually used on maintenance categories.) I propose to define semantic categories similarly to hidden categories - with a magic word. The advantages of using a magic word:

  • It requires only one edit (unlike in Semantic MediaWiki, in which every capital city would have to be linked).
  • No need to define new keywords: users only need to know [[Category:]], just like today.
  • Doesn't seem to be harder to implement than hidden categories (i'm not a MediaWiki developer, but it really appears to be very easy).

I also believe that implementation of this idea it will diminish these heated arguments:

So, any other thoughts? --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 19:28, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

What are these magic words you propose? What would they do? How will they be used? What will be different? What will be the same? Sorry, I don't understand what you are proposing. -- SamuelWantman 06:13, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
First, the functional things:
What will be the same - articles would still be included in categories using the current syntax: [[Category:Capitals]]
What will be different - it will be easier for computers (and humans) to understand whether the members of a category have a relationship of article name IS A category name (Moscow is a capital city) or a relationship of article name IS RELATED TO THE TOPIC OF category name (Moscow is related to the Golden Ring of Russia).
Currently in the bottom of every page you have a gray "Categories" field which says:
Categories: Cat1 | Cat2 | Cat3
I propose that it will say:
Moscow belongs to: Capital cities | Host cities of the Summer Olympic Games"
Moscow is related to: Golden Ring of Russia
This Wikipedia article belongs to: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since May 2008
(Feel free to think of better wording!)
You can think of wildly positive implications to this simple change. It will be much easier to query Wikipedia as if it was a relational database. Currently you can do automated tasks with categories, but you are limited. There is no way for a bot to tell the semantic difference between Category:Hills of Russia and Category:Battle of Stalingrad. For a human it might be easy to tell that Mamayev Kurgan is a hill in Russia that is related to the Battle of Stalingrad. But there are many hills in Russia, but only one Battle of Stalingrad and as far as a computer program is concerned, both have many articles in them. But if you mark Category:Hills of Russia with the proposed magic word __IS_A__ and Category:Battle of Stalingrad with the proposed magic word __RELATED_TO__, then the computer will be able to tell something about it.
(Again, feel free to propose better names for the magic words!)
This is not a full solution, such as Metaweb's Freebase or OmegaWiki. It's a very simple solution which will be very easy to implement and use. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 10:56, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Looks a great idea in my opinion. Something to take to the developers at Bugzilla perhaps (though my experience is that they're not always too open-minded when it comes to category-related feature requests). In the longer term though, I'd like to see something more substantial undertaken in the semantic direction, along the lines of SemiMedia Wiki and this.--Kotniski (talk) 11:41, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Doesn't the grammatical distinction usually indicate the difference between a compound name and a group of things? I admit I can think of difficulties, such as where the same form is used for both. DGG (talk) 17:06, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Grammatical distinction is not completely consistent. Besides, it may be easy for humans to understand it, but not for computers. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 17:38, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Main article to category relationship guidelines

I would like to seek some guidance as to the criteria by which the main article of any given category should have a relationship to the subcategories the head category covers. I.e. if the Main category A consists of sub-categories B, C, D and E, then the Main article for the category A needs to cover in some substance the sub-categories B, C, D and E at least as sub-sections. Is this assumption correct? (posting in two places as was unsure where this is best posted)--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 23:25, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

This is an interesting question. I'd be interested is hearing of examples where this is the case, and examples where it isn't. I suspect that the distinctions that help organize articles into a good categories are not always the same distinctions that help organize information into a good article. Often the subcategories are individual instances of the topic, for example, films organized by year, by genre, etc... This makes sense for organizing thousands of articles about films. It may translate into into sections about film genre and film history in the film article, but it may not. -- SamuelWantman 09:21, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Categorisation of images by user

I'd like to request discussion about whether and/or when images should be categorised by user (see Category:User-created images).

I can think of two types of relationships that could be categorised by an "images by user" category:

  1. Images created by a particular user (for example, photographs taken or diagrams developed by the user).
  2. Images uploaded by a particular user, irrespective of whether they created the image (for example, logos uploaded by the user but belonging to someone else).

The latter relationship does not seem to me to be worthy of categorisation; editors who simply wish to keep track of their uploads can maintain a list on a user page or subpage. (The upload log provides a similar functionality.) The former relationship may be a more useful basis for categorisation, but images created by Wikipedia users should generally be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (assuming they are released under a free license, which most are), and there seems little reason to keep and categorise them on Wikipedia.

Some relevant CFD discussions:

Any thoughts? –Black Falcon (Talk) 17:41, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

The long standing consensus has been that categories are an encyclopedic resource created and shared by all users for the benefit of all users. Self-referential categories have existed for maintenance purposes, and were recently made hidden. The categories you describe have never survived CFD as far as I know, nor should they in my opinion. They do not fit the stated purposes of categories, which is to help general readers browse through pages based on subject matter. Many users create lists of the images they upload in their own user-space, and there have been tools that create lists of these images (I'm not sure which tools are currently working). Another big problem with these categories is that once an image is created, anyone can modify it. I often edit images that I find. Wikis are a collaborative effort. I could only imagine the first case surviving CFD if the user were to become a notable photographer, in which case it wouldn't be images created by a particular user, but images created by a notable photographer. I'm rather surprised that some of these categories have existed for as long as they have. -- SamuelWantman 09:52, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Categories for albums by producers

While some would like to see these categories banned, I would like to see them used accurately, and I'm wondering if people here have any thoughts on the matter. I feel that if an album is produced (or co-produced) by a person, we can put that album in the category. But if that album has only one song that was produced by that person, it doesn't belong in the albums produced by category. Am I right? Wrong? Doesn't much matter? If the practice is a bad one, how do we enforce it? Also see Category talk:Albums by producer if you're interested in the subject. -Freekee (talk) 02:44, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

the listing of category page links at bottom of article pages

Should be alphabetical. To try to list them according to supposed importance is utterly WP:POV. And I would like to see alphabetic listing of cat page links get mention in WP categorization guidelines for I have encountered users who list according to a supposed list of importance. There are however certain exceptions that are being met with, such as Category:Presidents of the United States links - clearly that this link is of primary importance for those who have held this office is universally accepted Mayumashu (talk) 17:58, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Alphabetizing categories has be discussed several times and rejected several times. Check the archives. -- SamuelWantman 23:45, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
It's hard to believe, given the large number of comments, but a careful check of the archives in fact turns up not a single talk entry on the matter - maybe the talk occurred elsewhere. It would be nice to see what the argument(s) against the idea have been given how clearly evident attempting to judge a cat links's importance is POV (and that if a majority of users deem a link unimportant (enough) to have here, that it can be deleted after discussion at WP:Cats for discussion) Mayumashu (talk) 04:32, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia editing in general is often about selecting and arranging information according to its importance. Opinions may differ, but that doesn't mean common sense and consensus can't be applied to reach a satisfactory result. This applies to the ordering of categories as much as to anything else.--Kotniski (talk) 10:34, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I know that there have been discussions, because I took part in many of them. Here are the mentions I found (there may be more):
-- SamuelWantman 20:38, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
If I'm not mistaken, there was also a discussion at WP:AWB about ordering. Consensus was to not alphabetize the categories when using AWB. Personally, I agree with Mayumashu. Who decides importance? Alphabetical isn't POV. --Kbdank71 20:43, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Editorial decision-making about importance, weight and order are part of editing every page. This is no different with categorization. Using the same logic, we could decide to order the sections of every article alphabetically. -- SamuelWantman 20:49, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Really grateful for you listing those links. You make a good point in that editing, as it occurs at various levels, is inherently based on POV and therefore POV can never be entirely done away with. I think though as well that most users desire too convention (I know I do). One idea (that involves a little more complexity) would be to have category pages graded on an importance scale (we could have, say, three levels) that would be maintained through discussion/nomination to change. (Then within one scale one could alphabetize the members of that set.) Assigned levels to begin with could be changed through nomination. This would systemize the editorial decision-making while establishing a compromise between mechanical alphabetic listing that ignores common sense and editing based solely on POV. (True however, isn t it that the ones that most people would care about are likely the ones most people would agree on) Mayumashu (talk) 00:10, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

(undent) have category pages graded on an importance scale - Given all the things that need to be done to improve Wikipedia, is this really, really necessary? -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:56, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I personally prefer it as going 0-9; A-Z as it looks much neather than if they were in any old order. D.M.N. (talk) 20:06, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

  • Wouldn't it make more sense to have similar categories near to each other? Like nationality or ethnicity categories together? That would greatly ease navigation. Besides, I'm not sure how any cat listing can be considered neat. It's a string of phrases. The neatest you could get is to arrange them by length. -Freekee (talk) 02:30, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Personally, when it comes to categories, there are few things that annoy me more than purely alphabetical lists. My approach is to group them thematically, putting those that deal with occupation and/or avocation toward the top, with life dates, etc. at the bottom. It's definitely an art, not a "science" with rigid rules. Cgingold (talk) 12:38, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Category naming

There seems to be a confusion about the purpose for existing of the article titles and categories.

  • Article titles and categories are not the same

The article title informs the reader about the subject of the article

The category serves to combine many articles on a similar class, attribute, relationship, function, event or other commonality between the articles it contains.

The article title follows naming conventions that deal only with its relationship to the article content expressed in standard English use of nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.

E.g. Article Little red riding hood

The category name reflects the hierarchy of its position within the categorisation scheme

Category:Female child characters in print fiction
Category:Female characters in print fiction
Category:Characters in print fiction
Category:Printed fiction

In effect the job of categorisation entails structuring the category names to reflect their hierarchical position by ideally using a single word to reflect class, attribute, relationship, function, event or other commonality contraction or expansion.

Besides that the categoriser needs to consider the fact that the English language is read left to right. This means the reader has an instinctive ability to disambiguate categories left to right from a specific term (what is being sought) to the general umbrella term (where it is found).

So, replace this

Categories follow the same general naming conventions as articles; for example, common nouns are not capitalized. For specific conventions related to categories, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (categories). Whatever categories you add, make sure they do not implicitly violate the neutral point of view policy. If the nature of something is in dispute (e.g., if an event is considered a war crime), you may want to avoid labelling it or mark the categorization as disputed. Most naming, however, is straightforward.

with this

Category naming does not follow general naming conventions of articles, but its own convention that needs to reflect the hierarchical or network structure into which a category is being created. Ideally, the category name should have as many words (except the, of, in, etc.) as there are levels of parent categories between it, and a Project root category which usually has one word. The category name should contain the most specific term referring to the subjects of the articles on the left (first position), and the most general root category word on the right (last position). Intermediary words are derived from higher order categories, arranged to suit the English reading in the best way possible to reflect category stratification rather then strict application of grammar. Do not implicitly violate the neutral point of view policy. If the nature of something is in dispute, avoid using it, or mark the category as disputed.

Comments?--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 05:55, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

New template request

Can anyone give me a hand in creating the categorisation equivalent of this template {{Maintained|{{User|username}}}}?--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 09:47, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

What's this for? --THE FOUNDERS INTENT TALK 19:01, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Special:Categories improved

This has been overhauled with the help of Brion Vibber. Check it out. -- SamuelWantman 07:40, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Articles with too many categories

I think that categorization an article in too many catgories, like over 20-25, makes damage more then good, so we should act against it, see Special:MostCategories. That brings up the question about the categories "Fauna of a country", are they useful? see for example this. Kind regards, Tigermighty (talk) 23:23, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Actually, I just nominated all of them for deletion. --Conti| 23:39, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Then, have a look at Conventions sur la faune et la flore. Thierry Caro (talk) 18:40, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Can you provide a summary of the page in English? -- SamuelWantman 19:49, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Userpage navbox

I've found this rather useful. Enjoy : ) - jc37 21:38, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

LargeCategoryTOC as in German wikipedia?

I forgot to link to my cross-post on the Village Pump -84user (talk) 04:47, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

I find large categories which have been "diffused" on the English Wikipedia rather unhelpful in that I as a reader (not editor) need to descend each subcategory looking for my chosen subject. Then I looked at the German Wikipedia and I see they use de:Vorlage:TOC Große Kategorie which allows a wonderful browsing experience. For example look through w:de:Kategorie:Brite for a British person (click Ausklappen to expand the index) and compare it our w:en:Category:British_people. Or try any country, it seems browsing with the German template is always superior.

My questions: is there a technical reason this is not done here? The German template does interwikilink to en:Template:LargeCategoryTOC, but that just gives a flat single-line navigation bar. There is also en:Template:LargeCategoryTOC2 which is a cut-down version of the German template.-84user (talk) 02:31, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

re links here on de.wikipedia for this template he's suggested.
Best guess is historical inertia and canalized mindsets coupled to earlier incapabilities in the underlying software (that has steadily improved, particularly in category support and options). That template is also available here, and is used on large categories with a lot of pages, but going with the flow (newer editors tend to categorize the way you'd like to see) and streamlining the number of categories here is the exact opposite of the en.wikipedia tactic. It probably wastes a lot of man-power too, creating multiple kinds of "shoveling the ocean with a fork sorts of tasks", as a lot of people spend time maintaining the category schema and sorting stub articles and so forth. I just spent an hour pursuing such tangles, and concluded somethings were hierarchically backwards—meaning the Right Thing was to spend even more time fixing that problem before categorizing my poor little stub article! (It hurts some days!)
  The tendency here is to add {{catdiffuse}} to such wonderful and intuitive list categories and artificially think up sub-category divisions one can disperse pages into instead of keep them together. So a Polish director named Wozolek, ends up in "Polish film directors", instead of just "Film directors" and "Polish people". I just looked into the equivalent of our Film Directors category on de.wikipedia, and a few others and see what you mean for browsing. Such would make finding someone easy as eating pie. The presentation is good for browsing and locating because the categorization schema is "simple and straightforward". There's been a background ongoing debate about "Lists vs. categories" for the four years or so I've been editing, and from what I can see the inertia in the society is to keep on with the fork(s)--since 'list categories are bad' and cause "looping" in the category schema--which schema, frankly, no one has a real handle on, as it's grown far too complex and at times self-contradictory. It, quite frequently, sometimes puts the cart in front of the horses, too—which I generally blame on the experience level and breadth of knowledge of a page's creator, which means we have to debate a better name or schema segment or section at a later date—one such finding indirectly brought me here on other business.
  That's the why, as I've seen it, but the fix is far tougher. You're essentially asking for a shift in the entire paradigm we use to structure categories and think about them. That's A LOT LIKE the circumstances of many physical scientists who had to come to terms with relativity, or quantum uncertainty or the big bang theory—such change requires a real and difficult shift in thinking modes. Even notable 'brains' like Einstein and Fred Hoyle (respectively) failed to come to terms with some aspects the "new physics", their own work product had helped create. It's true for those in any field, I imagine, for I've experienced such.
  As usual, the devil is in the details. Defining "Consensus" is tough, and more a marathon than something which is statistically rational, because "voting is evil" and people throw out slick-lipped rationales for the status quo constantly. In short, the system, such as it is, has been captured by relative handful of marathoner types that outlast others in wikipolitics discussing such minutia. They seem to have infinite free time, which makes it hard to reason with them singly or in packs <g>> Oh yes, we have our cliques problems too.
   I'm sure the ideals of the category schema such that it and all categorizations be defined and made "without any looping" are rationale—but practical and pragmatic are two entirely different qualities the inertial mindset seems to not understand or care about. Nor do they seem to understand the time cost in volunteer man-power wasted trying for a utopia that totally dissatisfies others. If I'd my way, such "natural nodal categories" would hold both the content you want as a list cat, and the sub-categories en.wikipedia's mindset has migrated to consistently with that, and looping be damned. If Physicists lists all physicists of all fields, I suspect we will have customers that find that useful. To me, the question when selecting categories is whether a reader can find something, not whether some idealistic model plan is implemented. I'm not alone, but the political cost would be time consuming. That is we should service the consumer first and always, and let the rest fit that. Good luck, hope that sheds some insight. The Germans apparently understand the KISS principle. People here instead are annoyed because a list needs multiple screen pages. Makes no sense to me. A high population in a category should indicate a good choice of categories, not be viewed with alarm and tagged with diffuse me templates. // FrankB 18:39, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that extensive answer. Yes, it seems the reason it is not done (and conversely that diffusion is almost always done) is purely social and not technical. Sadly social fixes are practically impossible to achieve.
My guess is that this is simply not fixable in the English wikipedia, the best I can think of is to request an extra template added to the "Large categories" section of Wikipedia:Categorization. Namely this one:
By the way, an edit where I added [[Category:German people]] to a biography article was undone, because it was already in [[Category:German aviators]].
-84user (talk) 04:18, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

After testing wikipedia while pretending to be a read-only "layman" user on wikipedia, I have had new thoughts, not involving any social upheavals. See Wikipedia talk:Categorization#Category diffusion overview below.-84user (talk) 18:05, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

For what it is worth, there seem to be some issues above which prompted me to write WP:ODNT a little while ago. Some long established Wikipedians, while acting in good faith, may now be beginning to hold Wikipedia back. Peet Ern (talk) 04:06, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

How exactly is it more useful to have somebody filed in Category:Polish people and Category:Film directors instead of Category:Polish film directors? There's exceptionally little need for anybody to have access to an undifferentiated-by-nationality category of film directors or an undifferentiated-by-occupation category of Poles but not a category of Polish film directors, because the research value in a film directors category is almost entirely tied to the context of individual nations' film industries. There's enormous research value in a category that groups, say, Tadeusz Konwicki with Andrzej Kostenko and Piotr Trzaskalski, but there's simply no useful reason for a category that groups them with Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme — nobody in their right mind is ever going to do a film study comparing The Silence of the Lambs with Ostatni dzień lata or Mistrz with Annie Hall, but film studies comparing the two Polish films with each other, and the two American films with each other, can and do happen.
The problem with undifferentiated master categories, quite aside from size, is that they misrepresent context by obscuring the very real cultural differences (styles, themes, film traditions, etc.) that can and do exist between film directors from different countries. And if you're going to apply duplicate categorization, how exactly do you decide where to stop? Do you add them to every category further up the tree, all the way to Category:People, as well? God, I hope not — that would render the vast majority of categories completely useless. Bearcat (talk) 20:35, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Category diffusion overview

After looking around, I now think my expressed view (about social fixes above) is a bit pointless.

There are higher level problems, a big one is that editors (myself included) easily forget that most readers want and can manage simple, intuitive mechanisms.

Back to categorisation, yes there is probably too much pointless diffusion occuring. But indexing all Men (Man), or all Women (Woman) seems best done by an automated mechanism with access to a database. It seems the German wiki makes more use of Wikipedia:Persondata than the English.

In conclusion here are some main categories found in biographical articles (unusual in bold and note the interwiki links are not logical).

Category English German Suggestion for en:
Man empty FULL INDEX automation
Woman none FULL INDEX automation
Intersexueller none FULL INDEX case by case?
Men diffused no cat leave for concept
Women no definition? no cat leave for concept
Person diffused diffused -
American people diffused FULL INDEX automation?
Polish diffused FULL INDEX automation?
1949 births INDEX INDEX Ok as it is?
Photographer diffused INDEX ?
Living people WIDE INDEX no equivalent use CatLargeTOC

"INDEX" means category has an A-Z index without the full 2-D index, WIDE INDEX means a scrolling index, "FULL INDEX" means the German-style showable/hideable two dimensional index. In FULL INDEX click 'ausklappen to see the full index.

"automation" means I think automation will one day place articles in either a fully-indexed category or in some other kind of indexable mechanism, maybe using Persondata?

"use CatLargeTOC" means from w:en:Template:LargeCategoryTOC create w:en:Template:LargeCategoryTOC2D to behave like w:de:Vorlage:TOC Große Kategorie - this should not need any social persuasion (change ausklappen to "show", of course)

"leave for concept" means leave the category for its currently defined concept -84user (talk) 18:05, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Related proposals

-84user (talk) 03:08, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

It's a feature request that has not been implemented to date, and might never be — it's been around for years with no progress on it whatsoever. It can't be applied as if it were already in place. Bearcat (talk) 20:38, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it CAN be applied as if it were already in place, because there is already the ability to do category intersection using search. If we reorganized our categories this way, it would be possible to use the search abilities to much greater advantage, and we could create a special page to make it easier for people to search multiple categories. On top of this, it would make the categorization system much simpler to apply and maintain. Many contentious categorization discussions would become moot -- they often deal with the removal of intersections. As a compromise, or interim step, we could be adding fully populated topic categories in addition to our current system, which would help facilitate the use of search to find category intersections. -- SamuelWantman 02:10, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

When is a category too large?

How large should a category be before it becomes necessary to subdivide it? 100 articles? 1000 articles? 10,000 articles? Specifically (as it has been suggested elsewhere), does anyone think that Category:Science fiction films is so large that it requires splitting into Science fiction films by decade? Any guidance on this matter would be appreciated. Thanks in advance! :) PC78 (talk) 23:15, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

I am biased. I believe categories need not be "diffused" (articles moved from a parent category to subcategories) at all. There are no technical grounds that I can see, and it infact hinders one of the stated goals ("Categories help users navigate through Wikipedia via multiple taxonomies"). See some of my ramblings above (and Wikipedia talk:Categorization#Category intersection update and in the related Wikipedia:Category intersection). However, there is strong social pressure to diffuse, it seems. Look at Category:Living people for how giant categories are perfectly suitable and can work with non-diffusing subcategories and related categories. -84user (talk) 12:13, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Define work? Yes, Category:Living people does not break the wiki, but does the average user get any value there in trying to find anything? Category diffusion, while not necessary by design, does improve the quality of categories by drawing attention to articles that need someone to look at the categories and then classify them with a correct category or additional categories. Diffusion is the only way these articles can be easily identified today. Vegaswikian (talk) 18:39, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
That use of categories sounds like what is describe in Wikipedia:Category intersection#Background under Categories are a means of classifying articles. There it explains how it makes articles hard to find. Why not use hidden categories, or administrative categories on Talk pages to perform the classifying function? It also states It would be useful to have categories fully populated at the "level of notability". Also diffusion reduces the usefulness of the Wikimedia incategory search function, such that it is. -84user (talk) 03:14, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Please note that what you're citing here is a statement of a few users' opinions about how they feel categorization should work; it is not a statement of Wikipedia policy. Bearcat (talk) 21:58, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Massive categories are technically possible, yes, but they're pretty close to useless as navigational tools. In fact, the original rationale for Category:Living people explicitly stated that it was unlikely to ever be used navigationally — its primary purpose is in the ability to click on "Related changes" to create a watchlist of recent edits to articles on living people. That is, it's basically a technical tool for editors on WP:BLP patrol, not a navigational category for users. Users aren't particularly well-served by having a single category for film directors and a single category for Polish people, with no way to see a category of Polish film directors — for any given topic, the vast majority of users are infinitely more interested in the intersection than in merged international lists that offer no context whatsoever. That is, most people want to compare Polish film directors with each other, because comparing them with each other can provide useful insight into the themes, styles and traditions of Polish cinema. Very few, if any people, would find any useful value in a list that put a Polish film director in the same group as film directors from Rwanda, Mexico, Argentina, Japan and Afghanistan but offers no context — a comparison between Polish and Rwandan cinema wouldn't hinge on comparing one Polish film director with one Rwandan film director, but on the broader Cinema of Poland and Cinema of Rwanda articles. Upgrouping may serve a particular philosophy of data organization better than the current system does, but it's not a navigational improvement to the user, because most users want to see "Polish film directors", not "all film directors anywhere regardless of nationality".
And furthermore, there's a need to control the number of categories that are being applied to most articles. In some trees, applying duplicate categorization could result in as many as 10 or 15 more categories at the bottom of an article than are really necessary. Just as an example, de:Kategorie:Person nach Ort has just 212 subcategories, while its English equivalent has several thousand, which have been subcategorized by country because they've had to be — Category:People by city in the United States alone has over 800 subcats. de:Kategorie:Kanadier has 1,433 articles, while its English equivalent has many, many times more than that, which are subcategorized by occupation because they've had to be. This isn't a criticism of de: — the number of Canadians who are famous enough in Germany or Austria to merit articles on de: is vastly smaller than the number of Canadians who are famous enough in Canada to warrant articles on en:, obviously — but one of the reasons de: can categorize the way they do, and we can't, is that the number of articles that need to be categorized is a lot smaller on de: than it is here. Bearcat (talk) 21:00, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Another example: number of Canadian film directors with their own articles on en:? About 400. Number of Canadian film directors with their own articles on de:? 55. Bearcat (talk) 21:43, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
And finally, I'd point out that incategory searching, while it may be a helpful tool in the meantime, isn't simple or user-friendly enough to be a permanent solution to category intersection searches. Bearcat (talk) 22:11, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Sorting of subcategories

I have made a proposal to change the software so that all subcats are placed at the beginning of the parent category, before any articles. So basically, subcategories will have their own alphabet that comes before the article alphabet (if that makes sense), so you won't have to click through each (next 200) to find all the subcategories. Please comment at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Sorting of subcategories. Thanks! JohnnyMrNinja 05:58, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Sub-category over-replication

I had recently created a sub-category Category:Types of military forces in the Napoleonic Wars in Category:Types of military forces. Another editor objected on the grounds that if this trend is replicated, some articles will acquire too many categories. He then requested sub-category deletion [24], so I am wondering what it is that I do not understand about this argument. Essentially he fears that others may in future create "dozens of categories for every imaginable war". This largely stems from impact on articles such as Infantry and Cavalry, and to some extent Artillery because these apply to lots of World conflicts through the ages. I had a look at other widely applicable articles like vehicle and architecture and the last solved the issue by presenting a sectional list of the different types of architecture. However, Category:Buildings and structures by type is highly sub-categorised. Just wonder if people can offer suggestions either here, or at the category deletion proposal--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 08:25, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

New template

Can anyone take a look at this discussion about the use of {{tl:GeoGroupTemplate}}. This template adds mapping capabilities for displaying where the articles in the category are located. When this is added to categories with no introduction and the likely existence of the commons template the format of the pages is off. But the real question is, is adding an 'external' mapping tool appropriate for category pages? Vegaswikian (talk) 19:30, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

What is the page "format" issue which you refer to? Is it that a "Commons" template automatically "docks" (or the Wikipedia term "floats") on the right-side of a page immediately underneath any other right-side content, resulting in a Commons template docking immediately underneath the GeoGroupTemplate? This is relatively "normal" behavior for the Commons templates, they end up "docking" on the right-side underneath either another template, picture or section heading. There are various ways to give the Commons template something else to "anchor" to. LeheckaG (talk) 20:36, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
The more of these boxes you stack, the further down into the page is the start of the actual category entries. Padding white space is added after the heading. But that could be the way Firefox does its formatting. Two is not horrible but noticeable. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:42, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Note that template {{GeoGroupTemplate}} has existed for a year. It apparently is new to an article, rather than being new. -- SEWilco (talk) 23:25, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
With regard to "padding white space", I have experienced it with the Table of Contents on article pages, so I often use TOCnestright with longer TOCs so that the TOC is shifted to right enabling the article text to "float" to the left around a TOC on the right.
I have not noticed "padding white space" on Category: pages but then I really have not looked for it and it has not been obviously noticeable. I usually am on Wikipedia with the default Monobook.css via Mozilla Firefox on Mac OS X 10.3.9 on an Apple PowerBook G4 17". So if you use a different Wiki "Skin" or customized stylesheet, a different browser version/platform, ... then you will likely see something different. So several things can possibly be done to change a Category: page appearance by either modifying the page text or by modifying the other elements (stylesheets) which affect its rendering. I will do some experiments/tests when I get a chance (I have other computers and browsers so I can try several) as well as looking at the emitted/rendered HTML/XML code to see what might be causing what you see. LeheckaG (talk) 00:21, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
The phrase "When this is added to categories with no introduction and the likely existence of the commons template the format of the pages is off." indicates the editor thinks the Commons template is supposed to appear in a specific place and doesn't like where it goes when other stuff is on the Category page. HTML gives browsers a lot of placement flexibility. Also, there are Category pages with a lot of other things on them, which sometimes cause things like the Commons template to produce some blank lines before the category lists: Category:Categories by region, Category:Universities and colleges in Ohio, Category:Players of American football, Category:Books by author. If one wants the Commons template on the line before the categories, that doesn't always happen: Category:Mass media, Category:International organizations. And there are rather big boxes which might push things around: Category:State highways in Wisconsin. -- SEWilco (talk) 03:37, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
I believe I just went through all of the Categories listed (possible I missed 1+):
I moved the WikiProject Media template from the Category:Mass media page to the Talk page.
The only one of those categories which displays "oddly" to me is the "Categories by region",

see Category talk:Categories by region#Overlay discussion which I just started there. LeheckaG (talk) 07:56, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps you should describe what you mean by "the format of the pages is off" or "oddly". All that I'm seeing is that the category table has some additional whitespace above. And that's a combination of what editors choose to display and how the browser chooses to arrange the display. -- SEWilco (talk) 19:20, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I had posted a description of "oddly" on that Category:'s talk page - what was happening was that the 2nd of (2) Commons cat templates was being overlayed by subcategory text. For me, I resolved it (see below) by replacing the (2) Commons cat templates with (1) Commons cat show2 template - which displays without dropping down into the subcategory text. I am not sure what other people see. You might be able to see what I saw there before by going to the category: page's history and pulling up an older version of the Category: page. LeheckaG (talk) 19:56, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Cropped image showing overlapping bug of Mozilla browsers up to but not including Firefox 3.0.1 - click on image (or here) to see wider screenshot
This screenshot should show what is meant by odd (but please say if it's something else). Bear in mind that not everyone has upgraded their browser yet. -84user (talk) 22:25, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I have suggested a possible cause (old Mozilla bug) and a workaround (div class infobox) there.-84user (talk) 17:36, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
"For now" I replaced your div class=Infobox effect/workaround with a more "standard" workaround using the {{Commons cat show2}} template which allows (2) to (6) Commons categories to be specified and displayed inside (1) box - replacing the (2) {{Commons cat}} templates which were there before. A "better" long-term workaround would probably be to employ the methods or techniques used by {{TOCnestright}} to have a box "dock" on the right while allowing text to "float" around it on the left. LeheckaG (talk) 17:54, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Could be a recently fixed browser bug; I'm not seeing the overlaying problem with Firefox 3.0.1. I only see that the category text has been pushed down, leaving an additional line or two of blank space on the left. But overlaying is clearly a bug and should not affect editor's efforts much. The Commons box is supposed to appear on the right, and the bug should be reported in case CSS or something can work around it. Upgrading being a workaround should be mentioned in the bug report. -- SEWilco (talk) 16:45, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

categories and namespaces

What belongs in a category? Should images go in the same category as articles? Should templates? The question has been asked, and I can't find any good guidelines governing this.

Personally, I believe that templates should not go in categories that serve as encyclopedia content repositories. Templates are a meta-construct, to aid in building content pages. They should not be viewed as content themselves. A bare template is not intended as a destination, even though it may serve as a nice index of related articles. We have overview/list/portal pages for that sort of use. Those pages may not do much more than just including the template, but oh well.

OTOH, images do serve as content (visual rather than textual), and I have no problem seeing a gallery of, say, US presidents (in Category:Presidents of the United States) along with the list of links. Putting these in a sub- or separate category just creates another (pointless) layer to drill through.

If this has all been discussed and decided elsewhere already, just point me there. ⇔ ChristTrekker 21:39, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

LGBT categories

I'm looking for anyone interested in helping review and possibly revamp the LGBT people and culture categories. See that talk page if you're interested. -- SatyrTN (talk / contribs) 15:39, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

English-language albums

A user just created Category:English-language albums, which currently has a little over 200 articles. Personally, I don't think a category like that is necessary, because if a foreign language is not listed, then it is implied to be English since its the English Wikipedia. It's the same reason that the "language" parameter in infoboxes should be left empty unless it is something other than English. Before this category gets too big, I think we should discuss whether it is necessary or not to begin with. –Dream out loud (talk) 19:50, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Sounds unnecessary to me.--Kotniski (talk) 16:38, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Adding standard description on category pages

I've been thinking about adding descriptive boxes at the top of category pages, saying what the category contains, what the parent categories are, what the relation with those parents is, what some related categories are, etc. This could be done using templates with parameters. It might be useful for both editors and readers when viewing the categories. I've created a kind of prototype at Category:Villages in Mogilno County. I know it doesn't look great as it stands - a lot more work would be needed to bring something like this into general use - but any comments on the general principle?--Kotniski (talk) 16:38, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Nice initiative. Needs to be elaborated and discussed before I can give a position though. __meco (talk) 16:59, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Not sure how I feel about this. I would oppose including the parent categories in the box since they are listed on the bottom of the page. Also pink is not a good choice since it is close to red and that's a warning color. Collapsed as the default is good. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:30, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Sounds similar to Wikipedia:Classification. -- Rick Block (talk) 00:52, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but still Classification seems not to be universally used, and what I envisage is more wordy information to make things clearer to both readers and editors. Of course the color can be easily changed - maybe we could have different colors for different types of category, but that's a detail. About including the parent categories - I would definitely mention them, even though they do already appear at the bottom of the page, because a) they aren't very visible at the bottom of the page (though in an initially hidden box I guess they aren't very visible there either); b) my main reason for mentioning them is to document the relationship between the current category and each parent category - whether pages in the category are supposed to appear in the parent category as well (usually they aren't, but in some cases - like Oscar-winning actors - they are - the difference can be specified using different template parameters). I'm going to change the templates in fact to use a single template for the whole thing, and add some functionality to demonstrate other possibilities. I'll keep you posted. --Kotniski (talk) 08:16, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
One benefit I hope to achieve from this (though it could be done independently in fact) is to eliminate certain inappropriate subcategory relationships where category A is defined as a subcategory of B even though logically it isn't a subcategory, only a somehow related category. By putting the related category in the description, you get it linked from category B's page without having to make it a subcategory.--Kotniski (talk) 08:21, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Creation of a new category

I would like to create two new categories: Category:Albums not categorized by artist and Category:Songs not categorized by artist. However, I want these to be hidden categories, and I want them to automatically place on articles that meet the criteria (like Category:Single articles with infobox field chart position). How would I do this? Ten Pound Hammer and his otters • (Broken clamshellsOtter chirpsHELP) 05:31, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

To make them hidden categories, just add {{hiddencat}} to the category page. I can't think of any way of creating them automatically, though, except by using a bot.--Kotniski (talk) 09:10, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Another proposal to tidy up categories

Some time ago on this page I remember discussing "Sam's proposal" to rationalize the way catgories are used. Discussion went off down various avenues and the proposal no doubt went the way of all good ideas; but since nothing has been done in the meantime, allow me to present a "new" proposal which is quite similar in concept to Sam's as I remember it, but may this time actually result in something being done. So here goes.

Proposed categorization rules

(NOTE: These rules are to be interpreted as ideals to be aspired to, not as something which has to be implemented across the board right away.)

  1. Each category to be designated either a "topic category", containing articles related to a specific topic, or an "index category", containing articles on subjects of a particular class.
  2. No topic category to be a subcategory of an index category (that would usually be illogical). In particular, don't make category A a subcategory of category B just because category A is named after something (A) which belongs as a member of category B.
  3. No page to be placed directly in a category if it is also (directly or indirectly) in one of its subcategories, unless that subcategory is designated as a "distinguished subcategory" (better name required; I mean things like Oscar-winners among actors).
  4. Information about the intended content of categories and the above-mentioned "designations" to be placed on the category page itself, along with links to any connected pages and categories that don't logically belong as subcategories or parent caetgories (see my template suggestions a few threads up).

I could go into more detail but I'll pause to await reaction. My overall desire is to make the category system reasonably uniform across WP (which it is not now, particularly with regard to point 2.) and semantically meaningful (which again it isn't everywhere). I know some people consider this impossible, but we can still move in the right direction, even if we remain a long way from perfection.--Kotniski (talk) 18:03, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Renaming categories

Category:Theatres in Houston, Texas needs to be renamed to Category:Theaters in Houston, Texas - How do I do this? WhisperToMe (talk) 23:04, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

The directions are here. However I suspect that this will not succeed since this an accepted spelling and used in most categories. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:15, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
No, it should succeed. As per WP:ENGVAR we should use American English with American subjects and British English with British subjects. WhisperToMe (talk) 15:55, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Dots instead of |

I would like to see dots such as "•" or similar to replace the "|" that seperates the categories, for aesthetics reasons. It is much easier on the eyes, as the wouldn't be any confusion between 1s, Is and so forth. Many templates now use dots instead of |'s so any opinions.

I don't know if this is the right place for this, and if not redirection would be appreciated.  The Windler talk  10:40, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I re-posted at WP:VP. Don't worry.  The Windler talk  09:48, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

stubs and uncategorised

when patrolling new pages i occasionally see pages whose only "category" is "stubs" (see Remote Data Exchange Protocol as an example), my inclination is to tag it with "uncategorised", so as to flag it to those who enjoy categorising articles but as it has a "category" that seems wrong too. could someone clue me in as to current policy/preference? thanks Mission Fleg (talk) 04:41, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

While the stub templates do create a category, it is only temporary. I see no problem either adding appropriate categories or tagging it as uncategorized. Vegaswikian (talk) 06:06, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Coastal and port cities and towns – after the deletion review

This is the place for discussion following the deletion review close on September 30, 2008

I was the original nominator of renaming (See Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2008 September 14#Coastal_and_port_cities_and_towns) these categories. My intention was to make a smoother integration with the general settlements hierarchy and between the Coastal and Ports and harbours hierarchies.

It is fine to have for instance Category:Coastal towns in Australia or Category:Port cities in Canada. What I want is that these should belong to Category:Coastal settlements in Australia and Category:Port settlements in Canada. I.e. the settlements categories should be mandatory, but subordinate structures hinging on types of settlements should be added freely. since Port settlements is unidiomatic, and according to some ambiguous, I propose to change this term to Portside settlements. __meco (talk) 07:28, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Neither "port settlements" nor "portside settlements" make any meaningful sense in English. Also, calling any major city a "coastal settlement" makes something of a mockery of the encyclopaedia - some might argue it is political correctness gone mad, that we can't refer to cities in case we hurt townspeople's feelings or something. The category for example Category:Host cities of the Summer Olympic Games has never been argued, nor would it be. Orderinchaos 05:22, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I wonder why the main point of my argument continues to elude you and if I'm really that awful at presenting my ideas. Neither here nor in previous discussions on the deletion review page or on Australian Wikipedians' notice board do you even touch upon the reason I give for wanting to make these changes but instead you keep harping on these suggested names which you find so abhorent as if they were the centrepiece of the proposal, and instead of even attempting to be constructive you seem rather intent on mocking the whole initiative – again, with continually only addressing an incidental point which has no importance whatsoever to the core of my argument. __meco (talk) 06:56, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Given they were the names these things were actually changed to, I think the proposal can stand or fall on the basis of them. The purpose *does* entirely elude me, as I see no case for the existing system not working, which is the usual reason why a major worldwide change would be proposed. At present, it appears to me as a (flawed) solution looking for a problem. Orderinchaos 08:43, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
The incentive for initiating this process has all along been to harmonize category hierarchies hinging on settlements located near bodies of water, be those lakes, rivers or oceans. In the plain settlements hierarchy Category:Settlements is the top category and a diffusion based on size (cities, towns, villages basically) and location derives from that (see Category:Settlements by country) . When adding a third property, such as location next to a waterbody, it is important to the flow and coherence of the category structure at large that these settlements (or you may want to use communities as your preferred generic term) are categorized according to a scheme which is analogous and compatible with the existing dual property structure. __meco (talk) 06:56, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
In what way, though, is the current system deficient? Orderinchaos 08:44, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Discussion on gender metadata

Please see comment I made here about obtaining and recording gender (male/female) metadata. Opinions would be welcomed. Thanks. Carcharoth (talk) 02:07, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Maintenance Categories

Were maintenance categories always hidden? I thought I used to be able to see them but maybe I was wrong. --DerRichter (talk) 06:21, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Hidden categories that existed before the feature was implemented would have been visible, so yes, many maintenance categories were visible. I think hidden categories got switched on around February 2008. It will have been announced in the Signpost back then, and I'll link you to two of the early discussions: 1 and 2. Those links, and the original Signpost announcement and mailing list announcements should also be summarised somewhere. Here we go: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-02-25/Technology report and wiki-tech mailing list post from Tim Starling. Carcharoth (talk) 11:25, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
And just in case you didn't realize, you can still see them if you want, by selecting "Show hidden categories" in your user prefs.--Kotniski (talk) 14:01, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! --DerRichter (talk) 21:46, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Hidden categories and what is acceptable

For some of the background, please see the comments made here, here, and here.

Some of the questions I'm hoping can be settled here:

  • (1) Have there ever been any discussions over hidden categories. I guess most of those debates would take place at WP:TfD? It would depend on whether all hidden categories are applied by templates? I see we have Category:Hidden categories, which says we have 2,257 hidden categories.
  • (2) In case anyone missed the debates when hidden categories were introduced, I've summarised here (section above this one) where the original discussions and announcements were.
  • (3) For the general point about categories used to tag articles with data, or rather to tag the data contained in the article, please see Wikipedia:Metadata and Wikipedia:Biographical metadata. See also the system set up at Category:Template computed age and the two related categories.

My question here is whether it is acceptable to use hidden categories to tag data in articles, even if the consensus is that they are not suitable as normal categories ("defining characteristics")? In part, this is a desire to increase the use of hidden categories to see if we can approach a system in which Wikipedia:Category intersection becomes usable. A lot to discuss, but I'm going to leave a few notes and try and get discussion started on this. Carcharoth (talk) 14:42, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Our underlying question has to be how we make Wikipedia information more accessible to readers. In many cases, categories have been deleted with claims of "overcategorization", the fear that adding too many categories will overwhelm readers with "category clutter". There are many cases where strong defining characteristics associated with an article have been deleted as categories, depriving readers of the use of these structures for navigation purposes. While hidden categories are primarily used for behind-the-scenes purposes, structures that would allow other defining characteristics to be categorizable without cluttering up the bootom of articles may be an effective antidote to simplifying searching and navigation for readers, while addressing the concerns of those who focus on the overcategorization "problem". Alansohn (talk) 15:56, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I think it would be a good idea to use hidden categories when there are concerns of overcategorization. A good example would be the "Fauna of X" categories, see Common Pipistrelle for an example (which is currently the article with the most categories). It might be useful to have all these categories, but it seems pretty pointless to me to list them all in various biology articles. --Conti| 16:09, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Either a category is acceptable or not. We shouldn't have a "second tier" of categories. WP:BURO, for one thing. (WP:CON, for another.)

That said, I can see value in year-based statistical categories being hidden.

There should be some very clear guidelines though if we start this.

Such categories could easily run into the problems of multiple/subjective/arbitrary intersections. Among many other problematic overcategorisation.

Would someone like to come up with a general list of what kinds of categories that might be suggested to be acceptable statistically? - jc37 13:20, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

I see that the question here is whether we should use hidden categories to add additional meta-data to articles. So we don't clutter the category list footer box at the bottom of the pages. And so we can have the liberty to add more (perhaps less important) categories. My initial feeling is that it sounds neat. But I need to think more about that to have a clear point of view.
But since I use hidden categories for my behind the scenes work I thought I should share how I use it there:
I make templates and meta-templates. Sometimes we discover that people often feed the wrong parameters to some template or in other ways use it wrong. The template might be used on say 300,000 pages so we can't manually check all pages that use the template. So we add some if-cases at the bottom of the template that adds an error reporting category to the page if the template is used wrongly. For instance, take a look at Category:Wikipedia shortcut box first parameter needs fixing or Category:Wikipedia message box parameter needs fixing.
I usually make such categories hidden at first. That gives me a chance to take a look at the reported cases without lots of worried users coming and asking why their pages have a strange new category. That means I can fix the worst cases myself. And often the if-cases report errors of a kind I didn't even expect. Then I can write up a good explanation at the error category page, to instruct people what kind of things usually needs fixing and how to fix them. Then I "go live" by making the category visible. Then when users see the Category:Wikipedia shortcut box first parameter needs fixing and click it they see an explanation on that category page that almost always has an explanation covering their specific case. (I just love to sit back and watch how the number of pages in the error category shrinks because people are fixing the errors! :)
And of course, sometimes we have been lucky and there have been so few cases that we didn't even need to go live, instead we just manually fixed the cases that were reported. And sometimes some of the errors are of such a simple nature that we can have a bot work through the category and fix most cases, before we make the category visible.
So yes, sometimes it can be valuable to be able to hide a category.
Oh, and if anyone gets inspired to use this technique, feel free to consult me first. Since there are a number of additional tips and tricks worth knowing when doing this. (I guess I should write a how-to guide about this some day...)
--David Göthberg (talk) 15:27, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Can you explain a bit more about meta data? I suspect that many of us may not be well versed on how this is being used on wikipedia. I guess the bottom line question is how useful would that be for providing finer classifications for assorted information that may not be best suited to using categories. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:25, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Vegaswikian: "Meta-data" is "data about data". For instance, the article is the data, and we tag that article with extra information in the form of tagging it with categories. Thus the categories are information about the article, that is "data about data" and thus meta-data. Meta-data is usually used to find information, and the category system does just that, it helps you find articles on some subject or with some property.
The question is how many categories should we add to articles? That is, how much and how fine grained meta-data should we add? We should of course have categories for the more important and more used pieces of information. But the more categories we have the more things we can search for and find. (Through traversing the category system and using the external tools now available to do category intersections and other nifty stuff.)
One problem is that probably all of us think that too many categories in the category footer box at the bottom of the article looks bad, and makes it hard to see the more essential category names down there. But how many categories each person accepts down there of course varies widely. But if we make the "less important" categories hidden, then they don't clutter the category footer box, and then we can perhaps accept more categories. Of course that has the drawback that people won't know about them and only users who enable the setting "show hidden categories" in their preferences will see them. Or if they look in the page code or if they traverse the category tree. But still, that would be categories that otherwise would not be there at all.
A related problem would of course be that those categories will not be so well populated since many editors would not know about them and thus miss to add them to the articles.
Take for instance some biography article, it could have the categories Category:1910 births and Category:1987 deaths. Say many users think that is not important categorising and it just clutters the category footer box. But if those categories were made hidden, then they don't disturb and then people would perhaps accept them. Thus those categories would still be available for search. (But note, I personally have no point of view on those categories, they were just an example.) And that also means that in the future the result of some category for deletions discussions might be "hide" instead of "delete".
The next problem is that some are afraid that it will be a "duty" to add all those fine grained categories to each article, which will be bureaucracy and extra work. Things like that have happened before. For instance right now the members of the WikiProject Geographical coordinates is trying to force all other WikiProjects and editors to add geo-coordinates to all articles that can even remotely be seen as having some kind of position...
So there are many pros and cons. I think it is an interesting question that Carcharoth has posed. At the moment I don't have a clear point of view on this. Apart from that I agree with what we already have consensus for: That we can (and sometimes should) use hidden categories for maintenance categories. Take a look at Category:Hidden categories to get a feel what "maintenance category" means.
--David Göthberg (talk) 04:51, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
This is getting off-topic, but wouldn't it be more efficient to add an if-statement to the templates to display a big red message saying that there is an error instead of adding the article to a category? That way the error could be noticeable immediately (ideally during preview!) --Itub (talk) 10:20, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
Itub: No, I usually don't use such big red error messages for several reasons. Big red error messages are stressful for the users. I don't like to scare people, that is rude. And my experience is that it usually results in that lots of confused users start asking on all kinds of talk pages: "I see a big red error message, what is going on?!?!". And then I have to spend days answering all those messages... So instead I use a softer multi-level approach:
1: When I first add the "error logging" (reporting into the error category) I don't know all kinds of errors it will discover. People often do weird errors that I didn't expect, and a good error detection switch-case often catches more errors than the ones I was aware of. So I start with the category hidden, since I want to first see what kind of errors are reported and write up explanations for how to fix them. Since a big red error message is not very useful if it doesn't come with a proper explanation what is wrong and how to fix it.
2: Usually we add the error detection to an existing template, since we have discovered the need for it. Thus it often is as much as 5000 cases or so that gets detected and reported! And the reason for the high number is that since I often code meta-templates it often is so that people who have built a template by using my meta-template have done a mistake. Thus the error is made on a template page. But such an error message then becomes visible on all pages that use that template. That is confusing for the users of those pages, since they did nothing wrong, and it can be non-obvious where to fix it.
3: I usually see to that the error categorising sorts the reports based on namespace. So errors on template pages get sorted under "T", so the template cases are easy to find among the other 5000 reported pages... That means I can fix the cases where templates use my meta-template the wrong way. That can be say 50-100 cases, and that usually fixes most of the other 5000 cases where the erroneous templates are used. And I do this while the category still is hidden, so that the users of the pages don't see that their page got reported.
4: Then I wait some days, since if the servers are busy it can take up to a week before all the fixed cases are removed from the category listing. Category updates are ran as a very low priority task in the Wikipedia servers. And removals and especially subcategory removals are an even lower priority task.
5: Then if there are many cases left I go live by making the category visible. At this stage it is important that the category has a loooong informative name so it is visible. And its name should end in "needs fixing", since my experience is that if we just name it something like Category:Ambox templates using deprecated types then people don't click on the category and check what's up. Instead I name it like this: Category:Wikipedia shortcut box first parameter needs fixing. I think it is that "needs fixing" tells people that it needs fixing and that it also can be fixed. And starting the name with "Wikipedia" makes it clear it is a maintenance category and also makes the name longer and thus more visible.
6: Then I sit back for a week or two and watch while people fix most of the cases. (I love this step!) Well, I often help out a little too.
7: Then I increase the level: I make it so the template adds an error message immediately below it. But not a bold red message, just a plain text message with a link to the error category since that has the explanation what and how to fix. Then I wait another week or two.
8: Usually I don't need to take it to the next level and make the error message big, bold and red. Since by then there usually is just a handful of cases left and we can then fix them by hand.
I often leave the error detection function and that plaintext message for a long time or forever in the template, since then as you point out people will be informed immediately when they do the mistake.
All this might seem like a lot of work, but it isn't. It is much more work for both me and them if a lot of people get scared by a big red message and come asking what is going on. And really, it just spreads out my work over time, it doesn't cause much more coding work. And there are always other things to do while I wait for each step.
--David Göthberg (talk) 15:12, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
Ok, sounds convincing. Thanks for the very detailed explanation. --Itub (talk) 15:28, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Uncategorized pages now in two cats

It looks to me like a very recent change, but I can't find any traceof it in the template. When I add the template "uncategorized" to a page, it is now listed in the Category:Category needed and in Category:Uncategorized pages. It used to place them only in the latter, and it seems to me unnecessary to list it in two pages with the same purpose eventually. IF anyonehas any idea what has changed, and will undo it (assuming there is no good reason for the change), I'ld be grateful. Fram (talk) 15:02, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Does it depend on what namespace you're in (i.e. whether it's an article, a talk page, a template page or whatever)?--Kotniski (talk) 16:40, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Apologies, forgot to check back after posting here. I only noticed it in articles, and it still happens. When I add "uncategorized" to a page like Valdez High School, it is listed in the two categories, and I haven't got a clue why. Fram (talk) 14:02, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
On further checking, could it be that one is the page for all uncategorized pages, and the other is the cat for all uncategorized pages per month? It is nearly empty because smackbot works fast and good, which means that pages ithout a month soon get moved into the latest month category... Allright, resolved! Fram (talk) 14:05, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Codex Canadiensis

Just had a look at the article on the C. C., an old manuscript by a Canadian missionary depicting "first Nation people", the problem is, that there was no tag for "Illustated Manuscript" or "Visual Anthropology or "Pictures of Native Americans". As I am generally interested in these things, I am a bit puzzled.--Radh (talk) 18:53, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

The dash in category names

Your thoughts and insight would be welcome. - jc37 12:11, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Policy on different namespaces in one category

A question arose about the appropriateness of including items from multiple namespaces in a category. Specifically in the discussion template talk:sex#Categorization of the template - whether it is appropriate to include the template:sex in the category:sex? So far we have not found clear statement of policy whether such categorization is appropriate, inappropriate, or left to the discretion of individual editors.

The documentation for Category:Wikipedia templates indicates that all templates should be categorized under that, but does not indicate prohibition of categorization elsewhere as well.
The Wikipedia:Categorization#Guidelines suggest that articles be included in the category with the same name as the article (#5). It also suggests that articles be categorized by the topic (i.e. sex), rather than by characteristics of the article (i.e. template) (#8).

On a related subject, when templates are included in categories with other articles, the templates are often sorted under the letter tau. This appears to be a workaround to achieve separation of templates from other items, similar to the suggestion made in [this enhancement suggestion]. What is the status of this practice? (Is it documented someplace? Has it gone out of fashion? Is it a new trend?)

Thank you. Zodon (talk) 00:26, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

The status quo seems to be that only articles and subcategories should be put in regular categories. Images and templates should only be put in categories that are labeled as such. The average user browsing through categories won't understand what templates are and why they are listed under the letter tau. I'd love to see this codified as a ban. I just recently added a sentence about not categorizing images in non-image categories. -- SamuelWantman 10:31, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

I have a PHP-hacker friend that I can probably convince to work on that enhancement suggestion on bugzilla. Since categories and articles are already in different sections in a category listing (with the categories being considered "sub-categories" ... but still) this enhancement makes a lot of sense to me. It also seems to be the intent of the 'tau' trick. --Sapphic (talk) 16:30, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Neat, thanks Sapphic.
The bugzilla suggestion of separate listings seems cleaner than requiring separate categories. Otherwise you get a multiplication of categories, and you still have to come up with a way to designate the namespace of a category, keep the categories linked together (i.e. make sure that category:sex includes category:sex templates and category:sex images, etc.) and enforce the ban on putting one type of object in another type of category.
I have seen other Greek letters have been used for other namespaces - e.g., ω for WikiPedia. Zodon (talk) 02:23, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
At a minimum I think we should distinguish reader-facing categories from editor-facing ones. Reader-facing cats should contain only articles (and subcats which are also reader-facing). These are part of the product, i.e. the encyclopedia we're creating. Templates, images, project pages and the like, which are useful for editors, should be kept out of the way of readers (they are part of the project, not part of the product).--Kotniski (talk) 07:03, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I heartily agree. Making a distinction between product and project makes a lot of sense to me. Libcub (talk) 17:04, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Since the effect desired in the above posts is one of different/customizable views, that seems best handled by the view/display system, rather than trying to encode it into the type system. Forcing categories to only contain items from one namespace and further restricting them so that they may only have subcategories from the same namespace creates some problems.
  1. How do you connect/link the categories for different namespaces. If I want to find content on a topic I shouldn't have to drill down or search a separate category tree for each type of item. Some mechanism for linking the trees would be needed.
  2. Having separate category trees would tend to mean different navigational hierarchies might develop for each namespace - making it harder to understand. (Makes it more complicated for users who are interested in a variety of content. They have to comprehend several categorization hierarchies.)
  3. Why make it difficult for a reader to find images about a topic, or navigational guides (i.e. templates) on a topic. What is the advantage to the reader? Some users may want articles, some may want pictures, etc.
    • Navigation templates are there to help readers find articles, so are categories, we should try to coordinate these mechanisms rather than making it so if I am using categories I can't find the relevant templates. (i.e. if I am browsing the categories and come across a navigation template in a category, that may be a good spot to go to get another organizational view of the topic.)
  4. Making different views for different classes of user can be achieved by more flexibility and control in the display system. For instance if a user isn't interested in items from a particular namespace in the category display, it should be possible to get a display that suppresses those items. (i.e. by default it will list items of certain types, but for instance, if I don't want to see images, an option could allow me to suppress display of that type of item. Or if I want to see normally hidden types of data, I can change my preferences to show that.)
We should let the viewer decide what is product and what is project, and not unduly complicate the categorization system by trying to force a distinction. This seems like a job for the display system, not for the categorization system. Zodon (talk) 00:32, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Another point might be made that the trend in web search is toward integrating different media in a single result set, like Google's "Universal Search" that's now pretty much standard. Even Wikipedia search lets you see results from any namespaces you want, each in its own section. Categories are due for an upgrade, and this seems like a good feature to start with. --Sapphic (talk) 01:39, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Actually, if we allow a way of hiding some sections by default (and letting logged-in users bypass this in their preferences) we could use a namespace-aware category system as a way of automatically enforcing the same kinds of restrictions we currently have to implement manually. Hiding all of the sections except (sub-)categories and articles is the same as restricting a category to just articles, but without the need for manual enforcement. --Sapphic (talk) 02:57, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

User subpages (draft articles) and stubs

Hi all - it's been brought to the attention of myself and other members of WP:WikiProject Stub sorting that this guideline suggests that draft articles in userspace should not be in mainspace categories. At WP:WSS, we generally encourage new draft articles to be stubbed with appropriate stubs prior to them moving into article space. We do this for several reasons: 1) it makes it easier for other editors to help out on embryonic articles-to-be; 2) it makes it easier for other editors to see that a missing article is being created by someone else, rather than starting their own article and having to merge them later; and 3) it saves considerable stub-sorting work later in cases where the draft article is a "form page" that will be turned into numerous articles (it makes sense that this page be checked to make sure it has the right template on it before it goes out).

In other words, having these draft articles in stub categories makes it easier for (a) the editor working on the article, (b) other editors working on subjects in this field, and (c) stub sorters.

Given that stub categories and other similar clean-up categories work differently to permanent categories anyway, for the simple reason that they are aimed at a different target audience (editors rather than readers), I would like to suggest the addition of one word to the guideline on user pages:

Likewise, subpages that are draft versions of articles should not be categorized into mainspace permanent categories.

Grutness...wha? 06:54, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Or how about "However, subpages that are draft version of articles might be put into maintenance categories because they include maintenance templates." I'd rather state this as what is an acceptable exception. -- SamuelWantman 08:12, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
That sounds like a reasonable way of wording it. Grutness...wha? 22:04, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't really consider stub categories to be maintenance categories so much as I would consider something like "Articles with unsourced sections since June 2008" or something similar, so I don't know about that wording. I would definitely advocate not allowing maintenance categories to be on userspace draft articles, and frankly I agree with the current wording disallowing all mainspace categories, including stub categories, from draft articles. This pollutes categories intended for mainspace only, as there could be hundreds of userpsace draft articles looming in these categories for who knows how long. I've seen draft articles in userspace for months before being moved to mainspace, if ever. It's generally not good form to edit articles in someone else's userspace unless they specifically ask for help, so I don't consider "it makes it easier for other editors to help out on embryonic articles-to-be" a legitimate reason to allow this. If they want help, they can mention it to specific editors they think are interested or on a noticeboard. I'm also not convinced "Makes it easier for other editors to see that a missing article is being created by someone else, rather than starting their own article and having to merge them later" is a good reason to allow mainspace categories on userpages. This is the simple nature of a Wiki, and perhaps is encouragement to move articles to mainspace instead of letting them linger in userspace. Leaving the categories on the page in your third example could be useful if the author originally selected the wrong stub type and the page was in fact a "form page", but I question how often this happens that both they choose the wrong stub type and it is some sort of a form page that they are going to mass-create and move to mainspace before someone has the opportunity to inform them of the correct stub type. Maintenance categories are intended for users to deal with pages in article space to clean up, we don't need userspace pages to add to the already severe backlogs in many of these categories. Many userspace "draft articles" are previously deleted content that editors are hopeful to accumulate enough sources to recreate (and hence may linger in userspace indefinitely), many others are inappropriate pages that would be instantly AfD'd if they ever hit mainspace. IMO We shouldn't force our editors to spend time sifting through these when they feel like helping clean out a maintenance category or expand stubs. VegaDark (talk) 00:25, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Let's take these points one at a time.
  1. Are stub categories maintenance categories? Stub categories are maintenance categories - there is no two ways about that. They are listed as such in all maintenance pages where appropriate, and WP:WSS is listed as a maintenance project.
  2. Not editing articles in someone else's userspace unless they ask for help. The placing of a stub template is a request for help, in that is explicitly asks anyone reading the article to add to it.
  3. Makes it easier to see that an article is being created elsewhere. There is a world of difference between the "nature of a wiki" where two editors may simultaneously start working on an article on the same subject - a very rare occurrence - and working on a new article when another such article has been in progress for weeks or months in userspace, which is far more likely to occur, simply by dint of the timescales involved. a case can indeed be made that this is perhaps aa reason to move the article to articlespace - but that surely is up to the individual editor whose userspace it is.
  4. As to how often "form page" articles happen, as I pointed out,t here are numerous such form pages in use as we speak, and I doubt that there is any time when such pages are not in use. Since the beginning of this month i know personally of at least seven sets of articles which have been created in this way (indeed, I created two such sets myself) - one of them (not one of mine) amounted to some 1200 articles.
  5. Inappropriate, AFD'able pages. Very few of the userpage draft articles with maintenance tags are previously deleted articles - usually when an article is userfied in this way any maintenance tags are removed. In the vast majority of cases these articles are legitimate stub articles which have not yet reached the stage where the writer is ready to move them into articlespace.
Not allowing draft articles in userspace to be in maintenance categories such as stub categories is detrimental to the project, in that it created considerably more work for the maintenance projects in the long run. This is the reason why WP:WSS encourages users to stub their draft articles - the opposite practice to that which you suggest is best for Wikipedia. It is possible to keep any "pollution", as you call it, away from reader-oriented categories and still allow the benefits of having these drafts in maintenance categories simply by making it clear that user drafts should not be in permanent categories and only kept in maintenance categories - a situation which should make your work easier in sifting out inappropriate additions to categories (you would have less categories to check), the work of maintenance crews easier (as they will easily be able to find userpage drafts in the categories, rather than having to check both categories and template whatlinkshere links), and the work of editors easier 9for the reasons listed above). Grutness...wha? 01:44, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
If there is a problem with editors finding these pages we could create a new category called Category:Draft articles. That would probably be a lot more efficient, actually, than having hundreds scattered out amongst the many stub categories. We could even add the code directly to the stub templates so the category would only show up on userspace pages, so editors wouldn't have to learn about the new system. What do you think of that idea? VegaDark (talk) 15:05, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
How would that help? Lumping together draft articles on all sorts of subjects would simply be like having a parallel generic stub category. It would requirte exactly the same amount of work once the articles enter articlespace as not having the templates there at all, or having the templates there and not having linked categories. It's a solution which seems to do everything except solve the problem: it hides the issue, adds an extra layer of categorisation, increases the coding on stub templates, increases the number of places editors need to look for articles to expand, and creates extra work, without reducing any of the workload later.Grutness...wha? 22:53, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

There are pretty much two types of categories. Categories for readers and categories for editors.

"Polluted" categories are a Bad Thing. A lot of "reader categories" are browsed by readers, which means readers shouldn't be tripping across the "back-end" of the project (Wikipedia: and User: pages). If someone is writing a draft article, that's fine, but they should disable the categorization (or have it disabled for them using template magic). This is long-established consensus (so much that there are bots that even go through User: subpages and deactivate categories). Keeping categories "unpolluted" is the most sensible approach.

But all of this doesn't really seem to be what's being discussed. So I'm a bit lost as to what is actually being proposed here. :-) --MZMcBride (talk) 00:32, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

What is being discussed here is exactly what you said: there are two types of categories, those for readers and those for editors, and clearly those which are reader categories should not have userpage drafts in them. For those which are editor categories, such as maintenance categories, there is no such problem, and it is actually useful to have any user drafts appearing in those categories for various reasons (I have given several above with regard to stub categories). However, the wording at Wikipedia:Categorization suggests that userpage drafts shouldn't go in any categories - either reader-oriented ones or editor-oriented ones. All I am suggesting is that the line relating to user page drafts in categories specifies that the problem is with userpage drafts in reader-oriented categories - i.e., permcats - and that such drafts should not go into these categories, whereas it makes perfect sense for them to be in maintenance categories that editors would use. Grutness...wha? 01:44, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't mind having user pages in maintenance categories. But I have a related question: if stub categories are maintenance categories and not "reader categories", why are the stub categories listed as subcategories of "reader categories"? For example, Category:Biology_stubs is listed as a subcategory of Category:Biology. That breaks the "barrier" between the self-referential "maintenance categories" and the categories that are actually categorizing an article's topic. --Itub (talk) 12:07, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
That's a good point. I'd also ask why stub categories aren't hidden like other maintenance categories. I'd have less of a problem with draft articles being in these categories if these changes were made. Also, however, to use that category as an example the template at the top states "This category is for stub articles relating to Biology. You can help by expanding them." - Stub articles - Perhaps this is just me, but I don't include userspace draft articles in my definition of "articles", I think of mainspace only. If a consensus develops to allow draft articles in these categories, then that template should probably be changed to clarify. VegaDark (talk) 15:05, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
The first point is a good one, and one that hasn't been mentioned before AFAIK at WP:WSS - perhaps it would be worth starting a thread at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Stub sorting to ask just that, since - though it is standard practice to link them to both stubcat and permcat parents, I don't know of any practical rationale for it. As to the second point, though, there are a whole host of extremely good rationales, most importantly that it allows stub sorters to check that there are correct linkages between stub templates and stub categories without extra work such as opening an edit window and reclosing (quite important when you're checking stub templates by the hundred. The suggestion to hide these categories has been made several times in the past and rejected soundly every time as being detrimental to the stubbing process. As to the third point, if you don't think of draft articles as articles, why call them draft articles? They're always referred to as such for the simple reason that - though not yet in article space, they are on the way to becoming articles, and in that process will have all the accoutrements that articles normally have, including infoboxes, succession templates, stub templates, cleanup templates, and the like. Grutness...wha? 22:53, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

One thing to consider here is that the nature of the Wikipedian community discourages stubs through its aggressive deletionist tendencies, as Jimmy Wales found out. Creating articles in userspace significantly increases the chances that it won't be deleted when it is moved to main, but as has been pointed out, this actually reduces the collaboration necessary to develop an article at a reasonable pace. Since so many draft articles are in userspace as a tacit acknowledgment of this reality, the suggestion of stubbing them would probably reduce that number by helping other editors find stubs of interest to work on. It's a new world and it needs new tools.--otherlleftNo, really, other way . . . 20:01, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Commenting here at Grutness's request/suggestion. There are a number of subsidiary points that have been brought up here, which seem to arise from attempts to "meta-categorise" stub cats; but to concentrate for the moment on the original question -- should stubs in user space be tagged as such? -- I'd be firmly in the "dunno, maybe" camp on that. I think it depends on why the article (if article it be) is in userspace. If someone has an apparently article-like entity in their user space, but intends to treat it purely as a user sub page (in terms of it showing no signs of making a move into the article space, the user not wishing others to edit it in the way an article would normally be, and/or wishing it to be exempt from normal criteria for "articleness"), then it's clearly not desirable for it to get a stub tag, since it's a blatant recipe for confusion of expectation. G. describes a number of cases where stub-tagging on a draft/temporary basis would desirable, but the trouble is for third parties to divine the user's intent as to which case it's in.

By and large, to avoid such possibilities for people rowing in opposite directions at once, my preference would be that people link rather than transclude stub tags on 'private drafts', and use some other namespace for 'public drafts' (I'm not too bothered about which, since I'm less concerned about 'category purity' than with clarity of intent, but obviously articles should be in the article space unless there are pressing issues that require them not to be). However, we should word any such suggestion to allow a certain amount of wriggle-room, and certainly not in such a way as to over-embolden editors -- much less bots -- to barge into others' user space in a spirit of 'don't do that'. Alai (talk) 21:57, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Internal categories in article categories

Some people categorize internal cats within article categories. This seems to stem from categorizing stub categories, which arguably are a borderline case between article cat and internal cat. With stubs, there seems to be an established practice of adding the alias "μ", which makes some sense because that way, they appear at the end of the alphabetic list. I just now saw (at {{Template category}}) the recommendation to use the following: "μ = stub; τ = template; ω = WikiProject; ρ = WikiReader". Is that a good idea? Do we even want to have templates in the article cats at all? If so, does it make sense to define a a new letter for each of these groups? Most of these should occur only once per article cat, so there is plenty more room under the "μ" (which usually is there first). And while it is nice to have the connection between "μ" -> micro -> small -> stub, it can just as well stand for "meta", as in metadata. And that is certainly more appropriate for WikiProject than "ω". — Sebastian 22:32, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I would be ok with this if they were all hidden categories. To the average user these are pretty incomprehensible and unhelpful. -- SamuelWantman 09:00, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Please note, this issue is also being discussed here under the heading #Policy on different namespaces in one category.
As noted there, the use of sorting under Greek letters appears to be a workaround for separating different namespaces in the category listing. A more consistent and automatic approach of having different namespaces listed under separate headings has been proposed in an enhancement request (listed above). The hiding or display of items from the various namespaces could then be controlled on a per user or per category basis. Zodon (talk) 02:32, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Ah, thanks, I didn't notice that. I like the ideas you are mentioning, but I probably won't have the time to delve into this discussion any further. If you would like me to participate, just holler. — Sebastian 06:28, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Anyone know of a search tool...

...that can find articles which fall under two or more specific categories? It could be something like Boolean search, like combining Category:People from British Columbia and Category:1968 births in order to find someone who was born in 1968 AND was either born or raised in British Columbia. --Toussaint (talk) 06:23, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

While a more sophisticated version has been discussed a simple version of this is already available using the Wikipedia search box. See Wikipedia:Categorization#Searching_for_articles_in_categories. To get your example you would search for incategory"People from British Columbia" incategory:"1968 births". It doesn't look like there are any pages that intersect. -- SamuelWantman 08:34, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

New protection category layout

  • Wikipedia protection
    • Wikipedia all protected pages
    • Wikipedia protected pages by duration
      • Wikipedia indefinitely protected pages
      • Wikipedia temporarily protected pages
    • Wikipedia protected pages by level
      • Wikipedia fully-protected pages
      • Wikipedia semi-protected pages
      • Wikipedia move-protected pages
    • Wikipedia protected pages by reason
      • Wikipedia protected pages due to vandalism
      • Wikipedia protected pages due to dispute
      • Wikipedia protected user and user talk pages
      • Wikipedia Office protected pages
      • Wikipedia protected templates
      • Wikipedia protected redirects
      • Wikipedia protected pages from banned users
      • Wikipedia protected pages due to spambots
    • Wikipedia protected pages with expiry expired
    • Wikipedia protected pages without expiry

The current protection category layout is messy and confusing. The combination of the protection reason and protection level requires more categories and doesn't give very much information to bots and tools. Having the categories separate allows for quickly finding any combination of level, reason and duration. Above is what I'm proposing as the new layout. Thoughts? BJTalk 09:24, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Most of them already exist and while indeed it would have been appreciable to have a Wikipedia prefix, I'm not sure changing them now would be worthwhile. I think the most important distinction we need to make is between articles, project pages (including Help space) and user pages. We could use Category:Protected project pages, Category:Semi-protected project pages and Category:Move protected project pages. Having Category:Protected images would be appreciable too, to move them from Category:Protected (200+), and maybe also Category:Semi-protected images (at least three). Similarly to Category:Protected due to dispute, we could create Category:Move protected due to dispute. So that in the end Category:Protected and Category:Move protected would only contain subcategories or exceptions. We could also make Category:Semi-protected portals and Category:Protected from banned users and the related template as this is needed from time to time. Category:Semi-protected would still be large and varied but at least would only contain articles. I don't think it's needed or desirable to categorize userpages in case of user request, except in Category:Protected pages with expiry expired when appropriate. I don't think Category:Temporarily protected and Category:Permanently protected are useful, they are unused and redundant. What would be the use of a category of all protected pages, or all protected pages without expiry ? Cenarium (Talk) 02:20, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Just a technical note: duration handlers are tricky, since duration is currently handled in the templates primarily by an expiry parameter, and indefinite protection is handled only at the {{pp-meta}} level (which is above the usual level of main templates like, for example, {{pp-semi-protected}}). Since protection is rarely intended to be indefinite, this category is impractical for cases not using a template implementing the indef option of {{pp-meta}}. "Temporarily protected pages" is somewhat silly as it should be implicit for anything not indefinite—though funnelling pages into neat subcategories is reasonable enough.
As an aside, there's no handling for "protected redirects" at the moment: there hasn't been any reason to distinguish redirects yet, to my knowledge. As it isn't specifically a reason for protection, I propose that that entry be struck from the list. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 02:57, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) We have Category:Protected redirects (900+) and Category:Semi-protected redirects (140+). To categorize in userspace, we need additionally Category:Move protected user and user talk pages, and also Category:Protected talk pages (non-user) (also semi and move). Category:Protected user and user talk pages needs some cleanup: Template:Unblockabuse being deprecated, Category:Protected from unblock requests should be merged in Category:Protected talk pages of blocked users, and Template:Pp-usertalk should categorize there. Same for Category:Semi-protected user and user talk pages, there we should create Category:Semi-protected talk pages of blocked users so that Template:pp-semi-usertalk categorizes there instead of the main category. We need to work out a code to be used in the 'categories' parameters of {{pp-protected}} (and others). What follows could work but maybe it can be simplified: {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:0}}|[[Category:Protected|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:14}}|[[Category:Protected|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:100}}|[[Category:Protected|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:4}}|[[Category:Protected project pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:12}}|[[Category:Protected project pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:6}}|[[Category:Protected images|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:2}}|[[Category:Protected user and user talk pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:3}}|[[Category:Protected user and user talk pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:10}}|[[Category:Protected templates|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{talk other|{{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:3}}||[[Category:Protected talk pages]]}}}} {{#ifexpr:{{#if:{{{expiry|}}}|{{#time:U|today}}>{{#time:U|{{{expiry}}}}}|0}}|[[Category:Protected pages with expiry expired|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} Cenarium (Talk) 12:44, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Adding the code for {{pp-semi-protected}}:

{{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:0}}|[[Category:Semi-protected|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:14}}|[[Category:Semi-protected|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:100}}|[[Category:Semi-protected portals|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:4}}|[[Category:Semi-protected project pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:12}}|[[Category:Semi-protected project pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:6}}|[[Category:Semi-protected images|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:2}}|[[Category:Semi-protected user and user talk pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:3}}|[[Category:Semi-protected user and user talk pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:10}}|[[Category:Semi-protected templates|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{talk other|{{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:3}}||[[Category:Semi-protected talk pages]]}}}} {{#ifexpr:{{#if:{{{expiry|}}}|{{#time:U|today}}>{{#time:U|{{{expiry}}}}}|0}}|[[Category:Protected pages with expiry expired|{{PAGENAME}}]]}}

and for {{pp-move}}:

{{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:0}}|[[Category:Protected|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:14}}|[[Category:Move protected|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:100}}|[[Category:Move protected|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:10}}|[[Category:Move protected|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} <!-- adding templates in main category--> {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:4}}|[[Category:Move protected project pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:12}}|[[Category:Move protected project pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:2}}|[[Category:Move protected user and user talk pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:3}}|[[Category:Move protected user and user talk pages|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} {{talk other|{{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:3}}||[[Category:Move protected talk pages]]}}}} {{#ifexpr:{{#if:{{{expiry|}}}|{{#time:U|today}}>{{#time:U|{{{expiry}}}}}|0}}|[[Category:Protected pages with expiry expired|{{PAGENAME}}]]}} Cenarium (Talk) 17:48, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

I have recategorized user talk pages in {{pp-usertalk}} and {{pp-semi-usertalk}} as it doesn't look controversial, but I would like some more comments on the three codes I proposed above before any implementation. They are not ready yet to implement since not all categories have been created. Cenarium (Talk) 18:32, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

I have removed the few instances and deleted the deprecated Category:Permanently protected and Category:Temporarily protected. The second one were already supposed to be deleted per TfD and they really seem useless now but if there is a need to have them, we can still recreate them. There's still Category:Protected from unblock requests to merge in Category:Protected talk pages of blocked users. The 48 instances are due to substed old templates, so we just have to change the categories. An admin with a semi-automated tool or an adminbot could make the edits. Then we can delete the category. Cenarium (Talk) 18:33, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Category:Protected from unblock requests emptied and deleted. So I think it's okay to make {{pp-usertalk}} categorize in Category:Protected_talk_pages_of_blocked_users instead of Category:Protected user and user talk pages. Cenarium (Talk) 14:04, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Categories and ethnicity

A user has been creating and populating dozens of categories based on ethnicity, like Category:Igbo players of American football, with articles which mostly do not claim the person of Igbo ancestry. He says that he is sorting on the basis of name without a reliable source. When I reverted these edits, he simply reverts mine. Can someone (an admin) rectify the situation and talk to user:Ukabia about it?--Thomas.macmillan (talk) 13:56, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I saw this (Category:2008-2009 New Years Honours) category had been created...

Category:2008-2009 New Years Honours

and wondered what peoples views were as their does not seem to be a precedence with this category. But maybe it would be useful? 安東尼 TALK 圣诞快乐 15:34, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Quick question about categorisation

Should the articles listed in Category:WikiProject TUGS articles be using some sort of "Listas" parameter to make them show up as "Article X" as opposed to "Talk:Article X"? Or is this standard? --SteelersFanUK06 ReplyOnMine! 16:00, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Feel free to reply here or on my talk page, as this is specific to me and might not be much help to anyone else. --SteelersFanUK06 ReplyOnMine! 22:29, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
It's not possible. You can choose how you want them sorted, but not how you want them displayed! Martin 15:30, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Category definitions

How do users know which category to put articles into without definitions for categories? Why isn't there a section under "creating a category" that encourages users to add a definition for their newly-created category? Something that describes what should go in the category, what does not go in the category, and points to other categories where the "things that don't go here" go. Mojodaddy (talk) 00:32, 24 January 2009 (UTC)


I've posted a request for comment here as I'm not sure how accurate, applicable, or useful, a lot of the categories on biographical user pages are. pablohablo. 12:34, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Album art categories

How do we categorize album art on wikipedia? I was looking at Category:Album covers and shocked to see 7 subcategories for bands (although we probably have tens of thousand articles on bands....) So why don't we have more subcategories? Why don't we break up album covers by band?? Alternatively, why on earth do we have those 7? they seem pretty random, and would wager they were independently created in good faith, not realizing that we don't do that... anyway, should we delete those 7, or should we start creating tens of thousand new categories, and populating them with album covers? (side note I came across Category:Images of musical groups first, and it seems like these, at the very least should be renamed "album covers", as that is what 8 of them are for). Anyone have an opinion on these? Is there past precedent concerning these, or should I simply put them before CfD and let the community decide?-Andrew c [talk] 16:33, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

If Template:Non-free album cover was modified to include a band name, as to automatically categorize the band album covers as the above (with one manual step for each band to categorize the band's cover category under the Album Covers category). People would have to go through and manually add that, but it would be worthwhile. --MASEM 16:42, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Even if those seven were created "inadvertantly" by a few users, I would say to leave them. Since this is all behind the scenes, maintenance categorization, it doesn't hurt anything, and the cats may have been created in order to keep an eye on a certain group of images. -Freekee (talk) 17:19, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, good then. I do want to propose that the 8 ones be renamed to "[band] album covers" as opposed to what they are now, "[band] images". -Andrew c [talk] 01:44, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
If you're looking for a strict hierarchy, I would say that cat:band album covers should be a subcat of both cat:album covers and cat:band images. Cat:band images should contain images used in band articles that aren't album covers. Some of those are set up correctly, if underpopulated. -Freekee (talk) 01:46, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Time period categories

This has come up after the renaming of the century categories and glancing at the contents. In many cases the categories were not well populated and a discussion on the 'decade' categories was raised by me with the following:

What purpose do decade categories serve? Are they simply a way of breaking down larger categories? If so, maybe they should only be used when absolutely needed. Maybe favor by year categories instead since that would limit the parent categories to 100 entries, not overly large. If that happed, then the misclassification of the 00 years would also be solved. It would also remove more cases of ambiguity over what 1800s means in categories. Yea you can define this to be 10 years and not 100 years, but does that remove ambiguity?

If the use of decade categories was reduced, it would not create a problem in the size of a category since it would go from 10 to 100 subcategories. It would eliminate the misuse of, or ambiguity, you choose, of what a decade is. Is is a decade containing years 1-10, or 11-20 or years that share the common middle two digits like 2000s which is 2000 - 2009. If we were using the first approach, there would not be a major issue since the categories would roll up into the century categories correctly. However the latter approach does not correctly roll up into the century categories with out listing one of this by year in stead of by subcategory.

A side effect of the current categories is the use of decade based category navigation boxes. These work for a specific 10 year cycle and are on the category page for the years that are in the category. These could be eliminated without any loss of information. I'll note that in many cases all of the subcategories are added by these templates so that they would need to be added if the templates are removed.

The other significant inclusion occurs when you group under a period category, say Category:Middle Ages (talk about an article in a category!). Here you could simply include the century categories to cover the time periods. For smaller periods you could included the year categories.

The policy here only addresses years. I'd like to propose adding something that conveys the following:

  1. . The normal time parent of year categories is the century categories
  2. . The normal time parent of century categories is the millennium categories
  3. . The use of decade categories is deprecated
  4. . Period categories are acceptable
  5. . Navigation templates that only cover the subcategories are not necessary and should not be used

I guess the largest issue with not using 10 year (decade) categories is that a century category category could be come rather large if articles were not upmerged to a year category. I'd argue that if you considered two or three articles reasonable for the year subcategories, the century categories would not directly contain too many categories to make navigation difficult.

OK, have at it. Vegaswikian (talk) 20:12, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Sister category

This page contains a 'see also' link to Wikipedia:Sister category but no actual discussion of the term. Could someone please clarify the exact meaning of 'sister category' and how it differs from the more basic concept of a 'similar/related category'? Normally I would have asked the editor who created the page, but s/he hasn't edited since October. Thanks, –Black Falcon (Talk) 19:16, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Redirects now work!!

All hail the devs! It seems that we now have functionality that makes category redirects work automatically (i.e. if cat2 is redirected to cat1, then putting a page in cat2 makes it show up in cat1). (Try it out with Category:X2.) We have to decide what we want to do with this. One obvious benefit is that we can stop arguing about whether cat names can contain dashes or other non-ASCII characters. But we have to be aware of the vandalism potential. Somehow we need to get a report of all category redirects as they are created, so we can revert inappropriate ones. Perhaps the bots that previously handled the soft redirects could work on this?--Kotniski (talk) 08:44, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

This is good news. Nice of the devs to let us know about it.... Anyway, since my RussBot has been handling the category redirects lately, let me see what I can do about generating the needed reports. (Although maybe a toolserver tool would be more appropriate for this?) --R'n'B (call me Russ) 11:25, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
OH, almost forgot -- this new feature only works with hard (#REDIRECT) redirects, of course. What does everyone think about having the bot convert all the existing soft ({{category redirect}}) redirects into hard redirects? --R'n'B (call me Russ) 11:27, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Kotniski: Sorry to have to play devils advocate for a moment: Category redirects "work"? Well, if they are useful or not depends on how they work. That is, is there a way to find which pages are using redirected categories? Or much more useful, is there a way to find which of the redirected categories are not empty? And if we go to the redirected category (and not follow its redirect), will we see what pages are in it, so we can fix them?
With the current home cocked redirect system we are using we can find and fix pages that are put in "redirected" categories. And the current system allows a bot to do that automatically. (That is R'n'B's bot RussBot.) If the new redirect system doesn't allow us to find and fix pages, then it is a change for the worse, instead of an improvement. And then we should not convert the current soft redirects to hard redirects.
For more on this see the old discussion at Template talk:Category redirect#Soon obsolete?.
--David Göthberg (talk) 15:01, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
David: I've done some testing (you can try, too). If you use HotCat to add a page to Category:X2, you get this: HotCat automatically detects the redirect and puts the page in the target category. On the other hand, if you manually put a link to Cat:X2 on the page, you get this - the redirected category appears at the bottom of the page. But if you click on the "X2" link at the bottom of the page, it takes you to Category:X1, and the page you just added to X2 appears there. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 15:10, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
The only fly I can see in the ointment is this: Category:X2 is shown as empty, and my Sandbox page appears in Category:X1, but the incorrect "X2" link remains at the bottom of that page. And, no, there doesn't seem to be any way to find and fix those links to redirected categories, because as far as the software is concerned, they don't exist: my Sandbox page is a member of X1, not of X2, and I haven't found any way through the API to detect that it is getting there through a redirect. On the other hand, "no harm, no foul": since the X2 link takes you to the correct (X1) category anyway, what's the point of fixing it? --R'n'B (call me Russ) 15:17, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that doesn't seem to be a big problem (though it would be nice if the devs could do something to solve it, like putting pages in the redirected category as well). I certainly agree that we should be changing the existing soft redirects to hard ones, once we're sure there aren't any major bugs with the new functionality. Perhaps we could develop a procedure - discourage people from redirecting categories themselves (and detecting when they do, by whatever method the bot currently picks up category redirects), and asking them to add such redirect requests to a list, which will then be handled by a bot (which would empty the existing category before hard-redirecting it). Then if people later add pages to the redirected category, it won't really matter very much - we can patiently leave such links un-"corrected" till the devs give us a way of detecting them. (People might even decide they don't want to correct some of them, like where the category name has a US spelling and the article is in British English.) --Kotniski (talk) 16:22, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
I've filed a bug report by the way - bug 17571 - asking for this slight problem to be solved.--Kotniski (talk) 17:14, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

From the limited testing I've done, I first thought this was great, but now I'm wondering. You can't use "what links here" to find those articles that are put in the the redirected category (X2, for example) without looking at each article in X1. But as Russ said, I'm not sure how much of a problem that is. Actually, now that I think about it, you can very easily find out what articles are "in" X2: just remove the redirect. Granted, that's a very poor way to find out. Overall, though, good news. I guess now the only arguments we'll have is which is the redirect and which is the target. --Kbdank71 17:25, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't think removing the redirect is an effective solution actually; you'd have to wait a long time (days?) for the database to synchronize.--Kotniski (talk) 17:32, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Good point. I just tested it out, and you're right. So not knowing what is in a redirected category, is that a problem? Unless the redirect is removed, or the category is deleted, that is. We'd have to take care when deleting redirects for legitimate reasons. We'd need to treat it as a merge, loading the articles in X1, then merging from X2 to X1. It would take a tweak for my bot, but at least it would work. So ultimately, we wouldn't need to know what's in X2, just let the redirect do its job. --Kbdank71 17:59, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Good point that deleting an established redirect might be a problem, but hopefully it wouldn't happen that often. I suspect you'd have to un-redirect it first (possibly making it a hidden category in the meantime), wait however long it takes for the list to repopulate, then do the merge. In fact, though, unless the target category is huge, all this shouldn't be a big issue for a bot - just program it to look through the article text of all the members of Cat1 for instances of Cat2 (maybe that's what you meant by the tweak).--Kotniski (talk) 18:15, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, if you're doing it by hand, it'd be a bitch. But if I make a slight modification to my bot's code, it'll take care of redirects just as easily as a merge. I still think knowing what is in the redirected category is a good thing, because we'll be able to find out which ones aren't being used, and also which redirects are used more than their targets (in case we want to reverse the redirect). --Kbdank71 18:19, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, we would certainly like to be able to get that information. Of course a bot can generate it quite easily by scanning the text, but as in all these things, it would be much better if the software did it (hence my bug report).--Kotniski (talk) 18:26, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
1: As far as I have seen we are renaming established highly populated categories pretty often. So that is not a rare occurrence. Take a look at what is going on over at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion.
2: Sometimes we change from very faulty category names that we don't want to have still visible on pages. So it is not enough that a page just is shown in the right category, we want the right category name to be shown on the pages too. That is, we need to find and fix those pages.
3: Human editors often find what categories to use by looking at a related page and copying and pasting the categories from there. Thus they don't even notice that they are copying and pasting redirected category names. Thus faulty and/or misleading category names can be spread to more pages.
4: If you change the hard redirected category back to a normal category to then try to see what pages are in it, then you have to wait "forever" until it populates. Since pages only show up in the category the next time they are re-rendered. And pages are only re-rendered when someone visits them. Thus it can take a very long time before a page shows up in the category. You can't expect a human to keep checking the category for months or even years. So what we really need is some way to mark that pages in such a category should be moved to the other category, and then have a bot watch the category "forever" and fix pages when they show up in the category. And that is exactly the soft redirect system we are currently already using!
5: If you have hard redirected a category (cat1->cat2) you can't simply wait a week and then have a bot looking through all the pages in cat2. Since pages will not show up in cat2 until the next time they are re-rendered, that is the next time they are visited. Thus you would have to have the bot recheck all the pages in the category every now and then "forever". And that would cost a huge amount of page loads.
6: Note that as far as I know RussBot that takes care of the current soft redirect system works very efficiently. It doesn't even have to load the category pages to check if they have received a page, since it instead uses a very efficient API call to check the number of pages in all categories it watches. (I helped code that API request.) Thus it only visits a category page when it actually have received a page in it.
--David Göthberg (talk) 21:25, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
I think the answer to David's points 2 and 3 above is that if we move all the articles out of the badly-named category and delete it, instead of redirecting it, neither of these problems will occur. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 21:40, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, we should only redirect names that we can tolerate being displayed on pages. If there's a name that's so bad we don't want to see it, we delete it. We redirect if it's displayworthy but not the actual name - in which case the above 6 problems are not really problems, since we can live with (and maybe even prefer in some cases) the presence of the alternative name. And when the devs get round to repairing the remaining bug, the problems are solved in any case. Am I being too rose-spectacled? If so, David, perhaps you could give a more concrete example so we can see what you mean?--Kotniski (talk) 22:21, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
But if we delete the category, then we won't notice pages that arrive in the category after it was deleted. But sure, those pages will at least get a red linked category name at the bottom of the page so people might notice it and do something about it. But since there isn't any redirect people will have a much harder time to find out which category to use instead. That would be like doing page moves without leaving a redirect and not fixing all "what links here" cases before the move. And I hope you are not suggesting that we go back to moving categories by hand? So we need a way to mark that a category is being moved and where, so a bot can do the job for us. And that category needs to stay visible for at least some month so a bot can pick up any pages that arrive late, before we delete the old category name. And that is exactly what the current soft redirect system does.
But sure, you can tell the bot about what categories to move by feeding it a list from some central page. But we still would have to put a template on the old visible category pages to tell any humans that arrive on those category pages that they are being moved. So then it is simpler to keep doing what we do now, that is letting that template be the marker that tells the bot what to do.
So we need to keep the current soft redirect system for those cases.
Then of course there are the redirects for alternative US/British spellings and similar. Sure, they can be hard redirects and it doesn't matter which category name people use.
--David Göthberg (talk) 23:33, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
OK, so we might need to use a mixture of hard and soft redirects. But I don't get the point about "humans that arrive on those category pages" - if we used hard redirects as standard, then no humans would arrive on those pages (except editors who know what's happening anyway, via redirect=no), so no template is required. So maybe not a mixture of hard and soft redirects in fact; just a mixture of permanent hard redirects and temporary hard redirects (only the bot would need to know the difference).
Incidentally, the bug I reported is claimed to have been fixed already (a speed record!) so that problem should no longer bother us. --Kotniski (talk) 08:16, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Category redirects work? Sorry guys, but I'm not so sure about that. Or at least it has nothing to do with mediawiki: the database track nothing about recursive inclusions, or things of that kind. Putting #REDIRECT doesn't include pages in the redirect target, does it? I have categorized User:NicDumZ/Test in Category:X2, and trust me, it is showing in X2, and NOT in X1. I don't know what happened on User:R'n'B/Sandbox, but doing a blank edit put the page back in Category:X2

What you've got here, is a neat trick from HotCat which recognizes {{category redirect}}, but nothing more yet, sorry. NicDumZ ~ 09:26, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

No, they do work, we tried it. Possibly what happened is that in the meantime, RussBot converted the hard redirect on X2 back into a soft redirect, as it is trained to do.--Kotniski (talk) 09:31, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah, true, the hard redirect has been removed since. I see.
Well it only means the page will be counted and shown as part of X1. The bottom graphic bar will show the article as part of X2.
And no, there's no way to track articles included this way. Here, X2 will never have members.
If a category has members, and is converted into a redirect, nothing will change for the category members.
It seems a bit too simple for me; not sure if it's going to stay live. This, by the way, has nothing to do with my code, which was supposed to handle category moves as well.
NicDumZ ~ 10:17, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, according to bug 17571, it is going to be changed so that pages are placed in X2 as well (so tracking will be possible). I think the article's being shown at the bottom as belonging to X2 is intended behaviour (it might be desirable in some cases, as where there is a US/GB spelling difference and editors want consistency with the spelling used in the article).--Kotniski (talk) 10:45, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Kotniski: Regarding your response further up above, to my comment above:
(Provided cat2->cat1.) When I wrote that we could not use "temporary hard redirects", since pages who used the redirected category were not visible in the redirected category (cat2), but only visible in the category redirected to (cat1). Since then the bot could not clear out cat2 since the bot could not easily find out which pages are in (and arrive late in) the redirected category. I see in your latest message above that there now is a fix that will make it so pages will also be visible in the redirected category. So if/when that fix is deployed, then we can use "temporary hard redirects".
And regarding "humans that arrive on those category pages": As long as we can not use temporary hard redirects, then humans that take a look in an old directory (that is being watched and cleaned out by the bot) will think it is a normal category that can be used. So then we need a template to tell them to use the new category instead. But if/when the fix to also show pages in the redirected category is deployed, then that is not needed anymore.
By the way, I have been running some tests for some months now: Under some circumstances a page "never" becomes visible in its new category. For instance when the page is categorised by a template, but no one has visited the page since the template was updated to use the new category. That is, a page doesn't get categorised before it is re-rendered. Thus it can arrive very late, months late or even years late. That's why the bot needs to watch a category that is being moved (deleted) for some time to hopefully find and fix 99% of the pages. And under some extreme circumstances a page's categories doesn't get updated until someone does an edit to the page! (That is, only visiting or even purging a page is not always enough.)
--David Göthberg (talk) 12:15, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I can imagine that template-generated categories are problematic (but hopefully they account for only a minority of categories, and would normally be fairly stable in any case). How do the bots deal with these when they change? Do they do a null edit on each page containing the template to ensure that the category is updated?--Kotniski (talk) 12:24, 21 February 2009 (UTC)


It's about time for a complete rewrite of this page, to rationalize it and make it clear what we're tying to say. And no sooner said than done - at User:Kotniski/Cat you will find my proposed new wording. This also takes in the substantial content of WP:Categorization and subcategories, so I'm proposing that that page be merged (i.e. redirected) to this one.

Advantages of/changes in the new version:

  • Quite a lot shorter, logically arranged, free of certain outdated, vague, meaningless and (especially) duplicated advice, so valuable information is much easier to find and understand
  • New explicit definitions introduced to make discussion of proposed changes easier and more focused
  • Clearly stated "rules" which may be somewhat aspirational, but seem to represent what the guidelines were trying to say before - and having them set out explicitly makes it easier to work on them if we think they need amending
  • Acknowledgement that hard redirects now work.
  • Certain things removed (can be put back if we want, but they seem unnecessary to me):
(1) "too many categories" tag on articles (if the categories exist, then the article ought to be in them - the problem would be with the categorization schemes, so it is not the article that should be tagged)
(2) "cycles are usually avoided" section (if we stick to the logical subcategorization principles as set out in my draft, then cycles will usually be avoided anyway - we don't need to make any extra effort to avoid them, and in any case the current guidance explicitly doesn't forbid them, so isn't a lot of help)
(3) list of bugs and projects - these lists are apparently not being kept up to date, and in any case would be better moved to a WikiProject page than cluttering up the guideline, which ought to be quite stable

Please comment, in particular if you think there's something important in the current guidance that I've left out.--Kotniski (talk) 10:46, 24 February 2009 (UTC)


I don't know if a re-write is needed so much as an re-evaluation and decisions made on certain aspects of categorization. The problem I work on every day is is subcategorization and these guidelines are of little help at all. And I can see from the 'discussions'/arguments in CfD that this area is absolutely not understood by others either. This involves the 'Subcategorization' and 'Duplicate categorization rule' sections of these guidelines.

In most cases, there is no, NONE, documentation as to the nature of the category. There may be several hundred categories with comments whether all articles are to be included or not, but tens of thousands without any documentation whatsoever. The distinction between 'distinguished' and 'non-distinguished' categories is something not obvious, not discussed, not used--who but the select few can understand and implement these guidelines? These guidelines seem to be something that a few people may want, but most never never implement. In most cases, a very simple scheme is used: if an article is in a category A, it is not then placed in any category B, parents of category A. Does this make sense? Maybe not, it is just a rule of thumb based on what you see already exists 'everywhere' in WP. And it is simple.

The simple examples of Category:Toll bridges in New York City and Category:Bridges in New York City are just samples--not real world. These were set up for illustration and are not used anywhere else in WP. Even the template 'Allincluded', years after being built, is used in fewer than 50 places.

What is needed is a realistic discussion of the various purposes that categories serve, realistic decisions as to how to implement each purpose, and how to handle articles being placed in various category structures, each with different purposes. We need a place to put realistic, simple and also complex, samples (not the live WP which can be changed by editors any time). Then, we need a mass implementation plan--as long as most categories are the way they currently are, then they will be used endlessly as samples for further work and so nothing will be achieved from anything that may be discussed or written in these guidelines. Hmains (talk) 18:54, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

I quite agree. I'll be on board if something like this gets going...--Kotniski (talk) 07:09, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I wish the distinguished subcategory rule would be used. I think it is actually quite important. To generalize, if an article is in category A, which has a parent category B, but the article's inclusion in category B is more important than its inclusion in category A, category B should appear in the article. When looking for articles on bridges in New York City, I might not care so much that they are toll bridges (although it would be useful information to know). This might be like the distinction between "tags/labels" and "categories" that blogging software uses. I think the name "distinguished" is just confusing. There are also no instructions for marking a subcategory as distinguished, and I can't find an example. --Taeshadow (talk) 15:28, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't remember if I invented the term "distinguished" or if it existed before my various rewrites. If you can think of a better term, then go ahead and change it. The wording of the rule (or rather, the definition of "distinguished" on which the rule is based) could also no doubt be improved. I'm not sure that article's inclusion in category B is more important really does it though - generally it's hard to compare importances of categories. --Kotniski (talk) 16:08, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Maybe my wording is not the best. The concept seems clear, though. Categories tend to fall into a "natural", more-or-less permanent structure. On the other hand, it's often useful to look at articles through temporary "views", depending on what you're interested in. In that sense, the distinguished label designates the subcategory not as a member of that natural structure, but rather as a miscellaneous qualifier that could (or could not) be useful depending on a user's query. Maybe you could say that "undistinguished categories" are those categories that are of interest to everyone who reads the article (or at least people who are interested in its categorization). I mean, the main problem here is that people are listing distinguished categories on the article's page, at the expense of the natural parent categories. Not sure if I can articulate this in a way that's not confusing. As far as terminology goes, I think it would be least surprising if distinguished categories were called "tags", but that may be impossible. --Taeshadow (talk) 16:22, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Maybe something like: "Just as we don't have every page in Wikipedia in Category:All pages, and then additionally having them subcategorised, in general (when part of sub-trees) members of a subcategory shouldn't belong to a parent category."
Obviously, the big part of this would be to define a "sub-tree". - jc37 05:00, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

United States by state/by territory

As demonstrated in this discussion, there appears to be a change in consensus on how to structure the state categories. Rather then try to resolve this in rename discussions, I think we need to take a look at this and decide how to deal with this. In the past, we commonly included the territories within the by state categories. It looks like that consensus is no longer present, so the question is what to do.

Let me use Category:Shopping malls in the United States as an example. I think consensus is to now split the contents into Category:Shopping malls in the United States by state and Category:Shopping malls in the United States by territory. Is this where consensus is? Should we split all categories that include states and territories at the US level? Do we need to create parent categories for these subcategories like Categories by territory of the United States? Vegaswikian (talk) 01:41, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Category redirects as avoidance of CfD

A few weeks ago, a user expressed concern in a CfD discussion that some editors were creating category redirects as a way of renaming categories without going through the CfD process (and where speedy renaming was not appropriate). For the benefit of anyone who wants to monitor this, I have added to User:RussBot/category redirect log a section listing all new category redirects created since the last bot run. Note, for example, that several populated cricket-related categories were turned into redirects a few days ago. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 20:12, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

  • At least one of those was speedy material. If there is consensus, maybe a note on the talk page of the editors that are bypassing process is all that we need. Vegaswikian (talk) 21:23, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Category needed?

I don't play around much with categories, but in my recent expansion of Rosewood massacre, there is a sizable section on compensation for victims, using the US federal government's precedent of compensating Japanese Americans interred during WWII. When I searched for reparations, I found it's a disambig page with a few topics that are related. Might be a good idea for a category to link all these articles together. --Moni3 (talk) 15:32, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Rename a CAT

Could someone tell me how to go about changing the name of a catagory thanks. BigDuncTalk 16:10, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

This is explained in (excruciating) detail at WP:CFD. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 17:39, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
It sure is thanks. BigDuncTalk 18:47, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Temporal categories

There are currently a number of categories that are used to sort articles by temporal status, for example Category:Current events and Category:Future elections. Recently there have been a number of discussions regarding such categories at CFD, which have resulted in some, but not all, of these categories being deleted, and it is getting to the point where administrators are closing without or against consensus on the back of earlier discussions. I think it would be a good idea to gauge the opinions on the community as a whole regarding this, and discuss whether an ammendment to WP:CAT is needed to explicitly encourage or discourage use of such categories. Also, would the use of hidden categories be a viable compromise solution? --GW 15:53, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Personally, I don't have as much problems with the categories as with the templates. Categories aren't big, colourful banners on top of an article, after all. How would these categories be useful when hidden, tho? --Conti| 12:25, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Category for a music group

While doing new page patrol I came across Sae Miyazawa. She is a member of AKB48 and we have several articles about the group and its members. I am about to create a Category:AKB48 and put all these articles in it. I have created categories like this before, but I want to check that I am doing it right. Should there be a category like this, or is it too redundant to Template:AKB48? What parent categories would be appropriate? Category:Japanese musical groups, but not Category:Girl groups? Btw, what is a "distinguished" category? This page never explains that. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:24, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

IMO, categorizing the articles is not wrong, so go ahead, if you want. But there is a fairly complete navbox, so it doesn't seem necessary, but there could be articles, at some point, that don't appear in the navbox, but could appear in the category. That aside, given the number of redlinks in the navbox, I'd say that it's the navbox that's redundant to the category. OTOH, the navbox gives better organization that categories, unless you have a lot of subcats. How's that for an answer? ;-) -Freekee (talk) 18:18, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
I took the easy route and added <includeonly>[[Category:AKB48]]</includeonly> to {{AKB48}}. That should be fine until someone wants subcategories for group members, albums etc. --Apoc2400 (talk) 08:46, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

List-and-topic categories

I think we should perhaps acknowledge the possibility of combining list and topic categories into one in some cases, to create "list-and-topic" categories. I've raised an example at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2009 April 16#Category:Voivodeships of Poland topics - it might be worth discussing the general principle by way of that CfD discussion. --Kotniski (talk) 12:01, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Templates in encylopedic categories

Someone is trying to tell me that since county navigation templates are about counties, they belong in the county's category. My understanding from practice and WP:CAT is that only articles belong in the encyclopedic categories. Comments? Vegaswikian (talk) 05:05, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I agree ("only articles" is what I believe you meant - so no templates).--Kotniski (talk) 11:31, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm the "someone". It's always been the practise to categorise more than articles. Is it going to help the project when I (or any other user) can't find a county template in a county category? Notice that the cited page prohibits adding images to non-image-specific categories, but says nothing about templates. Moreover, notice that there's an example method listed for how to categorise templates in categories separately from anything else — there's no need to use a funny character that's not on a keyboard to categorise a template if a category contains nothing but templates. Nyttend (talk) 00:28, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Those templates are an article navigation aid. Categories are a navigation aid. What point is severed by including the template in the category when it is on the actual articles? Vegaswikian (talk) 02:25, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I can see that it might help editors sometimes, but we must try to optimize the encyclopedia for readers first. Readers browsing for articles in categories should not have to be distracted by strange things like templates that serve no purpose to them. --Kotniski (talk) 08:00, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with categorizing templates (or other non-articles like categories, images, etc). I do think "distracted by strange things" is pretty subjective. The template is a navigation aid just like the category is, and serves the same purpose. I think we're doing a lot of assuming about our readers to say they won't find it useful. --Kbdank71 17:23, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Depends on the template, I suppose. If it's a stand-alone navbox (not parameter-dependent) then I suppose someone might find it useful (though normally they would just go to an article which contains the navbox). If we intend certain templates to be reader-facing, then we should perhaps categorize those separately, and name them and their categories in ways that readers will understand (for example, using "navigation box(es)" rather than the opaque name "template(s)").--Kotniski (talk) 10:15, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Catdesc template

I've been doing some more work on {{catdesc}}, which is intended as a universal description template for category pages. I'd be grateful for any comments or improvements (about the template itself, its documentation, or its existing transclusions).--Kotniski (talk) 11:21, 23 April 2009 (UTC)


From former overcategorization, we've now gone to the other extreme. There are now just a few countries in Category:Countries and none in e.g. Category:European countries. This makes it very hard to carry out certain common tasks, like exporting all country articles, or making a book with all articles about Euroepan countries.

I suggest that we repopulate these categories. Zocky | picture popups 19:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

  • I suggest the creation of Category:All countries, Category:All European countries, etc, that each contain just articles to handle just such problems. Hmains (talk) 20:33, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
    • I think it'd be simpler if we just repopulated the categories. The problem with that was basically cosmetic, i.e. that countries appeared in the list twice, once in the subcategory section and once in the article section. This is better solved by making category:categories by country a subcategory of category:countries, as it already is. Zocky | picture popups 20:47, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
      • It already has this subcat structure as do thousands of other cats and nothing is solved thereby. The problem is just perpetuated. Hmains (talk) 21:03, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I like the Category:All X idea. It allows us to keep the basic structure whereby duplicate categorization into cat+subcat is mostly avoided, but also allows us to create certain more comprehensive categories for such purposes as they may serve. Essentially we're saying you can either browse alphabetically by article or by subcategory, and the two systems needn't tread on each other's toes. Hang on though, I've just realized there are possibly two questions here. Let's separate them:

(1) Categories are not fully populated because they are diffused into more specific categories, like Cat:Countries is not populated because it's broken down by continent. To me, this is normal and OK, provided the subcategorization rule (as formulated in the guideline) is adhered to, but the All X categories might be a good idea to supplement what we have.

(2) Categories are not fully populated because articles are excluded from them when their eponymous categories are placed there, like in the case of Cat:European countries (Poland isn't in it because Category:Poland is). This is definitely wrong, both according to me and according to what the guidelines have always said since I've been reading them. In such situations we should either have both articles and eponymous categories included, OR we should move the eponymous categories to somewhere else. Certainly the articles should be there.--Kotniski (talk) 16:00, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

This idea is continued at #Eponymous cats below.--Kotniski (talk) 12:39, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Category:Redirects from other capitalisations and Template:R from other capitalisation

FYI, one of the issues is categorization of redirects

{{ R from other capitalisation}} and Category:Redirects from other capitalisations have been nominated for deletion on 4 May 2009. See WP:TFD and WP:CFD. (talk) 09:43, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Related guideline change

Editors of this page may be interested in this discussion, about deprecating the inclusion of external links on disambiguation and category pages. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:08, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Difference of opinion on categories

At these category talk pages: Dichotomies and Cognitive science literature, I have put a list of articles that I think have been wrongly assigned to the category (and another editor says they should be in the category). I would appreciate some opinions (I can see it's somewhat off-topic here, but I can't find a better place). Johnuniq (talk) 08:00, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Marginal case

I hope this is a good place to ask this question — the category's talk page reminds me that such pages are often not widely watched, and I feel a bit silly asking at the help desk.

What is the best way to categorize an animated serial that was a segment in another (non-animated) programme? The article in question is The Infinite Quest, an animated Doctor Who serial that aired as part of the series Totally Doctor Who. The closest category I can find is Category:Animated television series, but technically speaking "The Infinite Quest" wasn't a television series, since it aired as part of another programme. Should this go in the parent category, Category:Animated series? Or should Category:Animated television series be renamed to something like Category:Animation on television, since it also contains Category:Animated television specials, which are also technically not series? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 06:35, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 15:50, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

RFC reminder

Input welcomed at the draft RfC (mentioned above under #Eponymous cats): at Wikipedia:Categorization/Eponymous RFC.--Kotniski (talk) 06:06, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Disentangling race & ethnicity

We've a couple of related nominations, intended to help disentangle the many cross-categorization and category intersections that have arisen recently:

Should the first be successful, we must amend the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (categories) and Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons policies and related guidelines to clarify that "race" is not appropriate for categorization.

The second is somewhat dependent on the first. However, the inclusion of ethnic "origin" and "descent" is already against policy without notability, and these should never have been intermixed with the less contentious (more easily verifiable) nationality categories.

--William Allen Simpson (talk) 16:17, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Categorizing company articles

Comparing the IBM article's categories:

[[Category:IBM|IBM]] [[Category:Companies established in 1888]] [[Category:Companies based in Westchester County, New York]] [[Category:Dow Jones Industrial Average]] [[Category:Electronics companies of the United States]] ... (more "companies" categories) [[Category:UML Partners]] [[Category:Cloud computing vendors]] [[Category:Cloud computing providers]]

to those of IPL Information Processing Limited

[[Category:Software companies of the United Kingdom]] [[Category:Management consulting firms of the United Kingdom]] ... (more "companies", "consulting firms" categories) [[Category:Media technology]] [[Category:Transportation software]] [[Category:Government software]] [[Category:Bath and North East Somerset]] [[Category:Companies based in Somerset]]

Company/firm/vendor/provider and location categories are common to both. Only the IPL article includes software and technology categories - categories relating to IPL's products. Thus the question: should the article for a company include categories for the products of that company?

The same question, in a different form: Should a product category page, say Category:Word processors, include both products and companies that manufacture them?

And a 2nd question: Where should I have found this answer without having to ask here? The alternate form for that question is "Where should the answer to this question be placed so that others can find it?" Thanks (talk) 23:30, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't really know the answer personally, but a better place to ask would probably be Wikipedia talk:Categorization. The people there specialize in categories, and are more knowledgeable in the criteria for articles to be in certain categories.FingersOnRoids 01:55, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Question moved here from Help per suggestion. (talk) 15:29, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Category for stub templates

the Category:Stub templates was deleted some time ago. Before creating it again, I want to ask: Is it ok if I create it? there are lots of stub templates categories: Category:Drink stub templates, Category:Japan stub templates, Category:Singapore stub templates, Category:Astronomy stub templates, they all belong to some parent categories, whose top level parent should be Category:Stub templates Ark25 (talk) 00:49, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

It looks like there's some history to this page. I'd recommend reading through Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/Log/2006 November 30#Category:Stub templates to figure out why it was deleted in the first place. If/when you recreate it, you should probably address the reasons for why it was deleted in the first place. Matt (talk) 03:24, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

Eponymous cats

I've reworded the section on WP:CAT#Eponymous categories to make it less strict. Previously it said that eponymous categories shouldn't be placed in the list categories that their corresponding articles belong to; now it says that they can for those categories for which that convention has been adopted (as seems to be common practice, and convenient in many cases). However I've retained the principle that when eponymous categories are so placed, that shouldn't exclude the corresponding articles from the category. I know this principle is often quite often violated too, but general opinion seems to be that it shouldn't be. If there are no objections to the present wording, then I think we should be looking at trying to put it into practice (i.e. re-populating the categories from which articles have been wrongly excluded due to the presence of their eponymous cats). (This continues the thread #Undercategorization above.)--Kotniski (talk) 12:23, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't personally see the value in deeming "eponymous categories" to be any different from any other duplicate categorization scenario. IMO, there's simply no need for the double-filing, and no need to set them apart as a special categorization rule, because it doesn't actually function any differently than any other duplicate categorization. Bearcat (talk) 16:49, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, I think the difference is that the "eponymous categories" logically have no right to be subcategories at all; they are just listed as such (in some cases) by convention. For example, Category:France is not logically a subcategory of Category:European countries (since it doesn't contain countries). That's why they need to be mentioned specifically in the guideline. And they're a bit different from some other duplicate categorization scenarios: typically all members of a duplicated subcategory will appear in the parent, but with eponymous cats only the eponymous article itself is expected to be duplicate-categorized.--Kotniski (talk) 17:57, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
What I'm saying is that I don't understand why it's necessary to deem them a special case, not that I don't understand why it's currently deemed to be a special case. Bearcat (talk) 19:42, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
  • I fail to see the logic of an example in this argument: "Category:France is not logically a subcategory of Category:European countries". Since categories are artificial constructs of WP and not real world, one cannot argue that only articles are from the real world that articles belong somewhere and not categories. These are just WP rule for convenience. It is just as easy to argue that whenever an exclusively parent category has been established, as noted by the template Parentcat, then there is no way that it should contain anything except subcategories, the main article for the exclusively parent category (if one exists) and any closely related lists (if they exist). Category:European countries is in fact an perfect example of this. WP is not going to create a category named Category:European country categories in this case and for every similar case, is it? Population of parent categories with articles should not proceed; more categories that are acting as exclusive parents should be marked as such by the template and any offending articles be placed in appropriate subcat. Such population will make categories even more difficult to use by the reader and editor. And there will be more temptation to have many articles in subcategories to also be directly in the parent category because editors in the mass do not understand, do not implement, and do not document when they do, the existing non-distinguished vs distinguished category guidelines.Hmains (talk) 20:10, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure I get any of that. That Cat:France is not logically a subcategory of cat:European countries is completely obvious to me - all I mean by it is that the set of "things related to France" is not a subset of the set of "European countries". Obviously we wouldn't put Paris into Cat:European countries if there were no category:France. OK, we don't necessarily want Category:European country categories for every such case (although we do do that in some cases, as in Category:Categories named after American politicians) - so we simplify by allowing eponymous categories to be placed in list categories for convenience in spite of the fact that strictly speaking it is illogical to do so. But having agreed to do that, there is no need to go one illogical step further and designate category:European countries as an exclusive parent - it is that that makes no sense to me (and is counter to what's always been written, in one form or another, in the guidelines). It would means in effect that an article that has an eponymous category is not allowed to be placed directly in any other category, thus readers looking for categories in the usual place (at the bottom of the article) will fail to find all the cats they would normally expect. (It's even worse in categories where some articles have eponymous categories and some do not - then readers browsing the category get two lists which are separated for no logical reason). What do you think is gained by excluding the countries themselves from the categories of countries?--Kotniski (talk) 11:23, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
      • Whether something is 'illogical' seems to be a point of view and not something established here by any means, including discussion. Categories do not exist in the real world: are constructs of WP editors and can therefore be anything that WP editors want them to be. Why not just accept that having 'exclusive parent categories' is common, normal and perfectly acceptable to WP and then see what results are derived there from that are useful to the reader. WP is not about making things 'pretty' or 'logical' but making things reader useful. Hmains (talk) 04:09, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed up to a point, but even WP editors have to work according to some established guidelines, and we can establish those guidelines in such a way as to make things more useful. How is it useful to readers, then, not to have any "countries" categories (or in practice to have a few randomly selected such categories) in the place they would expect to find them at the bottom of articles like France?--Kotniski (talk) 08:53, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Having the article France in Category:European countries seems natural to me. --Apoc2400 (talk) 09:51, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Kotniski: I am not saying 'no guidelines'; I am saying your proposed guidelines are not helpful and go against what is often successfully used in WP and what is helpful to the reader. Extending your logic, I suppose that every article and its Eponymous category would both to have to be exactly in the same categories. Would there be exceptions? How would they be described? What would be the use of this to the reader? Next, look at category which I think is properly maintained: Category:European Union member states. Notice each of the countries is represented by a category (no less 'logical' than a country being represented by an article) which the reader can select and when they do so they get more than just the main country article, they get all kinds of articles about that country. Better for the reader. Notice that the directly included articles relate to the subject of the category: they are not random and they do belong. Notice that if all the country articles were also placed directly in this category, then these existing articles would be buried alphabetically within those new countries articles. What is the help to the reader with that? Hmains (talk) 03:09, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
    • I don't quite share that analysis. What we have at Category:European Union member states is a jumble; of categories named after EU member states, and of a few assorted random articles relating to EU membership. The one thing missing is the one thing that readers would naturally expect to see in a category so named: the articles on the EU member states (France and so on). For me, this exclusion (i) does go against what is normally and naturally used in WP (i.e. if X is a Foo, then the article X is expected to be a member of Category:Foos); (ii) certainly does not help the reader (especially if the reader starts from an article like France, where you get not even a hint that Category:European Union member states exists). What I would do is put most of the random articles from this category into Category:European Union or some more appropriate subcategory thereof, populate Category:European Union member states with the country articles that normal readers would expect to find there, and optionally either (i) leave the eponymous categories there as well (probably OK in this case since the category is quite small), or (ii) take them away and leave a note on the category page that such eponymous categories exist and where they can be found. It's not ideal, but it's far more consistent with common sense and with the way categories are normally used.--Kotniski (talk) 08:50, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
      • Simply put: articles are not countries, no more than categories are countries. They are artificial constructs of WP. The fact that you cannot think a category represents a country as much as an article does appears to be a personal point of view and not something to be generally imposed on WP as you have done without prior discussion or general agreement. What rule is there that you can make changes to these category rules in such as case? There may be good reasons for WP to allow what you have done, but your reasons are unsupportable. In any case, you did not address my point that under your rules, "I suppose that every article and its Eponymous category would both to have to be exactly in the same categories." Do you accept this or not? If so, what are the consequences to WP? Hmains (talk) 03:53, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) I haven't changed any rules or "done" anything; I just wrote out more clearly what was already said in the guidelines (OK I did make it more strict originally, but I recently changed that back). As to whether article and epon categories should be in exactly the same categories, I don't see why not, necessarily. But if has to be one or the other, then for me it's clearly better for the articles to be widely categorized than the epon cats, as this is consistent with how we generally treat categorization on WP. (Logically we don't have to put articles whose subjects are Foos into Category:Foos, but this is what we normally do, and it seems to me that was the original intent of the category function.)--Kotniski (talk) 06:21, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't see how the word 'logically' has anything to do with this. WP rules are whatever WP editors make up and use. I see nothing but bizarre results in any thinking that would preclude epon categories from having their article in it. If some reader goes to a category called 'France', why would they be denied the article named France, which is the main/core/central set of facts about the subject of the article, all the other articles being detail expansion thereof. Why would WP have rules that might lead someone to think that this is appropriate. Bizarre. Hmains (talk) 02:30, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
There's been a misunderstanding here I think - no-one's suggesting excluding an article from its own eponymous category.--Kotniski (talk) 10:24, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with Kotniski. Making up arbitrary and unintuitive definitions for categories is unhelpful for readers. As a casual reader, it is rather bizarre that the article about France is not categorized in Category:European countries but that it is categorized presently in Category:French-speaking countries, Category:G8 nations, and Category:Liberal democracies. If the rationale of exclusivity were consistently applied, it would seem that if an eponymous category exists, that that should be the ONLY category to appear on the eponymous article and all other categorization would be on the category. olderwiser 12:46, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
You are giving good examples of the current category implementation of category rules that are written in such a way that few follow because they do not understand them. The implementation is poor; the rules are poor. I am trying to get thinking going that would results in better written rules that could be understood by more editors and maybe even implemented by them easily. With the rules as they are, it is any editors's guess what to do and we see the results everywhere of their guessing. Hmains (talk) 02:30, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm, well I guess I'm just completely confused by precisely who is suggesting precisely what. The guidance regarding categories has always been pretty bad, but that is mostly because there is no true consensus as to what a category is on Wikipedia. Some categories are for things that have some, often tenuous, association with a subject. Other categories for things that are all of the same type. There are probably some categories that are a blend. These different purposes for categories can often cause some confusing when moving up or down a category hierarchy, as when a loose "associated with" category shows up as a subcategory of a more strictly defined "type of" category. olderwiser 03:38, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I've tried to improve the guidance recently, not by changing the rules (I hope) but by rewriting it to make it clearer what we have. It remains true, though, that what we have doesn't answer every question. It does answer this question, however - it says (as the old WP:Categorization and subcategories used to say) that the presence of an eponymous category as a "subcategory" of a list category should not cause the corresponding article to be excluded from that list category (WP:EPON). Hmains, you obviously don't agree with this rule - how would you propose amending it?--Kotniski (talk) 04:37, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Eponymous categories should be viewed as parallel to the articles that define them. It is only logical to me that an article should be in every category in which its eponymous category is placed, and vice-versa. I honestly have not seen a clear argument against making this standard practice. Postdlf (talk) 17:47, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm still not sure who is advocating what, but I think it is somewhat nonsensical that Category:European countries contains only subcategories and that the actual articles for the various countries are not part of that category. olderwiser 17:59, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Before trying to put words in a guideline, first we need to know what we are trying to achieve. I see three choices for discussion, each of which currently has widespread use throughout WP:
    • Option 1: An article and its eponymous category should both exist in same categories. What are the benefits and drawbacks of this to the WP reader?
    • Option 2: An article with an eponymous category should only exist in its eponymous and no other category. The eponymous category will be used in all other categories. What are the benefits and drawbacks of this to the WP reader?
    • Option 3: Either the article or its eponymous category or both can exist in other categories. What then is the method that is to be used to make one of these three choices in the case of each article and each category?

I don't think appeals to personal 'logic', current or past guidelines, or current practices make for good discussion. WP guidelines and practices can be made to be anything that editors want them to be. What is the best for the reader to navigate to articles should be the only question. Unfortunately, WP editors have no way of knowing what readers think or what and so assertions by editors about the reader wants are usually just assertions of what the editor personally thinks. Hmains (talk) 22:40, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

...Because editors don't read articles? Huh. Anyway, the exact same navigation needs exist for articles as well as subcategories so there is no reason to categorize them differently, so option 1 is the proper option. France should be in Category:European countries because it is a member of that classification; it is not just a member of its own topic and readers should not be forced to pop through that extra step if they want to go to related articles rather than just sub-topics. Nor can one even see on the article what categories exist that the topic belongs in if purely eponymous categorization is followed. Postdlf (talk) 01:44, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Following Hmains' suggestion above, I've tried to list the possible approaches and the pros and cons of each, with a view to throwing it open to wider discussion via an RFC. An initial draft is at Wikipedia:Categorization/Eponymous RFC. Please improve it if you can.--Kotniski (talk) 10:21, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

I fail to see a case being made for a change. What you are proposing seems to cause more confusion in what categories contain and solves nothing. Vegaswikian (talk) 17:45, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
What do you mean by a change? I'm proposing that we do as it says in the guidelines, or if not, then at least decide rationally what we do want to do and document that in the guidelines. The current situation, where people in different places do different and incompatible things, seems to be the way to maximize the confusion. --Kotniski (talk) 18:30, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

You need to consider templates as well so that Wikipedia navigation is reasonably consistent; many templates are (from this user's viewpoint) only category pages with better editor control. While {{Template:European countries}} doesn't exist (yet!), Template:Santa Clara County, California, for example, does. As does both Palo Alto, California and Category:Palo Alto, California. The templates I've looked at all use the article, not the cat. Thus, I believe, the T.C. Mits are misled, never realizing that Wikipedia has more on the subject that just the one article. (talk) 19:14, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

For what it's worth, that template is at Template:Countries of Europe.JAOTC 19:24, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Category:European countries and Template:Countries of Europe??? Poor T.C. Mits who has to figure out what the different names imply and why France might be in one but not the other! (talk) 20:30, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I think we're going a bit off topic here, but the ordinary reader never has to see or parse the name "Template:xxx" - they just see the navbox which the template produces. And I would imagine the vast majority of readers, on clicking a link to France say, expect to go to the article on France (from which they can, if they want, click again to go to the category France), rather than to go to the category first. Basically, the article, with all its links, is a far more usable tool for finding information about France (even such information as is not in that article itself) than the category page is.--Kotniski (talk) 07:27, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Your are correct in that users don't see or parse Template,... etc. but look, for example, at Category:Operating systems. The user sees both the category Operating Systems and the displayed-template Operating Systems at the same time. I would reasonably expect the category page "European countries" to include the template "Countries of Europe" - templates do, after all, provide useful navigation helps. In the particular case of operating systems, there is little overlap between the category information (subcategories) and the template (specific articles). Users may, as you suggest, do better to go from article to article via links, but navigation with categories and templates should still be an organized coherent whole. tooold (talk) 18:59, 2 June 2009 (UTC)


I don't know why explanation of this was changed. I can't even find a discussion about that. In the "improved version" changed here is not allowed to add DEFAULTSORT even if its values is the same with the pagename. I think that:

  • We should not add extra code with no good reason.
  • "This helps bots to see if value was checked" is not a good reason for me. Not all articles must have defaultsort which is just a tool to help categorisation. People can always check if the the article name suffices to correct categorise the article. -- Magioladitis (talk) 07:48, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

User:Kotniski proposed same changes in February 24 1:46 and did them... in February 26 11:13 because "no response at talk, so being bold and substituting the improved version" and as far as I can understand in the proposal, under a section called "REWRITE", there was nothing about DEFAULTSORT written. -- Magioladitis (talk) 07:54, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Can you be specific about what change/restoration you would like to see? The guideline currently says: "Default sort keys are often defined even where they do not seem necessary – when they are the same as the page name, for example – in order to prevent other editors or automated tools from trying to infer a different default." So it is not forbidding anything one way or the other. The previous version used more words, but effectively said the same thing. What would you propose that it say?--Kotniski (talk) 08:02, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Firstly my apologies if the text above is a bit fiercefull. I was trying to act fast to stop a bot adding defaultsort where not necessary. Secondly, I think ambiguities lead to bad situations. I think we have to say that DEFAULTSORT should not be present if not needed. I think this is what common logic addresses. We add DEFAULTSORT to help categorisation and avoid pipes. DEFAULSORT can be used in non human articles as well. Not everything is human-centric. So, I don't think we have to allow defaultosrt in articles about humans just to satisfy automated tools. Any editor automated tool should check if the pagename is enough for correct categorisation. Thanks, Magioladitis (talk) 08:10, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
I tend to agree with you, but you are proposing something new (it has nothing to do with the diff you refer to above; and as far as I know bots have been adding these unnecessary default keys for quite some time). Perhaps you could make an explicit proposal as to what the guideline should say, then notify the interested parties so we can get a discussion going in one place about the pros and cons.--Kotniski (talk) 08:25, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
As far as I know the problem broke out the last 2 weeks, that's why I didn't notice the change before. I was busy in February and I think I was online for only some minutes per day. The last 2 weeks a chain of changes started with the approval of User:DefaultsortBot only after less than 4 days of discussion and some changes in AWB as well. Anyway, I'll contact User:DefaultsortBot to stop its actions until we come to a solution. Thanks for the quick answers. -- Magioladitis (talk) 08:37, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
My personal feelings here tend to agree with what has been longstanding. The version before Kotniski's rewrite said:
While the rewritten version doesn't stress this quite as much, the point remains the same -- inserting a {{DEFAULTSORT}}, even when it matches the name of the page, leaves a tangible record that it was thought about. Matt (talk) 16:22, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Not to mention, also, that having a {{DEFAULTSORT}} on the page, even when it is equal to the page title, helps bots such as ListasBot do their job. Matt (talk) 16:32, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

I think our mean should become our target. Our target is to correct categorise articles not add DEFAULTSORT everywhere. DEFAULTSORT helps on that. -- Magioladitis (talk) 16:50, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't really see that it matters much - if people want to go round putting in default sort keys, then it's fairly harmless, even if it does seem to some of us to be a waste of their time. However, if the default key is supposed to be an indicator that a considered decision has been, then surely it shouldn't be a bot going round putting them in - how is a bot supposed to make a considered decision?--Kotniski (talk) 17:26, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
This bot is only going around biography pages and pulling it from the {{WPBiography}} banner's listas parameter. A human would have had to have made the decision on that one previously. Matt (talk) 22:36, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Your input would be appreciated at Wikipedia talk:AutoWikiBrowser/Bugs#DEFAULTSORT capitalization. --Pascal666 00:55, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Well, I see this discussion going nowhere fast, so although I don't entirely agree with it, I'll recode the bot to ignore situations where DEFAULTSORT == PAGENAME. Matt (talk) 03:38, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Eponymous categories RFC live

The RfC mentioned several times above, on eponymous categories and what to do about them, is now live. Please read Wikipedia:Categorization/Eponymous RFC and comment at that talk page. Thanks. Kotniski (talk) 13:10, 4 June 2009 (UTC)


Updated Wikipedia:Categorization#Subcategorization with {{allincluded}} (been around for ages), and {{distinguished subcategory}} (my recent creation to match). This should help document previous decisions.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 15:47, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Good. Good. Nothing is mentioned herein about {{parentcat}}. Should this be included in this discussion? Hmains (talk) 22:56, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Also, if along the same lines, some categories get marked as {{allincluded}} and some get marked as {{distinguished subcategory}}, is there a 3rd or 4th template that would allow complete coverage of all category types by a template? Would any category end up with multiple such templates? Hmains (talk) 23:02, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • There's my {{catdesc}}, which (though probably still in development) is designed to document any category fully, with information for both readers and editors. It's rather complicated though - but that's because categorization is complicated.--Kotniski (talk) 06:52, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm generally opposed to these heavily parser functioned, all-in-one, templates. Categorization should not be complicated. Each should do one thing well. Otherwise, it should be split.
    --William Allen Simpson (talk) 15:15, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • OMG! This is just wrong! List categories are not for "articles on subjects in a particular class" (plural, like Americans), they're categories with "list of" articles in them. And a host of other nonsense.... As the first commenter on the talk page noted, this is a monstrosity. I gave up counting at 40+ named parameters, with many subparameters. Nominated for deletion. What a waste of an hour of my day!
    --William Allen Simpson (talk) 16:16, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • No, the term "list categories" is presently defined (here in WP:CAT) as list-like categories, not categories of list-like articles. But maybe it shouldn't be? It's very easily misunderstood. —JAOTC 16:35, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • to answer WASimpson above: {{parentcat}} has always been used differently from {{catdiffuse}}. The former means that the category should contain nothing except subcats and perhaps a main article or list; the latter means that the number of articles in the category is too large or tends to get too large and needs to be reduced by adding subcats to handle the problem--with no attempt or plan to try to subcat all the category's articles. Both are rather a mechanical/physical method of trying to manage category size and not part of some larger, logical category management scheme. Hmains (talk) 04:24, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
  • (NB: "has always been" is relative, as these are both so new that I don't remember either of them.) Perhaps somebody changed the wording over time, as they currently read,
  1. Catdiffuse: "... It should list very few, if any, article pages directly and should mainly contain subcategories."
  2. Parent category: "Due to the scope of this category, it should only contain subcategories and possibly a limited number of directly related pages."
But I like the cool graphic on catdiffuse. Catdiffuse should be merged with (redirected to) Parentcat, as the latter matches {{Wikipedia parent category}}, making things easier to remember.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 17:11, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Catmore template

I have left a note at Template_talk:Catmore#Link_to_Portal:Contents.2FCategorical_index that {{catmore}} (which is protected from editing) could have its "category" link go to a better destination. -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 22:43, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Why do people pipe like this?

See [25] - it's something I've seen other editors do also. Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 14:34, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

What are you referring to exactly? The unnecessary use of sort keys when the default has been defined? The use of ", The" at the end of the sort key? Something else?--Kotniski (talk) 14:40, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
The text after the pipe determines the order in which articles appear in the category list. WP:Categorization#Sort_order Johnuniq (talk) 00:41, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I obviously missed that. Dougweller (talk) 12:35, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

RFC on cat usage

This RfC might interest some regular editors of this page:

Since it's been filed as a "language" RfC, and it's not actually on the cat page itself, I thought that a little more advertising might be useful. All editors are welcome. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:08, 17 June 2009 (UTC) who is not watching this page

Suggestion regarding {{catmore}}

I have made this suggestion to expand the functionality of {{catmore}}. Please comment. Thanks, —G716 <T·C> 23:27, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Save or delete template for documenting categories

For those that believe category pages should contain useful information for readers and documentation for editors, please contribute at Wikipedia:Templates_for_deletion/Log/2009_June_6#Template:Catdesc. If you think this template is fatally flawed, then please suggest how else we should be solving this problem. If you think the template is potentially useful, then please !vote to keep it;) (and suggest improvements to it if you can).--Kotniski (talk) 06:47, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

It was deleted (roughly 4:1, the only 1 being Kotniski), so Kotniski took it to Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2009 June 18#Template:Catdesc.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 13:00, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Roughly 4:1 means exactly 2:1. Please stop this campaign of personalized criticism - I haven't done anything to offend you (have I? please say if I have), I don't know why you need to regard someone as an enemy just because they disagree with you on one or two things. --Kotniski (talk) 13:21, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
"Roughly 4:1" means 3:1 on the discussion itself, including closer, and 1 that asked for deletion on the Talk page and was quoted in the nomination:

This monstrosity turns simple categories into a template that's terrifying to new editors and annoys even old hands like me. It should be deleted before it spreads (WP:CREEP). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 11:14, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Do you deny that everybody was supporting deletion (other than you)?
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 14:18, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
The closer counts as a vote?? Anyway, does it matter? I hope we can carry on without any more of these unnecessary personal digs.--Kotniski (talk) 14:47, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

What to do about category descriptions

I've started a discussion here about what information is appropriate in category descriptions, with particular regard to how much information should be retained if {{catdesc}} is to be deleted (see thread above). Please have a look.--Kotniski (talk) 14:18, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Lowercase category sort

Aside from that above (separating the headings for separate comments), I also wanted to ask general opinions on lowercase category sorts. The relevant sentence in WP:CAT#Using sort keys is "Don't begin sort keys with lower case letters, unless you want to create a separate sublist (the ordering places lower case letters after all capital letters)." It doesn't specifically say we can't sort by lowercase, but I can see possible resistance when implemented in some locations. Take species articles categorized in their genus categories (only species in genus categories; this doesn't work for species categorized in higher taxa categories). Because in the binomial name the species epithet is always lowercase, the trend at WP:TOL articles seems to be to prefer the lowercase sort. E.g., see Category:Utricularia and more impressively Category:Banksia taxa by scientific name, where both uppercase and lowercase sorts are used. We had a brief discussion on this back in September at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Plants/Archive26#Scientific names in genus categories and the consensus appears to be for lowercase sorts. My question is: is this acceptable and within guidelines? If not, I'd like to argue for it. If so, I'd like to ask that this example possibly be included in the section as a place where lowercase sorts are preferred. Any thoughts? --Rkitko (talk) 02:06, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

As a reasonable convention for sorting a specific group of categories has been developed, I'd like it to be documented here.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 13:14, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Agree with WAS.--Kotniski (talk) 13:26, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Capitalising every word in the defaultsort

Hi, all. I had a conversation with User:Drilnoth about a week ago when I noticed this edit his bot made, adding {{DEFAULTSORT:Drosera Binata}} to the article Drosera binata. I thought it was some kind of bug, so I opened a discussion with Drilnoth and he explained WP:CAT#Using sort keys, especially the bit about "To ensure that entries differing by letter case appear together, apply the convention that initial letters of words are capitalized in the sort key."

I'm here to ask for clarification, then. Does this mean, specifically, that each article is meant to get a DEFAULTSORT and each word should be capitalized, regardless of how the article is titled? e.g. {{DEFAULTSORT:Drosera Binata}} instead of {{DEFAULTSORT:Drosera binata}}. I find two things wrong with this:

  1. Specifically for species titled at the scientific name, this makes little sense. People used to seeing the specific epithet lowercase, binata for example, as called for by scientific conventions, will notice the defaultsort in the edit window and think it's a mistake, as I did, and attempt to "correct" it.
  2. The general idea of adding defaultsorts to articles is to allow them to appear in the category correctly, alphabetically. Adding defaultsorts with uppercase species epithets to species articles titled at the species name has the unfortunate effect of displacing the few articles with defaultsorts away from articles on species in the same genus. For example, in Category:Flora of Ohio, we could have the species Drosera intermedia and Drosera rotundifolia. With no defaultsort on either article, they will alphabetize as is and correctly fit next to each other. If we were to add {{DEFAULTSORT:Drosera Rotundifolia}} to that article but not to D. intermedia, the D. rotundifolia article would alphabetize before D. intermedia in Category:Flora of Ohio. Also check out Category:Chromis, as pointed out by User:Hqb; the first two species listed have defaultsorts added and thus are out of alphabetical order with the rest of the articles.

Any thoughts? --Rkitko (talk) 02:06, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Capitalising every word is often not appropriate

I've just had a discussion with someone who is insisting that it was correct for them to have changed the defaultsort of Banksia gardneri var. brevidentata from "Banksia gardneri var. brevidentata" to "Banksia Gardneri Var. Brevidentata", in violation of the rules of botanical nomenclature, the conventions of Wikipedia plant editors, and the organisation of the containing category; because this guideline contains the sentence

"To ensure that entries differing by letter case appear together, apply the convention that initial letters of words are capitalized in the sort key, but other letters are lower case."

That's a bloody ridiculous thing to say, and I'll be changing it.

Hesperian 00:28, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

That's very bold of you, but there are already two sections here currently devoted to this topic. I've moved this section up. Please give the discussion time to mature. Surely, there are plenty of pages already following the current convention, so a specialty convention for taxonomy should be well-documented.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 16:22, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
It isn't a taxonomy-specific convention. My revision said nothing whatsoever about taxonomy. This is much more general than that. I support the guideline telling people how to impose a case-insensitive category sort, but am opposed to it telling people to impose a case-insensitive category sort. Some categories are better off with a case-sensitive category sort; the species examples given here and below are examples of such categories, but that doesn't make this a proposal for a taxonomy-specific convention. This is general opposition to a thou-shalt-have-case-insensitive-sort-orders rule.
So I now see that Rkitko raised the same issue four days earlier, and no-one even bothered to respond. Where is this discussion that needs time to mature? I have moved this thread up further, into the section where Rkitko raises the same issue, as opposed to something obliquely related. And, to counter the perception that this is about taxonomy, I have re-titled the section. (I'm pretty sure Rkitko will let me get away with that). Hesperian 00:06, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
I perhaps broke the first rule of Wikipedia, don't write something that can be responded with WP:TLDR, which is maybe why I received no replies. The title of the section is much improved, thanks. Apologies for misleading others that this is only about taxonomy. I concur with Hesperian; not all category sorts need to have every word capitalized. I find this advice to be counter-intuitive, especially when it's an unnecessary "fix" in many categories. I think the way Hesperian reworded the section is appropriate. --Rkitko (talk) 02:15, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Categories that are unsourced or irrelevant

Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2009 July 6

I've nominated them for deletion, as they present an attractive nuisance. Editors may think it's a good idea to leave an unsourced or irrelevant category on an article, simply because these templates exist. Something like {{fact}} for categories, except these present a large block of text.

In both cases, the category should be removed entirely – especially in the latter case. These have been used on biographical articles. In one case, the unsourced WP:GRS category has been left on the WP:BLP article for nearly two years! When I've removed the category, was reverted with the edit summary (revert: the fact that a maintenance item has been outstanding for a long time is not a reason to remove it.)

Please join the discussion.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 12:29, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

We HAVE joined the discussion. You haven't. As witnessed by the fact that you keep making your edit. We call that "edit warring". The only right thing to do in Wikipedia is WAIT for the outcome of the discussion. NOT to act upon YOUR opinion. Consensus, in other words. (Stresses added to fascilitate understanding of the important things.) Debresser (talk) 12:47, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
I see no attacks, sorry. Ad hominem, or personal. In English or in Latin. The edit warring takes place on Wieland Speck, see Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Edit_warring#User:William_Allen_Simpson_reported_by_User:Debresser_.28Result:_.29. Debresser (talk) 12:46, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Closed no violation, before I'd even had an opportunity to respond. Moreover, irrelevant to this section's subject. A perfect example of your attempt to poison the well.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 11:23, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Are you discussing about a particular article now? --Apoc2400 (talk) 13:01, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Sources - A huge hole

Given that [Category:whatever] doesn't support explicitly attaching a source to a category assignment, what is the rule/convention for providing sources to support categorization? I don't think there is one, and IMO, allowing people to assign categories without explicit sources is a huge hole and the rules ought to be clarified. Long-term, MediaWiki should be extended to allow explicit sources for category assignment and most categorizations should have a source reference. — John Cardinal (talk) 16:52, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

The rule is that the article content in general should support the categories that are on it. There's no place to add a special reference annotation for "why is this individual category here?", but an article shouldn't be added to any category for which the article's content itself doesn't explain why it's there. Bearcat (talk) 01:14, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Seems to me that the category should be obvious when reading the article, or am I missing something? --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE 14:49, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't know if you are missing anything, but many articles are missing something, at least judging by the number of category assignments that are not supported by verifiable content in those articles. IMO, the lack of a method to explicitly assign a source to a category assignment means that category assignments are often unverifiable. Even when the article content does include sourced content that supports the assignment, the linkage may not be obvious or the content might be deleted in the future. Leaving things as they stand means there will be a constant stream of unverifiable category assignments despite the rules. I don't think WikiMedia supports explicit sources for category assignments so there's not much we can do except delete category assignments that aren't supported by the article content. — John Cardinal (talk) 17:11, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I commonly remove a category with the comment, 'Category not supported by article text'. Vegaswikian (talk) 01:59, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
  • We keep having this problem, over and over again. There used to be guidelines here and elsewhere stating that unsourced categories must be promptly removed, I'll try to remember to look for them (probably in histories) and restore them. Somebody severely revised this guideline without any notice.
    --William Allen Simpson (talk) 13:21, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) Thanks for the link. The point seems pretty buried to me. (What else would I say given I didn't see it! <g>) I think the topic deserves a separate section on the page, even if that section is short. That will give it more weight than it has now and help it to stand out. I also think the advice to add templates for unsourced categorizations should be changed. Yes, the {{Category unsourced}} template is available, but as the article stands now adding the template is the only recourse for an unsourced category. Clearly, removing the category link is an option. — John Cardinal (talk) 16:50, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Obviously, if it is realy out of place. But if there is a chance that a little work could source the category, then that would be the preferable course of action. Debresser (talk) 18:55, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Category backbone outline (basic category structure outline)

Level of maximum summarisation:

Physics -> Biology
Physics -> Biology -> Physics

Following summarisation level:

Physics -> Biology      (precellular life)
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life -> Multicellular life
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life -> Multicellular life -> Animal life
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life -> Multicellular life -> Animal life -> Perception, Information      (Conditionality of animal motility; Knowledge, Learning, Memory, Science; Language, Logic)
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life -> Multicellular life -> Animal life -> Perception, Information -> Technology      (Application of Knowledge / Learning / Memory / Information)
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life -> Multicellular life -> Animal life -> Perception, Information -> Information of Physics      (Physics, Physical Sciences)
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life -> Multicellular life -> Animal life -> Perception, Information -> Information of Physics -> Technology -> Technology of Physics      (Physical application of Technology; Technology applied to environment conditioning and to physical objects; Technology of generic machines / tools)
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life -> Multicellular life -> Animal life -> Perception, Information -> Information of "Physics -> Biology"      (Biology, Biological Sciences)
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life -> Multicellular life -> Animal life -> Perception, Information -> Information of "Physics -> Biology" -> Technology -> Technology of "Physics -> Biology"      (for instance, Health technology)
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life -> Multicellular life -> Animal life -> Perception, Information -> Information of "Physics -> Biology -> Perception, Information"      (Information and Knowledge Sciences; Linguistics, Logic)
Physics -> Biology -> Cellular life -> Multicellular life -> Animal life -> Perception, Information -> Information of "Physics -> Biology -> Perception, Information" -> Technology -> Technology of "Physics -> Biology -> Perception, Information"      (Information technology; for instance, Video and Audio technologies; Computers for information processing)


Of course, open to complementation. --Faustnh (talk) 17:57, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

First of all, biology doesn't belong under physics. Everybody knows that life is made out of matter, that isn't the point of these categories. The articles in a physics category should be subject which would be studied in a physics class. Categories should also reflect the next level of abstraction of any particular article (x is a type of y), however this can become a matter of opinion quite quickly. The terms used should reflect what the academic department of a university would use. I don't know how helpful the rest of this is as it is not my area. Pontiff Greg Bard (talk) 18:18, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Ok, a clarification:

On the outline, left to right direction should be interpreted as "cause to consequence" direction, or "input to output" direction.

For instance, "Physics -> Biology" denotes physical objects as causes, inputs, ... of biological objects. So physical objects here are like stems or roots for biological objects.

(NOTE: from this viewpoint, "Physics -> Biology" can also been interpreted as "Biology is of Physical type or class"; just to use an example, physical components (causes) would make a biological organism "of physical type or class", like a vertebral column, as a component (or cause), makes a certain animal "of vertebrate type or class": vertebrate class is the set of all animals that carry a vertebral column inside their bodies; physical class is the set of all things (for example, biological things) that carry physical components or causes, inside their own structure or composition.)

While something like "Biology -> Physics" denotes biological objects as causes, inputs, ... of physical objects, that is: it denotes how living organisms affect and, in some cases, condition / acclimatize their environment, according to their needs (for instance, a beaver building a dam); so, "Biology -> Physics" involves a technological concept, especially (and specificly) in the case of animal kingdom. --Faustnh (talk) 19:25, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, don't do it that way. (I don't know what else to tell you.) Be well. Pontiff Greg Bard (talk) 22:05, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Don't worry, take it easy. Bests. --Faustnh (talk) 23:44, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Circular references

Where is the best place to report circular references? And how can they be discovered? Like for example the list generated automatically here: ro:Wikipedia:Cafenea#Circular_references. I noticed Category:Epistemology <—> Category:Knowledge for example Ark25 (talk) 10:49, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Hello? Anyone? I have the same question: I am investigating how wikipedia's categories can help to create ontologies, in particular for Renewable energy. I used the online categoryTree tool + my own tool incl. offline wikipedia. The script discovered a number of cycles, eg.: Green vehicles <-> Alternative propulsion, Energy harvesting -> Photovoltaics -> Infrared photovoltaics -> Energy harvesting. Krakosian (talk) 07:55, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Discovery is by editors. Cleanup would mean changing something. That would require analysis on a case by case basis since a single solution would not work. If someone has a tool that detects these, maybe list them as a subpage and link to the subpage on the main cat page so that other editors can work on fixing. Vegaswikian (talk) 08:18, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Special characters in category names

To the extent that categories are considered pages, we may want to consider the impact of Wikipedia:Naming conventions#Special characters. As I understand it, this basically says don't use the special characters, with the exception of the apostrophe. If you use dashes, you must provide a redirect from the hyphen version of the name.

I think this means we should use special characters only in special cases it at all and since we can not provide a conventional redirect for any category we should stick with hyphens. Vegaswikian (talk) 18:34, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

These are my feeling completely. As I have stated in various Cfd discussions also. We should add this to the guidelines. Debresser (talk) 19:53, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I think that unless there is an objection, then simply pointing to the policy should suffice. We would also need to add words to explain why we also use hyphens - technical limitations prevent us from implementing the policy of providing redirects. Vegaswikian (talk) 20:45, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Not so much technical limitations, as Wikipedia superstition. Ordinary redirects would work perfectly well with categories (they don't recategorize pages, though developers have made efforts in that direction, but that's no real problem since we have bots that do that).--Kotniski (talk) 08:33, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm ok with this idea. --Kbdank71 14:37, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
The idea of using ordinary (hard) redirects for categories?--Kotniski (talk) 14:57, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, right now, there is no bot programmed to service hard-redirect categories; instead, RussBot automatically changes any hard redirects it finds into soft redirects, and then re-categorizes pages based on the soft redirect template. This could be changed if there is a consensus to do so, but not for a few weeks, because I am going on a wiki-break. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 15:33, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't like the idea of using hard redirects at all. I meant that as in I'm ok with Vegas's original idea of don't use special characters except for the apostrophe, and use hyphens. --Kbdank71 16:05, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

What categories should NOT be created

There is currently a section on the project page to guide editors on "What categories should be created". This guideline says that categories should be created that are "useful for readers" and based on essential defining features of article subjects.
However, there is no guidance on what categories should not be created. I think this is important to discuss, at least for scientific and technical subjects. So I offer the following example / analogy. (Please don't shred the example. Instead think about how it might apply to other scientific / technical subjects that you have participated in editing.)

  • The heart, uterus, stomach and bladder are muscular organs (use muscular tissue) as described in their respecitve WP articles. This is WP:Verifiable information.
  • The determination of "useful" and "defining feature" is somewhat subjective, so an editor creates Category:Muscular organs and populates it.
  • There is no published material in the scientific fields of medicine or biology that ever categorizes organs in this manner.

Does the creation of this category then become original research?
Should there be a guideline here stating that for specialized, technical, or scientific subjects that a WP:Reliable source should be provided that demonstrates items are categorized in the proposed manner? - ¢Spender1983 (talk) 17:04, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

I think it might be too narrow to require that a given categorization is always reflected in reliable sources first. There is room for creatively organizing information on Wikipedia, provided that you aren't inventing or misrepresenting facts by doing so. But that issue could still be relevant to determining whether the category is useful or well-founded. If no literature outside of Wikipedia uses a term (such as "muscular organ"), then that term shouldn't be used because it won't mean anything, and we shouldn't invent terms. Category names should be completely obvious as to what articles should be included. A category name that blandly describes a fact, such as Category:Organs containing muscular tissue, might be appropriate as long as that is easily understood. But then some understanding of the subject matter is required to determine whether the category is useful even though it is factual. Using your example, given that organs (always? by definition?) consist of different kinds of tissue, it might not help anyone navigate articles or better understand the article subject. The lack of any medical literature classifying organs by tissue type (as opposed to system) could arguably support that such a categorization scheme would not be worthwhile. Postdlf (talk) 22:46, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Here's a type of category that I don't think should exist, Conflicts in a particular year. See Dimadick (talk · contribs)'s contributions -- any suggestions as to what to do? See here [26] where he removed a century category and replaced it with a category for a particular year. Dougweller (talk) 10:30, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
The clarification suggested by ¢Spender1983 above is timely and welcome. As far as I am aware, categories are nowhere exempted from general wikipedia principles such as WP:NOR or WP:RS, but it would be useful to make that explicit in the guideline. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 11:05, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
NOR and RS are just a start. We also say that the categorization should be uncontroversial, which is a higher bar than RS. -- SamuelWantman 07:51, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Identifying Articles in 2 distinct Categories

I would like to be able to to identify article that are in two separate and distinct categories. Example D'Aguilar National Park is in Category:Articles lacking reliable references and it is in Category:National parks of Queensland, I would like to be able to filter on articles that are in both (or any two) unrelated categories, so I could find references for National parks of Queensland and then apply them to all the related articles that need them. Does anyone have an idea of how this could be done? Jeepday (talk) 14:12, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Instructions for doing this are at WP:CAT#Searching for articles in categories (I believe it worked when I tried it).--Kotniski (talk) 16:14, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Shoot - I've just realised it says it won't work on articles that have been categorized using templates - and the reliable references category probably does use a template. So it might not work after all.--Kotniski (talk) 16:16, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

A way to do this is to download WP:AWB and use the software to make lists fromthe categories, use the tool "List comparer" to find intersections. Rich Farmbrough, 14:07, 3 August 2009 (UTC).

Someday, the developers will get around to implementing category intersection. -- SamuelWantman 08:11, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Wondering if this category would be allowed...

Category:Five-string bass guitarists. There is a similar category for guitarists that us seven string guitars. There are many more bassists that use 5 string basses than 7 string guitars, but there is an article for Seven-string guitar and there isn't one for Five-string bass. Thanks for any opinions TheWeakWilled 04:28, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

After reading about the 7 string guitar, it looks like it is very much related to a specific ethnic genre of guitar playing. So the 7 string guitarists would likely all be playing similar music, different from 6 string guitarists. Is this so? From the little I know about 5 string bass, it is not all that different from playing a 4 string, just with a larger range. So it seems that people who play 5 string bass aren't all that different from people who play the 4 string one. If I've characterized this correctly, I wouldn't recommend creating the category. If I've gotten this wrong, and there is something special and defining about playing the 5 string bass, than go ahead and create the category. The true test is whether it survives cfd. -- SamuelWantman 08:23, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Stub cats and article cats

I have started a discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Stub sorting#Should stub categories be in Wikipedia namespace rather than article namespace?. -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 23:47, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Dashes in category names

Please see here. Comments, ideas, and suggestions would be welcome. Thank you, –BLACK FALCON (TALK) 22:44, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Sortkeys for geographic entities with names in mul