Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Archive 4

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Intersection of categories

I think that categorys in wikipedia are getting rather confuse, and gets more confuse when you mess it with the lists. I see many categories like Brazilian Political figures or French painters of the XIX century.

A simple way to clear those and make all more usefll would be adding a intersection feature on the categories. For example, i could put van gogh in many differents categories, like famous XX century people, Painters, French guys and Self mutilated nuts. then when I go to Category:Painters there would be a automatically generated link like


  • famous XX century people
  • French guys

Then when i click the first I would go to a page, something like

wich would show all articles wich were painters AND XX century. This way, you can categorize wikipedia articles in a way that:

  • people could do more things: Someone new to wikipedia could discover any relation on articles
  • computers can understand better: i can program a computer to retrieve all information about political leaders from bulgaria even if no one created that topic.
  • wikipedians work would be minimized. When you put Che guevara in argentine and comunist and political leader and reolutionary you are in fact making many new categories. He we be side to side with marx in one page, and with maradona in another. You don't need to make a category:argentine_revolutionaries | category:argentinians | category:comunist_revolutionaries | category:argentine_famous_asthmatics and etc.

well that's the idea. Comments? --Alexandre Van de Sande 18:58, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Then when i click the first I would go to a page, something like

wich would show all articles wich were painters AND XX century. This way, you can categorize wikipedia articles in a way that:

  • people could do more things: Someone new to wikipedia could discover any relation on articles
  • computers can understand better: i can program a computer to retrieve all information about political leaders from bulgaria even if no one created that topic.
  • wikipedians work would be minimized. When you put Che guevara in argentine and comunist and political leader and reolutionary you are in fact making many new categories. He we be side to side with marx in one page, and with maradona in another. You don't need to make a category:argentine_revolutionaries | category:argentinians | category:comunist_revolutionaries | category:argentine_famous_asthmatics and etc.

well that's the idea. Comments? --Alexandre Van de Sande 18:58, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Naming help - professional associations

I started category:professional associations, but it could equally be named category:Professional bodies or category:Professional organizations and perhaps others I haven't considered. What should be used? --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 21:49, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)

Hmmmm. I think the title is OK, but I think that you would be better off having it as the holder for the set of [[:Category:<Nationality> professional associations]] (with Category:International professional associations in there as well). Noisy 09:15, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Article in category and parent-of-category

So we are having a small dispute on this article's talk page about whether or not same-name articles should be listed outside their same-name category. I notice that this part of that page is derived verbatim from the top of the main Categorization project page here. Unfortunately, the "Ohio" example given is no longer accurate.

I agree that sometimes, an article or subcategory needs to be in both a category and its parent, or a category and a sibling. But for articles with the same name as a category (and which cover the same subject), I think that for ease of maintenance, the article should be assigned only to the same-name category, and the same-name category assigned to other categories. At least, this seems to be the best solution for Category:U.S. states. I'd like to do the same in less crowded categories, too, for consistency. What do you think? -- Beland 04:49, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure why "ease of maintenance" is an issue on this, or why that overcomes the great navigation and classification benefits that have previously been mentioned. Articles that define categories are not only the parents of those categories but will also logically be a member of whatever parent categories their own categories belong to. The articles should reflect this, for navigation purposes, as well as to properly classify the article. These are the two functions of categories. A reader of an article may not want to read just more topics on that article, but to see others of the same kind, and he may not even know that such a parent category exists without the article being tagged with it. Categorizing Ohio only under Category:Ohio just tells you that there are more articles about Ohio. A non-U.S. reader in particular may not assume that clicking through that may take him to other categories on other states, plus he may wonder why Ohio isn't classified as a U.S. state, if that's what the article tells him it is. Why unnecessarily increase the steps required to find what should logically be right there? Why omit classifications on the articles that are obviously the most (or all equally) important instances of that classification by virtue of their having a subcategory? Postdlf 09:57, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
    • I agree completely with Postdlf about this. olderwiser 12:11, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
    • Agreed, for example the Tree of Life categories do this and it seems to be the most helpful way. (E.g. Cat is the "top member of" Category:Cats as well as being a normal member of Category:Carnivora. Cats is a subcategory of Carnivora as well. Pcb21| Pete 19:14, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
      • OK, so should there be a rule, then, "an article and a category that have the same name and cover the same subject should be members of all the same categories"? -- Beland 01:03, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
      • Yes, but put more simply, "if an article has the same name and subject as a category, it should belong to that category, and only that category." ··gracefool | 22:35, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
        • I think you're mistaken. You seem to be saying that the article should only appear in that one category. But what was being suggested is that the article should appear in that category plus every parent of that category. —Mike 22:47, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)
          • Oh, thanks. In that case I definately disagree with the rule, it's redundant (and confusing). ··gracefool | 00:11, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
            • Please see my comments above as to why this is not so—I laid out very clear reasons for including an article that defines a category in the parent categories of its eponymous category as well. If you disagree with those reasons, I would like to see specific responses as to why, because the other commenters above have agreed. Postdlf 04:18, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
          • If anything, this should be a software upgrade (eg. put a little up arrow next to each category in an article) rather than a policy.
            1. It's redundant.
            2. Redundancy is confusing.
            3. It inflates the number of articles in a category, making it harder to find what you're looking for.
            4. The article is listed on the category page twice, once in the category, and once as the subcategory.
            5. Any user who knows what a category is knows they can see articles about related subjects by looking in the parent category.
            6. It duplicates information.
            7. It produces a longer, more confusing list of categories at the bottom of the article.
            8. It makes maintenance more difficult.
            9. It's confusing.
            10. It repeats information unnecessarily for no real benefit.
          • IMHO, we should instead have a "main article" link in every category. That fixes the problem. Without redundancy. Or even duplication of information. ;) ··gracefool | 04:24, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • I think the following are all agreed:
    1. The article Cats should be in Category:Cats.
    2. Category:Cats should be in Category:Carnivores, Category:Carnivores should be in Category:Mammals, etc.
    3. Category:Cats should not also be in Category:Mammals. The indirect link through Category:Carnivores is sufficient.
    4. The article Cats should not also be in Category:Mammals, Category:Chordates, etc. The indirect links through Category:Cats is sufficient.
  • What's not agreed is whether the article Cats should be in Category:Carnivores, or whether the indirect link through Category:Cats is sufficient. I suggest that this should be decided on a case by case basis by the people who care about that article and those categories, rather than a matter of policy. —AlanBarrett 12:59, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
    • I think that's implying a hierarchy:

Categories based on arbitrary relationships

Or, "the different needs that lists and categories serve." I have just listed the subcategories of Category:Books by title on Wikipedia:Categories for deletion—these group together articles on books based on the first letter in their title: Category:Books starting with A, Category:Books starting with B, and so on. While I think alphabetized lists are quite proper, this is a misuse of categories. Whether or not they start with B is totally arbitrary, and tells you nothing about the individual book nor about comparisons with other books that start with B. The categories of books by year, by contrast, serves the purpose of grouping articles on books by period, which is a substantial and interesting relationship, and a rational way to classify the article subject as well. While I believe that someone may read The Brothers Karamazov and be interested in what other books were published in 1880, I seriously doubt that anyone is going to want to next look up other books that start with the letter B. We need to ensure that these are deleted, and to formulate a policy to deal with similar categorization attempts in the future. As always, I'm imagining the slippery slope here: Category:Science topics that start with P, Category:Presidents of the U.S. whose middle name starts with J... If it needs to be done, do it with lists. Postdlf 04:31, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • In addition, categories already sort their contents by letter, rendering such subcategories completely unnecessary. —Mike 05:25, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

Category:Fundamental is mis-named

I believe that much of the trouble over at Category:Fundamental is because the category is mis-named.

It seems that Category:Categories was originally intended to be the root of the tree of categories, or the overall container for all other categories (let's call it a level-0 category), and that level-1 categories were intended to be for different ways of organising things (things = topics, knowledge, articles, categories, etc.). (Strictly speaking, the categories are not arranged in a tree, because a category can have multiple parents, and there can even be loops, but it seems to be reasonably tree-like near the top levels.)

Category:Fundamental is all about organising things by somebody's idea of a sensible scheme (and it does seems reasonably sensible to me). However, it is just one of many possibly ways of organising things. As such, I think it probably deserves to be a level-1 category (as it currently is). However, I think that the name "Fundamental" is inappropriate, because Category:Fundamental is neither the root of the category system (Category:Categories has that honour), nor is it the One True Way of organising things.

I suggest that "Fundamental" should be renamed to "Academic disciplines" or "Fields of study", or "Topics", or something similar. There is already a Category:Academic disciplines, which is divided into sub-categories in much the same way as Category:Fundamental. Surely they should be unified? Or do they represent two different views of how to break everything down into categories?

I envisage a scheme something like this:

    Topics (perhaps omit this level, and promote all the
            "Topics by <name of scheme>" categories up one level)
        Topics by Dewey Decimal System
        Topics by Library of Congress classification system
        Topics by (a better name for the system currently known as "Fundamental")
        Academic disciplines
        By geological era
        By year
        By day of year
        People by country
        People by year of birth
        People by profession

If you disagree with everything else I said, I hope you will at least agree that Category:Fundamental is mis-named. —AlanBarrett 18:20, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Archive 1 says that it is non-trivial to rename a category. But since the Cat:Main Page exists, and Cat:Fundamental is unused, except in Browse by category, then Cat:Fundamental can serve as a test case by the developers, for moving around. Thus one approach is to agree on a good name for the intended category and what use it should take, such as the root of all categories, perhaps, or simply go unused, which is how a base category seems to be used now. Ancheta Wis 21:47, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Editing all the articles (or sub-categories) to re-parent them to the renamed category is not much of a hardship. Category:Categories is already the root of all categories, and I see no need to change that. Category:Main Page seems pointless to me. —AlanBarrett 21:57, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
So if the 11 categories of Fundamental and the 6 categories of Main Page are subsumed into Topics, then Fundamental and Main Page categories can simply disappear. The labels are immaterial; but if a Fundamental gets renamed to Topics or Schemes or BrowseBy then at least that category gets some distinguishing mark. Shouldn't this proposal be put to vote or other consensus? I have no problem with
"Proposal: re-parent the Fundamental and Main Page sub-categories to the Topics category. The Topics category is meant to be used for ...."
If no one can agree on what Topics should be used for, then reparent the Fundamental and Main Page sub-categories to Categories. Ancheta Wis 23:25, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If this is "throwing out the baby with the bath water", someone please speak up. Ancheta Wis 23:25, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think it's too soon for a vote. The questions I am trying to have answered are:

  1. Is Category:Categories intended to be the root of the category system?
  2. Is the category currently known as "Fundamental" intended to be a way of organising everything into topics?
  3. What name would express this intent better than the name "Fundamental"?
  4. Do we agree that there are many other ways of organising everything into topics (e.g. Dewey, LOC), and that some of these deserve their own categories as siblings of the category currently known as "Fundamental"?
  5. Should all the ways of organising things into topics be top-level categories below the root category, or sub-categories of a "Ways of organising things into topics" category (and what should it be called)?
  6. Should things like "Places" and "Events" or "Years" be top level categories?

If we can answer all that, then we can think about how to shuffle things around to fit the plan. —AlanBarrett 23:55, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think my answers are: 1. Yes, Category:Categories should be the root. There should be very few top-level categories below it. 2. Yes, "Fundamental" is supposed to be a way of organising everything by topic. 3. I don't know. Perhaps "Topics by name", or one of my earlier suggestions. 4. Yes, many other schemes. Some deserve high-level categories. 5. Not sure. Probably make "Topics by Dewey Decimal System", "Topics by LOC classification", and "Topics by academic discipline", all top-level categories for now. 6. Yes, also make "Places" and "Years" top-level vategories. —AlanBarrett 23:55, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I do not disagree with your assessment above. Question 3's answer can be "Topics", as you state.
"Ways of organising things into topics" can be called "Schemas". Propaedia uses 9 schemas and a 10th recursive, retrospective schema with 5 subcategories which overlays the other 9. We don't collide with Propaedia and are independent of it.
There is a philosophical problem with a Fundamental category. It is probably mythical. Instead, we seem to use prototypes and archetypes. Aristotle never came up with a definitive set of primitive categories. John F. Sowa's book notes how elementary or fundamental objects were posited by Ludwig Wittgenstein, but Wittgenstein never found even one. Instead, Gilbert Ryle 1949 Concept of Mind p. 8, stated "The logical type or category to which a concept belongs is the set of ways in which it is logically legitimate to operate with it". This is all leading me to the notion of semantic link which is currently not implemented in Wikipedia technology. We need a way to link 2 things together, and to name the link. Then the link can have content (semantics). A category names multiple things, but does not link a subject with an object into a sentence, except in the IS-A and HAS-A sense, and does not provide for the need for other verbs. Even USES would be an improvement, if we could encode other verbs with it. Ancheta Wis 01:54, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Thanks, Alan and Ancheta, this is good. Belief in the One True Way is a common and annoying fallacy. Category:Fundamental is mis-named. I've written a slightly unclear speil on the topic at User:gracefool/What is a category. ··gracefool | 05:27, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I like most of what's above too, including the note "perhaps omit this level, and promote ..." in that very impressive draft scheme (although some ontological purists mightn't like having different "classes" of subcategory at the one level and would therefore leave as is).
Agree that "Fundamental" is probably not the best name for the root of all categories, but what is???
I would not have "years" at the top level; they group into decades and centuries, etc - whereas if they can be considered to be all (those three classes and more) directly under the "root" why do we stop at years and not list specific months, weeks, days...?
"Events" go by place as well as time.
Somewhere recently I've seen slightly worrying trends, such as "India" being in a "Himalaya" category - there is a considerable risk in having a subcategory that is partly inside a category but partly (and in this case largely) outside it. Someone else mentioned looping categories, which is the sort of thing the above concern leads to, because Himalaya can just as well be a subcategory of India, and any programming attempt to sort through categories will encounter that and less obvious loops and go on for ever. Having a category (eg Scottish schools) in two or more descending threads (eg one with places and one with education further up) is not the same and doesn't lead to endless loops, though it MAY require (for some purpose I haven't thought of, possibly related to how one displays the full path to a category) a decision on which thread is the primary home of a multi-parented subcategory. [See new subheading below]
Keep up the dialog[ue], folks, it's a long way from being clear enough to vote on!
Robin Patterson 01:44, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Subcategories that include more than their parent categories

[Referring to part of above list]

You got it. Category:Himalayan states of India fits entirely within both of its parent categories, so there can be no infinite loop. And Category:Himalayas should certainly have a name change because it refers to territories, not to the mountains. Robin Patterson 22:30, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Some progress on semantic links

I tried an experiment on the Category:Fundamental; we have both main articles and categories on this (mis-named) page, in the discussion section, as well as the automatically-generated subcategories and the manually-entered categories for the page. The experiment was to substitute, as far as possible, for each wiki-link, the :Category:X in place of the X article which had been there before. I was able to simulate the semantic link which I believed was "currently not implemented in Wikipedia technology". All it takes is a parser which can distinguish sentences or statements (expressions which end in a period "."). This parser could rip through the Wikipedia and extract all statements containing statements like "All [[:Category:X|X]] verb [[:Category:Y|Y]]." and we have a set of automatically generated predicates in a machine-readable/generated form. Not bad for a volunteer effort, eh? Now all we need is such a parser, which is do-able. As gracefool points out, the subcategory trees did not play a role in this experiment; rather the simple inclusion of an object (i.e., article) in a category (i.e., the Category namespace) is the technology which actually allows a form of intelligent semantic link. Ancheta Wis 11:21, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Stub Categorization

Several users, including myself, are in the support of the idea of categorizing stubs. We've already created quite a number of categories, many which have now have quite a list of stubs. However, standing policy noted to avoid self-references policy. Please see the discussion at Category_talk:Stub_categories#New Stubs to Use. --[[User:Allyunion|AllyUnion (Talk)]] 11:31, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

What is a category?

I've written a speil on why categories should be inclusive, not exclusive, and arbitrary rather than strictly hierarchical: What is a category? ··gracefool | 00:30, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Problems with the Plural Convention

As I understand it, the current policy is that categories with a plural name are for representing is-a relations, in the sense that Lion is in Category:Cats because, well, a lion is a cat. Conversely, categories with a singular name are for articles related to a subject. In a way, you can think of the singular category X as articles related to X.

However, quite a few terms, particularly in mathematics, appear in the plural form only, and there doesn't seem to be an obvious way to deal with that.

In general, it doesn't look as if the plural category idea as described above is being followed, with the possible exception of categorisation of people. Right now, categories aren't very usable for generating lists (since someone inevitably put some articles in a subcategory, and there doesn't seem to be a way to recursively enumerate a category and all its subcategories, plus the problem of miscategorised articles).

So, to fix the most immediate problem first, are there any good proposals for naming plural categories when the plural name is already used for a singular category?

Prumpf 12:58, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Could you give some examples of category names that you want to use to represent "is-a" relationships (as is usually done with plural names), but that are already used to represent other relationships (as is usually done with singular names)? —AlanBarrett 19:04, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Contra categories

I don't really expect anybody to care much, and I know the decision must already have been made, but I'd like to register the fact that I really don't like the category feature that's been added to Wikipedia. The beauty of Wikipedia is that it constitutes its own category scheme. This just adds another layer of complication to the (large) category scheme that *is* the network of Wikipedia articles. If you want to know how knowledge is organized, you should be able to gather that from the links in the articles themselves. If you want to be able to navigate around articles easily, that's what the links within and below the articles are for. The whole idea of categories as implemented here strikes me as an excuse to impose conceptual hierarchies instead of letting the structure of the universe display itself beautifully, as it will, if we write and interlink articles as you have been. I've elaborated some of these thoughts, in case you're interested, here. Thanks for listening... Larry Sanger

I generally find categories to be more useful as a maintenance tool for work in progress than as something readers need to see. Categorization doesn't add much to the handful of perfect articles, but it's very helpful for finding duplicates, spotting poorly-titled articles (with the widespread use of pipes, titles are very often not what they seem to be), comparing coverage between the different languages (several non-English WPs now have hundreds or even thousands of articles with no English counterparts), and so forth. I expect to see them used to aid content checking at some point ("what biographies are still missing birth/death dates?"). Stan 16:18, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)
First of all, Larry, greetings from a latecomer, and thank you for all that you and Jimbo did on the ground floor.
I performed an experiment which you can see at Category:Fundamental (it appears to be an ill-conceived category; — Category talk:Fundamental points to the discussion above, on this page on Category:Fundamental probably being a myth). I believe the experiment succeeded in mimicking categorical statements; not only
  • All men are mortal, and some men are Greek, but also statements with subtle modality such as
  • You may be right about that, but if I were you , I think I would wait before I passed judgement, even though you expect that you are right anyway.

The trick is to reference not articles, but categories as the subject and object, and to use the remainder of the sentence as the verb with modality and other conditions. This makes each sentence a veritable database of relationships. A parser can then rip through the Wikipedia and mine these relationships, and place the relationships into a database of cognitions. We are that much closer to a more intelligent encyclopedia, through the simple expedient of multiple namespaces. Regards, Ancheta Wis 00:20, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Here is another example from the Category:Wisconsin for the state in which I live:

  • Wisconsin is a state in the United States.

This simple sentence has some amazing Wiki-technology behind it: it allows us to write a simple English sentence that allows us to reference Wikipedia articles, the category to which the article belongs, and the context of the containing category. This in fact is how many people actually think, in multiple layers, all at the same time. We can actually start to represent intension and extension in Wikipedia. Ancheta Wis 07:53, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Larry Sanger is right to be worried. How many readers care about intension and extension? - it looks very like a POV philosophy of thought and language. Categories and their hierarchy distract editors from writing and improving articles, and are now contaminating the Main Page in a way which may confuse casual readers looking for interesting and useful information. Wisconsin is more helpful than Category:Wisconsin; it also shows that History of Wisconsin needs to be written. At what point do people look back and say "No, that was a mistake?" --Henrygb 00:19, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)
As a non-categorizer, I cannot claim that categories are an advancement of knowledge. There are people who use the main page who wanted to use categories to organize the browse topics (look at the history for Main Page). That was the motivation for the flurry of activity in the last two weeks, for Browse by Category, etc. There are people who still prefer Wikipediatoc; you can find their comments on the history of Main Page, and perhaps by communicating with them, you and they can create a critical mass which can effect the change you desire. The philosophy of live and let live has served the Wikipedia well; perhaps it will all work out. Ancheta Wis 02:22, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The only relevant article I could find on Larry Sanger's user page was m:Accidental linking and hard-wired category schemes. That article discusses a hypothetical category scheme that imposes a rigid hierarchy. The category feature that is implemented in Wikipedia does not do that: it allows multiple category schemes to coexist (each scheme being implemented using the same feature), allows articles to exist in multiple categories, allows categories to exist in multiple parent categories, and even allows loops in the category graph. While I agree with most of Larry's criticism of the hypothetical rigid scheme, and some of those criticisms also apply to the most visible way that the existing feature is used at present (via the Main Page's use of Template:Categorybrowsebar and Wikipedia:Browse by category), I do not believe that the same criticisms apply to the feature itself. —AlanBarrett 12:05, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Categories for software platforms

Category:Macintosh software, User talk:Ellmist#Category:Machintosh software.

Ellmist has been hard at work adding this category to as many cross-platform tools as he could find, including Lynx (browser) and Mozilla Firefox. I don't think that's right — can you image what a Category:Windows XP software would look like? — but all the same, the intent is to list all notable programs that work on a Mac in one place. It is a noble intention. The question is:

  1. Are there simply too many notable Mac programs to bother with such a category? Or,
  2. Should we retain the category, and
    1. Leave it the same, possibly adding a Category:PC software to contrast,
    2. Only populate the category with software that runs on Macs exclusively, renaming it Category:Mac-only software (but then what about Category:PC-only software?)
    3. As Ellmist suggested, move the category to Category:Cross-platform software (but then what about Category:Single-platform software?)
    4. Some other idea I missed?

I honestly don't know, and I figured the best place to ask was either here or at the Village Pump. 05:25, Sep 10, 2004 (UTC)

The right thing to do if I decide is to treat all equal; that means we should have Macintosh software, Windows software, BSD software, etc. (Note that we should not use "PC"; any computer is a PC, we have to specify platform. So it should really be Mac OS software, Windows software). We shouldn't worry about using too much categories. The category tree _should_ be detailed and articles should be well categorised, when we need it. The cross-platform category sounds good if we can come up with a good definition, like "This is a category for software that runs on Windows and Mac OS and Unix (or Linux?)-based platforms". That's all I can think of now, but generally I like specific and detailed categories.[[User:Sverdrup|Sverdrup❞]] 15:56, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Basically, option 2.2 then (using operating systems as platforms rather than machines.) Sounds tedious, but I can see how useful the category would be. One danger is having a gigantic number of leaves under the software platform categories (every single thing that runs under Windows will need Category:windows software.) There's also a danger of instruction creep — somehow, everyone's going to have to know that all newly entered software needs categorization. (Obviously, anons that create substubs aren't going to do this, but Wikipedians will.) Not to mention the joys of having to retroactively categorize every software article ever written. At least Ellmist has got the ball rolling!
Category:Cross-platform software should, in my opinion, apply strictly to programs that have ports for or have been written for a wide variety of systems besides Macs, Wintel PCs, and Linux. For instance, I would put telnet, zip, nmap, and g++ under Category:Cross-platform software, but Mozilla Firefox would simply be placed under Category:Windows software, Category:Mac software, and Category:Linux software. What do you all think? And what do we do about software that will run under X? 00:05, Sep 11, 2004 (UTC)
If category "Linux software" is for software that works on Linux but does not work on other unixen, then Mozilla Firefox does not belong there. Category "Open source software for un*x" would make more sense. —AlanBarrett 12:53, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

That sounds like a good idea to me. I guess I'll create Category:Windows software. --Ellmist 05:52, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • One way to keep the categories smaller will be to use more specific subcategories, such as Category:Windows games and Category:Windows e-mail clients. But what subcategories to use are open to debate. In any case, we can have that be a project for another day and just start applying the general categories now. 05:57, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)
    • I should also note that a Category:Application software already exists and is a subcategory of Category:Software. Category:Web browsers is in turn a subcategory of Category:Application software. So we already seem to have some software categorization in place already, but the categorization is by function rather than platform. This complicates things. 06:00, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)
      • Categories are linked in a graph, not a tree. It's easy to have "Application software by platform" and "Application software by function" as two simultaneous categorisation schemes. Category "Windows games" could be a sub-category of both "Games software" and "Windows software". —AlanBarrett 12:25, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)
        • Good point. I'll keep that in mind. 18:53, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)

I'd like to distinguish between "Software designed for platform X (and that is unlikely to work on other platforms)" and "Multi-platform software that works on platform X (and probably also on other platforms)". To me, terms like "Macintosh software" or "Windows software" imply the former (so Firefox is not Macintosh software, but the Mac version of Firefox is Macintosh software). —AlanBarrett 12:21, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm still asking myself the question why we need these categories at all. On some point we need to stop making categories, otherwise we'll end up with categories like Category:Windows 2000 software or even Category:Windows 2000 software that runs with service pack 2 and above. Why exactly do we need a category that lists all windows/linux/unix/beOS/macOS/DOS software? --Conti| 14:59, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)

Solely for organization purposes. After all, why do we need Category:Application software or Category:Web browsers? The answer is so that a reader can easily "drill up" one level and see all the leaves in the web browser subtree. She browses Mozilla Firefox, clicks a single link at the bottom, and boom! She is suddenly aware of the existence of the Links browser, checks it out, and downloads it. Knowledge spreads.
That said, there really are a glut of useless categories being made right now, and CfD can't handle them all. I still think software categories are useful--especially larger categories, which can serve as automated lists.
As I wrote previously, we already have a functioning "Software by category" tree. Ellmist has been adding the beginnings of a "Software by platform" tree, but others have tried in the past: see List of IBM PC games, currently on VfD. I say, let's work out a parallel platform tree while we're here, and make it standard. 16:20, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)
My main problem here is the simple question "where should we stop"? There is software that does not run under every windows version, so what exactly speaks against Category:Windows 2000 software and Category:Windows 2000 games? --Conti| 16:50, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)
I'd rather not have categories that specific, but we can use a simple thresholding rule in this case. Are there enough notable games or applications that only run on Windows 2000, only on Windows XP, or only on Windows what-have-you to warrant their own category? If not, keep them in their parents. (Of course, other sparsely populated categories ought to exist anyway, like Category:Musical software.) 18:53, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)
Well, are there enough notable games or applications that only run on a mac? I can't think of any game, therefore Category:Mac games shouldn't exist? What's with games that do run under Windows and Linux and MacOS? Should they have all three categories, although the "game only runs under X"-test fails? Or is the test only for the creation and not the content of a category? --Conti| 19:48, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)
If there are not enough notable Mac-only games, then we shouldn't create the category. We can always keep software that we can't organize in a parent cat until it has enough peers to warrant the creation of a sub-category. For instance, there are hundreds of GNU programs, but many things like wget and LilyPond have no peers. I would not create a Category:GNU web spiders for the former or a Category:GNU musical software for the latter, even though that would fit our current scheme. Instead, I would place both under Category:GNU software and be done with it. And like I said before, I still wouldn't be comfortable labeling a game that only runs under the three most popular platforms as "cross-platform"; for me, that term connotes true portability, but I am open to suggestions.
Keep the challenging questions coming--I'd like to get this well defined if we're going to "go live" with it. 05:10, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)
So it would be possible that i.e. DOOM will have Category:Windows games, Category:Linux games, Category:Mac OS software, Category:Gameboy Advance games and Category:DOS games, maybe even more? I don't really like 3-5 categories per game for such a thing, it simply looks ugly and is not that informative IMHO.
And if we have all these categories, what's wrong with Category:Mac OS games? There are enough games that run under Mac OS, so the category won't be underpopulated. It feels illogical to me that the category won't be created just because there are no notable games that only run under Mac OS. I don't think that criteria is very helpful in this case, if Linux deserves its own game category, Mac OS does as well. "Are there enough articles that would fit into this category?" should be one, but not the only criteria for category-creation, otherwise Category:Software with 5 letters would also be possible. I just don't know which other criteria(s) we should use. --Conti| 10:13, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)

Proposed tree

Instead of discussing what should be in the tree, just edit it! Be bold -- I'm serious, I want to see your ideas.

And so on. All software articles would eventually contain one or two leaves from this category tree; for instance, Duke Nukem 3D would fall into both Category:First person shooters and Category:DOS games. Note that Category:Computer and video games by platform already exist sand and is very extensive. I'm not sure how to incorporate this scheme without breaking it up.
What do you all think? 16:20, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)

  • That looks pretty good, except some of your names fail the "name must stand alone" test. This is easily fixed by adding words like "computer" or "software" or "games" to categories that don't already include them. (For example, people would expect Category:Flight simulators to include the expensive hardware+software things used to train pilots, while they would not have that expectation for Category:Flight simulator computer games.) —AlanBarrett 16:58, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)
    • Thanks for the information. Now, I added GNOME and KDE as platforms, but I'm not sure if we should classify software that was built with GTK (GNOME's toolkit) or QT (KDE's toolkit) as GNOME or KDE software. (Under that rationale, Firefox would be GNOME software.) And where would Category:GNU software fall? 19:05, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)

It would be possible to have both a Category:Macintosh software and Category:Macintosh-only software. --Ellmist 01:29, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

In the tree above, Category:Macintosh software is for Mac-only software. Multi-platform software would fall under a different category. 04:54, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)

I am in favor of renaming Category:Macintosh software to Category:Mac OS software. User:Sverdrup mentioned this earlier. The move function appears, but it says "This action cannot be performed on this page." If there isn't an easy way to do this, we should decide on this before there are too many pages to change. --Ellmist 01:35, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There's always the old fashioned way: create the new category and manually repopulate. Once the old category is empty, send it to CfD. Of course, that'll take all night. 04:54, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)

Categories?? (Questions from the village pump)

Is it intended that every article be in a category? The categories seem pretty disjointed and inconsistent to me, but I think it would be great if they actually made sense. How can I best help in this? Spalding 03:32, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

By putting more articles into categories, I suppose. I'd agree with you that the categories function needs some work, for sure. Rhymeless 03:39, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Go to Wikipedia:categorization to see the guidelines, and discuss those parts you'd like to see changed at Wikipedia talk:Categorization. 04:15, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)
It's all very confusing, but here are a few pointers:
  • Wikipedia:Categorization seems to be the best place for broad issues about how things should be categorised. At present on Wikipedia talk:Categorization, we are trying to come up with a better name for "Category:Fundamental".
  • Wikipedia:Categorization projects (current) seems to be for organising projects to place articles into categories.
  • Wikipedia:Browse by category is supposed to be a useful set of links to categories. That page is not much more than a wrapper around Template:Categories.
  • Putting existing un-categorised articles into existing non-controversial categories is easy. Just add [[Category:Whatever]] at the bottom of the article.
  • To link to a category's intro page, use [[:Category:Whatever]]. The extra ":" at the beginning means this is just a link; I don't want to put my article into that category.
AlanBarrett 09:50, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

OK, I'm trying to put article List of radio stations into Category "Reference>Lists" and then other subcategories into what should be the new category List of radio stations. But what I really need to do is create a new category with that name, correct? I added the Category markup to the bottom of the article. But it will still be an article and not a category, correct? The instructions for categories show some scripts, (that maybe will make things (articles) a category?), but I have no idea how to run them or if I even can or should. I'm in over my head - any ideas?

My intention was to make it match television stations, with a subcategory named List of radio stations, and under it would be things like Lists of radio stations in North and Central America, etc. But wouldn't that require deleting the article List of radio stations that is basically functioning as a category? I'm getting too confused here. Spalding 11:31, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

Here are several suggestions:
  1. Put the article "List of radio stations" into Category:Lists that should be categories. Just edit the article to do that.
  2. Create Category:Radio stations. Just click on the red link, write an introduction, make it a member of one or more suitable parent categories, and save. (That category already exists.)
  3. Create suitable categories for "Radio stations in <name of country>", and make them members of Category:Radio stations.
  4. Add all the radio station articles to the appropriate category.
  5. Eventually, after everything is neatly categorised, think about deleting List of radio stations.
AlanBarrett 12:13, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Hm .. I just "suggested" replacing Category:Lists, Category:Radio and Category:Reference with Category:Lists of radio stations as there is a series of those (many, unlikely for all to have or get articles). -- User:Docu
Yes, that makes sense. —AlanBarrett 13:30, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I put the article "List of radio stations" into Category:Lists that should be categories, but it doesn't look correct. The text shown when editing is less than the article - the second section doesn't show. Does that get processed every so often? Spalding 12:43, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

To add an article to a category, you edit the article; you do not edit the category's intro page. The effect is instant; there's no periodic processing. In this case, you should have added [[Category:Lists that should be categories]] at the bottom of List of radio stations, and not edited Category:Lists that should be categories at all. I have fixed it up for you. —AlanBarrett 13:30, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I generally disagree with the idea that categories supplant/replace lists. Lists can have red links, inviting new articles, categories can't. The only exception I can think of is lists that are known to be 100% complete. Niteowlneils 14:13, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

That's a good point, Niteowlneils. So what do you suggest in this case? I have a headache from this, so I think I'll stay out of categories until I get some more experience here. But how should we resolve this radio one for now? What should be done with the individual items in that list? Should they be in that new category, should they be subcategories of it as I originally intended? Or just left with no category and the one I did change for Asia be removed from its category? Is my assumption that every article should be in at least one category valid? Or is it too picky? Spalding 16:28, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

Categories can have a list of unwritten articles. Just edit the category page and put it there.--Eloquence*

Also, Lists can give a little information for each entry (like List of web comics), whereas a category can't. I think its fine to have both in many cases. siroχo 04:14, Sep 6, 2004 (UTC)

Using sort keys to sort certain articles at the top?

User:Netoholic is using a sort key beginning with '!' to sort certain articles to the top of the list. E.g. in Ford Motor Company he did [[Category:Ford|!Ford Motor Company]]. I reverted his change there since I felt it was ugly and an abuse of the sort key system. He questioned my revert. Rather than disagree between ourselves I would like to hear some more feedback: what does everyone else think of this practice? Useful? Ugly? —Morven 18:49, Sep 10, 2004 (UTC)

The convention seems to be to use '*', not '!'. I've seen it a couple of times and ignored it, but it seems like a reasonable idea. Perhaps it should be discussed here before being implemented. [[User:Noisy|Noisy | Talk]] 18:58, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I consider it a dodgy hack. There was a discussion here some time ago about using this hack to achieve other custom ordering, such as putting Harry Potter books in order of publication using numeric sort keys. It strikes me that the best approach would be to figure out exactly what effects people want to achieve, then to submit an offering to MediaZilla and pray to the gods. (Secretly I want someone to change the code so that category pages display the designated sort key rather than the document title, exposing all these hacks for what they are...) -- Avaragado 21:08, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The best way to place the defining article of a category at the top is to use a space: [[Category:Ford| ]]. Using a '!' looks a little awkward. I've been getting in the practice of using asterisks for other articles and subcategories that you want to separate for one reason or another from the main bulk of entries, as in Category:U.S. states, where the main subcategories are obviously the ones for the states, but there are numerous others dealing with topics about the states (such as Category:U.S. state insignia). I've also been using asterisks for articles on specific attractions within county categories (when they aren't located in a city that has its own category), to separate them from the listing of municipalities and communities. But I don't think there is any one absolutely right way to do it, just as long as the organization is clear and logical. Postdlf 22:45, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It is a hack, but it is a hack with some logic behind it. A broad category like Category:Ford is essentially equivalent to an alphabetical list of Ford topics. In such a list you would expect to see each of the individual articles or categories sorted alphabetically. But if the list included a link to a list of Ford topics in hierarchical order you would probably see that link at the beginning or end of the article. Therefore if we are linking any list of Ford topics to Category:Ford we might use the '*' to separate it out of the category's sorted list. This is even easier to see with a more narrow category like Category:Ford vehicles which could have several lists of vehicles that would be separated from the category's sorted list of vehicles.
Because I think of county categories as "broad" topical lists for articles associated with the county, I never separate out non-city articles. But as Postdlf says there isn't a Wikipedia policy for this. —Mike 06:39, Sep 11, 2004 (UTC)

I'd prefer if the space (" ") wouldn't be used for this, pywikipediabot doesn't handle it well. -- User:Docu

If Ford Motor Company is that important to Category:Ford - wich it looks like it is although that is not the issue here - then it should be referenced at the category article, just as this one already is: «This category is for articles relating to the Ford Motor Company [...]». That's the first thing you'll read when entering the category. IMO there is no need to any further point out. - Nabla 16:50, 2004 Sep 11 (UTC)
But if the main article is not part of the category itself, then how will people at that main article know that the category exists? [[User:Noisy|Noisy | Talk]] 18:16, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)
This should never happen. If it does, then you can fix it by adding the article to the category. —AlanBarrett 20:03, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If the bots don't like the space then we could use '!' since it would still be sorted as the first article. —Mike 05:21, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)
I have seen all of [[Category:Foo| ]], [[Category:Foo|*]] and [[Category:Foo|!]]. " " looks best to me. "!" is most likely to sort first on the category page, but looks ugly to me. "*" seems to be most popular (but I haven't done any measurements), and still looks reasonable. Regardless of what gets used, the category's introduction should contain a prominent link to articles or sub-categories that are important enough to merit such special sorting tricks. —AlanBarrett 20:03, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)
A short overview of the a few non-alpha chars as sort keys:
| Left(cl_sortkey, 1) | Count(*) |
|                     |      745 |
| '                   |       24 |
| -                   |      234 |
| !                   |       36 |
| "                   |        4 |
| #                   |        4 |
| (                   |       23 |
| *                   |     1191 |
| .                   |      130 |
| /                   |       17 |
| ?                   |        1 |
| @                   |        2 |
| `                   |       10 |
| |                   |        1 |
| =                   |        4 |
| ©                  |        2 |
    • -- User:Docu

placing redirects in categories

The most famous and influential reggae band in history if Bob Marley & the Wailers, which quite properly redirects to Bob Marley. While Bob Marley is in Category:Reggae musicians, he is not a reggae band and is thus not in Category:Reggae musical groups. It strikes me as strange and un-useful that Bob Marley & the Wailers is not listed in Category:Reggae musical groups. Could it be possible to place redirects in categories to avoid this problem? Tuf-Kat 18:58, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)

I don't think you should place a redirect into a category, even if it is technically possible. If the redirect deserves to be in different categories from the target article, then it probably deserves to be more than just a redirect, so expand it to at least a short article. —AlanBarrett 19:54, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It's generally not very useful, though I added a few I found reasonable to Category:Titles. It's now somewhat comparable to the list in Title. -- User:Docu
I had rather assumed it wasn't possible, but apparently it is, so nevermind. Tuf-Kat 00:29, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)
My experience is that categories can be added at the time the redirect is created, but categories cannot be added to an existing redirect. —Mike 06:50, Sep 15, 2004 (UTC)
You can do it providing that the entire text of the REDIRECT article is contained on a single line: anything after the first line-feed is deleted by the system. HTH HAND --Phil | Talk 09:45, Sep 15, 2004 (UTC)
It would be useful to specify the display label to override the article's own title. The label will solve the problem described by TUF-KAT above. It also solves another problem where redirected article made the title inappropriate for use in catagory. For example, the article Frame Technology Corporation is redirected to its product name FrameMaker. When this article is listed under the category of defunct companies, the product name FrameMaker is shown amongst company names. I bet there are many situation like this. If the tagging allow the label to be replaced, the problem is solved. 21:13, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Problems met while trying to rationalize Cities and Towns categories

As some of you might have noticed, there are two different categories including sub-categories by country, one is Category:Cities by country and another one is Category:Towns by country. Though I am not an anglophone, I was vaguely conscious that the meaning of "cities" is quite different between different countries ; quite predictabily, some (presumably) US editors have begun to include into subcategories of Category:Cities in the United States quite small localities, e.g. Forest, Mississippi (population 5,987), while in other countries I could perceive a clear intent to make a distinction between (larger) cities and (smaller) towns, e.g. look at Category:Tasmanian localities ; see also the distinction (imported from the German Wikipedia) between Category:Cities in Germany (population over 100000) and Category:Towns in Germany (population under 100000). There seem to be a distinction also for Taiwan, though I am not so sure. (Anecdotically, note that localities of my native France are classified under Category:Cities, towns and villages of France -our permanent dream of rurality). Indeed there have been still other choices for other countries ; as I now check Spanish localities have not been categorized, their list by province being categorized instead, see Category:Lists of municipalities in Spain.

So am I stuck now in my cleaning up project ? Probably, but I can always ask for advice, I try to detail my queries:

  • A few countries have series of "Towns in ..." which could be renamed "Cities in ..." with no apparent damage : Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland (republic and NI), Poland, Ukraine. Are there obvious objections ?
  • What should be done for the countries where there was a clear intend to make a distinction between "Cities" and "Towns" (or "Townships") (Australia, Germany, Taiwan) ?

Definitely we NEED some easy way to rename categories ! --French Tourist 20:56, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I agree with the above. It's confusing having lists of both cities and towns for some countries, especially since there's often no clear cut distinction between a city and a town.
I'd like to see a category redirection system implemented, preferably so that if an article is assigned to :Category:foo but that redirects to :Category:bar, then the article appears in the latter category. At the very least I'd like to be able to type :Category:foo into the search bar and end up at :Category:bar. When I'm searching for the appropriate category to put things in, I might look for :Category:American_foo and be redirected to :Category:U.S._foo. At the moment, I'm told that the first category doesn't exist, and have to search further for the latter. When I find it, I have no way of speeding up the searches of others.-gadfium 22:17, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It depends on whether there is some concrete difference between the different designations of "city" or "town" in those other countries. In the U.S., whether something is a "city", "town", "village", etc., is a matter of legal designation, which determines the community's official name (i.e., "City of New York" or "Village of Marble Cliff") and the law-making powers that it has (taxation, traffic regulation, zoning, etc.). I think it would take some research country by country to determine whether these distinctions are similarly meaningful elsewhere. If they are, then subcategorization by kind is proper. Postdlf 02:47, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Discussion moved from Village pump

I think categorization has gotten out of hand. We are now getting categories for all years and even for years of birth and death. Conceivably, one could categorize articles in innumerable ways—people who died on Sundays in December of 1921?—but what's the use in it? I think we should limit ourselves to relatively broad, reasonably useful categories, and not just categorize every way we can think of. Everyking 20:42, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Categorizations of that kind can be useful for a number of things. Its a useful way to group related items. Many of these will just be sub-categories of the larger, broader categories you mention. We're not paper and very specific categories are better than, say, making an article which is just a list.
But there are too many categories to easily traverse. What we really need is an alphabetized list of categories so one can find specific categories easily. Just my $.02... Frecklefoot | Talk 21:25, Sep 9, 2004 (UTC)
There is an alpabetized list. Just click on 'Categories' at the top of any page which is categorized. However ... there are more than 20,000 entries. That'll take you some time to traverse!! [[User:Noisy|Noisy | Talk]] 22:48, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)
People devote their entire lives to studying categorizating...I have friends in library science whose heads would probably explode if they saw these. It's kind of ridiculous, but that's what we get for allowing non experts to do anything :) Adam Bishop 21:28, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)
That's an excellent point. There's a lot of expertise out there, and there's no point our reinventing the wheel. In fact we are possibly wasting a lot of time trying to do just that. How do we tap into this expertise? Or have we already done so? Andrewa 17:34, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm all for having multiple independent or overlapping schemes of categorization. Yes, right now it's a little out of control. Yes, we probably need a WikiProject to look for anomalies and try to fix them; I've already fixed a few myself.

I think they are potentially far more useful to readers of Wikipedia than any other form of organization. You can traverse from an article that interests you to the category that looks most likely to you, then up and down the hierarchy category looking for other related material. I like it. I use it.

I don't find "year of birth" particularly useful, but I don't find the overwhelming tendency to link every year mentioned in an article particularly useful, either. Apparently someone likes it, or it wouldn't be there. It's easy enough to ignore a category you don't care about. -- Jmabel 23:09, Sep 9, 2004 (UTC)

As an aside having nothing to do with categorization, I have been doing some of the year-linking you mention. When I first started editing here, I asked what the accepted practice was on the manual of style for dates and numbers, and a Wikipedian responded that we should always link dates so that user preferences can change them. I was not aware that there was opposition to this practice. 00:07, Sep 10, 2004 (UTC)
Well, years (1977) aren't dates (May 12, 1977). AFAIK there are no preferences for years. Dates should always be wikied (my opinion, but I'm not aware of any opposition). For years this is not as clear, see Wikipedia:Make only links relevant to the context. anthony (see warning) 01:32, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I also think categorisation has got out of hand - seems to me it's for people who like to organise things rather than create new things, though of course there's a place for that. It would be nice if adding categories as the only change to an article could be filtered from a watchlist though, as at the moment it's jolly hard to pick out "real" changes amongst the noise. This make spotting vandalism harder, for one thing. Any reason this could/could not/should/should not be done? Graham 03:42, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

A better solution for the long term would be to consider a change in categorization as a change to the category page, rather than a change to the article page. Then you'd be able to watch the category page if you want to watch these changes. This would also fix a lot of other issues, such as mass changes in categorization. I'd imagine this would be somewhat of a pain to implement, though. anthony (see warning) 15:45, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)
But then how am I supposed to know if someone is adding a bad category to an article? Everyking 22:53, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You'd find out about someone adding Bill Gates to Category:Magicians the same way you'd find out about someone adding him to List of magicians. anthony (see warning) 04:57, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I too think the categorization has got out of hand. Some categories are set up so they are only every likely to have a handful of articles. I also think the categories for each years must go. They are basicly doing the same thing that the year pages are. DJ Clayworth 17:17, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

End moved discussion

Auto-categorization work

A page devoted to computer-assisted categorization of articles has been created at Wikipedia:Auto-categorization. The first target is counties and municipalities in the United States. -- Beland 10:16, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Links to categories

It is, of course, possible to link to a category within the body of an article by preceding the "Category:" tag with a colon. However, what are folks' opinions of this practice? I think it's useful. For example, I believe that the article Ford Motor Company should contain * [[:Category:Ford vehicles]] under See Also. Otherwise, a reader might not know that this other category existed. It would be foolish (and destructive of the category heirarchy) to insist that articles desiring to reference a category be a member of that category. And it is unlikely that a user would discover a category, especially if it is seemingly unrelated. Thoughts? --SFoskett 20:04, Sep 27, 2004 (UTC)

Depends. If the category is essentially the same as a list article that would be appropriate as a Related Article, then I see no problem with including the category as you describe. However, if there already is a list article that is more than a simple alphabetical listing--then I don't think it it necessary to add the category as well. In your specific example, there already is list of Ford vehicles, so I'd say no, don't add the category. olderwiser 20:11, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Category:Culture by country

I tried posting this question over a month ago (Aug 20) at Category talk:Culture by country, but since I got no response there, I'm trying here, maybe someone can explain:

I'm not sure I understand this category. Does this mean that if a culture doesn't have a nation-state, it doesn't get included at this level? What happens to, for example, Catalan culture, Gypsy culture, Jewish culture (most of which is an entirely other matter than Israeli culture), the cultures of various Native American nations? -- Jmabel 01:12, Sep 30, 2004 (UTC)
I don't see why not. Maurreen 02:52, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Categories or not?

Has the general idea of categories reached consensus? If so, where would be a good place to suggest that people put new articles into categories, and categories into larger categories? Maurreen 02:52, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Too many cats--- 20165 to be exact

There are 20165 categories, from category:.hack to category:ß-lactam antibiotics. -- user:zanimum

  • And how many cats do you think there should be? —Mike 03:34, Sep 7, 2004 (UTC)
  • 20,000 categories for almost a million articles seems like a fair ratio, especially taking into consideration that there are a number of categories that necessarily supercategorize other categories rather than articles. -Sean Curtin 03:39, Sep 7, 2004 (UTC)
  • The number has grown by about 50% in the last month! There is a general movement to categorize taking place. I'm not convinced it's the way to go. Too many people seem to be categorizing without agreeing a structure first. Noisy 09:07, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • The wiki way of determining what structure categories should have is to let many people categorize articles, and seeing what structure eventually develops out of that. Once a consensus develops the "nonstandard" categories can be tidied up to match. For people who just plain don't like categories as a concept, how about requesting a preference setting be added to the software to hide them? Bryan 15:19, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • We should have more. Every article should belong to a category. (Can we get stats on how many articles that have categories?)[[User:Sverdrup|Sverdrup❞]] 15:05, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)
    • About 170'000 articles are categorized in up to 17 categories (Interstate_95, Mega_Man, Elite_(computer_game)). -- User:Docu
      • I forgot to mention: Standard_Occupational_Classification_System with 24 categories (I thought it was in Wikipedia namespace). -- User:Docu
        But that article isn't actually in 24 categories; rather it contains a list of Wikipedia categories which correspond to the official system of classifying jobs described therein. --Phil | Talk 11:01, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
  • 26319 categories now - it looks like a large waste of people's effort to me. Some, like the subcategories of "Category:Swiss military trainer aircraft" are a joke. Others like "Category:EU countries" need to be renamed "Category:EU member states" to solve a dispute about what is a country. But people are too busy creating categories, when in the past they would have been improving and cleaning articles and iLinks. --Henrygb 22:38, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • It's about 25300 categories for 270000 pages (all namespaces).
    • BTW the aircraft categories appear quite systematic compared to others with a similar degree of detail. It just that some prefer the same information in one category instead of three different ones. -- User:Docu
    • Doesn't seem at all excessive to me. Figuring on average maybe 4 categories per article and 40 articles per category, I'd expect 10% as many categories as articles. It would be interesting to know what the respective averages are at this time. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:46, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
    • A while back I realized that there were articles on hundreds of ships in the Royal Navy that appeared to be of no particularly special note. Personally, I would have considered it a huge waste of my time to have created all those articles. However, whoever did create those articles clearly had different priorities for the use of their time than I, and I say more power to them; I didn't raise the slightest peep in VfD or anywhere else trying to get rid of all the effort they'd wasted. Instead I just categorized all those articles and moved on to other things. :) Bryan 06:02, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

One-page alphabetical listing

  • By popular demand... User:Pearle/categories-alpha (~700k!) contains a plaintext list, sorted alphabetically, of all categories that existed in the database or were linked to from an article or subcategory in the latest database dump. -- Beland 02:50, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Mix Images and articles in Categories?

I can't find any specific information about this; the question arose with Category:Vincent van Gogh, which currently contains both the articles related to him as well as the Images of his paintings. Should we keep Image: pages separate from articles in categories, or is this categorization acceptable? My common sense wants to believe that we should do as usual - keep reader-oriented (article namespace) and every thing else separate. Thoughts? Links to relevant discussions? ✏ Sverdrup 22:18, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

In Bugzilla, there is " Bug 450: Categories need to be structured by namespace". To some extent the lists are already structured by namespace (their name sorts them together).
Contrary to the deletion log sometimes included in categories or user pages, images aren't just noise in the category, but informative.
As it's easy for readers and other users to distinguish them from articles, I'd include them. As another example, one could quote Category:Saint Helena. -- User:Docu
Personally, I would prefer that image pages were not intermixed with article pages and I'm pretty sure this had been discussed early on somewhere, but I very much doubt that I could track it down now. It may have been on the mailing list. They might be OK as a subcat though. olderwiser 23:07, Oct 22, 2004 (UTC)
I agree that images should be separate. One of the reasons is that image titles are not always very descriptive and only serve to add clutter to the category. —Mike 02:24, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)
Ok. Let's try to avoid setting sortkeys for images to avoid that they get mixed with the articles (rather than grouped under Images:..) until Eloquence's proposal is implemented. -- User:Docu

Categories with multiple database id's

I've been looking through the database, regarding catagories, and I found 19 catagories with multiple id numbers. I've listed them below. Please let me know if you know anything about this. I'm just curious.

JesseW 22:58, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

There is a list of all those at User:Topbanana/Reports/Duplicate_article_title. Yesterday I fixed most of the article titles with duplicate ids (see the talk page). As the category links table uses titles instead of the ids, the categories are less a problem (for me). -- User:Docu
The ones in category namespace should be fixed now as well. -- User:Docu
Great! Thank you! JesseW 11:43, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sorting categories

If we add "[[Category:A]] [[Category:B]]" to the bottom of an article, it'll display: Categories: A | B.

But if we switch it, this order will also switch.

So, there should be a default way of sorting categories. I suggest we sort them by meaning or importance within the article, and not alphabetically.

For example, let's take Edgar Allan Poe:

Categories: 1809 births | 1849 deaths | People From Baltimore | Edgar Allan Poe | American writers | Science fiction writers | U.S. poets | Virginians

That's messy. Why his birth, his death and the fact his from Baltimore come before the fact he is writer? Each category has some connection to the article's subject, and the strongest connections SHOULD come first. In this case, I think it should be something like:

Categories: Edgar Allan Poe | American writers | U.S. poets | Science fiction writers | 1809 births | 1849 deaths | Virginians | People From Baltimore

Why? Well, simply because:

  1. He has his own category, and therefore, this category is strongly related to the article about him
  2. He is mostly known as a writer, otherwise he probably wouldn't even have an article here!
  3. He was an important US poet ("poet" is within "writer")
  4. He also wrote science fiction (also inside "writer")
  5. He was born in 1809 (birth comes first)
  6. He died in 1894 (then death, if it should)
  7. He is a virginian
  8. He is from Baltimore

Does anyone agree with me? Then we should make it as a guideline and add it to the categorization page. Thanks Kieff | Talk 08:44, Nov 7, 2004 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. If no one objects for a week or so, I'd say add it to the page. JesseW 10:44, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Other sort orders often used are: alphabetical, chronological (e.g. for office related categories). Pywikipediabot formats them in alphabetical order. Template based categories appear above others (generally useful, e.g. the Template:Europe based Category:European countries on Sweden).

Preferences may vary depending on the skin used (some skins display the categories conveniently in the top right corner, rather than at the bottom in a separate box). Where the categories are placed at the bottom of the pages, they are generally preceded by a footer listing the most important topics.

The ideal order isn't necessarily the same for articles with 1-5, 6-9, 10 and more categories (see stats for biographies, Hank_Aaron has 26, George H. W. Bush 16).

Personally, I find alphabetical ordering convenient for a smaller number of categories (let's say 1-5) and I'm not convinced if it's a good idea to re-write the opening paragraph of the article in terms of categories. If an article has a category of its own, most of the other categories should probably go on that category rather than the article. -- User:Docu

I'm not sure there should be a default. But if we do set a guideline, I lead toward alphabetical order, partly because it's objective. Maurreen 19:08, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Category for places that are not cities

A series of municipalities (e.g. these), as well as other towns, villages and resorts in Switzerland, have articles, but they wont fit into Cities in Switzerland.

Is there a suggested standard? Should they use Towns in Switzerland? -- User:Docu

If it were up to me, I'd put all or most of them together with cities as "Communities" or "Municipalities." But if people are dividing municipalities between cities and towns, then it also makes sense to have other groups for any other types of municipalities or unincorporated communities. Maurreen 19:19, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
This distinction will be particularly difficult in the U.S.:
  • cities
  • townships
  • incorporated villages
  • unincorporated municipalities
  • counties which may contain cities or (as with Kings County, New York) be contained within them
  • parishes (in Louisiana)

(I'm sure I'm missing something) -- Jmabel | Talk 20:02, Nov 7, 2004 (UTC)

Just a pedantic point, but "unincorporated municipalities" is a bit of an oxymoron--the term municipality almost exclusively refers to incorporated, self-governing communities. The term "unincorporated community" is used though. A couple of other U.S.-specific terms: town (which in some places may refer to a city-like municipality or in other places to a township-like municipality), borough, and for New York, hamlet is often used to refer to communities within a town that are not self-governing or separately incorporated. olderwiser 21:27, Nov 7, 2004 (UTC)

I was using "municipalities" in a (possibly misguided) effort to be general, but, for example, in New York State there are "unicorporated villages". -- Jmabel | Talk 23:36, Nov 7, 2004 (UTC)

"Boroughs", of course, also exist in some parts of the UK (and probably elsewhere); Greater London, for example, is broken down into small units mostly known as "boroughs" (e.g. Borough of Kensington and Chelsea). -- Jmabel | Talk 23:36, Nov 7, 2004 (UTC)
  • Perhaps to answer this question you just need to find someone from Switzerland and ask them, "What do you call these?" —Mike 05:04, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)

Poll about Category:Whatever|* , |(space), |!

I think we should use "| " for titular articles(i.e. in Category:Swiss Military Airplanes, the article Swiss Military Airplanes should be listed as [[Category:Swiss Military Airplanes| ]]. I'm curious what other uses are in use. Maybe someone could grovel through the sql dump for this? JesseW 20:40, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
"*" is the most common such sort key; see #Using sort keys to sort certain articles at the top? above. "(space)" is the second most common, and is my favourite choice. —AlanBarrett 20:54, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I'm more curious what uses other than putting titular articles first is the sort key used for. Any ideas? JesseW 21:04, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  1. To sort people by surname instead of first name (e.g., to sort "Albert Einstein" under "E" instead of "A")
  2. To sort people by name instead of title (e.g., to sort "King Alfred" under "A" instead of "K")
  3. To sort articles in a special namespace by article name instead of namespace name (e.g., to sort "Wikipedia:Categorization" under "C" instead of "W")
AlanBarrett 21:17, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I guess I failed to make my question clear. I'll try again. What do people use "| ", "|*", etc. for, other than listing titular(articles whose title is the same as the category title) articles? JesseW 11:38, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Also used to highlight selected articles (or subcategories) in a category from a jumble of others, where the jumble shares some property not shared by the highlighted ones (sometimes effectively a "see also"). For example, articles named "list of <X>" in category <X>. Category purests would probably object to such usage, although I find it extremely useful. Example categories include category:U.S. states (I can't think of others at the moment, but as I run across more I'll add them here). -- Rick Block 16:41, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think "*" would be the best solution. ja: agreed on this too. Gangleri | Th | T 05:16, 2004 Nov 13 (UTC)
"*" seems best to me. Fredrik | talk 05:44, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I vote "|*" because it is more commonly used than "| ", I have never seen the latter. PhilHibbs | talk 17:13, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Is this settled yet? I often run into both "|*" and "| " (although not usually in the same category). I prefer "| " (and if pywikipediabot doesn't handle this form someone should fix it). -- Rick Block 16:41, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Categorisation and Categorization


  • Thanks for the google link. This is not what I was thinking about. I believe that only one word shoud be used else we would have everythink twice here and lot of (wrong) InterWiki links too. Categorization is used more often then Categorisation. Could you take care about starting to use only one term? Thanks for your efforts in advance! Regards Gangleri 15:49, 2004 Nov 10 (UTC)

Creating categories

The "Creating Categories" section says that if you add a link to a category page, the category will automatically be created. I added the text "[[Category:Carnegie Mellon professors|Blum, Manuel]]" to the Manuel Blum, but the category wasn't created. The link appears at the bottom, under "Categories", but it's red. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks. -- Creidieki 02:01, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Nope, you got it right. If you click on the red link you can see that it is populated. When a category appears as a red link, I think it means that it is an "orphan" category and needs to have a parent category added. It might also mean that it doesn't have any text in it, but I think that is optional. For example, in Category:Carnegie Mellon professors, you might add Category:Carnegie Mellon University and perhaps some text, something like "Articles about professors at Carnegie Mellon University, which is located in Pittsburgh in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. Of course, at present Category:Carnegie Mellon University is also an orphan category and would need similar steps. olderwiser 02:23, Nov 10, 2004 (UTC)
A red link appears when there is no text in the category. Remember that parent categories (category tags) count as "text" just like any other "text" does. Brianjd | Why restrict HTML? | 09:57, 2005 Apr 24 (UTC)

[[category vs {{category?

Some articles have

at the bottom, which comes out as a link as you would expect; some have


which comes out as

Categories: Botany | Tree of life

?? What's the deal? Which is more correct? Why are there two different techniques? Shouldn't these two be connected?Gzuckier 22:48, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Huh. That's interesting. Haven't come across that before. I think it may be a mistaken attempt to use some sort of shortcut by inserting Category:Plants using the template inclusion syntax: {{Category:Plants}}. The resulting "Categories: Botany | Tree of life" appear in the article because they are the parent categories for Category:Plants. If you look at the article Hen and chicks, you can not only see the not only the categories, but also the {{Catmore}} template also mistakenly appears below the external links section. This should be corrected whenever you come across it and converted to use [[Category:Plants]] (or a more specific subcategory) olderwiser 23:07, Nov 10, 2004 (UTC)

Ah. Many thanks. Gzuckier 15:45, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"An article on a subject should be in a category of the same name."

User:Hyacinth added this line recently. While I think its a good idea, I don't totally understand it. I assume it means that if there is an article with the same name as a category, it should be included in the category; it does not mean that all articles should be in a category of their own, or that all categories should have an article with their same name. Or does it? If I was sure, I would just change it, but I'm not. Hyacinth, please explain further. JesseW 01:26, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thanks. See page and please edit. Hyacinth 01:42, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That's much better. Thanks! JesseW 03:20, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Better sorting for year categories

After some discussion at Category talk:Years (some of which occurred on the Village Pump), I'd like to propose the following way of handling year categories, such as Category:2004:

  • Subcategories and articles should be sorted in the category by topic (and, when relevant, chronologically), rather than simply alphabetically.
  • This means that an article like 2004 in film would contain the category reference [[Category:2004|Film]], 2004 Canadian budget would contain the reference [[Category:2004|Canadian budget]], and so forth. (Similarly for subcategory pages.)
  • A List of... article like List of religious leaders in 2004 would contain [[Category:2004|Religious leaders]].
  • The article 2004 itself would contain [[Category:2004|*]], to make it sort first among all articles.
  • A month article like October 2004 would contain [[Category:2004|*2004-10]] to make it sort chronologically in the first section on the category page.

See Category:2004, Category:2003 and Category:2002 for the results of these proposals. (Note that these have changed a little since I last worked on them, so they don't follow this scheme exactly. You should still get the idea, though.)

Compare to, say, Category:2001, Category:2000 and Category:1999, which have not been systematically changed to this format.

Any objections to my adding (some of) these suggestions to Wikipedia:Categorization? Should this be officially voted on? I forsee the most controversy coming in the areas of 2004 in... and List of... type pages, but so far I've only heard one objection, from User:Docu — see his objections at User talk:D6#Better sorting for year categories. - dcljr 21:53, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The year without a summer

While working on Selected Anniversaries, I came across "The Year Without a Summer" which actually happened in U.S. history (also called the year Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death). This weather-related event clearly belongs to the category Category:Anomalous phenomenon but this Category is currently a sub-category of Category:Paranormal phenomena. I would like to separate Anomalous phenomenon from this POV category, as it is more of an Unexplained item than something in a fringe category. Ancheta Wis 17:29, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I wikilined your mentions of the categories(hope you don't mind). I think this is probably fine. You should check over the items in Anomalous phenomenon to make sure they fit the new definition for the catagory, but it looks OK to me. Please put a short description of what should be in the catagory on it's page. That will help future catagorizers. JesseW 22:23, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Er. There is no Category:Anomalous phenomenon. Um... JesseW 22:26, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Created Category:Anomalous phenomena

Removed section of discussion from article

I've removed the following section from project page because it's mainly hypothetical discussion, which belongs here on the talk page. If someone wants to put it back, please expand the original idea in a way that takes into account, but does not literally contain, the comments. - dcljr 21:26, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Category extraction

An advantage of categorization is that it allows extraction of large portions of Wikipedia. For instance, if years and dates were as below (leftmost items are regular articles, the rest are categories), extracting, say, a timeline for the 21st century would be trivial.

2004 -> Years in the 21st century -> Years -
                                             --> Time periods
30 March -----> Days in March ----> Days ---
Please expand this explanation. I see no way from this to "extract a timeline for the 21st century" just a way to create a list of, say, years in the 21st century or days in March. So where is the whoopie in that? - Marshman 17:32, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Where this becomes slightly more interesting is when you have articles on historical events (e.g. Pearl Harbor, John F. Kennedy's Birth, the Great Northeast Blackout, etc.) put in the appropriate time-related category. But the ability to do completely automated extraction depends on how structured the category relationships are. You'd ideally like to be able to specify that the article is about an "event that occurred during" the category or "is a part of" or "is a member of" (say, for geographical or political relationships). So far we can only specify generic parent-child and "is related to" assignments; any other semantics must be inferred. -- Beland 09:32, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Sample with Canadian biographies: Wikipedia:People by year/Reports/Canadians. -- User:Docu

Categorising articles about sources/references

Hi, wondered if any of you had any good ideas about how to organise a schema for articles about sources/references? We've had a look at the existing category schemes and this seems to be rather big gap. Discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Forum_for_Encyclopedic_Standards#Source_category : ChrisG 18:40, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Human/Personal Life

I'm not very familiar with how articles that fall under these categories are categorized but my quick checks indicate that the categorization scheme excludes the possibility of "intelligent" alien life with the same things as humans. Brianjd

Categories vs keywords

I believe many contributors seem to think of categories as keywords rather than hierarchical "is a" relationships and effectively attempt to use categorization as a general indexing mechanism for wikipedia articles. In the limit, I think this leads to a category for every word or concept expressed in an article as well as requests for features like category intersection and union. As gracefool eloquently points out in What is a category? the current category feature is in reality a mechanism for defining sets where each category (or set) contains articles and other categories (sets). Using explicitly defined set membership as in indexing mechanism seems fairly inefficient. Given the ability of google to fully index nearly every page on the entire web, I don't see any particular reason wikipedia should not provide a searchable, full text, index of all its articles. In addition, just as google provides the ability to restrict searches by DNS domain, wikipedia could provide the ability to restrict searches by category and by wikipedia links. I think this would go a long way toward eliminating the desire to create categories and could help avoid some of the arguments about how articles are categorized. For example (categories currently in WP:CFD):

  • category:Oil for Food - completely unnecessary, search for "links-to:oil for food" (this category isn't even currently necessary given "what links here")
  • categories of the form <some property> <actual category> (e.g. category:Venezuelan Soap Operas) - completely unnecessary, search for "links-to:soap opera" and "links-to:venezuela". If you don't trust that the links exist in the article, search for the words "soap opera" and "venezuela".

The point is that many (perhaps even most) of the existing categories have nothing to do with categorization but rather address some form of indexing. If indexing is explicitly addressed with a generalized search mechanism, the category feature can be used for something else. -- Rick Block 20:26, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

List vs. Topic categories?

If you descend in Category:Rock music groups, you can get to lots of non-music-groups. For example, ->Category:The Beatles->John Lennon. I'm pretty sure that this type of structure is deprecated. But Wikipedia:Categorization and its subpages are huge and ill-organized, so I haven't been able to find an unambiguous straight answer. Could someone in the know confirm or deny? Do you agree that Category:Rock music groups needs a big reorganization? --Dbenbenn 03:55, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

IMO, even assuming there were "rules" about this (and I don't think there are any - and I've recently read all the archived talk from this page), they're effectively completely unenforceable. Per the previous topic on this page categories are simply sets, i.e. named collections of arbitrarily related articles and other categories. Rather than some sort of strict "is a" hierarchy I think a much better mental model for categories as they currently exist is a neural network - quite similar to how articles are freely linked to other articles. Bottom line is I don't think it's a problem that from category:Rock music groups you can "descend" and get to John Lennon. In fact if either Category:The Beatles was not in Category:Rock music groups or John Lennon was not in Category:The Beatles I'd say the categorization scheme was broken. -- Rick Block 05:06, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I agree. I think the categorization is more useful to readers if the category means, "these are things pertaining to rock music groups" (topic) rather than, "these are all rock music groups" (list). --Gary D 07:38, Dec 8, 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for your responses. "they're effectively completely unenforceable": I don't consider this a problem. Wikipedia has lots of style conventions that aren't "enforced". That's what human editors are for. For example, there's nothing that enforces the fact that Category:Rock music groups means "these are all things pertaining to rock music groups".
I wasn't clear on how I think it should be organized. 1) Leave the article The Beatles in Category:Rock music groups, and in Category:The Beatles. Make Category:The Beatles a subcategory of Category:Rock music. The point is, Category:Rock music is a "topic category", whereas Category:Rock music groups looks to me like it should be a "list category". That way, you can still link from Category:Rock music groups to The Beatles to Category:The Beatles to anything about The Beatles. --Dbenbenn 17:14, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Inconsistent criteria

The business and economics categories were disorganized, so for the last week I have spent my time trying to sort it out. The way I approached it was to create a variety of categories, subcategories and subsubcategories. (There are about 50 of them now). Then I have been going through the articles listed in the old navigation system and deciding which of the 50 or so categories are applicable to each article. It turned out that the average is 2 or 3 categories per article. So far I have added about 1000 tags. I still have 6 of the old lists to go through. In going through this process I have discovered that different people have different ideas about what criterion to use in appending category tags. In particular, I have been in conflict with two other contributers:

One felt that there should be only one category per article and deleted all but the single most relavent tag.
The other felt that an article could not be placed in adjacent categories.

I reject both these criteria. The criteria I use is I try to put myself in the mind of the user who is using the category system as a navigational device. I ask myself, "If I was browsing in (for example) the Finance category, what articles would I expect to find there, and what articles would I find useful there". Can we arrive at some sort of policy on the appropriate criteria to use before I get into any more edit wars about something as unimportant as which category tags to use. mydogategodshat 17:39, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"One category per article" is just plain silly. Biographical articles, for example, are nearly always in two categories just for their birth and death year, plus another for nationality (although, depending what the person did, the latter might embrace occupation as well); an author who wrote significantly in two languages should be categorized as a writer in both languages, similarly one who was significantly connected to an ethnicity other than his/her citizenship. Etc.
The other I'm not sure I even understand what you are saying: does calling two categories "adjacent" mean they have at least one common parent category? Again, the example of a person in the same profession in two different countries at different points in a career is one where this would almost certainly be correct, so it can't be a general principle. -- Jmabel | Talk 19:40, Dec 13, 2004 (UTC)
The complaint I was getting is that if an article is listed in, for example, [category:Product management]], it can not also be listed in [category:Marketing]] because product management is included as a subcategory on the marketing page. These people seem to think that no article included in one category should be included in any category that links to that category. mydogategodshat 21:16, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Let take an example to clarify things. In deciding what category tags to put on income statement I would ask myself "Browsers on which category pages would likely find an entry for income statement useful?". I would conclude category:Finance, category:Accounting, and category:Business. I would place these three category tags on the article. But there are some people that would revert this claiming that because these three categories are directly linked, one or two of the tags are redundant.mydogategodshat 21:35, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I would agree that you should not generally use both a category and its parent category. The only exception is if the article is the "main article" of a category, then it also goes in the parent category. For example, Accounting would go in both category:Business and category:Accounting, but Income statement would go in category:Accounting but not category:Business, which would indeed be redundant. -- Jmabel | Talk 00:05, Dec 14, 2004 (UTC)
At the heart of the issue is whether a structural criterion should be used or a content or user based criterion. When one asks "What articles would a user expect on a category page?" one is starting from the users expectations and working back to the database architecture. When one starts with a structural criteria like number of category tags per article or exclusivity of related categories, one is starting from a conception of an ideal architectural structure and force fitting user expectations to it. I feel a compelling argument can be made that using a structural criterion is doing things backwards. The database structure is there to serve the user, not the other way round. Where the two criteria are in conflict, stuctural elegence must yield to user friendliness. The category content should reflect the real world, rather than trying to make reality conform to a categorical structure. I have seen several category wars where one person appends a category to an article and another person changes it to another category claiming that their link is more relevent. This is the type of nonsense that result from using structural criteria like these. If instead, we let reality shape the structure of the database, links would be provided to both categories, irrespective of the relationships between categories. Right now there is an arguement on the category votes for deletion page over [category:international trade]]. Some want to delete it because they think there is too much overlap with [category:international economics]] (a structural criterion). Others want to keep it but delete [category:interational economics]]. The whole disscussion is misguided. There should be considerable overlap between the two categories because browsers on both pages would expect to see some of the same articles. Many of the topics dealt with in international economics (an economics subject) are also dealt with in international trade (a business subject). Any attempt to force these topics to conform to an ideal database structure free of overlap is dysfuctional. It is an example of "the tail wagging the dog". There are other problems with exclusivity criteria. Exclusivity between categories and subcategories will, in time, result in a structure that highlites the poorest articles while hiding the most important articles. As more and more subcategories are added the most important articles, the ones that are important enough to rate a subcategory of their own, will get further and further away from the parent category. The parent category will be left with all the "odd" articles, the "left-overs". In time the parent category will highlite the poorest articles, whereas the most important ones will be buried in sub categories and sub-subcategories. mydogategodshat 04:58, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I guess I'm coming in here a little late. I was one of the users who removed some categories. Generally I agree with the categorization policy, which is that we should use the most specific categories which are applicable. This means we don't add the same articles to Category:Business, Category:Accounting, and Category:Management accounting. The reason is simple: It would be hard to enforce this as a standard. It creates needless work to require or suggest that articles should be added to categories as well as their parents. The likely result of allowing this is spotty, inconsistent categorization. And from a semantic point of view, it is useless to add an article to a category as well as its parent. Rhobite 05:53, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)
Maybe I did not explain myself well, but I am not suggesting that "articles should be added to categories as well as their parents". I am suggesting that we abandon any structural criteria (including this one). Whether a category is the parent of another category has no baring on whether an article should be included in those categories. The amount of overlap between categories also is irrelevent. So is the number of category tags on any one article. The only salient criterion is "Would someone browsing through a given category page expects to see the article listed on that page?" mydogategodshat 04:11, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Strongly disagree: Otherwise, most articles would be in every ancestor category of any category that pertains. Broad categories would end up with thousands of articles. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:23, Dec 23, 2004 (UTC)
That sounds like a "straw man arguement" to me. I don't see why they would be in "every ancestor category". Based on what I have done so far it looks like the 1600 business and economics articles would be categorized as: about 700 in the business category, between 100 and 300 in each of the major subcategories (for example marketing, finance, etc.), and less than 100 in each of the sub-sub-categories. I am not claiming that articles should be placed in both subcategories and parent categories. I reject all such structural criteria. Take the example of Income statement. It should be in the parent category Business, as well as the subcategories finance and accounting because income statements are important in all of business, not just in accounting and finance. In my opinion, of the 1600 business articles about 700 are general enough and broadly applicable enough to go into the business category (in addition to subcategories). mydogategodshat 06:41, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I'm with Jmabel and Rhobite. From a user point of view a category needs to be usable. Having hundreds or even thousands of articles in a category make it unreadable, one cannot see the wood from the trees. Navigating the category system should lead you from general to further detail, or from detail to generality. Having articles in ancestor categories defeats the value of this. :ChrisG 18:50, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think your fears are unwarrented. When I look at the category:Business page with over 500 articles, I do not see something that is "unreadable". I see a very usable alphabetical list of the 500 articles most relevent to business in general. And your criterion that the navigation system must move from general to specific, even if it is a useful criterion, will not be accomplished with the current system, one in which articles in areas important enough to be placed in subcategories and subsubcategories become buried while the main categories are populated with the "left-overs". mydogategodshat 21:52, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Agree with Jmabel, Rhobite and ChrisG. The category system shouldn't become a keyword system. I think the category system can accomodate both "IsA" categories such as Category:American writers (the most common and "clean" use of categories) as well as related topics such as Category:Biology without becoming a free-for-all keyword system if we don't go overboard on categorizing articles and focus on only including the most specific category. --Lexor|Talk 21:23, Dec 23, 2004 (UTC)
I think the idea of "focusing on only including the most specific category" is unworkable. What is the "most specific category" for managerial economics? Is it category:management or is it category:economics. If we stop tring to make reality fit into the categorization system, rather than the other way round, surely we would conclude the article belongs in both categories, irrespective of the relationships between the categories. mydogategodshat 22:03, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It would belong in both; neither category:management nor category:economics is a subcategory of the other. -- Jmabel | Talk 23:28, Dec 23, 2004 (UTC)
Jmabel is right, there can be multiple categories for each article, it's just that it should be in the lowest rung of the hierarchy for that particular kind of category. For example, central dogma of molecular biology is in Category:Molecular biology (but not in Category:Biology) and Category:Molecular genetics (but not in Category:Genetics). --Lexor|Talk 02:25, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC)
Agreed. Some articles will inevitably be in a lot of categories, because they don't fit into the various categories we create in Wikipedia or typically in the world. I far more preferable to put an article in multiple specific categories than one general category. :ChrisG 09:58, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I prefer to put them in both specific categories and general categories if they are relevent to both. mydogategodshat 20:04, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • People such as Mydogategodshat who still want to be able to add an article to a parent category of a category it is in (or should be in) should think about how usable a category called "People" would be if it contained all the articles about people. To say "When I look at the category:Business page with over 500 articles, I do not see something that is "unreadable"" ignores the fact that the extension of that principle would allow those 500 articles and the other 1100 "business" articles and all the several thousand other articles in other subcategories of "Human societies" to appear in the category "Human societies" and in its parent category "Human", making both of them quite unusable. Robin Patterson 02:48, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Special:categories page

Page Special:categories lists all categories alphabetically, beginning with numbered years, but is useless because I don't have the patience to scroll past the numbered entries! I need to get all the way to the L's to find the name of the category I need. Can a better way be found to help identify what categories are defines? RJFJR 05:43, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • Agreed. What's with the first link - [[:Category:]]? Brianjd 05:45, 2004 Dec 17 (UTC)
  • Yes, see User:Pearle/categories-alpha (warning: 600KB+) for an alphabetical list of all categories that existed at the time of the last database dump. -- Beland 03:41, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Use search, then turn on the "Category namespace" checkbox, and turn off all the other checkboxes. That will search amongst just the categories. (Of course, this doesn't work when internal search is turned off and redirected to Google and Yahoo!)-- Khym Chanur 12:07, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)

How to categorizing defining elements of a category

How does one categorize the defining element of a category, so that, for example, the article "city" is somewhere pointed to in "Category:Cities". It seems some have done this by putting the article city in a category like: Category:Cities|? or Category:Cities|* and this may be appropriate. The article "city" is not actually a city (as an article like "New York City" would be) so it doesn't belong in a category that is supposed to contain cities (although it would be appropriate in an category like "Category:Urban studies and planning". Also, it seems that the first paragraph of the defining element article might should be automatically put in the intro text for the category, increasing the automation of categories. - Centrx 22:46, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

As far as I know (and I've done a fair amount of categorization work lately) there aren't any precise rules about this. Perhaps the easiest solution is using the catmore (or catmore1) template in the category page itself which generates some text suggesting the reader might be interested in the indicated link. With catmore (syntax is {{catmore}}) the link is the article with the same name as the category name. With catmore1 (syntax {{catmore1|[[whatever]]}}) the link is provided as an argument to the template. As you've noticed, the article may or may not also be added to the category using a "|*" or "| " sort key. I agree it might be nice to automatically show the first paragraph of an article with the same name as a category as the category text (I've just done this manually for all subcategories of category:Japanese prefectures), but I don't think I'd hold my breath for this. -- Rick Block 05:02, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
One of the problems with catmore is that it doesn't actually provide any information to the reader when he views the category, only a link. Regarding the defining element, what then is the appropriate course of action for articles which define the subject of a category, but are not in themselves a proper part of that category? - Centrx 05:42, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
IMO, simply link to the article(s) defining the subject of the category in the text of the cateogry. See, for example, Category:Canal engineers, or Category:Aichi Prefecture. You can add as much text as you'd like to define the category (which, perhaps in some remotely distant version of the software, could be automatically generated from a like-named article), and then use catmore or catmore1. Is there some specific example you're worried about? -- Rick Block 05:53, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It seems appropriate that there should be, somewhere in the defining article, a link to the category which it happens to define. Less firmly (in my mind), I think it might be appropriate that this category link might be with the other category links, but I suppose that it could also be linked to in the introduction... - Centrx 01:52, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm running into this increasingly often lately. I believe articles ABOUT the subject matter of a category should NOT be category members, but should rather be referred to in the category description and should link to the categories (using See also: or something similar). I'm finding too often that others come along and change the articles I set up that way so that the articles are instead within the category.

I find this less useful, since these articles are different from things that are semantically part OF the category, and should be picked out specially rather than lost in the morass of category members. —Morven 00:13, Dec 28, 2004 (UTC)

That is the reason they are normally listed at the beginning of the category using the piped sort (ie. '[[Category:Whatever| ]]'). Unfortunately, repeated discussions about categorizing, like this one, point out the inadequacies of the present software. Hopefully, someday they will develop a better implementation of categories that make all this moot. —Mike 02:21, Dec 28, 2004 (UTC)
It's not just the inadequacies of the software, but also disagreements about what categories should mean. Some have the view that a category is generally an 'IS-A' relationship. Others think a category should contain related subjects, even if they're not strictly in the set. Maybe some software tools to make assumptions more explicit would help (e.g. maybe automatically generated see-alsos for categories, instead of putting them as members, or something.) —Morven

World War II category question

Should I delete Category:Russian World War II people and create something like Category:Soviet Union World War II people ???

Darwin 16:34, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Makes sense to me unless the category is being used in a manner specific to ethnicity. -- Jmabel | Talk 18:42, Dec 28, 2004 (UTC)

Case-sensitive sorting

The case-sensitive sorting of category entries is rather annoying. Are there any established conventions for dealing with it? For example, I just added the sort-text "Ponie" to the PONIE article to stop it from appearing before Perl 6 and Perl Design Patterns Book in Category:Perl. A more serious example is Category:Free software which has a lot of capitalized entries such as GNOME, GIMP, LAMP, etc. PhilHibbs | talk 14:49, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I have logged a bug report for this. PhilHibbs | talk 10:39, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Proposed policy: article namespace categories should not be added to user pages

My understanding of main namespace categories, especially for people, should not include Wikipedia users, but there is not a specific admonition against this in the guidelines, but I think it should be added. The closest to an admonition is included in: Wikipedia:Categorization#Wikipedia namespace, where it says:

Categories relating to the Wikipedia namespace should be added only to the talk page of articles. For example, tags suggesting the article is needs work, or is listed on VfD would be placed on the talk page as they are relevant to editors, not an aid to browsing in the way ordinary categories are. Please use {{wpcat}} on the Category description page to show that it is a Wikipedia-namespace category.

This arose because on Alkivar's user page, he lists himself in several article namespace people categories such as: Category:1978 births, Category:DJs, Category:People from Maine, Category:People from Maryland and Category:Libertarians which is not the intention of these article namespace categories. Listing himself in Category:Wikipedian musicians, however is entirely appropriate as it a Wikipedia-specific category. I removed the non-Wikipedia specific categories and he reverted the change, claiming no specific admonition against it. It seems clear that it is, or should be, the implicit rule, so I propose to add the following explicit guideline:

Categories relating to the User namespace should be added only to Wikipedia-specific categories
Users should not add their user pages to article namespace categories such as Category:People or other subcategories, Category:Biologists etc, which are reserved for pages in the article namespace. However it is entirely appropriate to add a user page to Wikipedia-specific categories such as Category:Wikipedians or other similar subcategories such as Category:Wikipedian musicians.

Any objections, please let me know. --Lexor|Talk 09:57, Jan 16, 2005 (UTC)

Seems like a no-brainer. Could be even more specific and say that user pages should only be in categories descended from Category:Wikipedians (or possibly other categories useful for pages outside the main namespace if anyone can think of any). grendel|khan 10:22, 2005 Jan 16 (UTC)
I agree, feel free to reword the above text along those lines. --Lexor|Talk 10:29, Jan 16, 2005 (UTC)

For the record, there is some discussion about this at m:Help:Category, which is what I have cited when asking folks to remove categories from their user pages in the past: "Linking from a test page, user page, etc. to a category is considered to pollute the category." -Aranel ("Sarah") 23:37, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Category creation

The section on creating categories says:

How to create categories Creating a category is as simple as adding a soft link to the appropriate article in the Category: namespace; for instance, to add Felis silvestris catus to the "fluffy creatures" category, you would edit the article and enter [[Category:Fluffy creatures]] at the bottom, but before interlanguage links. Although the link will not appear in the article text, a page called Category:Fluffy creatures is automatically created and it will list alphabetically all articles that contain the Category:Fluffy creatures link. The appeal of categories is that unlike lists, they update themselves automatically, and that one can use them to quickly find related articles. However, categories are not a substitute for lists, and you will find that many articles belong to both lists and categories.

This is incorrect. The category is not created automatically. You have to create it yourself by adding something to that page. You can still put articles into a non-existent category, but it isn't of any use to anyone. Can we please update this to reflect the actual situation? A red-linked category, for all practical purposes, doesn't really exist. (Also, a link to the category does appear after the article text.) -Aranel ("Sarah") 17:40, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)