Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Categorizing GWB

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  • I don't see why articles and categories of the same name should have different yet approximately parallel sets of categories. You end up with redundancy and confusion. Much simpler to have one set of supercats (that the cat has) and have the article only in the cat (with the exception of things like "stub", "articles for deletion" and so forth). —Ashley Y 09:43, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
First, articles and categories of the same name might be categorized exactly the same, but might be categorized very differently. See the George W. Bush and Suspension bridge discussion above. As for why, please read some of the archives going back to the point when categories came into being at wikipedia. There are basically 3 different overlapping ways that articles get put into subcategorized. There are groups of related articles on a subject (like Category:George W. Bush containing articles related to GWB); branches of a hierarchy (like Category:Suspension bridges being part of the Category:Bridges hierarchy); and related categories, which is when the branch of one hierarchy just happens to be a subset of another hierarchy (such as Category:Best Actor Oscar which is part of a hierarchy about Oscar winners but is also a subcategory of Category:Film actors). These three ways of doing things coexist together. That is a good thing. It makes for a better browsing experience for users. But by not being flexible about how things are categorized it makes for problems. Without duplications, some categories seem incomplete, fractured, and confusing. This leads to conflicts and long discussions. One side states policy, the other claims a better browsing experience. In reality the old rule is not always enforced. Look at the actors in Category:Best Actor Oscar, they are also in Category:Film actors as they should be. This proposal is in essence trying to codify practices that are already in place, and to create new guidelines so that we all understand what we are doing. With luck, this will result in a better browsing experience and less conflict between editors. -- Samuel Wantman 10:09, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
I realize that I have not fully answered your question, and perhaps I've neglected to say something important. If there is redundancy between an article and a category with the same name it should mean something. For instance, if you look in Category:Bridges there is duplication between the names of the subcategories and the articles. The articles are about the different types of bridges (like a suspension bridge), the subcategories contain articles about specific bridges of each type (like the Golden Gate Bridge). This information is communicated in the description of the category and it makes sense. In GWB's case it wouldn't make sense to have a subdirectory called George W. Bush in the Methodist category. -- Samuel Wantman 10:23, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Why not? You've said that Category:George W. Bush belongs in Category:Presidents of the United States. Methodists and Presidents are both people categories. What's the difference? Mirror Vax 11:04, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Because it has to go somewhere. Presidents of the US is the best fit, and a place where people might probably be looking to browse through the categories. I sure doesn't fit with Methodists. --Samuel Wantman 11:35, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
What makes Presidents the "best fit"? And doesn't "has to go somewhere - best fit" reasoning imply that it should be a member of exactly one category, since only one can be the best fit? Mirror Vax 12:10, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Huh? That Cat:George Bush belongs in cat:Presidents is evident based on the topics of articles contained within cat:George Bush (such as Domestic policy of the George W. Bush administration) pertains to his presidency. The article George Bush belongs in Methodists because he is just a member. If he founded the Methodist church, then I would agree that the entire catgory:George Bush would belong in cat:Methodist, because all the articles in cat:George Bush would then be mostly related to the Methodist Church. The vast majority of articles in cat:George Bush relate directly to his presidency and therefore should be under cat:presidents. I don't think it is expected that any category has exactly one and only one "Best Fit" parent. The real world doesn't conform well under absolutes. Cacophony 18:08, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Domestic policy of the George W. Bush administration isn't a President, so it's not clear why that's a good fit. Surely it fits better under Category:U.S. presidential history? Mirror Vax 18:53, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
You are right, Domestic policy of the George W. Bush administration isn't a president, and that is why it is not included in Category:Presidents of the United States, but rather in Category:George W. Bush. The domestic policy of the White House under George W. Bush is included in Category:George W. Bush because it relates directly to his presidency. Sorry for the confusion. Cacophony 22:55, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
So tell me again why Category:George W. Bush fits best into the Presidents category, given that we agree that the articles contained in Category:George W. Bush, save one, do not fit in the Presidents category. Mirror Vax 23:20, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Back to the original point, the article George W. Bush should be included within cat:presidents whether or not cat:GWB is a subcategory of cat:presidents. Cat:presidents shouldn't have some presidents listed normally, and others (like GWB) only linked to through the subcategory. It should have all the articles for all 43 presidents contained within the category. As far as why cat:GWB is in cat:presidents, I would guess it is there because most of the articles in cat:GWB are in relation to his presidency. Personally, I think cat:GWB would be more at home in Category:Terrorists, but the right-wing fascism won't let me change it. Cacophony 00:39, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Here is why Category:George W. Bush fits best into the Presidents category, given that we agree that the articles contained in Category:George W. Bush, save one, do not fit in the Presidents category: There are the three types of subcategorization that I have mentioned above. The situation we are discussing is when a category is just a collection of articles around a single topic, in this case GWB. There is no larger hierarchy to this category in the formal sense -- the articles in Category:George W. Bush are not a sub-grouping of any other category. This situation happens all over the wikipedia category structure. In a sense, you can think of the structure as being not one tree, but multiple trees. Sometimes the branch of one tree is the trunk of many other trees. Sometimes the trees overlap. Our system is a hybrid. To make this work, all I am saying is that someone should be able to read the description on a category page and understand what is in the category and why. This can be decided subject by subject, wikiproject by wikiproject. It would be very difficult if not impossible for us to create hard and fast rules the make all the decisions that need to be made. But we can make guidelines, and the guideline that I am saying is important is that the subcategories should be with their siblings and the articles should be with their siblings. If it makes sense to put a category about George W. Bush in the Methodist category, than I would expect that other such categories about specific methodists would be included. If it doesn't make sense to do this (which I think is the case), then it wouldn't be included. The reason for its inclusion would not be based on a formal classification policy, but rather based on if it makes the category easier to browse through. It seems to me that if an individual's article is already in a category, there is no practical advantage of also including the sub-category that is just a collection of articles loosely related to the person. A person browsing through methodists is not likely expecting to find The Pet Goat. So what do we do with these orpahn categories? We have a few options. We could let them be orphans, collect them with other orphan categories that are similar and put them all in a category together, or put them in all the categories that the article is in. I am proposing that we reject the third option because it fills categories with subcategories that are not related. I don't think there would be any acceptance of keeping them as orphans, and it would make it hard to separate the orphan categories from the not-yet-categorized categories. That leaves round them all up with their siblings and categorize them together. This is the case of a branch being connected to many tree trunks. The question becomes where is the natural place to put them? Where is the jumping off place where people might look for them? I think the place is the Category:Presidents of the United States. If GWB was well known for being a methodist, and there were many other methodists with categories, they might also end up categorized there. -- Samuel Wantman 01:19, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
An alternative might be that that the natural jumping off point is the GWB article. Categories can't technically be a subcategory of an article, but the GWB category could be a see also link in the article. If it had no category parent, then the only way to get to it "from above" would be via the article. This might suggest a rule like: A category with the same name as an article, used as a topic category, should be referenced as a see also from the article and not put in any parent category. Of course, we could just put Category:George W. Bush in Category:Mass murderers and call it good. -- Rick Block (talk) 03:23, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with both suggestions, but as I've said before I think proposing orphan categories might be a very hard sell. They would probably need to be kept in a special category like Category:Orphaned categories to keep them separate from not-yet-categorized categories. But then people will just wonder why we don't stick GWB in with the presidents. Whatever we do, I just want a common understanding and rationale.
Here is another possibility: Have the article redirect to the category and move the entire article to the top of the category page in these cases. I actually kinda like this idea. -- Samuel Wantman 04:09, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
I've asked user:Brion Vibber about the possibility of allowing a category to be explicitly parented to an article (by some syntax, perhaps [[:category::article]]). With such a change, rather than have the article=category case use a category as the defining entity the article could be used. Another suggestion (forget where this one is) is to change the category listing so that categories and articles are interspersed and have some obvious distinction between categories and articles (in which case, both category and article would be parented in the "natural" parent). This seems like a bigger change to me than allowing articles to be parents of categories. Without some sort of software change, I suspect there isn't any answer that will satisfy everyone. -- Rick Block (talk) 04:33, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
This has all gone pretty far afield, and I am uncertain if there are unanswered concerns by Ashley or Mirror Vax that would lead them to reject the proposal. While this thread is interesting and has brought up some fine points about categorization and some new ideas, It might be a bit much for a casual reader trying to figure out what is going on. I propose to take it outside. --Samuel Wantman 07:04, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

I have created a new category, Category:Articles by person, to collect person categories. That takes care of the "orphan" problem. Now, as to whether it should be in Presidents: why wouldn't it go better in the Presidency category? The articles (most of them) are about Bush's presidency, so logically the category fits better in the presidency (not presidents) category. But, if you put it there, probably someone will move it into Presidents since it is a "sharper" category, and it's easy to confuse a category with an article of the same name. Mirror Vax 22:09, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

I noticed this change, and I think the Category:Articles by person makes sense because there are likely to be more and more of these type of categories. As for putting in GWB in other categories, we could continue to discuss that, but my concern is discussing the proposal. I don't mind people categorizing the GWB category as they see fit, as long as it follows the guidelines. So I guess I'm wondering if you want to pursue this discussion to clarify the proposal or if it is specific to GWB? Perhaps it will be decided to put the GWB category in both presidents or presidency, either or neither. The decision would be made category by category, and the way the decision would be made would be by looking at the consensus of what belongs in each category. Perhaps this should be stated more clearly in the proposal. The category text on the top should clearly state what belongs and what doesn't. -- Samuel Wantman 22:23, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
It's not really specific to GWB. The same issues exist with many other categories. For example, where should Category:September 11, 2001 attacks go? I'm not trying to put a brake on your proposal. It's okay. There are just a lot of unresolved issues around categories. Mirror Vax 22:59, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
Can you state the issues in a general way? Perhaps they can be addressed? When I look at Category:September 11, 2001 attacks I see a collection of subdirectories and articles that someone might want to browse through that seem directly related to 9/11. There are problems, like why Category:World Trade Center would be a subdirectory. But I'm not particularly bothered. I'm sure that they could probably be reorganized in a better way, and that true for many categories. I'd like to focus on the proposal, so If you have some issues that seem relevant, please mention them. -- Samuel Wantman 01:50, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
I put Category:September 11, 2001 attacks, Category:2001 anthrax attacks, and Category:Oklahoma City bombing into Category:Terrorism in the United States, then someone moved them into Category:Terrorist incidents in the United States. Which is correct? If you interpret "terrorist incidents" as a list of terrorist incidents, then the categories don't belong there, because they are not sublists of terrorist incidents. When is category Z to be interpreted as a List of Z? Whenever it can be? Never? User's choice? Mirror Vax 02:27, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
Which is correct? I don't know for sure. It strikes me that Category:Terrorist incidents in the United States could be merged into Category:Terrorism in the United States as the latter is broader, and it seems overcategorized. Perhaps at a later date if there are many more articles, they could be divided. These issues can be discussed among interested parties. My point is still that the categories should make it easy to browse and have their own internal logic as to what is included and what isn't. That would lead me to choose the more broadly defined category. By the way, I recategorized a good deal of the World Trade Center articles and subcategory. -- Samuel Wantman 07:19, 7 January 2006 (UTC)