Wikipedia talk:Categorization of people

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Proposed change to Wikipedia:Categorization of people#By place[edit]

Unresolved

The first paragraph states currently

"The place of birth, although it may be significant from the perspective of local studies, is rarely defining from the perspective of an individual."

Unfortunately, that's not true. The place of birth is something people carry on ther backs throughout their lives. Every time you fill in a form with your personal data, it's asked and answered. Ledes start with, let's say "Scottish-born American footballer", almost all biographical sources state birthplaces routinely. Besides, all bios I've seen here on Wikipedia categorize people by their birth place as "People from Somewhere", so there seems to be consensus about this. I was extremely surprised to see this part of the guideline on place categorization, and couldn't believe it exists. I propose the following changed wording.:

"The place of birth is defining for an individual, and should be added in Category:People from Birthplace". People who remained at their birthplace, and engaged in other categorizable activities there, should be diffused into subcategories, if there are any. People who left their birthplace, and engaged in categorizable activities elsewhere, should remain in the parent category, and should be added to the subcategories of the place of activity."

Please comment. Kraxler (talk) 14:12, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

  • I agree 100%, it is absolutely defining, every obituary and biography mentions it. We categorize people by their birth year even if they lived 12,000 miles apart. I also have no clue what "significant from the perspective of local studies" means. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 02:37, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  • "all bios I've seen here on Wikipedia categorize people by their birth place as "People from Somewhere", so there seems to be consensus about this." Does someone know how commonly the People-from categories are used to identify people by birthplace? --P64 (talk) 19:31, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
"Category:People from Foo" has no time stamp or length-of-time to it. They could have been from Foo at birth or death or anytime in between for any amount of time. They could have lived there four years while in college or 90 years from birth to death. "Category:Births in Foo" and "Category:Deaths in Foo" come with an inherent time stamp to the year. Categories are harmonized where the infobox is not. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 20:02, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Faulty, but fixable. There's a germ of an idea here, but most of this is not workable. "The place of birth is defining for an individual" is false on its face; for many people it is not. It should say "may be' or "is often". We should not always include place of birth. Somepeople people are born on boats or even in airplanes over the ocean. Some are orphans who do not find out their birthplace until later. I myself "came knocking early" and was born in a town where my parents pulled into closest hospital, a state away from their home, while on the way home from visiting relatives, and I have never spent more than a few days in state in which I was born. Some people are activistic haters of their birthplace and do not want to be connected with it. Some lie about their birthplace. Etc., etc., etc. It should be included only when relevant. That's probably 99% of cases.

    Secondly, the envisaged "do it this way this case and comletely differently that other case" will never be practical. We have a great deal of difficulty getting people to categorize correctly even when the matter is very simpple; this scheme would be unknown by almost everyone, poorly or misunderstood but most of those who do, ignored by some of them as WP:CREEP / WP:BUREAUCRACY, defied by others, and forgotten by most of the rest. Readers would just be very, very confused, since sources will tell that that so-and-so was born in Boston but she'll be missing from that cateory and only found in the parent cat for Massachusetts, where they would proably not look. The end result will be redundant categorization and both, and a constant slow-motion editwar, perhaps even performed bot redundant categorization AWB scripts.

    The salavageable thing here is that "The place of birth, although it may be significant from the perspective of local studies, is rarely defining from the perspective of an individual" is total nonsense and has to go. It's signifcant from the perspective of most individual subjects, and (the important part) from the perspect of our readers. Our category system exists for them, not for itself and not for pleasing subjects of bio articles. Propose replacing that without replacing it with equal-but-oppose nonsens, and without tacking on a rider to have fiddly, unworkable changes to inclusion criteria.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:29, 22 March 2016 (UTC)

RfC: BC births and deaths categorization scheme[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The strongest support appears to be #5 by far, with no clear responses against it. The other responses never gained close to consensus. AlbinoFerret 16:52, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

(Per closer's recommendations at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2015 September 3#Category:1 BC deaths:) For the BC births and deaths categorizations the recommendations of WP:COPDEF ("...year of birth, year of death...") and WP:COPSEP ("...Keep people categories separate...") have been left. There are a few possibilities:

  1. Return to earlier guideline-conforming scheme;
  2. Middle solution (births and deaths remain by decade, but COPSEP applied by removing biographies from "by year" categories);
  3. Reflect current scheme in guidance.
  4. Middle solution variant (...merger by century for the most ancient BC centuries...)
  5. Return to earlier guideline-conforming scheme adding "rollup" categories by decade/century
  6. ...other... (feel free to propose additional options)

--Francis Schonken (talk) 09:22, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

  • Note that option 2 and option 4 belong together (see discussion below). Marcocapelle (talk) 11:54, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

please make clear which option is preferred, and clearly explain what the option consists of if proposing a new one
  • Comment – just starting up the RfC, links to earlier discussions can be provided as useful. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:22, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1 (Return to earlier guideline-conforming scheme), for reasons explained in earlier discussions. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:22, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 This option maintains WP:COPSEP literally and I can clearly see that this guideline makes sense for this particular case. However for the other aspect of the discussion I don't see that WP:COPDEF is deliberately overruling WP:SMALLCAT, rather it's just explaining that birth and death are considered to be defining characteristics. Marcocapelle (talk) 10:24, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
    • Re. COPDEF, the guideline currently says:
    "rule of thumb ... year of birth, year of death and ..."
    Which for option 2 would need to be changed to:
    "rule of thumb ... (AD:) year of birth, year of death (BC: decade of birth, decade of death) and ..."
    ...which imho is an unnecessary complication. Following the acceptable WP:SMALLCAT exception ("... unless such categories are part of a large overall accepted sub-categorization scheme") seems much simpler. Note that the current "year of birth, year of death" categorization scheme is one of a few that has been put down in a guideline, and exists for a very long time. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:48, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not suggesting the text of the guideline should be changed. Just saying we should look at what its intention is. Marcocapelle (talk) 10:51, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
    • Its intention is to have "year of birth" and "year of death" categories for every person with a Wikipedia page (and for whom these data are known), don't think there can be much discussion about that. --Francis Schonken (talk) 11:02, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • The title of the section is "Categorize by defining characteristics" so the intention is clearly to emphasize that birth and death are defining. Marcocapelle (talk) 11:45, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
    • The section marks "year of birth" and "year of death", neither narrower (e.g. "day of birth") nor broader (e.g. "century of birth"), as automatically WP:DEFINING characteristics for any biographical article. --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:49, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Also drawing attention to something that is happening concurrently to this RfC WP:VPPROP#Multiphase removal, where "Category:#### births" and "Category:#### deaths" are data presumed to be present in bio articles in order to be able to proceed with a removal of persondata (which was agreed upon some time ago). --Francis Schonken (talk) 11:02, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Posted this RfC at CfD. Marcocapelle (talk) 10:50, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Additional information: the original nominations have not been based on a cut of AD versus BC, it was really about a pragmatic judgment of WP:SMALLCAT. This means, for the most ancient BC centuries a merger by century has taken place instead of by decade. Marcocapelle (talk) 11:02, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
    • This is, alas, proposing yet another complication. --Francis Schonken (talk) 11:05, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete 1 and 2 article categories with no hope of growth (I don't know if that's Option 1 or 2) Some guidelines deserve a fundamentalist approach like WP:BLP. But both WP:SMALLCAT and WP:COPSEP have exceptions and the paramount goal should always be ease of navigation through the categories per WP:CAT. In this case, I can see how the purpose of WP:SMALLCAT of dicing up 1 and 2 articles with no hope of growth is being violated. I'm not clear on how the purpose of WP:COPSEP to preserve "clarity and ease of use, and to preserve the integrity of trees" is being violated. I'm open to reconsideration though if others can explain it.RevelationDirect (talk) 11:25, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Really, I think WP:COPDEF (specific guidance) making an exception to WP:SMALLCAT (general guidance with many more exceptions) makes more sense here. --Francis Schonken (talk) 11:49, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Suppose two groups of ten people were given computers to find as many names as possible of persons that were killed in the retaliations after Caesar's death, with for each of the casualties when and how (proscription? war?...) they were killed. One group has Wikipedia with the "by year" categorization scheme, the other with the "by decade" categorization scheme. All other things equal, I suppose the first group would win this little contest.
So, a first thing I want to say with this: don't assume you know what's best for navigation when just starting from prejudice.
Further, re. "the paramount goal should always be ease of navigation": actually the general guideline says:

The central goal of the category system is to provide navigational links to all Wikipedia pages in a hierarchy of categories which readers, knowing essential—defining—characteristics of a topic, can browse and quickly find sets of pages on topics that are defined by those characteristics.

WP:CAT identifies the hubs of navigation as "defining characteristics". Year of birth and year of death are defining characteristics for the people about whom we write biographies. That's how WP:CAT works, that's how WP:COP works. --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:37, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
Zing "Don't assume you know what's best for navigation when just starting from prejudice." --Francis Schonken @Francis Schonken: RevelationDirect (talk) 03:29, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
Re. "Zing": either my prejudice is as good as yours (but then my prejudice is at least based in current guidance, and confirmed by actual users of the categorization scheme like Lamassus below), either I'm a bit more experienced (by, for example, conducting the kind of usability tests I described above). No offense taken either way. --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:45, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
  • @RevelationDirect: Could you elaborate on WP:SMALLCAT a bit? Because I'm a bit confused on what you're implying here. It almost seems like you're supporting option 2 here but on the other hand (by "Recreate") you've voted for option 1. Marcocapelle (talk) 11:52, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • I favor deletion; my comment above is clarified. RevelationDirect (talk) 15:26, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Thanks, so that's voting for any option except option 1. Marcocapelle (talk) 17:00, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Give me back the single year categories ... I have published this comment in different places before. Hopefully this is finally the right one: Unfortunately I've seen this too late, when you started merging, but it affects a lot of pages I use. I had already written a comment in August, but probably in the wrong place. In my daily research Wikipedia Categories are one of the instruments I use most and I have to say that I really do not appreciate the changes decided on this one. The new config makes it much more complicated to find specific persons. Previously it was easy to find a person who died for instance in 333 BC and if my search was for someone who died in the 330s I had to click only a maximum of ten pages. But now, to understand who died in a specific year, I have to click many dozens of pages. This makes my work much more difficult. Actually, it is my impression that people discuss and decide these changes who have rarely used the instrument at all. I would therefore prefer a return to the previous situation. And if that is not possible, I'd invite everyone to reflect and and try to understand the function of a useful instrument before you "simplify" it to something much less useful. Unfortunately I have noticed this not only here, but even in other places, where guidelines were forced to "simplify" or "unify" things and the result was the exact opposite. Most features on Wikipedia were introduced for a reason, and the fact that someone doesn't get it on the fly should not be enough for abolishing them.
... why this change is no progress: For my kind of research it is exactly the opposite. I'm a writer of novels with exact historic reference. When I come to a specific year, I start looking for potential victims of murder and similar situations. To this purpose the yearly categories were perfect. Currently I'm writing on the year 226 BC. Previously to the changes I had a very simple overview over the people dying that year, but now the Category:220s BC deaths has over 40 entries and I have to read each article to understand who died in 226 BC. Please consider that many ancient bios haven't yet been categorized. One more example: In one of my novels (yet unpublished) I killed the philosopher Dio of Alexandria. I didn't know about him previously and I don't remember how I came upon him, though it wasn't the wiki category, because his year of death (57 BC) isn't given in the English article. But if he was categorized it would have been very easy to find him. However now the new Category:50s BC deaths has already 44 entries and if it was only half complete there would probably be hundreds. That means the more it gets complete the more it gets useless for my kind of research. And I think that my kind of research is exactly what the categories are made for. One last consideration: All these specific references like year of death or place of birth and similar have been included by the hands of Wikipedia editors who have done a lot of research to be as precise as possible. It is quite easy to undo with a single bot what was done by thousands of hands, but I don't think it is very fair. It would be more productive to help and categorize more bios regarding the year of death instead.--Lamassus (talk) 12:17, 13 September 2015 (UTC) Integrated to avoid misinterpretation of bold characters.--Lamassus (talk) 18:27, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure I understand your concern. Categories are meant to find related articles easily. With the single year categories it was very difficult to find related articles because many categories consisted of only 1 of 2 articles so you had to go to the decade parent, then go to another year etc. Categorization by decade facilitates finding related articles a lot. I think for your purpose listification would be much more suitable than categorization. And these lists already exist! See e.g. 333 BC
By the way, it looks as if you've posted two contributions from two different people now. Could you please integrate them? Marcocapelle (talk) 13:09, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Single year categories with "rollup" categories by decade/century I don't understand why single year categories, with tables like the one at Category:4 deaths are undesirable. Is the issue that if you want to find people who were born or died in a particular decade, you have to look at the contents of 10 categories rather than just one? How about adding <categorytree mode=pages>Category name</categorytree> to each of the BC decade births/deaths categories? I've done this (for example purposes) at Category:0s deaths. -- Rick Block (talk) 16:05, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • I think I prefer Option 1 (returning to the earlier scheme of single year categories). Single year categories in this case provide more information and make it easier to use the categories. I think one of the main purposes of these categories is to provide an easy way for people to see who died in exactly which years. So in this case I think WP:SMALLCAT shouldn't be applied, as it removes most of the utility that the categorization provides. Calathan (talk) 16:56, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Category:220s BC deaths has over 40 entries. I don't think that the difficulty is "insurmountable", but it's a difficulty, while this feature was meant to facilitate our work. Other categories have even more and will continue to grow. But now I've seen the Category:0s deaths and I think it's just great. A perfect solution! Go for it!--Lamassus (talk) 18:27, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
    • The deaths side definitely has more items going back further. (Looking through a lot of the articles, the ancient sources often lost the birth dates or they're "circa"). RevelationDirect (talk) 22:41, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

For the record, the implementation of this is traceable at Wikipedia:Bot_requests#BC_births_and_deaths_categorizations. – Fayenatic London 13:46, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

Clarification sought for Wikipedia:Categorization of people#General considerations[edit]

Hello.

After this discussion with User:Immortal Horrors or Everlasting Splendors, I'd like to propose an addition or a clarification to bullet point "Keep people categories separate", which says that non-people articles should (normally) not be placed in (set) categories intended for people.

The addition/clarification would in essence mean "and vice versa", i.e. that people articles should not be placed in non-people set categories. A common occurrence is that of editors erroneously (at least in my view) placing people articles in set categories that are not intended for people, most often a category intended for some kind of scandals, such as Category:Political sex scandals in the United States, or its subcat Category:State and local political sex scandals in the United States.

These categories are in my view intended for (articles on) scandals, not for (articles on) people. People are not scandals.

The section "Special conventions" on WP:CAT says it well, when elaborating on the difference between "Category:Opera" (a topic category) and "Category:Operas" (a set category): "... while Operas is a set category (containing articles about specific operas)".

Similarly, scandals categories (that are set categories) should contain articles about specific scandals – not articles about people. Note that scandal categories that are topic categories, e.g. Category:Lewinsky scandal, can and will (for obvious reasons) contain people articles.

I'm not sure how to word this myself, so what can be done to complement or clarify the guidelines?

Regards

HandsomeFella (talk) 12:40, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

As I stated in the linked discussion, the people that are in these categories often have notability in large part because of their scandals. But those scandals are not large enough to warrant their own article. Should we not allow our readers to easily access these scandals through these categories? I think the choice is obvious. These people are often notable only for their scandal and thus should be obviously found within the scandal category. Maybe that's an overly simplistic view, and I am definitely open to being convinced that I'm wrong, but I'd love to hear a third editor's opinion. Cheers! Immortal Horrors or Everlasting Splendors 20:16, 5 October 2015 (UTC)


I suspect user IHoES (TL:DRW name) is concerned about wiki readers not being able to find information in wikipedia about scandals and people involved in them even if the information's there in some form. Kind of "I don't remember the guy's name, and not exactly what he did, but I know it when I see it, so let's look in the scandal category tree". That's absolutely a valid point, but there are other ways to solve that problem, and still retain the integrity of the category trees. You just have use a little imagination, and combine that with the WP guidelines. You can, for instance, create redirects, and categorize them in order to facilitate searching via the category trees.
Here's my view on how one can go about that.
  • If a person is not notable despite being involved in a (notable) scandal, then there should be no article on him/her. A mention in the article on the scandal is enough. The article on the scandal should be categorized in "Category:Xxxxxxxx scandals". Optionally, there could be a mention of the person in "List of xxx scandals" type of articles, and, possibly, a redirect from the person to the article on the scandal.
  • If a person is notable only or mostly because of his/her involvement in a (notable) scandal, then there could be an article on him/her. The article on the person could be categorized in "Category:People involved in (generic type of scandals) scandals" (a people category), but not in any scandal category, unless the scandal has an eponymous topic category, or a "Category:People involved in the blablabla scandal" category.
  • If a person is notable regardless of his/her involvement in a (notable) scandal, then his/her involvement will of course be in both articles (but probably from different perspectives). The person could be categoried in "Category:People involved in (generic type of scandals) scandals", but not in any scandal category, unless the scandal has an eponymous topic category, or a "Category:People involved in the blablabla scandal" category.
If, on the other hand, the notability of the scandal is in doubt, but it's mainly connected to a certain (notable) person, it could be solved this way:
  • If the scandal is not notable enough to have an article on it, a redirect named "Blablabla scandal" pointing to the notable person could be created. That redirect could then be placed in the appropriate scandal categories (where it will appear in italics).
Regards
HandsomeFella (talk) 14:25, 6 October 2015 (UTC)
Re placement of redirects in article categories

--that is, Wikipedia:Categorizing redirects, sections 1.2–1.6 rather than sections 1.1 and 2:

Article categorization of redirects provides navigation only down the category tree, or downward navigation. We provide general navigation if [1] we retain in the target footer all the article categories of incoming substantial redirects (replicate at, rather than relegate to, those redirects), or [2] we provide/instruct navigation to incoming redirects that are substantial (those which are or should be placed in article categories), or [3] "we" upgrade the software to provide instructions or tiered or integrated category lists that are practically equivalent to [1] or [2].
What I say here about article categories is true also of interlanguage links
[2] we provide/instruct navigation to incoming redirects that are substantial. For illustration see Janet and Allan Ahlberg [current version], end of page --following any stub tags, which the example page does not include-- (quote)
See more categories and inter-language links: Allan Ahlberg, Janet Ahlberg, Jessica Ahlberg
--P64 (talk) 22:16, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm happy with relegation of some article categories to incoming redirects--rather than replication there; placement of both target and redirect in the category. But I know that others are happy to do the same only with a collection of article categories that differs from my own happy collection, and others are unhappy with any such relegation. We may expect that unhappy editors will judge that the recommendation to relegate, to maintain set-theoretic integrity of the category system, is a guideline to be broken.
--P64 (talk) 22:07, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for that input. I wasn't aware of that part of the guidelines. HandsomeFella (talk) 15:03, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't know that you previously misunderstood. My comment is general; it bears on categorization of people pages only as a special case. Having expressed myself here, I posted much the same to redirects discussion, WT:RE#Redirects in article categories, workaround.
My comment does not directly address the narrow point defined by the section heading, re categorization of people, because both Janet and Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg are people pages --in contrast to a scandal page and associated scandalous person page, or murder page and murderer page. (FYI, one pair where the event is the redirect and the person is the article: University of Texas massacre and Charles Whitman.)
Someone may object to mixing people and non-people in categories, yet accept both the Ahlbergs joint biography and the Janet Ahlberg redirect in Category:Kate Greenaway Medal winners. That doesn't bear on my comment, which concerns redirects from and to people pages only as a special case. My point generally concerns a tactic in category system maintenance --relegation of some categories from target articles to redirect pages, or replacement of target articles by incoming redirects in some categories-- regardless of the kinds of entities the pages denote. I recommend WT:RE#Redirects in article categories, workaround for general discussion and I posted cross-references at WT:CATP and WT:CAT-R. --P64 (talk) 17:11, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
I realize that your comments are general. My request for input may refer to a specific case, but is nevertheless also generic in its character. Regarding the case with Charles Whitman, I have objections to some of the categories. "Matricides", "School massacres in the United States" should be moved to the redirect. Per the citation on Operas above, these categories should contain specific matricides and specific school massacres, respectively.
HandsomeFella (talk) 17:43, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Approximate year of birth or death[edit]

Please would interested editors help to re-categorise ancient people by year of birth and death? See the discussion at Wikipedia:Bot_requests#BC births and deaths categorizations.

Also, an issue has just come up there about people for whom the exact year is uncertain: in such cases, is it better to categorise by an approximate year of death, or by decade of death? The latter would give a more untidy result on the decade pages because of the new "rollup" code which was wanted at Wikipedia talk:Categorization of people#RfC: BC births and deaths categorization scheme; see Category:40s BC deaths for an example in practice. Please respond at the bot request talk page (see link above). – Fayenatic London 14:28, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

Easier access to biography articles via subject surname?[edit]

Is it possible to create a category, or category-type listing, sorted by DEFAULTSORT, to include all biographies (living, dead, unknown), so that a link could be made to the list of surname entries for a given surname, to add to dab or surname pages? (Like this link for living people with surname "Leeds", but to include the dead and dubious too).

Watchers of this page might like to comment on an idea I've described at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(idea_lab)#Easier_access_to_biography_articles_via_subject_surname.3F. PamD 15:17, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

You can sort of do this for talk pages using Category:WikiProject Biography articles. Not great for linking from article space. There may be a Lua solution, but there may not. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:24, 18 March 2016 (UTC).

Clarification about the DEFAULTSORT/sort key for the Icelandic names[edit]

In Talk:Pétur_Marteinsson#Value_of_DEFAULTSORT, we are discussing the interpretation of Wikipedia:Categorization_of_people#Sort_by_surname for the Icelandic names. Is someone able to clarify this part of the guideline? In particular: the sentence "However, on English Wikipedia, the DEFAULTSORT value is Western order while an Icelandic category's sort value is as the name is written." could perhaps be rephrased to be more clear? --NicoScribe (talk) 13:32, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

It is perhaps an obsolescent idea, but an "Icelandic category" is supposed to be something exclusively consisting of Icelanders with Icelandic style names (-dottir etc). This could be sorted differently from say Category:Oboe players while retaining consistency with the Icelandic telephone book. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 20:00, 19 March 2016 (UTC).
@Rich Farmbrough: Thank you very much. What about a reformulation of the mentioned sentence ? I don't want to do it myself, because I hold one interpretation of the guideline in the mentioned talk, and because I am not a native speaker of English. Whatever the reformulation, I will be happy about it, because the mentioned talk has begun on 4 January 2016 and I would like to move on... --NicoScribe (talk) 13:27, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps "However, on English Wikipedia, the DEFAULTSORT value is Western order apart from categories exclusively populated by Icelandic style names where it is as the name is written." All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 13:55, 21 March 2016 (UTC).
@Rich Farmbrough: Yes, I think that your sentence is better than the sentence in the guideline. But two things are bothering me. I think the word "style" is unnecessary (because the sentence belongs to a chapter dedicated to Icelandic names). And I think that the words "it is" should be "the sort key is" (because your sentence could be understood as "the DEFAULTSORT value is X for some categories and Y for other categories", whereas the DEFAULTSORT value is unique in an article (and can be overridden category by category)). --NicoScribe (talk) 17:05, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
...but an "Icelandic category" is supposed to be something exclusively consisting of Icelanders with Icelandic style names... This is slightly incorrect. Need to remove "exclusively". There is a small percentage of the Icelandic population that have western style names. There are also foreigners that will be put in Icelandic categories... Icelandic football for example. Bgwhite (talk) 18:14, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
@Bgwhite: Well, yes, there is a small discrepancy in all that: the reasoning in the guideline is based on the names, whereas the categories are usually based on nationalities. But, in the end, I think it is not a problem.
For me, an "Icelandic category" is used to list (exclusively) Icelanders, regardless of the type of their last name (patronymic or matronymic or family or western style name). I don't understand: how foreigners could be put in Icelandic categories? Even if the categories that you are mentioning are correctly populated with some foreigners, Icelandic category's sort value is as the name is written so these foreigners will appear in the category as the name is written...
But let's get back on track. All the Icelandic people, regardless of the type of their last name, are properly referred to by their first names, I think that it is the reason why Icelandic category's sort value is as the name is written. So, when I combine this remark with my previous remarks, I think that the proposition by Rich Farmbrough should be tweaked like that: "However, on English Wikipedia, the DEFAULTSORT value is Western order apart from categories exclusively populated by Icelanders where the sort key is as the name is written." --NicoScribe (talk) 20:42, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
That would be fine by me. The deeper question is whether we should sort them this way, given our readership, and the complexities of mixed sort orders, I leave to another time. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 20:56, 21 March 2016 (UTC).
It's not exclusive. There are foreigners on Icelandic football teams and in Icelandic Universities. People have moved there and became artists, musicians, etc. These people are in Icelandic categories. There is no such thing as a category, "exclusively populated by Icelander". This goes for every country's categories. It should stay "Icelandic categories". Bgwhite (talk) 21:51, 21 March 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── OK, I am sorry, my words an "Icelandic category" is used to list (exclusively) Icelanders are wrong. Icelandic categories are larger than that. For instance, everyone playing for the Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur football club appears in the Category:Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur players, where the descriptive note confirms that the sort key should be "as the name is written".
I don't want to redefine "Icelandic categories". I don't want to change the meaning of the guideline. I only want to clarify one sentence, so that the mentioned talk can be "closed".
So, a new proposal could be: "However, on English Wikipedia, the DEFAULTSORT value is Western order apart from Icelandic categories where the sort key is as the name is written."
@Bgwhite and Rich Farmbrough: do you agree with this proposal? --NicoScribe (talk) 12:02, 22 March 2016 (UTC)

"However, on English Wikipedia, the DEFAULTSORT value is Western order, overridden for Icelandic categories where the sort key is as the name is written." would be better. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 12:15, 22 March 2016 (UTC).
I agree. Thanks! --NicoScribe (talk) 13:18, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
@Bgwhite: do you agree with the last proposal by Rich Farmbrough? --NicoScribe (talk) 09:14, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
@Bgwhite: the proposal has been adjusted due to your remark. Do you agree with the last proposal by Rich Farmbrough? --NicoScribe (talk) 10:00, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
imho "is ... overridden" is a bad word choice here: it seems to imply the MediaWiki software overrides automatically, while the intention is to say that editors should implement a differently structured sort key manually for Icelandic categories. Further, what makes a category "Icelandic" is left unexplained, bolstering up the idea, for the unsuspecting editor, that the system will take care of it without the editor needing to worry ("is ... overridden for Icelandic categories"). --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:17, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
@Francis Schonken: I agree, we should write "manually overridden". But I think that we don't need a clarification about the Icelandic categories. You have certainly seen in this talk that I made a misinterpretation about Icelandic categories but, in the end, I think that everything is explained in the section Categorization schemes which is just above the section Ordering names in a category: an Icelandic category is associated with an Icelandic organization / association / institution / company / team, or with Icelanders (by occupation), or with an Icelandic place. --NicoScribe (talk) 17:26, 27 May 2016 (UTC)
Hello, @Francis Schonken, Rich Farmbrough, and Bgwhite: do you agree with the addition of the word "manually"? The new sentence would be: "However, on English Wikipedia, the DEFAULTSORT value is Western order, manually overridden for Icelandic categories, where the sort key is as the name is written." --NicoScribe (talk) 17:39, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I would have no objection to the above, as reflecting the intention of the original better. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 19:10, 5 July 2016 (UTC).
Adding manually isn't a good idea. There are bots that could do some of this work. Having a bot update some of the more common Icelandic categories would be a good idea to do. Bgwhite (talk) 21:34, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

References[edit]

There are references to Chicago Manual of Style under the sections relating to sort order. Unfortunately some of these are to the entry that should be written in the index (in our case, of course, the title of the page), not to the sort order of such entries. I had removed these, but they have been reinserted, subject to talk page consensus. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 20:29, 19 March 2016 (UTC).

If it is related to your removal of the Saint Alban ref, then I would agree. Bgwhite (talk) 18:10, 21 March 2016 (UTC)

Conclusion of Mac and Mc sorting debate?[edit]

Sorry, I see this has been argued a lot, and I don't mean to stir things up again for nothing, but I can't find any discussion of the subject from the last few years. On the project page here it says to sort them as they're spelled, as if that were the consensus, but I can't find a discussion where a consensus was reached. I was looking into the topic because I came across a page with an Mc name sorted as a Mac. This was the case for a few others I looked at as well. Should they be corrected? --Languorrises (talk) 18:50, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

There's a statement somewhere which says MCSTJR was changed in 2010 (from "Mc files as Mac" to "all file as spelled"), and it looks from discussions as if AWB was slow to catch up with the change - here are a few links to discussion:
But I'm not sure that any of that actually amounts to a concluded discussion about the change! PamD 09:21, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Is there a definite rule about these names when Mc or Mac names have a capital letter at the beginning of the remainder of the name; e.g. should "John MacLean" sort as "Maclean, John" or not?--Johnsoniensis (talk) 13:03, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Sorting on English Wikipedia is now case insensitive, a well meaning change that broke a lot of things. MacLean and Maclean would now require special efforts to sort differently: e.g. using "Mac Lean" as the sort key for MacLean. If we then wanted to sort "Mac Lean" separately we would need to sort it as "Mac  Lean" (two spaces - or similar). All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 19:14, 5 July 2016 (UTC).
That seems reasonable; I am sure that Mc/Mac names in English should not have an inserted space. Only Mac names in Irish or Scottish Gaelic are customarily written with Mac as a separate word.--Johnsoniensis (talk) 07:51, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
This is a confusion that has lead to "more and bloodier wars" (to paraphrase Douglas Adams) than most things on Wikipedia. Changing the {{Defaultsort}} or individual sort order does not "change the spelling".
Thus in the example I gave above we would have in the category:
Mac Lean, Fred
MacLean, Zachary
Maclean, Albert
all spelled exactly as their respective article names.
With the current method:
Mac Lean, Fred
Maclean, Albert
MacLean, Zachary
again all spelled exactly as their respective article names, but sorted in a different manner.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 10:08, 17 July 2016 (UTC).
P.S. it's actually lead to relatively few disagreements, but they were completely unnecessary, and I like quoting Douglas Adams. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 10:10, 17 July 2016 (UTC).
I updated the entire WP:NAMESORT section around 2012. I gave three refs for "sort them as they're spelled", Chicago Manual of Style (Section 18:71), British standard (BS 3700:1988) and ISO 999:1996 standard. In addition, American Library Association, The MLA Style Manual, The Indexing Companion, The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Authors and Publishers and Society of Indexers all say sort as spelled. British phone books do not follow this as told by other people. Bgwhite (talk) 08:32, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

Military service categories[edit]

An editor has recently been deleting RAF categories from individuals who served in the RAF in the war but were not regular RAF personnel. See for instance [1] and [2]. I believe this is against the spirit of categorisation and should be reverted. Military service is usually very defining for those who served, even if they only served for a few years, and especially if they served in a world war. It's also something that interests many people and deleting these cats is doing them a disservice. Thoughts? -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:56, 5 August 2016 (UTC)

We normally categorise people only by those occupations for which they are notable (see WP:COP#N). If someone spent a period (e.g. during wartime and/or as a conscript) in military service (alongside many thousands/millions of other people) which did not make them notable (or, for that matter as a non-notable fireman, barman etc) before going on to become notable (as an actor, politician, businessman etc) then the military service is a WP:NON-DEFINING characteristic. It may be appropriate to mention the military service (and other occupations) in the article text (alongside info about parents, marriage, children and many other things that may be an important part of their life, but we don't categorize for), but not categorizing them for it doesn't "do them a disservice" (the purpose of categories is to organise articles, provide navigation etc). DexDor (talk) 09:38, 6 August 2016 (UTC)
Whether something is non-defining or not is entirely down to interpretation. I would say that military service is extremely defining (I would certainly expect my military and police service to be categorised if anyone ever wrote an article about me, even though neither of them have been my main career!). Would you say receipt of a gallantry medal is defining? Surely it is, even if the recipient is not a regular member of the armed forces. If that is defining is then the fact of military service not defining? Of course it is. Or is it only defining for people who weren't decorated? None of this makes any joined-up sense. Just as where someone went to school or university is defining (surely we'd just delete all these thousands of categories otherwise, since nobody goes to school or university professionally). Your interpretation would actually lead to most categories being removed from articles. Discussing such moves before you impose them unilaterally is always a good idea. Our guidelines are not set in stone and not everyone thinks as you do. "the purpose of categories is to organise articles, provide navigation etc"? Er, yes, exactly.
I should point out that one of the categories you have removed is Category:Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve personnel of World War II. Given the RAFVR was for part-time and war service personnel only, what's the point of it at all if everyone who only served part-time or in the war is removed from it? The same goes for other categories (e.g. Category:British military personnel killed in World War I. Most of them weren't regulars and had other careers outside the forces!). As I said, this all makes no sense and has not been thought through. You are basically arbitrarily deciding what you think is defining. That's not necessarily what others think is defining or what the subject themselves thinks is defining. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:48, 6 August 2016 (UTC)
I will give you a perfect example. My father gave six years of his life to the RAF and his country during the Second World War. He was in the RAFVR. He wasn't a regular RAF officer. Like the vast majority of other people who served, he wasn't killed or decorated. At the end of the war he returned to his old job as a cinema manager and never set foot in a Spitfire (or any other aeroplane) ever again. But did his service define him? Yes, most definitely it did. It defined him and his memories and it defines my memories of him. He wasn't notable enough for an article on Wikipedia. But it's just as defining for those who are, even if they're famous for other things. Military service, especially in war, is defining, both personally to those who served and to the historical record. Make no mistake about that. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:19, 6 August 2016 (UTC)
Having served in the military may be a (very) important part of some peoples lives, and for many people other things (e.g. being a parent, having a religious faith, being gay/straight, male/female) might be an important aspect of their life (and all are worthy of mention in the article text) - but, we are talking here about how we categorize encyclopedia articles so, for example, a person who was a non-notable soldier then a non-notable clerk, then a notable politician only needs to be categorized for the occupation(s) that made them notable. DexDor (talk) 06:15, 7 August 2016 (UTC)
Second what Necrothesp is saying. In particular, removing the RAFVR category is completely bizarre, and should stop forthwith, regardless of any other community consensus reached in this discussion. Removing the other categories is, at the very least, removing truthful information about a person!! Buckshot06 (talk) 21:11, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
Removing a category tag is not removing information from an article as the information should also be in the article text (where it can/should be cited) - and if it's not then the category tag should be removed anyway.
Are you saying that you think WP:COP#N is "completely bizarre"?
COP#N exists for a reason; many people who are notable for one occupation have also done a variety of other occupations (for which they are not notable) (for example actors before their acting career takes off and sports stars after their sporting career is over) and it is not appropriate to categorize for such occupations (e.g. Clint Eastwood should not be categorized as a firefighter and Cecil Parkinson should not be in an airmen category) as this causes category clutter on articles (see essay WP:DNWAUC) and makes the categories less useful (e.g. anyone looking at categories such as Category:Soviet military personnel is probably interested in notable personnel, not the many thousands of people who were a non-notable conscript before becoming a notable artist or whatever). It could also complicate categorization - e.g. if an article just says "After doing national service he..." then we wouldn't be able to put that article in a category for a specific branch of the military and info about a previous job could be removed from the article text. Many articles about people who have served in the military are currently in such categories, but many others are not (e.g. Nicolas Sarkozy, Ora Namir).
It might be possible to make an exception to COP#N for military service, but then why not firefighter, police officer, coastguard, miner...? An exception only for military service in wartime could also be considered, but that would still mean many people (e.g. Israelis) being added to such categories.
Part of the problem here may be that we do have some categories for non-defining characteristics (e.g. year of birth, place of death and sometimes university/ies attended), but those ("standard biographical characteristics") are different in several respects - (1) normally a person is only in one (or a very small number) of each of such categories and (2) such categories don't mix people who are notable for that characteristic with people who aren't. DexDor (talk) 06:59, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
I think the problem here is that you have interpreted WP:COP#N in a specific way and assume everyone else will agree with that interpretation. I don't think we're making an exception for military service at all. We are taking it as a defining characteristic. Because it is a defining characteristic. It is indeed true that many jobs people held for a bit may not be defining. But military service not defining? Frankly, utter rubbish. Look in Who's Who, the principal British biographical reference work, for example. Almost everyone who has done military service will list that military service, often in some detail. They probably won't list the fact that they worked as a builder's labourer; they will almost certainly list the fact that they served in the Royal Air Force, even if it was only National Service. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:17, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

D'Agostino sorting[edit]

Just trawling through Category:Living people correcting Default sorts, and have found 17 D'Agostino's sorted as Dagostino, looking at the guidelines am I right in thinking they should be sorted as D'Agostino instead (to join the 4 already sorted thus ? Thanks GrahamHardy (talk) 21:30, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

GrahamHardy Per WP:MCSTJR, apostrophes should be kept, therefore D'Agostino is correct. The only exception is if the surname starts with O, such as O'Neill. This would be sorted as ONeill. Bgwhite (talk) 22:03, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for confirming, I will correct them GrahamHardy (talk) 22:27, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
All done, thx GrahamHardy (talk) 22:40, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

Categorization of people by place[edit]

Re this edit - North Norfolk District did not exist in Cubitt's lifetime. Does that matter ? Feel free to point me at archived discussions, Thanks GrahamHardy (talk) 09:37, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

I have found Wikipedia talk:Categorization of people/Archive 9#by place but it appears inconclusive. My feeling is that he was born near Dilham, and Dilham is in North Norfolk. We should try to as specific as possible in such categorization, hence my belief that the change was correct... GrahamHardy (talk) 20:38, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, in these circumstances we usually categorise by the current district unless that would be completely anachronistic (usually where the county boundaries have changed). -- Necrothesp (talk) 14:09, 28 September 2016 (UTC)