Wikipedia talk:Categorization of people/Sensitive categories/Archive 8

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 7 Archive 8 Archive 9

WikiProjects again

We're having another spate of people who can't quite believe that an article about a non-LGBT person could be supported by editors interested in gay icons, or that a WikiProject named "this genre" could be interested in helping with an article about a closely related genre. The LGBT battles routinely cite BLPCAT and this page as justification for breaking the WikiProject bots (as if even hinting that "those people" are interested in the subject matter is terribly scandalous), and we use LGBT as an example in the lead, so I have boldly added an explanation about the difference between article cats and project cats using that example. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:52, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

New RfC about Categorization of persons

Please see Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Categorization of persons: "Should we categorize people according to genetic and cultural heritage, faith, or sexual orientation? If so, what are our criteria for deciding an identity?" Thank you, IZAK (talk) 02:32, 30 August 2012 (UTC)


There's an RFC here on the use of "actors" versus "actresses" in categorisation: Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Actresses categorization - I believe this has been discussed intermittently in the past, though I'm not sure when, and interested editors may want to comment there. Andrew Gray (talk) 11:07, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

"As another example, separate categories for actors and actresses are not needed, but a female heads of government category is valid as a topic of special encyclopedic interest." What is the support for this? Women are chosen because they are women and men because they are men for a substantial if not overwhelming majority of acting roles. Candidates for heads of governments in Israel, India, Britain, Iceland, or the U. S. run and are elected or not as people, not as women. It seems to me that if we want to make a distinction, it should be the reverse of what is given here. Kdammers (talk) 05:28, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Discussion at Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2013_April_24#Category:American_women_novelists

You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2013_April_24#Category:American_women_novelists. Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 04:02, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Diffusion verses non-diffusion

I would say that in sports where people compete seperately by gender, and in acting, singing, dance and modeling, and possibly among comedians (although I would only really support this view if we had Category:American male comedians), we should diffuse totally by gender. In these cases gender is totally, without question central to a very large part of the person's career. On the other hand, in writing, politics and such gender is less important. Is the fact that Mia Love is female central to her being mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah or her former and possible present campaign for the US house? Well, she has been mentioned as "the first African-American female mayor in Utah" and as "potentially the first Afircan-American female Republic in the United States house", so clealry her being female is noticed. However, I think we could also safely argue that if she had gone with her first career goal and become a broadway actress and made it big there, being a female would be much more determinative of what she did in her career than it is at present. Terri Hatcher, Amy Adams, Erica Durance, Rolly Bester, Dana Dalany and every other person who has been cast in the role of Lois Lane was cast as such in part because they were female. There are exceptions to casting males as males and females as females, but they are rare. So I think we can work out this system where in these specific places we disperse by gender. I would at the same time argue that we should not disperse by ethnicity at the same level. Dean Cain being of Japanese descent did not prevent casting him as Superman, and Laurence Fishburne was cast as Perry White despite all previous castings being with actors of Euro-American origin. Ethnicity is still arguably a large factor in how the careers of actors develop, and historically was an even bigger facotr (and some might point out that Cain "does not really look very Japanese"), but it is not as controlling a factor as ethnicity and so I do not think we should disperse on it in these cases. On the other hand I think we should disperse Category:American religious writers into specific religious sub-cats.John Pack Lambert (talk) 03:05, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Hi John - I can see your points, but my fear is, the more exceptions we add, the harder this will be for editors (and NY times bloggers) to understand. We already have a guidance that makes an exception to the general rule of diffusing categories and makes all G/E/S/R categories non-diffusing) - the quiz above points out how hard it is to actually implement this in practice. If you now have a set of special exceptions to the non-diffusing rule, this will make things even messier...--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 04:58, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment My gut suspicion is that if we should just diffuse everything, but at the same time in most cases work against the creation of bottom rung ERGS cats, except in cases like acting and religious writing where gender or religion are the central way to define the connection of the person to the category.John Pack Lambert (talk) 16:43, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Heck this guideline is a mess

I've been rereading this to try to determine just what is the standing guidance on subcategorisation but this is rather confused, messy and either the examples are outdated or else no-one's propely diffused them. Breaking down the final two paragraphs:

Whenever possible, a valid occupational subcategory should be structured and filed in such a way as to avoid "ghettoizing" people, but at the same time, Wikipedia rules about redundant categorization should also be respected. It is entirely possible to meet both of these expectations simultaneously; if you can't, consider alternative ways of defining the category.

"Consider" is one of the most ineffective words we have in guidelines.

For instance, if you cannot create "Gay politicians from Germany" without ghettoizing people from Category:German politicians, then it may be more appropriate to eliminate the more specific category and simply retain Category:Gay politicians and Category:German politicians as two distinct categories, or to refile people from the parent category into more specific subcategories based on the particular political body their career is associated with (e.g. "Members of the German Bundestag", "Chancellors of Germany", "German Bundesland presidents" or "Mayors of Berlin").

Well we have Category:LGBT politicians from Germany‎ along with a whole host of other subcategories by office, "state" (sic), former country, gender, ethnicity, party, type of death and so forth. We also have 333 entries in the main Category:German politicians - is this a backlog of unsorted entries or cases that are impossible to subcategorise? And without checking every entry in Category:LGBT politicians from Germany (or Category:German women in politics or Category:Jewish German politicians), I'm not sure if all those entries have some other ones added as well.

And of course politicians are usually an easy group to divide up but sometimes you get awkward cases, mainly people who have big political influence but don't actually operate through either parties or elections. Does one awkward case invalidate an entire set of sub-categories? And there's nothing in this guidance about what happens if the only existing sub-categories that fit said awkward case are EGRS ones.

Then of course you get groups where subcategorisation is harder - the current example being novelists where not every novel fits clear genres and some book shops or libraries are organised alphabetically but others are organised by genre and some are organised with breakouts for some genres (e.g. romance novels), some formats (e.g. classic editions or graphic novels) and a catch-all general section.

If a category is not otherwise dividable into more specific groupings, then do not create an E/G/R/S subcategory. For instance: if Category:American poets is not realistically dividable on other grounds, then do not create a subcategory for "African-American poets", as this will only serve to isolate these poets from the main category. Instead, simply apply "African-American writers" (presuming Category:Writers is the parent of Category:Poets) and "American poets" as two distinct categories.

This doesn't really address cases where a category is partially dividable.

Further up, and the distination of WP:Cat gender, we have:

As another example, a female heads of government category is valid as a topic of special encyclopedic interest, though it does not need to be balanced directly against a "Male heads of government" category, as historically the vast majority of political leaders have been male. Both male and female heads of government should continue to be filed in the appropriate gender-neutral role category (e.g. Presidents, Monarchs, Prime Ministers, Governors General). Do not create separate categories for male and female occupants of the same position, such as "Male Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom" vs. "Female Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom".

The problem with this example is that nobody ever intended to put Margaret Thatcher, Kim Campbell, Jenny Shipley, Angela Merkel and Julia Gillard, or for that matter John Major, Brian Mulroney, Robert Muldoon, Helmut Kohl and John Howard, in at the level of a catch-all Category:Heads of government for every HoG in human history. This doesn't cover very well cases where there are a lot of entries in the head category.

The more I read this the more I think it's impossible to say clearly whether anyone has or hasn't followed guidance that doesn't cover a messy situation well. We can either clean up or replace the individual examples but we need a much stronger and clearer guideline about EGRS subcategories and exactly how they should be handled in partially dividable cases. Timrollpickering (talk) 16:15, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

  • My general view is there are two sets of by gender categories. One if the heads of goverment case, where it makes sense to have a general female one because in other cases we have dispersed by more specific criteria, everyone is the head of government in a specific place. However with sports, acting, modeling and singing I would say it makes sense to disperse by gender nearly to the lowest level. In singing we have categories like Category:American tenors which are more specific sub-cats of Category:American male singers. The tricky place is things like writers, and I have come to the view that probably we should not divide Category:American women writers at all, or at msot divide into fiction and non-fiction sub-cats.John Pack Lambert (talk) 17:15, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Even as the person who originally wrote most of the original version of this guideline back in 2006, I absolutely agree that it's not good enough anymore and needs significant updating to reflect the state of things in 2013. My original work was a starting point based on the situation as it stood at the time, and was always meant to be a work in progress that would get updated and changed as our consensus and our clarity about what's appropriate or inappropriate at the level of categorization improved and evolved — but this document absolutely has not been keeping up adequately with that evolution. Part of the problem is that the document hasn't always been updated to keep up with the actual state of current consensus — and sometimes when it has, other users have challenged or reverted or editwarred or watered down those changes. And another part is that when the document was originally written, a lot more of it was based in theory than in actual evidence of how such categories play out in actual practice, because the schema of identity-label categorization wasn't nearly as developed as it is now: people hadn't tried things like Category:American women novelists yet, people hadn't tried comprehensively filtering every LGBT category on Wikipedia into individual L/G/B/T quadrants, people hadn't actually battled over conflicting interpretations of what's allowed or disallowed by individual sections of this document as extensively as they have since, people hadn't actually tested and exposed the limits and the flaws and the contradictions yet, and on and so forth.

I would absolutely favour, and contribute to, a process to review and revise this document to comprehensively identify and correct its flaws — the places where it's not clear enough anymore, the places where consensus has evolved past what's written here, the places where it just plain needs to be redone from scratch. Bearcat (talk) 18:20, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Bearcat - I'm with you, I'd love to help refine this guideline, it is not very good. My suggestion is that we start from a practical place - take the quiz I made above, or even James Baldwin or Maya Angelou, and carefully go over these bios and figure out where they should fit in an ideal world - and try to come up with a set of rules that we could then apply to a new bio that would get us to the same place - in other words don't start with generic guidance, start with a real world example, solve it, and then see what can be gleaned from so solving. Working on Winona LaDuke was extremely useful to me, and gave me lots of ideas on an algorithm. So why not start by taking the quiz! --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 21:45, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Cat header template

This one seems like a quick and obvious win - what if we created a template, that would go at the top of any E/G/R/S category - that would say something like "Pages in this category are for XXX. They should also be placed in categories X, Y, and Z". Any thoughts? it could be a replacement for {{Distinguished subcategory}}, that is specific for EGRS.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 23:49, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Question on nurses

I did a bit of re-organization of the Category:Nurses tree. I note that currently the tree is ungendered, but there is a subcat of Category:Male nurses as presumably this is a topic of special consideration. However, we also have Category:Female wartime nurses, which I nominated to make ungendered but this was resisted at CFD, so we created a non-gendered parent Category:Wartime nurses instead, with a matching Category:Male wartime nurses. So now my question is, what should be done with all of the people in Category:American_Civil_War_nurses, which is now a sibling instead of a child of Category:Female wartime nurses. My gut is, they should be also placed into either Category:Female wartime nurses or male accordingly, since this sub-tree is now fully divided by gender. Thoughts welcome. --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 16:16, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Conflicting guidelines

Under categorization it says "Subcategories defined by ethnicity and sexuality are often non-diffusing subcategories. See also the gender, race and sexuality categorization guideline." I have two major issues with that a-it does not mention gender at all, b-we do not categorize by race. What the difference between race and ethnicity is is not always clear, but we should be clear categories need to be based on and implemented on ethnicity, not race. We should not group people from clearly distinct cultures just because they look similar and may if you go back far enough have the same ancestors.John Pack Lambert (talk) 16:00, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I just fixed that guideline - that was just wrong I think - the page used to be called race a long time ago, and that redirect still exists - but we shouldn't use it, and possibly delete (or cripple?) the redirect to discourage further use?--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 17:49, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

While some people have already called attention to certain issues that we need to discuss and resolve above, I'm going to list a few more here just for reference's sake:

These are just raised for contemplation at this time, and I may add more here; active discussion about them should wait until we're actually ready to review the guideline in detail rather than jumping the gun. Bearcat (talk) 17:49, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi Bearcat - it's so funny, I was literally about to post a question here about Puerto Rico. I guess we're on the same wavelength. However, a suggestion - swing by here and take a look: Wikipedia_talk:Category_intersection#A_working_category_intersection_today - this is something we could do now, and we wouldn't have to worry about LGBT or quadrants or even whether American writers of Jamaican descent was worth creating - we would just use category intersection for that. my proposal is, we ice all of the gendered/ethnic/sexuality cats (religion have to think about) - except at the highest level - and then use category intersection to build anything beneath. Take a look and comment there - if we can get this working, this whole guideline may be completely different.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 17:52, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I've really got to caution you to cool those jets a little bit — proving that your system works with two categories over four articles is, for starters, a long way from proving that it scales up well enough to adequately handle thousands of categories distributed over millions of articles. People have been proposing that we rejig the category system along similar lines for years without success, for the record. While I'm not wedded to the idea that we need to keep the system we have right now if there are better ideas out there, it's a pretty big leap from "hey, this works on one test case" to assuming that we can immediately junk the entire category system as it currently exists — for example, can you yet prove that your proposal won't unwittingly create new problems that you haven't adequately anticipated yet? So for the time being we still do need to work within the system as it currently exists, including discussing and repairing the flaws in this document — your proposal is certainly worth examining and exploring, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's actually ready for prime time already. Bearcat (talk) 05:03, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks and I appreciate your caution, and will definitely rely on more assistance and input from you as we move forward - you've been a thoughtful contributor to this challenging space. I probably misspoke above - I did not mean to suggest we would immediately dismantle the category system and thousands of cats - my proposal is to refine the UI of the prototype a bit, and then go live with it in a particular sub tree (say, Category:Polish poets or Category:English musicians or something), and test out how it works within the context of that tree, and get user feedback. Regular category browsing would remain, but if you ever wanted to have an intersection by gender/ethnicity/sexuality/etc, you would click the links to bring you to a pre-filled set of category intersections. It's at least worth a try, don't you think?--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 05:18, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  • My general take on the issues. A-Pueto Rico and Guam will work just fine, as long as we make sure the people so categorized actually are clearly "nationals" of that place. There are lots of people who clearly belong in Category:American people of Puerto Rican descent and not in Category:Puerto Rican people (although some people maybe belong in both, I am not sure. it needs to be decided on a case by case basis. 2-If someone can writer an article American writers of Jamaiacan descent that is more than a list, we can have that category, if not, than no. The problem is lots of descent categories have cropped up without really being merited.John Pack Lambert (talk) 02:30, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Actually one problem with intersect, is that we have not really agreed to universally categorize by gender, and ethnicity is a complexed mess as well. In the case of gender, we only categorize by it when the overlap of the gender and something else is notable. We do not put people in Caegory:American women for example.John Pack Lambert (talk) 00:23, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

totally diffused by gender categories

We have at present lots of categories that are 100% diffused by gender. The example that comes to mind the fastest is the models tree. For example Category:Albanian models is a holding cate with two sub-cats Category:Albanian female models and ;Category:Albanian male models. The the articles are in one of the other sub-cats. Considering how modeling works in the real world, this is probably a logical split. The same probably also works for singers (although at least Category:American singers has lots of gender neutral sub-cats as well, although we also have Category:American female pop singer-songwriters, which is one of the most indepth intersect categories we have. It works for actors although while in potential we will have actresses and male actors categories, in reality most places outside of Category:American actors at the top level, we have not fully split out to those two. It also works for dancers, prostitutes (although the size of that category maybe does not justify it being so segmented), and maybe a few other like categories. It is also in theory how we work a lot of sports categories, although those are a little different because although you can see that Category:BYU Cougars men's basketball players and Category:BYU Cougars women's basketball players are a split by gender, it is really a split by team. I would say these should be limited to a-occupations where gender is not only notable but controling, the people not only are seen based on their gender but that really controls how they do their occupation, and what their occupation is. Gwenerally it should be limited to things like entertainers. For example, with singers, the most specific singer categories in some ways are things like Category:American operatic tenors, and that is clearly by gender.John Pack Lambert (talk) 00:34, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

  • We should mention this issue directly in the guidelines, which we really do not. In fact for a long time we seemed to say you should not have both a male singers and a female singers category. The guidelines were just ignored, although at one time I did try to do a CfD to merge them, but it failed miserably.John Pack Lambert (talk) 00:34, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I am not sure we even want to apply this to all people who might be called "entertainers". Even though we apply it to singers, I am not sure we want to apply it to any non-voice female musicias. Category:female guitarists probably should not be exempt to non-diffusing rules for example.John Pack Lambert (talk) 00:36, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Other probably exceptions are comedians, although maybe if we created Category:American male comeidans such a diffusion would work. Also radio and television personalities, and the related sub-cats that are not yet divided by gender should probably be left as is.John Pack Lambert (talk) 00:40, 17 May 2013 (UTC)