Forums: Index > Watercooler > Categories

Early discussion[]

A lot of articles here may have no categories, may have a couple categories, some may have a lot of categories, some different categories than others even though it's the same thign being categorized, it seems to be unorganized. Perhaps we should discuss organization? I suggest the following, as major things to categorize, as used on most of the articles:

  • Birth year
  • Death year (Using Living people category if living)
  • Surname
  • Immigrant categories - categories their original country and their new homeland
  • Nationality categories - categories where they were born
  • Ancestry categories - categorizes people by their ancestors' nationalities

Now, occupations. How shall we do this? by business? type of job in their field? How shall we do this? For example, if someone is a dairy farmer, categorize them like this:

Category:Dairy farmers

then categorize the above category with:


then categorize the above category with:

Category:People by occupation

then categorize the above category with:


Positions: Now, royalty and military people

Royalty: How shall we categorize them?

Dukes of _____

Barons of _____

Earls of _____

Kings of _____

Counts of _____

Emperors of _____

Princes of _____

Now the females:

Duchesses of _____

Baronesses of _____

Queens of ______

Countesses of _____

Emperoresses of _____

Princess of _____

Both males and females may have a title of the same place and be in different categories. What shall we do about this?





to name a few. But, would we sub cat them? by military division? by country of service? by war?

There are even more positions, like Presidents, Governors, Mayors, etc.

I'm sure there are more categorizations out there. -AMK152(TalkContributions 16:41, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

First a nit Re: Ancestry. If you have a Scottish relation from Dunedin, should you cat him with Ancestors from Scotland, or Ancestry from Scotland. Ancestors is ambiguous, since it could be taken to mean an actual ancestor like Robert the Bruce. Yet Ancestry from seems a wee bit awkward. Suggestions?
I think there should be a set of Cats highly relevant to naive users. EG military- yeah you could do a full blown taxonomy, and that would be fine. I'd just think priority should be on the hook categories that get folks interested in genealogy. I am not a big fan of wars and such, but when you bring up genealogy, it seems the most common things for novices to bring up is how their relation was at D-Day or the Battle of the Marne, etc. I found a distant relation who died in a US Civil War battle (the side fighting against slavery). I think folks care about superlatives, not minutiae about particular rank and what have you. They talk about whether a relation served in a war, whether they Won some High medal eg VC, Medal of Honor, Silver Star. High rank- Colonel or better. And the cat should be flat- no one wants to go sifting through subcats. It would be nice to see all names of folks in the family that served in WW I. Or WW I casualty (died or wounded). I think all the trades are of universal interest but again there should be one that is flat- yeah sure you can cat them as pediatrician, but have a flat one for "Doctors", one for Master carpenter, but also one for "Carpenters". The flat one could be criticized from a Correctness/ taxonomy/ library science perspective. Sure, putting them in both pediatrician and Doctors is redundant, but I'll bet you the Doctors one delivers useful answers to novices 10 times more use by novices.
I don't know what you'd call these categories: Popular categories, Faq categories eg: We have put together a set of categories that try to answer the most frequently asked questions about their ancestors. Did they serve in a notable war, Did they share the same occupation, Were they at some newsworthy or historical event?
The point I am trying to make is that there are two kinds of categories that a wiki like this should have. One of categories that follow perfect taxonomical rules and are well ordered. The other that a layperson can easily navigate to quickly get the info they want. These folks may give you 5 minutes to browse the site, but if you don't start delivering results in those crucial first 5 minutes, you are history.
Just a thought. -Phlox- 17:16, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
Oh- last point- some of these cats you are talking about eg dates can be automagically fetched and generated by a pywiki bot from articles that use some sort of regular order or template. -Phlox- 17:23, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

October 2007[]

We continue to move in the directions suggested above. See, for example, Forum:Births by Year/Deaths by Year, Forum:German people, People of Germany, People from Germany, Emigrants from Scotland - and so on, Forum:Template:Categories, Forum:Competing cat structures commons vs wp. --Robin Patterson 02:51, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Kings of Scotland[]

(First few paragraphs here copied from a user talk page)

Great to see the house of Stewart being filled in.

We now have Category:Monarchs of Scotland (following Wikipedia) and Category:Rulers of Scotland, with King James II in neither.

Time for a rationalization? I vote for the "Monarchs" structure, which sits under Category:British monarchs (which should probably be Category:Monarchs of Britian, for consistancy).

Thurstan 23:29, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't know. I think we'd need a general term for leaders of any country. Monarchs sounds good, rulers sounds more general, but I think leaders sounds better. Perhaps there needs to be further discussion. -AMK152(talkcontribs) 23:44, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Fair enough, but it becomes a bit more nuanced for the countries (like Australia) which are "constitutional monarchies". Who is the "leader of Australia"? The "head of state" (ie the monarch, or the presidant for a republic), or the Prime Minister (the leader of the government).

Of course, all the kings of Scotland (whose title was probably historically "king of Scots", as in "Mary, Queen of Scots") could be categorized under both Category:Monarchs of Scotland, to reflect their title, and Category:Rulers of Scotland, to reflect their role. Alternatively, Category:Monarchs of Scotland could be a sub-cat of Category:Rulers of Scotland (ignoring those kings who didn't really rule!).

Thurstan 00:37, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, and of course we would have to make categories for counts and earls and such. -AMK152(talkcontribs) 14:30, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
We can continue to use the categories Wikipedia provides except where we think we can do better (e.g. with the move away from using country names adjectivally). So James II can be looked up and have most or all of his WP article copied, including the categories and templates. Then if we reach a consensus that any of the categories can never be of interest to genealogists we can cut them out. Robin Patterson 11:58, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

How about this break-down:

Not sure what to call "SOMETHING," but:

Basically, we can get into dukes and earls and counts and barons and others. -AMK152(talkcontribs) 16:31, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Categories once we have Semantic MediaWiki fully working[]

(Copying first item from another forum)

Another priority: We need to discuss categorisation. I note that people are putting effort into categories, while SMW offers a superior solution that is less work. rtol 05:55, March 2, 2010 (UTC)

I partly agree. But any category that has a Wikipedia equivalent is worth adding and keeping for ever, as a quick link back to WP for any user who wants to get inspiration from what may have been added to WP on a subject. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 00:11, March 3, 2010 (UTC)

I see a continuing need for categories:

  • use of SMW is not compulsory: all the existing {{person}} pages will remain, as well as all those pages that use no template at all, and more will be added, requiring all the "(surname)" and "born in" etc categories.
  • some categories are not superceded by SMW facts: examples like:
  • until a lot of "concepts" are created, the "(surname)" categories are vital for finding people, checking for duplicates, etc. So we need to maintain these.

I am arguing that we continue to need to maintain a category structure. Howewever, at present Special:WantedCategories (a major maintenance tool) is useless because it only shows the first 1000, and a large number of pages have been imported from wikipedia and commons, without fixing the categories. Until this backlog is fixed (and it is cheaper to create the categories than to edit all the pages and templates to remove them), I will continue to create new categories. We also need someone who runs a bot to start actioning the {{category redirect}}s. Thurstan 05:11, March 3, 2010 (UTC)

Brief overview, December 2017[]

We now have over 98,000 categories that have two members or more. See for the current block of 500 containing the cutoff between 1 and 2.

Some of them look to me as if we don't have much use for them. Examples are Category:Economics research‏‎, Category:Drinks by main ingredient‏‎, and Category:Categories named after law enforcement agencies‏‎. However, as long as they link to Wikipedia categories they do no harm and may do some good - as I suggested a few years ago. Some have fewer members than one might expect - such as Category:International organizations by continent‏‎, currently sitting on one member - but may have potentially far more, and the same applies to our newest surname categories.

User:Afil has been a great trooper creating most of the wanted categories that can pop up whenever we copy a page from Wikipedia. A wanted category contains and displays everything it needs to before it is created, which means it is one of the least needed "wanted" pages, but by creating it we can link it to parent categories and to Wikipedia - until Wikipedia no longer has an equivalent! User:Thurstan seems to be alert to Wikipedia's category deletions and fixes ours accordingly.

Some of our very own categories can still be rationalised a bit. I have just deleted "Category:Familypedia FAQ" after emptying it - its members all had satisfactory-looking alternative parents. There's scope for more tidying of help and project pages and categories.

-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:19, December 15, 2017 (UTC)