Iron Chariots Wiki talk:Categorization

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Guidelines for Categorization

Dcljr and I have a bit of a disagreement resulting from me going stompy-stompy all over his category choices. So perhaps a set of editorial guidelines on how to put articles in categories.

I guess the guiding principle should be that articles should be put in the categories where they'll do the most good. But this ought to be turned into some concrete rules.

For instance, when I saw articles in both Category:People and Category:Atheists, I removed the "People" category, since "Atheists" is a subcategory of "People": why put an article in both a general and a specific category? That seems redundant.

Dcljr points out, quite sensibly, that if someone doesn't know that Douglas Adams is an atheist, he's not likely to go looking in Category:Atheists.

A similar argument can be made for arguments: do we want Category:Arguments for the existence of God to be a huge list of every single argument for God, or do we want to break the list up into taxonomic subcategories, or both?

Perhaps one point to consider is, under what conditions do people look at category pages? Usually, I either use the search box on the left, or follow links in an article; I don't use categories unless I'm just browsing to see what's around. But perhaps I'm atypical.

I suppose a category link at the bottom of an article really means "Here's a list of things that are sort of like this one." But again, this isn't something that can be directly added to a "do's and don'ts" list.

Any thoughts? --Arensb 17:29, 10 May 2007 (CDT)

I personally like have the arguments for the existence of God category to be a super list. It is a very convenient way to browse for something that looks interesting or relevant. If I were looking for debating tips, I would greatly prefer that to having to drill down through various categories to locate something eye-catching. --Kazim 20:05, 10 May 2007 (CDT)
For things like arguments and people, I think it makes sense to categorize them in both general and specific categories. But obviously we don't need to categorize everything that way. I guess I look at it like this:
  1. When categorizing an article, first choose the most specific relevant category (e.g., the Banana argument goes into Category:Arguments from design).
  2. If that category is one of a group of closely related subcategories of its (most relevant) parent category (e.g., Category:Arguments for the existence of God contains many subcategories for different types of arguments), then consider whether a typical, non-expert reader would know in which of those subcategories the article could be found.
  3. If the answer is no for the current article, or if the answer is expected to be no for many of the articles that would fall in this group of closely related subcategories (most people won't know where most of the arguments about the existence of God would be classified), then add the article to the parent category, as well.
  4. The overriding consideration should be that categories should be usable in both a bottom-up manner (what are some other articles similar to this one?) and a top-down manner (how can I find an article on what I'm thinking about, starting from the top-most category?)
In practice, typically what I do is throw all the categories I can think of onto a newly created article, then look in each category (often not all of them, and sometimes actually none of them) to see if there's a more specific subcategory that would obviously be where the article could be found; if so, I change the more general category into the more specific one. We might want to just create a list of categories for which double- or triple-level categorization is encouraged, and discourage it elsewhere. Other than Category:People and Category:Arguments, the only things that come to mind as possibly belonging on that list are Category:Religions (the many Christian denominations, for example) and possibly some of the subcats of Category:Media. - dcljr 11:28, 11 May 2007 (CDT)

It seems that this discussion completely ignores the idea of bottom up category assignment. You can think of bottom up organization as if the individual page is the starting page (which is really how it appears to new readers, who inevitably end up on one page and click on links from there, or so a search and wind up on an individual page or another).

Think of categories as attributes that an individual article has. If both categories describe attributes that are integral to the page, both categories or subcategories should be included.--Rabidwriter 16:57, 12 March 2010 (CST)


Well, having not seen any more discussion about the above issues for months now, I had actually forgotten all about this "debate" and started going wild in the People categories again. Here are the guidelines I'm (more or less) following:

  • All individuals should be categorized in Category:People and in at least one other subcategory of it, based on the following, whenever possible:
    1. their general religious beliefs or lack thereof (e.g., Christians, Atheists, etc.)
      • these general categories can be further subdivided (e.g., Catholics, Agnostics, respectively) whenever it seems relevant
    2. what they are most widely known for (Scientists, Authors, etc.)
  • All organizations should only be categorized in an appropriate subcategory of People:
  • All individuals mentioned in the Bible should go in Characters in the Bible; if they are also definitely historical figures, then they should be categorized somewhere else as well, based on what they are known for outside of the Bible.
  • All other fictional and mythical characters should go...

And that's as far as I got (with the guidelines, I mean... I've actually done a lot of categorization already) before I figured out that all of this should go here (on Iron Chariots Wiki:Categorization) and not on the Category:People page itself.<g> - dcljr 01:36, 11 March 2008 (CDT)

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