Coding of punctuation and spaces in category names

+11 votes
I've seen a number of edits recently in which another contributor has added category IDs to profiles in formats like [[Category:Lynn%2C_Massachusetts]], which substitutes code for the punctuation and space in [[Category:Lynn, Massachusetts]]. In some instances, an existing category link entered with standard punctuation is being overwritten with a category link that includes the coding instead. The coding is ugly and likely to confuse some contributors.

The explanation proffered for this practice is that the coding is needed to place the profile in the category. This explanation is inconsistent with my understanding of, and experience with, categories in WikiTree. If I add [[Category:Lynn, Massachusetts]] to a profile, I fully expect that profile to land in the category. I suspect that some sort of intermittent glitch must have led to the perception that the coding is required. On a few occasions I've seen profiles fail to appear in a category, and I've been able to make the missing profiles appear by making an edit to the category page. Are WikiTree's tech wizards aware of a glitch that causes intermittent categorization problems? Is my practice of making a null edit to the category page a valid cure for a known problem? Are there instances where ugly coding is truly needed? Is there any general advice to offer to users regarding placement of categories on profiles?
in WikiTree Tech by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)

2 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
Hi Ellen,

Maybe those people are copying the category URL.

You are correct that the encoding is not necessary. It will work either way, but I agree that the natural language version should be used.

by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
selected by Ellen Smith
It didn't ought to work either way.  When a pagename is turned into a URL, any % already in it should be taken as a literal % (quite possible in free space pages, at least) and encoded as %25, so %2C should become %252C.

The url-encoding in early MediaWiki doesn't seem to work right.  It still doesn't work right, but in different ways.  Of course the trouble with bug-exploitation is that it might not survive an upgrade.
+1 vote
This may be due to the browsers those users use.  Perhaps they are not adding the characters deliberately, but the browser, attempting to avoid loss of information, encode special characters.
by Roger Shipman G2G6 Mach 1 (17.7k points)
It's deliberate. (I asked.)
Okay.  Well, it was worth suggesting.  I have not had trouble with needing to special code characters; but you never know.  I've had other kinds of trouble (i.e., not categories), and wondered about the necessity in those situations.

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