Whoever keeps messing with the categories I've labored to create... PLEASE QUIT IT!

+3 votes
It takes me HOURS to set up categories so that they are a nice balance of broad and succinct.  It is a process of fine-tuning.  And sometimes I stop in the middle of the process.  (For sleeping, for instance.)

When you disrupt that process by removing or renaming the categories, or by labeling them as 'misnamed', you do me quite a disservice.  

Your destruction demonstrates that you have time to edit.    If so, then please write a note in the catogory's text box to give your view of why my efforts are not to your liking.

in The Tree House by Living Straehle G2G6 Mach 1 (15.6k points)
Are you working with the Categorization Project? http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project:Categorization
Joining the categorization project was very helpful to learn how categories best serve the Wikitree community. There are so many duplicate and misnamed categories that deviate from the standard and make it difficult for others to find them. I don't know the specifics of the categories in question but listening and following the advice of the categorization project leads is the way to go. Sometimes personal categories make sense but if it's a category that would help others long term then doesn't it make sense to put work into setting it up with the accepted standard format?

7 Answers

+13 votes
Best answer

Hi Julie

Before you set up any categories did you read the Categorization Help Page which says:

Everybody on WikiTree needs to be using the same category names. This is very important and it's harder than it may sound. We need to all agree, for example, to use Category:United States of America rather than Category:United States, Category:USA, Category:US, etc., etc.

Before creating a new category, carefully search or browse the category hierarchy. Then consider the standards on Category Names. Rather than trying to do it on your own, you may want to ask a question in G2G using the tag categorization.

Please follow these instructions to ensure you are adding profiles to the same categories that many WikiTreers have laboured to formulate standards for via community collaboration, and which everybody else on WikiTree uses.

It's also a good idea to search the G2G for previous questions about similar topics.  For example, see the G2G discussion New categories for birth, death and marriages being emptied.

If you want to create personal categories, please note that Personal Categories Help says these categories are named with your WikiTree-id. Personally, I agree with others who have posted here that generally it's better to use the public categories existing in the category tree hierarchy because of the collaborative benefits to be gained. 

Please check out the Category Names Styles and Standards help page for current rules for category names.  It's worth keeping an eye on that page because it, and its associated sub-pages/spaces, are being updated regularly.



by Maryann Hurt G2G6 Mach 9 (91.7k points)
selected by Maggie N.
+23 votes

Please join the categorization project and co-ordinate with them.

by Rosemary Jones G2G6 Pilot (266k points)
Tried to.  Didn't get any response to my request to join.
Did you follow the instructions here and get an invite to Google Groups?


If this doesn't work, try sending a PM to Maryann and Abby.
Yes, the first thing i did upon learning of the Cat Project was to read its instructions.

The instructions are (were) numbered.  So I thought the items were to be done in a specific order: First do #1, then #2, then #3, etc.  So I did #1, waited for a response to #2.

Apparently, the numbering was a mistake: newbies should do all five instructions simultaneously, more-or-less.

To prevent others from getting stuck in the same way, I've substituted dots ("bullets") for the numbers in the instructions.

Now I'll repeat my "May I please join your group?" request to Maryann.

Thanks for your help, Rosemary.
+11 votes
Why can't you create the categories she needs, without someone else modifying them? Juli, the only real solution is to utilize personal categories.

by Sandi Wiggins G2G6 Mach 7 (71.6k points)
If a person sets up personal categories for cemeteries, that person might benefit, but no one else will.  If I have someone buried in the same cemetery, it might help me to know that about the other people there, as we may be related.  If the categorizer only uses a personal category for the cemetery, there is no benefit to anyone else.  And, if the person in the cemetery is a common ancestor, do we really need two categories for the same cemetery, the Wikitree category and the personal category?  What if there are three descendants and they all use their own personal categories?  Where does it end?
It never ends. Which is the promise and frustration.

I add personal categories for cemeteries ==> when I visit a cemetery I can easy find out other people in "my family tree" in this cemetery..... excellent when trying to find graves but looks like it could be solved also with some smart filtering functions on categories like show people related to me 10 generations having this category

+30 votes
I took a look to see what the problem area might be and see that you were creating cemetery categories related to graves of a particular family.  To do exactly what you want related to a particular family, you probably do need to use "personal categories."  

But that would deny the rest of the world the benefit of your efforts.  Cemetery categories are among the most important and useful of WikiTree's categories, because they locate vital information about an individual's birth, death and often, marriage.  Therefore a lot of work has gone into defining how cemetery information should be categorized.  Here is a useful link:  .   http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category_Cemetery_Formatting.  

The whole point is to make cemetery information useful -- and findable -- for as many people as possible.  When you add cemetery information to profiles through categories that follow the format that's been agreed to, you not only accomplish your own research objectives, but you contribute to the efforts of many others -- and because this is a collaborative site, others' efforts will often double back and help your own research!
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (473k points)
I have seen personal categories employed but never realized the significance until now. THANK YOU, Jack. I'm creating them for my own use now, so I don't have to keep a notebook!

I agree that information about cemeteries, per se, is of potential interest to all.

But for information that is only of interest to a particular person, such as where that person's ancestors are interred, i don't believe that categorizing in a cemetery is the best way.

When I plan a visit to a cemetery, I go to see the graves of my family.  For that purpose, I don't want or need a category that shows me the departed who share the cemetery with them.  I do want a category that is personal, for my relatives only.

Related to this, I've just written an answer to a 'cemeteries' post.  Do have a look....

+18 votes
I will also add:

Seek first to understand, before being understood.

It's challenging to know if another person is the root of the problem, or if it is one's self.

Come to the forum to ask questions. Am I doing the right thing? What is the recommended way of doing something?

There are plenty of topics in the help system. Spend some time going through some of the topics. Including this one:


We all run into these issues. And are sometimes the cause of them too.
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (528k points)
Nice, Eric, thanks.
+13 votes
I think this goes to the heart of what WikiTree is for.  Is it a genealogical Wikipedia, or is it where you do your own tree just like on Ancestry?
by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (646k points)

There are about 700 names on my watchlist.  Of them, fewer than 100 are folks I consider "my relatives".

I totally support the One Tree ideal, and yet I still feel more of a personal attachment to "my relatives" than to everybody else.

Is that unreasonable?


+10 votes

Maybe time to have a standard layout on a category

Is not this discussion just a result of that we don't clearly show on a category what project is responsible for a category..... No one can guess 

A good Wiki standard is that we use an Infobox on every category explaining

  1. What project created this category and is responsible for it
  2. Link so you can learn more of the project
  3. Person to contact

Example of an infobox see category: Alfta (X) and the red marked area to the right


In the Swedish Parish project we created free space pages with the infobox

  1. Space SPC_Header
    1. Used on 2388 pages
by Living Sälgö G2G6 Pilot (304k points)
This is a wonderful idea, Magnus.

One Name Studies do something similar:  e.g. a profile included in the Blagdon Name Study will have:

Blagdon Name Study category at the top of the bio

A template including a logo, and the text "This profile is part of the Blagdon One Name Study If you are interested in this profile,
please check out the One Name Studies Project!"

(which includes links to the Blagdon One Name Study and the One Name Studies Project)

However, this template does take up a fair bit of the bio, so it would be better to have it in the right-hand sidebar with the rest of the images

Re Ros....

I would like that we inside WikiTree get section that could be compressed and expanded ==> people interested in a section can expand it...

To do that we need

  1. Server side javascript like common.js (needs support from WikiTree developers to add that)
  2. And then create templates having hide/compress options.... (can be done by leaders...)


Magnus, is there an easy explanation somewhere of how to create an info box?  Does it require lots of technical knowledge?

The one we use in the Swedish Parish project was done using a Free space page that is included using {{Space:SPC_Header}} the version we use was a prototype done by Jonsheim-1 that we use until someone tell us what a WikiTree Infobox should look like....

It use Wiki markup for tables thats all.... and as our infobox is the same we have no parameters

{| cellpadding="2" style="float: right; width: 200px;margin-left: 1em; border-spacing: 1px; font-size: 90%; background: #e1efbb; "
| {{Image|file=Flags-11.jpg}} 
|This page is part of the [[Space:Swedish_Parish_Categories|Swedish Parish Category project]] an effort to improve the coverage of Sweden on Wikitree. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of [http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Swedish_Parish_Categories#Open_Tasks open tasks].<br />
Questions or errors please use [http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/tag/sweden G2G] and tag Sweden or our [https://www.facebook.com/groups/1544811269169108/ Facebook group]
|Learn more about Swedish genealogy: [http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Sweden Sweden]

Best would be if we had a WikiTree standard and a CSS files (common.css)  with some standard classes to get the same look and feel (css-class infobox) 

so we got the same layout..... 

Some other resources:


I do something simpler.

When I create a subcategory, I use its text box for a sentence or two about the category's intended use and its (hoped for) naming conventions.

Not as fancy as the front-door to the Swedish Parish Project, but it gets the job done.

Magnus' infobox uses transclusion.  Before using this idea on categories, please see the G2G thread, Templates friend or Foe, and the Draft Template Guidelines which say "Templates should not be used to transclude content into the main body of a profile, category, or other page."

Its still just a draft dear Maryann....  and I think lesson learned of the WikiTree/Wikipedia integration and the Database Error project is that we now have to pay the price that we have been so stupid not using templates when linking from WikiTree to WIkiData or other external sources. 

The good thing is that the Notables template can be used as those profiles are often also inside WikiData....

I think WikiTree need to start using the tools available.... today's Category pages lacks a lot of support for the users. Why don't we use locator images its one click to download from Wikipedia example for countries can also be used for regions see related to Australia ....?



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