Categories for Veterans: How granular should we get? [closed]

+7 votes

I've been working a bit more with categories lately and wanted to query the group at large to see what the consensus is.  We currently have a few categories that are used to honor the veterans of our various branches of service.  The existing categories also allow us to denote that a veteran served during certain defined times of war.

My question of granularity relates to veterans of the National Guard, but also applies to other subsets of the various branches of the US Armed Forces.  For individuals who served in, for example, Army National Guard unites, should we create a new category specifically for them as a subcategory of US Army, or simply place them in the US Army category?  While the National Guard technically rolls up under the US Army, members and units are not considered active duty at the federal level unless activated.  

I'm sure this is just me being nit-picky, but would most folks be inclined to look in a general US Army category or drill down specifically to a National Guard category?  Many people do not realize that there is a distinction, so I do not want to make it overly complicated.  As I said before, this is a fairly specific example, but keep in mind that the concept could apply to other subsets of the armed forces.

All thoughts and suggestions are welcomed!

closed with the note: I'm closing since the discussion on "How should military categories be structured?" has been very active and contentious. See
in Policy and Style by Allen Minix G2G6 Mach 1 (17.7k points)
recategorized by Chris Whitten

2 Answers

+3 votes
Hi Allen,

Great question. I'm glad you brought this up.

I'd definitely think that we need a US National Guard category, and also subcategories for the state units, e.g. a Georgia Army National Guard category that would then get categorized under National Guard, US Army (I think), and Georgia.

The question of granularity, though, is a tough one. Should we also have battalions, units, companies, etc?

Part of the question is how many profiles we expect to be categorizing. We don't want to set up thousands of empty categories, but we also don't want to spend a lot of time categorizing profiles when the categories will have to be changed later.

Changing categories isn't hard. You just need to change the tag in the profile. But you have to do it in every profile for the category.

I don't know if that's really an answer. I'll be interested to hear if others have thoughts.

by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
Thanks, Chris!  That was my gut feeling, but I wondered if everyone else is on the same page.
Chris-- I want to tie back in to an earlier conversation on being able to pull up your watchlist for categories... but having everything so granular you have to go into a category (AND KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR) before you can get there would be no good... I love specific categories, but having them super specific might defeat THIS more useful, in my opinion, possibility??

Basically, I am all about specific, but if I have to go into WWII American Army Savannah, Georgia, unit xyz before I can sort by watchlist, it is defeating the helpfulness of sorting by watchlist...

If we can see catogories that people on our watchlist fall into and it includes all the super specific ones, THAT IS MY VOTE... but I dont want to defeat Chris' willingness to take on watchlist sorting in a useful manner.
Should the backend logic for categories be modified to help speed adoption?
One problem: many people who served active duty in a military branch will later go on to serving in the relevant Guard. How do they get categorized? Is this an exclusive, "one or the other" type of category or can they be listed in both?
Hi Julie. Listing in both is the right thing to do. There's no limit on the number of categories a person can be in. Cheers, Chris
+1 vote
Hey Allen,

I think more granularity is better. Like Chris said, how much granularity you want depends on how many profiles we're going to categorise, but ideally, we're going to categorise everyone! So, I generally lean towards more specific categories.

I would even go so far as to have units, etc. (I honestly have no idea how the military is structured; I just know units are on military records. :P ) For example, my great uncle was in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles unit, and I think it would be neat to be able to group him with other people in that same unit.

by Liander Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (435k points)
Thanks, Lianne!  I love the feedback!
There are a lot of people, like me who barely know that some ancestors were in the military, let alone what unit, etc... so we will have a lot of people in the basic categories, but I like having the smaller ones, as well.

This could even draw interest as on sites like find a grave, there are people dedicated to memorializing soldiers, units, etc... so we may end up with people coming along *wishful thinking* and taking a branch/unit list and making profiles for them unconnected to the family roles... that could later be merged into their families when families locate them... could be AWESOME!

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