Are these two categories different?

+12 votes

I was just looking through the Occupations categories, and I noticed we have both "Domestics" and "Domestic Workers."

Should these be merged, or are they intended for two different types of workers? 

If they are intended to be two different things, could someone provide a description on each category page so that others will know how to properly categorize the individuals into them?


in Policy and Style by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (504k points)

4 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer
I do believe these should be merged because we are overcategorizing, thereby making it more difficult to both categorize and to navigate the categories.
by Natalie Trott G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
selected by Julie Ricketts
I tend to agree with this philosophy, especially since we now have the category widget.

If no one is opposed, I'll add the category merge template to indicate that "Domestics" be merged into "Domestic Workers," meaning that the latter will be the category that remains.

Having never requested the merge of two categories where one contains sub-categories, I'm not sure how that works. Does anyone know?? Aleš, are you there?? :-)
You just add {{Rename Category|Domestic Workers}} on Domestic category.
Proceed as Ales said, but you could make it easier on Cat Project worker bees like me to understand the deletion or merge if you leave a short note under {{Merge Category}} like

Merging this and this because of duplication or incorrect spelling or whatever the reason.

So when we go to approve the merge, we see who/why this is happening. We have been questioned quite a lot lately for our deletions and/or merges.
I second that, Natalie. I often have to guess why some rename or delete is done.
I foresee a time when somebody goes to categorise somebody who was listed as a "Domestic" in a census record or other source, and then asking, "Why isn't there a category for domestics?"
Greg, yes that could be, but a category search would help with that. Or if the icon on the toolbar could help, by typing in "domestic" and the list pops up. Choose one and the category is there. Our members surely know how to search or to ask a question in G2G fairly early in their WikiTree experience, I think.
Not I. Maybe I'm particularly dim-witted, but it took me months to grasp even the basics on here. (Not that I'm an expert now.) And I can tell you from my experience at work that, when you're dealing with a very large knowledge base, most of which is entirely outside people's experience when they first start in on it, that it doesn't matter how good the documentation is: people are only going to learn things (like how to search categories, or even how to post a question in G2G at all, let alone how to word it in such a way that others can figure out what you don't know) one at a time, and usually by making mistakes. In our case, that means that any occupation category that we delete as a duplicate will be re-created eventually. (And, if it gets deleted again, it will eventually be re-created again, too.)

Personally, I don't see the point in fussing over stuff like that. If one person described himself on his records as a "Lumberjack", and another described himself as a "Logger", I really don't see the point in choosing one term over another and trying to impose that choice on people who died before I was born. The same thing goes for domestics, domestic servants, or any other variation on the term. In my opinion, people can describe themselves in whatever terms make sense to them, and our job is to record that data, not to edit it.
+10 votes
It seems pretty clear to me that they are for the same types of workers, based on both being subcategories of Servants, as well as both being subcategories of Occupations By Name.

The only distinction I could make is that Domestics has two subcategories while Domestic Workers is the low level category that has profiles in it.  The subcategories of Domestics appears to be limited to domestic workers in England.  Perhaps we'd be better off with that as a subcategory of Domestic Workers and then eliminate Domestics ... then again, I'm no categorization expert.
by Gaile Connolly G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+8 votes
We have a lot of occupation names which are near-synonyms, but in the end, we decided to leave them in, so that people could apply whatever category they find in their sources, rather than expecting them to go hunting around for the "correct" occupation name. But we do also try to nest together similar occupations, and I like it when people put in a brief definition of an occupation name, and a link to some source where it's described in more detail.
by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (714k points)
Some degree of hunting around is to be expected in a site as large as this. If people are put off by a simple search, the answer is not to grow the category system, but to teach them how to search for the correct one. This is one reason we're updating categorization help and have added the category search feature (button) for profiles. (Available while in edit mode on a profile.)

In that case, I'd recommend that you post that argument to the thread which led to the reorganisation of the occupation categories, so other people can put their two cents in before we go merging away categories.

That is, indeed, the process we follow, especially when projects are involved.

But that post is rather long and old at this point, and you have already done a wonderful job of reorganizing the occupations.

As proposed by Julie, this is a simple merge of what seems to be identical categories. If they are different, it should be explained by a few simple sentences on the category page.

If Domestics are "Servants" are Domestic Workers the same thing? People these days tend not to think of persons in their employ as "Servants," but, rather, employees. That is a subtle but real difference. I don't think of the man who mows my lawn as a servant, but as a professional that I pay to do a job for me (one that I would rather not do when it's 90+ degrees outside.) If it's also a class thing, that could be noted on the category page.

Wikipedia says:

domestic workerdomestic helperdomestic servantmanservant or menial, is a person who works within the employer's  household. Domestic helpers perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to housekeeping, including cleaning and household maintenance. Other responsibilities may include cooking, laundry and ironing, shopping for food and other household errands. Such work has always needed to be done but before the Industrial Revolution and the advent of labour saving devices, it was physically much harder.

Some domestic helpers live within their employer's household. In some cases, the contribution and skill of servants whose work encompassed complex management tasks in large households have been highly valued. However, for the most part, domestic work, while necessary, is demanding and undervalued. Although legislation protecting domestic workers is in place in many countries, it is often not extensively enforced. In many jurisdictions, domestic work is poorly regulated and domestic workers are subject to serious abuses, including slavery.

hmm, guess that would depend on the era Greg, in early New France, there are lots of contracted workers who get listed as ''domestique'' on census records, but their functions were much broader than just household servants, many of them had other professions also listed.  It was a broad general term to include anyone who was an employee living in the household.
–1 vote
You know a domestic can mean a wife/mistress/fiancee/prostitute while a domestic worker is more like a butler/maid/chauffeur/nanny. Some use it interchangeably. It's sort of like asking someone when "Dinner" is.
by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (419k points)

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