Clarification on Renaming or Merging Categories

+7 votes

Trying to understand the differences and therefor where or when I would use either Process regarding the explanation for them on the listed Help Page for Categorization. Help Categorization

My biggest question is: Can I use {{Merge Category|NewCategoryName}}  to create a new category? The Merge Profile Process requires 2 existing Profiles. I would naturally think the Merge Category process would require there being an existing Category to merge to.  I would use the Rename Category to rename an existing  category where the display name may be in error.  Example:

Say there is a [[Category: Youngstown, Oiho]].  The state is obviously misspelled.  And this category is a Sub-Category of [[Category: Mahoning County, Ohio]] and [[Category: Trumbull County, Ohio]].  If I use {{Rename Category|Youngstown, Ohio}} would I have to manually add [[Category: Mahoning County, Ohio]] and [[Category: Trumbull County, Ohio]] to the newly renamed category?

Or would I have to use {{Merge Category|Youngstown, Ohio}} to create the new category and insure the [[Category: Mahoning County, Ohio]] and [[Category: Trumbull County, Ohio]] are transferred and does not require my manual interdiction.  If this true, isn't the Rename Category function a bit more time consuming and superfluous.  Or are there some incidents that require this difference I am not aware of yet.

Slightly confused in Pittsburgh.

in WikiTree Help by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (181k points)

To Ellen,

I'm not asking for a specific time the process will be completed, just a heads up to the user that this process is not immediate as in a Profile Merge and there will be some time before the request to Delete, Rename or Merge is completed.  As per Natalie's response, it would be a bit hard to be prescient in that regard.  LOL

To Natalie,

A Help Page can never be too long if helpful data is being left out for the sake of brevity.  I find it harder to find the right Help Page than it is to read it.  LOL  But that is a story best left for another day.  ;)

Again, I have to agree, LJ. The help pages really are great and well thought out. But I’ll be darned if I can find what I’m looking for. A kin, then another link, then.... etc. I’ve stsrted to put links that I use a lot on my Nav Homepage scratchpad. Otherwise, it’s like the birds eating Hansel’s breadcrumbs. That’s what I get for being right-brained to the max.
I sometimes read Help pages and end up clicking things here and there and then I am lost in who-knows-what. And since I have "CRS" (Can't Remember Doo Doo) I forget why I was looking at help in the first place. tee hee.

Oh Thank God Natalie, I'm not the only one who does that. 

What were we talking about again.....   ;)

Oh my! This is exactly what I do. Guess we’ll need to start a new project for members with CRS. All the profiles would be of living people. laugh

laugh Haha! love it

Natalie, if you check with Julie she might be able to do a video.
Great idea! Her videos have helped me many times!

Oh, that would be fun!! I'd love to help, Natalie!

And you all are making me snicker w/ your comments. That's how I work, too, most of the time. I start adding family members, and before I know it I can't remember which family I started with. Thank heavens for our contributions lists!

Natalie -- send me an email and let me know your thoughts about videos to accompany your new help page(s), and I'm sure we can come up with something helpful and fun!

Ok! Thanks, Julie, I look forward to this!

5 Answers

+9 votes

If the category has a wrong name (for example, a misspelled word) and there is no category with the correct name, use {{Rename Category|New Category Name}}. For example: {{Rename Category|Fairview Cemetery, Anywhere, Ohio}}. The contents (parent categories, category description, and included profiles) should get moved by EditBot when the category is renamed.

If the correct category already exists, use {{Merge Category|Correct Category Name}}. Profiles in the incorrect category will be moved by EditBot. However, it would be a good idea to manually copy any worthwhile contents in the description of the wrong category into the description section for the correct category.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

Ok, I need help here. When I go to the Macedonia Cemetery page at

I can find no place to edit the category name (to Balsam Grove in place of Lake Toxaway). The “edit” buttons only lead to... to.... renaming the parent category? I don’t get it.

You're the Best Ellen.  This is what I thought, but if you look at the directions on the Help Categorization page they really don't differentiate between the two and there is an implicit meaning they are actually about the same in usage. Except it infers that when you Rename a Category, you need to manually move any data from old name to new name. I couldn't understand why anything would be moved as it is just a name change pf an incorrectly named Category and no merging of data is required.

I asked this question as I feel the Help Categorization Page needs a little more clarification on the difference between the two and be more explicit on their functions. See Pip's reply.  I'm not the only one who finds it a bit confusing.

Possibly this should have gone under the Wiki Tech heading.  If you could Ellen, could you edit this so it appears there.

Thanks again Ellen.  YDB

You Da Best.  LOL
LJ we are already updating the help and it's almost ready to publish.

You can read it here:
+4 votes
Using Rename might be somewhat fraught.  The danger appears to be:

- you put some work into creating text content at the top of your category page

- But the name is wrong.  So you Rename it.

- If no page exists with the new name, your work will be copied over.

- But if somebody creates that page while your Rename is in the pipeline, your work could be discarded.  And it won't be easy to retrieve from the history, as there won't be a page to access the history of.

The bottom line seems to be

- only use Rename if you want to transfer the members and discard the text content (though it might not be discarded, and you might have to delete it yourself)

- use Merge if you want to transfer both the members and the text content.

Either way, check back and edit as required.
by Anonymous Horace G2G6 Pilot (568k points)
Note that if you Merge, the parents will be transferred over, being part of the text content, so the Help page is wrong to suggest that you'll need to do this yourself.

If you Rename, then the parents, as part of the text content, may or may not be transferred over, depending.
They have to be added manually in a rename, unless the new name already exists. Even then, I check for accuracy when I rename. Sometimes the existing category has incorrect parent categories.
I edited the instructions on the new categorization help page. Thanks for pointing that out...we have had several people working on this page and its nice to have a fresh set of eyes look it over.
+2 votes

LOL This just gets even more fun. 

I looked at the Edit Bot Category Page Edit Bot which has some background on the Rename and Merge functions as performed by Edit Bot, yet here under Merge, it says for Merge, a Destination Category must exist.  So I took it that you couldn't Merge to a new Category that does not yet exist. Rename by the mere connotation of it's name was for that.

But then under Rename, it also says a destination Category must exist for it as well????  Which seems highly counter intuitive.  If I have to make a destination Category before I use Rename, why don't I just Merge to this new, but existing, Category I just created. 

Lucy, you and Ethel got some splaing to do here.  LOL

by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (181k points)

I have to read that again...HUH? laugh

When you say "here" do you mean on the current help page?
Example. I have a category called (and I'm leaving out the brackets because..pretend they are there) Category:XXX Occupashun, Someplace. Oops, look, that is misspelled and it has 8 profiles attached, and there's a big old explanation of the category in the text.  DO I feel like going to each one and editing the category? Heck no, I have better things to do. So, I find the right category, and it's Category:XXX Occupation, Someplace. So I can {{Rename Category|XXX Occupation, Someplace}} and when EditBot runs the next time, it will be all set. Now, if Category:XXX Occupation does not already exist, I can still do the rename function; however, the page, after you save it, will have a red link in it to the new category, which must then be set up. If you don't set up the red category, EditBot will have a hissy fit when it runs, and the process for this rename stops until a Categorization project member sets up the new category.  So, just copy over the parents and the text on the category page to the new one and save it. EditBot will run, rename the category, and delete Category:XXX Occupashun, Someplace.

If Category:XXX Occupashun, Someplace has 52 members, we can still do the rename, but it will have to be confirmed by a Cat Member with such abilities (there are 4 or 5 of us, I can't recall exactly). Then EditBot runs with it.

I could also merge by using {{Merge Category|XXX Occupation, Someplace}}. Same thing applies. New category must be set up BEFORE EditBot runs, or EditBot will spit it out and a categorization member will have to set up the new category. All of the old data in the category edit box will be copied over to the category it is merged into, so, later on, it will have to be cleaned up. The Bot leaves a trail something like

<!--Bot Merge blah blah

the stuff from the old category

End bot Merge-->  

Something like that, I don't have an example right now as the Category:Merged Categories is empty.

What slows down your rename or merge? Not having the new category set up with parent categories...having more than 10 profiles attached to the category...anything that requires a manual intervention. It will add at least an extra day to the process.
Here means on the Edit Bot Category Page I referenced in this answer post.  Please look at the link there Natalie.

I created this new Answer Post so we could keep the Help:Categorization  page and the Category: Edit Bot separate.  At least a little.

Best way to say it is if you already know of the correct category, and that correct category looks good (parents, text included, etc) then renaming works fine. As a daily user of all of these commands, I use rename most of the time. I use merge less because it requires a merge cleanup, and if both categories that were merged together have text in them, it requires sorting out, much like you do when merging a profile. Every case is different, though, and I usually look at both categories and see what needs to happen.

The main reason I think the merge instructions say that the category must be existing is that people DO try to merge or rename and don't finish setting up the new category.

Maybe I'll just copy Ales's instructions from the EditBot category over to the new Categorization Help.

OK, Natalie that's it.

My problem is a question of semantics on the Categorization help page.  The examples given for Rename and Merge are {{Rename Category|NewCategoryName}} and {{Merge Category|NewCategoryName}} To me and apparently others, NewCategoryName can mean a new non existing Category.  I think if you changed it to FinalCategoryName it would be more specific. 

I would add before explaining the Rename and Merge functions that the Category Name they wish to change to should already exist which becomes the FinalCategoryName.  It can be one that was previously created and is a better Category in form and function or it could be one they newly create for this purpose or just good old fashion duplicates.  (Notice I didn't say must already exist as your answer above shows that not having an existing Category just slows the process down. You can describe that if you want to on the Help Categorization Page.However, if you use the word must, it gives the user no options and causes less headaches for Edit Bot and the folks running the categorization project.  Sometimes a little white lie is easier than the truth.  By the way, do I look fat in these G2G posts...LOL)

I would also switch the order in which Rename and Merge appear on the Help Categorization Page.  Why? It is easier to understand something doesn't happen for one that happens for another when the lesser option is after the higher option.  When you Merge, the content of the description area is transferred as well as the Profiles while in Rename this does not happen and just Profiles are transferred. And after a Merge you may need to do a little Post merge Clean Up.  How to handle Parent Categories needs to be better addressed as well as   Does a Merge transfer them or do you need to add them, before or after, as well as in a Rename?

Well, that's my 3 cents worth, inflation ya know.  Stick a fork in me as I am done.  LOL

There is one other thing that has been bugging me all day.  I wonder if they have vampire problems in Transylvania County, NC????  Pip????

LOL. I wouldn't go there without garlic or a wooden stake!

Ok I see your point. FinalCategoryName is better to use.
+2 votes

"I would naturally think the Merge Category process would require there being an existing Category to merge to.  I would use the Rename Category to rename an existing  category where the display name may be in error. "

   Yes, you would naturally. Unfortunately, WikiTree has users with fewer natural instincts. wink So, we have options and we have to spell them out. 

If I use {{Rename Category|Youngstown, Ohio}} would I have to manually add [[Category: Mahoning County, Ohio]] and [[Category: Trumbull County, Ohio]to the newly renamed category?  Yes, you do. When you rename and save, you will see the red link of the newly renamed category, which you will have to open to add the parent categories. UNLESS, [[Category:Youngstown, Ohio]] already exists, in which case, you {{Rename Category|Youngstown, Ohio}} and you're done.

Or would I have to use {{Merge Category|Youngstown, Ohio}} to create the new category and insure the [[Category: Mahoning County, Ohio]] and [[Category: Trumbull County, Ohio]are transferred and does not require my manual interdiction.  You have this option, yes!  

There are times when either Rename or Merge will be the better option.

Edited because I am nuts and could not sleep when I realized this answer was incomplete. wink

by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (842k points)
edited by Natalie Trott
Ya caught me while I was typing again Natalie.  LOL  Your previous answer spelled it out pretty much for me.

I was going to say just copy the Edit Bot stuff , but that would be plagiarism and Ales just might toss the both of us off.  ;)  I like Ales stuff, but still a little technical for most folks.  Non technical folks require a little why this happens whiles technical folks know it right off.  A combo of what you have written and what Ales has written would be great.

Still wondering about the vampires though.......
see now this is why I kinda fear categories!

I  could lead the CRS project around aimlessly though - we might source a few things on our way, but forget what we intended to do originally

laugh Navarro, sounds like we'd all make a good team, but we'd forget why we were a team!

If only we could remind each other!
+2 votes
Hi, Let me add to discussion.

The confusion is due to first having only Rename and delete templates. Then the need appeared to also add the content and it is actually a Merge process similar to Profile Merge. So I added Merge template, but Rename was already used, so I couldn't change its operation, since it was already in use.

If I would do it from scratch today, I would do it so that for Rename, destination category shouldn't exists and for Merge it must exist and content is merged.

Main help is on EditBOT page.

Help page has just a short version of it.
by Aleš Trtnik G2G6 Pilot (576k points)
Also I do correct the category name even if produced from templates. I assume |category= parameter is foloved by the category name and I convert it. Also first country in Unsourced template is corrected. I might add some other in the future. In cases when category is hardcoded in template, I usually correct the template (manually).

EditBOT is usually runned once a day (US night). If there is a lot of activity, I can do it more often. I usually don't run it on mondays, since I am busy with error reports. Or if I go somewhere it is not certain, when I will be at computer to run it. And the rename itself may need several bot runs to process. Big renames I don't do automatically. Categorisation team mus confirm it. Even bigger ones I have to confirm. There can also be manual cleanup involved. EditBOT can't correct profiles with certain UTF characters. Help and Root namespaces don't get corrected automatically. In case Sort parameters are used, I don't correct it. Or Links to page don't get deleted, since it is usually part of a sentence.

There is a lot in the background, that you don't really need to know to delete the category.
Thank you Ales, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my post.  I had wondered if the Rename was a precursor to the Merge as both do basically the same thing to the non-power user excerpting the Merge also transferring the data  in original Category to the Final Category Name,  An upgrade sort of speak.

My problem was a question of semantics in the Help:Categorization page listed the templates with the term NewCategoryName.  I took this to mean an non existent Category that the template would create and I found that odd.  Not for the Rename as that is logical that Rename could create a new Category Name, though it too requires an existing Category to work efficiently..  But why would Merge make a NEWCategoryName as I felt it was akin to the Merge Profile function and would require an existing Category Name. This threw me off.  I finally found your Edit Bot page last night and in one of the template examples you used FinalCategoryName.  Once I saw that, the pieces started to come together and Natalie was kind enough spell out the background workings of the Categorization Team and how they could be automatic or require team member's confirmation for the Merge or Rename to proceed depending on the amount of linked Profiles.  Also your Edit Bot page spelled out the requirement for there to be an existing category for either function.  Though a lot of what is on the Edit Bot Page is really for power users and not for general consumption. IMHO

I believe Natalie is going to take the best of the explanation on how they work from the Edit Bot Page and the best from the Help Categorization Page and bring them together on the Help Categorization  Page to clarify what is needed for them to work and how they work.  I also asked they point out that it may take some time for the functions to be completed as they are not instantaneous like your Profile Merge function so folks don't get nervous if they check right after they hit save and see everything is not completed yet.  Something like the warning on GEDCOMpare when you upload a file that depending on system activity, completion may take time, in this case of Merge or Rename possibly up to 24 hours.  Just a generalization, nothing time specific.  As you pointed out, there are daily variances.

Again, many thanks for your time and explanations above.

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