Proposal for New Policy on Category Naming [closed]

+18 votes

Hello everyone,

Aleš Trtnik recently created a post in our Categorization project google group, in which he proposed moving toward a standard naming convention for categories that use both a location and a theme. Example: [[Category:Avery County, North Carolina, Cemeteries]].  Some hierarchies use the theme first, then location. Example:[[Category:Slavery, North Carolina]]. There are also categories without commas, as in Example: [[Category:North Carolina Governors]].

We propose that categories using both a location and a theme to be consistently named using the “Location, Theme” (with comma) pattern.  Yes, we have reasons; as follows:

1. It establishes consistency across project and non-project categories.

2. It enables automated assistance in monitoring and maintaining the integrity and consistency of the category tree.  

3. It enables automated processes to replicate some information or to add/change something within a certain category group. ( i.e. Aleš could automatically replicate a map or a flag image from the Texas location category to all other Texas categories, if it was a desired thing.)

4. It simplifies error suggestion checking. Even minor variations in category names lead to duplicate categories that destroy grouping ability, and error suggestions help us avoid these issues. See: DBE Category Error 8018, examples such as [[Category:Indonesia, Disasters]] and [[Category:Indonesia Disasters]].

This concerns mostly higher-level categories, but there will be some impact on landing-level categories. (The categories where profiles nest.)

A word to projects: if this is approved, it would mean renaming some levels in hierarchies, which would be done via coordination with Aleš.  It would be done slowly, and may take up to a year to complete.

Note: This does not apply to all categories across WikiTree, but only to those using a location and a theme in the name. 

Please discuss below by upvoting Yes, No, or Maybe, and please state any concerns you have in a comment below the answer you chose. I will close the question after one week, on 11 Sep 2018.

Thank you for you input. smiley

Natalie, Categorization Project Leader

closed with the note: Final discussion will occur within the Categorization Project. Thank you for your input.
in The Tree House by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (728k points)
closed by Natalie Trott

4 Answers

+25 votes
Yes, I agree with this proposed policy. (State reasons, if you like, in comments below.)
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (728k points)
I can't upvote, but I agree with this policy.
I think this is the better way, in most circumstances. Usually such categories are created and maintained by a project related to the theme. Placing the theme first would make alphabetical lists difficult to navigate. Using your cemeteries example, all of them would be under "C".
Thomas, a sort key can be used, if desired, to sort subcategories.
It took me a minute because I couldn't see the benefit of making the changes as suggested.  But I rehashed the examples you provided and now they make sense:

[[Category:Avery County, North Carolina, Cemeteries]]

[[Category:North Carolina, Slavery]] (although I would like this broken down to county also)

[[Category:North Carolina, Governors]]
GenerAlly in favour of location, theme order providing we have a good enough search tools looking for themes.

I assume at some point Aleš or someone will bite the temporal bullet or maybe there are not many time range categories?

The time dimension is not that interesting, since you can list all members of a category in certain century. If there will be a big need to make date search more precise, It can be done, but I haven't seen it yet.

Example: see the line Search in category by century: in table.

I like consistency. I agree.
consistency helps with finding relevance and also with automating some of the work.

(sorry, just noted it was closed)
+6 votes
No, I disagree with this proposed policy. (State reasons in comments)
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (728k points)
It is sensible to try and standardise the way the descriptors for geographical categories like cemeteries, places of worship, etc are ordered, and the use of commas. But only one of the Wikitree top level categories is geographical. Drill down from the others to landing level categories, and, even where there is a geographical dimension to a category name, it will not always be the most important element in the category name.

I assume it is not intended to impose the proposed approach on all occupation categories where there is a geographical component to category names. There is a distinction between nationality and where people may have spent much or most of their lives. “England, poets” is, to me, unnatural - and I wonder whether “England, poets” would be the right category for an English poet who lived mostly in other countries. “English poets” seems the appropriate category name. Similar issues will arise with other occupations. English scientists may spend much of their working life in Europe or in the USA, but would still generally be regarded as English scientists. And so on and so on and so on.
Yes, there is an entire bunch of English occupations which exist. To me this implies that they are of English heritage, not simply living there. There are also Swedish  or Italian or what-have-you "somethings" in occupations, as well as in other categories other than occupations. We have also discussed, at some point, nouns vs adjectives. This is a separate discussion than what we are talking about here.
Thanks, Natalie, that is some reassurance.
I disagree.  Cemeteries are categorized with location first because cemeteries are places.  However, not everything is a place and should be categorized by theme.  Here's a couple reasons why:

1) If I am searching for slaves or slave owners, I'll search under "Slavery".  If I am searching for Civil War veterans, I'll search under "Civil War".

2) Using the location first in all categories can get overwhelming as all things will be under the same alphabetical listing on the location pages.  For example, all categories will be under "A" for "Avery County, North Carolina".
The trick is, on Avery County, North Carolina, Schools, you write

[[Category: Avery County, North Carolina | Schools]]

as the parent.  This makes it appear under S in the Avery County subcategories.  It'll still be under A on any other parent page.
+4 votes
Maybe. (State reasons in comment below.)
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (728k points)
Maybe the only reason I would say yes is that I don’t get the naming conventions. I often have to try and think WikiTree-eze to guess where a project it. (Right-brained, sorry)

Easier for me would be to put all the location type categories under one location. But then I think, how would one handle event categories? US Civil War would have to be broken up into the states. Would it then be possible to double link, say, NC regiments, under both. I don’t think that would work.

I'm not sure what you are saying, Pip. Civil War categories are broken up into the respective states, and the regiments are under their respective states. Civil War landing categories are Unit,State,United States Civil War, so they are Location, Theme with another level of categorization added.

And " WikiTree-eze." LOL. laugh You might be a Wiki-Tree'er if you have a name for the way we talk about the site.

err, not entirely sure how this would apply in other languages.  For example, Category: Marine Companies to New France (which has a corresponding French language category under it), or Category: Notaires de Nouvelle-France, etc, the location is quite broad, the profession is the key there.  They were in New France, and are under that for category tree purposes.

Also, Guy created a whole mess of cemetery categories in French with the word Cimetière as a first item in the name (Cimetière de Côte-des-Neiges, for example), but they actually show up in the listing under the individual place name, no idea how he achieved that.
Danielle, this would not affect the Marine Companies. "Marine Companies to New France" is a theme of itself. "Notaires" is a occupation and this will apparently will handled differently.

I have used the "Location, theme" pattern for French Cemeteries - they are now categorized under 'France, Cimetières" which is in turn is divided into "<Département>, Cimetières".
but the whole point of naming ''Notaires de Nouvelle-France'' was to differentiate them from other notaries, they are sub-category of notaries and of Canada, Nouvelle-France, both.  They are actually a very important source of data on the lives of people in the colony, marriage contracts, land deeds and so on.
+4 votes

I am afraid I disagree with the proposal. It would make sense where the primary criterion for the category is for most people the geographical place, as in North Carolina, Cemeteries. But it isn’t always so. Take the “Infant Mortality” sub-categories: the primary criterion is infant mortality, not the country, so it makes sense to have “Infant Mortality, England” rather than “England, Infant Mortality”.

And this is how professional indexers would approach indexing. They would not have a rigid rule, but would think about what would be the most useful headword for an index entry, and then about sub-items under that headword.

This would be quite a lot of work for a system which would produce very questionable benefits. By all means let us tidy up the categories for actual locations like cemeteries and places of worship, so we have a consistent approach to how place descriptors are ordered in category names and where commas are used: but please let us be flexible over other types of category.
by Michael Cayley G2G6 Mach 9 (92.4k points)
Michael, you were supposed to upvote the NO answer above this and add your comments beneath that answer. You did that, right? I'm counting the upvotes for each of the three answers, not upvotes for the separate comments.

First, I think that index does not accurately describe a category, but could be used to describe the contents or layout of a category. But in any case, this is what I gathered from your post.

  • Cemeteries are not a primary topic in any cemetery categories and the location should always be the primary topic or sort factor (e.g. Location, Theme).
  • Infant Mortality is a primary topic in infant mortality categories and the location should always be secondary information (e.g. Theme, Location).
At what point are the themes defined in your examples? If they occur within a location category, then it seems to me that the natural order is to further subdivide into Location, Theme categories.

Infant Mortality is also one of the few themes that does not use the location first, whereas most other topics use the location first.

Natalie, sorry, I was too addled to understand what I was being asked to do. I have now placed my vote where it should have been.
It happens! No big deal! I just wanted to make sure your vote counted.
Steven, I am sorry but I do not understand your question. On Wikitree we have a set of top level categories. Only one of these is geographical. For the others, drill down through lower levels of category and you will often find there are some “landing level categories” for individual profiles which have a geographical element. What I am saying is that geography is not always the most important element in a category name which includes a geographical element.

I understand that point, Michael, and I'm sure others share this way of looking at it. I don't believe that categories are indexes, per se,  as they are to group pages (subcategories, profiles, and free-space pages) and for our WikiTree purposes are to

  • help members organize ongoing research,
  • help members with common interests find each other,
  • help members with a special interest find profiles they may want to investigate or collaborate on, and
  • help historians or genealogists researching a particular topic or location.
So, the naming scheme should facilitate these things.

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