Should there be content on Category pages?

+22 votes
173 views

According to Help:Category_FAQ:

"Categories are used to group other pages together. Almost no content should go on category pages. For example, if a category groups people buried in a particular cemetery and there is general information about the cemetery, it should go on a free-space profile and the category page should link to it. See Page Types for more information."

In some cases, this has been misinterpreted to mean that no content should go on category pages. As of today, there are over 86,000 categories in our structure that contain little to no content on them.

Should this be expanded and clarified?

"Categories are used to group other pages together. The only content that should be on the category page is a brief description (no more than paragraph) on the intent and purpose of the category. For example, if a category groups people buried in a particular cemetery, you would add a brief description of the cemetery, such as where it is located, to the category page. Any other general information about the cemetery, including the history, detailed cemetery information and notable interments, should go on a free-space profile and the category page should link to it. See Page Types and Suggested Text for more information."

Would this make the help page clearer?


Edit based on the comment from Isabelle:

We also have Help:Category Creation and Removal that states:

"Category pages can include one or two sentences about the category itself, especially if there is any confusion about when this category should be used and when it should not. Specific instructions about when to use and when not to use the category can be helpful."

This could be changed to:

"Category pages must include one or two sentences..."

asked in Policy and Style by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (170k points)
edited by Steven Harris

8 Answers

+13 votes
 
Best answer
Yes, it would make the FAQ page much clearer about what belongs on a category page.

Right now, the error line for content on the low side is 50 characters. (That last sentence I typed is about 70 characters, so that will give you an idea of how much text we're talking about.)  There doesn't need to be lots of detail written for content on a category page because we want to be able to see the grouping of profiles.
answered by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (405k points)
selected by Steven Harris
+17 votes

I think this is an excellent idea.  Not even a paragraph in some cases - just a sentence or two.  But it needs something just so the viewer knows what they are looking at.

answered by Ros Haywood G2G6 Pilot (521k points)
+12 votes
Yes! At least a sentence or two should be there and definitely shouldn't be empty.
answered by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (259k points)
+12 votes
Thank you Steven, this would be an excellent improvement.

But, I'm afraid this is still leaving the door open for having no text at all on the category page, which is not what we want. Is there a way to emphasize that there must a least be one sentence of text?
answered by Isabelle Rassinot G2G6 Pilot (235k points)

This is a great catch Isabelle! We do have Help:Category Creation and Removal that states:

Suggested text

Category pages can include one or two sentences about the category itself, especially if there is any confusion about when this category should be used and when it should not. Specific instructions about when to use and when not to use the category can be helpful.

The text should describe the purpose of the category. If the category's topic is matched by a Wikipedia page, a link to Wikipedia can be made by entering [[Wikipedia:Wikipedia Page Title]].

For example, the Fulbright Program category's text states:

The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946.
See: Fulbright Program Wikipedia article.

A short sentence explaining any disambiguation is also helpful, if applicable. For an example, see the Cairo, Allen County, Ohio category.


This may benefit from an update as well?

"Category pages must include one or two sentences..."

Question updated with this information.
Thanks, Steven! Looks good.
+6 votes
This is what I did for county Armagh.  Simple yet effective.
answered by Amy Gilpin G2G6 Mach 1 (13.7k points)
+6 votes

In the Global Cemeteries Project we encourage people to do one of two things. 

  1. Put parent categories and a brief description.
  2. Put on a CIB
I much prefer the CategoryInfoBox as It provides a consistent look for the Cemetery Categories and helps people to look for the possible missing information. 
Going on the first underlined part of the expanded statement I could read that as saying the CIB's are not allowed. 
So maybe adding a statement that we have this tool in the CategoryInfoBox that can be used in place of a Brief Description.
Darren
answered by Darren Kellett G2G6 Mach 9 (92.5k points)
+8 votes
It would seem to me that there are two kinds of information which are essential on a category page, and certainly can be provided within several sentences.  First, as others have mentioned, is a description of what the category is about.

Second, however, is a statement of how the category should be used.  What kinds of profiles should be categorized with this category and which should not.  If it is a higher level category whose primary purpose is to group subordinate categories, then this is where you would say that no profiles should be categorized with this category.  But for lower level categories it is often not clear what profiles belong there and which ones do not.  

"Category: Anytown, NewState is for people who were born, married or died in Anytown.  It may be used for people who spent the majority of their career here or are listed here in a census.  It should not be used simply for people who visited here for a weekend."
answered by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (247k points)
+3 votes
hmm, that appear to be limiting the amount of text in there a bit too much to my mind.  For example:  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Fief_Verdun_en_1681 is a category I recently created.  It's a category about an early census here, and I include description of the location covered by this segment (in both languages) as well as a section on the census itself.

I think this is where we run into the problem with the ''text too long'' error message definition that has been mentioned elsewhere.  Can we cover that item as well in modifications?
answered by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (188k points)
Text too long has been steadily moving down in size. AleŇ° originally set the bar at a certain number of characters, and when we moved that information to free-space pages, he moved it down, and the process continues. I am not sure where the final bar will be for the long end. The short end is 50 characters.
hmm, don't really want to move the data to a free space page, it really is needed in the category, and of course the fact that it is bilingual makes it even longer.  No way does this warrant an English/French duplication of categories, it's a census.

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