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Category: Mortality

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Surnames/tags: categorization death mortality
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A new top-level category - herein suggested to be called Category:Mortality - would co-list the several existing high-level categories having to causes of death, and currently found in diverse parts of the category tree, into a single category space.

The purpose of this new top-level category is to facilitate navigation and location of appropriate categories for person profiles. As such, it would complement the existing text string search function (whereby one can search "Category:<term>" to hopefully find the appropriate category for cause of death) with the ability to search logically from a top-level category on down.

This category will be populated only by the following, which would continue to reside also in their existing categories (nothing would be moved; this is an additive process):

The co-listing of categories under more than one relevant category is an accepted way to facilitate navigation and discovery in a wiki structure.

This proposed category is not a replacement for the deprecated Category: Cause of Death, which had a different use and ran into problems. (See the now closed 2019 discussion at Should we delete Category:Causes of Death?.)

The name for this category - "Mortality" - does not have a counterpart in Wikipedia.

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None of this was discussed with Categorization. Many of these categories are part of other structures and will remain there (such as KIA and DoW). No need to complicate categories even further.

Regards, Natalie, Categorization Leader

posted by Natalie (Durbin) Trott
Thanks, Natalie, for the comment. Yes, this idea is mine, as a way of initiating discussion. Actually thinking this wouldn't complicate the structure so much as simplify access to scattered high-level categories on mortality. From the points of view of logical structure of information & facilitating searches, this seems to me to make total sense.

A deeper question, however, is what these diverse mortality categories are used for. How often do people put categories relating to cause of death on profiles, and which ones do they find most useful? How many are used for genealogical research as opposed to as an element of the profile story? Is use of categories related to mortality something that WT wants to encourage? (If so, that takes us back to the issue of making it easier to find these categories.)

posted by Don Osborn
Anything is "easy" to find using WikiTree+, but many are afraid or don't know how to use it.


posted by Natalie (Durbin) Trott
Thanks Natalie. Some quick thoughts prompted by your reply:
  • If indeed "many are afraid or don't know how to use" WikiTree+, it is worth asking why that would be the case.
  • When one clicks the "Find" dropdown on the top line menu, and selects "Categories," one is taken to the Category:Categories page, where one can
  1. Visually find the likely high level category under which one can locate what one ls looking for, and then click down levels in the hierarchy as needed. This is "navigation" approach - what I also called a "logical" search (as in the approach, not the selection of methods) is what I first did when looking for a category for assassinations. No luck. Not easy, but frustrating.
  2. Click "Category search" at the top, and enter a text string (usually a word, but sometimes more). This is basically the same as a Google advanced search on the domain WikiTree.com. And this is what I did after #1. This was easy, because I knew the text string was obvious. This kind of search is not so easy, however, when one isn't sure of the terms or spellings that might be used.
  3. Or use WikiTree+, also accessible at the top of the page, and which has two options which for category location are in effect more sophisticated & "powerful" versions of the approaches mentioned above: Search (#2), and Navigate (#1). For category search, WT+ seems to rely mainly on text strings - so there too, one needs to know what words were used (not always obvious) to search how they were used in what categories, where in the tree. The Navigate function has the interesting aspect of showing subcategories as in an outline. That could be helpful in some research, but maybe not so much if one just wants to drill down category levels.
  • Main point is that there are different ways to search that are complementary tools/methods. The first one above (#1) may be overlooked in favor of text string searches (which are essential), but it can be quick, if the structure facilitates, and has the side benefit of potential discovery as one drills down. In my thinking, it's helpful to think what kinds of things people will look for in this mode, and be sure there is (are) a relatively intuitive path(s) from the top. IMO, a Category:Mortality would fill that role as a direct line to diverse high-level categories dealing with mortality, without disturbing their current placements.
posted by Don Osborn
edited by Don Osborn