Place to discuss and plan categories. For the complete list, see Special:Categories.
Categories allow readers (and editors) of the site to quickly find articles related to the one they're currently reading, and to gain an overview of all articles concerned with a particular topic.
Categories work by tagging. This is in a way the opposite of making a list: instead of drawing up a list of things, you mark each actual thing in some way (you tag it). The advantage is that you change an item's membership by changing the item itself, and you don't have to worry about any separate lists: the system generates lists for you.
There is more on this in the help aimed at readers of the site: Help:Categories.
A category is a special page in the wiki, called "Category:Something". To place a page in a particular category, link to the category page (it doesn't matter where, but by convention and to keep things tidy, at the very end of a page's text).
The category page automatically shows all the pages that belong to it, as well as ordinary text you can edit. We'll mostly categorize articles, but any page can be placed in a category. (Place a category page into a category to make it a subcagetory, for example.)
Two things you can do with the category link:
- To link to a category page without classifying the current page, prefix the page name with a colon: [[:Category:Example]].
- You can force an article to appear elsewhere in the category listing. For example, the Table of personal pronouns has this link for the category: [[Category:Word classes|Pronouns]], which makes it appear in the listing as if it were under "P" for "Pronouns".
Hierarchy and types of categories
Categories and subcategories form a hierarchy. And what we put into a category changes it from an organizational point of view: a category that only holds other categories and no articles can be called a meta-category.
It's a good idea to think about what the hierarchy and organization of categories should look like. This depends on the number of articles involved (categories that are too big are less useful), and on what we think is useful to the user in the particular context.
Example: consider a hierarchy of categories like this:
- Irregular verbs
- Auxilliary verbs (which I've deleted, but this is only an example)
Should "Verbs" contain all verbs; that is, should it have as members the members of its two subcategories? To put the question another way, should the two subcategories be subsets or not? A diagram may help at this point:
This happens with:
- the two Punctuation categories
Sometimes categories overlap. Discuss here.
- Merge Category:Usage errors to Category:Misusages, or better "Misuses"
- Merge Category:Numbers to Category:Dates and numbers
- Merge Category:Alternative spellings to Category:Variant spellings
These have been emptied by the bot. What should they be used for?
There is also a page that lists Special:Wantedcategories - the categories which will eventually exist. These may already contain some articles. What they lack, by the software's definition, is any descriptive text.
Some sort of an attempt at organizing categories:
- Category:Examples -- meta-category, lists categories that themselves list examples of things.
- Category:Confusables -- meta-category, lists categories that themselves list confused words, eg "you're - your", or "borrow - lend".
- Category:Spelling -- topic area category
- Category:Word classes
- Correctness -- sort of bigger than Confusables, as things here are sometimes a single word. And perhaps it should replace Confusables, as it's a topic area rather than a fairly technical distinction.
- Sort of system stuff:
- Category:Multiple choice -- for articles that don't have any content, just send the reader to different possibilities. (This is what Wikipedia calls "disambiguation pages", but we're using that term for something else.) This category needs a better name!
Splitting examples / topics
Consider Category:Verbs. Should it hold articles about actual verbs (eg "be", "Mention", etc, or articles about verb-related topics (ie a subset of category:grammar), or does the distinction not matter? The same probably applies to Category:Word classes and others