Wikivoyage talk:Categories

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Pages in the "Wikivoyage" project namespace that need updating[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Wikivoyage:Categories has been tagged as needing updating for 9 months now. Are there any volunteers familiar with the topic that could bring it up to date? Nurg (talk) 22:16, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have no idea what's going on with Categories. We have extant categories in wide use for which no extant policy exists that permits their use, and absolutely zero apparent interest in updating policy to allow it. Powers (talk) 17:47, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikivoyage:Technical infrastructure policy has been tagged for over a year. Nurg (talk) 01:06, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why are all the categories in Engvoy hidden?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

As a reader in Engvoy I know it is difficult to navigate through existing articles in each region because all the categories are hidden. As an admin on Hebvoy whom is currently working on building the entire Hebvoy category tree, partly based on the existing vast Engvoy category tree, it is a very difficult task as in many instances I end up having to guess which article appears in what category.

I would suggest making the categories visible for those reasons + I also believe (please correct me if I am wrong on this one) that by doing so this might actually help tremendously the SEO of Engvoy (Google's crawlers would most likely give our articles higher ratings on the Google search results if all our articles are inter-linked through visible categories which appear at the bottom of each page).

Either way, I guess this suggestion would probably be disregarded as it is highly likely that this issue has been widely discussed in the past and the majority of the Engvoy editors decided that hiding all the categories is the best way to go. I would appreciate it if you could explain in detail what were the main considerations that led you to make such a decision which is significantly exceptional from the norm in all the other Wikimedia Foundation wikis. ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 17:24, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As someone who joined this project after many years of using Wikipedia I also found this strange to start with. There is however a strong resistance to categories from the people who came from Wikitravel. I actually in many ways agree with their argument that categories do get our of hand if you start letting every contribute create what they want. At the moment categories are used for administrative and clean-up tasks and are thus hidden. The point is you should be able to navigate up via the breadcrumbs at the top of the page and down via the region pages. Having said that I have categories always switch on for this site (a setting in user preferences to show hidden categories): --Traveler100 (talk) 17:36, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It might be worth starting a discussion about whether some categories should be user-visible. In looking at Culver City, I think that the geographic hierarchy category (Category:Westside (Los Angeles County)) would provide some value in travel planning, but the rest of the categories on that article seem to be solely there for maintenance purposes and thus are better off hidden by default. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:53, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ויקיג'אנקי: I imagine that the only answer you'll get is "we don't use categories" which is not very satisfying. It's purely a matter of habit. I also agree that categories would be useful (such as for geographic regions, rather than maintenance) but pure inertia keeps them from being used. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:04, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Traveler100, in my opinion, having the categories visible would never "get out of hand if you start letting every contribute create what they want" simply because the community would monitor the changes and keep the category tree clean of redundant categories, based on the community consensus (having the community decide what stays and what has to go has worked quite well for the main space articles, as many articles of small/redundant sites are merged to articles of larger regions, so I don't see why this would not work well for the categories space too). ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 18:06, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Has there ever been a community voting on this issue or was the decision to hide all categories taken by the admins? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 18:06, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@ויקיג'אנקי: When Evan and Maj founded Wikitravel, categories didn't exist in MediaWiki. I believe that's why he created RDF breadcrumbs: for navigation. You will routinely see discussions at vfd which say "we don't use categories" as a rationale for deleting content. I'm not aware of any discussion like this which questions the use of categories as such. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:09, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see. In that case, do you think there is any chance that the Engvoy community would actually be willing to reconsider this issue in a community voting held on this matter and open to all Engvoy active editors ? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 18:22, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ויקיג'אנקי: I hope! Count me in as a "yes". —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:26, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikivoyage:Categories has current guidelines on category usage, and as Justin pointed out the policy is mainly a carry-over from a mandate from the site's founder, whose view was that the category implementation on Wikipedia was a mess. Like many things here, it may be hard to change the status quo, but I suspect that there might be support for not hiding geographic hierarchy categories by default if people were inclined to push for that change. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:21, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is the discussion were I created the region categories Wikivoyage talk:Breadcrumb navigation#Navigating down a breadcrumb trail and the following section entitled Categories. As you can see I would support making the region categories by default visible. --Traveler100 (talk) 19:28, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd be willing to go along with any consensus. If people feel like unhiding geographic categories is useful, let's do it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:28, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd be strongly in favour of enabling categories if they could replace the breadcrumbs currently being used (as I see it, horribly misused) for travel topics. Long discussion at Talk:Travel_topics_index#Change_to_tagging_travel_topics; as I see it the breadcrumbs were inserted without consensus and were an error.
I suggested that categories might be a better mechanism at Talk:Travel_topics_index#Another_objector, and gave my reasons for thinking breadcrumbs were wrong. Pashley (talk) 22:36, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I truly don't see why we would need categories. The only two obvious categorization is by geography (taken care by the breadcrumb trail) and article status (we have it displayed visibly). Everything else is very subjective - I could imagine long and pointless bickering about whether a destination belongs in Category:Spa resorts. I fail to see any benefit that would outweigh allowing categories. PrinceGloria (talk) 23:12, 7 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree in general with PrinceGloria - you can also Go to your Preferences - then under tab Appearance -- put a check mark in Show hidden categories box and save (see all categories) - or you can view the Categories via Special pages - or perhaps use the category tree extension on your user page (or elsewhere) or find categories using an API - (would not recommend forcing categories to appear on article pages as default in order to keep pages generally cleaner and also because other options are available!) IMHO - Matroc (talk) 03:57, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would like to address the comments made above by the users PrinceGloria and Matroc:

  1. First of all, in my opinion we should not let the Category:Spa resorts example above deter us from considering making the categories visible to all users by default, simply because, as I already mentioned above, there should be clear rules available that define exactly how the categorization should be done so that we would always avoid having pointless ongoing discussions regarding categorization. Because of that I don't think this is an actual issue.
  2. Either way, as I see it, the main issue with the current state in which we hide all categories by default, which PrinceGloria and Matroc did not address, is that currently most of our millions of annual readers (!) probably end up failing to locate all relevant articles in existence for a specific country or region they are interested in – that's because instead of giving the masses the option to easily locate the parent category of a certain country or region, which contains an automatically generated short and up to date list of all existing articles for that country or region, in many cases they probably miss some existing relevant articles simply because the links to those articles were not visually easy to locate or because an editor forgot to create links to a specific destination in a bunch of nearby region articles (this stuff happens a lot in other wikis and should definitely be taken into account). For example, while the majority of German Wikivoyage readers can most likely quickly navigate to this parent category from any existing article about Israel, and then easily see what are all the existing articles ever written on the German Wikivoyage about Israeli destinations, the majority of the readers on Engvoy whom are planning a trip to Israel would probably never be able to tell exactly how many articles exist in the English Wikivoyage about destinations in Israel or confirm with 100% certainty that the ones they found are indeed the only existing ones which are relevant to them.
  3. Finally, I wanted to remind everyone participating in this discussion that the majority of the millions of our annual readers, would most likely in most cases not be aware of the option to change a setting in the website's interface in order to make the categories visible (and this option of course is not possible for the majority of our readers, whom might be getting to our articles from Google and aren't registered users on Wikivoyge), and therefore, in practice by hiding categories we are preventing the majority of our readers from easily navigating the web site's available content in the way that hundreds of millions of people around the globe have gotten used to do in other Wikimedia Foundation wikis for nearly a decade or more. Please don't forget that the Wikimedia Foundation web sites are first and foremost designed for the benefit of the general public (Wikivoyage:The traveller comes first even states that "We make our navigation as intuitive as possible, to help readers find what they're looking for") and not first and foremost for the benefit of a small group of editors. ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 05:36, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's my two cents. I could support this proposal if we'd still retain the breadcrumb navigation as well (the Germans have retained it too). Especially when it comes to articles about destinations — ie. most of our articles — I (and likely many others) find the breadcrumb navigation very useful and axing it would frankly speaking do more damage than being beneficial to Wikivoyage.
In the case of travel topics it's in many cases useful to have several categories for the article. For destinations I'm not sure how useful it would be — for our purposes a traveler would mostly need to know in what country and region the destination is located. One benefit of extra categories would be that we could categorize articles under itineraries and routes. But again; what to do if people start adding categories that would be totally meaningless for a travel guide like "Member states of the Union for the Mediterranean" or "Populated places established in 1836". --ϒpsilon (talk) 08:35, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Ypsilon that categories should not/never replace our breadcrumb trail, which I personally find useful and I think casual visitors may also find useful. For regular destinations (cities, regions, countries) at the moment I would only support geographic categories, because I don't think it would be helpful, for example, to have a Category:Hot springs that contains every city/town with anything resembling a hot spring; however, I like Pashley's proposal of using categories for itineraries and travel topics. Our current travel topics are extremely difficult to navigate. Many are completely unintuitive, such as the Chinese Revolutionary Destinations article local in a "History" subsection of the Travel activities page instead of the Cultural attractions page where it seems to belong. It is also not part of Category:Topics in China. There are many awkwardly placed travel topics that someone navigating our site would not likely find within the site itself but may be easier to find with categories. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 10:58, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Keep the breadcrumbs! Not totally opposed to categories appearing on pages; just leary of their current relevancy and shape!). - Matroc (talk) 11:31, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also don't see any huge advantage in cluttering our footers with categories and encouraging the reader to use the bare category tree itself for navigation rather than the in-article navigation of breadcrumbs and cities/regions sections. Yes, once in a while we may forget to link a place from its parent. However, I have spent an inordinate amount of time working on the category tree this year, and these omissions are very very rarely if ever more than barebones outline articles on relatively unimportant places we have yet to give much attention to anyway, so generally the reader isn't missing out on much. They nonetheless should be linked to the parent article, of course, but finding those and fixing them is only a maintenance task like so many others, which is why the category should remain hidden. We should continue to encourage the reader to use our annotated and broken-down tree navigation in the articles, the value-added version, instead of the undifferentiated, list-y skeletal one. Texugo (talk) 13:21, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
[edit conflict] If anyone still considers omissions to be a big problem, there are better ways to address it than inviting visitors backstage; it would serve us to ameliorate the problem rather than circumvent it if we, for example, look into getting a version of Special:OrphanedPages that ignores links from non-main namespace pages, or get a bot together to hunt omissions down. Texugo (talk) 13:40, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mark me down as strongly in support of user-visible categories only in the case of travel topics, itineraries, phrasebooks and other non-destination articles, so that readers can more easily find articles that are not part of the breadcrumb tree, and opposed in the case of destination articles. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 13:35, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Support user-visible categories for destination parent region. There's no guarantee the manually-generated list in the region article will be accurate, up-to-date or complete as we seem to have a mess of subregions within regions within subnational regions within more regions and most of these region articles are poorly maintained and neglected as they were created as half-empty shells just to meet the arbitrary "cities and other destinations are limited to 9 items" by creating another pointless subregion for every 7 +- 2 tiny hamlets. K7L (talk) 13:45, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would just like to reiterate that it would be far better to address any problem of omission directly rather than offer a circumvention that draws readers away from our annotated content. Showing categories still does nothing to help us actually fix the problem.
Anyway, point made, but I failed to address non-destination categories: I could perhaps be convinced to support categories in the case of travel topics, since there is no other logical way to navigate them and since they have a range of sometimes overlapping scopes. For itineraries, I am not sure — would they be a parellel geographical hierarchy? Would be better to just put them in the existing geographical hierarchy? I don't know. And I don't see any particular reason to have categories for phrasebooks — what would they consist of, language families? That wouldn't be travel-related or useful. A hatnote or other prominent link to Phrasebooks would be quite sufficient for our purposes, I think. Texugo (talk) 13:55, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it's a fallacy to think that the average reader has any idea what Categories are, or how they work. And I really don't think it's a good idea to take readers out of our carefully curated travel content and into the confusing and poorly implemented category space -- especially so for basic navigation tasks. And having the category tree as a backup risks making it more likely that editors will forget to link articles properly. Anyone who wishes to use the category tree for maintenance or navigation is welcome to register an account and modify his or her preferences to show the hidden categories.
The idea does have some more merit for travel topics, but I'd have to see a proposed implementation before I could give approval.
-- Powers (talk) 14:37, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It seems odd to claim that categories are too much for the reader to understand (especially if they found us from WP, which does use categories) but that registration and Special:Preferences is simple. I'd think burying this in the preferences, thereby limiting it to registered users only, would be the more complex from a user standpoint. K7L (talk) 15:30, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not odd at all; it's a complex feature that is best reserved for advanced users, primarily maintainers. For the average consumer of our travel guides, it's just clutter. I can't imagine anyone without an interest in maintaining the content would rather see what one sees at Category:Eastern Shore (Maryland) than the nicely organized lists at Eastern Shore (Maryland). Note that the former includes pointless alphabetic headers (with only 14 items, grouping by the first letter of the city is visually confusing, not useful) doesn't include redlinks, and doesn't include descriptions. Powers (talk) 16:55, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would disagree with the above characterization of the geographic category hierarchy, although I don't feel particularly strongly on the issue. I think nearly all users will easily understand the concept of an "index", which is essentially what the geographic category tree is. While most users will probably find the existing article/breadcrumb structure easier to use, some may prefer the category tree listing and thus I don't see any harm in making it visible by default. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:22, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In UI design, there is harm in presenting too many options to the user. Wikipedia has a notorious problem with attracting new editors, as readers find the interface confusing and overly technical. The MediaWiki category system is a prime culprit in this. Yes, many editors of WMF sites have learned how to use it, but are those the people we are targeting? Powers (talk) 02:40, 10 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think we'll need to agree to disagree on this one. My opinion is that Wikipedia's problems attracting editors are due to the difficulty in understanding wiki syntax and unrelated to its use of categories. I remain of the opinion that showing the geographic category tree by default on Wikivoyage would be like providing an index in a book, which is useful for people who want such navigation and easily ignored by those who don't. I don't foresee anyone being confused by having the option to browse by category at the bottom of articles. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:43, 10 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Similar to Wikipedia links, this feature is easy to implement, and it won't have any negative consequences immediately. On the other hand, it does change the concept in the direction of becoming a travel branch of Wikipedia rather than an independent wiki with its own style and format, including the original and traveler-friendly navigation. I don't like this, but this is a very subjective opinion.

It is easy to foresee that navigation through categories may completely kill articles about subregions because nobody will care to update them when categories are available. Therefore, I fully support Texugo in his idea that one should improve the existing system instead of introducing a cheap and inherently underdeveloped alternative. --Alexander (talk) 18:12, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd say we should obviously keep the breadcrumbs for destination articles; they are effective, visually OK, and simple for both readers and editors. There are a few cases where the hierarchical nature of breadcrumbs is a problem; e.g. should the breadcrumb for Turkey point to Europe or the Middle East? Neither single-valued answer is really satisfactory, and giving it two category tags would be easier than changing the breadcrumb software to allow two breadcrumbs. I'm not sure what the best solution is there and do not think the problem is common enough that we need to worry about it much.
I'd say we should obviously get rid of breadcrumbs for travel topics because the topics are inherently non-hierarchical so breadcrumbs do not work well there; see my earlier comment in this thread and the things it links to. Also User:ChubbyWimbus is correct that topics are currently rather hard to find or navigate. If categories can solve those problems, I'm all in favour.
Also, any index or sitemap type of article is likely to be good for SEO; see Wikivoyage_talk:Search_Expedition#Index_articles. If using categories makes it easier to create those, or even lets them be created automagically, then I'm all in favour of that as well. Pashley (talk) 19:26, 8 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I support having (some) categories visible in addition to breadcrumbs. I expect that we get a lot of visitors and occasional contributors who are familiar with other WMF sites. I have come across several hidden destinations which have only popped up when I have selected the destinations layer on the map. We could also use catagories to link destinations to travel topics. For example we have Art Deco architecture as a topic - we could have "Art Deco architecture in countryname" as a set of categories, with the category being added to any city that has a listing for an Art Deco building. Note that we would not be arguing over whether the city was centre for Art Deco architecture, only the simpler matter of whether there was any building listed in See, Sleep etc that is Art Deco. AlasdairW (talk) 23:51, 9 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd say going down to the level of "Art Deco architecture in countryname" would lead to a disastrous proliferation of categories. Tagging cities for "Art Deco architecture" and for their country would be fine. On a related note, we probably don't want category tags for every level of the breadcrumb hierarchy, just the main ones. Pashley (talk) 01:22, 10 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Tags like "Art Deco architecture in countryname" are what sister sites like Commons are for. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:40, 10 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Given that User:Green Giant is in the process of adding a lot of categories for UNESCO sites, something that will invariably end up getting reverted with a citation to WV:Categories, I figured it might be worth stating that our current policy on categories came about mainly because the site's founder didn't like them (see #General Discussion above), and not due to any particular reason that is specific to how we write about travel. The fact that we revert categories added directly to articles makes us an outlier from other Wikimedia projects, which all happily use categories without a lot of oversight and don't seem to be any the worse for doing so. Having had more experience in the wiki world, and having seen how categories are used elsewhere, I think our policy is wrong. Yes, if we allow categories on articles we'll get a jumble of categories that people don't necessary agree with, but they're easy to ignore, relatively easy to reorganize, and for people who like to use them they're very helpful. I don't have any desire to fight the battles that will invariably be required to change our policy on this matter, but I do think we're behind the times and unnecessarily restrictive and wanted to point that fact out. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:32, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I misunderstood the policy and have requested deletion as well as de-categorising. If what you say is true then it seems a bit of a strange basis for a policy. I can understand the desire to distance the project from some Wikipedia ways but categories are inherently useful for giving overviews of topics. Wikipedia also has list articles which are another way of presenting information. What happens if somebody wants to know which UNESCO sites are in Germany for example? How would the breadcrumbs system work? By the way, can the {{IsPartOf}} template take more than one parameter? Green Giant (talk) 00:42, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When I first started working on Wikivayage after moving from Wikipedia I also found it odd that categories were not allowed for articles and initially thought it should be allowed. However now after working on the site for some time and the fact that we use categories only for the breadcrumb hierarchy and housekeeping I think it is a good idea. Categories only created through templates provides some guarantee of a clean, logical and complete structure. This is very useful when traversing categories with bots or cat searches, you know you can relay on the result. --Traveler100 (talk) 00:44, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Adding a second region to isPartOf would be problematic. The clear unique structure of the breadcrumbs, although not perfect for locations that span more that one region, does make navigating the site simple. I can however see the advantage of creating sub-categories of Category:UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this would be useful to cross check the entries on UNESCO World Heritage List. One method of doing this would be to add a country parameter to the {{pagebanner}} template, the categorization could then be done automatically. The parameter would then also be useful for creating lists of places needing banners, breaking down Category:Has default banner into counties which may help people target articles. --Traveler100 (talk) 14:38, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We actually allow multiple {{isPartOf}} tags on some articles like Russia or Lake Tahoe that span multiple regions. The breadcrumb navigation just picks up the first tag and uses that when building the navigation hierarchy, which is why Siberia ends up being a part of Europe.
My comments about categories came after a long workday yesterday and were grumpier than they should have been. I agree that using templates for most categories is a useful way to manage things, but I also think that our current policy is out-of-step with other Mediawiki sites and is mainly in place because we haven't used the feature in the past, and not because of anything specific to Wikivoyage that justifies not using categories. Your example of sub-dividing categories for UNESCO sites by country, or of adding categories like "Theme park" or "United States National Park", are all examples that would improve the site, but they would also likely be reverted with the sole reason being that "Wikivoyage does not use categories". "Wikivoyage does not use categories" mainly because the site's founder didn't like them and put that guidance into a policy page years ago, and not because there is some reason why Wikivoyage is fundamentally different than other sites that DO use categories; to my mind, that's an extremely poor reason to prevent usage of a feature that many users find useful, and makes us inconsistent with other Wikimedia sites whose editors will be puzzled by our objection to edits that are both improvements to the guides and allowed on all other Wikimedia sites. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:23, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can policies not be changed? I would find it odd if a policy is immutable. Looking at the breadcrumbs more closely, it looks a lot like the sub-page system used in places like Wikiversity and Wikibooks. It is certainly an innovation but I still don't see why we couldn't have both breadcrumbs and categories. Green Giant (talk) 16:36, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problems with Categories as currently implemented in Mediawiki are legion. Primarily, to my mind at least, they are virtually useless for any significant volume of constituent pages. They are unsortable, unsearchable, and inflexible. I can go into more detail if needed, but suffice it to say for now that we're really not missing out on much by not using free-form article categories. Powers (talk) 17:55, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can anyone spell out the advantages and disadvantages of categories in simple language? Some of the disadvantages were just cited above, but why are categories inherently unsortable, unsearchable and inflexible? And what would the advantages be? I feel like I don't have enough information with which to decide to support or oppose adding more categories. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:55, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The main advantage I see in categories is that they allow alternate ways of organizing content for people with varied interests, so someone looking for "Theme parks", "Madagascar National Parks", "WWII Battle sites", etc could find those types of articles either by browsing the category tree, clicking on a category link at the bottom of a related article, or by a search of the category namespace. There are (obviously) ways to browse to the relevant articles already, and in some cases there are travel topic articles that collect them together, but categories provide one more tool for people who want to use it, and don't impose a burden on those who choose to ignore them. Additionally, since they are hierarchical you can create organizational trees out of categories - in the above example, "Category:Battle sites" could be subdivided into "Civil War Battle sites", "WWI Battle sites", etc, and each of those can be further subdivided if desired. Users with specific interests can thus easily find articles related to their interests, and can easily create groupings that don't yet exist by tagging articles.
The major downside that I've seen elsewhere is that categories are free form, so user A might tag some articles with "Category:Battle sites", user B might tag some articles with "Category:War history", and user C might tag some articles with "Category:Israeli battle sites of the Second Crusade". That problem seems inherent to a wiki since the editing process is ad-hoc by design, and at least what I've seen on Wikipedia and Commons is that it is a problem that is fairly easily resolved by updating category tags, particularly with the number of gadgets and tools that have been created to make repetitive editing tasks easier - in the above example articles tagged with "Category:War history" would just be changed to "Category:Battle sites".
Bottom line, I think they are a tool that are useful for those that want to use them, easy to ignore for everyone else, and our current rejection of the feature does not seem to be based on any solid arguments against their use. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:16, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you've looked at all into the use of categories on Wikipedia and Commons, you should realize they are applied with horrendous inconsistency (particularly on Commons) even with the presence of gadgets and external tools. The Category tree on Commons is a complete mess, except in a few specific areas where conscientious groups of editors have managed to impose some sort of order. Powers (talk) 21:12, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Could we establish a compromise? I can see how categories can be useful, and Commons is actually a case in point for me, despite inconsistencies, but I can also see how they could lead to some degree of chaos. Shall we allow categories only when there is a consensus behind them or when a vfd process establishes a consensus to keep those that were added without prior consensus? Even better: Is there a way to prevent non-Autopatrollers who haven't been registered for at least, say, 4 weeks (2 weeks, if you'd like to be more lenient) from creating new categories? Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:32, 25 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The reasons for Commons categories are complex but primarily there is just a sheer volume of files (27 million and counting) so invariably there are a lot of categories. If there were to be categories in Wikivoyage, then it would be better to have clear rules from the start rather than a free-for-all e.g. a definition of overcategorization which could limit articles to having no more than two or three visible categories. Restricting who can categorise is a useful idea as long as the minimum requirement is not ludicrously low like the 10-edit&4-day rule for most users to become auto-confirmed on English Wikipedia. I'd prefer a modified version of the criteria for reviewers on Wikibooks. Green Giant (talk) 01:07, 26 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the comment and the link to Wikibooks. I think that if we were going to have a requirement comparable to Wikibooks, what we'd probably do is simplify things by restricting the creation of new categories to Autopatrollers, which is a type of trusted user. Only admins can change a registered user's status to Autopatroller. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:18, 26 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Aye that would work as well. I think admins should have a guideline to at least refer to. On Commons, for example, autopatrolled is added by admins for users they think are trustworthy; there is no actual guideline which is unhelpful because it makes it quite arbitrary. Green Giant (talk) 21:14, 26 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────So... I was looking at the article about Mauritius and noted it is categorised in Category:Islands of the Indian Ocean, which is fine. This category is part of Category:Africa, which is also fine. However, the islands category also includes British Indian Ocean Territory, Christmas Island, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands which are definitely not in Africa. Missing in that category are the significant non-African islands like Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Sumatra. I would like to add the islands category to these articles and then categorise it as part of Asia too but I'm not sure exactly what the protocol is for this. I know that I can't use a second {{IsPartOf}}, so is this a case where categories would work better? Looking further afield, there is also Island nations, which suggests that the islands of the Pacific are part of Oceania, which is partly true, and Pacific Ocean which redirects to Oceania, which again is only partly true. The Galapagos, Aleutian Islands, Japan, Taiwan, Hainan, the Philippines, Borneo, and many of the other Indonesian islands are also very much in the Pacific but are definitely not part of Oceania. Is it just that this information has yet to be added or is there some reasoning that has eluded me? The logical solution, for me at least, would be to have these articles in Category:Indian Ocean and Category:Pacific Ocean, which are redlinks. Green Giant (talk) 21:14, 26 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think the reason for these categorizations is that they are not viewable in the articles but just used internally for organization. You do point out some odd results, though. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:18, 26 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, on Autopatrollers, it is a judgment call on the part of admins that a registered user has made a sufficient number of edits and is following WV policies and guidelines sufficiently and writing in sufficiently good English to not need close supervision by the recent changes patrollers. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:21, 26 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The example of Pacific Ocean would be better served with an Extra Region article which would hopefully also provide some interesting text and photos for the reader rather than a list of articles in a category. And if this type of category relies on manual update of articles, in no more effort than adding a link on a page.--Traveler100 (talk) 00:53, 27 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Swept in from the pub

Updating Wikivoyage:Categories It seems like discussion on revising this policy petered out about 18 months ago. This came to my attention because I was reverted by Traveler100, which is consistent with the current policy and the trend since 2003 but which I find illogical. Category:Benelux contains all of the child articles on the region but not Benelux itself. Surely that is a problem, even if we don't generally use categories here. Similarly Category:Topics in Benelux is also not navigable from Category:Benelux. It's one thing to not use categories as the primary means of navigation but it's another for them to have patently illogical scenarios like this. —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:00, 29 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Categories are not used like on Wikipedia to categories articles, but used as an administrative tool. In the case of destination categories for running bots and status generating reports and tables. In addition Topic categories are used in the index page to auto generate content list. --Traveler100 (talk) 17:40, 29 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If one does not want the main article in the category, it can still be mentioned on the category page, by editing the page itself (e.g. inserting a {{main}}). That way it is easily reached also via the category. --LPfi (talk) 14:13, 30 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps it would be good to do that systematically.
The theory on the Wikipedias has been that readers will use categories for navigation. I don't recall having seen any research that indicates that this happens. But if the categories are visible, then perhaps some readers will click on the links. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:12, 30 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We have breadcrumbs for that. Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:15, 30 December 2016 (UTC)\Reply[reply]
I don't see any harm in making the main article at least accessible in the category. I do think our breadcrumb navigation is much more user friendly than categories would be. The use of categories on Commons as the sole means of navigation -without proper accessibility from the topic page- has always been one of the very worst features of the entire Wikimedia cluster. The lack of recognition for this usability issue from both the community there and Wikimedia as an organisation has always amazed me. At a conference, I once tried convincing journalists from a few national papers here to make more use of Commons but they argued that there were hardly any images available. The topic then was Rotterdam. They just never thought to click the category at the bottom of the page. After all these years, the issue seems the same. Anyway, that's off topic - sorry. :) JuliasTravels (talk) 21:16, 30 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A region category contains locations that are "part of" that region, the region article itself "is part of" the region above. For images categories makes total sense as a picture can have multiple classifications. You can say that about locations to some degree but on the whole the hierarchy method works quite well. Having previously worked on maintenance tasks on Wikipedia I have to say allowing free categorisation of articles eventually creates a system that is unusable. On Wikipedia you cannot traverse logically up or down and not guarantee you will find yourself back in the same category or you end up with the strangest connections. All of which makes automatic and semi-automatic bot maintenance very difficult and much more time consuming to set up a new program. Also gathering statistic would be difficult. Having categories only created by templates keeps this site manageable. --Traveler100 (talk) 22:24, 30 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hobbitschuster, I must not have been clear: Once the reader has accidentally ended up on a cat page, there are no breadcrumbs visible. Therefore, IMO it'd be good to systematically add a link to the main article at the top of the cat page (as has been done at Category:Benelux). This way, the lost reader has a better chance of getting where s/he wants to go, rather than staying lost in the cat tree. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:19, 2 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why all the Category hate?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

So, it seems that way back when, somebody decided and everyone else went along with a "no categories (outside of templates)" policy. Is it time to revisit this policy? Many non-destination articles do relate to a destination. Why not have Shopping in Japan in Category:Japan or Portuguese cuisine in Category:Portugal? Would this be such a bad thing? Nelson Ricardo (talk) 07:50, 13 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

tbh, that'll just make things more cleaner. And for provinces, states and territories, they could also have their own category (e.g. Category:Quebec or Category:New South Wales.) But the policy chooses to not do so. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | en.wikipedia) 07:53, 13 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, actually, Wikivoyage uses categories extensively. We have a breadcrumb hierarchy, which relies entirely on categories and subcategories. Every destination article in Japan and Portugal should be under their respective country's categories - check them, and they should be. But Shopping in Japan is under Category:Shopping, and Portuguese Cuisine is under Category:Food and drink, because they're travel topics, not destination articles. The main difference between Wikivoyage and other wikis is pages should only be in one immediate category, presumably to keep the breadcrumb trail clear.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 08:02, 13 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(And you'll see that all the categories you're both saying we should have bluelink and are populated by pages and subcategories).ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 08:06, 13 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The breadcrumb trail is controlled by Template:IsPartOf. Categories outside that template do not affect the breadcrumbs. I see little downside to categorization, but I realize that many Wikivoyagers are opposed to them. I'm not sure I buy the arguments against. Nelson Ricardo (talk) 08:19, 13 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't mean that the categories don't exist. I meant that we're not allowed to add articles to them. Unless I am mistaken on this point. Nelson Ricardo (talk) 08:26, 13 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For categories to be useful, they have to be applied consistently, at least inside a specific scope. Thus there would be a huge project adding the non-breadcrumb categories. It is possible that the categories can be added by bot, but then it is even more important to have clear criteria on what pages should go in what categories.
At Wikipedia and Commons, many category trees are added and pages recategorised without any consensus, just because some editor who likes working with the category tree had a whim. Cleaning up inconsistent or non-sensible category trees requires real hours of work from the rest of the community. That work is worthwhile as the categories provide real value, on Wikipedia mostly for insiders, on Commons for all users.
I am not against changing the category policy in Wikivoyage, but I'd like to see a well thought out plan on how they should be used, how the adding of categories should be carried out, and a convincing argument about them being real value. It would probably be best to first tell what use they will be, and if the reasoning seems to get support, then create a project page, and after some time of working with that write a formal proposal.
I suppose convincing people the project is worthwhile is hard enough that you need solid arguments. Until you have them, there is probably little use "revisiting the policy". Perhaps you have them already?
LPfi (talk) 09:40, 13 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for sharing your insights. It sounds like resolution would take more effort and bother than I'm willing to undertake at this time, so I'll just push it onto the back burner for now. Nelson Ricardo (talk) 03:01, 14 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Template:PartOfTopic does allow multiple parents and therefore an article can appear in multiple categories. The first one mentioned will be where it is breadcrumbed to. For example, Khmer Empire has "{{PartOfTopic|Historical travel|Southeast Asia}}". You will see the article appear both in Category:Historical travel and Category:Topics in Southeast Asia. Shopping in Japan similarly is both in Category:Shopping and Category:Topics in Japan. At the moment for Portuguese cuisine, there is no Category:Topics in Portugal but there is Category:Topics in Europe. You can add that or create a new Topics in Portugal category in addition to Category:Food and drink which is the primary category for Portuguese cuisine. Note that unlike travel topics, destination articles only have a single category/breadcrumb (they use the IsPartOf template instead of PartofTopic). Gizza (roam) 03:29, 14 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is/should this be reflected in the documentation? We have at least Template:PartOfTopic/doc, Wikivoyage:Breadcrumb navigation, Wikivoyage:Travel topic article template and MediaWiki:Newarticletext (where travel topics could be added). –LPfi (talk) 11:04, 14 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is mentioned in the /doc, reached from the breadcrumb navigation page. I suppose it should be added to the travel topic article template. We try to keep the article templates simple, but we don't have a Wikivoyage:Travel topics. –LPfi (talk) 11:10, 14 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you, Gizza and LPfi! This is useful information. I didn't realize the template could take multiple parameters. Nelson Ricardo (talk) 20:15, 14 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]