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This is a general discussion page regarding Categories on OrthodoxWiki—their naming, organization, streamlining, and so on.

Categories and sub-categories

As of now, the vast majority of our articles which have sub-categories included also include the category which contains their sub-category. As such, instead of creating a hierarchy of categories which contain particular articles, we have a hierarchy of categories which contain either all or some articles.

My question is what everyone thinks about this. The Wikipedia way is, if an article is included in a sub-category, it is not likewise included in the "big" category. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.

What do you think? ——Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 09:10, 6 Jul 2005 (EDT)

  • Would you mind giving a couple of examples and illustrating the advantages and disadvantages, please? —magda 09:15, 6 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Root category

I like the root/tree model imposed on a web reality. Since this is basically a free for all in that any article can be in any or many categories on the whim of any user, and then corrected by the consensus of the community, hard fast rules can not dictate the cataloging structure. A category can be in many categories and those categories can have subcategories that belong to other categories, creating a complicated linking structure that can not be visualized as a tree structure but a haphazard web structure. (It is most likely best not to try to visualize the structure at all.)

A very long time ago, I took a course on Information Theory, the professor told the Campus Planning Story. This is the story on how the designers layout the campus, and put in nice looking walkways. A year later, they come back and pave walkways where the dirt paths develop.

Information linking develops the same way. The paths will form on their own. We should let them. But there should be an attempt at a designed structure. As I’ve seen on other wiki’s, a root category called category:Categories is used. This root should be a catalog of other root-like categories having no articles, just other Categories. Think of it as the center of the big haphazard web, a starting point. This category should have hard fast rules. (Such as that it should not be in any other category, no articles should be filed directly in this category, and its own subcategories should be very general, or at least general to the topics of Orthodox Christianity.)

Now the first level of subcategories, after the root, can have rigid structure and hard fast rules, or not. If consensus develops that a subcategory needs rules, they should be stated in the text at the top of the category page. It is not a given that all categories of information will be best cataloged by the same set of rules. (I do think that at this first level subcategories, there should be a rule that articles should not be listed in them if the article is in any of its subcategories.)

As these subcategories beget other subcategories, and the farther from the root it is, I suspect that the rules of that subcategory will let them become more free form. This may give the appearance that the categories have no structure, even the concept of tree-like levels are gone, but that will not be true if one starts from the root or navigates back to it. - Andrew 08:50, March 23, 2007 (PDT)

RFC: Various categories

I'm wondering what we should do about various category issues. Mind you, these are simply my reactions and questions, not assertions as to what we ought to do to forgo my taking my ball and going home.  :)


Should we have a Stubs category? Such a thing exists on Wikipedia (not that that's necessarily a direct reason we should have it), and especially if we're going to be creating multiple empty articles or articles which consist only of outlines, then it might be useful to have all the stubs grouped by a category so that folks can take a look and see what needs work. (On a side note, we need to make sure that all such articles include the {{stub}} tag.)

Addendum: I went ahead and created Category:Stubs and made Help:Stub as an explanatory page. --Rdr. Andrew 21:33, 1 Feb 2005 (CST)
Addendum II: On Fr. John's advice, I'm removing Category:Stubs and including this link instead. --Rdr. Andrew 15:19, 2 Feb 2005 (CST)
Sorry I didn't see this before you had already put the work in! Fr. John


What about people who don't necessarily fit into a particular existing category (e.g., Origen, Elder Ephrem (anyone know his surname?), and so on)?

I'm loth for us to create a generic People category, mainly because the overwhelming majority of people for whom we create articles are likely to fit into existing categories, and it'd be a big amount of work to have to continually make sure that every person gets put into Category:People. Additionally, it's such a vague grouping that someone looking for a major church figure who isn't a saint, writer, father, bishop, etc., wouldn't necessarily think to look for them in People.

The problem is that there are a goodly number of people about whom we could have articles that aren't obviously categorizable. Sure, Origen, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Lucian of Antioch, Elder Ephrem, Joseph the Hesychast, and so on may well be heretics or monastics or what-have-you, but those aren't generally how they're known in the Church.

Perhaps we just need more categories of people. What do you think?

We probably couldn't include my personal name for people like Origen and Tertullian—"Uncles of the Church."  :)

It seem to me that Origen and Tertullian could be "Church Fathers" but not "Saints" and that a category for "Contemporary Monastics" or something like that would be very appropriate. If we have a category for "People", I think it should be for otherwise uncategorized people -- or else we could organize other types of people as subcategories (and not bother to put Cetegory:People on every single page but only on the other Category pages). Fr. John

Various categorical issues

Should we have some sort of discussion before creating a new category? For instance, Theology, Dogmatics, and Theologoumena were recently created in the article about Apocatastasis, but there are several questions being begged there by having them all together—for instance, if it's a dogmatic question, can it really be considered a theologoumenon? Should we just leave it generically Theology?

Another I was wondering about is Category:Disputed Issues—definable limits on that one would be hard to find. Perhaps we should just note the disputes in the articles where appropriate and not have a separate category for disputes? After all, depending on how one delimits such a thing, almost every article could end up in that category.

Also, should we have a category for pages like this, which are dedicated to discussion? Perhaps Category:Chat?

--Rdr. Andrew 20:18, 30 Jan 2005 (CST)

I think you're on to something -- good wiki planning is probably a lot like good city planning. The more effort we put into working out a solid schema now, the less cleanup we'll have to do later. This would be a great page to work through some of these things in more detail.
In the grand scheme of things, this would be equivalent to working out an ontology or topic map that, if we wanted to follow it all the way through, could have implications for the semantic web.
Another thought would be to eventually visually represent the arrangement of topics. I don't think MediaWiki has a visual browser plugin yet (like TikiWiki), but we could use MathML or some other kind of mind mapping / charting software to generate one. (Maybe something like Onmigator?)
As far as Category:Chat goes, I don't think it's necessary. I'd be rather fond of Category:Meta, but actually I think for now the OrthodoxWiki category is sufficient for all the 'meta' pages, no?
Does anyone else have specific comments on the issues raised by Rdr. Andrew? Let's talk more about strategy.
Fr. John 17:35, 2 Feb 2005 (CST)