Category talk:Road trains

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I've opened a discussion here in the hope that people will take an interest and express their ideas about how commons can classify road trains. Penyulap 15:54, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

My question is how are these codes even remotely useful to end readers? Literally no one else knows what they mean. Category names should always be in relatively common terms...length isn't an issue. Are such deep levels of categorisation even necessary (aka, why is it important to categorise such images by number of trailers being towed)? Huntster (t @ c) 23:59, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Why is it important to categorise cars by body style? Why is it important to categorise anything, ultimately? This is an almost impossible question to answer if you are starting it from a position of apparently having already decided the differences between images like this, this or this are going to be unimportant to any reader. The benefit to readers of sub-categorising images along any obvious visual difference is surely just obvious, but maybe not. Differences in configuration have implications in both how these trucks can be used, and indeed where they can be legally used, so to my mind there's at least two very clear reasons why such categories are of benefit. I'm sure there are many more that could be listed too if we got into the nitty gritty of the world of trucking. As for the issue of nobody knowing what they mean and therefore they are useless, I disagree. While the codes may not mean anything, the system is understandable to anyone who can read English and understands real world trucking terms like full trailer etc, because the system is explained in the main category in only those terms. I may have made up the codes, but I didn't make up anything else. I haven't for example coined my own name for a particular configuration or vehicle, I've just used the codes as a short hand to signify what they would be called in plain English trucking terminology (and I've even explained those for the people who may not know what they mean in the trucking world). Ultra7 (talk) 10:13, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
I am concerned that the classification system is just made up for commons, even though it is quite good, is there no system used that is recognised by some external organisation which we could use? Oxyman (talk) 02:21, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
Not that I've seen. only alternative I can see is using plain English - eg 'Category:Double road train with semi-trailer and full trailer' or 'Category:Triple road train with semi-trailer, A-Trailer and full trailer', etc, which I think is pretty cumbersome, but obviously preferrable to the much worse option of pretending any truck with over 2 trailers is the same. Ultra7 (talk) 10:13, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
You could of course just count the trailers, which is what I expected to see Oxyman (talk) 11:53, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
You can also just count the number of doors on a car, but I'm pretty sure there'd be a bit of blowback if you suggested that this was all that was needed to categorise cars by body style. Categorising road trains by number of trailer is as simplistic as categorising cars by number of doors (which is in itself usefull when combined with other categories, but in this case, there wouldn't be any, except maybe the binary choice between B-Trains and not-B-Trains, which is no more specific than combining a cars by number of doors category with one like cars with/without boot lids). Ultra7 (talk) 12:44, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry but that is a complete non sequitur, there simply is no comparison between the two scenarios. How many Automobiles have we on commons and how many Road trains? Oxyman (talk) 21:12, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

It is often the case that technical terms are turned into more approachable language to aid understanding. On commons, long names are often shortened where it aids clarity and ease of use. Would creating shorter, simpler categories that apply to images from every country be problematic if they were explained succinctly on the category pages ? Maybe that would be better than explaining each countries configuration codes on each category page and having separate categories for what is basically the same thing. Similar to the release of some models of automobile, where it's the same car under different names according to the market it is sold into. Penyulap 10:51, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

At the end of the day, these are all technical terms to most people. I suppose Category:3T(SAF) road trains could become Category:Triple (tractor unit-semi-A-full) road trains for example. That would be easily understood by truck people and maybe even some non-truck people, and anyone else can be directed to a central place which explains what tractor unit/semi/A/full etc actually means. I don't think explaining it on each category makes sense, that would involve a lot of pointless duplication. Ultra7 (talk) 11:10, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
I appreciate the work, but I think that is going beyond the reasonable for complexity, maintenance and searching; there are probably hundred or more combinations possible. I think that a set of categories that on one hand define the type of tractor, and on the other hand the number of trailers could be sufficient. --Foroa (talk) 11:50, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
There are not hundred of combinations. Infact what is already here is probably all that is out there. And a system that simply specifies the tractor type and number of trailers ignores probably the most obvious difference in the trailer combinations (a distinction that already existed here before I got involved) - whether or not it's a B-Train (ie whether or not it contains one or more A-Trailers). If you don't appreciate the importance or significance of that sort of distinction, then really, are you in any position to say what is and is not reasonable in terms of categorisation here? That's not meant to be a personal comment, but it's pretty amazing to me to be being told what is and is not important about a topic, by people who don't seem to understand it in the first place. I could understand it if people were coming here with some actual evidence that these distinctions are not important in the real world (which is not the same as simply arguing they don't have consistent names around the world), but that's not what's happening. This is more like people giving opinions about what's reasonable in a system to categorise cars, when they don't know the difference between a hatchback and an estate. Ultra7 (talk) 12:44, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
perhaps you could explain in non-technical terms the differences between the most common types of trailers, maybe with some thumbnails as examples, so that we can all help assess and formulate an easy-to-understand but still accurate system to use. Something that serves technical and non-technical people alike. Penyulap 12:56, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
thumb|rightThe best I can do is show you this diagram, which shows in picture term what the letters in my code system represent. There's not really any non-technical way to explain it without using technical terms like A-Trailer, but hopefully the diagram shows better what combinations are physically possible and which aren't. Ultra7 (talk) 15:23, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
Actually that's perfect. I recognise instantly some of the configurations from the image, and know most of the local terminology. I expect that a visual aid of that type on the category pages would be perfect. I guess it's a matter of deciding names, or possibly making a table, to show the local terminology. At least then the images can be organised in a meaningful way that readers can use regardless of their background. I guess it would perform the exact same function as a translation. Penyulap 15:46, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
It's clear that Ultra7 is creating a system that does not exist in the real World, regardless if you have information on the category page, the whole thing is meaningless. B-Train in fact covers both B-double and B-triple. AustRoads classification is B-double, B-triple, A-double (formerly type 1 road train), A-triple (formerly type 2 road train), AB-triple, ABB-quad and BAB-quad is what is used in Australia. Bidgee (talk) 13:57, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
commons does have some interesting categories that reflect the uniqueness of the project which faces left and looks at the reader ;) the question is, what kinds of solutions best suit the categories. Penyulap 14:43, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
What's your point? I made up the codes, but the configurations they represent exist and are recognisble by anyone with a basic understanding. And on that point, AustRoads classification is a whole lot more complex and involved than just calling something a B-Double because it has an A-Trailer and a semi, it goes into weights, lenghts and axles too. So not only is it not really helpful to be talking about official AustRoads classification in Australian categories when people aren't likely to have verified the length or weight of a particular vehicle in an image, it quite clearly cannot be applied to any B-Doubles not pictured in Australia, even though in common parlance, nobody would dispute any of the vehicles in my 2T(AS) category is a B-Double. So what's your suggestion, exactly? Adopt AustRoads classification to the letter for Australian vehicles, and do the same for other jurisdications using their classifications (and pretend that people not knowing them all is their problem, not ours), or come up with something else? If the latter, what exactly, if you don't like even ordinary English descriptions like the ones given above? Ultra7 (talk) 15:23, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

suggestion, a table[edit]

category image local name of vehicle
T 150px Australia:localname Britain:localname China:localname European Union:localname Egypt:localname Hong Kong: Indonesia: Philippines: USA: Vietnam:
R 150px Australia: Britain: China: European Union: Egypt: Hong Kong: Indonesia: Philippines: USA: Vietnam:
B 150px Australia: Britain: China: European Union: Egypt: Hong Kong: Indonesia: Philippines: USA: Vietnam:
A 150px Australia:localname Britain:localname China:localname European Union:localname Egypt:localname Hong Kong: Indonesia: Philippines: USA: Vietnam:
S 150px Australia:localname Britain:localname China: European Union: Egypt: Hong Kong: Indonesia: Philippines: USA: Vietnam:
H 150px Australia: Britain:localname China:localname European Union: Egypt: Hong Kong: Indonesia: Philippines: USA: Vietnam:
F 150px Australia: Britain: China: European Union: Egypt: Hong Kong: Indonesia: Philippines: USA: Vietnam:

Maybe a summary of the names that are used around the world can be placed into a table such as this.

Maybe that would make it easier for the first part, which is to identify the different vehicles, then, a different additional table with popular combinations could exist in categories that are made for each combination, to describe at a glance to anyone, anywhere, what is being categorised. Penyulap 16:29, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

That's fine for explaining what they are in the categories, but I'm not clear on how this relates to the actual category naming though. Are you proposing to keep my code system? If so, those images may now need changing based on what I'm suggesting below. Ultra7 (talk) 18:10, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

International standard[edit]

After some digging, I've found a proposal for an international standard that was made in 2000 to the International Symposium on Heavy Vehicle Weights and Dimensions, which is detailed here. It proposes both a new system for vehicle designations, specifying in detail axle configurations and vehicle types, which is probably too detailed for our purposes, but it also included a proposed vehicle code system, which is a simpler version of the designation system which just specifies the tractor and trailer types and order. The code system is as follows:

  • R denotes a rigid truck (same as my definition)
  • T denotes a trailer without a fifth wheel coupling (what I call H or F)
  • A denotes a single articulated vehicle (what I call S)
  • B denotes a series of trailers connected by fifth wheel couplings (AS, AAS, etc)

To specify a road train in this system, you start the code with an R, A or B. You then go down the line adding the appropriate letters. So in the simplest terms, an articulated truck and trailer with another trailer behind, becomes an AT. If there are repeated instances of the same type, you add a number after it, so two trailers together is a T2. The only drawback is that it doesn't get into the difference between full and half trailers until the vehicle designation level, and it doesn't cover ballast tractors at all for some reason, but I'm happy to overlook that. If you apply this system, then my codes become:

  • B2(FF) -> RT2
  • R2(FF) -> RT2
  • T2(AS) -> B2
  • T2(HF) -> RT2
  • T2(SF) -> AT
  • T2(SH) -> AT
  • T3(AAS) -> B3
  • T3(SAS) -> AB2
  • T3(SFF) -> A3
  • T4(ASFF) -> B2T2
  • T4(SFAS) -> A2B2

So, if Bidgee hates my made-up system, then perhaps he can accept a system that is sourceable, was drawn up by industry professionals, and is based as far as possible on existing systems around the world. If he still doesn't like a code based system, can I ask for about the tenth time, what he suggests instead? Because if anyone cares to look at that document, it makes it quite clear how potentially confusing and ultimately pointless it would be to try and name these different types of truck using either common names or local 'official' names such as the newer Austrans type terminology which uses similar style codes, but which clearly won't mean anything to non-Australians (central Europeans for example don't use codes at all, but are instead used to long winded official names or manufacturer derived marketing names for these bigger trucks). The document also shows quite clearly that there is a demand in the industry for universal terminology which, even at the most basic level, goes beyond simply counting trailers, so if Commons wants to simply count trailers, it is basically saying that it is just a hobby picture site, rather than a serious educational resource on topics like road transport, which are hardly outside the domain of a worldwide education resource. Ultra7 (talk) 18:10, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

I think that everyone would be happy with the proposed naming system that you found, and, as you point out, there haven't been any alternatives suggested. That would be my prediction. Penyulap 19:30, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
I like that "international standard" system, it's preferable to to a system only recognised over here, we should use that Oxyman (talk) 21:27, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Another proposal[edit]

This is unfortunate since it has gained some support while I've been away, but having had a chance to sleep on my proposal above, I'm not happy with the shortcomings of it, regarding the inability to separate half/full trailers, and the lack of clear differentiation between number of trailers if you don't know the system. Since adopting a category tree using the more detailed vehicle designations would probably be disputed, I'm now thinking the following is probably the best solution:

  1. Restore Category:B-Trains to the top level (because it covers multiple trailers)
  2. Create Category:Road trains by number of trailers and populate with sub-categories of the name 'Road trains with x trailers' (where x is currently only 2, 3 or 4) (I am purposely avoiding simpler names like 'double road train', because these can sometimes be said to exclude B-Trains)
  3. Empty Category:Road trains by configuration of all text, images and sub-categories (basically, erase my made up code system) (this will also restore B-Trains to a simple flat cat with only one subcat currently - B-Trains in Australia)
  4. Create a gallery called Road trains by configuration, and use that to unambiguously classify all the images of road trains we have, using both the simple 'vehicle code' (RT, AT etc) and detailed 'vehicle designation' (2-3T12 etc) formats detailed above (probably as a nested TOC). This can also detail in text all the associated common names/jurisdiction specific names as and where they are known.
  5. Put the gallery in the category Category:Road trains by configuration, as well as linking to it in other categories as 'further information'

I think this has the benefits of keeping the category trees simple enough at four easily understood attributes (country, is it a B-Train, trailer type & number of trailers), while also retaining (and infact improving) the level of detail given about their actual configurations, which I was going for with my made-up system. By doing this, it also clears the way for people to implement the common or jurisdiction specific official names as intersecting categories under the country/#trailer branches if they so wish (which couldn't be easily done in my system), but I don't have any plans to do that.

I'll leave this open for comments, but if there's no objections, I'll probably make a start on it over the weekend. Ultra7 (talk) 11:35, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

I like the ideas laid out here, I can pretty much envision the cat page with the TOC all organised already ! :) Penyulap 16:20, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Final analysis[edit]

Well, I'm halfway through implementing the above, and should be finished today, but it should be noted that while I was in the middle of doing that, Bidgee has just gone and further sub-divided Category:B-Trains in Australia by configuration. What this means for the rest of this tree is not clear to me - I don't know why other road trains in Australia don't apparently merit the same level of sub-division, or B-Trains in other countries don't either. I don't even know if he's using official Australian names or just commonly understood ones (but I would note that if he is basing this on official classification, the difference between Type 1 and 2 road trains is as important in Australia as the specific A-B order, and given some are only allowed to operate in certain states, 'in Australia' is at best, misleading). Maybe he only cares about road trains in Australia (or just cannot be bothered to research what the same configurations are called outside Australia, if his intention is to use only local common/official names), or maybe even only B-Trains in Australia (noting that the previous flaw of the system which made it very easy for B-Trains to remain undescended from the basic road train category, will still remain). But I'm fast reaching the point where I don't care anymore about any of this; given his total lack of constructive suggestions here, his motivations remain entirely opaque to me, beyond his obvious dislike of my earlier efforts to do exactly what he has just done now using categories (but for all images rather than on a conspicuously odd 'Australia only' basis). Anyway, I'm just noting it here in case anyone coming here in future is as perplexed at his ideas about categorisation as I am and wonders why it was done this way, because once I'm done finishing the above, I certainly don't intend on replicating his Australian system of by-country-by configuration sub-categorisation for other countries, even if I could find out the specifics that underpin its implementation. Ultra7 (talk) 12:26, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Well, there have been a number of contributors who have commented on this discussion, generally expressing a dislike for 'made-up' systems, so it would be important that Bidgee clarifies what he is doing, I'll put a note on his talkpage asking for input here. Penyulap 14:09, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
Good call asking Bidgee to clarify, but What if Bidgee fails to explain? Oxyman (talk) 23:11, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
I can't see that it makes a difference, as there are four more of us here taking an interest, so unless he can pull a rabbit out of a hat in the form of a policy addressing road trains, then he'll be busy elsewhere I guess. Penyulap 23:48, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
If you mean disputes, well, if there is a clear system described on this page, and a clear consensus that it all seems fine, then if he starts reverting you, ask him to refer to this talkpage, and then if that doesn't work goto Commons:AN/U and ask for assistance there. Penyulap 23:52, 8 July 2013 (UTC)