Commons:Categories for discussion/2013/08/Category:Icelandic turf houses

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to: navigation, search

Category:Icelandic turf houses[edit]

Are turf houses the same as sod houses? Can Category:Icelandic turf houses be merged with Category:Sod houses of Iceland? If yes, which is the preferable name: Category:Turf houses of Iceland or Category:Sod houses of Iceland? Skeezix1000 (talk) 18:55, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Go with the wider term "turf". "Sod" is a special term really restricted to Ireland (not Iceland). OK, and the US I see. Turf sounds more natural to me. Johnbod (talk) 04:58, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
That requires changing the our category tree (we have a bunch of "sod house" categories, and a parent category for "sod buildings", but this is the only one for turf houses). But we should change it if it is wrong. While what sounds natural to someone is not a compelling reason for moving all of the categories, the issue you pointed out about turf houses being a more universal term than sod houses is a very good reason. Where did you find that information? Thanks. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 13:46, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
All the English sources I've seen discussing the Icelandic examples refer to them as "turf houses", so I think Category:Icelandic turf houses is correctly named, and Category:Sod houses of Iceland should be merged into it. No need for excessive consistency throughout the category tree IMO. I have no great objection to renaming it Category:Turf houses of Iceland if others prefer that wording.
We also have Category:Green roofs (sustainability) (to which Category:Sod houses of Iceland belongs), which is another way of viewing such things. --Avenue (talk) 00:39, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
Actually, consistency in category naming is incredibly important here on the Commons. 4,000,000+ files were uploaded last year alone, and the task of categorization is overwhelming enough without people using different words for categories that cover the same thing. It's one thing if a turf house is something different than a sod house, but otherwise all the categories should use the same word if such words are widely understood to be the same thing. While a google search shows that turf houses seem to be most common expression for such houses in Iceland, the term sod houses seems to be used a lot too, which seems to demonstrate that either term is well understood. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 13:10, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
Okay, from a web search I can see many people calling the Icelandic examples sod houses. However so far I have not come across any from Iceland, or even outside North America. So part of the issue here is probably trans-Atlantic differences in English usage, but I think it also goes beyond that.
I'm no expert on sod/turf houses, but I understand from this World Heritage submission that Icelandic (and perhaps Faroese) turf houses do have several features that tend to distinguish them from from sod/turf houses elsewhere. They were reasonably permanent structures (requiring rebuilding after 30-70 years) and their use was not confined to the poorer members of society. Many, especially those with wealthier owners, would have an interior wooden structure that could be quite elaborate. I gather this differs from the temporary, last-resort nature of sod houses on the American Great Plains, for instance. The linkages between adjacent turf houses (e.g. in the passageway-farmhouse (gangabær) and gabled-farm (burstabær) styles) are also distinctive. I feel these differences would justify reflecting local usage in our category names, but I don't do much categorisation work on Commons, and I'm a native English speaker, so maybe I'm failing to appreciate the problems of using two words for much the same thing. I've said my piece; I'll now leave it to others to decide. --Avenue (talk) 22:39, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
Somehow it never occurred to me, but it may in fact be an en:WP:ENGVAR issue, as you suggest. Interesting stuff you found on the distinction between sod and turf houses. The problem with using two words is having thousands of users categorizing 4,000,000+ new images a year - ensuring proper categorization is bad enough without using different words for the same thing. However, if there are distinctions between the two things (even subtle ones), then we can make do with category redirects. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 12:48, 26 August 2013 (UTC)