Category talk:Black and white photographs

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could someone please add two categories?

  • black and white landscape
  • black and white, black and white background

thanks. the preceding unsigned comment is by Lutum (talk • contribs) 11. jan 2006, 11:02

Magic category that ignores category rules?[edit]

Text added to this category page reads: "This category should be applied to all black and white photographs. This will allow to identify easily the B&W photos. The category should be applied to in addition to any topical (sub-) categories." Why? Why should this category be used in a counter-intuitive way, violently contrary to the established rules of categories in Wikimedia? Astonished, -- Infrogmation (talk) 00:09, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

  • It was discussed in July. Please see the archives. -- User:Docu at 05:50, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

I now reset the category description to the usual rules. I can't see, why we should make an exeption exactly with this category. --Frank C. Müller (talk) 06:17, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

The proposal was brought up for discussion in the appropriate forum and met no disagreement. I noted that Infrogmation disagrees with it, but this isn't really a reason to drop it.  Docu  at 16:55, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

COM:OVERCAT#Over-categorization says: always place an image in the most specific categories, and not in the levels above those. User Docu proposes, that we should make an exception with the category Black and white photographs.

I found the following texts:

  1. Commons:Categories for discussion/Current requests/2009/07/Category:Black and white photographs
  2. Category_talk:Images_from_the_German_Federal_Archive#Black_and_White
  3. Commons:Village_pump/Archive/2007Jun#Categories

The only argument in these texts, that supports Docu's proposal, was The advantage of the category is that one could easily select or exclude "BW photos" when searching. This argument was also usable for every other category, that has subcategories. So, where is the specific argument for making an exeption exactly for this category?

Dear Docu! If you have more arguments, please tell us them here (once more).

--Frank C. Müller (talk) 06:44, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

B&W photographs isn't really a topical category. It's just describes the technique. Any Bundesarchiv image, e.g. 101I-009-0870-23A could easily just be in Category:Images from the German Federal Archive and needn't be in Category:CC-BY-SA-3.0-DE and Category:Black and white photographs in addition to the numerous topical categories it is in. However, we generally don't mix topical categories with others, thus we add it to Category:CC-BY-SA-3.0-DE etc. as well.  Docu  at 04:52, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Ok. May you specify and define the concept of topical category? Are there any more examples of accepted over-categorizing? Was it possible to systematize this kind of procedure? E.g. could we make a category for all those category, that you mean? I mean, in this way, if it was accepted, people might reconstruct the pattern and apply it themselves. --Frank C. Müller (talk) 06:12, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Commons:Categories#Major categories outlines that. This category is part of Category:Media types and these shouldn't generally be mixed with the others. --  Docu  at 06:55, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Dear Docu!

In Commons:Categories#Major categories I can't find the text you cited; but I found this one:

Category:Media types - This category is the global common root of the media files categorized by the Media TYPE. Please note that this type of categorization is sometimes omitted for images, since the vast majority of files on the commons are images of some sort.

By now the elements of the Category:Media types are: Media with locations, Music by media type, Animated GIF, Categories by medium, Electronic media, Microform, Pictures and images, Printed media, Sound, Timed Text, Videos.

So, I still can't see, why Category:Black and white photographs should be treated in a special way.

--Frank C. Müller (talk) 06:36, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

If you follow Pictures and images, you get to this category. Similarly Category:CC-BY-SA-3.0-DE mentioned earlier is under Category:Copyright statuses, Category:Images from the German Federal Archive under Category:Pictures and images by source. Neither of those three are part of Category:Topics.
Main Page also lists them: Main Page#By topic, Main Page#By license, Main Page#By source and also Main Page#By type.
Thus there isn't really anything special about this category, it's just not a license, image source or topical category.  Docu  at 02:38, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Dear Docu!

In the Commons-Category-Net it is not only possible for a category to have more than one sub-categories, but a category may itself also be a sub-category of more than one other categories. So in a topological sense in commons the category-hierarchy is not a simple tree but a net. A node may have several children and also several parents.

If you look now at Category:Black and white photographs, you may see, that it also has several parents: Hidden categories, Photographs, and Black and white photography. And from these categories there are several paths to the category Topics! It's not the question, if there is a path without Topics, the question is, if there is at least one path to Topics; and because there are even several paths from Black and white photographs to Topics, the category Black and white photographs is at least also a normal category!

--Frank C. Müller (talk) 15:19, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Obviously we can combine all sorts of random categories and some come combine all sorts of things. This doesn't necessarily mean that every combination is particularly useful. As noted earlier Category:Images from the German Federal Archive and needn't be in Category:CC-BY-SA-3.0-DE and Category:Black and white photographs, but we generally don't combine non topical categories with each other. --  Docu  at 08:37, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Dear Docu!

What do you mean, when you say we generally don't combine non topical categories with each other? Is this a de- or a prescriptive phrase? Descriptively meant it's trivial, simply because e.g. the number of all combinations would be too great, or because - as you say - not every combination is useful. But prescriptively meant I still can't see any new argument.

--Frank C. Müller (talk) 11:54, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

It's meant to be descriptive of Commons practice. There isn't really anything new in your explanation either.
BTW, please avoid inserting "---" on talk pages. Sections are generally made by inserting a new section header. --  Docu  at 11:13, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Docu. It seems nonsense to duplicate the entire category tree into a Black and white picture of... subfamily. It makes perfect sense to use this category like a tag, as it describes a very isolated aspect of the image, wher combination with other categories does not seem like a natural choice. --Dschwen (talk) 17:58, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

But if the subcategories are nonsense, they should be deleted and every file should be moved from the deleted subcategory to the two parent categories. But if the subcategories are usefull, the tag-category should be named Category: Black and white photographs tag --Diwas (talk) 20:41, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree. Do we have a guideline about tag categories yet? --Dschwen (talk) 19:32, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
After the discussion in July 2009, this category had a fairly clear guideline IMO.
Anyways, for those who don't want to make a difference between this category and topical categories, we could merge the subcategories into this category or move them to Category:Black and white photography by topic.
Category:Black and white photographs by author could probably be renamed into something else as it holds mainly subcategories about specific photographers not their photographs. --  Docu  at 04:48, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Black and white photography[edit]

Please see Category talk:Black and white photography. --  Docu  at 11:14, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Clean up[edit]

There are nearly 100.000 images in this category. That's imcomprehensable. I'd started cleaning up this category (with a small bot). There are a lot of subcategories yet and I'll remove overcategorization. No one can handle this category "as a tag", too much images and categories. The description should be updated afterwards. --XRay talk 12:39, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

I've got another opinion. This category should be a flat category. Not everybody will handle the categorization like this. I've found the opinion "flat category" or "as tag" just looking to the top category. I'd didn't expected a behaviour like this. IMO an image already contained in a subcategory should not containted in the top category. Please have a look to COM:OVERCAT. --XRay talk 07:20, 6 January 2017 (UTC)


There are a lot of images in this category Category:Black and white photographs. The category is used like "as tag" (or flat list) by some users but incomplete. This is confusing and a contradiction to overcategorization. I tried to check the use of "as tag", but IMO this is the only category used in this way. So I propose to respect COM:OVERCAT. All images contained in a subcategory of Category:Black and white photographs should be removed from this (the top) category and the description of the category should be updated (without "as tag"). (Sorry, but my english knowledge isn't the best. Hopefully the proposal can be understood.) Another small proposal: You should vote until end of march (March 31st, 2017). --XRay talk 09:56, 6 January 2017 (UTC)


  • Symbol support vote.svg  Support --XRay talk 09:56, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol delete vote.svg  Delete Seems similar as the tag-Category:Uploaded with UploadWizard User: Perhelion 13:47, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg  Support seems sensible to diffuse the images into the appropriate sub-categories and leave this as a top level-category tagged for image diffusion. Keith D (talk) 16:38, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg  Support A category should not be a "as tag" but we should have also a tag system on commons. Christian Ferrer (talk) 19:05, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Comments to this proposal[edit]

  • This could be a solution, a good solution. IMO categories "as a tag" makes no sense. But the subcateogires are still useful. I've started adding the images to the subcategories. I would like to remove the top category Category:Black and white photographs, but there are objections (one objection), so I stopped removing Category:Black and white photographs. --XRay talk 16:12, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • @Jmabel, Docu: Please have a look to this discussion. I look forward to your arguments. The discussion should be the best way for a solution. --XRay talk 16:12, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
    • I'd have no problem with merging to Category:Monochrome photographs. The distinction between black-and-white and (say) sepia, or something that happens to have scanned blue-and-white, or whatever doesn't strike me as very interesting.
    • But there are plenty of categories about characteristics of the photo, which normally we don't diffuse (that is, we use them like tags). For example, we have dozens of categories like Category:Taken with Nikon Coolpix 4500 that indicate what camera was used. - Jmabel ! talk 16:26, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think the opposite way, it would be better to use the category "as a tag", to make it easier to use category intersection tools, which will probably be what Commons:Structured data ends up doing eventually anyway. I wouldn't keep subcategories by date, location, subject or photographer, but the technical subcategories like Category:Ambrotypes look useful. --ghouston (talk) 22:15, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
As far as I understand this proposal: ~97k B&W photographs aren't categorized into a sub category, i.e. Black and white panoramic photographs of cities. There's no mass-moving of 97k files into the main cat of Monochrome photographs. That's it. Correct? --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 23:18, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Btw. if the Cat is really needed or used, a "tag-category" should be clear recognizable as such per name IMHO. The adjective terminus "black and white" is also not used as such without hyphen in the EnWP. User: Perhelion 23:47, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm still categorizing images into the subcategories. It will be finished until March (or end of January). If overcategorization will be removed there are hopefully significantly less images in Category:Black and white photographs. Afterwards we can think about Category:Monochrome photographs or renaming Black and white to Black-and-white. --XRay talk 06:17, 7 January 2017 (UTC)


The voting is closed. The proposal is accepted, 4x Symbol support vote.svg 


, 0x Symbol oppose vote.svg 


, the category is not used "as tag". --XRay talk 18:58, 5 April 2017 (UTC)