Category talk:Sea captain

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This discussion of one or several categories is now closed. Please do not make any edits to this archive.

Category:Sea captain[edit]

Do we have overlapping, redundant categories? Do we really need Category:Ship captains and Category:Sea captain and Captain (nautical)? This category lacks any expository text that could serve to guide contributors as to what it should and shouldn't contain. One might conclude it was appropriate to apply this category to ever individual who had ever commanded a maritime vessel. Well, that would mean this category would contain tens of thousands of images, or more.

A no doubt well-meaning contributor keeps trying add Category:Captain's cabins on United States Navy ships. Is that really helpful?

Should this be used for captains of canal boats, lake freighters, river barges and city fireboats -- fresh-water vessels? Because, for this, Category:Ship captains would be a better choice. Geo Swan (talk) 20:05, 6 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Pictogram voting comment (orange).svg Comment I am going to suggest this category should redirect to Category:Ship captains, and that it should only contain images of captains, while onboard vessels they command. We could include images of former captains; we could include images of former captains, but only while wearing their captain's uniforms -- but I think this would be a mistake. In the US Navy, for instance, an officer might wait a dozen years or more for command of a vessel, and then might only command it for a year, or so. Is it really useful to place images of them in a categories devoted to ship commanders, after or before their brief period of command?

    In the USN, again, some distinguished officers rise to the rank of Captain, while never commanding a vessel. In most navies, the small and medium sized vessels are commanded by Commanders or Lieutenant Commanders. So, I suggest we restrict Category:Ship captains to images of vessel commanders while actually aboard their vessels. Geo Swan (talk) 20:26, 6 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Pictogram voting comment (orange).svg Comment I am going to suggest we should include the commanders of vessels that are not always called ships, like submarines, canal barges, and fireboats. I am going to suggest we should include the commanders of vessels, without regard to their substantive rank. Henry Larsen, the Canadian explorer, was an RCMP Sergeant when he commanded the St Roch in its transits of the Northwest Passage. Geo Swan (talk) 20:26, 6 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. Captain (nautical) is a gallery, not a category. If the category gallery was improperly categorized, the fault should be immediately and simply fixed, no need to open discussion about it.
  2. Category:Ship captains is a logical parent category of the older category Category:Sea captain. The category Category:Sea captain should be renamed to plural, it's self-evident. The question whether the category Category:Ship captains should have a special subcategory of sea captains is not so important. I personally think that maritime navigation have its significant specificity and is also legislatively distinguishable, though some vessels and captains can operate in both domains. If such special category would not exist now, we really need not to be in hurry to create them. However, i found not so weighty reasons to remove (dissolve, merge) such a long-established category.
  3. I have also no objections if the proposer will to create a more general parent category for all commanders of vessels, though I think, for small boats with one-man crew such a category would be not very useful. However, if Geo Swan is aware of such images which need be moved to the category, it should be created certainly.
  4. The category Category:Captain's cabins on United States Navy ships should be categorized under Category:Captain's cabins and Category:Captain's cabins under Category:Ship captains, there is no question to be asked. However, we can consider whether United States Navy ships are only maritime ships (and their captains only sea captains) or whether United States Navy have also some river ships or sea ships.
  5. The category Category:Ship captains should contain all content related to the item of ship captains. Not only portrets of the captains but also captain's uniforms, captain's documents, captain's cabins etc. Naturally, they can be sorted into appropriate subcategories, according to standard categorization conventions. Generally, we should follow standard categorization conventions and not to devise some unreasoned anomalies only for this category. Let's apply principles used for other comparable proffesions. If the person is known as a captain, his category should be categorized under Ship captains. If the person is only a disposable captain, only the content related to this function should be categorized under Ship captains. --ŠJů (talk) 21:47, 6 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I nummbered your paragraphs, to make them easier to respond to:
    1. I think your 2nd sentence exposes a fundamental misunderstanding of what we are doing here. Our categorization is not a reflection of one perfect god-given hierarchy. We have human-built hierarchies, that rely on conventions -- agreement. Discussion is required regularly. Skipping those discussions is disruptive. For any field of study, like, for instance, the classification of insect species, based on comparing their differing body parts, there are multiple possible classification schemes. Over the last couple of centuries the biologists who classify insects have agreed on the broad details their classification schemes. However, first, if you look in the right scientific journals you will see biologists are still debating the specific details of their classification. Second, if you go back early enough, in the classification of species, or in other fields of study, there were other organizational schemes, other conventions, that could have been used. Consider calculus. In the Anglosphere Newtown is often recognized as the inventor of calculus, and Liebniz is forgotten. Yet we use Liebniz's notation scheme, not Newton's. For centuries almost the entire world has represented numbers in base ten. But the ancient Mayans and the ancient Sumerians also used base sixty -- it is a legacy of their astrologers that we have sixty seconds to a minute and sixty minutes to an hour.

      So I dispute your notion that "If the category was improperly categorized, the fault should be immediately and simply fixed, no need to open discussion about it."

      Here on the commons we do not, in fact, have One True Classification Scheme -- we have multiple incompatible classification schemes. The extent of the incompatibility isn't always obvious because so much classification remains to be done.

      Classifying using the existing category feature sucks. The category feature is deeply inadqeuate as a mechanism for collaborators to agree on how to classify intellectual content, and the sooner if is replaced with a mechanism with greater memory, better facility for documentation, the better.

    2. When you write that one of those categories is the logical parent category of the other it seems to me you are making the mistake of implying your interpretation is "obvious" -- well I wrote a wiki-essay where I explain why nothing is obvious.

      I will repeat that you seem to be overlooking that there are deeply experienced captains who never served at sea. There are 150 lake freighters that travel the North American Great Lakes. There have been thousands or tens of thousands of deeply experienced captains of these vessels who never served "at sea", because all their experience as an officer, had been on fresh water. Similarly, in Europe, you will find deeply experienced captains whose only experience has been on Europe's rivers and canals.

      I am left guessing as to what you mean by "I personally think that maritime navigation have its significant specificity and is also legislatively distinguishable, though some vessels and captains can operate in both domains." I suspect this is an instance where being an ESL person is what is causing the confusion. I believe that, in English, "maritime navigation" is a term that applies to navigation at sea, navigation on canals, and navigation on natural rivers and lakes -- but I wonder if you might think the term distinguishes between navigation at sea and navigation elsewhere.

    3. I too doubt that when a vessel is operated by a single crew member he or she is referred to as a captain. However, I will yield to a genuine nautical expert on this point. As for your request for a "more general parent category for all commanders of vessels" -- wait a second, shouldn't you explain what is wrong with Category:Ship captains first?
    4. Please look at Category:Space suits and Category:Space suits of the United States. Your insistence that "Category:Captain's cabins on United States Navy ships should be categorized under Category:Captain's cabins and Category:Captain's cabins under Category:Ship captains" makes as much sense as it would to insist that Space suits should be elements of Category:Astronauts. Astronaut is an occupation. A space suit is something used in the space program. Ship captain is an occupation and a cabin is something a mariner uses. You still haven't established why captain's cabin should be an element of Ship captains. Please don't simply claim it is "obvious".
    5. You assert Category:Ship captains should be the parent category for "all content related to ... ship captains [including] ... captain's uniforms, captain's documents, captain's cabins etc." It is something you seem ready to insist upon as if it were "obvious". But we have already categorized Category:Military rank insignia by country. What possible value do you see in your preferred structure?

      ESL time -- I don't know what you mean by "disposble captain". Geo Swan (talk) 17:56, 7 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • 1. The principle that a gallery should be categorized in the category of identic item is clear and established enough. No need to blather around it. The simple fault is fixed now. Maybe, you was confused that I used one wrong word in my answer, nevertheless the distinction between galleries and categories can be understandable for you. I believe, I need not to explain to you what gallery pages at Commons are.
  • 2. You are right, I didn't anticipate that English applies the term "maritime navigation" also to inland navigation. It sounds very comically to an inhabitant of inland country to call river transport "maritime" but my language have also some illogicalities and oddities (diesel ships are called "parník" = steamship colloquially etc.). Do you deduce from it that all captains of river ships are "sea captains" also? I would like to believe you but some reliable sources supporting your opinion would be required. As soon as you give evidence of such claim, we can merge both categories according to your proposal immadiately. Opinion of some other native speakers at least from GB and US would be also useful before the action.
  • 3. I said nothing against Category:Ship captains. You was who proposed an other and still more general category, and I expressed my agreement/support with the condition that a real need for such category exists here.
  • 4., 5.: Thank you for the notice. The faults are fixed now. It's maybe surprising for you but hyponymy is not the sole type of categorization relation used here. Commons is categorized by topic.
  • When you don't understand a word used by ESL, look the context and consult a dictionary. You talked about "an officer which wait a dozen years or more for command of a vessel and command it for a year, or so." I mentioned a "disposable captain" in the answer in this context. Maybe, connotations of the word "disposable" are a bit hyperbolic and "occasional" would be a better word but I suppose, a native speaker can be also a bit intelligent. --ŠJů (talk) 00:41, 8 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. I agree there are times when a category should have multiple parent categories. Category:Water Transport on the Hudson River currently has Category:Hudson River and Category:Water transport by river. Some categories should really have more than two parent categories. Some only require one. If a category is going to be the only element in what might otherwise be its logical parent category, don't we skip sometimes skip creating that category?

    Yes, I understand the difference between a category and a gallery page. Note, that gallery page had the expository text the categories were missing, and a category that included that text and those elements could easily have been created.

  2. Yes, languages are full of quirks. Before he was emporer Julius Caesar wrote a book on his conquest of Trans-alpine Gaul. Schoolboys learning Latin had to read it, as an example. Its famous first sentence is usually translated as "Gaul is divided into three parts." But Caesar wrote it when mathematicians still used Roman Numerals, and the language of math was more primitive, and I have read that a literal translation of what he wrote would have been, "Gaul is quartered into three halves." Please don't worry for one moment about "maritime captains". I am glad I could figure out what you really meant.

    No, sorry, I don't think anyone has to prove that Sea captain is synonymous with Ship captain. They are both casual, colloquial terms. We don't have to include every casual, colloquial term in our category system. IMO Ship captain is less casual, less colloquial. Captain, of course, is way overloaded with meanings, in English, with Captain as an army rank, and Captain of Industry, and a bunch of other meanings, which must be disambiguated. But I don't see "Sea Captain" as one of the terms that needs to be disambiguated.

  3. Actually, someone else started Category:Ship captains. I didn't create it, I merely drew it to your attention.
  4. You thanked me for drawing your attention to what you characterize as "faults" in the categorization of Category:Space suits. I thought we had agreed everyone had an obligation to do their best to understand what their correspondents really meant. Are you telling me it didn't occur to you that I was satisfied at the then current state of categorization of Space suits, where it was not an element of Category:Astronaut or Category:Cosmonaut? Did it not occur to you that I was offering that as a counter-example showing we don't always shoehorn the tools in a field in to the category for the workmen in the field? For lots of fields both the tools and the workmen have the name of the field as their parent categories.

    Sorry, your "correction" of this "fault" seems extremely aggressive -- and disrespectful. I am perfectly happy to have you make a case for the general principle that tools commonly belong in the category for a workman in the field that normally uses them. If I list a couple of dozen examples where the parent category for the tools in a field is the name of that field, not the name of the workman, please don't tell me you are going to unilaterally "correct" all of them too?

    1. Category:Marbleworking tools
    2. Category:Milling tools
    3. Category:Textile tools
    4. Category:Hive tools
    5. Category:Beekeeping equipment
    6. Category:Harvest tools
    7. Category:Textile tools
    8. Category:Horology tools
    9. Category:Jewellery tools
    10. Category:Woodworking tools
    11. Category:Alchemical tools
    12. Category:Writing_tools
    13. Category:Mortars (tools)
    14. Category:Stonemason's tools
    15. Category:Glassworking tools
    16. Category:Silversmithing tools
    17. Category:Machining tools
    18. Category:Engraving tools
  5. Okay, your use of the term "occasional captain" -- it is due to your forgiveable lack of knowledge of the differing career paths of merchant fleet officers and naval officers.

    Lecture time. Someone who commands a vessel is entitled to the title captain. For centuries, navies have had vessels too small to merit being commanded by someone with the actual rank of captain. Depending on their size they are commanded by Lieutenants, Lieutenant Commanders, and Commanders. The early USN once had a rank "Master Commandant". Navies that operated in German had those double-barrelled German names, like Kapitan-zur-zee to distinguish between the different ranks who might command a vessel. In English, Lieutenants, Lieutenant Commanders and Commanders, who were in command of a vessel, were addressed by the courtesy title "Captain", although their actual rank was more junior than the substantive rank, Captain. I think you have confused these two terms. Naval officers can reach, or pass through, the substantive rank of Captain without ever being the captain of a ship. Naval officers hold staff positions. Naval officers hold specialty positions. Admiral Hyman Rickover, one of the USN's most important officers, was in the engineering branch, and never commanded a ship.

    For a long time every ambitious naval officer, who wanted to hold their navy's very highest rank, knew he would have to command a ship, at some point in their career. That might still be true in some navies.

    Merchant captains, on the other hand, don't hold shore based administrative positions. Nowadays merchant officers go to a merchant officer school, serve for a time as a cadet or apprentice officer, pass an exam that confirms they have the knowledge to be a captain, and get a "master's certificate". Once they have that certificate they are qualified to serve as a "mate" aboard a vessel. Depending on the size of the vessels they serve on, their job performance, the needs of their company, they can look forward to promotion from third mate to second mate, to first mate, and possibly to be the captain commanding a vessel. If their health permits, and they don't make any huge mistakes, they can expect to serve as a captain for the rest of their career.

    During a huge war, like World Wars One and Two, navies start huge ship-building programs, and have a need for experienced officers to command them. This is where the strategy of giving the best officers a crack at commanding one of the few vessel in the navy, during peace time. When a huge war comes that requires ten times as many captains, there are experienced captains to fill those roles. Huge long wars that trigger huge ship-building booms are rare, and for most officers those brief peace-time commands are all they get. Geo Swan (talk) 17:48, 8 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regarding the relation between "Captain' cabins" and "Captains", your work on the analysis of the tools subcategories is not very relevant, unfortunately. Only one of them is related directly to specific profession, all others are namad after activity, none of them is related to a specific function. Your analysis is not very represenative if you wanted really to analyse types of categorizative relations used at Commons. If we would have more non-personal subcategories of the item "Captains", we can create a parent category like "Captainship" or "Captaincy" for them (similarly as we have "Papacy" over "Popes"). If we have not such a parent category, the whole item of naval captains belongs into the existing category (and the non-personal subcategories - specific for captains - should be separated e.g. with a space before the sort key to be not mixed with persons by name). However, the direct relation between captain's cabin and captain's function is relevant, specific, and undeniable.
If both categories (Sea captain and Ship captains) contain maritime captains only and there is no need to distinguish some different types or levels of this title, I have nothing against merger of them under the name "Ship captains". In the law of my country, the word "kapitán" is oficially used only in the Maritime Navigation Act, not in the "Inland Navigation Act", that's why I'm ready to consider "ship captains" and "sea captains" as synonymes. --ŠJů (talk) 07:22, 10 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Geo Swan, ŠJů, and Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ): There appears to be consensus as of 2014 that there is no problem with merging Category:Sea captain into Category:Ship captains. If a clear definition of "Sea captain" is developed (maybe linked to an article or Wikidata item) and it is clear what should go in it, it can be re-created, but should be named Category:Sea captains in accordance with basic naming rules. For now, merging, closing, and archiving. Josh (talk) 22:50, 5 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]