Commons talk:Categories

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to Commons:Categories.

Overdiffusion of categories[edit]

This policy does not seem to cover over-diffusion of categories It has been discusses at the Village Pump, See Commons:Village pump/Archive/2018/08#Overdiffused categories which went into the subject at length. This is a terrible blight on the project. I have seen many times one image made into a category and then nested in as many as 4 preceding empty cats. Or small villages with 20 images, diffused into as many as 16+ categories. All the images hidden away from sight... Surely this needs to be addressed? Broichmore (talk) 11:46, 6 August 2019 (UTC)

I have started a proposal about this: Commons:Village pump/Proposals#Category overdiffusion by date. --HyperGaruda (talk) 20:38, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

Link to discussion on exception[edit]

Just a link to the discussion we had on the exception to the over-categorization rule: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Village_pump/Proposals/Archive/2019/11#Add_exception_to_COM%3AOVERCAT Llywelyn2000 (talk) 20:19, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

It doesn't appear that that discussion reached consensus. It's not up to the proposer to decide if/when things have been decided, and it's especially not appropriate for the proposer to say that the arguments of others were not rational. It would also have been good to put note here and on the countries category when the discussion started so that people who watch those pages could have seen it. --Auntof6 (talk) 20:39, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
Notes, links were left on 4 pages, and plenty of time had passed, with a large majority in favour of the proposal. I allowed plenty of time, a concensus was reached, and as no one else closed it, I did it myself. Better than being in limbo. As far as I know, this is the correct way - please send me a link to any rules to the contrary, if they exist. Many thanks. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 09:30, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

Illustration for HIDDENCAT[edit]

This picture has the hidden category "Taken with Olympus C-750UZ".

I suggest illustrating the HIDDENCAT section with this picture.

Thanks! Syced (talk) 06:30, 28 February 2020 (UTC)

  • The pun works only in English. - Jmabel ! talk 16:55, 18 March 2020 (UTC)

Ship categories[edit]

Hello! Would anyone watching this page know whether the years in categories for ships like Category:Esmeralda (ship, 1884) are supposed to represent the launching or completion? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 06:20, 28 April 2020 (UTC)

@The ed17: Category:Ships by year of manufacture (a grandparent of the category you mention) says it's by year of completion. --Auntof6 (talk) 07:14, 28 April 2020 (UTC)
@Auntof6: Ah, that seems like such an obvious place to look before asking here. Apologies, but thank you very much! Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 03:37, 30 April 2020 (UTC)

Proposal for naval ship categories[edit]

Naval ships often have a prefix in their name, as long as they have a militairy commander. E.G.: Hr.Ms. De Ruyter, HMS Endurance, USS Bainbridge, ARA Spiro and so on. Often is the name of the category in Wikimedia Commons followed by their pennant number. No problem at all, when the user can read the article of the ship in their Wikipedia by language. But not-specialist users, looking for images of the vessel, find more ships with the same name.

My suggestion is to start the name of the category with the pennant number, followed by the name and the year of first commisioning. Only if naval ships don't have a prefix: the name with "ship" and the year of first commisioning between brackets, as all other ships have the year of completion.
with a DEFAULTSORT to Shipname (ship, year of first commisioning) to integrate her with the other ships in Category:Ships by name (flat list)

Advantage: It places the ship immediately in her time. What not-specialist users see in publications or in a harbour is the pennant number, in large characters painted on the ship. Categorising this way can finding images of the ship make easyer.--Stunteltje (talk) 07:45, 30 June 2020 (UTC)

Do you have a suggestion for linking ships that change name? I think Category:F802 Hr.Ms. Van Speijk (ship, 1965) and Category:KRI Slamet Riyadi are the same ship. There are also the Dutch ships that get renamed between Hr.Ms and Zr.Ms. --ghouston (talk) 10:40, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
Not-naval ships are linked via the Imo number. Navel ships don't have such a link. They just have their own category by name. --Stunteltje (talk) 16:27, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
I made the category for the current name the parent, and linked it with the Wikidata item, and made the category for the previous name a subcategory. --ghouston (talk) 03:17, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
Hrm. The current naming convention for USS, HMS, etc. ships matches many other websites. Changing it would be a bit unexpected for most/all users, especially U.S. ships which are basically always referred to starting with "USS" (and I think British ships with "HMS", Australian with HMAS, etc.). They would also stop matching the wikipedia names (which templates like {{USS}} and {{HMS}} assume). Many countries do not use such prefixes, and our naming probably tries to follow "normal" usage for a navy, which can admittedly be inconsistent patterns, but may make the most sense overall. Also for non-naval ships, the year is the year of completion. It can be a bit harder to identify that for military ships, as some are not commissioned immediately upon being built (especially true of very old ships). I'm pretty sure I've seen a number of naval ships not use the year of commissioning, though I would imagine most of the time it would be the same. Secondly, if you are changing the DEFAULTSORT, then it doesn't matter as much (as a finding aid) what the actual name of the category is, since categories will be sorted by that. I don't think it has all that big an advantage, really. We have Category:Ships by pennant number, which can be helpful when trying to find a ship by those numbers. Also, you would need to name it "DD-246 USS Bainbridge", even though the visible number is just 246, which wouldn't be as much help as a finding aid (the U.S. can have the same numbers but with different ship types; kind of odd to have the number but not the type). Another point is that sort of naming convention is used with fishing ships (putting the license number first), and you'd probably get military ships mixed up in those search results. Lastly, some countries (e.g. Russia) seem to change those numbers quite frequently. They seem to re-number all their vessels at once, and can also re-use the same numbers on different ships (of the same class even) when they do, meaning those numbers really aren't associated with a ship for a long time. So they are not a cure-all as an identification aid (speaking from some recent experience), though they surely help. Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:25, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
As for related non-IMO and non-ENI ships, I thought I remember reading guidance somewhere to have the most recent ship name be the parent category, with older names as subcats. Not always a great solution, but it somewhat works. But I can't find where I saw that.
I tend to agree that naval ship naming is inconsistent for many countries. I would not mind putting the build year in the DEFAULTSORT, though it would have to include "(ship, <year>)" if you really wanted those to order correctly with non-naval ships. But I don't really see enough advantage in this change to support it. Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:25, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the comment. But please realise that lokal Wikipedia's have their own way of categorising articles. No problem at all. In the Dutch Wikipedia naval ships are named, starting with Zr.Ms. But Commons is for international use, where users have to find images as easy as possible. The find function of Commons delivers - when a user looks for a number starting with a character - gives fishing ships only in very few cases. Not-specialist users don't know the type of the vessels and not the right characters in the prefix. Many USS naval ships don't have the type in the prefix. For the a Bainbridge the proposed system results in:
  • Bainbridge (ship, 1908)‎
  • USS Bainbridge (1842)‎
  • 1 USS Bainbridge (1901)‎
  • 246 USS Bainbridge (1920)
  • 25 USS Bainbridge (1961)‎
  • 96 USS Bainbridge (2004)
The DEFAULTSORT is intended to find the ship by name in Category:Ships by name (flat list). The USS Bainbridge via Bainbridge (ship, year of first commissioning)‎. For ships that change their prefix in the name, new categories have to be made, as the prefix is in the name for naval ships. --Stunteltje (talk) 07:14, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
That does looks rather odd, frankly. And that only helps searching by number -- it makes searching by name in the same manner no longer work. If you know the name but not the number, currently you can type in "uss Bainbridge" and see all ships with that name, but that would no longer work if the names start with the prefixes. Sure seems to me most non-specialist users would search by the ship name, when they are looking for pictures of ships. And while you can use "intitle:xxx" in the search box, you can do that too with the numbers ("intitle:246 bainbridge"). For countries like Russia which reshuffle those numbers relatively frequently, we would need to rename all the categories too (and documentation on those number changes is often hard/impossible to come by so you would need to be able to name the category when you don't know the number). It may make identifying ships in a photo a bit easier, but I think it would harm a lot of other use cases, such has finding photos of a ship when you know the name. I don't think the identification case is important enough to change the category name -- I typically search in the Ships by pennant number categories if I'm trying to figure out a ship by its number. Each navy might have certain conventions or practices which may make some different naming styles make sense -- not sure we really have to standardize. If we do though, I would absolutely not put the prefix number first. In the U.S. case, it seems really odd without the ship type which is part of that identifier -- it's not immediately clear what it is. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:13, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
I assumed that not-specialist users just see an image of a naval ship somewhere and in that case only a pennant number is visible. If they read an article, in most cases the name of the vessel is used. I was not aware of "you can use "intitle:xxx" in the search box", did not find that instruction before. I was a professional standardiser in my working life, I prefer standardising in an encyclopedia. I did the suggestion for USS ships because in many cases ships have more functions in due time and more abbriviations in the pennant number. In my opinion that asks more categories for the same ship. Also for Russian ships. Unfortunately we cannot use an IMO-number to couple these categories, as we can do for civil ships with different names. --Stunteltje (talk) 19:47, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
Sometimes you can only read the name in a photo, and want to figure out which one, as well. I think more people use the search box because they want to find pictures of a particular ship, too, and I think this naming scheme would hurt those usages. It's not a naming style that most people would expect, so I suspect it could cause more issues than it solves. For those of us trying to categorize and identify ships it could help a bit, but I think there are enough other avenues for power-categorizers -- I typically just search in the ships by pennant number categories for those, and/or the intitle: stuff (or other things documented in Help:Searching like "incategory:").
If we were going to standardize naval ship titles, I suppose we could follow the naming rules in Category:Ships more closely, with perhaps the exception of using a prefix if that is common practice for a navy like USS or HMS, and omitting the pennant numbers completely. So maybe "USS Bainbridge (ship, 2005)". But I'm not sure that is worth it. Build years and commissioning years are not always the same (especially with age of sail ships, which could sit uncommissioned for a while after completion, and be decommissioned/recommissioned many times). I may prefer to just standardize on a scheme for each navy, though that may take someone more versed in that navy to pick a good pattern. For example, Category:Naval ships of Brazil has different styles depending on which ship type or class category you go into. That seems suboptimal to me, but I don't know enough about their navy to know how their ships are most typically referred to.
As for IMO numbers... some recent naval ships might have them (see Category:IMO 9752060), but yeah it's not common yet. They don't get renamed all that often these days, but it does happen. Similar problems happen with old ships which never got an IMO number but got renamed a lot. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:35, 4 July 2020 (UTC)
IMO categories seem the worst of all to me, because they are cryptic. The main category for a ship can be its current/last name, and where it's worth having separate categories for former names, they can be subcategories. Perhaps last name is not as useful when they ship was only renamed once, shortly before being taken out of service. --ghouston (talk) 02:47, 5 July 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, categories full of IMO numbers aren't terribly useful to dig through. Plus, they only start with digits 5 through 9, and modern ships all start with 9, meaning they aren't broken down in any helpful way inside a category. Logically it makes complete sense to have "built at XXX shipyard" type categories at the IMO level, since it applies to all the names the ship has (and doing it by name can sort of inflate the apparent production of a shipyard if ships happened to be renamed a lot). Random practice seems to have those categories, plus "ships scrapped at", at the IMO level, but "ships built in <year>" and "ships scrapped in <year>" at the name level, for whatever reason. I've been reluctant to move anything more up to the IMO level for the reasons you mention, though. It's highly unsatisfying to see a list of numbers to make that a meaningful search. If there was an "expand all one level" that would help, but I don't know of anything like that. You can't index them either.
The "most recent name" can be problematic for situations like you mention -- a ship is well known for one thing, then gets sold for a year at the end of its life with a different name. And ships are often renamed / reflagged just for the trip to the breakers. The "most famous name" is another way, but sometimes ships have signifiant career segments with different names. Another issue is that a subcat then becomes "members" of any categories the parent cat was. Say a warship gets converted to a cargo ship after a war, and has a significant career in the latter capacity (there were many examples of WWII ships that happened to) -- if the warship name is a subcat, then it's (by virtue of the parent cat) a member of various "cargo ship" categories, and if done the other way around, the cargo ship is a member of "navy of XXX country" categories. The IMO/ENI categories solve those issues, but then create the ones you mention. I really don't know the best way to go, honestly. Usually though naval ships don't have those issues anymore, but sometimes can be sold to other navies and have significant second careers under a different name. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:14, 5 July 2020 (UTC)
Ships changing usage completely may be rare, but it does happen, e.g., en:Yas_(yacht). Although when the change is that large, it's seems like basically a new ship that recycles some ship parts. --ghouston (talk) 02:17, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
A single name is needed in any case for the Wikidata labels, and I doubt that many would want to use an IMO number. I think using the same name for the main Commons category and the English Wikidata label would be logical: why come up with two naming conventions when one is enough. Likewise, the English Wikipedia article names. --ghouston (talk) 04:34, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
@Ghouston, if you cannot bear the heat, stay out of the kitchen. The IMO and ENI categories have the function to couple schipnames. Nobody wil start looking for an IMO number by going through the pages in the category. I categorised thausands and thausands of ships and it is a very important tool for that work. Not to discuss here, we discuss shipnames. Please realise that Wikimedia Commons is not an extension of the English Wikipedia, but for international use. E.G. The English Wikipedia uses the year of launching, in Commons the year of completion or first commissioning. Many captured and or bought ships into the navy have no known launch or build dates, so it's convenient. --Stunteltje (talk) 06:46, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
Wikidata now has a way to have the main item be linked to the Commons IMO category, and subitems for specific ship names. The title of the main item can be whatever -- doesn't need to be an IMO, but that can always be edited to be the "most recognizable" or "latest" or whatever. Typically it is a ship name though, not the number. Ships changing function do happen actually, especially with cargo ships. Those per-ship-name categories also have things like "Ships registered in Monrovia", or recently I've seen things like "blue and white ships", and those change much more frequently. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:33, 6 July 2020 (UTC)

Proposal to add user categories as an exemption for OVERCAT[edit]

Hello, I've a discussion with User:Elkost about what he believes is a violation of OVERCAT and I believe is my good right as Commons user and image uploader. User categories are hidden and are so not visible to most viewers of Commons, these categories are there as a tool to administrate the stuff Commoners have on Commons. More precisely, I have the following 3 categories in an image: "Images by User:Poco a poco", "Images by User:Poco a poco taken in 2018" and "Images of Spain by User:Poco a poco", and I would like to keep it like that (many other photographers do the same) without having to leave it to the odds that the category "Images by User:Poco a poco" is removed by other users who believe that the removal is the right thing to with per OVERCAT. I use the "mother" category "Images by User:Poco a poco" for example to track the amount of pictures I've uploaded to the project, to add the figure in userboxes or to run stats with tools like Glamorous or Unused Images.

My concrete proposal is to add an additional note to the section "Exception for images with more categorized subjects" like this "Also user categories are exempted as those are not visible to most viewers and project users should have no restriction for their use". Any other opinions on that? Poco a poco (talk) 10:02, 31 May 2020 (UTC)

  • I think what you are asking is reasonable. 2 remarks:
    • The verb is "administer" not "administrate".
    • As for the simple number of your uploads, you could also do something like what I do at User:Jmabel/top uploads (which, when transcluded, shows only the number). - Jmabel ! talk 16:21, 31 May 2020 (UTC)
Thank you Jmabel for your answer and your remark. I sometimes (after have agreed it upon the author) upload variants of existing images to improve them or to show and issue, but those are derivative works of images from other Commoners, so not really my images. The same apply to others who upload derivative works of my images, so a clear rule is not really possible. That's why I do appreciate the flexibility of user categories (paying the price os some administrative work).
I just added that note to the policy as it seems that, looking at older threads, not many people will participate here Poco a poco (talk) 11:15, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
+1 -- King of ♥ 12:56, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

Systematical OVERCAT violations[edit]

Hello, I hope to get an advice though I have no clue if anyone is still watching this page at all.

My question is simple: There is a certain user who permanently violates COM:OVERCAT, both in files' and in the category namespace.

Any attempts of mine to fix, revert, and/or talk to them ended up in an unbelievable aggression from their side, so that it is useless to explain, why there should not be redundant categories.

On Administrators' noticeboards, it is useless to report the user, as hardly an admin shows any interest for category-related topics.

So in short, my question: what to do? If you say "just ignore", then maybe we should abolish all rules such as COM:OVERCAT, because it has no point anymore in maintaining it?

Thanks in advance. --A.Savin 21:05, 1 July 2020 (UTC)

Sorry if the question may sound dismissive, but did you detect any concrete harmful consequence of the categorisation you describe, or is yours merely a general concern?
Sometimes, when I see some parts of our rules about categories appear to go unenforced in certain areas of Commons, I suspect users let it be because that portion of the category tree is perceived to work sufficiently fine for those who use it. Nemo 21:30, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't get your question. The situation is, that we have here a clear guideline named COM:OVERCAT which -- I suppose -- was thought to avoid an overflow of generic categories such as Category:Forests and to increase usability of more specific categories too. And now there is a user who is violating this rule en masse, and any attempts to explain the rule have failed.
So, if you wish, my question is: why do we still have these guidelines, if it is no longer possible to enforce them? All users are equal, but certain ones are more equal than the others? Thanks. --A.Savin 22:02, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Examples? Otherwise this comes over as just whining, and more about an editor you dislike than about content.
OVERCAT is a very simplistic policy, justified on a narrow basis. In many cases it's entirely right to ignore it.
The basis for OVERCAT is that if membership of one category entirely implies another category, then there is no need to state the second category. That is a stronger requirement than merely being a member of the first category. As Mediawiki categories are far from rigorously defining, there are many, many cases where their members are not all implicitly members of a supercategory, simply because the two categories are related. Andy Dingley (talk) 08:52, 5 July 2020 (UTC)
The first priority for me -- believe it or not -- is the quality of the content, so yeah, if an editor does poor edits en masse to damage the content, there is no reason for me to like this user. Apart from that, we are not on Admin's noticeboard and that's why I abstained from calling them by name and provide difflinks and the like. And I don't feel like doing it, as long as I have the impression that no one here is really willing to help me. --A.Savin 12:08, 5 July 2020 (UTC)