Commons talk:Category scheme People

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Some questions about cats for people[edit]

Hi all, I would love to get guidance on more detailed questions about categorizing people. I´ll point out some questions that left me unsure whether consensus exists or not. They are focussed on Category:Politicians of Germany, as this is where I did a bit of categorization recently, but might be applicable for other countries or occupations, too:


Should the categorization give

  • A) all occupations/professions of the person or
  • B) just those that contribute in some degree to the person´s notability?

This occurs with many politicians that have been lawyers/farmers/miners as well but in the public eye are usually not associated with that profession but just with their political office.

People by city[edit]

Should "People of (city or state)"

  • A) only relate to the person´s places of activity or
  • B) generally categorized by their place of birth as well, even if the respective city has no further relevance for the notable parts of the person´s biography?
Commons has selected the "People of xxx" form to be more wide and flexible. We noticed that with the "from" form, people created additional "of" forms anyway to indicate people that are not really "from" that place. I feel that linking a notable person to his birth place brings up more related information (statues, graves, parents/family, birth house, local museums, busts, plaques and statues, street names) and make the people feel more "connected" to that person; it is theirs. --Foroa (talk) 16:53, 6 May 2013 (UTC)


Category:Female politicians of Germany ist heavily underpopulated compared to the overall number of images/categories that could be put into that category and Category:Male politicians of Germany even more so. Before I start to add this cat to 1500+ existing "Politicians of Germany"-categories, I´d like to ask if there is real consensus about the adequence of such a category: If less than 5 percent of the suitable items are included in a given category this might show that the cat either is not widely accepted or simply doen´t work for whatever reason. Should they be

  • A) filled regardless or
  • B) put up for deletion or
  • C) some day merged into a flat, gender-related category ("Men", "Male humans", "Males" or whatever) or
  • D) should I simply leave it be and do something else?
  • E) Or is it a "visual category" that is used on image-level only and should not be attributed to categories?

I know that this might be a controversial issue, but listing only 100 "Male politicians" for Germany is somehow ridiculous, so a decision would be good.

I never categorise by gender because making subcats for a data reduction of 2 is ridiculous (we should aim at a factor of 10 to 100), and the categories with genders are too much occupation, era and country specific. If really needed, it would be much simpler indeed to add a "man/woman of xxx" category. And generally, I don't think that it is really needed at the image level; I tend to recognise it on sight, but I guess there are some exceptions. And I am not interested in a long discussion about the sex of transsexuals, drag queens and gender converted people. Although I firmly believe that such cats are discriminating for women, I leave it on the side to remain "politically correct". --Foroa (talk) 16:35, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Sexual orientation[edit]

We have a few entries in Category:LGBT politicians from Germany, but - as with gender - the category is obviously underpopulated. The reason could be that it is not clear whether the cat relates to the sexual orientation of the person or to their main field of political activity. In Germany, we have an increasing number of politicians - including two prime ministers and a minister of the exterior - who are quite open about being homosexual, without being "LGBT politicians" in terms of political focus. Should the cat

  • A) be understood as being about sexual orientation (in consequence leading to inclusion even of "hidden" homosexuals that were only outed by post-mortem biographical research) or
  • B) be focussed on LGBT acticivists (raising the question about redundancy with Category:LGBT activists from Germany)
  • C) be deleted (per the logic that we neither have categories for politicians by marital status, parent´s social class, spiritual belief, body mass index or preferred house pet)?
Personally, I would say C), but to be "politically correct", I think that it will remain A), unless someone will drive it further by making cats for divorced people, people by number of marriages and kids, bisexuals, gender converts, ... --Foroa (talk) 16:41, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Seeing "which of our politicians are gay" could be a legitimate use of categories. I would suggest ensuring the scope of the category is clearly explained with summary text, and it is named to be explicit, such as Category:Politicians from Germany who identify as LGBT. I agree that there is no point duplicating the LGBT activists category as one could pull this out using cat scan or similar (a link doing that in the summary could be helpful, and avoid tempting others to create a category).
This link is a cat scan report showing the overlap between LGBT activists from Germany and Politicians of Germany (SNAFU for me at the present time though). -- (talk) 12:21, 21 May 2013 (UTC)


Is Category:Victims of Buchenwald concentration camp (and similar cats for victims of other camps) to be understood as

  • A) a "visual" category (containing images made in Buchenwald and depicting victims) or
  • B) a "tagging" category (containing as well "People by name"-categories or portraits of persons who are Buchenwald victims)?

Thanks for any help and all opinions, --Rudolph Buch (talk) 19:21, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

This are all very good questions, and I'm not sure there are clear answers for any of them, though I'd love to hear what you and others have to say. On the last question, I suppose it could be both? If these categories become overcrowded, you could make more precise sub-categories? - Themightyquill (talk) 00:39, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
The drive to increase categorisation depth (and category encapsulation) is quite in contradiction with visual categories. We have no good solution for it yet, improved software should help. A relevant discussion can be found in Commons:Categories for discussion/2013/03/Category:Trams in Prague. If you really want visual categories, one need to create "side" categories, such as "Suffering in Buchenwald concentration camp" or so to trick the categorisation deepeners that enter some sort of panic mode when they see more than 30 pictures in a category. --Foroa (talk) 17:04, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
In occupation I'm for option B.--Sanandros (talk) 09:28, 6 August 2017 (UTC)


Under "Categories for specific persons", I believe it would be worth mentioning that Wikimedians will normally have their own user category (as in Category:User:Fæ) in preference to a "main" category (as in Category:Fæ). User categories are most often used to contain the uploads from the Wikimedian, but can be used to identify photographs taken of that Wikimedian, such as those from conferences; when they have been happy to be identified in photographs (the convention is that the photographer should confirm at the time, or before publishing).

The above covers cases where a Wikimedian is not particularly notable to the non-Wikimedia world (such as WMF board members). If the Wikimedian is unarguably notable under their real name (such as User:Jimbo Wales), then a category may be useful (such as Category:Jimmy Wales) if significant numbers of photographs exist published under their real name. Unless the user routinely links their real name to their wiki-identity on Wikimedia projects, this should be avoided as a courtesy. -- (talk) 10:34, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

As suggested there, my main point here is that people (not users), who are simply interested in finding media on Commons, should be able to tell from a category's name whether it is a “content category” or an “internal category” (of non-notable content to the non-Wikimedia world). --Leyo 08:25, 24 May 2013 (UTC)


There seems to be a white elephant in the room: Wikidata.

The technology may be some way off, but why can't we just use Wikidata? Imagine this:

You simply tag images as "depicting" a particular person. And then the software would do the rest.

  • Tony Blair: tag the picture as depicting Q9545. Want to find all the pictures depicting prime ministers? Find all the pictures that depict some person x such that x has held the office (P39) of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (Q14211).
  • Identity categories like nationality, sexuality, relationship status, religion, employer, language etc.? They are in Wikidata too. You want a category for "Pictures of Jewish lesbian people who once met Barack Obama who like jazz" - okay, sure. That's just a Commons-ish view on Wikidata.

As I said, we're some way off having a good way of doing this, but centralising this information on Wikidata means we don't end up with weird disparities between Wikipedia and Commons - if we become aware that some information about a person is incorrect, we simply update Wikidata and everything from infoboxes to Commons gets updated.

If we dream big about how this could work on Commons, that could feed into the development of Wikidata. This seems a saner and much more scalable alternative to building a parallel structure of categories on Commons with all the risky BLP-style issues that exist for anything involving people. —Tom Morris (talk) 13:39, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Tom. For me this is not an elephant in the room, I have only just got a voucher to go to the zoo, to potentially see and marvel at the elephants. :-) Perhaps if it does not exist yet, we can have a page somewhere on Commons that spells out how one might use the API (or Lua?) to do some of this stuff? I would have thought a couple of working examples would be the best way forward.
My Faebot work to categorize images by counties (and equivalent regions) is probably a good and more neutral example compared to living people. If we could associate Category:Yorkshire (and sub-regions!) with its wikidata reference, then doing interesting things with geotags becomes potentially robust to change, such as boundary changes made by the Government.
Certainly, the whole BLP, self-identification and handling of attributes (such as age, sex, marriage status, religion ...) makes total sense to crib from wikidata rather than doing something weirdly less robust in isolation. -- (talk) 13:59, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Titles of monarchs in category names[edit]

As per this discussion, I was thinking we might make it general policy not to start category names of monarchs with titles, just for the sake consistency. On English wikipedia, their en:Wikipedia:Naming conventions (royalty an nobility) guideline says that "Article titles are not normally prefixed with "King", "Queen", "Emperor" or equivalent" but that doesn't seem to apply for other royals like princesses and consorts and such. I don't feel strongly about this and I don't know much about royal etiquette or whatever, so I thought I'd bring it up here and see what others think. - Themightyquill (talk) 16:40, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

I will like to go a bit further and say that all honorifics should be disallowed in naming categories on people. Th concerns have already been validated in a previous debate linked to by User:Themightyquill above. It will also bring some consistency between different Wikimedia projects and prevent new users from different projects from making unintended mistakes. Rahul Bott (talk) 05:22, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Categorize people just by relevant categories[edit]

On de wp exists a policy to categorize people only by there relevant fields. Like Angela Merkel not to categorize as physicists as she was never relevant in that field. It would help to reduce the chaos on commons and would prevent that category trees are crossing the topics.--Sanandros (talk) 19:55, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

Note: English wikipedia doesn't have that same policy, since Angela Merkel is categorized there as a physicist. We don't have the same notability requirements at commons as exist at wikipedias, so "relevance" is even harder to determine here. - Themightyquill (talk) 10:15, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

What does "from" mean again?[edit]

There are a lot of categories like Category:Sportspeople from Australia. Oddly enough, it doesn't seem to be stated anywhere exactly what's in scope in these categories. This project suggests that it would mean exactly the same as "Sportspeople of Australia", and presumably includes anyone associated with both sports and Australia, and would include examples such as somebody born in Australia but who only played sport in the UK, and somebody born in the UK who resided in Australia and played sport there. Is this correct? --ghouston (talk) 03:36, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

@Ghouston: My reading of Commons:Category_scheme_People#People_by_country_/_People_by_occupation_by_country suggest that someone who was born in Australia but only played sport in the UK should be in Category:People of Australia by name (of = connected to) but Category:Sportspeople from the United Kingdom (from = active there). - Themightyquill (talk) 10:21, 29 March 2018 (UTC)
It seems a bit vaguely defined. I suppose it will sort itself out with structured data, where statements can be made separately for citizenship and residence. --ghouston (talk) 22:58, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

People by occupation[edit]

Can we change a little bit the occupation scheme, specially for politicans or also military people who go to politics which have occupations in different fields makes pics appearing of a different topic in another topic (ie. picture of an inaguration appearing in a military category). So I'd suggest to categorize the gallery page, and then do subcategorries of "XY as general" and "XY as minster". Further more also not to categorize fields of occupation where they didn't gain relevancy (like Category:Angela Merkel is not in the cat of Category:Physicists, even she done some research in physics).--Sanandros (talk) 09:26, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

"Y and Z"[edit]

" alphabetical order of their family name linked with the word "and", i.e. "Y and Z" (e.g. Category:Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan)" - how about the supercategory for "Y and Z"? --Fractaler (talk) 08:52, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

Given that all individual biography categories should be in Category:People by name, we could create Category:Two people by name (or something similar), but I'm not sure it would be especially useful. - Themightyquill (talk) 10:10, 29 March 2018 (UTC)
If Y, Z = national leader, how about: Category:Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan -> Category:Two national leaders -> Category:Two people? --Fractaler (talk) 11:58, 29 March 2018 (UTC)