Commons talk:Naming categories

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Criterion: "period"[edit]

I am not happy about that, as "period" is an very disambigous term: we have that in arts, where some perods are common historic eras (like "Medieval"), some are stylistic periods ("Gothics", which nearly completly belongs to Middle Ages (in Europe) an could be sorted into "Medieval", but "Renaissance" is both Medieval and Modern Period - in fact "Contemporary" is an arts period, that does not mean Year 2007, but a stylisic period to be assumed actual), and kalendaric entities ("12th century"), which will fit to chinese arts as well ("Chinese Middle Ages" are not simultaneous to "European Middle Ages") - so we will have to precice them, sorting art by any period wont make sense..
I think problems like that will occur at any topic entity vs criterion: creterions are chosen specific by subject of the topic, not "for anything" --W!B: 03:46, 11 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You can choose any appropriate criterion. The criteria list is only for help. --Juiced lemon 18:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mapping to other wikipedias[edit]

Because the commons are some sort of support for other Wikipedias, I am very much confused by reading "categories are for Commons Wikimedia what articles are for any Wikipedia".

I would expect to find in the commons a similar category scheme as in the English wikipedia in order to avoid the repeating of debates as stated in the article.

Could there be a clear statement if the interwiki's in the categories are to refer to categories in other wikipedias or to other articles (and what mapping). --Foroa 11:35, 20 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Tchaikovsky case[edit]

This is an interesting case: Category:Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich. This category page (please, don't edit these items):
  • is incorrectly named (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)
  • is heavily linked to Wikipedia articles, not to Wikipedia categories
  • has no subcategory (there is no gallery about the same subject: links, only the duplicate category Category:Peter Tchaikovsky), but no doubt that subcategories will be needed (Swan Lake File:Swan Lake VRDV.jpg)
If we want to create a gallery, a correct name would be: Чайковский, Пётр Ильич. In such event, it's not clear if we should add the interwiki links to the gallery and remove them from the category page. --Juiced lemon 15:46, 20 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Misinterpretation? (references)[edit]

“According to the language policy rule, the English Wikipedia will be the reference for any encyclopedic issue.”

That’s new to me. --Polarlys 15:41, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's maybe due to the poor wording. What do you thing of:
“In coherence with the language policy rule, the English Wikipedia will be the reference for any encyclopedic issue.”
--Juiced lemon 16:38, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just can’t find the matching rule. --Polarlys 16:44, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You didn't read the beginning of the page. This is the link: Commons:Language policy. --Juiced lemon 17:01, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
“At present, this page is a summary of existing practice rather than a formal policy” ? --Polarlys 19:50, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, it is a summary and a synthesis of existing practices. Of course, I had to make choices according to practibility, or when there were different incompatible practices. These choices may be discussed.
Example: The Universality principle: some users think that we can use the term “transport” in some areas, and “transportation” in other ones (like the United States) for the same subject. If the Community agree with this principle, that will be prohibited. The word “transportation” would be still used (alone, or in an expression), but only to refer to another subject than “transport”.
Grounds to the large amount of documents about naming in the English Wikipedia, this Commons page can be seen as insignificant. Though, there will be significant consequences to the database organization. --Juiced lemon 09:42, 1 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, since this choice unsettles users from other projects (there was a debate going on on de.wp about “According to the language policy rule, the English Wikipedia will be the reference for any encyclopedic issue.”) I simply removed the whole paragraph. No one will miss this summary of existing practice in its absolutness. --Polarlys 11:47, 1 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, but this is a Commons page, and its contents have to be discussed here in this Commons talk page. You cannot remove a section arguing obscure reasons as a pretext. --Juiced lemon 01:39, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Simply prove that “English Wikipedia will be the reference for any encyclopedic issue” is more than your private opinion. --Polarlys 14:24, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a ridiculous request: I don't read in people's mind. This document is a draft, and I did my best to work out worthwhile proposals. If you disagree, explain what and why, and preferably make alternative proposals. The Community will make her choice. --Juiced lemon 15:21, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Commons is an international project, nowhere anything like “English Wikipedia will be the reference for any encyclopedic issue” is defined. This is your claim, there is no basis in our language policy for that and thus I see no reason to argue with you about your statement. The only restriction: Categories are in English. BTW: This document isn’t marked as a draft, and “providing guidelines” doesn’t sound like a “draft” either. Regards, --Polarlys 16:28, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Every document which is not a copy of another one comes from “nowhere”. If you cannot make any clear remark, or any alternative proposal, you are allowed to spare us your litany of non-constructive comments (it's euphemism). --Juiced lemon 20:59, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Huh, I thought that’s a consequence of our language policy? Despite your attacks, I appreciate your work on this page, but this statement covers more than just “Naming categories”. This project is mature enough to develop own guidelines. If helps us: fine, but please don’t set it as an ultimate reference. --Polarlys 11:11, 3 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Something wrong Juiced lemon ? You start to use rather soft euphemismes ? Getting old ?
Anyway, I am completely against using the english Wikipedia as the basic reference as it is too young and I noticed on several occasions that people changed it to get it right for the sake of their arguments. What English naming is concerned, I would rather suggest the Britannica or Encarta as defined for the en:Wikipedia; this avoids cascading references. As category tree reference, I would suggest indeed the en:Wikipedia. --Foroa 06:31, 3 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am pleased to see that at least one other user is aware that Wikimedia Commons need encyclopedic references. Britannica and Encarta are worthwhile references, but to my knowledge, full access to the articles is not free, like for the English Wikipedia. However, if we could resolve or get round the access problem, I think that may be good choices.
Concerning the category tree, I completely disagree with your proposal. 1) Articles and media files are different kinds of things 2) We can expect 100 millions files in our database, and the English Wikipedia will never help us to sort them 3) The access to our media files, and therefore their classification, is Commons competence domain. --Juiced lemon 10:41, 3 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Don't get me wrong: I stated clearly: Britannica or Encarta as reference what category naming is concerned (I.e. English naming reference), so the fact of having no full access to those references is not very important. All the rest is the role of the commons to find out. I just wanted to state that we can use the en:wikipedia as structural reference or starting point; we probably have no other significant reference point and anyway, half of the commons categorisation is cloned from the en:wikipedia.
Basically, I agree with the statement of user:Polarlys. Before going deeper into this subject, I think that we better first make a clearer definition of the role and objectives of the commons (I did not find that). Personally, I had planned to produce a number of use cases last week in view of potential category organisations and anticipations (and avoiding all sorts of conflicts), but I am afraid that this needs to be postponed again for one or two weeks. --Foroa 11:54, 3 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Foroa, the only existing document about the "roles and objectives" of Commons is really the Project scope. (Personally I think a formal aims/goals statement would be useful, but it doesn't exist yet.)
Commons doesn't even have agreement about whether to use categories or galleries. IMO the unstated aim should be to organise files in a system that is meaningful to uploaders and (especially) 'browsers' (people trying to find files relevant to their specific query or topic). From this, we get the need for consistency/predictability. It's more important that a system is applied consistently than actually which system is used. --pfctdayelise (说什么?) 08:11, 4 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Generally, I agree with you. Your aims and goals section is already a good starting point but at first sight, needs a bit of thinking and probably an additional practical/pragmatical section. Before restarting any debate, I will try to formulate in the coming weeks a number of use cases to try to distillate some real practical needs --Foroa 10:16, 4 July 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Misinterpretation? (references) Part 2[edit]

The point is that when something has a controversial name (say: Republic of China / Taiwan - there are 100s of examples), why should Commons have the same debate yet AGAIN? It is far easier to let other people have the debate and follow the convention they choose. Since categories are in English for the time being, the easiest reference point is the English Wikipedia. It's not to say everything English Wikipedia does is correct and they're perfect, of course that's not true. It's only a convenient choice. What do you propose Polarys? That we ignore the many pages of debate on English Wikipedia (and other places) about naming and have the debate again? That's a waste of our time IMO, we could be doing more productive things. --pfctdayelise (说什么?) 08:04, 4 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The problem I see is that the names of Wikipedia articles are changed too easily and hence too often. When you use those names for naming categories, you have a problem because renaming categories takes much more time and energy.

For me, the first level are the proper names, such as geographical or object names: e.g; Firenze/Florence, Bruxelles/Brussels, cattle/cows/bovinea, Köln/Cologne, ... I prefer to refer to one independent reference such as the Britannica, mainly because I know it will not change. Those are the rules anyway that are defined for the en:Wikipedia naming.

Concerning the second level of (composed) naming, such as the controversial ones, I fully agree with your position concerning the English Wikipedia. However, if you categorise deeper in a country or a subject, elements belonging to the country or specialised subject might prefer other naming rules. An example: a wikibook that goes into much deeper details than the encyclopedia might use/need a deeper and specialised category scheme. Another example, in Belgium, you should never say that the French speaking community equals the Walloon community (But the Walloon Community is part of the French speaking community).

The main problem that I see (this is not a problem for me) is that wikipedia's in other languages like to feel "at home" in the commons, especially in the domains where they are more knowledgeable/specialised than the english Wikipedia. So I feel that we have to try to get some input from people such as Polarys that want to define standards/approaches that go "beyond" the Britannica and/or English Wikipdeia standard. --Foroa 10:16, 4 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Non les autres wikipédia ne se sentent pas tellement à l'aise ici. C'est évident. Mais c'est votre projet. Si c'est trop difficile de contribuer sur commons, on reviendra à la belle époque où les photos resteront dans chacune des wp, et tant pis! Si les anglos veulent faire de commons leur chasse gardée, grand bien leur fasse. Ils n'auront qu'à venir faire le travail d'extraction de nos photos sur nos wiki linguistiques. Bouchecl 05:09, 5 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Juste pour poursuivre au sujet de mon intervention précédente, si aujourd'hui on nous force à utiliser les catégories anglaises, demain nous forcera-t-on à écrire nos vignettes en anglais, parce que c'est tellement-plus-simple? Mon peuple se bat depuis 250 ans dans un océan d'anglophonie. Vous touchez là, mesdames et messieurs, des cordes très sensibles. Bouchecl 06:26, 5 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merci de votre réaction. Je vais essayer de traduire votre besoin et sensibilités dans les "use cases" et d'y extraire des exigences appropriées. I will try to integrate in the use cases the need to "feel at home" as this is obviously a touchy point and maybe key for a more general use of the commons. --Foroa 07:18, 5 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reference(s) for encyclopedic matter[edit]

To define reference documents regarding to encyclopedic matter is not the primordial purpose of this page. However, we need encyclopedic matter for the naming process, and we cannot put aside this issue as long as another Commons page doesn't deal with.

Example of an encyclopedic subject: To what country does Gibraltar belong? --Juiced lemon 12:25, 4 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reference(s) for naming[edit]

In the English Wikipedia, there is a large set of documents regarding the naming of pages. Applying these rules or guidelines, choosing between different options, checking popularity of names, is not an easy and obvious process. So, I question the pertinence to redo this work in Commons, when that has be already done in the English Wikipedia.

Notice that the English Wikipedia will not resolve all naming issues in Commons, since classification can lead to categories which don't match encyclopedic subjects.

Example: Category:Sint-Bavokerk (Lauwe). See the discussion about the move proposal of Category:Churches in Lauwe. --Juiced lemon 12:25, 4 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

hm, I think, You misconcluded something: above You stated "Sorry, but this is a Commons page, and its contents have to be discussed here in this Commons talk page. You cannot remove a section arguing obscure reasons as a pretext." (referring to an discussion at de:WP) - in fact, here is Commons for sure, which is an international platform, not en english (although we'll use english as an lingua franca to talk to each other, which is undoubted) and any discussion on de:WP is as good as on en:WP - of course, one can refer to any single discussion on any lokal:WP to show some problem was discussed before (and of course, english-language discussions will be easier to use) - when talking about nameing, we talk about the correct english word for a category which should contain something after we found a consens on what specific theme it should fit - there is no reason to conclude "English Wikipedia will be the reference for any encyclopedic issue" (which would include, what en:WP decided, what fits into their category-scheme) from any rules about the languge we use to talk together and name categories - to my opinion You confuse the language english and en:WP, don't You? --W!B: 09:38, 5 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't. I say that naming a given subject is often a painful and iterative work. It's even harder in Commons project, since English is not mother tongue of most users. So, do we want to waste our time to debate about naming?
On July 2006, I created Category:Jaw harp, because I thought that Jew's harp was not a suitable name for an international project (due to the allusion to a Semitic people). One month later, another user created Category:Jew's harp. Can we do something against that? --Juiced lemon 19:42, 5 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
of course we can, just set an REDIRECT Category:Newcategoryname in advance, if you want to avoid the category to double up.., see Commons:Rename a category - as you would do with any article in any project to redirect variations of notation of an lemma ( --W!B: 17:16, 10 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looks good[edit]

I just wanted to say that, imho, this looks good. Samulili 16:36, 3 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


KLoveliest (talk) 10:44, 10 May 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

U.S. city categories[edit]

A discussion concerning naming conventions for U.S. city categories can be found at Commons:Village pump#U.S. city categories. howcheng {chat} 19:06, 19 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Archive to Commons:Village_pump/Archive/2007Nov#U.S._city_categories

here is a copy:

It has come to my attention that categories for U.S. cities are inconsistently named. Sometimes they follow the pattern of Category:Cityname, State and sometimes it's just Category:Cityname. The problem with this inconsistency is that an editor never knows which one to use when trying to categorize his/her photos. Personally I would like to see them all follow the "Cityname, State" rule, even when the name is unambiguous, like Salt Lake City. I would have brought this up at Commons talk:Naming categories but that still seems to be a draft and not an official guideline yet. Thoughts? howcheng {chat} 18:58, 19 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While this is not English Wikipedia, and we're free to make our own rules, for the sake of consistency, I think we ought to follow en:Wikipedia:Naming conventions (settlements)#United States as closely as is reasonable. This should be noted in some document somewehere in Category:Commons category schemes. LX (talk, contribs) 19:42, 20 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Most of naming conventions in the English Wikipedia are intended for articles, not for categories of media files. To follow such conventions is like trying to feed your car with oats.
Categories have a particular nature since, unlike articles, they can have subcategories. When the subject of a category is a location, the subcategories are often “compound categories”, that is their name is built from the “location name” in their parent category.
This construction system (see Commons:Naming categories) is disrupted when the name of the parent category is excessively verbose, because it would lead to long subcategory names with bad readability. In particular, that occurs when the category name has a disambiguation suffix, though there is nothing to disambiguate. I know from experience that users often fail to add the useless suffix when they build subcategory names: that leads to extra work in order to carry out consistency.
Therefore, I support the following general rule: for the naming of Wikimedia Commons categories, disambiguation suffixes are restricted to disambiguation cases. This rule supersedes any non-Commons convention (but exceptions are possible). --Juiced lemon 21:31, 20 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Original proper names versus exonyms[edit]

The question of local and original names versus exonyms should be specially entertained:

  • very well-known English names of places enjoy priority over original and local names
  • person names should by used in original language or in common transliteration and haven't be translated
  • original local proper names and other similar established local names (as stated in maps etc.) enjoy priority over ad-hoc English translations and over rarely used English named
  • such names of buildings or subject or places which are commonly used in original language should be used in original language
  • terms which don't have established English translation should be used in the original or most used language

--ŠJů (talk) 09:36, 12 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment to Foroa's reverts: Commons:Language policy says "Category names should generally be in English", not "Categories are in English". "De facto policy" is that proper names aren't ad-hoc-translated if the English exonym isn't established. The precise policy can be discussed but the general preference of English category names shouldn't be desinterpreted as pretence to general prohibition of proper names in original form. Expectable, official and most commonly used names of category subjects should be preferred to some translation-experiments. As mentioned above, the policy of English Wikipedia should be a good guidance and inspiration for Commons too. --ŠJů (talk) 00:28, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's pretty long. Can you give an example? Thanks. Wknight94 talk 02:12, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ŠJů might have in mind categories like Molen van Ezaart, Mol, Den Steenen Molen, Boechout, Moulin Gustot, Opprebais,Nederlandse Veiligheidsregio's, Chapelle des pénitents noirs, Avignon, Pieve di San Giovanni Battista (Cavriglia), Centre international de Deauville. -- User:Docu at 06:52, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am definitely opposed to "Molen van Ezaart" and even more so, "Den Steenen Molen, Boechout". Molen just means mill I gather? That is not a connection someone in China is going to make easily. "Mill in Ezaart" does not sound like some official name that would offend Dutch speakers. If you remove the comma from "Den Steenen Molen, Boechout", you just get "Den Steenen Molen" ----- the Stone Mill? How can that be an official name? That's like saying "Library" is the official name of the building down the street from me, and renaming it to Bibliotheque in fr.wp would be offensive to me. That would be silly. "Chapelle des pénitents noirs" doesn't even have capital letters - that doesn't look official to me at all. That is not clarified by fr:Chapelle des Pénitents noirs which has capital P in the title, but the lede has capital P and N, but a lower-case c. Regardless, none of those are easily identifiable by an English speaker. Wknight94 talk 12:54, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why they must be "easily identifiable by an English speaker"? Is this English Commons? I'm seriously thinking, that I'll upload all my files on Czech Wikipedia, not to Commons. --Ragimiri (talk) 14:10, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cultural differences indeed. Two comments: en:List_of_windmills_in_Belgium for the proper names (but sometimes wrongly capitalised (title cased)) and in many countries, including France, only proper terms in proper names are capitalised. In English, generic terms should not be capitalised, so it should be "Donau valley" and "Silicon Valley". It is not because in the majority of the wikipedia articles, the proper names are not consistently used, not properly capitalised and mixed up with title cases, that we have to propagate those mistakes overhere. And yes, "Den Steenen Molen" is a proper name dating from at least 60 years ago; in modern spelling, we would write it "De stenen molen", exactly as you could have names such as "The Grey Pub", "The Golden Restaurant", the "Blue Bakery", "Wooden Church" ...
We have the difficult task indeed to find solutions that can be understood to a maximal extent by English speaking persons. But don't expect that English will solve all the problems. If you have a chinese pub with its name written in Chinese or a translation such as "the lady that kisses the lotus in the morning", your understanding will not be very different. I am pretty sure that for many "English" buildings such as in Category:Buildings in Boston, Massachusetts, most people don't know (anymore) what the name really means: the name only contains English words, no real meaning. --Foroa (talk) 14:38, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

--Foroa (talk) 14:38, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, the reverse view is revealing. en:White House is a very official name for the U.S. President's home. And yet you have cs:Bílý dům and nl:Witte Huis (Washington D.C.) and it:Casa Bianca and fr:Maison Blanche, etc. How is that more acceptable than translating "Molen van Ezaart" into "Mill in Ezaart" on what is supposed to be an English-focused project? en:Buckingham Palace is even more odd - it.wp, nl.wp, pl.wp all leave it as is, but then you have es:Palacio de Buckingham and, worse, cs:Buckinghamský palác - doesn't even retain the name of the original occupants. Wknight94 talk 15:03, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, there are many questions: have a walk through en:Special:PrefixIndex/casa, en:Special:PrefixIndex/Huis, en:Special:PrefixIndex/Ponte, en:Category:Castles in Italy ... --Foroa (talk) 15:51, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Commons is "supposed to be an English-focused project"? Wow, thanks for saying it. Now I understand, that is only for English speakers. :( --Ragimiri (talk) 18:12, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Calm down please, with such remarks we don't make progress. For recall: because Commons software for categories work only with one single category set (and will never work with multiple languages unless there is a more structured naming approach and a central multi-language topic/subject/naming database), it has been decided to use English as the language for the categories. Thats the constraint we have to live with and with which we have to make the best possible system. --Foroa (talk) 18:23, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It has been decided by who, when and where? --Ragimiri (talk) 19:15, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Somewhere in 2004 in the beginning of the Commons project I guess. Anyway, I don't think that for international language use, there are many other options than English. Moreover, it seems logical to start by leaning as much as possible on the biggest Wikipedia. --Foroa (talk) 19:28, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An idea of "central multi-language topic/subject/naming database" is an interesting thought experiment but it would more problems evoke than solve. It's an ivory-towered conception which can hardly become a functional base of categorization. This eventual experiment have no crucial relation to the question what form of name should be the main in cases of un-English themes. It can have at the most additional function.

The main administrative language of Commons is English and it should continue so. On the other hand, many subjects have no purposeful English name and we must take it into account. The question is whether an international project have to tend to Englishize whatever and everything at any rate or to prefer most used and most right names and minimalize anglicization of un-English names and themes to necessary level. When we use a translated name of some little-known square or railway stop, the translated name can better make clear the meaning of the name but it make more difficult to identify and find the individual subject. That's why common concepts (apelativa) should be named in English (if possible) while names of individual subject should be used in most widespread or official form, excepting worldwide famous subjects which are well known under an English name. --ŠJů (talk) 20:59, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal extension December 2009[edit]

The following extension has been proposed for the language use:

  • proper names of individual persons, places, buildings, organizations etc. and other stable specific names of local phenomena should be in original language (transliterated to Latin letters if needed), in the official or most common form; however the English exonym or endonym should be used as far as it is widespread or (officially) established or commonly found in English-language documents. Ad hoc made English translations of proper names are undesirable.
  • terms which don't exist in English or that their English form is strange should be used in original language or in the most widespread form

I oppose for several reasons these changes in the "de facto" policy:

  • "transliterated in Latin letters": so words such as user:ŠJů would be forbidden as they are not Latin letters. On one hand, that would increase my comfort as it is a pain the ass to have always to find a copy of it for pasting (autofill in search does not work on it), on the other hand it seems too restrictive to me. On the other end of the scale with names like Category:Hình truyền lên bởi thành viên Lưu Ly seems a bridge too far. In the past, I tried to propose a compromise but no one seemded interested.
  • With the current imprecise definition, any non-English name can be used for anything, it can be abused as the "proper name" term has been abused many times. The terms exonyms and endonyms are confused with proper and local names. The term "most widespread" use is the perfect way to open endless debates.
  • This potential Commons rule precision is indeed needed but it will be very difficult to find an acceptable compromise. This will be even more difficult as many people are only interested in using their own local names and have very little consideration for the overall Commons needs.

I'll come back on it later this week and will try to start a proper discussion. --Foroa (talk) 07:54, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My reply to your comment from 07:54, 15 December 2009 is included in my comment from 01:43, 15 December 2009 (UTC). (Even English-speaking user can find by Google or in a map or in a train timetable rather "Karlovy Vary dolní nádraží" than "Carl's Wells Lower Station" or some hybrid name). The question what form of the local name can be found by an English-speaking user in most accessible maps (and what type of map is adequate to such type of subject) is a reasonable way to choice of a optimal name form. The second criterion should be consistency: when two or three Prague squares (bridges, streets...) have established English forms of names but hundred others haven't, we should decide whether a benefit from translated forms is greater than a deviantion from the official forms. This is regular dilemma. But it's out of doubt that we shouldn't use some "creative" ad-hoc translations and semi-translations of toponyma, especially of officially stated names.
It is abolutely evident that some local names should be used in English and other un-English names should be used in original form. We have to understand benefits and disavantages of both possibilities and on the basis of comparison and counterbalance of them we have to find optimal solutions for various types of names and for individual boundary cases. Sensible consideration is more feasible than assertion of some unconsidered fundamentalist thesis.
Latin-based alphabets of many languages are purposely build as compatible upgrade of basic Latin letter set. Latin letters with diacritical marks don't need transliteration as far as software facilitates them almost fully. An international project like Commons should be able to not mutilate names like Sør-Trøndelag, Reşiţa or Kardašova Řečice. We should have respect to the current practice and policy.
A constructive discussion aimed at searching of optimal evenness is welcome. Stubborn negation without any constructive and realistic proposal would be waste of time. Current "de facto policy" of Commons is broader, more multifarious and more proven than only Foroa's current "de facto policy". Let's go out from efficient experiences, not only from an extremist and unrealistic thesis. We should take into account that we never will have precise and mechanically applicable rules. The general rule can describe essential reasons and prevent from most extremist bias only.
Many specialized problems remain to solution. E. g., Umgebindehaus is a special German type of house. As far as this term exists in German, Czech and Polish language only, the category cannot have an English name. But when we use the German term, should we use the German form of plural (Umgebindehäuser)? Singular is infringement of general naming rule, German plural can be unintelligible for English-speaking users, mixing of German word and English grammar is problematic as well. (We could find an English term for "Umgebindehaus" possibly but there exist many other similar cases.) --ŠJů (talk) 17:15, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Non-English category names for places[edit]

This discussion part is moved from Commons talk:Categories#Non-English category names for places. --ŠJů (talk) 15:33, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can we add a section about the existence of non-English category names? e.g. the other day, Foroa moved "Lake Zurich" to "Zürichsee". How shall we accurately describe the current usage? -- User:Docu at 22:38, 14 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For a start, it's needed to shortly describe current practices and to mention types of categories and types of subjects which are neglected in the current text of this help-page. I tried to desribe the current usage but Foroa reverted whole formulation without any constructive and consistent opinion. The English Wikipedia can be a good base and guidance for formation of Commons policy which isn't precised yet.
The advisable degree of preference of English exonyms or of stable and official local names should be sought and discussed. But it's unquestionable that many proper names shouldn't be translated and that names of most famous individual objects should be in English. The borderline between this two possibilities is fuzzy but utilizable. We know that Foroa asserts extremely his effort to translate many proper names which haven't an established and widespread English form. Many other users more likely prefer oficial, original and most worldwide used forms of proper and stable names. Accessible maps of Helsinki hold local proper names in Finnish, maps of Budapest in Hungarian, maps of Madrid in Spanish. Original names of streets, squares or stations are generally more usable than English translation-trials. Even English-speaking user can find by Google or in a map rather "Karlovy Vary dolní nádraží" than "Carl's Wells Lower Station" or some hybrid name. Category name of Category:Cabbage Square (Brno) isn't a good tool to identification of "Zelný trh" in Brno and to find it in a map of Brno. Famous mountain-ranges, seas, countries and metropolises should be named in English, but in case of famous buildings, squares, streets and many other objects, we should consider whether a benefit from the English name is greater than the inconsistence toward names of less known places and than the incongruity toward the official or most used form of the name.
Also it is evident that many terms relating to non-English-speaking-countries realia haven't an established English equivalent. --ŠJů (talk) 01:43, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I support ŠJů and I recall that I asked for a reference to the debate on the adoption of this rule at November 22 with no reply. --Ragimiri (talk) 09:38, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suggest to continue the discussion on one single place: Commons_talk:Naming_categories. --Foroa (talk) 11:13, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Zürichsee problem has been discussed in a period where people invented all the time English names and moved back and forwards many Swiss lakes without any sort of concertation. I defended the case of endonymn, Docu the case of exonym. We invited another administrator to step in and to decide (with hindsight, Lake Zürich is the right name). Finally, Docu decided to execute the move himself and to close the discussion without concensus. I reverted that unilateral decision. --Foroa (talk) 11:13, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Last time, if I recall correctly, you explained that you moved the category from "Lake Zurich" to "Zürichsee", because one of the categories it was in, had other subcategories that were all in German, this despite that the article Lake Zurich hasn't moved. -- User:Docu at 11:24, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think we should make a better effort to describe current practice. It's just too much disruption that way it's currently done. -- User:Docu at 11:24, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

End of discussion part moved from Commons talk:Categories#Non-English category names for places. --ŠJů (talk) 15:33, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I for one prefer to use the most common form found in English literature. English wikipedia is one source the other approach I used is counting google articles related to each possible name form. For example while researching the best name for category:Gdańsk Main Town Hall I checked 7 possible translations I could think of:
  • "gdańsk main town hall" - 9,490 pages
  • "gdańsk town hall" - 9,200 pages
  • "gdańsk main city hall" - 9 pages
  • "gdańsk main city town hall" - 283 pages
  • "gdańsk main town city hall" - 10 pages
  • "Town Hall of Główne Miasto Gdańsk" - 0 pages
  • "Town Hall Of Main City Of Gdańsk" - 0 pages
and picked the one with the most hits. However some name should be left in the original language. For example
  • "Cabbage Square" Brno - 114 pages
  • "Zelný trh" Brno - 808 English language pages and 27,700 any language pages
has much more English pages using the original spelling than the English translation. --Jarekt (talk) 20:30, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. "To use the most common form found in English literature" is a good idea for themes which are steadily handled by English-language literature. But there are many themes that even English-language user needs to use the local-language literature. E. g., Czech topography is described historically in German, Czech or Latin language, modern specialized maps contains toponyma in Czech (only map legends use to be translated), oficial names of Czech places are only in Czech (excepting bilingual parts of Czech Silesia). It means that subjects which aren't markedly treated by English-language literature should be named by most common local-language name. Sporadic additive and explicative translation in English-language texts cannot substitute the identifying function of the original name. Such English explication belongs into the description section of the category page (if needed), not into the category name. The first purpose of category names is specification, not explanation. --ŠJů (talk) 21:30, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As shown with the "Cabbage Square" example above sometimes there is almost no English literature on some subjects, then local names are preferable. I am sometimes quite surprised to find categories related to Poland with names that do not mean anything to me (and I am fluent in Polish and English). Some of those names also have no Google hits. --Jarekt (talk) 22:15, 15 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As regards to Google test of a spread, its disadvantage is that a number of founded pages is too little relevant. Most relevant sources for geographic themes (i. e. online maps as well as paper maps) aren't involved in Google fulltext searching. IMHO technical and official documents should have special relevancy for factual projects like Commons. --ŠJů (talk) 20:35, 16 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Google results have to be taken with caution, but the lack of results can be a good indicator that the name one tries to use isn't in use.
I think the approach outlined by Jarket is more or less the usual approach at Commons and it explains place/building/object names such as "Molen van Ezaart, Mol, Den Steenen Molen, Boechout, Moulin Gustot, Opprebais,Nederlandse Veiligheidsregio's, Chapelle des pénitents noirs, Avignon, Pieve di San Giovanni Battista (Cavriglia), Centre international de Deauville".
Even if there is a common form found in English literature, I think it's important that the category description (and probably and a category redirect) include the local original name. Removing or deleting this is just not productive.
In any case, I think we should bear in mind that the main reason to use English is to avoid having trees in Category:Forest and Category:Forêt. Besides, we don't want categories to be moved back and forth all the time. -- User:Docu at 21:33, 16 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Lock misuse[edit]

Foroa, a misuse of a lock in order to enforcement your own excessive and unrealistic posture isn't a good way of constructive cooperation. You deleted even the formulation "terms which don't exist in English should be used in original language or in the most widespread form". Have you some reasonable vision how to treat such themes and terms or your irrational negativism is boundless in this? --ŠJů (talk) 20:21, 16 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Category names should generally be in English.[edit]

Why? ☭:CAT says "It is essential that every file can be found by browsing the category structure.". A Japanese could not even begin to use categories in this way. I have no problem with using English as the primary language, but there have to be category systems in other languages, too. Think of the way languages other than English are treated in the case of policies and guidelines. Paradoctor (talk) 23:17, 16 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think, nobody have problem that English is the primary language and category names should generally (but not allways) be in English. In order to correct functioning of category system, it's necessary that every category have its own one name. For generally themes and groups of subjects, the category name should be in English. For categories of individual objects, its often more useful that such category would have the original name of the subject, not a name translated to English (those practices should be discussed). But every category should have its own primary name. Eventual alternative names in other languages (or in English, if the primary category name isn't in English) should be only an additive tool similar to redirects. It should be usefull to support and improve a functionality of such "redirects". But a full implementation of multilingual category names can induce many new problems: many words have one meaning in one language and other meaning in other language. Many words and terms aren't translatable accurately - similar word in other language can have a little wider or narrower or displaced meaning), some words don't have their equivalent in some languages etc. That's why every category should have only one primary name.
I have problem with the current Czech localization. I can see menu, some templates and system messages in Czech. I understand them a little better. However, when I want discusse some question, I must first to disable the Czech localization so that I can see and cite the original English message or template. If an user will see category names in his own language, he will understand better the name but he can horse make understood with other users about such category. That's why localization texts and translations should be every only a supplement, not a supplanter of the primary text. --ŠJů (talk) 21:59, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

☭:cat is the worst shortcut I've ever seen. Who has that on their keyboard? Rocket000 (talk) 23:22, 18 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I do. And you can have it, too! ☮☺ Paradoctor (talk) 23:38, 18 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
lol. :) Rocket000 (talk) 00:03, 19 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A synonyms policy?[edit]

Anybody know of an existing policy regarding synonyms in category names? Specifically I'm wondering about the redundancy in Category:Computer_displays and all the similar categories listed on that page (the "See also" links), which at least to my non-native eyes seems hugely problematic. Combining them shouldn't be too much work at this point, but even that much isn't worth doing if synonymous categories are allowed to exist by policy. -Uusijani (talk) 07:55, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If one can write a definition for each category that explains how it's different from the others, there should be separate categories. Otherwise it's "we should not use different names to label a single subject". -- User:Docu at 11:21, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just my 2 cents[edit]

I assume I'm included in the general invitation to participate in the discussion, so please bear with me for a few paragraphs.

First, I am willing to accept that English is the working language on Commons. On the onther hand, it would be nice if native English speakers would acknowledge that this means that a sizeable number of users are required to use a -for them- foreign language. As a Dutchman, I'm used to this, but how about users who generally speak, write and think in, say, Spanish, French, Chinese, etcetera? At times -though not in the above discussion- I have sensed a tendency of "speak English or shut up".

Now that I've got that off my chest;), I think that the general principle should be that the names of physical, geographical objects (streets, railway stations, rivers and so on) used in categorisation should be the ones used at the location of this object. As if one were to stand in front of it and ask a passer-by "what's the name of this [...]?".

That means that, in my opinion, a category like Category:Gare de Lyon is correct. Something like "Lyon train station, Paris" would be wrong: there is an excellent categorisation using the local language, and by using a clear category tree (this is a subcat of, among others, Train stations in Paris) any user can find his way up.

Category:Lek River is not quite correct, since the Dutch name for this river is not "rivier de Lek" or "rivier Lek" but just Lek. However, I suggest that we keep it this way, as a courtesy towards non-Dutch speakers.

As to the Cabbage Square-example: I am sure that a Czech user will be able to tell me whether it is likely that I, visiting Brno and asking for directions to the Cabbage Square, would be understood. If not, then Category:Cabbage Square (Brno) is factually incorrect. Category:Zelný trh (Brno) would be correct. Anybody wishing to add, purely for the purposes of clarification, that the literal translation of its name is "Cabbage market", is of course free to do so.

Just as one could add that the Lek is what starts as the Rhein (German) in Switzerland, is called both Rhein and Rhin (French) where it is the border between France and Germany, becomes Rijn (officially Nederrijn) when it enters the Netherlands, an becomes Lek shortly before becoming the Nieuwe Maas, and finally turning into the Nieuwe Waterweg before ending up into the North Sea.

Confusing? Absolutely, but that's what you get when working on a global project. In case of extreme confusion, one could always add the odd redirect or two. Best regards, MartinD (talk) 15:27, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seconded. A levelheaded approach, I think, and one that anyone could get behind. I also find it bizarre that Category:Gare de Lyon was deemed unacceptable. Mr.choppers (talk) 13:47, 27 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We need usability software changes[edit]

Are they still accepting usability software suggestions for Commons? From the various comments above, I am getting the idea that we need some actual software changes to accommodate the various language issues here. Japanese people need to be able to navigate categories in Japanese, Czech people in Czech, etc... English should be more of a fallback position - if a category has 100 subcategories but only 80 of them are translated into Russian, the remaining 20 should show in English. From a pure computing perspective, there is no reason this couldn't be done, but I have no idea what effort would be required. Has anyone asked? Wknight94 talk 16:16, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sounds like something similar already lives at strategy:Proposal:Multilanguage categories and bugzilla:5638. Anyone good at getting things like that pushed forward? Wknight94 talk 18:41, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would like to know the consequences of the naming rules on this multilingual support. My guess would be that non-English categories will complicate the introduction of such a system significantly. This issue should be considered. --Cwbm (commons) (talk) 08:38, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

After returning to Commons after editing at non English wikis the page displays in the language of the site you've just been at, with that language used for the header, side bar etc, the page continues to work in that language until you begin to click through the categories. How hard would it be to extend this to the categories. The category and the category tree itself would not be renamed or duplicated it would just be translated into the language that the user set as their default, a linguistic filter through which the unmodified page is viewed, like browsing through a website using the translate url option on Google language tools.KTo288 (talk) 13:20, 18 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just had a go with Google language tools English to Chinese website translation and navigating seems to work okay, but I wonder how much money they had?KTo288 (talk) 13:27, 18 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On the other hand we don't have money but we do have a lot of public minded volunteers, Google languages has a "suggest a better translation" option, a very wiki attitude to the world, we don't have to have it perfectly right the first time, as long as we create a framework in which an ever better version could be created. Its more of Meta thing but a Wiki-translation tools would be a benefit to other user communities other then Commons, it could potentially allow all the articles in all the wiki projects to all users.KTo288 (talk) 13:51, 18 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Which has all inspired me to createProposal:Wiki language tools at Wikimedia strategic planning, thoughts and suggestions?KTo288 (talk) 15:35, 18 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good thoughts. If you want only translations on the fly in one way (from English to whatever), solutions are rather simple and straightforward, but the user will always see the categories in his language but he will be unable to use them for entering in the system. If you want to make it work in two ways, then substantial changes will be needed, along with a more formal and strict naming method (and a database with keywords and prepositions). That's one of the reasons why I need quite some time to formulate a more precise naming rule proposal. --Foroa (talk) 20:26, 18 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My initial thoughts on this is just as the page is viewed through a layer, the wiki can be edited through a layer. The user could edit in his or own language to a layer which would then be translated by a bot, which would create a script to be acted upon.
An analogy would be like placing an transparency sheet over an image and annotating the image by writing on the sheet. Once the user has finished on the transparency sheet the sheet would be passed to a second party who would be use it to create instuctions for amending of the image, and once these instructions have been completed they would be passed to a third party to act upon.
My experience of bot translation is that they work best with short and formulaic phrases, so to work best this system would greatly benefit from the strict and predictable naming system you propose.KTo288 (talk) 17:31, 19 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@KTo288: A translating of terms is very sophisticated activity which cannot be made automatically. Outputs of Google language tools are rather funny than usable still. Only a transliteration from some non-latin-based writing systems (or back) could be made automatically.
As I mentioned above, every category should have its own primary name and other variants should be an additional help only. In order to retain a possibility to make understood with one another, the primary category name should be displayed always and the select localized name should be displayed as an additional legend and a subsidiary tool only. Of course, there are many names which cannot be translated to some language or which haven't a special English form (see Umgebindehaus as an example). It is not reasonable to anticipate that the primary category name can be allways in English. However every category should have only one right and primary name. The equality of all language forms of the selfsame category name is utterly unrealistic idea. --ŠJů (talk) 20:45, 18 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually for the most part I agree with you. There are three ways of doing this, by translation, by description and by transliteration. Taking 荳腐 as an example we could have a category named, Bean curd, one named Coagulated soy milk or the one we do have Tofu. Depending on the subject each of these methods has its own merits. However the fact that English is remarkably open to the importation of loan words from other languages means that the tranliteration often becomes the actual English word for the concept. For example housewise Bungalow is the accepted name for such a dwelling despite the word being derived from Hindi. My attempts to translate or describe your example of umgebindehaus has come up with Umgebinde style house and Wood frame houses with independently supported floors and roofs which both make Umgebindehaus look like a good choice for the category name, who knows given time umgebindehaus has every chance of becoming the proper English name for such a house. However with your other village pump example Marshrutka, a combination of translation and description comes up with Routed share taxis, which gets across the majority of the concept to English users without being too ugly or unwieldy. Personally I would summarise things as use English where possible, if it translates easily into English use the English, use the transliterated name if it has become or is in the process of becoming an accepted import into the English language, if the concept can be described easily use a description, use the transliterated version if none of the above apply. (The exception that I would make would be that transliterated version of proper names should be used unless there is a long established historical English version of it.)KTo288 (talk) 18:54, 19 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree, starting with an English definition/interpretation, you can get everywhere, even if no real English word exists for the item; there are thousands of words like that. It seems always easier to find problems than solutions. I think that a stricter category naming discipline and a keyword/topic database would be sufficient to enable two-way multi-language category naming for 98 % of the cases, the few exceptions could be held in a "key expression database". --Foroa (talk) 20:02, 19 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@KTo288: The article loan words distinguish loan words from foreign words. Both of them can by used in an English text. (And it can be added that not only individual words but also word constructions including coumpound proper and local names can be borrowed from another language.) That is the point. There are many cases that an un-English word (a local name or local term) is cited or mentioned in an English text in the original form. Sometimes beside the English form as instrument to identification, sometimes because the English equivalent don't exists, sometimes because the foreign word is more locally specific (marshutka is the special term for the Russian form of shared taxi. E. g. prairie, steppe, pampa, savanna etc. are synonyms in principle, but each of them have other geographical connotations. That's why many foreign local terms and names are more predicative and more suitable than an universal English word). Notre-Dame patrocinium is a similar example. It is necessary to consider every individual case and every type of name. It is suitable to recognise whether and when the category name should have rather an identifying function and when rather an explanatory function. Original proper names and other stable local names should be always taken into consideration and their advisability should be compared with advisability of eventual English exonym or translation. The sentence "Categories are in English" cannot be the ultimate arbiter of such dilemma at all. Albert Einstein should be not translated as Albert Onestone, although its very easy to translate. Proper names of streets or train stations or regional nature reserves can be seen in similar way. In medieval times, it was usual to translate nearly all proper names. Nowadays, proper names are more often used in the original form. The question is whether an international project as Commons should rather follow this way of internationalization (i. e. preference of original names) or whether it's policy should be to anglicize all and at any costs. But nobody doubt that categories of general worldwide themes should by named generally in English.
As regards "Umgebindehaus", I generally don't support some English semi-translations of established foreign terms and some English neologisms or periphrases. The German "Umgebindehaus" can be literally translated as "round-bound house", the equivalent Czech term "Podstávkový dům" is derived from cs:Podstávka (a special term for such house base - pod=under, stát=to stand), the Polish equivalent "Dom przysłupowy" is derived from the word "Słup" (a column). It's pointless to borrow a half of the term from one foreign language and complete it by some English word. There is an essential distinction between terms and some common description. It's evident that some of the foreign terms should be used as the category name, only the problem with a plural form remains.
Foroa, now you are admited that there are thousands of terms which haven't an English equivalent. There exist consistent and established way how treat such category names and I described it in the text. But you twice reverted it without any realistic alternative. Fantasies about "keyword/topic database" and "stricter category naming discipline" can be interesting but don't hide by them the fact that the text you twice removed accords with the current policy. A chimerical vision of some relational database will don't solve the problem which category name should be the primary one when the English name don't exist. --ŠJů (talk) 18:58, 21 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(reset indent) I am, probably more than most people, multilanguage and multi-cultural oriented. What I am blocking on (would be) official pages is the addition of wide open and unprecise rules that can only lead to even more discussions. Before starting any such discussion, we have to define what character sets, diacritics and scripts are allowed. Once we have an agreement, we can bring that "on-line". This should already avoid this type of Commons:Categories for discussion/2009/12/Category:José López Portillo discussion. In a second round, you can try to define more precisely the domains and the cases where the English rule can be overruled. We are trying to enforce very simple English names avoiding to a maximal extent complications and inflections (Cities in Japan, not Japanese cities) for many reasons (amongst others computer translation/conversion), and this proplem comes even more difficult to handle when accepting other languages. I am pretty sure we will need to find compromises, such as the definition of an exonym/endonym (which you consider pretty wide) and scope/objectives/priorities: for example for churches and buildings that have a intercultural link (which I consider one of the biggest added values of Commons) is more important to me than the ability to find it on google maps. --Foroa (talk) 08:02, 22 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Systematic and systemical discussion would be welcomed by me. By that time, it's needed to respect prevalent practices (although they are not unique through the whole Commons) and desist from massed movings of church names, street names etc.

I believe, the consensus that proper names in latin-based alphabets generally shouldn't be garbled is prevalent. Diacritics in such alphabets aswell as the form of the English alphabet were purposely built as compatible upgrade and modifications of the Latin alphabet. The question how treat other alphabets is indepentend on it, in general.

However the general discussion shouldn't suspend current and future discussions about specific individual themes and categories. It's possible that street names have in some countries or settlements a character of translatable dedication or description while in others places they have a character of stabled alphabetic strings or the name language is a substantial component of a name identity. The same is true for churches, train stations etc. It depends also on the fact whether the concerned area or settlement is multilingual or monolingual etc. It's needed to be discussed separately for each theme and each country. Contributors which uploade photos of such theme and who write Wikipedia articles about it should have a prominent role in such discussions (they are most frequent users of such categories).

We needn't to invent what is invented allready. en:Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) and en:Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names) formulated them and those principles are implemented and accepted in large measure here at Commons.

  • use the version of the name of the subject which is most common in the English language. For geographical names, when a widely accepted English name, in a modern context, exists for a place, we should use it
  • redirects from non-English names are encouraged
  • names not originally in a Latin alphabet, as with Greek, Chinese or Russian, must be transliterated
  • versions of a name which differ only in the use or non-use of modified letters should be treated like any other versions: Follow the general usage in English reliable sources in each case, whatever characters may or may not be used in them. Beware of over-dramatising these issues.
  • when the topic has not yet received much attention in the English-speaking world, so that the established usage isn't constituted, then should be followed the conventions of the language in which the entity is most often talked about (German for German politicians, Turkish for Turkish rivers, Portuguese for Brazilian towns etc.). Specially for geographical names: If no name can be shown to be widely accepted in English, use the local name.
  • relevant foreign language names (one used by at least 10% of sources in the English language or is used by a group of people which used to inhabit this geographical place) are permitted and should be listed in alphabetic order of their respective languages
  • where there is an English version of the name of the subject, it should be mentioned, even if it is not the most common name in English-language usage (this rule is relevant to article texts, but can be implemented into cat-redirect policy at Commons)
  • When there are several competing foreign terms, a neutral one is often best; often a compromise is reached
  • Modern names are preferred over the historic one

IMHO this policy of en-wiki is a good base for Commons too. However if the Commons policy shouldn't be consonant with the English Wikipedia policy, the difference should be rather a greater accommodating to the original names than a greater anglicization. --ŠJů (talk) 18:02, 22 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia can be more tolerant on languages because they have working redirects and an intro that explains all the different languages. I have no time for the moment, but if I read you correctly, this latin name based category has the correct name: Category:Nhà thờ Phủ Cam. And which one is the correct one: Category:Jacques Coeur or category:Palais Jacques-Cœur. Is it Category:Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or Category:Johann Wolfgang von Göthe (like category:Cedric Güthe. Should it be category:Meryem Ana Kilisesi or Category:Church of St. Mary of Blachernae (Istanbul).
Goethe. Never Göthe. Ever. Please! ;) Paradoctor (talk) 23:05, 22 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One of the blessings of English language requirement is that it avoids problems where several languages are spoken (many regions exist and the "majority" changes from city to city). You probably don't believe it, but I have been thinking really hard on this, and I still have a very long way to go. --Foroa (talk) 19:43, 22 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Over and over again. We have no problem with general themes which have a good established English name. We have almost no problem with foreign proper names which have a good established English equivalent. We discuss here terms and names which don't exist in English or that their English version isn't established and widely accepted.
English neologisms and ad-hoc translations don't solve problems with controversial local names. The city Liberec was named Reichenberg before expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia. Should we create some English neologisms like „Wealthy-Peak“ as a solution? It's absurd. The highest Czech peak at the Czech-Polish boundary is named "Sněžka" in Czech, "Śnieżka" in Polish, "Schneekoppe" in German, Śńyżka in Silesian language and Schniekuppe in Upper-Silesian language. Historical German name is Risenberg. It has no English name. Should we create some one? Snow Peak? Giant Mountain? Should be the Commons an language laboratory which will anglicize names of all foreign villages and hills? What about Krkonoše? The Czech name is Krkonoše, the Polish name is Karkonosze, the German name is Riesengebirge. There exist English name "Giant Mountains" which is verbal translation of the German name, but preference of the German name is controversial through consequences of World War II. Which salvation come from such English name? You invented nothing better than English Wikipedia. Wikipedia give good criteria, they are since long ago accepted here at Commons and you should desist from extremist anglicization as far as there is no consensus for such actions.
Your statement that "Wikipedia can be more tolerant on languages" is groundless because category redirects are better treated here at Commons than at Wikipedia and page redirect tools are consonant in both of projects. Explaining intro descriptions should have category pages at Commons as well, if needed. And first at all, English Wikipedia is an English-language project contrary to Commons which is an international project with English language as integrative instrument only. --ŠJů (talk) 00:05, 23 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Foroa's obstruction[edit]

Foroa, stop making senseless edits of the page and steady abusing your sysop rights. You ignored previous objection. --ŠJů (talk) 21:02, 18 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the case of an edit-war, the page gets reverted to the way it was before the war. Maybe Foroa shouldn't have done the protection himself but if a neutral third-party (e.g. me), protected it, it would be the same (wrong) version since that's what it was before the disputed change. Actually, I didn't even read what you changed/added, I just noticed the edit-war, so I really don't have an opinion one way or another. Just keep in mind (both of you), this is proposed, and just because someone edits a policy page doesn't mean it's instantly policy. It must be backed by consensus to mean anything. So try and establish that before adding anything (even if what you're adding is "a description of established practice", obviously someone disagrees so discuss first). Relax and talk about whatever the issue really is. I would unprotect this, but that would be pointless if you guys are just going to continue edit-warring. (Foroa please don't reprotect if someone else unprotects, let someone else if it needs it.) Rocket000 (talk) 23:57, 18 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wouldn't that have to be called a wheel war, properly? Paradoctor (talk) 00:38, 19 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The standard procedure on Commons is that, in case of disagreement, that a discussion takes place on talk pages or elsewere till there is some consensus. This is even more applicable for sensible pages as rules or guidelines. So that's what I enforce, no more, no less. --Foroa (talk) 07:17, 19 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are you aware that Commons:Naming categories explicitly states that References or links to this page should not describe it as "policy".? Neither is it a guideline. You made that mistake several times[1][2][3]. This was pointed out to you before[4]. I don't mind you two editwarring. You're users, too, after all. But in my opinion, you very clearly overstepped the limits of your mandate when you used page protection in a content dispute with another user. Please let me remind you both of Docu's advice: "Please both avoid reverting each other in the future without attempting to discuss it.". If you can't reach an agreement, there's always ☭:DN.
I'm asking you, Foroa, to either unprotect Commons:Naming categories, or to provide a statement contained in ☭:P that justifies the block and its extent. Paradoctor (talk) 13:13, 19 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Both of you Foroa and ŠJů, have a point, and both of you are undermining your positions with a silly edit war, and really the both of you should know better. Yes ŠJů, your amendment seems a sensible and logical amendment to policy proposal, but it should not be unilateraly inserted into policy without wider acceptence, ask for/start a poll and have it voted on, I for one would support it. Foroa I agree the lock was needed to stop the edit war, but given that you are a party to it, the best thing to perhaps would have been to ask an uninvolved third party to adjudicate and carry out the lock.KTo288 (talk) 21:06, 19 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good heavens, is it contagious? Did you really just refer the proposal as a policy? Is there some subtle quirk of the English language I'm missing? Sorry, KTo288, but this is exasperating. In my last reply, I gave an explicit, referenced argument that the page in question is not a policy. Now you go and talk like I said nothing. If I'm wrong, please let me know. Paradoctor (talk) 22:49, 19 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I could make the case that even as a proposal it is being implemented as if it were policy and that is why there is an awful fuss here, or I could just admit that I didn't read your argument properly and that it was lost on me.KTo288 (talk) 09:50, 20 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you can make a case that it is being implemented as if, then where is the distinction between a proposal and a policy? In that case, label it as policy, and the problem is solved. But then we can do away with the entire formal consensus process, and simply consider anything as policy that is done anyway. If it was just lost on you, no problem, just hand some fish, and I'll hopefully be less TLDR next time around. Paradoctor (talk) 15:47, 20 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've come across quite a few categories deleted or redirected as not conforming to policy, might take some to find them again though.KTo288 (talk) 18:56, 20 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(reset indent) Sorry for the late reply, but I have little time nowadays, why some of my reactions are more drastic than usual. The Commons:Naming categories page is a guideline or policy page that, considering the complexity and sensitivity of the subject, did not manage to get formally further than the proposal stage. It is fairly incomplete and needs badly improvement. But at least, it does exist and is stable for a couple of years, so forming the active guideline. So far, on Commons, all important changes on policy and guidelines are being done via talk pages and for major reworks, via draft proposals on separate pages as it makes no sense to rewrite a new guideline directly on the active guideline.

Most people here respect that approach, although COM:SCOPE needed protection for vandalism. Although I am convinced that we have to improve in the first place the definition of the character(sets) allowed on commons and the artificially created exonyms, I disagreed clearly with this change as it was an major change of the current guideline, very open and debatable, not precise and for new rules, we should first go through a discussion page, as usually done with all items related to policies and guidelines. Because of this non respect of the standard way of progressing such sensitive page, I had no other choice than to protect the main page as to enforce a proper proposal and discussion procedure. My action, which as been labeled as obstruction, is just my role as administrator to enforce proper procedures to ensure the necessary quality and support for policy and guideline pages. --Foroa (talk) 07:27, 21 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The sentention So far, categories are in English which was presented in this policy proposal as summary from Commons:Language policy was a gross inaccuracy. I see that this distortion was very near to your own extreme preferences and practices but it was a pure mystification to parade it as based on the Commons:Language policy. Your interpretation is in fundamental discrepance toward the real practices i. e. real prevalent consensus at Commons. And you misused repeatedly your sysop rights to enforce your inconsensual excessive and unrealistic stand-point. We need collude and formulate some realistic and good-balanced policy of category names related to local terms, local themes and local names. You seem to be grudging against such real discussion, with reference to fundamentalist interpretation of the word "generally" as "allways". Can you really mean that terms which don't exist in English should be used in English? Can you really mean that even local proper names should be allways translated to English even if the English version is unknown and unestablished? Do you really mean that this your posture and this your interpretation is in conformity with real community consensus? I cannot believe it. You personnaly was who misused repeatedly a link to this proposal declaring it as "commons policy". If you know that this problem is "sensitive", you should to understand that some evidently incomplete and unaproved formulation from this proposal cannot be used as a confirmation of real policy. If you reject formulation which perhaps can be misused, you should subsume the formulations which are really misused by yourself.
It's evident that formulations enforced by you are unrealistic and out of community accord. Evidently there are many types of category names which aren't and shouldn't be in English. When somebody rectify a proposed inaccurate formulation in keeping with real policy and practices, it cannot be considered as "policy change", let alone as "vandalism". As I mentioned above, a more exact and more unified policy regarding category names related to local terms, local themes and local names should be discussed and built. You may come up with your opinion but you should have respect to the other people's opinions and to well-tried practices as well. You bestead hardly to consensus by calling constructive and well-founded edit's of others as "vandalism". --ŠJů (talk) 16:28, 21 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ship naming conventions/policy[edit]

A discussion on my OP started with:

Hi, at Commons:State Library of Queensland/Subjects we are building a mapping between a library's subject headings and our categories. For ships, we have used '<ship> (ship)'. I see Category:Cooma (ship) has been deleted as a duplicate of your Category:Cooma (ship, 1907). Should all ships be disambiguated by the year? John Vandenberg (chat) 02:29, 24 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My answer was: My intention was to do so, because a lot of ships have the same name. I categorised more than 3000 ships by name on Commons myself and found out that some ships were numbered without any system. On the Dutch version of Wikipedia we have the Rotterdam (IV), Rotterdam (V) and Rotterdam (VI). Examples on Commons:

That is the reason why I categorise every newly found ship in a category according this system. (I started this only a few weeks ago). I wondered how to make this a naming convention, no idea. But I found it so logical, that people will follow it automatically. --Stunteltje (talk) 08:19, 24 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

and it came back with:

It seems sensible to do this, but I also have no idea about naming conventions on Commons. I've raised this at Commons_talk:State_Library_of_Queensland/Subjects#ships. --John Vandenberg (chat) 08:30, 24 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So I assume it is good to start a discussion on this, as it can clarify how to succeed. See in this case how the inland passenger ship, completed in 1969, without any problem can be categorised by name, no conflict with naming the sea-going ships. Perhaps it solves the problem with MS and SS in the name of ships too. --Stunteltje (talk) 09:23, 24 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would be happy if we could loose the MS/SS as it seems to confuse a lot of people who think it is part of the name. BoH (talk) 09:39, 24 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am happy with the proposal of Stunteltje. Maybe you can update the very old Commons:Category scheme ships accordingly and make a link to it in the top level ship/boat categories. --Foroa (talk) 09:46, 24 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree also, I have had this same confusion on the dutch Wikipedia as lots of media use M/S and S/S. The danish Wikipedia does that as well, by using M/F and H/F etc. By making a consensus on commons, it would be easier to draw the line further to the wikipedia's in other languages.
By making it like [[name (ship,19..)]] will be easy to understand for everyone. Perhaps that this also can be done in other categories (Cars, Trucks, etc.).--Rodejong (talk) 02:27, 25 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wouldn't be opposed to this, given the multiple languages on the Commons. Ed [talk] [en:majestic titan] 08:06, 25 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally, I support the general idea. It's much easier if one can just type the name of the ship and needn't guess prefixes.
The QLD upload might be a bit different as there are hundreds of ships we currently only know the names of. For these, we might have to add the year at a second step. --  Docu  at 08:03, 27 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, in the German Wikipedia [5], there has long been a consensus that the many prefixes (SS, DS, MS, MV) are not part of ship's name. They are left out and used the ship's name with parenthesis additions to year and / or launching. This is especially true for civilian ships. In the military area, there are special rules. -- Biberbaer (talk) 06:45, 28 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would be pleased to see, that Commons standardise all the uncontrolled growth and rename all to the system "Category:Shipname (ship, year)". But what will be done with the data content within the renamed categories? Should all the pictures also be renamed? That sounds like a lot of work to do.--Manuel Heinemann (talk) 11:02, 28 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What I do in the renaming proces by Cat-a lot is, adding the new category to the old, copy the content of the old one in the new category, add as much categories and interlinks as found, process the Cat-a-lot, and category redirect the old category. I assume not much info is lost and in the process we create a useful new category of ships by year built. That one can be added in a lot of categories by year. It just takes a lot of work and time. But in the Netherlands we have an expression: "Köln and Aken are not built in one day". What to do with the categories for Naval ships?. In my view no problem to rename exact the way as for the civilian ships but adding extra a new category for the pennant numbers and hull classification symbols. Have a look at the Category:Tall ships by TS number. So adding a Category:Naval ships by hull classification symbol or even pennant number, if you like, will solve a lot of categorising problems. Another service for a US ship and the way she is categorised these days you cannot find her anymore on Commons --Stunteltje (talk) 11:12, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In my opinion prefixes are just a pain in ... even in english it is not clear, if a SS is a Steamship or Sailingship, not to mention national abreviations or even by the ship-owner invented prefixes. Some might have sense like RMS for example, but anyway, all double, triple or whatsoever many names need a disambiguation-page. Prefering the shipsname (ship, year), in seldom cases the shipsname (ship, yearfrom-yearto)-solution --CeGe (talk) 00:05, 29 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think we also have to standardise the way we show the named categories for the same ship. The best way is via the IMO number, but this doesn't work for ships before a certain date. Adding LR (Lloyds Register) numbers could have solved this, but unfortunately LR numbers of old ships are not easy to find. --Stunteltje (talk) 11:31, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is a clear growing de facto standard and consensus amongst several wikipedias for a simple ship naming standard; the ship category name should be as far as possible language independent and contain:
  • the name as painted on the ship, so that all people can categorise it properly
  • the fact that it is a ship, without knowing anything about ship types (most ship names could concern a book, a film, person, song, band, ...)
  • the year of completion if possible, the year of launch as ship otherwise, names tend to be reused often as can be seen in Category:ships by name (Contains yet only a couple of % of the roughly 500000 ship names).
  • no additional prefixes/postfixes such as MS, SS, USS, ... which are pretty much language dependent and not painted on the ship
  • in the exceptional cases (1 case so far) where two ships have the same name and build year, it is further disambiguated with the city of building. --Foroa (talk) 06:19, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your de facto standard is true only when a ship name needs disambiguation. Otherwise, they don't bother. And neither should we. There is no need for disambiguation at Costa Fortuna (ship, 2003), Radiance of the Seas (ship, 2001), Norwegian Dawn (ship, 2002), etc. and disambiguation in cases like that will just confuse people. Even worse, the original categories are being deleted and leaving dozens of broken cross-wiki leaks at numerous Wikipedias. Wknight94 talk 12:23, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can you describe how interlinks are lost when in the renaming proces the interlinks are transferred from old to new category? I myself don't see the mentioned confusing. See e.g. Category:Passenger ships of the United Kingdom. What do I miss? Except that the Mauretania and Titanic still have their old category. --Stunteltje (talk) 16:04, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am referring to incoming links. w:Costa Fortuna, w:MS Radiance of the Seas, and w:Norwegian Dawn all have Commons links which now go to category redirects that I created. All three were either deleted or tagged for deletion and I saved them. These were the first three I checked but I assume many many others are in the same situation. And the same probably goes for other language Wikipedias too. Wknight94 talk 16:47, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think you are correct with the first series of renaming. User:Foroa attended me to the problem, as I added "badname" to the old categories. From there I used "category redirect" to solve this problem. Not sure what happened with the series with "move" of the category. Red something about programming issues, but I do not understand the language of programming in Commons. --Stunteltje (talk) 18:06, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support I support user:Stunteltje proposal of category names and dropping prefixes. --Jarekt (talk) 14:57, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose adding (ship, year) in the cases where such disambiguation is unnecessary. Symbol support vote.svg Support removal of prefixes and Symbol support vote.svg Support disambiguating when necessary. Wknight94 talk 16:49, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support for Stunteltje's proposal. We need consistency in category naming. BR, ––Apalsola tc 20:43, 15 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support for shipsname (ship, year) --NeverDoING (talk) 12:49, 16 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pictogram voting comment (orange).svg Comment So if we need to disambiguate everything and we need to be consistent, then we should move George Washington to George Washington (person, 1732), correct? Wknight94 talk 13:56, 17 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, if this George Washington is one of the other 25 persons with this name, who all ought to have an article in a certain Wikipedia, and can be a bird, Greek goddess, expression, machine, place, animal, mountain, music tempo, profession, celestial body, and so on. Hope you see the point. A natural person can't, a shipsname can. Besides, what is bad on the idea? Lot of extra work, yes, and at this moment there is no known need for. What is the problem if people think it is a good idea? Makes it finding an image less easy or just easier? --Stunteltje (talk) 15:54, 17 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Basically {c|George Washington (person, 1732)} would be correct if you have several ones. COM:CAT states: The category name would be enough to guess the subject. While in the US and Western world, George Washington is evident, it is not necessarily true in Asia and Africa. Conversaly, "Cao Cao", "Abu Zikry", "Väinö Vuori", " Dev Patel", "Bong Joon-ho", "Hafez", "Souphanouvong", "Kārlis Zāle", "Olia Tira", "Abd el-Krim", "Ho Chi Minh" or "Islam Karimov" might be very evident in their country, it is not necessarily evident on our side. Basically, disambiguation is dropped mainly for places and persons, but I am pretty much convinced that for persons, it will (partly) come back one day, although it starts creeping in already (writers, politicians, artists, sports people with the same name).
Concerning ships, we have only a few thousand ships, so 1 or 2 % of the overall pack, while they are growing very quickly. On the other hand, most ships has simple names that are reused very often for ships, books, songs, bands and movies, so we better take a good start instead of having continuously problems with mix-ups and rename procedures. Anyway, if we do it now or tomorrow, wikipedias start to understand the need of name harmonisation, so one day, they will force us to do so too. --Foroa (talk) 16:10, 17 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I added "Category move discussed at [[:Commons talk:Naming categories]]" to the ships in Category:Requested moves (all). --Stunteltje (talk) 06:35, 21 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support, but only for civilian vessels. For military ships, like the ones showcased at File:Fleet 5 nations.jpg, I would suggest keeping the already standardised format of "Prefix Name (Registry)", and would not support any migration to this new format. Huntster (t @ c) 07:04, 21 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My idea was to leave out the prefixes and keep the pennant numbers with the names. We have here the same system as fishing ships. Very big numbers painted on the hull and a small nameplates on the ship. The problem is, that the function of the ship is given in the prefixes. Give her another job and you have to rename her. Have a look at Category:United States Coast Guard vessels --Stunteltje (talk) 07:23, 21 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By the way: We have reached 10.000 ships by name categories today. --Stunteltje (talk) 08:14, 10 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Disambiguation and "primary topics"[edit]

There are a number of {{Move}} discussions on location categories at present relating to disambiguation: Where the current title at the ambiguous page name is asserted to be the "primary topic". I'm aware of Category talk:Boston, Category talk:Harrogate and Category talk:Hambleton for a start, and there's probably others too.

The discussion at Harrogate is probably the most meaningful, as there's some discussion there as to what makes a topic (in the abstract) primary, and why it might matter to Commons. That discussion probably should be handled here, as it affects the project not one single page; and the discussion at that single page ought to be focused on the specific point in question not the broader concept.--Nilfanion (talk) 09:31, 9 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is no formal Commons rule that allows for priority or "primary topic" on Commons. Commons is a category system, not a lottery that changes focus depending what country/language you are from/looking to. Commons is only more tolerant and make a couple of exceptions for major capital cities for historical, practical and national symbol reasons. We don't need endless discussions as on en:Wikipedia to define the potential primary topic, that changes from time to time (For example Bing). --Foroa (talk) 09:41, 9 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The fact a formal rule doesn't exist doesn't mean that we don't have one (and that we don't need one). We do have primary topics: Category:London, England vs Category:London, Ontario, Category:Sea is a redirect to Seas vs w:Sea, Somerset, Category:Cats vs Category:Cats (musical), Category:Brazil vs w:Brasil (mythical island) and for that matter Topics is ambiguous, eg File:Topic-Bar-Split.jpg. I certainly agree we don't need endless discussions, and the best place to have one discussion is here and thrash out how self-evident a primary topic has to be. I'm not proposing moving the examples I've just given to disambiguation (I hope you wouldn't either), even though they are ambiguous, but they are part of the Commons category system as are the proposed location-cat moves. How we address the concept of a primary topic is something our category system needs to do, and this is not solely about location categories. You list certain national capitals as exceptions "for practical reasons", that practical reason is what being the primary topic means.--Nilfanion (talk) 09:56, 9 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem concerns mainly names of villages and places; the better we cover countries, such as the million geograph files, the more problems we do encounter. Commons is not a wikipedia, it is a media server that needs reliable access and properly named items that exclude confusion and mixups as far as possible. The major category naming requirement in COM:CAT states In practice, it implies that you'll associate a single subject with a given category. The category name would be enough to guess the subject. The guesser can be anyone local to the subject but equally somewhere in Siberia. All endless culture dependent primary subject discussions are in contradiction with this and irrelevant for the category naming of places. --Foroa (talk) 12:35, 9 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The primary topic, if it exists, is independent of cultural influences. If two groups (say French-speakers and Afrikaans speakers) have completely different primary meanings for a certain word then neither of those should be considered primary. With settlements, it can be possible to objectively rate them - if one is a collection of a few houses with a population of 10 and the other is a city of 10 million for instance. If one culture has a primary meaning, which in the case of settlements will probably be the culture that contains any possible "primary" settlement as well as the "secondary" ones, and another culture doesn't have a contradictory meaning then its clear. If a place name is only used in English-speaking countries, and one of those is primary in English its probable its primary.--Nilfanion (talk) 12:47, 9 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
English speaking people will all have a different "primary topic" feelings for Plymouth, depending if they live in the UK, Canada or certain states in the US, if they are attached to the American Plymouth Home Town as a symbol, or involved with (Plymouth) cars. Anyway, an outsider (the majority) with an outside background would have to "guess" the possible primary topic, which is not realistic. As an example, personally, I have been in Plymouth, US and would never have guessed that this Plymouth is not the primary topic. On Wikipedias, very often the primary topic is given to the one that was there first or has most articles around it, which is another criterion that is impossible to guess. --Foroa (talk) 08:06, 10 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's certainly true for certain "topics", its not true for others. Primary topics on WP are not "who got there first" (or at least they shouldn't be). Primary topic determination is worked out by examining and assessing each of them not the individual's gut feelings so "I've heard of X, but not Y, so X is more important". That doesn't require guesswork, as it means looking at evidence. If its the case that for a certain topic, that Americans and Brits with full knowledge of the alternatives are likely pick different topics as primary, then there isn't a primary topic. For example, no American would assert that Harrogate, TN is primary when they are aware of the English one.--Nilfanion (talk) 09:40, 10 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The need to guess, or rather not requiring a guess, as to the topic of a category may be the clearest argument I have heard concerning primacy. Harrogate is mentioned, and for me there is no primary one since I have never heard of either, or Harrogate, South Australia or at least another one in England for that matter. A minority of editors on WP have argued that the article names should be clear about where the place is, even if there is a common name that is not commonly know by English speakers. In many cases, on the English wiki, the category and article names do not match with the category name being the more precise one. I will add that I like it when commons and WP have the same names for the categories and I'm appalled when they differ. One reason for difference is that when WP changes names, there is no notification to commons. I wonder if both commons and WP should allow for speedy category name changes when one changes to a more precise or better qualified name? Change so that the category names stay reasonably in sync. I have actually used the name on commons as a reason to keep or change the name on WP! Since I'm not a regular here, I don't know how everything works. If consensus is to allow for the speedy criteria as I suggested above, I'm willing to start that discussion. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:06, 15 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mixing languages in category titles[edit]

At the instance of the discussions at User talk:Petrus Adamus – Portuguese namespace and Commons:Categories for discussion/2011/10/Category:Cathedrals in Portugal, I am adding a topic here.

Do you consider it helpful to create categories with titles in mixed languages for religious buildings, when the consecration can be eventually well translated into English and is normally used there? I am convinced the categories should be named homogenously if possible, i. e. the whole title should be in one language in those cases. For instance, at Portuguese churches it could be either Portuguese or English (well, I would personally prefere Esperanto as a neutral solution, but most users don't speak it now).

Mixing two languages makes understanding the names impossible for users not speaking both of them simultaneously, thus for absolute majority of the visitors. Also automatical translation (Google Translate etc.) isn't usable well in those cases.

So I think both ex. Category:Capelinha das Aparições (Fátima) and Category:Chapel of Apparitions (Fátima) are good, but Category:Chapel of the Aparicões (Fátima) not. In a similar way, people not understanding both the languages definitely won't appreaciate names like Category:Church of Proměnění Páně or even Category:Church of Преображения Господня, if the second part doesn't represent any idiom or special local name but just “Transfiguration”? Shouldn't we write Category:Church of the Transfiguration directly? What do you think about mixing the languages in titles?

--Petrus Adamus (talk) 19:38, 16 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A first reply: I agree that mixed language categories often (not always) are a mess and rather "amateuristic" indeed. Not only that, but practically, it's also rather cumbersome to work with.
  1. I want to set one thing clear however: in my opinion, this discussion about foreign vs. English vs. any mix of course applies to names that can be considered "proper names". Sometimes, other people confuse this with the use of English in descriptive category names. In your example, the "Capelinha das Aparições" can be considered a proper name, just like we easily consider these Category:Sagrada Família and category:Reichstag_(building) (part before parentheses), etc... proper names. This issue does less frequently occur for non-proper names, i.e. descriptive category names, where we can often easily use English (this is what the commons guidelines advise). Actually, Category:Reichstag_(building) is an interesting illustration: note how the "Reichstag" part is just the German "Proper name" (you could come up with a translation for that, but that would rather tend to be "Original Research", as it's called on Wikipedia, isn't it?), while the "(building)" part can be (and is) nicely translated into English, as this "building" part is not a proper name, but just a separate, descriptive, translatable word. Similarly, in "Category:Crypt of the Sagrada Família", the "Crypt of the" is a nicely translated English description, while the "Sagrada Família" part can be considered a proper name (we don't want to translate this into Holy Family): to me, this seems a perfect category name.
  2. Some discussion may arise for some categories, e.g. the religious buildings. I agree that we should avoid mixing (unless there's a scenario where it makes sense). As you state, it cause issues if auto translation. Worse, it makes it even harder to find the actual subject in other works. I'd expect the commons category name to also be used "in real life", i.e. Commons should not make up a name (which tends to be some original research, as I said). Those buildings may be found in printed literature and/or on-line reference works, e.g. travel guides, cultural heritage inventories, history books, land use planning documents, etc... Users would expected to find the name used for the commons category in other literature as well. Of course, lots of that external literature will be in the local language, that's why I think the foreign language (Portuguese in your case) is a very good candidate. For internationally famous buildings, there might be an English name that is widely used and known: note that we have the Category:Eiffel Tower (not Tour Eiffel), but we also have Category:Pont du Gard (not Gard Bridge or something else made up). So English does make sense if there's a common English name. And if there isn't any, we should invent one; if English literature uses the foreign name, I think it's a good idea to do that: so en:Dresden Frauenkirche and en:Bryggen are very natural names, also in English contexts. Certainly for lesser famous buildings, I think the local name provides the best service to the commons user (and that's actually the target audience, isn't it?). The commons user will find most relevant google-hits when using the local name - even in English literature. So you will find Portuguese landmark names used frequently in English literature, esp. for the lesser known buildings.
So in my opinion, we indeed don't do the commons user any service by offering some messy invented mixed-language category. I think we'd offer the best service when using the local names - unless for some well-known buildings that have a very common, well-known English form in literature (e.g. Eiffel Tower) (I don't known if there should be language consistency between different subcategory) --LimoWreck (talk) 16:01, 18 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A relevant conversation: Commons:Village pump/Archive/2012/02#Language mix in category naming.--Codrin.B (talk) 20:43, 8 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Simplicity principle[edit]

This "Simplicity principle" should be specified or more precisely explained for what it is good. --High Contrast (talk) 23:26, 8 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Showing translated titles per user language, based on interlanguage links would be a nice touch, but in the end we need of course the interlanguage links indexed so a german language user gets "Horse [Pferd]" when searching for "Pferd".-- Mkratz (talk) 12:36, 15 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The search engine can even not find the interwikis in the categories, even that seems utopic. --Foroa (talk) 15:56, 15 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Commons makes its own decisions concerning spelling[edit]

One possible logical conclusion of the way some people think is that English Wikipedia should use the Commons to decide all spellings in English. But that would not work any better than that the Commons should use English Wikipedia for spelling.

References are what we use on both the Commons and Wikipedia. Each Wikipedia in every language uses its own references for the facts in their articles. The Commons makes its own decisions, and so does English Wikipedia. No one tells us what to do on the Commons. We decide. Not just you, not just me, not any one person. We decide. We use a rough consensus based on references from reliable sources.

Wikipedia is not a reliable source. See

Wikipedia is not a reliable source for Wikipedias. That does't mean that Wikipedia is not a reliable source for Commons. Commons is a project of utterly different character than Wikipedia, especially regarding verification of the content and use of sources. The discussion and proofs about what names are used in independent sources should take place primarily at the Wikipedia. Commons should reflect it but Commons can decide to use a bit different policy, regarding its international character. I think, more respect to local names of local subjects may (and may not) be one of the differences toward English Wikipedia. --ŠJů (talk) 10:23, 5 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Spelling is to be clear and as much as possible in characters used in English. Different character sets, e.g. from China, Japan and other countries, make Commons practically much harder to use. --Stunteltje (talk) 10:35, 5 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Street, City" or "Street (City)"?[edit]

Please bear with me if this has been settled, I read through all project and help pages about categories I could find, and could not find a definite answer for this.

Should categories with names that exist multiple times in the world, like street names in different cities, be named Street, City or Street (City)?

There are readily examples of both conventions;
Category:Regent Street, Swindon‎ | Category:Calle Arroyo, Buenos Aires‎ | Category:Rue Paul Janson, Amay | Category:92nd Street, Chicago
Category:Amerikalei (Antwerp)‎ | Category:California Avenue (Chicago)‎ | Category:Jefferson Avenue (Detroit) | Category:1st Street (Manhattan)

Apart from exceptions, they seem to be standardised among the parent categories. The problem arose with the category Category:Streets in Helsinki and its subcategories where there is no clear convention or majority.

I would still propose to settle on a convention and have it written down into a guideline. The same rule could apply to all holonyms and meronyms. ~ Nelg (talk) 14:25, 14 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm interested in any consensus on this as well. In Vienna, I have seen people actively change "Example Road" and "Example Road (Vienna)" to "Example Road, Vienna" (even when there is no other Example Road category, though Category:Streets in Vienna still isn't uniform), but on one occasion, an admin who isn't from Vienna changed Category:Marienbrücke, Vienna to Category:Marienbrücke (Vienna). It would be good to have any naming convention for this, so that we can at least know in which direction we should not rename categories. darkweasel94 17:29, 4 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The most logical way is to disambiguate streets as any other place/city/village, so comma separated. Using in/of makes it language dependent. My rule of thumb for disambiguation:
Places, where it is: comma separated (as most cities in Japan, US and Romania)
What it is (politician, band, music, ...): between brackets.
Unfortunately, they have all sorts of different habits ion the various wikipedias and people try to stick to it.
For streets, do your self and others a favour: disambiguate systematically as there are very few streets that have no other similar one elsewhere and when using a systematic approach, one has not to think or to search: it exists or it doesn't, and they never get mixed up. --Foroa (talk) 18:09, 4 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a very good question. Normally I would be inclined to agree with the comma convention, but the problem I have encountered arises when the parent category pertaining to the location is already disambiguated. So, for example, would a category for Main Street in Hamilton, Ontario be at Category:Main Street, Hamilton, Ontario? Perhaps. What does everyone think? --Skeezix1000 (talk) 19:12, 2 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm inclined to comma disambiguation in favour to parentheses largely because of the need for double disambiguation. Main Street, Hamilton, Ontario"is still a natural way to write it - it looks like an address. Triple disambiguation may be necessary on occasion: <street>, <district>, <city>, <state> for 2 streets of the same name in the same town - but still looks natural because of its relationship to addresses. In contrast, mixed disambiguation with commas and parentheses gets messy fast, and doesn't have that relationship with the natural, familiar format of an address.--Nilfanion (talk) 21:17, 2 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The "comma convention" that local disambiguations are comma separated is an exception from the general rule that disambiguation of all types (branch of science, hyperonymes, non-geographic holonymes, explaining synonymes, other attributes as year of origin or birth) are in brackets. However, this exception is based especially on US usage of settlement names ("Settlement, State") and seems not to be generally accepted even at English Wikipedia (see en:Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Naming the specific topic articles, Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names)). However, in German names as an example, the brackets are often used as an official part of the name and appear on road signs (generally, Central Europe preffer brackets). The "comma convention" seems to become predominating but we should keep consistency with the English Wikipedia in local conventions.
Btw, what form of double-disambiguation would you preffer, if we would transform Czech categories: Category:Vysočanská (street), Prague or Category:Vysočanská, Prague (street) or Category:Vysočanská (street in Prague)? Technically, in the cases 1 and 3 the piping hides both disambiguation words, in the case 2 only the last one, also the order "comma - brackets" is non-functional. --ŠJů (talk) 14:12, 7 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Trees in flower[edit]

I'm unsure how categories of trees in flower should be named - and it seems as if I'm not the only one, as at the moment there are at least 4 plausible naming strategies:

  • Genus in flower
  • Genus blossom
  • Genus (flowers)
  • Genus flowers
  • Flowering/Blooming Genus (which I think should be avoided)

What are your suggestions? Anna reg (talk) 10:00, 22 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


That was a proposal started in 2007, and got no traction as of 2014. I've switched {{Proposed}} to {{Historical}}, just do the opposite if you want to revive the discussion; maybe add it on COM:VPP to attract more/fresh feedback. –Be..anyone (talk) 11:21, 7 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Partly nonsense[edit]

The criteria for Metacategories ought to be liberalized:

  • It is a nonsens to create one-item categories, perhaps several one-item categories for one single file, to subsume this item in all appropriate inventaries.
  • Therefore it is necessary to allow files in meta-categories, as long as there is no more than item (or less than three items) for the theoretically possible sub-category.
  • Remember the reason for the creation of categories:
    • They shall ease finding good illustrations.
    • It is impossible to create and apply as an uploader categories for all qualities of an object that may be interesting for anybody.
    • If you search for objects with a quality not yet or not completely categorized, it is easier to search categories with large numbers of single files than to search categories only containing subcategories.--Ulamm (talk) 09:27, 29 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ulamm: I suspect you didn't understand correctly what metacategories are. Metacategories are not categories for a class or group of objects but special categories sorting item by specific criterion. I.e. such a category cannot contain any file directly, as follows from its essence. If the metacategory doesn't contain a subcategory for any image, the image belong to the parent category of the metacategory. E.g. we have a category "Dogs" which contains metacategories "Dogs by country" and "Dogs by colour" as its subcategories. Naturally, if the country and the color of the dog have not their own subcategories, the photo remains in the category "Dogs". Logically, because it is not categorized "by country" nor "by colour".
It is possible to categorize by the most interesting qualities, the guide decribes the existing principles of the wiki categorization system. Surely, the user or uploader have to respect existing structure and existing categories and develop it, not to create random categories unsystematically.
Categorization system is one of many tools which help to find files. Of course, some files are insufficiently, categorized, some insufficiently described or titled etc. Therefore is useful to search through the parent categories also, and use fulltext search etc., and improve description and categorization of all files and pages incessantly. Commons contain 93466255 files now. I believe, they are rather findable categorized than uncategorized :-) --ŠJů (talk) 01:44, 1 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes. However, "some files are unsufficiently categorized" etc is an undertatment. Millions are. When we can deal fully with one file in a few minutes, or can spend those same minutes in putting ten or twenty into mostly accurate, moderately thorough categories, the latter might be a better use of those minutes. Jim.henderson (talk) 23:35, 15 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

About metacats[edit]

Hello everybody. Here(permalink) I was asking User:Auntof6 the reason of some of his edits, and he explained me what exactly should be considered a meta-category. According to what said in that talk:

  • Should be cleared what exactly is a metacat (not just only "X by Y").
  • Consequently, the example of metacats "People by name" and "Ships by name" should be replaced with something else.
  • Some meta-categories, such as Category:Months in Spain, have a different title with respect to the standard Category:Hesse by month. This dichotomy should be solved.

This topic is not so intuitive, so I think this page should explain it more clearly. --Horcrux92 (talk) 15:20, 4 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Does no one have any opinion on this? --Horcrux92 (talk) 10:54, 28 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Horcrux92: I agree that a better definition should be provided. The 'not just only "X by Y"' note, from Commons:List of meta category criteria, also notes some categories that would not be considered a meta category ("Compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or North by Northwest (1959 film) are obviously excluded") This is because normal "X by Y" categories are those which contain categories on "X" sorted by "Y" (Aviation by year contains all "Year in aviation" categories, sorted by year) Clearly there are not categories of "Compositions" sorted by various "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozarts", and in "North by Northwest", "by" is just part of the name of the film, so in both cases, by does not indicate that the category follows the normal "X by Y" rules as a meta category would. The point of a meta category is as an index where someone looking to browse to a category can find it easily by the data point they have. If one is looking for a ship named "Victory" one might first arrive at Ships, and then seeing Ships by name go there and browse to V and ultimately "Victory", in the process probably fnding that there is more than one ship by that name. I think what we call and use as "meta categories" here on Commons should be kept simple: Any category in the "X by Y" format which contains categories where "X" is the topic and "Y" is the sorting criteria should be treated the same for our purposes. Josh (talk) 19:59, 30 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Joshbaumgartner: I don't understand if you think that Ships by name is indeed a metacategory or not: in the discussion that I linked above, the other user stated that it isn't (see also this edit). --Horcrux (talk) 22:33, 2 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Horcrux92: I do think that Ships by name is de facto equivalent to other categories of "topic by sort criteria" format. What we want to call them can be debated, and someone better versed in set theory can probably speak to the deeper definition of 'meta' and so on, but for the purposes of Commons, we ought to treat all "topic by sort criteria" consistently, and they should all be considered metacats (or whatever we decide to name them). Set theory does not dictate the structure of categories on Commons, so what we call a "metacat" does not need to be an exact analog to a "meta class", nor follow the same rules of inclusion as the later. The point of Commons categorization is to facilitate intuitive access to and browsing of available media so users can make best use of the repository. The "topic by sort criteria" format is widely used, and so I agree 100% that we ought to have clear and concise guidelines on how to properly maintain them. Josh (talk) 23:43, 2 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Plural following with?[edit]

I thought of breaking up Category:Hammocks into Hammocks with various items such as underquilt, tarpaulin, and mosquito net, but I'm not sure what the grammatical number of accompanying items (of which there is only one per hammock) should be. Should those accompanying objects be pluralized as well? --Trougnouf (talk) 01:27, 20 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Trougnouf: Categories for those items, such as Category:Tarpaulins, should still be plural, as ultimately more than one tarpaulin will be pictured in the category. A specific intersection between hammocks and tarpaulins could result in Category:Hammock tarpaulins for images focused on the tarpaulins themselves, or Category:Hammocks with tarpaulins for images of hammocks that include a tarpaulin in their design. The same would apply for other components. Josh (talk) 20:03, 30 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

by ... by ... metacategory confusion[edit]

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the correct naming of meta categories in the "by ... by ..." form.

The two project pages Commons:Naming categories and Commons:List of meta category criteria seem to be in harmony in seeming to say that:

However, a lot of meta categories in this form appear have their subject and metacategory criteria reversed from the way they should be for their sub-categories, and are therefore either misnamed or populated by the wrong set of subcategories, depending upon one's point of view.

Additionally, some of the meta categories in this form include 'wrong' sub-categories as additional categories sorted by a "| " sort key. So, eg, as at the date of creation of this post, there was no Category:Politicians by country by office in existence, and the categories that are supposed to be the subcategories of that non-existent meta category are included in Category:Politicians by office by country as additional, "| " sort key categories.

Might I suggest that both of these project pages be expanded somewhat, to explain in more detail, using examples such as the ones I have used above, to make this point clearer? At the moment, there seem to be literally dozens and dozens of such meta categories that need to be corrected, and I suspect that many of the wrongly named / wrongly populated such meta categories are modelled on earlier-created meta categories that are similarly wrong ... Bahnfrend (talk) 10:32, 5 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]