Template talk:By country category

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This template needs to be translated as it will occur on many pages which will be seen by users who do not understand English. Railwayfan2005 (talk) 22:10, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

It's on my list to have this template translated. Hold on ;-) Multichill (talk) 11:30, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Don't we just add a {{lang links}} and pass it on to the people who are doing the translations work... :-) Railwayfan2005 (talk) 19:12, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Pro and cons!!![edit]

Hi - I like the idea of having a template for this. It will emphasise the correct use of these categories. However, I have serious reservations about the fact that the bot who placed them also destroyed the preempt/default/special sortings!

To show an example: In the category "Buildings" (Category:Buildings) there exist a number of categories ("by function", "by country"...) which are "preempted", meaning that they are moved to the beginning of the category so that users find them easily, no matter how long or unsorted the rest of the subcategories are (some people use special characters "!" or "*", but the correct usage, I feel, should simply be an empty space " ", so that the category list isn't cluttered up by special characters).

The template here DOES preempt the "by country" category. But it does NOT do so in the correct form, which is " CATEGORYNAME by country" (note the extra space and the fact that the whole name of the category appears after the preempt) - previously, before this template was added, the "by country" category in the example came immediately after "by color" and before "by state". Effectively, a good preemption keeps alphabetic order among the subgroup of the preempted categories (because on some categories, there are actually quite a few of those).

By letting the bot rip out all these premptions all over Commons, I and others will now have to fix them all by hand AGAIN. NOT happy, especially as I have no idea when the bot goes over them again if I fix it??? Also, the template does not seem to allow any change of the preempt sorting within the template.

Finally, what if multiple such templates are created (for example, a "by continent" or a "by function" template)? How do they sort each other in terms of preempting when they link to the same parent category? And while it may be arguable that "by country" could logically be "double-preemped" (preempted to go before even the other preempts), I don't think this works so well in practice. Especially as there already exist some categories where the "by country" is only a sucategory of a "by location" subcategory).

Sorry for the long rant, but I'd like this discussed, and fixed. Again, I love the template idea, and thank multichill for making it. But it's a rather big change on the preempt sorting. Ingolfson (talk) 09:15, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Essentially, what I would like is for this template to "stay out of the business" of assigning a parent category to the category it is placed in. It should only be an information header. I appreciate that this would be reducing the functionality intended with this template - but all categories should be listed at the bottom in standard order. Same reason I hate "catheaders" that automatically place a cat in multiple parent cats - it negatively affects the simplicity and transparency of the category system, and makes it hard to modify (by users, whether experienced or not, and also potentially by bots). Ingolfson (talk) 09:27, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
No panic, the current template adds a catsort key "<space>Country" with capital, so it appears at the top of the list (other keys are lower case). So if all "official" metacategories (by function, by date, by condition, by ...) are sorted like this and appear first on the list, this is fine with me. I see no reason why a "topic by country" cattype should not be automatically linked to the category with the same topic name. I understand that there might be a couple of places where this might be not 100 % optimal, the bot aided insertion in many thousands of metacategories should help significantly to improve consistency. If we are clear about the rules, that is fine with me. --Foroa (talk) 09:53, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
As you might have noticed, i've been working on categories for a while. Some parts of our category structure are very inconsistent. Take a look at User:Multichill/By country to fix and User:Multichill/No country to get an idea. This template is just a step in the process of making our category structure better (more consistent). This template enforces that a <subject> by country category is in the <subject> category and in Category:Categories by country. If the sorting is a big problem i can have my bot go over it. A full list of subjects which have a by country category is available here. The next step is to bring more consistency in the about 35K <subject> in/of/from <country> categories to make it easier to find things. Multichill (talk) 11:57, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
To Foroa, are you happy with the " Country" as the sort for all by country categories or do you have an example of one where this would be incorrect? If we generalise to make a foo of bar template would it always be correct to sort as " bar"? What do you suggest for things like by city by country, sort under " city" or " country"? Foroa if you have to manually update a lot of categories then it points to the need for a template or robot to do it for you...
To Multichill, I don't think the by continent categories add any value unless you have a truly continental scale topic. I suggest we ditch them all (keep Category:Maps by continent perhaps). Most of the ones I've encountered are just over categorisation.

Railwayfan2005 (talk)

I feel this is getting a bit off-topic. Probably my fault for doing such a long initial post, but I wanted to explain why I was unhappy with this. Let me rephrase the question: Could Multichill's bot, when placing this template, ensure that the sort key is "<space>CATEGORYNAME by country" instead of "<space>Country"?. That would reintroduce correct alphabetic sorting into the preempted categories, and fix most of the issue I have with the current setup (of course the bot would have to be run again over all the "by country" cats after the change in the template). Ingolfson (talk) 21:48, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
This is not a function of the Bot, it's a function of the template and is easily changed. ([[Category:{{ucfirst:{{{1|}}}}}| Country]] becomes [[Category:{{ucfirst:{{{1|}}}}}| {{PAGENAME}}]].Railwayfan2005 (talk) 10:23, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
So CAN we agree to change that? Multichill, no issues with that, I hope? Ingolfson (talk) 10:43, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually i have. I checked several categories and the sorting is different everywhere. We have <space>By country category and <space>subject mixed. Imho the second one is better and more in use. Changing the template would make things worse, not better. Multichill (talk) 12:55, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

outdent Using the template will bring all the sortings into line. I've ignored the space in this list—this we all agree on—which one is preferred? (Are there any more options - you don't mention the categories you checked so I don't have any other examples?)

  1. Country
  2. country
  3. by Country
  4. by country
  5. {{{1}}} (this is the parameter from the template as supplied) eg foo
  6. ucfirst:{{{1}}} (this is the parameter from the template with the first letter uppercase) eg Foo
  7. {{PAGENAME}} the page name, eg Foo of Bar

Railwayfan2005 (talk) 14:57, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

I support (7), no surprise there. I agree that if consistently applied, either way (1) or (7) will sort the tagged category correctly (i.e. in alphabetic sort order) into a list of other categroeis also preempted (whether by hand in the same way, or by another template also working in the same way). My argument for (7) is based on the fact that taking a category called "Foo by bar" and then sorting it by "Bar" is basically a reduction of the information content. Sorting it by "Foo of bar" takes care of the potential for it later having to sort against another subcategory called "Goo of bar", which, using (1), would sort exactly the same.
I appreciate the comment regarding somewhat more dominant usage - but isn't the introduction of a template exactly the point to improve a system, rather than perpetuate something "just because"? And it isn't like introducing (1) OR (7) will suddenly make the preempts all-consistent, because there are lots of other uses out there, from " Country" to "!" or "*". Therefore I suggest that we go for (7), it being the sorting key that provides most information.Ingolfson (talk) 05:55, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I would prefer 1 or 6, but when looking in Category:Art by country, any system will be a compromise we have to live with, as long as there is a system. --Foroa (talk) 11:18, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I obviously prefer 1. Sortkey should contain something logical. First a space to get it at the topic, than the thing we're sorting (Countries). This is also the standard at enwp (and probably a lot of other wiki's too) so you should have a good reason to deviate. Multichill (talk) 17:03, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Lol, Multichill, I HAVE given you what I consider good reasons - but obviously they haven't convinced you. And while Railwayfan hasn't really declared his preference, it seems that I am the only one to favour 7. I can live with 1, even if I do prefer 7.Ingolfson (talk) 05:19, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
For the record I prefer option 1. Railwayfan2005 (talk) 13:05, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, I guess that's settled then. For the record, I have already started to do cat sorting as per (1) - let's not be said I'm a sore loser, even though I would have strongly preferred (7). Ingolfson (talk) 02:00, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

By continent category[edit]

I noticed that there are more and more items categorised as in Category:Categories by continent and sometimes not by country. I am wondering if a bot could check and/or autogenerate the "by country" tree as this is the dominating way of categorisation here. --Foroa (talk) 12:23, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

I generate User:Multichill/By country to fix every once in a while and have my bot fix it, but if the <subject> by country cat doesn't exist, my bot won't spot it. I could of course do another query to find this. Multichill (talk) 13:31, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Might be a good idea to search again. In 10 minutes, I found several "by country" cats that were not tagged. --Foroa (talk) 16:20, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
You're mixing up two different things. I'm talking about fixes like this one, you're talking about fixes like this one. Multichill (talk) 16:54, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Just to add my two cents on this based on the above discussion, including in the other section - I feel the "by continent" should stay, including for "non-continent-based" categories. Surely there is a way in the long run in which we can make sure that any "by country" category is automatically placed in the "by continent" cat too. Not something we need to solve directly, but no need to delete the "by continent" cats either. Ingolfson (talk) 22:09, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Separate issue - autocategorisation of template often does not follow Commons sorting rules[edit]

Sorry to be a complainer, but I just realised another serious side-effect of what the bot change of all those thousands of categories has done - it has placed ALL "by country" categories into the "Categories by country" category.

Of course that was intended. But please have a look at Category:Trucks_by_country. Before the addition of the template, that category way sorted into "Vehicles by country". Now, contrary to the Commons rule of only sorting into the most specific category available, it is shuffled back into the parent category Category:Categories by country too. In other words, the template has created hundreds of erronoeus bypass links where the corresponding "by country" category was already in a SUBcategory of "Categories by country".

Multichill, I appreciate your earlier comment that there were many categories that were not in ANY "by country" categories, and that there was a benefit in automatically sorting these to their parent category / into the "by country" category structure. But as you can see, there are also substantial side-effects. Especially as recategorising them back into the subcategories by hand (*sigh!*) is by no means certain to not be undone by the next time the bot runs.

How are we going to resolve this? Ingolfson (talk) 01:25, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

This is intentional, not a side effect. COM:OVERCAT only applies to images. Multichill (talk) 14:44, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Multichill, all by Country categories should be in Category:Categories by country. (You can still have Category:Trucks_by_country in Category:Vehicles by country and it was rude of the bot to remove these categorisations.) Railwayfan2005 (talk) 10:16, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Two comments here: Railwayfan, the bot did NOT remove the "Vehicles by country" cat, that wasn't the issue I am talking about.
Second, Multichill, I disagree - we are talking about one of the most fundamental aspects of categorisation on Commons! Whether or not the letter of COM:OVERCAT mentions this (and I think the issue should be raised there too). According to your logic, a category "Rail transport in Camden" (just a random, probably non-existent example), could be categorised to have ALL the following parent cats, linking directly :
  1. Rail transport in London
  2. Rail transport in England
  3. Rail transport in the United Kingdom
  4. Rail transport in Europe
  5. Rail transport
  6. (and possibly further up, to "Transport" and beyond...)

As well as

  1. Camden
  2. London
  3. England
  4. Europe
  5. (and possibly further up, to "Continents" and beyond...)

All this is a sideeffect of you saying "well, that category may have already been placed in a more specific cat, yet I / my bot / somebody else can place it into a higher cat on the straight line up, because COM:OVERCAT doesn't apply".

I mean, mate, you are essentially telling me that 75% of my work on getting category structures sorted is useless/wrong, and can be reverted at any time by a bot like yours! I do this work that when (for example) you open up Category:New Zealand, you aren't hit with 300-odd categories (rather that a dozen well-sorted top cats that you can then logically navigate to your desired target). The consequences of what you are saying, really, are quite serious - and since you are willing to have bots do such a change, even more so. Please reconsider. (Note, as stated, this discussion should probably continue at Commons talk:Categories) Ingolfson (talk) 11:09, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Dude calm down, this is a meta category. If you feel this isn't right we'll just create Category:Categories by country by alphabet (or better suggestions on the name?). Multichill (talk) 13:06, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Multichill, I think that is a good idea, which is also in the spirit of the categorisation rules. After we resolve the sorting key issue above, it would be great if you could rerun the bot and move them into the new category (I think the Category:Categories by country by alphabet name is perfectly right, as it follows established convention in naming and makes good sense). I will then help to ensure that intermediate categories like "Vehicles by country" are located in both the new cat and directly under "Categories by country". Ingolfson (talk) 05:42, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
And as per my - easily spotted - anxiety about this whole issue: please do not think I don't fully appreciate the use of bots on Commons - but I have a serious concern that bot changes CAN go wrong and then be hard or impossible to revert except by painstaking hand-edits. Combine that with a disagreement on policy (which we now seem to have resolved), and yes, it's a bit hard for me chill. Thanks for offering a reasonable compromise. Ingolfson (talk) 05:42, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Anyway, Category:Categories by country and Category:Categories by country by alphabet should not coexist. To me, there is no logical way to explain that to the users. --Foroa (talk) 11:20, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Foroa, I disagree there. Also, I was told sometime during this discussion that the direct uplink, which bypasses the intermediate categories, is acceptable because only admins / bots use those categories. Then you say we should not have both, because it would confuse users (I assume you mean more casual users than us).
With that argument, why would we retain Category:Categories by city by country - we already have category:Categories by city. I think that "Categories by country by alphabet" is no more problematic than "Categories by religion by country" or any other similar category existing or still to be created that gathers two different parts of the category tree.
As for explaining it to users, I suggest the following text (feel free to suggest edits) in the "Categories by country by alphabet":

This category contains ALL "by country" categories, sorted by alphabet ONLY. For "by country" categories sorted together according to similar themes, such as those in Category:Vehicles by country, please see Category:Categories by country.

Ingolfson (talk) 05:19, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Of course, Category:Categories by country should then be "cleared out" so that it only contains those themed groupings cats, plus the link to the "by country by alphabet" cat which will retain ALL of the "bay country" cats. Ingolfson (talk) 05:31, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Logical category structure[edit]

A graph

Currently the category structure of the subcategories of Category:Categories by country is somwhat of a mess. I want to work on improving the structure. For example Category:Churches by country is a subcategory of Category:Religious buildings by country. All subcategories of Category:Churches by country should be in a subcategory of Category:Religious buildings by country if that category exists. For example Category:Churches in the Netherlands should be in Category:Religious buildings in the Netherlands. We should create a tree of topic somewhere (first test at User:Multichill/Country category structure) to get the tree more consistent and thus easier for users to navigate. Multichill (talk) 17:14, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

How do you tell a church from a chapel? What value is Category:Churches in the Netherlands adding—why can't the 16 categories in Category:Churches in the Netherlands just be subs to Category:Religious buildings by country? Railwayfan2005 (talk) 20:18, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm talking about the structure here. Telling church from a chapel is not in the scope of this structuring attempt. You mean adding for example Category:Brick Gothic churches in the Netherlands directly into Category:Religious buildings by country? Multichill (talk) 21:24, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry I think I meant Category:Religious buildings in the Netherlands not Category:Religious buildings by country above.

What value is Category:Brick Gothic churches in the Netherlands adding anyway? How can a lay-person know if they are looking in the right place given there's also Category:Gothic revival churches in the Netherlands and Category:Romanesque churches in the Netherlands. Having looked in these categories I can't tell the individuals apart and I certainly have no idea which a random picture of a dutch church should go in. Category:Churches in the Netherlands has no pictures of churches in it! Do you propose we move on to Category:Red brick Gothic churches in the Netherlands and Category:Grey brick Gothic churches in the Netherlands then on to Category:Red brick Gothic churches in the Netherlands with stained glass windows & Category:Red brick Gothic churches in the Netherlands without stained glass windows? Where would it end and how do we know when we've got there? Railwayfan2005 (talk) 19:40, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Railwayfan2005, i'm trying to talk about the general picture here. Of course it is an option to put the subcategories of Category:Churches in the Netherlands in Category:Religious buildings in the Netherlands. What makes you think i want to create these kind of categories? I'm want to talking about structuring the higher levels of the tree and the churches are only an example. Multichill (talk) 21:02, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I can see where you are coming from and the more I get involved in categories the less I want to get dragged in any further.
Am I correct here? Effectively the tree you are creating has an extra navigational path following down the "by country" route before making the leap into country specific files and all the cross linking makes it possible to leap sideways at any point, eg Category:Religious buildings by country > Category:Churches by country > Category:Brick Gothic churches by country > Category:Brick Gothic churches in the Netherlands or Category:Religious buildings by country > Category:Religious buildings in the Netherlands > Category:Churches in the Netherlands > Category:Brick Gothic churches in the Netherlands. Does the diagram relate to the current position? I can see lost of potential links which could be created, Sports People --> People by occupation for starters... Railwayfan2005 (talk) 00:25, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
The diagram does not reflect te current situation and is far from complete. In the category tree we have to find a balance. It shouldn't be too deep (to much clicks), but it shouldn't be too shallow (categories to crowded). I hope this diagram will help with spotting errors in our tree, but at first i only want to use it to find broken categories. Each subject * country category should be a subcategory of subject and of country. The first thing is quite easy to fix (i have a bot to fix that every once in a while), but the second one can be difficult (see User:Multichill/No_country for a list) because we have to know where to place a category in the tree. Multichill (talk) 00:44, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

I support Multichill's original suggestion - In fact, that is one of the first things I would like to do after we sorted the "Category:Categories by country by alphabet" issue.

Category:Categories by country >
Category: Religious buildings by country >
Category: Regious buildings in the Netherlands >
Category: Churches in the Netherlands
Category: Chapels in the Netherlands

Makes a lot of sense to me. That kind of structure is what I have been working on for long time. Ingolfson (talk) 05:27, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

However, one major caveat - the first image you are showing, where you propose a levels structure stitting below "country" - many of the elements are different from Commons:Category scheme countries and subdivisions. I have been using that category scheme for years now - and for thousands of edits - to sort out out the "catch-all" mess that many "country" parent cats are. Happy to discuss changes to that scheme - but let us NOT create a parallel guideline. Ingolfson (talk) 05:27, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Please note that I have suggested one major change to said country scheme (see last section of the talk page, "architecture vs buildings"). No responses yet after several weeks, but sadly that has been the case on that category scheme for a while. Not surprised that even profilic editors don't know it exists. All the more reason to make it more widely known, and get it generally accepted. As I said, welcome for people to propose changes - but let us do it there, please. Ingolfson (talk) 05:38, 29 January 2009 (UTC)


we should change autosorting: maps are sorted « » for type of map (eg. SVG, Old map, and so on), not content - «*» is for topsorting by content, alternativly «!»: this is because with maps content (what is shown) normally will be standard alphabetical order, while SVG, Old are kind of "extraordinary" sorting ("how" it is shown), which shouldn't be merged
those special chars will mark subtrees, which normaly will show the same alphabetic sorting structure as their mothercategory eg.

  • map
    • « »|SVG map
      • «*»|SVG map by country - content
      • but « »|blank SVG map - type of map
        • «*»|blank SVG map by country - content
    • «*»|map by country - content
      • « »|SVG map by country - type of map
        • « »|blank SVG map by country - type of map
        • for example: «*»|SVG maps of countries of the European Union – so it would not be in abc of countries (at «E»)

were, as we are use from searching, «*» means some kind of "all, many them", while «!» says "special, out of abc order, maybe look first in here"

    • «*»|maps of bilateral relations (more than one country)
    • but «!»|maps by countries subdivisions - extraordinary content sorting, try first

you see, that is what follow our naming habits (tyoe in front of “map”, content after): would give a more clear structure (esp. if some more cats have to be topsorted) W!B: (talk) 01:50, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Can we have this span the whole width?[edit]

Many of these info templates cover the whole width, such as {{seealso}} or {{diffusecat}}. However, this one does not. Therefore, when used together with others that span the whole width, like here (as of 2010-02-13), the result is pretty unweighted (really ugly to my mind, but then not everyone will go that far). Could it be made to span automatically over the full width? Ingolfson (talk) 04:43, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

I agree. I made it wider like {{catdiffuse}} and {{seealso}}. --Timeshifter (talk) 12:52, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
I changed {{By year category}} as well. Rocket000 (talk) 16:48, 27 February 2010 (UTC)