(Moving a couple of paragraphs from the watercooler because this subject clearly has a big future; and adding a para of reply)
More linking of high-level categories?
MediaWiki categories are a relatively recent development, only a couple of years old, and are not fully utilised by even some old hands. From my experience of Wikipedia and several Wikia, I think there's value in more linking. Currently there are several uncategorized categories, which is not ideal. A top-level category, which could be named category:browse as on Wikia, could provide an alternative semi-automatically updated site overview by listing 5-10 main subcategories (some of those at present uncategorized) and a handful of key articles or other pages. Robin Patterson 00:50, 24 May 2006 (MDT)
- Good idea. I think there's a similar Category:Categories on Wikipedia too.--Bjwebb 15:39, 28 October 2006 (MDT)
Category for each surname?
Have the organisers thought of that idea and rejected it? Maybe have a look to see how it works on an example page at the Genealogy Wikia. Robin Patterson 00:50, 24 May 2006 (MDT)
- I hadn't considered it before. It makes sense. We could modify the help pages to suggest this. Also, if you think it would be a good idea we could have our "bot" proactively edit the each surname page to add a category for the surname. What do you think?--Dallan 18:10, 7 June 2006 (MDT)
- If you do it at this stage, a bot would certainly be useful. Probably needs you organisers to toss ideas around (after you've all had a look at the Wikia example above), especially as you understand the current relationships and page-building templates etc, which I don't because they are not standard MediaWiki. (This page will be on my watchlist, so I won't lose touch!)Robin Patterson 18:55, 7 June 2006 (MDT)
- I'll add it to the list of tasks for the bot. The bot recently finished updating place pages with the latest place history information from wikipedia (which is also why we have the new wikipedia notice at the bottom of place pages). It's now adding microfilm numbers to all of the Source wiki pages from the FHLC so you can find the source for a given microfilm# (handy when you're writing a research guide and you have a microfilm# and want to link to the source wiki page for that microfilm). After that's done we're propagating latitude and longitude on place pages so that we can show maps for each place depicting the locations of its contained places. Once that's done (most likely a few weeks from now), we'll add categories for surnames. The bot updates a max of about 40K pages per day, which is why it takes awhile to get to these changes.--Dallan 23:54, 7 June 2006 (MDT)
- Should be fun. I suggest the form category:Patterson surname so that the categories will list alphabetically (under the expected letter) wherever they appear. An alternative such as category:Surname Patterson would list them all under "S" (or "C" in some listings) unless extra fiddling was done; no problem for the bot but extra work for anyone doing one manually and a nuisance if any such person forgot or just didn't know and put something in an unexpected place. When that's done (or maybe earlier, depending on what workplan the bot has), please tell the bot to put each of those categories in category:Surnames - or maybe (to be more manageable) the appropriate subcategory such as category:Surnames "A", which would be a suitable place for a link to the LookSmart categories such as http://lsxml.looksmart.com/p/browse/us1/us317837/us317919/us71960/us522121/us962348/.
- Robin Patterson 00:57, 8 June 2006 (MDT)
I just put up a new version of the software that automatically puts surname and place pages into categories for the respective surname and place, and puts sources, articles, and user subpages (personal research pages) into categories for the surnames and places listed in the infobox on the page. Because of a bug in the software, you will have to edit the page for it to show up in the category. Pages that have not been edited after 8/17 will still appear to be in the category--that is, the category link will show up at the bottom of the page, but they won't be listed on the category page. If you edit the page, then it will show up in the category page. I could fix this bug, but most pages at this point are just automatically-generated stubs, so it may not be so bad if pages don't earn membership in the categories until someone edits them.
I haven't figured out an easy way to automatically add new surname categories into the appropriate Surname "X" (where X is a letter A-Z) super-category. Similarly for place categories; they aren't automatically entered into the category for the containing place. I'm thinking that for now we'll just watch recent changes for when category pages are created and then put them in the appropriate super-categories by hand.
Please let me know what you think, or if you'd like to see changes/improvements to this feature.--Dallan 15:06, 17 August 2006 (MDT)
- Sounds good to me. Nothing's irreversible! Robin Patterson 16:34, 17 August 2006 (MDT)
Uncategorized and/or uncategorised pages
Anyone with ten minutes to spare could attack Special:Uncategorizedpages, which has now crept above the hundred mark again. Lots of them are "surname in place". Robin Patterson 20:41, 1 October 2006 (MDT)
- Uncategorized pages below 100 again--Dallan 23:56, 14 October 2006 (MDT)
Request for comments on categories
I recently created categories for all surnames and places, but I'm not sure I like the result. Without the categories, you could already see all pages that link to a surname by going to the Surname page and clicking on the "What links here" link, so I'm not sure we need a separate surname category. Also, once we allow uploading gedcom's, there could be thousands of pages with the same surname, so I'm not sure how helpful a surname category would be. I'm wondering if 'Surname in Place' categories would be more helpful. I'd like to get a discussion going on this if I could.--Dallan 11:04, 20 October 2006 (MDT)
Currently, we have over 500K categories - 100K surname categories and 435K place categories - most with just the single surname or place page. Every article, user page, and source has been automatically added to the surname and place categories listed in its surname and place fields. Surname pages and Place pages have also been added to their associated category.
- Should we keep the surname categories, or is going to the surname page and clicking on "what links here" sufficient?
- If we want to keep the surname categories, do we still want to categorize them into 'Category:Surnames "A"', etc.?
- Should we keep the place categories, or is going to the place page and clicking on "what links here" sufficient?
- Should we automatically create 'Surname in Place' categories for each page that listed surname(s) and place(s) in the Surname and Place fields? Articles, user pages, sources, and eventually person pages and images all have surnames and places. I'm thinking that a 'Category:Surname in high-level-Place' could be created for each combination of surname and "high-level-place", where the "high-level-place" is the last part of the place listed. For example, if an article/source/person/image had a surname of "Jones" and places of "Chicago, Illinois" and "Madison, Wisconsin", then we would automatically add that page to categories 'Category:Jones in Illinois' and 'Category:Jones in Wisconsin'.
- If we did this, and we kept the surname categories, should we ask people to categorize a 'Category:Surname in Place' page into the appropriate 'Surname' category?
The "What links here" link
(This replies to part of the above.) At present, the listing displayed by the "What links here" link is in no obvious order, unlike the alphanumeric order categories produce. For a long list, that's a serious disadvantage of relying on the "What links here" link. Robin Patterson 16:07, 23 October 2006 (MDT)
- I hadn't realized that. Looking at the code, it's not that easy to change. So it looks like we can't rely on "What links here" as a substitute for surname and/or place categories. So we need the surname categories. And unless there are objections I'd like to try creating "Surname in Place" categories. The remaining question is, do we need the place categories -- how helpful are they?--Dallan 18:09, 24 October 2006 (MDT)
- See "Place" categories section below. Robin Patterson 19:15, 24 October 2006 (MDT)
Dallan says above: "The remaining question is, do we need the place categories -- how helpful are they?"
Suppose that on my one brief visit to the Northern Hemisphere I visit York armed with printouts of WeRelate's "Harrison in York" and all its subcategories and articles. Find lots of relatives and many dead-ends but too fast! Still 24 hours before my booked flight departs. Do I search laboriously for "Patterson in York", "Forlong in York", "MacGregor in York", "Houlton in York", and a thousand other surname-in-place pages? Do I look through a lengthy Repositories or Sources list or category to see what useful buildings might exist in York that are worth a visit? Do I try a list or category of "Societies" hoping there's a local contact to get on the phone to? No - (not reliant on the "what links here" button, which would probably not lead me to all articles about York's suburbs, for example) I look in category:York, where helpful genealogists and/or programmers have included all relevant pages and subcategories so that:
- I don't have to eliminate 99.9% of what I see in any of those non-place lists or categories;
- I don't search fruitlessly for a "Forlong in York" category or 999 other surname-in-place categories, because my read through the York category and its subcategories tells me there isn't one.
Robin Patterson 19:01, 24 October 2006 (MDT)