Community Wishlist Survey 2021/Categories/Clusterization of Categories

Clusterization of Categories

  • Problem: Categories displayed at the end of pages are a mess when there is more than half a dozen. In particular in Wiktionaries, as the content is words in several languages, categories are for language of an entry, grammatical information, lexicographical information (morphological, semantical, etymological and so on), structure of the content. Those are mixed without any clustering. Same in Wikipedia, where categories can be geographical, thematic, chronological. For example: Marcel Proust.
  • Who would benefit: Readers could access to similar pages easily if the categories are clearly distinguished.
  • Proposed solution: Having a way to set clusters to category pages and build a way to set for each project the clustering displayed in the content pages.
  • More comments: If you have practical cases for other projects, feel free to support this proposal with your own need for this! I think this proposal could be another framing at the same problem point out by Geertivp in his 2019 proposal: Display Multi-column sorted categories.
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Noé (talk) 23:13, 16 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]


  • Structuring categories is an application of structured data, which is exactly what Wikidata does. As Wikidata becomes more functional and integrated into other WM projects, the need to use categories will diminish. Therefore, I consider work that could be spent on adding functionality to categories much better spent on Wikidata. Silver hr (talk) 11:24, 17 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Thanks for this insight. Content in Wiktionary is not described in Wikidata and will not be, so categories would remains useful at least for this project Noé (talk) 12:17, 17 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    While content in Wiktionary might currently not be described in Wikidata, I see no reason why it couldn't be. The benefits of Wikidata would be useful in Wiktionary as well as any other Wikimedia project. Silver hr (talk) 18:49, 30 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Wikidata and local categories still serve different purposes.Carn (talk) 13:21, 18 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Categories are an expression of folksonomy, how editors (who are also users) structure the articles; it provides links that are natural, yet cannot be derived from ordered data. Turning this into structured data will result with the loss of these natural insights, & can make it harder for users to find associated subjects. (I know this is not directly related to this proposal, but it needs to be mentioned as a warning about future conflicts.) -- Llywrch (talk) 06:32, 27 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Folksonomy is a portmanteau of folk and taxonomy. A taxonomy is a system of classification. Wikidata deals with classes (aka concepts), their instances, and relations between them, and is thus a more formal and vastly more functional way of doing what categories do. I understand that people who use categories would like to keep doing what they've always been doing instead of having to learn a new thing, however that simply is not a valid reason to not do things in a better way. As for using categories to find associated subjects, there's no reason the same can't be done with Wikidata. It's only a matter of integrating it into Wikipedia well. Silver hr (talk) 18:46, 30 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    So, in few words, you want to jettison the way we've implemented categories because your way is better, QED. I admire your confidence in this opinion despite your absence of supporting arguments. However, faith & logic are different things & should not be confused, & since you have offered no logical arguments to make this change -- nor understanding of my point -- you simply insist we entrust our faith in your opinion. -- Llywrch (talk) 08:18, 5 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Wikidata is not "my way", it is a WMF project that many people participate in, and one of its uses can be to replace the current category system with something that offers everything categories do, and much more. As for arguments, I have offered them, and if you wish to address them, we can discuss them. Silver hr (talk) 20:57, 8 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Categories are part of another WMF project, and we don't have to choose between only one - the categories of pages associated with a wikidata item can help structured data, and vice versa - structured data can help choose categories. Carn (talk) 07:19, 16 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    How could categories from a project help Wikidata? If there is a fact to be recorded about something, this fact can be recorded (and properly sourced) in Wikidata, regardless of categories. Silver hr (talk) 19:25, 18 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • @Noé: We have MediaWiki:Gadget-SeparateSpecialCategories.css and MediaWiki:Gadget-SeparateSpecialCategories.js for separating Maintenance and Monitoring cats on cswiki. So the solution could be similar. — Draceane talkcontrib. 17:26, 17 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Thanks for this option, we will dig into it as a secondary solution! Noé (talk) 08:50, 18 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • mw:Snippets/Multi-column sorted categories could also help; it only requires one single line of CSS, and a simple change in core MediaWiki includes/skins/RCS/Skin.php. Geert Van Pamel (WMBE) (talk) 14:12, 19 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • The idea I've been musing about is exposing (some?) Wikidata properties in the same place as the categories are. I'm not sure what value that would have though if they can't be played with meaningfully... --Izno (talk) 00:54, 21 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Categories never ever will be replaced by Wikidata. The main reason is that every language versions has differing rules what to categoriza and how to do it. The German community, for example, would never accept the English WP category system mess and rejects attempts to implement the commons category system on the German WP. Furthermore category systems in WP differ from those in Wikinews. Whereas Wikipedia uses some combination of facett classiication and pre-defined categories, Wikinews' category system is more or less a word cloud. --Matthiasb (talk) 21:18, 22 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Your crystal ball aside, the point of Wikidata is to structure data in a language-neutral way. Then you can search through, analyze and present it however you want. For instance, instead of manually having to create Category: US presidents in the 1900s and add it to the page of every US president that held office in the 1900s, if in Wikidata you already have this information, you can (or will be able to) refer to this set of presidents simply through the use of a query such as is:person AND held-office:president[country:USA][date:1900-1999] (I'm improvising the syntax for clarity). The current use of categories might differ between Wikipedias, but categories still have to be based on objective facts, i.e. you can't have Category: Presidents User:Silver_hr likes. This is what Wikidata enables, and so much more, and with much more automation. Silver hr (talk) 18:46, 30 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Be polite plz Carn (talk) 08:25, 10 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    For example in ruwiki we do not categorize people on the basis of being vegetarians or atheists. Some of our categories are strictly transitive, in which a category can only be included in one subcategory of a category. See ru:Шаблон:Универсальная карточка - it makes wikidata item into Infobox. If we have a lot of different data, then we will have to choose what to display and what not. And to create an analogue of a category system from Wikidata data is to build a similar system. And in each wiki there will be some unique expectations from such a system. Carn (talk) 21:45, 11 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]