Difference between revisions of "Help:Categories"

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{{BP help|Month=July 2013|Reason=Needs update - Amanda Qualls}}{{tnr}}'''Categories''' are a way to sort similar articles into groupings that are helpful for readers and contributors. Categories can be thought of as filing folders, or filing cabinets.
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{{help}}{{tnr}}
  
Many articles are in more than one category. For example, the article on the [[Maine Medical Marijuana Initiative (1999)]] is in [[:Category:Maine 1999 ballot measures|a category for all Maine 1999 ballot measures]] and in a category for [[:Category:Marijuana, Maine|all articles about Maine marijuana-related ballot measures]].
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'''Categories''' are tags at the bottom of articles that help the reader of a page find other articles that are in a similar topic, and help the editors of the wiki organize groups of articles. For example, this article belongs to the [[:Category:Intro editing help]]. When a reader of this article clicks on that category, they will be directed to a collection of other articles that are about basic editing on Ballotpedia.
  
You can [[Special:Categories|review all of Ballotpedia's categories here]].
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This help page contains information about the purpose of categories on the wiki, and how they are used to arrange information in the various parts of Ballotpedia.
  
==How to place an article in a category==
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==Purpose==
To put an article in a category, you must type a category tag at the bottom of the article.
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Categories are the organizing elements of the wiki. They allow you to put all the articles about a certain subject in one area. If pages are not placed into one or more categories, they may be lost or forgotten. Making sure that each page contains at least one category is essential to the health and growth of the wiki.
  
This is what that looks like:
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Categories also make it easy for readers and editors to find all the articles of a certain type, such as all [[:Category:Congressional districts of Indiana|Congressional districts of Indiana]], ensuring that these articles are properly updated and easy to navigate to.
  
:[[:Category:Maine 1999 ballot measures]]
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Though each article should have at least one category, there is no upper limit on how many categories an article can belong to. For example, in the case of the [[United States House of Representatives]] article, there are three categories: [[:Category:Terms and definitions]], [[:Category:Unique congress pages]] and [[:Category:Congress project]].
  
Some parts of what you need to type are case-sensitive and some are not. It doesn't matter whether you capitalize the word "Category" or not, and it also doesn't matter whether you capitalize the first word of the category. These two ways of typing will put an article in the same category:
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Each category page must also be categorized. Categorizing the categories links groups of pages together and ensures that all pages of the wiki belong to the larger organizational structure. Continuing with the [[United States House of Representatives]] example, [[:Category:Congress project]] belongs to the [[:Category:Ballotpedia Projects]]. If you click on this category, you will continue to find categories at the bottom of each category page. The category one level up from your current category is called the [[#Parent categories|parent category]], and is more generalized than the category you are currently in. In turn, the category you are in is a [[#Subcategories|subcategory]] of its parent.
  
*[[:Category:Maine 1999 ballot measures]]
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==Style guidelines==
*[[:Category:Maine 1999 ballot measures]]
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Consistent style guidelines are important because categories are case sensitive. For example, if one contributor puts an article in [[:Category:Current member, U.S. Senate]] while another contributor puts an article in [[:Category:Current Member, U.S. Senate]] (the only difference being whether "Member" is capitalized or not), as far as Ballotpedia's software is concerned, these are two different categories: [[:Category:Current member, U.S. Senate|Current member, U.S. Senate]] and [[:Category:Current Member, U.S. Senate|Current Member, U.S. Senate]].
  
However, all other words in the category are case-sensitive. If you type this on one article:
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Style consistency also matters from project-to-project because it enables regular contributors to know what category to put an article in without having to look it up. For example, if a contributor who doesn't regularly work on the Arizona state legislature starts a new article about a legislator in Arizona, it makes things easier for that contributor to know whether to categorize it in [[:Category:Current member, Arizona State Senate|Current member, Arizona State Senate]], [[:Category:Current Member, Arizona State Senate|Current Member, Arizona State Senate]] or even [[:Category:Current member of the Arizona State Senate|Current member of the Arizona State Senate]].
  
*[[:Category:California 2008 ballot measures]]
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Some general style guidelines are:
  
And this on another article:
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* In most cases, '''do not capitalize''' the second and subsequent words in a category. The exception to this rule is proper nouns.
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* It does not matter whether you capitalize the first letter of the first word of the category or not. The [[Wikipedia:MediaWiki|MediaWiki]] software used by Ballotpedia automatically capitalizes it.
  
*<nowiki>[[:Category:California 2008 Ballot Measures]]</nowiki>
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==Assigning categories==
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===The basics===
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If you are creating a new article or editing an existing page and you want to assign a category, make sure you know the correct name for the category before assigning it. You can determine the proper name for the category by reviewing the relevant pages in the [[:Category:Writing guidelines|Writing guidelines]] or by reviewing other pages of the same type. If you are [[#Creating categories|creating a new category]], make sure that it conforms to the project guidelines. Taking these steps increases the chances that the category structure on Ballotpedia will remain consistent and useful for readers, volunteer editors and staff members.
  
...the two articles will not appear in the same category. A reader who clicks on [[:Category:California 2008 ballot measures]] will not be able to find any of the articles that were placed in <nowiki>[[Category:California 2008 Ballot Measures]]</nowiki> and vice versa.
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If you use the preview feature prior to saving an edit, you can check to see if the category tag you added already exists. If the category you have added appears as a blue link, then it exists and no further action needs to be taken. If the category is a red link, it does not exist, and either needs to be [[#Creating categories|created]] or an existing category found.
  
==How categories help readers==
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===Adding categories===
{{help}}
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Once you have decided to put your article into a category (or categories), follow these steps:
This article is included in two categories, [[:Category:Editing help]] and [[:Category:Ballotpedia basic information]]. When a reader of this article--a reader who is looking for help in figuring out how Ballotpedia works--clicks on one of those category links at the bottom of the article, he or she will be directed to a collection of other articles that are about learning your way around Ballotpedia.
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Categories help readers browse through and find articles they are likely to be interested in.
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# On the "edit" page for the article, place your cursor at the end of the article.<ref>Though categories can be typed at any point in the article, it is convention for them to be typed at the end of the article, so they are easy to locate by any editor</ref>
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# Type two initial square brackets
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::[[
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# Type the word ''Category'' followed by a colon<ref>Category can be capitalized or left lower case (''Category'' or ''category''); both will function in the same way.</ref>
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::[[Category:
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# Type the name of the category, which can be new or pre-existing
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::[[Category:Ballotpedia basic information
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# Type two concluding square brackets
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::<nowiki>[[Category:Ballotpedia basic information]]</nowiki>
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# Preview your work
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# Once the preview has been reviewed and confirmed, click ''Save page''
  
Categories also help contributors quickly find all articles in a particular category in case they want to make an addition or change that is relevant to all articles of a certain type.
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Category names are case-sensitive. If you are trying to put an article into the category ''Louisiana district courts'' and you type ''Louisiana District Courts'', your article will go into a different category. By default, '''all''' words in a category should be lowercase. Exceptions are generally only made for proper nouns.
  
==How to decide what categories an article belongs in==
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==Creating categories==
If you're writing an article and want to put it in a category, think about whether the article is on a subject that other articles will be written about. Are you writing about a tax limit initiative?  Are you writing about a newspaper in Missouri?  If another article is likely to appear on Ballotpedia that is about a tax limit initiative (just not the one you're writing about) or about a newspaper in Missouri (just not the newspaper you're writing an article about), then consider putting the article in a category.
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Creating a new category is easy. If you determine that the category needed for an article you are editing does not yet exist, make sure you know the proper naming conventions for the category by reviewing the relevant [[:Category:Writing guidelines|writing guidelines]], then simply [[#Adding categories|add]] that category to your article.
  
'''See also:'''  [[Help:List of Ballotpedia topic categories]]. This is a list of the names of topic categories in use on Ballotpedia. Any ballot measure falls under one or more topic categories.
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Once you preview and save the page, you will note that your new category is a red link. To create your new category, click that link to be taken to the category page. The category page will open in edit mode; to create your new category, you need to add the proper parent category to the category page.
  
==Check to see if there is already a category your article fits in==
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A parent category is the more general category to which a more specific category belongs. You can determine the proper parent category (or categories) by reviewing other similar categories and reviewing your project's [[:Category:Writing guidelines|writing guidelines]]. Once you have added the proper parent category, click ''Save page'' to create the category.
The way you do that is by visiting [[Special:Categories]].
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==How to put your article in categories==
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===Talk pages===
Once you have decided to put your article in categories, the steps to follow are:
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Categories should have filled out [[Help:Talk page|talk pages]], just like any other page on the wiki. To create the talk page for you new category, click the red "Discussion" tab at the top left of the category page. Add the appropriate [[:Category:WikiProject templates|WikiProject template]] and click "Save page."
  
:*On the "edit" page for the article, place your cursor at the end of the article.
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==Parent categories and Subcategories==
:*Type two initial square brackets:  [[
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===Parent categories===
:*Type the word "Category" followed by a colon, as in: Category:
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A parent category is the more general category to which a more specific category belongs. To use this article as an example. Help:Categories belongs to the [[:Category:Intro editing help]]. If you go to that category's page, you will see that it belongs to the [[:Category:Editing help]]. So, [[:Category:Editing help]] is the parent category of [[:Category:Intro editing help]]. We could also say this another way; [[:Category:Intro editing help]] is a [[#Subcategories|subcategory]] of [[:Category:Editing help]].
:*Type the name of the category, which can be a new category or a pre-existing category. For example: ''Ballotpedia basic information''
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:*Type two concluding square brackets: ]]
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:*Preview your work and then click "save page".
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:*You're done.
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As reviewed above, remember that category names are case-sensitive. If you're trying to put an article in the category "Colorado ballot measures" and you type "Colorado Ballot Measures", your article will go into a category called "Colorado Ballot Measure" which won't be good because all the other articles on Ballotpedia about Colorado ballot measures are in the "Colorado ballot measures" category.  
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All categories must have a parent category. The only exception to this rule is the [[:Category:Lucy Burns Institute]], which is the topmost category on the wiki. To see how categories are nested within one another, you can use the special feature [[Special:CategoryTree|Category Tree]].
  
By default, '''''all''''' categories on Ballotpedia are written in lowercase. An exception is made for proper nouns. If the contributors to a particular [[:Category:Portals|project on Ballotpedia]] want to use a different upper case/lower case convention, they should spell this out '''very clearly''' on their project page; otherwise, confusion will soon result.
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===Subcategories===
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Categories can be designated as subcategories of other categories. This allows you to create a hierarchy, which can be simple or complex depending on project needs. A category that has subcategories is called a [[#Parent categories|parent category]].
  
====Seeing is believing====
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One reason to link categories together in this way is that it prevents large categories from becoming so full that they lose their value. For example, if you put all articles that had anything to do with [[Maine]] into [[:Category:Maine|Category:Maine]], that category would soon become functionally useless. Instead, you want to create useful subcategories that are part of the Maine category, such as [[:Category:Maine ballot measures]], which is a subcategory of [[:Category:Maine]].
This 'shows' what was just instructed, above:
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<nowiki>[[Category:California 2009 ballot measures]]
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Within [[:Category:Maine ballot measures]], you can have several smaller categories, such as [[:Category:Alcohol, Maine‎]] and [[:Category:Elections and campaigns, Maine]].
[[Category:Gambling, California]]
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</nowiki>
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Yes, putting articles in categories is that easy.
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The way you [[#Creating categories|make one category]] a subcategory of a larger category is to click "edit" when you are on the page for the category, and then add the desired parent category. Look at [[:Category:State portals]] for an example.
  
==Example of an article with useful category tags==
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==Linking to a category==
The [[Colorado Civil Rights Initiative (2008)]] is an example of an article that has been sorted into some useful categories.
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:''See also: [[Help:Links]]''
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If you want to link to a category in an article without putting the article in that category, you must insert a colon (:) before the category namespace and name.
  
==How to remove category tags from an article==
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For example, <nowiki>[[:Category:Congress project]]</nowiki> will link to that category like this: [[:Category:Congress project]]; but <nowiki>[[Category:Congress project]]</nowiki> would place this article in the category about the federal judiciary.
If you think an article has been mis-categorized, go to the "edit" screen of that article, scroll to the bottom of the edit screen where you'll find the category tags, and delete category tags you believe are obsolete or unhelpful.
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If you do decide that an entire category is obsolete:
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==See also==
 
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* [[Help:Links]]
* Visit that category's page and note the articles it includes so you can move '''''all''''' those articles to a new category.
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* [[Help:Editing a page]]
* Otherwise, those other articles will end up orphaned in an obsolete category.
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* [[Special:Categories]]
* If other contributors are working on that set of articles, check with them first.
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* [[Special:CategoryTree|Special:Category tree]]
 
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==Sub-categories and parent categories==
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The artful use of '''subcategories''' is extremely helpful. One category (for example, [[California political consultants]]), can be a subcategory of two different, larger categories, the [[:Category:California]] category and the [[:Category:Political consultants]] category. Rather than categorize an article about a California political consultant as belonging to the "California" or "political consultants" category, you'd add a category tag at the bottom of the article saying <nowiki>[[Category:California political consultants]]</nowiki>, which appears as [[:Category:California political consultants]].
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===Creating sub and parent categories===
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When you are on the page for the category which you wish to designate as a subcategory of some larger category, simply add a category tag on the page you want to designate as a subcategory to the larger category. For example, on the category page for [[:Category:California political consultants]], type both <nowiki>[[:Category:California]]</nowiki> and <nowiki>[[:Category:Political consultants]]</nowiki>
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By doing that, you have simultaneously made [[:Category:Political consultants]] a parent category of [[:Category:California political consultants]], and made [[:Category:California political consultants]] a subcategory of [[:Category:Political consultants]].
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[[Category:Intro editing help]]
 
[[Category:Intro editing help]]

Latest revision as of 13:31, 3 February 2014

Editing Help
1328101905 Help.png
Index
Editing guide
Cheatsheet
Policies
Copyright
Textual standards
Visual standards
Glossary of terms
Edit review process

Categories are tags at the bottom of articles that help the reader of a page find other articles that are in a similar topic, and help the editors of the wiki organize groups of articles. For example, this article belongs to the Category:Intro editing help. When a reader of this article clicks on that category, they will be directed to a collection of other articles that are about basic editing on Ballotpedia.

This help page contains information about the purpose of categories on the wiki, and how they are used to arrange information in the various parts of Ballotpedia.

Purpose

Categories are the organizing elements of the wiki. They allow you to put all the articles about a certain subject in one area. If pages are not placed into one or more categories, they may be lost or forgotten. Making sure that each page contains at least one category is essential to the health and growth of the wiki.

Categories also make it easy for readers and editors to find all the articles of a certain type, such as all Congressional districts of Indiana, ensuring that these articles are properly updated and easy to navigate to.

Though each article should have at least one category, there is no upper limit on how many categories an article can belong to. For example, in the case of the United States House of Representatives article, there are three categories: Category:Terms and definitions, Category:Unique congress pages and Category:Congress project.

Each category page must also be categorized. Categorizing the categories links groups of pages together and ensures that all pages of the wiki belong to the larger organizational structure. Continuing with the United States House of Representatives example, Category:Congress project belongs to the Category:Ballotpedia Projects. If you click on this category, you will continue to find categories at the bottom of each category page. The category one level up from your current category is called the parent category, and is more generalized than the category you are currently in. In turn, the category you are in is a subcategory of its parent.

Style guidelines

Consistent style guidelines are important because categories are case sensitive. For example, if one contributor puts an article in Category:Current member, U.S. Senate while another contributor puts an article in Category:Current Member, U.S. Senate (the only difference being whether "Member" is capitalized or not), as far as Ballotpedia's software is concerned, these are two different categories: Current member, U.S. Senate and Current Member, U.S. Senate.

Style consistency also matters from project-to-project because it enables regular contributors to know what category to put an article in without having to look it up. For example, if a contributor who doesn't regularly work on the Arizona state legislature starts a new article about a legislator in Arizona, it makes things easier for that contributor to know whether to categorize it in Current member, Arizona State Senate, Current Member, Arizona State Senate or even Current member of the Arizona State Senate.

Some general style guidelines are:

  • In most cases, do not capitalize the second and subsequent words in a category. The exception to this rule is proper nouns.
  • It does not matter whether you capitalize the first letter of the first word of the category or not. The MediaWiki software used by Ballotpedia automatically capitalizes it.

Assigning categories

The basics

If you are creating a new article or editing an existing page and you want to assign a category, make sure you know the correct name for the category before assigning it. You can determine the proper name for the category by reviewing the relevant pages in the Writing guidelines or by reviewing other pages of the same type. If you are creating a new category, make sure that it conforms to the project guidelines. Taking these steps increases the chances that the category structure on Ballotpedia will remain consistent and useful for readers, volunteer editors and staff members.

If you use the preview feature prior to saving an edit, you can check to see if the category tag you added already exists. If the category you have added appears as a blue link, then it exists and no further action needs to be taken. If the category is a red link, it does not exist, and either needs to be created or an existing category found.

Adding categories

Once you have decided to put your article into a category (or categories), follow these steps:

  1. On the "edit" page for the article, place your cursor at the end of the article.[1]
  2. Type two initial square brackets
[[
  1. Type the word Category followed by a colon[2]
[[Category:
  1. Type the name of the category, which can be new or pre-existing
[[Category:Ballotpedia basic information
  1. Type two concluding square brackets
[[Category:Ballotpedia basic information]]
  1. Preview your work
  2. Once the preview has been reviewed and confirmed, click Save page

Category names are case-sensitive. If you are trying to put an article into the category Louisiana district courts and you type Louisiana District Courts, your article will go into a different category. By default, all words in a category should be lowercase. Exceptions are generally only made for proper nouns.

Creating categories

Creating a new category is easy. If you determine that the category needed for an article you are editing does not yet exist, make sure you know the proper naming conventions for the category by reviewing the relevant writing guidelines, then simply add that category to your article.

Once you preview and save the page, you will note that your new category is a red link. To create your new category, click that link to be taken to the category page. The category page will open in edit mode; to create your new category, you need to add the proper parent category to the category page.

A parent category is the more general category to which a more specific category belongs. You can determine the proper parent category (or categories) by reviewing other similar categories and reviewing your project's writing guidelines. Once you have added the proper parent category, click Save page to create the category.

Talk pages

Categories should have filled out talk pages, just like any other page on the wiki. To create the talk page for you new category, click the red "Discussion" tab at the top left of the category page. Add the appropriate WikiProject template and click "Save page."

Parent categories and Subcategories

Parent categories

A parent category is the more general category to which a more specific category belongs. To use this article as an example. Help:Categories belongs to the Category:Intro editing help. If you go to that category's page, you will see that it belongs to the Category:Editing help. So, Category:Editing help is the parent category of Category:Intro editing help. We could also say this another way; Category:Intro editing help is a subcategory of Category:Editing help.

All categories must have a parent category. The only exception to this rule is the Category:Lucy Burns Institute, which is the topmost category on the wiki. To see how categories are nested within one another, you can use the special feature Category Tree.

Subcategories

Categories can be designated as subcategories of other categories. This allows you to create a hierarchy, which can be simple or complex depending on project needs. A category that has subcategories is called a parent category.

One reason to link categories together in this way is that it prevents large categories from becoming so full that they lose their value. For example, if you put all articles that had anything to do with Maine into Category:Maine, that category would soon become functionally useless. Instead, you want to create useful subcategories that are part of the Maine category, such as Category:Maine ballot measures, which is a subcategory of Category:Maine.

Within Category:Maine ballot measures, you can have several smaller categories, such as Category:Alcohol, Maine‎ and Category:Elections and campaigns, Maine.

The way you make one category a subcategory of a larger category is to click "edit" when you are on the page for the category, and then add the desired parent category. Look at Category:State portals for an example.

Linking to a category

See also: Help:Links

If you want to link to a category in an article without putting the article in that category, you must insert a colon (:) before the category namespace and name.

For example, [[:Category:Congress project]] will link to that category like this: Category:Congress project; but [[Category:Congress project]] would place this article in the category about the federal judiciary.

See also


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