One very helpful thing that all Ballotpedia users can do is help sort articles into categories.
What is a "category" on Ballotpedia?
Categories on Ballotpedia are tags at the bottom of articles that will help the reader of one page find other articles that are in a similar category. For example, this article is tagged at the bottom as belonging to two categories "Editing Help" and "Ballotpedia basic information". When a reader of this article--a reader who is clearly 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 figuring your way around Ballotpedia.
Similarly, articles about ballot measures should be placed in useful categories. An article about the "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative", a 2006 ballot measure, could usefully be categorized in the categories for "Civil Rights Initiatives" (because someone reading the article about the Michigan initiative might want to know about affirmative action ballot measures in other states), or "2006 ballot measures" (because someone reading the article might want to know about other initiatives that were on the ballot in 2006), or "Michigan ballot measures" or "2006 Michigan ballot measures".
Deciding what categories an article belongs in
The way you do that is by visiting Special:Categories.
We recommend that you be bold in assigning articles to categories. As Ballotpedia grows, some of the early categories may become obsolete. In that case, obsolete category tags can always be removed, so don't worry about creating categories that might not be useful or might become obsolete. The category can always be removed.
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.
Check to see if there is already a category your article fits in
If you write an article about a specific ballot measure, please include a "category" link at the bottom of the article. Your article should appear in at least three different categories:
- by year
- by state
- by topic
To add a link to the "state" category at the bottom of your article, type the name of the state, then the phrase "ballot measures". Example: "Michigan ballot measures" or "Missouri ballot measures". Then surround the category with double brackets: ( [[ ]] ).
For "year", first include the year followed by the phrase "ballot measures". For example: "2006 ballot measures" or "2004 ballot measures". Again, use double brackets around the phrase to create the link.
For "topic", consult the list of ballot measures by topic and use the language there to determine your ballot topic. Once you've determined the best topic, format the category the same as in the previous two examples.
Consult the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative for an example of an article that is correctly sorted into three categories. By going to that page and clicking on "edit" and scrolling to the bottom, you'll see exactly how to sort an article into categories.