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One very helpful thing that all Ballotpedia users can do is help sort articles into useful categories.

What is a "category" on Ballotpedia?

Categories on Ballotpedia are tags at the bottom of articles that 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 learning your way around Ballotpedia.

Similarly, articles about ballot measures are 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

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.

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.

Check to see if there is already a category your article fits in

The way you do that is by visiting Special:Categories.

How to put your article in categories

Once you have decided to put your article in categories, the steps to follow are:

  • On the "edit" page for the article, place your cursor at the end of the article.
  • Type two initial square brackets: [[
  • Type the word "Category" followed by a colon, as in: Category:
  • Type the name of the category, which can be a new category or a pre-existing category. For example: Ballotpedia basic information
  • Type two concluding square brackets: ]]
  • Preview your work and then click "save page".
  • You're done.

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.

Seeing is believing

This 'shows' what was just instructed, above:

[[Category:Michigan ballot measures]]
[[Category:Civil rights initiatives]]
[[Category:2006 ballot measures]]

Yes, putting articles in categories is that easy.

Example of an article with useful category tags

The Colorado Civil Rights Initiative 2008 is an example of an article that has been sorted into some useful categories.

How to remove category tags from an article

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.

If you do decide that an entire category is obsolete, visit that category's page and note the articles it includes so you can move all those articles to a new category. Otherwise, those other articles will end up orphaned in an obsolete category.


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 "California" category and the "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 [[Category:California political consultants]].

How to make one category a sub-category of a larger category

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 "California political consultants", type both [[California]] and [[Political consultants]]