The Wikipedia article about pressure suits belongs in categories for articles about aviation and clothing, but not in the category for articles about linguistics.

Wikipedia articles should be categorized by characteristics of the article topic[1] (i.e. the subject of the article), not by characteristics of the article title.[2]

In Wikipedia a terminology category is a category whose title or position in the category structure indicates that it is for articles about terminology. Most terminology categories have a title ending in "terminology" (or "terms") and most[3] are below Category:Terminology (and hence below Category:Language).

Many articles have been placed in terminology categories inappropriately - often because of an editor categorizing the article based on its title being a term rather than categorizing the article by its subject. Category:Language also includes categories for articles about words and abbreviations; these categories sometimes have the same problem as terminology categories.

Problems caused by these categories

The main problem caused by terminology categories is that articles are placed in them instead of in a more appropriate category. For example, in 2011 the 600+ articles in the "Aviation terminology" category (none of which were about terminology) included about 100 articles that weren't in any other aviation category - e.g. anyone looking in Category:Types of take-off and landing would not have found the article about Brodie landing system. It is also harder to spot duplicate articles if one is categorized correctly and the other is in a terminology category.[4]

Another problem is that these categories may encourage some editors to create dic-def stub articles to go in these categories.

Some categories do contain some articles about language, but having a large number (sometimes hundreds) of inappropriate articles in the category makes it hard to find the articles about language.[5]

Examples of articles incorrectly categorized

The many thousands of articles inappropriately under Category:Language (in a terms/terminology/acronyms/slang/neologisms etc category) have included articles about:[6]

Even categories have sometimes been placed under Category:Language inappropriately - presumably categorizing on characteristics of the name of the category. Examples include Category:Urban decay, Category:Open innovation intermediaries and Category:Brokered programming. This has caused articles such as Genrich Altshuller[13] and Noida serial murders[14] to be under the acronyms category. The slang category has included articles on World Water Monitoring Day and even Wikimedia Foundation.[15]

How articles become mis-categorized

In some cases the lead of an article is badly worded for an encyclopedia article (see WP:REFERS) and this may confuse the person who categorizes it. For example, the POMCUS article once began "POMCUS is a military acronym for ... The POMCUS system ..." and was duly categorized in Category:Military acronyms[16] rather than in Category:Military logistics.[17]

Sometimes an article is moved down from a higher level category into a language category (e.g. a terminology category) despite the article saying nothing about linguistics.[18] Such edits are often (especially when HotCat is used) unexplained; it may be an editor trying to "clean up" the higher-level category who feels that the article should be moved down the category hierarchy, but the editor can't find (and doesn't create) a more appropriate category.[19] In some cases the higher-level category has a ((catdiffuse)) tag which says that the category "should directly contain very few, if any, articles" (or even a ((container)) tag) where there is no reason for that category to have such a tag.[20]

An editor may see, for example, Category:Hotels and assume that it's a set category (just for articles about specific hotels) rather than a topic category (for any article within the topic of hotels).[21] Thus they decide to move articles such as Mini-bar from Category:Hotels to Category:Hotel terminology (presumably as the title of the article is a term rather than a name). However, the article is still in Category:Hotels (as the HT cat is under the H cat) so that "correction" hasn't worked and the article is now also (incorrectly) under Category:Linguistics.[22]

Articles that are about language

Articles that are about language (and hence may be within the inclusion criteria of a language category) include:

Cleaning a language category

One way to fix a language category containing inappropriate articles is to carefully assess every article in the category and where the article is not about language remove the category tag or change it to a more appropriate category. Such categories also often contain articles that can be deleted (e.g. using PROD or AfD), turned into a redirect (to another WP article or to Wiktionary) or should not contain category tags (e.g. disambiguation pages). When removing the category tag it may be appropriate to add a ((Wiktionary|word)) tag.

If this process results in every article being removed from the category then the category can (usually) easily be deleted by using a ((db-catempty)) tag. The "Aviation terminology" category and several smaller terminology categories were deleted using this method in 2011-2012.[23]

However such cleaning (or pruning) may encounter resistance from other editors for the following reasons:

Some terminology categories have many hundreds of articles in them[25] so careful recategorization and dealing with any objections may take significant effort.

Deleting a non-empty language category

If it is clear that a language category contains very few, if any, articles about language (after checking a good sample of the articles in the category including any whose title looks like it may be the title of an article about language) then it may be possible to delete the category with the articles in situ by proposing a delete/upmerge at CFD.[26] This may be a lot less effort than editing each article manually and then requesting deletion of the empty category. However this type of deletion may still face resistance at CFD.[27]

If a language category (e.g. "Foo terminology") contains a few (e.g. less than 5) articles that are about language, but the category has a history of being used for many articles that are not about language that may justify considering the category a "generally bad idea" (a term used in WP:CFD). It may then be appropriate to delete the category (by CFD) and upmerge its contents to both its parents (e.g. "Foo" and "Terminology").

Any deletion should be "without prejudice to re-creation if articles suitable for the category are found".

When taking a category to CFD, consider, especially if the category has been recreated after a previous deletion, asking for the category to be salted to prevent it being created again without assistance from an administrator.[28]

Specific categories

"Category:Terminology" and "Category:Terms" have long been a source of confusion - e.g. Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/Category:Military terms.

"Category:Loanwords" and its subcats were deleted in 2012-2013 - e.g. see 2012 CFD, 2013 DRV and 2013 CFD.

Category:Abbreviations (and its subcats) - even highly experienced editors have placed articles in these categories inappropriately (again usually without an edit summary so their reasoning is unclear).[29]

Example of categorising by title rather than by topic: [12]

Example CFD discussions

Most recent at top of table.

Colours used in Result column: Green = CFD succeeded in removing articles from terms/terminology category, Red = CFD proposed removing articles from terms/terminology category but did not succeed, Grey = Other.

Category:Construction terminology (2019) - merge

Marketing terminology (2019) - delete

Catholic terminology (2018) - purge+merge

Electronics terminology (2018) - delete

Flag design terms (2018) - merge

Electronics terminology (2018) - delete

Globalization terminology (2017) - merge

Canon law legal terminology (2018) - merge

Labor terminology (2016) - delete

Computer storage terminology (2016) - delete

Judaism terminology (2016) - keep

Result Subject (linked to CFD) Quote Notes
Delete Imperialism terminology (2016)
Purge Judaism terminology (2016) Nomination was to rename.
Delete Statistical terminology (2016)
Merge Warfare terminology (2016)
Keep Terminology (2015) Nom failed to consider subcats.
Merge Publishing terms (2015)
Keep Talmud concepts and terminology (2014) "the cat contents should be limited to concepts and terminology that are from the Talmud"
Merge Seismology and earthquake terminology (2014)
Rename Religious terminology (2014)
Delete Postmodern terminology (2014)
No merge Concepts by field
Terminology (2014)
"let's ... deal with a mess of having two ... categories for "stuff people don't know how to categorize and thus call foo-ian concepts or terminology". ... Category:Philosophical terminology and Category:Philosophical concepts - is just one of several. Another problem is ... arbitrary choices:..."
NC Biological terminology (2014) Nom failed to consider subcats.
Rename Christian terms (2014)
Upmerge Ornithological terminology (2014)
Rename Habitat (ecology) terminology (2013)
Keep Archaeological terminology (2013)
Merge Archeological terminology (2013) "Most "terminology" categories look rather ropy to me."
Purge Electronics terminology (2013) "...the tendency of terminology categories to collect misc junk..." Deleted in 2018
Delete Aviation terminology (2013)
No merge Terminology (2012)
Delete Aviation terminology (2012)
NC ... terms (2012)
Keep Globalization terminology (2012) Deleted in 2017.
Deleted Watermill terminology (2012)
Upmerge Terminology of Carl Jung (2012)
Emptied Pickup terminology (2011)
Rename Game terms (2011)
W/d Computing terminology (2010)
Merge Comic book terminology (2008)
Rename Auto racing terms (2007)
Rename Star Trek terms (2007) "a random assortment of otherwise hard-to-categorize subjects as far as I can tell. The best place for hard-to-categorize miscellanea is in the root category of the subject."
Rename Geography (terminology) (2007)
Rename Antenna terminology (2006) "this category isn't really about terminology. It's about the entire subject of antennas in general. Terminology articles would focus on the origin and usage of terms, perhaps analyze their linguistic structure, etc. whereas the articles here have almost none of that and are instead chock full of information about how antennas work."
Rename Film and video terminology (2006)
Delete Computer terminology (2005) "This category has wound up being used as a default "has something to do with computing" category, rather than being for articles that are specifically about terminology."

In addition there are categories that have been deleted as empty - e.g. Category:Administrative terminology and Category:Druze terms.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "The central goal of the category system is to provide navigational links to all Wikipedia pages in a hierarchy of categories which readers, knowing essential—defining—characteristics of a topic, can browse and quickly find sets of pages on topics that are defined by those characteristics." (from Wikipedia:Categorization#Overview as of 6 August 2013). See also Wikipedia:Articles about words.
  2. ^ This principle has been upheld by many CFD discussions - for example, Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2013_February_11#Numeronyms.2FBackronyms.2FOrphan_initialisms and Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2013_February_25#Category:Rainbow_Codes.
  3. ^ An example of a "terms" category that is/was not below Category:Terminology is Category:Terms_for_females ("This is for females regardless of their age. Terms are for groups of females (a group conceivably, but not likely, could have only one member). These terms do not include personal names.") - this category was CFDed at Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2013_September_16#Category:Terms_for_females.
  4. ^ E.g. Device independence and Device independent ([1])
  5. ^ An example of this problem is Category:Abbreviations and its subcats where the small number of articles actually about abbreviations (e.g. Xmas and XPTO) were hidden amongst hundreds of other pages, including many disambiguation pages. Those categories were largely cleaned out in January 2013 (e.g. [2]).
  6. ^ Note: These examples do not include articles that were deleted after having been found in a check of the articles in a language category.
  7. ^ Categorized by article creator, but not under Category:Organizations
  8. ^ Categorized as terminology by [3]
  9. ^ Moved down from Category:Aviation in 2009 - edit summary gives no explanation of why
  10. ^ Categorized in a terminology category by article creator
  11. ^ Put in by page author on creation of page - possibly because they copied the structure of an existing page
  12. ^ This was added in Feb 2007 at a point when the lead had lots of etymology in it
  13. ^ Category:TRIZ was in Acronyms cat
  14. ^ Category:Noida was in Acronyms cat
  15. ^ Category:Open innovation intermediaries and other cats were under Category:Open innovation intermediaries, Category:Web 2.0 neologisms, Category:Computer jargon, Category:Slang
  16. ^ Note: That category was deleted in 2012 when it was empty.
  17. ^ The edit that categorized POMCUS under acronyms: [4]
  18. ^ For example, the Brodie landing system article was moved into a terminology category with edit [5].
  19. ^ An example, albeit in a slightly different context, of an editor saying that articles should not be placed in a higher-level category because they "just don't belong at that level of prominence" is [6].
  20. ^ E.g. [7]
  21. ^ Note: Many categories don't make this clear and, for example, Category:Operas is a set category.
  22. ^ Example edit "Oh please. This is a term ... [not] a hotel"[8]
  23. ^ Examples include: "Category:Rail transport terminology", "Category:Watermill terminology", "Category:Milling terminology", "Category:International Monetary Fund terminology".
  24. ^ "User talk:DexDor/Archive 2015: Difference between revisions - Wikipedia".
  25. ^ E.g. as of early 2014 Category:Religious terminology contains well over 1000 articles such as Baptism and Tithe.
  26. ^ An example of this is Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2013_August_11#Category:Climbing_terms.
  27. ^ E.g. "As with any topic area there is a set of terms that are used. Merging Category:Electronics terminology and Category:Electronics will also create a messy overpopulated category with a mishmash of pages. Have a look at the heirarcy or article in the two categories. They deserve separate categories." ([9])
  28. ^ E.g. the "Aviation terminology" category was cleaned out circa January 2012, recreated and deleted in November 2012, recreated and deleted in January 2013.
  29. ^ E.g. [10] and [11]