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No more categories for a while

RRabbit42 December 13, 2014 User blog:RRabbit42

A year ago when I talked about how much cleanup this wiki needed, I said that the categories were a mess. I have done a lot of work since then, but there is still a lot to do. The categories are still a mess and new messes are still being made.

Some of this isn't people's fault. If you're not logged in or if you don't change it in your account preferences, an "Add category" button appears at the bottom of each page. This is supposed to encourage people to get involved in a wiki by making it easy to update a small part of that page.

The problem is that it's being misused. We're still getting people adding ridiculous categories, with some of those apparently being added just to add a category instead adding a category that actually helps organize the page. There are also a lot of users who only add categories. They don't do anything else.

For other people, they add a category to a category. They're doing it because they think that the new category fits one of the pages in that category. What they don't understand is that adding a category to a category means that all pages in that category are also in the new category. If that's not what you mean, then you need to put the new category on individual pages instead.

I have learned during the past year that when people spend all their time making just one kind of edit, they really don't help a wiki. For some, the fixation on that kind of edit becomes spam or vandalism. Any attempts to show them a better way of doing things or help steer them in the right direction are ignored as they continue being fixated.


In order to cut back on the number of spurious categories being added so that what we already have can be cleaned up, I am putting a temporary ban on new categories. This applies to creating a new category as well as adding more categories to pages we already have.


Update

The more I look at what categories are on pages, the more I realize that what we need isn't cleaning up the categories. What we need is a complete overhaul. Some of these characters have two, three or four dozen categories. That is way too many.

People have gotten carried away with adding trivial and spurious categories, and it's been going on too long to fix what's already there.

Here's what's going to happen.

  1. All existing categories will be checked to see if they are worthwhile. Any that aren't will be deleted. New categories will be created if necessary.
  2. The categories will be organized along these lines:
    ●   a category for the franchise the villain appears in
    ●   categories for their characteristics, like snobs, arrogant, comical, etc.
    ●   some will be made sub-categories of other categories, such as the above three being a "Villains by type"
  3. All categories on existing pages will be removed. The only category that will initially be there will be the category that relates to the franchise they are a part of. There may be a few exceptions where more than one category is left, but for the most part, there will only be one category.
  4. A template will be placed just above the category area that outlines how to add categories. In short, it will be this:
    ●   Do not add a category just to add a category or because a category "sounds good".
    ●   Make sure the category is accurate and really applies to that character.
    ●   Do not create a new category. Use the existing categories only.
    ●   A note that people who spend over half of their time adding categories may receive a warning and/or a block. It will also direct people to build onto the article instead of taking the easy way and throwing in a category.

I don't like having to put in that last item. I have seen other wikis that will block people for trying to add categories. It's usually because they get in the same situation as here: people got carried away, began abusing the Add category button, and trying to fix it became a massive project.

Fixing this will be a massive project and I have other things I need to be doing rather than this. But I will do it so that the mess gets cleaned up.

And when it gets cleaned up, it's not going to get messy again.

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