Category talk:News articles by person

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Category usage[edit]

{{flag}} I have noticed some inconsistency with regards to categories and people. Before I get any deeper into changes, I wanted to get a sense of what is appropriate.

  • Should people ever be included in a geocat? My feeling is no.
  • Should people ever be included in a topic category? Again, I think not.
  • With regards to People by occupation, some people are inextricably associated with a particular company/organization (i.e. Bill Gates and Microsoft) but others may move from company to company. Should they be included in only the current company? Or in every company they've worked for?
    • As a subset of that, we have Category:Sportspeople. Should they be included in the category for the team they play for? Should it just be the current team? Or all teams they ever played for? Or not at all because it is too much work to track all player movements?

I look forward to your thoughts on this. Cheers, --SVTCobra 14:21, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Before getting into these specific points, a general point.
  • We have two main kinds of parent-child relations between topic categories (i.e., categories that articles can belong to).
Although an article belonging to a geocat then automatically belongs to all its ancestor geocats, the geocats themselves usually only belong to the next category up the ladder: Category:Boston, Massachusetts belongs to Category:Massachusetts, but not to Category:United States nor to Category:North America; which is done that way to avoid cluttering up the list of subcategories of the larger geocats. (Indeed, cluttering of large geocats has gotten bad enough that I created Category:US states and territories to get those out of the general clutter; which I felt was fairly safe because they're pretty much a closed set, with very little turnover; whereas I haven't tried to do do the same thing with people, perhaps Category:US people, because it seemed more complicated, and I feel keeping it simple is tremendously important.)
There is nothing formal saying which subcat relations are of which kind. I'm concerned, though, that formalizing the distinction would only make things worse rather than better.
  • Re people and geocats: Do we understand the term "geocat" the same way? Most people belong to some geocat.
  • I can't think of an occasion when a person category has gone directly into a topic category. If I encountered such a thing, I think I'd leave it there, and if I didn't immediately agree there was some unusual reason why it made sense, I'd think about it very carefully rather than take any hasty action. Do we have examples of this?
  • The question about teams... I think this has been discussed before. Perhaps worth hunting around in the category talk space.
--Pi zero (talk) 20:07, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I am all aboard with where articles go. This discussion is only about people. There is very little consistency. I have come across a wide variety today alone. I'd be fine if we have a strict geocat policy for a person based on where they are from. Here are some examples:
I hope this goes a little way to illustrating what I am asking. Also, lots of people are not associated with any country. Cheers, --SVTCobra 23:00, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I expect by the time I've written remarks on some of these points I'll have clarified my positions to myself, as well..
  • If someone is clearly associated with a country, I've no problem with categorizing them as such. Politicians I would generally categorize by whatever geocat it's natural to mention in their category intro; by this rule, Mitt Romney would once have been a Massachusetts politician, but later a US politician. When exactly to promote them, as they start running for national office, is perhaps a grey area; but generally once they've operated on the national stage I'd describe-and-categorize them at the national level.
  • If a person is associated with a topic that isn't implied by their geocat nor their "occupation", I think it's appropriate to add a topic category to point out the connection, so suggesting possible categorization of articles involving that person. Anna Politkovskaya is a case in point: she was a journalist, not a politician, but mostly she got covered in the news because of her murder, which turned very political.
  • Adolf Hitler's categorization looks right to me. He was from Austria, he operated in German politics, and both World War II and War Crimes are likely associations to consider (though more the first than the second).
  • I've never been happy with Category:Theologians, as its definition seems too narrow. It seems like it ought to be a narrower subset of religious figures; I'm afraid to put anyone in it without first doing a research project about them. I've never decided what ought to be done instead; that's one of a number of hanging questions about particular parts of the category hierarchy.
  • Alex Ferguson seems right; like Adolf Hitler, he came from one place and operated in another, though in this case it was operating in sports. Ferguson's intro mentions both Scotland and England.
  • The cats you mention for Robert Dziekański don't sound altogether unreasonable. Plausible geocats would be Poland and possibly either British Columbia or Vancouver; one might choose to lead it at Poland, but what he's newsworthy for was in and about Canada. I could understand why someone might choose to not even put him in Category:Poland for that reason. Crime and RMCP seem reasonable.
  • Regarding David Beckham, at a guess, the complete absence of club categorization is probably because there was never a motive to add any club category: before he retired, the categories for his clubs likely hadn't been created yet (though I'm only guessing at that), and after those club categories had been created, he'd already retired and so people wouldn't be worrying about categorizing new articles about him (which is, after all, the purpose of club categories for people; we're not trying to be encyclopedic). We haven't fully addressed (on this round) the question about retaining club categories when someone leaves a club; I seem to recall the last time it actually came up, I didn't remember what we were doing about that, but acagastya had a clear memory on the matter.
--Pi zero (talk) 00:18, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Very few are unreasonable, but there is a lack of consistency. Putting Drienkanski in 'RMCP' makes it sound like he's part of the police, and putting him in 'Crime and law' suggests we should put every politician in 'Politics and conflicts'. And if he's OK for 'Vancouver' why not 'Canada'? It becomes the same incremental thing until he's in both in 'North America' and 'Europe' just like the articles are. Why not include him in Category:Immigration? It becomes an expansive nightmare. This is why I initially voiced "no" for geocats and other categories normally reserved for articles. I do not think people should be treated the same as articles. I really like the semi-structure we already have of 'internal categories' for them. 'People by occupation'. 'Journalists' instead of 'Journalism', 'Politicians' instead of 'Politics and conflicts', 'Lawyers' instead of 'Crime and law'. Even 'Theologians' instead of 'Religion' or whatever subset (we could rename that to 'Religious leaders', btw). As much as I hate to say it, perhaps we need to create 'People of XXX country' as an internal (navigation) category instead of just dropping people in a country category. P.S. Yes, I did write to acagastya about this discussion. Cheers, --SVTCobra 01:00, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
No, politicians clearly shouldn't go in Category:Politics and conflicts because that connection is already covered by Category:Politicians. It's only exceptional connections that would be justified, and then presumably only when they're exceptionally strong.
  • Drienkanski is an interesting case. The thing that makes most of his articles newsworthy is crime+RCMP. That he wasn't himself a Mountie is semantics, it's something a sapient person studying the situation notices; I don't think that's a reason not to categorize him in RCMP. I'm mostly indifferent about Category:Crime and law. Re geocats, as I already noted, the category relations don't get transitive closure: if he's in Vancouver, he wouldn't be in British Columbia, nor Canada, nor North America; we'd choose one of those. Category:Immigration seems to me a weak connection; I'm not tempted by it at all.
  • The "occupation" categories cover most of the strongest connections; other topics would only occasionally be strongly enough associated to justify their use, and so it's predictable that they would all be exceptions, scattered about. Drienkanski is not primarily newsworthy for his occupation, hence an occupation category doesn't help in his case. Politkovskaya's occupation is not irrelevant, but doesn't cover the highly-important political aspect of her case.
  • As I said, I don't want to have fragmentary "Person of XXX country" categories because it would be a steep and slippery slope. Starting with the need to not distinguish because a person from a country and a person operating in a country. Hitler belonging to both Austria and Germany; the difference between those relations is entirely to be worked out by a thinking mind, without impinging on the category hierarchy at all. We don't want those semantics leaking into our category system; we can't afford it.
--01:30, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Oh, and one would also perhaps sometimes want extra connections for people who don't yet have an "occuptation" category.
I would like to carry on. I am going through this category alphabetically (although I started via a few occupation categories). I think I am being judicious, but if you would like me to leave the changes unsighted, I will. Most of the changes are switichng {{people}} to {{topic cat}} and adding {{DEFAULTSORT}}. I don't mess with the the categories unless they offend me. Cheers, --SVTCobra 01:59, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
@SVTCobra: <nods> I would appreciate if you didn't sight those cat-removals. It seems likely that some degree of thought (sometimes more, sometimes less, but some) went in to each of those, so it perhaps behooves us to put a good deal of thought into possibly erasing it. We might decide to remove some of them anyway, but we'll have brought multiple reviewers into each overriding of an earlier decision. --Pi zero (talk) 02:52, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Btw, a point about Drienkanski and RCMP: if we find ourselves with a category for a person belonging to the RCMP, we ought to express that through an occupation category (likely Category:Mounties), so that putting Drienkanski directly in RCMP would not imply membership. I don't think we have three articles about any Mountie, though. --Pi zero (talk) 03:08, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
You are over-thinking that, imho. Do we have people wanted and/or killed by the Category:FBI in that same category? And I went to FBI because we have very few police forces as categories. Sure, we probably have a few FBI directors, but if we had the head Mountie would that change things? No, Drienkanski does not belong in RCMP. --SVTCobra 03:22, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
That's not a parallel case. It isn't like someone being wanted and/or killed by the FBI. It's more like, somebody is killed by the FBI in a way that creates a massive public controversy and there's nothing else remotely newsworthy about the deceased. --Pi zero (talk) 03:29, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

The practical purpose of listing a person in peripheral categories such as a football club or political party is to suggest possible categorizations for new articles about that person. This would seem to suggest that if they leave one club for another, they should be removed from the category for the previous club since their association with their previous club likely wouldn't apply to new articles about them. --Pi zero (talk) 04:04, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

You are throwing out your entire research idea. Cristiano Ronaldo played a decade at his peak for Real Madrid achieving five Ballon d'Or but now he plays for Juventus and his category has been changed to Juventus. Oops. Not to mention he had some decent years at Manchester United. This is why it is crazy. A person might click on this Juventus player and wonder why they only see match reports from Spain and England. And when Ronaldo retires, what do we do? Remove Juventus as well? Remove football? It is certain one approach and I'd be fine with it, but it needs to be consistent. Right now it it is a mess (btw I hope you know I was trying to be comically belligerent in my edit summaries this evening. I had hoped to finish off people whose name started with 'A' but there were too many. Good night. --SVTCobra 06:19, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Ah! You're viewing the categories on the person as a research tool. But the articles related to the person are in the person category, and if those articles refer to another team, the category for that team should be linked where those articles refer to it. So I'm not sure that holds up unless one starts by supposing that it's... supposed to. Hmm.

I've never tried to make our whole category system completely consistent; that way leads, I've observed, to rigidity that pushes out the human factor (antithetical to the purpose of wikis); rather, I've sought to slowly migrate it in a consistent direction, so that over a long period of time it would gradually tend toward consistency. And if the whole operation is likely to play out over a very long time, there's been no reason we couldn't wait patiently for certain questions about the cat system to slowly resolve themselves. Every great once in a while, one of those questions does come clear (to do with the Vatican, or the visual arts, or the Pacific Ocean, or whatever). I'm not saying we can't work out this particular question now; perhaps this is its time; just saying, if I didn't carry around a tremendous back-up supply of patience with me as I make the rounds of such questions, I'd have landed myself in a rubber room over them years ago. --Pi zero (talk) 13:17, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

I am also of the opinion that allowing people to be put into topic categories leaves the door open for POV pushing. If Hitler can be in the 'War crimes' category, why not George W. Bush or Putin? Or maybe someone will have the bright idea to put Michael Jackson in the category 'Sex crimes'. --SVTCobra 16:33, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
That has some plausibility. Though it may depend on the nature of the topic category. --Pi zero (talk) 16:40, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
What's needed may be a rule-of-thumb on when to use topic categories on person categories, which is to say, on what it means. Or that might not be enough. On one hand I'm wary of a rule that's too rigid, on the other hand, of a rule(-of-thumb) that's prone to misunderstanding. One could reason about the relationship between Hitler and war crimes, between Bush and war crimes, between Putin and war crimes, between Jackson and sex crimes; but if the implementation of the rule is apt to be misunderstood it might not matter whether the concept is clear in principle. --Pi zero (talk) 17:02, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
It actually upset me so much that Category:Bill Cosby was in the category 'Comedy' that I red-linked it to 'Comedians'. --SVTCobra 00:31, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

In case it was not evident from my edits, I try to use images in a horizontal or square orientation rather than vertical. I only do so when the image is of good quality and recent, but the reason is to reduce whitespace. Vertical images leave a tremendous amount of whitespace between the DPL of the most recent articles and the subsequent alphabetical list of article in the category. I know things can vary depending on the readers device and settings, but I think mine are rather generic. Also, I rather like images of the subject looking engaged or active (or even more casual if they are retired), rather than the standard 'official portraits' which the reader will see over-and-over on Wikidata and Wikipedia. Cheers, --SVTCobra 02:21, 25 July 2019 (UTC)


@Pi zero: As you review my changes, you have probably already noticed this, but I want to explain the rule-of-thumb I have been using. I have heeded your call to not just put people in the category for their country (although we do do that for all people except politicians). I am going to use US as an example since it offers the most cases. It looks like you had been trying to establish a pattern of putting US Reps and Senators in the category for the state they represent. I have been bumping them up to geo-cat United States because once in Congress, they are on the national scene and the headlines of their articles always bore that out. Consistently, they were articles on a national level. However, I did take the point to heart. I have tried to keep governors in just their home state and mayors in their home cities and by-and-large, the headlines looked like that was the right call, even if sometimes they were mentioned in articles with a greater "jurisdiction". I've tried to the same with other nations, although not always possible as we often lack the 'smaller' categories and only have the country. Well, I guess this is a belated update as I am on the final page of the "News articles by person". Cheers, --SVTCobra 22:30, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

Yes, I'd noticed; and it's eminently plausible. In the past I've promoted people up to the national level when they've run for POTUS. --Pi zero (talk) 22:41, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, presidential candidates I've kept in US, even if they never held any office at all. Also, I've tried to eliminate dual cats, such as I just did for Bernie. Cheers, --SVTCobra 22:49, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

I got through them[edit]

Well, I got through all 602 people. Didn't think it was going to take a month when I started. --SVTCobra 21:32, 20 August 2019 (UTC)

Well I'm impressed. --Pi zero (talk) 02:56, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

@SVTCobra: Somewhere along the way, we talked about how eventually we'd need to do something to pick up person categories not in News articles by person. This seemed like a good time for it, so I started going through all our categories alphabetically, via Special:AllPages, checking all the ones on each page that looked like people. The next page I'd do, in order, would be this. I'm not finding huge numbers of people missing from by person, but more than I'd guessed. --Pi zero (talk) 03:08, 21 August 2019 (UTC) updated 16:05, 23 August 2019 (UTC)

@Pi zero: I do intend to get to that list, if you have something else you'd like to be doing. I am just trying to do my 'second pass' edits first (basically double checking my own work). Cheers, --SVTCobra 16:04, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
I love what you're doing; our best practices on person categories evolved considerably under the scrutiny of your first pass, leaving some of the earlier ones, especially, behind the state-of-the-art. Plus, there's redundancy. --Pi zero (talk) 16:16, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, yes, people that start with A to D, I think are the ones where I mostly just did sorting and/or a new image without a caption. Plus I don't think I was checking the redirects back then. --SVTCobra 16:23, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
@SVTCobra: Well, I went through the whole list. There are now 668 people in this cat, suggesting I may have found 66 (barring some other stray thing that may have perturbed the figure during the interval). With that many pages involved, odds are good I made a mistake somewhere, but we've now got a closer approximation to work from. After the first few, I didn't even try to complete neatify each person-cat, just shift them into here and leave further upgrades for later, or I'd never have finished. --Pi zero (talk) 16:05, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
Wow, great. I did notice that during my first pass, the list shrunk from 604 to 602. There were 2 which I guess I forgot to add "News by person" when I added "Topic cat" and I already noticed those two "come back" in the first day you were doing this. Cheers, --SVTCobra 17:03, 23 August 2019 (UTC)

I thought I'd finish my "second pass" today, but no, my last review was Turnbull. Anyway, after I finish the "second pass" I'll come back around to the 60+ 'new' members. I've already done a couple of them, but that was by accident. After that, I have to go back to SCOTUS. --SVTCobra 02:48, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

It doesn't feel like I curated over 60 people who were not previously in Category:News articles by person, but I've perused the list twice and nobody pops out at me as being missed (except Dadullah which I caught on the second viewing). Cheers, --SVTCobra 19:09, 28 August 2019 (UTC)