Wikinews:Categories and topic pages
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Every page covering a news event — that is, every news article — should be dated, and have a topic and a location. These should already be present in an article: their lack could be a sign that the article does not describe a news event. The article should, then, be placed into at least three categories:
- a category for the date (if you used the 'date' template this will be done for you)
- a category for the location
- a category for the topic
The date should be the single date (or in some rare cases a set of dates) when the article is written or the event occurs. The date of reporting will automatically be added as a category by the dateline template. If the event specifically occurred on some prior date, or will occur on some date in the near future, then that date may be added as an additional category using the appropriate Category tag.
The date category should be formatted as Month Day, Year — for example, [[Category:December 23, 2004]].
When exact dates are not available, use a month and a year ([[Category:December 2004]]). When a news story spans a range of dates, use two categories: one for the start and one for the end.
The location's category should be relevant to the events the article describes, and as specific as the category hierarchy is made. Thus imagine an event that happened in Brooklyn which is part of New York City which is part of the state of New York which is part of the United States which is part of North America which is a Continent in the World. At the moment, only the category for United States might exist, so you might want to place your article in [[Category:United States]], or create [[Category:New York]] and place your article there. As the hierarchy of categories develops, someone might create a category for New York City, and then another one for Brooklyn. Future stories will go into the Brooklyn category for location.
Much like the location categories, the topic category for a news article should be the most specific one in the hierarchy. Thus if only [[Category:Science and technology]] exists, use that — or create [[Category:Biology]] and use that.
Purpose of categories
Each category's description should briefly mention and identify the subject the category covers. The category should include in its description a snippet of the latest news from the location or topic it covers. For an example, see Category:Mozambique.
There are several types of topic pages (in the normal article namespace):
- recent news for a location (such as Africa)
- recent news for a topic (such as Politics and conflicts)
- in-depth summary coverage of a news event (such as Strongest earthquake in 40 years hits Southeast Asia)
The first two should contain summary information about the location, or topic. The topic page for the country Iraq should, for example, talk briefly about the country, link to a Wikipedia article about it, mention current large events in the country, and show the latest news for the country. See Mozambique for an example of this in action. The pages should be named identically with the categories.
The latter — in-depth summary coverage — should be created when a news item is either obviously going to require continuous coverage, or has already generated enough continuous coverage to warrant a summary page. The page should either be named a generic name according to article naming guidelines (such as Strongest earthquake in 40 years hits Southeast Asia) or be created as a subpage from a different topic page (such as Mozambique/Elections).
Need for a policy
Every policy should exist for a reason. Thus here is an attempt at a justification.
The Wikinews project needs to balance categories with topic pages given the variety of subjects. A growing number of stories will quickly overwhelm any single category's ability to be browseable, and a deep hierarchy will both get overwhelmed eventually and be very tough to browse for stories.
To solve the problem of overwhelmable categories, we have created topic pages for both issues (i.e. Politics and conflicts) and regions (i.e. Africa). However as the site grows we will experience a problem of navigation: where should links be listed? Where do you update the latest news for a region? How do you link the category to the latest news for the region the category describes? Which categories should a story belong to?
A policy (or a set of guidelines) needs to be established to standardize our approach to categories, topic pages, and related questions. This policy aims to show a way that this can be done while minimizing confusion and increasing usability.