Lane Rasberry wrote:
>MZMcBride - Categories are hierarchical and people worry about them
>overlapping. Tags have no hierarchy.

Categories _can be_ hierarchical, but categories can simultaneously be
flat. People worry about a lot of things, but that doesn't mean there are
substantive issues to be addressed. Sometimes there are just worries. :-)

>The major problem is that labor is wasted because there is no easy way to
>search intersections of categories. Instead of having a category for 18th
>century French painters, it would be ideal to just have tags for "people
>in the 18th century" "French people" and "painters" and let the users
>remix those tags instead of being forced to look in only that branch.

So why not put the image in "Category:Painters" and "Category:French
people" and "Category:People in the 18th century"? I don't think there's
any technical reason not to. It would certainly be nice to have built-in
category intersections (previously mentioned in this mailing list thread),
but for now Commons has external tools, I believe? Why not use categories
as tags today?

>A proposal is at
><https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Beyond_categories>
>
>The problem has two parts - WMF cannot coordinate this kind of search with
>existing categories, and there is no need to reform categories unless
>there
>is a commitment to make this search capacity.
>
>I see this as a serious problem.

Thanks for the link!

It lists "Over- and under-categorization" and links to
<https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Categories> which states (in
part):

---
The general rule is always place an image in the most specific categories,
and not in the levels above those.
---

The rest of "Commons:Categories" is somewhat illuminating... this really
does seem to be a social issue with Commons, not a problem in MediaWiki.
It's possible there's ongoing miscommunication here: people on Commons are
waiting around for tags to magically appear one day, while MediaWiki
developers are looking at the current categories system and wondering why
Commoners have developed such an oddly rigid categorization scheme.

I'm not sure what you see as a serious problem. Is it just the lack of
built-in intersections? We already have the ability to add categories/tags
to media. Are intersections the missing piece before it's acceptable to
have "Category:Red" to tag every image that contains the color red? Or put
"Category:Man" on every picture that contains a picture of a man? Why
can't we do this right now?

MZMcBride



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