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Request for Comment on the guidelines regarding "joke" categories.Edit

No consensus. This is one of the muddiest RFCs I've closed in some time. I could drone on about supports and opposers but it shouldn't require it. There are lots of opinions, and they often seem to stray from the strict question about whether the text should be changed or not, so reading consensus is a bit like herding cats. Maybe there is support for tolerating jokes, but as Hut 8.5 points out, categories are article space so it is always going to be controversial. At the end of the day, the discussion raises more questions than it answers, but perhaps it may spawn an idea for a future, less controversial and more definitive, RFC. Dennis Brown - 15:20, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I am proposing that the current text in the section Inappropriate types of user categories regarding joke categories be removed. The text reads:

Categories which group users on the basis of irrelevant likes
This includes any grouping of users on the basis of shared preferences that are irrelevant to encyclopedia-building (e.g. Wikipedians who like red foxes, Wikipedians by food preference).
Categories that are jokes/nonsense
This includes any grouping of users that are patently false (e.g. Wikipedians who are zombies, Wikipedians in their 780s), nonsensical (e.g. Userpages That Are Full Of LOL), undecipherable (e.g. Wikipedians who Watch animals from their POV), or created primarily for humourous or satirical purposes (e.g. Wikipedians who are one of an infinite number of monkeys).[1]

I am proposing that it be removed from this section and replaced with something similar to the following, in the section Appropriate types of user categories:

Categories which foster a genial atmosphere
This includes joke categories, categories pertaining to likes that do not directly address the encyclopedia and other categories not covered in the list of inappropriate categories below. (e.g. Category:Wikipedians who are "out to get you" and/or your garage band). This does not include joke or interest categories which are broadly perceived as offensive or which contain offensive language.

There is also a question of whether or not to organize such categories into a separate master cat to keep them out of the way of other such categories, but that can be discussed once there is a consensus on this question. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:10, 17 February 2017 (UTC)


  • Support as nom. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:10, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I had the gather-in-a-special-supercat idea myself. EEng 19:19, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Measures to facilitate building a collegiate atmosphere between contributors should be encouraged, and lighthearted categories such as the example given should not be discouraged. The onus on someone seeking to delete such a category should be to show that it is harmful, rather than that it isn't "serious/professional" etc. We rely on volunteers to create and maintain content. We should promote an atmosphere that makes people want to be part of the Wikipedia community, including by allowing occasional frivolities. WJBscribe (talk) 19:51, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose The only thing that is more of a waste of time than creating and populating such categories is trying to stop people from doing so. --Jayron32 19:52, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support This is one of those things where I don't see the point of it, and ndon't do it myself, but I also see no harm in it and don't know why anyone would waste their time trying to stop something that doesn't actually affect anything in any way. People need to learn to WP:DGAF about this sort of thing. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:58, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
My next RfC will be to try to get WP:DGAF made into a policy. ;) ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:09, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose unless. My main concern is to get rid of the pile of redlinked user categories which clutter up Special:WantedCategories. That places a set of tripwwires in way of editors who do the thankless task of category repair.
    If turning them blue helps achieve that, then fine ... so long as a quid-pro is the removal of remaining redlinked categories from userpages. If there is a space for humorous user categories which would not previously have been allowed, then there should be no remaining need for the redlinks. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs)
  • Strong oppose - The current guideline keeps a focus around building an encyclopedia instead of social networking. This became a guideline in the first place after a slew of ridiculous user categories were created and people constantly pushing boundaries (Category:Fascist Wikipedians). The bottom line should be improvement of the encyclopedia. I'm not convinced this change helps us. In fact, these types of categories hinder collaboration in my view. Without a collaboration-oriented focus, there's no reasonable expectation to be able to click on a user category and find like-minded people willing to improve content. With the existing guideline, that presumption does exist. People can still have silly and nonsense stuff on their userpage, but bringing unencylopedic nonsense into the category space is a bridge too far. I also think this proposal very much blurs the line between acceptable and not acceptable categories. I keep seeing "obviously inappropriate" as how we would differentiate between what to keep vs. delete, but what is "obviously inappropriate" is extremely subjective. If this proposal were to pass I would like a hard like rule explicitly detailing what such categories would look like.[2] VegaDark (talk) 01:36, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Delete them all, and get rid of those no good users at the same time. Nuke them all, those f-cist bastards. Debresser (talk) 17:10, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - feel free to use your own userspace for jokes and other wasteful purposes, within reason; domn't pollute other parts of Wikipedia, including the Category: namespace, with them. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 20:14, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support removal of text but neutral on proposed addition - as I commented at the ANI, allowing non-harmful (even if non-helpful) material for users' pages like these categories or like userboxes encourages community involvement, sense of belonging, and hopefully increase user retention. It's like being able to personalize your cubical at work. Minimal harm, likely benefits, overall net positive to the project. I don't think we need to add additional text unless someone foresees wikilawyering over the issue but letting the guidelines be neutral/abstaining-from-comment seems like a good compromise for now. EvergreenFir (talk) 21:15, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Sigh - That we've gotten to the point where we need an RfC on's difficult to describe as anything but prudish. I don't really care how you amend the text, just leave people alone. We're all volunteers here, sometimes we like to have a little bit of humor, and none of this is doing any demonstrable harm to the project. If you are that deep into categories that you think this is a monumental issue, then get the hell out and work on an actual article. TimothyJosephWood 21:47, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support removal as proposed, we do enough policing of user pages and these categories are doing no harm at all. I support the spirit of the proposed addition but am neutral on the wording. As many other users have pointed out, fostering a genial and collegial environment is beneficial to any collaborative project. And as I've said before I'm very supportive of insisting on a common top-level category for all of these user categories, if folks are concerned about "polluting" the category system, but mass-deletion of userpage content is not the right approach. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 22:24, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Neutral - While I see where the "genial atmosphere" argument is coming from, it's not like Wikipedia will suddenly see a rise in personal attacks and incivility without these categories. The community isn't going to collapse. But if they are to exist, there shouldn't be a problem if they are separated from the encyclopedic categories (as suggested). DarkKnight2149 23:12, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Jayron and Od Mishehu and for the practical reasons outlined by Brown Haired Girl and VegaDark, plus the only thing that's less humourless than nuking these categories is having a policy about humour. Errrr you tolerate humour by errrrr, tolerating humour, but if it's making someone else's job harder, it isn't funny any more. The only truly funny thing in the acres of text here and at ANI is Drmies defence of an old colleague of his and the 'good old days'. Call me churlish, but these categories aren't very funny and will only encourage others to create umpteen other momentarily mildly smirky categories. Pincrete (talk) 23:28, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support/Meh Oppose It seems that all of the editors who have commented that actually work in this specialized area oppose this. I have to go with the people who do the work on this. I do not think we should be encouraging these types of categories but it seems that they are causing more trouble as red links (by clogging WantedCats) than if they are turned blue. My only fear is that by explicitly allowing these classes of categories we will see a proliferation of them but if they do not cause technical issues or excessive work (like the issue now is) who really cares. Jbh Talk 01:25, 19 February 2017 (UTC) Last edited: 01:58, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support The encyclopedia is a serious construction, but the Project is a space filled with people whose major concern is to build an encyclopedia. Anything and everything that is not detrimental to the objective of building both an encyclopedia and a sustainable project should, indeed must, be allowed. Often joke categories are puerile or nonsensical, but once in a while they are islands of intelligence or consideration which makes a tired contributor feel that they are part of something that is not just a worthy endeavor but also a place of like minded souls. You don't even have to add the category to your user space, you just have to think "yeah, there are some decent/real people here..." and it has added something of value to the project, and hence the encyclopedia... in fact, you do not even have to like/agree with it, just realise that you are not the only one enjoying a step back from the coal face. LessHeard vanU (talk) 01:44, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support anything that contributes to a collegial atmosphere, with thanks to the proposer--and with thanks to VegaDark who managed to pull LHvU out of their hibernation, if only for the while. Drmies (talk) 02:14, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose encyclopedia or facebook, let's choose the former because most of us already have the latter. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 06:13, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose unless Like BHG, my main concern as someone who's created some 16,000 categories from red links, is to discourage the frivolous use of red link cats on user pages. A secondary concern is minimising the burden on the CfD process. If joke categories are encouraged, then I fear it will lead to more red link categories on user pages. Aside from the "clutter" effect I think it's also worth considering the effect on morale of the gnomes who work away on the category system. It is quite literally a thankless task - and that's OK, I don't get my energy from public acknowledgement; but I do get my energy from seeing the job done, and those red links on user pages that can't be created but which one can't delete mean that one can't clean out the list. Call it a bit of OCD but I like to clean out lists, so I now prefer to work on red link reports where one tends not to get Wikipedian categories just to avoid that frustration. The other thing is that if this goes through as proposed then one is likely to get a lot more blue link frivolous categories, which then means more going into CfD, and it just makes more work for the CfD people. I'm fine with letting people have their fun - but let it be with userboxes rather than categories. Userboxes don't affect my work, so people can do what they like with them! <g> Le Deluge (talk) 23:51, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Meh but support Ivanvector has said it best, imho. I think it should be self-evident to try and maintain a collegial atmosphere, and these joke-categories are one way of doing it. That back and forth between creating categories and deleting them again in a kind of big cycle is kind of wasted time....anyway, this will not be solved by this RfC. Lectonar (talk) 10:57, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose It's "self-evident" (and actual history) that no "collegiality" is created by these, probably, in part, because their very purpose is to separate by category. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:41, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, most Wikipedia editors have intelligence in their arsenal, and intelligence usually comes with good-natured play. I don't use joke categories, but will defend the right of others to use them as long as they don't overflow onto article pages. User pages come with a certain amount of user rights, and the right-to-belong and right-to-self-describe is one that George Mason and James Madison kept out of the US Bill of Rights because each thought the other had-it (infield fly rule applies). Randy Kryn 14:31, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support and would even be willing to go farther and remove everything except Categories that are divisive, provocative, or otherwise disruptive from the inappropriate list. No harm, no foul should be the rule. The current limits were adopted for good cause due to many problematic categories (and userboxen) that existed at the time, but the pendulum was swung a bit too far. A bit of fun here and there is a net positive for retaining a volunteer workforce, and removing any semblance of fun will only serve to discourage people from participating. Jim Miller See me | Touch me 16:00, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Maybe it's because I'm an old hand who has been on Wikipedia for many, many years, but I cannot see any benefit in this proposal at all. Wikipedia has always prided itself on NOT being a social media site. We are not here for making friend lists and tagging each other in some kind of modern game-ification. User boxes had to be curtailed after users ran riot with "jokes". Let us be very careful about where this could end up. doktorb wordsdeeds 10:12, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support: The "irrelevant likes" criterion has been misused to remove categories in ways that appears to reflect at best a misunderstanding of the nature of editors as people. (Remember when Christian Wikipedians was a helpful category for collaboration on Christian topics / content but Gay Wikipdians was deleted as an irrelevant like because gay editors couldn't possibly provide useful collaboration on LGBT topics / content?) Yes, joke categories can be problematic and even offensive, and some may need deletion, but humour can also be effectively used to raise / explore issues, provoke thought, and even foster collaboration by highlighting commonalities. Wikipedia is about building an encyclopaedia but its editors are people and not automatons, and people collaborate and interact socially as well as work on content. A "no tolerance" approach might be simplest for those working with categories, but it is not the best approach for the community as a whole. A more nuanced approach with CfDs to remove the genuinely problematic / offensive cases is appropriate to a mature community of adults where self-regulation should be the norm and constricting rules for the convenience of those working with categories are not developed where they harm collaboration and the wider editor community. EdChem (talk) 13:23, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for bringing this up. Homosexuality on Wikipedia was only decriminalized in 2012. I do not have a comment on joke categories but I would not want categories that anyone takes seriously to be deleted like the LGBT categories were. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:28, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per Beeblebrox's rationale, pretty much word for word. Sergecross73 msg me 13:49, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Allow joke categories: I personally don't think they do any harm if restricted to userspace. pbp 04:28, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Oh, the horror! Some editors actually have a sense of humor, even though they express it only in user space and not in mainspace! Whatever will become of us?! This is the end of Wikipedia as we know it! Actually, I do understand how red-linked categories create a hassle for editors trying to fix problem categories, and I can see how there is a sort of no-win situation, wherein either we have blue-linked non-serious categories or red links. We allow non-serious user boxes, and any attempt to purge all such user boxes will crash and burn. With categories, however, there is the consideration of how one category may fit with other categories. The bottom line is that we should find ways to accommodate editors who have a sense of humor while also accommodating editors who want to work with categories that need fixing, some of which might actually be in mainspace. This proposal is a good way to do it. I also want to say that I think that "idiosyncratic" is a dubious way to characterize editors. A case could be made that, instead, the editors who object so strongly to humorous categories are the idiosyncratic ones. And in fact, I have a procedural concern as well: all editors who have such categories on their userpages should really have been notified of the discussions here. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:11, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
    • I've been continuing to think about this issue, and I have carefully examined all of the oppose comments. I agree strongly that acceptance should not be extended to attack categories. Beyond that, I can see two concerns that are valid. One is about having unserious categories intruding into category space in a manner that creates headaches for editors who work with categories. It seems to me that this problem can be solved by creating a parent category and requiring that all of these categories be placed within it, and forbidding putting them into any other category. That's already underway, and it solves that problem. The other concern is about adding to the list of red links. That one can be solved by making all of the categories in the parent category blue. And that's already underway, too. No red links, and no need to deal with this stuff anywhere else in category space. Problems solved. Beyond that, it seems to me that the oppose arguments are all based on some combination of (1) I don't think they are funny, so I don't want anyone else to have them, (2) the belief that these categories get in the way of content creation, and (3) considering that the categories were created in violation of the language we are discussing here, even to the point of being vandalism. Well, WP:CCC, and the purpose of this RfC is to reexamine the language here. If one is concerned about WP:NOT, remember that it includes WP:NOTPAPER, so it's not like we're hogging server space. I don't think that there's any evidence that doing away with the categories will prompt some editors to do more content work, whereas there's a plausible case that the categories help with an atmosphere that keeps some of us from losing interest. And we can, and are, go(ing) around in circles about whether ilikeit or idontlikeit, but as long as the two legitimate concerns can be solved, so that no other editors are being inconvenienced, then idontlikeit really becomes flat-out prudishness and nosiness: the opposition to such categories is not doing anything to advance project goals, and becomes WP:CREEP. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:47, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support There's no harm in allowing some humor in userpsace. ThePlatypusofDoom (talk) 01:13, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose We can't have nice things. Sorry. Chris Troutman (talk) 03:32, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I fail to see the problem being solved here. --Tom (LT) (talk) 09:01, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - I don't see why not, We need humour to survive on this place!. –Davey2010Talk 22:11, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per TimothyJosephWood. I don't see why this is something that needs to be policed. Lepricavark (talk) 14:55, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Od Mishehu: feel free to use your own userspace for jokes and other wasteful purposes, within reason; don't pollute other parts of Wikipedia, including the Category: namespace, with them. Don't waste others' time with this crap. Don't demand that bot operators support this bull. Don't force others to create and maintain categories like Category:Wikipedians who retain on their userpages categories which have been deleted by consensus. When you do that, it's not funny! Category:Wikipedian sex workers is not funny. – wbm1058 (talk) 18:08, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
    • Wow. I find it funny, maybe not hilarious, but certainly not mean-spirited. I guess humor online really is very, very subjective. Nobody wants to create problems for bot operators, but bots are supposed to enhance editing, not restrict it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:58, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
      • So you think we should shut down our anti-vandalism bots because they are restricting editing? Even though there was a consensus to delete Category:Wikipedian sex workers, our bot that implemented that deletion decision should obey a special request to not actually implement that consensus, because it's disrupting all the "fun" some editors are having on their user pages? And causing them undue inconvenience, because they have to go to the trouble of re-adding the category that the bot deleted from their user page? wbm1058 (talk) 22:39, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per rationales of BHG, VD, OM, LD etc which (IMO) are much stronger arguments than those on the Support side ("don't see the harm", "we need humour" etc). DexDor (talk) 21:11, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
You might want to take a look at the discussion below. Your characterization of the arguments presented is as wrong as it could be. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:48, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
The discussion below is too long to read in detail, but I trust users such as BHG to revise their vote if the discussion really found a flaw in their reasoning. DexDor (talk) 16:02, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
@DexDor:You should peruse BHG's contributions: she has been formally creating and re-creating the categories used in this manner already, and assigning them to a super-category. She's already implementing this proposal, without having changed her !vote. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:24, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - there's no justification given for the proposal. User Talk is not supposed to be used for social networking, and Wikipedia is not here to entertain us. WaggersTALK 14:57, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
For the second time in as many days; you should look at the discussion below. Saying there's no justification given is completely and obviously wrong. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:01, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Put what you want on your user page, but don't pollute category space with your nonsense and jokes. Very often these joke categories end up in maintenance reports for being uncategorised, or for being empty when the user(s) decide the joke has got too old, so they waste the time of people trying to maintain our category system. — This, that and the other (talk) 11:05, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose jokes in userspace are (usually) fine, but category space isn't userspace. It's part of the organisation or the encyclopedia and shouldn't be used for this kind of material. I would be happy to support the removal of redlinked categories from userspace if they can't be created because of this guideline. (Actually inconveniencing real work is a red line that jokes absolutely should not cross.) Hut 8.5 11:57, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support mainly per Ivanvector above. These are largely harmless and promote a sense of community. If it interferes with categories maintenance, perhaps creating a distinct "user category" that wouldn't go into the maintenance backlogs is warranted, or some other fix. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 17:07, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support to foster a more light-hearted atmosphere aside from the mundane job of editing. Editors need good humor sometimes. Why are we even having such a long discussion for this? feminist 10:43, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
OK, so the problem of red-linked joke categories has been raised. Just create them, labeling them with something like {{Joke alert}}. feminist 10:51, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per VegaDark. There is enough trash on this project, we don't need more. xplicit 04:29, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: Maybe there is a need for a new "User Categories" namespace? I don't think regular category space should be polluted with this sort of stuff. If people want social media stuff on Wikipedia, then changes should be made at the software level. SharkD  Talk  21:57, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
That's a really tall order, actually. But there's always Category:Wikipedians which currently has a subcategory of Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians which contains the majority of these categories. They're well segregated; totally different water fountains, only allowed at the back of the bus, etc. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:06, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
    • There is a need for more tolerance of bluelinked categories under Category:Wikipedians, although much there I advocate transitioning into ProjectSpace Collaboration Noticeboards and Signup lists, but not for a new namespace. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:27, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Opposecall me if there's a tie I'm a clown who would love to invent garbage cats to decorate my UP. But a bunch of redlinked cats will waste the CatCops' time. And Mjolnirpants, I'll be voting no at your rfc re DGA*. L3X1 (distant write) 03:11, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea what RfC you're referring to, and you are now the fourth editor to !vote "oppose" and give a rationale that actually supports it. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:20, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
MjolnirPants Per Hut 8.5's comment then: but category space isn't userspace. It's part of the organisation or the encyclopedia and shouldn't be used for this kind of material. RfC was a humerous comment of mine in response to your joke above; My next RfC will be to try to get WP:DGAF made into a policy. ;)L3X1 (distant write) 14:33, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
L3X1 Ahh, DGAF, not DGA with a missing note somewhere. I understand. But you should know that I WILL PERSONALLY MURDER ANYONE WHO !VOTES NO!!! THAT RfC MATTERS, DAMN IT!!! Wrt your rationale, Hut's comment amounts to WP:IDONTLIKEIT because it's just a statement of what should be done that doesn't provide justification (unless one accepts that permitting some socializing equates to refocusing the entire project towards socializing). Your comments seem to have little bearing on that: You said this proposal would result in more red-linked categories, but it should be quite obvious that this proposal would prevent the arbitrary deletion of a large number of categories in use on user pages. Take a look at Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians and start checking when those categories were created: All of them have been created since this RfC started to die down, by BrownHairedGirl (whom I've pinged several times when mentioning this but who has, thus far, declined to comment) who initially !voted to oppose this, with the caveat that she would change her !vote if it meant we could create those categories and thus remove them from Special:WantedCategories. In short: just the fact that this RfC exists has reduced the number of redlinked categories. Actually implementing it would encourage more editors in cat space to take up the (very good, IMHO) work BHG has been doing the last few weeks, and reduce redlinked cats even more. It would also discourage creation of them, as editors would then have the choice between making up a humorous or irrelevant redlinked cat, and adding themselves to an existing bluelinked cat. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:20, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
MjolnirPants Having read the discussion here a bit more thoroughly, I am retractin my vote as I don't want to be murdered I mean, I cannot produce nor identify a good argument either for or against, and this discussion is animated enough that my lack of !vote probably won't hurt. L3X1 (distant write) 18:30, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Hey, don't knock it till you try it. I can respect that. There's clearly a big divide here, and I certainly can understand some of the concerns expressed in the opposes. I just don't agree with them. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:37, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've read through the discussion below and the AFI, where I saw the comment by MjolnirPants, "Anything that makes WP more fun helps the encyclopedia, end of." It's an interesting proposition, but one that I think falls apart upon much inspection. It's not difficult to imagine how "fun" that's inserted into the mainspace, for example, might be deleterious to the encyclopedia's quality. I find the social science claims made below to be particularly far-fetched and not particularly worth delving into, but suffice to say that structures that might restrict action at the cost of "fun" are certainly not always bad. I should also mention that I generally am in favor of stare decisis when it comes to WP policy, but that has only a minor weighing on my opposition here. From WP:NOT: "Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia and, as a means to that end, an online community." So the basic question is would removing barriers on irreverent categories foster that community in a way that would help the encyclopedia; the community exists as a means, not an end. I'm simply unconvinced that it would. Furthermore, the arguments from many users, most particularly BHG, lead me towards the conclusion that irreverent categories would carry the risk of burdening the actual maintenance of the encyclopedia. So it is not just that the current policy is not bad, but the proposed policy would bring nominal benefits with potentially nontrivial costs.-- (talk) 04:30, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
You've found a single hyperbolic statement of mine, and taken it completely literally (a form of quote mining) in order to repaint my argument into something to which you can respond by implying a slippery slope and quoting policy to support the assertion that you just don't like it. I'm not sure whether to be impressed or disappointed. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:20, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
(Same user as above) You tend to attempt to accuse people of logical fallacies while avoiding the substance of their argument, a form of quote mining. If you had read carefully, you might notice that my opposition isn't rooted in your claim about fun, it's rooted in the poorer case for potential benefit coupled with the relatively stronger case for potential harm. You just haven't made a good case. And I wouldn't point out that WP:IDONTLIKEIT also refers to positive arguments that are based on your personal views ... WP:ILIKEIT -- (talk) 15:26, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
What I tend to do is irrelevant, and it's both rather ridiculous to suggest that I do that very often (me being better known for my giant walls of text) and yet another fallacious line of reasoning: pointing out the weaknesses in your argument absolutely is a form of addressing your argument. And it is not, in any sense, a form of quote mining. Please read pages before you link to them, as that suggestion is just laughable. I did, in fact read your comments carefully, and you made an argument whose substance was non-existent (resting upon a number of fallacious conclusions as it did) and therefore doesn't require responding to. However, since I'm the patient sort, I will say this much: Your insistence that editors having more fun won't benefit the project flies in the face of decades of psychological and sociological research, a sampling of which can be found in the extended discussion below. You're not the first person here to simply reject all of the science without providing a good reason, which is why I didn't bother explaining it before now. Finally, I have unarguably provided justification beyond my own personal likes, so you citing WP:ILIKEIT is not even a fallacy, but pure bullshit. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:40, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Your decades of psychological research claim is so laughably weak - let's just tear that apart right now. In order to make this claim you've cited the benefits of shared laughter, pointing to a few primary studies. Flaw 1: you've misunderstood the definition of "shared." Shared does not meant "we laughed at the same joke at different times"; none of your studies examine online interaction. In other words, they defined shared experiences as being shared in both a proximal and temporal sense. Flaw Two: Without any evidence, you've assumed that joke categories would significantly contribute to an increase in shared laughter. I'll give you this: If you made these claims in an academic environment, there would probably be some shared laughter. (Also you did it again, and yes that is quote mining, when you're suggesting that my argument is rooted in something that it wasn't rooted in.)--- (talk) 15:55, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  1. That's simply not true. I guess you've never heard of a running joke, or an in-joke, both of which frequently result in different people laughing at different times. Plus, you've assumed that no-one will ever make any reference to the categories to another editor. Why that never occurred to you is anyone's guess.
  2. No, they don't define jokes that way. Again, this is just bullshit.
  3. Without any evidence you've assumed that joke categories don't qualify as jokes. (My evidence is that they're JOKE categories. Seriously, how freaking obvious does something have to be?)
  4. Having spent a great deal of time in an academic environment, and still frequently doing so, I can say from experience that your assumption about them here is wrong.
  5. No, calling your arguments fallacious is not quote mining. Again, it's a laughable claim that implies a severe misunderstanding of the term. Furthermore, what you went on to claim I did (which I didn't) is actually a straw man.
  6. Also, something you clearly didn't pick up on: Not all of that research is specifically about jokes. Indeed, much of it focuses on a relaxed atmosphere, while citing research showing that jokes (shared, permitted or clandestine) contribute to such an atmosphere. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:08, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Something you didn't pick up on - none of my comments were about how they defined joke. Why are you saying "No they don't define jokes that way"? I never said how they defined joke (and more to the point: I don't think they did define "joke." I guess this is what happens when a user just Google Scholars a phrase and haphazardly picks results from the first two pages.) My comments were on how the studies defined group interaction and shared experience. This kind of misunderstanding and leaping is one of the reasons why there are sometimes rules restricting citing primary sources. Again, none of your studies can support the claim "'Jokey' Wikipedia categories will lead to increased cohesion." 1: You're extrapolating these studies to an online context, which none of the studies examine. (In other words, you have a nice hypothesis, but it's your hypothesis, informed, but not supported by, your interpretation of prior research.) 2. You're assuming that jokey categories will actually make a significant contribution, something that no study addresses. It doesn't fly.-- (talk) 16:55, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Something you didn't pick up on - none of my comments were about how they defined joke. No, I picked up on it, but ignored it. I gave you the benefit of the doubt in that if you were actually referring to shared experiences in the most general sense (as you just confirmed) then your comments were so nonsensical as to be indistinguishable from trolling. I've actually never even imagined that someone would contend (even implicitly) that two people having the same experience at different times would not have some sort of connection, because it's such a fundamentally ignorant contention, continuously proven wrong in simple daily life, not to mention psychology and sociology. And of course, there's the fact that yes; plenty of us do edit at the same time, participate in the same discussions and interact in pretty much real time with each other on a regular basis.
Furthermore, I thought it was very obvious that my response remained perfectly valid (jokes are an experience, after all) regardless of whether you were talking about experiences in the most general sense or jokes specifically. Again, you respond with an apparently complete ignorance of what I said, or even the implications of what you yourself have said, or continue to say.
Continuing on; you're not the first person to claim that online communities are different, and thus not the first one to prove that you haven't even glanced at the six or so studies I cited which specifically address online communities (nice to see you explicitly claim otherwise, as if I didn't already know you were just making shit up). Nor are you the first to suggest that WP is somehow different enough that the rule -established to hold true in every single type of collaborative environment ever studied- is not true for WP without even positing a mechanism by which that would be so, let alone working one up enough to justify a peer-reviewed publication, like the studies I cited had done.
Not to mention that in each exchange, you've responded only to one or two points among many that I made in the comment you were responding to, leaving half a dozen problems with your argument completely unaddressed. At this point, I don't see any reason to continue to engage you, because it's quite clear to me that you are either unwilling or unable to entertain the notion that you have made even the slightest error. There is, quite literally no upside to this discussion. So have a nice day. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:19, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Oh you picked up on it? So you just falsely accused me of misdefining joke then. Got it. You're pretending like the similarities in the communities being sufficient for generalizing the studies is the null hypothesis - it's not. Burden of proof is on you, and, again, both your application of the studies to online communities and your assumption that the categories would contribute to the various dependent variables of the studies are unfounded.-- (talk) 18:03, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Especially as the valid part of the oppose argument has now been addressed. Pretty much by definition categories bring like minded people together. We are a community of volunteers, and should celebrate rather than denigrate that different people are motivated by different things. Deleting harmless and inoffensive stuff in userspace is rampant deletionism and should be discouraged at best as wasting community time to no benefit; At worst as the rather dodgy process that was used for years to suppress user categories such as LGBT. ϢereSpielChequers 05:30, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  • As a sidenote....I think this needs More Cowbell...Lectonar (talk) 14:47, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription is... well, you know. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:05, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes...MjölnirsPants might be gold plated then....Lectonar (talk) 16:40, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. I'm really surprised at the current state of affairs. The enforcement of the the pointless injunction against joke categories only syphons precious editor time away from productive tasks, clutters up one of the most severely backlogged deletion venues, and alienates the valuable editors who have created such categories. All that without any observable benefit for the encyclopedia. – Uanfala (talk) 17:57, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I have always been of the opinion that such categories are good and should be allowed, although I would not go as far as to stimulate them. Debresser (talk) 19:21, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Close Its been a long time since anybody has edited, can this be closed? If someone woud tell me the consensus, I'll be glad to do a nac on it. L3X1 (distant write) 01:48, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
I agree that it's time to close. It's worth noting that the most vociferous opponent of this proposal has, in fact, implemented this proposal already, despite getting rather uncivil about it and refusing to acknowledge the utility of this proposal at all. I'll put in a request. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:42, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
User:MjolnirPants, who has done what? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:50, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe: BrownHairedGirl (no ping, because I'm rather sick of being called names by her) has been bluelinking and sorting joke and "irrelevant interest" categories for a few weeks now. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 12:50, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, and quite strongly even. Redlinked joke categories, fine. Wasting server space by creating thousands of joke categories that do nothing to grow the encyclopedia? What's the point? Every category requires at least some maintenance, and even a low cost outweighs a zero benefit. ~ Rob13Talk 08:58, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
We are not limited by server space (and if some are fine, how many?), and quite a few editors have argued that there is a non-zero benefit. And I agree very strongly that it is well-past the time for closure. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:41, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
As I work in computers, I thought I would actually address this. It would be perfectly reasonable to assume each category is limited to 256 characters. Since each category page is generated by server side processing on demand (and thus all the data that is the same from category page to category page needs only be stored once, at the cost of a few kilobytes), that means we are limited to about 4 trillion categories, allowing for some additional overhead for the database engine and miscellaneous columns (and primary keys! Let's not forget those!) and what not (we could probably get quite a few billion more in there, but let's be generous).
By the way, that's assuming we have only 1TB allocated to category storage. We probably have about a thousand times that available. And getting more is actually pretty cheap. Even buying retail, without negotiating prices or purchasing in bulk, you're only talking about $50 per TB. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 01:33, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Section breakEdit

  • Support. I actually have spent a couple hours going over all this, making notes, as I was going to close it. But I can't close it. I figured it would be a fairly easy close because the numbers are more or less even (or are they?) and it is, at the end of the day, a he-said/she-said matter of opinion rather than a case where we have to parse policies figure out intent and the best applications and so forth. In a 50-50 case where it's opinion, it's liable to be "no consensus" and so the proposition is not accepted. I'm not an admin, but since I personally support the proposal but was figuring to rule "not accepted" no one would gainsay me probably.
But no. To my considerable surprise, the Oppose camp has, essentially, no argument. So weak that I would probably be compelled to adjudicate that the proposition has not been properly refuted and so should be considered accepted (I didn't take the additional hours (five at least would be required I guess) I would need to fully read and analyze everything. But a quick passthru makes it seem that that at least might be the result.) Aa a non-admin who is sometimes silly, that's a bridge too far, I can't do it, as I feel that the "losing" side might feel ill-used.
On the technical merits, User:Tryptofish avers that "problem can be solved by creating a parent category and requiring that all of these categories be placed within it, and forbidding putting them into any other category. That's already underway, and it solves that problem. The other concern is about adding to the list of red links. That one can be solved by making all of the categories in the parent category blue. And that's already underway, too". So a lot of the concerns about redlinks and so forth are addressed, it seems.
And then even the numbers fall apart. The numbers aren't necessarily all that even. I counted 24-20 (55% support), which is pretty much a statistical tie. (That's counting User:Debresser ("nuke em all") and User:Purplebackpack89 and User:Timothyjosephwood as Support, and not counting User:L3X1 either way). But for User:BrownHairedGirl, "My main concern is to get rid of the pile of redlinked user categories" and that's solvable. And what about the user who was per Brown Haired Girl? And there were one or two other Oppose editors of the same mind. The true number if it were better understood that the technical issues can be partly addressed might be closer to 25-17, and that's 60% and that's a supermajority, a low-level one but perhaps sufficient for for something like this which is not earth-shattering either way.
And that's just the numbers. As I said, the Oppose camp has pretty weak arguments, some of which come down to "In my day we didn't put up with such nonsense" which is not actually an argument. There are other, better, arguments, sure. But not that much better. And the technical problems, some of them, can be helped with intelligent organization such as a supercategory and so on.
And you know the organizational development aspect aside (as if that didn't matter), read what User:EdChem said. That alone is a whole nother argument taking the Oppose people in the flank. At the end of the day we are a wiki after all.
What the Oppose camp needs is even one editor who is able to say "I understand organizational development and specifically organizational development in a volunteer environment, which will demonstrate with [...demonstrates with cogent exposition...] and I am Opposed, and here's my reasoning [...actual reasoning from first principles and practical considerations which rises above you-kids-get-off-my-lawn ranting or I'm-too-old-for-this-shit headshaking...]. Put out a call or something. The hour is getting late.
Other than than, the closer might well fell compelled to adjudicate that the proposition has been adequately supported, and not adequately refuted. Herostratus (talk) 03:19, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Herostratus, thanks for your comment. I'm glad to read that you found my contribution to present a strong argument, and that you recommend others read what I wrote. I was disappointed to get little direct response at the time, so it is gratifying to know that some editors read and considered what I wrote. I also agree with your observation that the oppose arguments seem weak. EdChem (talk) 04:37, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I threw in a section break for ease of use. I thought this had finished back in March, but YOLO. I agree with Herostratus' summary, and have drawn up a list of categories to immediatly place in my UP :). d.g. L3X1 (distant write) 12:09, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
In the interests of neutral language, I altered the name of the section break. But, that said, one fish's opinion is that I really do hope that this is the final !vote, and not only because this RfC has gone waaay to long without a close. I think that Herostratus' analysis of the consensus is spot-on, and really a model of the right way to formulate a closing statement. To whoever actually does perform the close: you might as well just say "per Herostratus". --Tryptofish (talk) 20:49, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
EdChem Just so you know, Herostratus wasn't the only editor who was moved by your comments. I believe I referred to them as "courageous" below and I certainly meant it.
Herostratus I agree wholeheartedly with your summary. The best argument I'd seen for the oppose camp was "it would make more work for those of us in categories," only for this argument to be subsequently proven wrong by the very editor who first made it. I contend, without reservation, that no reasonable arguments have been put forth for not accepting this, and several reasonable arguments have been put forth for doing so. As for those who simply don't like it, they are -of course- not at all obliged to add any joke categories to their own user pages. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 20:59, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Oppose because the RFC question is not straightforward enough. Like User:Herostratus, I was going to close, but the task proved too much for little old me. I suggest withdrawing the RFC and submitting a new one. This will piss off some people who already spent a lot of time on this, so feel free to blame me if and when you do it, User:MjolnirPants. The main problem is that the RFC is posed in terms of a lot of gobbledygook . Be brief and clear in the RFC question, e.g., "Regarding humorous categories at user pages, should both redlinks and bluelinks be allowed, or only redlinks, or neither?" Personally, I think redlinks should be allowed, and bluelinks are unnecessary; the redlinks provide the humor, whereas blue links only add social networking. Anythingyouwant (talk) 01:16, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

A small amount of discussion, and a lot of off-topic. Please do not resume this. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:05, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
It would, in the future behoove you to ask for clarification rather than to pass judgement as... well, rude as calling it "gobbledygook". Especially when it's quite obvious that you are alone in your lack of understanding. Needless to say, your !vote does not actually address the subject (and in fact, advocates for the one thing everyone in this thread has agreed is least desirable). Would you like me to clarify? ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 01:57, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Please do. I struck a sentence that was a bit blunt, and not meant to offend. Anythingyouwant (talk) 02:03, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
The question is written as a proposal (as most RfCs tend to be), which then asks for input about it. It is as concise as it can be, while still fully describing the proposed change. It proposes to remove text describing "joke" and "irrelevant-to-editing" categories from the list of inappropriate user categories, and to insert language which expressly permits them and other categories which foster a genial atmosphere in the subsection describing acceptable user categories. In other words, it proposes to stop prohibiting, and start allowing all categories which help to foster a genial atmosphere, including joke categories.
The problem with the redlinked categories is that editors who work in cat space use a tool; Special:Wantedcategories to find categories that are wanted, but which do not exist so they can create them, or correct the issue that caused a redlinked category to be used. This tool is a constantly-updated list containing all redlinked categories in use on en.wp. So when there are a large number of redlinked joke categories (as is obviously going to always be the case, so long as joke categories and personally-descriptive categories are not permitted), that makes using that tool very difficult, because editors have to wade through all the "usual" redlinked categories to find ones that actually need creating. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 02:17, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
The problem with joke categories being listed in Special:Wantedcategories seems like a technical problem that could be solved without allowing blue-linked joke categories at user pages. Redlinked joke categories at user pages ought to satisfy everyone's desire for humor, whereas bluelinking them gets into social networking. Have you inquired at Village Pump/technical about technical ways to solve the problem with joke categories being listed in the Special:Wantedcategories tool? One possibility might be to split it into two tools, one for user space cats, and another for all the other cats. Or instead of that, maybe some special syntax could be used by users to indicate a joke category, e.g. using triple brackets instead of double brackets. My main point stands: that because of the way the RFC was presented, people think this is some big existential debate about desired humor versus undesired social networking, when actually it's just a technical issue that could be solved in a way that potentially makes (almost) everyone happy. Anythingyouwant (talk) 02:55, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Had you read through the discussion, you would have all your questions answered already. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 04:50, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I read through most of it, and I also searched through it, but I cannot find anyone explaining why it's not possible to get a technical fix that would obviate this RFC, in particular by splitting the tool into one tool for user space cats and another tool for all the other cats, or alternatively by adopting special syntax for users to indicate a joke category such as triple brackets around the category instead of double brackets. Where has that been addressed or answered, User:MjolnirPants? Is this the same nice fella from the Graphic Lab? 🙂 Anythingyouwant (talk) 05:00, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I cannot find anyone explaining why it's not possible to get a technical fix that would obviate this RFC If you read through it, you must have seen where I actually offered to do the same thing, following a number of routes (requesting that WMF implement such a change, me creating an off-site tool, me creating an on-site tool, etc) in a discussion with someone who was focused on the difficulty that having redlinked user names provides (and was apparently not, at the time getting that bluelinking them would fix that). There are not, to my knowledge, significant hurdles to implementing a technical solution. That being said, why would we need to? The editor who argued most vociferously against this proposal actually ended up implementing the exact desired result of this proposal (bluelinking such usercats and adding them to a master cat), and in doing so, showed that a technical solution was completely unnecessary. Simply permitting these categories fixes the problem quite nicely. It also has the nice effect of allowing editors to find others with whom to collaborate (something I've done twice in the past month or so). ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:32, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
The editor who argued most vociferously against this proposal actually ended up implementing the exact desired result of this proposal (bluelinking such usercats and adding them to a master cat).... Can you please tell me the name of the master cat? In any event, if people are concerned that a technical fix would unnecessarily bother the technicians at WMF, then I suppose it still might be possible to satisfy both the people who want humor as well as the people who want to avoid social networking, e.g. by allowing humorous bluelinked categories but requiring that they redirect to the master cat instead of being subcats of the master cat (I would like to test whether this eliminates a list of the humorous cats at the master cat). Anyway, my apologies that I did not realize or notice or figure out the intricacies of this RFC until halfway through reading it. As indicated above, I came here from WP:Requests for closure and I have no great expertise with categories (though I'm able and glad to learn). Anythingyouwant (talk) 15:48, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:57, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I have placed two bluelinks at the bottom of my user page: Category:Wikipedians who comprehend nothing and Category:Wikipedians who comprehend everything (the latter uses different code from the former). Neither of these categories is apparently listed at any other category page, and thus neither is listed at Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians. This seems like at least a marginal improvement, since users would not be able to go browse at Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians to find and hook up with categories such as the aforementioned two at the bottom of my user page. But still problems would remain: (1) they could go to Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians and click on "What links here", and also (2) the category pages for the two new categories at the bottom of my user page would list all user pages within those categories. I'm not aware of any alternative "fix" that would resolve all of these issues, unless it's a technical fix requiring new capabilities, but I still think that some sort of "fix" ought to be discussed and ruled out at WP:Village pump/technical before proceeding with an RFC like this, because it may be possible to make everyone happy. Anythingyouwant (talk) 16:49, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
No, a technical fix would not make everyone happy. The core issue is that categories which are used by editors in good faith (the ones discussed here) are being deleted by a very small number of Wikipedians, without requesting input from the editors who use those categories. This is permitted because the current guideline says that these categories are inappropriate, so not notifying these editors is seen as acceptable, because no argument can override policy, in the view of the editors deleting these cats. This has resulted in multiple long, drawn out ANI threads. Sanctions have been implemented. Editors have been reprimanded for taking good faith positions (either for or against joke categories). It has resulted in an admin making personal attacks against everyone who disagreed with her, and then refusing to back down when confronted with the fact. It has resulted a whole hell of a lot of drama and butthurt and wasted time and energy. That's the problem this RfC was intended to fix. The issue with the wanted categories tool is nothing but a benefit of implementing this proposal. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:39, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
The core issue is that categories which are used by editors in good faith (the ones discussed here) are being deleted by a very small number of Wikipedians.... Do you mean that redlinks are being deleted, or that actual categories are being deleted? If the latter, I support it because humorous redlinks are more than adequate and do not smack of social networking. In any event, isn't the main motivation of editors who do (or who want to) delete humorous category redlinks on user pages to facilitate use of the tool? If we just ignore the tool for a second here, I don't get the sense that many people in this RFC are against humorous redlinks amongst user page categories, but I do get the sense that many people in this RFC are against humorous blue links among user page categories if that would facilitate a social networking type of situation in which people could easily browse through and see membership in humorous user page categories and then hook up with those user page categories. Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:52, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Regardless of your (or anyone else's) opinion of humorous categories, the fact remains that it has caused conflict and disruption in the past, and indeed, causes conflict every time the issue comes up. This problem would be solved by expressly permitting them, thereby removing the justification used by those willing to cause conflict and disruption to enforce their view of what WP should be. There never has been any argument that implementing this proposal could cause conflict, nor has there been any argument that not implementing it even could cause conflict. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:24, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
There is a very large conflict between the opinions expressed in this RFC. In contrast, that conflict would apparently dissolve if we all agree that (1) humorous category redlinks at user pages are fine provided they can exist without cluttering up the tool, and (2) humorous category bluelinks at user pages are fine too if they don't lead users to any category page(s) that describe humorous user categories of other users. I don't see why anyone would disagree with either of these principles, and I have not seen any significant arguments against either of them. Even if only one of these two principles is accepted here, the conflict is resolved. Do you object to this? Anythingyouwant (talk) 18:34, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
There is no such thing as a conflict that would not go away if we all agreed on something. But that's never going to happen. No matter what the proposition, there will always be people who disagree with it. That is not a realistic solution. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 20:09, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I have proposed a solution, you think it's unrealistic, and I'm seeking a second opinion (or third if you count me).[1] Anythingyouwant (talk) 20:28, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Don't take this personally because I don't mean it that way, but your proposed solution is incredibly naive. As I said, all conflict is rooted in disagreement. Suggesting that if we just agree we could end the conflict is -while accurate- completely impossible except in theory. People will always disagree. That is a fact of life.
Also, BHG is the editor who has engaged in personal attacks unrepentantly. She has also rejected scores of well-documented science on this very subject because... well, reasons. You are, of course, free to consult her. But if you think that I (or indeed, a very large number of editors) have even the slightest bit of respect for her opinions on this subject, you are sadly mistaken. Furthermore, BHG is one of those who was most stridently opposed to the continuation of redlinked user cats, and as such is very likely to disagree with your idea. This is something you could have seen by reading this thread. I understand that it's a very large thread, but it's clearly of interest to you.
Finally, a very large number of editors have !voted in this RfC. There is nothing that the two (or three) of us can discuss that would, in any way, form a justification for any policy basis. If you think your solution is worthwhile, I suggest you start an RfC of your own. (Be warned that a very large number of editors have also voiced their disagreement with your proposal already, so it is very unlikely you will get any support, but it's on you to decide whether you want to do that or not.) ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 20:56, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm not aware that "a very large number of editors have also voiced their disagreement with your [i.e. my] proposal already". And I don't think saying my proposal is "naive" provides much of an explanation. But thanks for the discussion. Anythingyouwant (talk) 21:05, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
In all seriousness, no adult should require more of an explanation than "People will always disagree. That is a fact of life." If you are not an adult, then please try to internalize what I have said. It may be sad, but it is true. If you ask, I will give you an explanation rooted in well-understood psychology, but I find it to be rather insulting to simply assume than anyone should require such to be explained to them. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:16, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Whatever you may be addressing, it is not my proposal. Anythingyouwant (talk) 21:21, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Indeed it is, whether you recognize this or not. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:24, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
@Anythingyouwant: there is a simple reason to oppose redlinked categories, which is that they are an error (see WP:REDNOT). Such errors are listed at Special:WantedCategories, which should be capable of being cleared. Deliberately redlinked categories impede enyclopedic maintenance by cluttering up that cleanup list with entries intended to be permanent, and displacing the entries which do need attention. It's the same as stuffing someones in-tray with a pile of irrelevancies which need no action, and ensuring that they are there every morning. I understand that some editors intend redlinked categs as a joke, and I used to have them myself as a joke ... but I removed them when I became aware that they are disruptive.
(I note that MJP repeats their claim that they or the WMF could easily create some tool to ensure that redlinked usercats don't end up in Special:WantedCategories. My response remains the same: I don't believe that this is likely, but anyone who disagrees should feel free to create the tool, so that the editors engaged in categ maintenance can evaluate it. In the meantime, vapourware is no solution).
Sadly, some editors who are aware of this disruptive effect have deliberately created redlinked categories for the sole purpose of disruption. MJP is offended that I have called such people "selfish extremists", but I stand by the term as a description of their actions. As noted by the closer of an RFC on redlinked usercats, he deliberate creation of red-linked categories just to prove some kind of point can clearly be disruptive - we're here to work on a collaborative project, and deliberately creating "busy work" for other editors is not within the spirit of this.
By far the most vocal of those selfish extremists is MJP, who specifically announced their intention to create redlinked usercats to "get under the skin" of another editor[2], and promptly created such a category[3] purely to make work for others.
As to blue-linked joke categories, the downsides of them are that 1/ they create maintenance work (parenting them, deleting when empty etc), 2/ the jokes can be divisive, 3/ there is no evidence that they assist collaboration between editors.
MJP insists that jokey userscats are a good idea because research shows that humour strengthens collaboration. I and many others oppose that logic, because a) humour can also be divisive, and b) there are many other ways of being humorous on en.wp which don't raise problems of maintenance, divisiveness or clique-formation. Unfortunately, MJP repeatedly misprepresents my views, by claiming that I am somehow denying the research, or that I want to eliminate all fun from en.wp. Both allegations are entirely untrue. Fun and humour exist on en.wp in many ways, and eliminating jokey categories doesn't eliminate fun; it simply directs it to forms which don't cause problems. Sadly, MJP is unable or unwilling to move beyond the broad proposition that "humour is good for groups" and consider how humour can be disruptive to a group, both in its form and in its place. In a football club, for example, a joke may be fine in the bar after the game, but will usually be most unwelcome in the middle of intense play; in a voluntary organisation, it would be great to share a joke before a meeting, but wise-cracks during a planning meeting can become disruptive.
Sadly, the tenor of MJP's contributions has not improved. MJP's comment (above) to Anythingyouwant that no adult should require more of an explanation than is sadly typical of MJP's persistently hostile stance that everyone who disagrees is a killjoy of limited comprehension. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:47, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
PS I remind Anythingyouwant that we already have a policy on this: WP:NOTSOCIAL. All the arguments in favour of jokey usercats are based on claims about the merits of a social networking feature, but the policy is clear that Wikipedia is not a social networking service. This lengthy discussion is all moot, because we already have a policy which opposes the core arguments in favour of this RFC. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:54, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm going to step in here and say that nobody needs to get the last word in, and it's time for editors to stop commenting about one another. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:51, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Seconded. Except for one thing...
Public List<Category> GetRedLinkedDescriptiveUserCats(List<Category> redLinkedCatList)
    List<Category> listCats = New List<Category>();
    Foreach (Category currentCat in redLinkedCatList)
        if ((currentCat.Name.ToUpper.IndexOf("WIKIPEDIANS") != -1) || (currentCat.Name.ToUpper.IndexOf("EDITORS") != -1) || (currentCat.Name.ToUpper.IndexOf("USERS") != -1))
    return listCats;
So, sooooo difficult... ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:43, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
And sooo simplistic that it would generate many false positives, and therefore omit from the cleanup list vast swathes of legitimate user categories, such as those which end up as subcats of Category:Wikipedians by location, or the many legitimate categories which contain the words editors, such as Category:Pakistani film editors or Category:Text editors.
MjolnirPants if you really think this is so easy, it's time for you to create this tool to allow it to be evaluated. When that happens, we can see how we well it avoids false positives or false negatives. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:04, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
You should probably try to learn a few things about programming before attempting to argue about it with a programmer. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:53, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
There you go with yet more hominem attacks to deflect attention from the fact that your code generates false positives. I can read code too. I was programming code much more complex than that nearly 40 years ago.
Instead of boasting about your own perceived superiority, you would be more persuasive if you made a substantive reply to the problem identified.
It would do your credibility more good if you dropped the angry man approach and demonstrates your programming skills before resorting to personal attacks on people who point out your failure to understand the effect of your code on the relevant dataset. It would also help if you would recognise which of us has the greater knowledge of the scope of the category system, and is therefore better placed to evaluate the effects of a few crude keywords on that dataset.
MjolnirPants, you have been boasting for months about how easy it would be for you to resolve the technical problems, but when you finally produce an alleged solution it is demonstrably broken. Time for you to show us your code in action. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:33, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
I have started a discussion at Village Pump/technical. Anythingyouwant (talk) 14:49, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Extended discussionEdit

See the discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive946#Categories that supposedly do not help foster encyclopedic collaboration which prompted this.

Original comment from the survey section copied here for clarity

  • Oppose The only thing that is more of a waste of time than creating and populating such categories is trying to stop people from doing so. --Jayron32 19:52, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Jayron32: I agree with what you've said, but it seems to me that the logic behind your comment would result in support for the proposed change. The current policy supports "trying to stop people" from creating these categories, which you've identified as being more of a waste of time... WJBscribe (talk) 19:56, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
    I'm curious as well. I almost gave a "per Jayron" response until I looked more closely at the proposal and realized that we actually fell on opposite sides of the debate. Sergecross73 msg me 21:06, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

BrownHairedGirl's commentEdit

Original comment from the survey section copied here for clarity

  • Oppose unless. My main concern is to get rid of the pile of redlinked user categories which clutter up Special:WantedCategories. That places a set of tripwwires in way of editors who do the thankless task of category repair.
    If turning them blue helps achieve that, then fine ... so long as a quid-pro is the removal of remaining redlinked categories from userpages. If there is a space for humorous user categories which would not previously have been allowed, then there should be no remaining need for the redlinks. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs)
I'll get behind that provided we can keep just one: Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user talk page. ;) EEng 23:54, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
I think that's a good idea. The last stand of the joke. It has already been salted against creation, so it will stay red. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:23, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Some of those categories seem distinctly inappropriate, such as categories that identify one editor as another editor (not the "Sockpuppets of..." cats, but cats that consist of just a username, for example). I think I could deal with having such obviously inappropriate redlink cats removed from user pages. But I'm sure you remember the fairly recent uproar over removing intentionally red-linked categories from user pages. I doubt that a consensus to permit the removal of red-linked categories from user pages will get much traction, unless it outlines some very specific circumstances under which it may be done, and those circumstances are pretty obviously inappropriate.
It honestly seems a better solution to me to find a way of tracking cats that are actually wanted, vs intentionally red-linked cats. While I could think of a number of ways of doing that, I'm not involved in the technical aspects of the en.wp site. I'd be happy to volunteer my time to implement a solution, however. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 01:31, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@MjolnirPants: I am sure that you mean well, but having put a lot of time into categories over the last decade (thousands of hours, >100K edits to category pages alone), I find your comment really exasperating. Lemme explain why.
The core of it is that when faced with the voices of several editors who have extensive experience of the category system (me, VegaDark, JC37 and others), you graciously acknowledge that you know little of what's involved ... but still oppose a solution without having any alternative in sight.
The problem is simple. Special:WantedCategories lists redlinked categories, in descending order of page numbers. Those redlinked categories are errors to be fixed: new categs to be created, typos to be fixed, mistaken categories corrected. Several editors work intensively on that, to try to ensure that articles are categorised in categories which actually allow navigation (which is their purpose). But the first few pages of that list are clogged up with redlinked user categories, making it hard to identify the real categories which actually need fixing. So long as those redlinked user categories are not either turned blue or emptied, then they remain as a permanent obstacle to category maintenance.
Your offer to help implement a solution is kind, but its implausible because any solution would require a significant technical change to the mediawiki software. Wikipedia editors don't design or change the software. The WMF does that, to meet the needs of a wide range of projects. They don't change the front end of the software very much, and requests from the community are carefully prioritised and balanced against the limited resources of running one of the world's biggest websites on a modest budget.
So what you seek is effectively to ask the WMF to commit developer time to making changes to facilitate a small minority of editors who want to use the category system in a way it was clearly not intended for, by retaining category entries on pages without creating the corresponding category page. The reasonable response from WMF is: why? Answer, because there isn't a consensus to allow that sort of category page to be created. There's only one plausible answer to that: no.
Maybe I am wrong about the WMF response, but unless I hear plausible counter-arguments, I doubt it. But even if somehow somebody persuades the WMF to put this on a planned changes list, it will take time to implement. And in the meantime, some editor's idea of a joke is impeding the task of building an encyclopedia. What sort of sense of priorities is that? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:55, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl: There is a lot I find very baffling about the above comment. I was going to respond in detail until I realized that doing so would be needlessly antagonistic. But have you thought this through? You do realize that you're arguing against a proposal that would reduce the number of red-link user categories on that list, right? You are arguing for the continuation of a practice that adds new entries to that list. You also made a few statements about what I (and at ANI, VegaDark) have said that are pretty clearly factually inaccurate. I apologize if I seem to be attacking you, that's not my intent. But I do get the impression that you're only half-listening to what is being said here. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:30, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@MjolnirPants: If you have identified what you think are factual inaccuracies then please identify them so that they can be examined. Just making a non-specific mention of them is a sort of insult rather than a consensus-forming response.
But let's start with your claim that I am arguing against this proposal. Please re-read my !vote, because I am not doing that. What I actually did was to offer a conditional oppose. If editors can create proper blue-linked jokey categories, why would they want to also retain the red-linked ones? What's the point of that?
You also miss that jokey user categories will bring their own set of maintenance burdens, as CFD starts hosting more debates over the boundaries of acceptability. If that's going to happen, please reduce the maintenance burden elsewhere.
And I continue to be concerned that you and others who support retaining the redlinks have yet to either volunteer your time to help clean them up, or to propose any actually achievable solution to keep redlinked user categs clear of encyclopedic maintenance. All I hear is a vague wave of "a solution" ... but what is that solution, and how achievable is it? We need more than a vague wave. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:58, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
You said I graciously admitted knowing little about categories. That is untrue, I never 'admitted' nor even implied such a thing. You said I rejected a solution with no offer of any alternative, when this entire RfC is a proposed solution, and the only thing I have rejected is the deletion of usercats in active, good faith use. I never indicated that I believed the mediawiki language specifications are maintained by wikipedia editors, yet you 'corrected' me on this. I did hint that I am aware that there are other ways of accomplishing this without changing the language specifications. You simultaneously implied that my offer to help was limited to assisting the WMF, and not wikipedia which contradicts with your implication that I was unaware of the WMF's involvement in the technical side of en.wp. You implied (and have now directly stated) that I am advocating for the use of more red-link usercats, when the exact opposite is true. You continue to insist that I have offered no solutions, in this very specific and detailed RfC which I started, after being explicitly corrected on this by myself earlier. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 04:11, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
We seem to have a lot of miscommunication here.
I am sorry that I seem to have misunderstood your comment about technical knowledge. I read it as relating to how categories work, but I'm happy to be corrected.
You did reject accompanying a change on joke categs with a ban on redlinks, and that was what I was responding to.
And no, I did not state, directly, or indirect that you advocate more usercats. I did note that you opposed their compulsory removal, which is not the same thing.
I did not claim that you believe the technical side to be controlled by editors. did point out that because the software is controlled by the WMF, editors have to work within its technical constraints.
You wrote above It honestly seems a better solution to me to find a way of tracking cats that are actually wanted, vs intentionally red-linked cats. While I could think of a number of ways of doing that. I have tried twice now to press you to set those ideas out, but you haven't done so. Please will you do so now? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 04:40, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
You did reject accompanying a change on joke categs with a ban on redlinks, and that was what I was responding to. I most certainly did not. The very first sentence was me agreeing with you that some of those categories seem "distinctly inappropriate". If you could not read the (very obvious, I thought) implication in that sentence that I would accept the enforced removal of "distinctly inapproriate" categories, then let me make it explicit right now: That's what I was strongly implying. Furthermore, I went on to point out some difficulties of getting a consensus to do that would be. I don't understand what you thought my point might be in mentioning that if not to begin hashing out how to approach such an agreement. Finally, I went on to say that I felt a more technical solution might do more to accomplish your goal of reducing the length of that list. I responded in a way that was very open to your suggestion and very sympathetic to your complaint about the list, and you respond as if I'd dismissed your comments out of hand. I'm still open and sympathetic, for that matter.
I have tried twice now to press you to set those ideas out, but you haven't done so. Please will you do so now? You have asked me once before, after arguing against one such solution already (which I never actually suggested). But here are some suggestions now:
  1. A bot that removes red-linked categories from archived pages.
  2. A bot that removes red-linked categories from user pages of indeffed editors.
  3. An off-site tool that sorts and categorizes that list into a detailed report, with information such when the first use of that category was, what namespaces it is used in, how often it is directly linked to from, whether it contains certain keywords, etc.
  4. An on-site script that does the same thing as the last suggestion. (This was what I had in mind when I mentioned volunteering to help.)
  5. Asking if the sysadmins or software devs could do something to filter that list, so that certain types of red-linked categories do not appear on it. (Note this is my first time suggesting this. Also note that it's worth a shot to ask. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.) And last but not least;
  6. Implementing a guideline that permits the removal of obviously inappropriate red-linked categories from user pages.
To be fair, that last one was your idea. But with you having already mentioned it to me, I think I can fairly describe myself as able to think of it. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 05:53, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for posting the list, rather than making a vague wave at better ideas. I'll take those ideas one at a time:
  1. Removing red-linked categories from archived pages may be a good idea in some circumstances, but in others it would not. One size does not fit all.
  2. Removing red-linked categories from user pages of indeffed editors sounds helpful, but it is a miniscule part of the problem. After inspecting hundreds of red-linked usercats, I don't recall finding one indeffed editors in the set.
  3. We already have some report tools, at WP:Database reports#Categories. Categories categorized in red-linked categories is particularly useful. More reports would of course be helpful.
  4. same as the preceding
  5. Removing "obviously inappropriate red-linked categories from user pages". That's the crux of this. Redlinked categories should either be created or removed;l there is no purpose in keeping them as redlinks. Despite the squawks of some WP:ILIKEIT editors no existing guideline permits their retention.
Overall, yes -- more tools would of course help, but in that list I see no gamechangers. And I note that so far all you are talking about is ideas for tools rather than anything at all actually implemented. If and when you get some of these things up and running, let's see what difference they make. Meanwhile, those of us actually doing the work operate within the constraints of the system as it actually is now, and until these other tools get well beyond vapourware, they aren't part of the picture.
But here's the nub. The existing toolset for redlinked categories is fairly good. Special:WantedCategories is particularly helpful; I screenscrape it to generate sets of categories which should be created, some of which I can do rapidly with AWB. I fixed about 20% of the latest list that way. And best of all, it updates its entries in near real time, striking out categories which have been sorted since the list was created, and noting changes in the count of pages in the category. Brilliant. And as my AWB does the work, the list strikes out the completed entries.
The problem with is that this most valuable tool is cluttered with redlinked user categories, which remain as permanent fixtures because a small minority of editors have been misusing redlinks as a form of shadow category for categories which they know there is no consensus. No amount of technical workarounds should blind us to the very very simple point that the category system was never designed to allow redlinks to be used as shadow categories.
That's the core of this. WP:REDNOT is unequivocal that an article should never be left with a non-existent (red-linked) category in it. Either the category should be created, or else the nonexistent category link should be removed or changed to a category that does exist. Unlike, red-linked articles, which in certain circumstances may exist indefinitely, a red-linked category is an error to be fixed. That's your comments about obviously inappropriate red-linked categories misses the point. All red-linked categories are inappropriate.
Now, I guess you may disagree with some of the above. If so, then please come and do some of the work. Clear a few hundred redlinks from each update of Special:WantedCategories and learn from your own experience. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:53, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
You know what I take from that? That nothing would make you happy, except making sure other editors all edit the same way you do. You said turning some of those red-links blue would be helpful, now you're arguing that turning them blue isn't helpful. You cited guidelines for article pages in a discussion about user pages. You keep misrepresenting what I said, even going so far as to dictate to me what I said, when you were clearly wrong. You disagree with peer-reviewed psychology (which dates back to the founding of psychology) on the basis that it doesn't apply to online groups, then when I show you peer-reviewed papers about online groups, you object because they're not identical to wikipedia. I really don't see the point of discussing this any further with you, because you're clearly not open to discussion. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:27, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Umm, no, you are the one misrepresenting me. At no point have I argued that turning red links blue would impede red link cleanup. What I have argued, and will continue to argue, is that creating a new set of categories which are unrelated to building an encyclopedia will bring a new maintenance headache, as CFD hosts discussions on the suitability of the categories created.
And, no, I am not trying to tell other editors to edit in same way as I do. What I am telling you is that unless and until you have experience of editing in this area, you should refrain from pronouncing on how those who do edit in this area have it all wrong and how your untested magic technical solutions will offset the workload and drama by your determination to breach the policy WP:NOTSOCIAL.
It really would be a great idea for you to read WP:NOTSOCIAL, and also to read some of the many discussions in WP:Categories for discussion/User/Archive, where the reasons for not creating this sort of social category were debated at great length, many many times. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:36, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Umm, no, you are the one misrepresenting me. Wrong. You misrepresent me in the very next sentence which makes it wrong by definition, but you also you ignore decades of solid science because it doesn't agree with your position and you argue like you're emotionally invested in making sure no-one else is allowed to have any fun on WP. It would be a great idea for you to read WP:TIINSB and possibly WP:WORLDSEND. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:13, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Wrong again, and a logical fallacy of hasty generalization. People can and do have plenty of fun on en.wp, and I welcome that. However, the issue here is whether their fun should be done using one particular technique which both causes maintenance headaches and breaches the long-standing policy that Wikipedia is not a social network. Please do try to understand the difference.
I do, however, agree entirely that that this is not an end-of-the-world issue. It's a very great pity that you didn't pay a little more attention to that fine principle when you and others were trying to tun a lynch mob at ANI.
As to the "science" of your flurry of generalised google hits, I'm sorry that you still have difficulty grasping the idea that different types of projects and different types of groups function in different ways and have different needs. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:17, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
You really are committed to this... A Hasty generalization is when insufficient evidence exists. Attempting to characterize my arguments as such rests upon the assumption that the processes of WP are different enough that well documented human behavioral norms which are constant throughout every other known set of circumstances will be different in WP. Unless and until you can present a mechanism by which WP is significantly different, and produce a falsifiable hypothesis predicting that this difference will nullify the known effects; you're not even wrong. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:00, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

BHG, I accept that the red link categories cause a problem for category maintenance, but the solution of removing the red linked categories imposes a restriction on the entire editor community for the convenience of a small group. I don't doubt that the category maintenance work is important. Unfortunately, the solution being advocated here is simple but with consequences for many editors. What is needed is a solution which facilitates your work without the adverse consequences for the community – a more nuanced approach, even if it is more complicated to implement. EdChem (talk) 13:32, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

@EdChem: impeding a maintenance task is not just a burden for the editors the editors doing the cleanup. It is a burden for the encyclopedia when less work gets done because of these obstacles in he way. Remember, we are here to build an encyclopedia.
As to something more complicated to implement ... what is this something? who is going to implement it? And when? Editors don't write the WikiMedia software; we work within the constraints of the software as it actually is.
And are you really seriously telling me the small proportion of editors who have a fake category lose the ability to create them that is really an adverse consequence for any them? Really?
Editors can still create userboxes. They can put images on their user pages, and write text. This isn't exactly a matter of muzzling thousands of people. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:59, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl: I have been around for approaching 10 years, and have seen some of the issues. Do you recall these contentiousdiscussions taking five years to restore the LGBT categories? Do you remember this AN about an editor leaving, offended by the removal of categories, and this follow-on, and this ANI on red-linked categories, and this one, and this Village Pump (policy) discussion? Removing editors from red linked categories has been highly contentious at times. Doing it to remove them from the Wanted list used for maintenance is going to be entirely uncontroversial and unproblematic in some cases, and spark off conflict about underlying issues in other cases, especially when some such categories most emphatically are wanted, just not by the smallish group that works at CfD and doesn't accept that members of user categories should be notified of proposed deletions as a matter of routine courtesy, if nothing else.
Notice the big red box on this user talk page relating to red linked categories? It was added after removal reversion re-removal re-restoration of LGBT-related categories following on from the above arguments. Concerns have also been expressed about automatic removal of user category red links by a bot. Similar mini-edit war removal patterns happened on other user pages, including: removal reversion with edit summary "leave my user page alone, please. If I choose to have membership in a category you don't like, then don't come to my user page", followed a month later by re-removal, re-reversion by AgnosticPreachersKid, who was active in the discussions, and a final removal in 2012 after the user had stopped editing. Another removal met with immediate reversion by the editor. And another. For the LGBT editors, where forced invisibility is linked with prejudice and discrimination in the "real world", deleting these categories was a big issue, and altering user pages to remove the links which were likely retained as a process protest incorrect word resulting from auto-correct fixed. EdChem (talk) 12:56, 25 February 2017 (UTC) simply added insult to injury. User pages allow for self-expression, yes, but categories help with navigation and collaboration, not to mention fostering inclusion and demonstrating community values of acceptance. In my view, inclusivity by the community is more important that avoiding inconvenience for category maintainers, important though that work may be. We need a solution that supports category work without disregarding the collaborative, symbolic, and other virtues of the present situation.
One other example, the category for Wikipedians who are not Wikipedians was created as a red-link category to protest an occurrence at ArbCom, and survives as a reminder of a mistake and of community members coming together to defend our values. It also links people who follow and have strong views on governance and dispute handling. Many already knew each other to at least some extent, I expect, but the category probably foster new links between editors with similar values and dedication to the principle (as they see them) upon which Wikipedia operates. These are not trivial matters which can be disregarded for the convenience of category maintenance; serious consideration is needed because they are issues of high importance reflecting core values of some editors. The "not Wikipedians" category reflects values of fairness, mutual respect, and appreciation for the contributions of others. The LGBT categories reflects not only self-identification but also acceptance and equality within the community, openness to individual difference, and the welcoming of alternative beliefs, views, and experience which supports the development of truly-NPOV content, in addition to facilitating collaboration. I'm sad to say that the community concerned with categories and who follow CfD have a disappointing collective record, at times, when it comes to understanding the people behind the editor names. I'm not suggesting it has be deliberately hurtful, but it has certainly caused harm to editors and consequent damage to encyclopaedic content either by loss of editor time or loss of editors, or both.
BHG, you wrote of less work getting done "because of these obstacles in he way," referring to the red links. Unfortunately, those obstacles are connected to people who deserve consideration. You asked if I am "really seriously telling [you] the small proportion of editors who have a fake category lose the ability to create them that is really an adverse consequence for any them? Really?" I earnestly reply, yes I am. The LGBT Wikipedians whose concerns were never taken seriously were told that Christian Wikipedians was a fine as a collaborative category but that Gay Wikipedians was not, and whatever the intent, the effect was experienced as discriminatory by some. That their protests went unconsidered and that the protest red-linked categories were summarily removed was insulting and inflammatory. That editors not out at the time saw this all happen sent a clear message of intolerance and a warning that they were not as welcome as (say) Christians. I was in the closet at the time, and I did not edit for a year after those events in 2008, and didn't contribute seriously until 2010, and this was a big part of why. What I witnessed in early 2008 was not a Wikipedia where it was ok to be who I am, where I could be accepted as an editor and where my being gay didn't matter; instead, I saw a community where some who were actively prejudiced were accepted without any sense of admonishment, and where many more were indifferent, and where squashing even the protest of red-linked categories was seen as acceptable. To you, this may be an issue of efficiency in your category work, which is a worthy goal... but to me, the human cost here is significant and unacceptable. Another way to achieve your goal is needed. EdChem (talk) 04:35, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl: I realise that you may disagree with my views, and that you have the choice as to what you respond to, but I do believe that I deserved at least some response. You asked, in part, about user category issues being very important to some editors, and I responded with some personal experiences in the hope you might see another perspective. Discussing my experience included my coming out on wiki for the first time, something I did because I felt it was necessary to make clear why this is important, at least to me. I am both sad and disappointed that my experience was not worth any response from anyone, an excellent demonstration of my view that, far too often, the people behind editor names are invisible and their experiences are irrelevant. EdChem (talk) 12:24, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
Hi @EdChem, yes, your reply was both thoughtful and heartfelt, and it definitely does deserve a response. I read it soon after you posted it, and decided to take a little time to reflect on it before replying ... and then got distracted with other stuff. I am sorry; I should have done better.
I have to go out now, but I will reply later today. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:49, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for the update, BHG. EdChem (talk) 12:53, 25 February 2017 (UTC)

VegaDark's commentEdit

Original comment from the survey section copied here for clarity

  • Strong oppose - The current guideline keeps a focus around building an encyclopedia instead of social networking. This became a guideline in the first place after a slew of ridiculous user categories were created and people constantly pushing boundaries (Category:Fascist Wikipedians). The bottom line should be improvement of the encyclopedia. I'm not convinced this change helps us. In fact, these types of categories hinder collaboration in my view. Without a collaboration-oriented focus, there's no reasonable expectation to be able to click on a user category and find like-minded people willing to improve content. With the existing guideline, that presumption does exist. People can still have silly and nonsense stuff on their userpage, but bringing unencylopedic nonsense into the category space is a bridge too far. I also think this proposal very much blurs the line between acceptable and not acceptable categories. I keep seeing "obviously inappropriate" as how we would differentiate between what to keep vs. delete, but what is "obviously inappropriate" is extremely subjective. If this proposal were to pass I would like a hard like rule explicitly detailing what such categories would look like.[3] VegaDark (talk) 01:36, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
The question of acceptability of categories is exactly parallel to that for userboxes, which we handle just fine. I never cease to be amazed at those who insist on being allowed to spoil the life-giving fun for everyone else. That you don't get it doesn't matter; I imagine there's a lot you don't get. EEng 02:26, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
We handle userboxes just fine, by forcing the unencyclopedic ones into userspace instead of template space. If that option wasn't available I'm doubtful we would keep the unencyclopedic ones around. VegaDark (talk) 02:31, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
No, I mean the completely unacceptable ones such as those expressing racist views, which we don't allow at all. As for the namespace distinction, I don't really see how
 This user is a
particularly helps people "find like-minded people willing to improve content" in any useful way, but it's in template space nonetheless. Find something else to fuss about. EEng 02:43, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
And you've found a very good example of something that can and should be moved to userspace per Wikipedia:Userbox Migration. VegaDark (talk) 02:47, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
... but at the same time something about which, apparently, no one but you actually cares.
A Note to the Humor-Impaired
One should beware of those who cannot or will not laugh when others are merry, for if not mentally defective they are spiteful, selfish or abnormally conceited ... Great men of all nations and of all times have possessed a keen appreciation of the ridiculous, as wisdom and wit are closely allied.

Leander Hamilton McCormick, Characterology; an exact science embracing physiognomy, phrenology and pathognomy, reconstructed, amplified and amalgamated ... (1920)

EEng 02:51, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

(In response to this comment by VegaDark.) As has already been said by multiple editors; nobody likes a killjoy. You may take your time here to be as serious as you like, but insisting that everyone else treat it the same way actively discourages editing and engenders conflict.

I would also like to point out that I was never being hyperbolic in the slightest when I pointed out that this is backed by incredibly well understood psychology ([4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]) and common knowledge ([12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]). The first set of links was picked entirely off the first two pages of a Google Scholar search for "Effects of shared laughter" and the second set of links comes entirely from the very first page of a normal google search for the same phrase. It was beyond trivial to gather these sources and with any actual effort, I could likely produce ten times as many, even if I limited myself entirely to the most unassaiably reliable sources.

I opposed sanctioning you but make no mistake: I unreservedly contend that your actions were actively detrimental to the project, as would be any enforcement of rules that have the effect of stifling the formation of interpersonal relationships in a supposedly collaborative and creative environment without producing an immediate and substantial benefit to the project. And I've got a ton of evidence to back that up. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:00, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

You tell 'em, Major Pants (or whatever your name is, I've never been able to figure that out)! EEng 03:56, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Most folk call me Captain Hammer Pants. But apparently I've just earned a promotion. Yay! ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:58, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps you will be inspired to follow in great footsteps. EEng 04:08, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Hmmm, the first General of Harvard Wikipedia. I like the sound of that... ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 06:46, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • A mistaken idea which probably needs to be tried. There seems to be a vocal group of editors who want jokey categories, so it is probably wisest to let them try it. But they seem curiously unaware of the pitfalls.
    Sure, humour can be great, and it can help build relationships, as pointed out above. I agree with all that.
    The problem is that humour can be very closely bound with culture, and Wikipedia is a global project with editors of many many cultures. Rather than a bunch of people sharing an office space and getting to know each other on many levels, Wikipedia consists overwhelmingly of individuals who have never seen each other's faces or heard each others voices. Unlike an office, we don't know enough about each other to know what might cause offence, or how someone is feeling, or how something might be heard to differently to how it was intended. And irony and humour is notoriously difficult to convey in plain text, without tone of voice of visual signals.
    That flurry of links above looks impressive, but it is overwhelmingly about physical workspaces rather than virtual ones. That makes it largely irrelevant to Wikipedia. After more than two decades of doing my day job in a virtual office rather than a physical one, I could talk for ages about how easily things can be misconstrued even when intended seriously, and how jokes usually do not work. I long ago learnt that online communication works very differently to face to face communication, and is best kept joke-free ... so the idea of using this minefield as a bonding exercise on wikipedia seems to me to be fundamentally misconstrued. If you want an example on Wikipedia, look at all the drama around April Fools day, where one person's humour is another's annoyance or offence.
    And apart from all the hazards of miscomumnication, one of the risks of this sort of networking is that it will tend to strengthen networks of like-minded people (through a shared sense of humour). That in itself seems to me to a very bad idea, because an NPOV encyclopedia requires an open and fluid mix of diverse people (with differing temperaments and values) rather than cliques. And shared-joke-based categories are thoroughly clique-forming.
    Nonetheless, I think that given the vocal demands, this will probably have to be tried. But I predict that it will lead to much drama down the road :( --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 04:25, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
    • BHG, this Wikipedia_talk:User_categories#Request_for_Comment_on_the_guidelines_regarding_.22joke.22_categories section I think is more noise than fresh direction, and it is a distraction to Wikipedia_talk:User_categories#Request_for_comment_on_our_proposed_policy_for_users_remaining_in_redlinked_categories which I maintain requires a refocus as to what you and VegaDark serious would propose to do.
      I support the relaxed atmosphere that co-exists with tolerance of jokey thing, but I do think I see the pitfalls. I think sufficient stakeholders have participated, we have all heard each other, and I think the only thing that should delay the motion to close is my request that the proponents of action clarify the proposal. I think there is a consensus for doing something, even if many in the community do not think the issue is even important.
      Humour is important, if related to the project, and if it has a learning benefit. Satire especially is justified, and Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user talk page is its poster child. But there are very few of these, amongst the random looking nonsense on inactive users' pages that is mostly causing the problems with WantedCategories. Also, with few exceptions, most of the poor category humour, or rather anti-establishment activism, I think we have agreed works better on normal ProjectSpace pages, in addition to most of the category-based attempts at networking, which work better as sign-up lists and noticeboards. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:55, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Unlike an office, we don't know enough about each other to know what might cause offence, or how someone is feeling, or how something might be heard to differently to how it was intended. I suspect a proposal that allows more self-expression might do something about that.
And irony and humour is notoriously difficult to convey in plain text, without tone of voice of visual signals. Strangely enough, that doesn't seem to be a problem for online communities.[20] [21]
That flurry of links above looks impressive, but it is overwhelmingly about physical workspaces rather than virtual ones. That makes it largely irrelevant to Wikipedia. If you have some reason to expect that social psychology which applies across every other known form of human interaction does not apply to online interactions, I would be interested in hearing so. In the meantime, here is what the literature on the subject has to say: [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27]. I'll save you the trouble of going through those to see what they say: They disagree. Feel free to confirm this for yourself. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 06:35, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Allowing jokey user categories and non-wiki categories will not tell us more about each other as people. It just circulates the jokes a little more, and allows us to an opportunity to share headline notes about ourselves. But very few people are going to publicly post the sort of emotional data which helps to avoid misundestanding. We won't see these categories it won't tell me that X is feeling fragile because their Mum is dying of a nasty illness, or that Y is cranky after a rent increase made them move to an extra hour's commute, or that Z self-confidence is unbearably high after a recent success. If editors do want to share that sort of thing, then can post it on their user pages ... as they have always been able to, and rarely do (for obvious privacy reasons)
Again you post a flurry of links, without explanation of how you consider them relevant. Several of them are just abstracts. The relevance of them is unclear. Have yiu studied them, or just posted a few quickly google hits?
You argument appears to be based on an assumption that the social psychology is unaffected by either the openness of a project, or the available means of communication. You started off with lots of links about workplaces and offices, which usually involve a fairly steady set of participants ... whereas this is the encyclopedia which anyone can edit. It's more like a public square than an office. Yet in support of your view, you posted this link[28] about mailing lists, which are small closed communities. I have run big discussion mailing lists, and they have a very different dynamic to en.wp because a) they are often readable by members only, and b) they gather a group with a shared core attribute. OTOH, en.wp place a political history buff like me alongside a sports fan and a fine arts afficcionado and a video games enthusiast and a science geek and a religious scholar. This sort of non-wp-based networking just reinforces the cliques which form around those different interests.
If you had research which examined large, open, online collaborations with public viewing of all proceedings, then I might be interested. But the links so far are ar about very different types of social group.
And if you want to pursue the idea that group dynamics are unaffected by the mode of communication, then good luck. It's a novel proposition. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 08:27, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Each and every one of those links mentions (with citations) the positive effect humor has on online relationships, or else directly concludes that humor has a positive effect on online relationships. The idea that your unsupported implication that this isn't true overrides the existing science is, frankly, ridiculous. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:27, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
So far as I can see, the ridiculous thing here is your presumption that since en.wp is a community of some sorts, there is no reason to consider that its needs and characteristics may be different from those of other online communities. That simplistic conflation of a encyclopedia-building project with, for example, hobbyists mailing lists, is not very persuasive. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:42, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Existing science covers situations very similar to this one. You want to quibble over whether the particulars of WP make that science inapplicable? Go publish a paper on it. Short of that, your objections are nothing but bald assertions that don't deserve consideration. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:36, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
I look forward to seeing your references to the science which does actually cover situations similar to this one. Short of that, your flurries of Google hits are are nothing but bald generalisations that don't deserve consideration. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:25, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Comment Not sure where to put this, so I'll put it here. We can and have dealt with offensive, hate-based, or otherwise objectionable content on user pages in the past. For a recent example, see the discuss on Zaostao in the ANI archives. I understand the concerns being raised about people using this as a cover for such offensive material, which is why I think we should not add the proposed text. But, this is a perennial issue and I don't think removing the text is going to change that. EvergreenFir (talk) 21:25, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Pincrete's commentEdit

@Pincrete:Errrr you tolerate humour by errrrr, tolerating humour, but if it's making someone else's job harder, it isn't funny any more. I just want to point out that the "making someone else's job harder" part is being caused by the existing guideline and is addressed by this proposal. If editors who are intolerant of humor aren't encouraged to nominate these categories for deletion, then they have less work to do. Also, it means fewer red-link categories in Special:WantedCategories, so there's less work to do there, as well. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 00:16, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

The point being made by others is that there is a practical problem of tidying categories, why would we want to make that harder? I personally wouldn't bother to eliminate existing categories which were harmlessly/recognisably funny, but a huge majority of editors would have no idea what "wish LHvU would come back" was about, nor that it was 'humourously affectionate'. We tolerate (and are sometimes grateful for) humour on a daily basis, there are some notable permanent examples (Friendsofgays, Rouge admins, Catherine de WhoeverSheIs), but they have their place. The principal function of categories is practical, they are 'directories' of sorts. How helpful is it to have (questionably) witty groupings in there? Is it supposed to be obvious to US editors that 'European Federalists' is some kind of joke (it isn't obvious to me). Am I supposed to recognise the difference between a real and ironic grouping of US editors? That is before we throw in the rest of the world. I think the proposed wording encourages, rather than tolerates 'humour' and the net effect will be to inject fairly pointless categories of 'what might have been funny at the time' groupings into the system. There's a place for everything and I don't think categories is the best place for humour. Pincrete (talk) 00:56, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
The point being made by others is that there is a practical problem of tidying categories, why would we want to make that harder? I have yet to see any argument that this proposal would make that harder.
Am I supposed to recognise the difference between a real and ironic grouping of US editors? If you had read through the RfC (let alone many of the comments surrounding it), you'd have seen at least three different mentions of sorting such cats into an "funny categories" super-cat. So yes, I would absolutely expect you to recognize the difference, whether you personally found it funny or not. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:30, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Since there will be quibbles over what's "funny", perhaps it should be a "non-serious categories" supercat. EEng 16:47, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
The point being made by others is that there is a practical problem of tidying categories, why would we want to make that harder?, OK, I admit it, I don't fully understand the tech problems either, however I approach that from a different perspective, namely if the people who are 'at the coalface', doing the sorting say there is a problem, either they need to be replaced, assisted … … or we take their word for it. I don't see any reason for the former, nor any rush of volunteers to assist, so I am happy to take their word for it that it makes life simpler/more productive for them.
Secondly I don't see much evidence of anyone finding these categories 'mirthful', most commentators at the ANI were arguing mainly for the principle of being allowed to have a laugh. When I looked at the cats, dozens of them had 1-5 members, a couple raised a smile, but after 5 seconds they seemed mainly pointless, so are they really contributing to anything, or simply a distraction? And is amending the policy simply going to 'open the floodgates' to X,000 categories, many of which are going to be 'private jokes' rather than 'public mirth'? Pincrete (talk) 20:06, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Just because you don't find them funny doesn't mean the 5 editors in them don't. And again, you keep ignoring the possibility of sorting them into a super category. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:06, 20 February 2017 (UTC)


There is similar language on another guideline page, at Wikipedia:Overcategorization/User categories. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:32, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Epicgenius's commentEdit

@MjolnirPants: What are support and oppose supposed to mean? Does support mean "remove the text about joke categories"? Or is that "oppose"? Or are we just rewording the text to be more broad in its interpretation? Because I'm confused by all the support and oppose !votes above that don't seem to be aligned with the interpretation of "support" and "oppose" in the context of this RFC. epicgenius (talk) 18:04, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

@Epicgenius: support should mean that you support the proposal to eliminate "joke categories" and "irrelevant likes" categories from the list of inappropriate categories and move them to the list of appropriate categories. It has also been suggested that we could simply eliminate them from the list of inappropriate categories without adding them, which I'm personally fine with, though I imagine there would still be a number of editors nominating such categories for deletion, per the number of WP:IDONTLIKEIT style oppose !votes above.
And yes, a number of editors have !voted oppose while giving rationales that seem more appropriate to support !votes. I really can't speak as to why that is. At least one has been asked to explain, but so far has declined to do so. I don't believe there are any support !votes that do the opposite, though I could be wrong. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:36, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Although an attentive reading of the RfC question is really quite clear, I think that the complication is that the proposal is both to continue to have the categories exist (probably with several caveats) and also to change the staus quo with respect to where and how they are described on this guideline page. Consequently, it is partly change and partly no change. Some editors are !voting simply based on supporting or opposing the existence of the categories, which is sort of what the RfC is about, but not exactly. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:21, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@MjolnirPants: Thanks for the clarification. I think both options seem to align with Tryptofish's interpretation: that neither seems to completely remove the option for retaining satirical user categories. Though at this point, any closing admin would need to look carefully at the !votes' contents themselves, since these !votes are confusing, like you said, saying "oppose" when "support" would be a more appropriate rationale that supports the argument. epicgenius (talk) 20:31, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@Epicgenius: The closing admin is in for a bit of work, because a number of editors expressed explicit support for permitting such categories in an ANI thread who didn't !vote here. So there are votes that should be discounted, votes that should be flipped unless the editor in question can clarify, and additional votes that need to be sorted through in an ANI archive. lol I feel for the poor sap, though I have to say the end result seems rather clear. I'm going to sum it up below, not because you asked but because I've noticed a clear pattern here. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:36, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Alternative suggestionEdit

I have a humorous cat at my user page Category:Wikipedians who comprehend everything. I've set it up so that clicking on it brings you to Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians and yet it's not listed in the latter category. I have done this because (1) I don't want to create a redlink that interferes with the work of other editors who sort through redlinks, (2) I don't want everyone who visits "Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians" to immediately see my cat listed which would strike me as frivolous social networking, and (3) I don't want everyone who clicks on my humorous cat to immediately see who shares that cat which would also strike me as frivolous social networking. I believe this is the best way that anyone has yet suggested to handle humorous cats, and (regardless of whether anyone agrees with me) that's why I continue to oppose the present RFC. Anythingyouwant (talk) 21:38, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

  • My gut reaction was to say that I oppose, but also that it's a creative and interesting idea. A potential problem is that it still leaves the redirect page in category space, without any parent category, and one of the issues raised by editors in the course of this RfC has been the desire to containerize these categories. However, as I thought about it, I'm more like neutral, because it does kind of work in terms of WP:CATRED, which describes what could be some potential tweaks to this alternative proposal, and that might be worth pursuing. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:56, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
    Here's a similar cat, which is a soft redirect instead of a hard redirect: Category:Wikipedians who comprehend nothing. The problem is that when you click on it, you are not taken to "Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians", and instead you will see everyone who shares the cat "Wikipedians who comprehend nothing". Anythingyouwant (talk) 22:15, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

User:BrownHairedGirl, just sticking to the merits of my suggestion in this section, do you see a policy-based or other problem with it? User page cats are not the only avenue for humor on Wikipedia, but still they are a lot of fun. At the same time, we want to guard against social networking, clique formation, and the like. Anythingyouwant (talk) 22:59, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

  • @Anythingyouwant: I replied on my talk page to the question you posted there, but now I find that you have repeated it here. Per WP:MULTI, that is unhelpful. Here's what I wrote on my own user talk:
  1. Hard redirects are not supposed to be used with categories, so the bots will redirect move their content into the redirect target. The category will then be deleted as empty.
  2. The whole point of a category is to link one page to another. A hard-redirected category doesn't do that. A category with only one entry doesn't do that. So within its own terms, it is pointless.
  3. You seem to want to create a categ with no parent category. That it is an error, so if your category was not a redirect, it would end up in Wikipedia:Database reports/Uncategorized categories, adding to the maintenance burden.
  4. Why does your joke need a category? The same joke can be conveyed by a userbox or a graphic or in text. Categories exist to allow navigation between pages, but you are trying to use the category system as a joke board. WP:USERCAT is very clear that user categories should not be used as "bottom-of-the-page" notices ... your categ is nothing other than a "bottom-of-the-page" notice. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:48, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Okay, sorry about the multi. I am checking to see if the tool can be modified to omit usercatredlinks. Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:52, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Exact wording of the proposalEdit

I made a change to the wording with this edit. I worry about someone creating something like Category:Wikipedians who hate ni**ers and managing to wikilawyer their way out of any admin response to that. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:07, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

  • I suggest that the wording should be expanded a little further, to explicitly ban attack and/or hate categories. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:50, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
How about adding This includes any category which may be perceived as indicating membership in any hate group, or which attack any other group (e.g. Category:Wikipedians who are National Socialists).? ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 01:23, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
For the record, I don't like the idea of spelling out direct attacks (such as the example in my first comment in this subsection) in the text of a guideline. Hence why I gave no example of a category that attacks other groups. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 01:25, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I agree that specific examples may be unwise. But "broadly perceived as offensive" is too loose, because it allows an only-offending-a-small-minority defence. Similarly, "membership in any hate group" doesn't solve the problem of someone who claims to be a lone hater; by focusing on the "hate group", it misses the point that the problem is with hating the target, not with who does the hating.
It would be better to think of this from a different angle, and consider ideas such as 1) categories unrelated to editing wikipedia; 2) no negative categories. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:07, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
But "broadly perceived as offensive" is too loose, because it allows an only-offending-a-small-minority defence. I might point out that there are very few -as a percentage of the population- Jewish people in the United States (or indeed, the world), yet overtly antisemitic remarks are broadly perceived as offensive. I'm open to alternate wordings, however. I'm not sure what you mean by the different angle you suggest I consider. Do you mean to suggest that my proposal discourage the use of "categories unrelated to editing wikipedia"? If so, then I don't think you understand the purpose or likely effect of this proposal. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:51, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
The Jewish comparator is not really a useful one. After the horrors of the 20th century, anti-semitism is widely accepted as taboo. Sadly the condemnation is far from universal, but it is much more widespread than condemnation of islamophobia, let alone transhphobia or denigration of people with disabilities. That's why I suggest simply focusing on categories which do not put anyone down.
My understanding of this proposal is that it was allow editors to share jokes about the shared experience of being Wikipedia editors. That's why I suggested excluding things from outside Wikipedia, because it seemed to me to a good way of retaining what I thought was the core desired scope while avoiding the things which might cause offence or be divisive, such as commentary about a religion or nationality or sex or whatever.
However, you say that indicates that you don't think I understand the purpose or likely effect of this proposal. OK. so please set out what you think the effect the purpose and effect of this proposal would be, and how you think I have misunderstood it. If intentions have been misunderstood, then please explain them a bit more. I am listening. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 04:56, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
The purpose of this proposal is laid out quite plainly at the top of the RfC. I'm not sure why you would need me to explain it further, and I'm not sure there's anything I can say towards describing the purpose or effect of this proposal which I haven't laid out at least three times already. But since you asked:
  • The purpose of this proposal is to remove two groups of user categories (joke categories and categories which express interests in things not directly related to the encyclopedia) from the list of inappropriate user categories and insert them into the list of appropriate user categories. The effect would be to stop providing a rationale for the deletion of categories which WP editors use humorously or to share their interests with others. This, in turn would cut down on the disruption of editors protesting having their user categories deleted. It would also allow many of the currently red-linked joke and irrelevancy categories in the list of wanted categories to become blue-linked, and reduce greatly the rate at which new such categories are added to it.
Wrt to wording, if you have any suggestions for better wording, I'm all ears. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 05:12, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Ah. I had thought that the main focus of your proposal was to facilitate humour. But now it seems that you place a lot more weight on the unrelated-to-wiki aspect than I had assumed.
I see what you're trying to do. But there is a long-standing policy on this, WP:NOTSOCIAL, and your emphasis on non-wp issues flies in the face of that. That fact that you seem unwilling to reconsider or dilute that aspect even if it might cause problems suggests to me that you are not giving much attention to core policies or the reasons for their existence. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:38, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
I see what you're trying to do. Sigh. No, you don't. You have once again completely misinterpreted what I've said. You really have no idea what my motivations are and what the likely outcome of this proposal being implemented are. Or if you do, your argument is not based on that knowledge.
That fact that you seem unwilling to reconsider or dilute that aspect even if it might cause problems... Oh, the irony. It's quite thick in this quote. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:23, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Au contraire, I so have an idea an of the likely outcome, because I was around for the heated debates back in the 2000s about usercat, many years before you started editing. Huge amounts of time and energy were spent getting rid of POV-pushing, soapboxing, and many other disruptive categories, and extending the boundaries will lead to yet another long series of heated debates about where exatly to place the new fences. One of the curious aspects of this campaign of yours is that you repeatedly and consistently dismiss the experience of the editors who have experience of those editors who have dealt with thsi stuff for years. Why do you do that?
As your motivations, I simply go by what you have publicly posted. You have made it very clear that you want to significantly extend the range of permissible usercats because you believe that increased interaction and humour will strengthen the project. However, I do note that you play a very weird game that when challenged about any aspect of this, your response is nearly always a "sigh you have no idea what I mean" rather than a clarification of your actual intent. It's very a strange mode of communication. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:13, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
One of the curious aspects of this campaign of yours is that you repeatedly and consistently dismiss the experience of the editors who have experience of those editors who have dealt with thsi stuff for years. Why do you do that? I don't, you're just making shit up again (not only about me, but about what the 'experienced editors' have said). Your argument is neither rational nor based on facts, nor have you shown any willingness to consider, or even to read anything said to you. So for the third or fourth time, I'm done engaging with you. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:53, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

CSD etcEdit

Ok, so while I understand this was a well-meant idea, it likely won't be closed as having consensus. And this without even noting that even many of those who said "support " above did so weakly and stated in their text to not really support this, or care or think we should even be spending time on this...


because it goes against WP:NOT.

We're Wikipedians. We can be a serious bunch, we can be a fun loving bunch, but this is an encyclopedia project, and while by tradition we tend to give great latitude for expression, Wiikipedia is not a democracy, and you don't have the "right" to put anything you want on a page, even though you may think so.

This is long ingrained into wikipedian culture, policy and process.

I look at CSD, and though technically these aren't article pages, the general policies and practices behind them should help indicate why such things won't fly.

Things like CSD G 1, 10, 11, A 1, 3, 7, 11. Just to start with.

Now we tend to WP:IAR on the short term (part of that "latitude" I mentioned). But the actual policies and guidelines are what they are for good reasons. There are other issues at play here, from technical tools and bots, clutter, and while maybe it's unintentional, making more work for others just to have a category name on your userpage, when all you needed to do was to post a note or even a userbox. Does that sound like a good thing?

irrelevant interests and abilities are just that, irrelevant. And not worth making work and headaches for others using a technical tool like a category, when one can just post the notice to their userpage. And patent nonsense is speedy delete-able regardless, so no point to even bother with that. This page won't countermand WP:NOT.

Anyway, I appreciate the well-meaning in this, but as it stands, this is IAR territory, and likely to stay that way. - jc37 02:12, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Now we tend to WP:IAR on the short term (part of that "latitude" I mentioned). The reason for this proposal is some editor's refusal to IAR when it comes to things like this. Also before you get too sure about a no-consensus close, note that several of the oppose !votes are weak as well, and there is an ANI discussion in which several editors who haven't !voted here made their opinions quite clear. A closer who doesn't take that into account is not doing their job well. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:04, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Most of the ANI contributors were notified of this discussion + the ANI linked to here (which is how I got here). Pincrete (talk) 17:41, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Not everyone feels the need to repeat themselves. And the !votes in support outnumber the opposes. And the opposes all seem to be based on poor arguments, such as assuming that IAR is enough to avoid problems like the one that started the ANI thread. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:54, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
You can say that again! EEng 20:39, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
It's interesting that those replying to @jc37 appear to be paying little attention to jc37's reference to WP:NOT, and in particular to the section WP:NOTSOCIAL. That's the policy framework within which the RFC closer will have to work, and WP:CONSENSUS is not assessed simply by counting heads. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:24, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Please explain how allowing joke user categories will turn wikipedia into a social media site. I await this with baited breath, and am indeed, already giggling at the sort of mental gymnastics it will require. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:03, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I believe that NOTSOCIAL would become controlling because this is, apparently, a 'social' practice which causes drag and disruption to a task which is required to maintain the encyclopedia. The category system exists first and foremost as a method of maintaining and accessing information within the encyclopedia. UserCats are kind of a 'cool' collateral benefit but only to the extent that they do not degrade the work needed to maintain the primary use of the category system.

I believe that what the editors who work maintaining the category system are saying is that usercats are interfering with their work. Their work is maintinance of the encyclopedia and a social interaction tool should not take precidence over actual functionality of the encyclopedia. Jbh Talk 23:47, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

...this is, apparently, a 'social' practice which causes drag and disruption... Check the note at the top of the "extended discussion" subheading: The inclusion of joke and "irrelevancy" categories in the list of inappropriate cats has caused disruption. I really don't see what disruption allowing these could cause, as it's not encouraging people to make offensive or grossly inappropriate cats that would need to be deleted, and even if it does: the mere fact that they're offensive or grossly inappropriate means the deletion discussion isn't likely to be very disruptive (if, indeed, a discussion is even required).
UserCats are kind of a 'cool' collateral benefit but only to the extent that they do not degrade the work needed to maintain the primary use of the category system. I agree completely. It's been asked exactly what additional work this proposal would create, but not answered as far as I can see. Well, at least not answered convincingly. BHG has implied that it would create more red-linked user cats, but also admitted that it would turn existing red-linked cats blue, and indeed, the proposal would discourage additional red-linked cats because editors now have the option to use blue-linked cats, instead. Speaking for myself, as an editor who has a handful of red-linked cats on his user page, I would happily swap all but one (the one BHG has admitted to being okay with it being red-linked) out for similar blue-linked cats, given the chance.
I believe that what the editors who work maintaining the category system are saying is that usercats are interfering with their work. If that is the case, then the problem is all user cats, not just these. However, I don't believe that's the case, because user cats are all grouped under a master cat, Category:Wikipedians. It would be trivial to group these cats under a master sub-cat of that, such as Category:Categories which are considered funny or which encourage geniality or something similar (I have no opinion on the wording, but I'm 100% on board with grouping all these cats together).
a social interaction tool should not take precidence over actual functionality of the encyclopedia. You'll find no disagreement here. But BHG has, so far, been the only one arguing that this would be harmful. Seriously: look at the oppose !votes, there's one oppose on the basis that the examples discussed weren't funny to that editor, one oppose because of a reason to support (go figure), two opposes because WP is serious business and one oppose because WP isn't facebook (I'm not counting the "oppose per XXX" !votes). There's exactly two opposes because it would create more work, including yours. Yours rests on your trust in the judgement of BHG, who works in categories. BHG, in the meantime bases her argument upon a outright rejection of decades-old, well-understood psychology, a whole army of straw men she's made out of my arguments and contradicting herself. Normally, I would defer to the judgement of an editor who had more experience myself, but in this case I have no doubt that she's wrong because she her !vote isn't based on her experience in categories, but upon her personal feelings about the issue. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 14:49, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
What is rather clearly evident by your above comments is that you appear unaware of what categories are and how they work. The category system is more than just clicking on a link and magically seeing a bunch of other links grouped there.
And yes your suggestion will make more work for other people.
Which is all the more ridiculous when I note you can get your collegial (or playtime) benefit by posting a notice on your userpage.
I get that you are focused on IWANTIT. The problem for you is that mere ILIKEIT or IWANTIT is just not enough to trump a lot of longstanding policies.
Especially if it makes more work for other editors. - jc37 18:42, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Once again, a bare assertion devoid of any evidence or arguments. And no, a notice on my userpage is a very different thing from a category which I could use to find editors who share both a recognizable sense of humor and certain points of view regarding policy, content or article subjects. Indeed, I could easily point out how ridiculous it is to assert that a notice serves the same function as a category, and question your own understanding of what categories are and how they work. Assuming you and BHG were right that this would create more work, one would expect that one or both of you could actually explain why that is so. Thus, the complete lack of any such explanation in either of your comments speaks volumes. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:06, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
That's been explained several times. I'm starting to get a sense of WP:IDHT.
As for finding others, put a userbox on your userpage and click on WhatLinksHere on the userbox. QED. - jc37 12:02, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
That's been explained several times Shenanigans. Quote me where.
As for finding others, put a userbox on your userpage and click on WhatLinksHere on the userbox. QED. That argument applies equally to all categories, and it ignores the fact that categories can contain explanatory pages which are obviously explanatory pages, as well as subcategories and be part of parent categories... Once again, I'm reminded of the fact that you have the audacity to sit here and accuse me of not knowing how categories work as you blatantly misrepresent how categories work. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:57, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • @SmokeyJoe: "single-user dubious usercategories shall be modified by insertion of a leading colon. This has the effect of de-populating the redlinked category, while retaining a redlink to the redlink category, which nearly serves the same purpose". But what, exactly is that purpose - or rather, how does it differ from a userbox? Because a coloned category sounds awfully like a userbox to me. You can find other members by looking for other transclusions of the userbox (and potentially a userbox allows more "fuzz" in finding like-minded souls - "Cat:I love red links" and "Cat:I love a red link" will not find each other, but "User funbox|I love red links" and "User funbox|I love a red link" will find each other). Plus using userboxes means that there's no room for people to get cute - fun stuff goes in userboxes, categories are for the encyclopedia, end of.Le Deluge (talk) 18:31, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Le Deluge, are you observing that userboxes can have all the functionality of a category? That is a point to make to defenders of redlinked categories. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:52, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • @SmokeyJoe: I'm asking you to explain what benefits one gets from a coloned red-link category over a userbox, since AIUI you are proposing coloned red link cats as a solution. Le Deluge (talk) 22:06, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • The benefit is the uncluttering of Special:WantedCategories, addressing the top post on this page by VegaDark (talk) 22:03, 6 January 2017 (UTC). A redlinked category with membership generates an entry in Special:WantedCategories. Linking to a redlinked category does not. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:12, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    Are you now going to tell use that cluttering Wikipedia:Database reports/Red-linked categories with incoming links is a problem too? If so, shy can't these reports be improved? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:22, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • @SmokeyJoe:Actually Rlcwil doesn't suffer too badly, it's more of an issue for other reports. But you still dodged my question, which was about the benefits one gets from a coloned red-link category over a userbox, not an uncoloned category.Le Deluge (talk) 23:24, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • It's about gentle transitioning. Users have chosen to express themselves via categories, which have become redlink categories, and subsequently some always were redlink categories. I think it is easier to move them to linking to the categories, because it involves the insertion of a single colon. Converting these expressions to userboxes requires creating the userboxes, a lot more work on the redlinkedcategory fixers, more dramatic editing on others' userpages. I think yes, userboxes might be better, but better again would be sign-up pages doubling as noticeboards. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:44, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

I'd quickly like to point out that the most impassioned users are the only ones who are calling arguments they disagree with "weak." I'm somewhat surprised by how uncivil this discussion has become. At some point, it should be acknowledged that people can engage on this and come to differing conclusions without acting in bad faith. Comments like "You know what I take from that? That nothing would make you happy, except making sure other editors all edit the same way you do" are really unfortunate. Most egregiously, these comments really detract from the "fun" of editing, and from what I hear, they're therefore, according to decades of social science research, deleterious to the online community. -- (talk) 15:37, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

Summary of discussion by the OPEdit

!vote counting

So far, there seem to be 21 support !votes and 18 oppose !votes here. There are, in addition, 6 users who have not !voted here who expressed explicit support for permitting joke categories at the ANI thread which prompted this, and those voices should be heard by the closing admin. (There were no opposing voices at the ANI thread that have not !voted here.)

!vote rationales

The supports seem to be clustered around one very popular rationale and one less popular one: respectively that these categories foster a collaborative environment and improve morale; and that this would reduce the number of red-linked categories significantly. The opposes seem to be clustered around two equally popular rationales, as well: that the editor in question doesn't like the idea of joke categories/doesn't think they're funny and that this would increase the amount of work for editors who work in categories.

an unusual phenomenon

A curious phenomenon has been noted by a number of editors: there are at least three oppose !votes whose rationales suggest strongly to others to be supportive of this proposal. The closing admin should examine these and make a determination or ask for clarification whether the editor !voted in error, or simply believes that their rationale supports an oppose !vote, regardless of how it may appear to others. If the former, then of course their !votes should be flipped. If the latter, I'm not quite sure how I would handle it. I suppose one could simply count the !vote regardless of the disconnect from their expressed concerns, but a case could be made for discounting it (treating it as a neutral !vote), instead. That would be up to the closing admin's best judgement.


There are also a number of oppose !votes which state quite strongly that such categories are not funny. I understand that arguments have been made that WP:IDONTLIKEIT !votes should be discounted, but I suggest they be counted fairly in this case, as this is about a change of policy and an editor's personal tastes play a role in that. Which is not to lend such arguments any additional weight, I say. Editor's personal tastes may be valid reasons for !voting on guidelines, but they are hardly compelling. There are a few flippant WP:ILIKEIT support !votes, which should be treated the same way, unless the !voting editor wishes to expound upon their comments.

summary of extended discussion

Another thing worth noting is a summary of the discussion below, in which I played a large role. This is, of course, my interpretation of the course of discussion, and other views are just as valid, but I believe that a thorough reading will show my summary to be pretty spot-on.

The extended discussion started with EEng and BHG discussing the caveat she included in her !vote. When I became involved, there were a series of initial misunderstandings of what I was saying which I can't explain, but which resulted in me attempting to correct BHG. Nobody likes to be corrected, especially when the correction is so different from what one's presumption was. As one can imagine, that quickly resulted in the heat being turned way up on the discussion, and it quickly turned unproductive before coming to a halt with EdChem's interjection (see below).
Simultaneously, EEng and VegasDark were discussing VegasDark's !vote. BHG and I joined in that discussion as well, and over the course of it I responded to the assertion that jokes don't improve morale and productivity with a flurry of perr-reviewed psychology and sociology articles, all of which either concluded or presumed that jokes improve morale in a variety of environments. There were 21 such articles in all, 6 of which were specific to online environments. BHG categorically rejected those articles as inapplicable due to the particulars of WP, but never provided any rationale as to why the particulars of WP would have any effect. During the course of these two discussions, EvergreenFir pointed out that offensive and hateful categories would not be allowed to slip through the cracks created by this proposal, as they are explicitly prohibited elsewhere; jc37 made the argument that many of the support !votes expressed rationales that would actually support opposing it -which seems to contradict the actual course of !voting- and argued that IAR should be applied instead of formally permitting these categories; EdChem pointed out the divisive and chilling effect the prohibition of certain categories has had on certain wikipedians, during which they rather courageously came out about their own sexuality to drive their point home; and JBHunley changed their !vote because they trusted BHG when she said this proposal would create additional work, despite the inability or unwillingness of anyone involved to posit an explanation as to why it would create more work that hadn't been explicitly debunked by myself or others, previously. (I'm not suggesting that there's no chance this would create more work, only that the only explanation as to how which was given here was flawed. There may be other reasons that have not occurred to me or others participating here).
final remarks

A final note to the closing admin: There have been a number of editors who have expressed support for either this proposal or for courses of action which are fundamentally similar to this proposal in the RfC above, about editors who remain in red-linked categories. I haven't gone through that except superficially, because even someone as verbose as me still suffers from the occasional tl;dr jitters when looking at a giant wall of text. But there is quite a bit of overlap between the two RfCs, as well as the two topics in between (one of which has been archived since I first wrote this). It's pretty clear that there's an ideological divide over user categories here, and that BHG and VegasDark represent one side, with the support !voters here, SmokeyJoe and EdChem representing the other side. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:36, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

I disagree with you regarding ILIKE it or IDONTLIKEIT votes. Policy is after all based on what people agreed upon, which is a nice way to say "what people like". If they say that they like or dislike jokes, then that is obviously not an argument, but if they mean to say that they like or dislike an environment where jokes are acceptable, then that should be a valid vote, IMHO. Debresser (talk) 19:25, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Um... I said I believed we should count ILIKEIT and IDONTLIKEIT !votes. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:35, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

References and notesEdit


  1. ^ A list of precedents is available at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/User/Archive/Topical index#Nonsense/joke/humour categories.
  2. ^ An additional list of precedents for all user categories can be found at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/User/Archive/Discussion history.
  3. ^ An additional list of precedents for all user categories can be found at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/User/Archive/Discussion history.
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Related discussionEdit

Editors here may perhaps be interested in a closely related discussion at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2017 May 23#Category:Wikipedians who retain on their userpages categories which have been deleted by consensus. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:30, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Technical discussion re redlinked user categoriesEdit

Editors interested in the long-running discussions about redlinked user categories may be interested in a proposal at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Redlinks_at_user_pages to change the way that Special:WantedCategories works. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:17, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Alternatives to user categorizationEdit

Based on a rather lengthy discussion taking place here, I propose adding the following section to this guideline

Alternatives to user categorization

User categories that serve one of the purposes proscribed by this guideline, such as social networking or personal self-expression that is unrelated to encyclopedic collaboration, shall be depopulated and deleted. Editors removed from a deleted user category, or who are using user categories for these purposes, may consider one of the following alternatives to categorization:

| image = none
| textstyle = text-align:left; color:blue; margin:1em 0em;
| text  = {{hlist|Insert label 1 here|Insert label 2 here|...}}

This produces:

When nominating a category for deletion, consider informing the category's members (either individually or within the nomination) about alternatives to user categorization and, when applicable, potential resources for collaboration such as related essays, noticeboards and WikiProjects.

I welcome any suggested edits and constructive criticism, and am pinging User:SmokeyJoe, User:SMcCandlish and User:VegaDark as key participants. (I have also been working on a version of WP:BEFORE for user categories but am having trouble drafting satisfactory language—there are just too many variables to account for them all succintly. However, I view nomination protocol to be a distinct issue from the above, and one that can be discussed separately.) Thanks, -- Black Falcon (talk) 03:48, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Initial review (posted because a considered review may delay a timely response).
RE "personal self-expression that is unrelated to encyclopedic collaboration"
That doesn't sound like the makings of a clean separation.
"shall be depopulated and deleted"? When? By what authority. What if I object?
I think
(1) "Alternatives to user categorization"
should be well separated from the
(2) [proclamation that certain things] "shall be depopulated and deleted"
(1) is constructive advice to the general audience.
(2) is a declation of hostility.
Before getting to (2), I think editors using inappropriate categorisation should be informed and encouraged to, themselves, cease the inappropriate categorisation and move to one of the alternatives *before* talk of depopulation and deletion. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:49, 12 November 2017 (UTC)


Alternatives to user categorization

Social Editor networking and personal self-expression are rarely suitable bases for userpage categorisation. Other options include:

| image = none
| textstyle = text-align:left; color:blue; margin:1em 0em;
| text  = {{hlist|Insert label 1 here|Insert label 2 here|...}}
This produces:
  • Could the "fmbox" coding stuff box be indented further right to clarify that it is subservient to the fourth dot point, and has nothing to do with the userpage text, userboxes or essays dot points. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:55, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • "Social networking" is an upfront WP:ABF. WP:NOTSOCIALNETWORK, as I have recently discussed elsewhere, is a WP:NOT policy prohibition against social networking unrelated to the project, and should not be read as having any bearing on networking between bona fide, good standing, contributing Wikipedians. Anything crossing WP:NOTSOCIALNETWORK should be promptly deleted without reference to the USERCAT guideline, as it is trumped by WP:NOT. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:00, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Seems reasonable to me, as far as those changes go. However, I have my own objection to the draft language, which is that "Essays, either in the project namespace or in one's own userspace" is not the right message here; if it's something unsuitable for user categories then it's also unsuitable for projectspace. That entire line should be replaced with "Essays in your userspace". If we're utterly convinced that something that's a no-category matter can still be a proj-space essay matter, then at least limit this a bit, e.g. "Essays in userspace or – if of site-wide interest and intended to be edited by others – in the project namespace" (that also handily warns that others are apt to modify it – probably a good idea, since the whole point of this exercise is addressing the feelings of the butthurt, not herding them toward more butthurt). I also don't think we need to redundantly include any template documentation here. Just point people to the template. I won't keel over and die if it's included, but there's no real reason to do so. We're not including instructions on how to use or create a userbox, or how to write and properly tag and categorize an essay, so why include details on a particular template?
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:33, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

Before proceeding any further in these efforts to enact and entrench restrictions on usercategories, I think it is very important to repudiate  SMcCandlish's views that projectspace or userspace essays should be resticted to any level approaching what he appears to believe.
"if it's something unsuitable for user categories then it's also unsuitable for projectspace."?
Whoa! The frequently and long challenged "consensus" of the USERCAT restrictions are definitely dubious, not clear cut, and I personally have only accepted them due to the point that the dubious USERCAT categories fail to enable the networking or collaboration that is their putative purpose, and that real networking or collaboration is much better facilitated using projectspace pages that enable comments and explanations.
Most stuff prohibited by WP:USERCAT is well within scope for practspace and userspace essays. This is not to say that everying unsuitable for a usercategory is suitable for an essay, but most of it is suitable.
The line should be *NOT* replaced with "Essays in your userspace". If the intention is editor collaboration, networking, mutal support in contributing to Wikipedia, or advocating to changes in Wikipedia policy or culture, it is completely appropriate for projectspace. Userspace is for essays that are particularly personal for the single author, or present a disputed single-author position, or if the author doesn't want others to alter it.
I agree with only to pointing to templates, and the guideline on userboxes that includes instructions on how to create them.
Advice here on how to categorise essays would be a very good idea.
--SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:37, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

Related discussion (2)Edit

I've started a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Red link#Where does this apply? which may possibly interest the watchers of this page - but remember to please keep it civil. ansh666 21:15, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

So, a new front has been opened! Get the pitchforks, everyone! – Uanfala 21:21, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

Redundant location categorizationEdit

Nearly all userboxes in Category:US state of residence user templates populate both Category:Wikipedians in the United States and a state-specific subcategory. Category:Wikipedians in the United States has a subcategory for each of the 50 states, so this seems redundant. Is it useful to place all of these users directly in the national-level category as well as their state-level category, or should each of these templates only populate a single, state-specific category? (I am courtesy pinging Buaidh, who added this dual categorization in every case I checked.) Thanks, -- Black Falcon (talk) 23:58, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

Most of these templates invoke Template:Uir which does a two-level categorization for dependent states. For example, {{User in Wales}} adds the user page to both Category:Wikipedians in Wales and Category:Wikipedians in the United Kingdom. Template:Uir has done this two-level categorization for the past nine years. If a consensus would like to eliminate the two-level categorization, I can alter Template:Uir to eliminate the national categories for dependent states. This will, however, affect hundreds of templates that invoke Template:Uir. Yours aye,  Buaidh  talk contribs 17:05, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for shedding light on this. What is the purpose of this two-level categorization? Also, could you clarify what you mean by "dependent states"? Thanks, -- Black Falcon (talk) 05:31, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
A dependent state is a subdivision of an independent nation such as New South Wales, Quebec, or Bavaria. Yours aye,  Buaidh  talk contribs 21:05, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. And what is the purpose of this two-level categorization, e.g., why was it originally implemented? -- Black Falcon (talk) 04:47, 15 December 2019 (UTC)
Return to the project page "User categories".