Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2011-05/Add en: to English topical categories, part 2

Add en: to English topical categories, part 2Edit

  • Voting on: Add the en: prefix to English topical categories, parallel to those of other languages.

Rationale: Currently the structure of topical categories (categories such as Category:Plants and Category:Communication) doesn't match other language-specific categories. We currently categorise non-English topical categories as subcategories of the English ones. This makes English categories harder to navigate because they contain all the categories of other languages as well. Furthermore it creates an asymmetry which complicates interwiki links.

The proposal of this vote is therefore to create, for each topical category that does not begin with a language prefix, a new category with en: prefixed to the name (such as Category:en:Plants and Category:en:Communication). All entries in the old category are then moved to the new one. As a result of this, English topical categories will be parallel in structure to those of other languages, and topical categories that have no prefix will not contain entries, only other categories.

Templates that are responsible for organising and filling topical categories (primarily {{topic cat}} and many context templates) will need to be modified if this vote passes.

  • Vote starts: 00:01, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Vote ends: 23.59, 27 June 2011 (UTC)


  1.   SupportCodeCat 23:40, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
  2.   Support --Daniel 00:12, 29 May 2011 (UTC) The proposed system isn't perfect, but it's far better than the current system. --Daniel 00:12, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
  3.   Support. Better yet would be a naming scheme that didn't use language codes, like, say, Category:Trees (English) or something. (By the way, I actually don't think we need to change a bunch of context templates, since I'm pretty sure they all leave it to {{context}} to handle the categorization proper. But I haven't checked into that, so if you have, then never mind.) —RuakhTALK 00:36, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
    Technically, all these three names are ambiguous: "Category:Trees", "Category:en:Trees" and "Category:Trees (English)". Their ambiguity lies in the fact that you can't know for sure if the category is for hyponyms of "tree" or terms whose meaning involves trees (including "wood", "branch" and "treehouse").
    I, personally, would prefer plain English names like "Category:English nouns" and "Category:English formal terms". In this case, my preferred name could be "Category:English names of species of trees" because the category is currently used that way. --Daniel 00:51, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
    I don't think we should get too hung up on potential ambiguities. I mean, "Trees (English)" could also mean "trees of England", but at some point we just have to trust that our readers will read the category description and apply common sense. (I suppose I'd be O.K. with something like "Category:English terms relating to trees" or "Category:English terms for types of tree", but overall I think I prefer simplicity to specificity for these.) —RuakhTALK 01:49, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
  4.   Support, though like Ruakh, I'd prefer to have the word 'English' rather than 'en'. But I fully support what is being proposed. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:50, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
    Think of this as a kind of stepping stone. We could always change the names again later, but that would be easier if only the names, and not also the category structure itself, would need to be changed. —CodeCat 14:51, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
    That's exactly what I meant; if there is a vote to change codes to names in some form, en would only change to English if it (en) is included in the first place! Mglovesfun (talk) 15:08, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
  5.   Support Yair rand 15:18, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
  6.   Support. Incidentally, perhaps entries now in category:mul:Plants can move to the parent category — but that's a decision for another day. Also, more importantly, this proposal does not really address the problem that cat:Plants has both langcode:Plants and Fruits (et al.) as subcats, making the latter hard to find among the former. (It addresses it to the extent that now people won't be looking at cat:Plants as much as they have been, looking at cat:en:Plants instead.)​—msh210 (talk) 07:03, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
    This problem is directly related to the ambiguity of names discussed above. If Category:Plants should contain only terms defined as types of plants, instead of terms whose meaning involve plants in any way, then fruit and even Category:Fruits should not be members of it. --Daniel 07:31, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
    As far as I know, topical categories are not strictly members or hyponyms, so the above could be included, as well as other parts of speech that rarely are. DAVilla 13:33, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
    Very often, "topical categories" are populated by lists of hyponyms or instances, rather than by any words involved in a "topic".
    --Daniel 14:16, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
  7.   Support finally! And I especially like Ruakh's proposal. DAVilla 13:30, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
  8.   Support Dan Polansky 16:07, 30 May 2011 (UTC) I support above all uncluttering English topical categories by removing from them non-English topical subcategories. Whether the language of a topical category should be indicated using an ISO-prefix or using other naming convention is a separate topic. Some naming schemes: (a) "en:Trees", (b) "Trees in English", (c) "English: Trees", (d) "English – Trees" and for a uncountable name (a) "en:Chemistry", (b) "Chemistry in English", (c) "English: Chemistry", (d) "English – Chemistry". (A copy of my voting post from Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2009-08/Add en: to English topical categories.) An addition: (e) "Chemistry (English)". --Dan Polansky 16:22, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
  9.   Support Panda10 16:34, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
  10.   Support --Makaokalani 13:27, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  11.   Support Leasnam 21:50, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
  12.   Support --Vahag 19:54, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
  13.   Support Ivan Štambuk 06:16, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
  14.   Support OrenBochman 13:24, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
  15.   SupportInternoob (DiscCont) 18:38, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
  16.   Support --Malafaya 17:55, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
  17.   Support Jesielt (user talk) 20:10, 26 June 2011 (UTC)


  1.   Oppose but do create "Topic by language" categories, to distinguish foreign language categories from topical subcategories Leo Laursen – (talk · contribs) 15:32, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
    But that's what is being proposed here. Only the names of categories are different, but as has been said above, that is just temporary until we come up with a better naming scheme. —CodeCat 15:34, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
    In a nutshell, Category:en:Plants and Category:Plants would become two separate categories. Right now, they are one. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:37, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
    Exactly. I'd like to see English words on the topic "Plants", in Category:Plants, and foreign language "Plant" categories grouped in the subcategory Category:Plants by language, so we easily can find Category:Cacti, Category:Flowers, Category:Herbs and Category:Trees (I don't care much about Category:Fictional plants).--Leo Laursen – (talk · contribs) 16:03, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
    The words "by language" don't always look good when just appended directly to the end of current names of topical categories. Category:Languages becoming Category:Languages by language and Category:Language becoming Category:Language by language would be particularly ugly changes. --Daniel 07:42, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
    That's a fine alternative, but not making English an exception would make for more consistent naming. DAVilla 13:34, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
    Leo, I actually think you'd be putting another level of categorization in there for no apparently benefit. This propose to split the category in two, you're proposing to split it into three. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:19, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
    Maybe you're right. Another possibility is to not categorize cat:xx:Topic under cat:Topic. We have the full list in "Other languages", so the functionality (subcat-like) would still be there, just supplied by {{topic cat}} rather than the category system.--Leo Laursen – (talk · contribs) 15:21, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
    The table of "Other languages" is not the full list. It is an arbitrary list that (hopefully) contains all major languages and many other languages. An actual full list would have thousands of languages, instead of merely the current 268 languages.
    Notably, the current list of 268 languages typically displays many languages without categories along with few languages with categories. For example, the list of "Other languages" of Category:Health displays 23 languages with categories and 244 languages without categories. Category:sat:Health is not listed there at all.
    The table of "Other languages" is arguably a good way to display a number of possible categories to be created eventually, but it's a poor system for navigating the current categories. --Daniel 15:41, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
    We could improve upon {{nav table}}, but I see your point. It's just a way to avoid that extra level, if that's a concern. Personally I wouldn't mind Category:Language by language.--Leo Laursen – (talk · contribs) 21:20, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
  2.   Oppose I share most reasons given in the opposing votes of the previous vote on (largely) the same matter. -- Gauss 06:05, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
    You mentioned the "insufficient benefit in relation to the effort involved" in a previous revision of this vote. Well, if this change happens and you won't volunteer to help its implementation, then your effort is zero anyway. The proposed change is expected to affect a huge number of pages, but the effort is mainly limited to making automated things work, such as changing the categorization of {{context}} and {{topic cat}}, and starting a search-and-replace job in all entries to insert an "en:" somewhere in the category links.
    Now let's see the reasons for opposing the previous vote. I'll give a few comments about them all.
    • The proposal of always using language names was mentioned in the previous vote as a reason to avoid adding "en" and all other codes as well, but a number of supporters of this vote seem to think that the proposal is a good stepping stone for a possible future without any codes in names of categories at all.
    • The idea that monolingual English-speakers would feel confused by the existence of "en:" in the names of categories is probably incorrect. It is very difficult to navigate when there are many language versions of each category as members of the English category. It is difficult to find "Category:Trees", "Category:Herbs" and "Category:Cacti" among the members of Category:Plants. And monolingual English speakers have to know what the codes are anyway, or else they'll probably end up in foreign categories by mistake.
    • Someone said "The categories are fine right where they are. No need to change them all." while opposing the proposal. Oh, but if we can do better, we should do better. Anyway, many of them have been changed since 2009; we don't have Category:Vulgarities or Category:*Topics anymore. Progress happens.
    --Daniel 06:44, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
    I thoroughly dislike the practise to debate each opposing vote with possible counterarguments in favour of the original proposal; it may well be that the voter has already considered those arguments and chose not to address them in detail (because it should not be required to justify an opposing vote at all). Nevertheless I will, this one time, answer at least in part: I am certainly not worried about my time that could be wasted (because I would indeed definitely not volunteer) but about volunteer resources anyway that could be devoted to much more useful tasks (such as creating new lemmata) than organising or assisting a change on a vast amount of pages that has no significant disadvantages. That's the slightly more elaborate version of "insufficient benefit in relation to the effort involved" (my preliminary statement you quoted, which was on this page for the no longer than nine minutes). -- Gauss 23:03, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
    Providing arguments in favor of one or other option is a proud tradition of Wiktionary, and I like it very much. When you express your opinion in a vote, you are certainly inviting people for a good conversation, and just waiting for the first reply that may or may not come. Where else would be a better place to discuss your opinion and what else would be a better subject for a discussion started here?
    You didn't have to address the counterarguments in detail. That's my job. --Daniel 06:00, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
    By voting, I assure that I have considered the arguments and counterarguments from the linked discussion pages. In my opinion, voting is for voting (as the name says), not for discussing. -- Gauss 15:24, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
  3. Naming must be consistent, and I should not oppose. But the proposal states adding the prefix en: and normal readers cannot understand these prefixes. They were able to use these categories for English because there was no prefix, so this must be changed only to a better convention, a convention that readers can understand (not only a more consistent convention). I propose to add in English, in French, etc. at the end of the name. Lmaltier 06:22, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
    Are you guessing the behavior of hypothetical users based on psychology, or do you have actual reports of people who fortunately were able to easily use English topical categories thanks to the convenient lack of a prefix? In particular, I suppose people who access en.wiktionary.org by URL already know exactly what "en" is.
    Your message as a whole mainly repeats some complaints from the previous vote, so my message above [06:44, 31 May 2011 (UTC)] serves as a reply to you too. Please see it. --Daniel 06:50, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
    If we had to get everything exactly right with every proposal, there would never be any progress at all because there would be too many people that opposed such a huge change. Small steps work because they give us time to adjust and work out minor problems instead of huge ones. —CodeCat 11:12, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
    These are perpendicular issues. Why must we have "Trees" as an English category and "Trees in French" before we can have "Trees in English"? Isn't the outcome the same if we start with "en:Trees" and "fr:Trees" and then switch to the full language name? In fact I wonder if the en: prefix would perhaps highlight the issue of lack of clarity even more. DAVilla 19:57, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
    I guess the behavior of users, but I know that most people don't know language codes (contributors to the project, language specialists and web designers are exceptions). And I assume that most users access the site either through a search engine or through a bookmark, not by entering en.wiktionary.org. I'm am very favourable to the addition of the language to all topical category names, including thoses in English, but not through a prefix. I don't think that categories such as Category:fr:Trees are used much, Category:Tree is probably not used much either, but probably much more... Keep it simple for users... Of course, the important thing is the final naming scheme, but why should we adopt an intermediate, less good, step? This is an opportunity to change all topical category names to better names, names easier to understand. Lmaltier 19:51, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
    When this vote was created, people knew very well — for years, literally — the proposal of not populating English topical categories with foreign-language versions of themselves. However, the additional idea of deprecating all language codes had been barely discussed; even now people haven't decided what exactly should be the codeless category names.
    A current poll became a rather big discussion about exact names, scope, ambiguity, etc., demonstrating that the "second step" in particular needed, and still needs, time to be discussed.
    In other words, I believe that now (or, more importantly, 22 May 2011, which is when the vote was created) is not actually a good opportunity to decide everything formally; however, if we wait for the results of this vote to create another, the opportunity will come. If this vote passes as the "first step", then the subsequent proposal will be easier to vote and implement, because it will probably be limited to a change of name and people will (hopefully) have discussed enough about it.
    You're right, though, in saying that "Category:fr:Trees" is not accessed much. According to this graph, it was accessed only 14 times in the whole month of May, while this other graph says that Category:French nouns was accessed 925 times during the same month. --Daniel 20:50, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
    And "Category:Trees" was accessed 973 times in May (much more than I would have guessed). Lmaltier 05:43, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
    No, Lmaltier. Check the difference:
    http://stats.grok.se/en.d/201105/Category:Trees says that Category:Trees (of Wiktionary) was accessed 47 times in May.
    http://stats.grok.se/en/201105/Category:Trees says that w:Category:Trees (of Wikipedia) was accessed 973 times in the same month.
    That website is extremely user-hostile concerning multiple Wikimedia projects. It is very easy seeing a graph of Wikipedia by mistake. --Daniel 05:55, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
  4.   Oppose Ƿidsiþ 11:56, 31 May 2011 (UTC) Ƿidsiþ 11:56, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
  5.   Oppose Maro 20:05, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
  6.   Oppose Seems like a proposal to simplify the template design of the category empire at the cost of intelligibility to normal users. DCDuring TALK 18:19, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
    See also [[Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Straw poll: Topical category languages]].​—msh210 (talk) 18:43, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
    Actually, I think our approach of having English not in English categories is counterintuitive. We have French in French categories, but the English doesn't go in English categories! Personal opinion only, of course. --Mglovesfun (talk) 18:55, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
    The "template design" stays more-or-less the same regardless of the results of this voting, because the applicable templates are already prepared to handle categories that start with a language code, and English is no different.
    The proposal actually makes the categories simpler and easier to use. In addition to what Mglovesfun said, there is the fact that finding Category:Trees, Category:Flowers and Category:Herbs in Category:Plants is difficult. --Daniel 19:56, 17 June 2011 (UTC)



  • Passes 17-6-0 —CodeCat 00:04, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
    • Passed with 73.9% in support, determined as 17 / (17 + 6). --Dan Polansky 14:01, 30 September 2011 (UTC)