Appropedia needs your support - Please Donate Today

User:Curtbeckmann/Topic table

From Appropedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Links to metatopic subpages[edit]

I'm trying to "divide and conquer"

General notes for topic categorization[edit]

  1. One major thought I've had is that we should separate the categorization issue from the navigation issue. That might mean that clicking on "Water" on the nav bar might take you to a page that is optimized for navigating water articles. Similar to looking at Water on Howtopedia. This would be a departure from creating redirects from article names to the category page of the same name. Maybe this departure would only be the case for metatopics. This just feels like thinking out loud at the moment.
  2. Where do the meta topics belong? Fundamental or Topic? I argue, both! I'll work on articulating my thinking, but that's my suggestion. Basically, "Topics" is not the root of a tree, it includes all topic cats. Fundamental is the root for meta topics.
  3. Policy question: Do meta-topic moderators own (moderate and arbitrate) categorization within their metatopics? Do subcategory moderators "own" categorization decisions (hierarchy, naming, etc) in their subcategories? I would argue that, following the establishment of some basic policies around this topic categorization, that, yes, the moderators should be the arbiters of the policies.
  4. I would like to identify the primary drivers of topic categorization. This list is a brief start, not in order.
    • Article management. That is, it serves the site administrators in keeping the site clean and effective. In this regard, topic categorization helps to for navigation, creating of links, assigning moderator boundaries, etc.
    • Visitor navigation. Folks can enter a topic, get redirected to a category, which will point them at a collection of articles. Should also have some text content that explains what fits into the category, what the main subtopics are, may have a link to Wikipedia, and may have more "see also" type links.
    • In a sense, Topic category pages serve as "disambiguation" pages, since a single topic may be covered by many articles.
  5. The above items (when the list is complete) should help us to establish some topic categorization policies. We have started on a topic category naming policy (now where did I put that?). I would also like to see a topic category creation policy. That is, we should create a policy when:
    • We have too many articles in a category and we need to break the category into subcategories
    • We have a subcategory that "half-fits" into two parent categories. Splitting the category would help.
      • Perhaps a similar notion is that an article or subcategory seems to suggest subcategories that don't yet exist. For example, we have a "solar distillation" subcategory, but no "distillation" or "purification" category. (Currently the subcat is placed in Cat:Water supply)
        • Similarly, we have "Fish farming" and "Livestock" (which includes some articles on beekeeping and fish farming and worm farming (Vermiculture)!), but these are currently directly under Agriculture. Create "Animal husbandry" subcat?)
    • We need to split a category for management reasons, i.e. separate moderators (this seems weak, but if a category gets big might make sense)
    • We believe that a subcategory will ultimately include numerous how-to or project articles, or other articles, and we want to create an empty or near-empty subcategory in order to create a structure as a launching pad for content creation and promotion.
      • I think this is legitimate and yet should be used sparingly (CurtB)
      • If we agree on sparing use, then it would imply that most (all?) of the redlink categories in the table will not be created as category pages. We could keep the labels of yet-to-be-created subcategories as a text marker of a future category (which might help rationalize the category structure?). Potentially we could put format those titles differently, like italicize or whatever.
      • Upon further reflection, it seems like the non-existent subcategories could fall into several buckets:
        • Targeted, meaning we want to get aggressive about building out this category. Presumably, targeted subcategories come into existence instantly, though they may have few (zero?) articles for a while. I would think that, depending on the community activity level, we might, at any given time, have 1 targeted subcategory per metatopic.
        • Desired, meaning that we would appreciate contributions in the space, but are not yet aggressively pursuing these
        • Anticipated... But this section seems like a slight. I guess I don't see a distinction between Anticipated and Desired, unless "Desired" just means "soon to be targeted". That would suggest a limited number of "desired" subcategories.
      • Anticipated subcategories could be listed on the meta-topic page? I would like to keep track of these proposed / expected subcategories, to support planning and development, without cluttering the topic table prior to their existence.
  6. I propose using superscripts (footnotes) to identify the moderators / experts for categories.
  7. Policy question: Do we want articles directly within the metatopics? Or will they always fall into a subcategory?
  8. LARGE AND SEPARATE BUT RELATED QUESTION: what are we going to do to simplify navigation? I don't think that's what categories are about at this point... I like the nav approach at howtopedia and WikiGreen. This topic table was originally meant to somehow make our categories into a useful nav tool, but I'm no longer thinking of it in those terms. Instead, I now simply view it as a visualization and processing tool that will largely become irrelevant after we roll out the new category structure.

Logistical Roll out thoughts[edit]

At this point, I'm starting to break down the roll out challenge. Here are several semi-random thoughts.

  • Create an article page for each meta-topic that includes the relevant table section below, including all the non-existent subcategories, etc.
  • Create a copy of this content (lower in the page?) for hacking purposes.
  • For not-yet-existing subcats, see if there are many articles that belong in these subcats (do we need these?), at least for the 2nd tier subcats (directly under the metatopic). Create the subcats that need creating.
  • When that's done, remove all the non-existent empty subcats so that you have created a template. (Categories that have an existing subcat should be created).
  • Then start marching toward making the category changes so reality lines up with the template, first for one metatopic, then another.
  • For each page that comes into sync with the template, remove template from the "category vision" page
  • Review (all?) articles and try to fit them into the new category structure (newly existing cats and subcats). Consult the "vision page" to figure out new categories for articles that don't fit well into the existing cats.
    • This raises the question of how we will generally scrub pages for categorization. I guess that's a moderator's cross to bear, but I think it would be good to propose a rough process to help new moderators.
  • I would ask that we get consensus at least on the naming of the meta-topics.
  • Roll out tentative category policies shortly after wrapping up the changes (or should this come first in order to make the process cleaner? Nah!)

Okay, let me see where that leads!

Where to put these?[edit]

Land use[2]



  1. Where to put clothing? This seems similar to shelter in terms of human need. Buildings are not really essential...The larger term might be shelter, including buildings and clothing. But what about non-shelter structures like antenna towers and greenhouses, etc? Okay, so maybe clothing, as protection, belongs in "Health and safety"...along with Laundry...
  2. Where to put Land use? Options like, construction, transportation, community all seem to make sense. My personal bias is toward community, since it feels like a "city planning" question. But perhaps Transportation is also :-)
  3. Only 1 member in RANT
  4. existing category name is singular ("tool")
  5. Interesting. Tools are not an inherent human need, but a means to an end. Getting more philosophical, all technologies are tools, and so the whole site is about tools, but many tools are highly specialized. So the more general tools fall into the "tool" bucket. One could argue that Tools is a meta-topic, and that ICT belongs under tools. If we were to pursue that method (fine by me), then Education might belong under Community. I would also be fine with that.
  6. Currently, Knots is a subcategory of How_to