Forums: Index > Watercooler > Organization


What you are about to read is not a complaint, it's a group of suggestions that I have made after observing editing in the past few months. I hope you take these into consideration before we have millions of articles.

Okay, I have been compiling an index to list all of the help pages here. Upon looking at Category:Help and the Help page, I saw that people may get confused because there are help pages with different names, yet they have the same basic information. Some help pages are categorized, others are not categorized. Some help pages may be categorized too much, as in they are located in the help category, the browse category, and help category subcategories. Basically, you could keep clicking on a category and/or subcategories and go in circles. I bet there's at least 100 help articles out there. And if new people come and participate, they need help. Are they going to read though 100 help pages to know exactly what to do on here? I doubt it. Sure, they may need just a bit of help, but some of the help pages are worded as if only a very experienced user could understand. This goes for both the Help and Genealogy namespaces. I'm confused just looking through those pages while trying to compile a simple index. I've been trying to get some organization going, but I can't do this alone. We really need some organization in this area. What I see is four basic types of pages:

  • 1. Help - pages that guide/help/tell people how to edit articles
  • 2. Guidelines - pages that tell people what we require them to do while editing (like Naming conventions and birth/death categories, for instance)
  • 3. Wiki Information - pages that give information about this wiki, like who the administrators are, what our goals are, etc.
  • 4. Genealogy - pages that give information, especially to new genealogists, on stuff like abbreviations, record keeping, research tips, etc.

What I suggest we do is go though all these articles and just organize them. Simplify them to just a small, well-organized group of articles. We don't need anyone getting confused.

Now, regarding the people pages. We have been having a lot of talk about categorization and formats, but we're basically jumping all around from a lot of different discussions and yet, some articles are being categorized with categories not discussed. What I suggest we do is make one proposal page, perhaps, and like Wikipedia, have a Support/Oppose discussion on how we categorize things. If we come to a decision, we can create a guidelines page to easily inform people what is required of people. If someone disagrees with a way we do something months after the debate, we could have another Support/Oppose discussion and maybe we will make an improvement.

Also, we have pages in which people can request research help. In addition to person talk pages, we have the county queries boards and developing county article groups. Now in the future (I say future for the reason that we have a lot of organization to do before we get into another project) Wikipedia has Portals and WikiProjects. In the future we could have such projects for certain areas of research, if a group of editors develop who work on the same set of articles. If we do this it should be either Portal or Project, not both.

Well, that's all I could think of for now, thanks for reading. -AMK152(TalkContributions 00:53, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Great work, AMK. Builds on Forum:Help improve the help pages and adds a few more things. At least two separate subjects; you're an organiser: how about creating separate forums for them (though the one I mentioned may be the best place to continue part)? (By the way, I would be very surprised if anyone could go around in circles clicking successive subcategories or parent categories - show me an example and I will fix it!) Robin Patterson 11:14, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
A lot of articles/categories are categorized with categories that the category their categorized in is categorized as. Like article A is categorized in Cat B and C. Cat C is categorized in B, Cat C is categorized in Cat B. Cats C and B are categorized in Cat D. Cat D is categorized in Cat B and A. It's so confusing, and there are many different types of these circles so examples of these would be time consuming. Perhaps it is better to discuss what exactly we need to inform newcomers to help them. Maybe a less confusing thing to do is just ptu all Help pages in one category, that way we don't have all these subcategories on certain types of help. If necessary, we could jsut subcat them between wiki help and Genealogy research help.

I made separate sections on this discussion page. I brought up all these issues here particuarily because such discussions on organization should be in one place. If the discussion gets to lengthy, such stuff can be archived. Liek I said, we could have a list of proposals and the discussion can be a Support/Oppose kind of thing like on Wikipedia. I just think it's much better to comment on oen page, than to jump to multipel pages to comment stuff. Plus, two different discussions may effect each other. -AMK152(TalkContributions 22:18, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Wiki information[]

Discuss general information about this wiki and how to use it.

Help pages[]

Discuss the organization and what is need/not needed for help pages. Some help pages may need merging, cleaning up, etc.

Regarding use of wiki[]

Discuss help pages for people using the wiki.

Proposal: Surname Help[]

At the Help:Surname article I just created, I listed 4 pages regarding the use of surnames. (There could be more, I'll keep looking around) All four of those pages are small enough to be merged together and placed on the Help:Surname article. It is better to have all the surname Help information in one place. It could even be organized and worded so that all people could understand it. Newcomers arn't going to want to go and look at four different pages on the same subject. -AMK152(TalkContributions 22:38, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Support
  1. Sounds Good Will 00:04, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
  2. Support -AMK152(TalkContributions 00:20, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
  3. One place to get help on a subject sounds good to me. I don't know if it is the case here, but in the future there could be a use for a split if there arose lots of complexity or debate about the scheme, in which case there might be need for a "Surname scheme" to distill down the theory of the structure into a short description which formally defines the guidelines for Surname use on this wikia. ~ Phlox 17:53, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
  4. Support Bill 05:14, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose
  • Neutral

Regarding Genealogy research[]

Discuss help pages for people wantign to know how to research/what to do/ etc.


Discuss requirements of pages in this wiki.

Standardization of Surname categories[]

  • This article: Genealogy:Surname category template says that there are three different ways to make a surname category. I believe we should have a standard of one.
  • 1. Ideal
  • 2. Short easy
  • 3. Infobox
  • Infobox - all the basic information can be stored on the infobox rather than having long lists that take up more space like the 1 and 2 methods contain section headings that mostly appear blank on the site. If someone wanted to go ahead and add information about a surname, they would make their own headings. Besides, there may not even be a lot of information. If there is a family who lives in a certain place, they have their own article where the information goes, like the Eldert family of New Netherlands. There are several other Eldert families of different places, and all this information isn't taking up too much space in Category:Eldert Surname. In fact, there isn't any information on the surname there. If there was, it wouldn't be much. Most information would be place on the families by location pages. -AMK152(TalkContributions 04:29, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


Discuss how things should be categorized.

This has been discussed here and there over the last few years. Generally we follow the detailed structures established by thousands of people on Wikipedia and Commons. An advantage of that is that most of it can be done and improved by bots such as User:PhloxBot. General discussion is probably best on the page already designed for it: Genealogy talk:Categories. Robin Patterson 22:53, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Categorization of people[]

Categorization of places[]

People pages[]

Discuss people pages. This could also develop guidelines.

Proposal: Use of c, aft, bef[]

We have been using these mainly as a format, although I have seen otherwise. I havn't seen really any discussion, but it wouldn't hurt to discuss this, jsut so we can have a basic guideline to follow as newcomers start contributing. I will create a list of guidelines (or index, perhaps). As per Genealogy:Page names it is stated "it doesn't really matter what you use, all the above are OK, BUT standardizing on 'c' simplifies the hunt for articles." This is why I am bringing it up. The reccommendations on that article I propose to be a guideline:

  1. Use "c" for circa instead of circa, about ,abt, etc.
  2. Use "aft" for after, later than, etc.
  3. Use "bef" for before, earlier than, etc.
  4. No spaces between the c, aft, bef and the dates (Use John Smith (c1850-bef1920) instead of John Smith (c 1850-bef 1920)
  5. No spaces between the dates and the dash. Use (1900-1985) instead of (1900 - 1985)
  • Support
  1. Support -AMK152(TalkContributions 00:20, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
  2. Support - Will 05:14, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
  3. I support the idea about normalization of notation. On the other hand, I have a great deal of ambivalence about what goes into this portion of the name. For example, I am still unconvinced that death date should be mandatory. It seems to me it just creates more reason for people to be renaming articles. ~ Phlox 17:59, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
  4. Same qualified support as Phlox's. See Genealogy talk:Page names. Robin Patterson 22:43, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose
  • Neutral


Problem: We have alot of people articles out there that are uncategorized. Thus, they are not indexed by Surname, birth/death places/years, etc. If all these articles were categorized with these, there would be hardly any trouble finding them through the indexes.

Solution: We need to find all articles that do not have their needed categories. So we go to Special:Uncategorizedpages and find all people there and categorize them. But, this brings us to the following problem:

Problem: Bob Smith's article is already categorized with his birth and death years and Mary Smith's article is already categorized with "Smith Surname." So, Bob needs a surname category and Mary needs her birth and death year categories. But, they are already categorized with something, so they won't be found here: Special:Uncategorizedpages.

Solution: Special:Allpages lists every article. So, we could simply go through Special:Allpages and click on every article and make sure they have what they need.

Problem: However, there is so many year, location, and other articles that they are in the way of us accomplishing our goal to. We could we do?

Solution: Make a list of all people articles on one page.

Problem: Once we make the list, what about the articles that arn't properly named? Such as Jane Smith (1872 - 1955) and Joey smith (before 1833-after 1910)

Solution: Move all the articles to their proper location.

Problem: We must go through our people article list and fix all the links to each person. Double redirects. Triple redirects. Quadruple redirects. Also the following problem:

Jane Smith (c1872 - 1955) is moved to Jane Smith (c1872-1955)

Jane had 12 children. Go to each of the children's pages and fix their mother's link. Go to Jane's husband's page and fix the spouse link. Go to Jane's parents pages and fix the link. Jane's link is on her sister and brother's pages. Fix them. Okay, now, we got that fixed.

Then, Jane's great grandson discovers this site and starts creating pages and links that refer to "Jane Smith (1872 - 1955)." So, we must fix the redirects again. Go to there and change it to it's proper location.

The only solution to prevent this is delete the redirects:

  • Jane Smith (before 1880 - 1955)
  • Jane Smith (about 1870 - 1955)
  • Jane Smith (c1870 - 1955)
  • Jane Smith (c1872 - 1955)

Now we don't have thousands of redirects that may create chaos and confusion, just one page:

  • Jane Smith (c1872-1955)

Now Jane's great grandson goes to this wiki and makes their page:

Tim Johnson (1967)

and on their page the make a list of their ancestors, including:

  • Jane Smith (c1872 - 1955)

But it will show up in red since we delted that particualr redirect! And Jane's great grandson is positive that Jane has a page here. Checks again, fixes link so that it says:

Jane Smith (c1872-1955)

There. Now that page is the proper page. Then Jane's great grandson discovers a document and moves the page to here:

Jane Smith (1874-1955)

If we hadn't deleted those redirects we would have the following:

  • Jane Smith (before 1880 - 1955)
  • Jane Smith (about 1870 - 1955)
  • Jane Smith (c1870 - 1955)
  • Jane Smith (c1872 - 1955)
  • Jane Smith (c1872-1955)

Gotta fix those 5 double redirects.

Oops! her great grandson was looking at a document with the wrong Jane. redirect it back to Jane Smith (c1872-1955). Fix double redirects. An actual document is found. Jane Smith (c1872-1955) --> Jane Smith (1871-1955). Fix redirects.

Another person has a great grandmother as Jane Smith, but is different from the above, and actually happens to be Jane Smith (1874-1955). They go to create the page, BUT it redirects to a DIFFERENT Jane! What will this new contributor do? They know how to edit pages, but don't know much about redirects. Would the add their Jane's info to THAT Jane, sayinh there's two Janes? Will this person leave the site assuming this site is a personal site? Who knows.

So this is why we should delete those redirects.

Deleting those redirects will allow us to easier create a list of all people articles on one page. This way, I and other people who may wish to help can go to each page and make sure that they are categorized properly and the page name meets our standards. This way, ever single person on this wikia is indexed in where they need to be indexed.

So, we solved these issues. Deleted redirects, create a person list and categorized all those articles. Now we can move ahead:

It is better to solve this problem with having 19,000 articles currently than fixing these issues 2 years from now with perhaps 500,000 articles--on people with 1000s of redirects.

-AMK152(TalkContributions) 16:38, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Strong disagreement about deleting redirects[]

If the abovementioned Jane's great grandson creates a link to a page that is in the wrong form, he will blithely create that page and duplicate a lot of work if the redirect with that wrong form has been deleted. Leave it in, so that he will find the right page as soon as he clicks on his new link. Robin Patterson 03:53, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Interesting point. Perhaps a bot could automatically fix those links so they directly link to the actual article. -AMK152(talkcontribs) 18:29, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm almost certain that a bot can fix double redirects (and I think User:MantiBot has done so here), but I don't think that's what you're talking about. Do you mean get a bot to examine all the wiki's internal links periodically and correct them if they go to redirect pages? (If they were piped links that would be good, but if they were just ordinary links you might be messing up people's text.) Robin Patterson 13:59, 6 July 2008 (UTC)