Personal tools
My Story

Help:Categories

From Our Story

Our Story allows you to categorize pages by adding one or more Category tags at the end of your text. Adding these tags creates links at the bottom of the article which take you to the list of all pages in that category.

Categories help the reader find articles, even if they don't know that they exist or what they are called.

Every article should belong to at least one category. An article's category or categories should reflect the topics that are directly related to the subject. In writing an article, use the most likely categories in which the reader would look for, if they are not sure of where to find the article.

For more information on categories, see this Wikipedia page: Wikipedia:Category

General guidelines

  1. Categories are mainly used to browse through similar articles. Make decisions about the structure of categories and subcategories that make it easy for users to browse through similar articles.
  2. An article will often be in several categories. Restraint should be used as categories become less effective the more there are on any given article.
  3. There are two main types of article categories: list categories, which list items of a certain type (WSU presidents, campus buildings, etc.), and topic categories, which contain articles related to a particular topic (such as Category:Enoch Bryan, Category:Football, Category:Engineering). In either case, do not place an article directly into a category if it belongs more appropriately in one of its subcategories (or a subcategory of a subcategory, etc.) However, there are certain situations where articles are placed in a parent category as well as a subcategory. (For more details see the Wikipedia article: Wikipedia:Categorization and subcategories.)
  4. Check to see where siblings of the article reside. If there are few if any articles in a category, the article probably belongs in one of the subcategories.
  5. If there is a category with the same name as an article (intended to contain pages related to the topic of that article), then the article should be placed in that category. However, the article and the category do not have to be categorized the same way. The article should also be placed in categories populated with similar articles; the category should be put into categories populated with similar subcategories. For an example, see Enoch Bryan and Category:Enoch Bryan.
  6. Categorize articles by characteristics of the topic, not characteristics of the article. A biographical article about a specific person, for example, does not belong in Category:Biography.

How to make a Category

A Category will be created when you use that name as a link at the bottom of the page as explained next. It will not show, however, until the first linking page is Saved. Before that, it will show as an empty link in red; afterwards, it will begin automatically compiling a Contents page of all such linking pages.

You should be even more careful about doing this than adding content pages. Unlike content pages, Categories cannot be deleted or renamed, remaining to confuse users browsing the list of Categories. Before attempting to make a Category, please find the list of all Categories by clicking on "Special pages" in the left sidebar "toolbox" box. Check the contents of any other category that might suggest the one you had in mind.

How to add a page to a Category

To add a content page to the listing for a Category, simply put the following at the very bottom of the page you are editing:

[[Category:NAME]]

where "NAME" is the name of the Category you want to add it to. Any number of Category tags may be added to the page -- the page will be listed in all of them.

You can also specify an additional SORT parameter that specifies where the page will appear, alphabetically, within the Category. This is done by using the following markup:

[[Category:NAME|SORT]]

To add this page to the 'Help' category to be located in the list at 'C' you would use:

[[Category:Help|Categories]]

Without this, the page would be listed under 'H' for 'Help:Categories', instead of under 'C'. Another example is when you have articles about people that are titled as FirstName LastName but within a particular Category you want them listed as LastName, FirstName.

Template:Note


Another way to sort an article in the correct letter group without using the 'namespace' is:

[[Category:Help|{{SUBPAGENAME}}]]

This is helpful when using templates which include a category tag.

Linking to Category Pages

To create a link within page content, use a leading colon as in

[[:Category:NAME]]

so that "NAME" is the Category for the link. For example, if the name were "Help" the link would look like Category:Help. Without the leading colon, it would be instead blank or red in the text, because there is no such content page linked within that category.

If you want to display alternate text for the link, add that after a bar as with other internal links:

[[:Category:NAME|TEXT]]

The same link to Category:Help as above might show this alternative text: MediaWiki Help Index

Categorize Categories

Categories themselves and other uploaded files like images can be categorized like content pages. It is useful to connect the article-categories with categories already in place to establish connections and hierarchies. After saving the article, follow the category links at the end of the page to see if the Category is already in place and if not, categorize them until you connect them with an existing category.

Moving categories

Categories cannot be easily moved. For this reason, category names should be chosen carefully.

Those with admin privileges can create the new page, delete the old one, and then change the Category tags in each member of the category. However, this loses the page History - not a huge problem when categories are used only for navigation. But when a wiki is structured so that the category pages contain significant amounts of text, this is undesirable.

Moving with revision history

However, category pages can be moved together with the full revision history, with some effort, by using the Special:Export and Special:Import functions.

Our Story site map

Our Story main page | Our Story categories | Help Desk
Site news | Contact | Give | Advertise
Washington State Magazine | Washington State University | My Story/Class Notes

Our Story is coordinated by

In partnership with

Our Story and Washington State Magazine are publications of Washington State University. All rights reserved.
P.O. Box 641227, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-1227 USA | wsm@wsu.edu, 509-335-2388
Accessibility | Copyright | Policies