Disputatio:Iacobus Henricus Breasted

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Categoriae[fontem recensere]

I removed Categoria:Americani from this page, thinking that it ought to be a supercategory somewhere above Archaeologi Americani. But in fact the category doesn't exist at all (so far as I can see). Do unspecialized Americans go in Categoria:Civitates Foederatae Americae, or is there a category I haven't found? Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 10:37, 28 Februarii 2008 (UTC)

What would be the point of having a category with tens of thousands or potentially hundreds of thousands of items in it? IacobusAmor 13:48, 28 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
No point at all. That's why I removed it from this page. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:50, 28 Februarii 2008 (UTC)

I take an "Incrementalist" approach to categories. On en: Breasted is listed in en:category:American Egyptologists, but it seems to me pointless to divide a category with two members based on nationality. So Instead I did a separate category for Egyptologists and Americans. But since American Archaelogists already existed I figured I may as well concede that one. I suppose use of "Americanus" to mean "Inhabitant of the United States of America" is in itself controversial, but in the big picture this is hardly the only "nationality" category we have. We can worry about categories having tens of thousands or potentially hundreds of thousands of items when we are in actual danger of having that many items in the category. Until then I don't see the point of dividing "Doctors" and "English people" into "Resident maxillofacial surgeons of North-Eastern Harrogate." Yes, it's unlikely we'll ever need such a specific category, but it's just as unlikely we'll have to worry about even one thousand articles in the "Americans" category. And if we're going to worry about pointlessly large categories, shouldn't we be starting with Categoria:homines? --Iustinus 16:57, 28 Februarii 2008 (UTC)

And Categoria:Biographia. Yes, I have my eye on them ... I would see Categoria:Americani, if we create it or its equivalent, as a supercategory -- containing, almost exclusively, other categories such as Categoria:Eruditi Americani and Categoria:Milites Americani. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 17:15, 28 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
Yes, abolish them all, unless their only contents are other categories. Off the top of my head, I can name dozens of famous Milites Americani—which means that thousands or tens of thousands of others must qualify; and if by Eruditi Americani you mean those holding doctoral degrees or the equivalent, how many hundreds of thousands must there be? IacobusAmor 18:24, 28 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
I would support Andrew's point here. Once a category gets too many members, pages should be moved from this category to appropriate subcategories so that no single category has more than a handful of direct members at any time. So I would advocate to create Categoria:Homines civitatum foederatarum Americarum (and to abolish Categoria:Biographia for different reasons that I have already stated somewhere else). --UV 21:31, 28 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
But I reiterate my main point: Categories that are too small are just as pointless as categories that are too large. How many members of a category any of us can think of is not, to my mind, the issue. It's how many articles we actually have. I can think of dozens of famous German Egyptologists. That doesn't mean we should split up categoria:Aegyptologi (which currently has exactly two members) into categoria:Aegyptologi Germanici and categoria:Aegyptologi Americani. This is why my usual custom has always been to split "Xlandian Yists" into "Xlandians" and "Yists. When the list of Yists get beyond a certain point, only then does it make sense to start worrying about subcategories. To be fair, this means that the Xlandians category will be very large. I don't really see that as a problem in itself, but perhaps Dr. Dalby's Categoria:Eruditi Americani is a workable compromise. I mean, it strikes me as odd to specify the nationality by using a professional subcategory of the nationality, and Iacobus will never like it, but it's a workable interrim solution. Or maybe someone can think of something better (surely I can't be the only one to think this way). --Iustinus 01:57, 29 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
I support your point as well – there is no use in splitting up a category when it contains just a few (direct and indirect) members. But perhaps I am missing the point here, because I do not see any difference in your position and the position of Andrew … ? --UV 10:32, 29 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
I don't either! I merely asked whether we already had a category for "Americans" somewhere that I hadn't found. Seems not. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 12:34, 29 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
My point (made elsewhere before) is that whatever work is being done now should be in a form that will minimize the work that must be done in the future. That's why setting up the beginnings of biographies with full birth-and-death data, like
Iacobus Necker (natus die 30 Septembris 1732 in Genavae, Helvetia – die 9 Aprilis 1804 in Coppet) fuit. . . .
despite the visual elegance it gives to the current stipulas, will one day impede & annoy users when they have to do the extra work to expand such articles into structures more like this:
Iacobus Necker (17321804) fuit. . . .
Vita
Necker natus est Genavae die 30 Septembris 1732. . . . Mortuus est in vico Coppet die 9 Aprilis 1804. . . .
The idea is to help those who come after us, not to hinder them. If you know there are going to be dozens of German Egyptologists in a category, set the category up now and put it in appropriate individual pages so that later users won't have to go hunting for pages into which to insert it. IacobusAmor 13:26, 29 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:49, 29 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
Well then I guess the only solution is to leave nationality out entirely, because while there are dozens of German Egyptologists, it is unlikely that even one dozen will be written up in the foreseeable future. It would be ridiculous to divide categoria:Aegyptologi by nationality as it stands, and even as it will stand one or two years from now. Which, I suppose isn't the end of the world: subdividing categories by nationality has always seemed a bit excessive to me in the first place. Still, seems odd not to categorize nationality at all. --Iustinus 15:49, 29 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
Which reminds me: why do several of our biographies begin by pointing out that the biographee is/was Jewish ("ex stirpe Iudaica," or whatever)? Very few other biographies, except those of high officials in various churches (whose only claim to fame is their religion), take the trouble of using the first sentence to name their biographees' religions. IacobusAmor 18:54, 29 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
Um, because "Jewish" is not just an indicator of religion? There has always been a sort of ambivalence, among both Jews and Gentiles, as to whether that term indicates a race or a religion. Essentially since antiquity. Myself, I don't think it's really fair to try to limit the term to one or the other, as it has always been an ambiguous term. One could argue, I suppose, that ethnicity doesn't need to be mentioned in the first sentence wither, but I don't think that's what you're saying. --Iustinus 19:00, 3 Martii 2008 (UTC)
If there's a problem, the late, lamented Usor:Hendricus explicitly worked out a solution which is more or less mine, and, I think, Iustine, more or less yours as well. He put his French entomologists under Categoria:Biologi Francici (fairly general, therefore many and subdivided by nationality) and under Categoria:Entomologi (very specialized, therefore few and not subdivided). Analogously, old Breasted is under Categoria:Aegyptologi and Categoria:Archaeologi Americani. And Breasted is happy with that, I'm almost sure. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 18:01, 29 Februarii 2008 (UTC)
I agree with all of the former arguments. It is a discussion about the best method to deal with categories. And in fact the real problem is, that we should have just a few categories now and we will need many categories in some years. I will not add more arguments, just a thought: Re-categorizing is a job which needs not as much knowledge as writing an article, so it can be done by beginners as well. If we had a rule of thumb, when re-categorizing shall be done, even a beginner can do it and the article authors do not need to worry about the work. It is good if we do not hinder "those who come after us", but it is ok to leave some work for them ;-) I think it is good to have some jobs for beginners, we just have to give them some rules how to do the job. In this case: "When should a category be re-categorized and how?" --Rolandus 09:01, 1 Martii 2008 (UTC)
OK. --Iustinus 19:00, 3 Martii 2008 (UTC)