Disputatio Categoriae:Actores Civitatum Foederatarum origine ethnica digesti

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Should we get into this?[fontem recensere]

I am doubtful whether it is wise to get into categorising people of the modern world by their ethnic origin. At present on Vicipaedia we don't do it at all, except for the one category Categoria:Iudaei, and that's contentious enough: see Disputatio Categoriae:Iudaicae religioni haerentes). Ethnicity is often contentious, sometimes difficult to source and hard to define, sometimes a matter of which the subject is proud, sometimes the opposite, in either case potentially POV.

I think classifying people of the modern world by geography, as we currently do, is much easier and better. Where someone lives and has lived is normally easy to verify, and if they have lived in more than one country, that's no problem.

Incidentally, I am happy about mentioning ethnicity/parental origin in the text, wherever it's notable: in the text, the exact meaning can be explained and sources can be cited.

I would propose deleting this category, and agreeing not to use any ethnic categories for biographies of living people. I'd like to know what others think. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 15:30, 28 Octobris 2010 (UTC)

The originals are at en:Category:American actors by ethnic or national origin and it:Categoria:Attori statunitensi per etnia. The former is a subset of en:Actors by ethnicity, which in turn is a subset of en:Actors, which yields these groupings:
[+] Actors of Hungarian descent (6 C)
[+] American actors by ethnic or national origin (20 C)
[+] Arab actors (9 C, 19 P)
[+] Actors of Asian descent (2 C)
[×] Basque actors (18 P)
[+] Bengali actors (2 C, 108 P)
[×] Black Canadian actors (81 P)
[+] Catalan actors (4 C, 17 P)
[×] First Nations actors (41 P)
[×] Flemish actors (23 P)
[×] Igbo actors (19 P)
[+] Indigenous actors (4 C)
[×] Indigenous Australian actors (34 P)
[×] Inuit actors (4 P)
[+] Jewish actors (2 C, 901 P)
[×] Kurdish actors (2 P)
[+] Pornographic film actors by ethnicity (8 C)
[×] Romani actors (7 P)
[+] Tamil actors (2 C, 385 P)
[×] Telugu actors (189 P)
If it's an important issue, people must have discussed it in the other wikis. So as not to "reinvent the wheel," where can we find the pertinent discussions? IacobusAmor 16:00, 28 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
Don't know. I raise it because I think it's important :) But the fact that only two other wikis have a category like this suggests that some of the others may have chosen not to. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 16:13, 28 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
Here we go: en:Wikipedia:Categorization/Ethnicity,_gender,_religion_and_sexuality. IacobusAmor 16:27, 28 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! Very briefly, then, quoting from that page, my reasons are that "Categorization by ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexuality can be the subject of controversy ... These discussions occasionally pop up on Wikipedia:Categories for discussion, tend to be controversial, and wildly varying in their outcome;" and that we on Vicipaedia can use our time better than to invite those particular controversies just for the sake of categorisation. As I say, I'm not against mentions of the topic in text wherever it's notable and relevant. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 17:14, 28 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Andrew. I do not see the particular use of categorization by ethnic origin, and it would be have a strong potential for POV, therefore I would support leaving ethnic origin aside in our categorization scheme. --UV 22:41, 28 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
The main use of categories is to find things. If we were Igbo people (and even if we weren't!), we might well want to find articles on all the notable Igbo actors. Why do you want to deprive us of that opportunity? A larger issue looms, and we could just as well ask Andrew why he doesn't want us to be able to look up notable lions, national symbols of Malta, ethics, the G8 states, the G15 states, the G20 states, federated states, OPEC members, Chinese philosophers, politicians of the Song Dynasty, theories of education, political systems, Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, states of the African Union, states of the European Union, city-states, former British colonies, republics, structure, individual sports, English poets, burials in Westminster Abbey, characters in Disney films, fictitious soldiers, French philosophers, those sorts of things. (In the list of actors given above, most items can be clearly defined & verified, but "Pornographic film actors" (apart from ethnicity) could be problematic because a POV-less definition of pornography isn't obvious.) IacobusAmor 11:25, 29 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
I fail to understand why, say, Fred Astaire and Leonardo DiCaprio are classified as being of German ethnic origin. Is "Germanity" a biological property? Or has, say, DiCaprio somewhere trumpeted forth his "Germanity"? What role has this "ethnic origin" played in the life of these gentlemen? Neander 13:38, 29 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
DiCaprio's middle name is Wilhelm, given to him in memory of his family's origin. His mother immigrated to the United States from the Ruhr, and his father's mother immigrated from Bavaria. He could undoubtedly qualify for membership in any of numerous German-American clubs & societies. Though the prospect may pain particular observers, many potental readers of Vicipaedia want to know these things; see The German-Hollywood connection. IacobusAmor 14:18, 29 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
[Edit conflict:] Yes, those are among the questions that so often cause little disagreements :) The queries Iacobus proposes for me [in his previous comment] are wider than this discussion, but some properties are better dealt with by lists and in article text (both of which can be directly footnoted) than by categories (which cannot be). If there is a school or tradition or significant grouping of Igbo actors, or indeed German-American actors, I would welcome with open arms Vicipaedia articles about them. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 14:48, 29 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
If we were Igbo people, we would probably not only want to find out about Igbo actors but also about Igbo particle physicists, Igbo Roman Catholic deacons, Igbo classical harpsichordists specialized in the works of Georg Philipp Telemann, and about female homosexual Igbo experts-in-early-19th-century-Southern-Serbian-calligraphy whose last name comprises an odd number of characters. --UV 19:04, 30 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
Well, yes, and that may be a sufficient argument for having at least the first two of those categories, the others perhaps being at least temporarily successful attempts at reduction to absurdity. IacobusAmor 12:03, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
We should in my view therefore – if we are confident enough to categorize people by their ethnic origin (which I am not! I have very strong doubts whether this is possible without POV) – not create categories for actors-by-ethnic-origin and biologists-by-ethnic-origin and zoologists-by-ethnic-origin and ornithologists-by-ethnic-origin and entomologists-by-ethnic-origin and scientists-by-ethnic-origin and …, but instead one category people-by-ethnic-origin (on the same level as people-by-profession and people-by-nationality), thus to avoid excessive and hard-to-maintain multiplication of categories. --UV 19:04, 30 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that simpler categories are generally better and easier to maintain; since there are so few of us, this is really important. As to the proposed ethnicity categories, maybe one day soon Wikipedia biographies will list everyone's DNA, and then all the problems will be solved for us :=) Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 19:41, 30 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
If ease is the prime criterion, we should follow Wikipedia's procedures to the letter; then nobody will be confused by not knowing about special decisions that usor X made on 14 December July 2006 and that usor Y made on 27 July 2008 and suchlike. As for listing people by their DNA, that's an excellent idea, surely impossible by today's technology and under today's privacy laws, but surely possible in the future, and highly desirable because it would be ever so much more physically precise than traditional systems of nomenclature. IacobusAmor 12:03, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
OK, following exactly the procedures of en:wiki, all redlink categories would be rapidly eliminated; hidden notes that were not in Latin would be deleted; and (with certain easily-defined exceptions) categories lacking 4/5 members would be deleted. Are you sure you would want that? It would make category housekeeping much easier. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:07, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
As you indicate, the English wikipedia does not eliminate all categories lacking at least four members. One sometimes encounters smaller sets in categories there; see, for example, Category:States_and_territories_established_in_1641, which has but one member. Small sets seem not to be "eliminated," but shunted into categories for stubs; see, for example numerous categories for fish-stubs, insect-stubs, and so forth. As for the irrelevant point about hidden text in other languages: English is the default wiki, the one that people are translating out of ; the situation is the reverse in smaller wikis, which accordingly might well want to follow the reverse procedure and include hidden text for ease in translating. IacobusAmor 13:41, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
Yes, true, the hidden text issue was irrelevant to this discussion; it only came to my mind because you often happen to include names of English categories as hidden text. So I gather you would agree with the other two points:
  1. no creation of categories unless
    1. they have or are about to have at least 4/5 members, or
That would include most reasonably proposed categories, such as "Philosophi Francici" (or "Franciae"), which you recently deleted, though it qualifies under this rubric, since we know (without doing any research) there to have been several French philosophers, not to mention the fact that it would be exactly parallel to many categories that Vicipaedia already has, like Categoria:Pedilusores Novae Zelandiae. Lots of things in the real world, however, come in pairs, and one therefore wonders if the lower limit shouldn't therefore be two. IacobusAmor 11:52, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
Yes, and lots of things are unique! Cite an example by all means, but I doubt whether it will help rather than hinder users to allow the spread of such tiny categories if they are not in a predictable set. Note that if they are in a predictable set (as e.g. Categoria:Urbes Monoeci would be) the fact that there are only two members would not matter: that would be OK. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 19:28, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
For the present, I proposed at VP:CAT that new categories (if not in a predictable set) should be filled with at least four members; and that categories with only one or two members may be proposed for deletion (to avoid this, members could be added to them, of course). This leaves categories with three members in a grey area -- intentionally, because it would surely use time better to find or create a fourth member than to delete them.
This rule is less stringent that those on other wikipedias that I know of! Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 10:11, 6 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
So far as I know, Philosophi Franciae hasn't ever been proposed. Had it been proposed, I would have created it myself or supported its creation. It fits our existing pattern, and it is high time we divided up our philosophers. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:23, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
Alas, see Voltarius. (Busy this week; not much time for discussion, or anything else). IacobusAmor 16:26, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
Nearly right, eh? -- those little terminations make all the difference. I accept your apology :) Anyway, feel free to create Categoria:Philosophi Franciae and populate it: no discussion needed. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 16:47, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
You may ask why I haven't created it already. The answer is that when we have someone who is really interested in philosophers, it makes more sense to encourage that person to get on with the job! But the job has to be done well: to get a new group of categories (e.g. philosophers in detail) one needs to know that someone is ready to work on it steadily, starting from an established and discussed pattern. This explains why I have been ever more enthusiastic about your natural history categories as you develop that pattern, after you initially began a discussion about it. If you do want to expand the philosopher categories (and please do), I would suggest that you start by discussing, let a pattern be agreed in discussion, then -- when you're happy and others are happy -- reserve the necessary time for it and blitz the philosophers. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:23, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
    1. they belong to a predictable set (like the en: example you give, or like our Categoria:Scripta 1871 or Categoria:Incolae Guianae)
  1. no new redlink categories: if one adds a not-yet-created category to a page, one should then proceed to create it and give it at least the minimum number of members
There's nothing wrong with the color red, and perhaps everything right about it, in that its presence shows the way for contributors to contribute, should they wish to do so. IacobusAmor 11:52, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
You've raised that before, and I've answered it fully on your discussion page. Redlink categories are dangerous: I know this even better now because of the time Schulz-Hameln and I have wasted in these last months creating redlink categories that you have proposed, that turn out to be duplicates of some other category you thought of earlier. Why, you have often created both of the duplicates yourself and left others to merge them. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:28, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
I will gladly agree in return, as you hint, that new category structures should be decided by consensus, not by (as you say) "special decisions that usor X made". I'll even start a page in Vicipaedia: space right now, to link to discussions about category names! Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 15:20, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
I am now working on this page: see Vicipaedia:De categoriis and please comment on its discussion page. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:23, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
Numerous special decisions have already been made and are embedded in the work, such as the one that domestic animals are animalia domesticata instead of, say, animalia domestica. If consensus is the true goal, the default consensus is the structure of the categorical trees in the English wikipedia, to which more human computing power has been devoted than perhaps to all the other wikis combined. IacobusAmor 11:52, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
I've only just noticed your comment at Disputatio Categoriae:Animalia domesticata and have now replied! Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 18:49, 4 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
For the record, your statment "the default consensus is the structure of the categorical trees in the English wikipedia" speaks for no one (so far as I know) except IacobusAmor :) Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:33, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
It's worth adding perhaps that (as you so well demonstrate) we can't, via categories, predict all the searches that anyone might want to do. Other means of getting the information are available. Even within the Wikipedias, this includes lists and special articles (as I already suggest), and looking on other Wikis because they all vary in the information offered, and also other methods. To take the same example, we have a category Categoria:Actores Nigeriae (or will have as soon as Vicipaedia includes any such actors) from which someone with an interest could easily pick out those who are Igbo from others. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 11:33, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
But what about Igbo people who live in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, the United Kingdom, the United States, &c.? IacobusAmor 12:03, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
My suggestions below would already cover that. And you are meanwhile getting into an area that is more and more difficult of definition. What exactly is an Igbo person? What exactly is an English or a British or a Jewish person (see again the dispute to which I linked above), and how is Igboness or Englishness or Britishness or Jewishness transmitted? Is it a dominant trait, a receding trait, or what? Or is it language really? because we could, potentially, categorise people by the languages they speak (we already categorise authors by the languages they write). Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 12:52, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
For starters: an Igbo person is a person who self-identifies as an Igbo. IacobusAmor 13:45, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
[Added before I had read Neander's comment below:] That's potentially difficult under Wikipedia rules; statements made (especially about living individuals) ought to be verifiable from independent sources. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 15:29, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
Ethnic identity isn't the same as ethnic origin. If a person has clearly signalled his/her Igboness, that may be relevant(ish) information, but if a person, by ethnic origin, qualifies for membership in some Igbo-American club or society, even if s/he's not interested, that's a different matter, scarcely worth listing. As an European, I may lack the proper feeling for what it's like to be an American, but isn't it so that, in the heat of the presidency campaign, president Obama's qualifications were questioned on the basis of his ethnic origin. If so, that may be a telling case against listing people according their ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religious conviction, etc. Neander 15:25, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
Our friends (?) at Conservapedia described him (still do, I expect) as the United States' first Muslim president. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 15:31, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)
In a poll conducted in August by the Pew Research Center, about 30 percent of Republicans believed him to be a Muslim. About a year ago, some months after his election & inauguration, about 51 percent of Republicans thought him to have been born outside the United States—and therefore ineligible to be president. IacobusAmor 11:52, 2 Novembris 2010 (UTC)
It is also possible to seach all articles for the word Igbo; it is also possible (even though we don't yet have an article Igbo) to open an edit window at that title, click on "nexus ad paginam" and see what articles, including biographies, we already have that are relevant to this people. And aside from all that, it is possible to go off Wikipedia (Wikipedia isn't a directory) to a directory of actors and search it for those who are Igbo. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 11:33, 31 Octobris 2010 (UTC)