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Originally conceived by Wiki:StanSilver. Categories are classification silos. They group pages together by type. One page may talk about an applicable WikiTechnology, so we put this into CategoryWikiTechnology. Another talks about identity, so we put that into CategoryIdentity. Topics are related discussions which have ideas in multiple categories. For instance, we may draw upon CategoryIdentity and CategoryWikiTechnology and CategoryRatingSystem to describe a TrustMetric-based login system, which would be TopicTrustMetricLogin?.

Categories aren't content identifiers. Most people are capable of determining what a page is about by reading it. They are important as an IndexingScheme. Categories are most useful for finding the old forgotten pages that were not included in the roadmaps.

Topics are more difficult to identify than categories because although any reader can tell what category a page is about from just reading it, topics are only known at the time of their writing. However, we often do not know what we are talking about until we are done talking about it. PageClusters attempts to motivate faster identification of related ideas to keep pace with authors who are more inspired than their editors, but it's important not to confuse topics which are in the WikiNow with what is happening on RecentChanges. Thus, a TopicIHadAnInspirationLastNight? does not work.

Some people have taken the habit of listing the BackLinks of a category on its CategoryFoo page. But don't just create a ForwardIndex of a category's backlinks. If there's some value-added benefit - like a hand-crafted index with descriptions - wonderful. If it's just a direct copy, unsorted, the only benefit it provides is to make adding a page to the category more difficult! Moreover, it provides the illusion that the listing is complete when it more than likely is not, thereby enticing the user away from clicking on the title. AvoidIllusion so that users will continue to use the BackLink search. See BidirectionalIndex.

The above text is PrimarilyPublicDomain.

I've been mistakeningly claiming that StevenBlack invented them when it was StanSilver (cf. Wiki:HistoryOfWikiCategories), which actually resonates with my memory. StevenBlack was the first to make categories endemic to wikis, like in his CategoryFilteredRecentChanges in FoxWiki. If you see me saying this somewhere, please change the text. Apologies to both Stan and Steven. -- SunirShah

See http://fox.wikis.com/wc.dll?wiki~ListCategories for what is probably the best use of categories in a public wiki. (The Foxpro wiki was also my inspiration for the "minor edit" feature.) The FoxWiki:RecentChanges also displays the namespace of each page, which is used for broad categories like "people", "wiki", and "softwareEng". It's well worth a visit.

Categories as proper metadata and SectionedPage

I just realized that the various categories on MeatBall (indeed, any wiki) are used more broadly than to flag pages as belonging to a particular category. (cf. StartingPoints, where CategoryWikiTechnology is explicitly mentioned. Oops -- now CategoryWikiTechnology is mentioned here! ;-) Is there a better way of flagging this, without resorting to MetaData?? I'm thinking of something similar to ObjectOrientedProgramming?; we might, for example, use CategoryWikiTechnology to denote the class itself, but use IsaWikiTechnology? to flag instances of the class.

This would make certain things a little more awkward; searching for an instance, in particular, would take a few more clicks (but the search results would certainly be cleaner). Might there be a better way of doing this? Is this even necessary? I think it might start to become important as a wiki scales up in size. -- anon.

Probably the best way for now is to break the LinkPattern for meta-references, like Category-Wiki-Technology. Of course, since categories *are* wiki techology in this sense, we can get away with the reference here.

Soon (0.92?) I intend for the categories to become metadata. (Or, more precisely, a section of a page. SectionedPages will be part of 0.90, although they might not be user-visible in that release.) This will also eliminate the awkward need for adding "Category" to the front of all category names. Another non-trivial advantage will be that separate categories should save significant space when KeptPages are used. (Only the category section will be versioned in a category-only edit.) By default the categories will probably be shown in their own section. Of course I'll also write scripts to convert Meatball with a relative lack of pain.

The initial interface will probably have a 1 to 3-line textarea for the categories on the edit page. Additionally, I might allow people to (optionally, non-default) have a category form on every page. Then one could just read a page, type in the category, and click the "Save Category" button, rather than opening a separate edit page. Alternately, perhaps users could define a list of frequently-used categories and simply choose one from a drop-down list. Category edits should be available on RecentChanges, but will be easily ignored by most people.

Later advantages might include special tools to help edit categories, such as searching for any non-categorized page (or pages that don't have a category from a certain list). Another possibility is PersonalCategories (non-secure, at least initially). Special search functions. CategoryFilteredRecentChanges. Etc.

Now I just have to stop preaching and get to coding. --CliffordAdams

Sigh. I was wishing for some elegant way of doing it without resorting to MetaData?. I like the fact that a Wiki page is nothing more than a title and a stream of text.

Unfortunately(?), not even Wiki:WikiBase is that simple--it has an author, the last edited date, a revision number, an editcopy version, and a list of links in addition to the main text. At least UseModWiki gets rid of the list of links. :-)

I'd be open to other ideas, but the biggest reason for separating categories is to encourage *much* greater use of them. Especially with PersonalCategories, I imagine that many pages will have more category-edits than content-edits. If categories continue as normal content, I think these edits would interact badly with KeptPages and PeerReview of MinorEdits. (Imagine a 20K page that gets 10 category-edits (mostly PersonalCategories)--that would be 200Kb of KeptPages for trivial changes, and would obscure real content changes.)

Also, the "sections" aren't quite metadata. A page will become a collection of sections, each of which can be modified separately. Some UseModWikis (not necessarily Meatball) might even use multiple "main" sections like "summary", "discussion", or "editorial" text, with the ability to seamlessly merge, reorder, or hide sections. Much of ViewPoint then becomes a method to (securely) share section-display instructions.

Of course, it's up to the Meatball community how far they want to go on the UseModWiki train. I'm quite willing to maintain an "antique" version of UseModWiki if the community prefers that. --CliffordAdams

Is category support part of the base .92 usemod release? I don't see it in the code or configuration file. If it's part of the meatball code can i get that somehow? I'd really like to combine the use of categories with email notifications. We have a lot of people who won't use anything beyond email so the email notification of changes is important. The problem is if they get email notification of every page in the system they just won't use the wiki it all. So i was thinking basing email notifications on category would allow the right degree of filtering. --Todd

See LinkingWithoutIndexing.

Hypertree BackLink search

The BackLink search for a category should be a (hyper)tree. Often categories contain subcategories. The reader wants to know all the material within those subcategories as well. Otherwise, we have to list redundant category tags, which is ugly.

This is something provided by ReverseIndexTree, for categoryxxx and its subcategories. To build an n-level hypertree, it would need to iterate thru n levels(a ?parameter) or examine the "sub category structure" and report on it.

According to Wiki:WikiTopics:

I was just guessing when I set up categories and topics: categories for form; topics for content. It turns out in practice that the form of a page is not important enough to index. People don't want to know where all the discussion pages are, or where all the definition pages are. -- StanSilver

MeatballWiki is planning to move to an OpenCoding scheme. See the InfiniteTypewriter page.

CategoryWikiConventions CategoryWikiTechnology CategoryIndexingScheme CategoryMeatballWikiSuggestion


Fri Aug 28 01:40:34 2009

I would like to introduce myself and say hello not certain if this is the conservative district to do so

Dear visitor, you guessed right and I am very happy to welcome you.

Simply write your RealName in this short temporary WikiPage, save it, then click on the question mark. -- FridemarPache

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