Wikipedia talk:User categories

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Request for comment on our proposed policy for users remaining in redlinked categories

SUPPORT OPTION 2 (MODIFIED):
  • Summary: Consensus exists to support what editors have called Option 2, slightly modified.
  • First point A consensus developed throughout the discussion that these categories, in general, do very little harm, but the editors who work to keep the categories streamlined raise a very valid point that this can become disruptive. When a category is deleted via a Categories for Deletion discussion, there is consensus that at the time the discussion is closed as delete the category should be emptied - just the once. There is no consensus, however, for the continued "emptying out" of that category if editors choose to re-add themselves to it - as long as they don't recreate the category itself as a "blue link" in the process, and there is no consensus for issuing warnings.
  • Second point The deliberate creation of red-linked categories just to prove some kind of point can clearly be disruptive - we're here to work on a collaborative project, and deliberately creating "busy work" for other editors is not within the spirit of this. Hopefully any editors that have done so during the course of this discussion will rethink their actions so we can all go back to improving Wikipedia.
  • I'm aware that my closure of this discussion isn't going to please everyone, but enough editor time has been used up on this. Consensus doesn't mean everyone has exactly the same opinion - it just means that we can all work together. Let's get back to it. Exemplo347 (talk) 08:40, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

There are currently several discussions (1, 2, 3, 4) ongoing as to whether Wikipedians should be allowed to keep redlinked user categories on their user (and user talk) pages. This was prompted by User:Rathfelder creating numerous categories that were previously redlinked, and placing them in Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians. All of the categories created in this manner that have been brought to CfD thus far have been deleted (for violating this guideline) since the vast majority of them are some form of joke category. Rathfelder's rationale behind this action was that he is working on redlink cleanup, and that these categories remaining as redlinks are impeding that process: see reports such as Special:WantedCategories, with a large number of previously deleted user categories. It has been suggested in a series of early IAR CfD closures that this issue needs a centralized RfC to determine what our course of action should be on this issue.

Currently, the status quo is that anything violating WP:USERCAT will be deleted at CfD, and sometimes the categories are emptied when such a CfD closes. In my experience administrators closing such discussions are not always familiar with user categories and often follow the process as they would any other CfD and empty them. Other times, the category is deleted and all users remain. There has never been an official policy ruling on this - the idea, I suppose, is that the categories being deleted alone is sufficiently within policy, while users are not required to remove themselves from the category per our much more lax guidelines in the userspace. This has mostly worked out up until now - Rathfelder was recently blocked for removing a redlinked category from a user page, while in the past users have been threatened with a block (and ultimately their page protected from editing) for re-adding themselves to user categories (a bit different from the issue at hand as that was a container category, but I would submit is still similar).

I should note that, as with any category, it being red-linked alone is not really the concern here. For instance, if there were a redlink on a user's page titled Category:Wikipedians interested in collaborating on topics related to Oregon State University (Something I've been thinking about creating and placing myself in recently), that category would not violate this guideline as it would be likely to help foster collaboration - the best way to deal with this would be to actually create the category. The main concern here is a user placing one's self in a category that's already been determined by consensus at CfD that the category is not helpful to the project - For instance, all the users in Category:Wikipedians who oppose censorship remaining in the category after a CfD resulting in delete.

It appears that we have come to the point where we need some guidance as to the community's thoughts on this issue. In my view, there are four schools of thought on this:

  1. "Redlinks on userspace pages for categories that have previously been deleted are disruptive to encyclopedia building because they hinder those working on redlink cleanup, and we should empty these categories at the conclusion of CfDs and continue to remove userspace pages from them if they are added. Any user violating consensus by re-adding such categories should be warned, and, if necessary, have their userpage protected from editing."
  2. "Redlinks on userspace pages for categories that have previously been deleted are disruptive to encyclopedia building because they hinder those working on redlink cleanup, but punishing users for re-adding these categories is going too far. It should be standard practice to remove users from these categories at the conclusion of a CfD, and perhaps periodically purge such categories, but there should be no repercussions for users who want to re-add the category to their page."
  3. "We should more or less maintain the status quo - Anytime a CfD for a user category is closed, it will not be emptied. Redlinks at the bottom of their userspace pages are not disruptive to the project."
  4. "I disagree with the central reasoning that these types of categories should not exist in the first place. We should get rid of the redlinks by making them blue and modify WP:USERCAT to allow for as much leeway as userspace content traditionally has. User categories should not need to directly benefit the encyclopedia as a precondition for existing."

Thanks, VegaDark (talk) 22:03, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

  • 2, 1, NOT 4 - Personally I sympathize with Rathfelder, in that I too have done redlink cleanup and been very annoyed by the large number of user categories that show up. I don't agree with his solution - turning them blue and throwing WP:USERCAT into the wind, but having been part of the process of making user categories more encyclopedic for over a decade now, I know how much drama this issue has the possibility of creating. I believe 2 is a compromise position - the users who specifically re-add themselves to previously deleted user categories after an initial emptying will likely be few and far between, and should have a minimal impact on redlink cleanup reports. Furthermore, I would recommend a bot go through and clear out userpages in redlinked categories that have a history of deletion citing anything other than C1 as their deletion reasoning, ideally every 3-4 months to help out those doing redlink cleanup. This solution seems to result in the most number of people happy - redlink impact would be minimal while those who add such links to their userpage will be able to continue to do so (and can mark their page for bots to ignore it if they don't want them removed). Furthermore, I will say that leaving users in redlinked categories has, in my experience, made it far more likely that a category will be re-created against consensus. One only need look through my deletion log and search for "G4" to find numerous re-creations of previously deleted content. In my view maintaining the status quo creates more administrative work in this regard. VegaDark (talk) 22:03, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I am quite happy with a compromise solution. But I would like the policy made clearer. I was blocked for doing what I thought I was supposed to do. There are clearly a small number of editors who get very excited about this issue. But a much larger number who don't. I think my Idiosyncratic category has actually helped, rather to my surprise. I don't object to people who want to make jokes. And as far as interfering with the redlink cleanup - categories that start "Wikipedians ..." are not really a problem, because it's easy to see what is going on. It's the others - like {{:Category:Valyarin Wicipedyanar]], for example. Most of those, as best I can judge, are created by accident. So some sort of automated trawl would probably work quite well with them.Rathfelder (talk) 22:20, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
  • 3, and relax WP:USERCAT. The category system is pretty poor, from the design. Few Wikipedians understand them, few poeple use them . Allowing Wikipedians to play with categorisation in userspace has educational benefits. A major, long unfillied request is Wikipedia:Category intersection. In the mean time, what is the point of tight control? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:49, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Sure, the categorization system that exists right now has design flaws — and yes, there are ways in which it could be made better. But until those alternatives are actually implemented, we're stuck working within the system we've got right now. Category intersection was first proposed a full decade ago — if there's a reason it still hasn't been implemented as of today, that reason is very likely to be that it was found to be not feasible for technical reasons, such as excessively long search times and/or excessive server load to actually generate the intersections, and not that people are just dawdling on a thing that could actually be quick-fixed in three seconds flat. But within the system we've got right now, redlinked user categories are actively kludging a necessary maintenance project in an undesirable and unproductive way. If and when category intersection is actually implemented and the categorization system is radically overhauled as a result, then we can revisit whether that changes the case for option #3 or not — but under the system we have today, option #3 is disrupting the proper functioning and maintenance of the system we have today. Bearcat (talk) 17:48, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Massive design flaws, and massive technical neglect. But that aside, it sounds more like it is the maintenance that is a kludge. If maintenance assist tools can't work around userspace categories beginning with "Wikipedias who", then it is the incompetence in maintenance that needs attention. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:20, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Firstly, not all "userspace" categories have the words "Wikipedians" in them at all — for just a few examples, look at Category:Laptop and Category:Vanity and Category:Templatonian footballers. And for another, there is no technical way to prevent somebody from erroneously adding a userspace category to one or more articlespace pages — and so simply adding a filter to the tool to prevent detection of any category that has the word "Wikipedians" in it would make it virtually impossible to find or correct that error. The only way the interference can be avoided entirely is for redlinked user categories to be depopulated, period. Bearcat (talk) 14:25, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps, all userspace categories should begin with "Wikipedians who", or should contain the word ""Wikipedians". I've seen a number of userrcategories renamed this way, and haven't seen a problem with it. Category:Wikipedian Hyphen Luddites for example. Some userspace categories that have been deleted were defensible, but were deleted due to unrepresentative CfD regulars' biases. Most were just stupid. Not distinguishing between the stupid and the defensible has led to this trouble. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:04, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
This is something we can agree on, including the babel categories. We should have every user category have "Wikipedian" in it. VegaDark (talk) 08:25, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
VegaDark, this seems too easy. Has it ever been proposed or attempted before. My experience with too-easy proposals is that they turn out to be overly simplistic. Let me know if you want to take this further. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:53, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm in to assist. I assume it would be as simple as getting consensus on this talk page and then changing the user policy for non-babel categories. Since babel categories are so widely used, including those in the policy (which I think it should) would probably generate a lot of discussion. That might deserve its own RfC (also on this page?). I'd also like to go through the entire user category system to see if there are any outliers that this wouldn't work with to make sure the proposed wording wouldn't have any issues. VegaDark (talk) 07:29, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
"and so simply adding a filter to the tool to prevent detection of any category that has the word "Wikipedians" in it would make it virtually impossible to find or correct that error" Sorry, I don't understand this. Is it important? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:04, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
"The only way the interference can be avoided entirely is for redlinked user categories to be depopulated, period"? Such bald faced absolutism? Acceptable usercategories can be bluelinked. With a relaxation of USERCAT restrictions, there is no need to protest with user-redlinked categories, and then we can be rid of redlinked categories.
  • On reflection, definitely 4. While 3 should be an option, and technical problems solved technically, 4 is a better solution immediately implementable. I note that the whole problem, especially protest categories, are a direct consequence of an overly titght set of restrictions on usercategories. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:04, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • NOT 1 or 4, prefer 3, could live with 2. For things that don't really matter all that much, the status quo is often best. Option 2 wouldn't bother me, but it would bother people who don't know about NOBOTS, and likely lead to pointless arguments every few months if you're really going to periodically clear them out by bot. --Floquenbeam (talk) 00:10, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
    Arguably the bot's edit summary could include something like "Don't want me bothering your page again? Add {{NOBOTS}}" to address that. VegaDark (talk) 02:04, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think your options, unfortunately, don't provide enough nuance to account for the different varieties of potentially-deletable usercats. A red-linked joke category is relatively harmless, and can remain without hurting much. A deleted usercat that was disruptive, on the other hand, should be emptied as soon as the discussion is closed. - Eureka Lott 01:02, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
    @Eureka Lott Feel free to add your own. I think it adds a level of subjectiveness to force a closing admin to determine what is disruptive or not, however. That could pose more problems than it solves. Perhaps "Users should only be removed from redlinked categories if the redlinked category would meet speedy deletion criteria G1, G3, G5, G6, G9, G10, or G11"? I think that would be equivalent to a "2.5" and would be an improvement from the status quo, IMO. VegaDark (talk) 01:56, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
    The deleted disruptive usercat recreation should be treated as WP:Disruption, remedied with caution, warning and blocking, not treated as a CfD maintenance issue. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:15, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
    The speedy deletion criteria would help in some instances, but don't always apply to disruptive user categories. WP:USERCAT#DIVISIVE has a couple of good examples. If similar categories were created today, they'd have to go through CFD, not speedy deletion. - Eureka Lott 21:41, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
  • For now I sympathize the most with option 3 or else option 2 as it causes the least annoyance among editors about interference in their own user space. However before making a final call it is important to know how much hindrance these categories really cause for maintenance. Is it perhaps too naïeve of me to think that while cleaning up redlinked categories you can just skip and ignore user categories? @VegaDark and Rathfelder: Are you willing to clarify this further? Marcocapelle (talk) 08:07, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
  • There are many thousands of red categories. I don't want to spend a long term trying to work out what the score is with something which is actually a joke, which is why I think its better for the categories to be created rather than to be left as red links. It's much less of a problem if it is clear from the red link that it relates to a user page, because all that appears in the category list is the redlink. I can happily ignore everything which starts "Wikipedians who ...", but it is not so obvious what Category:Fictional editors is. I favour a periodical purge, because quite apart from the jokes there are many hundreds more red links on user pages which, as far as I can tell, are mistakes made by new editors on user pages which have been abandoned. But I am not in favour of sanctions against editors who are very attached to their red links Rathfelder (talk) 20:31, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm suddenly realizing now that I misread option 3. Maintaining the status quo would mean something different for me. Let's call this option 5 then. It means we don't actively turn redlinked user categories to bluelinked user categories for maintenance purposes, in order to avoid flooding CfD with them. It should only be CfD'd when a user who has the category tag on the user page decides to make it a bluelinked category. If someone else than a user him/herself did this, the category should be reverted to a redlinked category without further discussion. This is most in line with the recent speedy closures of User:BrownHairedGirl. Marcocapelle (talk) 10:32, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Propose new Option 0: similar to 1 or 2, but with modification. I speedy-closed the CFDs because CFD was becoming flooded with multiple debates which were all essentially about the same question of principle. Per WP:MULTI, that's a bad way to resolve any issue. Centralised discussion is preferable, so many thanks to VegaDark for starting this RFC.
    I should also note that I have a stake in this issue: I have had two red-linked categories on my userpage for about ten years, created as sarcastic responses to the then proliferation of the sort of user categories which were subsequently purged.
    However, that joke is now really old. It's tired and irrelevant. It's time I removed those red-linked categories, which I will do after this edit. (done)
    I had previously defended these red-linked categories on the grounds that a) humour is good for us all, b) they do no harm, and c) we give editors a fair bit of leeway in constructing their userpages. But I have changed my mind because I now think point B is wrong: these categories do cause harm, by impeding the work of editors such as Rathfelder who are trying eliminate the backlog of redlinked categories.
    That work is crucially important to maintaining the integrity of the category system, and placing obstacles in its way disrupts the maintenance of categories. That harms editors whose time is wasted, and above all it disrupts readers who are deprived of the navigational benefits of working categories. If editors want to create jokes on their userpages, then feel free to write text, add an image, or create/add a userbox -- but sorry, mucking with the category system causes harm which makes your joke unfunny.
    For me, that's the crucial point here. A joke ceases to be a joke when it disproportionately amplified or disrupts things which actually matter. The witticism which may be appropriate as an aside to a co-worker or family member becomes disruptive when shouted out at a team meeting or a family gathering. This is a sort of WP:JERK issue, and those editors (like me) who created these red-linked categories have been unaware that they have been a bit of a jerk.
    I don't think that Rathfelder's creation of all these pointless categories was a good idea, but I do want to congratulate Rathfelder for identifying a real problem and bringing it to a head. I'd prefer that they had chosen another method of doing so, such an opening an RFC, but the intention was good. So let's take the opportunity to actually resolve the underlying problem -- which is that redlinked user categories are disruptive
    So I propose Option 0: Red-linked categories on userpages should be removed, because they disrupt the category system by impeding the work of editors who maintain categories by eliminating redlinks. Editors who want to signal their views, interests or jokes in ways which do not comply with WP:USERCAT should use userboxes, text or images on their userapage, but not red-linked categories. Any editor may remove a red-linked category from a userpage, just as they can do when userpages are categorised in mainspace categories. Editors who repeatedly add red-linked categories to their userpages may be subject to escalating warnings in the usual way. As with any other form of disruptive editing, editors who persist in this disruptive conduct despite warnings may face sanctions.
    Obviously, that leaves open the possibility that a redlinked category may be restored and turned blue (either by the owner of the userpage or by another editor), in which case the merits of the category can be considered in the usual ways: CFD, or speedy deletion in some cases. (The speedy criteria which might apply include WP:G1 for patent nonsense such as this one of mine, WP:G2 for tests (e.g. "zxcvbnmmasdfghjkli"), WP:G3 for vandalism or hoaxes, WP;G4 for re-creations after CFD, WP:G10 for attack categories (e.g. "Wikipedians who think X is a scumbag") etc. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:46, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    • If the category system has such integrity, why is it so much effort to maintain it? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:07, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
      • @SmokeyJoe: Because Wikipedia is a work-in-progress, and the huge volume of constant changes needs to be monitored to ensure that they work. Like eveything else on en.wp, categories are far from perfect ... but ongoing maintenance ensures that they don't degrade as changes are made. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:28, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
      • For the same reasons as everything else in Wikipedia, including actual articles, require effort to maintain them. Because Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that anybody can edit, lots of things get created on here that genuinely should not be kept — which means that maintaining Wikipedia's integrity does depend on cleaning that stuff up when it happens. Bearcat (talk) 17:34, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
        • No BHG, Bearcat, it is because the category system doesn't work as required. You are supporting a sandcastle in the rain. Articles require nowhere near this amount of effort to maintain, every Wikipedian understands article maintenance. MOS issues are not maintenance. The category system needs attention, and many of the red linked categories are repopulated in protest. A draconian authoritarian response to the protest against overenthusiastic usercat deletionism is not a healthy response. Category:Neutral good Wikipedians, for example, was a quiet network of similarly thinking people, until it was deleted by arrogant ignorance. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 10:48, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
          • Articles require far more effort to maintain than you seem to think they do; MOS is not the only kind of maintenance that articles actually have to undergo: content disputes, NPOV issues, the creation of outright hoaxes, the perennial problem of people confusing Wikipedia with a free PR database where they're entitled to post their own résumés, are just some examples of the many other problems that result in article maintenance taking up a lot more editor time and energy, on the whole, than category maintenance actually does. Just as an example, AFD is having a good day if the number of articles listed for deletion is below 100; CFD is having a bad day if the number of categories for deletion exceeds 10. And even the tag-based category intersection system you favour would still require maintenance — there would still be the issue of people adding articlespace category tags to userspace pages, there would still be the issue of the creation of unwanted category tags such as for hair colour or eye colour, there would still be spelling errors to fix (e.g. somebody tagging 24 Sussex Drive as "Ottowa" instead of "Ottawa"), there would still be the disruptive application of category tags to articles that don't belong in those categories (e.g. Justin Bieber getting the "LGBT" tag), and on and so forth. The system would not be maintenance-free; it would just change how the maintenance processes are structured. Bearcat (talk) 14:45, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Just for clarification, Option 0 differs from option 1 solely in the fact that it gives editors permission to remove redlinked categories from a userspace page, even if the category has never gone through the CfD process? (whereas option 1 would only allow removal of categories that have been discussed), correct? VegaDark (talk) 20:37, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
            • Bearcat, I did think I needed to clarify that when writing it, I must have been rushed. Existing articles are fairly self-maintaining. I watchlist a great many articles, and problem edits are very infrequent. I meant to exclude new articles, which you mention. My solution to that would be to prevent new article creation until the user is autoconfirmed (Wikipedia:ACTRIAL). Most of the remaining challenges are due to NPOV disputes. As previously posted, I am warming to the idea of removing all redlinks, on condition of more tolerance of bluelinked usercategories. Only a small proportion of userspace redlinked categories would be suitable for bluelinking, but some definitely. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:51, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support removing userpages from redlinked user categories as things currently stand; qualified support for option #3 if there can be a programming change to reduce their disruptiveness. Leaving users in redlinked user categories actively interferes with an important ongoing maintenance project, namely by cluttering up Special:WantedCategories with kludge that can never be cleaned up or created. And it's not helpful to just say "the people working on that project should just ignore the user categories and concentrate on the article cats", either: the wanted-categories report only picks up 5,000 redlinked categories, while anything from 5,001 on remains hidden until such time as it's dropped below #5,000 — and the backlog is packed right up to and past the 5,000 cutoff, which means the user-category kludge is actually causing mainspace categories to not get detected, and so "just work around them" is not the answer.
    So if, and only if, the redlinked-category tools are reprogrammed to exclude userspace categories from appearing as "wanted categories" at all and their existence is no longer disrupting an important maintenance task, then I'd be willing to support option #3. But if that isn't and/or can't be done (e.g. it may very well be functionally impossible to program the server to distinguish a redlinked category that's intended for userspace from one that's intended for mainspace — frex, redlinked user categories don't always actually contain the word "Wikipedians"), then the policy has to be some form of removal, because the people working on that project should not be forced to put up with unresolvable kludge in their project queue. Bearcat (talk) 17:34, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • This discussion basically involves a trade-off between different stakeholders and interests:
A) editors who want to keep their relative freedom in their own user space;
B) editors working in maintenance like User:Rathfelder;
C) the integrity of the (visible) category tree;
D) avoiding that CfD gets flooded by user categories.
Initially I was hoping that the maintenance aspect (#B) would be less of a problem, I wasn't sure however, and with the recent comments it seems like that this should on the contrary have a high weight. That reduces the solution space to only the two most extreme solutions, #1 (or #0) and #4, despite the fact many of us don't want to make a choice for an extreme solution (see many votes for #2 and #3 in the early phase of the discussion). If we have to choose this way, I would actually want to reconsider #4 as opted by Rathfelder. Option 4 is obviously better than option 1 with respect to interests A and D, it is neutral with respect to interest B, and if maintenance people keep the nonsense categories separate in the tree (as Rathfelder did), then it is not a problem to interest C either. Marcocapelle (talk) 18:12, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Option 4 would be a slap in the face for stakeholder E) People who are here to build an improve an encyclopedia, want to reinforce that Wikipedia is not a social network, and want to maintain a semblance of value towards that end for the user category system. VegaDark (talk) 20:33, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Category:Idiosyncratic_Wikipedians currently contains subcats with only one or two users (with one exception containing 3 users). That doesn't sound like social networking. We can also add a rule if the number of users in such a category becomes 5 or more (i.e. if there is a real suspicion of social networking) that the categories may be nominated for deletion after all (we might expand speedy deletion criteria for this purpose). Marcocapelle (talk) 10:25, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Editor networking via categories is long since hampered by the intolerance of the CfD clique. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 10:39, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • So? Do you agree or disagree with the view that this is not a case of social networking? Marcocapelle (talk) 10:48, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
          • I'm not really sure, but I don't think there is much project-unrelated networking. There looks to be a lot of random stuff, always has been, and genuine good-faith, even if I'll-considered, attempts at project-related networking gets caught up with it. Think the solution is to be more tolerant of user categories and leave them bluelinked, unless and until it is agreed that they are actually divisive, or for some external non-project purpose. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:55, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Thanks I like your description of this being "random stuff", implying it's neither project related nor social network related, it's just without purpose. Marcocapelle (talk) 16:54, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Option 1. If we delete a category, then it should remain empty. Creating it as a redlinked category may be as bad as creating it as a blue-linked category, withtthe additional disadvantage that it hinders dealing with other red-linked categories. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 06:29, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • 3. It seems to to be the solution which creates problems for the fewest people. I'd happily support a tech change to make things easier on those who have problems at Special:WantedCategories. I think we should seriously consider relaxing WP:USERCAT somewhat. A wiki is supposed to be free form, after all. We should probably encourage people to include "Wikipedians" in any user category, but I'd also support a software change to mark user categories somehow. I wouldn't be opposed to some version of 2, provided there was an opt-out (i.e. bot exclusion, marked in edit summary and preferably talk page message). 1 seems to desert everything we stand for as an open community. Tamwin (talk) 16:33, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Option 2 or 0. As someone who has had an on-and-off relationship with Special:WantedCategories, I often feel unmotivated, if not right-out discouraged to bother with the red-linked categories backlog when I know I'll be needing to delve into a sea of nonsense that I feel I can do nothing about. I can't empty the deleted user categories because someone will have a fit; I can't (and won't) create them because they don't facilitate the collaboration on or to the benefit of the project. All that does is encourage me to walk away and leave the backlog to continue to rot, instead of cutting it down. It's time to give this silliness a rest and not impede on the work of other Wikipedians who actually want to put the effort in. — ξxplicit 04:31, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Vote #3 or #2 and NOT 1 or 4 – because they are too strong restricting light jokes. While I can undertstand that it is annoying for Cat-cleanups, I suggest this can somehow be made technically easier, because non-existent "red" cats are only allowed on user/talk pages (see also 2 sections below). Also "Redlinks on userspace pages for categories" is a bit of an unlucky wording, because it addresses red links, not the categorization in the first place, so it would even forbid to put Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user talk page as a link on your userpage. --.js 17:21, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
  • 2 as a very strong first option, then 1. Special:WantedCategories shouldn't be polluted by red linked user categories, but punishing editors for having red linked user categories goes farther than is necessary. ~ Rob13Talk 22:32, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break

  • FWIW, I had already seen this discussion before the ping. I try to stay away from cat discussions because the entire system is flawed and it is an area that is generally controlled by obsessive types whom I simply can't understand and who seem to enjoy fiddling back and forth with specious wording day in, day out. If I had my way, I'd try to find a replacement for the entire system. That said, I don't see what harm comes from redlinked usercats. If people find them irritating then go do something else, just as I generally do when it comes to cat discussions. - Sitush (talk) 13:09, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
The harm that comes from redlinked user categories is that they actively interfere with the proper functioning of the project to clean up the backlog of redlinked article categories; as I noted above, Special:WantedCategories only has the ability to detect 5,000 redlinked categories and then just stops — which means that if the 5,000 limit is getting cluttered up by redlinked user categories, then article categories that do need to get detected and dealt with aren't, because the large number of user categories in the list is crowding them out. Bearcat (talk) 14:15, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Is it not possible for Special:WantedCategories to search specific namespaces?  pablo 15:45, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
User categories aren't a different namespace from article categories — they're all in the Category: namespace. I suppose, in theory, the creation of a new "user category" namespace, and the migration to it of all user categories whether bluelinked or redlinked, would be another potential solution to this issue — and then user category rules could be revisited since they'd be playing in their own separate sandbox and wouldn't be getting muddled with mainspace categories or interfering with mainspace maintenance anymore — but I'm not familiar enough with the programming side to know if that could be done easily or not. I am sure that it's possible, as we have seen the creation and introduction of new namespaces that didn't previously exist, though I know nothing of how much work it takes — but I've posted to Wikipedia:Village pump (technical) to ask if anybody could clarify how easy or complicated it might be to move forward with that. Bearcat (talk) 17:29, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. I was notified of this discussion from the outset. Sitush makes points in a way designed to be civil and non pointy. I just want the outcome here to really really annoy Rathfelder. Roxy the dog. bark 13:40, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
I would like to find a solution that does not annoy Roxy the dog.. Rathfelder 16:02, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Touche. Roxy the dog. bark 18:16, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Just to add to the comment by User:Sitush: I try to avoid participating in anything category-related. I feel it is a waste of time:
      • The same discussions go on and on, no true consensus is reached, and little gets documented for the next generation of participants
      • The above is viewed as a a good thing by the small clique who basically wp:owns the category space, who then make decisions with no one opposing
      • Some members of the clique are proud to tell others that they do not notify editors of discussions
      • editors who are not part of the clique are sometimes ganged up on and banned, supposedly by consensus Ottawahitech (talk)please ping me
  • I suppose I'm with Ottawahitech in that I think these are a waste of time. I'm a proud member of four redlinked categories, none of which are really a joke--even "Wikipedian sex workers" isn't really funny, or not really intended to be funny, and I'm sad to see that these days Jaguar and I are the only ones listed. Have the Wikipedian sex workers gone underground? Is it more an unpaid volunteering effort these days, like so much of our work? Anyway, I don't see the big deal, I don't understand what there is to clean up, I don't understand why we're tinkering with categories (an imperfect system if only because reality isn't categorized so easily). We're a collaborative project where we should find ways to get along. This technocratic thinking does not do that. Drmies (talk) 19:14, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
"What there is to clean up" is the hundreds upon hundreds of redlinked user categories that are permanently cluttering up Special:WantedCategories, in turn preventing the proper detection and resolution of articlespace categories because that queue has a size limit on it. Whatever solution is implemented here, it has to get user categories off Special:WantedCategories from now on, so "just do nothing" is not an option. Bearcat (talk) 20:12, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Sorry Bearcat, but "doing nothing" is a perfectly fine option with me. I envision a society where all people get along and have affordable health care, and where not everything has to be centralized--a world in which Wikipedia editors have Wikipedia editor friends with slightly different skill sets who help each other out. For instance, my good friend LadyofShalott frequently makes categories for me, or categorizes things for me, in articles I write. But my Wikipedia is partly a pipe dream. And "Wikipedians who are not a Wikipedian" carries much meaning, for instance--meaning which you or others may not be aware of, and that's fine. We're a big tent. Drmies (talk) 15:21, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
You're entirely missing the point of what I said. The problem here was, is and continues to be that redlinked user categories are cluttering up and interfering with the proper functioning of the tools that exist to deal with the important maintenance issue of redlinked article categories. If there were a way to segregate user categories into a separate namespace, so that the "redlinked category" tools could be reprogrammed to simply ignore them, then "do nothing" would be a perfectly acceptable option — but until that actually happens, "do nothing" just means "tough titties, the people who work with that maintenance queue just have to live with having it cluttered up by uncreatable and unremovable categories". But that's not acceptable: something has to be done which enables redlinked user categories to be cleared from the redlinked article categories queue. Bearcat (talk) 23:20, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Probably option 3, except for disruptive categories. (Category:Nazi Wikipedians, which I certainly hope is red and empty.) For one thing, I don't see why a red category Template:Fooian Wikipedians is better or worse than one containing the text "Fooian Wikipedians" with no links. (If you check, you'll see I recently nominated a real category for deletion for being non-defining, but also having no description.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:43, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Again, redlinked user categories get detected by the redlinked category tools — which means that they are disruptive to the project, because they're actively interfering with a necessary maintenance tool. Any solution that gets userpage categories entirely and permanently off of Special:WantedCategories would be fine — but no solution that fails to do that is acceptable at all. Bearcat (talk) 20:10, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Just to prove a point to myself, I have just visited Special:WantedCategories and sorted out perhaps 50-60 of the redlinks. While there are user cats in there, the number of redlinked sock cats looks just as high, and despite both of them there are plenty of other cats visible and fixable. I'm sure at some point in the distant future there might be 5000 user cats at the head of the list but it is nothing like that at the moment. Presumably I am missing something here? - Sitush (talk) 22:09, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
You clearly scanned only a portion of the list, not the whole thing, because there are far more of them than you seem to think — especially later in the list when the number of entries per category is actually down to two or one rather than the beginning where it's in the 20s and 30s — and as I've already noted more than once above, not all user categories even necessarily have the word "Wikipedians" in them at all, so even for the portion that you did look at you almost certainly saw more than you think you did. And the correct number of user categories on that list is and remains zero, and there can be no solution to this problem which amounts to "tough beans, just work around them and live with it" — the solution has to find a way to get the number down to zero. Bearcat (talk) 22:16, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
It seems to me the problem here is with the 'Tool'. Fix the tool and stop bothering wikipedians. Roxy the dog. bark 22:29, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
No, I didn't. I went through to 4500-5000 and started there, randomly working backwards. Nor did I base it on having "Wikipedians" at the start - indeed, I clicked on some that were user cats and did not. Give me some credit for not being totally stupid. I don't disagree that some solution may be necessary at some point - I even intimated that above - but this issue does seem like an obsessive's paradise. And I count myself as a mild obsessive, eg: I quite often search and replace instances of "passed away" (WP:EUPHEMISM) but I don't make a song and dance out of it. - Sitush (talk) 00:26, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
The tool is not "fixable" in any way that would prevent user categories from still cluttering it up, because it's not possible make the system able to distinguish a redlinked user category from a redlinked content category. And just for the record, the people who work with the tool are also Wikipedians whose right not to be "bothered" is not one fraction of one iota less than your right not to be "bothered" — so if you think "don't bother wikipedians" was some kind of trump card that ends the need for something to be done about this, then I'm sorry to tell you that it's not. Bearcat (talk) 22:38, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
The problem is not just the tool. I don't use the tool. I work from the alphabetical list of categories which gives me a different view, particularly of spelling and punctuation mistakes in applying categories. Rathfelder 23:47, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I am getting the feeling that the problem here is driven by deletion (converting from blue to red) of categories wanted for some reason, but where the some reason is not valued by the CfD regulars. The fix to this could be:
Replace throughout "Categories" with "User-Categories", to emphasise that rules from usercategories are different to rules for mainspace categories.
  • Remove "Categories that are too broadly or vaguely defined",
on the basis that this is subjective, and CfD-ers are not representative enough to judge, and because these categories are completely harmless if bluelinked. Instead, advise their creators on the benefit of more specific, less vaguely, defined categories.
  • Remove "Categories that are overly narrow in scope",
as again this is subjective, and CfD regulars are non-representative. And, as usercategories, they are harmless. There probably is benefit, either in educating Wikipedians of the drawbacks of narrowc categories, or in helping provide impetus in demanding tehnical support for dynamic categorisation.
  • Change "Categories which group users by advocacy of a position"
to refer only to positions "unrelated to Wikipedia"
  • Change "Categories that are divisive, provocative, or otherwise disruptive"
by deleting "provocative". BRD is provocation. Provocation is a valid technique for engaging apathetic stonewallers.
  • Remove "Categories that are jokes/nonsense",
again, subjective. If project related, there is a lot to be learned via jokes, and nonsense, if not WP:CSD#G1, is probably not nonsense.
The result will be a lot more bluelinked usercategories replacing redlinked user categories, solving the problem. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:19, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • So, you think categories have no role for editors, and you squeeze only harder, damn the consequences? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:14, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think that if our goal is to build an encyclopedia, we should act like it. People donate their hard earned money for Wikipedia to keep growing and improving. I genuinely think that if the general public saw the state of user categories before the current iteration of WP:USERCAT, or what would become of it after your proposed revisions, it would be very off-putting. It would be like donating to an organization you care about and finding out that some of the money went towards an office party where all they did was get drunk and make an ass out of themselves instead of the donation directly contributing to the organization's mission. I don't think we have to always be 100% improving the encyclopedia at every turn, but the thing is we already allow tremendous leeway in userspace. There's no user category namespace so these categories intermingle with mainspace categories, which to me is unacceptable unless they directly improve the encyclopedia. Even if we had a user category namespace, I would wish it to be centered around improving the encyclopedia, although I would grant it far more leeway than my current position. VegaDark (talk) 08:15, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. As it is extremely rare that a category should include user (or user talk) pages and article pages, what is needed is a separate type of category which is intended to include user and user talk pages; if a user or user talk page is in a category not in this group, it needs cleanup; if anything other than a user or user talk page is in a category in this group, it needs cleanup. That's a separate issue from red-linked category cleanup, but it's probably more important. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 03:42, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Agree, but I don't think that has ever been in doubt. A reader clicking on a visible mainspace category at the bottom of an article should be led to nothing other than other articles or further mainspace categories leading only to other articles. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:51, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think I had a reasonable solution way above in the discussion, let me recap this more formally:
I. If editors consistently working to clean up Special:WantedCategories create user category pages based on redlinks at user pages (thus turning these redlinks blue), they should parent the created user category only to Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians.
II. User categories only in Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians are not eligible for deletion via CfD (except see IV).
III. If any editor desires to add another parent or remove Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians, they must do so via CfD.
IV. If the number of users in this kind of category is 5 or higher (suggesting the start of social networking), it is eligible for speedy deletion, which includes removing the links from the user pages.
III and IV are additional security measures, they aren't applicable in the current situation but they may become applicable in the future. By and large this addresses all issues mentioned in this discussion. Marcocapelle (talk) 06:44, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
    • I think there are many reasonable solutions. Let's look at yours...
      • I. Surely, if I am in the redlinked category Category:Wikipedians interested in collaborating on topics related to Oregon State University, and I intend to collaborate the topics, I may turn it blue? I'm not sure what (I) attempts to address, is it to stop pointy reactions to pointy self-referential redlinks? I am not sure, but I think we need a consideration of what existing category redlinks are OK to remain populated, but not OK to bluelink. I just reviewed some CfDs that turned populated usercategories red, 2007 to 2011. A lot were strongly disputed, and many !votes gave no rationale beyond pointing t this guideline, a guideline that I thing desperately needs a {{disputed}} tag.
      • II Why that category? A lot of actually good faith positively intentioned usercategories are not well characterised by "Idiosyncratic", meaning all about an individual, the opposite of networking. Single-member redlink categories I think have the least credibility. A different category name perhaps?
      • III Add another parent? You mean anyone who wants to categorise Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians? I'm not sure I understand.
      • IV Have you already differentiated "social networking" from "networking for project related purposes"? As above, usercategories are for networking, whether networking members together, or providing a network of editors avail to help in specific tasks?
I suspect I am nearly entirely confused. What problems are you seeking to solve? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:15, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • It may be helpful to read my contribution of 18:12, 8 January 2017 (UTC) and the follow-up discussion with User:VegaDark to see what problems it solves. Then your questions:
Question re I. It only applies when you are consistently working on cleaning up Special:WantedCategories, that is an important restriction.
Question re II. Fair enough to rename Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians. It should be clear that it's a maintenance category anyway.
Question re III. Not Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians but a created category (in step I) that is a child category of Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians. If that's not clear, the sentence should be rephrased.
Question re IV. If users find it useful to be taken out of maintenance space (in step III) its merits can be evaluated in CfD, nothing different from how it went previously. (Except, for the type of categories we are discussing right now, this would be an extremely unlikely scenario.) Also I don't mind if anyone knows a proper definition for "social networking" from "networking for project related purposes".
Hope this answers your questions more or less. Marcocapelle (talk) 18:27, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Q1. Why does anyone care? Why is it useful to peruse this list, and then to do anything about anything in there.
Assume a reasonable answer to Q1, some ideas, some old:
(#1) Restrict category creation to qualified editors. (will greatly assist mainspace category maintenance). Requested categories by non-qualified editors may be requested at CfD. NB. This in now way resticts editors from adding articles to categories, or removing them, those are article edits.
(#2) Relax USERCAT to allow anything that is claimed to assist the project in any way, including user collabroation, networking, support, even if hard to understand.
(#3) Have a bot remove all redlinked categories from all pages. The ability to be a member of an non-existent category is a technical bug of the category system. New categories have to be created before filling.

--SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:31, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

  • With your first line, "weird stuff" you're exactly on target. This is stuff that should not be cared about except that it seriously pollutes Special:WantedCategories. It's primarily a maintenance problem. Marcocapelle (talk) 18:27, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • What makes it "useful" to peruse that list, and then to do anything about anything in there, is that redlinked mainspace categories have to be either (a) created if they're genuinely useful and warranted, (b) corrected to point to the real category if they're misspelled or misnamed versions of other categories that already exist (people do not always categorize things correctly), or (c) get stripped from the article if they're neither of those things (such as somebody deliberately adding a nonsense category as a form of vandalism.) It's not useful to just ignore redlinked categories in mainspace. That you don't personally care about the task doesn't make it an unimportant task that Wikipedia need not concern itself with at all — relinked article categories are an issue to which attention does have to be paid whether you care about it or not. Bearcat (talk) 23:07, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Bearcat, so what you are saying is that Special:WantedCategories is the only (or only reasonable) way to discover new mainspace category redlinks? I agree that reviewing new mainspace category redlinks is important. So it is required to either: (1) improved the tool, or make a new tool; or (2) remove the userspace category redlinks as they pollute the tool's results? I can't see how I can help with (1), but on (2) I will agree if it is agreed to allow potentially indirectly useful user-categories to be bluelinked. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:41, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
If user categories could be separated from article categories I wouldn't mind what sort of weirdness went on there. I'm not against a bit of social networking. I think it helps people to work together. Rathfelder 20:15, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Option 3 is the way to go, just eave users to clean up redlinks on their own userpages. It causes less drama and upset than the other options. Option 4 is against the CFD and will upset those that wanted to eliminate the category. Option 1 will certainly upset the individuals, and is kind of a tyranny of democracy. Option 2 is not so disruptive, but is more busy work than option 3. Many of these CFDs for usercats will be Wikipolitics, and then have people opposing to each other. We should not create drama when we don't need to, as it is a distraction from building an encyclopedia. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:02, 10 January 2017 (UTC) (who has one redlinked category on user page as a protest against its deletion)
Option #3 is acceptable only if a way can be found to segregate user categories from article categories, so that redlinked user categories are no longer interfering with the maintenance tools that exist to deal with the critically important issue of cleaning up redlinked mainspace categories. Bearcat (talk) 23:07, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Can I still vote? Option 4. Categories on user pages are part of user pages. Categories that are objectionable to category patrollers can be added to Category:Wikipedians or some other tidy overarching category to mark them as part of the networking and fun that are also part of facilitating collaboration here. The technical fact that there is no special category space analogous to the special template space where we put userboxes is not a justification for not allowing equivalent leeway in self-applied user categories; they are parallel cases and contribute in a parallel manner to fostering community and collegiality (in addition to the case of identifying shared editing interests currently allowed under the narrow interpretation of WP:USERCAT. Yngvadottir (talk) 21:26, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Another Arbitrary section break

  • My guess is that more than 99% of redlink categories on user pages are accidents and mistakes, mostly on user pages which are no longer used. If we could remove them the problem would be fixed. But there is no obvious way of distinguishing them for the small minority who care about their red links and object to them being interfered with. Rathfelder 22:15, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I entirely agree with every word Sitush and Drmies say above. I suggest as gently as possible that the people who suggest mowing down the flowers to keep the lawn tidy may not realize what a chilling effect — or, as Graeme Bartlett puts it, drama and upset — that would have on the users who like having them, if only as a form of self-expression and added liveliness. I agree with Roxy that the problem is with the tool, not the users.[1] I don't know how to make or improve tools, but surely it can be done. In other words, it's option 3 for me, and please fix the problem in another way. Bishonen | talk 18:16, 11 January 2017 (UTC).
  • #3 People need to learn to WP:DGAF about things that really, really don't matter. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:28, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Option 3; plus tool improvement per Roxy the dog and Bishonen The Lizard Queen. pablo 13:01, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Combination of 3 and 4. Options 0, 1, and 2 are awful ideas for an automatic approach, and actively harmful to the community at times. There have been categories deleted at CfD that should never ever have been deleted – such as the LGBT Wikipedian categories which were deleted some years ago and involving some of the editors in this thread, completely missing the insult this was to many editors – and depopulating them after the deletion is an example of adding insult to injury. Some red categories – Wikipedians who are not Wikipedians, for example – are included as a protest about an action / event that is a form of expression which editors should be free to use. Editors are not automatons, and the idea that the convenience of those who work in categories should curtail or eliminate the expression of editors is offensive. Yes, an editor can post on their user page, but that doesn't make those with similar views easy to find. When CfDs are created to remove user categories without the category's members being notified, which I find unprincipled and obnoxious (at best), being able to contact former members through red links can be helpful and appropriate, and removing the resulting red links may seem like tidying but can also be inflammatory. The Wikipedians who are not Wikipedians example facilitated discussion of a serious ArbCom issue, as well as registering objections in a tangible way. Removing red links on user pages of editors who have no edited in many years is one thing, doing it to active editors is unreasonable unless the link is itself offensive. I said "combination of 3 and 4" as there are red link categories which should be blue, and there are red link categories who should be red, are there are links which should be removed... but the joke and other red categories were put there by people and they should only be dealt with by editors who see the people behind the edits and can be sensitive to the reasons the links exist. There are editors in this discussion whose judgement and actions in earlier discussions suggest to me that they are not suited to such a task. EdChem (talk) 13:00, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm OK with either 2, 3, or 4, and I strongly oppose 1. I also feel negatively about calling the new category "idiosyncratic", because that is semi-pejorative. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:20, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

Is the problem with the tool or with the CfDers?

@Bishonen: I have been carrying on a Don Quixote mission against the wp:CfDers/Category establishment for years. It is only now that I realize I am not alone in my frustration. I am also pinging these regulars that I have seen participating in wp:CfD discussions: user:Carlossuarez46 user:Marcocapelle User:Johnpacklambert User:RevelationDirect user:Peterkingiron user:Oculi User:Shawn in Montreal user:Od Mishehu User:Fayenatic london User:BU Rob13 user:Hugo999 user:Jc37 user:PanchoS user:DexDor User:Obionekenobi There are also others who (I think) frequent the even more secretive wp:C2C. Can someone invite them please? Ottawahitech (talk) 15:03, 12 January 2017 (UTC)please ping me

Pinging user:Obiwankenobi, user:Timrollpickering, user:The Bushranger, user:Armbrust, user:Hmains.
@Ottawahitech: As for your Don Quixote mission, is Category talk:Residential condominiums in Miami an example? I replied at 22:07, 14 September 2016 suggesting what could and should be done if there was anything wrong in the category change there; but you only seemed to be carrying out an investigation/complaint about CFD process, not identifying or fixing anything wrong with the content of the encyclopedia (e.g. mis-categorised articles). – Fayenatic London 22:45, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
What exactly am I being pinged to? What is the perceived problem here? ~ Rob13Talk 15:09, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
@Ottawahitech: Ditto. Do we have to read all the above? I haven't participated because I'm indifferent on the question at the top. Also, once you have clarified the question, I think you meant Obiwankenobi; and I'd add Timrollpickering). – Fayenatic London 15:15, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
Ottawahitech, whatever you need, you can't take me for a regular, as you have been active on en:wp for three times longer than me. Marcocapelle (talk) 20:14, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
@Marcoappelle: How does your amount of experience on Wikipedia relate to the question: Is the problem with the tool or with the CfDers? Ottawahitech (talk) 16:50, 14 January 2017 (UTC)please ping me
  • @Ottawahitech: You said you were pinging regulars, I'm assuming that is related to experience level, but you're much more regular in that sense than I am. What question can I answer that you can't answer yourself? I don't understand the question to begin with. Marcocapelle (talk) 22:10, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
Hi @Fayenatic london:, I sympathize, I also hate spending time in endless discussions. But I would rather not rephrase comments made by others.Will it help if I say that the comments made by User:Sitush, User:Drmies, User:Roxy the dogg and user:Bishonen in the thread above are the ones that will bring you up to snufff in the shortest time? Ottawahitech (talk) 16:50, 14 January 2017 (UTC)please ping me
OK, after a quick scan of parts of the above I'm in sympathy with option 3, but I hesitate to express a firm opinion without properly reading the debate and supporting/precedent pages. It seems to me that Special:WantedCategories is useful, as I have just dived into a page around #500 and resolved about 10 of them; but there are multiple ways in which the tool could be improved. E.g. editors could manually create an "opt-out" list A, of redlinked categories that do not need to be created; and a bot could produce another list B, based on the special page but excluding those on page A. Page B would then be a page where category creators could look for work. – Fayenatic London 22:31, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
@BU Rob13: When you became an admin on 9 July 2016 your nominator introduced you with these words: I believe that he would be a fantastic addition to our presently small corp of admins who can help manage CfD and, He has demonstrated a natural ability to discern consensus (or lack thereof) in discussions which are often complex and far from clear-cut. I therefore thought you may be i interested in this discussion? Ottawahitech (talk) 16:50, 14 January 2017 (UTC)please ping me
All I have to note is that @VegaDark:'s comment above, I genuinely think that if the general public saw the state of user categories before the current iteration of WP:USERCAT, or what would become of it after your proposed revisions, it would be very off-putting, is somewhat...contrasted by the arguments I've seen regularly used at CFD that, by viewcount, virtually nobody looks at categories (and, therefore, the logical following that all but literally nobody would look at/looks at userspace categories). That bit of snark aside, I have no opinion on this discussion, other than to note that there seems to be a unendingly-rising tide of people going "Wikipedia Needs Fixing", a following tide of "fixes", and the first never seeming to be affected (at least "positively") by the second, at which point the question should be asked if we want an actual encyclopedia, or The Book Of Da Rules? - The Bushranger One ping only 03:24, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
The "If" I put in that statement was a pertinent qualifier. I don't think the general public will see much of it. However, I certainly discovered user categories when I first joined and it was very off-putting to see the type of things that existed at the time, and it made me question how serious Wikipedia really was in building an encyclopedia. That's why I've worked endlessly on making them more encyclopedic since then. VegaDark (talk) 03:48, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I lean toward option 3 (let users do what they want) but with an option 1/2-style caveat for categories that are clearly disruptive. If I want to put a redlink on my userpage to Category:Wikipedians who fondle chipmunks, what's the harm to the project? Maybe I click through the redlink and find other chipmunk fondlers interested in collaborating on our chipmunk articles, which are a bit of a mess. Bluelinking the category is a different kettle of fish, of course. On the other hand we shouldn't permit users to put just anything on their userpages. Categories clearly against the aims of the project (e.g. Category:Wikipedians who vandalize biographies of living persons) or obviously disruptive (e.g. Category:Wikipedians who are glad (name of living person) is dead) should be removed and the users warned. I don't there's much utility in policing userpages beyond that, and I fear a slippery slope to policing userboxen that don't meet with some set of editors' opinions on what constitutes a benefit to the project, and I happen to like userboxen. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 13:46, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think you miss the point that categories are not only visible in the userbox. I don't care what people put on their user page. I object when their jokes impinge on the work of keeping the category system working properly.Rathfelder (talk) 23:03, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
I think that was meant to be a reply to my comment, but I don't think we're talking about the same thing. A userbox shouldn't automatically populate a red category, I wasn't suggesting that they should and I'm not aware of any that do (if so, they should be fixed). But if I host a category redlink on my userpage, even if it's the result of a badly coded userbox, I don't think that breaks anything with respect to the category system. The redlinked category won't be a child category or show up on other category pages, unless someone goes and creates the category page, which we all seem to agree they shouldn't. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:06, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm afraid that is exactly what it does. If you put a redlink category on your user page it appears in all the lists of categories. There are so many that Special:WantedCategories has become unusable. Rathfelder (talk) 19:46, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
What "lists of categories"? Do you have an example? (I don't know about this functionality) Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:19, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
  • What do people think about User:Lady_Aleena/Media_franchises?Rathfelder (talk) 21:10, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Tell me again why they can't be bluelinked and left alone? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:10, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Please note, I have taken all of the categories off of the page mentioned above along with cleaning up several other subpages of mine with redlinked categories. There were over 300 redlinks on it. I hope this helps the people who work on wanted categories. LA (T) @ 07:20, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Option 3 following the bollocking from Bearcat above, I decided to walk away from this, but wtf, I'm entitled to ivote. -Roxy the dog. bark 01:42, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think the most viable solution is to make them all blue except for the very small number of users who actually want to have red links - like Roxy the dog. There are not many of them and we can with cope with them. And I would like permission to remove red links from user pages that have been abandoned. I don't think arguments about how silly categories will bring the project into disrepute carry much weight. Only painstaking research would find them. And any organisation will have a laugh behind the scenes.Rathfelder (talk) 14:03, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
Who do you think is going to give you (scare quotes) 'Permission'? As I understand it, the community feels that people should only edit others user pages (by which I mean User pages and User:Talk pages) under very specific circumstances, and this is not one of them. To be clear, I don't believe Admins have authority to grant you such permission, so you would be right out on a limb. You already know this from the kickback you have received over the time you have been fiddling with userpages. -Roxy the dog. bark 17:34, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
That is why I am not doing it. But the vast majority of redlinks on user pages have clearly been put there by mistake, on user pages which have not been touched for years - most of which are actually draft articles, not intended to be user pages as they are supposed to be. Rathfelder (talk) 00:03, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
What did you do that caused you to receive flack? Deleting content from other's userspace will cause offense, but there are other options. Do not cut Category:Nuisance redlinked category, instead comment it out, to <!-- [[Category:Nuisance redlinked category]] -->. This way, when the user returns, he can find what he remembers putting there. Moderately sensible categories should be bluelinked. Redlinking multi-member categories is obviously counterproductive. Other's userpages can be edited within reason. A consensus here would authorize it. I suspect you went too far, cutting text, which I can tell you I would find offensive. --SmokeyJoe (talku) 01:32, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
Except I don't see a consensus for even commenting out the categories, except for those clearly entered by mistake. (Those with a misspelled word, where the misspelling isn't part of the joke.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:57, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
A consensus for even commenting out unsuitable and redlinked categories? No, I have only just raised the idea, as a less offensive option for the proposed straight removal of redlinked categories (which is in heavy discussion). --SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:39, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
There may be a consensus for commenting out "unsuitable" and redlinked categories. There is little enough consensus as to what is "unsuitable".... — Arthur Rubin (talk) 00:14, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Looking at Special:WantedCategories I see very few categories that shouldn't be bluelinked. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:42, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
That goes back to the question of whether the "unsuitable" line established by a small group of CfD-ers in 2007 represents consensus. I think the evidence is that it does not. The post-CfD-deletion redlink populated categories are clear statements of protest. The worst failure at CfD was, and is, the belief that members of usercategories don't need to be notified of deletion of their usercategory. So, I say this discussion has arisen and proceeds in the shadow of a false consensus. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:40, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
On the contrary, I would suggest that the lack of people choosing option 4 (despite canvassing) quite clearly supports the consensus. And, at this point, it's been in place for 10 years. You're trying to go back and invalidate something decided 10 years ago, while rather, if you believe consensus has changed, you would need to get consensus to change it from the status quo at this point, not go back and try and invalidate the status quo. I think there is ample evidence in this discussion that will never happen. I'll also add people in redlinks is not "clear statements of protest" as you would have us believe. How many users are inactive and never noticed the category turning in to a redlink? As this discussion already determined, most admins simply let users stay in the category after a CfD. How many articles do you think would be left remaining in redlinked categories if a bot didn't go through and enact CfD decisions? Using that same logic, articles left in red categories would suggest a protest over the CfD resulting in deletion of the mainspace category. VegaDark (talk) 02:11, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Sure, VegaDark, I feel I am maintaining a minority opinion. If the community upholds the restriction against user categories of interest, it can be lived with. I cannot deny that probably many or most interested-in category members never had intention of collaborating on those interests.
Many user redlinks are clear statements of protest. Didn't Cydebot empty categories when they were deleted at CfD, meaning that membership reflects an active response by the current members? I checked several cases, and that was the story. I maintain that it was not collegiate to delete usercategories without notifying users who added themselves, and that the 2007-8 consensuses were the result of members being left out of the discussions.
Usercategories and mainspace categories are very different. I doubt that categories have ever been used for protest in mainspace, and am not sure why you bring it up.
I propose/support having all inactive users' redlinked categories commented out (using <!-- -->) on their userpage (or talk or subpage). Similarly, I see no good reason not to comment-out all CfD-deleted categories, once, based on a very rough reading of the rough consensus of this discussion so far. Weird stuff should be commented out per BOLD, and errors should be fixed. Disputes should go back to CfD, with better notification. Usercategory deletions should be first listified, to somewhere. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:16, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

Rathfelder is on a mission. Bluelinking a few redlinked user categories by inventing a parent category of "idiosyncratic Wikipedians" is a bit mad; do those Wikipedians self-identify as idiosyncratic? What are the parameters of idiosyncrasy? There seems to be a bit of a waste of time here on one man's mission. pablo 19:49, 28 January 2017 (UTC)

  • The mission is justifiable. If a category is acceptable, it can be bluelinked. Should be. If a category is longstanding and with members, it is de facto accepted. What's the difference? Redlink categories can't be eliminated without alerting the members. The root problem is CfDers believing they are justified in deleting user categories without notifying the members. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:06, 28 January 2017 (UTC)

WP:POINT !votes

I thought it was pertinent to mention here that User:Rathfelder has taken to opposing all user category nominations on the grounds that deleting said categories would leave behind users in a redlink. This certainly appears to be a WP:POINT violation in my book. I'd like an uninvolved admin to take a look. That certainly cannot be the intended goal regardless of the result of this RfC. VegaDark (talk) 03:38, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

  • In light of these discussions, it looks to me to be a valid !vote along the lines of "causes less disruption by being blue than red". I don't think there is any real case that Rathfelder is violating WP:POINT. It would be extraordinary to sanction per WP:POINT for a !vote. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:51, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think I have opposed three deletions. I think we have a problem with these categories and I don't think it is resolved by debating, in respect of each one, whether it should be deleted. There are many hundreds, possibly thousands, of red user page categories. Some are red because the users want them to be red. The vast majority appear to be red because the users didn't understand how to create categories. They cause problems which nobody talks about. I turned some of them blue and I am pleased that this has generated discussion, as it is clear that not many people knew anything about it. My position is indeed that they "cause less disruption by being blue than red". Indeed if they are red it is quite possible that seriously objectionable stuff will appear but nobody will notice it. I don't think the present policy is defensible. It claims that there are policies about what categories users may apply to their own pages, but it is not permitted to enforce those policies. It seems clear that actually there is not majority support for them. The majority position appears to be that users can put almost any category they like on their user page and nobody should interfere with it. That is not the policy applied to categories in general. So we have a policy which is incoherent and ignored. If the general view is that user categories are not like article categories and should be treated differently, then let us say so and establish systems which separate the two. Rathfelder (talk) 09:03, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I don't actually see what is achieved by deleting categories without removing them from user pages. It was decided in 2007 that Category:Generation X Wikipedians should be deleted but it is still there on User:Lady Aleena's page. I have no wish to remove it from her page, but if it did any harm before 2007 it is still doing it now.Rathfelder (talk) 10:44, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
    • I will be reviewing all the redlinked categories on my main user page in the next day or two. LA (T) @ 07:20, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

Another option

I admit I am probably the big bad in this area. I had hundreds of red linked user categories on my user page and various subpages. Since I became aware of this debate, I have remedied the situation by removing most of them (but can not bring myself from removing two because I am a crazy barefoot cat-lady). So Bearcat, I hope the kludge in WantedCategories is down to a more acceptable level.

I am not with those who wish to add all the wanted user categories, but I am not for forcing users to remove the red-linked categories from their user pages. They have to be shown another way to find users who share their interest, and there is a way.

The way is the What links here tool. First a user adds a link to an article on their user page, for example SmokeyJoe can add a link to Neutral Good on his user page. Now, another link can be added next to it, let's call it "Wikipedians". So add [{{fullurl:Special:Whatlinkshere/Neutral_Good|limit=5000&namespace=2}} Wikipedians] which would get you Neutral Good Wikipedians. Or you could use {{User:Lady Aleena/link|Neutral Good}} to make it. There is a limit of up to 5,000, so if an article has more than 5,000 user page links to it, you won't see them all. (The part of the link "&namespace=2" goes directly to user pages.)

So to those who are trying desperately to get WantedCategories cleared of unwanted Wikipedian categories, I suggest you go to those users' talk pages and show them the above. Want links here may not be as pretty as a category, but the users will still see who has an article linked on their user pages.

So, until the programmers of Wikkipedia can have WantedCategories (and maybe even WantedPages and WantedTemplates) ignore user pages (which would be the best option), it might be a good idea to ask users with red-linked user categories to remove them and tell them their red-linked categories are clogging up the works.

I hope that made sense. LA (T) @ 05:29, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

  • Very sensible. But requires users to do something. The vast majority of red categories on user pages are put there by accident mostly on pages which have been abandoned. They are not likely to respond. If we could remove red categories from user pages which have not been altered for 12 months that would bring the problem down to manageable levels. If any of those users then put the category back that would be fine. Rathfelder (talk) 11:08, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
    Rathfelder, how does one accidentally add oneself to a red category? And what I am suggesting is telling users of another way of finding other users with the same interests while also warning them away from using red categories. So, placing such a message acts as a warning. Should the red categories remain after a set period of time after, then remove the red categories. Warnings should always be given before action is taken. Letting the users know the damage they are causing with their red categories might be what is needed for the (active) users to reconsider using them (like I did). LA (T) @ 08:29, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
  • It is seems pretty obvious that many red categories on user pages were put there by people who never actually wrote an article - they were just experimenting. Many of the pages are autobiographical, or about their favourite TV programme and the like. A very different issue from users who consciously want red links.Rathfelder (talk) 10:22, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I read... summarising the offered options:
1 (VG) Empty deleted redlink categories and threaten users who re-add them
2 (VG) Empty deleted redlink categories
3 (VG) Status quo. Active deletion of usercategories, but don't empty them
4 (VG) Turn non-empty red categories blue, and add usercat leeway to WP:USERCAT.
0 (BHG) Empty redlink categories, and use CSDs or CfD to delete any that turn blue again.
5 (LA) Convert redlinked category memberships into pagelinks (allow continued networking by following WhatLinksHere), a pseudocategory system
Stepping back, there are three choices, if anything is to be done:
A Fix the tool Special:WantedCategories
B Empty redlink categories. (How? cut the category lines; comment out the category lines; convert the category lines per option 5)
C Bluelink the categories.
A would be great, but I don't think WMF or developers care about helping editors, and least of all anything to do with categories.
B seems sensible, for most redlink categories at least, as most of them are pretty weird. The downside appears to be the work involved, and risk of backlash upon interfering with many user's userpages. Here, I am a bit confused, as I thought that CfD usercatergory deletion was immediately followed by a bot emptying the categories? I saw it happen. When did it stop?
C would most easily and immediately fix the Special:WantedCategories.

I repeat, I think the root cause for this trouble is CfD not notifying members of usercategories of CfDs. The failure to engage stakeholders before making a decision is what causes backlash. For this reason, I think all of the past CfD usercategory CfDs carry no authority, populated previously deleted redlink categories should be bluelinked, and anyone who dislikes the bluelinked usercatergories may re-CfD them subject to mandatory notification of stakeholders, including members. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:02, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

  • That's like asking NRA members if we should take their guns away or not. People who self-select to add themselves into unencyclopedic categories, in my experience, will almost certainly be in support of keeping said category regardless of the reasons for deletion or policy behind it. I'd be shocked if you ever deleted a single user category if this were the requirement (which I have to assume is the reason you are proposing it, as you think they should be kept around). To notify only those most likely to support keeping the category is not representative of community consensus by any means. VegaDark (talk) 05:44, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
    VegaDark's reasoning is obviously correct on this. If the category doesn't even exist and if it would be [re-]deleted at CfD if it did exist, then there are no "stakeholders". You can't hold stake in something that doesn't and won't exist.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:13, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
  • VegaDark's definition of unencyclopedic is the heart of the issue. It every usercategory unencylopedic if it doesn't directly lead improving content. Note that I don't dispute that most of the usercategories he's had deleted were unjustified, just not all.
    The insistence on not informing usercategory members of the usercategory's deletion discussion is unjustifiable. The NRA comparison would assume that the decision was to be made in some backwater location where only the regular in-crowd know to go unless invited. Article deletion discussions are widely notified by the AfD notice and the notice appearing in watchlisting. The article watchers are presumably biased to keeping articles, so why doesn't that lead to all articles being kept, or all article with enough authors? Keeping stakeholders in the dark because they might be biased is not an honest way to hold a discussion. I don't necessarily want to see lots of weird usercategories kept around, so much as I'd like for there to be a proper discussion, and that discussion requires the notification of stakeholders, and these stakeholders include the redlinked category members.
  • User:SMcCandlish, where a user has re-added a category to their userpage, after a bot removed it, I think that is an obvious declaration of interest. And the redlink category clearly exists, because it exists, it functions in all ways like a category, except that it cannot be categorised. Rathfelder's bluelinking by categorisation is oddly quite logical. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:17, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
    • If the category is useful as a collaboration tool. So maybe bot automation doesn't cut it. I would suggest, then, that they should be deleted speedily if obviously frivolous or disruptive, but subject to CfD if there's doubt. If it's re-creation of a previously deleted pointless user category, that's already a speedy deletion candidate.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:34, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
  • User:SMcCandlish, User:BrownHairedGirl, User:VegaDark, I just had another look at Special:WantedCategories, and at the top, with 70 members, is Category:User pig. OK, I admit I don't really understand what is going on. How about we agree to empty all red usercategories (by commenting them), and then see who adds them back. Then invite those few to a discussion, because it really is required to talk to them before threatening them. They might say something unexpected. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:35, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Works for me. I didn't like the idea of threatening them anyway, other than with a vague declaration that re-adding them might be considered disruptive if they keep doing it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:11, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
      • @SmokeyJoe and SMcCandlish: I have not checked the contents of Category:User pig ... but I have a hunch that if I did check the history of pages added to the category, the timing might be related to this viral news story from late 2015. That one brought much hilarity at the time, but 14 months on it would be another stale joke.>br />I'm fine in theory with talking to the users who want red-linked categories, but in practise I don't have the energy to do that. If you two want to volunteer to talk them through it, that's fine by me. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:23, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
(Note: My follwoing response was written and I got caught in a cross edit, so some parts may not make sense.)
SmokeyJoe, I would suggest giving up on the blue option. You would have to change consensus on whether or not Wikipedia is a social network, then you would have to change consensus on what should and should not be acceptable as a user category. You have two fights ahead of you, and neither of them will be easy, though I may support you on both depending on the tone. But for now, it would be better to remove the red categories and find other ways to find like minded people. I did.
Remember there are people who do hard work within the current constraints and are not being helped with all of the current red user categories. So until there is a method in place to keep red user categories from showing up in WantedCategories, do those editors a favor and make their work easier for them.
I have started looking around for a place to ask for programmatic changes to be made for Wanted Categories, Pages, Templates, and Files. I don't know how long it will take to find the right place to start that discussion, but in the meantime, let us both do the right thing and get rid of the remaining red categories on our user pages.
I know what you are going through, I have been on the losing side of so many battles here on Wikipedia I had stopped editing for long periods of time. One of those issues was the social networking aspect of Wikipedia before Twitter and Facebook were things. Begin writing up your arguments for the inclusion of the social networking aspect of Wikipedia in your user space and put a link to it on my talk page to read over.
So, we should accept that red user categories will not be turned blue unless they show a solid project goal such as editing groups of articles. Also, acknowledge those red user categories which do not meet the current criteria are damaging to the main project which is article space. Also, blue categories which do not meet the current criteria will be targeted for deletion, and it is up to members to keep an eye on their favorite user categories.
It breaks my heart, but the barefoot cat lady will be retired tonight. LA (T) @ 08:29, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

May I suggest that editors think again before asking for technical changes?

I am sure that all these things suggest by Bearcat are technically doable, but they would join a long list of requested technical changes, nearly all focused on improving the experience of readers and/or facilitating the creation and maintenance of encyclopedic content. The WMF has to prioritise these requests, juggling user requests against the technical requirements of maintain one of the world' biggest websites on a budget which is a tiny fraction of that of other big websites.

Given all that, I find it hard to see hoe his one would be parsed as anything other than: "add some complex functionality which doesn't help readers, doesn't help content creation or maintenance, and appears to be solely to facilitate the sort of social networking which en.wp consensus has long deprecated".

If you're lucky, that sort of task gets a priority level of "only when every other community request has been implemented". More likely it's a priority of "no, nay, never".

The choices made here need to reflect the technology as it actually is, rather than as how any of us might like it to be. This is a social problem which needs a social solution. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:47, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Newly arriving survey comments (assuming addition of sub-proposals is finished)

  • In descending order, I prefer 2, BHG's 0, 1. Not 3 or 4, and not LA's 5 (too much new tech work that doesn't actually benefit the encyclopedia). If 0 or 1 end up the winner, tone down the wording. It's enough to say it's disruptive and leave it at that; there's no call to mention much less invent an enforcement regime, since ANI already exists as the enforcement system for DE. I agree in particular with the point that anyone may remove a redlinked cat., as routine maintenance, and agree with periodic purging of them. Use a bot to do it, so there is no potential for editor-to-editing personal conflict over the matter. Just make it an automated cleanup process. Speedily delete if it's obviously nonsense or disruptive, or if it's re-creation of a previously deleted cat., otherwise CfD it if it's potentially of collaborative use.

    I also agree with BHG's statement; I too have used redlinked cats. as a form of humor, but it's old hat, userboxes do a better job of it, and we shouldn't impede maintenance just to make a jest that other people probably won't notice or care about anyway. I sympathize with LA's point, but it's not enough; I'm a "crazy cat gentleman" (in socks), but use a userbox to make my ailurophilia point, not a category, and it is sufficient.

    I have no prejudice against limiting category creation to experienced users, though this would complicate matters (e.g. only delete redlinked cats. after X amount of time to request cat. creation). Another wrinkle is we might want to auto-create the category if two or more users are redlinking it (and it is not something disruptive), and even consider that we have leeway to create and normalize it to one name when 2+ users are redlinking essentially the same usercat but in different spelling or slightly different wording.

    PS: Also agree with comment in related thread below, about things like a 'Category:Wikipedians willing to take photos': "For broad offers, a notice board might be much better". It definitely would, and we already have such things working successfully for translation, conversion of bitmapped line-art to vector form, etc.
    PPS, added later: Also somewhat agree with below comment that "Category:Wikipedians interested in collaborating on topics related to Linux" or, more concisely, "Category:Wikipedians interest in Linux" perhaps is more useful than "who use", "who like", etc. We could normalize all variants like that to one focused on collaboration, remove the vague ones, and inform users who had them of the collaboration-focused one (since use/like/have/etc. aren't necessarily an indication of collaboration interest. However, this need not be done for any topic for which there is a wikiproject; just point those editors there.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:13, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
    Edit: I considered some above comments and rescinded the bot idea, replacing with speedy and regular CfD. And added a partial agreement.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:50, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

    • That is all very agreeable. It would be perfect if only we would inform the redlink members that we are about to give ourselves the authority to do it (remove their redlink categories). Auto-create the category if two or more users are redlinking it is something I think I was suggesting, with a follow-up big CfD, with notifications, to then delete the majority and empty them. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:24, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
      I self-refactored above, to strike the bot idea as maybe too much, per discussion higher up, and add a point. Notification of and consensus from the broader editorial community: After the list of 5 of 6 options is winnowed to one proposal, or a smaller list of proposals that seem here to be most viable, do a round 2 discussion as an RfC at WP:VPPOL. (The current discussion is too sprawling for most people to get through it.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:42, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. I don't have redlinked cats on my userpage. After reading this discussion (not every word, of course), though, I was thinking of adding the following two: Category:Wikipedians who don't like endless discussions and Category:Wikipedians who don't like categories. I pick Option #59, although #163.2 would be acceptable.--Bbb23 (talk) 20:57, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Closure requested

This RFC has been open for 32 days, so I have posted[2] at WP:AN/RFC to request that an uninvolved editor close the discussion. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:29, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

  • User:BrownHairedGirl, can I suggest that you and User:VegaDark reboot the RfC, preferably with exactly one serious proposal for action, seeking simple approval. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:42, 16 February 2017 (UTC) Personally, I would describe the consensus here as "almost, but not quite", as well as extremely opaque for anyone not already involved. I do, however, feel a definitely consensus for "do something". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:45, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
  • The thing that I think would most likely get consensus based on all the comments here is to make the rule that users are free to add non-disruptive redlinked categories to their userpage, and after a certain timeframe (3-6 months?) of inactivity from that user, we allow for other users to remove said redlinked category from their page without repercussion. As User:Rathfelder already pointed out, a large majority of redlinked categories are from users who aren't active on the project anymore. If the inactive ones were cleared, it would be trivial to avoid the few remaining in Special:Wantedcategories. This satisfies the majority of the concerns addressed about hindering cleanup, while also satisfying those who feel users should be free to add these type of categories to pages. I wouldn't go so far as to say this RfC reflects that consensus currently (It would be easy to just say status quo) but I think this solution would feel like an improvement from the current situation from a majority of users while causing the least amount of drama. A more questionable decision would be to explicitly allow user categories to be emptied right after they are deleted at CfD. I will point out that I described the status quo as sometimes these user categories are emptied after a CfD - I've found this is more often the case than not with most of the user category nominations I've made recently, actually. In fact, I think the only user categories that haven't been treated as normal (and therefore emptying of all users) are closures performed by User:BrownHairedGirl or other discussions directly on the pages where categories being emptied was being discussed. I will also note that the instructions for closing CfDs have no mention of treating user categories differently - I would suspect that the vast majority of users, including admins, don't particularly know there is any controversy at all with emptying them. So, should this RfC close as status quo, then I guess that's still allowed if an admin chooses to list the category at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Working. Personally I don't think keeping the status quo solves much. Wanted categories will still be cluttered to the point of dissuading people from even working on it, and we kind of set a double standard about newly nominated categories vs. old ones in regards to emptying. So, in that respect, I agree this should be re-started in some form focusing on if there is in fact consensus to support the first change and to make a definitive rule regarding what to do with the categories at the time of closure. As the creator of this RfC I won't be so bold myself, at least not until after this is closed by a neutral party, but I would fully support if ultimately the closing admin simply closed this as "Open a new RfC/extend this one another 30 days on these two specific issues" VegaDark (talk) 03:21, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
  • @VegaDark: I see where you are coming from with the 3-6 months proposal, but in practice I think that is unworkable. From my experience it would impose an excessive workload on editors encountering a redlinked user category. Here's why I say that:
    Say that the threshold is 6 months. Suppose an editor (who I'll call RedCleaner) is clearing Special:WantedCategories encounters a Category:Foo Bar Wikipedeians with three entries, User1 and User2. Redcleaner now has to check the revision history of each those three pages to see when the category was added. Redcleaner doesn't see it explicitly noted in any of User1's edit summary, so uses a revision history search ... which still draws a blank.
    Ahah, says Redclaner, it is being added through a userbox. So now Redcleaner has to look at the page source and try to guess which userbox is doing it. Maybe they are lucky the first time, or maybe it takes a few guesses, but eventually they identify the userbox involved.
    Now they have check when the category was added to the userbox. If it is more than 6 months ago, then Redcleaner needs to go back and check each of the three user pages for when the userbox was added, and that may mean another revision history search.
    Of course, in some cases, the userbox will itself be categorised, which may simplify the checks; but there is still quite a lot of work for RedCleaner.
    And here's the real sticking point: there is no way to tag the category as checked, so the same set of checks will be made repeatedly. That's an appalling waste of editorial time.
    The core problem is that any redlinked usercat is disruptive, because it clogs up Special:WantedCategories. So I think that either we delete redlinked categories or we don't. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 05:20, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • @BrownHairedGirl: I certainly wasn't envisioning that entire process when I proposed that timeframe. First off, if the red category is attached to a template/userbox, it should automatically be either created or removed from that template without discussion or a time limit. If it's on an individual user's page, then just look at their contributions and find if their most recent edit was more recent than the set threshold for removing the category. That's the entire process I was envisioning, which I don't think would be very burdensome. I agree with your later point of inability to tag it as marked would be an issue - perhaps create a database report on user pages containing a red-linked category where people could edit to show they have marked pages as checked? (On the filp side, you could create a report of everything at Special:Wantedcategories excluding categories with the word "Wikipedian" in them for a mini-solution to the wanted categories report...if we changed the rule to at least allow people to be immediately removed from categories other than that that doesn't immediately give away they are a user category. But, I agree with you that any redlinked category is a bad idea, but if we cannot have consensus to remove them all as we would prefer, then it would at least be an improvement to have some additional rules regarding removal of certain redlinks (in this case the majority of redlinks would be removed and, although some users with strong feelings on the issue would remain, the problems would go from a medium sized one to a small one. In my view, at least. VegaDark (talk) 05:37, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I...have seen some lengthy discussions, and I have seem some discussions that have very nearly zero practical relevance to the actual project, but this is probably the highest concurrent score on both scales that I can remember off the top of my head. I suspect some editors really need to rethink their priorities. And with that I'll take my disparaging self elsewhere and do something productive. TimothyJosephWood 18:12, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Timothyjosephwood this is a fairly simple issue of a set of jokes which have the unintended but real side effect of impeding category maintenance. The debate is lengthy because of various editors have different priorities
      If maintaining categories is not something you place a high priority on, then it it is indeed best for you to direct your energies elsewhere. But next time, please just move on without making unnecessarily disparaging comments. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs)
  • I just discovered an interesting thread at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/IncidentArchive946#Categories_that_supposedly_do_not_help_foster_encyclopedic_collaboration. Apparently, it is not already linked from this page. The discussion there supports my observation at the Wikipedia community does not support authoritarian crackdowns on collegiate humour. This does not mean there is not a way forward.
Above, both VegaDark and BHG both, in my opinion, fail to be concise. VegaDark turning tentative, BHG getting technical. If I may suggest:

Excessive redlinked categories clogs up the otehrwise excellent category maintenance tool, Special:WantedCategories. To alleviate the problem, any editor may do the following:

  • Add an initial colon (convert [[Category:RedlinkCategory]] to [[:Category:RedlinkCategory]]) note that this will retain pseudo-category functionality through WhatLinksHere
    • On any userpage of an editor who has been inactive for six months
    • On any userpage where where the RedlinkCategory appears to be an unintentional mistake
    • On any userpage RedlinkCategory has no clear intended purpose, and the membership consists only of pages belonging to a single user
  • but if reverted, take the matter to WP:CfD.
  • Many RedLinkCategories are populated by auto-categorising userbox templates. These RedLinkCategories may be depopulated by removing the categorisation from the template. This may be done boldly by any editor where there is no record of a decision to add autocategorisation to that specific userbox template.
  • Other RedLinkedCategories may only be emptied following a fresh discussion at WP:CfD, and where all users with pages in the category are notified of the discussion.
  • Any decision to delete a category is necessarily a decision to promptly depopulate the category. The default method for depopulating categories in userspace shall be by insertion of an initial colon.
  • Some attempts at networking by usercategorization would be better advised to network using a Project Space page noticeboard and signup section. In such cases, consider listifying to a Project Space page notice board.
  • RedlinkedCategories of possible but unclear or dubious purpose should be bluelinked, members advised of the problem, and disputes discussed at WP:CfD.

Feel free to modify, or copy and modify the above. It is a fairly quick writeup. Methods of cleaning, such as using bots as mentioned by BHG, should be left to users implementation the fixes, and should not steer or cloud the discussion of approval of the principles behind the cleaning. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:19, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

  • I don't see anything here that I think would get much disagreement other than some clarification over what qualifies as an "other" redlinked category (requiring a fresh Cfd, do you just mean if someone is trying to de-populate a redlinked category that doesn't fit one of the initial criteria?) and the requirement to notify all editors in said category (Ends up being a brigade of non-policy based keeps in my experience) but as written this would be a far better result than the status quo from my perspective. Also are you suggesting that all previous categories that have been deleted at CfD, but redlinks remain in that category, that it should require a fresh CfD to remove those people? I think the folks at CfD would take issue with a CfD on an already-deleted category, although this would be a unique scenario admittedly, and I can't think of a better venue to discuss it (we've had similar discussions at CfD to depopulate parent categories, so perhaps listing a redlink is warranted on occasion). That being said I would disagree that there needs to be a new CfD in that circumstance unless the sole issue of the CfD is depopulation of the already deleted category and not whether to allow bluelinking the category (which would essentially amount to overturning every CfD ever if someone simply added themselves to a previously deleted category, requiring a new discussion). VegaDark (talk) 01:42, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • > "do you just mean if someone is trying to de-populate a redlinked category that doesn't fit one of the initial criteria?"
Yes. Unilateral depopulation of categories is pretty disruptive, so allow it only for specific objective criteria. (add missing types now)
> "notify all editors in said category (Ends up being a brigade of non-policy based keeps in my experience)".
Well, do it a few times and see what happens. I think it may well turn out a lot more reasonable if the option of listifying silly usercategories is on the table. Also, you have to notify people if you want to educate them.
> "this would be a far better result than the status quo from my perspective."
I hope so. An escape from this quagmire is needed.
>"all previous categories that have been deleted at CfD, but redlinks remain in that category"
Not sure. I thought category deletion *always* meant depopulating. If past-deleted categories weren't depopulated, then depopulate them, maybe slowly in case there is backlash.
What I was really getting at is past-CfD-deleted categories that were depopulated, but members subsequently re-added themselves. Reverting, or re-adding, should be taking a a clear statement that they want a discussion. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:06, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe it's ironic that you reproach me for being verbose, but write a comment that takes more lines on screen than mine. But there we are.
This issue is really quite simple: Per WP:REDNOT, a redlinked category is an error. An editor should use their discretion to either remove the redlink or create the category. Simple. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:20, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Reproach? I don't mean to reproach. A bit a clumsy humour was intended. Actually, I was confused, I thought RedCleaner was a category maintenance bot. I thing an actionable proposal to be agreed upon is the way forward. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 20:34, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
User:BrownHairedGirl, I don't think citing WP:REDNOT to eliminate every redlinked category is the way to go. It is obvious, from here and the ANI thread, that you are going to have to live with Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user talk page. Also, they will continue to be generated if you don't engage the people or activities that generate them. I'm not sure whether you've responded to my suggestion, that cleanup begin with colon insertion on inactive users' userpage, strip templated autocategorisation from userbox templates where there was no record of intention of categorisation, and add colons to weird random categories that categorise only a single user? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:26, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe: those ideas you mention are already happening. And I have tried directly engaging with some editors, with some success.
But it's easy to lose sight of a very simple point: a red-linked article is often appropriate, but a red-linked category is always an error which should be fixed. What I have seen is that when that is explained, some editors respond well. We will be left with a hard core of but-I-like-it-and-dob't-care-about-the-consequences approach. I hope that group will turn out to be small. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:35, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
I disagree that "a red-linked category is always an error which should be fixed". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:46, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

A possible solution for zombie categories

I just tried something which might help for zombie categories which persist as zombies, remaining as redlinks after they have been deleted at CFD or UCFD.

AS a container, I created Category:Wikipedians who retain on their userpages categories which have been deleted by consensus.

Then for a few such categories, I re-created the category page as hard redirect, so that anyone clicking on the category link gets taken to Category:Wikipedians who retain on their userpages categories which have been deleted by consensus.

See for example Category:Rouge admins.

Any thoughts on this idea? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:48, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

@VegaDark, SmokeyJoe, and Rathfelder: hoping for your thoughts on this idea. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:24, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Good. It takes these few deliberate expressive things out of the debate while the weird stuff gets cleaned. Later, if I stir myself with enthusiasm, I may start a CfD to rename "... deleted by consensus" to "... deleted at CfD". CfD does not enjoy representative participation, and practices non-notification of stakeholders, and it is very easy to make the case that CfD decisions are not necessarily "consensus". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:42, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Joe, all en.wp consensus-forming processes are consensus-of-those-who-turn up. CFD does not practice non-notification. Consider for example Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2017 February 10#Subcategories_of_London_Boroughs, possibly the biggest single CFD nomination ever, with 597 categories involved. All tagged, and the WikiProject notified, but only 5 !voters in 7 days. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:10, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
      • Thanks BHG. I think CfD practice has improved. Non-notification was a problem with the historic usercat CfDs. If, despite effort to widely publicise, only five turn up, I think you can largely ascribe that to it being a sensible proposal. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:18, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
        • Interestingly, several of the user categories I looked at in this set were sent to DRV after a UCFD deletion. The subsequent UCFDs all produced the same outcome, despite all the extra attention which DRV places on a category, so I am not persuaded that there is any evidence that of skewed outcomes. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:49, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
          • Some data is here. There is/was not a massive systematic problem with CfD, but there were problems. There were several contentious debates at DRV. People weren't happy. Whether the problem is with the rigidity of the 2007 CfD regulars, or the misguided expectations of categories held by some, is debatable. The way forward, I believe, is to always notify stakeholders. Asserting that if there were interested in the category then they would have watchlisted the category, was not the way to go. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:00, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
It's hard to predict how people would react, but I think it's worth trying. Rathfelder (talk) 13:40, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
We will have to see what the response is, but I hope that it could be a win-win all round:
  1. The redlinks go, assisting category maintenance
  2. Those who want these cats on their userpages still get what they want
  3. The pages are not navigable categories, which I hope respects the intent of the CFD/UCFD decisions.
However, it may break. RussBot converted all the hard redirects into soft category redirects, presumably as a precursor to merger ... which is not what I intended. That has been reverted, but the bot will almost certainly try again. So I have asked the bot's owner to see if there is a way to prevent this. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:54, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
Russ hopes that using {{Nobots}} will fend off the bot. Now being tested. Fingers crossed :) --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 07:58, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
It worked. The bots are leaving the categories alone. So I think we have a viable workaround for the zombie categories problem. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:02, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
  • This isn't my favorite solution for a multitude of reasons. The main one being that I consider inappropriate blue linked categories, even only in the capacity of a redirect, as a bigger issue than redlinked categories. Something bluelinked even as a redirect gives an aura of acceptability of these categories in my view, especially if we are allowing user pages to remain in the redirects - something we would never do with other categories. Also, the redirect target category itself would be deleted under the current guidelines as a category that does not foster encyclopedic collaboration. In the article space we would certainly delete redirects that were implausible/inappropriate. Also, it seems like we are just opening the door for these categories to be nominated at RfD - what happens if it's deleted there? I would have liked a discussion on this solution before being implemented. That being said it's not the worst result in the world and I could deal with it, but I don't think this is the panacea we're looking for. VegaDark (talk) 20:19, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    • @VegaDark it's kludge which is not my ideal solution either, for many reasons. And maybe you're right that the redirected categs will be RFDed, or the target category will be the CFDed; we'll see. But apart from simply enforcing WP:REDNOT, does anyone have a better idea than this least-worst option? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:04, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
      • Given the progress of discussions on this page so far, I think it is an excellent step forward. Barring serious objections, which I don't count VegaDark's of 20:19, 26 February 2017 as, I think these dubious usercategories should be listified, each category to its own page, possible in a subpage of WP:WikiProject ProjectSpace activism. Given the discussions here, to delete the categories now would be disruptive, as would initiating CfD discussions for them without notifying people who have, on this page, clearly indicated an interested. (That would be most posters, but not all, not Timothyjosephwood for example.) The first objective is to clear out the bulk of the clutter interfering with Special:WantedCategories. Let's see if that objective can be met before waylaying interested parties into fighting over category redirect, accept them as an interim solution. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:17, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • hah. I see you guys are still at it. Well done. Just thought I'd let you know that whatever you guys did that is being discussed in this section successfully changed some of my previously red-linked categories to blue. So I made them red again. Thought you should know. -Roxy the dog. bark 20:35, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    • @Roxy the dog: that's extraordinary. You and other wanted to retain those categories even after there was a consensus to delete them. When a mechanism is implemented which allows you to continue to do without impeding the encyclopedic work of cleaning up redlinked categories, you deliberately alter your categories with the explicit intent of ensuring that you again create redlinks, contrary to WP:REDNOT, in the full knowledge that this impedes the work of editors doing category maintenance. That's a classic WP:POINT exercise. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:57, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
      • Disagree that this was extraordinary. It was completely predictable. Can you, BHG, perhaps address specifically my suggestion involving "On any userpage RedlinkCategory has no clear intended purpose, and the membership consists only of pages belonging to a single user"? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:20, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
        • @SmokeyJoe: maybe it is to expected in this context, but it is still extraordinary behaviour.
          As your suggestion, I am concerned that it would implicitly endorse other types of red-linked categories, and thereby make things worse overall. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 05:45, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
          • BHG, my suggestion that I think you misread is that we here formally agree that single-user dubious usercategories shall be modified by insertion of a leading colon. This has the effect of de-populating the redlinked category, while retaining a redlink to the redlink category, which nearly serves the same purpose. At later dates, one can check the redlinked category's WhatLinksHere to count the pseudomembership, or to network as per the putative purpose. The addition of a colon doesn't remove any characters from the user's page, and so I think it is far less offensive than other fixes. I remember feeling offended that a bot would come to my userpage and remove categories that I placed there intentionally, with no sign left afterwards.
            If we formally agree to this, them we can chide others who revert. If you go fixing things unilaterally, you're begging to be countered, with stalemate likely. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:03, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
            • @SmokeyJoe: no, I don't think I misunderstood you. Your explanation confirms what I understood first time round.
              My concern remains that while your proposal would help with those categories. the fact that it mandates action only a particular type of redlink comes with a corollary implication that other types of redlinked category are not be touched.
              I appreciate your good intent to try to fix at least some of the problem, but I think it's important not to in any way endorse by implication the intentional introduction of an error in to the category system. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 06:11, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
              • Perhaps you misunderstand what I didn't say? The rest get listed at CfD.
                I gave a list of circumstances for which the action would be to insert the colon, for categories not worth a discussion, where attempting the discussion would be counterproductive, due to high numbers of categories and low numbers of genuinely interested stakeholders. Imagine nominating one hundred single-member redlinked categories, and notifying the members? It would be a massive confusing non-discussion, if done collectively, few members would be on the same page as other members, or if done separately, it would be many unattended discussions.
                However, when you nominate a redlinked category containing pages of a dozen users, notifying them all, and suggesting listification, pointing out the benefits of a signup list and noticeboard over a category, I think that is likely to be a much more productive discussion. The 2007 discussions were not productive because the delete !voters gave little or no thought to validating the intentions of the members of the usercategories.
                I suggest inserting colons into the trivial redlinked categories first because they will be the easiest to justify, they are obviously not doing anything for networking of any kind. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:56, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
                • BrownHairedGirl, you say that "I think it's important not to in any way endorse by implication the intentional introduction of an error in to the category system." The implication is that all the red-linked user categories are necessarily errors. The fact that the small group at CfD don't like something doesn't make it erroneous or wrong. SmokeyJoe characterises the 2007/8 discussions as unproductive "because the delete !voters gave little or no thought to validating the intentions of the members of the usercategories," which I think is generous. The editors were not listened to, their concerns were not addressed, and the people behind those editor names were disrespected and marginalised. The red links on user pages were not introduced to impede category maintenance, nor were they the introduction of intentional errors... they were a protest against a flawed decision. The "not wikipedian" red category was not an error, it was raising an important issue. Is it unfair that the importance of category maintenance is minimised and the good intent of these discussions is doubted by some (including me)? Maybe... but it is the consequence of what went before, and of the prioritising of category maintenance as important above all else, and it is also why Roxy the dog's actions were predictable. A lot of goodwill has been destroyed, and rebuilding it is going to take engagement with the community that recognises that category maintenance is not the only consideration. In fact, I wonder if it could be that the small community strongly involved with category maintenance is out of step with broad community consensus? We have VegaDark arguing against notifying editors in categories proposed for deletion due to bias, without considering whether those users are best placed to comment on how they might be useful for, or even used in, collaboration. I get an unfortunate sense of some underlying beliefs like "policy is on our side, we're right, we'll do what we do, everyone else just has to accept it"... which, I admit, is also annoying me and maybe making things here seem more adversarial. EdChem (talk) 12:31, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @EdChem, I'm sorry, I promised to reply to your similar point in another discussion lower down this page, but didn't get around to it. So I will reply here.
I understand where you are coming from. You think that a wrong decision was made at a CFD which was handled badly, and that editors have a right to protest. So let me unpick that.
Start with the facts. The first CFD of Category:Wikipedians who are not a Wikipedian was at CFD 2012 October 24. It was closed as "speedy delete" by an admin who I have never before or since seen at CFD. There was then a deletion review which overturned that speedy close, and a fresh CFD on 2012 October 31. There was a very big debate there, and the discussion was closed as "delete" by an admin who I think may have been to CFD once or twice before, but is certainly no regular. As far as I can see, there was no DRV of that closure. There it stands, 4 years later.

Now what to make of that?

I get that you think it's all a set of bad decisions, and you are entitled to your point of view. But here's the crucial thing: WP:CONSENSUS is a core policy here. It's absolutely fundamental to Wikipedia that this is how decisions are made. There are plenty of en.wp decisions which I think are daft or destructive, and I'm sure that most editors have their own set of decisions they dislike. Nobody forces anyone to agree with the consensus, or to like it; just to accept the consensus until it is overturned.

Editors who disagree with a consensus decision are quite entitled to use the review mechanism to contest it. If that fails, they are entitled to open a new discussion after appropriate delay. And at all times, they are free to express their views on each others talk pages, or to use Wikipedia to publish essays criticising the status quo. This is a very open framework: decisions are not set in stone, and editors can speak freely.

But there is one thing editors are forbidden to about an decision they disagree with: they are not allowed to disrupt Wikipedia to make a point. Don't drag the grievance into other processes and don't do tit-for-tat disruption. That's a necessary rule in any group or project, because without it, no issue is ever settled.

So what has happened here?

What happened is that some editors decided not to do things the usual way. They didn't use WP:DRV to review the discussion. They didn't launch an RFC to change the guidelines or policies. Y'know, all the normal stuff which editors routinely do to try to overturn a decision they don't like. they didn't do that.

Instead, they created a fake category, as redlinks on their userpages. Now, I'll happily concede that most (maybe all) of them didn't know that this caused technical problems, so I'll come back to that. But what they did know was that they were refusing to either accept a consensus decision or use the normal processes to try to change it. That's mild version of the syndrome described in climbing the Reichstag dressed as Spiderman. It's not a constructive approach.

Now, in the last few months the editors who clean up redlinks have made it clear how these deliberate redlinks impede their work. I wasn't aware of it myself until then, and having had redlinks on my userpage for a decade I promptly removed them. Why I would I want to impede maintenance of the encyclopedia which we are all here to build?

It has been interesting explaining this other editors. Some of them say, "ah, getcha", and happily remove the redlinks, because they do not want to disrupt Wikipedia to make a point".

Some object. It's interesting to see the ladder of responses. There are those like EdChem who are open and friendly and willing to discuss it, but still insisting that some disruption of Wikipedia is appropriate to make their point. Maybe they get one or two Spiderman points.

Then there are those who respond with hostility, refusing to even consider that the disruption might be an issue they should consider. That dismissal of the WP:POINT principle earns them a lot more Spiderman points.

And then, shimmering away right at the top of the Reichstag with a record haul of Spiderman points, we have Roxy the dog, who is so deeply offended by the technical kludge to turn a redlinks blue and remove the maintenance hassle that they promptly create new redlinks to continue the disruption. That's WP:POINT in spades.

Consensus isn't perfect. It's often deeply flawed. But it can change. Meanwhile, this looks like a group of at most a few dozen very vocal editors who have a problem with accepting decisions which go against their wishes and feel entitled to ignore WP:POINT. Some of them sadly persist in the notion that there is some sort of CFD conspiracy against them, even though there was huge participation the second "not a Wikipedian" CFD, and it was closed by an editor who very rarely appears at CFD ... and even tho the complainers chose not to open a DRV.

We'll see where this one lands. But whatever the outcome, I will accept the consensus. It would be nice to be able to feel some confidence that others would do likewise. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:10, 27 February 2017 (UTC)


The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Request for Comment on the guidelines regarding "joke" categories.

I am proposing that the current text in the section Inappropriate types of user categories regarding joke categories be removed. The text reads:

Categories which group users on the basis of irrelevant likes
This includes any grouping of users on the basis of shared preferences that are irrelevant to encyclopedia-building (e.g. Wikipedians who like red foxes, Wikipedians by food preference).
...
Categories that are jokes/nonsense
This includes any grouping of users that are patently false (e.g. Wikipedians who are zombies, Wikipedians in their 780s), nonsensical (e.g. Userpages That Are Full Of LOL), undecipherable (e.g. Wikipedians who Watch animals from their POV), or created primarily for humourous or satirical purposes (e.g. Wikipedians who are one of an infinite number of monkeys).[1]

I am proposing that it be removed from this section and replaced with something similar to the following, in the section Appropriate types of user categories:

Categories which foster a genial atmosphere
This includes joke categories, categories pertaining to likes that do not directly address the encyclopedia and other categories not covered in the list of inappropriate categories below. (e.g. Category:Wikipedians who are "out to get you" and/or your garage band). This does not include joke or interest categories which are broadly perceived as offensive or which contain offensive language.

There is also a question of whether or not to organize such categories into a separate master cat to keep them out of the way of other such categories, but that can be discussed once there is a consensus on this question. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:10, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Survey

  • Support as nom. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:10, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I had the gather-in-a-special-supercat idea myself. EEng 19:19, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Measures to facilitate building a collegiate atmosphere between contributors should be encouraged, and lighthearted categories such as the example given should not be discouraged. The onus on someone seeking to delete such a category should be to show that it is harmful, rather than that it isn't "serious/professional" etc. We rely on volunteers to create and maintain content. We should promote an atmosphere that makes people want to be part of the Wikipedia community, including by allowing occasional frivolities. WJBscribe (talk) 19:51, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose The only thing that is more of a waste of time than creating and populating such categories is trying to stop people from doing so. --Jayron32 19:52, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support This is one of those things where I don't see the point of it, and ndon't do it myself, but I also see no harm in it and don't know why anyone would waste their time trying to stop something that doesn't actually affect anything in any way. People need to learn to WP:DGAF about this sort of thing. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:58, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
My next RfC will be to try to get WP:DGAF made into a policy. ;) ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:09, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose unless. My main concern is to get rid of the pile of redlinked user categories which clutter up Special:WantedCategories. That places a set of tripwwires in way of editors who do the thankless task of category repair.
    If turning them blue helps achieve that, then fine ... so long as a quid-pro is the removal of remaining redlinked categories from userpages. If there is a space for humorous user categories which would not previously have been allowed, then there should be no remaining need for the redlinks. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs)
  • Strong oppose - The current guideline keeps a focus around building an encyclopedia instead of social networking. This became a guideline in the first place after a slew of ridiculous user categories were created and people constantly pushing boundaries (Category:Fascist Wikipedians). The bottom line should be improvement of the encyclopedia. I'm not convinced this change helps us. In fact, these types of categories hinder collaboration in my view. Without a collaboration-oriented focus, there's no reasonable expectation to be able to click on a user category and find like-minded people willing to improve content. With the existing guideline, that presumption does exist. People can still have silly and nonsense stuff on their userpage, but bringing unencylopedic nonsense into the category space is a bridge too far. I also think this proposal very much blurs the line between acceptable and not acceptable categories. I keep seeing "obviously inappropriate" as how we would differentiate between what to keep vs. delete, but what is "obviously inappropriate" is extremely subjective. If this proposal were to pass I would like a hard like rule explicitly detailing what such categories would look like.[2] VegaDark (talk) 01:36, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Delete them all, and get rid of those no good users at the same time. Nuke them all, those f-cist bastards. Debresser (talk) 17:10, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - feel free to use your own userspace for jokes and other wasteful purposes, within reason; domn't pollute other parts of Wikipedia, including the Category: namespace, with them. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 20:14, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support removal of text but neutral on proposed addition - as I commented at the ANI, allowing non-harmful (even if non-helpful) material for users' pages like these categories or like userboxes encourages community involvement, sense of belonging, and hopefully increase user retention. It's like being able to personalize your cubical at work. Minimal harm, likely benefits, overall net positive to the project. I don't think we need to add additional text unless someone foresees wikilawyering over the issue but letting the guidelines be neutral/abstaining-from-comment seems like a good compromise for now. EvergreenFir (talk) 21:15, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Sigh - That we've gotten to the point where we need an RfC on this...it's difficult to describe as anything but prudish. I don't really care how you amend the text, just leave people alone. We're all volunteers here, sometimes we like to have a little bit of humor, and none of this is doing any demonstrable harm to the project. If you are that deep into categories that you think this is a monumental issue, then get the hell out and work on an actual article. TimothyJosephWood 21:47, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support removal as proposed, we do enough policing of user pages and these categories are doing no harm at all. I support the spirit of the proposed addition but am neutral on the wording. As many other users have pointed out, fostering a genial and collegial environment is beneficial to any collaborative project. And as I've said before I'm very supportive of insisting on a common top-level category for all of these user categories, if folks are concerned about "polluting" the category system, but mass-deletion of userpage content is not the right approach. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 22:24, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Neutral - While I see where the "genial atmosphere" argument is coming from, it's not like Wikipedia will suddenly see a rise in personal attacks and incivility without these categories. The community isn't going to collapse. But if they are to exist, there shouldn't be a problem if they are separated from the encyclopedic categories (as suggested). DarkKnight2149 23:12, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Jayron and Od Mishehu and for the practical reasons outlined by Brown Haired Girl and VegaDark, plus the only thing that's less humourless than nuking these categories is having a policy about humour. Errrr you tolerate humour by errrrr, tolerating humour, but if it's making someone else's job harder, it isn't funny any more. The only truly funny thing in the acres of text here and at ANI is Drmies defence of an old colleague of his and the 'good old days'. Call me churlish, but these categories aren't very funny and will only encourage others to create umpteen other momentarily mildly smirky categories. Pincrete (talk) 23:28, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support/Meh Oppose It seems that all of the editors who have commented that actually work in this specialized area oppose this. I have to go with the people who do the work on this. I do not think we should be encouraging these types of categories but it seems that they are causing more trouble as red links (by clogging WantedCats) than if they are turned blue. My only fear is that by explicitly allowing these classes of categories we will see a proliferation of them but if they do not cause technical issues or excessive work (like the issue now is) who really cares. Jbh Talk 01:25, 19 February 2017 (UTC) Last edited: 01:58, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support The encyclopedia is a serious construction, but the Project is a space filled with people whose major concern is to build an encyclopedia. Anything and everything that is not detrimental to the objective of building both an encyclopedia and a sustainable project should, indeed must, be allowed. Often joke categories are puerile or nonsensical, but once in a while they are islands of intelligence or consideration which makes a tired contributor feel that they are part of something that is not just a worthy endeavor but also a place of like minded souls. You don't even have to add the category to your user space, you just have to think "yeah, there are some decent/real people here..." and it has added something of value to the project, and hence the encyclopedia... in fact, you do not even have to like/agree with it, just realise that you are not the only one enjoying a step back from the coal face. LessHeard vanU (talk) 01:44, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support anything that contributes to a collegial atmosphere, with thanks to the proposer--and with thanks to VegaDark who managed to pull LHvU out of their hibernation, if only for the while. Drmies (talk) 02:14, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose encyclopedia or facebook, let's choose the former because most of us already have the latter. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 06:13, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose unless Like BHG, my main concern as someone who's created some 16,000 categories from red links, is to discourage the frivolous use of red link cats on user pages. A secondary concern is minimising the burden on the CfD process. If joke categories are encouraged, then I fear it will lead to more red link categories on user pages. Aside from the "clutter" effect I think it's also worth considering the effect on morale of the gnomes who work away on the category system. It is quite literally a thankless task - and that's OK, I don't get my energy from public acknowledgement; but I do get my energy from seeing the job done, and those red links on user pages that can't be created but which one can't delete mean that one can't clean out the list. Call it a bit of OCD but I like to clean out lists, so I now prefer to work on red link reports where one tends not to get Wikipedian categories just to avoid that frustration. The other thing is that if this goes through as proposed then one is likely to get a lot more blue link frivolous categories, which then means more going into CfD, and it just makes more work for the CfD people. I'm fine with letting people have their fun - but let it be with userboxes rather than categories. Userboxes don't affect my work, so people can do what they like with them! <g> Le Deluge (talk) 23:51, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Meh but support Ivanvector has said it best, imho. I think it should be self-evident to try and maintain a collegial atmosphere, and these joke-categories are one way of doing it. That back and forth between creating categories and deleting them again in a kind of big cycle is kind of wasted time....anyway, this will not be solved by this RfC. Lectonar (talk) 10:57, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose It's "self-evident" (and actual history) that no "collegiality" is created by these, probably, in part, because their very purpose is to separate by category. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:41, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, most Wikipedia editors have intelligence in their arsenal, and intelligence usually comes with good-natured play. I don't use joke categories, but will defend the right of others to use them as long as they don't overflow onto article pages. User pages come with a certain amount of user rights, and the right-to-belong and right-to-self-describe is one that George Mason and James Madison kept out of the US Bill of Rights because each thought the other had-it (infield fly rule applies). Randy Kryn 14:31, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support and would even be willing to go farther and remove everything except Categories that are divisive, provocative, or otherwise disruptive from the inappropriate list. No harm, no foul should be the rule. The current limits were adopted for good cause due to many problematic categories (and userboxen) that existed at the time, but the pendulum was swung a bit too far. A bit of fun here and there is a net positive for retaining a volunteer workforce, and removing any semblance of fun will only serve to discourage people from participating. Jim Miller See me | Touch me 16:00, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Maybe it's because I'm an old hand who has been on Wikipedia for many, many years, but I cannot see any benefit in this proposal at all. Wikipedia has always prided itself on NOT being a social media site. We are not here for making friend lists and tagging each other in some kind of modern game-ification. User boxes had to be curtailed after users ran riot with "jokes". Let us be very careful about where this could end up. doktorb wordsdeeds 10:12, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support: The "irrelevant likes" criterion has been misused to remove categories in ways that appears to reflect at best a misunderstanding of the nature of editors as people. (Remember when Christian Wikipedians was a helpful category for collaboration on Christian topics / content but Gay Wikipdians was deleted as an irrelevant like because gay editors couldn't possibly provide useful collaboration on LGBT topics / content?) Yes, joke categories can be problematic and even offensive, and some may need deletion, but humour can also be effectively used to raise / explore issues, provoke thought, and even foster collaboration by highlighting commonalities. Wikipedia is about building an encyclopaedia but its editors are people and not automatons, and people collaborate and interact socially as well as work on content. A "no tolerance" approach might be simplest for those working with categories, but it is not the best approach for the community as a whole. A more nuanced approach with CfDs to remove the genuinely problematic / offensive cases is appropriate to a mature community of adults where self-regulation should be the norm and constricting rules for the convenience of those working with categories are not developed where they harm collaboration and the wider editor community. EdChem (talk) 13:23, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for bringing this up. Homosexuality on Wikipedia was only decriminalized in 2012. I do not have a comment on joke categories but I would not want categories that anyone takes seriously to be deleted like the LGBT categories were. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:28, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per Beeblebrox's rationale, pretty much word for word. Sergecross73 msg me 13:49, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Allow joke categories: I personally don't think they do any harm if restricted to userspace. pbp 04:28, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Oh, the horror! Some editors actually have a sense of humor, even though they express it only in user space and not in mainspace! Whatever will become of us?! This is the end of Wikipedia as we know it! Actually, I do understand how red-linked categories create a hassle for editors trying to fix problem categories, and I can see how there is a sort of no-win situation, wherein either we have blue-linked non-serious categories or red links. We allow non-serious user boxes, and any attempt to purge all such user boxes will crash and burn. With categories, however, there is the consideration of how one category may fit with other categories. The bottom line is that we should find ways to accommodate editors who have a sense of humor while also accommodating editors who want to work with categories that need fixing, some of which might actually be in mainspace. This proposal is a good way to do it. I also want to say that I think that "idiosyncratic" is a dubious way to characterize editors. A case could be made that, instead, the editors who object so strongly to humorous categories are the idiosyncratic ones. And in fact, I have a procedural concern as well: all editors who have such categories on their userpages should really have been notified of the discussions here. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:11, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
    • I've been continuing to think about this issue, and I have carefully examined all of the oppose comments. I agree strongly that acceptance should not be extended to attack categories. Beyond that, I can see two concerns that are valid. One is about having unserious categories intruding into category space in a manner that creates headaches for editors who work with categories. It seems to me that this problem can be solved by creating a parent category and requiring that all of these categories be placed within it, and forbidding putting them into any other category. That's already underway, and it solves that problem. The other concern is about adding to the list of red links. That one can be solved by making all of the categories in the parent category blue. And that's already underway, too. No red links, and no need to deal with this stuff anywhere else in category space. Problems solved. Beyond that, it seems to me that the oppose arguments are all based on some combination of (1) I don't think they are funny, so I don't want anyone else to have them, (2) the belief that these categories get in the way of content creation, and (3) considering that the categories were created in violation of the language we are discussing here, even to the point of being vandalism. Well, WP:CCC, and the purpose of this RfC is to reexamine the language here. If one is concerned about WP:NOT, remember that it includes WP:NOTPAPER, so it's not like we're hogging server space. I don't think that there's any evidence that doing away with the categories will prompt some editors to do more content work, whereas there's a plausible case that the categories help with an atmosphere that keeps some of us from losing interest. And we can, and are, go(ing) around in circles about whether ilikeit or idontlikeit, but as long as the two legitimate concerns can be solved, so that no other editors are being inconvenienced, then idontlikeit really becomes flat-out prudishness and nosiness: the opposition to such categories is not doing anything to advance project goals, and becomes WP:CREEP. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:47, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support There's no harm in allowing some humor in userpsace. ThePlatypusofDoom (talk) 01:13, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose We can't have nice things. Sorry. Chris Troutman (talk) 03:32, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I fail to see the problem being solved here. --Tom (LT) (talk) 09:01, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - I don't see why not, We need humour to survive on this place!. –Davey2010Talk 22:11, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per TimothyJosephWood. I don't see why this is something that needs to be policed. Lepricavark (talk) 14:55, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Od Mishehu: feel free to use your own userspace for jokes and other wasteful purposes, within reason; don't pollute other parts of Wikipedia, including the Category: namespace, with them. Don't waste others' time with this crap. Don't demand that bot operators support this bull. Don't force others to create and maintain categories like Category:Wikipedians who retain on their userpages categories which have been deleted by consensus. When you do that, it's not funny! Category:Wikipedian sex workers is not funny. – wbm1058 (talk) 18:08, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
    • Wow. I find it funny, maybe not hilarious, but certainly not mean-spirited. I guess humor online really is very, very subjective. Nobody wants to create problems for bot operators, but bots are supposed to enhance editing, not restrict it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:58, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
      • So you think we should shut down our anti-vandalism bots because they are restricting editing? Even though there was a consensus to delete Category:Wikipedian sex workers, our bot that implemented that deletion decision should obey a special request to not actually implement that consensus, because it's disrupting all the "fun" some editors are having on their user pages? And causing them undue inconvenience, because they have to go to the trouble of re-adding the category that the bot deleted from their user page? wbm1058 (talk) 22:39, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per rationales of BHG, VD, OM, LD etc which (IMO) are much stronger arguments than those on the Support side ("don't see the harm", "we need humour" etc). DexDor (talk) 21:11, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
You might want to take a look at the discussion below. Your characterization of the arguments presented is as wrong as it could be. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:48, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
The discussion below is too long to read in detail, but I trust users such as BHG to revise their vote if the discussion really found a flaw in their reasoning. DexDor (talk) 16:02, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
@DexDor:You should peruse BHG's contributions: she has been formally creating and re-creating the categories used in this manner already, and assigning them to a super-category. She's already implementing this proposal, without having changed her !vote. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:24, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - there's no justification given for the proposal. User Talk is not supposed to be used for social networking, and Wikipedia is not here to entertain us. WaggersTALK 14:57, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
For the second time in as many days; you should look at the discussion below. Saying there's no justification given is completely and obviously wrong. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:01, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Put what you want on your user page, but don't pollute category space with your nonsense and jokes. Very often these joke categories end up in maintenance reports for being uncategorised, or for being empty when the user(s) decide the joke has got too old, so they waste the time of people trying to maintain our category system. — This, that and the other (talk) 11:05, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose jokes in userspace are (usually) fine, but category space isn't userspace. It's part of the organisation or the encyclopedia and shouldn't be used for this kind of material. I would be happy to support the removal of redlinked categories from userspace if they can't be created because of this guideline. (Actually inconveniencing real work is a red line that jokes absolutely should not cross.) Hut 8.5 11:57, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support mainly per Ivanvector above. These are largely harmless and promote a sense of community. If it interferes with categories maintenance, perhaps creating a distinct "user category" that wouldn't go into the maintenance backlogs is warranted, or some other fix. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 17:07, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support to foster a more light-hearted atmosphere aside from the mundane job of editing. Editors need good humor sometimes. Why are we even having such a long discussion for this? feminist 10:43, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
OK, so the problem of red-linked joke categories has been raised. Just create them, labeling them with something like {{Joke alert}}. feminist 10:51, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per VegaDark. There is enough trash on this project, we don't need more. xplicit 04:29, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: Maybe there is a need for a new "User Categories" namespace? I don't think regular category space should be polluted with this sort of stuff. If people want social media stuff on Wikipedia, then changes should be made at the software level. SharkD  Talk  21:57, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
That's a really tall order, actually. But there's always Category:Wikipedians which currently has a subcategory of Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians which contains the majority of these categories. They're well segregated; totally different water fountains, only allowed at the back of the bus, etc. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:06, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
    • There is a need for more tolerance of bluelinked categories under Category:Wikipedians, although much there I advocate transitioning into ProjectSpace Collaboration Noticeboards and Signup lists, but not for a new namespace. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:27, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Opposecall me if there's a tie I'm a clown who would love to invent garbage cats to decorate my UP. But a bunch of redlinked cats will waste the CatCops' time. And Mjolnirpants, I'll be voting no at your rfc re DGA*. L3X1 (distant write) 03:11, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea what RfC you're referring to, and you are now the fourth editor to !vote "oppose" and give a rationale that actually supports it. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:20, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
MjolnirPants Per Hut 8.5's comment then: but category space isn't userspace. It's part of the organisation or the encyclopedia and shouldn't be used for this kind of material. RfC was a humerous comment of mine in response to your joke above; My next RfC will be to try to get WP:DGAF made into a policy. ;)L3X1 (distant write) 14:33, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
L3X1 Ahh, DGAF, not DGA with a missing note somewhere. I understand. But you should know that I WILL PERSONALLY MURDER ANYONE WHO !VOTES NO!!! THAT RfC MATTERS, DAMN IT!!! Wrt your rationale, Hut's comment amounts to WP:IDONTLIKEIT because it's just a statement of what should be done that doesn't provide justification (unless one accepts that permitting some socializing equates to refocusing the entire project towards socializing). Your comments seem to have little bearing on that: You said this proposal would result in more red-linked categories, but it should be quite obvious that this proposal would prevent the arbitrary deletion of a large number of categories in use on user pages. Take a look at Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians and start checking when those categories were created: All of them have been created since this RfC started to die down, by BrownHairedGirl (whom I've pinged several times when mentioning this but who has, thus far, declined to comment) who initially !voted to oppose this, with the caveat that she would change her !vote if it meant we could create those categories and thus remove them from Special:WantedCategories. In short: just the fact that this RfC exists has reduced the number of redlinked categories. Actually implementing it would encourage more editors in cat space to take up the (very good, IMHO) work BHG has been doing the last few weeks, and reduce redlinked cats even more. It would also discourage creation of them, as editors would then have the choice between making up a humorous or irrelevant redlinked cat, and adding themselves to an existing bluelinked cat. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:20, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
MjolnirPants Having read the discussion here a bit more thoroughly, I am retractin my vote as I don't want to be murdered I mean, I cannot produce nor identify a good argument either for or against, and this discussion is animated enough that my lack of !vote probably won't hurt. L3X1 (distant write) 18:30, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Hey, don't knock it till you try it. I can respect that. There's clearly a big divide here, and I certainly can understand some of the concerns expressed in the opposes. I just don't agree with them. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:37, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've read through the discussion below and the AFI, where I saw the comment by MjolnirPants, "Anything that makes WP more fun helps the encyclopedia, end of." It's an interesting proposition, but one that I think falls apart upon much inspection. It's not difficult to imagine how "fun" that's inserted into the mainspace, for example, might be deleterious to the encyclopedia's quality. I find the social science claims made below to be particularly far-fetched and not particularly worth delving into, but suffice to say that structures that might restrict action at the cost of "fun" are certainly not always bad. I should also mention that I generally am in favor of stare decisis when it comes to WP policy, but that has only a minor weighing on my opposition here. From WP:NOT: "Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia and, as a means to that end, an online community." So the basic question is would removing barriers on irreverent categories foster that community in a way that would help the encyclopedia; the community exists as a means, not an end. I'm simply unconvinced that it would. Furthermore, the arguments from many users, most particularly BHG, lead me towards the conclusion that irreverent categories would carry the risk of burdening the actual maintenance of the encyclopedia. So it is not just that the current policy is not bad, but the proposed policy would bring nominal benefits with potentially nontrivial costs.--216.12.10.118 (talk) 04:30, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
You've found a single hyperbolic statement of mine, and taken it completely literally (a form of quote mining) in order to repaint my argument into something to which you can respond by implying a slippery slope and quoting policy to support the assertion that you just don't like it. I'm not sure whether to be impressed or disappointed. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:20, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
(Same user as above) You tend to attempt to accuse people of logical fallacies while avoiding the substance of their argument, a form of quote mining. If you had read carefully, you might notice that my opposition isn't rooted in your claim about fun, it's rooted in the poorer case for potential benefit coupled with the relatively stronger case for potential harm. You just haven't made a good case. And I wouldn't point out that WP:IDONTLIKEIT also refers to positive arguments that are based on your personal views ... WP:ILIKEIT --137.54.15.119 (talk) 15:26, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
What I tend to do is irrelevant, and it's both rather ridiculous to suggest that I do that very often (me being better known for my giant walls of text) and yet another fallacious line of reasoning: pointing out the weaknesses in your argument absolutely is a form of addressing your argument. And it is not, in any sense, a form of quote mining. Please read pages before you link to them, as that suggestion is just laughable. I did, in fact read your comments carefully, and you made an argument whose substance was non-existent (resting upon a number of fallacious conclusions as it did) and therefore doesn't require responding to. However, since I'm the patient sort, I will say this much: Your insistence that editors having more fun won't benefit the project flies in the face of decades of psychological and sociological research, a sampling of which can be found in the extended discussion below. You're not the first person here to simply reject all of the science without providing a good reason, which is why I didn't bother explaining it before now. Finally, I have unarguably provided justification beyond my own personal likes, so you citing WP:ILIKEIT is not even a fallacy, but pure bullshit. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:40, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Your decades of psychological research claim is so laughably weak - let's just tear that apart right now. In order to make this claim you've cited the benefits of shared laughter, pointing to a few primary studies. Flaw 1: you've misunderstood the definition of "shared." Shared does not meant "we laughed at the same joke at different times"; none of your studies examine online interaction. In other words, they defined shared experiences as being shared in both a proximal and temporal sense. Flaw Two: Without any evidence, you've assumed that joke categories would significantly contribute to an increase in shared laughter. I'll give you this: If you made these claims in an academic environment, there would probably be some shared laughter. (Also you did it again, and yes that is quote mining, when you're suggesting that my argument is rooted in something that it wasn't rooted in.)---137.54.15.119 (talk) 15:55, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  1. That's simply not true. I guess you've never heard of a running joke, or an in-joke, both of which frequently result in different people laughing at different times. Plus, you've assumed that no-one will ever make any reference to the categories to another editor. Why that never occurred to you is anyone's guess.
  2. No, they don't define jokes that way. Again, this is just bullshit.
  3. Without any evidence you've assumed that joke categories don't qualify as jokes. (My evidence is that they're JOKE categories. Seriously, how freaking obvious does something have to be?)
  4. Having spent a great deal of time in an academic environment, and still frequently doing so, I can say from experience that your assumption about them here is wrong.
  5. No, calling your arguments fallacious is not quote mining. Again, it's a laughable claim that implies a severe misunderstanding of the term. Furthermore, what you went on to claim I did (which I didn't) is actually a straw man.
  6. Also, something you clearly didn't pick up on: Not all of that research is specifically about jokes. Indeed, much of it focuses on a relaxed atmosphere, while citing research showing that jokes (shared, permitted or clandestine) contribute to such an atmosphere. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:08, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Something you didn't pick up on - none of my comments were about how they defined joke. Why are you saying "No they don't define jokes that way"? I never said how they defined joke (and more to the point: I don't think they did define "joke." I guess this is what happens when a user just Google Scholars a phrase and haphazardly picks results from the first two pages.) My comments were on how the studies defined group interaction and shared experience. This kind of misunderstanding and leaping is one of the reasons why there are sometimes rules restricting citing primary sources. Again, none of your studies can support the claim "'Jokey' Wikipedia categories will lead to increased cohesion." 1: You're extrapolating these studies to an online context, which none of the studies examine. (In other words, you have a nice hypothesis, but it's your hypothesis, informed, but not supported by, your interpretation of prior research.) 2. You're assuming that jokey categories will actually make a significant contribution, something that no study addresses. It doesn't fly.--137.54.47.220 (talk) 16:55, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Something you didn't pick up on - none of my comments were about how they defined joke. No, I picked up on it, but ignored it. I gave you the benefit of the doubt in that if you were actually referring to shared experiences in the most general sense (as you just confirmed) then your comments were so nonsensical as to be indistinguishable from trolling. I've actually never even imagined that someone would contend (even implicitly) that two people having the same experience at different times would not have some sort of connection, because it's such a fundamentally ignorant contention, continuously proven wrong in simple daily life, not to mention psychology and sociology. And of course, there's the fact that yes; plenty of us do edit at the same time, participate in the same discussions and interact in pretty much real time with each other on a regular basis.
Furthermore, I thought it was very obvious that my response remained perfectly valid (jokes are an experience, after all) regardless of whether you were talking about experiences in the most general sense or jokes specifically. Again, you respond with an apparently complete ignorance of what I said, or even the implications of what you yourself have said, or continue to say.
Continuing on; you're not the first person to claim that online communities are different, and thus not the first one to prove that you haven't even glanced at the six or so studies I cited which specifically address online communities (nice to see you explicitly claim otherwise, as if I didn't already know you were just making shit up). Nor are you the first to suggest that WP is somehow different enough that the rule -established to hold true in every single type of collaborative environment ever studied- is not true for WP without even positing a mechanism by which that would be so, let alone working one up enough to justify a peer-reviewed publication, like the studies I cited had done.
Not to mention that in each exchange, you've responded only to one or two points among many that I made in the comment you were responding to, leaving half a dozen problems with your argument completely unaddressed. At this point, I don't see any reason to continue to engage you, because it's quite clear to me that you are either unwilling or unable to entertain the notion that you have made even the slightest error. There is, quite literally no upside to this discussion. So have a nice day. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:19, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Oh you picked up on it? So you just falsely accused me of misdefining joke then. Got it. You're pretending like the similarities in the communities being sufficient for generalizing the studies is the null hypothesis - it's not. Burden of proof is on you, and, again, both your application of the studies to online communities and your assumption that the categories would contribute to the various dependent variables of the studies are unfounded.--137.54.47.220 (talk) 18:03, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Especially as the valid part of the oppose argument has now been addressed. Pretty much by definition categories bring like minded people together. We are a community of volunteers, and should celebrate rather than denigrate that different people are motivated by different things. Deleting harmless and inoffensive stuff in userspace is rampant deletionism and should be discouraged at best as wasting community time to no benefit; At worst as the rather dodgy process that was used for years to suppress user categories such as LGBT. ϢereSpielChequers 05:30, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  • As a sidenote....I think this needs More Cowbell...Lectonar (talk) 14:47, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription is... well, you know. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:05, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes...MjölnirsPants might be gold plated then....Lectonar (talk) 16:40, 29 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. I'm really surprised at the current state of affairs. The enforcement of the the pointless injunction against joke categories only syphons precious editor time away from productive tasks, clutters up one of the most severely backlogged deletion venues, and alienates the valuable editors who have created such categories. All that without any observable benefit for the encylopedia. – Uanfala (talk) 17:57, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Close Its been a long time since anybody has edited, can this be closed? If someone woud tell me the consensus, I'll be glad to do a nac on it. L3X1 (distant write) 01:48, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
I agree that it's time to close. It's worth noting that the most vociferous opponent of this proposal has, in fact, implemented this proposal already, despite getting rather uncivil about it and refusing to acknowledge the utility of this proposal at all. I'll put in a request. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:42, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
User:MjolnirPants, who has done what? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:50, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe: BrownHairedGirl (no ping, because I'm rather sick of being called names by her) has been bluelinking and sorting joke and "irrelevant interest" categories for a few weeks now. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 12:50, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, and quite strongly even. Redlinked joke categories, fine. Wasting server space by creating thousands of joke categories that do nothing to grow the encyclopedia? What's the point? Every category requires at least some maintenance, and even a low cost outweighs a zero benefit. ~ Rob13Talk 08:58, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
We are not limited by server space (and if some are fine, how many?), and quite a few editors have argued that there is a non-zero benefit. And I agree very strongly that it is well-past the time for closure. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:41, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
As I work in computers, I thought I would actually address this. It would be perfectly reasonable to assume each category is limited to 256 characters. Since each category page is generated by server side processing on demand (and thus all the data that is the same from category page to category page needs only be stored once, at the cost of a few kilobytes), that means we are limited to about 4 trillion categories, allowing for some additional overhead for the database engine and miscellaneous columns (and primary keys! Let's not forget those!) and what not (we could probably get quite a few billion more in there, but let's be generous).
By the way, that's assuming we have only 1TB allocated to category storage. We probably have about a thousand times that available. And getting more is actually pretty cheap. Even buying retail, without negotiating prices or purchasing in bulk, you're only talking about $50 per TB. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 01:33, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Extended discussion

See the discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive946#Categories that supposedly do not help foster encyclopedic collaboration which prompted this.


Original comment from the survey section copied here for clarity

  • Oppose The only thing that is more of a waste of time than creating and populating such categories is trying to stop people from doing so. --Jayron32 19:52, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Jayron32: I agree with what you've said, but it seems to me that the logic behind your comment would result in support for the proposed change. The current policy supports "trying to stop people" from creating these categories, which you've identified as being more of a waste of time... WJBscribe (talk) 19:56, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
    I'm curious as well. I almost gave a "per Jayron" response until I looked more closely at the proposal and realized that we actually fell on opposite sides of the debate. Sergecross73 msg me 21:06, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

BrownHairedGirl's comment

Original comment from the survey section copied here for clarity

  • Oppose unless. My main concern is to get rid of the pile of redlinked user categories which clutter up Special:WantedCategories. That places a set of tripwwires in way of editors who do the thankless task of category repair.
    If turning them blue helps achieve that, then fine ... so long as a quid-pro is the removal of remaining redlinked categories from userpages. If there is a space for humorous user categories which would not previously have been allowed, then there should be no remaining need for the redlinks. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs)
I'll get behind that provided we can keep just one: Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user talk page. ;) EEng 23:54, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
I think that's a good idea. The last stand of the joke. It has already been salted against creation, so it will stay red. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:23, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Some of those categories seem distinctly inappropriate, such as categories that identify one editor as another editor (not the "Sockpuppets of..." cats, but cats that consist of just a username, for example). I think I could deal with having such obviously inappropriate redlink cats removed from user pages. But I'm sure you remember the fairly recent uproar over removing intentionally red-linked categories from user pages. I doubt that a consensus to permit the removal of red-linked categories from user pages will get much traction, unless it outlines some very specific circumstances under which it may be done, and those circumstances are pretty obviously inappropriate.
It honestly seems a better solution to me to find a way of tracking cats that are actually wanted, vs intentionally red-linked cats. While I could think of a number of ways of doing that, I'm not involved in the technical aspects of the en.wp site. I'd be happy to volunteer my time to implement a solution, however. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 01:31, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@MjolnirPants: I am sure that you mean well, but having put a lot of time into categories over the last decade (thousands of hours, >100K edits to category pages alone), I find your comment really exasperating. Lemme explain why.
The core of it is that when faced with the voices of several editors who have extensive experience of the category system (me, VegaDark, JC37 and others), you graciously acknowledge that you know little of what's involved ... but still oppose a solution without having any alternative in sight.
The problem is simple. Special:WantedCategories lists redlinked categories, in descending order of page numbers. Those redlinked categories are errors to be fixed: new categs to be created, typos to be fixed, mistaken categories corrected. Several editors work intensively on that, to try to ensure that articles are categorised in categories which actually allow navigation (which is their purpose). But the first few pages of that list are clogged up with redlinked user categories, making it hard to identify the real categories which actually need fixing. So long as those redlinked user categories are not either turned blue or emptied, then they remain as a permanent obstacle to category maintenance.
Your offer to help implement a solution is kind, but its implausible because any solution would require a significant technical change to the mediawiki software. Wikipedia editors don't design or change the software. The WMF does that, to meet the needs of a wide range of projects. They don't change the front end of the software very much, and requests from the community are carefully prioritised and balanced against the limited resources of running one of the world's biggest websites on a modest budget.
So what you seek is effectively to ask the WMF to commit developer time to making changes to facilitate a small minority of editors who want to use the category system in a way it was clearly not intended for, by retaining category entries on pages without creating the corresponding category page. The reasonable response from WMF is: why? Answer, because there isn't a consensus to allow that sort of category page to be created. There's only one plausible answer to that: no.
Maybe I am wrong about the WMF response, but unless I hear plausible counter-arguments, I doubt it. But even if somehow somebody persuades the WMF to put this on a planned changes list, it will take time to implement. And in the meantime, some editor's idea of a joke is impeding the task of building an encyclopedia. What sort of sense of priorities is that? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:55, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl: There is a lot I find very baffling about the above comment. I was going to respond in detail until I realized that doing so would be needlessly antagonistic. But have you thought this through? You do realize that you're arguing against a proposal that would reduce the number of red-link user categories on that list, right? You are arguing for the continuation of a practice that adds new entries to that list. You also made a few statements about what I (and at ANI, VegaDark) have said that are pretty clearly factually inaccurate. I apologize if I seem to be attacking you, that's not my intent. But I do get the impression that you're only half-listening to what is being said here. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:30, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@MjolnirPants: If you have identified what you think are factual inaccuracies then please identify them so that they can be examined. Just making a non-specific mention of them is a sort of insult rather than a consensus-forming response.
But let's start with your claim that I am arguing against this proposal. Please re-read my !vote, because I am not doing that. What I actually did was to offer a conditional oppose. If editors can create proper blue-linked jokey categories, why would they want to also retain the red-linked ones? What's the point of that?
You also miss that jokey user categories will bring their own set of maintenance burdens, as CFD starts hosting more debates over the boundaries of acceptability. If that's going to happen, please reduce the maintenance burden elsewhere.
And I continue to be concerned that you and others who support retaining the redlinks have yet to either volunteer your time to help clean them up, or to propose any actually achievable solution to keep redlinked user categs clear of encyclopedic maintenance. All I hear is a vague wave of "a solution" ... but what is that solution, and how achievable is it? We need more than a vague wave. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:58, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────You said I graciously admitted knowing little about categories. That is untrue, I never 'admitted' nor even implied such a thing. You said I rejected a solution with no offer of any alternative, when this entire RfC is a proposed solution, and the only thing I have rejected is the deletion of usercats in active, good faith use. I never indicated that I believed the mediawiki language specifications are maintained by wikipedia editors, yet you 'corrected' me on this. I did hint that I am aware that there are other ways of accomplishing this without changing the language specifications. You simultaneously implied that my offer to help was limited to assisting the WMF, and not wikipedia which contradicts with your implication that I was unaware of the WMF's involvement in the technical side of en.wp. You implied (and have now directly stated) that I am advocating for the use of more red-link usercats, when the exact opposite is true. You continue to insist that I have offered no solutions, in this very specific and detailed RfC which I started, after being explicitly corrected on this by myself earlier. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 04:11, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

We seem to have a lot of miscommunication here.
I am sorry that I seem to have misunderstood your comment about technical knowledge. I read it as relating to how categories work, but I'm happy to be corrected.
You did reject accompanying a change on joke categs with a ban on redlinks, and that was what I was responding to.
And no, I did not state, directly, or indirect that you advocate more usercats. I did note that you opposed their compulsory removal, which is not the same thing.
I did not claim that you believe the technical side to be controlled by editors. did point out that because the software is controlled by the WMF, editors have to work within its technical constraints.
You wrote above It honestly seems a better solution to me to find a way of tracking cats that are actually wanted, vs intentionally red-linked cats. While I could think of a number of ways of doing that. I have tried twice now to press you to set those ideas out, but you haven't done so. Please will you do so now? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 04:40, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
You did reject accompanying a change on joke categs with a ban on redlinks, and that was what I was responding to. I most certainly did not. The very first sentence was me agreeing with you that some of those categories seem "distinctly inappropriate". If you could not read the (very obvious, I thought) implication in that sentence that I would accept the enforced removal of "distinctly inapproriate" categories, then let me make it explicit right now: That's what I was strongly implying. Furthermore, I went on to point out some difficulties of getting a consensus to do that would be. I don't understand what you thought my point might be in mentioning that if not to begin hashing out how to approach such an agreement. Finally, I went on to say that I felt a more technical solution might do more to accomplish your goal of reducing the length of that list. I responded in a way that was very open to your suggestion and very sympathetic to your complaint about the list, and you respond as if I'd dismissed your comments out of hand. I'm still open and sympathetic, for that matter.
I have tried twice now to press you to set those ideas out, but you haven't done so. Please will you do so now? You have asked me once before, after arguing against one such solution already (which I never actually suggested). But here are some suggestions now:
  1. A bot that removes red-linked categories from archived pages.
  2. A bot that removes red-linked categories from user pages of indeffed editors.
  3. An off-site tool that sorts and categorizes that list into a detailed report, with information such when the first use of that category was, what namespaces it is used in, how often it is directly linked to from, whether it contains certain keywords, etc.
  4. An on-site script that does the same thing as the last suggestion. (This was what I had in mind when I mentioned volunteering to help.)
  5. Asking if the sysadmins or software devs could do something to filter that list, so that certain types of red-linked categories do not appear on it. (Note this is my first time suggesting this. Also note that it's worth a shot to ask. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.) And last but not least;
  6. Implementing a guideline that permits the removal of obviously inappropriate red-linked categories from user pages.
To be fair, that last one was your idea. But with you having already mentioned it to me, I think I can fairly describe myself as able to think of it. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 05:53, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for posting the list, rather than making a vague wave at better ideas. I'll take those ideas one at a time:
  1. Removing red-linked categories from archived pages may be a good idea in some circumstances, but in others it would not. One size does not fit all.
  2. Removing red-linked categories from user pages of indeffed editors sounds helpful, but it is a miniscule part of the problem. After inspecting hundreds of red-linked usercats, I don't recall finding one indeffed editors in the set.
  3. We already have some report tools, at WP:Database reports#Categories. Categories categorized in red-linked categories is particularly useful. More reports would of course be helpful.
  4. same as the preceding
  5. Removing "obviously inappropriate red-linked categories from user pages". That's the crux of this. Redlinked categories should either be created or removed;l there is no purpose in keeping them as redlinks. Despite the squawks of some WP:ILIKEIT editors no existing guideline permits their retention.
Overall, yes -- more tools would of course help, but in that list I see no gamechangers. And I note that so far all you are talking about is ideas for tools rather than anything at all actually implemented. If and when you get some of these things up and running, let's see what difference they make. Meanwhile, those of us actually doing the work operate within the constraints of the system as it actually is now, and until these other tools get well beyond vapourware, they aren't part of the picture.
But here's the nub. The existing toolset for redlinked categories is fairly good. Special:WantedCategories is particularly helpful; I screenscrape it to generate sets of categories which should be created, some of which I can do rapidly with AWB. I fixed about 20% of the latest list that way. And best of all, it updates its entries in near real time, striking out categories which have been sorted since the list was created, and noting changes in the count of pages in the category. Brilliant. And as my AWB does the work, the list strikes out the completed entries.
The problem with is that this most valuable tool is cluttered with redlinked user categories, which remain as permanent fixtures because a small minority of editors have been misusing redlinks as a form of shadow category for categories which they know there is no consensus. No amount of technical workarounds should blind us to the very very simple point that the category system was never designed to allow redlinks to be used as shadow categories.
That's the core of this. WP:REDNOT is unequivocal that an article should never be left with a non-existent (red-linked) category in it. Either the category should be created, or else the nonexistent category link should be removed or changed to a category that does exist. Unlike, red-linked articles, which in certain circumstances may exist indefinitely, a red-linked category is an error to be fixed. That's your comments about obviously inappropriate red-linked categories misses the point. All red-linked categories are inappropriate.
Now, I guess you may disagree with some of the above. If so, then please come and do some of the work. Clear a few hundred redlinks from each update of Special:WantedCategories and learn from your own experience. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:53, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
You know what I take from that? That nothing would make you happy, except making sure other editors all edit the same way you do. You said turning some of those red-links blue would be helpful, now you're arguing that turning them blue isn't helpful. You cited guidelines for article pages in a discussion about user pages. You keep misrepresenting what I said, even going so far as to dictate to me what I said, when you were clearly wrong. You disagree with peer-reviewed psychology (which dates back to the founding of psychology) on the basis that it doesn't apply to online groups, then when I show you peer-reviewed papers about online groups, you object because they're not identical to wikipedia. I really don't see the point of discussing this any further with you, because you're clearly not open to discussion. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:27, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Umm, no, you are the one misrepresenting me. At no point have I argued that turning red links blue would impede red link cleanup. What I have argued, and will continue to argue, is that creating a new set of categories which are unrelated to building an encyclopedia will bring a new maintenance headache, as CFD hosts discussions on the suitability of the categories created.
And, no, I am not trying to tell other editors to edit in same way as I do. What I am telling you is that unless and until you have experience of editing in this area, you should refrain from pronouncing on how those who do edit in this area have it all wrong and how your untested magic technical solutions will offset the workload and drama by your determination to breach the policy WP:NOTSOCIAL.
It really would be a great idea for you to read WP:NOTSOCIAL, and also to read some of the many discussions in WP:Categories for discussion/User/Archive, where the reasons for not creating this sort of social category were debated at great length, many many times. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:36, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Umm, no, you are the one misrepresenting me. Wrong. You misrepresent me in the very next sentence which makes it wrong by definition, but you also you ignore decades of solid science because it doesn't agree with your position and you argue like you're emotionally invested in making sure no-one else is allowed to have any fun on WP. It would be a great idea for you to read WP:TIINSB and possibly WP:WORLDSEND. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:13, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Wrong again, and a logical fallacy of hasty generalization. People can and do have plenty of fun on en.wp, and I welcome that. However, the issue here is whether their fun should be done using one particular technique which both causes maintenance headaches and breaches the long-standing policy that Wikipedia is not a social network. Please do try to understand the difference.
I do, however, agree entirely that that this is not an end-of-the-world issue. It's a very great pity that you didn't pay a little more attention to that fine principle when you and others were trying to tun a lynch mob at ANI.
As to the "science" of your flurry of generalised google hits, I'm sorry that you still have difficulty grasping the idea that different types of projects and different types of groups function in different ways and have different needs. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:17, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
You really are committed to this... A Hasty generalization is when insufficient evidence exists. Attempting to characterize my arguments as such rests upon the assumption that the processes of WP are different enough that well documented human behavioral norms which are constant throughout every other known set of circumstances will be different in WP. Unless and until you can present a mechanism by which WP is significantly different, and produce a falsifiable hypothesis predicting that this difference will nullify the known effects; you're not even wrong. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:00, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

BHG, I accept that the red link categories cause a problem for category maintenance, but the solution of removing the red linked categories imposes a restriction on the entire editor community for the convenience of a small group. I don't doubt that the category maintenance work is important. Unfortunately, the solution being advocated here is simple but with consequences for many editors. What is needed is a solution which facilitates your work without the adverse consequences for the community – a more nuanced approach, even if it is more complicated to implement. EdChem (talk) 13:32, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

@EdChem: impeding a maintenance task is not just a burden for the editors the editors doing the cleanup. It is a burden for the encyclopedia when less work gets done because of these obstacles in he way. Remember, we are here to build an encyclopedia.
As to something more complicated to implement ... what is this something? who is going to implement it? And when? Editors don't write the WikiMedia software; we work within the constraints of the software as it actually is.
And are you really seriously telling me the small proportion of editors who have a fake category lose the ability to create them that is really an adverse consequence for any them? Really?
Editors can still create userboxes. They can put images on their user pages, and write text. This isn't exactly a matter of muzzling thousands of people. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:59, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl: I have been around for approaching 10 years, and have seen some of the issues. Do you recall these contentiousdiscussions taking five years to restore the LGBT categories? Do you remember this AN about an editor leaving, offended by the removal of categories, and this follow-on, and this ANI on red-linked categories, and this one, and this Village Pump (policy) discussion? Removing editors from red linked categories has been highly contentious at times. Doing it to remove them from the Wanted list used for maintenance is going to be entirely uncontroversial and unproblematic in some cases, and spark off conflict about underlying issues in other cases, especially when some such categories most emphatically are wanted, just not by the smallish group that works at CfD and doesn't accept that members of user categories should be notified of proposed deletions as a matter of routine courtesy, if nothing else.
Notice the big red box on this user talk page relating to red linked categories? It was added after removal reversion re-removal re-restoration of LGBT-related categories following on from the above arguments. Concerns have also been expressed about automatic removal of user category red links by a bot. Similar mini-edit war removal patterns happened on other user pages, including: removal reversion with edit summary "leave my user page alone, please. If I choose to have membership in a category you don't like, then don't come to my user page", followed a month later by re-removal, re-reversion by AgnosticPreachersKid, who was active in the discussions, and a final removal in 2012 after the user had stopped editing. Another removal met with immediate reversion by the editor. And another. For the LGBT editors, where forced invisibility is linked with prejudice and discrimination in the "real world", deleting these categories was a big issue, and altering user pages to remove the links which were likely retained as a process protest incorrect word resulting from auto-correct fixed. EdChem (talk) 12:56, 25 February 2017 (UTC) simply added insult to injury. User pages allow for self-expression, yes, but categories help with navigation and collaboration, not to mention fostering inclusion and demonstrating community values of acceptance. In my view, inclusivity by the community is more important that avoiding inconvenience for category maintainers, important though that work may be. We need a solution that supports category work without disregarding the collaborative, symbolic, and other virtues of the present situation.
One other example, the category for Wikipedians who are not Wikipedians was created as a red-link category to protest an occurrence at ArbCom, and survives as a reminder of a mistake and of community members coming together to defend our values. It also links people who follow and have strong views on governance and dispute handling. Many already knew each other to at least some extent, I expect, but the category probably foster new links between editors with similar values and dedication to the principle (as they see them) upon which Wikipedia operates. These are not trivial matters which can be disregarded for the convenience of category maintenance; serious consideration is needed because they are issues of high importance reflecting core values of some editors. The "not Wikipedians" category reflects values of fairness, mutual respect, and appreciation for the contributions of others. The LGBT categories reflects not only self-identification but also acceptance and equality within the community, openness to individual difference, and the welcoming of alternative beliefs, views, and experience which supports the development of truly-NPOV content, in addition to facilitating collaboration. I'm sad to say that the community concerned with categories and who follow CfD have a disappointing collective record, at times, when it comes to understanding the people behind the editor names. I'm not suggesting it has be deliberately hurtful, but it has certainly caused harm to editors and consequent damage to encyclopaedic content either by loss of editor time or loss of editors, or both.
BHG, you wrote of less work getting done "because of these obstacles in he way," referring to the red links. Unfortunately, those obstacles are connected to people who deserve consideration. You asked if I am "really seriously telling [you] the small proportion of editors who have a fake category lose the ability to create them that is really an adverse consequence for any them? Really?" I earnestly reply, yes I am. The LGBT Wikipedians whose concerns were never taken seriously were told that Christian Wikipedians was a fine as a collaborative category but that Gay Wikipedians was not, and whatever the intent, the effect was experienced as discriminatory by some. That their protests went unconsidered and that the protest red-linked categories were summarily removed was insulting and inflammatory. That editors not out at the time saw this all happen sent a clear message of intolerance and a warning that they were not as welcome as (say) Christians. I was in the closet at the time, and I did not edit for a year after those events in 2008, and didn't contribute seriously until 2010, and this was a big part of why. What I witnessed in early 2008 was not a Wikipedia where it was ok to be who I am, where I could be accepted as an editor and where my being gay didn't matter; instead, I saw a community where some who were actively prejudiced were accepted without any sense of admonishment, and where many more were indifferent, and where squashing even the protest of red-linked categories was seen as acceptable. To you, this may be an issue of efficiency in your category work, which is a worthy goal... but to me, the human cost here is significant and unacceptable. Another way to achieve your goal is needed. EdChem (talk) 04:35, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl: I realise that you may disagree with my views, and that you have the choice as to what you respond to, but I do believe that I deserved at least some response. You asked, in part, about user category issues being very important to some editors, and I responded with some personal experiences in the hope you might see another perspective. Discussing my experience included my coming out on wiki for the first time, something I did because I felt it was necessary to make clear why this is important, at least to me. I am both sad and disappointed that my experience was not worth any response from anyone, an excellent demonstration of my view that, far too often, the people behind editor names are invisible and their experiences are irrelevant. EdChem (talk) 12:24, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
Hi @EdChem, yes, your reply was both thoughtful and heartfelt, and it definitely does deserve a response. I read it soon after you posted it, and decided to take a little time to reflect on it before replying ... and then got distracted with other stuff. I am sorry; I should have done better.
I have to go out now, but I will reply later today. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:49, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for the update, BHG. EdChem (talk) 12:53, 25 February 2017 (UTC)

VegaDark's comment

Original comment from the survey section copied here for clarity

  • Strong oppose - The current guideline keeps a focus around building an encyclopedia instead of social networking. This became a guideline in the first place after a slew of ridiculous user categories were created and people constantly pushing boundaries (Category:Fascist Wikipedians). The bottom line should be improvement of the encyclopedia. I'm not convinced this change helps us. In fact, these types of categories hinder collaboration in my view. Without a collaboration-oriented focus, there's no reasonable expectation to be able to click on a user category and find like-minded people willing to improve content. With the existing guideline, that presumption does exist. People can still have silly and nonsense stuff on their userpage, but bringing unencylopedic nonsense into the category space is a bridge too far. I also think this proposal very much blurs the line between acceptable and not acceptable categories. I keep seeing "obviously inappropriate" as how we would differentiate between what to keep vs. delete, but what is "obviously inappropriate" is extremely subjective. If this proposal were to pass I would like a hard like rule explicitly detailing what such categories would look like.[3] VegaDark (talk) 01:36, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
The question of acceptability of categories is exactly parallel to that for userboxes, which we handle just fine. I never cease to be amazed at those who insist on being allowed to spoil the life-giving fun for everyone else. That you don't get it doesn't matter; I imagine there's a lot you don't get. EEng 02:26, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
We handle userboxes just fine, by forcing the unencyclopedic ones into userspace instead of template space. If that option wasn't available I'm doubtful we would keep the unencyclopedic ones around. VegaDark (talk) 02:31, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
No, I mean the completely unacceptable ones such as those expressing racist views, which we don't allow at all. As for the namespace distinction, I don't really see how
curmudgeon This user is a
curmudgeon
particularly helps people "find like-minded people willing to improve content" in any useful way, but it's in template space nonetheless. Find something else to fuss about. EEng 02:43, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
And you've found a very good example of something that can and should be moved to userspace per Wikipedia:Userbox Migration. VegaDark (talk) 02:47, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
... but at the same time something about which, apparently, no one but you actually cares.
A Note to the Humor-Impaired

One should beware of those who cannot or will not laugh when others are merry, for if not mentally defective they are spiteful, selfish or abnormally conceited ... Great men of all nations and of all times have possessed a keen appreciation of the ridiculous, as wisdom and wit are closely allied.

Leander Hamilton McCormick, Characterology; an exact science embracing physiognomy, phrenology and pathognomy, reconstructed, amplified and amalgamated ... (1920)
EEng 02:51, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

(In response to this commentby VegaDark.)As has already been said by multiple editors; nobody likes a killjoy. You may take your time here to be as serious as you like, but insisting that everyone else treat it the same way actively discourages editing and engenders conflict.

I would also like to point out that I was never being hyperbolic in the slightest when I pointed out that this is backed by incredibly well understood psychology ([3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]) and common knowledge ([11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]). The first set of links was picked entirely off the first two pages of a Google Scholar search for "Effects of shared laughter" and the second set of links comes entirely from the very first page of a normal google search for the same phrase. It was beyond trivial to gather these sources and with any actual effort, I could likely produce ten times as many, even if I limited myself entirely to the most unassaiably reliable sources.

I opposed sanctioning you but make no mistake: I unreservedly contend that your actions were actively detrimental to the project, as would be any enforcement of rules that have the effect of stifling the formation of interpersonal relationships in a supposedly collaborative and creative environment without producing an immediate and substantial benefit to the project. And I've got a ton of evidence to back that up. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:00, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

You tell 'em, Major Pants (or whatever your name is, I've never been able to figure that out)! EEng 03:56, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Most folk call me Captain Hammer Pants. But apparently I've just earned a promotion. Yay! ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:58, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps you will be inspired to follow in great footsteps. EEng 04:08, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Hmmm, the first General of Harvard Wikipedia. I like the sound of that... ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 06:46, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • A mistaken idea which probably needs to be tried. There seems to be a vocal group of editors who want jokey categories, so it is probably wisest to let them try it. But they seem curiously unaware of the pitfalls.
    Sure, humour can be great, and it can help build relationships, as pointed out above. I agree with all that.
    The problem is that humour can be very closely bound with culture, and Wikipedia is a global project with editors of many many cultures. Rather than a bunch of people sharing an office space and getting to know each other on many levels, Wikipedia consists overwhelmingly of individuals who have never seen each other's faces or heard each others voices. Unlike an office, we don't know enough about each other to know what might cause offence, or how someone is feeling, or how something might be heard to differently to how it was intended. And irony and humour is notoriously difficult to convey in plain text, without tone of voice of visual signals.
    That flurry of links above looks impressive, but it is overwhelmingly about physical workspaces rather than virtual ones. That makes it largely irrelevant to Wikipedia. After more than two decades of doing my day job in a virtual office rather than a physical one, I could talk for ages about how easily things can be misconstrued even when intended seriously, and how jokes usually do not work. I long ago learnt that online communication works very differently to face to face communication, and is best kept joke-free ... so the idea of using this minefield as a bonding exercise on wikipedia seems to me to be fundamentally misconstrued. If you want an example on Wikipedia, look at all the drama around April Fools day, where one person's humour is another's annoyance or offence.
    And apart from all the hazards of miscomumnication, one of the risks of this sort of networking is that it will tend to strengthen networks of like-minded people (through a shared sense of humour). That in itself seems to me to a very bad idea, because an NPOV encyclopedia requires an open and fluid mix of diverse people (with differing temperaments and values) rather than cliques. And shared-joke-based categories are thoroughly clique-forming.
    Nonetheless, I think that given the vocal demands, this will probably have to be tried. But I predict that it will lead to much drama down the road :( --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 04:25, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
    • BHG, this Wikipedia_talk:User_categories#Request_for_Comment_on_the_guidelines_regarding_.22joke.22_categories section I think is more noise than fresh direction, and it is a distraction to Wikipedia_talk:User_categories#Request_for_comment_on_our_proposed_policy_for_users_remaining_in_redlinked_categories which I maintain requires a refocus as to what you and VegaDark serious would propose to do.
      I support the relaxed atmosphere that co-exists with tolerance of jokey thing, but I do think I see the pitfalls. I think sufficient stakeholders have participated, we have all heard each other, and I think the only thing that should delay the motion to close is my request that the proponents of action clarify the proposal. I think there is a consensus for doing something, even if many in the community do not think the issue is even important.
      Humour is important, if related to the project, and if it has a learning benefit. Satire especially is justified, and Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user talk page is its poster child. But there are very few of these, amongst the random looking nonsense on inactive users' pages that is mostly causing the problems with WantedCategories. Also, with few exceptions, most of the poor category humour, or rather anti-establishment activism, I think we have agreed works better on normal ProjectSpace pages, in addition to most of the category-based attempts at networking, which work better as sign-up lists and noticeboards. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:55, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Unlike an office, we don't know enough about each other to know what might cause offence, or how someone is feeling, or how something might be heard to differently to how it was intended. I suspect a proposal that allows more self-expression might do something about that.
And irony and humour is notoriously difficult to convey in plain text, without tone of voice of visual signals. Strangely enough, that doesn't seem to be a problem for online communities.[19] [20]
That flurry of links above looks impressive, but it is overwhelmingly about physical workspaces rather than virtual ones. That makes it largely irrelevant to Wikipedia. If you have some reason to expect that social psychology which applies across every other known form of human interaction does not apply to online interactions, I would be interested in hearing so. In the meantime, here is what the literature on the subject has to say: [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]. I'll save you the trouble of going through those to see what they say: They disagree. Feel free to confirm this for yourself. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 06:35, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Allowing jokey user categories and non-wiki categories will not tell us more about each other as people. It just circulates the jokes a little more, and allows us to an opportunity to share headline notes about ourselves. But very few people are going to publicly post the sort of emotional data which helps to avoid misundestanding. We won't see these categories it won't tell me that X is feeling fragile because their Mum is dying of a nasty illness, or that Y is cranky after a rent increase made them move to an extra hour's commute, or that Z self-confidence is unbearably high after a recent success. If editors do want to share that sort of thing, then can post it on their user pages ... as they have always been able to, and rarely do (for obvious privacy reasons)
Again you post a flurry of links, without explanation of how you consider them relevant. Several of them are just abstracts. The relevance of them is unclear. Have yiu studied them, or just posted a few quickly google hits?
You argument appears to be based on an assumption that the social psychology is unaffected by either the openness of a project, or the available means of communication. You started off with lots of links about workplaces and offices, which usually involve a fairly steady set of participants ... whereas this is the encyclopedia which anyone can edit. It's more like a public square than an office. Yet in support of your view, you posted this link[27] about mailing lists, which are small closed communities. I have run big discussion mailing lists, and they have a very different dynamic to en.wp because a) they are often readable by members only, and b) they gather a group with a shared core attribute. OTOH, en.wp place a political history buff like me alongside a sports fan and a fine arts afficcionado and a video games enthusiast and a science geek and a religious scholar. This sort of non-wp-based networking just reinforces the cliques which form around those different interests.
If you had research which examined large, open, online collaborations with public viewing of all proceedings, then I might be interested. But the links so far are ar about very different types of social group.
And if you want to pursue the idea that group dynamics are unaffected by the mode of communication, then good luck. It's a novel proposition. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 08:27, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Each and every one of those links mentions (with citations) the positive effect humor has on online relationships, or else directly concludes that humor has a positive effect on online relationships. The idea that your unsupported implication that this isn't true overrides the existing science is, frankly, ridiculous. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:27, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
So far as I can see, the ridiculous thing here is your presumption that since en.wp is a community of some sorts, there is no reason to consider that its needs and characteristics may be different from those of other online communities. That simplistic conflation of a encyclopedia-building project with, for example, hobbyists mailing lists, is not very persuasive. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:42, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Existing science covers situations very similar to this one. You want to quibble over whether the particulars of WP make that science inapplicable? Go publish a paper on it. Short of that, your objections are nothing but bald assertions that don't deserve consideration. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:36, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
I look forward to seeing your references to the science which does actually cover situations similar to this one. Short of that, your flurries of Google hits are are nothing but bald generalisations that don't deserve consideration. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:25, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Comment Not sure where to put this, so I'll put it here. We can and have dealt with offensive, hate-based, or otherwise objectionable content on user pages in the past. For a recent example, see the discuss on Zaostao in the ANI archives. I understand the concerns being raised about people using this as a cover for such offensive material, which is why I think we should not add the proposed text. But, this is a perennial issue and I don't think removing the text is going to change that. EvergreenFir (talk) 21:25, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Pincrete's comment

@Pincrete:Errrr you tolerate humour by errrrr, tolerating humour, but if it's making someone else's job harder, it isn't funny any more. I just want to point out that the "making someone else's job harder" part is being caused by the existing guideline and is addressed by this proposal. If editors who are intolerant of humor aren't encouraged to nominate these categories for deletion, then they have less work to do. Also, it means fewer red-link categories in Special:WantedCategories, so there's less work to do there, as well. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 00:16, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

The point being made by others is that there is a practical problem of tidying categories, why would we want to make that harder? I personally wouldn't bother to eliminate existing categories which were harmlessly/recognisably funny, but a huge majority of editors would have no idea what "wish LHvU would come back" was about, nor that it was 'humourously affectionate'. We tolerate (and are sometimes grateful for) humour on a daily basis, there are some notable permanent examples (Friendsofgays, Rouge admins, Catherine de WhoeverSheIs), but they have their place. The principal function of categories is practical, they are 'directories' of sorts. How helpful is it to have (questionably) witty groupings in there? Is it supposed to be obvious to US editors that 'European Federalists' is some kind of joke (it isn't obvious to me). Am I supposed to recognise the difference between a real and ironic grouping of US editors? That is before we throw in the rest of the world. I think the proposed wording encourages, rather than tolerates 'humour' and the net effect will be to inject fairly pointless categories of 'what might have been funny at the time' groupings into the system. There's a place for everything and I don't think categories is the best place for humour. Pincrete (talk) 00:56, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
The point being made by others is that there is a practical problem of tidying categories, why would we want to make that harder? I have yet to see any argument that this proposal would make that harder.
Am I supposed to recognise the difference between a real and ironic grouping of US editors? If you had read through the RfC (let alone many of the comments surrounding it), you'd have seen at least three different mentions of sorting such cats into an "funny categories" super-cat. So yes, I would absolutely expect you to recognize the difference, whether you personally found it funny or not. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:30, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Since there will be quibbles over what's "funny", perhaps it should be a "non-serious categories" supercat. EEng 16:47, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
The point being made by others is that there is a practical problem of tidying categories, why would we want to make that harder?, OK, I admit it, I don't fully understand the tech problems either, however I approach that from a different perspective, namely if the people who are 'at the coalface', doing the sorting say there is a problem, either they need to be replaced, assisted … … or we take their word for it. I don't see any reason for the former, nor any rush of volunteers to assist, so I am happy to take their word for it that it makes life simpler/more productive for them.
Secondly I don't see much evidence of anyone finding these categories 'mirthful', most commentators at the ANI were arguing mainly for the principle of being allowed to have a laugh. When I looked at the cats, dozens of them had 1-5 members, a couple raised a smile, but after 5 seconds they seemed mainly pointless, so are they really contributing to anything, or simply a distraction? And is amending the policy simply going to 'open the floodgates' to X,000 categories, many of which are going to be 'private jokes' rather than 'public mirth'? Pincrete (talk) 20:06, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Just because you don't find them funny doesn't mean the 5 editors in them don't. And again, you keep ignoring the possibility of sorting them into a super category. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:06, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

Note

There is similar language on another guideline page, at Wikipedia:Overcategorization/User categories. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:32, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Epicgenius's comment

@MjolnirPants: What are support and oppose supposed to mean? Does support mean "remove the text about joke categories"? Or is that "oppose"? Or are we just rewording the text to be more broad in its interpretation? Because I'm confused by all the support and oppose !votes above that don't seem to be aligned with the interpretation of "support" and "oppose" in the context of this RFC. epicgenius (talk) 18:04, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

@Epicgenius: support should mean that you support the proposal to eliminate "joke categories" and "irrelevant likes" categories from the list of inappropriate categories and move them to the list of appropriate categories. It has also been suggested that we could simply eliminate them from the list of inappropriate categories without adding them, which I'm personally fine with, though I imagine there would still be a number of editors nominating such categories for deletion, per the number of WP:IDONTLIKEIT style oppose !votes above.
And yes, a number of editors have !voted oppose while giving rationales that seem more appropriate to support !votes. I really can't speak as to why that is. At least one has been asked to explain, but so far has declined to do so. I don't believe there are any support !votes that do the opposite, though I could be wrong. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:36, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Although an attentive reading of the RfC question is really quite clear, I think that the complication is that the proposal is both to continue to have the categories exist (probably with several caveats) and also to change the staus quo with respect to where and how they are described on this guideline page. Consequently, it is partly change and partly no change. Some editors are !voting simply based on supporting or opposing the existence of the categories, which is sort of what the RfC is about, but not exactly. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:21, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@MjolnirPants: Thanks for the clarification. I think both options seem to align with Tryptofish's interpretation: that neither seems to completely remove the option for retaining satirical user categories. Though at this point, any closing admin would need to look carefully at the !votes' contents themselves, since these !votes are confusing, like you said, saying "oppose" when "support" would be a more appropriate rationale that supports the argument. epicgenius (talk) 20:31, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@Epicgenius: The closing admin is in for a bit of work, because a number of editors expressed explicit support for permitting such categories in an ANI thread who didn't !vote here. So there are votes that should be discounted, votes that should be flipped unless the editor in question can clarify, and additional votes that need to be sorted through in an ANI archive. lol I feel for the poor sap, though I have to say the end result seems rather clear. I'm going to sum it up below, not because you asked but because I've noticed a clear pattern here. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:36, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Exact wording of the proposal

I made a change to the wording with this edit. I worry about someone creating something like Category:Wikipedians who hate ni**ers and managing to wikilawyer their way out of any admin response to that. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:07, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

  • I suggest that the wording should be expanded a little further, to explicitly ban attack and/or hate categories. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:50, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
How about adding This includes any category which may be perceived as indicating membership in any hate group, or which attack any other group (e.g. Category:Wikipedians who are National Socialists).? ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 01:23, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
For the record, I don't like the idea of spelling out direct attacks (such as the example in my first comment in this subsection) in the text of a guideline. Hence why I gave no example of a category that attacks other groups. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 01:25, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I agree that specific examples may be unwise. But "broadly perceived as offensive" is too loose, because it allows an only-offending-a-small-minority defence. Similarly, "membership in any hate group" doesn't solve the problem of someone who claims to be a lone hater; by focusing on the "hate group", it misses the point that the problem is with hating the target, not with who does the hating.
It would be better to think of this from a different angle, and consider ideas such as 1) categories unrelated to editing wikipedia; 2) no negative categories. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:07, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
But "broadly perceived as offensive" is too loose, because it allows an only-offending-a-small-minority defence. I might point out that there are very few -as a percentage of the population- Jewish people in the United States (or indeed, the world), yet overtly antisemitic remarks are broadly perceived as offensive. I'm open to alternate wordings, however. I'm not sure what you mean by the different angle you suggest I consider. Do you mean to suggest that my proposal discourage the use of "categories unrelated to editing wikipedia"? If so, then I don't think you understand the purpose or likely effect of this proposal. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:51, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
The Jewish comparator is not really a useful one. After the horrors of the 20th century, anti-semitism is widely accepted as taboo. Sadly the condemnation is far from universal, but it is much more widespread than condemnation of islamophobia, let alone transhphobia or denigration of people with disabilities. That's why I suggest simply focusing on categories which do not put anyone down.
My understanding of this proposal is that it was allow editors to share jokes about the shared experience of being Wikipedia editors. That's why I suggested excluding things from outside Wikipedia, because it seemed to me to a good way of retaining what I thought was the core desired scope while avoiding the things which might cause offence or be divisive, such as commentary about a religion or nationality or sex or whatever.
However, you say that indicates that you don't think I understand the purpose or likely effect of this proposal. OK. so please set out what you think the effect the purpose and effect of this proposal would be, and how you think I have misunderstood it. If intentions have been misunderstood, then please explain them a bit more. I am listening. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 04:56, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
The purpose of this proposal is laid out quite plainly at the top of the RfC. I'm not sure why you would need me to explain it further, and I'm not sure there's anything I can say towards describing the purpose or effect of this proposal which I haven't laid out at least three times already. But since you asked:
  • The purpose of this proposal is to remove two groups of user categories (joke categories and categories which express interests in things not directly related to the encyclopedia) from the list of inappropriate user categories and insert them into the list of appropriate user categories. The effect would be to stop providing a rationale for the deletion of categories which WP editors use humorously or to share their interests with others. This, in turn would cut down on the disruption of editors protesting having their user categories deleted. It would also allow many of the currently red-linked joke and irrelevancy categories in the list of wanted categories to become blue-linked, and reduce greatly the rate at which new such categories are added to it.
Wrt to wording, if you have any suggestions for better wording, I'm all ears. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 05:12, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Ah. I had thought that the main focus of your proposal was to facilitate humour. But now it seems that you place a lot more weight on the unrelated-to-wiki aspect than I had assumed.
I see what you're trying to do. But there is a long-standing policy on this, WP:NOTSOCIAL, and your emphasis on non-wp issues flies in the face of that. That fact that you seem unwilling to reconsider or dilute that aspect even if it might cause problems suggests to me that you are not giving much attention to core policies or the reasons for their existence. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:38, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
I see what you're trying to do. Sigh. No, you don't. You have once again completely misinterpreted what I've said. You really have no idea what my motivations are and what the likely outcome of this proposal being implemented are. Or if you do, your argument is not based on that knowledge.
That fact that you seem unwilling to reconsider or dilute that aspect even if it might cause problems... Oh, the irony. It's quite thick in this quote. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:23, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Au contraire, I so have an idea an of the likely outcome, because I was around for the heated debates back in the 2000s about usercat, many years before you started editing. Huge amounts of time and energy were spent getting rid of POV-pushing, soapboxing, and many other disruptive categories, and extending the boundaries will lead to yet another long series of heated debates about where exatly to place the new fences. One of the curious aspects of this campaign of yours is that you repeatedly and consistently dismiss the experience of the editors who have experience of those editors who have dealt with thsi stuff for years. Why do you do that?
As your motivations, I simply go by what you have publicly posted. You have made it very clear that you want to significantly extend the range of permissible usercats because you believe that increased interaction and humour will strengthen the project. However, I do note that you play a very weird game that when challenged about any aspect of this, your response is nearly always a "sigh you have no idea what I mean" rather than a clarification of your actual intent. It's very a strange mode of communication. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:13, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
One of the curious aspects of this campaign of yours is that you repeatedly and consistently dismiss the experience of the editors who have experience of those editors who have dealt with thsi stuff for years. Why do you do that? I don't, you're just making shit up again (not only about me, but about what the 'experienced editors' have said). Your argument is neither rational nor based on facts, nor have you shown any willingness to consider, or even to read anything said to you. So for the third or fourth time, I'm done engaging with you. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:53, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

CSD etc

Ok, so while I understand this was a well-meant idea, it likely won't be closed as having consensus. And this without even noting that even many of those who said "support " above did so weakly and stated in their text to not really support this, or care or think we should even be spending time on this...

Why?

because it goes against WP:NOT.

We're Wikipedians. We can be a serious bunch, we can be a fun loving bunch, but this is an encyclopedia project, and while by tradition we tend to give great latitude for expression, Wiikipedia is not a democracy, and you don't have the "right" to put anything you want on a page, even though you may think so.

This is long ingrained into wikipedian culture, policy and process.

I look at CSD, and though technically these aren't article pages, the general policies and practices behind them should help indicate why such things won't fly.

Things like CSD G 1, 10, 11, A 1, 3, 7, 11. Just to start with.

Now we tend to WP:IAR on the short term (part of that "latitude" I mentioned). But the actual policies and guidelines are what they are for good reasons. There are other issues at play here, from technical tools and bots, clutter, and while maybe it's unintentional, making more work for others just to have a category name on your userpage, when all you needed to do was to post a note or even a userbox. Does that sound like a good thing?

irrelevant interests and abilities are just that, irrelevant. And not worth making work and headaches for others using a technical tool like a category, when one can just post the notice to their userpage. And patent nonsense is speedy delete-able regardless, so no point to even bother with that. This page won't countermand WP:NOT.

Anyway, I appreciate the well-meaning in this, but as it stands, this is IAR territory, and likely to stay that way. - jc37 02:12, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Now we tend to WP:IAR on the short term (part of that "latitude" I mentioned). The reason for this proposal is some editor's refusal to IAR when it comes to things like this. Also before you get too sure about a no-consensus close, note that several of the oppose !votes are weak as well, and there is an ANI discussion in which several editors who haven't !voted here made their opinions quite clear. A closer who doesn't take that into account is not doing their job well. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:04, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Most of the ANI contributors were notified of this discussion + the ANI linked to here (which is how I got here). Pincrete (talk) 17:41, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Not everyone feels the need to repeat themselves. And the !votes in support outnumber the opposes. And the opposes all seem to be based on poor arguments, such as assuming that IAR is enough to avoid problems like the one that started the ANI thread. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:54, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
You can say that again! EEng 20:39, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
It's interesting that those replying to @jc37 appear to be paying little attention to jc37's reference to WP:NOT, and in particular to the section WP:NOTSOCIAL. That's the policy framework within which the RFC closer will have to work, and WP:CONSENSUS is not assessed simply by counting heads. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:24, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Please explain how allowing joke user categories will turn wikipedia into a social media site. I await this with baited breath, and am indeed, already giggling at the sort of mental gymnastics it will require. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:03, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I believe that NOTSOCIAL would become controlling because this is, apparently, a 'social' practice which causes drag and disruption to a task which is required to maintain the encyclopedia. The category system exists first and foremost as a method of maintaining and accessing information within the encyclopedia. UserCats are kind of a 'cool' collateral benefit but only to the extent that they do not degrade the work needed to maintain the primary use of the category system.

I believe that what the editors who work maintaining the category system are saying is that usercats are interfering with their work. Their work is maintinance of the encyclopedia and a social interaction tool should not take precidence over actual functionality of the encyclopedia. Jbh Talk 23:47, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

...this is, apparently, a 'social' practice which causes drag and disruption... Check the note at the top of the "extended discussion" subheading: The inclusion of joke and "irrelevancy" categories in the list of inappropriate cats has caused disruption. I really don't see what disruption allowing these could cause, as it's not encouraging people to make offensive or grossly inappropriate cats that would need to be deleted, and even if it does: the mere fact that they're offensive or grossly inappropriate means the deletion discussion isn't likely to be very disruptive (if, indeed, a discussion is even required).
UserCats are kind of a 'cool' collateral benefit but only to the extent that they do not degrade the work needed to maintain the primary use of the category system. I agree completely. It's been asked exactly what additional work this proposal would create, but not answered as far as I can see. Well, at least not answered convincingly. BHG has implied that it would create more red-linked user cats, but also admitted that it would turn existing red-linked cats blue, and indeed, the proposal would discourage additional red-linked cats because editors now have the option to use blue-linked cats, instead. Speaking for myself, as an editor who has a handful of red-linked cats on his user page, I would happily swap all but one (the one BHG has admitted to being okay with it being red-linked) out for similar blue-linked cats, given the chance.
I believe that what the editors who work maintaining the category system are saying is that usercats are interfering with their work. If that is the case, then the problem is all user cats, not just these. However, I don't believe that's the case, because user cats are all grouped under a master cat, Category:Wikipedians. It would be trivial to group these cats under a master sub-cat of that, such as Category:Categories which are considered funny or which encourage geniality or something similar (I have no opinion on the wording, but I'm 100% on board with grouping all these cats together).
a social interaction tool should not take precidence over actual functionality of the encyclopedia. You'll find no disagreement here. But BHG has, so far, been the only one arguing that this would be harmful. Seriously: look at the oppose !votes, there's one oppose on the basis that the examples discussed weren't funny to that editor, one oppose because of a reason to support (go figure), two opposes because WP is serious business and one oppose because WP isn't facebook (I'm not counting the "oppose per XXX" !votes). There's exactly two opposes because it would create more work, including yours. Yours rests on your trust in the judgement of BHG, who works in categories. BHG, in the meantime bases her argument upon a outright rejection of decades-old, well-understood psychology, a whole army of straw men she's made out of my arguments and contradicting herself. Normally, I would defer to the judgement of an editor who had more experience myself, but in this case I have no doubt that she's wrong because she her !vote isn't based on her experience in categories, but upon her personal feelings about the issue. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 14:49, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
What is rather clearly evident by your above comments is that you appear unaware of what categories are and how they work. The category system is more than just clicking on a link and magically seeing a bunch of other links grouped there.
And yes your suggestion will make more work for other people.
Which is all the more ridiculous when I note you can get your collegial (or playtime) benefit by posting a notice on your userpage.
I get that you are focused on IWANTIT. The problem for you is that mere ILIKEIT or IWANTIT is just not enough to trump a lot of longstanding policies.
Especially if it makes more work for other editors. - jc37 18:42, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Once again, a bare assertion devoid of any evidence or arguments. And no, a notice on my userpage is a very different thing from a category which I could use to find editors who share both a recognizable sense of humor and certain points of view regarding policy, content or article subjects. Indeed, I could easily point out how ridiculous it is to assert that a notice serves the same function as a category, and question your own understanding of what categories are and how they work. Assuming you and BHG were right that this would create more work, one would expect that one or both of you could actually explain why that is so. Thus, the complete lack of any such explanation in either of your comments speaks volumes. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:06, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
That's been explained several times. I'm starting to get a sense of WP:IDHT.
As for finding others, put a userbox on your userpage and click on WhatLinksHere on the userbox. QED. - jc37 12:02, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
That's been explained several times Shenanigans. Quote me where.
As for finding others, put a userbox on your userpage and click on WhatLinksHere on the userbox. QED. That argument applies equally to all categories, and it ignores the fact that categories can contain explanatory pages which are obviously explanatory pages, as well as subcategories and be part of parent categories... Once again, I'm reminded of the fact that you have the audacity to sit here and accuse me of not knowing how categories work as you blatantly misrepresent how categories work. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:57, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • @SmokeyJoe: "single-user dubious usercategories shall be modified by insertion of a leading colon. This has the effect of de-populating the redlinked category, while retaining a redlink to the redlink category, which nearly serves the same purpose". But what, exactly is that purpose - or rather, how does it differ from a userbox? Because a coloned category sounds awfully like a userbox to me. You can find other members by looking for other transclusions of the userbox (and potentially a userbox allows more "fuzz" in finding like-minded souls - "Cat:I love red links" and "Cat:I love a red link" will not find each other, but "User funbox|I love red links" and "User funbox|I love a red link" will find each other). Plus using userboxes means that there's no room for people to get cute - fun stuff goes in userboxes, categories are for the encyclopedia, end of.Le Deluge (talk) 18:31, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Le Deluge, are you observing that userboxes can have all the functionality of a category? That is a point to make to defenders of redlinked categories. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:52, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • @SmokeyJoe: I'm asking you to explain what benefits one gets from a coloned red-link category over a userbox, since AIUI you are proposing coloned red link cats as a solution. Le Deluge (talk) 22:06, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • The benefit is the uncluttering of Special:WantedCategories, addressing the top post on this page by VegaDark (talk) 22:03, 6 January 2017 (UTC). A redlinked category with membership generates an entry in Special:WantedCategories. Linking to a redlinked category does not. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:12, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    Are you now going to tell use that cluttering Wikipedia:Database reports/Red-linked categories with incoming links is a problem too? If so, shy can't these reports be improved? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:22, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • @SmokeyJoe:Actually Rlcwil doesn't suffer too badly, it's more of an issue for other reports. But you still dodged my question, which was about the benefits one gets from a coloned red-link category over a userbox, not an uncoloned category.Le Deluge (talk) 23:24, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • It's about gentle transitioning. Users have chosen to express themselves via categories, which have become redlink categories, and subsequently some always were redlink categories. I think it is easier to move them to linking to the categories, because it involves the insertion of a single colon. Converting these expressions to userboxes requires creating the userboxes, a lot more work on the redlinkedcategory fixers, more dramatic editing on others' userpages. I think yes, userboxes might be better, but better again would be sign-up pages doubling as noticeboards. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:44, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

I'd quickly like to point out that the most impassioned users are the only ones who are calling arguments they disagree with "weak." I'm somewhat surprised by how uncivil this discussion has become. At some point, it should be acknowledged that people can engage on this and come to differing conclusions without acting in bad faith. Comments like "You know what I take from that? That nothing would make you happy, except making sure other editors all edit the same way you do" are really unfortunate. Most egregiously, these comments really detract from the "fun" of editing, and from what I hear, they're therefore, according to decades of social science research, deleterious to the online community. --137.54.15.119 (talk) 15:37, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

Summary of discussion by the OP

!vote counting

So far, there seem to be 21 support !votes and 18 oppose !votes here. There are, in addition, 6 users who have not !voted here who expressed explicit support for permitting joke categories at the ANI thread which prompted this, and those voices should be heard by the closing admin. (There were no opposing voices at the ANI thread that have not !voted here.)

!vote rationales

The supports seem to be clustered around one very popular rationale and one less popular one: respectively that these categories foster a collaborative environment and improve morale; and that this would reduce the number of red-linked categories significantly. The opposes seem to be clustered around two equally popular rationales, as well: that the editor in question doesn't like the idea of joke categories/doesn't think they're funny and that this would increase the amount of work for editors who work in categories.

an unusual phenomenon

A curious phenomenon has been noted by a number of editors: there are at least three oppose !votes whose rationales suggest strongly to others to be supportive of this proposal. The closing admin should examine these and make a determination or ask for clarification whether the editor !voted in error, or simply believes that their rationale supports an oppose !vote, regardless of how it may appear to others. If the former, then of course their !votes should be flipped. If the latter, I'm not quite sure how I would handle it. I suppose one could simply count the !vote regardless of the disconnect from their expressed concerns, but a case could be made for discounting it (treating it as a neutral !vote), instead. That would be up to the closing admin's best judgement.

ILIKEIT/IDONTLIKEIT !votes

There are also a number of oppose !votes which state quite strongly that such categories are not funny. I understand that arguments have been made that WP:IDONTLIKEIT !votes should be discounted, but I suggest they be counted fairly in this case, as this is about a change of policy and an editor's personal tastes play a role in that. Which is not to lend such arguments any additional weight, I say. Editor's personal tastes may be valid reasons for !voting on guidelines, but they are hardly compelling. There are a few flippant WP:ILIKEIT support !votes, which should be treated the same way, unless the !voting editor wishes to expound upon their comments.

summary of extended discussion

Another thing worth noting is a summary of the discussion below, in which I played a large role. This is, of course, my interpretation of the course of discussion, and other views are just as valid, but I believe that a thorough reading will show my summary to be pretty spot-on.

The extended discussion started with EEng and BHG discussing the caveat she included in her !vote. When I became involved, there were a series of initial misunderstandings of what I was saying which I can't explain, but which resulted in me attempting to correct BHG. Nobody likes to be corrected, especially when the correction is so different from what one's presumption was. As one can imagine, that quickly resulted in the heat being turned way up on the discussion, and it quickly turned unproductive before coming to a halt with EdChem's interjection (see below).
Simultaneously, EEng and VegasDark were discussing VegasDark's !vote. BHG and I joined in that discussion as well, and over the course of it I responded to the assertion that jokes don't improve morale and productivity with a flurry of perr-reviewed psychology and sociology articles, all of which either concluded or presumed that jokes improve morale in a variety of environments. There were 21 such articles in all, 6 of which were specific to online environments. BHG categorically rejected those articles as inapplicable due to the particulars of WP, but never provided any rationale as to why the particulars of WP would have any effect. During the course of these two discussions, EvergreenFir pointed out that offensive and hateful categories would not be allowed to slip through the cracks created by this proposal, as they are explicitly prohibited elsewhere; jc37 made the argument that many of the support !votes expressed rationales that would actually support opposing it -which seems to contradict the actual course of !voting- and argued that IAR should be applied instead of formally permitting these categories; EdChem pointed out the divisive and chilling effect the prohibition of certain categories has had on certain wikipedians, during which they rather courageously came out about their own sexuality to drive their point home; and JBHunley changed their !vote because they trusted BHG when she said this proposal would create additional work, despite the inability or unwillingness of anyone involved to posit an explanation as to why it would create more work that hadn't been explicitly debunked by myself or others, previously. (I'm not suggesting that there's no chance this would create more work, only that the only explanation as to how which was given here was flawed. There may be other reasons that have not occurred to me or others participating here).
final remarks

A final note to the closing admin: There have been a number of editors who have expressed support for either this proposal or for courses of action which are fundamentally similar to this proposal in the RfC above, about editors who remain in red-linked categories. I haven't gone through that except superficially, because even someone as verbose as me still suffers from the occasional tl;dr jitters when looking at a giant wall of text. But there is quite a bit of overlap between the two RfCs, as well as the two topics in between (one of which has been archived since I first wrote this). It's pretty clear that there's an ideological divide over user categories here, and that BHG and VegasDark represent one side, with the support !voters here, SmokeyJoe and EdChem representing the other side. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:36, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

References and notes

References

  1. ^ A list of precedents is available at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/User/Archive/Topical index#Nonsense/joke/humour categories.
  2. ^ An additional list of precedents for all user categories can be found at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/User/Archive/Discussion history.
  3. ^ An additional list of precedents for all user categories can be found at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/User/Archive/Discussion history.

The last redlinked categories on user pages

After several months of work, the backlog of about 30,0000 red-linked categories in Special:WantedCategories has finally been cleared. Congrats to @Rathfelder, Spiderjerky, Le Deluge, and Gjs238, and others who have done this work.

User:BrownHairedGirl/sandbox999a (permalink) contains a list of the 6 remaining red-linked categories.

Two of them are the products of a test page User:DMacks/test.js, which was created by User:DMacks to illustrate a technical issue being discussed at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Categories_for_.js_pages.

The remaining 4 categories are intentionally redlinked user categories:

  1. Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user talk page (25 pages)
  2. Category:Wikipedians in red-linked categories (1 pages)
  3. Category:Wikipedians with redlinked categories on their user page (1 pages)
  4. Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their userpage (1 pages)

In various discussions, I think that there has been a rough consensus to retain Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user talk page as the last remnant of a formerly widespread joke. As one category which is usually at the top of Special:WantedCategories, it doesn't impede the ongoing cleanup of the red-linked categories, which appear at a rate of between 50 and 200 per day.

Some editors prefer to have the red-linked joke on their user page rather than user-talk, so it seems to me to be appropriate to keep one-redlinked category for that purpose. However, we currently have three of them, which leaves them dotted around the list at Special:WantedCategories, which is a bit of a nuisance ... and I think it's an avoidable nuisance.

Please could the editors who want these categories on their user page agree on one title to use? I have no preference for which title is chosen, but I suggest that that Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user page might be the simplest, since it follows the same format as Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user talk page.

Pinging the 5 editors who use the three current categories: @SmokeyJoe, Tothwolf, Trevj, Rubbish computer, and HJ Mitchell. Please could you consider standardising this, to assist the editors working on category maintenance?

Thanks! --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs)

As you say, I prefer it on my userpage. Beyond that, I don't feel strongly about the exact for of words and I'm happy to go with the flow if it makes someone else's life easier. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 13:46, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm just voicing my support for BHG's request here. I'd love to see this short list get trimmed down to a single pair. Personally, I like Category:Wikipedians in red-linked categories, as it works in either user space or user talk. But I will refrain from switching to that until the others have had a chance to weigh in. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 14:21, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm happy if we retained a single standardised form of this category, as long as its complement is kept red as well. The suggested wording for it is Category:Wikipedians not in red-linked categories. – Uanfala (talk) 16:36, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
    • As discussed at great length with Uanfala, both at User talk:Uanfala and elsewhere (e.g. Category talk:Wikipedians without red-linked categories on their user talkpage), there is a pressing need to minimise the number of red-linked categories, because every one of them is an obstacle in the way of category maintenance. The former galaxy of redlinked user categories is now reduced to a handful, so the joke of a red-linked cat which claims not be redlinked is old and stale. Time to let it go. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:31, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
      • The joke isn't a form of sarcasm directed at the former abundance of red categories. It's just a piece of timeless self-referential humour. I'm not claiming that it's particularly funny though, only that it's not "stale".Uanfala (talk) 17:40, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Congratulations you guys, on sucking some of the fun out of the project. Well done. -Roxy the dog. bark 17:41, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
    • Roxy, there are plenty of ways of having fun which do not involve intentionally placing obstacles in the path of other editors. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:00, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree with BHG on this. Having one such category is a joke (which is funny, I don't care what anyone else thinks), but having multiple different versions of the same exact joke just ruins the original joke, as well as making a mess for other editors. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:11, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
I think BrownHairedGirl's effort has been heroic and is to be congratulated. And I am pleased that we have eventually negotiated a solution which Roxy the dog. can live with. Mind you I will now have to go back to writing articles because there are so few red categories to fix.Rathfelder (talk) 18:41, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
You screwed around with the appearance of my user page based on a claim that it was preventing vital work being done. At least have the courtesy to stop being smug when admitting that the benefit to it was negligible. --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:53, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
Floquenbeam, the disruption caused by each individual redlinked user category is indeed small. However, the cumulative effect of hundreds of these categories was hugely disruptive to clearing the 30,000-category backlog.
It is notable that many editors who had such categories on their userpages understood that collective gain comes from cumulative effect of the removal of individual categories. Most of them had been unaware of the adverse effect, and had no desire to disrupt encyclopedic maintenance. Sadly, a very small minority of editors took the view that their own contribution to the overall mess should somehow be disregarded ... ignoring the corollary if that if everyone took that view, the whole mess would go unfixed.
Some of those editors were also furious that anyone would tamper with their userpage. These extremists simply refused to consider the fact that the problem lies not in their userpage itself, but in the fact that the userpage was creating a problem elsewhere. Mercifully, the vast majority of editors remember that Wikipedia is a collaborative project, and do not take such a selfish view. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:30, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl:Calling someone an extremist for getting upset that someone else edited their own userpage in a way they didn't approve (and then edit-warred over it, if I recall correctly) is ludicrously hyperbolic, and pretty clearly a personal attack.
@Floquenbeam:Maybe you can help me, because I'm a little confused. I'm all for funny categories (see the RfC above, where I've fought like hell to include them in the list of appropriate uses of categories), and I get why Category:Wikipedians with red-linked categories on their user talk page is funny (see my previous comment in this thread). But I don't get what's funny about having any other red-linked categories on one's userpage. I mean, I'm all about humor, from dick jokes to dry humor and from Monty Python to SNL. Hell, I even think Dane Cook is funny, and apparently I'm the only human being alive who does! But just having red linked categories... I only see one punchline to that; how angry the anti-humor editors who work in categories get over them, and that's the sort of joke that just doesn't have any place here. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 20:02, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
@MjolnirPants: the idea that userpages are exempt from outside interference is a common misconception.
WP:USERPAGE is clear that editors get a lot of leeway in what they do with those pages, but there are and always have been limits on what is permissible. The first para of WP:UPNOT is explicit that the guiding principle is don't be inconsiderate. Thankfully, only a very few editors chose to adopt the extremist view that they are entitled to be inconsiderate. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 20:49, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
I didn't say a thing about policy, I said something about you calling other editors "extremists". Ever heard of WP:AGF? ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:11, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
MJP, I know that guideline well. Did you ever read the first line of the nutshell at the top of that page?
As you will see there, editors are not required to assume good faith when there is clear evidence to the contrary. In this case, a very small number of editors have persisted in disruptive conduct despite being shown uncontested evidence of how their humour is disrupting encyclopedic maintenance. They have rejected non-disruptive alternatives, and chosen to be selfish extremists. Thankfully, there are very few of them. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:49, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
That is the most ludicrous, self-serving, logically decrepit and policy-ignorant argument I have ever heard in my entire tenure on this project, and I mean that completely literally. It puts brand new editors arguing that NPOV means they get to add their favorite conspiracy theories to shame. I can't even begin to describe how incredibly deeply my faith in this project has been damaged by the thought of such a load of tripe coming out of the mouth of an admin. I'm done here. Forget about my offer to help. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:12, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
That's the first time I have ever been called policy-ignorant for pointing out that someone has missed the crucial first line of a guideline they cited. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:33, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
Please don't let me interrupt any arguing if editors are enjoying that, but I was concerned about what Floq said, so I looked at that user page history. I think it's no big deal to change categories from red to blue, but I saw an edit there that simply deleted a large number of categories from the user page. That is not OK. We can parse the degree to which an editor does or does not "own" their own user page, but an editor has every right to take issue when another editor, without consent, deletes stuff from their user page that isn't malicious or anything like that. In my mind, such a deletion is vastly more disruptive than any supposed disruption of keeping humorous categories, and it gives a lot of credibility to the label "category police". --Tryptofish (talk) 01:19, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
I do agree. Rathfelder's edit here was rude, and I'm not sure whether the apology has been made. It is nice that Special:WantedCategories is now easy to maintain, I presume it's maintenance is valuable. I wonder, User:BrownHairedGirl, did anything come of my suggestion to insert colons? What have you been doing with single member weird redlinked categories? Did you turn everything, no matter how weird, blue with redirects? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:50, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
SmokeyJoe, the ability to maintain Special:WantedCategories is very valuable. The update on 29 March was the first where nearly everything was a new redlink, and it contained a mixture of:
  1. Categories where a suitable alternative existed
  2. Categories which needed to be created
  3. Categories unlikely ever to be appropriate
  4. Articles which had been vandalised or otherwise unconstructively edited (e.g. by editors who mistake categorisation for blog-style free-form tagging)
Thanks to clearing the backlog and removing all the intentional redlinks, those fixes could all be done relatively easily.
As to the redlinked user categories: I made several attempts at inserting colons to convert the categories to links, but after several editors objected, I gave up. The massive job of clearing the backlog has been a full-time task for me for 3 months (and any other editors have also done huge amounts of work on it). The task would not have been completed if we had continued to engage in time-wasting arguments with the very few selfish extremists who demand the right to disrupt maintenance work. So those categs which had previously been deleted by a consensus discussion I redirected to Category:Wikipedians who retain on their userpages categories which have been deleted by consensus; the rest I created as subcats of Category:Idiosyncratic Wikipedians. I did that no matter how weird or pointless the category was, simply to remove the redlinks which were impeding maintenance.
I am sad to see Rathfelder's removal of a bunch of redlinks described as rude. There is no ban on editing user pages, and WP:USERCAT is very clear that user categories should not be used as "bottom-of-the-page" notices. If a Wikipedian wishes to have such a notice, they may edit their user page and add the notice in some other way (such as by adding text or a userbox), rather than inappropriately creating a category grouping.
I am also astonished to see the comment by Tryptofish that the removal of redlinked usercats is vastly more disruptive than any supposed disruption of keeping humorous categories. As has been repeatedly explained, those redlinked usercats were higly disruptive, by creating permanent clutter in a cleanup listing, impeding encyclopedic maintenance. OTOH, their removal impeded no enyclopedic purpose ... and if editors want to maintain the humour, there are many ,any ways of adding humorous content to userpages which has no effect outside the userpage. That's the core issue here: don't cause your userpage to disrupt enyclopedic work. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 10:12, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
No, and this really is an important point. Page content is what our readers care about. The categories at the bottoms of pages serve a purpose, of course, but they are far from being what readers care about the most. It's helpful to have editors working on wanted categories – and I want to point out that I have consistently been supporting the effort to unclutter the redlink list, in order to facilitate that work. But that is far from being the most important thing. It's important to maintain good editor morale, because editors are who create the content that our readers care about. And a rude edit – and yes, it was rude – of an editor's user page is disruptive in that it diminishes enthusiasm for content creation. And losing potential content matters a lot more than losing a requested category. The "encyclopedic work" that is disrupted by user categories just isn't something to get self-righteous about. There are better ways than deleting categories from user pages to clear up the red links – and that, after all, is what this talk section has been about. That usercat rule is just a silly and self-serving rule added because so few editors pay attention to usercat rules. It should be removed, not revered. There is no harm to content, or to readers, if an editor keeps unserious categories on their user page, and this RfC seems to me to be sending that message. It's a message that the category police need to hear. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:05, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
I don't know who is intended to be labelled as "category police", but I note that it is a term which until now has been used only by the editors who described two days ago as "selfish extremists" -- i.e. those who are so insistent that that they must have redlinked categories on their userpages, that even if their page goes unedited and the redlink is turned blue, they will alter the spelling to create a new redlinked category. Some even go so far as do so with edit summaries which mimic the sounds made by a small child throwing a rebellious tantrum.
It also strikes me as being immature to use disparaging terminology such as "category police" to describe editors who are working to maintain the category system. It would be equally possible to use the same sort of terminology about editors who do all sorts of gnoming of articles and metadata, from correcting spelling to standardising navboxes, but that sort of hostile terminology simply poisons the atmosphere against collaboration and consensus-building. And editors engaged in category maintenance have been subjected to a sustained barrage of it.
The primary outstanding issue here is not the editing of user pages, because I found workarounds to avoid that. It is a small hardcore who object to any measure which removes their userpage from a cleanup list, even if their page is not edited. That is the group who I now call "selfish extremists", because they engage in an activity which they know to be disruptive.
Categories exist as one of the mechanisms which en.wp offers its readers for navigation between articles, and they are also used for analytical purposes. We could have an interesting discussion somewhere else about the importance or otherwise of categories, but for now, they exist, and they do have some navigational benefit for readers.
By contrast, the userpages of editors have absolutely zero direct benefit to readers. They are not linked from any content pages, and automatically tagged with "noindex" so that the public search engines skip them. Insofar as those userpages are of benefit to the user concerned, let alone to other editors, absolutely none of that benefit derives from single-member redlinked categories on a userpage. Whatever the name of that category, every single scrap of information or mood or commentary conveyed by its title can be conveyed just as effectively by plain text, userboxes, graphics, or by intricately formatted text. A trawl of userpages shows great creativity in using those mechanisms, and they are all uncontroversial -- because whatever any other editor thinks of them, they have zero impact outside of that page.
That's the crucial point here: the impact outside the users's own page. It's that outside impact which makes redlinked user categories a problem. And it is that alone which caused those userpages to be edited.
Tryptofish argues that it is important not to upset editors, and I agree up to a point. For me, that point occurs when editors object to a minor edit to their userpage which has the sole intent of avoiding disruption elsewhere. User pages are not, and never have been a wholly unrestricted zone. Sure, the guideline rightly gives editors a lot of what it calls "leeway" about how to use them. But it forbids their use for advertising or promotion, as webhost or blogs, but there is not and never has been a ban on other editors removing content which breaches those guidelines, and it also stops at the point where categories are used as decoration. Editors are of course free to object to anything; but when those limits are reached, they cannot legitimately claim to be treated rudely when another editor fixes the problem.
Note again, however, that edit[28] cited as an example of rudeness was to User:Floquenbeam. It was promptly reverted[29] by Floquenbeam, yet 9 months later the same Floquenbeam edited[30] the same page to add one red category, and turn another red. This was done in the full knowledge that it would clutter a cleanup list and impede the work of other editors. That was intentional disruption, done in the knowledge that other editors would have to clean it up.
The RFC on the boundaries of user categories is a separate issue, because it relates to the boundaries of acceptable user categories. There will always be some boundaries on usecats, and some categories to be removed.
Meanwhile, a small group of editors continues the intentional trolling and disruption. Here's a few examples:
  • Mjolnirapnts announes their intent to troll[31], and adds[32] a redlinked category
  • Roxy the dog cheers the intent to trol[33]
  • Only in death create an unparented user category of a type which has long been deprecated, using a childish edit summary[34] comments snicker [35] at my turning of one of these intentional redlinks blue, to remove it from the cleanup list at Special:WantedCategories.
There's more of this intentional disruption, and trolling. Do the editors concerned really think that this sort of conduct is a part of building an encyclopedia? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:29, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
I'd say it's a lot more becoming than calling other editors "extremists", trying to argue that you're allowed to insult people because disagreeing with you is an obvious sign of editing in bad faith and then telling people that the editor who called you out on your bad behavior is a troll because he's shocked that you would behave so badly. I am dead serious, by the way. You are violating our civility policies left and right because you disagree with people, and at the rate things are going you're really looking at having your mop taken away and replaced with some sanctions. So by all means, keep it up. At this point, nothing would make me happier than to see you get treated the same way any editor with a dozen edits would get treated if they behaved the same way. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 00:54, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
MjolnirPants, I stand by comments about the small number of selfish extremists who have been intentionally trolling the ediors involved in category maintenance, and actively trying to disrupt their work. If you want to try having my mop taken away, you know where ANI is. But do watch out for WP:BOOMERANGs. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:21, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
If you stand by your comments that I'm trolling you (which would only take a dozen seconds of research to disprove, but whatever), then why haven't you done anything about it? I suspect the answer is because you know it's just a bullshit accusation. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:31, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
I'll leave it be for now because the underlying problem has largely been resolved. But if the trolling and intentional disruption resumes, I will review the options. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:19, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
LOL good luck with that. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:45, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
"userpages of editors have absolutely zero direct benefit to readers"
That's not correct. Without good editors content would rapidly deteriorate, and some good editors like user pages. People are different—some are happy working away without ever using a talk page, while others like to exchange views or banter, or display jokes. For many people, user pages help make the community which builds the content, and that definitely affects readers. Maintenance lists are important and they should not be bombed with junk, but there should be a technical solution which does not involve the need for editors to spend hours arguing. Cleaning up 30,0000 red-linked categories is sensational work—congratulations to all involved. However, the natural desire to keep going until the list is empty may not be helpful to the project. Johnuniq (talk) 01:00, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
@Johnuniq: I wrote "direct benefit". You are talking of indirect benefits, through keeping editors happy. Of course I want to keep editors happy, but are you really saying that these editors can't find another way of getting happiness from their userpages?
As to keeping going till the list is empty, that might be a bad idea if this was a one-off-backlog. The reality is that it is a never-ending deluge, which was backlogged. New redlinks appear at the rate of 100 per day, and these intentionally-created permanent redlinks clutter up the ongoing task of cleaning that up. I have been quite explicit here that I personally don't aim for zero, just for near-zero ... and that my outstanding objection is to the small group editors who repeatedly create new redlinks, in the full knowledge that it is disruptive, with a clear intent of trolling.
If you or someone else can come up with a way of excluding redlinked usercats from Special:WantedCategories, I'd be delighted; it would satisfy everyone. But I don't see any way of achieving that, so in the meantime, we have to work with the reality that these redlinks disrupt maintenance. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 20:47, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well, anyway, I am sincerely glad that the red-linked list has been made more manageable, and that a container category has been implemented for the user page categories. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:48, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Deletion issue

All this time spent debating could've been better spent on articles and helping our readers, A redlinked category on a few userpages/usertalkpages is really not worth wasting your time and life over. –Davey2010Talk 12:55, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
I share your concern about misspent time. But it's more than a matter of "debating". Some editors feel that it is misspent time to put such categories on one's user page. Others (and I'm firmly in this camp) feel that it is misspent time to go around trying to remove or delete such categories. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:19, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
@Davey2010: if redlinked user categories appeared only on user pages, they would be of little interest to anyone other than the users who placed them there.
The reason they have attracted attention is that they appear in cleanup lists, impeding the work of editors who do that cleanup. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:36, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
I guess there's many things of this site I still don't know, If it's affecting cleanup then I can understand the concerns but atleast to me it's better to just ignore then I mean if we were talking about 10 (or more) categories then I could understand but as far as I can see there's only 3 so to me wasting so much time over discussing it could be better spent helping the readers but that's just my view, Anyway thanks, –Davey2010Talk 13:15, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
@Davey2010: Before posting, did you read the post with which I started this section? The issues are explained there, and it's a pity that some people appear to have commented in this thread without checking the background.
Before the cleanup of redcats began there were hundreds of these red usercats, which seriously impeded the cleanup. It would still be easier if there were zero of them, but if you read the post with which I started this section, you'll see that I am not trying to get rid of them all; I'd just like to merge a few duplicates. That would make life easier for those doing cleanup, without doing any harm to those who want to keep the few remaining redcats. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:31, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

WikiProjects

The introductions to Wikipedia:WikiProject and Category:WikiProjects seem to describe the type of collaborative social environment expressed above by those espousing red-linked categories.

Are there deficiencies with WikiProjects that require the use of red-linked categories?

Gjs238 (talk) 21:08, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

As I understand it, the WikiProject-related categories are about editors working together to improve content on Wikipedia, and as such, are different from the categories discussed above. But you are right to the extent that there is an element of social interaction in both cases. I don't see that as a deficiency in the WikiProjects. I see it as a deficiency in the idea that user categories need to be so narrowly defined and so aggressively regulated. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:25, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Agree. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:56, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
I had understood that the users of red categories were doing so for collaborative purposes, hence my query regarding WikiProjects. What then are the justifications for red categories? Gjs238 (talk) 23:47, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
These arguably have the function of sifting the users with a certain sense of humour from those without. – Uanfala (talk) 23:52, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
I can attest from personal experience that I have, indeed checked what categories an editor placed themselves in (if any) to determine if they were being facetious or not after making a strange statement, and I have browsed such categories to find editors who have a sense of humor. But my experience probably doesn't count, because I'm a selfish, extremist troll according to BHG. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 00:48, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
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