User of Interlang links and categories varies strongly with placement on
the page. we used to be able to see this now clearly with the multiple
popular skins. today we can perhaps see this best with the multiple apps
and viewers. on wp mobile, surprisingly, readers don't use categories at
More seriously: this is a tremendously useful and underutilized slice of
wiki knowledge, like the quality and completeness categories, which deserve
to be made more visible.
@kerry I expect it isn't for edit count, it is for fixing a fast of
knowledge that those editors find critically important (as I do!). yes we
need something like petscan and intersection to be a standard aspect of on
wiki search: this is precisely the sorry of use that good clean
categorisation is good for!
On Thu 24 May, 2018, 6:38 PM Kerry Raymond, <kerry.raymond(a)gmail.com> wrote:
I do outreach including training. From that, I am
inclined to agree that
readers don’t use categories. People who come to edit training are
(unsurprisingly) generally already keen readers of Wikipedia, but
categories seem to be something they first learn about in edit training.
Indeed, one of my outreach offerings is just a talk about Wikipedia, which
includes tips for getting more out of the reader experience, like
categories, What Links Here, and lots of thing that are in plain view on
the standard desktop interface but people aren't looking there.
Also many categories exist in parallel with List-of articles and navboxes,
which do more-or-less-but-not-exactly the same thing. It may be that
readers are more likely to stumble on the lists or see the navbox entries
(particularly if the navbox renders open). But all in all, I still think
most readers enter Wikipedia via search engines and then progress further
through Wikipedia by link clicking and using the Wikipedia search box as
their principal navigation tools.
Editors use categories principally to increase their edit count (cynical
but it's hard to think otherwise given what I see on my watchlist); there's
an awful lot of messing about with categories for what seems to be very
little benefit to the reader (especially as readers don't seem to use
them). And with a lack of obvious ways to intersect categories (petscan is
wonderful but neither readers nor most editor know about it) an leads to
the never-ending creation of cross-categorisation like
which is pretty clearly the intersection of 4 category trees that probably
should be independent: nationality, sex, occupation, time frame. Sooner or
later it will inevitably be further subcategorised into
1870s British-born-Australian cis-women poets
First-Monday-in-the-month Indian-born Far-North-Queensland
cis-women-with-male-pseudonym romantic-sonnet-poets :-)
Obviously categories do have some uses to editors. If you have a source
that provides you with some information about some aspect of a group of
topics, it can be useful to work your way through each of the entries in
the category updating it accordingly.
Machines. Yes, absolutely. I use AWB and doing things across a category
(and the recursive closure of a category) is my primary use-case for AWB.
My second use-case for AWB I use a template-use (template/infobox use is a
de-facto category and indeed is a third thing that often parallels a
category but unlike lists and navboxes, this form is invisible to the
With Commons, again, I don't think readers go there, most haven't even
heard of it. It's mainly editors at work there and I think they do use
categories. The category structure seems to grow there more organically.
There is not the constant "let's rename this category worldwide" or the
same level of cross-categorisation on Commons that I see on en.Wikipedia.
I note that while we cannot know who is using categories, we can still get
page count stats for the category itself. These tend to be close to
0-per-day for a lot of categories (e.g. Town halls in Queensland). Even a
category that one might think has much greater interest get relatively low
numbers, e.g. "Presidents of the United States" gets 26-per-day views on
average. This compares with 37K daily average for the Donald Trump article,
19K for Barack Obama, and 16K for George Washington. So this definitely
suggests that the readers who presumably make up the bulk of the views on
the presidential articles are not looking at the obvious category for such
folk (although they might be moving between presidential articles using by
navboxes, succession boxes, lists or other links). Having said that, the
Donald Trump article has *53* categories of which Presidents of the United
States is number 39 (they appear to be alphabetically ordered), so it is
possible that the reader never found the presidential category which is
lost in a sea of categories like "21st century Presbyterians" and
of the European Union". I would really have thought that being in the
category Presidents of the USA was a slightly more important to the topic
of the article than his apparent conversion to Presbyterianism in the 21st
century (given he's not categorised as a 20th century Presbyterian).
And, somewhat amazingly, there is no apparent category for "Critics of
Donald Trump". I must propose it, along with a fully diffused sub-cat
system of Critics of Donald Trump's immigration policies, Critics of Donald
Trump's hair, etc. By the time I've add all the relevant articles to those
categories, I should have at least another 100K edits to my name!
From: Wiki-research-l [mailto:email@example.com]
On Behalf Of Federico Leva (Nemo)
Sent: Friday, 25 May 2018 7:14 AM
To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities <
wiki-research-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>gt;; Ziko van Dijk <zvandijk(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Reader use of Wikipedia and Commons
Ziko van Dijk, 24/05/2018 23:08:
When it comes to Commons, I would be very
interested to learn how many
readers (or recipients) are actually non Wikipedia editors.
It would be useful to consider less common but high value usage, for
instance people looking for illustrations for a publication. Such searches
could be substitutes for specialised (and expensive) databases, so the
value provided by Commons categories may be higher than the mere usage
numbers suggest. (It should be measured in hours saved or something like
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