Wikipedia talk:Overcategorization/Small with no potential for growth

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Should SmallCat continue to be a guideline[edit]

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.

Should SmallCat continue to be a guideline or be marked historical? - jc37 08:51, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Based upon how controversial this guideline has been over the years, I think it is worth discussing whether part or all of this guideline should be deprecated.

For transparency, I'm honestly not sure, but I think that community discussion on this could be productive.

One possible option could also be to just deprecate this in favour of WP:OC#NARROW.

I welcome others' thoughts. - jc37 06:41, 26 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comments - So I have spent some time going through category discussions over the last decade or so. Several things stood out to me from CfD discussions which referenced WP:SMALLCAT - First, many of these had issues under other WP:OC issues, such as WP:NARROWCAT, or WP:OCYEAR, or WP:OCEPON, or WP:TOPTEN. But since smallcat was available to say, people just said that. And second, that a lot of these were very contentious due to "being part of 'something'". How effective is this if someone creates a tree of 50 subcats all with less than 10 members? Technically, it has been argued, the tree should be allowed per this guideline. Even though it may fall afoul of other guidelines. And the reverse is true, as well. If that tree was valid in everything but "member count" should we be deleting it for that reason alone? And finally, these discussions quite often have turned into behavioural discussions (about the "act" of adding or removing a page to or from category, rather than looking at the category itself). And by saying "small" (which, I'll - mea culpa - take responsibility for adding[1]), human nature wants to ask "how small is small"? I think we are unnecessarily creating problems with this. And I think the rest of WP:OC covers this well enough that we can probably deprecate this as a "general rule". I suggest dropping an "historical" template on it and moving on. - jc37 06:00, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Another issue with this, is that SMALLCAT was often about assessing quantity over quality. And that's probably not the direction we should be going. - jc37 06:11, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jc37 Well said! I agree with you. And I don't blame you or the others at the time for trying to come up with some criterion to address these issues. You were pioneers. You didn't do everything perfectly the first time around, and you didn't have to. The fact that most CFD criteria from 2006-ish are still around is a testament to how well you folks figured this stuff out pretty well from the beginning.
SMALLCAT just wasn't the best criterion that was developed, and it appears to have taken the community almost 17 years to fully realise its fundamental flaws after many laudable attempts at trying to make it work for such a long time. I think we are close to finding a good solution for a proper replacement, and I'm glad you're on board with us. NLeeuw (talk) 07:09, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
 Comment: Notified WT:WikiProject Categories of this discussion. A smart kitten (talk) 11:49, 26 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you : ) - jc37 11:16, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Neutral for now Deprecate and mark historical; replace with new Merge For Now guideline I'm honestly not sure either; I'm in the middle of considering all options and alternatives. (Edit: I've come to a conclusion, see comments below). At User talk:Marcocapelle#Draft essay and at Wikipedia:Merge for now#Proposals, we are working on several possibilities. We could reform SMALLCAT and introduce Merge For Now (MFN) as a new, separate criterion, or have MFN entirely replace SMALLCAT.
As it stands, the Arbcom unanimously concluded today that reasonable editors can reach differing conclusions about other elements of the guideline, including the potential for growth and whether categories are part of a large overall accepted sub-categorization scheme. So those two phrases are no longer viable as they currently are, because there is no consensus about what they mean and how they should be applied. Thus, they should either be amended or removed. At Wikipedia:Merge for now#4. Address "part of large scheme" ambiguity and Wikipedia:Merge for now#5. Address "potential for growth" ambiguity, I've outlined the pro-amend and pro-remove arguments. I'm open to be persuaded, but currently I find myself on the pro-remove side in both questions. But if both are removed, there won't be much text to SMALLCAT left, will there? Cheers, Nederlandse Leeuw (talk) 18:51, 26 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Added Wikipedia:Merge for now#Subcategories of Category:Works by creator and Wikipedia:Merge for now#6. Address lack of "subcategories of Category:Works by creator" justification. I complained about the arbitrariness of this sentence at ANI, but at the time nobody responded. We should critically examine it. My conclusion is that it makes no sense, and should be removed. Combined with the removal of the bad examples of no potential for growth, and the "potential for growth" and "scheme" phrases, that leaves only the following text:
Examples: Husbands of Elizabeth Taylor
Avoid categories that, by their very definition, will never have more than a few members.
Note also that this criterion does not preclude all small categories; a category may be kept even if only a small number of its articles actually exist at the present time.
Apart from the only example which is still correct, that doesn't leave many. Even something seemingly obvious like "Capitals of Fooland" may be more complicated than they seem, if that may include historical capitals of Fooland and not just the 1 city currently designated as the capital. Even a country which was founded yesterday may decide to move its capital tomorrow, and again next year, and again next year. Of course there is "potential for growth". Is it "realistic"? Well, lots of countries are currently moving their capitals as we speak, so in that sense, of course it is realistic. There are almost no categories which by their very definition, will never have more than a few members, simply because we've got no WP:CRYSTALBALL and can never say "never" about lots of things.
Finally, the last sentence just lacks any justification now. Why should we keep such a category? Just because the text says so? And what is "only a small number"? As long as this is not defined as a numerical threshold, this phrase can once again be exploited as a catch-all clause that can be employed to filibuster any CfD. That's not helpful.
For the first time, I'm leaning towards a complete abolition of the entire WP:SMALLCAT guideline, and its replacement with a new Merge For Now guideline. Nevertheless, we need to resolve the WP:GAMING risk first if we want to make it successful. I suppose one easy practical way to reduce that risk is for all CFD regulars to install the User:Nardog/CatChangesViewer.js script. That way we can detect it if anyone has been stuffing or ECOOPing a category in order to game the nomination. This script didn't exist back in December 2006. It does now. We may not be able to prevent all gaming, but we can more easily detect it. What do you think, @Jc37? Cheers, Nederlandse Leeuw (talk) 19:35, 26 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
CFD discussions were at a low ebb already and we just lost two regular contributors. I attribute this to not putting cats on mobile view but, whatever the reason, one !vote is often enough to sway the outcome anyway without bothering to game the system. - RevelationDirect (talk) 02:08, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you mean Twinkle doesn't work on mobile view? That is indeed a bit of an annoyance. But CatChangesViewer does work in mobile view. For example, I can see on my phone right now that Category:Joseline Hernandez songs, Category:Beauty Pageant and Category:Non-fiction works by L. Ron Hubbard were all recently emptied out of process (ECOOPed). NLeeuw (talk) 06:58, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Nederlandse Leeuw: No, I mean that categories don't show on the bottom of articles in mobile view so mobile users are less likely to care (or even know about) cats. RevelationDirect (talk) 23:24, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@RevelationDirect Oh! That's actually a great point. Sometimes I completely forget that articles don't show categories at the bottom in mobile view. Because I can take part in CFD discussions and navigate categories in mobile view without that being an issue. It usually only becomes an issue when I want to nominate a category using Twinkle; then I need to switch to desktop view. NLeeuw (talk) 02:58, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Deprecate and mark historical - per my comments above. - jc37 06:14, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agreed. I have now also adopted this position. NLeeuw (talk) 07:12, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • AFAICS, the last paragraph of this guideline is not covered anywhere else. Its rationale is crucial for the categories it describes, e.g. for many subcategories of Category:Compositions by composer. I disagree that this should become an essay. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:32, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I believe it's covered under WP:OCEPON - jc37 08:19, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    WP:OCEPON does cover your concern - in that it covers works by people. But regardless, we can work on other guidelines. But whether we do or not, doesn't impact that I think it's time to close the book on this one. - jc37 08:21, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Jc37 Thanks for pointing out WP:OCEPON. I just found out that it directly links to Wikipedia:SmallCat (Eponymous categories should not be created unless [[Wikipedia:SmallCat|enough directly-related articles]] or sub-categories exist.) Therefore, closing the book on WP:SMALLCAT will directly impact WP:OCEPON. If we simply unlink it, that means we will have to establish both an explanation or refinement of what "enough" in enough directly-related articles means, and a justification for why it means that. (Under Proposed text A of WP:MFN, the answer is simple: at least 5 items. But that's not the only option we've got.) Cheers, NLeeuw (talk) 11:17, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I added that link as a convenience. But the EPON guideline exists fine without needing it as "extra" support.
    And that's what I'm finding, we already have guidelines for this stuff, smallcat was just "extra", and controversial, at that. - jc37 11:21, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Ok, but what does "enough" in enough directly-related articles mean, then? Are we going to make that someone else's problem, or should we clean up after ourselves if we agree to deprecate SMALLCAT and unlink those words? I would presume cleaning up after ourselves would at least be more courteous, wouldn't you? NLeeuw (talk) 11:26, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Michael Bednarek: is absolutely correct. The last sentence of SMALLCAT needs to move somewhere or it would be utter chaos.
    Certainly you could tack this onto the end of WP:NARROWCAT though: "Also, subcategories of Category:Works by creator may be created even if they include only one page and they conform to the other guidelines applicable to categories." RevelationDirect (talk) 02:16, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That's part of this discussion - to hear from everyone about their thoughts and concerns and ideas. - jc37 02:32, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •  Comment: For people new to this discussion: at Wikipedia:Merge for now (WP:MFN), we are working on a good, new criterion to replace WP:SMALLCAT. Edit: Regardless of whether WP:MFN will be introduced, we can already deprecate / retire SMALLCAT as an obsolete guideline. CFD participants can already invoke conventions such as WP:NARROWCAT, WP:WTAF, WP:BUILDER, and WP:REALPROBLEM (for deleting(up)merging "smallcats") or WP:BEFORE and WP:DEMOLISH (against deleting/(up)merging "smallcats"), and WP:OCEPON (can work both ways). Cheers, NLeeuw (talk) 10:05, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I might add WP:OVERLAPCAT. NLeeuw (talk) 12:08, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • (Summoned by bot) Retain guideline. The rule seems fine, and if any ambiguity exists then the proposal should be to make amendments in said guideline, not to throw out a perfectly reasonable guideline. What am I missing here? Captain Jack Sparrow (talk) 11:17, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The 26 August 2023 ruling by the Arbcom that several elements of the WP:SMALLCAT guideline are ambiguous and open to multiple contradictory interpretations: reasonable editors can reach differing conclusions about other elements of the guideline, including the potential for growth and whether categories are part of a large overall accepted sub-categorization scheme. Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/SmallCat dispute/Proposed decision#SmallCat. This compels the community to rethink the purpose of the guideline. It should either be reformed in order to work as intended (if we can agree on what its intentions were/are/should be, on which there also appears to be no consensus), or deprecated/retired (and perhaps replaced). NLeeuw (talk) 11:23, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I mean, the basis of the guideline is quite reasonable; So it makes more sense to improve it than throw the baby out with the bathwater. Captain Jack Sparrow (talk) 11:28, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    CapnJackSp - Please compare the text to WP:NARROWCAT. And tell me what you think. - jc37 11:34, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    From my reading, narrowcat talks of intersection of categories, not any small category. Captain Jack Sparrow (talk) 19:25, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It does talk about intersection, and mentions that some intersections can result in categories with few members. Smallcat also talks about categories with few members. The difference - as I see it - is that smallcat seems to start with counting and then assessing, narrow starts with the assessing which doesn't set an expectation of counting. We get the result, but we're assessing on merit, not upon counting. What do you think? - jc37 19:44, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In practice, they're often--but not always--the same thing. RevelationDirect (talk) 23:26, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I would like to make sense of that "reasonable basis" if it is still possible. At Wikipedia:Merge for now we are trying to make sense of it. If we scrap all the ambiguities and invalid examples, this is what we're left with:

Small with no potential for growth (ambiguous per Arbcom)

  • Examples:
Husbands of Elizabeth Taylor,
Catalan-speaking countries, (theoretically overturned on 3 May 2023, see example no. #2 (NLeeuw)),
Schools in Elmira, New York (invalid per WP:CRYSTALBALL, see example no. #3 (Marcocapelle))
unless such categories are part of a large overall accepted sub-categorization scheme, (ambiguous per Arbcom)
such as subdividing songs in Category:Songs by artist or flags in Category:Flags by country. ('"Songs by artist" became really contentious' per jc37 evidence)
  • Note also that this criterion does not preclude all small categories; (ambiguous per Arbcom)
a category which does have realistic potential for growth, (ambiguous per Arbcom)
such as a category for holders of a notable political office, (invalid per WP:CRYSTALBALL, see "potential for growth" ambiguity (NLeeuw))
may be kept even if only a small number of its articles actually exist at the present time. (ambiguous per Arbcom)
I would really appreciate it if someone could help me make sense of... well... the above. Cheers, NLeeuw (talk) 11:52, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I dont think that it is that ambiguous, or controvertial.
A lot of what you marked as "ambiguous per arbcom" is just relating to what constitutes "realistic potential for growth"; That needs an addendum for clarification. The "small" portion is also arguably imprecise, but that exists in several category guidelines and is a much larger issue than the RFC here.
The "Crystal" stuff I disagree with, many categories will by definition only have no scope for expansion. For example, Category:First man on the moon , by definition, can only have one guy. Not crystalball.
Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2023_March_20#Category:Countries_and_territories_by_language I didnt understand, that had nothing to do with smallcat - That discussion was about removing a different ambiguity, unlike the article given as example.
WP:OCEPON line is just clarifying that this guideline doesnt clash with others, again necessary to ensure compatibility with other guidelines. Captain Jack Sparrow (talk) 12:31, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
About the Catalan-speaking countries example, I'm sorry that I haven't been clear. I should have sent you a direct link to Wikipedia:Merge for now#Potential for growth example no. #2. There, I explain why.
The "Crystal" stuff I disagree with, many categories will by definition only have no scope for expansion. For example, Category:First man on the moon , by definition, can only have one guy. Not crystalball. It would be nice if it were that easy. It's theoretically entirely possible to create a List of first man/person on the moon by nationality as its main article, and put all people on that list in the category. So far, all have been Americans, so it would have only 1 item.
  • Is there potential for growth? Of course there is! It's possible for lots of space programmes from around the world to put people (masculine or otherwise) who do not own a United States passport on the Moon. (I wouldn't be surprised if a Chinese or Indian astronaut sets foot on the Moon in the next 10 years).
  • Is it realistic? Of course it is! Lots of countries and even private companies are already operating in space, and there are even emergent plans to colonise the Moon.
  • Will it happen anytime soon? Probably not. But that didn't hold back lots of Wikipedians from opposing a deletion/merger of categories based on the potential that something could happen at some point in the future. WP:SMALLCAT doesn't say anything about when this growth should occur, so people can always say someday, maybe, perhaps, possibly, potentially, per potential.
And that is what makes this "realistic potential for growth" clause fail WP:CRYSTALBALL. It relies on evidence that does not yet exist. It relies on Wikipedia pages that don't yet exist. It allows editors to speculate endlessly about how that evidence and those Wikipedia pages will someday maybe perhaps possibly potentially be produced, so that the smallcat might then be expanded, and therefore shouldn't be merged/deleted until that extremely dubious and uncertain point in the future. It ignores stuff like WP:WTAF. This obstructs the WP:CFD process, the fundamental purpose of which is to ease navigation between properly populated categories. Cheers, NLeeuw (talk) 13:10, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
PS: Okay, now the song MAN ON THE MOON: The sounds of Apollo 11 remixed is in my head. NLeeuw (talk) 13:20, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'll grant that the criterion isn't worded as well or as clearly as it could be, but it isn't a fundamentally invalid concept.
    Every category technically has a theoretical potential for future growth — the relevant question is how immediate the prospects are. For instance, if only one past or present mayor of a town or city has an article, then we don't already need a dedicated "Mayors of [City]" category for that one person just because it's theoretically possible that other mayors might get articles someday — the only legitimate basis for creating that category now would be either (a) five keepable articles about NPOL-passing mayors of that city already exist today, or (b) five keepable articles about NPOL-passing mayors of that city will exist within the next few days because somebody's actively working on that project as we speak. "Anything might be possible someday" is not good enough: either five articles already exist and somebody just overlooked actually filing most of them in it, or five articles will exist before a standard-length CFD discussion on the category would even conclude.
    But that dedicated category's lack of current existence does not pull the one mayor out of any relevant category trees, because he can still go in Category:People from City and Category:Mayors of places in Higher Entity regardless of whether there's a "Mayors of That Specific City" subcategory cross-referencing those two things or not.
    Conversely, however, a tree like Category:Albums by artist should, at least in theory, have every single article about any album under it — it's called "Albums by artist", not "Albums by artists who have recorded >n albums" — but an album fails to be under that tree at all if the existence of its relevant "Artist albums" category is denied, because there isn't any middle ground between "this category can exist even if there's only one album" and "this album just can't be found in this tree at all".
    In other words, it's really a question of "is there an alternative (e.g. mayors in state/province), so that the topic is still in all the relevant category trees regardless of whether this smallcat exists or not", or "is there no alternative, such that if this smallcat doesn't exist then the topic gets pulled completely out of a category tree it needs to be in, and thus the smallcat has to exist because that's the only way to get it into a necessary tree at all".
    Category intersections also need to be considered carefully: for example, Category:Norwegian satirical films only has four articles in it at present, and thus could technically be argued as flunking SMALLCAT, but erasing it wouldn't just entail upmerging the contents to Category:Satirical films, it would also entail upmerging the contents to Category:Norwegian films, which is a category with so many articles under it that it needs to be a strict container category that only contains subcategories and has no individual articles filed directly in the parent at all. Which means the country-genre subcategory needs to exist regardless of size, because all of the relevant genre categories existing the moment n=1 is the only way to keep the Norwegian container category properly containerized.
    So, sure, SMALLCAT could absolutely use some rewording for added clarity about what it actually means — but it's not an inherently invalid concept, it's just a concept that needs to be expressed better. Bearcat (talk) 15:29, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Hi Bearcat - I'll ask you what I asked someone above - Please compare the text to WP:NARROWCAT. And tell me what you think. - jc37 17:42, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That certainly crosses over with some of the SMALLCAT issue (e.g. it clearly covers off the mayors example I gave), but not all of it (it doesn't so clearly cover off what I said about albums by artist). So it strikes me as a useful complement to a rewrite of SMALLCAT, but not as an outright replacement for SMALLCAT across the board. Bearcat (talk) 17:46, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Bearcat - Ok, so from your assessment of NARROW, what is left from SmallCat, that you feel is not covered in Narrow, that you think needs text written in guideline form? - jc37 18:55, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Hi Bearcat, welcome to the discussion. I'm not sure I understand the idea that if Category:Norwegian satirical films is upmerged to Category:Norwegian films, the latter all of the sudden needs to be a strict container category that only contains subcategories and has no individual articles filed directly in the parent at all. How so? The name is just "Category:Norwegian films", not "Category:Norwegian films by genre". The latter should indeed be a containercat, but why the former? WP:DIFFUSE says the opposite: It is possible for a category to be only partially diffused—some members are placed in subcategories, while others remain in the main category. NLeeuw (talk) 19:51, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Because there are hundreds or thousands of Norwegian films with articles, meaning that a fully populated Category:Norwegian films category would be far, far too large to be browsable or maintainable at all. And it's also not a tree where only partial diffusion is desirable, because making it partially diffused would still interfere with the process of being able to maintain it properly: if there are 50 articles that have to be left directly in that category due to lack of any potential subcategory for them, then that's 50 articles' worth of time I have to waste trying to find the five other pages that got unnecessarily thrown into that category even though they are diffusable into subcategories. So as a person who regularly works with fixing film-related categorization errors, I need the base country films category to always be as close as feasibly possible to being completely empty and container-only, precisely so that any errors that need fixing can be caught right away without requiring me to invest hours and hours into investigating a mixture of pages that need diffusion with pages that have to be left where they are due to a lack of diffusability. So the Norwegian films category has to be either directly populated with all Norwegian films, which is not viable at all due to the numbers, or fully diffused with no individual films in it, because I have to be able to wham my way through any cleanup in the absolute shortest amount of time possible. Bearcat (talk) 20:11, 31 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • (non-CfD regular comment; summoned by bot) I think part of the problem with SMALLCAT is that there is an aversion to temporary deletion of small categories. The purpose of categories it to aid navigation. If Category:Foo and Category:Bar have two members each, they are both (in the current moment) equally useful (read: useless) for navigation. That Category:Foo will have 102 articles next year is irrelevant to its present utility. If Category:Bar should be deleted, so should Category:Foo; the latter can be recreated when it actually will contain 102 articles (at that point "the reason for the deletion no longer applies"). If the category was in fact small, the added work of repopulating it (i.e. as opposed to adding the category to the newly created pages, which will always be required) is trivial.
    Additionally, I agree with Bearcat above, especially his Norwegian satirical films example. With all that said, keep the guideline. But remove "with no potential for growth". HouseBlastertalk 18:56, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think this is the key difference. All the other editing guidelines are about the nature of categories that are inherently not beneficial while SMALLCAT is about the articles. RevelationDirect (talk) 23:30, 29 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @HouseBlaster I agree with most of what you say, but I don't understand the Norwegian satirical films example (see my comment above); could you explain why you think that? We also agree on removing with no potential for growth (and by extension which does have realistic potential for growth), but what about unless such categories are part of a large overall accepted sub-categorization scheme? Remove as well? Cheers, NLeeuw (talk) 06:58, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Delete or Mark Historical - A guideline that is usually misunderstood is a guideline that should not be kept. The underlying causes of the ArbCom case were, first, multiple editors read it, and thought that they understood it, because they were too lazy to finish reading it, and, second, BrownHairedGirl attacked the other editors, because she was right on what the guideline said, and she was wrong in personally attacking other editors, and they were wrong on the guideline, but had the right to be reasoned with respectfully. This guideline was too often misunderstood. Robert McClenon (talk) 04:07, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Nobody was right on what the guideline said; there is no consensus on what it says: reasonable editors can reach differing conclusions about other elements of the guideline, including the potential for growth and whether categories "are part of a large overall accepted sub-categorization scheme." Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/SmallCat dispute/Proposed decision#SmallCat. It is misleading and not very nice towards one's fellow editors to suggest that multiple editors read it, and thought that they understood it, because they were too lazy to finish reading it and therefore it was usually misunderstood as if there is only 1 correct conclusion which all "non-lazy" editors could possibly reach (namely, the conclusion one personally just so happens to agree with), because reasonable editors can reach differing conclusions. Cheers, NLeeuw (talk) 07:13, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Delete if it is going to be used to forbid the creation of well-formed categories in existing hierarchies such as:
    If these categories cannot be created until they have "n" identified members, they are unlikely to be created: am I expected to do a search on "University of Borås" to identify other alumni? Or are those people not to be categorised by their alma mater? PamD 07:47, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I clicked on "What links here" and was able to get the alumni category up to 4 articles. RevelationDirect (talk) 02:08, 31 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Deprecate and mark as historical. Even as written, the guideline makes a lot of exceptions, and it gets to the point where it just becomes something for editors to argue about, rather than something that improves categorization. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:30, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I actually am pretty lazy! Whatever the cause, the current guideline doesn't seem to lend itself to building consensus. RevelationDirect (talk) 01:57, 31 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Keep There clearly is a principle that small categories are generally not allowed, and certain trees are exceptions to that rule. Deprecating the guideline will merely un-condify that principle (rather than changing anyone's actual !votes), and thereby strengthen perceptions of a CfD cabal. * Pppery * it has begun... 03:04, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      My point exactly, modify if necessary, but no need to chuck the guideline. Captain Jack Sparrow (talk) 05:29, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Pppery - All of WP:OC is built from CfD discussion results. If we mark smallcat historical, we can then watch CfD to see how things go. And based upon those findings we can determine where to go from here. But SmallCat as it is, doesn't represent any sort of "community-wide" consensus. It's constantly controversial in application. Which, means it fundamentally does not meet the definition of a Wikipedia guideline: "Guidelines are sets of best practices supported by consensus." If it's only the same handful of people supporting it, then your comments about "cabal" aren't hyperbole. Low participation is no excuse for a walled garden. And NO guideline should ever be so set in stone to where we cannot discuss whether there is consensus for it existing. WP:CCC is a key part of WP:CON. Otherwise Wikipedia will become stagnant and die a death by aedificiary immovability. - jc37 15:45, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Huh? If this RfC is closed without a consensus to deprecate, then it will establish the requisite community-wide consensus for the guideline to exist. And it's clearly not just the same handful of people, as both of the outsiders summoned by FRS have supported retaining the guideline. * Pppery * it has begun... 15:55, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      I don't know how this discussion will turn out. But what I was responding to was your assertion that this guideline shouldn't be removed because it would "...thereby strengthen perceptions of a CfD cabal." And I don't think that should have anything at all to do with whether certain text should be considered a "guideline" or not.
      Besides, people support or oppose throughout XfD without needing a specific guideline to lean upon. And it's not uncommon to see essays linked to as well. People will do what people will do. I just think we should look to what's happening at CfD, rather than just idly prognosticate or guess what might work. Because, as things are right now, small cat isn't working.
      And so far, I'm not seeing ways in which the idea of: "counting category members" in order to determine if a category should be kept; has any sort of consensus. What instead I'm seeing in this discussion is a general concern that the defence against smallcat will be lost. That is: "part of a larger tree" or some such. The thing is, if smallcat is gone, then there's presumably no need to defend against it. And further, the "part of a larger tree" concept can easily be folded into other guidelines, instead of creating a list of exceptions. Song by artist, for example - and there are many others... Exceptions should not make a rule. If we need a rule for this, then let's make that. - jc37 16:30, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      You say "There clearly is a principle that small categories are generally not allowed, and certain trees are exceptions to that rule. " but the answer I have been given at User talk:Marcocapelle#A question is that the kind of new categories I create would not be allowed as SMALLCAT is currently interpreted. I strongly believe that if an article belongs in an as-yet nonexistent category in an established tree, that category should be created, even though at that point it has just one single member. That way, the next such article will be added to that category, rather than each person creating an article on an architect from Niger being expected to seek out all the architects from within Category:Nigerien designers, or all the Nigeriens from within Category:Architects (which has a rubric saying "Pages in this category should be moved to subcategories where applicable. ... It should directly contain very few, if any, pages"), in order to decide whether there are 5, or some "n", articles so that a new category can be created. Having created an article on an architect from Niger, an editor should be allowed, indeed encouraged, to create the appropriate category Category:Nigerien architects within Category:Architects by nationality. SMALLCAT as it stands is being interpreted to deprecate the creation of such categories, and as such I oppose the existence of SMALLCAT. PamD 17:43, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Both you and Jc37 are disagreeing on what the limits of the principle are. That doesn't change the fact that the principle exists and will continue to exist even if it is de-codified. * Pppery * it has begun... 20:05, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      For clarification (and discussion purposes), what do you see as "the principle"? - jc37 22:19, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      The principle is that if a category with very few elements and no other redeeming value is brought to CfD it will be deleted or merged. Editors above disagree on how to define "other redeeming value". Take Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2023 July 17#Category:South African cuisine-related lists as one example.
      I feel like this discussion is going in circles. * Pppery * it has begun... 00:41, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Thank you.
      I agree that the question of "redeeming value" - or however else it's phrased - is a subjective determination. Something which I might suggest is what the guideline on WP:CON is there as a tool to help us decide. In this case, the common process is WP:CfD.
      That said, there is no overwhelming reason to tie the two concepts together - "few members" and "value".
      But that if we do, we should start with the question of "value" and not the question of "few members". It's that we start with counting members that this tends to be so controversial. Which is why something called "smallcat" continually is controversial.
      Compare to NarrowCat. Where the starting point is about intersection and a question of "value". That the result of a narrowcat may be a "few members", is almost an after thought to the assessment process.
      So it's not so much a matter of "going in circles", it's more trying to work out how we can present these concepts (and whether we should be) and if by doing so, that we can reduce disruption. A goal for all of us, I presume. - jc37 02:04, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Mostly well-said. But I would say that small categories are, all else being equal, less likely to have value. And so the burden shifts at a certain point; for small categories it's on the "Keep" side (to justify the category), and for large categories it's on the "Delete" side (to explain why the category isn't useful). * Pppery * it has begun... 02:08, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Maybe, but we can't know that until we've assessed them. Should we count members and immediately say "guilty until proven innocent"?
      I guess I'm looking at WP:CAT, and the 3 foundations for inclusion are WP:V, WP:NPOV, and WP:Defining. Nearly all of WP:OC are examples of those 3 things. The 4th thing that WP:CAT talks about is the pragmatics of trees and intersections. And that's where NarrowCat (and parts of a few others, like OCEPON) come into play.
      There's really no reason we should be looking at the size of a category in assessing its value.
      We look at a category name to determine inclusion criteria. And to see how it "fits" into the current system, and to see if it meets those three fundamentals. WP:OC helps with this by showing examples of what repeatedly are deleted/merged/renamed to change inclusion criteria.
      Smallcat just sets up a strawman, and then people fight about it. - jc37 02:30, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      I would say nominations like the one I linked above (which is one of many by the same nominator with no further justification) shows that enough people do prejudge based on size for that to be the guideline. Evidently you disagree, and I'll leave it at that. * Pppery * it has begun... 02:36, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Oh, I'm not saying that there are not those who prejudge based upon count. I'm saying that we shouldn't be. And I'm saying that - especially due to all the exceptions to prejudging - works by creator, being part of "a large overall accepted sub-categorization scheme", songs by artist, etc., that's it's essentially a arbitrary, non-NPOV way to assess content. And one in which - by it's vary definitions - creates contention, and disruption.
      Benefits? That someone can prejudge without actually taking the time to assess? We have WP:BEFORE issues all over XfD. This would seem to be another way to sidestep due diligence. Do we lose anything positive at all if this concept is deprecated? Not that I see.
      Anyway, you're of course welcome to disagree. The whole idea of starting a discussion is finding out what people think and seeing if we can find a consensus for a way forward. - jc37 02:48, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Incidentally, NarrowCat covers your example. An intersection, which CfD decided to merge to both parents.- jc37 02:51, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      So, what about Category:Nigerien architects? I think it is a valid and useful category to create, at the time of creating the first article on an architect from Niger. While SMALLCAT exists, someone might nominate it for deletion with "Per WP:SMALLCAT. This category has only 1 entry.", which was the rationale used in the example above, Category:South African cuisine-related lists. (OK, so no-one has yet nominated for deletion any category I have created, but all this SMALLCAT discussion makes me worry that they might do so in future.) I asked at User talk:Marcocapelle#A question and was alarmed by the response. And I am sure I am not alone in this: this discussion seems to be among editors who work a lot at WP:CFD, while editors who create categories along with their articles are probably largely totally oblivious to what is being discussed here and which might seriously impact their work. PamD 08:27, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      I think you are misreading SMALLCAT. SMALLCAT doesnt prevent Category:Nigerien_architects, since it has a reasonable expectation of expansion. Or is it the case that Nigeria has only one architect of note? In that case, the CAT might be a bit pointless, no? Captain Jack Sparrow (talk) 08:46, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @CapnJackSp Note that Niger is not Nigeria. But see @Nederlandse Leeuw's reply to my question at User talk:Marcocapelle#A question. They say there are two proposals: under one, all categories must have 5 members from creation. Under the other, "It would still be best to play it safe, and not create new categories until you've got a substantial number of articles to put in them" and I might have to fight for the survival of any small category at CFD. So if they are right, neither proposal allows the creation of that category at the point of creating the first member article. PamD 09:13, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @PamD, that is the change that some editors want to make to the guideline. The current guideline allows creation with few articles as long as it can increase later. The proposals for change dont allow it, but the current guideline does.
      And my mistake on the Niger vs Nigeria, but I hope you got my point. Current guideline does allow, but the proposed guidelines dont. This RFC wants to remove the current guideline. Captain Jack Sparrow (talk) 10:05, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Actually, this RfC is saying that the "current guideline" is already covered by other current guidelines. And is proposing to merely remove this as contentious/controversial text. - jc37 10:19, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      But it doesnt cover na? Some parts maybe, but not the guideline as a whole. Captain Jack Sparrow (talk) 18:17, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      The whole guideline is covered in other existing guidelines. though perhaps not phrased in the same way.
      To illustrate this, please pick any three open WP:CFD discussions which cite smallcat and I'll look at them, and cite whatever applicable existing guidelines. - jc37 18:28, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      The current guideline allows creation with few articles as long as it can increase later., but SMALLCAT has been cited as the reason to delete a lot of categories which were perfectly capable of increasing later (such as Category:Geneticists from Northern Ireland, with the nomination "Per WP:SmallCat since each of these has less than 4 members."), as we saw in the recent ghastly mess at Arbcom. If it can cause such trouble, it should be done away with. PamD 11:31, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Keep per CapnJackSp & Pppery: the core principle here makes total sense; adjustments can and should be made but the answer isn't to scrap the guideline as a whole. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 15:12, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Delete or Mark Historical: But move the last sentence about works by creator to WP:NARROWCAT. (I'm open to a separate conversation on that but it's distinct.) The current editing guideline is not something that brings consensus because there is no agreement on what's a well established tree nor on how to plausibly predict growth potential. There was a partial consensus on the number of articles but ArbComm discouraged that approach so there's not even a consensus for what counts as small. I'm actually support WP:MFN and am open to rewriting the existing guideline as well. But, in the mean time, there's no point in keeping the current unusable guideline; I've already switched to citing WP:NARROWCAT. - RevelationDirect (talk) 17:34, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Delete/Historical More trouble than it's worth, especially since WP:NARROWCAT already exists. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 18:23, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Comment Due to this entailing a project-wide guideline, this RfC is now listed at WP:CENT under the title "Future of SMALLCAT guideline". –LaundryPizza03 (d) 04:59, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Mark historical. I personally don't care whether it remains. I rarely like to play with categories anymore in the first place, except when writing new articles. But if the community is ignoring it quite a few times, and replacing it with NARROWCAT, we might as well mark it as historical. InvadingInvader (userpage, talk) 19:01, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Comment I've no strong views on SMALLCAT itself but it's a very small guideline covering very similar ground to other guidelines (like NARROWCAT) and proposals (like MFN). Having a plethora of tiny guidelines covering similar-but-different scenarios seems like a really silly way to organise our guidelines - I'd like to see them all consolidated and merged into one comprehensive (and hopefully concise) guideline. Whether or not that includes the text of SMALLCAT as it currently stands is to be determined. WaggersTALK 14:59, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @Waggers: FYI, until recently, it was one comprehensive guideline, WP:OVERCAT. WP:SMALLCAT was a section of WP:OVERCAT (just like WP:NARROWCAT), until it was split off two months ago. Levivich (talk) 18:12, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Thanks, I thought I had a memory of that being the case so I'm glad I haven't completely lost the plot :) WaggersTALK 12:59, 13 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Support. Ambiguous and contradicts WP:CRYSTAL. CLYDE TALK TO ME/STUFF DONE 23:45, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Keep as is. I'm not really seeing an argument here beyond "some people acted far out of proportion in abstruse CFD debates" but that's not a great reason to modify this. I think the overall principle is still sound - we don't want well-meaning users creating tons of 1-entry categories, and need a rule to stop this and say to just use the higher level classification. SnowFire (talk) 02:09, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @SnowFire What is the problem with a 1-entry category being created, if it's part of an established hierarchy of categories, with appropriate parent category/ies, and an article belongs in it? PamD 14:32, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @PamD: There's already an exception for this, though. (I say this as someone who has created a one-article category as part of a large overall accepted sub-categorization scheme.) So I presume the point of abolishing SMALLCAT is precisely to allow small categories that are not part of an established sub-categorization scheme. SnowFire (talk) 02:57, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      But while SMALLCAT exists, I fear that editors will continue to misuse it to deprecate small categories, as shown in the mess of the recent ArbCom. It leads to disruption, stress, and time-wasting. PamD 07:54, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @SnowFire, @PamD, permit me to interject into this discourse with an impassioned plea for the IMMEDIATE deprecation of SmallCat, a guideline whose well-intentioned purpose has, over time, metamorphosed into a source of vexation within Wikipedia's categorization landscape, as underscored by the recent ArbCom turmoil.
      @PamD raises a pertinent question: "What is the problem with a 1-entry category being created, if it's part of an established hierarchy of categories, with appropriate parent categories, and an article belongs in it?" This query strikes at the heart of the matter. Categories are not autonomous; they exist within hierarchies that provide context and facilitate navigation. To stifle the creation of a small category, even when it harmoniously integrates into a broader categorical structure, is to hinder the very essence of categorization—to enhance discoverability and comprehension.
      @SnowFire, while acknowledging the existing exception for one-article categories, avers that abolishing SmallCat would foster the creation of small categories not part of established schemes. The assumption here is that SmallCat serves as a necessary deterrent against frivolous categorization. However, this perspective underestimates Wikipedia editors' discretion and their commitment to meaningful organization. Moreover, the recent upheaval in categorization debates, notably within ArbCom, bears testament to the fact that SmallCat has the unintended consequence of exacerbating discord and disruption.
      Now, let me elucidate my position further: the raison d'être of categories is to augment user experience. Categories provide a logical framework that eases navigation, enabling users to explore related content effortlessly. While it is prudent to avoid overzealous categorization, the notion that every category must possess multiple entries is excessively prohibitive. A category, whether it contains one article or a hundred, can be immensely valuable when it serves a genuine purpose in the categorization scheme.
      @PamD astutely notes that SmallCat has led to disruptions, stress, and time-wasting. These consequences are not peripheral; they are symptomatic of a guideline that has become counterproductive. The intention may have been to safeguard against misuses of categorization, but in practice, SmallCat often devolves into a contentious battleground that detracts from more significant content-related issues.
      Moreover, SmallCat's rigidity undermines Wikipedia's core principle of inclusivity. Wikipedia is an ever-expanding repository of knowledge, and the guideline's stringent enforcement can stifle the incorporation of new and niche topics. Denying them a rightful place in our categorization system contradicts our mission.
      In conclusion, @SnowFire and @PamD, SmallCat should be deprecated IMMEDIATELY. This is not a call to abandon reasonable categorization principles but an appeal for a more balanced, flexible, and harmonious approach to organizing Wikipedia's wealth of information. We must trust our editors' discretion and prioritize the constructive use of our collective efforts. The categorization ecosystem should evolve to better serve our users, and it starts with reevaluating and ultimately retiring the SmallCat guideline, especially in light of the ArbCom situation.
      @SnowFire, @PamD, I implore you to consider the merits of this argument and join the chorus advocating for change in Wikipedia's categorization practices. Our shared goal is to enhance the encyclopedia's utility, accessibility, and inclusivity, and the deprecation of SmallCat is a pivotal step toward achieving this aim, helping us avoid future conflicts akin to the ArbCom turmoil. Edificio Barro (talk) 02:00, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Delete or mark historical. Categories aren't defined by their size, it's whether they're useful or not. That's an independent discussion, and this guideline doesn't help editors or readers.  — Amakuru (talk) 13:42, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • SmallCat should be deprecated IMMEDIATELY
    I would like to express my support for the proposal to deprecate the SmallCat guideline. After carefully considering the discussions and arguments put forth, it is evident that this guideline has been a source of controversy and ambiguity over the years.
    The recent ruling by the Arbcom, which highlighted the ambiguous nature of several elements within the SmallCat guideline, reinforces the need for reevaluation. While the guideline attempts to address categories with few members, it often leads to disputes and speculative arguments about potential future growth, hindering the efficiency of our categorization processes.
    Furthermore, we already have other guidelines like WP:NARROWCAT that cover similar territory in a more precise manner. Therefore, I believe that deprecating the SmallCat guideline and relying on existing guidelines will help streamline category discussions and reduce unnecessary disputes.
    Let's move forward by marking SmallCat as historical and encouraging editors to adhere to more clear and established guidelines. This will not only simplify our categorization processes but also promote transparency and consensus within our community. Edificio Barro (talk) 00:45, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Delete or Mark Historical. "Potential for growth" is indeed troublesome. Even "a few members" is open to interpretation, and others have pointed out that NARROWCAT covers the majority of cases where "a few members" is a problem. Beyond the ambiguity, the guideline is mostly exceptions, and there seem to be further unstated exceptions on Wikipedia. —siroχo 01:02, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Deprecate and mark historical This guideline is so ambiguous and confusing that it caused an entire ArbCom case. It is way too vague, and there are too many exceptions. Shut it down. QuicoleJR (talk) 19:28, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    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 replacement to SmallCat guideline[edit]

    The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
    Snowball consensus against. (involved non-admin closure) Queen of Hearts ❤️ (no relation) 21:08, 26 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Should the "SmallCat" guideline be replaced with "Small with potential for growth": Unless there are other issues or concerns other than quantity (for example, quality)—in which case the regular consensus process applies—a category with few or even only one members should be kept if it has measurable potential for growth (for example, demonstrated by a PetScan analysis).[a]? Thinker78 (talk) 03:22, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    @A smart kitten, RevelationDirect, Michael Bednarek, CapnJackSp, Bearcat, HouseBlaster, Robert McClenon, PamD, Tryptofish, Pppery, Edward-Woodrow, John M Wolfson, LaundryPizza03, InvadingInvader, Waggers, Levivich, Queen of Hearts, SnowFire, Amakuru, Edificio Barro, Siroxo, and QuicoleJR: pinging participants in the previous RfC. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 22:56, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Thinker78, could you please clarify what you mean by photography of the ship? Thanks! — Frostly (talk) 03:40, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, I second your question; it's quiet unclear to me why this question needs a request for comment. Mason (talk) 04:35, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I corrected the entry. Sincerely, Thinker78 (talk) 06:13, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


    Add your numbered (#) Yes, No, Support, Oppose, Neutral. For more efficiency please replies and further discussion in threaded discussion section.

    1. Support: This deletion of useful categories that are small right this moment but likely to grow is getting tiresome. The snooker category got hit with that earlier this month, and the WP:SNOOKER reaction to it was uniformly negative, with the upmerging and deletion tagging undone rapidly. However, this appears to have recently been demoted and marked {{Historical}}, so editing it may not be useful. Whatever guideline wording somewhere else is still being used to delete small categories is probably a better target for revision.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:24, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    2. Oppose: Per @Jc37:'s answer to Thinker78 on 7 November [2]. This is just a rewording of the Smallcat guideline that has been deprecated. WP:MFN is our best approach; we should work on that as a replacement of Smallcat. NLeeuw (talk) 08:48, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      PS: That the 'potential for growth' is "measurable" makes it no less WP:CRYSTALBALL. Unless we can fill a category right now with a reasonable number of items (preferably 5-10), it's not responsible to the rest of the community and especially our readers to be creating categories with just 1 item, and waiting until the cows come home for it to be filled with other items. It does not aid navigation, which is the core purpose of categorisation. NLeeuw (talk) 09:01, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    3. Oppose per NLeeuw. While the close of the previous RfC recommended a followup RfC, I do not believe the intent was simply to reword the deprecated guideline. —siroχo 09:25, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    4. Oppose per NLeeuw. I think that we do need something, but I believe this solution doesn't solve the problem. I think something like WP:MFN would be excellent, once the details are hammered out. Mason (talk) 23:02, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    5. Oppose. This is just regurgitated SMALLCAT, and doesn't solve anything. Queen of Hearts ❤️ (no relation) 23:03, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    6. Oppose This is not much better than the guideline we just deprecated. I do not see how this is helpful. QuicoleJR (talk) 23:22, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    7. Oppose. At least what is presented here is incomprehensible, and should at least be presented in terms of what the actual new language would be. The deprecated guideline called for deletion of categories that were small with no potential for growth. As written, this seems to call for the deletion of small categories with potential for growth, but such categories really should be kept. I don't know what this proposal is trying to say, and that is reason enough to oppose it. I suggest that the proposer first withdraw this, and then rewrite it with the context of what the new guideline will be. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:31, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    8. Oppose. Thanks for the ping. I agree with the quote of jc37 above, that we should focus on quality rather than quantity, and with Siroxo that we should not simply try to reword the old version. If something has the potential for growth, there's no need to identify it as such, and if it has no potential for growth, that should be closely examined on a case-by-case basis, without leaning on some sort of shorthand. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:37, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    9. Oppose and highly recommend that Thinker78 consider withdrawing this proposal (with the consent of SMcCandlish), else someone close this per WP:SNOW. There needs to be some more RFCBEFORE: MFN is a promising start; that, not an alternative wording of SMALLCAT, is the best way forward.
      Separately, why are we numbering our !votes if they are not segregated by position? HouseBlastertalk 23:56, 25 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      If a WP:SNOWBALL is forming, then no assent from me is needed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:24, 26 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    10. Oppose Bringing back the worst part of Smallcat is not a good idea. "Growth potential" obviously led to sincere disagreement amongst editors, although I think the ArbComm mess had more to do with some history between specific editors with past history editing the same Irish articles. The larger problems is that "growth potential" goes against the whole purpose of categories which aid navigation between articles that exist; categories do nothing aid navigation to articles that do not exist. WP:CFD seems to be going fine relying on WP:NARROWCAT in any case but WP:MFN might make those discussions even better. - RevelationDirect (talk)

    Threaded discussion[edit]

    Section for more thorough discussion and replies. If you are replying to an opinion in the survey section, add its number for more convenience.

    • Reply to 2. NLeeuw , Jc37 made a few different comments in that reply, many of which I addressed. For example, "smallcat was a "crutch", that allowed for not looking at what the "actual" issue with the category might have been". I subsequently addressed this by adding, "Unless there are other issues or concerns other than quantity (for example, quality)—in which case the regular consensus process applies".
    Regarding their comment that, "We should be looking at quality, not quantity", precisely editors are deleting categories due to quantity, because they have too few entries (see SMcCandlish point).
    Regarding your comment that it is a rewording, it is as much as rewording as changing yes to maybe or to no is a rewording, because if you notice in the previous RfC that deprecated SmallCat, many editors didn't want it because in their opinion it was a tool to delete categories. If you notice, my proposal is the opposite, it is to keep categories that otherwise would be deleted arbitrarily only because few entries.
    About "other guidelines seem to be addressing this just fine", editors in the previous RfC pointed out that this guideline is not covered in other guidelines. Can you point out one guideline that addresses deleting categories because it has few members? Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 21:36, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This has been contentious since its initial creation at OCAT. As noted already, sometimes it's better to not have a guideline than to try to suggest that a contentious one has consensus.
    There are plenty of other policies and guidelines to look at, than to try to shoehorn this again so soon after the RfC's closure.
    You also should ping everyone in the previous RfC, if you're going to try a "round 2". - jc37 22:31, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agreed. NLeeuw (talk) 10:47, 25 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Reply to 7. Sorry User:Robert McClenon, what exactly is incomprehensible from my proposal? Can you quote and expand? Because, what you state, "As written, this seems to call for the deletion of small categories with potential for growth, but such categories really should be kept" seems to be incomprehensible. I wrote, a category with few or even only one members should be kept if it has measurable potential for growth. How do you interpret this that it "seems to call for the deletion of small categories with potential for growth" if it says, that categories "should be kept if it has measurable potential for growth"? It doesn't say categories should be deleted nor even that they may be deleted.

      As it is, editors are nominating categories for deletion purely on numerical basis. So the intention of this proposal is for such practice to be curtailed so categories are not deleted only because of number of entries arbitrarily. See for example, "Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2023 November 25#Category:20th-century assassinated Asian politicians. The nomination literally states, " there are only three categories total".[b]. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 21:46, 25 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

      • User:Thinker78 - Your proposal, as asked, is a sentence fragment, and so it doesn't say whether a small category should be kept or deleted. I read it as saying that the category should be deleted, but I also said that the question was without context, and should be withdrawn and restated. I evidently misread what the intended meaning was. Maybe I should have backtracked to infer the context, but that is why I thought that the proposal should provide the context, rather than being a sentence fragment. I said that it should provide the actual new language, and I think that it should provide the actual new language. If it confused me, I think that it was confusing. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:56, 25 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        @Robert McClenon sorry if I ping you but I don't know if you are watching this page. Sometimes I also misread things but that doesn't mean necessarily that the sentence I read was wrong. I am suspecting that maybe because you had in mind the previous guideline (Small with no potential for growth), you read "shouldn't be kept" instead of the actual language "should be kept". After all, they are also only 3 characters and maybe you were watching from your phone with a small font (complete guess from me, I know, but sometimes I do read websites with the default small font in my phone).
        This is not to say I am not open to your feedback. It is that otherwise I don't understand how you interpreted "should be kept" to mean "should not be kept". I don't just see what is the missing context you are looking for and apparently you are the only one so far who may have misinterpreted it.[c] Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 22:22, 25 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • User:Thinker78 - The missing context is that your proposal does not contain the proposed actual wording of the guideline. As such, I could either do a long backtrack to see what the new wording would be, or make an educated guess. I made an educated guess, and was mistaken. Everything else that I said is correct. Rather than offering a few words, the whole proposed new guideline should be in one place. I thought that it was confusing, and you have confirmed that it is confusing. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:48, 25 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @Jc37 I believe you stated, "We should be looking at quality, not quantity"? Sincerely, Thinker78 (talk) 21:49, 25 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Please don't mislead @Thinker78: by partial quoting. The full quote is "I think we should just upmerge this category as there are only three categories total that contain nationality specific 20th-century assassinated politicians‎." That nomination isn't invoking SMALLcat. I'm literally saying that I don't think that this category is helpful for navigation because there are only three categories related to nationality, two of which are in the nominated category. Mason (talk) 00:13, 26 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      The full quote is still in my view about quantity, not quality, therefore i did not think it warranted the full quote. At least that's what I saw and I interpreted. But each mind is a world and if you meant something else I did not see it, I only saw a quantity concern. But I added the square brackets to let people know it was a partial quotation. You did not mention navigation. It would have been nice if you didn't include accusations of "misleading", as if I wanted to mislead. Thanks. Thinker78 (talk) 04:22, 26 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Reply to 8. @Tryptofish: check above the second paragraph to my reply to 7, about quantity and quality. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 22:26, 25 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Reply to 9. @HouseBlaster: This being the reason (easier time replying and also a survey). About SNOW, if Im not mistaken up to this point, almost everyone who is opposing this proposal also wanted SmallCat deprecated. Therefore, I request hearing the insights of more editors who didn't want SmallCat deprecated in the previous RfC. At least a couple more of them. Not making it a "round 2" but just to see what they got to say. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 04:41, 26 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • I see that I opposed deprecating SMALLCAT, even though my views have now changed.
        To the rest of your comment, in the most gentle way possible, I have to say I am dumbfounded. SMALLCAT was depreciated by consensus, but you want to hold an RfC to solicit the views of people who did not want to depreciate SMALLCAT? Respectfully, how is that not textbook WP:OTHERPARENT? HouseBlastertalk 04:49, 26 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        First, I am not soliciting, I don't appreciate the accusation. Second, as I stated, it is just a couple of opinions to see what they have to say. Not looking for them for an answer that I want. Simply their insights, which could also mean they oppose.
        Also, now that you mention that policy, Queries placed on noticeboards and talk pages should be phrased as neutrally as possible, in order to get uninvolved and neutral additional opinions. I don't know if those involved in the previous RfC are uninvolved or what does it mean uninvolved in this context? I pinged you all on the advice of @Jc37:. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 05:05, 26 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        Which was suggested per WP:APPNOTE, other such guidelines, and common practice. - jc37 07:37, 26 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        Seems solid WP:SNOW indeed. Support HouseBlaster's recommendation to Thinker78. I appreciate attempts to move forward, and I am open to lots of suggestions, but this one doesn't seem to help us very much. Good day to everyone. NLeeuw (talk) 09:30, 26 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


    2. ^ I am currently involved in that discussion but it was the most at-hand example
    3. ^ yes, may, as I don't know if other editors also misinterpreted it
    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.