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Warhammer 40k - Lexicanum:Categories

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Categories are an effective, useful and simple system to sort articles into logical groups. Categories are normally found at the bottom of an article page. Clicking a category name brings up a category page listing the articles (or other pages) that have been added to that particular category. There may also be a section listing the subcategories of that category. The subcategorization feature makes it possible to organize categories into tree-like structures to aid navigation.

Categories are intended to group together pages on similar subjects. This allows readers (and of course also Editors) to find, and navigate around, a subject area, to see pages sorted by title, and to thus find article relationships. Think of them as folders on your computer or other device where you gather all files that belong together or as drawers in pre-digital age filing cabinets containing paper files on a certain topic or that are pertinent to a specific use. To stay in the latter image without categories all those papers would simply be lying around in one big chaotic pile and nobody would ever be able to find anything again. At least not if they were not knowing exactly what they were looking for.

Use of categories in the Lexicanum

The Lexicanum (like other comparable projects) needs a highly-organised system to keep at least some semblance of order and to be able to carry out for example maintenance work or updates. As of January 2021 there are close to 30,000 content pages in this Lexicanum alone (i.e. in the English language Warhammer 40,000 Lexicanum). If you also count other pages such as Discussion pages, User pages, User talk pages, Redirect pages, and others this number is almost 65,000. Plus over 15,000 media files. Given the vast amount of pages and files it should be fairly obvious why without proper organisation this would be one big mess. Therefore every page in the so-called main system and also every single file must be categorised.

What categories are there?

Categorisation in the Lexicanum is carried out flexibly. Given the constant changes and reorganisation of a game system first published around 1987 with countless sources and almost infinite possibilities to create new articles with yet another tidbit of information any other approach would simply be madness. This means that categories can be created, deleted, merged, moved, renamed and other things when necessary and appropriate. Therefore there is no static complete category tree that lists all currently existing categories at a glance. Apart from the problem of a constantly changing "landscape" so to speak this problem would also be massively compounded by the fact that any category can be a subcategory of not only one, but theoretically quite a lot of different categories. And as of January 2021 there are somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 different categories in existence in this Lexicanum (you will find an alphabetical list of all categories here, but there is really not that much that you can do with this information apart from probably get a bad headache). A more logical overview can be found here, but due to the complexity of the topic it might not always be up-to-date. Basically all this means that one would need a massive three dimensional model that would have to be adapted every single time there is a change somewhere in the category system. And this is simply beyond our capacity and also not necessary from a practical point of view.

This does obviously not mean that there is no logic and system behind the categorisation in the Lexicanum (if there weren't categories would be not that useful). This logic has basically not changed much since the founding of the Lexicanum which means that as it seems to somehow have worked out for 15 or more years it can't be that bad.

In the following we try to give you a broad idea how this logic looks like. Generally speaking there are two big general categories: one for "Background" (you can also call this "lore" or "fluff" or whatever you like) and one for everything else, not very creatively baptised "Other". Each of these is then subdivided into more and more specific subcategories. The following "category tree" can (reasons see above) only give you an extremely general idea of this, but it should suffice.

This is just a very superficial glance, but as you can see it looks complicated. As a normal Editor the best advice is not to bother too much with trying to wrap your synapses around this system. And not to create your own categories without prior and explicit approval by an Administrator or Bureaucrat. The mess is already big enough without people randomly trying to make it even more complicated.

Special case: Hidden categories

Unlike normal categories, hidden categories are not displayed at the bottom of pages that are included in them, and are therefore hidden from readers. Typically categories are hidden if they are concerned with the maintenance or administration of the Lexicanum itself but include mainspace articles. Previewing a page whilst editing it will list the hidden categories used at the bottom of the page.

What should be categorised?

Every article, file, image, category and template should be categorised.

Which categories to choose

To find the correct categories to apply to an article or a file (or another category) the simplest way is to find a very similar article or file and just use the same categories you will find there.

Another relatively accessible option is to try to get your bearing by having a look at the overview here.

For the more ambitious (or mad) Editor another option is to navigate down the Category tree starting from either the "Background" node or the "Other" node. Each Category has its own Category page (see further down).

Category trees

Categories themselves are also categorised. This happens in the same way as categorising articles (see below) and enables people to search over a wider range of information by moving up the category system. This concept can be visualised as a inversed tree, with the top-most category being the base of the tree and the subsequent categories expanding out into the branches of the tree. Note that you only need to list the category immediately above the category you are editing (i.e. categorise to the next level up), not every single category up to the top-level category.

Category pages

Category pages display lists of articles and other categories categorised in this category. At the top of the page you will (or should at least) find a very brief description explaining the contents of the category. This description only serves as a guide to the contents of the category, not as a replacement for any of the articles categorised here. Example:Category:Space Marines

How to actually "categorise"

Categories are implemented by a MediaWiki feature that adds any page with a text like [[Category:X]] in its wikimarkup to the automated listing that is the category with name X.

Allocate articles, categories or templates to categories

Articles are allocated into categories by adding the following code at the very bottom of an article: [[Category:X]] ("X" stands for the actual category name). Pay attention to the fact that category names are case sensitive.

An article, category or template can be allocated to several categories, but it should be categorised at least once. The effect of categorising is to put a small box at the bottom of the article (see the bottom of this page for an example) with each of the categories written as a link for the reader to click on.

Allocating categories to other categories

When categorising categories the same procedure as just described is followed. Again pay attention to the fact that category names are case sensitive. An example is Category:Imperium. The following code put it with Category:Species and Factions:

[[Category:Species and Factions]]

The result is that Category:"Imperium" becomes a subcategory of Category:"Species and Factions". This is shown in the "Species and Factions" category as a separate section to the articles name subcategories. Thus, every article categorized under "Imperium" is automatically categorised under "Species and Factions" too.

Listing with a different name

It is possible that you would like to categorise an article with a different name to that which was created. This is most often seen when using names when articles are created starting with the first name while they are categorised by the surname. To achieve an alphabetical arrangement you need this syntax:


Thus this article would be arranged under "Y", not under its title in category "X". An example is:

[[Category:Special Characters|Abaddon, Ezekyle]]

In the category the article will then appear under "A", but with its original title "Ezekyle Abaddon".

Allocate articles to files (e.g. images)

Files such as images are allocated into categories by either adding the category or categories directly during the Upload process or after uploading by editing the file. In both cases add the following code [[Category:Images (X)]] ("X" stands for the actual category name).

A file can be allocated to several categories, but it should be categorised at least once.

How to link to a category

Occasionally a direct link to a category is required. This is done by inserting the code [[:Category:X]] (i.e. with a colon before the "Category") at the intended place of the text.

See also

For more information on the categorisation processes in general see here and here. You should however be aware that the Lexicanum does not necessarily follow the processes employed in Wikipedia.