Why?:Categorise pages

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If there were categorisers that looked like this, it would more than explain why others might want to get into the field. Except there aren't. We checked. Thoroughly.

Categories are a terribly important part of a wiki's structure and organisation, an integral feature that, despite serving some imperative unknown purpose, is of course gravely understated in day-to-day usage of the technology. As users and IPs alike wantonly create pages and upload files with no categories at all, they only add to the chaos and disorder that is the average wiki, only creating yet more work for those few diligent others with enough spare time on their hands to even attempt to go around cleaning up after everybody else, categorising the lot. Unfortunately, like all wiki maintenance, regardless of the tools and effort folks might put into it, categorisation is as hopeless as everything else, as futile as sorting the sands of the ever-changing dunes of the Gobi.

Yet folks still do it.

So why? Why categorise pages? What is this undefinable purpose that these categories actually serve, why do those few hard-working people do it, and why should the rest of us be bothered to help out and actually categorise them ourselves? What difference can it really make? To properly answer this, we have, instead of using common sense or looking it up somewhere that might give a proper explanation, endeavoured to catch people in the process and ask them directly - just why it is that they are categorising pages?


Seemed a pleasant enough bloke, this fellow.

A man in blood-spattered coveralls

Oh, hello, there. What brings you out here this time of day? Rather odd to see someone as well-dressed as you 'round these parts, really, but how can I help?

Well, actually, we saw you were adding categories - mind taking a moment to share just why it is that you have embarked upon this thankless task?

Oh, categories, eh? Saw me at it, did you? But what a strange question. Why, indeed? I guess I just feel like it, really. Like to see things pretty. Makes the pages look a little nicer, and keeps them together by, well, categories. Everything has categories, after all. It's kind of the way our minds work, fitting things into patterns, rational patterns, irrational patterns; all the better to organise them here much the same way, making it all that much more pleasant to be around. Even in such a dark neck of the woods as this, might as well keep track of things, right? Might as well make them look nice.
See? Better already.

Well, thank you for your time, sir.

Oh, no problem, love. I'll admit, not really my usual game, but I do like to play, and there's no sense always playing the same game all the time, so sometimes I'll just venture out and add some categories. Make tidy the place.
Yup, really does liven things up.
That's not even real...

Guy with an oversized mustache

What? Why? Because! It makes me useful! I'm useful! See? I'm a real contributor, a right up and proper user, up there with the best of them, because I categorize! And I add templates. I do. Why, I added Category:Nonnude Boobage to over a hundred images this morning. Ain't I something?

That's, um, very impressive.

Thanks! My mom always told me I was special. Yep, I'm really something. Everybody loves me, you know. I even have a moustache!

Really, look at me, I'm special!

Um... right. Yes, very... special. Not really helping the matter of why, though.

Hey, where are you going?

Sleep-deprived midget

This one was soon attracted to a nearby fire; either it's literally a moth to the flame, or more likely, it just thought the fire needed more categories.
Must categorise, must find, must keep, must categorise, categorise, categorise everything! Must categorise them all, must make them all have their place, fit in their places, so perfect, so precious, so precious... so many categories. Can't remember them all, but it's just fine, now, because it works now, and I can categorise now, so I categorise, I must categorise, I will categorise, I... will categorise everything! I must! Must... categorise... everything!

Er, excuse me...

Oh, but so many pages, so many categories, so... You! Who are you? How dare you disturb my categorising, you unclean, you vile thing, vile thing, get yourself categorised at once! We cannot have people walking around uncategorised, oh, no, no no, cannot have that at all! Because everything must have categories, everything must... be... categorised!

What, what is that... when was the last time you bathed?

Bathed? Bathed?! No time for that, no time! Too many categories, too many pages, all need categories, more categories, some categories...

What do you want? What are you after, why do you slow me down?

No, must...

I was, er, wondering if you could...

What? No. Better. That's better. A little better. More, though. They all need more, and so many left. So much remains. So much to categorise, so many pages, so many categories, so much left, so many options, so many to add, it doesn't even matter what; so much, so much... but it's okay. It's okay; it all works now, now I simply must categorise everything. Because it works. Because they are there. Because I must. I must. I must... categorise... EVERYTHING!

Yes? What? Why are you still standing there, slowing me down, slowing me down, in the way of the categories, so much to categorise, so much, so much!

Um, actually, that's all right, really. Nevermind. Sorry to bother you.

So much... so much... must categorise so much...
Now what was she even doing here?

Overdressed elf

What's this? A stranger, wondering at the way of things? Well, that's glorious, but we can't linger long, not here. Someone might see us.

Would that be bad, if we're seen? I mean, this is a wiki; everything is public by its very nature.

Shh! Don't say anything; you'll ruin the silence. Can't be seen. Attracts others, and they... they ruin the silence. Can you hear it? There is so much silence if only one stops to listen, and amidst the rustle of the parsers and the soft, soft revisions drifting about, you can almost make out the screech and holler as a user makes its first few edits. Are they hesitant? Arrogant? Curious? Careful? So much to hear, so much to see. So much life lingering in the silence, drowning out the world if only you step back, unseen, and drift into the shadowplay of light. This is the magic of mediawiki - it is alive, truly alive. You simply need to step back and embrace the silence and listen to the music of the edits. Can you hear it?

It's... er, quite lovely, really. Mind if I ask you something? What about categories?

Categories? What are... oh, yes. Categories. I remember those. Strange, strange creatures, categories. I used to spread them about like wildflowers, and sometimes they'd sprout, like wildflowers... those were simpler times. More silent times. I did not know the music, then.


The music, the silence, all are one. Just listen, amidst the caches and the wildflowers and the soft, soft whispers of the worlds...

Er... nevermind.

It's like he thought something was going to eat him.

Squirrelly-looking fellow

Because I told Janet I like to categorise, I like it, I said, and I told her I'm categorising because I've never gotten an award for anything, and she said there'd be an award, I'd get an award, but I haven't. I haven't gotten an award.
But there are awards for everything, and I told Bill I should get one, because they've got awards for everything around here, and they've got squirrels, but I can't seem to get anything, I haven't gotten anything. Anything. Even my dog left me.
And I still haven't gotten an award, so I categorised my dog, but it was already categorised, so I didn't, but I was hoping maybe you could give me an award, since someone should give me one...?

Unfortunately, I don't think it's quite the same if you have to ask for it, sorry.

So... many pages uncategorised, so much to categorise, so much, so much... I must... I... must... categorise...

Oh, not you again.

Alright, that's it, I'll quit. I'm going to quit. That's the last straw.


In conclusion, that was the most unilluminating set of interviews this publication has ever conducted. Clearly, there are many reasons to categorise pages; there must be, as that was only a very small portion of the population that does it and even they all seemed to have their own. But those were plenty; from all of that, there seems to be only one reasonable conclusion to come to.

Everyone here is insane!

They're just... insane! Why would anyone in their right mind be using such idiotic reasons to be doing anything, let alone something so pointless as categorising, because clearly there isn't a point. These people certainly don't know of any real points. They're just bonkers. Nuts. Mad. Crazy. Wacko. Headcases. Out of touch with reality. Unaware of their facts. Missing the important bits. Bats in their belfry. Not all there. A sandwhich short of a picnic. Raving loonies...

Must... categorise... everything... must... categorise... you, you're wearing clothes. Yes. Categories... and so many more...


And there seems to be no stopping some of them. They just keep on categorising. If anything, these interviews may have demonstrated why not categorise things, because these people are clearly out of their minds. That is the only rational explanation for any of this.

More categories... it needs... more categories...

They're cuckoo.

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Yes, love, they're crazy.
Now don't you go blaming the hangover on me, pleading prior obliviousness with that, too.

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