The dKosopedia Category Project

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The dKosopedia Category project is an effort to put dKosopedia:Categories onto all of our articles. This is an ongoing effort.

This page is evolving from blog form to proper TOC form. Please help it evolve by not putting information that belongs in a subsection, under some post under your own name...


Goals and Background

1. The Wikipedia category schemes is the default, you aren't going to rewrite or even rename a million articles, so consider any categories to extend that scheme, rather than competing with it.

2. This isn't an "encyclopedia", it's a policy debate, lobbying and campaign support project. Its name should change, but not to "the Democratic encyclopedia", to something action-oriented. The categories of dkosopedia itself should come from FrameShop work and should attempt to refute or break apart Republican non-categories (like "family values").

3. To do this and win, adopt some of the advice of Efficient Politics

  • "make it easy to get policy answers" especially via PDA phones and cell phones
    • categories should have names as short as possible so more of them fit in tiny screens
  • "make policy easy to share" and discuss, keeping the debate focused on policy not persons
    • while transient categories are acceptable, ordinary tags do a better job marking things relevant to opponents or a crony in an opposing campaign

4. Keep an outward action focus, coordinating with others who oppose the same Republicans, wherever they are located

  • "the net is not enough" - reach out beyond the net to ratify what netizens are telling you
    • therefore, make sure that information subject to policy outreach has its own categories or tags
  • "cross fertilize and co-opt" other groups, preferably by using compatible technologies
    • spread mediawiki everywhere in the Democratic world, and to friendly parties in Canada and Mexico (so you don't have to write articles about what's going on there, just import 'em)
  • "practice what you preach", "spread the virus" - make sure the categories are useful to all
  • "best practices" - exchange them wherever possible with like-minded organizations, trying to get to a single set of categories that can be used to hold back Republican agendas everywhere including in Canada (Stephen Harper) and Mexico (Vicente Fox) (both Bush League).


First, a category is a big idea, and we already have de facto categories of various kinds. Read a reasonably deep categorization of categories in a political wiki context, to get some idea of what's going on. This is a DNC friendly zone, yes, and that's a "Fundamental Category" itself.

The issue: What is the scope of the category scheme, and what is simply out of scope

position: "This is an exclusive US of A zone. It's about us/the US and DNC politics. It's also, as the Republicans sometimes say, 'big tent'. I'm a libertarian who eats beef and deer sausage; I don't object to big guns shooting at white-tail, but I do insist that little guns be registered. PETA sucks. Anyway.

This wiki should be narrowly focussed to DNC ends. Why do we have two, rather elaborate articles on Yasser Arafat?

As to this narrow focus, it's basically people, places and politics. Categories tend to become complex. I'm thinking about how the rules might be done, but I'd have to be an Admin to enforce them. It's the KISS principle: Keep It Simple and Stupid. And also all the hard work of categorizing the under 8000 articles (and deleting some of them).--Allamakee Democrat 06:28, 21 March 2006 (PST)

your mail page is blocked. You seem to be a crypto-admin.


The dkosopedia is not restricted to US or DNC politics. It is what it is, that is, what the dKos community makes it to be. If someone wants to write an article about Fiji, or executed Confederate spies, well, then as long as the information is accurate and non-inflammatory, then we'll have an article on Fiji and executed Confederate spies. This is for a couple of reasons. First, well, why not? Second, we don't want to turn psople away from the door. Sure, an article on Latin is irrelevant to larger issues, but 1) the person writing that page may stick around to contribute more substantial content, and 2) someone else may stumble on that Latin page and likewise decide to stick around. The power of wikis is in sheer numbers.

We have two pages on Arafat because no one has merged the two yet. We also have two pages, I just noticed, on Donald Rumsfeld. Currently, we also have a disagreement over whether a statement about Ken Livingston's possible past Marxism and current Clintonianism, a disagreement which threatens to escalate. --Centerfielder 10:36, 21 March 2006 (PST)
Ah, Red Ken, ex-Marxist. Shall we escalate? I just giggle over him.

position: without categories the wiki will die.

So. There are to be no categories, no sense to this wiki. You want it to die circa the 2nd Tuesday in November 2008. Are you a pro-Bush-crypto?
Ok, a good start, the Category "Republicans" (too bad, though, that Nussle is a "J" intead of an "N". Perhaps all names shoulkd have a lastname,firstname redirect page). And it didn't die the 2nd Tuesday in November 2004, no reason to believe it'll die in 2008. -- Centerfielder 11:07, 21 March 2006 (PST)
You are quite sarcastic.
There is a real need for a Democratic owned-and-operated wiki -- and this is starting to fulfill the need. Once discovered, it will grow by leaps and bounds and become an unmanageable mess unless something is done now. At a certain point, the cost of supporting this will become quite burdensome, and getting the DNC to fund it is the obvious thing. For the moment, leave the extraneous articles intact. I suspect there is a RabidRightopedia out there; is there? --Allamakee Democrat 22:07, 21 March 2006 (PST)

Constrained categories

Some categories are obvious and constrained by external events. There are "Congressional districts" - probably should divide this into 50 subcats as no districts cross state borders.

As for "Republicans", this too should be divided into 50+ subcats for each state and territory, with a distinct category for those whose status is more national, as with Dubya. The same goes for "Democrats".

Other constrained categories:

  • 109th Congress
    • D/R members of the US Senate/House of Reps,
  • 2006 D/R Candidates for the Senate/House
  • Incumbent D/R US Governors
  • 2006 election cycle D/R Candidates for Governor
  • foreign leaders

"Something has to be planned from the beginning to make housekeeping easy. Basically, you have to plan for 2008 and beyond, and design the cats such that they don't have to be updated.

Something will have to be done for state legislatures.

And in the future, accomodation for all the counties in all the states, as well as major cities." --Allamakee Democrat 22:07, 21 March 2006 (PST)

"I've been busy. Several thinly populated cats now exist. Democrats and Republicans are supercats..."

To please the Greens, let's call them fatcats.  ;-)

"...for sub-cats such as Iowa Democrats. There's also a cat for the current Congress, with the current IA delegation as one of its two entries. The hard part is preparing for changes this coming January. Thus name spaces comes out like Iowa Congressional Delegation, 109th Congress; this was an afterthought, and there is now a redirect, but I suspect there'll be similar redirects for all 50 states. And don't forget the Congressional delegates from places like DC and Guam. The next big chore is deciding how to cat office holders. Something like "Member, 109th Congress, House of Representatives". Anyway, before I go any further, I'd like some input.--Allamakee Democrat 01:32, 22 March 2006 (PST)

You certainly have been busy. Way to go. I think there's a danger in making Categories with too fine a granularity. "Republicans" and "Democrats" are good, but separate categories for Reps and Dems for each state is probably too much. I see the utility of being able to zero in on Iowa Democrats, but it might be simpler to just put Chet Culver in both the "Democrats" and the "Iowa" categories. The same with all the state election categories. Not to put down what you've done; it's a lot of work. But it does point out, to me at least, the desirability of simplicity. What do you think? -- Centerfielder 03:53, 25 March 2006 (PST)

Election cycles

I'm tending towards a supercategory "2006 elections", which would have subcats such as "2006 Iowa elections". There might be further subcats such as "2006 Iowa elections bios", "2006 Iowa election general articles", etc. This would keep category sizes under control, and forms a pattern for "2007 elections", etc.

I'm also thinking that "Iowa Democrats" etc., be limited to prominent persons, and not Joe Schmuck from Podunk. --Allamakee Democrat 11:45, 22 March 2006 (PST)

I've been busy

Anyone is free to comment. --Allamakee Democrat 16:19, 23 March 2006 (PST)

The "Evil Republicans" and "Republican Sluts" categories are too inflammatory. While I may agree with the general sentiment, it's ultimately counterproductive. --Centerfielder 12:17, 25 March 2006 (PST)
I appreciate your point. I'll work on it. I also created a "Democratic Sluts" category, just for Monica Lewinsky. There is also now a "Corrupt Democrats" category. --Allamakee Democrat 03:15, 27 March 2006 (PST)

Well, I decided to take on some categorization too - see the new Policy category, with Science, Energy, Environment, etc. Comments welcome! -- apsmith 23:45, 01 June 2006 (EST)

Category:2006 elections

I've categorized this page so you can click on it (look at the bottom-most of the page). All 48 of the subcategories are complete. Idaho and Kansas have no articles. A few articles are empty. Some of the states are quirky. Take the trip. Many articles are of poor quality.

The incorprated territories of the United States Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands all elect delegates to the House of Representatives; they too need articles. --Allamakee Democrat 21:40, 23 March 2006 (PST)

Eventually, I'd like to see us not use the subcategories like this. Each state and election year would have a navigation template that would list the pages associated with that combination. I did this on Wikipedia for Washington's 2006 elections, and it works really well. Some other states are following the example, and Wikipedia has Navigation Templates set up that make it realy easy. We'll get there. Chadlupkes 19:31, 4 July 2006 (PDT)

Next project

I'll probably dump all the biographical articles into a common dump, a la "biostub"--Allamakee Democrat 23:22, 23 March 2006 (PST)

Biographical entries

Without a clear plan for ordering these, dKosopedia will become a horribly disordered thing with thousands and thousands of very short articles referring to thousands of electoral contests, something beyond any sort of maintenance.

I'm using Iowa to figure out the best way to do this. At the moment, the categorization will go like this:

Right now, bio articles are being dumped into "Category:2006 Iowa elections", but I see that this would result in some hugely overpopulated categoriesm, particularly for the more populous states. I think these will be further categorized as

  • 2006 Iowa lower house candidates (D)
  • 2006 Iowa lower house candidates (R)
  • 2006 Iowa upper house candidates (D)
  • 2006 Iowa upper house candidates (R)
  • 2006 Iowa Federal candidates (D)
  • 2006 Iowa Federal candidates (R)

The category stem here is

  • Fundamental categories
    • Elections
      • 2006 elections
        • 2006 Iowa elections
          • 2006 Iowa lower house candidates (D)
          • Iowa Federal candidates, 2006

I use upper house/lower house to confusion/collision with US House and US Senate categories vs. State House and State Senate categories. Nebraska will get unique treatement, probably "Nebraska Unicameral".

I don't know how thoroughly I will treat this for all states, but I'll see how far I can go until I decide to quit for lack of enthusiasm.

I have also figured out the category stem for articles dealing with states:

  • Fundamental categories
    • United States of America
      • Iowa
        • 2005 Iowa...
        • 2006 Iowa...
        • 2007 Iowa...

I notice people are trying to update the Biography article. Trouble is, the article will become impossibly large to maintain, split across multiple documents. The effort expended is better done with categories.

Categories are how one indexes wikis.--Allamakee Democrat 16:20, 28 March 2006 (PST)

Alamakee Democrat

Your immense efforts at indexing are impressive. I am wonderign why there should be categories with just one item? For example the Category: Louisiana contains nothing but Louisiana as an item.

BartFraden (March 29, 2006)

In the case of category Louisiana, it's merely a matter of time. LA 2006 elections will go there, as well as Katrina items, etc. Give it time.--Allamakee Democrat 11:49, 29 March 2006 (PST)


Alpha listing of category members

It's customary for alphabetical lists of people to be ordered by last name rather than first name. On dKosopedia, a category list can go by last name if each link is piped, so that the subject's name is listed with the surname first. It still displays on the list with the given name first.

As an example, I've done Maurice Hinchey this way. In the Hinchey bio, it looks like this: [[Category:New York Democrats|Hinchey, Maurice]]. At Category:New York Democrats, you can see how he's listed as a result. He's in the H's, right under Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Those two don't belong in the same letter section. This should be consistent one way or the other. Should category lists be alphabetized by first name (less useful, looks odd) or by last name (requires extensive retrofitting of existing cat links)? I favor the latter approach, but I won't volunteer to do any of the work. If there's a consensus not to use piped links, then I'll move Hinchey to the M's. Jim Lane 16:43, 29 March 2006 (PST)

I've been piping, but not consistently. And HRC is piped under R, when not done under C. I'm just past Georgia, in the state-articles. I have additional thoughts about the biostubs.--Allamakee Democrat 02:44, 30 March 2006 (PST)
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