Suggestion: Performers (Balok) Edit

This tree covers only performers, i.e. actors/actresses, and it's based on some work User:Captainmike did. I'm keeping the scope of this narrow, because it seems to me that we might be making a mistake by trying to build an entire category model at once. Maybe we could come up with a few good submodels, and then see where that takes us. A question: I noticed automation was used to change all the template invocations to remove "msg" from them, shortly after the 1.3 upgrade. If we do make a mistake on the category, and decide all of X should now be Y, could such a mechanism be used to faciliate that? Or would it have to be done manually?

  • Performer
    • TOS performer
      • TOS season 1 performer
      • TOS season 2 performer
      • TOS season 3 performer
      • TOS recurring performer (do we need/want this one?)
    • TNG performer
      • TNG season 1 performer
      • (etc.)
      • TNG recurring performer (do we need/want this one?)
    • DS9 performer
      • DS9 season 1 performer
      • (etc.)
      • DS9 recurring performer (do we need/want this one?)
    • VOY performer
      • VOY season 1 performer
      • (etc.)
      • VOY recurring performer (do we need/want this one?)
    • ENT performer
      • ENT season 1 performer
      • (etc.)
      • ENT recurring performer (do we need/want this one?)


I think "TOS Season 1 performer" is too specific. Why not use two categories instead: "TOS performers" and "TOS Season 1" (which could be reused for episodes, for example). I'm also not too sure about the term "performers"... -- Cid Highwind 13:13, 19 Dec 2004 (CET)

I don't think this entire tree is really needed. It is too specific. A simple Category:Performer is enough, remember there is the Category:SER too... also note that categories should be an addition to the lists, not a replacement -- Kobi 15:01, 19 Dec 2004 (CET)
Well I think that Category:TOS season 1 performers would be a natural evolution of List of TOS Season 1 guest actors -- as for "too specific," its a pretty large list already, so I think its justified. And if we made both episodes and performers into one category, you would have two different flavors of articles listed there. I don't like the sound of that.
Additionally, the over-category "performers" would go ahead and list all guest actors and regulars, i find the term more useful because regulars arent guests, and so on, so we can put all actors and vocalists in the grouping. -- Captain Mike K. Bartel 17:52, 19 Dec 2004 (CET)
That's not quite what I meant. The problem I see is that "TOS season 1 performer(s)" (TS1P) would be logically derived from two different supercategories:
  • TOS -> TOS season 1 -> TS1P
  • TOS -> TOS performer(s) -> TS1P
This is not a tree structure anymore. Using both supercategories instead of the one derived from them would solve this problem as well as the one concerning "recurring performers". Additionally, a specific category such as this wouldn't be as useful as the list, because the actors roles are missing. -- Cid Highwind 18:34, 19 Dec 2004 (CET)
That is presuming there is a way of cross-referencing the two category's to see which occur twice. Can this be done with mediawiki software? Also, I feel that the List of... are outdated now that the category has been invented. We should consider, at least the lists that give no other specific information than an alphabetical listing, letting the category's replace the Lists. -- Redge | Talk 19:08, 19 Dec 2004 (CET)
I'm not sure what 'TS1P' buys you. It's not as if categories inherit from other categories (i.e. TS1P would imply as well 'TOS season 1' and 'TOS performer'). Multiple inheritance is the proverbial double-edged sword. -- Balok 00:18, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
It doesn't "buy" me anthing - it's just an abbreviation of the category you suggested... -- Cid Highwind 02:57, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
The question I was asking, but did not phrase correctly is: what does a single category buy you that two categories don't? Or, another way, what's wrong with having both "TOS Season 1" and "TOS performers" as categories? -- Balok 16:29, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
The various subcategories mirror the existing pages that discuss guest stars for a specific season, as has been said above. I think a category like "performers" is too broad except as a design artifact (an abstract class, if you like). It seems to me that a good category should limit the articles to two or three screenfuls worth at the most. -- Balok 00:18, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
I think a "good" category shouldn't strive to limit its content in some arbitrary way, but represent a meaningful grouping of elements (obviously, since that basically is what "categorizing" means). "All performers" is such a meaningful grouping, "all TOS performers" might still be. "All TOS season 1 performers" is, in my opinion, too artificial to be a good category (and even creates the aforementioned problems with performers appearing in more than one season). -- Cid Highwind 02:57, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
How is that a problem. I honestly don't understand why it a "problem" to belong to more than one category, since I'd very much like to use the categories to cross reference performers who appeared in more than one season. -- Captain Mike K. Bartel
What for, if I may ask? It's definitely useful to have a page listing all actors appearing in one of the series. It's also useful to have a page listing all actors appearing in a specific episode - we already have that list on the episode articles. Why would I want to read a list of actors appearing in some relatively arbitrary subset of episodes of one of the series. I just don't see how that would be worth the trouble. Regarding "problems", there are several that might be small enough each to ignore, but combined...?
  • Less useful than a list - any Category:X performers is less useful than its equivalent List of X actors, simply because the latter has additional information about the roles played and is able to list articles that haven't been created yet. Kobi brought it up before - categories aren't always a good replacement for lists. In this case, they aren't.
True, but it is more useful than a list because (if people are careful) it grows as articles are created. People forget to update lists. Sure, they could forget to add 'Category' to an article, but some kind of boilerplate could help with that. -- Balok 16:29, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
This still doesn't change the fact that any such category wouldn't list the performers' roles as the existing "List of..." does.
  • Artificial distinction - what's the important difference between episode 3x26 and 4x01? Why should an actor performing in a cliffhanger be listed twice while someone appearing in every other episode during one season (e.g. Mayor Hayes) is listed just once?
See comment re:What is it useful for? -- Balok 16:29, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
  • Category overkill, part I - over 30 "season categories" and 7 "supercategories"; is this really necessary?
Most performers will have just three categories (season, series, overall performer list). A few could have many more(like Combs), but why is that a problem? See also below. -- Balok 16:29, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
The 30+7 categories would be needed to have one for each series (+movies) and one for each season. Nearly 40 pages just to categorize performers is overkill, isn't it? Regarding the way you want to categorize, see below.
  • Category overkill, part II - what about semi-regular characters, some of them could easily appear in 7 categories (Jeffrey Combs would appear in 9, I think); is this really necessary?
Yes. -- Captain Mike K. Bartel 21:35, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
  • What is it useful for? - If I'm reading an article about one of the actors, why would I want to know which seasons he appeared in. The roles he played are the interesting part, not when he played them. If I'm searching for a specific actor, I'd either read the episode or character article or search through the generic "list/category of actors". In that case, I wouldn't want to read seven lists instead of one.
You're implicitly assuming, in this sentence, that everyone drills for information the same way you do, or perhaps that the way you do research is the only worthwhile way. That isn't the case. You wouldn't have to read seven lists, because the one list you want would be the supercategory for the series. So you can research your way, and others, theirs. -- Balok 16:29, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
Only if we put performers not only in one or more of the final categories, but in the "parent categories" at the same time. This suggestion is even worse in my opinion, because it misuses categories to create lists. -- Cid Highwind 17:35, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
Yes, I'm sorry if that wasn't clear: I assumed that in the hierarchy, anything part of a lower level category would be part of the higher level categories as well. I don't see using categories to create lists as misuse; evidently, you and I hold different opinions on this point. Perhaps some other folks can offer their opinions. A proper performer entry should list the roles that individual performed. Remember, too, this is only one way to drill for the information. Nothing says we can't *also* have lists, if people support that approach. It seems to me the idea of a wiki is to organize information so that it can be found by any number of reasonable search approaches. What you find useless, someone else may find invaluable. Yes, there could be a lot of category pages, but such pages are implicitly very low maintenance, so why is that a problem? Is MA short on resources? -- Balok 21:09, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)
(1) This is not the case - categories can be members of other categories (essentially subcategories), but their content is not automatically added to the parent category. If an article should appear in both, both categories have to be added to its category list. If we do this regularly, the category system will be broken fast - the created pages will only be lists, but no longer categories in the strictest sense.
(2) Again, I'm not saying that "my" way of information retrieval is the only useful one. I asked for a proper explanation several times, and will do so again: When will a category "Series X season Y performer" be used, and why wouldn't a list also showing the roles at the same time be much more useful in that case?
(3) The category system as a whole is definitely not "low maintenance". Sure, it's easy to create yet another category, but to have all of them work together in a meaningful way is not a trivial task. -- Cid Highwind 12:29, 22 Dec 2004 (CET)
A very valid question. Also, I would like to suggest the following: as Mediawiki offers the option of adding information to a category page, we could simply combine Lists and categories on the same page. -- Redge | Talk 09:26, 22 Dec 2004 (CET)
-- Cid Highwind 11:29, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)

I never like the idea of the season guest actor lists myself anyway. That information is already on episode pages, and the (actually useful) recurring character pages.

I do like the idea of building up a category system by working on one thing at a time, though. Performers, then ships, and so on. -- Steve 23:38, 20 Dec 2004 (CET)

I'm baffled by the number of arguments here based on "I don't find it usefull". The issue here is not what you find usefull, but what most users and/or editors in MA would find usefull. Perhaps we should try to find out what that is, before going in to the discussion whether or not something is usefull or not. -- Redge | Talk 09:26, 22 Dec 2004 (CET)
I've been browsing Wikipedia, and have found numerous articles in 5+ categories, some of them subsections of others. Is there any reason this isn't "good" or is that a personal opinion? -- Captain Mike K. Bartel
re:Redge: Well, how exactly do you find out what "most users/editors" find useful if not by each one of them telling you what he/she finds useful? -- Cid Highwind
re:Mike: Obviously, "personal opinion" always plays a part - if there was some "objective truth" we wouldn't have this discussion right now. WikiPedia:Wikipedia talk:Categorization and the linked archive pages are a good read to see how controversial this system can become and why it is a good idea to discuss before implementing it. In this specific case, the problem is not that an article is listed in 5+ categories, it is the fact that an article is listed in 5+ performer categories which in my opinion and as mentioned before, is pure overkill and not especially useful. Please note that no one could explain how this categorization would be useful for "information retrieval" or why a list wouldn't be a much better way to access that information in this specific case. It might help bringing this discussion to an end if someone could provide that information. -- Cid Highwind
Please also read WikiPedia:Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes, an article I just found. Many of the points mentioned there were brought up here as well:
  • "Is it possible to write a few paragraphs or more on the subject of a category, explaining it? If you go to the article from the category, will it be obvious why it's there? Is the category subject prominently discussed in the article? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then a category is probably inappropriate." -- The answer to questions 1 and 3 seems to be "No"...
  • "An article will often be in several categories. Restraint should be used, however — categories become less effective the more there are on a given article."
  • "An article should not be in both a category and its subcategory" -- in that case, we would have to choose between "(TOS) performers" and "TOS season 1 performers". Im still convinced that, for the average reader, the first one is much more useful than the second one.
  • "Lists also have a substantial advantage over categories and series boxes in that they can be annotated. A list can include items that do not yet have an article." -- As mentioned earlier, all those categories would miss the annotation the existing lists have. Why not use a generic category "TOS performers" combined with "list(s) of season X performers", wouldn't that be the best of both worlds? :)
-- Cid Highwind 21:18, 22 Dec 2004 (CET)]
I agree that we should simplify it to just (TOS) performers, for many of the reasons stated above, (does the season really define the characters performance & multiple seasons = multiple listings in category tree)
  • This tree will become horribly ridiculous for DS9 and TNG; navigating 7 seasons. Many actors will have 5 or so category references all dealing with the same subject!
  • It is true, there are a lot of performers for someone to navigate through. However, that's what alphabetical order is for.
  • This is for listing performers from the show, the season is another category all together. Furthermore, such a grouping not relevant, in my opinion, to the performers Category. (season Category fits more with episode or character in terms of relevance).
This discussion has been here for almost 2 months. Lets get a vote going and hopefully make this change.--Talah Blue 09:29, 6 Feb 2005 (CET)

Category:Performers reduxEdit

Now, after having created and tested several different categories, I want to bring up "Performers" again. The original discussion didn't come to any agreement (see: Memory Alpha talk:Category tree), and the prematurely created categories still exist. I suggest (again) to create just one category for performers. No SERIES performers and definitely no SERIES SEASON performers categories. I still believe that both subcategorizations are too arbitrary in this case, because several performers (1 performer = 1 person) appeared in different series and many of them in different seasons. -- Cid Highwind 23:56, 2005 Jan 22 (CET)

I agree that season performers is a bad idea, but I know that the Performers cat will get significantly large, and will need to be broken up somehow. Perhaps we can wait until the cat is full and new subcats will reveal themselves. Drhaggis 00:22, 23 Jan 2005 (CET)

If you read the early discussions that were moved to the page I mentioned above, you will see that I think that "breaking up" categories just because they are too big is not a good idea. I think that related categories should be "exclusive" - any article should belong to either one or the other, not to both at the same time. Perhaps there are possible subcategories for performers working that way, but I think that, at the moment, it would be best to just use one category. -- Cid Highwind 16:22, 2005 Jan 23 (CET)

I've read much of the early discussions and can only determine that there are no real conclusions on how to approach categorizations. It is infact very good policy to break up large categories, providing that the sub categories are useful, significantly populated and logical. Unfortunately one can not always guess what sort of data one wants to pull from the wiki. Having "XYX season #" categories is silly because many actors span seasons and series, resulting in overcategorization. I think having a "Performers" cat with a "main performers" sub cat would be a really good start. Drhaggis 19:32, 23 Jan 2005 (CET)
I believe this is a valid category, but I support series performers. I think lumping the performers from all the series together will be too unwieldy. What if someone does appear in more than one series? So they have more than one category entry. I don't see what's wrong with that. I do feel, after some reflection, that splitting it down to the season is too finely grained. -- Balok 01:21, 29 Jan 2005 (CET)
I definitely support having this category. I think we can start by having this one and then later start with series perfomers. But no one seems to disagree with a performers category. --Dalen 09:32, 13 Mar 2005 (GMT)

OK, there seems to be some "sort of" consensus for Performers + Series Performers + No Series Season Performers. To finally bring an end to this discussion, I suggest to create the first two types and remove existing categories of the last type at the end of this week, unless there are further objections. -- Cid Highwind 08:14, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)


TOS remastered Edit

Should we have a new category á la Category:TOS remastered performers? We have a few production staff members who only appeared in the new matte shots as extras ("The Menagerie, Part I"). Any suggestions? – Tom 23:23, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Erm... it's already there. start fillin' it out ;) -- Sulfur 23:46, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Fast...faster...Sulfur. Thanks. ;] – Tom 23:54, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
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