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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 every 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?
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.|
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, 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?|
Er, excuse me...
What, what is that... when was the last time you bathed?
What do you want? What are you after, why do you slow me down?
I was, er, wondering if you could...
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.
Would that be bad, if we're seen? I mean, this is a wiki; everything is public by its very nature.
It's... er, quite lovely, really. Mind if I ask you something? What about categories?
|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...
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