Community Wishlist Survey 2022/Categories/Commons-specific: Display media/content of subcategories

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Commons-specific: Display media/content of subcategories

  • Problem: In Commons, I often encounter very deep sub-categories, which are valid and should exist, but still only contain very few files. Browsing the content in these categories is difficult because you have to open each specific subcategory to get the preview of just one or two files.
  • Examples: 17th c. maps of Hesse which has in total 35 files over 14 sub-categories. Or Lviv in 19th c., with about 200(?) files in about 50(?) sub-sub-sub-categories (can't count exact numbers here, some categories and files show up in different branches). Problem has come up in this talk recently, between me and User Nosferattus.
  • Proposed solution: A clickable button "show all content over all sub-categories" that allows the user to open a new window/tab which then shows all files within such sparsely populated categories and their sub-categories.
    • technical suggestions I can already think of myself:
      • Exclude recursions and duplicates from showing up several times, of course.
      • Possibly with a marker from which category the files come from. Possibly duplicate files as per the above point, could receive several markers.
      • The proposed tool is NOT helpful in the case of heavily populated categories. It should not show up if the parent-category has more than X files, and exclude all childnode-categories that go over that same threshold. If too many files would need to be displayed, a warning should come up, or the button should be greyed out, or not be displayed at all. X could be a comparatively low number like 100, or 200.
      • I figure that fetching all sub-cat content and displaying it "temporarily" in the parent-category window for the user, would mess with tools like Cat-a-lot, which is why I propose a new display window. This one should only display the files, possibly the corresponding markers mentioned above, and a backlink to the actual category.
  • Who would benefit: Users browsing Commons content via categories, including the Categorizers.
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Enyavar (talk) 11:44, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]


  • I think it would be very useful for the tool to list big subcategories. There are many categories with subcategories, which each have few files and a few subcategories. Most trees may be near empty, while most files of the parent category is in one or a few categories down the tree. Often the files you are looking for would be found in those. If the categories are big enough, above the threshold, ordinary links to go directly to the most promising ones (and perhaps expand subtrees when there) would be very useful. –LPfi (talk) 12:42, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    その意見に同意します。大きなサブカテゴリーの一覧が予め表示されているととても便利です。 Mishika (talk) 00:29, 23 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • I feel like improving the data for MediaSearch to consume is probably the way forward here rather than adding yet more support for the antiquated category system. Which is also something that can be done yourself. :D --Izno (talk) 02:14, 17 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
What do you mean with that? If this is about structured data, there is no helper functionality I am aware of. I need to click on an image, click on the structured data tab, then navigate through an arcane menu to add statements, which I need to do one at a time. "This depicts a map". "The map is from year 1898". "The map is a topographical map". "The map depicts Illinois". "The map was drawn by John Smith". Doing so for more than a few dozen files in a row is EXHAUSTING. The categories are at least immediately accessible via HotCat and Cat-a-lot. --Enyavar (talk) 09:48, 18 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
So, that's an editing problem then (which this team could also help with).
And you're talking to one of the first editors for Wikidata phase 2 and 30k edits when I stopped editing on the project. I know how much work it is. There are tools on Wikidata today that could also be adapted for Commons to help with making structured data better. Izno (talk) 04:48, 19 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
antiquated or not, the category system is currently an important pillar of Commons. I believe the idea above is a pretty simple and straightforward, while I have no idea what all needs to be done to help with structured data input. --Enyavar (talk) 10:54, 19 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]