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This page intends to describe what a wiki-category is, why and how to use them. And how not to use them.

For a deeper article, see wikipedia


A wiki-category is similar to the categorization system of libraries. Books are categorized, tagged, for best matching topic. If somebody is looking for books about computer programming, they will find all such books at a shelf tagged in a particular way. And the books usually have that tag on their backs too.

Similarly, a wiki-category contains all pages that have been tagged for that category. However, while a book can have just one tag, a wiki-page can have many tags. One tag for each topic the page is fitting for.

Hence, any person benefit from categories, both readers and editors. Once a reader has arrived at a page they can browse the links to other pages, or the links to the categories a page was tagged for. And there they will find other pages on that topic, pages that share that common denominator. Such links are found bottom-most of any page.

On the other hand, an editor must determine which one or more categories it makes sense to tag a page for. That means, figuring out which topics the page is about.

A category is a named container of pages and/or sub-categories. Its name determines the topic, the common denominator.

For example, Category:Quests contains sub-categories for all quests in Lotro (hopefully). And those sub-categories are for quest levels, instance quests, festival quests, etc. Hence, if searching for spring festival quests, drill down to that category and find such quests.

At Lotro-Wiki there is a hierarchical tree of categories. There are major categories for e.g. Geography, Classes, NPCs, Crafting, Items, Skills, Events, and more. Click the following to see all existing categories:

From here on this article will address editors only, giving guidelines, tips, and hints.

To Editors

As an editor you must make sure every page or file is tagged for, also called "added to", a category. All pages must be categorized.

Throughout this page we will use quest and location categories as examples, but the text is applicable to any category kind.

Tagging is done by adding a normal link to a page that goes to a category. For example [[Category:Quests]]. The link will work normally. However, the wiki-engine will also understand that as a tag and will add the page to that category.

Luckily, at Lotro-Wiki most of the tagging is done automatically by the "templates" we use. See Templates further down.


Examples to most bullets follow below, to keep the bullets short and clear.

  • Category names should always be plural, while page names should be singular!
  • Avoid leading "The" whenever possible!
  • Use the existing category structure. Discuss changes with other editors before acting.
  • Always double check the category links at the bottom of a page while in preview mode. Are they expected? No red links? Etc.
  • Use the "most narrow" category. Never tag a page for a higher-level category too.
  • A category "page" should just have data that pertain to the contained pages, and maybe its sub-categories.
  • Use collapsed tables to hide too extensive content on category pages.
  • Usually content on a category page is meant for transclusion, hence extra care is required when editing.
  • Category tagging should never be transcluded onto other pages or categories.

Comments & Examples

  • Use plural since a category is expected to contain many pages and/or sub-categories. But it is not enforced that a category must contain more than one element.
    Pages are the opposite, most often they are about one thing. Also here it helps future editing as it is simpler to tuck an 's' onto e.g. [[page]] to make it plural, than it is to make singular out of [[pages]]. Which means that even if a page is about e.g. a group, such as "Orcs", it is usually better to have a singular page name. Only in extreme cases we may perhaps break that rule, for more detail, see Exceptions.
  • "The" does not convey any important information and should be excluded. That makes editing links much simpler in the case it is embedded in a sentence where "the" does not fit the word flow.
    Also, people are usually searching for terms without any leading "the".
  • Of course we should add a new category without discussions if it follows a common practice. For example, adding a new quest given in a newly added land usually requires new categories of various types. That is 'how we always do it'.
    However, adding a new category for a topic not yet supported on Lotro-Wiki requires a discussion. What is the purpose and justification for such a category? How much work is required initially and long-term, versus the benefits?
  • A red link requires creation of a new category, which in turn must be tagged for a "parent" category, etc.
    It may happen that something in a template will tag for an unexpected category, which must be fixed. And not fixed by also tagging for the wanted category but instead by figuring out how the template works. Chat with other editors and ask for advice if needed.
    It may happen that something on the page "leaks" category tagging it should not. Same same, fix it or ask for help.
  • The most narrow is for example to use the current interior as starting-location of a quest, and not the settlement or area. And the opposite if the quest template tags a quest for "burglar quests", then the editor should not also add it to "class quests" (because the former category is in fact already tagged for the latter). However, it is OK to tag that quest for "instance quests" if needed, because that is indeed another branch of categories, even if both lead to the "quests" category eventually.
  • Categories are primarily meant for categorization, not to be read as pages. Some users can find it confusing to find "clutter" at the lower part of a 'page', i.e. the lists of sub-categories and pages.
    However, a category page is a great place to summarize what is contained by it. See for example Category:Waymeet Quests. That quest list is "transcluded" onto Waymeet, instead of having to create and maintain a copy on that page. Not only that, the list is also transcluded onto the area's category page. Editing the list in one place automagically updates the others.
    Also, by a quick look at each category contained in a regional quests category, an editor can easily update its summary table; see for example Category:The Shire Quests. Meaning, summaries are OK but not too detailed.
  • Only the most important data should be visible on a category page, if anything at all. Revisit Category:The Delving Fields Quests and see how it obeys that rule, while it also conveniently provides less important data but hidden under a collapsed table. This goes hand in hand with the previous bullet. An editor could even hide every piece of data under such a table, if they like to; see for example Category:Michel Delving Quests.
  • As always, as soon as any transclusion mark-up is seen, extra caution is required. Consider any <...include...> a big, red, warning sign.
    Any such content must fit the style of the target pages, no matter any fancy ideas about the looks of the category page. It is just the vehicle while the targets are the important pieces. See Transclusion for more advice.
  • Any page or category may be transcluded onto other pages, in full or partially. And all pages and categories must be tagged for at least one category. However, the tagging of a page from which content is transcluded rarely matches the target pages. Thus all category tagging is better embraced by <noinclude> markups. See Transclusion for more advice, and why <noinclude> markups is not always necessary, even if it does not hurt.


Templates for common page types are constructed to automatically tag pages for the correct categories. All "Create X-page" features will use a few of Lotro-Wiki's templates. And all "boilerplates" are based on one or more templates.

What remains for the editor is to fill the "parameters" with data. The templates will use some of that data to tag the upcoming page for one or more categories. That magic saves time for all editors, when those mundane tasks are automated. And it helps keeping the category structure in an orderly fashion. After all, humans are bound to fail every now and then. (Sometimes an editor need or want to manually tag the page for more categories, we will come to that.)

When creating a new page, please review the documentation and examples provided by the templates and boilerplates. Do not stray too far away from the blueprints, please.

Example: To create a new landmark an editor will face this "code" which is using the "Infobox Landmarks" template.

{{Infobox Landmarks
|name   = {{subst:PAGENAME}}
|type   = 
|region = 
|area   = 
|map    = 
|NS     = 
|EW     = 

The editor fills in for example "Camp", "The Shire", "Green Hill Country", "The Shire", and coordinates. What will happen next?

The "type" will be used to tag the page for Category:Camps, because that value is known and pre-configured in the template. Next, the landmarks-template will tag the page for Category:The Shire Landmarks. ('Why not for a narrower area category?' is a good question but not within the scope of this article.) And the template will make all values nicely displayed in an info-box, whereof map plus coordinates are tied together into yet another template which will pop up a map with a swirling circle at the correct location if hovering the mouse over the location info. See for example Abandoned Elf-camp.

Indeed, quite a lot of things are done fully automagically. Consider typing that code by hand! For each landmark page! See Lotro-Wiki's Category:Templates.


While a template executes some tasks, a boilerplate is a combination of a blueprint and help. A boilerplate reads the documentation of one or more templates, it provides examples, dos & don'ts, etc. It provides stubs (skeletons) for sections that are common for that page type. It provides a clean copy which can be pasted onto a new page (if needed), and that is used by "New X-page" features. And it has links to various help pages. Consider a boilerplate an annotated blueprint, a how-to guide.

See Category:Boilerplates för more detail.

Manual Categorization

Manual tagging for categories is quite common. However, always think: 'Must this page really have to be tagged for that or those categories?

  • Manual tagging should be placed at the bottom of the page, always!!!
  • Manual tagging should obey the guidelines given at the beginning of this page.

Example: Assume some landmark is a location which Tolkien's books read a lot about; much "lore" is bound to that place. Then the editor want to manually tag the page for Category:Places, which is a sub-category of Category:Lore.

Lotro-Wiki Categories

Given the guidelines, examples and comments above new editors understand the purpose of categories, and how to deal with most situations. Not all editors need to do anything more complex than already described.

But nevertheless, getting an overall picture of Lotro-Wiki's hierarchical structure of categories helps spotting oddities and errors, if they occur. So please take some time every now and then and study the structure around those page types you are usually editing.

Here is the category tree once again:

Basic categories should have brief descriptions of their purposes. The more extensive descriptions are found at pages, which usually are sorted under * so they are listed before any other pages in that category, should they not be linked to in the short description.

Further Reading