06 December 2004
On Categories

Should I have categories?  What use would they be?  I could have an About category which I could link to from the side bar.  I could have a Best Of category and then list all its posts in a third bar on the right.  Europhobia does this.  It would be a good way of flagging up my best stuff to first-time readers.  Should I go further and categorize everything?  But what for?  Would it make it more likely that people would delve into the archive?  Possibly.  It would make it slightly easier for me but I have no illusions here.  I had lots of categories on Transport Blog and still had to resort to a search from time to time.  And if I do have categories how many should I have?  And what if a post occupies more than one category?  I ask because when you write a post (I know this from bitter experience) the tendency is to try to put it into an existing category but often you find out later that it really ought to be placed into a new sub-category and then you have neither the time nor the inclination to dig out the old post and re-categorise it - which kind of undermines the completenesss of the new sub-category.  I could try to have as many categories as possible right from the start but by the time you’ve got Franchising, Fragmentation, Network Rail, Subsidy, Punctuality, TOCs all set up, along comes a post which falls into all of them.  Sure, you can categorise it as such but it does make a bit of a mess of the look of the blog (assuming they are displayed on the post in question).  Can I make it so only the first, say, three categories get displayed, I wonder?

And this is assuming that we are categorising by topic.  There is another way (though I’ve never seen this tried): by purpose.  So, State Failure in Health, State Failure on the Railways, State Success in Education (only joking) etc.

I have to make a decision pretty quickly.  If I don’t create some categories pretty soon I know I never will.  If nothing else I should have a Default or Miscellaneous category - uncategorised posts can be very difficult to find.

For the time being I think I’ll do that plus try to categorise the posts I already have.

And then I’ll have to get around to displaying them all.

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