|This page documents an English Wikipedia editing guideline.|
It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
This page contains guidance on the proper use of the categorization function in Wikipedia. For information on the mechanics of the function, category syntax, etc., see Help:Category. For quick answers, see the Categorization FAQ. For proposals to delete, merge, or rename categories, follow the instructions at Categories for discussion. Please use it before undertaking any complicated re-categorization of existing categories or mass creation of new categories.
The central goal of the category system is to provide navigational links to Wikipedia pages in a hierarchy of categories which readers, knowing essential—defining—characteristics of a topic, can browse and quickly find sets of pages on topics that are defined by those characteristics.
Categories are not the only means of enabling users to browse sets of related pages. Other tools which may be used instead of or alongside categories in particular instances include lists and navigation boxes. For a comparison of these techniques, see Categories, lists and navigation templates.