Category talk:Dramatists/Former category

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category:Playwright/category:Dramatists controversy

The alphabetization here is rather poor - this will surely be a general problem with categories. I assume there's no way to fix this, at present? john k 05:44, 31 May 2004 (UTC)

I was just thinking the same thing. I'm sure there will be improvements, and that would be an important one: either adding an alphabetization or indexing tag to articles, or providing a way to manually order them. That, and showing categories on a separate tab (so they don't disrupt article formatting), and having something like redirects to make synonyms (so "playwright" and "playwrights" and yes, even "dramatist" aren't separate categories. - Nunh-huh 06:07, 31 May 2004 (UTC)
To make a category entry alphabetical, write it like so: [Category:Playwright|Wilson, August] so that August Wilson appears under 'W'. We've got a lot to get through! [[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo|Contact Me!]] 12:01, May 31, 2004 (UTC)

Yup, figured it any rate, I'm going to change this category to Category:Dramatists, on the basis that we seem to prefer using plurals, and because I think dramatist is the broader category. Any objections? john k 20:31, 31 May 2004 (UTC)

Please do! I'm still working on the plurification of the poets.--[[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo (Talk)]] 20:34, May 31, 2004 (UTC)

How is "dramatist" broader than "playwright"? Who would usefully be classified in the former class but not in the latter? They seem rather to be more or less synonyms. - Nunh-huh 21:09, 31 May 2004 (UTC) A dramatist could be a screenplay writer; playwrights write plays. It's only slightly broader I think, but it's definitely more academic.--[[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo (Talk)]] 21:13, May 31, 2004 (UTC)

but then dramatist should be a super-class of playwright, and you remove information by classifying the latter as the former. If you are going to call, say, librettists, "dramatists", the way to do it is to make "librettists" a sub-class of "dramatists", in its turn a sub-class of "writers" in its turn a sub-class of "people", and apply only the most specific tag to the article (in this case librettists, as they are all dramatists, writers, and people). Similary, "screenplay writer" should be the tag for those who write screenplays, not "dramatist". It's better to be correct than to "sound" academic. - Nunh-huh 21:20, 31 May 2004 (UTC)
You're right; 'screen play writers' should not be a sub-group of 'dramtists' but 'librettists' should. It's too early, though, to be using the most specific sub-groups just yet. If someone does wish to specify that a particular dramatist is in fact a librettist, they can start that sub-category and wait for others to follow.--[[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo (Talk)]] 21:35, May 31, 2004 (UTC)
It would be much less work to come to an agreement about what an appropriate hierarchy would be and get it right the first time instead of changing tags on every article involved. We should use the most specific terms we'll want to use now, not later. In the current playwright vs. dramatist, I think you'll note that most of their biographical articles include the phrase "X was a playwright" not "Y was a dramatist". Please allow some time for discussion: there's no need to move things today, and I am hoping that there may soon be an automated solution (like "move" for pages, only for categories...) -- Nunh-huh 21:53, 31 May 2004 (UTC)
Never mind that comment; they're synonyms. But dramatist is more academic.--[[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo (Talk)]] 21:19, May 31, 2004 (UTC)

John Kenney and I seem to have agreed on 'Dramatists'. Are you with us, Nunh-huh?--[[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo (Talk)]] 21:54, May 31, 2004 (UTC)

well, no, not particularly. Let's let John express his opinion upon due deliberation, and others may have views as to how the "writer" hierarchy should be formed as well. There's no need to do anything right now. I'm asking you to stop changing categories till it's discussed (and that really doesn't mean just by you and me.) If it's eventually decided that "dramatists" is best, I'm certainly willing to go for it. - Nunh-huh 22:04, 31 May 2004 (UTC)

Another point I've thought of (applies to all writers, really): is a person a playwright if they've written a play, but it's not their profession nor the means by which they became famous? (I'm thinking Pope John Paul II: categorizing him as a playwright, or even a writer, seems wrong, yet he has written a well-received play, and writes encyclicals as part of his profession; or, in another category, categorizing President Jimmy Carter as a novelist seems wrong, yet he's written and published a (not-particularly-well-received) novel. Is the distinction enough to require two categories (professional novelist, occasional novelist)? They shouldn't be needed: we will see if common sense can be relied on to get rid of "peripheral" novelists, but looking at some classifications so far I'm not heartened.- Nunh-huh 23:17, 31 May 2004 (UTC)

I think anyone who has written a published play qualifies. Better to be inclusive in that way than to start disputing over whose plays qualify as canonical.--[[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo (Talk)]] 11:08, Jun 1, 2004 (UTC)

The reason I prefer "dramatist" is because, say, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and T.S. Eliot are pretty clearly "dramatists" but are rarely referred to as "playwrights." As such, I prefer "Dramatists." As far as moving the categories, I think the general sense was that categories should be moved to plurals, anyway. I think that the category ought to have been "dramatist" rather than "playwright" to begin with, so now we have a good chance to switch it over. It's not overly important, but I'd like to see a good argument for "playwrights" instead of "dramatists." As far as I'm aware, the terms are basically synonymous, but I think "playwright" is a rather more contemporary term, and is frequently not used for older writers. Which is why I'd prefer "dramatist." john k 05:50, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

If you're willing to do the work to move stuff, I won't quarrel with it. I wish there were a way to have synonyms, though. I agree that the more hoary the playwright, the more likely he is to be called a dramatist. On the other hand, which term would one be more likely to use for Wendy Wasserstein, Michael Frayn, Maurine Watkins, Oscar Wilde or Tom Stoppard? - Nunh-huh 06:11, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Mmm...yes. More likely playwright. But I don't think anyone would say that "dramatist" is incorrect for these people. On the other hand, calling T.S. Eliot, say, a playwright, seems vaguely wrong. I'll wait until I get back to my own computer tomorrow, though, to see if anyone else has any input. john k 06:16, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I think in Eliot's case it's because his plays...err...were not as good as his other work (is that NPOV for "sucked as drama"?). I also suspect writers of comedies: more likely to be called "playwright" :: writers of tragedies: more likely to be called "dramatist". - Nunh-huh 07:17, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

So... is it category:Dramatists then? We'll just have to choose one, and as far as I and the Oxford Dictionary are concerned, they're synonyms. I already started moving to 'dramatists' (sorry) so that would be more convenient.--[[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo (Talk)]] 11:08, Jun 1, 2004 (UTC)

Sorry guys, I waded into this without realising there was an ongoing discussion. I hate to run counter to the prevailing opinion, but I believe Playwright is a clearer term than dramatist. For example, could someone who writes purely for film or TV be a dramatist? Yes, I believe so. Also there are currently more entries in Playwright than dramatist. We have List of playwrights but no List of dramatists. DJ Clayworth 15:41, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

No worries, DJ Clayworth. I made the same mistake before. Whichever one we choose, it should be the plural form, which is convention (see the examples on Wikipedia:Categorization). As the current categories being used are category:Dramatists and Category:Playwright, I suggest we choose the plural we already have for convenience, although apart from that I'm not adverse to creating category:Playwrights and moving them all there. Whatever we do, we'll do it soon.--[[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo (Talk)]] 23:25, Jun 1, 2004 (UTC)

Definition of dramatist at ( - as far as I can tell, "dramatist" and "playwright" are synonymous. As such, I think this is really a question of usage rather than one of definition. I suppose it's not terribly important. john k 00:16, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

My Merriam-Webster Collegiate (11th ed.) agrees with you: "dramatist" is "see playwright" and "playwright" is "a person who writes plays" (and is the slightly older word). Whatever is decided, I'm more than happy to help move the singulars to the plurals of it (slightly more happy with the p word though<G>). By the way, it seems that one can actually redirect to categories (though it's a bit strange and may be buggy, but may be a way to prevent people accidentally using singulars and the non-selected word.). - Nunh-huh 03:18, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Someone seems to have already moved a bunch to Category:Dramatists, so I finished the job - it'd be really nice to have some way to move categories around without redoing every single entry. Categories are just really buggy at the moment. The question of what categories there should be is also rather problematic. Sigh. john k 06:15, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Great! It was about time someone took decisive action. :)--[[User:HamYoyo|HamYoyo (Talk)]] 08:07, Jun 2, 2004 (UTC)

Since we seem to have decided on Dramatists, shall we take all further talk to that page? DJ Clayworth 14:18, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)


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