Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and navigation templates

Wikipedia offers several ways to group articles: categories, list articles (including item lists, as well as topical glossary, index, outline, and timeline articles), other lists including embedded lists, and navigation templates (of which article series boxes are one type). The grouping of articles by one method neither requires nor forbids the use of the other methods for the same informational grouping. Instead, each method of organizing information has its own advantages and disadvantages, and is applied for the most part independently of the other methods following the guidelines and standards that have evolved on Wikipedia for each of these systems.

Accordingly, these methods should not be considered in conflict with each other. Rather, they are synergistic, each one complementing the others. For example, since editors differ in style, some favor building lists while others favor building categories, allowing links to be gathered in two different ways, with lists often leapfrogging categories, and vice versa. This approach has resulted in two main link-based systems of navigating Wikipedia. See the navigation menu at the top of Wikipedia:Contents, and see Category:Wikipedia categories. Many users prefer to browse Wikipedia through its lists, while others prefer to navigate by category; and lists are more obvious to beginners, who may not discover the category system right away. Therefore, the "category camp" should not delete or dismantle Wikipedia's lists, and the "list camp" shouldn't tear down Wikipedia's category system—doing so wastes valuable resources. Instead, each should be used to update the other.

At the same time, there may be circumstances where consensus determines that one or more methods of presenting information is inappropriate for Wikipedia. For instance, the guideline on overcategorization sets out a number of situations in which consensus has consistently determined that categories should not be used. A regularly occurring outcome at WP:CFD for some deleted categories is to listify, because there are cases where lists are appropriate while categories may not be (e.g. List of unusual units of measurement exists as a list, but not as a category Category:Unusual units of measurement).

Category workers, list builders and outline builders, and series box designers all endeavor to develop comprehensive networks of links for navigating the encyclopedia. Because of this, increasingly, multiple entries to fields of knowledge are being provided. Take "symphonies", for example: