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  1. I can definitely see how you might need this… yet it one sense, you could think of it as redundant. If you restrict all of author “Vanessa Blaylock’s” posts to the “Vanessa’s World” category, then that category is self-similar to the Vanessa Author Archive. I guess you could restrict both Sarah & Vanessa to the “smart people who are not men” category… so that could be useful.

    In my own case, I run a few multi-author sites where all authors are free to post in any category. The issue I have is that I prefer posts to have 1 category and any number of tags. I always feel that checking 6 different categories isn’t helpful because then all the same posts come up regardless of what category archive you look at. I think of categories as overarching theme and tags as any items touched on in the post.

    The problem is that when an author looks at the backend they see a blank box for tags, so many of them just leave that blank, and they see all sorts of choices for categories to check off, so they check a bunch. I realize that technically checkboxes for categories and a text box for tags makes sense, yet functionally it seems to often encourage authors to do the opposite of what I had in mind. I’ve tried explaining this to authors and that often doesn’t work. If these were paid authors that message might be easier to transmit, but these are art & culture sites where everyone is freely sharing their projects and ideas and sometimes that degree of communication is hard. I’ve mostly stopped trying to explain it and I do just “clean up” the categories in the backend manually. It only takes a minute per post, so it’s easy.

    What I personally wouldn’t mind is the option to change categories from Check Boxes, to Radio Buttons. Then authors could choose any category, but they’d be forced to pick the (hopefully) most relevant category and not just click 6 of them.

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  2. Ted Clayton

    And maybe, ‘How to Restrict Yourself to Posting in a Prescribed Category’ could be handy, too.

    While it’s not hard to see that a multi-author web-shop may choose to herd writers into specific categories, the ideas & tools described in this article sound like they can be adapted & deployed to provide important values for solo authors & webmasters, too.

    Categories in WordPress are flexible, but they can seem uncooperative at times, too. Though making the category-system flexible is a good thing, it may not offer the structure we’d like to have, for some roles.

    Navigation of extensive and/or complex content was identified as a big challenge, early in the Personal Computer era. The arrival of the Internet, and websites, exacerbated rather than resolved this challenge. Categories, and enlightened use of them, can/could help a lot.

    For example, right here on WPTavern, one of the leading guides in the WordPress firmament, the main way to navigate is the same way they did it in Pharaonic Egyptian, the early Roman & Greek civilizations, and the Shang Dynasty of China.

    It’s sobering, that with all our resources, we have devolved to mainly scrolling & pagination. WPTavern could be printed out on bound sheets of dead-animal parchment (by enslaved scribes, using goose-feather quills and compost-tea ink), and access to the content (navigation) would be virtually identical to the digital-electronic website.

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