I am not very happy with this “default category requirement” thing.
It is easy to disrupt it but there could be a lot of places where it hides.
But it seems easy enough to get rid of it. I’ve just set the option in the table to 0 and removed the form elements from /wp-admin/options-writing.php.
I don’t think it will bug me any more. It seems to be treated like it is some essential design principle or feature or necessity but that is hardly the case. Posts that get added without category just don’t end up in the taxonomy relations table. There might be some code that does a join between the posts and the taxonomy relations, but it doesn’t seem like WordPress’ own code is dependent on that. Only my own provisionary code did such a thing.
Feels much better. I modified the “delete category” text too. Only harmony now. I just absolutely love WordPress because it is such clean code and so very easy to modify. I’m not even backing these files up or keeping a changelog if some minor automatic update replaces a file I’m cool with that.
So thank you all for this great product and this amazing hacks forum and the only thing I am going to remove now is this hypocritical “Thank you for creating with WordPress.” line that thinks it is smart enough to have a place on my computer.
I just wanted to show how easy it is to change such a feature that is considered a core concept.
And I do believe it is a detrimental aspect. Let me explain why.
When you categorize something, you put it into a special place in your mind that has meaning to you. Through these meanings you place order in your life and your existence.
And to a person these categories or concepts are sacred. They are holy. They are sacrimount. When you stay true to them, your life gains more power. When you ensure that your life is ruled by clear concepts, you gain the acuity and ability to make clear decisions that further your true design goals in life.
When concepts are muddled and unclear, so are your choices and you end up being weak and not being able to achieve what you want.
And a concept like “Uncategorised” is non-existent. Everything has or is a concept and everything belongs to something. You may not know what it is, but it is definitely not something that in essence is undefined.
And saying “oh, wait, you are as yet unclear about this thing you just wrote, I think you shouldn’t be unclear about things so I will help you by inventing for you a concept that is the epitome of unclarity.” is not really helpful at all. It messes up the minds of the people that work with this software.
And you may think that such effects are too small to be of any importance. But as you clarify your life, the details become ever more powerful. Because you have already made the big decisions and your power keeps increasing as you are fine-tuning the smaller aspects.
This is when you start to feel better and better and you start noticing things that have always put or dragged you down and you change them and you notice a profound shift. And you realize that all of the small “ugly things” or the small “defilements” accumulate into something that is even bigger than the biggest decisions you had ever made or altered.
It is at this point that you begin cleansing and purifying everything: your house, all the objects in your house, your skin, etcetera, etcetera.
And as you move through the world of software like a pro as I am, you notice all the wrong concepts and the bad user interfaces and all the nasty shit that turns possibly elegant software into something detrimental for your mind and your happiness, because you have to work with things that frustrate because they are unclear and undefined. Design choices that serve no purpose because the people making them were not clear about what they intended to do with it and what for.
And why exactly is there an “Uncategorized” category? Does the contradictory nature of that not become immediately clear and prevalent? How can something that is uncategorised be have put into a category? If is is uncategorised, should you then not keep it OUT of every category you can?
If it is uncategorised, it has no relationships defined, so why must you enforce meaningless relationships onto the user?
And looking at the structure of the database and the software, it is perfectly clear that removing this anomaly comes at no cost at all, which means that indeed it WAS completely meaningless.
It was not part of a core design aspect and it was just some redundant, superfluous, irrelevant addition that serves to confuse people because it has no relevance for the operation of the entire system.
You are basically telling people “something is going to get messed up when your post has no category” and then the user finds out that this is a complete lie and this communication is false.
So you (the software designers) are not communicating clearly and you are confusing people and this makes it harder for people to understand the system, no matter the fact that it is just a small aspect or component of the entire structure. But even small defilements pollute the experience of the true elegance of what you create.
Concepts need to be mapped to clear structural existences. If you create abstractions that are impossible to relate to the underlying technical realisation you make it hard or impossible to understand the functioning of the system from the foundations up, and you force people that want to know the exact operation to dive beneath the abstraction to see how it is constructed to see how faulty it is to get to know the real underlying design and to finally understand that the abstraction was completely pointless.
Messy abstractions create computer-illiterate people. They have no feeling with the fundament and it is extremely hard for them to acquire it because computers have left the hobby arena they occupied in the 80s and early 90s.
WordPress is very elegant most of the time because it usually doesn’t try to “invent” concepts that aren’t there yet. That is when the problems arise. You try to invent something new that is not part of life. In spirituality this is called “ego”. It is a deviation from naturalness.
Posts, pages, categories, tags, excerpts, parent-child, and the number zero as the undefined, these are all natural concepts. Starting to count from 0 is okay for an array where these numbers have no meaning, but as soon as you attribute meaning or identification to such numbers, you start to mess up.
The default category “uncategorized” starts at 1. This is wrong. It should be number 0 and as such it should not be a category at all.
Zero is nothingness is the unmanifested. One is the manifestation that carries everything. This is why binary numbers are of 0 and 1. The 0 is the yin or the feminine. The 1 is the yang or the masculine. And so on.
Binary numbers are yin-yang constituencies, creations, amalgations. It is when you pour different quantities or proportions of yin and yang together and end up with Creation.
And every recipe for these creations is unique. And so we have it that we start to count at 1 because 1 is the first yang element and yang is the initiator, the creator, the actor. Yang is when the divine gives birth to reality. And yin is the reality thus created.
To sum up the strange and the inevitable:
You should get rid of that default category, nothing could ever have a default category. If something has a default category, is means that category is not consciously chosen and as such has no meaning for the thing or object or post being categorized. As such the very act is completely stupid and confusing. No meaning is ever attributed “by default”. There are no default meanings because there is no universal truth that every person can or should or could agree with.
Just allow empty category lists for posts. A post with no category is something special. It is pristine, undefined. It is full of potential, brimming with yet unseen possibility. Nothingness is the state of infinite potential. It is the state that gives birth to all things. If you stay there until you are ready to move out into the world, you will be sure to move out with great speed and expertise and effect. Your acts will be like lightning and your steps will be felt by people across the universe. So remain undefined until you are ready to step forward.
And allow the same thing for your posts. I have cringed every time some post of mine ended up in that default category.
And I’m not the only one, just do a search for “remove default category” on Google for WordPress and you not come back empty-handed, except that no one seems to know how to do it (without core hacking).
Fact: people don’t like it.
Fact: anyone who claims he/she does like it is confusing it with other things and mixing up separate aspects that only become clear when taken apart.
You could simply create a separate, distinct listing (in the admin panel) for posts that are uncategorised. Instead of being meaningless (because it is treated as a category) it becomes extremely potent because it is treated as a state (much like ‘published’ or ‘draft’).
Uncategorised becomes a state a post can be in, not a category a post can be in. There is a difference.
States are aspects relevant to the publishing process. Categorizing is an aspect relevant to the publishing process.
Ending up in some sterile, dead-zone called “Uncategorized” where you won’t see the post again and it just sits there feeling horrible is not an aspect relevant to the publishing process. It is an aspect relevant to the semantics or contents of the post. It is like the difference between semantic HTML (or XML) and its CSS presentation. These things are orthogonal.
“Meaning” is one dimension and “publishing state” is another dimension that is perpendicular to the first.
You can move in both directions or dimensions at the same time and independent of one another. They are independent and uncorrelated. In probability mathematics and statistics two stochasts are independent if this is no correlation and their covariance is zero. In matrix theory and linear algebra a set of vectors is linearly independent when “moving in one direction does not imply moving in another”, to put it accurately.
You need this freedom of mind so you can determine every aspect of everything you do in every dimension of the act without being hindered by conceptual confounding because if the dimensions are correlated you are going to be making sacrifices left and right.
You will think “oh, I can’t publish it, because it needs to have a category first” while ‘published’ versus ‘draft’ versus ‘pending review’ is a different subdimension from ‘categorized’ versus ‘uncategorized’ and as such should not impact each other.
The way it is now people are going to hate having to categorize when they don’t want to, only because they don’t want their post to end up in that hideous “default” category.
So that is simply the way it is, fully explained.
‘Categorized’ versus ‘uncategorized’ needs to become a 5th status in the “publish” widget next to “status”, “visibility”, “revisions” and “publish immediately/later”.
And that’s all I have to say on this subject. Good luck with it.
Wow! You obviously feel strongly about this to write so much. And I thought I tended towards verbose 🙂 I must admit I did not fully read all of it, but I think I read enough to get the gist of it.
Though “Me too!” posts in forums is usually considered bad form, I’m essentially doing it here. I agree with you, there is no need to force a category. I too am irritated at the need to categorize every post, it requires more thought than is warranted. And I abhor “uncategorized” and “miscellaneous” sorts of meaningless designations, they are worse than no category at all.
Unfortunately, I have no sway of the core development so my support goes no further than this post. I do have some insight into the way some core developers think, I’m pretty sure they place this issue in the “Make a plugin if you don’t like it” category. As you know, this is easy enough to do, and changing core code is not worth the effort, they have bigger issues to address.
If you have the motivation and skills, you could submit a patch in Trac for consideration that makes categories an optional feature. If most of the work is already done, especially if unit tests are provided as well, you never know, it might go somewhere and actually get committed. It’s quite a long shot though IMO.
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