Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers/Archive 139

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Sports seasons: 1967–68, not 1967/68

Closing discussion. The passage has been modified to reflect the consensus on this talk page and the consensus of actual usage throughout Wikipedia. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 03:31, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The MOSNUM currently says:

  • Year ranges, like all ranges, are normally separated by an en dash, not a hyphen or slash: 2005–06 (unspaced) is a two-year range, whereas 2005/06 is a period of 12 months or less, such as a sports season or a financial year.

Emphasis added. I was rather astonished to see this. In my experience the notation of a hyphen or en dash (according to style) covers both types of ranges. Furthermore, it seems that a majority of Wikipedia contributors agree. Look at all of these, and in many cases, also the titles of every article linked from them:

In searching for lists likely to contain examples, the only places I found the / notation used was some articles about Australian sports, although most seasons there seem to be named by a single calendar year.

Rather than change a large number of articles, I think the MOS should be changed to accept either notation in cases such as a sports or TV season. (I have little experience with fiscal years; perhaps they should follow different rules.) --142.205.241.254 (talk) 21:27, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

I think it's a good convention to follow. — kwami (talk) 22:09, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
Which "it"? Are you advocating changing a large number of articles? --142.205.241.254 (talk) 22:14, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
Per the MOS. There was some discussion of this, and it was generally agreed that a slash was more appropriate here. However, it looks as though it was never implemented. Not sure what would be the best way forward at this point. — kwami (talk) 22:24, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
It is also used in all of the football articles. Personally I think that the MOS should be revisited as there is no distinction between the two meanings in practice. May be someone could give links to previous discussion on the subject. Keith D (talk) 00:47, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

The reason for the difference is, how else would you indicate a span of football seasons? A slash is the prescriptions in New Hart's and CMOS. For example, "The fiscal years 2005/6–2009/10 were encouraging in several respects." You wouldn't want to write it "years 2005–2006–2009–2010"! You could of course spell it out "years 2005/6 to 2009/10", but it would be confusing with dashes as "years 2005–2006 to 2009–2010". — kwami (talk) 04:06, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

The MOS makes sense, for the reasons given here as well as there. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 07:24, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Greetings from WP:FOOTBALL - our last discussion on the matter is here and I doubt much has changed since then. GiantSnowman 12:57, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

That discussion is about xxxx–xxxx vs xxxx–xx, not about whether dashes or slashes should be used for seasons (apart from an aside by one editor). — kwami (talk) 18:52, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Look more closely... GiantSnowman 18:54, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
"You wouldn't want to write it "years 2005–2006–2009–2010"!" No, and you wouldn't. For sports seasons you could write it "2005–06 – 2009–10", or "from 2005–2006 to 2009–10" or in some cases just use the relevant calendar dates. The en dash is better because the the slash implies "one or the other" instead of "from...to". Is there a strong need for financial years and sporting seasons to have the same style? If not, financial years could retain the slash, while making the en dash the recommended style for sporting seasons. --Jameboy (talk) 13:36, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
FYI, American professional basketball, college basketball, and professional hockey seasons overlap calender years. WP:NBA, WP:College basketball, and WP:NHL uniformly use the "1998–99" format to represent a single season in main body text. Articles for most other American college sports, few of which are represented by their own active WikiProjects, follow the American college basketball precedent to the extent the sports have seasons that overlap calender years. American professional football and college football play their entire regular seasons within a single calender year, although their playoffs and bowl games are often played in January and February of the following year. WP:NFL and WP:CFB uniformly reference American football seasons using the year of the regular season and do not employ the "1998–99" format. When player tenures are referenced in infoboxes in shorthand text, the player tenure spans are formatted as "(1998–1999)," where 1998 and 1999 represent two different seasons, not parts of the same season overlapping calender years. As for the problem of referencing multiple season spans in text where the seasons overlap calender years, the proper way to reference such a span would be "1998–99 to 2010–11"; something like "1998/99–2010/11" is inconsistent, awkward and confusing. This latter example should provide a cautionary anecdote supporting the basic rule that one should never attempt to do with a dash what is more properly done with a preposition. Shorthand notations such as "Eisenhower served 1953–1961" are almost always better written as "Eisenhower served from 1953 to 1961." As usual, the better solution is to simply write out fully the intended meaning in main body text, rather than relying on abbreviated notation and creating unnecessary and confusing rules to interpret the unclear meaning of the abbreviated notation. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 13:44, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
I might also add that this should serve as yet another red flag to editors who make such changes to the MOS without widespread consultation with the editors and WikiProjects who use such notational conventions on a daily basis. Very few editors monitor MOS for these sorts of changes. In this case, we now have an MOS section which contradicts the actual consensus usage of the overwhelming majority of editors. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 13:54, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
I believe the use of the slash in dates is pretty rare in the US. If this is convention in Australia and Europe, then I would support amending MOS to allow either. Rikster2 (talk) 14:25, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
The slash is not used in my neck of the woods either - and I'm a Limey. We use dashes over at the Brit/Euro-dominated WP:FOOTBALL. GiantSnowman 14:31, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
(ec)Yeah it was my understanding that 1967/68 was a European convention. I would treat it as an ENGVAR type situation in the policy. -DJSasso (talk) 14:32, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Side comment (by the original poster at a different IP address): actually, "the use of slash in dates" is pretty common in the US, just not this use. A date like July 20, 1969, is quite commonly written 7/20/69 or 7/20/1969. Obviously that's irrelevant to WP style, but it might be a reason why some people react badly to 2005/06 meaning 2005–06. --50.100.189.5 (talk) 09:54, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I don't disagree slashes in that context are common. However, in discussing split years/seasons it is not common at all (which was the context of the discussion, so I didn't try to spell that out). Rikster2 (talk) 14:11, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
As Rikster said completely agree that slashes in that context are common in North America. But that is a completely different situation than what is being described here. -DJSasso (talk) 14:32, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

I don't see ranges of seasons as a big deal; they come up rarely enough that one can write "from 1998–99 through 2010–11" or similar forms if a simple "1998–2011" is insufficiently clear in the context. I still feel that the dash should be allowed, with ENGVAR type rules as Djsasso says. --142.205.241.254 (talk) 21:38, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

There's Yogi Bear, which ran in 2 yrs, 1961–1962, and for 2 seasons, 1961 and 1961/62. — kwami (talk) 05:01, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Huh? Kwami, I'm not sure if you are attempting to make light of this messy situation or make a serious point. A quick review of Yogi Bear and The Yogi Bear Show articles does not support your somewhat vague assertion. There are no season-specific article for any of the multiple incarnations of the Yogi Bear cartoons. Even if there were, (a) there would be no problem identifying those two seasons as the "1961 Yogi Bear season" and "1961–62 Yogi Bear season," (b) a singular instance of the Yogi Bear cartoon's single split season would be a very odd precedent to cite for the naming of literally hundreds of American and British sports articles.
MOS works best when it tracks the established majority/consensus practices of Wikipedia editors. The use of the slashed dates is a virtually non-existent practice in the United States, and appears to be a decidedly minority practice elsewhere (perhaps most commonly used in financial reports to represent fiscal years split between two calendar years). Establishing a local consensus at an obscure MOS talk page, or worse yet, changing an obscure MOS provision with no real consensus, either of which impacts the established names of literally hundreds of articles which have real consensus on their side, is just goofy. Once again, we see evidence of someone attempting to impose "English as they wish it to be" at MOS, not "English as it actually is." MOS is not intended to be a mechanism for the reform of standard stylistic practices, even though some MOS regulars seem to believe otherwise. The guidelines of WP:CONSENSUS specifically state:
"Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. For instance, unless they can convince the broader community that such action is right, participants in a WikiProject cannot decide that some generally accepted policy or guideline does not apply to articles within its scope.
"Wikipedia has a higher standard of participation and consensus for changes to policies and guidelines than to other types of articles. This is because they reflect established consensus, and their stability and consistency are important to the community. As a result, editors often propose substantive changes on the talk page first to permit discussion before implementing the change. Changes may be made without prior discussion, but they are subject to a high level of scrutiny. The community is more likely to accept edits to policy if they are made slowly and conservatively, with active efforts to seek out input and agreement from others."
The emphasis above is mine. This little noted change to MOS regarding slashed dates is now receiving that "high level of scrutiny" mentioned above in WP:CONSENSUS. Here, we have another example of an obscure MOS change, with potential wide-ranging impact on hundreds of article titles and contrary to established practices, made without any real discussion of the consequences and without notice to the editors and Wikiprojects most knowledgeable and most impacted. By its very nature Wikipedia consensus is a bottom-up concept; however, there are regular participants at MOS who believe that consensus is a top-down process. This is a very real problem. You cannot expect voluntary compliance with minority practices imposed on the majority. This only leads to further inevitable controversy. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 15:45, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree with most of the above, but would like to add a comment on scale. I'd conservatively estimate that tens of thousands of article titles would be affected if the use of slashes were enforced. Conceivably as many as 100,000. The Football season task force alone has 14,000 articles, most of which would have a relevant title format. Hockey probably rivals football in terms of the number of season articles – and I have yet to even consider other sports and non-sporting articles. —WFCFL wishlist 16:25, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
The various basketball projects have about the same. Just a side note, I went looking for examples of the use of the slash to denote split years/seasons (fiscal, television, sports) outside of Wikipedia and have found very, very few examples of this usage (largely American sources). No way this should be the de facto standard, and I am coming to the place where I want to see its consistent usage somewhere in the real world to think it should be kept at all. Rikster2 (talk) 16:57, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
@ Dirtlawyer: Yogi Bear was an example I threw out there for consideration. It's not alone. There are shows with a 1971 season, a 1971/72 season, and a 1972 season, for example, so that 1971–1972 shows covers three seasons, but 1971/72 shows covers one. Whether you see that as notable is up to you, but I thought it should be mentioned. — kwami (talk) 18:01, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
The overwhelming consensus for American sports and academics, both on Wikipedia and in reliable outside sources, is to use an endash, not a slash. The MOS should be amended to reflect that. Jweiss11 (talk) 20:16, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
The same consensus exists for all relevant association football articles - as stated earlier, in thousands of article titles. GiantSnowman 20:32, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposed wording

This is the original poster at a different IP address.

Okay, it looks to me as though there is sufficient consensus here to change the MOSNUM to allow both styles. To repeat, the existing wording is:

  • Year ranges, like all ranges, are normally separated by an en dash, not a hyphen or slash: 2005–06 (unspaced) is a two-year range, whereas 2005/06 is a period of 12 months or less, such as a sports season or a financial year.

I suggest:

  • Year ranges, like all ranges, are normally separated by an en dash (unspaced), not a hyphen or slash: 2005–06.
  • A slash may alternatively be used to express a period of 12 months or less that spans two calendar years, such as a sports season or financial year: the 2005/06 season. One style should be used consistently within an article, and also within a series of articles whose titles each incorporate a season. An established style should not be changed without consensus.

Does that cover it?

--50.100.189.5 (talk) 04:55, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

No, it definitely does not. The present consensus of actual usage throughout Wikipedia is that "2010–11" is used to signify a sports season spanning two calendar years. A little known, and little discussed change was introduced into the MOS regarding the use of slashes to signify one sports season overlapping two calendar years. This is a minority practice in the real world, largely limited to financial reports in some regions of the English-speaking world. Its use for sports seasons, and most other circumstances, is practically non-existent. Your proposal and the editor who introduced the original change are trying to solve a problem that does not exist. The overwhelming majority, both in this discussion and in actual usage throughout Wikipedia, is that the words "2010–11 season" mean exactly that. No slash is needed, nor does its introduction serve to clarify anything for the reader. If the use of "2011–11" is not sufficiently clear in context, then the full expression "2010–11 season" may be used. We are not going to change the titles of tens of thousands of sports season articles, with perhaps hundreds of thousands of instances of the existing usage in athlete biographies, team and championship articles, simply because one or two MOS editors think that it would be a better idea to introduce the decidedly minority practice of using slashes instead. Frankly, given the complete lack of evidence of the usage of slashes in the real world, I don't even think that slashes should be permitted as an alternative for anything other than (perhaps) financial reports—and how often do they form the basis of an article title on Wikipedia?
The needed change to the MOS must reflect that "2010–11" is the existing consensus practice for defining sports seasons. We do not need to sanction the minority practice for such usage, even as a permitted alternative; that will only introduce a potential flashpoint for future controversy in contradiction of the well-established consensus usage for the naming of sports articles. The sports Wikiprojects don't use it and don't want it. Frankly, I'm not even sure any reference to the slash usage in other circumstances should survive at all, and that's the only thing that has kept me from editing the applicable MOS provision myself. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 14:02, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
User 50.100.189.5, I have changed the MOS provision to reflect the talk page consensus here and the consensus of actual usage in sports articles throughout Wikipedia, i.e., the form "2010–11" is used uniformly to denote sports seasons that span two calendar years. Despite my personal misgivings, I have retained the option of using the slashed format "2010/11" for fiscal years and similar circumstances if that is the convention actually used in reliable sources. This leaves open the possibility that certain governments, businesses, and reliable sources regarding television series may use this convention. I am not wedded to the exact wording of my change, but the final version must reflect (a) the consensus regarding sports season usage on this talk page, and (b) the consensus of actual usage to denote sports seasons throughout Wikipedia. As I said above, MOS should not force tens of thousands of stable sports article titles to be changed, contrary to established consensus and real world usage, simply because one or two MOS editors believe the slashed format is a better idea. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 14:19, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Non-Roman B

The MOSNUM currently says:

  • Roman prefixes are not used (M for 103, MM for 106, B for 109). Use SI prefixes instead.

Using B for the English word Billion is not a "Roman" prefix. Suggestion:

  • Do not use the prefixes M for 103 and MM for 106, based on Roman numerals, or B for 109, based on "billion". Use SI prefixes instead.

--142.205.241.254 (talk) 22:13, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

Is MM Roman? — kwami (talk) 22:28, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
MM is Roman, but it means 2 thousand, not one million. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:32, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
I suppose it meant "a thousand thousand" is s.o.'s mind. Just wondered if it was appropriate to call that "Roman". — kwami (talk) 23:47, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
It's based on Roman numeral M times Roman numeral M, with the multiplication implicit just as it is implicit between the M and whatever we're being not allowed to attach it to. Perhaps the wording should be
  • Do not use the prefixes M for 103 and MM for 106, based on the Roman numeral M, or B for 109, based on "billion". Use SI prefixes instead.
--142.205.241.254 (talk) 21:41, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
I would like to just remove MM unless a reliable source can be found that shows the use of MM to mean one million. In the absence of such a source, I'm inclined to think some MOS editor just made a mistake and nobody noticed. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:18, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
While the M comes from Latin-derived languages' "mille" (thousand), neither MM nor B are in the "Roman Numeral" system. I'd remove the Roman reference. I've seen MM and B used in financial documents as late as the mid-90s, but remember it seeming old-fashioned then. It may still be around in other countries or specific industries, and deserves the cautionary note. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 00:38, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
(Original poster at a different IP address) I like the idea of shortening it. Why not just this?
  • Do not use the prefixes M for 103, MM for 106, or B for 109; use SI prefixes instead.
--50.100.189.5 (talk) 09:58, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

Hello? B is not a Roman numeral, so the existing text is wrong. Can someone please fix it, perhaps the way I proposed above? --50.100.189.5 (talk) 04:57, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

I suggest again:

  • Do not use the prefixes M for 103, MM for 106, or B for 109; use SI prefixes instead.

--50.100.189.5 (talk) 05:21, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

How to list out a season year of a TV show

This has came to my attention since a user by the name of Kwamikagami has been making to episode lists of various shows regarding how to organize the years of the seasons (for example, 2003-04 to now 2003/04). Now as I told him on his talk age, it amazed me how now all of a sudden that's been an issue considering we've been listing the years the known way for years now. But as he told me, the correct way of doing it has been on this article since 2007 but hasn't been followed very well. I wanted to challenge this because I liked how the years have usually been listed despite what this paged said about them. I just thought they looked better and now they just look a bit off and I wondered if other users here felt the same way. - Jabrona - 17:10, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Did you really mean "2003-04", or "2003–04"? The former uses a hyphen; the latter uses a dash, which is a little longer. 2003-04 with a hyphen is clearly against our rule at WP:ENDASH. 2003–04 with a dash was just discussed here. Art LaPella (talk) 20:16, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
I guess I was referring to the hyphen though the dash could have came into play here as well. I wasn't aware the dash thing was already talked about above, but as for the hyphen, I've taken a look through the section you linked on it and don't really see where it says it can't still be used in a case like this. - Jabrona - 22:30, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
Right at the beginning of WP:ENDASH: "The en dash (–) has other roles ... Consider the exact meaning when choosing which to use. 1. In ranges that might otherwise be expressed with to or through ... the 1939–45 war". If your point is that a season isn't quite the same as a 1939–45 war, it's still 2003 to or through 2004, and our very long list of examples needs to stop somewhere. In that case, or if your point is that it doesn't say "no hyphens" explicitly enough, "no hyphens" in any kind of year ranges is how we have always interpreted it. Art LaPella (talk) 03:20, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
"Looking a bit off" is largely a matter of what you're used to. If we had been using slashes consistently since 2007, it would probably be the dashes which look off. It often makes little difference, but I've come across a fair number of shows where we distinguish a two-season run of 2003–04 (two spring seasons) from a one-season run of 2003/04 (one fall season). — kwami (talk) 21:35, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
Heck, even if we've gone by the slash this whole time, I would probably thought they looked off because I've seen the hyphens and dashed used in other places besides here regarding seasons. But perhaps, I can grow onto the slashes in the future. I didn't think there was much I could do about this anyway. It was rather pointless of me making this section in the first place. - Jabrona - 22:30, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
Guys, has anyone looked at the two-week discussion above we just had, and the changes that were made to the MOS as a result? As currently phrased, the MOS permits the use of the "2003/04" date format, but only where reliable sources use the convention in reference to the particular subject. If no published sources are referring to the "2003/04 season" for television shows, don't use it. Let's stop inventing our own "code" that no one outside of MOS contributors understands. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 03:33, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
  • from YEAR - "... sports seasons spanning two calendar years should be uniformly written as 2005–06 season."
  • from SLASH - "An unspaced slash may be used:... to indicate regular defined yearly periods that do not coincide with calendar years (the 2009/10 academic year, the 2010/11 hockey season; see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers#Longer periods)"
Anyone else see the fundamental conflict that could be the source for the nigh-edit-warring i noticed on Person Of Interest's episode list? Last i checked hockey is a sport. And like hockey (when Bettman doesn't screw with it) the tv seasons in North America span calendar years and also roughly align with academic years. I don't usually deal with MOS stuff but whatever has been done has some flaws to it. delirious & lost~hugs~ 08:42, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Deliriousandlost, I have modified WP:SLASH to remove the suggestions that the slash convention is required in references to sports seasons and academic years. As I explained in response to your message on my user talk page, the use of the ndash in year spans is the standard MOS convention. However, Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers#Longer periods permits the use of the slash for time periods of twelve or fewer months which span two calender years for those situations (e.g. government fiscal years) where reliable sources use the slash convention. If reliable sources do not use the slash for a particular situation, use the dash. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 14:35, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Ordinal dates (of sorts)

In milhist articles, I often come across constructions, which after running my script, gives such as She stopped at Reykjavík for one week, from 10 to 17 September, and reentered Norfolk on the 25th.. I tend not to touch these because of the sometimes complex rewording needed; what's more, the expression "the 25th" seems to me like an acceptable abbreviation for "25 September". But given that advice is to eschew ordinals, I'd like to hear some views as to how one ought to treat these instances of ordinal dates. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 09:23, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

I've always done the same: left them. It seems a reasonable exception to the said eschewance. JIMp talk·cont 11:51, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
Agreed with Jimp above. "25th" is entirely sufficient in this example.--ColonelHenry (talk) 21:52, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Comma after a year

Hi. Should a comma be placed after a year at the start of a sentence? Which of these is correct:

  1. In 2011, the organisation underwent a major exercise to capture customer feedback.
  2. In 2011 the organisation underwent a major exercise to capture customer feedback.

Thanks. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 09:27, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

The comma doesn't belong there, no. JIMp talk·cont 10:59, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 11:23, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I disagree. A comma is appropriate. See Comma#Separation of clauses. "In 2011" is a dependent clause. The rest is an independent clause. I will note that this is one of the most common uses, and also the most commonly missing. While the MOS section on commas does not address this directly (but should), it does give other examples of a leading dependent clause that specifies when the following independent clause occurred, calling the leading clause parenthetical (incorrectly, since it is actually information required to avoid changing the meaning of the sentence). —[AlanM1(talk)]— 11:29, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
"In 2011" is a prepositional phrase. There aren't any prepositional phrases listed as examples in the dependent clause article. Instead, it says "First, like all dependent clauses, it will contain a verb ..." and "In 2011" has no verb. Art LaPella (talk) 14:49, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I believe Art is right. "In 2011" is a prepositional phrase not a clause (which needs a verb) and as such needs no comma. JIMp talk·cont 12:41, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree: there’s an introductory dependent clause in e.g. “Facing declining membership in 2011, the organization underwent …,” but not in the original example. Although I prefer the comma-less version above, I would insert a comma after a longer or more complex prepositional phrase, e.g. “In the aftermath of the membership crisis of 2011, the organization underwent ….” While I don’t think it’s strictly necessary here, after a long enough introduction it’s helpful to the reader to signal the beginning of the main clause.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 21:59, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

frac template for derived units

MOS:FRAC states that the use of {{frac}} (such as 12) is discouraged in science articles, and Template:frac accordingly warns that this template should not be used in science articles. Was this prohibition meant to apply to derived units as well, e.g. ms, or was it just meant to encourage decimal numbers? I searched through the archives a bit, but everything I found focused on numbers. When there is more than one unit in the denominator, (e.g. Jkg·h) I find the {{frac}} form more readable than the alternatives: J/(kg·h) or \frac{\text{J}}{\text{kg}\cdot \text{h}} --Yannick (talk) 05:49, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

We should stick to the existing standards in science. With your example, you would be permitted to write J/(kg⋅h) or J/kg⋅h, but not Jkg⋅h. See International System of Units#General rules. You may like the {{sfrac}} template as being as readable as the {{frac}} template. The use of inline <math> as per your example is problematic. — Quondum 07:10, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! I was not aware of {{sfrac}}, nor did I even think that was possible in HTML! I think that template should be advertised in MOS:FRAC.--Yannick (talk) 13:59, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I've made this change. Hopefully it will be accepted (or improved on). — Quondum 14:35, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Multiple units separated by comma

When specifying a value as the sum of two (or more) values with different size units, is a comma (or "and") required to separate them? Examples:

  • "2 pounds, 6 ounces" or "2 pounds 6 ounces" (for 38 ounces)
  • "2 years, 6 months" or "2 years 6 months" (for 30 months)
  • "2 dollars, 6 cents" or "2 dollars 6 cents" (for $2.06)

—[AlanM1(talk)]— 10:20, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

I'd write it without the comma. To me the full expression would be with the "and": "2 pounds and 6 ounces", "2 years and 6 months", etc. For brevity the "and" is dropped but it wouldn't make sense to replace it with a comma. JIMp talk·cont 12:38, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
I seem to recall there's some difference between American and British usage, but I might be wrong. — A. di M.  19:48, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Which is which, in your recollection, A di M? Tony (talk) 13:15, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Has the proposal of "source based units" been incorporated into WP:MOSNUM

User:Martinvl and User:Michael Glass have repeatedly pushed a proposal that MOSNUM adopt a standard that articles adopt a unit order preference defined by the sources. Effectively this means if the units in the source are metric, you give the metric unit and the imperial conversion. I have always objected to such proposals as:

A) This is in effect a pretext to ignore WP:MOSNUM to give preference to metric units, since sources are selected preferentially to favour metric units. B) Its a recipe for a beggars muddle, different editors, different sources, the article would look a complete mess with unit order varying throughout the article.

As a mixture of (A) and (B) editors I believe have repeatedly rejected this proposal. I find the whole subject tedious in the extreme, one of the reasons I have pretty much given up editing.

WP:MOSNUM currently states for UK related articles:

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally a metric unit (44 kilogram (97 lb)), but imperial units can be put first in some contexts, including: Some editors hold strong views for or against metrication in the UK. If there is disagreement about the main units used in a UK-related article, discuss the matter on the article talk-page, at MOSNUM talk, or both. If consensus cannot be reached, refer to historically stable versions of the article and retain the units used in these as the main units. Note the style guides of British publications such as Times Online (under "Metric").</ref>
    • miles, miles per hour, and fuel consumption in miles per imperial gallon;
    • feet/inches and stones/pounds for personal height and weight;
    • imperial pints for draught beer/cider and bottled milk.

Similarly after the Falkland Islands Task Force became moribund after Michael and Martin attempted to use the project to promote metrication of a whole series of related articles. Editors drafted WP:FALKLANDSUNITS to provide an explicit standard for Falklands related articles. Funnily enough Martin recently blanked this text.

User:Martinvl has changed Falkland Islands, a UK-related article, to metric units first, in some cases he actually has reversed the convert template to reconvert an originally imperial figure back to first metric and then back to imperial. You know what I really can't be bothered to argue over trivia anymore, if what Martin has done complies with WP:MOSNUM so be it. But I don't think it does and I'm fed up with the bullying to impose his agenda and the edit warring to do so.

My question has this been adopted as he insists and if it doesn't conform to WP:MOSNUM I would be grateful if an editor would revert his changes to impose his agenda. See [1]. Wee Curry Monster talk 22:29, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

  • I don't think we should slavishly follow a source-based approach for our units and numbers because we have our own house style that is already very mature if only a bit schizophrenic. I seem to recall that we had agreed on a country-based approach, like WP:ENGVAR. But as you seem to be talking about units employed for Falkland Islands, a small group of editors made such a fuss over it that they had finally agreed on a divergence from the 'UK ENGVAR' units. I'm not saying that I necessarily agree with it, but the disputing parties instead opted for their own WP:FALKLANDSUNITS, which was adopted as a sort of compromise. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 23:38, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the source-based approach has created big problems, not the least of which is the diversity of usage in the sources. No house style blindly supplicates to whatever some professional society decides is The Right Way. This is why we have a cohesive set of style guides for our particular cross-variety online context. Tony (talk) 04:12, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
User talk:Wee Curry Monster stated that I had "blanked" the text of WP:FALKLANDSUNITS. This is not true - I redirected it to WP:MOSNUM. I did so in response to This RFC which integrated all MOS-type pages into MOS and which moved such pages into MOS-space making them visible to all editors. Teh authors of that RFC identified 82 pages which were moved (or integrated into ) MOS-spce. WP:FALKLANDSUNITS was so effectively hidden that they missed it. That, by definition, negates its usefulness.
WP:FALKLANDSUNITS added nothing new to MOS (or its subpages) so that seemed to be the obvious way forward. I accept that Wee Curry Monster might not have been aware of the RFC in question. Once he has read it, he might like to respond. Martinvl (talk) 08:13, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't MOSNUM leave it to editors to work out what units to use in UK based articles? The present editors who are active on Falklands articles should work this out, but please don't try to drag me into it. Michael Glass (talk) 09:44, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Ohconfucius that the sourced based unit approach was not really workable and that consistency in articles was more important than slavishly following the sources as people would cherry pick the sources to get the order that they prefer. The Falkland Islands editors at the time came up with a compromise at WP:FALKLANDSUNITS. Which, if you want to move to MOS space, then do so but that clearly states what to use for these articles and should not be just redirected but incorporated if that is what you want. Keith D (talk) 13:28, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
So if I understand it correctly. Per my question "Source based units" still hasn't been accepted, yet User:Martinvl was reverting my implementation of WP:FALKLANDSUNITS and the current guidelines at WP:MOSNUM to force an implementation of "Source based units" by edit warring. Also he didn't integrate WP:FALKLANDSUNITS into WP:MOS per that RFC, he simply blanked it without discussion. Merge it by all means if there is a consensus to do so but it shouldn't be used as a pretext to remove a guideline to impose metrication by the back door. And long bitter experience of Martin's zeal for the metric system leads me to conclude it was simply used as a pretext. If you can't convince people by reason and consensus building, continually seeking routes to do it by the back door and cynically edit warring it into the article just puts people's backs up. Wee Curry Monster talk 15:23, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I think there are some questions to determine:
  • Is the Falklands Units policy still current, as WCM asserts or has it been effectively superseded as Martin has argued?
  • If the Falklands Units policy is still current, does it still have consensus among the present editors who work on Falklands articles?
  • If the Falklands Units policy is not current or it no longer has the consensus of the present editors, wouldn't the general UK rules apply?
  • Editors have expressed concern that a source based approach has led to problems of inconsistency of units or cherry picking of sources. Has this happened with any Falklands article? If not, then it's not relevant.
  • Is the Falklands Units policy compatible with MOSNUM rules for UK articles? If not, why not?
  • If the Falklands articles are consistent in usage and also consistent with the sources, this would not be a problem with MOSNUM rules for UK articles. If consistent usage is inconsistent with the Falklands Units policy, isn't this is a problem with the Falklands units policy?
  • Three editors above have asserted that following the sources causes inconsistency. However, the opposite appears to be happening here. If the Falklands Units policy prescribes inconsistency when MOSNUM does not, then isn't the issue of a source based approach a bit of a red herring?
As far as I can see, this isn't primarily a question of following the sources but whether the Falklands Units policy remains current, and whether it is compatible with MOSNUM. If the Falklands Units policy is still current and it takes precedence over MOSNUM policy for Falklands articles, this could force inconsistent usage on articles which at the moment appear to be both consistent in usage and consistent with the sources.Therefore, the question as I see it is not about a source-based approach, but whether MOSNUM policy or Falklands Units policy should apply to Falklands articles. Michael Glass (talk) 23:05, 28 November 2012 (UTC)


The page WP:FALKLANDSUNITS was written between March and July 2010. Its opening paragraph is in my view a piece of text book WP:SYN written to justify a piece of WP:POV. (I will justify this in a later posting if necessary, but at the moment I see no justification for the page and I think that it can be discarded without looking at its detail).
A check on its history and Talk page will show that WP:FALKLANDSUNITS (written March to July 2010) was not an act of consensus, but really an act of bullying by is principal author User:Pfainuk aka User:Kahastok backed up by User:Justin A Kuntz aka User:Wee Curry Monster. The reason that Michael and I gave up was to avoid the situation that happened a few months later in the Gibralter project when both Pfainuk/Kahastok and Justin A Kuntz/Wee Curry Monster (along with others) received sanctions for edit warring in December 2012 and again in [2011]. (These sanctions were lifted on a trial basis in October 2012.
Since then centralisation of all MOS-type pages into MOS-space was agreed by the Wikipedia community at large. The arguments used for this merger were essentially the same arguments that I used when to merge the WP:FALKLANDSUNITS page into WP:MOSNUM but was shouted down by Pfainuk and Justin Kuntz.
Given the centralisation of all MOS-type pages, I see absolutely no reason that the page WP:FALKALNDSUNITS should exist outside MOS-space - it is a MOS-type page that impinges not only to the Falkland Islands work group, but to other groups and project, including, but not limited to the islands group/project, the UK group/project, the fisheries group/project, the Argentine group/project and the geology group/project. In October this year I revisited WP:FALKLANDSUNITS and tried to regularise the situation. As I saw it, there were three options:
  • Merge the text into MOSNUM.
  • Move the page into MOS space and leave a reference in MOSNUM to this page
  • Redirect this page to MOSNUM on grounds that it adds nothing new.
I believed that the last of these was the only practical choose which is why I redirected it (not blanked it as claimed by Wee Curry Monster).
I now ask Wee Curry Monster (or anybody else) to justify the continued existence of the page WP:FALKLANDSUNITS in Falkland Islands work group-space rather MOS-space. If he can’t justify its existence in Falkland Islands work group-space, how does he propose incorporating it into MOS-space? Martinvl (talk) 15:12, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The point of WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is that it describes the most appropriate units to use in the Falklands for ENGVAR purposes. The reason it's more rigid is because this was the only way of preventing Michael and Martin from continually trying to game the rule to try and make the articles more metric, a process that was doing serious damage to Wikipedia's coverage of the topic. Martin's recent edits make it clear that this reason has not gone away.

If you want a reason why, check User:Michael Glass's recent edits on locks see [2] for example, where he has been busily converting the articles to give preference to the metric system in violation of WP:MOSNUM. Its a clear breach of WP:RETAIN and WP:FAITACCOMPLI, he is well aware of the guidelines and its not the first time he has ignored it. He went through professional footballers metricating them. He has done the same on Falkland articles claiming he was testing the consensus.

And on the Falklands topic see [3] for the sad and utterly pointless discussions and POV pushing on units that made the group utterly moribund and drove away a number of productive and creative editors.

Note [4], although it made the article inconsistent, Martin metricated some units but not others because it was "permitted". Note also [5] where he trys to game the system, claiming that Falkland Islands article is geography, so its a scientific article and must use SI units.

And he blanked WP:FALKLANDSUNITS with a redirect, stop playing silly semantic games to claim otherwise Martin. You're insulting our intelligence and not for the first time. Check the history [6]. Both Michael and Martin have repeatedly tried to water it down, have it deleted, change it or make an agreement with an RFC elsewhere to invalidate it. They raise the same subject again and again, when they don't get what they want, they'll be back raising it again, its a simply remorseless campaign of wikilawyering, gaming the system and generally boring other editors into submission.

I did wonder how long it would be before both Martin and Michael resorted to their classic tactic of making personal attacks. Well see [7] where Martin was blocked for 3RR for edit warring to claim a greater use of the metric system in the UK than actually exists. Not surprising given their habit of editing in a WP:TAG team to force the adoption of metric preferences. The only reason they haven't done it on Falkland Islands is because an admin User:Keith D reverted them and is on the case. No doubt they'll be back, I notice both have been busy on other Falkalnds articles metricating them in breach of WP:RETAIN and WP:FAITACCOMPLI.

As regards his proposal to merge the text into WP:MOSNUM, I would resist such a suggestion for the simple reason I don't trust him to do it. I'm sure this will be denounced as a demonstration of bad faith but no, AGF doesn't require we ignore experience and I've years of experience of these two gaming the system. Its one of the reason why I and User:Kahastok have effectively quit; both of us prefer creation of content, its incredibly frustrating to have to spend time that could be spent creating content, repairing it due to the actions of agenda driven editing. I laugh at his accusation against User:Kahastok and myself of bullying, he does nothing but bully to get his own way with anyone who gets in his way. Trouble is try that with a Glaswegian and you'll get nowhere. Wee Curry Monster talk 21:32, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

I find it unnerving that at least two people who have been pushing a certain line keep changing their user names. If you're engaged in major debate, this is a regrettable phenomenon. Aside from the substantive arguments against their line, a social question hangs over the multi-name strategy. Tony (talk) 00:19, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Bull, you like Martin know I changed my from using my real name because of off-wiki harassment. Didn't stop him from deliberately outing me again and really that is scraping the barrel in terms of seeking to denigrate editors with innuendo. The only only social question is the depths some people will stoop too, when they can't convince others to see it their way. The only people pushing any line are the ones that refuse to accept people don't embrace the metric system like they would wish. Wee Curry Monster talk 00:51, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I read WCM's comments about me (above) but I can't take them seriously.
  • British English uses both Imperial and metric measures. WCM's claim that it goes against ENGVAR to use reliable British sources to check, footnote and correct information on Wikipedia is laughable. British usage is much wider than the prejudices of the British Weights and Measures Association. The UK Environment Agency used metric units to describe the locks on the River Thames http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/recreation/135271.aspx. The Premier League uses metric measurements (See http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/players/profile.overview.html/jay-bothroyd). Ditto for rugby League and Rugby Union. Are the Premier League and the other sporting codes un-British? Is the UK Environment Authority un-British? You've got to be joking!
  • It isn't true to claim that putting metric measurements first in UK articles is against MOSNUM. The very wording that WCM quoted says, "In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally a metric unit (44 kilogram (97 lb)), but imperial units can be put first in some contexts.." Note the wording. It says that imperial units can be put first in some contexts. Imperial units can be put first but can doesn't say must. People can eat ice cream, but it's not a must. Anyone can edit Wikipedia, but this doesn't make it compulsory! Perhaps WCM should read the policy as well as quoting it.
  • WCM has complained about my editing. He might not like it, but most of my edits stand. I footnoted and corrected the sporting teams over a year ago, and nearly all of those edits have remained untouched. I think a year is more than enough time for people to change these edits if they don't like them.
  • WCM appears to have accused me of taking part in a tag team. I have done little or no editing on Falklands articles for years. The accusation is completely without substance. I challenge him to produce one skerrick of evidence to back up this nonsensical claim.
WP:FALKLANDSUNITS appears to be at variance with MOSNUM. Instead of accusation and counter-accusation we would be more productively using our time in determining whether this policy still has support amongst current editors of Falklands articles. It's certainly quite at variance with MOSNUM in its present form. Michael Glass (talk) 03:12, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
The use of the metric system has a number of political overtones - many Eurosceptic and "Little Englanders" use imperial units of measure as a "badge of honour". Others, whose work require the frequent manipulation of numbers (such as engineers) have a similar disdain for the imperial system because it is so cumbersome, while many academics and others who have frequent communication without the United Kingdom also prefer the metric system because it is international. One of the pillars of Wikipedia is a neutral point of view. This applies not only to the use of languages, but also to the use of symbols. Given that, apart from the use of miles per hour, Falkland Island Government documents use metric units, I believe that the blanket use of imperial units in the article is like a "red rag to a bull" in respect of any readers with pro-Argentine sympathies. By sticking to the units of measure used in academia (ie metric units, except when quoting items like speed limits), Wikipedia will be applying a neutral point of view.
I checked the use of units of measure on a few articles – the following good articles use metric units first followed by imperial unit: United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland. The article Argentina also uses metric units first. Given the political issues between the United Kingdom and Argentina in respect of the Falkland Islands, and given the use of metric units first in all of the above article, I cannot see any case whatsoever for putting imperial units first. Martinvl (talk) 12:16, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Oh I'm a "Little Englander" now, a not so subtle insult, I'm Scottish, I'm also an engineer. This is also the English language wikipedia, giving into editors who dislike something merely because it is British is pandering to racism. I note which side of the moral divide you fall on, when it promotes your agenda. You can't convince people so you try and game the system, its disruptive, its wasting people's time and you're driving people who create content away. No doubt in another 5 years time, you'll be continuing to try and wikilawyer, game the system and push to have your agenda adopted and fail for the same reason; you don't listen to the views of others.
WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is completely inline with WP:MOSNUM, it was when it was written and it still is. It was written because a drive to improve articles was hijacked to promote the metric system. The reason why is illustrated above. Really can doesn't say must, well when it favours metrication it is a must but not when it favours imperial. It was written because you couldn't be trusted to accept a consensus but were constantly coming back to game the sytem. (BTW don't think I didn't notice the edit to change a can to a should favouring metrication). You're doing it now, you don't like it, so you try other avenues to have it deleted, proscribed or over-ridden by other policies.
Does anyone remember readers, the people we build the encyclopedia for, the people we write content for. The reason you haven't got WP:MOSNUM to mandate metric units across the board is that it is not in everyday usage. We adopt a format of providing information in a manner that our readers find most useful. The reason I don't use exclusively metric is that it wouldn't serve the people we write articles for. This isn't about writing quality articles its about WP:ADVOCACY.
And lets pick an article at random, Martin claims for example, that United Kingdom uses metric units followed by imperial no it doesn't, unsurprisingly it follows WP:MOSNUM, which would be one of the criteria in evaluating a WP:GA. Following the agenda dictated by Michael and Martin would hinder a drive to get an article to GA status. Nor is it the case that I'm insisting on exclusively imperial first, no I'm following WP:FALKLANDSUNITS and WP:MOSNUM giving height in feet first, distance in miles first and applying a little common sense rather than giving an area in sq mi first to be in line with the rest of the article, the rest of the use of units is metric first per WP:MOSNUM. Wee Curry Monster talk 13:22, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
@Wee Curry Monster: I never said that you were a "Little Englander", least of all on St. Andrew's Day.
In response to what the readers need - We use US type units and measure for US-related articles because most of the readers are American, likewise for the United Kingdom and for Australia. However, the Falklands are different - the article "Falkland Islands" gets about 2400 hits a day - nearly one hit per head of population every day, so I reject the notion that most of the readers of this article come from the local population. We must therefore assume that the readership is international - checking through the various language version of this article, I notices that the English version is three time as long as the version for any other language. We must therefore assume a truly international audience, so we should be writing for such an audience (and remember that 53% of people in the EU have an understanding of English). The means of international communication is to use English and metric units. So yes, let’s remember our readers and remember that the majority are happy using the metric system and a significant proportion prefers it. This also helps preserve neutrality. Martinvl (talk) 22:55, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Which national ties does User talk:Ohconfucius suggest we target in this article.
  • The Falkland Islands reader? As I have already indicated, they are in a very small minority of the readership - the article gets 2400 hits daily and the population of the island is about 3000.
  • The British reader? In that case, why not take the articles United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland as a model (without the changes made by OhConfucius yesterday)? All of them have metric first when discussing geographical matters. There is no consistency in the use of metric and imperial units in respect of transport. In other words, either metric or imperial units are acceptable.
  • The Argentinian reader? The Argentine claim the islands as part of their national territory. There is a spanish language version of the article, but is is only one third the length of the English-language version, so the educated Argentinian might well look at the English-language version to get a greater understanding, but would expect to see metric units first
  • Since we have no real indication as to who the readership is, we shoudl also consider the international community at large (including major investors in the oil industry). They would expect metric units first (The Economist for example uses metric units apart form US-based articles).
There you have it, on the basis of national ties - none proven, so go for the broadest national readership base - which means using metric units.
The essay in Wikipedia:Readers first states "Another group which might make a good theoretical audience are high school and college students". In England, the National Curriculum puts metric units first. The only exposure that school children get to imperial units is when they are in their early teens and they learn approximate conversion - for example 1 oz ≈ 30 g and 1 lb ≈ 450 g. I was taught that there were 16 ounces in a pound, these approximation suggest 15, but conversions between pounds and ounces is ouitside the syllabus. So, if we are targetting British (and Falkland Island) high school student, put metric first.
There you have it again - there is no good reason to put imperial first. Martinvl (talk) 08:05, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I think we need to step back a bit. Wikipedia policy is to have both metric and imperial values in every measurement in every non-scientific article no matter how large or how small. This is so that no English-speaking reader will be disadvantaged. What this dispute is about whether metric values should appear first for some measurements when describing a small group of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean.
The question we need to ask is this:
*Do we need a special rule for the Falkland Islands?
No. There is nothing special about these islands that require their own style guide except for the fact that two years ago there was a great fight about which units to put first. Since that time, many editors have moved on and the only one supporting the special rules appears to be Wee Curry Monster. As the dispute has flared up again, it's about time to revisit WP:FALKLANDSUNITS. Any reading will show that they are significantly different from what WP:MOSNUM says:
  • Both WP:MOSNUM say WP:FALKLANDSUNITS say that metric units are put first. However, WP:FALKLANDSUNITS goes on to prescribe the use of Imperial units in a wide range of contexts.
  • WP:FALKLANDSUNITS also states that if prescribing the use of Imperial units creates any "significant inconsistency" with the general rule, then Imperial units shall be put first.
  • By contrast, WP:MOSNUM says of UK articles "imperial units can be put first in some contexts," effectively leaving it to editors to decide what units can be put first in those contexts.
  • WP:FALKLANDSUNITS prescribes things that WP:MOSNUM is silent about, like its detailed instructions on where miles must be used.
I believe that WP:FALKLANDSUNITS contradicts both the letter and the spirit of WP:MOSNUM and should be done away with. However, to put it beyond doubt that UK rules apply I would support some kind of notation to the effect that the rules governing UK articles should apply. Michael Glass (talk) 10:15, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Not only that, but since the "discussions (?)" of two years ago, there has been a move in Wikipeidia to centralise all MOS-type pages in MOS-space. WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is a MOS-type page. I tried to implement its centralisation by redicting it to WP:MOS. Wee Curry Monster, who seems unable unwilling to cooperare undid the redirect.
I have now decided to be WP:BOLD and flag the page WP:FALKLANDSUNITS as being inactive. I sed the model that was used for many of the 82 pages listed in this RFC. The fact that it was not in the list is indicative of its importance - the compiler of the list missed it. Martinvl (talk) 13:07, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Martinvl (talk) 11:59, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

A perfect illustration of gaming the system to get your way, I've revetted it. Wee Curry Monster talk 13:18, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You did not incorporate WP:FALKLANDSUNITS into wp:mosnum, you blanked and replaced it with a redirect. You were trying to game the system, you've tried all ways outside of the wp:consensus building process to FORCE people to do what you desire. The very GA articles you proselytized as examples follow the same guidelines you're attempting to remove.

Let us now take your latest effort, a claim we should write for an international audience rather than the local one. Let us now take it to the logical conclusion. The majority of readers are from the US, which still uses the imperial system, ergo the majority of readers will in all likelihood be from the US, ergo the most suitable units would be to follow the imperial first paradigm.

The reason why the guideline was written to be so prescriptive, is quite simply because Martin and Michael Glass refused to accept the concensus to follow wp:mosnum, instead trying to force their own preference. They just keep coming back and its a tendentious and disruptive pattern that is both tedious in its banality about trivia and disruptive in the time it takes to repair. Look at the reams of tendentious argument here.

I see nothing in the comments here that show the need for WP:FALKLANDSUNITS has gone away. Rather than accepting the consensus for a consistent approach to make a quality article, their argument basically boils down to their assertion policy isn't prescriptive, it doesn't mandate the approach, so they can do what they like. Their editing is a clear breach of WP:RETAIN and WP:FAITACCOMPLI. Wee Curry Monster talk 12:35, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

I have made a formal request to move the page WP:FALKLANDSUNITS into MOS-space with the name Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Falkland Islands units of measure. The move will be publicised in the normal way. Martinvl (talk) 15:40, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Date ranges including current year

I've been noticing edits and edit reverts over actor/character duration formatting when the person in question is currently with a show, but started in the current year. Whereas "2011—" is found acceptable, "2012—" is changed to "2012" with reasoning that 2012 is the present so it violates WP:CRYSTAL. Others revert the change, reasoning that the character/actor is currently with the series. I've searched many talk archives and guidelines trying to find the answer, and any help or guidance on where to ask this is greatly appreciated. I did find a discussion that suggested using prose, or "since 2012", in regards to TV show runs, however this situation is specific to infoboxes or lists, and in most cases is the last in a series of durations (i.e. 2001–03, 2005, 2012—), so prose is not the best solution here. Basically my question is: does "2012—" violate WP:CRYSTAL? I've asked over at WT:NOT as well. Thank you! Kelly Marie 0812 (talk) 19:58, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

With 2011–, the terminal dash means something like "relationship is ongoing" and does not (or at any rate need not) imply that this (mostly) happy state will continue next year. 2011–2012 presumably means that the relationship is known to be ending in 2012. For consistency and "least surprise", 2012 should mean a relationship that is only valid in 2012, and 2012– a relationship that started in 2012 and for which an end has not yet been announced. Anyone removing the terminal dash with no reliable source confirming the end of the relationship is violating WP:CRYSTAL. Har. --Mirokado (talk) 00:06, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
"since 2012" would be my preferred construction. However, most others seem to prefer to write "2012–". It seems preposterous to try to apply the WP:CRYSTAL argument to this sort of situation, because that's not how I read it. And indeed if it were the case, all our BLPs would be written simply with year of birth, but that's simply not the case. I agree that the dash should stay. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 04:10, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
It may be a good practise to consider how would the article seem if the year passes, the ongoing event is still in place and the article is not updated. "2012" and "2012-" seem similar now, because we are in 2012, but in a month we will not be. When we get to 2013, "2012-" would still be valid: a period that began in 2012 and continues. "2012" would not be, as it would imply that the period ended in 2012, which would not be the case. Cambalachero (talk) 13:57, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
The year– expression is just awful, I think. Since ... is so much nicer. But there's a lot of the first expression in articles/infoboxes, so I'd be happy just to have the "Since ..." endorsed as useable. Tony (talk) 13:17, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
First of all, no one should be using the dashed form "2012–" in main body text. Period. It's bad form, and bad style. It smacks of a C+ eighth grade English composition paper. One should almost never use a dash for year spans in main body text when the exact meaning can be explained precisely with words. (There are limited exceptions, however, such as when the year span is functioning as an adjective in main body text, such as the "2012–13 television season.") Second, using the open-ended dashed form "2012–" is acceptable in the space-limited context of an infobox, navbox or parenthetical, but the dashed form "2012–present" should be preferred. The fact that 2012 is the present is a small matter when compared to the upkeep of having to track and update every instance of "2012" at the end of the year when "since 2012" is what was really meant. When dealing with athletic careers, political terms, television series tenures, etc., those articles requiring annual updates will run into the tens of thousands. Article maintenance is a very real issue in this case. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 13:35, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks everyone. My question is specific to infoboxes/lists, I agree it should never be used in prose. I was under the impression "to present" was not needed? Also I'm having trouble finding any of this in the MoS, I've looked through WP:DATE and WP:DASH - am I missing something? Kelly Marie 0812 (talk) 16:53, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

RfC on era style (BC/AD and BCE/CE)

I'm requesting comment on whether to retain the consensus on the wording of the era style guidelines that was produced by this lengthy discussion. Those guidelines, which I recently restored to the MOS page, are as follows (I've numbered them point by point, however, for ease of discussion):

  • Point 1: Years are numbered according to the Western Dionysian era (also referred to as Common Era).
    • Point 2: AD and BC are the traditional ways of referring to these eras. CE and BCE are common in some scholarly and religious writing. Either convention may be appropriate.
      • Point 3: Do not change the established era style in an article unless there are reasons specific to its content. Seek consensus on the talk page before making the change. Open the discussion under a subhead that uses the word "era". Briefly state why the style is inappropriate for the article in question. Having a personal or categorical preference for one era style over the other is not justification for making a change.
      • Point 4: BCE and CE or BC and AD are written in upper case, unspaced, without periods (full stops), and separated from the year number by a space (5 BC, not 5BC). It is advisable to use a non-breaking space.
      • Point 5: AD may appear before or after a year (AD 106, 106 AD); the other abbreviations appear after (106 CE, 3700 BCE, 3700 BC).
      • Point 6: Do not use CE or AD unless the date or century would be ambiguous without it (e.g. "The Norman Conquest took place in 1066" not 1066 CE nor AD 1066). On the other hand, "Plotinus was a philosopher living at the end of the 3rd century AD" will avoid unnecessary confusion. Also, in "He did not become king until 55 CE" the era marker makes it clear that "55" does not refer to his age. Alternatively, "He did not become king until the year 55."
      • Point 7: Use either the BC-AD or the BCE-CE notation consistently within the same article. Exception: do not change direct quotations.

Please comment as Support or Oppose, and propose wording changes point by point. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:43, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Note. To gather more input, I've posted notices at three Wikiprojects: Religion, because they've had extended discussion of era-style issues in efforts to develop a project MOS; Classical Greece & Rome, because articles within the scope of that project are among those most likely to need to use an era designation (that project generated the "Plotinus exception"); and History, because history articles are also likely to use era designations. Please invite other projects to participate. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:06, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

I've also notified individuals who participated in the previous discussion linked above, if they haven't already participated here. I've tried to notify everyone, so apologies in advance if I inadvertently excluded any editors: the discussion is dauntingly long. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:01, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Support but perhaps we should add a point that Astronomical year numbering may be appropriate in articles that involve date calculations across the AD/BC boundary. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:52, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
It looks as if the wording pertaining to other ways to designate years has also been altered, but I was never familiar with that section. This RfC applies only to the BC/AD vs. BCE/CE style convention. I would very much encourage someone else to take a look at what may have been done to the rest of the section dealing with scientific conventions and so on. And I agree with Kwami below: I didn't notice what was happening here for so long because I thought it dealt with "year numbering," not the era convention. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:13, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
I restored the rest of the section. There may have been some conceptual improvements, but since parts of it were gibberish and even my grammatical corrections were reverted, better just to start over. — kwami (talk) 18:10, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
Astronomical year numbering is inextricably linked to AD/CE because it is identical beginning with AD 1; the only difference is that 1 BC is 0, 2 BC is −1, etc. It would be confusing to discuss it in any other section. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:06, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Looks good to me. (We don't need support, since it's already consensus.) There was no discussion of the title, however, and I think "Era style" would be preferable to "year numbering systems", which suggests a choice between AD and AH rather than how to style AD, especially since we instruct editors to use the word "era" in talk-page headers. — kwami (talk) 16:00, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
Given Cynwolfe's agreement above, I went ahead and changed the section name. When I restored the rest of the old version, I moved the bullet on abbreviations for long periods of time to the section on long periods of time, so that no longer conflicted with the new name. — kwami (talk) 19:11, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Support: That was a good consensus; stick with it. Astronomical year numbering will be unfamiliar to most, so I think its use should be restricted to articles that discuss year numbering schemes. --Stfg (talk) 16:06, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Support I'm glad to see this wording restored to the text. Michael Glass (talk) 08:10, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - This has been the neutral compromise in place to prevent edit wars over this, since at least 2006 (Dionysian), and it should remain in effect. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 17:17, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Support this wording, as modified in the discussions below, except disagree with SMcCandlish's objection under Point 5. Particularly like the fact that these guidelines are generally neutral, and don't imply that one convention is more appropriate than another in certain categories. Previous versions implied that BCE/CE should be used for all articles written about non-Christian topics. P Aculeius (talk) 12:59, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Not support the current wording: added support and oppose items below, asked for sources. Seems like an invitation for debate later. History2007 (talk) 08:39, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Support Paul August 19:38, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose As the wording of point 1 implies to the newcomer who doesn't read carefully that CE is preferred, indeed obligatory. We are bound, sooner or later, to have people acting on such an interpretation. This must be fixed, perhaps just by removing the ref to Common Era, or adding one to Anno Domini. Otherwise, yes the discussion linked to was long, too long to read. What were there, and are here, the issues at stake? I'm in the dark. A summary would be useful. Johnbod (talk) 19:54, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
Here's my understanding of the issues, which I do not offer as a formal summary. Some editors would like MOS to adopt BCE/CE universally. Some editors would like to preserve the option of using either BC/AD or BCE/CE, and do not want MOS to impose the use of one over the other. Some editors regard the choice between the two era styles as purely cosmetic and conventional, since either designation is ultimately Christian-centric. Some editors would like to prescribe the use of BCE/CE in specific contexts where the Christian connotations of BC/AD strike some users as inappropriate, such as in articles pertaining to Jewish or Islamic studies, or scientific and archaeological topics where predominant usage in scholarship of the last thirty years seems to have shifted to BCE/CE. In the past, it has proven impossible to craft a guideline that describes appropriate contexts. Therefore, Point 3 allows the era-style decision to be made on an article-by-article basis, depending on a consensus of editors who watch the article. It is intended to prevent era campaigning, when a user sweeps through articles changing to his personally preferred style, and drive-by editing of the era in articles in which the user takes no other interest. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:15, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, those are the issues and background, but how does the proposed/current wording differ from the old one? Johnbod (talk) 11:58, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't. The wording above, which was produced by the long linked-to discussion, was restored after it somehow had become this. (Note that although Kwamigakami appears in the "before" column, the wording was from another editor.) My intention with the RfC was to work from the previous consensus wording patiently and collaboratively toward clearer, more helpful guidelines, point-by-point. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:09, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - except include "anno domini" in point 1 - [from uninvolved editor invited by RfC bot] Overall it looks good, but I agree with the criticism of point 1 that 99.99% of readers will have no idea what "Dionysian era" means. The phrase "anno domini" should be in the first sentence instead of "Dionysian era", particularly if "common era" is going to be specifically named in the first sentence. --Noleander (talk) 20:04, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
See proposed wording below that combines Points 1 and 2 more informatively. Cynwolfe (talk) 20:19, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I like that wording: "By default, years are numbered according to the Western Dionysian era (traditionally designated with AD and BC), also referred ..." --Noleander (talk) 01:31, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I have two criticisms. First, the common calendar system used today is most commonly referred to as the "Western calendar", not the "Dyonsian era", and second, if we introduce designations in Point 1, it would be clearer to show both types of designations. Here's my suggestion: "Years are numbered according to the Western calendar and are designated with either AD and BC or with BCE and CE." Then the subsequent points clarify usage. In particular, Point 2 follows very nicely from Point 1 if we use this wording. Coastside (talk) 18:42, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
  • OpposeSupport We already discussed this exact issue only a few months ago and the result was absolutely nothing; the Manual of Style was unchanged. Suggesting exactly the same thing again with the same arguments is a waste of time and obviously doesn't justify changing the MoS. (WP Editor 2011 (talk) 00:41, 18 November 2012 (UTC))
I'm confused: the RfC is on whether to keep the current wording, which you seem not to want to change while saying you oppose it. The wording had been drastically altered since the discussion you refer to, and with little input, so I changed it back to the current form and opened the RfC. The intention was to see whether the guidelines still reflected consensus, or whether what I regarded as a precipitous revision indicated a need to make another effort. Cynwolfe (talk) 05:14, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Cynwolfe, I had a bit of trouble understanding what your suggestion actually was. You are right; I support the current form of the guidelines. (WP Editor 2011 (talk) 12:06, 18 November 2012 (UTC))
I think a lot of people were unaware that the above text of the guidelines had been altered to the extent that it had, if you noticed the "before" version when I reverted back to earlier consensus. I didn't notice it for quite a while. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:50, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

Add point 8 on other systems

Include a statement about other systems, such as AH? Year-0 systems? Suggestion (examples taken from existing articles):

  • Other era systems may be appropriate in an article. In such cases, dates should be followed by a conversion to Dionysian (or vice versa) and the first instance should be linked: Qasr-al-Khalifa was built in 221 AH (836 CE).

I doubt the latter is any more unfamiliar than the former, and in any case it's pretty obvious what is meant. — kwami (talk) 18:38, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

As this doesn't modify the text under RfC, and there have been no objections, I'll add it in. — kwami (talk) 20:47, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Support but with modification - The context in which AH years are most appropriate is when only the AH year is known, and as is most often the case it does not correspond to a particular AD/CE year, but span parts of two. The example should reflect this: Qasr-al-Khalifa was built in 221 AH (835/6 CE). Agricolae (talk) 21:55, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
Maybe there should be a couple of examples, including one for when the CE year is known. (A large construction project could span several years, in any case: perhaps events that are more precisely datable should be chosen.)—Odysseus1479 (talk) 23:13, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Support broadly. Some thing should also be added to the section beginning "Do not use CE or AD unless the date or century would be ambiguous without it..." to cover more explicitly eg Muslim period articles that give the A.H. dates and therefore have to say CE or AD when giving those. The section ends with several examples, none covering this. Johnbod (talk) 13:52, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Point 1

Minor rewording, acknowledging that Dionysian is not the only system we use:

  • By default, years are numbered according to the Western Dionysian era (also referred to as the Common Era).

kwami (talk) 18:48, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

  • "By default" seems like a good qualifier. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:55, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
No objections, adding. — kwami (talk) 00:16, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. That is the obvious way. History2007 (talk) 19:04, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose totally. This is terrible, and will lead some to think that ONLY CE is allowed. needs a total rewrite. Johnbod (talk) 19:57, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Johnbod that most people are unfamiliar with the phrase "Dionysian era"; in fact, if so erudite an editor as Johnbod doesn't know that "Dionysian era" means BC/AD, then perhaps we should combine Points 1 and 2. Could we look at specific ways to rephrase/combine? Discussion starts following. I've also added a phrase that proved controversial in earlier discussions, but I'm offering it as a starting point. It should be considered with regard to the implications of Point 3. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:01, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposed new wording of Points 1 and 2 combined

  • By default, years are numbered according to the Western Dionysian era (traditionally designated with AD and BC), also referred to as the Common Era (CE and BCE). Either convention may be appropriate, depending on context.
That wording is unclear, because the "conventions" referred to in the second sentence are mere parentheticals in the first, not cited as conventions. Alternate suggestion:
  • By default, years are numbered according to the Western Dionysian era. These dates may be referred to using either CE and BCE designations or CE and BCE designations. The context of the article may suggest which designation is more appropriate.
More words and verbal repetition don't usually produce greater clarity, and your proposed guideline omits BC/AD. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:04, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
The version above also omits BC/AD, but that has to be a typo. Art LaPella (talk) 02:33, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
How about:
  • The default is to represent year dates in one of BC/AD and BCE/CE (Common Era) styles, both of which use the same Western Dionysian era numbering. The context of the article may suggest which style is more appropriate.

Johnbod (talk) 15:19, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

  • Please don't use the word "styles". When dealing with western calendars, "style" may be used to indicate whether the year begins on January 1 or March 1. It may also be used to indicate whether the Julian or Gregorian calendar is being used. The word is far to busy to give it another role. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:47, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I prefer Johnbod's to my earlier suggestion. "Designation" or "nomenclature" instead of style? --Nat Gertler (talk) 16:38, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I must say I would regard the use of "style" to cover either of the things Jc3s5h mentions as distinctly odd, but I am no specialist. I'm open to rewriting, and one could do so to omit any term at all. "Designation" or "nomenclature" don't work for me, & "convention" doesn't seem quite right, but might be possible. Johnbod (talk) 16:45, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Johnbod on "style": as used in connection with a "Manual of Style," "style" just means what variations of orthography, punctuation, and so on are adopted for the particular publication or organization. I think "convention" crept in because the choice between BC/AD or BCE/CE can be a matter of custom or convention (see the point in the summary above about some editors regarding the choice of era style as a mere 'cosmetic' convention, rather than a meaningful assertion of religious affiliation or antipathy). I like "more appropriate" rather than the implied either-or of "appropriate". Cynwolfe (talk) 17:10, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
See Old Style and New Style dates. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:25, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, words can have several different meanings depending on context. The context here is a "Manual of Style." Cynwolfe (talk) 17:34, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Trying again, with no style:
    • The default is to represent year dates by one of BC/AD and BCE/CE (Common Era), both of which use the same Western Dionysian era numbering. The context of the article may suggest which is more appropriate.

Johnbod (talk) 17:39, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

  • Tweaked it a little: The default is to represent year dates by either BC/AD or BCE/CE (Common Era), both of which use the same Western Dionysian era numbering. The context of the article may suggest which alternative is more appropriate. Mojoworker (talk) 02:16, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that's less terse. Johnbod (talk) 03:01, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Support Mojoworker's wording of the first sentence, though we may not have a consensus on including a context advisory. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:30, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
What is "The context of the article may suggest which alternative is more appropriate" supposed to mean? In Australia especially there was a liberal push to use BCE for everything in all their schools a few years ago and it resulted in a larger outcry and backlash rejecting the change. So would BC be "more appropriate" for Australian topics? There is something about that tweak I don't like. The best solution I have seen is, go with the first-used format for most cases, stick with it, and if necessary put a "page note" above the editing box advising which one that is. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 03:50, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm inclined to think this can't be resolved. As soon as we introduce the element of "appropriate context," the guideline seems to be making a suggestion about which it is unhelpfully vague. (I'm the one who opened this can of worms, I confess, but I wanted to know whether the old consensus was still current consensus.) What would you think of The default is to represent year dates by either BC/AD or BCE/CE (Common Era), both of which use the same Western Dionysian era numbering. Either alternative may be appropriate, period? To my mind, Point 3 takes care of articles in which a change of era style may be desirable, allowing the decision to be made case-by-case through consensus among editors who watch the article. BTW, TIl Eulenspiegel, the guideline hasn't prescribed sticking to the original era style in a long time. That's what got me involved in the issue here. It used to be easy to deal with era crusaders by just pointing to the earliest diff in which an era designation had been introduced to the article, because the guideline said simply not to change from the original era style. At some point, "original" was changed to "established," which opened the door to arguing whether a style was established if it had existed for three months, or three years, or what. So here we are. Would anyone mind if I notified editors from the previous discussion about the current one? Some are perhaps not aware of it this time, and it may save us trouble to hear from them now. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:30, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
No, fine. You may well be right, but to answer Til E, CE might be considered appropriate for Australian articles as Christianity did not arrive locally until well after the period when distinguishing BCE/CE is at all necessary. Or not or course. I would always use it for new articles about most of Asia, but would follow the example of eg the British Museum in using BC even for the Stone Age in Europe. Johnbod (talk) 08:41, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
That's an illuminating example. At one point, when we were trying to offer suggestions on how to consider context, I proposed stating flatly that for topics primarily dealing with historical Western culture, no preference is given to either, but two objections were lodged: historical might be seen as excluding prehistory; and what about the modern or contemporary West (though the latter would be unlikely to need to distinguish between eras). Cynwolfe (talk) 12:47, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
That's just my own approach. I suspect any attempt to give specific examples in the actual guideline is doomed, though one might perhaps get away with mentioning general factors that might be taken into account: the extent to which the region concern was later, or is now, Christian as opposed to being dominated by other religions, the remoteness of the period concerned, and the clear local modern preference of the area concerned, if this can be established (which I would suggest it can't be for the UK, though I think BC is probably still ahead). Johnbod (talk) 12:59, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Point 2

We should strike the "the" from " AD and BC are the traditional ways of referring to these eras", as they are not the only traditional ways (with the formal "In the Year of Our Lord" coming to mind as an obvious exception). Also, we can likely strike the "some" from "scholarly", as we are only claiming they are common, not uniform or even majority use, and across the wide category of scholarship the ones they are obvious in use in - history and religion - are primary ones for being concerned about dates. --Nat Gertler (talk) 03:24, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

"Year of our Lord" isn't "formal", it's simply an increasingly archaic raw translation of "anno Domini". — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:57, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
How about (the) traditional abbreviations of for these eras ?
Agree about striking 'some'. — kwami (talk) 04:51, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
I would be fine with abbreviations for; abbreviations of an era would involve reducing the Common Era to 1983 through last Friday. --Nat Gertler (talk) 05:27, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
I endorse the deletion of the, but am wary of deleting some, for the obvious reason that some editors will start arguing about which style is more common, or pointing out that not all scholarly and religious writing uses BCE/CE, and so on. The some does no harm, despite its slight stylistic and logical ineptitude, and prevents that kind of pointless bickering. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:03, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
What about saying "used in some" rather than the awkward "common in some"? — kwami (talk) 22:22, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
What about: "In some scholarly and religious writing, CE and BCE are used instead"? Mojoworker (talk) 23:59, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
I think the topic should be fronted. Makes for better flow; easier to follow. — kwami (talk) 00:11, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, might be better to get rid of the word 'common', and just say 'is used in some' etc. Agree with Kwami. Cynwolfe (talk) 00:54, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
I think removing "common" while keeping "some" waters the statement down too much. Much like "Lake Michigan–Huron is considered one lake in some hydrological senses", if you catch my drift Kwami. Maybe "the norm" instead of "used". Mojoworker (talk) 02:20, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Also true. I wouldn't use "the norm," though, because "norm" isn't really the right word when you're talking about style. How about "CE and BCE are standard in some scholarly and religious writing"? I'm not really comfortable with that diction, as I myself would say something more verbose like "BCE/CE has become standard usage in a significant body of scholarly and religious writing." Cynwolfe (talk) 13:34, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I agree that "standard" is an improvement. The longer version seems fine as well, if a bit verbose. It might not be possible to be concise and still have the proper nuance to the phrasing. Mojoworker (talk) 16:15, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

I like Cynwolfe's wording too. And do we really need to say "Either convention may be appropriate"? What does that add? Can we reduce "scholarly and religious" to "academic"? So,
AD and BC are the traditional ways of referring to these eras. CE and BCE are common in some scholarly and religious writing. Either convention may be appropriate.
might be,
AD and BC are the traditional abbreviations for the Dionysian era. CE and BCE are standard in a significant body of academic writing.
Or something like that. — kwami (talk) 19:26, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Are we still deleting "the"? Or was that a different "the"? If I understand the history of this issue correctly, the phrase scholarly and religious (which predates my involvement) was specified because BCE/CE can be found also in some non-secular writing by Christians for Christians. Which leads us to Either convention may be appropriate (notice that it's very deliberately may be, not is): this is related to the principle of "don't change without justification," defined as what's appropriate for the specific article. For a new article, the creator can choose either of these era conventions, because MOS doesn't prescribe the use of either one. In an existing article with an established era style, editors may raise the question of whether the chosen style is "appropriate," as defined by consensus achieved on the talk page. Justifying an era change requires an argument based on context, not a personal or general preference. We considered giving examples of acceptable justifications, and did some "test runs," but ultimately decided that it didn't matter. Either editors would work together with collegiality and arrive at a consensus to make a change, or they wouldn't. Defining "appropriate" or "justification" will always have to be specific to the article. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:16, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
"Standard" is wrong. Every field has, within English language publications, multiple books, journals, magazines, and often, audio-visual works. There are competing and overlapping scholarly societies. There are publications aimed at various audiences, from post-docs to elementary school students, with different styles. No one is in a position to set a standard. Jc3s5h (talk) 19:49, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
You may be confusing "standard" and "standardized". This is "standard" in the sense of "standard English," meaning "not something an editor would correct as illiterate or ungrammatical or an instance of bad usage; acceptable; not incorrect." Not "standardized," something that's been compelled to conform to a particular standard. A publisher generally has a stylebook: some academic publishers use BCE/CE as their standard usage; others might prescribe BC/AD; others might choose between the two, depending on the book or the author's wishes. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:16, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
I could see that the work "standard" could be used to mean "not sub-standard English" but I don't think the context establishes that as the meaning. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:25, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
There is a difference between "standard" and "the standard", which suggests a more formal set of guidelines. Having said that, "standard", while I think ultimately accurate, is more arguable than "common". (And the keeping of "some" to avoid other arguments fails to reflect that you would and in fact have end up in arguments over "some".) --Nat Gertler (talk) 21:35, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
What if our work to survey the field results in a discovery that "some", "most", "many", "standard", or "normally" happens? It expires, and the MOS-compliant articles dutifully change style? Or what if our work to survey and poll then changes in another sample of texts later? Take more samples? Where could be the fruit of such (hard-earned) discovery of "the state of the literature out in the world"? That more articles are MOS-compliant? I think MoS compliance is wishful thinking, not critical thinking. — CpiralCpiral 01:02, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
BCE/CE's first sentence says "... is an alternative naming of the traditional calendar era" which it says is AD, so we don't risk much not saying anything. How about the second bullet this section just say
  • Conventional usage in scholarly or religious writing, is either "AD (Anno Domini) and BC (Before Christ)", or "CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before the Common Era)".
I'm leaving out "tradition" because it's in the link's first sentence for easy discovery. Similarly, I leave out the categorization of "era" because that point will be made somehow (probably) clear to our readers before this section's teaching of styles is over. By comparison we would risk the less-curious editor's missing things like that AD means "in the year of our Lord" (ala point 5), because it's deeper down in that BCE/CE article and relegated to a footnote. WP "featured content" demands the proper understanding so that e.g. "AD 106" is appropriate to context and end's discussions quickly; we are responsible for risking which important points to omit. — CpiralCpiral 01:02, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
That works for me. My only quibble is that CE doesn't really mean 'Common Era'. It's just 'Christian Era', the English translation of AD, and was coopted for 'Common Era'. So if we're going to expand the abbreviations we should give both: "CE (Common/Christian Era)". — kwami (talk) 03:57, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
[citation needed]SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:57, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Since this is a style guideline, not an encyclopedia entry, we don't need to explain the eras and what they mean—we don't rehearse the history of the comma to provide MOS guidelines for its use. That's why elements are linked: those who want the encyclopedic explanation or historical background can follow the links to the articles. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:07, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
While technically true by logical parsing, that statement is too easily misinterpreted. If that wording is adapted, there needs to be an additional clause so that it reads something like: Conventional usage in scholarly or religious writing, depending on the religion, is either "AD (Anno Domini) and BC (Before Christ)", or "CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before the Common Era)". Otherwise, an editor following those guidelines might mistakenly interpret that using BC/AD is an accepted style for writing about Judaism or Judaic history for example. Mojoworker (talk) 16:28, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
I am not convinced that the use of AD is not accepted for writing about non-Christian religions, nor am I convinced the use of CE is not accepted for writing about Christianity. Editors have been looking for definitive guidance for years and not finding it; if you can prove your point, please do so. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:51, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
"Eras"
  • The words "these eras" conflict with the reference to a single "era" in Point 1. I'm not sure what the correct noun is for something like the BC period, but we don't want the terminology to change from one sentence to the next. It also seems a odd to mention AD and CE ahead of BC and BCE when the rule is that you only always use BC/BCE where applicable, but only ever say AD/CE when it would avoid confusion. However, any attempt I make to rewrite it without doing that seems to come out worse. --142.205.241.254 (talk) 22:00, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
Point by point conclusions by virtual committee tend to miss things like that for a day. Thanks. — CpiralCpiral 01:02, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Something like " AD BC and BC AD are the traditional ways of referring to these eras dates before and after the epoch" would be more in line with E. G. Richardson's treatment on page 589–590 of "Calendars" in the Explanatory Supplement to the Nautical Almanac (3rd ed., 2013). But if anyone wants to know exactly what we mean by epoch, the answer is rather hazy. Jc3s5h (talk) 01:31, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

The proposed wording Conventional usage in scholarly or religious writing, is either AD (Anno Domini) and BC (Before Christ), or CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before the Common Era) doesn't make sense. This needs to be several sentences if we do anything like this, e.g. While traditional usage has long been AD (Anno Domini) and BC (Before Christ), and this remains the convention in Christian religious writing as well as some current scholarship in that field, CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before the Common Era)", as used in most other academic fields today, are preferred for all scientific, technical and academic topics on Wikipedia, and recommended for general usage here, including non-Christian religion articles, to avoid systemic bias.SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:57, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

I concur with the goal of this edit. I would simplify the opening sentence to While the traditional AD (Anno Domini) and BC (Before Christ) remain the convention in Christian religious writing and are used in some current scholarship in that field[...] --Nat Gertler (talk) 13:38, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
"CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before the Common Era)", as used in most other academic fields today, are preferred for all scientific, technical and academic topics on Wikipedia, and recommended for general usage here"? Are preferred by whom? Authors at large in the English speaking world? I challenge that idea; prove it. By Wikipedia editors? If that were true, we wouldn't need this guideline. As to avoiding systemic bias, there are a range of views on that, from the idea that few people think about the etymology of AD & BC and just think of them as a utilitarian way to designate years from the distant past, to the view that the use of the beginning of the life of Jesus as the epoch is so biased that no change in terminology can disguise the bias. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:02, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Any time MOS says "preferred" or "recommended" it means by MOS (i.e., consensus at WT:MOS). This is obviously implicit in how MOS is written. WP is not bound by what the average American or New Zealander or whoever does, so there is no need to "challenge" the imaginary straw man that anyone has suggested that CE/BCE are the most common usage. They are the most common usage in modern academic writing, which is incidentally what WP is on an important level, and they were adopted for several reasons, Christian bias (offensive to many non-Christians) being one of the most obvious (among others like relevance of one religious figure's supposed birth date to anything other than that religion, the fact that the actual birth date of Jesus is unknown to begin with, etc.) Per WP:SOAPBOX (and WP:DGAF), WP is not the place to make any case, pro or con with regard to the idea that the Western a.k.a. Gregorian calendar has to be abandoned because of its ultimately Christian derivation. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 01:53, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
I do not believe "They [CE/BCE] are the most common usage in modern academic writing" and request proof. I also do not believe that Wikipedia editors as a group prefer CE/BCE for use in Wikipedia articles. Putting forward the idea that Wikipedia editors prefer CE/BCE for use in Wikipedia articles changes the nature of this discussion from the best way to word the existing consensus to establishing a new and different consensus. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:37, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I would also need serious proof before I believe that. In fact I do not believe that is the standard, and no proof has been offered at all. History2007 (talk) 19:13, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
A simple Google Scholar test prefers "100 BC" to "100 BCE" by 18,000 hits to 2950. Art LaPella (talk) 20:28, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
Google ngrams does wonders. http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=BC%2BAD%2C+BCE%2BCE&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share= , BC and AD still dominate current usage by a substantial margin.
That is an ineffective search, because BC and AD can both show up for many other reasons besides year dating - initials, showing combinations and permutations, for example - and being closer to beginning of alphabet, more likely to show up for combination use than CE and being used for initial use less than the longer BCE. (this chart suggests that false positives are likely substantial in the results). Also, you've cut the end date at 2000; by including dates in this century, one finds that BC+AD has peaked and is dropping, BCE+CE is still rising. --Nat Gertler (talk) 13:22, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
Search terms are exact and case sensitive, and I'd be willing to bet that the instances of BC and AD showing up in a single book together and not representing the eras are statistically insignificant. And the fact that it is declining doesn't change the fact that it is still by far the predominant style. ReformedArsenal (talk) 15:52, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
You may want to avoid doing much gambling, then. Ngrams shows that the majority of recent volumes that have BC and AD also have AB and AC. --Nat Gertler (talk) 18:37, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose saying "CE/BCE are the most common usage in modern academic writing" given that no reference has been provided for it. History2007 (talk) 19:13, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Support saying "AD and BC are the traditional ways of referring to these eras" History2007 (talk) 19:13, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose saying either format may be appropriate with no qualifier. That is no guideline if it does not give a guidance and an invitation for unending debate and reverts. Context will be needed, e.g. reflecting that articles on Judaism prefer CE, those on Christianity AD, etc. History2007 (talk) 19:13, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
In the discussion that produced these guidelines, I proposed adding may be appropriate, depending on context. Even that much failed to find consensus. Before that, there had been additional wording along the lines of BC/AD has Christian connotations that may be inappropriate for some topics. (Or something like that; I don't recall precisely.) I thought this was sufficient to sensitize editors to the issues without arriving at unprovable conclusions about "most common" usage and such. Eventually, I realized that Point 3 took care of this by allowing editors to make an article-by-article judgment, and that any effort to generate a guideline that could cover all conceivable scenarios was misguided. And of course, most articles won't need an era designation at all. My reason for participating here is simple: I work mostly in classical antiquity. Articles in that topic area are among the most likely to need an era designation, because the period "straddles" the era divide (see what I refer to as the "Plotinus exception"). Editors who contribute regularly within that content area were mighty tired of drive-by editing, when users campaigning for one style over the other used articles on classical antiquity as a battleground. These users often took no other interest in the articles, and were there only to make general arguments about creeping atheism or Christian dominion—none of which improved the articles a bit, while wasting time, energy, and goodwill. Hence my approach: what problems are we trying to solve? Let's locate the problems, and craft wording to address them. Where are the discussions in which obstinate users are preventing an editor from changing from BC/AD to BCE/CE in an article about (for instance) the history of a Muslim nation? From my perspective, based on the nearly 3,000 articles I watch (most dealing with classical antiquity), the current guidelines have prevented silly drive-by era edits that were intended only to "make a point," and don't prevent editors from saying "hey, this is an article about Jewish studies, is it OK if I change the era style to BCE/CE?" Cynwolfe (talk) 14:54, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose - SMcCandlish, you're wrong about the popularity of CE/BCE. It's not "standard", "preferred" or even the majority in any field. Furthermore, the false assertion that AD/BC has been relegated to articles about Christianity would encourage the absurd misconception that BC/AD is the Christian way of writing dates rather than the English language way. (WP Editor 2011 (talk) 01:02, 18 November 2012 (UTC))

Point 3

Re: "Having a personal or categorical preference for one era style over the other is not justification for making a change." Categorical preference is just fine in other situations, such as that American-themed articles get American spelling rather that British spelling. This comes across as saying that AD, with its specifically Christian connotations, should not be used on articles specifically about the Jewish religion would be categorical and thus not be a legitimate argument in discussion, when it seems quite appropriate. Thus, I suggest we eliminate the "and categorical" part of this statement. --Nat Gertler (talk) 21:40, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. And delete 'Having' while we're at it. — kwami (talk) 23:07, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Oppose. (Except that deleting "having" is good.) The example given is not a categorical preference: it's specific to the article. It says "this article pertains to Jewish studies, and it would be more in keeping with scholarly usage to avoid AD/BC." A categorical justification is "BC/AD should never be used with Jewish subject matter." Omitting "categorical preference" would mean that someone could argue that all articles about classical antiquity should be changed to BCE/CE because the time material predated the use of BC/AD, and then could go about disrupting hundreds of articles where active contributors prefer to use BC/AD. That's what we're trying to avoid in emphasizing consensus among those who watch the article. The guidelines were a response to campaigners who went around saying "I'm changing this to BC/AD as a protest against atheist creep" or "I'm changing this to BCE/CE to protest Christian dominion." Those kinds of time-wasting, draining arguments have stopped since the implementation of these guidelines, at least in the articles I watch. An editor who wants to make a change has to make an argument specific to the article, such as "This article deals with the history of a Muslim country, and BC/AD is not used in mainstream scholarship from the last 30 years that's cited here. It would be more appropriate to use BCE/CE." DItto with "personal" below: you can't say "Jesus Christ is not my lord, so I'm changing this to BCE/CE." Discussions in which participants say things like that have not proved fruitful in the past. The exclusion of "personal and categorical" is meant to keep focus on the content of the article at hand. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:40, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with having a categorical preference. Our guidelines code in many categorical preferences. The statement "this article pertains to Jewish studies, and it would be more in keeping with scholarly usage to avoid AD/BC" is a categorical statement because the BC/BCE is used in the category of Jewish Studies. Statements that things are being done in protest are already against other guidelines. We would do better to forestall such conflicts by creating common-sense guidelines within the style guide than by taking a "whatever was put first was right" question and pretending it really makes no difference when to many, it does. --Nat Gertler (talk) 15:55, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't see what problem you're trying to solve. Are there raging discussions out there right now involving editors who want to change BC/AD to BCE/CE in articles pertaining to Islamic or Jewish studies, but who can't because other editors refuse consent? And if there are, have the participants made an RfC, or sought any outside input? As I say elsewhere, since the current wording was established, I haven't seen any of these era wars breaking out on my watchlisted pages. The pages I watch often use era designations because of the "Plotinus exception"—that is, they deal with classical antiquity, and switch back and forth a lot between BC/BCE and CE/AD. I used to see long and pointless discussions that got nowhere because they didn't focus on the good of the article. They were about imposing categorical or personal preferences. That's how I got involved in this. If you open a discussion on the era style, and nobody responds within a reasonable amount of time (I'd say a week), then you have tacit consensus to change to an era style you feel is more appropriate. But if you can't even find consensus within a single article, you're far less likely to find consensus on universally applicable guidelines. There is no consensus that BCE/CE should universally replace BC/AD. You know that from previous discussions. The guidelines allow you to make changes based on the content of the article. What's stopping you from doing that? Sincere question. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:02, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
There are editors currently who are reluctant to try to make changes because of the long discussions that would result due to the lack of clear guidelines. I see the guidelines on American vs. British spelling and how that cuts down the hassle involved in aligning such articles. Consensus can and does change, and if the main argument for not categorically endorsing BCE/CE is that there was not a previous consensus for it. A decision in discussion here can simplify discussions in hundreds of other places, and I think make for a better encyclopedia. --Nat Gertler (talk) 22:23, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
So in other words, you can't identify any problems the current wording might be causing. Who are these editors? How do you know of their existence? What articles do they want to change? Cynwolfe (talk) 22:58, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
First off Cynwolfe, if you wish to try to move things forward, may I suggest that you drop the smug and condescending tone? Pretending that I hadn't identified a problem and then asking me for more details about the problem I noted does not serve matters. I am among those editors, and have heard similar views from others. I cannot point you to all the articles that I wished to change, I did not maintain a list, I have danced the BC/BCE dance in various ways in the past, sometimes successfully, but it is tiring and discouraging even in those instances. --Nat Gertler (talk) 23:18, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
You misread my tone. These are sincere questions. I honestly don't know what problem you're trying to solve. I haven't seen a single example of an editor who's requested an era change and been shouted down after the adoption of the above guidelines. Can you identify one or two articles that you feel should have the era style changed, so that we can see why the change can't be made? That will help us understand how to craft wording that addresses the problem. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:40, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
While we're waiting for examples to the contrary, I would point to Talk:The Exodus#Era as an indication that the current guidelines are effective in promoting civil discussions that can lead to a consensus for a specific article. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:22, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
Except that that entry is not largely where the discussion took place, it was primarily in s/Archive_7#BC_vs._BCE an earlier entry that is referred to there, where you will see there is genuine (if civil) question as to what the appropriate way to decide this was because there was not guidance in the guidelines... and the closest that the entry you point to comes to invoking the guideline is discussion of what was the earliest version, and that was clearly not what ultimately formed the decision to change. --Nat Gertler (talk) 20:25, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
Right: the participants were able to engage in a civil discussion and arrive at a consensus for changing the era style to the convention that editors thought was more appropriate to the article. That's the goal. The guidelines assume that editors are capable of thinking through the connotations an era style might have in context and of arriving at a reasonable consensus. The guidelines are meant to support a collegial environment of collaborative editing aimed at what's best for the article. They are not meant to provide fodder for wikilawyering. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That said, I didn't feel the process was finished last time, and I personally felt that the last sentence (under Point 2) should've read Either convention may be appropriate, depending on context. But I couldn't get support for that, even though I didn't want to dictate to anyone what "context" might mean. So that's why I would like to see current examples of unresolvable era debates: I'm simply unaware of any that have been rancorous under these guidelines, or where good arguments for change have been shouted down because other disputants are on a campaign for one style over another. I'm happy to revisit wording to address actual problems. If no problems exist, I oppose changes that may restart the wars. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:15, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid that I simply don't agree that absence of rancor and civility are the goal; they are certainly fine things, but the guidelines exist for more than civility. Reasonable goals for these guidelines include to help generate a quality encyclopedia, and to help answer editors questions and thus simplify their effort. --Nat Gertler (talk) 13:42, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
Nat, that is not what I said. I said editors were able to reach consensus about what was appropriate for that article. That's the goal. That they were able to do so civilly contributes to the overall collegial environment that makes consensus and collaboration possible. Again, if you can show examples where editors are currently unable to reach a consensus about what which style is appropriate, then we can see why the current guidelines don't work. But we have to be fixing a problem that actually exists. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:26, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
And again, you're insisting that whatever you say is the goal, and acting as though any other concerns should be ignored. I happen to think that guidelines that actually give guidance that can spare editors some effort is a good goal. I happen to think that quality in some various forms is a goal. I happen to think that uniformity on some level actually has a value. And you point to one discussion in which the decision was made on a criterion of dubious propriety, which was only effectively used because the person who put it forth was counting on it favoring his side (or at least no one noticing that it hadn't), in which the resolution was made by my having to put the effort in to research the content of a string of references, and which likely only ended in its second round because one of the previous objecting editors was just disappearing from Wikipedia, and in which you cannot show that the extant guidelines provided the least bit of help, where help from a guideline might have been both expected and desirable. --Nat Gertler (talk) 23:51, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
And again, it seems to me the guidelines worked because the change was made. Collaboration and consensus can indeed be cumbersome, but that's the nature of the project, isn't it? Anyway, if you can't find any active era debates we could look at, could you perhaps provide three or four articles where the style needs to be changed? Above you said there are editors reluctant to try to change era style. I'm not at all reluctant to make appropriate changes. Give me a couple of articles to try, and we'll see what kind of problems arise. Cynwolfe (talk) 00:22, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Maybe try Category:Ancient languages. — kwami (talk) 02:23, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
The first one I happened upon needed copyediting: it had an inconsistent style and used an era designation when one was unneeded, so I did this. It also seems useful to keep in mind that era designations can often be omitted. (As I said above, an era designation is regularly needed in overview articles about ancient Rome, because you're jumping around a lot from the 2nd century BC/BCE to the 2nd century AD/CE.) The GA Biblical Hebrew uses the BC/AD convention, as you know. It also straddles the eras throughout, so it needs a designation, but here's what's interesting: on the talk page, editors use BCE/CE, and yet throughout an intensive, brainy, civil discussion, no one proposed changing era usage in the article. I don't know what that means, but it makes it more difficult to find articles that "need" an era change. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:31, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
If Biblical Hebrew is a triumph of the guidelines, then the guidelines are in sad shape indeed. The article was in BCE - and if we can say BCE is particularly appropriate for any articles, this would certainly be among them. But it was a victim of one of the "drive-by" edits that this set of guidelines was supposed to stop. --Nat Gertler (talk) 01:47, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
Nat, you need to stop twisting what others are saying. I was wondering why, since participants on the talk page used BCE/CE, the article itself used BC/AD. That's all. The edit you point to clearly contradicts the guidelines, which required prior discussion. I don't know why editors who watch that page didn't object. No guideline can prevent an edit. It can only provide grounds for reverting an inappropriate edit, which that one seems to have been. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:46, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
It's a common chorus and theme best fit into the section as a whole as a footer:
  • Do not change an established and consistent style in an article unless there are reasons specific to its content. Maintain article consistency in abbreviating. Seek consensus on the talk page before making many "obvious" corrections. Open the discussion under a subhead that uses the word "era" or "eon". Briefly state the reason. Personal reasons are usually not justification.
This covers many related points in a final paragraph that experienced users can ignore at the end of their crash or refresher course. — CpiralCpiral 01:21, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
We don't need "eon" in there. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:57, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Violation of this with regard to eras is a common problem & a brief reiteration within WP:ERA will help make edit summaries referring to WP:ERA meaningful.--JimWae (talk) 01:32, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Personal reasons are never a reason to make an era change: how could they be? Is there any other guideline anywhere on WP that would permit an editor to make a content change based on personal feelings? Cynwolfe (talk) 14:40, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
"Personal" strikes me as a form of "I don't like it." Cynwolfe (talk) 15:14, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Also on Point 3 - it should be moved to after point 7, both because we should establish the concept of saying that an article has a style before saying it shouldn't be changed, and because we should be talking about how to do things before we talk about how not to do things (accentuate the positive, as it were.) --Nat Gertler (talk) 03:24, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:57, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
  • The purpose of Point 3 is to forestall era campaigning. Editors requested that it be made prominent, because one of the goals was to stop drive-by editing of the era by users who otherwise contributed nothing to the article and took no further interest in it. It was intended to support content-generators and maintainers from having to deal with era warriors. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:40, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, I'm an editor and a content generator, and I'm making a contrary request. But if we are to keep Point 3 toward the top, then point 7 should be moved before it, for reasons stated above. --Nat Gertler (talk) 15:55, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Although I'm unclear about the relevance of your self-identification, I agree that Points 3 and 7 are complementary and should appear next to each other. As I said, editors felt that one of the main purposes of WP:ERA was to prevent drive-by era editing, so they wanted Point 3 higher and more prominent in the list. Point 7 could be moved up to follow it directly. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:02, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Cynwolfe, the fact that the people who made the request before were editors does not therefor make the request carry special wait; the people who are suggesting it should be moved to the end are also editors, and we are folks who, working today and looking at the situation as it stands, feel that it should be moved. That a decision was made in the past does not inherently prevent it from being reexamined and adjusted today or in the future; that as an inherent part of Wikipedia. --Nat Gertler (talk) 22:23, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
I have been an editor for some time, & I still want WP:ERA to prominently feature a statement about not changing era notation w/o establishing a new consensus first.--JimWae (talk) 23:28, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
Agree strongly. Paul August 20:17, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
Me too. Isn't this is the main problem we are supposed to solve here? Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 18:41, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Would maintaining the statement in bold, while positioning it further down in the section, serve your desire for prominence? --Nat Gertler (talk) 23:46, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Point 3.5?

The implicitly understood and established practice all these years has been that, if someone does do what it says not to do in 'point 3', i.e. changes from one system to another without discussion, then he or she may be summarily reverted to the previous status quo, without prejudice to the reverter.

Should this be spelled out? (To make it more obvious that you can't unilaterally change from one to the other in this fashion, and then accuse those who are reverting you of being the edit warriors) Thanks, Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 18:38, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

I've reverted several era edits since the current guidelines went into effect ("current" meaning the guidelines that are the subject of this RfC), and so far I haven't been confronted after reverting and leaving an edit summary that says something like "Please review WP:ERA and open a discussion on the talk page." The vast majority of editors are simply not aware of the (perhaps unique?) requirement to discuss first, and don't push it once it's pointed out. But I seem to recall that your point was raised in the last discussion, along with the issue of consistency: if two different styles have crept into the article, it may be sticky to determine which is established, but if the editor can do so, there's no obligation to discuss before copyediting for consistency. So when an IP made this edit, I left documentation on the talk page. It may well be that reverting when no consensus has been sought, and editing for consistency, aren't addressed clearly enough. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:39, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Point 5

The prefixed "AD 102" format (Point 5) should never be used outside of a biblical context, and not even in biblical archaeology, as the scientific community consistently standardized on suffixed style for all four of these at least 2 generations ago. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:57, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

  • Disagree with this assertion. Because of its meaning, AD is traditionally placed before the year. The fact that the opposite has become commonplace doesn't make the correct way incorrect, nor should it be grounds for attempting to enforce conformity with what's perceived to be "recent" or "modern" style. Changing point 5 as suggested would change the otherwise neutral tone of the guideline by stating a strict preference for one style. If some change is desired, I'd suggest something along the lines of Cynwolfe's introductory explanation, such as, "traditionally, AD is placed before the year. However, in recent times it has become increasingly common to place it after the year." P Aculeius (talk) 13:08, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Disagree The "scientific community" are not arbiters of the English language. (WP Editor 2011 (talk) 00:28, 18 November 2012 (UTC))
  • Strong disagree "One Anno Domini" makes no sense, and this has never been standard English usage. The frequency of ignorant misuse is not a good basis for any decision. Nyttend (talk) 18:43, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Decades and apostrophes

WP:DECADE is clear that the name of a decade has no apostrophe - "the 1960s". But what is the style when a decade is used adjectivally - "... in 1960s couture ...". Should that be "1960s' couture" (or even "1960's couture")? I believe the apostrophe is not needed, but other editors have other views. I can see a logic to the "1960s' " apostrophe - we're talking about the couture of the 1960s, so it's a sort of possessive - but Googling, and looking at Wikipedia, I can't see any examples of its use so I've concluded that the apostrophe-free version, "1960s couture", should be used. It would be helpful if WP:DECADE clarified this point, either explicitly or by including an example. Any views? My usual adviser, the Guardian style guide, discusses decades but is silent on this question! PamD 14:32, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

  • DECADE seems to clearly deprecate this usage. The fact that there are no examples of its use and no Wikipedia articles titled this way should also be pretty suggestive. --MarchOrDie (talk) 19:38, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
    Suggestive of the fact that DECADE hasn't considered this issue, certainly. Fowler, for instance, is quite clear that the correct usage in this case would be "1950s'". But of course if Wikipedia is content to descend to the depths of barbarism there's nothing I can do or say to prevent that. Malleus Fatuorum 21:30, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
    Well, I follow your grammatical argument of course, and I accept your word that Fowler recommends it. I'm still unable to recall any real-life examples (for example quality newspapers, books, or high quality web resources) that use this (and I'm the sort of geek that notices such things). I think that grammatically (as someone said) the decade may best be regarded as an adjective rather than a possessive, allowing us to elide the apostrophe. As far as barbarism goes, I'm not a great fan of the apostrophe; it seems to lead to far more pain than gain overall, as it's genuinely confusing (it's/its, ones/one's, cat's/cats', children's, Marx's, Dickens's, Jesus', etc., etc.), and for what gain in meaning? German seems to manage perfectly well without using apostrophes to denote possessives, although it's from there that we derive the Saxon genitive. In general, if there's a way to avoid apostrophes then we should take it, unless of course there is ambiguity without it. In this case I don't think there is. --MarchOrDie (talk) 22:18, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
    One way would be to rename an article from "1960s couture" to "Couture of the 1960s", but that seems ridiculous to me. Let me quote what Fowler has to say under the heading of "possessive puzzles":

    Years and weeks may be treated as possessives and given an apostrophe or as adjectival nouns without one. The former is perhaps better, so as to conform to what is inevitable in the singular – a year's imprisonment, a fortnight's holiday.

  • So why would we choose to treat the singular and plural differently here? Malleus Fatuorum 23:44, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
    The 1960s craze for ... or The 1960s' craze for .... The slight change in grammatical function is so subtle it will rarely matter. Me, I'd choose the epithet (apostropheless) rather than the nominal function, for simplicity. Tony (talk) 00:11, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
    I don't see it as a "slight change", but I do recognise that there's no point in pursuing the issue. It's very clear which way the wind is blowing (or should that be "its very clear which way the wind is blowing", as apostrophes are so yesterday?): the wrong way. Malleus Fatuorum 00:31, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
    But it IS a change in grammatical function. It should have an apostrophe at the end of the s in the above example because the craze belongs to the 1960s. The other way is wrong, lazy and confusing. Malleus is correct. Just because this is the web doesn't mean we should start forgetting proper structure because nobody uses apostrophes in text anymore.Stereorock (talk) 18:01, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
    This is somewhat complicated. I can't seem to find this special issue in Fowler's. It is slightly different from Fowler's/Burchfield's "five years' imprisonment", but the second edition of Fowler's has "Years and weeks may be treated as possessives and given an apostrophe or as adjectival nouns without one. . . ." Personally, I prefer the term attributive to adjectival. Fowler himself does not seem to have discussed the issue. I suppose you can judge if you normally treat a noun modifying couture like this as an uninflected attributive modifier or an attributive genitive (possessive) by asking "What would you write if it was a single year or a different noun?" If you were talking about a fashion week focussing on a particular couture, would you write "a 2012's couture fashion week" or "a 2012 couture fashion week"? Would you write "an exhibition of Paris couture" or "an exhibition of Paris's couture"? Descriptive attributive genitives (as this would be) are somewhat unusual: as the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language points out, you can write "a glorious summer's day" but "a spring's day" and "an autumn's day" are odd, to say the least, and descriptive genitives like this are more common with people or animals. There is, of course, the specific issue of the attributive use of plural nouns (cf. "customs inspector", "claims adjuster"). --Boson (talk) 00:45, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
    I would suggest that the example of "claims adjuster" is somewhat spurious, as the role involves adjusting claims, usually downwards in my experience. There's no suggestion that "claims" in any sense owns "adjuster". Or that "customs" in any sense owns "inspector". You wouldn't for instance substitute "inspector of the customs" for "customs inspector" would you? But substituting "couture of the 1960s" for "1960s' couture" makes perfect sense. Malleus Fatuorum 01:09, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
    I take your point, but I don't think it has anything to do with ownership. Neither "1960s couture" nor the form with an apostrophe express possession or ownership (e.g. something that can be stolen). A customs inspector can be (and is) called an inspector of customs, a claims adjuster is an adjuster of claims.One reason I prefer to use the term genitive is that the genitive and the of construction can be used with various meanings, not only possessive but also, for instance, subjective, objective, descriptive, and partitive; in some cases these two forms stand alongside the uninflected attributive form. The partitive genitive, for instance, is usually used with people ("children's hair "), while the uninflected attributive noun is common with inanimate objects (" table leg"). One might prefer to call the proposed genitive for the decade a descriptive genitive or a genitive of origin, or attribute, but it is not a genitive of possession.--Boson (talk) 16:00, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
  • I've just spotted that DECADE does have an example: "grew up in 1960s Boston". It's in the section on two-digit decade descriptions. Perhaps it ought to be made more explicit, as we've spent a lot of time discussing it without anyone noticing (or noticing and drawing attention to) that example. PamD 08:59, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
    So DECADE is wrong. Why don't we just fix it? Malleus Fatuorum 09:18, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
I think this is a different case – a compound of what and where instead of the possessive or adjectival. With regard to the initial example, "1960s couture", I'm in the no-apostrophe camp, and think the example should be added. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 18:09, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Template Val got year numbers

(Defunct. See below.) I just swapped in the new code so that {{Val}} now works with the year-units "BC", "AD", etc. And check out the mouse-over on the units of these dates. These are done with Val:

CpiralCpiral 01:24, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

I notice it does not provide the option to place "AD" before the number. I also notice there is no validity checking for negative numbers. Jc3s5h (talk) 01:33, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Until Lua arrives {{Nowrap|[[AD]] 2012}} should work, and the other mention will also be manual until Lua. For now the coolest things about {{Val}}, besides it's adherence to the MOS, are the mouse hover-over text and the MoS's choice of it, aren't they? — CpiralCpiral 09:01, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

The new code was swapped back out due to a bug it caused in other areas of Val. So year numbers cannot be displayed, and the units added are useless again. — CpiralCpiral 20:46, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

It's putting commas where they don't belong. JIMp talk·cont 00:41, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Yep, that was what I first noticed. Vegaswikian (talk) 01:01, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
The commas weren't there when Val had the new code swapped in. Val has yet to be able to display 4-digit integers without commas, although the MoS permits them with or without commas. — CpiralCpiral 08:43, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

"not five cats and 32 dogs"

Who discourages that as the preferred style for numerals?
That has been the recommended style for decades.
"5 cats" is slangy and non-encyclopedic. "thirty-two dogs" is overly precise and legalistic.
Varlaam (talk) 17:47, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

If I understand your question correctly, the point is that groups of figures that are directly comparable should be expressed in the same style (either as numerals or spelled out, but not as a mixture of the two). While “five cats” and “32 dogs” are indeed the usual styles for these phrases in isolation, it imposes a (slight) burden on the reader to comprehend a series of numbers while parsing varying presentations of them. Which of “5 cats and 32 dogs” and “five cats and thirty-two dogs” is the lesser of two evils is a judgement call—although the former is usually preferred, especially in a list that also includes, say, 75 rabbits and 137 guppies—but either is considered preferable to the mixed form in the section title above.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 01:37, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Numbers in the school shooting article

There is a discussion that may interest some followers of this page here. The discussion relates to use of numbers in the recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School article.--Epeefleche (talk) 19:43, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Roman numerals for millennia

How would people feel about adding the words and millenniums to the sentence "Centuries not in quotes or titles should be either spelled out (eighth century) or in Arabic numeral(s) (8th century)." so that it reads "Centuries and millenniums not in quotes or titles should be either spelled out (eighth century) or in Arabic numeral(s) (8th century)." I've run into a few uses of Roman numerals to refer to millennia and I'd like to have good support at WP:MILLENNIUM when I fix them. Thanks, SchreiberBike (talk) 18:36, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

If I remember correctly, the national math curriculum suggested by the (US)National Council of Teachers of Mathematics no longer suggests school children be required to learn Roman numerals. Since a significant segment of our English-speaking readers are not expected to learn them, we should probably avoid them. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:02, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
The title of the bulleted subsection "Centuries and millennia" suggests that this may have been the intention, and that it was not mentioned explicitly was an oversight. I would support this change, but would suggest use of the plural "millennia" rather than "millenniums" for consistency with existing usage on the page and as a personal preference. — Quondum 08:31, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't think we should be using Roman numerals at all for years, let alone for just centuries. That's already written into the current guideline (see WT:MOSNUM#Dates). -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 10:30, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Agreed with Ohconfucius. Usages like "the IX century" are essentially archaic in English, though still the norm in some other languages such as Spanish (siglo XX). — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 22:35, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Seeing no objections, I'll make the change. Thank you. SchreiberBike (talk) 06:29, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Expressing uncertainty

I just want to note that the description of what Value(uncertain digits) × 10n unit means (under Numbers, section Scientific notation, engineering notation, and uncertainty, subsection Uncertainty) differs from the one given in the SI brochure. According to the latter 1.604(48)×10−4 J would mean that the "combined standard uncertainty" is 0.048×10−4 J. Is this a mistake, or is the notation used for both meanings? B Patrik Johansson (talk) 14:30, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

The SI brochure is correct, and I can't recall ever seeing that notation used with the meaning MOSNUM suggests, not even on Wikipedia. If nobody objects I'm going to fix that. — A. di M.  10:51, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
I am happy for A. di M. to go ahaead and fix it. Martinvl (talk) 11:38, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
I just fixed it (sorry to steal A. di M.'s thunder). The thing was clearly an error. Zueignung (talk) 19:07, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

"Articles on the modern US military use day before month, in accordance with military usage"?!?!

"Sometimes the customary format differs from the usual national one: for example, articles on the modern US military use day before month, in accordance with military usage."

I just deleted the above guideline, since it's obviously absurd. Whether or not the US military uses a particular way of writing for its manuals, the point is which format US encyclopedia articles would use. American texts about the military would use the normal American date format.

Or is Wikipedia a military manual, and not an encyclopedia?

Samuel Webster (talk) 16:53, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Why not read back? We had this same discussion not too long ago and consensus was to keep.[8] MoS guidelines should always be discussed here before modification, because the editors who care about this sort of stuff generally have strong feelings and long memories. As ever, WP:BRD applies. --Pete (talk) 17:15, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Checking your contributions, may I suggest that unilaterally changing a guideline and then immediately crusading off to change articles to your preferred format, saying "as per MoS"[9], is very poor practice? I suggest you just hang fire for a little while. Cheers! --Pete (talk) 17:31, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
I believe in "Be bold"! :) In any event, this rule is clearly absurd. I looked at the past discussion to which you refer. I'm truly astonished at the bizarre things Europeans say about Americans and American usage. I may try to change this guideline at a later point, but I think stylistic and orthographic anti-Americanism on Wikipedia is a bit too strong to be worth fighting. We'll see. Best wishes, Samuel Webster (talk) 19:08, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Bold is fine. But unilaterally changing a guideline that has been recently wrangled over to your personal preference, and then changing articles - immediately reverted, I note - without discussion is very unsound behaviour. IMHO. My recollection of the previous discussion was that it was American editors who had the final say on the subject. --Pete (talk) 20:09, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Samuel wrote on this issue back in February, and then disappeared for 10 months without participating in any discussion. Now he's about it again, first changing the guideline and then changing 3 dates into mdy on grounds of MOS compliance but making the dates no more consistent – there are still over 70 dates in dmy and 25 mdy. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 11:44, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
We seem to be looking at different contribution histories. The one I can see shows Samuel making a few changes to non-military articles earlier in December, changing the MOS with regard to military articles on December 26th and making no changes to articles after that. NebY (talk) 12:05, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
These little clean-up activities are therapeutic to me. But I don't always need the therapeutic activity, thus my "disappearance". (Is non-constant participation rude in some way? if so, sorry.) I changed the exception to the guideline about date formats because it seemed so obviously absurd. But I forgot this is Wikipedia, and there is a strong bias against the US. (Just read some of the older discussions about conversion templates and how meter is an "incorrect" spelling of metre.)
I mean, listen, the US military might also use Morse code in its manuals, it might also use the metric system. So what? Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. The question is what sort of style is used by American encyclopedia articles. Samuel Webster (talk) 13:27, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
"American encyclopedia articles" has two parses (articles in American encyclopedias or encyclopedia articles about American topics?). If you meant the former, this isn't an American encyclopedia but an international one, so compromises are needed on all sides. If you meant the latter, then you need to try to reach a different consensus among editors who work on articles about the relevant American topics, in this case the military. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:22, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Well a lot of editors work on American military articles and many of them don't use or understand the military date formatting. There is a core group that are behind this exception. So yes compromise is needed. But the question of the one in use being the correct one is going to continue to be raised. Vegaswikian (talk) 20:37, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Well spotted, NebY! Thanks. Sorry, Samuel Webster, I misread your contributions. You didn't immediately charge off and convert articles to the new order. I was wrong there. --Pete (talk) 17:03, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Pete, no worries.
Peter coxhead: I'm aware Wikipedia isn't an American encyclopedia. I think you (and possibly Vegaswikian) missed my point. Editors can learn how to use diff. formats. That's not the problem. The principle of using a diff. format for different articles is to avoid hegemony of any one system. The compromise was not to choose randomly, but to base the system used on the subject matter. Articles about New York will spell center "center", even if an Englishman is contributing. The Englishman might make a mistake. So what? It will be corrected. If the issue were about making life easier for editors, all articles about Shakespeare would be in American English (since there are vastly more American Shakespeare scholars than British or Commonwealther). Try floating a proposal that all articles about Shakespeare should use American spelling. It would be shot down immediately. Why? Because of the "subject determines spelling and other aspects of style" rule.
Wikipedia is not a military manual. US military manuals and documents are where d-m-y formats are sometimes (though not always) used. Military history books and military encyclopedia articles do NOT use that format (with a few exceptions, esp. in years past), if published in the US.
This rule is really absurd, and should be changed. What am I missing? Samuel Webster (talk) 13:56, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Actually you have made precisely the point I was trying to make: "the subject determines spelling and other aspects of style". So you should be seeking consensus among the subject editors in the first instance, since my understanding is that it's there that the advice you dislike originated. Wikiprojects and other groupings of editors don't own articles but if they reach a consensus it should respected unless it's way out of line with the MOS generally. If, say, there was a local consensus use YYYYMMDD with no separators in a group of articles, then it would be reasonable to over-rule this, but d-m-y is not some weird format never used elsewhere. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:44, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
"Editors can learn how to use diff. formats. That's not the problem. The principle of using a diff. format for different articles is to avoid hegemony of any one system". It was never about hegemony of any one system. Readers can generally parse both formats, but the point is editors don't like to use different formats. Articles were indiscriminately a mix of different formats because of the nature of the wiki. There has also been some edit warring, which spurred this line drawn in the sand (that US subjects are generally written using mdy dates) even though many Americans habitually use and actually prefer using dmy dates. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 12:27, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Article intros

I recommend we standardize all biography article intros to the Month Day, Year form. GoodDay (talk) 19:38, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Or they could all use Day Month Year instead to be consistent. MilborneOne (talk) 16:10, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Let's just stick with the imperfect but generally functional principle that exists: if a subject has a significant tie to a country, it uses that country's style. Otherwise, whatever was used in the first non-tiny contribution sets the standard for the article. The only small matter that needs attending to to make this principle universally applied in WP is eliminating the weird exception for American military articles. Samuel Webster (talk) 16:30, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
So you are saying that an article on a French subject should use dmy? Because that is the date format used in France. --Pete (talk) 01:48, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

GoodDay, MilborneOne has summarized the rule too much, it actually says "Articles on topics with strong ties to a particular English-speaking country should generally use the more common date format for that nation." So an article on a French subject would use the date format chosen by the first significant contributor, because France is not an English-speaking country.

Also, I think the idea of using one format in the intro and another format in the rest of the article is a non-starter. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:59, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

UK units

The UK still retains Imperial units in some contexts. Until 24 October WP:MOSNUM reflected this usage. I note that on 24 October [10] the editor User:Michael Glass edited to change MOSNUM to a more ambiguous wording. I have therefore changed it back to the original wording.

MOSNUM advocates an approach to make articles more readable. Two users User:Martinvl and User:Michael Glass disagree, advocating that wikipedia should adopt the metric system. Consensus has however been against this. For those of us who have sadly been involved in WP:MOSNUM its been a recurring problem for some time, with both editors constantly finding ways to game the system to their position. Really I don't have any patience for this anymore, its one of the reasons I've largely given up on editing as I'd rather create content than argue over trivia with two editors who lack perspective. Does anyone else feel this is productive and has the time come for these two editors to be topic banned from any matter related to WP:MOSNUM and units. Wee Curry Monster talk 16:33, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

For disagreeing with you, you mean? --MarchOrDie (talk) 17:08, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Nope, for the disruption it causes. For the record I doubt even if there was a consensus to topic ban the two it would ever happen. Wee Curry Monster talk 21:09, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
If it's "trivia", then why are you getting so agitated over it? Malleus Fatuorum 17:34, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
What's wrong with just using SI units throughout? You know, like every other Wikipedia? --Pete (talk) 18:28, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Because its trivia, I'm irritated by the fact so much time is wasted on it. Wee Curry Monster talk 21:09, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Every other Wikipedia (with a few exceptions such as the Simple English one) is read almost exclusively by metric users; this one isn't [11]. — A. di M.  19:03, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
"Trivia" obviously means squabbling over this rather than creating anything of substance. I would be happy if WP were in metric, even though I was raised in imperial. I expect I am the exception, however. There are hundreds of millions of English speakers who are not familiar with metric. — kwami (talk) 19:07, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Well in the UK our speed limits are in mph, we drink beer in pint glasses and we can buy milk in pint bottles; but petrol (or gas for the US) is bought by the litre. In the US, people's weight (well what we see on TV) is given in lbs. These are what happens in the real world. Pyrotec (talk) 19:14, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. The question is whether articles should be using the units that people use locally, or whether we insisting on converting them to some other system for no particularly good reason. The argument appears to be that we should use Wikipedia as a vehicle to change behaviour in non-metric countries - but that's just another way of saying that we should be establishing an editorial POV on units, which is clearly inappropriate.
Miles for geographical distance accords with British practice, just as in the US. That should be the end of it.
These two editors have been continually pushing full metrication in a way that as been hugely damaging to some parts of Wikipedia: for example, their perpetual attempts to game the system totally paralysed Falklands articles for a full eighteen months. They are currently trying to reintroduce this paralysis. In one case, we have an editor who violates WP:RETAIN in this area on an industrial scale. Wikipedia needs to topic ban both of them now to prevent further such disruption. Kahastok talk 20:59, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
So what's the point bringing it up here? Wouldn't one of the admins noticeboards be better? --MarchOrDie (talk) 21:31, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
There is a good reason to convert to units other than those used locally: not all readers are from the same place. Judging from this, nearly half the readers are unfamiliar with miles and nearly half the readers are unfamiliar with kilometres, so please use “5 miles (8 km)” or vice versa so that everyone will know what you mean. — A. di M.  18:39, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

What a load of nonsense! Before changing the wording that WCM has objected to I took the proposed change to the talk page. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Dates_and_numbers/Archive_138#Just_a_touch_more_flexibility.3F Now WCM has come along and changed it back again without taking it to the talk page first. That's a pretty high-handed way of going about things. Here is my original argument:

== Just a touch more flexibility? ==

In the advice about which unit to use, MOSNUM wording rightly allows for some flexibility. Therefore we get the following wording (‘’’bolding’’’ added):

For many articles, Wikipedia has adopted a system of writing a "main" unit followed by a conversion in parentheses (see Unit conversions below).

  • In non-science US-related articles: the main unit is generally a US customary unit (97 pounds (44 kg)).
  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally a metric unit (44 kilogram (97 lb)), but imperial units are still used as the main units in some contexts...
  • All other articles: the main unit is generally an SI unit or a non-SI unit officially accepted for use with the SI.

Despite this, the guidance for using Imperial units in UK articles does not suggest a similar flexibility. At the point where flexibility is most needed because UK usage so mixed, the wording lends itself to be read quite restrictively. Instead of this:

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally a metric unit (44 kilogram (97 lb)), but imperial units are still used as the main units in some contexts...

I think that the point would be better expressed like this:

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally a metric unit (44 kilogram (97 lb)), but imperial units can be used as the main units in some contexts...

This unequivocally gives editors the go-ahead to use Imperial units but the wording does not so readily lend itself to be read as if Imperial units must be used in every instance. What do others think?

This was so uncontroversial that no-one commented. I waited three days and made the change and this wording has stood unchallenged for more than six weeks. Now, WCM has come along and changed it back to the previous wording without prior discussion. I don't believe that this is the proper way to go about things. Therefore I have reverted WCM's change. Let's discuss the wording first. Then, if editors agree that a change should be made, by all means change it. Michael Glass (talk) 21:56, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

  • I see Wee Curry Monster and Michael Glass are continuing to edit-war while discussing here. Stylish. --MarchOrDie (talk) 22:41, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
WCM is the one who is edit warring. He's already made two reverts in 24 hours. I'll leave my number at just one! Michael Glass (talk) 02:14, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
The wording must allow for some flexibility according to topic. Some people use SI, some Imperial. It's often age-related. My parents know what a "stone" is as a measure of weight, I have only the notion that it's heavier than a kilogram and not as much as a tonne. When things get down to the personal biases of editors and there are no clear external rules, then we can't dictate a policy. There must be some flexibility. I support the more flexible wording. I also support common sense. Stop edit-warring, please. Let's discuss this and get some consensus. --Pete (talk) 22:46, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Give me a chance to respond please.
If there is a genuine consensus for ambiguous wording then let that result from discussion. You'll note I could express my comments succinctly without a wall of text. A manual of style should provide explicit guidelines, otherwise those who disagree simply ignore them. As we've seen since Michael made the change he has claimed that "can" does not mean "must" so that he can ignore any guidance from MOS. There is flexibility in the guidance as it does in general prefer theSI system other than certain examples in common use. Wee Curry Monster talk 23:01, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
What is your precise disagreement with Michael's wording? Michael was Bold, it was not Reverted, it was not Discussed. The WP:BRD cycle works much better than edit-warring and squabbling. --Pete (talk) 23:36, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
My disagreement is the manner in which the system is being gamed. The guideline was changed by Michael to be ambiguous, then "can" is not a "must" so he can do what he feels like. Its now been reverted so we discuss it, yes? As for "squabbling" I presume you're familiar with wp:agf? Wee Curry Monster talk 00:32, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
No offence. I call 'em as I see 'em. --Pete (talk) 01:11, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
I can see you have made up your mind. The prevailing consensus on wikipedia with regard to units is for articles to reflect local usage. The original draft of the WP:MOSNUM reflected that. The issue with Michael's change is that it makes WP:MOSNUM effectively null and void. I've already seen Michael claiming "can" is not a "must", so he can edit articles as he sees fit - ie to ignore the prevailing consensus on the use of units. For any MOS to be useful the guidelines need to be clear not ambiguous. And as regards the BRD cycle, it was reverted and we're not discussing it.
As regards "squabbling" you might suggest that both Martin and Michael don't refer to me as either a Luddite or a Little Englander, as being Scottish I take great offence at the latter. Wee Curry Monster talk 10:36, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps WCM could explain how taking a proposal to the talk page, leaving it for three days for comments and then making a change which stood unchallenged for more than six weeks is gaming the system. We have a clear choice here: wording that allows editors the flexibility to decide whether Imperial or metric units should be put first in British articles.

Remember the dispute in Gulliver's Travels about which end to open eggs? Here is a quote:

That all true believers shall break their eggs at the convenient end: and which is the convenient end, seems, in my humble opinion, to be left to every man's conscience....

I have proposed that editors in British articles should have the freedom to decide which unit comes first. Two editors believe that this is the greatest threat to Wikipedia ever! At this point I invite you, gentle reader, to click on this link and enjoy the great egg controversy from Gulliver's Travels. http://kesuresh.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/great-egg-controversy.html Michael Glass (talk) 02:07, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Freedom to decide? No, Michael, you haven't given freedom to decide, you've watered down a guideline so that you personally can do whatever you like, chanting the mantra "can" is not a "must". For a MOS to be useful it has to give clear guidelines. The current consensus is to follow local usage. The guidance as originally formulated did that, you changed it to be ambiguous because you disagree with the prevailing consensus and wish to impose your own personal preference.
If you don't like the consensus then please, do it properly, convince the rest of the editors at MOSNUM to adopt the metric system. Don't constantly try to game the system, its counter productive; it puts peoples backs up and hardens attitudes against you.
And no I don't consider a unit order preference to be the greatest threat to wikipedia ever but your editing is disruptive, in constantly trying to game the system to adopt your preference. Personally I consider it trivia and really not worthy of the billions of electrons squandered in endlessly debated on it. Really get a sense of perspective, we should be writing articles for our readers and if there is a local usage convention follow it. The metric equivalent is given so why do you insist that the metric must come first? Wee Curry Monster talk 10:36, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
WCM:
  • It's gaming the system to do two edits in 24 hours to get your way with the wording. So if you think I gamed the system, you are tarred with the same brush.
  • It's being high-handed to change the wording without discussing the edit first. That's what you did.
  • It's a lie to say that I'm trying to get everyone to use the metric system. The wording you changed so high-handedly explicitly stated the opposite: "metric units can be put first".
  • You claim that your wording has consensus and yet within 24 hours one uninvolved editor has already stated that he prefers my wording. Compare that with my wording, which was proposed first and then stood unchallenged for more than six weeks.
  • You claim the wording you changed is ambiguous. It's not. It's your wording that's ambiguous. It uses the descriptive wording "imperial units are still used as the main units..." when you intend to use it to force the use of imperial units.
  • You claim that the prejudices of the British Weights and Measures Association are "local usage" when you know full well that UK usage varies more widely.
  • Instead of making personal attacks, I invite you to discuss the wording. Perhaps if we all discussed the wording we could come up with something better than either your preferred version or mine. Michael Glass (talk) 13:20, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
Michael it would be a lot better if you would actually discuss the wording instead of prosletising like the Angry Young Man in the Billy Joel song. And no Michael its not a lie, its sad but it stems from long bitter experience of you gaming the system. Does any of that diatribe actually address the issue, really what I am utterly fed up with is your constantly whining about personal attacks, whilst you lash out in all directions and you constantly revisting the same old ground. I don't claim your wording is ambiguous it is, you yourself have used it to state it is ambiguous, "can" is not a "must", so you'll do whatever you feel like. Is a guideline that doesn't offer guidance worth anything?
And the only person to actually lie blatantly would be you Michael, when you claim I am trying to force the use of Imperial units. Clearly no I'm not, what I'm actually arguing is to use BOTH, with the preference for a SUBSET to have the UNIT ORDER reflecting LOCAL USAGE. Metric/Imperial in the main but a SUBSET that uses Imperial/Metric in line with LOCAL USAGE. I have added emphasis so there is no doubt as to what is proposed. I request that you stop misrepresenting what is actually proposed, without the hyperbole and without trying to portray everyone else as a Luddite or a Little Englander. You on the other hand insist it has be Metric first come what may. Get a sense of perspective here, does it need all this aggro? FFS this is a spat about a trivial issue and its simply not worth all the crap that accompanies any discussion with you.
Again we see you gaming the system by claiming that "local usage" in the UK is different, let me guess, the local usage would be preferrentially metric according to you? Am I wrong?
Let us start, step by step, does Manual of Style advocate that articles follow local usage (YES/NO)? Simple question, its a YES/NO answer. Try and stick to that please. Wee Curry Monster talk 13:37, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
It's a bit hard to know where to start with your unparagraphed rant, but here goes:
  • WCM, you are almost unparalleled in dishing it out; please don't bellyache when some comes back to you.
  • WCM, I have never called you a little Englander and I don't recall describing you as a Luddite. Please don't blame me for the slights of others.
  • The problem with your wording is that usage can't be defined so neatly as the Times Guide does for its newspaper. As you know well, it is middle of the road as far as using metrics goes. Some are more metric, others are less. Ditto with sources of information. That's why we need more flexibility in the wording.
  • If you think that can is ambiguous whereas must is not, then we're not speaking the same language. The two words are saying different things, but that does not make one ambiguous and the other not.
  • The answer to your last question is YES. That's why I believe in following local sources, like the Environmental Authority for the dimensions of the locks on the River Thames, or the English Premier League for the height and weight of the footballers.
Michael Glass (talk) 02:25, 11 December 2012 (UTC)
So basically you are advocating your position of source based units, which has been repeatedly rejected at WP:MOSNUM, so you're not actually following local usage. You pick your sources to fit your preference. The EA reflects European legislation and the the Premier League follows FIFA guidelines, neither follow common usage in the UK. You pick your examples to fit your agenda. So for flexibility you mean source based units, which you can't get people to agree to, so you do it by the back door of changing the guideline. This is gaming the system. Wee Curry Monster talk 09:17, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not at all happy with the behaviour of Wee Curry Monster (who, if you didn't know, has a history of changing his username). Tony (talk) 08:14, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
I am becoming distinctly unhappy with your behaviour Sir. You know why I have changed my username, once, which was to stop using my real name due to off-wiki harassment. You know this and refer to it in a manner to imply something untoward. You Sir, are simply trying to be provocative and I suggest you stop. Please stop pretending you're being a neutral observer, when its very clear you have taken a side. Wee Curry Monster talk 10:36, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment there's already a broad consensus at Falkland Islands work group/Units to proceed with the move/merge. I say some editor makes it happen and be done with all this drama. From my bitter experience with Wee I can attest that there are only two ways a discussion with him will end:
1- Wee gets his way.
2- Goto 1.
No editor possess a veto power so however he might not like it, the consensus of the majority is to support the edit. There's really no point in dragging this issue any more. Regards. Gaba p (talk) 14:33, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
"The consensus of the majority" is a meaningless statement, since these things are not a majority vote. Unless of course you're Michael, since he argues that consensus can be carried by 50%+1 if it favours your POV, but must be unanimous if it doesn't. He has in fact in the past argued this in those terms. Kahastok talk 18:43, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
Kahastok, it is more than clear at this point that an agreement will not be reached among 100% of the editors. The request for move/merge has been up for 10 days now and it has been thoroughly discussed.. At present there's more personal attacks than actual discussion. There's 4 editors for and 2 against, how long shall this be dragged? When it is clear that a 100% consensus is not possible, then we act on the majority consensus and move forward. Otherwise a minority of editors (and I'm not referring to you and Wee but in general) could game the system forever preventing any kind of edit they disagree with from happening. There's a reasonable amount of time for a discussion to go on before it turns sour and I believe this one has reached that point. I repeat: lets make the change the majority agrees on and move on from there. Regards. Gaba p (talk) 18:51, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
In your rush to make a personal attack, you failed to comprehend that this is a completely different discussion about a completely different topic. Wee Curry Monster talk 09:17, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Actually it's a completely related topic and I came here to ask if some editor could please put that one to rest since the consensus exists and the last few replies were nothing but PAs. Regards. Gaba p (talk) 13:20, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Michael's wording moved the text significantly further to the metric end of the spectrum, and for all his argument about flexibility, made the guideline significantly less flexible. The previous wording allowed flexibility in most cases, but suggested that imperial should be used for those instances listed, which are explicitly marked as imperial-first by style guide of the United Kingdom's newspaper of record, the Times. These usages mark the instances where imperial usage is still clearly predominant in British usage - distance, speed, fuel consumption, personal height and weight, quantities of beer and cider, and quantities of milk when measured in bottles.

(Incidentally, the current wording is significantly misleading in that it implies that the Times is to be considered one of many. It is not. It is the Times' guidance that we're taking as the basis for our rules.)

Michael's wording, as he now interprets it, implies that actually, all units should be metric. In those few instances where there is flexibility, imperial is allowed but can and will be mass-converted to metric. Note that Michael insists - contrary to both common practice and both the letter and spirit of MOSNUM as clearly spelt out within its first few sentences - that the principles behind WP:RETAIN do not apply to units, and thus that he may freely mass-convert entire topics to metric for no reason other than that that is his preferred style. If someone disagreed with his preferred style, and converted the thousands of pages that he has applied this to back again, it is difficult to believe that he would not cry blue murder. Kahastok talk 18:43, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Kahastok's comment above requires me to reply.
  • WCM's intended his wording to be a must, not a should. It is less flexible than my wording, which stood unchallenged for more than six weeks. To present WCM's as a should misrepresents the reality.
  • WCM's wording has been challenged by more than one editor. It plainly does not have consensus support. This contrasts with the previous wording which stood unchallenged for more than a month.
  • The reference to the Times Guide is unchanged in both versions. Bringing it up is a red herring.
  • My wording explicitly says, imperial units can be put first. It is not honest dealing to state or imply that it means the opposite
  • Kahastok's concern about my edits is not the issue here. The issue is the wording of the policy.
Now about WCM's edit:
  • WCM edited MOSNUM without prior discussion.
  • WCM's two edits in the space of a day to maintain his preferred wording is quite questionable.
  • WCM's edit has been criticised by previously uninvolved editors. I agree with Gaba's point above
Therefore I believe that WCM's edit should not remain. Michael Glass (talk) 01:47, 11 December 2012 (UTC)
WCM's edit should remain because the prepost-Glass statement indicated it was a toss-up which unit should go first in the cases listed, when in fact, the imperial unit should usually go first in those cases. And there is no doubt in my mind that every time Michael Glass edits this guideline it is for the purpose of advancing his campaign to metricate the world, starting with Wikipedia. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:03, 11 December 2012 (UTC)
My experience in dealing with date formats and English code spellings tells me that MG's proposal to give discretion to editors at individual article level is undesirable, and will result in conflict re same across numerous talk pages for British topics. It should be written firmly into the guideline which specific units are to be put first in British articles, probably within the ENGVAR section, and incorporate similar provisions as WP:RETAIN to preserve stability. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 02:28, 11 December 2012 (UTC)
I would tend to agree, this appears to be yet another example of "source based units" in disguise. Wee Curry Monster talk 09:17, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Oh, you seem to now accept that the UK remains far from metrification, and that this is backed up by a preponderance of sources... -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 09:29, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
The principles behind WP:RETAIN are, I believe, already understood to apply to units, both in spirit and by the letter of MOSNUM. Read MOSNUM from the beginning and within a few seconds you will see:
The Arbitration Committee has ruled that editors should not change an article from one guideline-defined style to another without a substantial reason unrelated to mere choice of style, and that revert-warring over optional styles is unacceptable. If discussion cannot determine which style to use in an article, defer to the style used by the first major contributor.'
This is a direct repetition of the principles behind WP:RETAIN. I have pointed it out to Michael several times, so if he is unaware of it then either his ignorance is wilful or he lacks the WP:COMPETENCE to edit. It contains no indication that it does not apply to MOSNUM, nor that it applies to some parts of MOSNUM and not others. There is no qualification or get-out clause that might be taken to suggest that it does not apply to units. While it could be put in a more quotable place, we ultimately don't need to incorporate similar provisions to WP:RETAIN because those provisions are already incorporated into MOSNUM in no uncertain terms.
I would note that the current wording has to be flexibly applied because it advocates SI in all non-scientific circumstances that are not specific to the US or UK. This fails the common sense test. There are plenty of units - the foot for aircraft height, the inch for screen width, the year for time - that are neither part of SI nor accepted for use with SI, but that are universal or near-universal internationally. Instances of such units are far more common than the odd IAR exception. And we used to take account of it, by referring to the unit in most common use internationally instead of straight SI, but for some reason this was done away with.
I'd also note that, for example, Munro contains hill heights in metres first, even though the defining feature of a Munro is its height in feet. This is daft. Just about every hill height that is ever going on that article is being compared with 3000 feet, the cut-off for a Munro, so it seems clear to me that all the hill heights should be feet-first. Now, we can make a case for converting it on the basis of defined units and consistency, which can be reasonable arguments (but are not always - I've seen it argued that we can't measure distance in miles and temperature in Celsius on the same article before now because of inconsistency), but we perhaps ought to be aware that such situations may exist.
I have no problem with the sort of inflexibility you describe, but we should consider these points IMO. Kahastok talk 18:55, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Kahastok's wrote, "The principles behind WP:RETAIN are, I believe, already understood to apply to units". He stated - correctly - that this is his understanding of the policy, and that he has pointed this out to me several times. I know this, but I have the right to my own thoughts and opinions, and if he doesn't like this, so be it. It is not a condition of editing on Wikipedia that I should agree with Kahastok or that Kahastok should agree with me.
  • WP:PA says: "Do not make personal attacks anywhere in Wikipedia. Comment on content, not on the contributor." Kahastok has been reminded of this several times, so his continued disregard of both the letter and the spirit of this policy suggests a wilful disregard on his part.
Michael Glass (talk) 10:13, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
Oh Michael, why don't you ask Arbcom if your opinion holds water? Because if someone questions your WP:COMPETENCE to read and follow a direct guideline based on the evidence before them, that isn't a personal attack. When its true it isn't a PA. If he had referred to you as an idiot or moron you might have a point but again whining about a none existent PA when you constantly indulge in them over a trivial matter is not that impressive really. Wee Curry Monster talk 12:39, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
WCM, you have just used the Competence policy directly against its stated intent to attack me. What you are doing is attacking. Please stop. Michael Glass (talk) 13:45, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
That's not a personal attack. Your argument that the rule that I quoted does not apply to units is trying to turn a matter of fact into a matter of opinion. You can argue that in your opinion grass is pink until you're blue in the face, it does not make grass pink. But it is just the latests of scores of instances over the last few years that directly call your WP:COMPETENCE into question. Curry Monster is right. If I had likened you to a terrorist (as you did me) or called you a denigrating term like "little Englander", then that would be a personal attack. It is not a personal attack to call your competence in question when you insist that a policy does not say something that it clearly does say, particularly when you use that claimed interpretation to push your POV across thousands of articles.
I note that you misrepresent me. When I say we ultimately don't need to incorporate similar provisions to WP:RETAIN because those provisions are already incorporated into MOSNUM in no uncertain terms, that is because it does say that. Those provisions are in force. The fact that they are inconvenient to your POV does not mean that whether they apply in this instance is not clear.
And I note with interest that you attempt no discussion of the substance of my message at all - a message that directly discussed changes in the units policy that I believe would be of benefit per OhConfucius' previous message. Ironically enough, I'm the one discussing content here. Kahastok talk 18:03, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
  • All of you guys need to step back and cool off—preferably for weeks. You're too close to it, and it's become a personal–emotional struggle. That is not the way to achieve anything on a wiki. Tony (talk)
I would much rather these editors left these rules alone. It is indeed necessary. This is why I call for Michael and Martin to be topic banned. If MOSNUM and Falklands articles and no continually longer are subject to their campaign for metrication that has done such immense damage, all of these discussions will cease and we will be able to have a stable rule that everyone can work with. Kahastok talk 18:03, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

The topic ban on Kahastok and WCM of May 2011 was lifted on a trial basis on 26 October 2012. [12] I think it would be advisable for them to concentrate on issues rather than personalities. Michael Glass (talk) 09:00, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

middot vs. sdot

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Mathematics#Multiplication sign indicates &sdot; (⋅ U+22C5 Mathematical operator DOT OPERATOR) as the preferred sign for multiplication, rather than &middot; (· U+00B7 MIDDLE DOT). This seems to be more in line with the Unicode wording as well. Should Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers#Unit symbols not be brought into line with this? — Quondum 17:01, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Ordinarily, I'd agree on principle. But having seen a brief dispute over this, I fear it may not be helpful and even that we should maybe change Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Mathematics#Multiplication sign instead. At my normal screen and browser settings, a bold middot as in km·h−1 looks like a dot and a bold sdot as in km⋅h−1 like a dash. Under a magnifying glass and with the benefit of being very short-sighted, the middot is 2 pixels by 2 pixels and the sdot 2 by 1. On zooming the browser, the sdot is sometimes equally proportioned and sometimes wide. But perhaps my setup is odder than I think? NebY (talk) 18:48, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
I have also had someone complaining of rendering problems for middot, specifically that the spacing around it with some browser/setting is asymmetric, unlike sdot. I do not think that problematic rendering is necessarily an argument for formulation of a guideline about use of a symbol defined as apparently appropriate by Unicode. — Quondum 08:16, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
It seems we disagree about the criteria. I am much more concerned that the encyclopedia is clear and easily legible than with following the naming of symbols within Unicode. NebY (talk) 19:18, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't entirely disagree with your sentiment; however, to be seriously considered for a guideline, surely a display problem would have to be reasonably widespread, and must be considered in relation to display problems of alternatives? — Quondum 08:17, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
I ran into this the other day. The middot (·) is more readable than the almost-invisible sdot (). Neither is what I would call reasonably visible, and I ended up using the times (×) instead. Seems like a bullet () would work well, though not what it is intended for. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 17:24, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Quondum, thanks for a considerate response to what now looks to me rather a brusque comment - my apologies. Yes, I'd just like display problems to be considered if changes are to be made. NebY (talk) 13:03, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Another reason to prefer × to · between figures is that in Britain the latter used to be (and, in handwriting, I think it sometimes still is) used as a decimal point, so it may confuse older British readers. (Between unit symbols, I've never seen × used and the fact that · isn't clearly visible doesn't matter as N·m and N m mean the same thing anyway.) — A. di M.  11:12, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, as far as I can tell ‘with the naked eye’, they look identical in my browser. — A. di M.  11:12, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

In summary, it would seem to me that there is not a strong case for my suggestion:

  1. The primary motivation derives from only the symbol names on the Unicode standard, which claims to be shape-based (as opposed to meaning-based) for mathematical operators.
  2. The display of sdot appears to be occasionally problematic (though a study would have to be made); though this might also apply to middot.
  3. The middot possibly has wider font support because it is in the Latin-1 Supplement block rather than in the Mathematical Operators block, though this would have to be checked.
  4. The mathematical BULLET OPERATOR (∙ U+2219) is another candidate (distinct from bullet), which confuses things further.
  5. For less technical articles, times (×) could be considered as an alternative.

I'm not too sure what guideline should be distilled from this (though consider differing norms in some European countries). — Quondum 08:05, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

That's clear, fair and thorough. I agree with everything - including not being sure about any consequences for guidelines. NebY (talk) 15:22, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Precise Language - suggested rearrangement of the first sentence.

The first sentence of the section on precise language reads:

  • Avoid statements that date quickly, except on pages that are regularly updated, like current events pages.

I think this would read slightly better like this:

  • Avoid statements that date quickly, except on pages like current events, that are updated regularly.

Any comments or suggestions? Michael Glass (talk) 21:14, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

I'd remove the 2nd comma, but otherwise fine. — kwami (talk) 07:35, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. I was thinking of eliminating the second comma myself.

Wording changed as proposed, without the second comma. Michael Glass (talk) 10:39, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Important RFC at WT:TITLE

Editors will be interested in this RFC at Wikipedia talk:Article titles, to confirm the roles of WP:TITLE and MOS in determining article titles. The question affects the smooth running of many discussions on Wikipedia, including RMs. The more participation, the better.

NoeticaTea? 07:09, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Precise language ... more

I propose replacing the sentence

"Avoid statements that date quickly, except on pages like current events that are updated regularly. Avoid words such as now and soon (unless their intended meaning is clear), currently and recently (except on rare occasions where they are not redundant), or phrases such as in modern times and the sixties."

with

"Avoid statements that date quickly, except on pages like current events that are updated regularly. Avoid words such as now, soon and modern times (unless their intended meaning is clear), currently and recently (except on rare occasions where they are not redundant), or phrases such as the sixties."

This will permit the phrase "in modern times" where the meaning is clear from the context). Martinvl (talk) 10:57, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

The changes that I made were reverted without explanation other than "no consensus". (See Wikipedia:Don't revert due solely to "no consensus" which is why I reinstated them). May I also add that 36 hours elapsed between me posting the above discussion and me making the changes. For the record, the phrase "in modern times", like the words "currently" and "recently" are words that take their meaning from "time now", whereas the phrase "the sixties" takes its meaning from a specific era. It is logicval therefore to group the phrase "in modern times" with "currently" and "recently" rather than "the sixties". Martinvl (talk)

Proposed recasting of one sentence on capitalising months and days of the week.

At the moment, one sentence in Longer periods says:

  • Unlike some other languages, the names of months and days of the week are capitalised in English.

I think that this could be better expressed like this:

  • In English, the names of months and days of the week are capitalised.

That puts the stress where it belongs, on English usage. I think that's all we need to say. However, if others think it necessary to mention other languages, perhaps it could be done like this:

  • In English, unlike some other languages, the names of months and days of the week are capitalised.

What do others think? Michael Glass (talk) 12:23, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

I'd avoid mentioning the language entirely, this is the English-language Wikipedia. It doesn't need to be repeated throughout MOS. Simply
This also implies that there is no article needed, e.g. "She was born in January." vice "She was born in a January." Note that this is grammatically equivalent to "She was born in Rome." vice "She was born in a villa." LeadSongDog come howl! 17:07, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Decades and apostrophes (revisited)

I've only just seen Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers/Archive 139#Decades and apostrophes. Regarding possessive use w.r.t. descriptions such as "1960s couture"/"1960s' couture", I'd observe that expressions such as "London culture" generally seems to be more prevalent than "London's culture". If this is the case, then adopting this format for decades too would seem to be appropriate. -- Trevj (talk) 14:04, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Bot proposal for dates in reference section

I would like to draw fellow editors' attention to a newly-opened bot proposal for correction of format drift of dates within citation templates at Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/MOSNUM bot 2. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 14:02, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Non-Roman B

The MOSNUM still says:

Roman prefixes are not used (M for 103, MM for 106, B for 109). Use SI prefixes instead.

B standing for the English word Billion is still not a "Roman" prefix, and MM standing for 1,000,000 is not a Roman numeral either. As I suggested previously (posting from a different IP address), can someone please change this to the following?

Do not use the prefixes M for 103, MM for 106, or B for 109; use SI prefixes instead.

--65.94.50.13 (talk) 05:03, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. — A. di M.  10:31, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Using bot for replacing full stop (.) with comma (,) to separate thousands at the number of employees field of the company infoboxes

There is a discussion about using bot for replacing full stop (.) with comma (,) to separate thousands at the number of employees field of the company infoboxes. Your comments are appreciated. Thank you. Beagel (talk) 18:02, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Another BC vs BCE edit war

This page was supposed to obviate edit warring on date formats by clearly stating what the procedure was, yet it has become a point of contention at History of physics. The procedure has always been to stick with the original style pending local consensus to do otherwise. But this is being disputed between me and another user at Talk:History of physics and a third party is needed to clarify what the procedure has been and should be. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 04:24, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Hello, anyone there? This BC / BCE dispute is becoming more and more disruptive to History of physics as the other user clearly prefers continuing edit warring date styles to any meaningful discussion or improvement to the article, misinterprets this page completely the opposite from how everyone else has always interpreted it, fabricates an imaginary consensus while no third party has yet weighed in, and accuses ME of being the problem. Having this page here specifically to prevent such edit warring, will prove to be about as useful as the League of Nations, if this kind of thing can occur and continue to be disruptive for so long. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 12:56, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Proposal to fix the BC/BCE editwarring for good

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion at main MoS talk page.

Please see and comment on Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Proposal to prevent recurrent editwarring and confusion by adjusting "Era style" section in MOS:NUM. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 14:17, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

What to do with non-compliant formats?

With respect to the proposal notified above for a bot for aligning dates in reference section, there is contention as to what format should replace errant formats. The discussion has veered off into specifically how the proposed bot should render compliant formats that resemble but in fact are not complain with ISO 8601 such as 2013–01–25 (with dashes) and 2013-1-25 (with missing leading zeros). I would like to open a discussion here below. Thanks, -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 22:26, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure if this issue was resolved or discussed elsewhere, but formats which are clearly intended to be ISO 8601, e.g. the use of en-dash instead of hyphen or missing leading zeros, should be left as ISO 8601 but corrected, respecting the editor's intention. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:11, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

A slight change of emphasis

At the moment, the section on how to present the units gives the following advice:

  • If the primary units in an article differs from the source:
    • Either convert the measurements with a suitable degree of precision and quote the original figures in the citation,
    • Or use the original units at this point.

I think that we could fine-tune the wording and give first place to the option of using the original units first. Here is what I suggest:

  • If the primary units in an article differs from a source:
    • Either use the original unit at this point,
    • Or convert the measurement with a suitable degree of precision and quote the original figure in the citation.

I think it is better to use the singular number for the source and although it is appropriate to use the original unit or to convert the measurement, depending on circumstances, I think we should give first place to quoting the original measurement at this point. This change does not affect the option for editors to choose which is preferable. However, I think this slight change of emphasis is preferable.

What do others think? Michael Glass (talk) 02:16, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

I think most articles will be stating several numbers that are describing similar quantities, and those numbers would be, or should be, stated in the same units. For example, an article on the javelin throw might describe the distance various athletes over the past century achieved. In order to make it easier for readers to compare the numbers, they should all have the same primary unit and, if a conversion is appropriate, secondary unit. The literal value from the source can be relegated to a footnote if the precise value is of any importance. Therefore, the guideline should stay as it is. Jc3s5h (talk) 04:34, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I like the change from plural to singular, but I do not think the emphasis should be changed. The choice of which unit to use first should be based on consistency within the article and consistency with similar articles. That consistency seems to me to be more valuable than the usage in the source. Thanks, SchreiberBike (talk) 08:06, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
This is fairly obviously another attempt to push source-based units, a system that has been rejected literally dozens of times when Michael has proposed it. It is a bad idea because it will lead to inconsistency and is very easily WP:GAMEable for those editors who, like Michael, are minded to mass-convert Wikipedia to a single system. Kahastok talk 18:37, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

My proposal to switch the position of the two options has been opposed. I think I should point out that when you have two options, butting A before B or after B does not change the options available to editors. It slightly changes the emphasis towards following the source of information when this is appropriate. The idea, from an editor with a blemished record that this would lead to the conversion of Wikipedia to a single system is fanciful.

However, my proposal to change the wording from plural to singular has gained some support. This would mean the following:

  • If the primary units in an article differs from a source:
    • Either convert the measurement with a suitable degree of precision and quote the original figure in the citation,
    • Or use the original unit at this point.

I do not believe that this raises any thorny issues. is there any problem with this proposal? Michael Glass (talk) 04:53, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Yes. Given quite how many times this page has rejected source-based units, we shouldn't be telling people to use them. Waiting until people aren't going to notice a proposal and then making it regardless does not constitute proper consensus-building. Kahastok talk 08:30, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

There is no connection between changing a plural to singular and source based units or metrication. The argument above is a red herring. I therefore ask once more: Is there any issue with changing a plural construction to the singular as I have proposed? Michael Glass (talk) 20:06, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

There is nothing in the rules that prevents me from bringing up the fact that the current wording was pushed through under the radar, and goes against the results of literally dozens of discussions that you have started on this matter. I reiterate my point about. Kahastok talk 21:59, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Not the source based unit proposal in yet another guise? No, rejected repeatedly as noted above because it would lead to inconsistency. The choice of unit, as one editor, has already noted should be based on consistency within the article and consistency with similar articles. Consistency is more valuable than the usage in the source. An example, a Munro in the UK is a mountain with a height over 3000 ft. Its the defining characteristic, that they're over 3000 ft. So you would think writing for consistency that editors would put the height in feet first? Well they don't [13] and I would oppose this proposal simply because I'm afraid that long experience with the proposer leads me to conclude that is yet another pretext for source based units. Wee Curry Monster talk 22:25, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

So the thing that is wrong with changing a plural to a singular construction is that I proposed it and therefore this must be a pretext for something else. The two editors, both of whom have blemished records have made an argument that is purely ad hominem. Perhaps someone else would like to comment, either for or against the proposal to change a plural construction to a singular as proposed. Michael Glass (talk) 02:29, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

No Michael, a comment which is based on long experience of your editing and wikilawyering over policy. What is an ad hominem attack is taking comments out of context from past arbcom actions to infer as you put it blemished records. Equally the tactic of using it to none too subtly revealing my real life identity, which I have redacted on wikipedia due to real life harassment is not helpful. You may take this as notice that if you do so again, I will be seeking admin intervention to stop you. This is WP:HARASSMENT and having warned you repeatedly I'm not going to tolerate it anymore.
WCM, I have, to the best of my knowledge, never referred to you as anything other than Wee Curry Monster or WCM since you adopted that name and I have no intention of doing so. The link I provided did not reveal anything other than your current user name. I checked the link from this link and it did not reveal anything other than your current user name. I hope that this answers your concern.
I am quite happy to cease referring to what you refer to as past arbcom actions but in return I expect you to stop accusing me of wikilawyering and to stop trawling through my edit history to find excuses to attack me. Michael Glass (talk) 14:08, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
So Michael straight question, why on earth in an article on Munros, where the definition is they're over 3,000 ft would you decide to put 914 m first as you did? Wee Curry Monster talk 12:13, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Straight answer: This is irrelevant in a discussion about whether certain wording should be plural or singular. Please raise this matter on the talk page of the article. If you do so I will answer you there. Michael Glass (talk) 14:08, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
I see no reason why I cannot raise the fact that such a recommendation of source-based units is entirely inappropriate given the repeated and vocal opposition of multiple editors on this page. I remain opposed. Kahastok talk 20:58, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Kahastok, it appears that my revised proposal has been overlooked. It has nothing to do with source-based units. All it now involves is replacing a plural construction with a singular construction. I will put this proposal in a new thread. This might help to clarify the issues. Michael Glass (talk) 03:07, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Again, Michael, I opppose simply because it is another pretext for "source based units", which leads to all sorts of inconsistency if applied see Munro. I'm sorry that you feel unable to justify your editing decisions, allow me to comment that it seems your advocacy of the metric system leads you to edit in a manner that detracts from article quality. Wee Curry Monster talk 21:10, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
WCM, this proposal has nothing to do with "source based units". I agree with you that Munro is a challenge because that classification is expressed in imperial but mountains are now measures in metres. However, I believe that this issue would be better discussed on the talk page of that article and not simply used as a debating point here. Michael Glass (talk) 21:53, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
It's not a difficult case. Every height in the article is a direct comparison with a defined unit. It is manifestly absurd to invite our readers to try to compare 950 metres and 3000 feet and assume that they will successfully work out which is higher. Kahastok talk 22:13, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
It appears that Khastok and WCM are taking turns in replying to me on behalf of each other. I reiterate that any question about Munro is better dealt with on the talk page of that article. I also note that neither Kahastok nor WCM have made any contribution to that article yet. The question at issue here was about substituting a singular construction for a plural construction and had nothing to do with source based units, metrication, or the Munro article. Michael Glass (talk) 04:44, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
I comment on my own behalf and nobody else's. The fact that you decided that even an obvious case such as Munro is "a challenge" is very telling. Kahastok talk 21:32, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree that it is telling. We have a definition that is expressed in Imperial but mountains that are measured in metric. Obviously, something has to give, but this is better discussed on the article's talk page, I think. Michael Glass (talk) 22:46, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Slightly more concise wording.

The beginning of the section on units reads as follows:

Science-related articles

Other articles

For other articles, Wikipedia has adopted a system of writing a "main" unit followed by a conversion in parentheses (see Unit conversions below).

I believe that the section on other articles is unnecessarily wordy. Here is what I suggest to put in place:

In other articles, write a "main" unit followed by a conversion in parentheses (see Unit conversions below).

This is shorter and clearer, but as far as I can see does not change any policy. What do others think? Michael Glass (talk) 04:36, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Yes, the new wording maintains the policy as stated. I don't see any issues here. Regards. Gaba p (talk) 14:33, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Following people around again, Gaba? There's policy against that as well.
I oppose. I see nothing wrong with the status quo and I can't see how the proposal is an improvement. Kahastok talk 20:54, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Kahastok: I responded to your accusation in your talk page. Word of advise: be more careful when throwing accusations around. You might end up looking like an ass. Regards. Gaba p (talk) 22:55, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
That wasn't an accusation. And even if it had been, I note that you have spent the last month accusing me and others of all sorts of things, including less than 20 minutes before this message here, so you would hardly be in a position to complain. Kahastok talk 18:36, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps it would help if I restated my proposal. It is to replace this:

  • For other articles, Wikipedia has adopted a system of writing a "main" unit followed by a conversion in parentheses (see Unit conversions below).

with this:

  • In other articles, write a "main" unit followed by a conversion in parentheses (see Unit conversions below).

One editor has said yes and one has said no. Would anyone else like to express an opinion on the wording I proposed? Michael Glass (talk) 02:49, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

I oppose the proposal as I don't see this as helpful. Again, commentating on the proposal, it is "source based units" in yet another guise, which if applied leads to all sorts of contradictions. The current guidance of following the established style for an article is much better for article quality and consistency. Wee Curry Monster talk 21:07, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

WCM, there is nothing in this proposal that has anything to do with source based units. I fail to see how you could read this into my proposal. Michael Glass (talk) 04:28, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Unnecessary repetition of a word.

In the section on units, that word is repeated four times in quick succession. The result is unduly repetitive. See below (emphasis added):

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally a metric unit (44 kilograms (97 lb)), but imperial units are still used as the main units in some contexts, including...

I believe the same thing could be put more briefly and straightforwardly like this (emphasis added):

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)), but imperial units are still put first in some contexts, including...

I believe that this conveys the same meaning in fewer words. Are there any comments or suggestions? Michael Glass (talk) 02:39, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

I think your proposed change is an improvement. Thank you. SchreiberBike (talk) 04:16, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
I think you've lost the essential meaning there, that imperial can be the main unit, depending on context. I would prefer something like:
  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)), but imperial are still used as the main units in some contexts, including...
This better conveys the same meaning, in fewer words. Credibility gap (talk) 18:05, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

I think your introductory wording contains the kernel of an even better wording:

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)) but imperial units can be the main ones in some contexts, including...

Or, if this is thought to be too radical, this long and rather repetitive wording (three out of four units remain) might be the best we can do at the moment:

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)) but imperial units are still used as the the main units in some contexts, including...

How do you and others feel about these two proposals? Michael Glass (talk) 11:03, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

We could even reduce it to just one without losing meaning or clarity:
  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)) but it may be imperial in some contexts, including...
What do you think? Credibility gap (talk) 19:00, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

I think it's great!. Your proposed wording is best of all. I'll wait 24 hours, and if there is no further discussion, I'll put it in the text. Michael Glass (talk) 22:44, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Wording revised as per this discussion. Michael Glass (talk) 01:05, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

'Cept of course you didn't. Trying to game the thing with the whole "can is not must" bit again Michael? Needless to say, I oppose.
For the benefit of others, the argument that Michael has used in the past from similar wordings is that he is perfectly entitled to mass-convert large numbers of UK-related articles that comply with the existing rules re: imperial units so that they are fully metric. The basis for this argument is that the because rule says that distance and so on "can" be imperial-first, and not that they "should" be imperial-first or "are" imperial-first, he is entitled to switch them to metric for no reason other than his own personal preference. Kahastok talk 18:34, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Kahastok, Please look at the dates. I said I would wait 24 hours on 22:44, 4 February 2013 (UTC) and I did. I waited until 01:05, 6 February 2013 (UTC). That's clearly more than 24 hours. A person with your blemished record should take more care.

The purpose of the change in wording was to avoid the unnecessary repetition of a word. At the moment, unit/s occurs four times in quick succession. This is clumsy English. I believe that this could be improved. Even this would be better:

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)) but imperial units are still used as the the main units in some contexts, including...

Or this:

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)) but imperial units are still put first in some contexts, including...

Are there any comments about these proposals? Michael Glass (talk) 05:18, 7 February 2013 (UTC)


The edit you said you'd put in:

"In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)) but it may be imperial in some contexts, including..."

The edit you actually made:

"In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)) but imperial units can be the main ones in some contexts including..."

Saying you'll make a specific change, and then when it comes to actually doing it making a completely different change, is called "bad faith negotiating" at WP:GAME. The edit you actually made was a change in that you would then (and we know this from long experience) have tried to use it to game the system further, by claiming that the "can" is intended to allow you to override the rest of the rule.

The current rule is fine. Leave it alone. Kahastok talk 08:29, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Kahastok, just as you misread the time, you have misread what happened. I accepted what another editor had proposed and said I would add it to the policy if there was no further discussion in 24 hours. That is what I then did. The evidence is almost immediately above, but I will quote it:

:We could even reduce it to just one without losing meaning or clarity:

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)) but it may be imperial in some contexts, including...
What do you think? Credibility gap (talk) 19:00, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

I think it's great!. Your proposed wording is best of all. I'll wait 24 hours, and if there is no further discussion, I'll put it in the text. Michael Glass (talk) 22:44, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

You have made two accusations that are demonstrably false and have completely muddied the waters of this discussion. No wonder you get yourself into so much hot water! Michael Glass (talk) 20:44, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

I didn't misread the time, and I didn't misread what happened. You said you would put one text into the guideline, but then when it actually came to it you put a completely different text in. Anyone can look at your edit and see that the edit you actually made does not match the quote you cite. And the completely different text you put in just happens to be one you have a long history of gaming, that was removed precisely because of that long history of gaming.
It is trivial to demonstrate your habit of mass-metricating UK-related articles and it is not difficult to cite you using "can is not must" as an excuse for it. You just tried, for what must be at least the hundredth time, to game the system. If you don't like being called on gaming the system, don't game the system.
(And I have no idea what you mean by "so much hot water", my editing history in no way justifies such a claim. A long-since-resolved dispute over Gibraltar history is totally irrelevant to the point at hand.) Kahastok talk 21:57, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Come on now, you got yourself banned. It's part of the record. As for proposing one thing and putting something else in the text, that happened - after discussion - because another editor came up with a version that I thought was better. I then stated that I would go with that version unless there was some comment within 24 hours. It's quite normal to modify a proposal in the light of discussion. That is why I have made a further proposal, below. Michael Glass (talk) 02:55, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

There appears to be confusion here. Let me try to clarify it. Michael, the version you thought was better was, I believe, my last suggestion:- with just one appearance of the word unit. You seem to confirm that above too. However, that is not the version that you added. Whether by mistake, or not, the version you actually added was not that one, as Kahastok has correctly stated, it was one containing two appearances of the word unit and the word can which I never used. I hope that clarifies things. Credibility gap (talk) 07:33, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for that correction. I do apologise. I made the edit when pressed for time. I did mean to put in your wording and put a different version in by mistake. I wish to state that your version is better than mine and I am sorry that this has happened. It was certainly done in error. I was not trying to game the system. I hope that this clarifies the position. Michael Glass (talk) 09:36, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

And yet when the evidence was put to you, you repeatedly denied it. I put the two edits side by side, and you denied it. You, an editor with a long history of gaming the system, just happened to accidentally change it to a version that you have a record of using to game the system. Is that what you're saying? Kahastok talk 21:07, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Khastok, you are right that I missed it when you pointed it out. It is hard to take notice of someone whose only communication with me is full of so much hatred and venom. However, when Credibility pointed out that I had made a mistake I immediately apologised. If you do not wish to accept my apology, then so be it. Once again, I reject your charge of gaming the system. Michael Glass (talk) 02:39, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Unnecessary repetition of a word - a further proposal

In the section on units, that word is repeated four times in quick succession. The result is unduly repetitive. See below (emphasis added):

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally a metric unit (44 kilograms (97 lb)), but imperial units are still used as the main units in some contexts, including...

I believe we could reduce this repetition without changing the essential meaning of the passage.

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)), but imperial units are still used as the main units in some contexts, including...

This proposed wording is not perfect but it's an improvement on what is there at the moment. Is there any comment about this specific proposal? Michael Glass (talk) 20:44, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Given what happened last time, I oppose. Kahastok talk 21:57, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps, then, you will look at Credibility's suggested wording. I believe that this is best of all. Michael Glass (talk) 09:36, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Here is Credibility's suggested wording:

  • In non-science UK-related articles: the main unit is generally metric (44 kilograms (97 lb)) but it may be imperial in some contexts, including...

Michael Glass (talk) 12:55, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Given what happened last time, I remain opposed. I see nothing wrong with the status quo and given history, it would be singularly unsurprising if you turned around and came up with some radical reinterpretation based on the change. I note that you referred to your "can" version with "an even better wording" above - an indication that this would be heading to the "can is not must" argument again had I not stepped in. Kahastok talk 21:07, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Are you saying that the present wording must be read as a "must"? Michael Glass (talk) 13:08, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

It should be read as the preferred usage in the same way as every other rule here - subject to standard exceptions such as nominal or defined units, and subject to a reasonable application of common sense per WP:IAR and similar rules. What it means is that your habit of mass-converting articles with units marked as imperial here from imperial to metric without good reason is not just a issue because of WP:RETAIN and its underlying principles - it's equivalent to mass converting Australian-related articles into American English. Your argument that you can metricate anything because "can is not must" is and has always been gaming the system, but there is no need to give you the temptation. Kahastok talk 18:39, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Kahastok, you are still going on about edits that were done in 2011. It is now 2013 and the edits are still in place. If they were as unacceptable as you say, they would have been overturned long ago. Michael Glass (talk) 21:58, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

No it isn't. You were at it within the last couple of months. And the fact that people haven't got around to fixing your gaming - of thousands of articles - doesn't mean that it doesn't need fixing. Kahastok talk 22:16, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Kahastok. you have made two accusations:

  • You have accused me of defying Wikipedia policy in the last couple of months. I have checked my edit history and have not found any instance that could fairly be described in this way. Give me an instance of an edit that you believe goes against Wikipedia policy.
  • You have repeatedly accused me of gaming thousands of articles. How?

Please give me your answers. Michael Glass (talk) 07:57, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

I do not find it at all believable, after all the discussion we've had, and particularly after both of our comments not very much above this, that you are not aware of the answers to both those questions by now. Your mass-conversion of thousands of articles from a favoured style to a disfavoured style, on a rationale that has been continually rejected here when you have brought it up, is gaming the system. Kahastok talk 21:28, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

I notice that you have commented only on the edits that I did in 2011. At that time, many of the player profiles were undocumented and more than a few were inaccurate. They were also inconsistent, with some being metric first while others were imperial first. I went through the player profiles and documented the height of the players from Premier League and the Rugby League and so on, correcting the heights from the information that was given by the official bodies. By the time I had finished, most if not all of the current players had information that was documented from the official bodies and consistent, with the metric heights first, as was the information given by the official bodies (and also BBC Sport). However, unlike many of these bodies, I ensured that the conversion template was in place. Since that time the information on the height of the players in the player profiles has remained the way I left it. If you feel that this was gaming the system, so be it, but MOSNUM makes it clear that following the source in this instance is OK. Michael Glass (talk) 22:34, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

I also note that you did not back up your claim that I had gone against MOSNUM policy in the last two months. I repeat: give me an instance of any edit of mine made in the last couple of months that you believe goes against Wikipedia policy. Michael Glass (talk) 22:34, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Gaming the system again, are we? You know exactly what I'm referring to, stop pretending you don't. Deliberately trying to use the word of the policy to enforce a position against the spirit of the policy is gaming the system, whether you like it or not. Your mass-conversion of articles from a favoured style to a disfavoured style is strongly disruptive and you should stop. Kahastok talk 11:22, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Kahastok, I asked you a specific question and you have failed to answer it. You are like the dog in Proverbs 26:11. You repeatedly regurgitate the same foolishness. Please stop. Michael Glass (talk) 02:34, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Plural to singular

I think it would be preferable to fine tune the wording of MOSNUM at one point. The present wording is this:

  • If the primary units in an article differs from the source:
    • Either convert the measurements with a suitable degree of precision and quote the original figures in the citation,
    • Or use the original units at this point.

I feel that using the singular would be better here. It would then read like this:

  • If the primary unit in an article differs from a source:
    • Either convert the measurement with a suitable degree of precision and quote the original figure in the citation,
    • Or use the original unit at this point.

Generally, this issue is a one-off. A source may refer to imperial measures in an area which has since switched to the metric system. Or it could happen in reverse: a scientific article uses metric measures but the information is useful for a general article about some part of the United States. Of course, using the singular does not imply that the issue could not happen more than once in a given article just as using the plural does not imply that the issue could not happen as a one-off. Michael Glass (talk) 13:04, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Such a rule has been rejected here repeatedly. It is not reasonable to claim consensus because the twenty-first time you proposed this nobody noticed, given that it was rejected the previous twenty times. On past experience, this will be used to overturn the rest of the guideline - Michael's claim that "the issue could not happen more than once in a given article" does not match the way in which he has applied such rules when given the chance in the past. Whether singular or plural, it should not be here. Kahastok talk 18:41, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Sorry but I don't see this as necessary, it presumes only one fact in one unit is cited. The presumption that "the issue could not happen more than once in a given article" is not a credible one. Wee Curry Monster talk 21:04, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
I wrote "using the singular does not imply that the issue could not happen more than once in a given article" However, Kahastok has quoted me as stating the opposite and WCM has followed him in this misrepresentation. My proposal does not change the advice about what to do if the primary units in an article differs from a source. It does, however, correct a grammatical error and change a plural construction to the singular. Michael Glass (talk) 21:40, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Michael, I arrived at that conclusion on my own, I don't see this as a helpful suggestion that is all. If I can independently arrive at a similar conclusion, this should be seen as a comment on your proposal not you personally. Wee Curry Monster talk 21:55, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
My apologies for choosing the wrong quote from your message. I note, however, that I could have substituted the quote I used with "[g]enerally, this issue is a one-off" and the substance of the point would have been identical. You don't treat it as a one off. My point, I find, stands in full. Kahastok talk 22:13, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Kahastok, I accept your apology for misquoting me. I think that this issue is generally a one-off in an article, such as a reference to a 1000 acre farm in Australia. Of course that doesn't mean that there are not instances where there are more than one such reference in a given article. I fail to see why this is such a big issue with you. As far as I can see, my proposed edit makes no difference to the meaning of the passage and it corrects a grammatical error in the present version. Let me illustrate:

  • If the primary units in an article differs from the source: (Note the plural subject with a singular verb in the present wording. Also note how this wording implies that there is only one source of information.)
  • If the primary unit in an article differs from a source: (Note the agreement between the subject and the verb. Also note how the wording [a source] leaves open the number of sources - one, or more than one.)

I believe that these changes (and the others that I proposed) have no effect on the policy other than to correct the grammar and clarify the wording. Michael Glass (talk) 07:33, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

It shouldn't make the point at all. The point has been repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected on this page. The fact that such an error could be included demonstrates how thin the ice you were walking on when you put it in was. It should not be singular and it should not be plural. It should not be at all. Kahastok talk 21:29, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

I disagree. Policy need to have some flexibility. However, this discussion is simply going round and round. Let's give it a break. Michael Glass (talk) 23:01, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Whether certain points should be in the MOS subpage can be debated. Whether incorrect grammar should be there cannot be debated. I have corrected it. Argue about what should be there, not about correcting grammar. Peter coxhead (talk) 23:05, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Frankly the wording Michael wants is a rule-gamer's charter. So I'm changing it. Kahastok talk 11:22, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Does this change suit editors? (Source-based units)

The guideline says that we should ensure that changes to the policy should reflect the consensus. One proposal that I made went through the process of seeking consensus. [14]. However, one editor changed [15]:

this:

  • If the primary units in an article differ from the source:
  • Either convert the measurements with a suitable degree of precision and quote the original figures in the citation,
  • Or use the original units at this point.

to this:

  • In cases where the primary measurement in the article is different from the primary measurement in the source:
  • Ensure that the precision of the converted unit in the article appropriately matches the precision of the value from the source.
  • Consider quoting the source measurement in the citation, particularly when the source only provides one system of units.
  • In some cases it may be useful to avoid this by taking the unit used by the source as primary.

Does this reflect the consensus of editors better than the wording it replaced? I, for one, think that the shorter version is better. Michael Glass (talk) 03:27, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Well of course you do. It's a rule-gamer's charter. And as you demonstrated above, you make full use of it, by interpreting it in such a way as to override all the other rules in the section. Despite the fact that the principle of source-based units has been continually rejected here, as often as you have demanded it. You're supposed consensus was very weak and the principle has been strongly rejected since. FFS drop the stick. Kahastok talk 18:53, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Agree with Kahastok about rule-gaming, and also consider "Consider quoting the source measurement" is more appropriate than the version first stated in this thread because, depending on the nature of the article, the degree of precision, and the nature of the source, it may or may not be helpful to quote the value stated in the source. Jc3s5h (talk) 20:27, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Let's say you think it's a rule gamer's charter. It can only be that if there are a mass of sources that are at odds with the rule. In this case it calls the rule into question. However, leaving that aside, the ponderous wording of Kahastok's revision has its own disadvantages. Compare this:

  • In cases where the primary measurement in the article is different from the primary measurement in the source:

with this:

  • If the primary units in an article differ from the source:

The second version is obviously clearer, and there is nothing in it for playing one rule off against another.

Now look at this provision [emphasis added]:

  • Consider quoting the source measurement in the citation, particularly when the source only provides one system of units.

Why only consider quoting the source measurement? Why not quote the source? This is at odds with the advice on conversion errors which points out one of the disadvantages of using derived figures. If the source is of such poor quality that it is not worth noting, why even use that source? Surely it is good practice to quote the original figure, whether it is the acreage of a land grant in colonial Australia or the exact height of a mountain in Scotland. Once again, quoting the original data in the citation has nothing to do with playing one rule off against another.

This ponderous wording won't stop what it's meant to stop. However, it effectively gives the green light to suppressing the fact when source units are at odds with the information in the article. Michael Glass (talk) 22:24, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Actually, your own conduct demonstrates how it can be a rule-gamer's charter. Under your interpretation of your wording, we might as well do away with the rest of WP:UNITS - it's all redundant. Because you use these two bullet points to override every single other reference to units in the MOS. And let us also remember, at this stage, your habit of choosing your sources based on the units they use rather than their quality.
I note that this is not my wording, but the wording that was in place before you changed it to something you could more easily game. And I see no reason to instruct editors to always put a source unit in the citation: this does not reflect common practice and in many cases will be inappropriate as Jc3s5h notes.
But you know all this. The fact is that source-based units have been rejected on dozens of occasions when you've tried to push them here. This is exactly the same disruptive behaviour we saw at the Falklands, you bring up the same point, again and again, trying to force your POV, again and again, you don't drop the stick, again and again. Your behaviour increasingly serves no purpose other than disruption.
And it is for this reason that I once again call for a topic ban for Michael Glass from all discussion or alteration of units of measure, including the rules that govern them. I believe that this is the only way that this disruption can be halted. Kahastok talk 23:04, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Like you were banned, Kahastok? You come to this debate with dirty hands. What you do every time is to attack me and not the wording that I propose.

  • I believe that the wording that you put into the policy at this point is unnecessarily ponderous. The changes I have proposed have nothing to do with the rules on units and you know if. You are simply opposing them out of personal animosity.
  • I believe that you are deliberately lying when you claim that I have systematically chosen sources based on the units they use rather than their quality.
  • I believe that you are pursuing a personal vendetta when you raise the Falklands. You know full well that I have done virtually no editing on Falklands articles since an agreement was made on units of measure there, and that was several years ago.
  • Your behaviour towards me is sheer bullying. No wonder that you were banned for edit warring. Michael Glass (talk) 06:31, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Please take personal disputes to a more appropriate venue. Here, discuss wp:EDITSNOTEDITORS.LeadSongDog come howl! 14:11, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Given up on discussing content altogether then? A series of false allegations - all of which would be inappropriate even if true - do not make for content discussion. It's not my fault that you don't like the repeatedly-expressed consensus against source-based units. It is, however, a problem for everyone here that you insist on trying to push it so repetitiously.
It is disappointing that you claim that your proposals "have nothing to do with the rules on units": even if I had no idea of the way you would use these changes (and that ship sailed several years ago) the substantive difference you propose to make to the rules is obvious, and inappropriate. We should not be telling people that they have to put the source unit in the citation regardless of circumstances and even if we do they aren't going to do it. And we should not be coming anywhere near suggesting that we should be totally overriding the entire rest of the guideline with a system that has been rejected on this page on dozens of occasions. Your insults do not convince me to change my mind on either point. Kahastok talk 21:55, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
What we have here is a proposal that has been rejected ad nauseum, pursued by a single minded editor who cannot accept that wikipedia does not wish to adopt the metric system wholesale. I am an engineer, I use the metric system daily in my professional life and personally believe the imperial system to be archaic. However, I have consistently opposed a proposal to adopt the metric system universally on wikipedia for the simple reason it doesn't service our readers. I oppose source based units for a number of reasons. Firstly it favours those gaming the system, they select sources for agenda based editing (favouring wikipedia) rather than quality. Secondly it leads to inconsistency, eg Munro, a Munro is a mountain whose defining characteristic is that its summit is 3000 ft amsl. For consistency, we would give primacy to the imperial unit in this case as definining a Munro as having a summit 914 m amsl seems rather at odds with a quality article. Yet the editor proposing this change has edited Munro to state precisely that. I confidently expect a completely false accusation that references to my past mental health problems but which utterly fails to address the basic fallacy in the proposal. I urge other editors to reject it out of hand as detrimental to article quality on wikipedia. Wee Curry Monster talk 22:54, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

I have a bit of a problem with "Consider quoting the source measurement in the citation, particularly when the source only provides one system of units." Not that it's wrong, just that it might get taken too strictly. Often a source provides both metric and imperial, but one is precise and the other not, and it's obvious that the precision of the first is spurious, as it's simply a result of the conversion factor. Just because a source gives precise-looking number in metric, that doesn't mean the precision is justified, and reporting only the metric, or back-deriving the imperial from the metric, would introduce error into our data. Bogus precision is a problem with all sorts of data, such as Ethnologue population figures (an estimate of 40–60 million, say, from 1983 in one country plus a census result of 136,522 from 2004 in another country results in a ludicrous cited population of 50,136,522), but at least with unit conversion we can sometimes see the problem and avoid it. Any wording that helps us avoid bogus precision is to be encouraged. — kwami (talk) 23:02, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Does this change suit editors? (Second attempt - revised)

I agree with LeadSongDog that the personal dispute above is inappropriate in this venue, just as discussions about the Munro article should be discussed on the talk page of that article. My proposal in this thread was to consider two slight changes in wording that I believe would have no effect on the policy. One has been disputed, so I won't pursue it further. The other is to replace this:

  • In cases where the primary measurement in the article is different from the primary measurement in the source:

with this:

  • If the primary units in an article differ from the source:

This proposal has nothing to do with source based units, metrication, past disputes or anything else. It's about this wording above. It would be nice if the wording I proposed here could be discussed. My reason for pushing for this change is that the present wording is too verbose. That is all. Michael Glass (talk) 07:25, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. — kwami (talk) 22:52, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I don't care how many times this gets brought back. This is purely a style matter. Each publication has its house style, and I'm not in favour of deferring this stylistic element to an outside source as given by the proposal. Anderson pushed the boat out too far, and ended up where he deserved to be. We should stick with the units (and order) as preferred here within these walls, but with reference to external sources for data accuracy only. It's not a perfect world, and inevitably, sources will conflict due to conversion rounding, so be it. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 03:37, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
  • CONTINUING THIS DISCUSSION AD NAUSEUM IS DISRUPTIVE. I VOTE "REFUSE TO CONSIDER". Jc3s5h (talk) 14:16, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose People need to read the proposal and not react according to who was on what "side" in previous arguments. After I corrected the grammar (yet again; why was this undone?) the text in question reads "In cases where the primary units in the article are different from the primary units in the source". This is a bit more long-winded than the proposed "If the primary units in an article differ from the source" but the two mean exactly the same thing. Personally I slightly prefer the longer version which is easier to parse and understand. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:56, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose I did read the proposal and see no merit in it. Wee Curry Monster talk 13:23, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Could bad tempers be excluded from this page?

I remind editors that as part of the MOS this page falls under discretionary sanctions. All I see is ill-tempered accusations, and I'm sorry if I saw yours first, Kahastok and WCM, but they're unavoidable. Could you please express your contributions in non-personal terms and be a little more collegial in your approach? All of you? And before you shaft me personally for making this post, accusing me of bias as you did before, please consider that this would be more of the same. It's just not productive. Tony (talk) 12:45, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Absolutely right. For some of us this is a small but important part of the MOS – I mainly write about plants whose descriptions are in metric units in scientific sources but often in non-metric units in US and older UK horticultural sources. It's not helpful to find the text constantly changing through bad-tempered edit-warring, where people revert even minor grammatical corrections on the basis of some imagined bias. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:03, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
Tony, I might take your comments in good faith, except in my experience you never condemn Michael and you always, always point fingers in my direction. Really think about it, your approach seems more designed to put people's backs up than a genuine attempt at peace making. I'll make you a deal, act even handedly and I will stop commenting on the bias in your posts.
Also it isn't productive to constantly raise a proposal that has been repeatedly rejected either, that is also likely to lead to bad-tempered editing. Wee Curry Monster talk 13:31, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

"except on rare occasions where they are not redundant"

In WP:DATED what does the phrase, "except on rare occasions where they are not redundant" mean? Redundant with what?

Here's the phrase in context:

Is it OK to say "currently" or "recently" if it's not redundant? Redundant with what? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 13:42, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

I would understand it to mean redundant with the specification of time implied by use of the present tense, e.g."David Cameron is currently the prime minister of the United Kingdom".--Boson (talk) 12:20, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Era template?

I dimly recall a suggestion some time ago that a template be developed to alert editors about the established era style of an article (per WP:ERA)—something along the lines of the ENGVAR templates. DId this useful thing ever make it to the drawing board? Cynwolfe (talk) 19:48, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Sounds like an excellent idea for discussion. Would you give some examples, please? I tried {{Engvar}}, but the documentation was unhelpfull, and the template rendered nothing in the sandbox.— CpiralCpiral 21:20, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Years; reverts

Hi. MOS:YEAR states: "sports seasons spanning two calendar years should be uniformly written as 2005–06 season." But, at an article under FA review, an editor keeps on reverting me and another editor, to have those years read "2005-2006." See here.

He does not seem to think that this policy -- which I pointed him to -- controls. He has now reverted me and another editor three times in short succession. Thoughts?--Epeefleche (talk) 17:22, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Epee, if 2005−06 refers to a single sports season overlapping two calendar years, as basketball, hockey and other winters sports often do, then it should definitely be written as such. I am responsible for most of the current MOS language on point, and this represented the consensus opinion of the basketball, college basketball, hockey and football (soccer) project editors who participated in this discussion. It also represents the overwhelming majority practice in titling sports articles on Wikipedia.
It is less clear if this convention represents actual majority practice, MOS provisions notwithstanding, when 2005−06 refers to two separate sports seasons in two separate calendar years. In the case of two separate seasons, I would recommend avoiding the use of the dash in article body text, and referring to such as the "2005 and 2006 seasons," or something similar, for the sake of clarity. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:07, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Epee, I just looked at the link you provided above. Given that we are talking about the linked seasons used in the subject player's infobox, as given in the year spans of the player's tenure with each of the teams he has played for, I suggest that we apply common sense here. While technically correct, "(2005−06 — 2010−11)" is damn awkward, consumes more space, provides little additional clarity, and is not the way that the tenures are typically presented in the infoboxes by the various basketball Wikiprojects. I suggest you acquiesce in this instance. As you may have already noted, WikiProject NBA has a fairly sophisticated template system for accounting for team tenures in infobox year spans. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:13, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
"2005−06 — 2010−11" would surely not be "technically correct", since it uses spaced em-dashes. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:54, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
If you look, for example, at the first year reverted, you will see that the editor changed "2001-02" to 2001-2002", reverting two editors. That's the core issue, that then impacts the rest of the article, in both text and infobox. This MOS speaks directly to how such years should be reflected, and says that it should be the form that he has reverted (three times in the past few hours).
I'm not suggesting, btw, using "(2005−06 — 2010−11)". If/when that crops up, I would suggest (as is common) 2005-11 for such a year spread. The same as we would use it generally for such a spread. Which both comports with the MOS and with the goal of not consuming more space than is necessary. Also, this applies not just to the infobox but also to the text within the article; per MOS, those should be consistent. The principles at issue here are: a) MOS; b) MOS vs. wikiprojet -- which controls (note, this issue bleeds into all manner of other sports than basketball); c) not using digits that add zero info and just use up space, reducing reading comprehension in the process with clutter; and d) consistency between date presentation throughout the article, whether in lede, text, or infobox, or charts. Thanks.--Epeefleche (talk) 19:41, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
The important issue is surely clarity to readers, not using up space. In the context of an article about a sport whose season runs over two years and where seasons are expressed with forms like "2005–06", "2005–11" may be read differently from "2005–2011". (This has always been an issue with academic years in the UK, which run across calendar years. I always tried to remember to write in a reference that the subject was a student "between 2005/06 and 2007/08" rather than "between 2005 and 2008".) If "2005–11" means "from the 2005-06 season up to and including the 2010-11 season" then surely it's better to spell this out clearly, e.g. as "2005–06 to 2010-11". Only use "2005–11" when years not seasons are meant – it could be a longer time span as half-seasons at either end could be included. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:54, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Peter, I agree that clarity for the reader is paramount. Please take a look at the actual example:
  • 1994–2000 Washington Bullets / Wizards
    2000–2002 Dallas Mavericks
    2002–2004 Orlando Magic
    2004–2007 Houston Rockets
What do you think is the best way to present this data, where each of the four-digit years in the team tenures represents a linked NBA basketball season? Let's also acknowledge that this is the majority practice across all Wikipedia sports projects. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 21:39, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, firstly I preferred Epeefleche's original, since I'm not sure why the first two digits are repeated, contrary to MOS:YEAR. Secondly, in text, if seasons are meant, then I would write "1994–95 to 1999–2000" rather than "1994–2000". I do understand that brevity is a virtue in infoboxes, so there may be a case for the form actually used. I don't edit sports articles, let alone basketball; I only commented because I have had editing issues in the past over "long form" and "short form" year ranges.
I note that the edit comment when Epeefleche was reverted was "THIS IS NOT THE POLICY FOR INFOBOXES! We've discussed this several times on Wikiproject:Basketball, this was the infobox we decided on, if you have a problem, take it there." If there is a local consensus which differs from MOS:YEAR at Wikiproject:Basketball, it should be brought here to gain a wider consensus and then added to the MOS. Peter coxhead (talk) 23:49, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Agree w/Peter that I'm also not sure why the first two digits are repeated via the indicated reverts, contrary to MOS:YEAR. Also agree with regard to the edit summary at which I and the other editor were last reverted. Prior edit summaries on the reversions included statements such as "Nothing has been agreed to on Wikiproject basketball as far as changing the years in the infobox" and "Does not make any sense to cut short the years" and one revert without any edit summary. I've pointed repeated to MOS:YEAR, only to be reverted repeatedly with the above edit summaries, none of which sound right. If there were a consensus at a wikiproject -- whether basketball, football, hockey, or any other sport ... the issue is not specific to basketball, and raises precisely the same issues in the other sports, and should be treated consistently across all of them .. as Peter says to change existing MOS the issue should be brought here. If e.e. cummings and friends were to have the consensus in the widget wikiproject, we would get rid of capital letters in all widget articles.--Epeefleche (talk) 00:23, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Epee, it would not be the first time that MOS had a provision that was contrary to the Wikipedia-wide majority practice. That having been said, let's see if we can't bring in some of the other sports guys and see if we can't resolve this. The current "season" provision that you originally quoted above was written with the input of four or five different sports projects, when the alternative proposed was "2005/06," not "2005−06." It was written to account for standard article titling and usage in text. Unfortunately, no one raised the issue of standard practice for infoboxes, where the individual four-digit seasons in the tenures are linked to season articles. I'll post notices to the relevant WikiProject talk pages, so we can get wider input. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 00:46, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
The construction "(2005−06 — 2010−11)" looks really odd, and I wouldn't recommend it on that basis. If it is only one season spanning two calendar years, MOSNUM already says it should be use the slash between the years ("2005/06"). Having said that, I note that all sports articles seem to use the 'dash construction' ("2005−06") to denote a season. maybe therein lies the problem? -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 01:33, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Dirt -- in direct contrast to your bald, un-supported assertion, the "Wikipedia-wide majority practice" is actually MOS-compliant. Six digits. See the diffs in this string. It is the same as the ghit-wide majority practice. And the same as the hockey/American football/basketball majority practice. Also six digits. All as reflected in the diffs presented.--Epeefleche (talk) 04:27, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Epee, I'm not sure why we're returning to this particular point three days after the fact, especially when the discussion has moved on (see below). That having been said, I am usually fairly precise in my use of language, but in this case I was probably not sufficiently so. I do not dispute that the 6-digit year span format is the majority practice across most Wikipedia subject areas, but it is equally indisputable that the 8-digit format is used in the overwhelming majority of player infoboxes in Wikipedia sports biographies (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, college football, college basketball, association football, etc.). Nothing more, nothing less. Beyond acknowledging those basics, I don't see the need to argue this particular point further. It does not advance the ball, if you will pardon the metaphor. (BTW, please be careful to maintain the thread order; you have interposed a comment at the top of the point and counterpoint between Ohconfucius and me from three days ago, making it devilishly difficult for other readers to make heads or tails out of this portion of the thread without reconciling the dates and times of all comments. Thanks.) Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 05:02, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
OhConfucius, MOS:YEAR actually provides the following: "Year ranges, like all ranges, are normally separated by an en dash, not a hyphen or slash: 2005–06 (unspaced) generally denotes a two-year range; 2005/06 may be used to signify a period of 12 or fewer months, such as a corporate or governmental fiscal year, if that is the convention used in reliable sources; sports seasons spanning two calendar years should be uniformly written as 2005–06 season."
MOS:YEAR recognizes that "2005-06" is the proper convention for a single sports season that spans two calendar years, not "2005/06". The "2005/06" convention may be used for financial reports, government budgets, etc., where reliable sources demonstrate that it is standard usage. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 05:48, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
OK, I stand corrected. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 06:55, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Nobody is advocating for the first-indicated construction.
The issue is 2011-12 (1.39 billion ghits) vs. 2011-2012 (363 million ghits). As you can see from the ghits, the approach excluding the extra digits (which impart zero info) is standard. If you search NBA.com, the official basketball website for the NBA, you will see that 2011-12 is also the preferred approach (13,500 hits vs. 3,700 hits). If you search NHL.com, the official hockey site for the NHL, you will see that it is the preferred approach (1,900 hits vs. 100 hits). If you search NFL.com, the same (more than 2-1). And more than 3-1 for the Euroleague basketball league. And that is what our MOS calls for. The hyphen is not an issue.--Epeefleche (talk) 01:41, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
When referring to a range between two years, MOSNUM says we use the former (two-digit) as opposed to the latter (four-digit) where the years are in the same century. Incidentally, we NEVER use a single digit. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 02:52, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • From the perspective of the psychology of reading, I believe two closing digits are superior to four. I thought this was mandated by our style guides already ... Tony (talk) 02:58, 21 March 2013 (UTC) PS And Peter, ""2005−06 — 2010−11"" is exactly the context in which I think the MOS suggests "to" should be used. It's like temperature ranges below zero, in which the operator will get confused to the eyes with the range dash. So why not ""2005−06 to 2010−11" ... Tony (talk) 02:59, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Part of the problem seems to be that the templates display four-digit years for both start and end dates. This has the advantage of being uniform, particularly in instances where the century turns. But as that is not the case here, that's moot. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 03:01, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Templates are so often a degradation in our editorial standards. Is this the case here? Tony (talk) 03:03, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • That template does not produce information in a format that you/the guideline suggests. The template introduces some redundancy, and uses a dash between the two years (or seasons). It may be slightly inaccurate, but I think here the years also coincide with the seasons. However, I would actually say that the real problem lies in linking to the first and last seasons in any event – it implies all the intervening years, if any, don't exist. So I question the point of actually linking any of the years. Maybe we should junk the template and write it per our convention. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 03:09, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Actually, I've had a closer look at the template. It seems that it's actually set up to display in the correct fashion if used properly (i.e. it's WP:YEAR compliant). However, use in the infobox to show a player's career in the way it was used by said editor at Juwan Howard does not comply with those requirements. I've now re-edited the infobox for compliance with WP:YEAR. However, the point about links to the intervening years remains, IMHO. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 03:30, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Your fix was a great improvement; sadly now reverted. The version there now is idioticillogical: both ends of a range like "2004–05" are linked to the same season. Sigh... Peter coxhead (talk) 09:56, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Actually I've just realized that this version is just inconsistent in its formatting/linking. Some single season ranges have links to both ends; some don't. Ugh! Peter coxhead (talk) 10:01, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm more and more convinced that the years should not be linked at all. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 13:27, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

As an editor who primarily focuses on basketball, I say WP:MOS be damned. It's more confusing to someone like me who knows about basketball when it's written as 2005–06 rather than 2005–2006 (in referencing to infoboxes). Also, I bet nobody here who is advocating all basketball tenures be written as "2005–06" rather than "2005–2006" will do a thing about actually changing them. There are thousands (10k+ perhaps) of bball bios whose number system would need changing, and WP:MOS is a place where people come to argue pedantics. Then, when they don't get their way, can just point to a previous WP:MOS archived discussion to say "look, I'm the one who's technically correct!" That is what will happen here undoubtedly. A few bball bios get changed, but the vast majority will remain untouched. Then those promoting the "2005–06" viewpoint will be satisfied that another trivial debate took place. Look, just leave the basketball bios as 2005–2006 in the infoboxes. In prose, write it out as "2005–06 to 2007–08." Jrcla2 (talk) 15:59, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

If I interpret you correctly, you are saying that in infoboxes the full four-figure dates are used but in text a different form is preferred. Fine; I have no problem with this. But the right course is not to ignore the MOS but to change it. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:41, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Look, the eight digit year span for sports club tenures exist in basketball and association football infoboxes (two sports whose seasons span 2 calendar years) for one reaseon - aesthetics. It just plain doesn't look clean to users to have 8 digit spans for multi-season spans and 6 digits for single season tenures. So given that a consistent look/feel was going to cause inconsistency over 6 or 8 digit, 8 was chosen. I don't remember which project picked it up first, but the other followed in a good faith attempt to try to obtain relative consistency for athletes across projects. Incidentally, the look also matches the look of American football and baseball infoboxes/templates - but these are single calendar year sports so the difference isn't an issue. MOS was adapted originally from paper-based manuals of style (such as that published by the Associated Press) and I am not sure that Wikipedia-centric things like infoboxes and templates (because in addition to articles there are about 400 college basketball coach navboxes that display tenures the same way) were considered that deeply in it.
I would recommend the articles follow MOS (which by and large they do) and infoboxes/templates keep the 8 digit format. Infoboxes and templates are meant to be clean-looking navigation/browsing aids for the reader - I think the display difference between single season and multi season is a pretty fine distinction to try and get across in those formats and personally think look/feel is more important for them. Part of me may be influenced by knowing (as Jrcla said) it's me and people like me who will carry the load to dutifully change every navbox and infobox (literally thousands) to fit the new standard. I have spent the last month going into basketball articles of all stripes enforcing OVERLINK standards - it is not a very self-actualizing experience - and I shudder to think about going back into all of those same articles, plus hundreds of others to enforce this MOS standard. My personal opinion is adapt MOS as Peter coxhead suggests - at least offering this as an option to display sport season tenure spans in infoboxes and templates. Rikster2 (talk) 17:35, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I must point out that the MOS is NOT a policy. Even the banner at the top says "Use common sense in applying it; it will have occasional exceptions". Echoing Jrcla2 and Rikster2, I believe an exception should be made for infobox to keep the 8 digit format.—Chris!c/t 20:38, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

2011-12 vs. 2011-2012

  • A number of reasons have been offered for the 6-digit approach. In other words, why we should use 2011-12 (1.39 billion ghits) rather than 2011-2012 (363 million ghits).

A) MOS indicates in MOS:YEAR that 6 digits is the proper format.

B) MOS trumps a wikiproject on MOS issues. MOS trumps any collection of editors at one or more wikiprojects (if there is even indeed a consensus at any/all relevant wikiprojects). And the issue impacts far more than one or two sports; it affects articles across the project.

C) Consistency. A primary goal of wp, and of MOS. Per WP:MOS: "Consistency in ... style, and formatting promotes clarity and cohesion." Consistency in this case includes consistency within the article -- between infobox and lede and text and tables. MOS stresses that style and formatting choices should be consistent within an article. It includes consistency between different sports. And it includes consistency in articles beyond sports articles (think fiscal years of corporations that do not start on January 1, for example).

D) Most common format. The 6-digit format is the preferred format generally, as reflected across all subjects in gsearches, as evidenced above (79%).

E) Basketball. Taking basketball as an example, as reflected above 6 digits is the preferred approach at NBA.com (78% of the time). And it is the preferred approach at Euroleague (over 75% of the time). It is also the preferred approach in websites of leagues of other major sports, such as hockey (95% of the time) and football (over two thirds of the time).

F) Common sense. Why would we include extra digits that impart zero information? Which just take up space and reading time? We may as well just type in "la la la la" in the middle of articles. Brevity is the soul of wit. Omit needless words (and digits).

Reasons offered for the longer, 8-digit format include:

a) Assertion that it is wikipedia practice.

But in fact, as a general matter, across the project, 2011-12 has 38,000 hits, while 2011-2012 has 13,000 hits. 6 digits actually is the format 75% of the time.

b) Assertion that it is the wikipedia practice in basketball articles.

Not sure that would matter, without more. If the tiddlywinks wikiproject, or practice in tiddlywinks articles, were to use ALL CAPS ... would we say, THAT IS A GREAT IDEA? But in any event, let's actually check. Searching "'2011-12' basketball" we have 3,800 hits. The 8-digit format? 2,500 hits. 60% of the time it is MOS-compliant.

c) Comment that infoboxes should be treated differently.

But why? That cuts against consistency; a core MOS goal. Even within the article itself. And if anything, the goal of brevity is greater in the infobox.

d) MOS be damned -- I like it longer, and I edit many basketball articles.

Subjective "ILIKEIT" argument.

e) Aesthetics. "I think more digits looks cleaner."

Another subjective "ILIKEIT" argument. Others view aesthetics as requiring the shorter form, and think that the shorter form "looks cleaner". And others also argue that the shorter form is more read-able. Which I agree with. The rule of thumb for readability is to omit needless symbols that impart zero additional info. Not to add them.

f) There are many dates that would have to be changed.

It appears that if we are to be consistent, more would have to be changed to be consistent the non-MOS way. If we are worrying about consistency, and making changes to actually be consistent, it would seem this sensitivity would militate in favor of the shorter form.

g) Assertion that nobody will help change those articles that exist in non-MOS format.

h) Common sense.

Though this is stated as an argument, it is not clear why common sense would lead us to use the longer form, not used by the majority of the world searchable in google, not used by the majority of wp articles, not used by the majority of wp basketball articles, in conflict with MOS, inconsistent even within the article itself, adding extra digits that impart zero value and can only take up space and slow the reader.

That's an assumption; I would, and if we have a script or a bot I expect it would move in the right direction, as it has moved with date formats.--Epeefleche (talk) 21:55, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Comment. Thanks for sketching out the pros and cons as you see them, Epee. I think it's important to recognize and re-affirm that we are not talking about how an individual season is presented; everyone agrees that an individual sports season that spans two calender years should be written using the "2011−12" convention. Everyone is on board with that. What is at issue is how best to present a coach or player's tenure with a particular team which spans multiple seasons. In other words, not the "2011−12" season, but the four separate seasons encompassed by the tenure "2009−2013," for example. Several of your ghit stats above seem to be relevant to the first issue, but not to the second. In text, this is easily resolved by using words, rather than dashes -- saying, for example, "Jones coached the Fooville Fooians football team from 2009 to 2013." The question is how best to present those multi-year tenures in player and coach infoboxes, especially in light of the present practice of linking season articles to the beginning and ending years of those tenures. Hopefully, everyone at least is clear what we're actually arguing about. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 22:11, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
  • We (certainly, I when I started this, and the editor who did the reverting alluded to) are talking about both 2001-2002 and 2001-2003. See the very first entry in this string. See the first diff. I don't think I've even seen any editors assert: "let's in the infobox say Joe played for team x in 2000-01, and team y in 2001-2003." And if they were to do so, first of all there is the obvious point that they would be now advocating for inconsistencies within the infobox itself (which would be astounding). And for what purpose?
Bottom line --your pointing to what I believe is a distinction without a difference. It's all the same. Your 8-digit format won't inform the reader of any additional information whatsoever simply by adding those two zero-information digits. Nobody has shown or even suggested that it imparts greater information. Adds zero to comprehension. Plus, all that was said above applies.
And yes -- check all the stats above, using ... say 2009-12 and 2009-2012. As in articles that mention those date ranges and basketball. "2009−12" basketball gets 1,380 hits. "2009−2012" basketball gets 180 hits. Overwhelmingly, MOS-compliant 6-digit format. 88% of the time. Even more emphatically than in the above examples.--Epeefleche (talk) 22:27, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Observation - if MOS is so adamant that the 8 digit span isn't correct, why does it state this: Forms such as the 1700s are normally best avoided since it may be unclear whether a 10- or 100-year period is meant (i.e. 1700–1709 or 1700–1799). Remember that the 18th century (1701–1800) and the 1700s (1700–1799) do not span the same period. Rikster2 (talk) 23:39, 21 March 2013 (UTC) Another observation - NBA.com actually uses the 8 digit format for historical players - see this example. Rikster2 (talk) 23:55, 21 March 2013 (UTC) Third observation in re-reading epeefleche's summation I am offended by the tone (tiddlywinks project, get the hell out of here). If this is your idea of trying to gain consensus - especially knowing that you have absolutely no intention to help implement a solution if it is different from the status quo - then I don't know what to say. Guess I'm done trying to contribute anything in good faith to this discussion and I'll be damned if I'll spend ANY of my time changing articles after this is done. Zero. Rikster2 (talk) 00:11, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Rikster -- Observation 1 refers to MOS language that is not about using 6 or 8 digits; it is about using 1700s and using 18th century (what you point to is what we might call dicta). In contrast, MOS:YEAR speaks specifically to how to present sports season spans' it uses the six-digit approach (in accord with most of the internet, most league articles, most wikipedia articles, and most wikipedia basketball articles it would seem). Observation 2 - the point reflected in the diffs was that NBA.com (as well as Euroleague and NHL.com and NFL.com) most commonly use the 6-digit format. From 67% of the time to 95% of the time. Not that they never use the 8-digit format. WP often focuses on the "most common" approach (see, e.g., in choosing names for articles). Observation 3 -- Huh? You have something against tiddlywinks? Great -- then read it as widgets. Or basketaball. The point is that wikiprojects - whether on an individual sport or game or widget -- don't make MOS policy on format decisions like this that impact a wider swath of articles that the ambit of the wikiproject. In addition, you made a false assertion as to what you know about me when you wrote: "especially knowing that you have absolutely no intention to help implement a solution if it is different from the status quo". Finally, while you've addressed some of it, for the most part you haven't addressed points A-F above in favor of 6 digits.--Epeefleche (talk) 07:58, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

MOS:DATE actually gives no compelling reason why year ranges should be written in 6-dight format. The MOS people didn't do anything better either other than telling us just follow the 6-dight format because we say so and that is the way it is. I am also deeply disappointed by the negative and disrespectful tone of certain MOS people. Now I finally know why some editors at different projects hate to deal with the MOS people. I must again point out that the MOS is not a policy, it is just a guideline, which means editors can choose not to follow it if it makes little sense. Also the MOS people do not consider the additional work involved in making the change at all, because let's face it, they don't have to do anything. All they got to do is sit back and order editors of other projects to do it. Since I disagree and have better things to do, I will not help implement this petty change. If the MOS wants to enforce the rule themselves, feel free.—Chris!c/t 01:52, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

  • If you are looking for reasons beyond the MOS (point A above), see points B-F above. There are lots of reasons there, ranging from consistency (and the benefits thereof), to it being the most common format across ghits (and sports leagues and wikipedia and wikipedia basketball articles), to zero benefit from the 2 extra needless digits (common sense). I would submit that it makes sense not to include extra needless digits. It makes little sense, in contrast, to add meaningless digits that add zero to the article into the article. And I don't know who the MOS editors are -- but I'm a sports editor, who spends my time writing sports articles. I came here as I was doing an FA review of one.--Epeefleche (talk) 08:06, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Also count me as someone who won't bother making a single change in favor of MOS when it comes to this particular issue. When I may happen to edit a basketball player's article for some other reason, and their infobox uses xxxx–xx, I may even change it to xxxx–xxxx; "MOS be damned." Jrcla2 (talk) 03:25, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

It is (or should be) perfectly clear that you are not required to follow the MoS when you write, and you may of course damn it as much as you like. However knowingly, and for no good overriding reason, changing away from MoS is not acceptable behaviour - Wikipedia operates by consensus. Rich Farmbrough, 03:59, 22 March 2013 (UTC).
That goes to the heart of the issue: whether consensus at the MOS trumps consensus elsewhere. In the case of sports articles many more editors are involved outside the MOS than within it. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:47, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Focus on specific issues

Let's avoid getting into old arguments about the status of the MOS (and I admit I'm as guilty as others in sometimes bringing this up). It seems to me that there is a consensus that in text the guidance in the MOS is sound, i.e. use forms like "2002–03" for a single season, with multiple seasons being represented by forms like "2002–03 to 2008–09". The only serious area of disagreement seems to be over infoboxes, where I think there are several specific issues:

  1. Should a form like "2002–03 to 2008–09" be replaced in an infobox by a form with a single start and end date?
  2. If (1) is agreed, should this form be "2002–09" or "2002–2009"?
  3. Whatever is agreed in (2), should the same format be used for all date ranges in the infobox, whether a single season or multiple seasons, for consistency?
  • Personally, I would answer "yes" to (1): there are very good reasons to compress information in infoboxes, particularly to avoid them becoming too wide and interfering with the article text, especially when viewed on mobile devices. I would personally prefer the two-digit end year format in (2), but I don't have strong feelings either way and I don't edit sports articles. If there's a consensus among those who create sports infoboxes to use the four-digit end year, then fine. I would also probably answer "yes" to (3), for aesthetic reasons. What I would like is for us to reach a consensus on these three issues, and then put that consensus in the MOS. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:26, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Thank you for refocusing this discussion, Peter. I believe that you have defined the issue precisely, as well as specifying the only alternative solutions. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 12:20, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't think there is any doubt that a single sports season spanning two calendar years should be expressed in xxxx–xx form, e.g. 2002–03 as seen in 2002–03 NHL season, 2002–03 NBA season, and 2002–03 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. However, in cases where there is a span of of multiple seasons, the overwhelming practice found in articles pertaining to many different sports is to express such ranges in xxxx–xxxx form. You can finds thousands and thousands of instances of this form in infoboxes, navboxes, and record tables concerning American college sports, Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, and association football. The xxxx–xxxx form also appears to be the standard found on disambiguation pages to express parenthetical years of birth and death for biographical listings; see David Smith. Jweiss11 (talk) 04:59, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Years of birth and death are a different issue (although I think the MOS does not reflect the normal style which is not to abbreviate the death year). Peter coxhead (talk) 10:09, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Just amplifying my comment above...xxxx–xx form is indeed the standard for single seasons referenced in isolation. When they are referenced in infoboxes, navboxes, and record tables in parallel with multi-year ranges, the standard is to express those single seasons in xxxx–xxxx form. For an example see infobox and head coaching record table for Norman Shepard's single-season tenure at North Carolina. Also see: List of North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball head coaches and Template:North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball coach navbox. Jweiss11 (talk) 05:06, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
That might be the case, but our readership is much wider. The shorter version is not only more appropriate for a space-constrained infobox; it is more easily read by the general reader. Tony (talk) 11:39, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
You have proof evidence for that assertion about readability, of course? Quale (talk) 23:35, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
He does have evidence, his own common-sense assertion. Or would you like an official government study? OGBranniff (talk) 23:51, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
"Readability" is completely subjective. So, yes, if an argument to make this big a change is based on "readability" then some sort of evidence should be presented. It isn't "common sense" - I'd actually argue there is no significant difference between 6 and 8 digit date formats when it comes to "readability." Rikster2 (talk) 01:28, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Conformity; Bots. A primary mandate of wp:MOS is that we should seek consistency. It states: "Consistency in ... style, and formatting promotes clarity and cohesion."

Some discussion above focused on the presumed editor labor involved in achieving consistency by applying the MOS 6-digit approach. First, given that most articles are already MOS-compliant, bringing the minority into conformity would be less work than doing the opposite. Second, as suggested before, it is worth exploring whether this is something a bot could handle. Rich F, given his experience, would know better than anyone else. He would also be the perfect person to figure out the best way to roll out such a bot. If such changes can be handled by a bot, that largely addresses any such "editor labor" concern.--Epeefleche (talk) 00:14, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

  • One of the problems in this case is the deliberate use of the {{NBA Year}} template in such a fashion to deliberately override the 6-digit approach, and continuing to argue how this is somehow different to how seasons are displayed. I'm not sure that the use of 8-digits successfully obviates the potential ambiguity when the consistent application of a 6-digit approach is more concise and aesthetically pleasing. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 00:53, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
"Aesthetically pleasing" is a subjective term. Many would say having a consistent 8 digit format in all cases (even in cases where the tenure spans the turn of a century) is "aesthetically pleasing" Rikster2 (talk) 01:42, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
  • OC, it's not just the NBA player articles that use this so-called 8-digit format. Right or wrong, this same infobox format is used by MLB, NFL, NHL, association football, and American college sports articles, too. Current usage represents quite literally tens of thousands of articles. Yes, I know that's not determinative of the issue, and stylistic consistency is a real issue in this discussion, but no one should presume that this is some eccentric minority practice confined to the NBA. That is something to consider. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 01:21, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
    • First, let me just reconfirm that we are discussing how date formats appear for club tenures in infoboxes and navboxes - not articles and stat tables, for which no one is arguing a deviation of current MOS for 6-digit tenures.
    • I would disagree with the assertion that the 8 digit format is not used in these types of circumstances (summary profiles of athletes showing club tenure). Epeefleche's citing of ghits is irrelevant, because those results are not restricted to summary profiles of athletes showing club tenure. They also include prose and stat tables - which we are expressly not arguing here. Infoboxes are their own animal.
    • With respect to summary profiles of athletes showing club tenure, there are many examples where the 8 digit date format is used to express club tenure. Here are examples from the NBA, the Premier League, the NHL, the NFL and Major League Baseball (Search any common name in the historical dbase and see what comes back). To be fair, the six digit date format is also sometimes used in these cases - but not even close to exclusively.
    • Given that both the 6 and 8 digit date formats exist and are used for this exact purpose by many of the world's largest professional sports leagues, I would argue that this is a style choice that is acceptable for this use.
    • It was this style choice that the sports projects chose in order to display club tenure in infoboxes and navboxes in large part because it would represent a uniform format - regardless of if showing a single season, a range of seasons, if the tenure occurred over the turn of a century, or any other case. I would argue that there is value to the reader to always see tenures represented the same way in an infobox or navbox in terms of easy scanability of what is meant to be a quick view of the athlete's career.
    • Since the 8 digit date format is a style choice found as an acceptable variant to the 6 digit format for summary profiles of athletes to show club tenure, and since this variant is widely used for this purpose in the "real world" of athlete profiles, I would argue that this should be an acceptable format for these purposes on Wikipedia and MOS should be amended to reflect this. I simply don't think there is sufficient case to change the de facto standard of Wikipedia in this matter given that this exact same format is used for this exact same purpose all over the world wide web. Rikster2 (talk) 01:25, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
      • I see that there is an attempt to shift the argumentation away from what format is compliant with the MOS, which the 8-digit form is not, to what style is "acceptable" in theory and apparently used "quite widely" in the sports context in the outside world, thus a suitable "style choice" for this and all other similar sports articles here on wikipedia. It also seems to be an attempt to change how the guideline is applied (creating a de facto exemption because it is already being deployed in "tens of thousands of articles") without actually changing the wording. While consistency must remain the watchword, and it has been argued that 8-digit form used consistently is possible and thus acceptable, I still think that 6-digit form is more suited to infoboxes and is more aesthetically pleasing principally because of the lower redundancy in digits that impart no additional information. Use of one 'system' for articles (6-digit) and prose and arguing for another for denoting seasons in infoboxes (6-digit) in such a way is actually inconsistent use that creates ambiguity. -- Ohconfucius ping / poke 02:50, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
        • you just keep your accusations of people trying to shift arguments to yourself. Re-read petercoxhead's summary above - which has been affirmed by others as an accurate summation of what we are discussing. I think it's clear the MOS doesn't agree with the current de facto standard for athletic infoboxes and half the arguments have to do with how widely spread the 8 digit year range is in "the real world" for these cases. I think formats used for this exact purpose in other web-based data sources are very relevant to what MOS should reflect for Wikipedia. Rikster2 (talk) 03:23, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Rikster, in fairness to Ohconfucius, I'm not sure that it was intended as an "accusation," but it probably wasn't the best choice of words, either. I don't see any reason to belabor the point; we need to ratchet down the rhetoric, not turn up the heat. I do think OC's summary represents a good-faith summary of where we are . . . .
The eight-digit convention is demonstrably the majority practice within the sports bio infoboxes; OTOH, the eight-digit format does not satisfy a literal reading of the current language of MOS:YEAR. Having recognized those fundamental truths, I agree that Peter Coxhead's summary of the issues and possible options for resolution(s), as stated at the beginning of this subthread, represents the only way forward. I suggest that we focus on Peter's options for resolution, rather than picking over the bones of the arguments that preceded Peter's summary. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 03:41, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

So where are we on this? It seems like a call needs to be made, otherwise you can bet there will be no consistency between articles as some will use the 6 digit format and others will use the 8 digit - with no standard to guide the way. Rikster2 (talk) 02:34, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm late to the game here. Can someone please summarize the key points? Based on Rikster2's comment, I assume there is no consensus yet.—Bagumba (talk) 17:18, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Sure. An effort to distill the main points on both sides is set forth here. Discussion following that re-hashed many of those points, but is worth looking at as well.--Epeefleche (talk) 17:22, 6 April 2013 (UTC)