Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers/Date Linking RFC

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Depreciate and Deprecate[edit]

'Depreciate' refers to how the value of something declines over time. 'Deprecate' means you are asking people to not use something any more. Though I didn't change this in the RFC, I would suggest that 'should be deprecated' ought to be replaced by 'are deprecated.' I.e., we are asking you not to use it any more. The analogy in software are deprecated features, that are still supported, but are considered unadvisable, since they may not be supported in the future. EdJohnston (talk) 21:29, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. 'Are deprecated.' is a demonstrable fact by the current Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers), the issue is whether it should be. Taemyr (talk) 06:54, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
That assumes that MOSNUM represents the judgment of the community, which is the point under discussion. Is disliked by some editors is a demonstrable fact; I'm one of them. Is disliked by many might be true, and this RfC is a way to demonstrate it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:17, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Indeed and if this is the result I'm happy to live with it. I just think there's a greater opportunity here since we're not a paper encyclopedia. —Locke Coletc 00:25, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Procedural request[edit]

When this goes live, please be sure this gets added to MediaWiki:Watchlist-details for at least a few days. —Locke Coletc 02:08, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Questionable phrase[edit]

"It should also be noted that as with other links, normally an article should link to a date only the first time the date appears in the article." Since when has that been a guideline of linking dates? Dabomb87 (talk) 03:13, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

The relevant guideline for a wikilink to any kind of article is Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links)#Overlinking and underlinking. It states "A link for any single term is excessively repeated in the same article. "Excessive" typically means more than once for the same term in an article." If we consider wikilinking to look up more information about the date as a separate issue from wikilinking to perform date autoformatting, there is no reason not to follow this guideline. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 16:00, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
The wording of this MOSLINK section is perhaps not completely satisfactory: In a table that has a date row, but which is not sorted by date, it would be quite odd to follow it. But the same problem exists with other links, and I guess that is usually handled sensibly. So it's not really a dates issue. --Hans Adler (talk) 08:23, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

If autoformating is deprecated.[edit]

Should we include a section on how date format should be handled if autoformatin is deprecated? Taemyr (talk) 06:50, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

I assume you mean the type of language that is currently "Use US-formatted dates if US-centric article" etc? I didn't see this as much of an issue, but this could be included, though it would be helpful to identify the options that are in question for it. --MASEM 07:02, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
On second thought I do see that that is a reasonable question here (as there's still active discussion of it), so I've added that, though if there are more choices for how to approach it than I've listed, please add it. --MASEM 14:22, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
No really, I assure you that is a baaaaaad idea... I've removed this, as it is a separate issue that has already been settled after very long and well-publicized discussion, even more so than the date autoformatting issue.--Kotniski (talk) 14:38, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Understood - though, while we are trying to grab everyone's attention and opinion here, if there are those that feel this wasn't satisfactory agreed to be consensus (not because the consensus-derived result didn't meet their desires), we should consider readding it. It can't hurt if there is a lingering question over it. Mind you, I agree its unrelated to date linking and formatting, but it is a recent issue with dates and makes sense to address it here. --MASEM 14:54, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
If people want to raise it, let them raise it at the appropriate place, but let's not encourage them to do it here - we're already overloaded with issues as it is.--Kotniski (talk) 15:11, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Previously discussed at length and agreed upon. It makes little sense to unearth that one. Ohconfucius (talk) 07:18, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

the order of the questions[edit]


the changes i want to propose aren't just rewording, so i'd rather discuss them here first:

  • it's confusing to start this RfC by asking whether people want DA at all and then to ask whether people agree with the deprecation of the current system of DA'ing via wikilinks. it seems to me that asking "should developers work out some other method of DA" would make more sense as the last question in the RfC, or possibly one of the options to "vote" for in the question about deprecating the current DA system.
  • the question about the deprecation of the current system should in my opinion be the first question - but it needs to be formulated more clearly, since lots of people don't know what "deprecate" means. Sssoul (talk) 11:18, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

links among "chronological" articles[edit]

in the sections on month-day links and year links, is it worth pointing out that everyone seems to agree (i think?!) that articles about "chronological items" should link to one another, so that the RfC doesn't get sidetracked by fears that the month-day and/or year pages would be orphaned? Sssoul (talk) 18:42, 20 November 2008 (UTC)


"should remain deprecated" → "should be deprecated". Also, I think it might be wise to have a brief (one or two paragraph) "Statement for" and a "Statement against" under each question. Otherwise we might find ourselves with a situation where date auto formatting is desirable but the current method has been deprecated (which isn't entirely mutually exclusive I admit, but does seem at odds). —Locke Coletc 00:13, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

the brief "background" statements present both "for" and "against" views; and yes it's obvious that people might be in favour of some form of autoformatting but not the current system. and "remain deprecated" is appropriate, considering the current MoS. Sssoul (talk) 09:09, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
"should remain deprecated" is the correct. The MoS is clear right now, the question is whether to change the existing language.--User:2008Olympianchitchatseemywork 06:44, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Should be deprecated is correct. The present statement of the MoS includes "deprecated", but whether there was a consensus for inclusion is unclear. Perhaps more clarification to that effect would be appropriate. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:23, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
If you are talking about Proposal 1, it asks if the statement "Dates should not be linked purely for the purpose of autoformatting (even though in the past this was considered desirable)." should be retained. It did not say anything about the phrase's validity or community support. If that statement is not what you are talking about, please clarify. Dabomb87 (talk) 22:29, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Any major problems? Would like to initiate this ASAP[edit]

Does anyone see any major problems with this at this point? We should really try to launch this ASAP (this weekend would be ideal as to catch people before the holiday as well as after) and unless anyone sees anything major, I think it is complete. I'm seeking to get on the watchlist-details though with two existing notices, it might be hard to squeeze in there. (we may have to wait until one is completed before this is posted). --MASEM 14:41, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Who has a holiday? I want to live there... No, I think it's ready to roll. Let's do it.--Kotniski (talk) 17:31, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Other than my suggestions above it looks good to me. Getting it in the watchlist details though is pretty much mandatory or else it'll just be a few MOSNUM regulars plus whoever wanders by (not an ideal situation IMO). —Locke Coletc 19:47, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Nevermind, I hadn't noticed the recent edits which seem to have skewed the arguments against date autoformatting. Neutral wording in the first two questions is mandatory or any result is going to be hard to take seriously. —Locke Coletc 21:11, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
For RFCs, (particularly with what I saw with the WP:N RFC), you want to put forward "we are going to do this, do you agree or not"? type statements as much as possible, particularly when it is a binary choice (do we DA or not DA). This does skew the argument, but it makes it clearer to the responders to understand what they are !voting for. We want to avoid making the responders spend a lot of time thinking about these questions and get confused. --MASEM 21:19, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
That's fine, but when you inject language suggesting there's already consensus on this it makes these types of polls/!votes seem kind of pointless (why are we asking people, after all, if there's already consensus?)... Further, not pointing out that the current system can be improved (probably far easier than implementing an entirely new system) leaves people thinking the current system is irrecoverably broken. It's not. —Locke Coletc 21:47, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Understood - I rewrote this to make the history as neutral as possible, providing a short history of why we're here. Also I note that the system could be fixed, but when it could be done is not known, which still puts this into question. --MASEM 21:54, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Masem. Is there any particular reason we're not simply joining the first two questions together? They seem intrinsic to each other. Joining them would make this far simpler I think. —Locke Coletc 21:59, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
They are coupled but are distinct The first is basically saying "is the current system broke enough to dump it?", while the second asks "Should WP have this as a feature in the first place". Those that will say no to the second will definitely be saying yes to the first, but there will be those that feel the current system is broke enough to be a problem but we should still have this, as well as those that may feel the current system is fine and thus will say yes to the second. Ok, realistically there are only three responses, but separating them helps to know that if DA is a really strongly wanted feature but just not this version of DA, should we have bots keep meta data around to help with any transition between the two formats or similar post-RFC decisions. --MASEM 22:07, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Back to what Kotniski and I were saying in WT:MOSNUM#disputedtag. The onus must be on those who object to the current wording to propose alternative wording for us to discuss on. As the RFC is only a request for comment, fellow editors should not treat this as the 'be all and end all'. Even if there is some consensus on the wider issues, the open-ended nature of some of the questions being asked (such as "when should dates be linked") and the range of acceptable answers will more or less guarantee that the outcome will be similarly open-ended. A proper discussion needs to be held on the exact wording of each outcome. Why doesn't someone just move to a wording when this is possible? To give an obvious example, in the 'Deprecating the current date autoformatting' section, we should move to a unambiguous proposal worded: "It is proposed that the the following text be deleted from the Linking and autoformatting of dates section of the guideline: "Autoformatting: Dates should not be linked purely for the purpose of autoformatting (even though in the past this was considered desirable)"Ohconfucius (talk) 22:45, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
  • In the same vein, the question on when should Year and/or date links should be made from articles? Should go straight to the point, because we should be able to go straight to the vote. We have had plenty of discussion already on WT:MOSNUM, and the dates which spring to mind are birth and death dates, so I suggest the RFC should be asking to appending an additional bullet point in Wikipedia:MOSNUM#Dates of birth and death to the effect that these should be linked at their first appearance in the lead paragraph. Alternatively RFC should insert that which formats date links in the infobox birth date template. Ohconfucius (talk) 11:10, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I think it is fair to reword #1 as "we want to change policy to read like this", that's fine. This is the one with the most direct result. (I will note, speaking as unbiasedly as possible, the change to add "DA is deprecated" is what is disputed, so the onus is now to show this has consensus, and thus why #1 needs to be asked) #2 is more a practical question - it won't change any policy or guideline, but it is a good meter to give to the devteam to let them know to push forward or not due to editors' desires. The difficulty of #3 through 5 is that as I've seen on the WT:MOSNUM page, there is no singular approach of when dates should be linked. Birth/deaths have been offered as one specific example with its own RFC, but there have been several offered other conditions. Unlike #1 of this RFC, I cannot write a simple statement that suggests a wording change to WP:MOSNUM because there is no clear statement of what statement to be added or stricken from the guideline is present. (Well, to be fair, some have offered "No dates should be linked", but given the pushback against that, I don't believe their is enough unified agreement that this is the case.) By asking for specific cases, post-RFC we can craft a statement that says when and how dates are to be linked based on the input, and while we may get tens-twenties of cases for different date linking situations, there's likely a bunch of generalization that can be made from that. --MASEM 13:12, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • IMHO, the deprecation question is inessential for the simple reason that the outcome of my suggested direct question will instantly decide its fate of DA, what happened before will be largely irrelevant. As to Q3 through Q5, I am not saying you have to adopt my wording. Ohconfucius (talk) 13:38, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Gotcha on the finer point - the MOS shouldn't be a "what we do and what we used to do" just "what we do, period", though a footnote to describe that it was done in the past should this be added would help. --MASEM 13:45, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

[unindent] Thinking about the issue of linking birth and death dates, I would question what the point is considering the question was asked in the recent RfC suggesting the new wording thus:

Proposal: to add the words: These dates should normally be linked.

to the section WP:MOSDAB#Dates of birth and death, and to link the example dates, so the section would read

At the start of an article on an individual, his or her dates of birth and death are provided. These dates should normally be linked. For example: "Charles Darwin (12 February 180919 April 1882) was a British ..."

  • For an individual still living: "Serena Williams (born September 26, 1981) ...", not "... (September 26, 1981 –) ..."
  • When only the years are known: "Socrates (470399 BC) was..."
  • When the year of birth is completely unknown, it should be extrapolated from earliest known period of activity: "Offa of Mercia (before 73426 July 796) ..."


That very obviously failed to gain consensus, thus a rerun so shortly after (and it isn't even closed,AFAICT) is likely to end in another 'noconsensus' Ohconfucius (talk) 13:57, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

There's more than just birth/death dates to be considered (dates of historic battles, dates for product releases, etc.). And with the current RFC, it does seem to be "no consensus" (in either direction), so this can help gain more input there.
Or to say it simply: Q#1 is the meat of the RFC about autoformatting, but since we're going to be getting eyes on this, and there are other issues wrt to how dates are linked, it makes complete sense to try to gauge the landscape of consensus while they are here for the main question. Yes, it would be great if we could provide exact wording of how we want WP:MOSNUM for date linking to read, but only with the mass removal of dates generated from the deprecation of autoformatting has that question really arisen and there is no concrete proposal beyond "remove them all". --MASEM 14:09, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Number 5[edit]

As for Number 5 on the proposed RfC, I would note that WP:EGG advises to:

"[a]void piping links from "year" to "year something" or "something year" (e.g., [[1991 in music|1991]]) in the main prose of an article in most cases. Use an explicit cross-reference, e.g., ''(see [[1991 in music]])'', if it is appropriate to link a year to such an article at all. However, piped links may be useful:

  • in places where compact presentation is important (some tables, infoboxes and lists); and
  • in the main prose of articles in which such links are used heavily, as is often the case with sports biographies that link to numerous season articles."

I think these are pretty good guidelines for those type of date links that no one has disputed. Neither Lightbot nor Lightmouse's script currently removes these links.--User:2008Olympianchitchatseemywork 01:52, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

    • I believe you mean #5 (Year in Field), which true, the linking MOS says to avoid hidden links, but this is not about just the piped version but any version of "year in field" links, which that MOS doesn't give the full answer to. Thus #5 seeks to get the clarity needed for that, which might result in rewording of that section there. --MASEM 12:51, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
      • Leave #5 out for now. This boxed quote is a reasonable interim rule, and is clearer than the question.
      • Alternatively, we can quote the boxed language, and ask if it should hold always, sometimes or never. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:16, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
      • Ok I understand that the question is broader than the linking MoS reads. What I am concerned about, however, is that the vote on this question not overrule the exceptions that are listed above. Thousands of infoboxes, lists, and tables will be destroyed if hidden links are no longer permitted under the first exception. I've been bold and added that exception into that section. I realize, however, that the second exception is directly addressed.--User:2008Olympianchitchatseemywork 06:55, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
        • I've made sure that it is clear #5 is about links in prose; WP:EGG still holds for space-limited linkage. --MASEM 13:02, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
          • I've emphasized this; if !voters don't notice it, we'll get great confusion. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:25, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Number 2[edit]

I've tweaked the title to make clearer that the question here is: do we want any system of date autoformatting? rather than the present one. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:25, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Date autoformatting[edit]

The primary arguments against this were the links themselves, and the display to IPs. It would seem that the developers have created a patch that addresses both concerns, per this Bugzilla discussion:

"It uses the current date markup ([[ ]]) and will reformat dates according to user preferences, but WITHOUT making them into links. Dates that should be linked can use the [[:]] format and they will be linked and left in their raw format (same as now.) Users with "No preference" or anon users will either see marked-up dates in MDY format (if the string "en-US" appears in the "Accept-Language" header sent by their browser) or DMY format (aka "International format") otherwise."

Thoughts? --Ckatzchatspy 09:41, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

And this is why I was such a noise maker about the automated removal of date links. A software solution that fixes the major problems with date autoformatting without actually ever having to edit a page... —Locke Coletc 10:02, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't say they have created a solution, I'd say they are working on a solution. You never know until it's thoroughly tested whether something like this really works. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 16:13, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
so if this new method uses the same markup as a wikilink but doesn't create a link, how will editors create a link to a date article when they do want one? Sssoul (talk) 18:17, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
With a colon, e.g. [[:November 24]]. Dabomb87 (talk) 18:25, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
thanks, Dabomb87. i'll save my further questions until it's clearer whether this new patch is viable. Sssoul (talk) 18:32, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Gerry, I'm not sure why you keep reverting the information about the software patch. Simply put, Bill (the developer) has already uploaded a patch that he feels is viable. His comments in the discussion also seem to reflect a belief that this is not a big deal, and that it is now more a question of the fine details - defaults, users preferences, and so on. As such, I think stating:

"Mediawiki's software developers have created a patch to correct problems with the current method of date autoformatting. It has not been established when or if the patch will be implemented."

is more accurate than saying

"Mediawiki's software developers have identified potential ways to correct problems with the current method of date autoformatting, but it is not known whether or when these corrections might be implemented."

--Ckatzchatspy 21:55, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

The patch in question has not been tested by anyone other than Bill, and has not been fully documented, just some comments in Bugzilla. As I understand it, the current version of the patch would remove the function of no preferences, and logged in users would see linked dates according to the language setting of their browsers. In other words, NO ONE would be able to see linked dates as they were entered. I consider the patch unfinished. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 00:31, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Agreed that it needs more work, but it does prove that there can be solutions (especially for the primary problem: dates presented to IP readers). Isn't that reason enough to give pause to mass delinking and work on gaining consensus for how this patch should work? —Locke Coletc 02:32, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Going live[edit]

As a side note, when do you expect this RFC to go live? Typically, RFCs are open for 30 days unless there is overwhelming consensus that it can be closed, typically after 15 days or so. RFCs can run concurrently, so there would be no trouble in running this over Tony's. seicer | talk | contribs 13:10, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Masem had concerns about overloading the watchlist details MediaWiki message (see here: MediaWiki:Watchlist-details). I believe he wanted to wait until one of the messages was removed before going live with it. I think the RFC is fine as-is, certainly it offers more to people dealing with this issue for the first time more background than the Tony RFC. —Locke Coletc 13:12, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure the value of running this alongside Tony's. It will dilute responses. As I've noted on WT:MOSNUM, Tony's is still asking at its core the question that has created most of the heated discussion, so at least that will resolve. Now, the questions about when to link dates are still open and that should be asked, but I don't know if they need the same scrutiny of a lot of editors that the DA question needed. --MASEM 13:16, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
On principle I think this RFC should go forward and be advertised in the watchlist simply because there were more editors involved in the formulation of the question as well as discussion on this talk page. I do agree that the responses will be diluted because of Tony's RFC, but I'd rather try for a broader community consensus than what is appearing so far at WT:MOSNUM (which is, I believe, mostly MoS regulars and people intent on running a script to make edits). —Locke Coletc 13:19, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
If people want to have this RFC go forward, all that needs to be done is to RFC-style tag it, and then pepper the announcements around. I would recommend for all fairness that both RFCs be pointed out in such announcements including the watchlist-notice (if people happen to respond to both, we can compare results and make sure there's no weird differences). I unfortunately am not going to be able to do it any time soon (read next few days), so if anyone else wants to do it, that's fine. --MASEM 13:25, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Advertising them both would definitely dilute the responses (and likely cause more confusion given the different wordings used). I would discourage that. —Locke Coletc 13:38, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Maybe just leave a link to this page at the top of Tony's section, with an indication that more background can be found here. Pointless to have the same questions being asked in two different places at the same time.--Kotniski (talk) 14:12, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
The situation is unfortunate but at this point I place the blame squarely with Tony. I fail to see why his disruption should derail something that was worked on by multiple editors. —Locke Coletc 21:22, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I feel that the more RFCs there are on the subject, the more valid the final consensus will be. However, I agree in that we should not have two closely related live RFCs at the same time. Dabomb87 (talk) 14:31, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I quite agree. As Tony's makes false statements as to the status quo, it should be suspended and probably restarted after this one finishes, with the !votes removed (or at least those !votes made before I noted it while there was no note stating it made false statements about the status quo, and requesting those who !voted to confirm their !votes, applying them to the true RfC.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:11, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that the current RfC should be suspended; removing all those votes would reverse all the progress we have made toward some kind of consensus. Dabomb87 (talk) 20:16, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. As the RfC makes false statements, some of the votes may reflect a belief in those statements. If it were the case that there was a clear consensus for deprecation of autoformatting, I might oppose some. I still don't see how an RfC proposing "changes" which the originator is opposed to could be considered appropriate. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:52, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
And indeed that's the core issue. And also the very reason I didn't start my own RFC, because of the appearance of impropriety in forming the questions myself. Especially when we have this RFC already prepared and ready to go. —Locke Coletc 22:00, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

This should go live. Tony's RFC demonstrates, if anything, consensus against three particular phrasings, and has other problems; but if this one waits for it, this one will be denounced as repetitive and the other one quoted as though it decided questions it never asked. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:56, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Go, Go, Go! Would someone please post this RfC? I don't know how to "RFC-style tag it, and then pepper the announcements around," as Masem suggests, or I would. I agree that this RfC that everyone worked on collaboratively should go forward. I do understand why he posted the one that he did, we could have had this up about the same time he put his up, and we could have made steered more of the discussion at the main talk page over here, but that is all in the past now.--User:2008Olympianchitchatseemywork 06:50, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
It's live as of five minutes ago. Now to get it added to the watchlist details. —Locke Coletc 07:52, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Edit notice[edit]

You'll notice an edit notice when editing this page. It was requested at MediaWiki talk:Editnotice-4-Manual of Style (dates and numbers)-Date Linking RFC and seems uncontroversial. As I've went ahead and added this edit notice, I'm leaving a note here to let everybody know. If you wish to propose changes to it, please leave a note at MediaWiki talk:Editnotice-4-Manual of Style (dates and numbers)-Date Linking RFC. Regards, Rjd0060 (talk) 19:16, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Two RFCs[edit]

I hope somebody has a good reason for having two RFCs on the same topic. As someone who learned about them from the watchlist "bulletin", I have to say it seems confusing and absurd.

I commented in one RFC. Do I need to put my comment in the other as well in order for it to be taken into account?

Guidance would be appreciated. Thanks, CBHA (talk) 18:53, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

I suppose you add your input where you think it makes sense to comment. The RFCs are, more or less, running concurrently. This RFC has one clear actionable question, the first, on whether date links should be made. The second concerns lobbying for a feature request, and the others will have to be parsed and considered what the results mean, in my opinion. The other RFC has three questions with clear actions on the MOS. DoubleBlue (talk) 19:03, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Agreed that it's needlessly confusing, but there's not much that can be done about that. As to your question: It would be best to comment on both. —Locke Coletc 20:37, 28 November 2008 (UTC)


Please note: A discussion about alleged flaws in the two related RFCs (including this one) is currently being held at the talk page of the other RFC, namely Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)/Three proposals for change to MOSNUM.--Kotniski (talk) 16:28, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Time to disable autoformatting?[edit]

It seems to me that "Deprecating the current date autoformatting" is showing pretty strong consensus for turning off date autoformatting on this site. If it was turned off, date preferences would only apply to the MediaWiki interface and not to article text. Turning it off is as simple as setting $wgUseDynamicDates = false; in LocalSettings.php - all we have to do is ask a developer. What do you think? Is there consensus enough already? If not then I'd like to start a separate RFC on a clean page to discuss the issue. —Remember the dot (talk) 22:22, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

There seems to be support for autoformatting of some form, just not this exact form. Deprecation of the current method doesn't mean shutting it off or performing mass link removal. —Locke Coletc 22:35, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I think the best course of action is to wait for the RfC to complete in a few weeks time and then bring it up for discussion. Regardless of the voting trend, it would not be appropriate to disable the feature while two RfCs about it are in progress. --Ckatzchatspy 22:39, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm not entirely surprised to be reading the above replies. The first RfC, which asked the unambiguous question whether "dates should be linked purely for the purpose of autoformatting" closes at 15:01 UTC on Sunday, December 7. I do not believe anyone has any reason to believe the RfC will deliver anything but the landslide confirmation to abandon DA in its current form. It seems that any 'new' form of DA will firstly need consensus to be adopted, and secondly, any new DA will have to be based on an alternative method which does not involve 'pushing on a piece of string' (ie date-linking). The two editors above have been vehemently opposed to deprecating DA in any way, but there is no logical reason why DA cannot be switched off after the RfC closes, per the wishes of a very large number of editors who have expressed their opinion in the abovementioned RfC. I certainly believe that opening another RfC would be ill-advised, because date-RfC fatigue has already set in. Ohconfucius (talk) 01:16, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Can you point me to the RFC which asked the community if they wanted auto formatting turned off immediately? No? I thought not. —Locke Coletc 01:36, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't think we should disable this in the software with the devteam still working on an improved version, but instead assert strongly (if its not already) that date linking for autoformatting is no longer acceptable, and make it clear that this should that those users using automated tools (not bots!) are in the right to proceed to do that. (see above for my suggestion on holding off the bots to give those that want to keep the few cases of useful dates enough time to covert them over). --MASEM 01:25, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I beg your pardon, but the RfC did not asked that date-linking purely for the purpose of autoformatting be disabled conditional upon a replacement for DA. Ohconfucius (talk) 01:43, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • No, it said to deprecate it, which means we don't use it. Yes, it can be turned off in software, but we can deprecate its use without any change to the software regardless, so we can continue forward with that cleanup. Separately, the devteam can work to implement a better system that can be tested and then represented for consensus to see if that DA system (which should not link dates) works. --MASEM 01:48, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I think we are in agreement there. Ohconfucius (talk) 01:52, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Deprecation doesn't mean "cleanup", it means stop using in new work. And there's still the matter of the community seemingly being okay with date links under certain circumstances. —Locke Coletc 01:58, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • It scarcely matters what "deprecate" might mean. When I supported "Dates should not be linked purely for the purpose of autoformatting", there was no mention of the word "deprecate". The section was renamed half-way through the RfC at 06.55 30 November. How about if I renamed it "Removing the date formatting"? It's an even more logical title since "should not" anywhere in wikipedia means any editor has the right to remove. If I wasn't bound to WP:AGF, I'd suspect that the word "deprecate" was slipped in when it was obvious that support for removing date-linking was overwhelming. — Preceding unsigned comment added by RexxS (talkcontribs)
[1], "Deprecating the current date autoformatting" was the title of the section when the RfC was launched. Taemyr (talk) 09:26, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
I apologise: I missed that both when I !voted and when I checked the 30 November diff. It's a pity though that the question asked doesn't unambiguously ask about depreciation implicitly, if that was the intention. Perhaps we can have another RfC about removal of date links? --RexxS (talk) 13:26, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Some dates were written in the style [[December 7]] [[2008]], relying on the autoformatter to put a comma after the date, even for readers who were not logged in. If the autoformatter were just turned off, these dates would no longer display correctly. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 03:10, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

That, at least can be fixed by bots. Taemyr (talk) 09:26, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
The missing comma is not something which is going to leave the reader perplexed. Ohconfucius (talk) 13:23, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
If any usage that do not serious perplex the reader is OK, why do we have some MOS? --Gerry Ashton (talk) 16:05, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • The missing comma is not something which is going to leave the reader perplexed at this stage. These can easily be corrected by passing scripts and bots over the articles. Ohconfucius (talk) 02:01, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

New proposal[edit]

An editor has created an additional proposal half way through the RfC. While we can continue as a discussion point, I do not feel it would be correct to tag it on, so it is pasted below. Ohconfucius (talk) 10:00, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Year-in-Field links in tables and lists are just fine but should be identified[edit]

Proposal: Year-in-field links in tables and lists are not discouraged in general. Their appropriateness should be decided on a case-by-case basis. If links are piped, the reader should be explicitly informed in the introduction of the list or, for tables, at a spot where the reader is likely to see the explanation.

Reasoning: The discussion so far has been almost entirely about links in the prose of articles, but the situation with links to years-in-field for a table or list is significantly different. Tables and lists should be easy to read or scan, and using them for navigation is an important feature, so they may be significantly improved by appropriate year-in-field links, and piped (hidden) links can be more useful in these cases, since the piped 2005 is less distracting than the unpiped 2005 in country music, especially if similar unpiped links were to many items in a list or all of them. This kind of a link could be very useful on a discography of a country music artist. Furthermore, for a table or list, reader confusion about the nature of a year link can be quickly rectified by a short statement at the top of the list or at a spot near the table that the reader is likely to see. For instance, see the top line of List of Canadian poets (This is a list of Canadian poets. Years link to corresponding "[year] in poetry" articles. -- short, clear, useful). This practice would conform with WP:LISTS#Lead paragraphs in embedded lists: Embedded lists should have a lead paragraph in cases where the title is ambiguous or when the list has non-obvious characteristics. and WP:LISTS#Lead sections in stand-alone lists, with a similar statement). Since I think this is already covered in the guidelines (see WP:EGG, which mentions tables and lists as possible exceptions), I'm not sure we need to change the wording of any guideline (if someone disagrees, please advise). It seems to me it would be helpful to clarify this, so I'm proposing it here. Reconsideration (talk) 16:37, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Examples where this works well or could work well: Darryl Worley#Discography (tables), List of Australian poets, 1900 in poetry#Births, 1900 in poetry#Deaths; Ezra Pound#Selected works and Pulitzer Prize for Poetry#Winners.

  • Support as the one proposing this. Reconsideration (talk) 16:37, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - Makes sense, providing that the links are relevant to the topic. As for the location of notes, table keys, where they exist, would be an ideal place. Giants2008 (17-14) 03:03, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I do recognize that tables and lists are different, as I don't think overlinking is a problem there. However, I don't like this solution that's proposing to explicitly mention in prose the existence of links. We cannot assume that links will be retained in forks; for example, this will look extremely weird in a printed version. -- Jao (talk) 10:54, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

  • I added it. I have no problem with its removal. Since posting this, further reading shows that it only reflected what is already strongly implicit at WP:EGG and this RfC won't change that. -- Reconsideration (talk) 19:28, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Automagic closing[edit]

I've added code to automagically (hopefully) close the RFC at the appropriate time. Just use the "purge" link in the new box at the top to check if it's time to close and if so, everything will be enclosed in an archival DIV tag. :P —Locke Coletc 07:36, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

One analysis regarding "Is some method of date autoformatting desirable?"[edit]

Moved to WT:MOSNUM

Future discussion[edit]

Future discussion of this or the other RFCs outcome should be placed at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers). —Locke Coletc 05:12, 27 December 2008 (UTC)