Wikipedia_talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive 128

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Question: Articles 1530 BC xxxx BC - but no Articles 1530 BCE xxxx BCE etc.

Question: Articles 1530 BC xxxxBC etc. Hello! Would you please explain me why the wikipedia has nearly only christian reminiscents according to the article series 1530 BC. Why are there are no 1530 BCE - articles, respectively? I would like to mention, that BC means Before Christ - which is a christian confession of faith and never a neutral appointment. Whereas BCE can be rendered Before Common Era or Before Christian Era alike, which is was more strong neutral appointment. Would you please help me on this - or guide me where I may get help? Sincerely --87.160.202.82 (talk) 14:48, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

So it's wrong to have it be "Before Christ", but using the numbering system devised by Christians and centered on Christ is fine, so long as that fact is obscured with an "E"? --Golbez (talk) 15:28, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
It would be confusing to have two different articles about the same year or decade. --Jc3s5h (talk) 15:38, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
I am a little surprised that there's no redirects, though. --Golbez (talk) 15:47, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Can someone write a bot to create them? ― A._di_M.2nd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 16:04, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Both BC and BCE are acceptable for use on Wikipedia, but Wikipedia does not prefer one over the other. The reason the year articles themselves use BC instead of BCE is likely because it would be too tedious to name them all as a combination of "BC/BCE", and "BC" is shorter and more convenient. I disagree completely with your point that BC is a "Christian confession"; it is the customary notation for years before the era in which the civil calendar is based. Wikipedia has articles for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (which are named for Roman gods) instead of Firstday, Secondday, Thirdday or something to that nature, so there's absolutely nothing wrong or POV about Wikipedia having year article names at BC instead of BCE. I do agree, however, that 1530 BCE should redirect to 1530 BC. — CIS (talk | stalk) 21:18, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
BC is far more widely used than BCE. Under Wikipedia's article naming conventions, that is sufficient to require the use of BC. I am not a Christian, by the way.—Finell 06:44, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I will leave it IMHO on just one legitimate argument: BC was more widely in use among wikipedia articles! This should/could be linked up with the - machinely/automatically (bot) made - BCE variants, especially in articles of 'higher order' as the mentionned missing 1530 BCE (e.g.). The other arguments are rather not acceptable for me. We have the international standard ISO 8601 making it internationally obsolete to use BC and AD. The second false statement is that of that: christian faith was not involved in the term "BC" or "AD" wich means "bevore Christ" and "(in the) Year of realm of the (christian)G-d" (see the articles on this stuff), that is the claim "the christian Christ(=Messiah) had already come", wich is linked up with the laws of faith in christianity, not in judaism and islam, nor any other religion on earth. I would IMHO state that, while BC is shorter than BCE, BCE is more neutral, because it could be rendered in two equivalent ways. By the way - I am no christian either, nor jewish nor muslim!) I am concerned by the christian legacy of supremacy, dating back to dark medieval times of christian "dictatorship over Europe" (sic!), only!! Conclusion: wikipedia is not neutral as it could - and should- be! I would like to help evolve the wikipedia more neutral and less "stained" by christian conventions. Thank you all - sincerely --87.160.198.91 (talk) 18:12, 15 January 2010 (UTC) P.S.: To get the two systems of notation : BC/AD vs BCE/CE would be only a small effort with a great gain (>=NPOW. --87.160.198.91 (talk)
If you think this year is numbered 2010 then congrats, you're using a Christian calendar. Changing the letters after the year from AD to CE don't change that. --Golbez (talk) 08:31, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
I had to look up what BCE meant! I have never heard it before. I don't know if it's an American phrase or what but in Europe BC is pretty much the standard whether you're a Christian or not. Betty Logan (talk) 09:17, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Currencies - proposed change.

I propose to add a note that it is generally acceptable to specify the nation for currencies. While some editors may consider an article to be entirely country-related (an example would be a group of disputes about currencies in US university articles), others will see the article as of substantial international interest.

Also, if the subject *IS* the money, for example, sections on endowments, I think that again specifying the unit should be acceptable but not required. These bits of information will have international interest simply for comparison among nations. It seems reasonable for a document intended for a global audience to be at least tolerant of specifying the currency unit. - Sinneed 19:21, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

I disagree. My view is that we should leave the MOS as it is. We should not include information that patronizes users. I refer to information that informs users through a link that Oxford's endowment is in British pounds (not Egyptian pounds) and a Baltimore university's endowment is in U.S. dollars (not Nicaraguan córdobas); this is the context in which the disagreement arose. Including the pound sign and the dollar sign are sufficient given the context. In other words, we don't need an explanation of monetary units next to the endowment figures as long as we use pound signs, dollar signs, Euro signs. I prefer to leave the MOS intact. It works satisfactorily in this context.Iss246 (talk) 00:57, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
We should not include information that patronizes users, and have made no such proposal. WP is a global resource.
I propose to leave MOS intact as well.
Since this is a point of (what I and other editors see as) confusion for Iss246, in editing against multiple editors across multiple articles, this change seems wise. While MOS works satisfactorily, it is being used to edit against wp:consensus. This clarification may possibly help.- Sinneed 14:44, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
You're saying, "I'm clear but this dissenter over here is confused." How can anyone dissent from your view if the dissenter is confused. According the MOS, I can make edits I made. Wikipedia users commonly make multiple edits over many articles. The principal person whose edits of the university endowments I reversed was a user who only revealed an IP address (68.80.200.60). In my view that does not reflect consensus. I may chose not to make any more edits on this matter because of the hassles involved; I haven't made up my mind. I still think it is a mistake to add minutiae that patronizes readers.Iss246 (talk) 16:04, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
'You're saying, "I'm clear but this dissenter over here is confused."' - No, I am not. I am saying that an editor is editing against wp:consensus against multiple editors in multiple articles. The editor argues this is because the edits are required by this section in wp:MOS. It is possible this change may make it clearer to the editor that it is not required.
It is indeed a mistake to add "minutiae that patronizes readers" and only you are discussing such: no one has made such a proposal.- Sinneed 16:21, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Superscipting ordinals

I have always, by convention, written ordinals like this: 22nd. It was a surprise to me therefore to see that it is written in the MOS as "The ordinal suffix (e.g., th) is not superscripted". No room for discussion?

A search reveals the page here. So it seems that originally there was no "rule" against superscripting ordinals, but a consensus in May 2007 lead to one being introduced.

I would like to raise the discussion again. Had I been aware of it at the time, I most certainly would have objected to such a rule forbidding superscripting ordinals. Please note that the argument pur forward in the archive was to follow the "AP style guide". I did not know what this was, and had to look it up. It seems that the "Associated Press" guide is an American style guide, which takes no account of conventions in other countries.

I propose that if people do not wish to superscript their ordinals then they may continue not to do so - but it should be recognised that in non-USA varieties of English, ordinals can be correctly superscripted. So let's drop the absolute rule about it. EuroSong talk 15:48, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

The tag <sup> produces true superscripts, such as the one you could use to mean 22 raised to the power of nd. The "subscripts" optionally used for ordinals are superior letters instead.
Subscript superscript examples.png
The top of the h in "8th" is a tad lower than it would normally be (compare with the L in Blip), but compare with what <sup> does: 8th 8th; that's more similar to the 2n at the end, whose top is much higher than it'd be if not superscripted.
Having true superior letters would be somewhat complicated, so I think it's better to have normal-text ordinals. ― A._di_M.2nd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 17:03, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

English Wikipedia readers

From time to time there is a discussion here about US vs British vs rest of world units of measure or date format. Wikimedia released a study titled Wikipedia page views, a global perspective. Here is a breakdown on English Wikipedia page views by country. The top five are United States 52.9%, United Kingdom 10.4%, Canada 5.8%, Australia 4.0%, and India 2.5%. --SWTPC6800 (talk) 22:24, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Other date ranges

A few months ago, the Other date ranges section was changed significantly with little discussion. It was protected at the time, so the discussion was carried out on this obscure subpage, and it reversed part of the former guideline, which stated:

Dates that are given as ranges should follow the same patterns as given above for birth and death dates. Ranges that come up to the present (as of the time that the information was added to the article) should generally be given in ways that prevent their becoming counterfactually obsolete, e.g. from 1996 onward (as of October 2007), not from 1996 to the present; "the present" is a constantly moving target. In the main text of articles, the form 1996– (with no date after the en-dash) should not be used, though it is preferred in infoboxes and other crowded templates or lists, with the caveat that they may need to be examined by editors more frequently to see if they need to be updated; it is helpful to other editors to add an HTML comment immediately after such constructions, giving the as-of date, e.g.: <!--as of 10 October 2007-->. The form since 1996 should be used in favor of 1996–present in article text and infoboxes.

The current version reads:

Dates that are given as ranges should follow the same patterns as given above for birth and death dates. In the main text of articles, the form 1996–present should not be used, though it is preferred in infoboxes and other crowded templates or lists, with the caveat that they may need to be examined by editors more frequently to see if they need to be updated; it is helpful to other editors to add an HTML comment immediately after such constructions, giving the as-of date, e.g.: <!--as of 10 October 2007-->. The form since 1996 should be used in favor of 1996–present in article text.

So this is what was changed:

  • 1996– is no longer recommended; I think this is good.
  • 1996–present is no longer forbidden; I think this is acceptable.
  • 1996–present is considered preferable to since 1996 in infoboxes, templates and lists; I don't agree with this.

My proposal is to change the sentence "In the main text of articles, the form 1996–present should not be used, though it is preferred in infoboxes and other crowded templates or lists" to "The form 1996–present should be avoided in the main text of articles, though it may be used in infoboxes, crowded templates or lists". This way we would let users decide which form to use in infoboxes and templates, as needed, while still mandating since 1996 for article prose. Mushroom (Talk) 08:04, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree. ― A._di_M.2nd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 10:30, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
I concur. The suggested change is reasonable and in accordance with general Wikipedia guidelines. Truthanado (talk) 14:51, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
The only problem with "since 1996", which I greatly prefer stylistically, is that there's sometimes ambiguity as to whether the date cited, e.g. 1996, is included or not. Some things do actually start on New Year's Day, e.g. the terms of Mayors of New York City, so while Michael Bloomberg (elected in November 2001 to start serving on 1 January 2002) is accurately and unambiguously described as having served from 2002 to the present, it's far from clear whether one should write instead that he has served "since 2001" or "since 2002", and once one of these is written, it's unclear to the reader (did he start serving in 2001 or 2003?) —— Shakescene (talk) 07:18, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Sorry but I don't understand what the problem is. I have never used "since 2002" as meaning "starting in 2003", and I cannot think of a case in which someone would do that. It is not ambiguous to say that Bloomberg has been mayor "since January 1, 2002", and I think the same is true for "since 2002". Mushroom (Talk) 09:58, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm.... The definitions of since at dictionary.com, merriam-webster.com and wiktionary all agree that "since X" mean "after X". etymonline.com says: mid-15c., synnes, from sithenes "since," from sithen (plus adverbial genitive -es), from O.E. siððan "then, later, after that," originally sið ðan "after that," from sið "after" + ðan, weakened form of ðam, dative of ðæt (see that). Modern spelling replaced syns, synnes 16c. to indicate voiceless final -s- sound. O.E. sið is from PIE *se- "long, late" (cf. Ger. seit "since," Goth. seiþus "late," Skt. sayam "in the evening," L. serus "late"). Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 06:44, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
I know that since means after, that's obvious and I'm not contesting it. What I'm saying is that when used with a year, i.e. "since 1996", it almost always means "after an unspecified day in the year 1996", and not "after the end of the year 1996". So the use of "since 1996" to indicate a year range is correct because it is equivalent to "starting sometime in the year 1996". Just search Google for "since 1996" and you'll find about seven million webpages that use "since" with this meaning. Examples:
My point is that a year is not a specific moment, but a long period of time, so "since year X" means "after a specific date in the year X". Therefore, there is no risk of ambiguity because no one would interpret it as "starting in the year X+1". Mushroom (Talk) 14:22, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

So does anyone oppose my proposal to allow (but not mandate) the use of "since 1996" in infoboxes, templates, and lists? Mushroom (Talk) 20:20, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

I have no objection. This may lead to some ambiguity in the sorts of cases I mentioned above (e.g. "first Labour government since 1979" or changes of administration in the government of New York City), but those can be discussed and adjusted as needed, case by case. For the clear majority of cases where there's no ambiguity, there's no good reason to prohibit "since" (e.g. "Barack Obama has been President of the United States since 2009"), which is more natural and euphonious than "YYYY – present". —— Shakescene (talk) 02:36, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
OK then. I have changed that sentence. Mushroom (Talk) 02:40, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Dates

From out of nowhere, dates have been unlinked over the past few months. A date is as relevant as a place or a name. It answers one of the fundamental questions: "when?". Especially for biographies, this fact is relevant. Why then, was a vote not put to the entire Wikipedia community concerning this question? Why was it decided by a small group of usurpers? I will continue to link dates in biographies as the information is as relevant as a place. If a date isn't linked, then neither should a place. However, this all seems trivial to me as deciding whether or not to link or not link is a waste of time.Stereorock (talk) 02:19, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Don't really know where to start with this post. Would it be okay for you to read Wikipedia:Date formatting and linking poll and then to repost your questions? I'm curious to see if you still believe "a date is as relevant as a place or a name" after reading that page? There are an overwhelming number of editors who don't believe that.  HWV258.  04:36, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
I've looked a few times & to read all of the responses will take days. I will try to read them but I don't see how dates are less relevant than places for example. To me, they're equal. They're part of the fundamental questions: who, what, where, when, why & how.Stereorock (talk) 04:15, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
I understand the point you are making as to "when", however please consider that the "when" part is satisfied by the inclusion of the date itself. Where the issue becomes dicey is in following the date link—as it is generally recognised that the information at the resultant date page is a collection of trivia unrelated to the initial topic.  HWV258.  05:28, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
There was an RfC on this subject, for which a watchlist notice was posted. The poll received input from 500 users; if you think that is a "small group of usurpers" then I don't think it's worth discussing the issue. In short, the issue is resolved unless an overwhelming consensus on it changes (i.e. more than a couple users); meanwhile, intentionally ignoring consensus is considered disruptive editing. Dabomb87 (talk) 22:49, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
500 users out of millions? THAT'S a large pool? Here's the problem: it was decided last year and no notification to other users was sent out. It should have been decided by ALL registered users! My "notification" was some damn bot a couple of months ago changing things that, in all reality, don't need to be changed. As for consensus, apparently it can't be changed because it was voted on 10 months ago.Stereorock (talk) 04:12, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
Please don't mix editors with readers (also consider active editors). It's not only the raw number of contributing editors that must be considered; instead, the breakdown of the number that polled one way or another must be taken into account. The RfCs on the linking of dates (and date fragments) had some of the most lopsided responses ever (e.g. proportionally very few editors supporting the linking of dates). In addition, as I recall there was notification at the top of every page for a while that a RfC/poll was occurring and that anyone was welcome to contribute. Lots did! In fact, compared to the number of responses usually achieved during RfCs, the various date-linking RfCs had very high response rates.  HWV258.  05:17, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

There was also the Requests for arbitration/Date delinking case that authorized a full-date unlinking bot to clean up the excessive date linking on Wikipedia. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 05:58, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

On the substance, as opposed to procedure, there are really two questions: one was about date auto-formatting, which allowed registered users who'd expressed a preference to see dates in their own preferred style, e.g. 9 May 1873 or May 9, 1873. The second question was whether the dates themselves should be linked for the reasons we enter other wikilinks: because the date itself is significant. Subsidiary parts of the second question were what element of a date is significant enough to link: the specific day in a millennium, like May 9, 1873, or the year (1873) or the day of the year (May 9), or all of them, or none of them. A complicating factor is that some days in time are now linked not to everything that happened on them, but to an overwhelming event such as Kennedy's assassination (November 22, 1963) or the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. Because of the agglomerative way that Wikipedia's constructed, many day articles are rather incoherent, and many year articles can gradually change from being useful, informative chronologies or timelines into similar random lists. But no consensus was ever reached against linking dates for purposes of information, although it would be rare that for such purposes one would use the old autoformatting form of May 9, 1873. —— Shakescene (talk) 05:59, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Date formats

Could we please remove, "For example, with respect to British date formats as opposed to American it would be acceptable to change from American format to British if the article concerned a British subject." It contradicts the next three sentences, "Edit warring over optional styles (such as 14 February and February 14) is unacceptable. If an article has been stable in a given style, it should not be converted without a style-independent reason. Where in doubt, defer to the style used by the first major contributor."

It's also not correct that January 30, 2010 is wrong in the UK. It isn't. It is used, and in fact used to be more common that 30 January 2010. See, for example, The Times. [1]

The problem with having articles changed is that the writers of the article have to stop and think whenever they write a date from that point on, and if they don't notice the change, and carry on editing as before, we end up with inconsistencies. I think we need to remove any language that encourages editors to arrive at what they see as a "British article" (which in itself is an odd idea) and change the date formats to the format they believe (wrongly!) is the only correct one. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 01:23, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

I know that the use of YYYY-MM-DD dates in footnotes has been debated in the past; does the rule about not changing a stable article apply to this as well? When tidying up an article I occasionally change YYYY-MM-DD dates in footnotes to match the style used in the article, mainly because I find dates in the YYYY-MM-DD format incredibly ugly and unfriendly to most readers. Is this a problem? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:08, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
And that is the obvious problem which will occur once we begin delinking dates. Already, I have seen tonnes of articles with both date formats, often in one sentence, and I have had to switch to the appropriate format in accordance with Date and time notation by country for the sake of professional presentation. A whole lot of additional and trivial work to do just because some folks have an issue with dates in blue and underline fonts. Sigh.--Huaiwei (talk) 07:25, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
The guideline against routinely linking dates was adopted quite awhile ago. The process of delinking began a few months ago, I believe.—Finell 07:51, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
"...some folks..."? Have a really good read through the responses here and we'll chat again.  HWV258.  08:39, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Josiah, I see no problem with fixing dates if they're unclear or inconsistent (and personally I find YYYY-MM-DD unclear; everyone has to stop and think when they see that). I'm talking about articles where it's obvious what's meant—everyone knows what January 30, 2010 means. It's really annoying to have that changed just because of that one sentence on this page, especially as the next few sentences say don't do that. :) SlimVirgin TALK contribs 09:14, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Er... People who don't set date preferences would see different formats in the same sentence even if the dates were linked. ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 12:13, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't believe that the rule about not changing a stable article should apply to YYYY-MM-DD dates in footnotes. It used to be that you had do use YYYY-MM-DD format in the citation templates because of the way they where linked. It has thus become common to see this format in footnotes. I can't see any reason to keep things that way though. JIMp talk·cont 09:27, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Good, I'm glad to see that there's a consensus that changing YYYY-MM-DD dates in footnotes into an appropriate date format used by humans is harmless. Would it be pushing things too far to suggest that we add something to that effect to the MoS (which currently discourages this ugly format in prose sentences, permits it in lists and tables, and is silent on its use in footnotes)? I'm thinking something like this:

YYYY-MM-DD style dates used to be common in footnotes due to template requirements, but are no longer encouraged; it is acceptable to change these dates to whatever date format is used in the rest of the article.

This wouldn't go so far as to encourage the change, but it would indicate that it's permissible. (Personally, I'd love it if someone would program a bot to go through all those footnotes and change the YYYY-MM-DD dates to whatever's used in the rest of the article, but that would probably annoy some people.) —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 09:50, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Slimvirgin, ArbCom has clearly stated that region-related ties are a valid reason for converting an article. That would a "style-independent reason" (as mentioned in the guideline) that would trump the "first contributor" provision. Beyond that, changing the guideline in the manner you've suggested would require far more than just a casual discussion here, given that it would be a fairly major alteration of the way we handle the matter. --Ckatzchatspy 11:40, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Three points: (1) ArbCom doesn't make policy; (2) this is just a guideline anyway, and (3) it says, "If an article has been stable in a given style, it should not be converted without a style-independent reason." Changing from American to British English because someone thinks the article is about a British subject is not a "style-independent reason." It's entirely style-dependent.
The point is that it's incredibly discourteous to do this, and it can be disruptive, because people rarely change the articles consistently, so they're often left in a mess, and it just pisses everyone off. Plus, and this is the silliest part, both styles are used in the UK. So we're arguing over nothing, Scotch mist, bullshit. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 11:47, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
ArbCom doesn't make policy, but it's them who wrote (3), so they are the ones who are supposed to know what that's supposed to mean. ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 12:10, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
SlimVirgin, granted that today's date could be correctly written in the UK as either January 31, 2010, or 31 January 2010. However, that argument does not extend to other UK customs, such a the spelling of "colour". Your argument "changing from American to British English because someone thinks the article is about a British subject is not a 'style-independent reason.' It's entirely style-dependent" would mean that if an article on a small local government agency in the UK (which would most likely be read by UK residents) happened to be written in US style, it should not be changed in any respect; the date format, "color", "meter" and so forth should be left alone--Jc3s5h (talk) 17:09, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Hi Jc, my question here is whether we can remove the date formatting issue from the lead—namely, "with respect to British date formats as opposed to American it would be acceptable to change from American format to British if the article concerned a British subject"— because either format is acceptable, so it's a bad example. Its presence is making people think it's okay, or even mandatory, to change them.
I agree that an article that's almost certainly going to be read only by Brits should have British spelling, but articles like that will probably be written by Brits too, so there's rarely going to be a problem. The problems arise with articles of international interest, which happen to have a British angle, or are about a British person, where editors think (a) that British style must be used because of that angle, and worse (b) make mistakes about what British style consists of! :) The date format is the only issue I'm concerned about, because it really is equally acceptable to write January 31 or 31 January, and I don't think we should say anything in the MoS that implies otherwise. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 17:51, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
It has been my experience that only about 50% of Americans know that the American date format is the American date format (the other 50% aren't sure), and that a lot of Brits and many British publications use what people think is the American date format. The fact is that all English-speaking people can read either, and most people don't pay attention to which format dates are in, so it really doesn't matter which you use.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 21:31, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. What some editors here believe is the American format (February 1) was in fact the standard English format until relatively recently, and is still widely used. All that matters is that an article be internally consistent. The biggest threat to consistency is editors arriving at stable articles to change the format, but not doing it thoroughly, or else using a script to do it so that every single date is changed, including dates in image files, which leaves red links. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 07:55, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Recent edit

Eubulides (talk · contribs) slightly changed the language regarding conversions, and this edit was reverted because it was an "undiscussed policy change". Editors who disagreed with the change may wish to comment at Wikipedia talk:Featured article criteria#Unit conversions, where the issue was first raised. Dabomb87 (talk) 00:19, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Numbers with logical progressions

In certain instances, numbers might exist in logical progression, as associations with a progressing number are described. For example, in counting by twos, you might say, "The 1st number in the sequence is 2, or 1*2. The 2nd is 4, or 2*2. The 3rd is 6, or 3*2," or, "The first number in the sequence is two, or 1*2. The second is four, or 2*2. The third is six, or 3*2." This particular example is elementary, and easy to process. But in situations where the numbers are associated with a more complex relationship, it may be harder to follow the progression without the visual cue points that numerals provide. They are easily visually filtered from the surrounding Latin lettering. Being able to immediately jump to the beginning of the associated description by using those cue points allows the reader to recall the associated information quicker, reading only enough to recognize each train of thought, and piece together a logical progression out of the conclusions with less rereading. Further, if you're expecting this, for example by being able to see an upcoming "2nd" and "3rd" as you read a "1st," you can prepare the logical segmentation of the trains of thought before actually reading them, much in the same way as punctuation marks and ordered tables of values. So, I believe and propose that the first sentence's form should be preferred in these types of numerical-logical progressions. LokiClock (talk) 23:51, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Request for Comment: Year-linking exceptions for persons noted as "links" to the past

User:Ryoung122 has requested comment at Wikipedia_talk:Linking#Request_for_Comment:_Year-linking_exceptions_for_persons_noted_as_.22links.22_to_the_past.  HWV258.  03:21, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Conversions, conversions everywhere

As a result of a recent discussion on the FA page I installed the following edit:

"When units are part of the subject of a topic—nautical miles in articles about the history of nautical law, SI units in scientific articles, yards in articles about American football—it can be excessive to provide conversions every time a unit occurs. It could be best to note that this topic will use the units ( only the first use of a unit needs conversion and linking, possibly giving the conversion factor to another familiar unit in a parenthetical note or a footnote), and link the first occurrence of each unit but not give a conversion every time it occurs.:

My edit was reverted with the edit summary "Undo undiscussed policy change. Conversions normally should be given, unless they create excessive clutter."

Now, as can be found in FA thread, that's not what's actually happening in featured articles: reviewers and delegates are saying that for naval articles it's OK to convert just the first instance of "knots" (or whatever), and leave the rest alone, which is all that the proposed change is trying to say. In such articles (which is the topic of the above text), converting each instance of the units is invariably clutter. The current wording is quite confusing (I mostly just trimmed noise phrases like "it could be best to note that" from it), and I was trying to distill away the confusion and reflect what's actually happening. If the proposed wording isn't quite right, let's have better wording; but the current wording is quite bad and needs improvement. Eubulides (talk) 09:19, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

I understood Eubulides' edit to have been aimed at redundant and distracting language, rather than at effecting any change in substance. ¶On the substance, there's really a difficult balance. Too many conversions can cause clutter and break the flow of prose, but on the other hand, we always try to make things as easy as possible for the reader, and requiring him or her to make constant mental conversions (what is 27.31 kilos or 15 yards 2 feet 4 1/2 inches?) certainly doesn't do that. I err towards the side of offering too many conversions. It's probably best to offer editors options, rather than to either require or deprecate conversions subsequent to the first. —— Shakescene (talk) 21:57, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
The proposed change read

When units are part of the subject of a topic—nautical miles in articles about the history of nautical law, SI units in scientific articles, yards in articles about American football—only the first use of a unit needs conversion and linking, possibly giving the conversion factor to another familiar unit in a parenthetical note or a footnote.

The problem I have with the change is the real issue is how many measurements are present in the article. Whether the units are part of the subject really has little to do with it. The degree of connection between the unit and the subject really has to do with which unit to list first when conversions are given, and which unit to use when conversions are not given. Also, the phrase "only the first use of a unit needs conversion and linking" will be interpreted by some editors that whenever units are part of the topic of the subject, it is poor practice to give a conversion for every quantity. Perhaps something like this would work:

When an article contains many measurements, only the first use of a unit needs conversion and linking, possibly giving the conversion factor to another familiar unit in a parenthetical note or a footnote. When conversions are omitted, the unit used should be the one given first in the first instance: The goal lines in American football are 100 yards (91 m) apart...the ball must be advanced 10 yards to achieve a first down.

I was just considering this clause from a different perspective with a view to making changes. There is a difficulty with things like '12 pounder gun' which may not translate well because the designation is the name of the model rather than an accurate projectile weight, which might be 11.5 or 12.5 or even variable depending on ammunition. I think this probably comes under this section as something which should not normally be converted but just be noted somewhere what the equivalent would be. Anyway, my conclusion was that somewhere the guide should make it more clear that where something which appears to be a measurement is actually a name, it should not simply be converted but needs to be explained with an appropriate equivalent. Discussion elsewhere pointed out the similar example of a motor car engine described as 1200cc, which might be a marketing device rather than a measurement of its 1175cc actual capacity. Where the article explained it was 1175cc then this could perfectly well be converted, but converting the 1200 would be misleading. Sandpiper (talk) 12:05, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Alternative date style

Frank Lebby Stanton uses the style of 1857 February 22 thoughout the article. Since this is a very odd style, I changed it to February 22, 1857, but I was revert with the reason that articles should use the format chosen by the first major contributor. This is a nonstandard style for any national variety, and this page does not even mention it. It says not to use YYYY-MM-DD, but this is the spelled-out version. Should it be changed? Reywas92Talk 04:33, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

There are uses for this style, for example in chronologies and timelines, but it breaks the flow of ordinary prose for almost every reader because of its unfamiliarity. A compromise I used at Victoria of the United Kingdom#Children (which is a table rather than prose) that might be slightly less unsettling to the average reader would be Frank Lebby Stanton was born in 1857 (February 22) in Charleston and died in 1927 (January 7) in Atlanta. By the way Mr Stanton was born on George Washington's 125th birthday. I very much dislike the idea of the Manual of Style specifying a very limited number of specific date styles, but ones that are so unfamiliar that they would throw the average reader should be discouraged. [Another highly-specialized case where this style might perhaps be reasonably supported would be in reverse to emphasize years, e.g. Abraham Lincoln (12 February 1809 – 1865 April 15). That was unsuccessfully attempted by someone else in the table of Victoria's children, but I decided the easiest way to accommodate both the more-important years and the less-important days was to introduce a vertical break.] —— Shakescene (talk) 05:41, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
AFAICT it is not non-standard in Canadian English, but somewhere the MoS already says that the acceptable formats for prose are February 22, 1857 and 22 February 1857. Given that Canadians also widely use both February 22, 1857 and 22 February 1857, I can see little point in 1857 February 22 (except in a few timelines, but such cases would be so rare that they can be discussed on a per-case basis invoking IAR, and don't need to be mentioned explicitly). ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 12:06, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
It's true that 1857 February 22 is not infrequently used in Canadian English, but February 22, 1857 and 22 February 1857 are more common. All are equally comprehensible, but readers like the style they are most familiar with. Since this article is about an American, one would normally use the traditional American date style: February 22, 1857. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 23:43, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Quoting RockyMtnGuy: “Since this article is about an American, one would normally use the traditional American date style: February 22, 1857.” Indeed; I agree 100%. An article about a small English town ought to use British-dialect English and date formats, in my opinion, because of the high percentage of British readership. An article strongly associated with America ought to certainly use American-style dates. We do have a legitimate need to retain the spelling as the dialect used by the first major contributor to an article and avoid edit wars. But for dates, I would like to think that editors would be more interested in making the articles read as naturally as possible for a readership which will have a predominance of an American readership. There are all sorts of conventions: for naming long numbers, for delimiting numbers, for writing dates, and for spelling words and we have an endless stream of editors convinced that the practice followed in their area is the “right” way to do things and should be well and freely (and frequently) represented on Wikipedia. IMO, too much accommodation has been made to make edit-warring editors stop acting like babies and too little emphasis has been made to ensure our articles read most naturally and consistently for the likely readership. Greg L (talk) 03:36, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
While the "first major contributor" rule is important, I agree that it's better to make things easier for readers, who more often than not do not see this format in everyday life, than leave it alone because of a technicality. Dabomb87 (talk) 03:48, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
As for "likely readership", see this. But I still agree with WP:ENGVAR: there is no need to rewrite articles such as Speed of light just because most readers are American, provided they don't use constructions which are seriously confusing for Americans (or, indeed, for any literate-enough English speaker). But then, the article being discussed here and now falls into the "strong national ties" bullet, so it should be written in American English whichever way it was written initially. ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 10:25, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Guidance needed

It's easy to edit the text to include {{xt}}, but I'm having a bit of trouble working out where, and would appreciate some confirmation before I start:

I cannot see any other quoted text that needs conversion, although there are probably some more phrases in italics or just plain text that I'll notice later. Johnuniq (talk) 11:58, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

  • This is why this was so time-consuming for me. There is some gray area as to what text should be given the “xt-treatment”. I suggest you approach the issue this way: The name “xt” stands for “example text.” So, generally speaking, if the verbiage you are going to convert is preceded with language such as the following…
  1. Editors should write…
  2. …or write this…
  3. …but not this…
  4. …such as…
  5. …for example,
…and the verbiage that follows clearly can be categorized as “example text”, then give it the {xt} treatment.
The whole purpose of {xt} was to solve the problem of what to do when we were giving examples of what to do with quotes, such as “When giving a quote that itself contains quoted text, change the double-quote to a single-quote as follows…” Thus, the entire bit of example text that followed those words couldn’t itself be set off within quotes without serious limitations and complications. The alternative, of course, was to use italic text to set off example text, but then that screwed up examples where we touched upon how to properly use italics. MOSNUM previously used both techniques to avoid this limitation. So…
We have {xt} to give us complete freedom to no longer need either italics nor quotes to set off example text. Once we are using {xt} for those, we should finish the job and use it for all instances of example text. I know there are some gray areas where what can be considered “example” text isn’t entirely clear. However, I’m sure you will find the proper answer in each case. I really appreciate, Johnuniq, that you 1) stepped up to the plate and volunteered to perform this service, and 2) take your responsibilities so seriously that you saw fit to check in and clarify the scope and definition of the task, as you did above.
I suggest that you not worry too much about goofing. So long as you break up your edits into small, clear, logical sections and frequently post, it should be easy for you or someone other editor to go back and just hit [undo] in the history and keep the reverted text (and wasted effort) at a minimum.
In advance, thanks. Greg L (talk) 19:28, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
P.S. I use {xt} when quoting editors because debate here on WT:MOSNUM frequently contains quotes and type-style changes. So the use of {xt} avoids my having to switch back and forth from using italics and quotes when quoting other editors. It also more distinctly sets off the quoted passage. For MOSNUM itself, {xt} is used as an alternative to all other ways of setting off example text; namely, quotes, italics, and bolding. So, to (finally) answer a question you posed above, here is how the following text currently on MOSNUM would be addressed:

There is no such ambiguity with recurring events, such as January 1 is New Year's Day.

Greg L (talk) 20:04, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for info. I made quite a lot of changes and will wait at least 24 hours before doing more (I'm up to "Scientific notation, engineering notation, and uncertainty"). In the line starting "The ordinal suffix", I used xt, but (owing to the font), it is not entirely successful in appearance. I tried xt for the italics at "Non-base-10 notations" but it looks bad with xt, so I did not use it. Johnuniq (talk) 04:32, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

  • I think your judgement was spot-on on how to evaluate the suitability of {xt} for given pieces of example text. Indeed, the Georgian font that {xt} uses treats its numbers with a, uhm… stylistic flourish (abcdefg - 1627384950). Georgian was chosen because it is found on Mac, Windows, and Linux with native installations—or, at least, exceedingly common ones. Perhaps one day, we can again take a look at using some other font. Times proved too problematic because it is smaller than its same-size, sans-serif counterparts. Giving Times a proportional percentage boost in size (like 107.5%) proved unsatisfactory for use across widely different platforms.

    I am really impressed with your conservative, stepped approach to improving MOSNUM. Your style should be widely emulated. Greg L (talk) 18:09, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

P.S. I just realized that if you edited numeric examples so their digits, when they are used in significands, superscripts, and subscripts, are segregated into—and chosen from pallets of—three families: 012, and 34579, and 68, then that ought to fix the appearance problem you are wrestling with. For instance: The chance that 68 editors on Wikipedia will have 100% agreement on any one issue on WT:MOSNUM is 9.7435×10−21. Greg L (talk) 18:51, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Good idea for most examples; but in one example the fact that 1, 2, 3, and 4 are aligned together is the point. It is "the Unicode characters ² and ³ ... are not aligned with superscript characters (e.g., x1x²x³x4 vs. x1x2x3x4)". I'd fall back on not using {{xt}} on that example, or on using a kluge such as "the Unicode characters ² and ³ ... are not aligned with superscript characters (e.g., x1x²x³x4 vs. x1x2x3x4)". (If it weren't the case that so many people's default serif font is Times which has a ridiculously tiny x-height, I'd just propose that Xt just specify "serif".) --___A. di M. 19:19, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
  • As the saying goes: If anything works in this world, thank an engineer.

    I see you coded the good-looking one as follows:

    {{xt|1=<span style="font-family: sans">''x''<sup>1</sup>''x''²''x''³''x''<sup>4</sup></span>}} vs. {{xt|1=<span style="font-family: sans">''x''<sup>1</sup>''x''<sup>2</sup>''x''<sup>3</sup>''x''<sup>4</sup></span>}}.

    Indeed, the example text appears small on my Mac because it uses Times, but it still looks nice, and—indeed—that is quite the kluge to code.

    So let me try the {{xt}} treatment: x1x²x³x4 vs. x1x2x3x4. I see. A big, stupid superscripted “3” and “4” because one must do a progression, where choosing from a segregated pallet isn’t possible.

    However, this is an situation where the example text is sufficiently clear from context since it is numerics surrounded by words. Greg L (talk) 19:35, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

  • A. di M.: What do you think of {xtc} where the only change is to the custom green color? It would be used where you have to deal with alphanumeric formulas. As regards color blindness, it would be merely be an assistive technology that facilitates the distinction of what is example text and what isn’t. So I don’t see adding green as being a problem, such as Wikipedia’s practice of using a dark blue to indicate there is a link that can be clicked. And the prudent use of {xtc} on alphanumeric formulas on MOSNUM (and similar WP: uses) would be a lightyear from the same class as using color alone to differentiate important distinctions, like “this is good” but “this is bad”. Greg L (talk) 19:54, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Update

My edit finished converting all "quoted examples" and italic examples to use {{xt}}. It turned out that there were very few changes in that last edit; I included changing "US" to "US gallon" at one point where it looked like an oversight.

In the line beginning "Use nautical mile or statute mile" (and some other places) I used xt for the examples which included links, so they are blue and look a tiny bit strange (but I think ok). I did not touch the examples in the "Quantities of bytes and bits" section because 10003 renders unsatisfactorily as 10003 and the 3 can't really be changed to follow Greg's above suggestion. The idea of an xtc template sounds useful for rendering the numeric examples mentioned above, and it looks very simple to do for a trial. Johnuniq (talk) 09:26, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

  • Thank you so much (again) for stepping up to the plate and doing such a meticulous job. If it rocks your boat, you can give math expressions like 10003 an “xt-treatment” that looks like this: 10003. Here’s how to do a really useful trial until an {xtc} template comes along…
    • This is link-blue, which is coded <font color="#002BB8">fake link</font color>.
    • This is “xt”-green, which is coded <font color="#006F00">example formula without the accompanying Georgia font</font color>.
It would be ultra-easy when an {xtc} template becomes available to do a search & replace in a word processor to change occurrences of <font color="#006F00"> with {{xtc|. You know the drill; same on the back end.
Greg L (talk) 02:43, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. Why not create Template:xtc? I'll give that a go if you like. Johnuniq (talk) 02:56, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
  • I don’t know how to make templates. I usually look towards A. di M. for these sort of things. It seems his take is a good litmus test for when is the proper moment to make a template.

    My sense is that using <font color="#002BB8"> to fix the last few stragglers will be the perfect demonstration for a “trial,” as you say. It’s also been my observation in the past that having code like that in MOSNUM, if the practice sticks, is just the very sort of thing that prompts someone to make a template so they can get rid of the code. By dipping our toes into this with a color-call, we can all look at the result and see if it serves a good and valuable end.

    I know that my use of CSS spans when making really nice-looking scientific notation (like 9.743534579(35)×10−21 kg) precipitated the effort to make templates to accomplish the same end and that resulted in the {{xt}} template. People just couldn’t stand looking at my hand-written code for scientific notation, which looked like 6.022<span style="margin-left:0.25em">141<span style="margin-left:0.2em">79(30)</span></span><span style="margin-left:0.25em">×</span><span style="margin-left:0.15em">10</span><sup>–21</sup> kg. ;-) Greg L (talk) 19:29, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

I used Greg's font color="#006F00" in Quantities of bytes and bits. It looks good to me (although I now think I should have added a greeen period to each of the three "Acceptable examples include"). Following is what Template:xtc should be (needs documentation):

{{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACE}}|{{ns:0}}|{{FormattingError|Template:xtc is only for examples
of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.}}|<span class="example"style=
"color: #006F00;">{{{1|}}}</span>}}<noinclude>
{{Documentation}}
<!-- If/when the <samp> element is included in WikiText, replace span with samp,
which would be more appropriate. -->
</noinclude>

Hmmm, interesting off-topic: Why does {{xt}} fail when used like this abc{{xt|font color="#006F00"}}def which renders as abcExample textdef? Johnuniq (talk) 04:53, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Because when it sees an equal sign, it believes that it's a named parameter font color whose value is "#006F00". You have to use 1= to specify the value of the first unnamed parameter when it itself contains equals signs (font color="#006F00"). --___A. di M. 14:37, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
  • I think Quantities of bytes and bits looks great. Thanks, Johnuniq. Having an equal sign anywhere within the {xt} template breaks it. There are at least three ways to work around this, depending on whether the = sign is functional or only for display. For instance…
  • {{xt|1=''M''<span style="margin-left:0.15em"><sup>2</sup></span>}}M2 (one must use the “1=” technique because the = sign is functional in a CSS span… the span here is just an example that came to mind.)
  • {{xt|2 × 3 {{=}} 6}}2 × 3 = 6 ( {{=}} (template replacement of the = as it is only display)
  • {{xt|2 × 3 = 6}}2 × 3 = 6 (character reference to replace the = as it is only display)
Greg L (talk) 17:40, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks both. This is a classic case of induced stupidity because I have done a fair bit of work with templates elsewhere and it was the html (that is somewhat foreign to me) that made me overlook the blunder. I'm a bit hesitant to create xtc after that, but I'll do it if wanted and A. di M. doesn't feel like it. I don't think it is worth putting any more green manually into MOSNUM, so let's wait for xtc. Johnuniq (talk) 04:36, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Were it me, I’d sit back and see if the #006F00-made examples are met with bored acceptance (or interested acceptance). After maybe a month, it would, IMO, look more *formal* and cleaner to create an {xtc} template; that will make the examples look more like the etherial Wikipedia gods ordained that they be there. Greg L (talk) 00:26, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Problem: this edit replaced the green font color with {{xt}}. I might restore my version, but this time put a link to this discussion in the edit summary (or please do it yourself if you feel so inclined). Johnuniq (talk) 08:02, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
  • While it might be unsuitable for a fine glossy-paged coffee-table book, having the bytes ‘n’ bits examples in {xt} doesn’t appear to be an abomination unto the eyes of the typography gods to me. More to the point, the {xt}-treatment doesn’t, IMO, get in the way or distract from the message. I think the whole page looks much better as a result of your exceedingly professional work and collaborative style, Johnuniq. Greg L (talk) 21:35, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

About YYYY-MM-DD dates

I mentioned this in the section above, but I think it got a bit lost in the larger discussion of date formats. I'd like to add a sentence to the section about YYYY-MM-DD dates:

YYYY-MM-DD style dates used to be common in footnotes due to template requirements, but are no longer encouraged; it is acceptable to change these dates to whatever date format is used in the rest of the article.

I've just seen a user who's been changing date formats in footnotes to YYYY-MM-DD, because he thought it was standard Wikipedia style. YYYY-MM-DD dates are ugly, not widely used, and (as SlimVirgin points out above) potentially unclear to readers. I don't think it's time to actively discourage the use of this date format (because it's in millions of articles, and changing them all without more discussion would be disruptive), but I think it would be appropriate to note that they're not encouraged either. What do other people think? I'm open to discussion on the wording, of course. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 22:09, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Unnecessary instruction creep. Their aesthetic value is irrelevant. As mentioned before, discussion regarding mass changes was had (I assume you have looked over it) and it is not a debate that needs to be revisited any time soon. wjematherbigissue 22:17, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
It's somewhat unclear. Is 2001-02-03 the 3rd of Febraury or the 2nd of March. Can someone provide a link to the previous discussion on mass changes? SunCreator (talk) 14:18, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
It is not at all unclear, see the section title. The format is widely used. YYYY-DD-MM is almost unheard of in the real world. Please let's not waste any more time on this topic. It has been done to death. Use your search button. LeadSongDog come howl 14:54, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
To those who know the logic, it's not unclear. But you have to know the logic, as well as the (non-intuitive) fact that the format is following that logic, which many don't. At least one editor used to DD-MM-YYYY dates said (s)he'd inadvertently read a YYYY-XX-ZZ date as YYYY-DD-MM out of unconscious habit. I don't want to resume the long debate referred to below, but there was certainly more than one opinion expressed, not just the one immediately above. —— Shakescene (talk) 21:23, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Here is the failed proposal which stemmed from various discussions which can be found in the archives: Wikipedia:Mosnum/proposal_on_YYYY-MM-DD_numerical_dates wjematherbigissue 18:46, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

I didn't realize the proposal was so recent; for some reason, I thought the discussion was longer ago. Well, from reviewing that discussion I see that there is no consensus about the use of YYYY-MM-DD dates in footnotes. That said, can we agree that changing normal, region-appropriate, human-format dates (that is, February 4, 2010 or 4 February 2010) to YYYY-MM-DD dates is not desirable? If so, is that covered by the existing warnings about not changing optional styles, or should the MoS say more? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 23:26, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

The change should only be made if one is normalizing all the date formats within the footnotes / references, a consistency we require. (eg if 25% of them are long-form and the rest YYYY-MM-DD, then they likely all should be YYYY-MM-DD); wholesale change of date format if they are already normalized should not be done without gaining talk page consensus. --MASEM (t) 23:32, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, in this case a user changed dates that were uniformly in the "February 4, 2010" format (in article and all footnotes) to the "2010-02-04" format, with the edit summary "wiki format"; apparently he was under the misapprehension that this was Wikipedia standard. I suspect that this user is not alone in this misapprehension. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 00:39, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that would be correct; the user's edits were improper. --MASEM (t) 01:23, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
I think that you can say that all article text dates should use the form February 4, 2010 or 4 February 2010. They should not use yyyy-mm-dd in article text, with the possible exception of tables. You can use yyyy-mm-dd in references. Now is that where consensus is? Vegaswikian (talk) 01:06, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
No, there is no consensus. JIMp talk·cont 09:07, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
We require:
  • All dates in the body of the article to use the spelled out US or UK date format, and only one format should be used for these.
  • All dates in footnotes of the article can use either spelled out format or the YYYY-MM-DD format; only one format should be used; if it is the US/UK spelled out format, it should be consistent with the body's choice of format; but YYYY-MM-DD can be used in the footnotes without matching the US/UK format. --MASEM (t) 01:23, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
  • One often sees spelled out format for the publication date (of course, the publication date is often just the year, so there is no telling what the editor intended for the publication date format) combined with the YYYY-MM-DD format for the date web resources were retrieved. I regard such articles as having no established date formats and feel free to change all the dates to an appropriate format; I usually use the same format as the article text in this case.

I support the proposal above. It's not creep, it's getting the word out that YYYY-MM-DD is not WP format for footnotes. JIMp talk·cont 09:07, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Now that ("getting the word out that YYYY-MM-DD is not WP format for footnotes" – added following comment below) would go against the existing consensus reached by the failure of the aforementioned proposal. wjematherbigissue 10:35, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Wjemather, you wrote "Now that would go against the existing consensus...." I'm not sure what "that" refers to. As far as I can tell, there is no consensus to convert all YYYY-MM-DD dates in references to the format used in the article text, nor is there a consensus to refrain from such conversions. There is consensus for consistency within an article (or, apparently, separate consistency for each of the article text and article references). I suppose tables would be decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on how cramped a particular table is. That's how other publications handle tables. --Jc3s5h (talk) 13:52, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
clarification added. wjematherbigissue 14:10, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Would it then be appropriate for the MoS to say something like:

There is no consensus on the use of dates in the YYYY-MM-DD format in footnotes. This style is widely used, in part because citation templates used to require it. Date formats in footnotes should either be consistent with the format used in the article or consistently in the YYYY-MM-DD format, depending on the article's history and local consensus.

Does that reflect the current consensus better? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:07, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 08:46, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

I realize that Wikipedia tends to be dominated by American editors, but I support ISO 8601 (YYYY-MM-DD) as the rapidly developing international and web (see W3C at http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/iso-date) consensus is that the ISO 8601 format is internationally unambiguous and elegant (and already the cultural standard of half the world's people). Only some Americans seem to find it fundamentally offensive, for reasons which escape me. Also note that the typical reference style in Wikipedia most closely follows the APA standard, which currently recommends a hybrid style (e.g., "2010, February 20"). The strong trend by a wide range of editors toward using the "YYYY-MM-DD" format (e.g., "2010-02-20") actually post-dates the general decision to stop using the date format templates. The real reason for its increasing popularity is that it represents a fundamental shift toward using ISO 8601, which was finalized only a few years ago. As awareness of the benefits of the new date format standard increases, so does general adoption. Even Canada has started to use YYYY-MM-DD extensively on many documents, especially those generated electronically. This is one discussion which will probably keep popping up again and again, meeting violent resistance from some, until ultimately accepted as common sense by most. Yeng-Wang-Yeh (talk) 00:18, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Yeng-Wang-Yeh, have you actually read the ISO 8601 standard? If not, I suggest you do so, while bearing in mind that Wikipedia contains many history articles. If you don't see how that might be a problem, go read the standard again. Jc3s5h (talk) 00:29, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
One more comment about ISO 8601. Who will make sure that if anyone writes 2010-11, it always means November 2010 and never means, in ISO 8601 notation, 2010/2011? Jc3s5h (talk) 00:34, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Good question, considering the guidance in WP:YEAR ("Year ranges, like all ranges, are separated by an en dash, not a hyphen or slash: 2005–06 ...") Visually, the en dash and the hyphen look a lot alike. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:17, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, the visual distinction between en dash and hyphen is quite striking, at least to my eyes, when viewed on Firefox 3.5. However, given that many (most?) WP articles don't conform to WP:DASH, I can see where you all are comming from. Dabomb87 (talk) 23:59, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
It's a font issue, not a browser one. (Except that some browsers are able to surrogate for a missing glyph with one from another font, and others can't; but I think that fonts without a glyph for the en dash are very rare nowadays.) ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 00:23, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately, although most modern computers can distinguish between en dashes, hyphens and em dashes, in practice many editors use hyphens for all three. It seems that this distinction is a fine one which is not widely understood.
Back to Yeng-Wang-Yeh's point about ISO 8601 and its use on the web: the same W3C site which Yeng-Wang-Yeh links to has this FAQ which presents YYYY-MM-DD as "option one" (with the caveat that it is "people unfriendly") and natural date formats, with the month spelled out, as "option two" (with the caveat that this is "less computer friendly"). If presented with two options, one of which is unfriendly to people and one of which is unfriendly to computers, I'd rather be unfriendly to computers — especially if that unfriendliness has little or no practical consequences.
(Incidentally, I find no evidence to support Yeng-Wang-Yeh's assertion that the use of YYYY-MM-DD has increased since autolinking of dates ceased; and even if that is the case, I don't see how one could prove that this is due to more widespread acceptance of ISO 8601, as opposed to an assumption that the way that most footnotes look is the way they're supposed to look.)
The fact is that the W3C does not simply recommend YYYY-MM-DD; they recommend that date formats be clear and unambiguous, a goal which can be reached by either YYYY-MM-DD or a "normal" date format which spells out the month. We allow for either in footnotes, but the usage should be consistent within an article. Thus, my proposed addition, which still hasn't received any comment. To repeat: would it be helpful to add something like the following to the MOS page?
There is no consensus on the use of dates in the YYYY-MM-DD format in footnotes. This style is widely used, in part because citation templates used to require it. Date formats in footnotes should either be consistent with the format used in the article or consistently in the YYYY-MM-DD format, depending on the article's history and local consensus.
If the clause "in part because citation templates used to require it" is considered inaccurate or misleading, I'm open to alternative suggestions. Perhaps "in part for historical reasons"? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 05:55, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Template:Currency

I just created {{Currency}} in order to do currency formatting values inline with the MOS guidelines here. The template is currently functional for a decent selection of the largest currencies, but it's nowhere near 100% complete yet. Value ranges need to be added as well, along with conversions from one currency to another (which I think that I'll use {{Currency value}} to provide). Feel free ot jump in and change things though, if you'd like, as I generally dislike working alone anyway. Regards,
— V = I * R (Talk • Contribs) 03:40, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

I think that the linking should be made optional, and disabled by default for US dollars, pounds sterling and euros. BTW, you might be interested in /Archive 124#Automatic currency converter button idea. ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 12:32, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. I do plan on adding a link parameter, but it's just easier to make the non-linking optional then vice-versa. Regardless, the MOS (currently) states that they should be linked, and that's what's guiding me, so if you think that it should be different then please make changes to this document rather then just trying to get me to change things willy-nilly. Thanks for the feedback, though!
— V = I * R (Talk • Contribs) 19:08, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, it says "When possible, always link the first occurrence of lesser-known currencies". Now "lesser-known" isn't a hard-and-fast criterion, but according to this about half the readers use US dollars, one tenth use pounds sterling, and a twelfth use euros. ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 20:28, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, OK then, I'll just leave it to you guys to either fix or delete then. *shrug*
— V = I * R (Talk • Contribs) 21:52, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Short scale billion

Would appreciate some input here guys. A few weeks ago I queried the use of the short scale million on Wikipedia: Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/Noticeboard/Archive_10#Short_scale_billion. While I don't have a fundamental objection to the short scale I was not aware of the protocol and often wondered which scale was in use, especially in regards to British articles which may reference the billion in the long scale sense. Many people in Britain from the older generation and people especially from non-English speaking countries where the long scale is still in use may be unaware of MOS directive to use short scale and write using the long scale billion. In many other cases the readers may be confused about which scale is in use.

One of the suggestions at the NPOV discussion was to overlink the first billion in an article to make it explicit i.e. billion. I personally though this was a clever idea since readers can ascertain without any doubt which scale is being used, so I thought that was issue closed. I overlinked a few billions but have now been accused of violating the "over-linking" protocol and some of the billions have been un-linked.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Do you think it is acceptable to link a billion once at the start of an article (or maybe once a section in a large article) to achieve clarity for the reader, given the alternative that the reader could be left confused otherwise? Obviously I don't want to get into edit wars over linking, so if this is a no-go then I'll just cut my losses, but I would welcome your opinions on this. Betty Logan (talk) 01:39, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

It is certainly a good idea to link the first occurrance of billion or trillion in an article to clarify its intended meaning. The confusion is real. An alternative would be to clarify by a parenthetical: 5 billion (5000 million) or 5 billion (5000 milliard). −Woodstone (talk) 05:22, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
As an aside, milliard is just not a word that's widely understood in the United States today. But I do prefer something like 5 billion (5,000 million) or 5 billion (5 million million) to using powers of ten: 5.37 billion (5.37 x 109) or 5.37 billion (5.37 x 1012). In those examples I'm conscious that I haven't used the preferred Wikipedia symbols for "times" and "to the power of", but that suggests that powers-of-ten would cause difficulties for editors as well as for some non-technical readers long out of school. Links, however, only work for those who use pop-ups (a minority of a minority of a minority of Wikipedia's readers: registered editors who've enabled them); few undertake the hassle of navigating to a new page and then navigating back just from seeing a word in blue. —— Shakescene (talk) 21:45, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
It's not a good idea, it's simply an idea. What if users miss this link for fist usage? Are they doomed to misconstrue the scale for the remainder of the article? If the subject isn't related to any country that might still use it archaically, it's not an issue (i.e. Titanic (1997 film)). And even for articles related to such subjects, anyone who uses long scale is highly unlikey to get information from Wikipedia or any other global source; anyone who uses the Internet likely understands what scales are used globally. However, in the interest of fairness, I think the only reasonable option is something akin to "<span style="border-bottom:1px dotted #000;cursor:help;" title="1,000,000,000 (10^9)">billion</span>", resulting in "billion" (which would of course be reeduced to a template). Mousing over the word would then yield the scale used.
However, I think the most sensible approach to this issue is to stick with the current policy that all large numbers are assumed short scale, as I have to believe (though I could be wrong) that most of the world makes this assumption as well. DKqwerty (talk) 05:39, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Most of the world uses long scale, although the majority of English speaking world uses short scale. But even in Britain where the official usage is short scale (since 1974) many people who were schooled before this use the long scale, just like they use imperial instead of metric. But what of foreign readers? English is the second language in many countries so that is an important consideration. I don't see how a template is any different to the link - you hover the mouse over the link and "1,000,000,000" flashes up, although I'd be happy enough with the template version. No-one is suggesting we change the policy, but not every single reader on Wilkipedia is going to be aware that it has adopted short scale so the policy has no bearing on the issue of how the article is read. Betty Logan (talk) 06:23, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Do foreign readers use the short scale in English? If not, that'd be like avoid using "actual" because its cognates mean "current, present" in French, German, Spanish, Italian, etc. (And Template:Explain already exists.) ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 10:23, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Note that using a hover link (tooltip) would violate our accessibility guideline. Franamax (talk) 15:51, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out, I wasn't aware. In that case, I retract my suggestion and re-submit that enough of the English-speaking Wikipedia users use short scale, and those who don't assume short scale when getting information from a global medium such as this. DKqwerty (talk) 18:26, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
On what basis do you assume that everyone getting their information from a global information website will assume the short scale? Anyone over 50 in Britain will have only been taught the long scale so could easily make the mistake. For instance, if you were reading an article on the Spanish Wikipedia do you know which scale is used there? If you saw the Spanish word for "billion" would you not want clarification of the scale? English is a second language in many countries, so linking the "billion" would offer clarity for those who seek it. I really don't understand the objection, there are many linked words and phrases on articles and this is something that could potentially stop confusion. Betty Logan (talk) 03:15, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
If Brits get confused by the short-scale billion, Wikipedia will be the least of their worries: an unqualified billion is now almost always short scale throughout the British media (anything else would cause significant confusion) - and billions are almost always used unqualified.
If the Spanish Wikipedia, I would expect the word billón to mean a long scale billion - as that's what that word means in Spanish - and I would not expect it to be qualified. In English, the short scale is overwhelmingly more common, and we should be able to use it without signalling it - for the same reason (as A. di M. points out) that we don't signal up the fact that the word "actual" does not mean "current" or that a "magazine" is not a shop. This is the English Wikipedia, and we should write using English-language conventions without feeling the need to flag up every false friend in the language. Pfainuk talk 07:34, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think they could be confused, because not every reader knows what assumptions to make. I'm not talking about translating across languages (although that is very far from trivial when talking about numbers), but about those (Anglophone or not) who learned before 1970 that the English word "billion" meant 1,000,000,000,000 in Britain, but who weren't in Britain when the meaning shifted. (I came to the U.S. in 1960.) It can also be uncertain if an article is discussing (say) British astronomy, science, economics or mathematics before 1950. A convention that works is one that's understood by all the readers, not just Wikipedia editors. —— Shakescene (talk) 07:49, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
If I saw the word billón and I didn't know what it means, I'd look it up on a Spanish dictionary, duh. Why can't one do the same for billion with an English dictionary? ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 16:19, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
They might not look "billion" up because they might think they already knew the answer (just as they wouldn't look up "thousand" or "hundred"). And, if they did consult a dictionary, all it would say is that one meaning is more common than another, which would not give a positive answer about which convention a particular Wikipedia article is using, but only indicate which one might be more likely. ¶ Ditto for ton, gallon, quart, pint, calorie and karat; their disambiguation can often be added to a conversion to or from metric/SI units, but in the absence of such a conversion, the MOS(dates&numbers) usually prescribes an explicit specification. —— Shakescene (talk) 20:40, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that the conclusion is simple. The short-scale system is overwhelmingly used in English, and this is the English Wikipedia, therefore our MOS should require the use of short-scale numbers in Wikipedia entries. I understand that, inevitably, there will be someone who gets tripped up by this fact as they are expecting long-scale numbers, but attempting to "clarify" the issue for this small fraction of readers is likely to introduce a new layer of complexity and confusion for the rest. Shereth 16:29, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that anyone's suggesting that any Wikipedia article should say that "billion" means a million million (unless in very specific contexts, such as discussing a direct historical quotation, and then only with very clear and repeated indications of the now-uncommon meaning of "billion"). But there's just enough room for doubt or hesitation on the part of some readers (perhaps first-time readers of Wikipedia guided from a search-engine in Heaven-knows-where) that editors can take the minimal amount of time to clarify their meaning. Don't demand, instead, that the readers know or do extra research to divine what Wikipedia's trying to say. —— Shakescene (talk) 20:48, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
On looking up billion in a dictionary: I just did. This is the two-fold definition given by [OED on line] to-day, 22:42, 9 February 2010 (UTC):
1. orig. and still commonly in Great Britain: A million millions. (= U.S. trillion.) [followed by 7 lines of excerpts and references]
2. In U.S., and increasingly in Britain: A thousand millions. [followed by 1 (one) line of excerpts and references]
Thus, it is simply not true that a qualified reader after checking a dictionary will "know" that billion "always" stands for a short billion in modern British English. Wilson's decision to change the meaning from 1012 to 109 in the national accounting obviously has not lead to a universal and undisputed official acceptance of the short scale billion - yet.
You might consider me as prejudiced in this matter, since I'm more than 50 years old; I prefer the OED to most other English dictionaries; I'm a mathematician, and prefer the more logical original suffix system with (Roman numeral times 6) zeros to the more recent (3 + Roman numeral times 3) zeros one. However, Wikipedia does have other readers than teenagers; and it probably even has teenage readers believing that the definitions in OED are adequate. Thus, the choice only to use the short scale is prone to lead to some misunderstanding, unless it is explained.
Often, the problem can be circumvened - if there is a will. I was lead to this page by a reference in a summary for an edit, where my formulation "2500 million humans" was changed to "2.5 billion (2,500 million) humans". In either formulation, you'll have little chance of mis-understanding. However, if you insist on the ubiquity of the short scale, without explanations, you'll probably cause unneccessary confusion for some readers. JoergenB (talk) 22:42, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Accordingly to, I think, ALL British news media, the recent financial crisis has involved bailouts of sums typically stated to be in the tens of billions (e.g., £50 billion bank rescue). And it is said that the population of earth may peak at about 10 billion. It beggars belief what older Britons must be thinking if any of the uncertainties mentioned above exist. "Billion" in current English-language usage ALWAYS means a thousand million. Everywhere. My commiserations to anyone who may have emigrated pre-1974 and not heard the news. Pol098 (talk) 11:37, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

I recommend a reading of the testimonies at Talk:Long and short scales#Mixed usage in British English; some from young people, and some of these fairly recently having been taught the long scale in school. A particularly interesting case was the school which distinguished a billion = 1012 from a financial billion = 109.
In ordinary cases, a discussion like this should be resolved by viewing what either official definitions or statistics from reliable sources have to say. In this case, the main "reliable source" seems to be dismissed, since it describes the long scale as (in) "common" (usage) and the short scale as "increasing", which actually means that it claims the long scale to be the dominating one. Those whose experiences coincide with the summary of OED agree; the others dismiss its "factual description" as "traditionalist".
As for official definitions, the short scale is clearly mandatory for governmental usage since 1974. However, in Wilson's statement, he also made it clear that he did not otherwise prescribe the short scale usage. The best thing in going on would be to find out facts about the formal definitions and actual usage in schools and in other contexts.
Question: Does the UK have a centralised school authority? If not, do its constituends (England, Scotland, et cetera) have separate such? Do these authorities issue binding or recommended rules for what concepts to cover by what definitions, in e.g. elementary mathematics?
If such school authority definitions exist, it would be rather sensible to find them, and refer to them both in this manual and in its talk pages. JoergenB (talk) 18:00, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
That would be the National Curriculum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But I don't think the National Curriculum goes into quite this much detail. Not sure about Scotland. For reliable sources, I would suggest a look at the British English style guides listed here for examples of modern British usage. All prefer the short scale billion over the long scale, and none qualify their usage (by insisting on "American billion" or what-have-you). Pfainuk talk 18:17, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
“There are 1011 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.” (Richard Feynman) ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 18:36, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I've spent a couple of hours trying to penetrate the English (and also in general Welsh and 'Northirish') governmental directives and recommendations for mathematical terminology; and I feel disappointed and frustrated. I was so close...
As I suspected, there are more detailed instructions/recommendations than what I guess most people outside the school world suppose. As far as I understand, they have bearing for the common standardised curriculum at state schools in these parts of UK; less so for public schools or e.g. confessional schools. I started from England, and worked downwards and sidewise. The most hopeful find as yet was the Mathematical vocabulary book, where I soon found out that the pupils are expected to understand and manipulate numbers up to a houndred in the first years, then up to a thousand the next years, then up to a million in years 5 and 6... and there it stopped. The book does not cover higher levels. *Sigh*
Well, at least I've found some interesting cites from a teaching point of view, and have learned some other things about English+ math teaching, which I may have use for in other contexts. JoergenB (talk) 20:40, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Found it! Look at page 37, left, here... - but perhaps you should decide just what importance detailed goals for pupils' understanding from the DCSF has before you check whether or not it coincides with your preconceptions... I think that it is highly relevant. JoergenB (talk) 21:40, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Here is an excerpt on the usage of the long scale "billion" in Economic Evaluations in Exploration from Google Books:
The concept "billion" often tends to cause confusion...In Australia and the UK the usage varies. The Australian Marquarie Dictionary defines billion as 10^12, the Australian government in its annual budget understands billion as 10^9. In the UK billion as 10^12 is still encountered, but in official documents and largely in journalism and finance it is now 10^9. So it advisable to check what is meant by the term "billion".
It's pretty clear that the usage outside of the US is not clear cut in English speaking countries, let alone in countries where it is a second language. Dictionaries actually define a billion in its long scale variant in Australia and the OED observes the long scale version is still in common usage in the UK - it pretty much debunks the claims above that everyone understands it to be the short scale form. Betty Logan (talk) 22:03, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
As a (British) editor for 30 years, with a lifelong passion for both numbers and words, I have never seen or heard 'billion' used to mean 'million million' in anything but a discussion of the subject. Use the short scale and be done with it. Earthlyreason (talk) 18:26, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
One example (in a book published in Britain in 1927) is here. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 00:01, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Why are so many editors so unhappy about this? What possible problem is there with providing a link to 10^9 or 10^12 on the first occurrence of 'billion' in an article? The way some of these comments read, it's like the OP is proposing to change the default. Earthlyreason, (politely and in good faith) your opinion is irrelevant. We should go with what the most reliable sources indicate - and the OED example is given above. There is a good argument for using either the short or long scale in general; if it is decided to use one (the short scale), the least that should be done is provide links to make it clear. If your experience doesn't accord with the research done for the OED, I don't think that means we should take your experience over the best available sources. CheesyBiscuit (talk) 11:59, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
  • The old-style billion has gone down the drain. It was thus 50 years ago when I was a kid. It is a confusion English left behind a long time ago. Please do not resurrect. Tony (talk) 04:21, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Midnight

In the project page "Time of day" section we find: "24:00 [refers] to midnight at the end of a date". In the best of cases this is not always used; Wednesday certainly becomes Thursday at 0:00 on Thursday. I don't even know if it is correct, or common, to speak of 24:00 on Wednesday. The text should be altered either to mandate 0:00, or to allow both usages (in my opinion incorrect, the clock rolls over from 23:59 to 00:00, never 24:00, that time doesn't exist).

While I'm on the subject, in the 12-hour clock section we could clarify that it is equally acceptable to say either "12 noon" or simply "noon", and the same for midnight (I think both usages are common). Pol098 (talk) 11:46, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

"Wednesday from 21:00 to 24:00" sounds less silly than "From Wednesday at 21:00 to Thursday at 0:00". (In Japan they go so far to say "Wednesday at 26:30" to mean "Thursday at 2:30", but that's going to be confusing for people not used to that so I wouldn't use it, but 24:00 is common enough IMO.) ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 12:44, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Point taken, it appears that 24:00 is used (I personally would say "Wednesday from 21:00 to midnight", but it's usage that counts). So I withdraw the suggestion to remove 24:00, but I still think that the alternative to use 0:00 should be added to the page, without recommending one over the other. Pol098 (talk) 13:02, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I can't find anything in the guideline that prefers 24:00 over 00:00. I see no problem that needs fixing. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:31, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
"24:00 [refers] to midnight at the end of a date". This should be something like "midnight at the end of a date can be referred to as 0:00, 24:00, or midnight". (My addition here of midnight is an afterthought, it seems acceptable.) Pol098 (talk) 17:08, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
The whole sentence reads "00:00 refers to midnight at the start of a date, 12:00 to noon, and 24:00 to midnight at the end of a date but should not be used for the first hour of the next day (e.g., use 00:10 for ten minutes after midnight, not 24:10)." It is in a bullet beginning "24-hour clock times". So I believe all of Pol098's concerns are already covered. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:13, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) And then how would you tell whether "00:00, 11 February 2010 (UTC)" is seventeen hours ago or seven hours from now? ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 17:16, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
The Greenwich midnight that will occur less than 8 hours from now is "00:00, 12 February (UTC)" Jc3s5h (talk) 17:22, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Actually 24:00 refers to midnight of the following day. Each day has only one midnight. 167.107.191.217 (talk) 19:14, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

No: every two successive days share one midnight, separating them. Every day can pair with is predecessor and its successor. So every day has two shared midnights, averaging one midnight per day. −Woodstone (talk) 03:49, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Numbers as figures or words ... guide too vague

The wording of the introductory sentence of the section on rendering numbers as figures or words is vague, contradictory and confusing. "As a general rule, in the body of an article, single-digit whole numbers from zero to nine are spelled out in words; numbers greater than nine are commonly rendered in numerals, or may be rendered in words if they are expressed in one or two words". This is not style, this is vague provision of choice. If it is accepted that the demarcation point for rendering numbers as figures or words is two-digit numbers (i.e., eight, nine, 10, 11) then say so. I am tired of editors changing 15 to fifteen, 11 to eleven and so on when the style guide seems to allow either, without any logical reason. The Times Style Guide (UK) directs: "Numbers write from one to ten in full, 11 upwards as numerals except when they are approximations, eg, “about thirty people turned up”. News Ltd's Style Guide in Australia directs that only single-digit numbers be rendered as words, thus 10 and above are figures. For the sake of consistency, Wiki's style guide needs to be as clear and unambiguous. LTSally (talk) 21:19, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Sometimes a little vagueness can be good. The current recommendation allows something like "thirteen apples, five bananas, twelve oranges, two grapefruits and twenty peaches". JIMp talk·cont 10:23, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

A small proposed amendment to the advice about UK articles.

At the moment the policy says:

I feel there are a few potential problems with the wording:

  1. Saying "for the UK, they usually are metric units for most measurements" could be taken as overstating the penetration of metric units. On the other hand it could simply be taken as saying that UK citizens use metrics more often than US citizens.
  2. The wording is suggests an essentially static situation. However, the Times Guide is probably far closer to the mark when it states, "The Times should keep abreast of the trend in the UK to move gradually towards all-metric use,"

Perhaps the reality of the situation would be more adequately represented if we replaced the word usually with "increasingly". Then the wording would read:

...for the UK, they increasingly are metric units for most measurements, but with imperial units for some measurements such as road distances and draught beer (see, for example, Metrication in the United Kingdom and the the Times Online style guide under "Metric").

What do others think of this proposal? Michael Glass (talk) 12:04, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't see that that improves anything. Your wording makes it look like we should suddenly be changing units, as though this were some clearly-defined process. Maybe there is a trend toward metric units, but I fail to see that this has any practical impact on us. The trend is so slow, acting on a scale of decades, that what changes there are in usage don't really affect us. Pfainuk talk 18:43, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't agree that the change in usage has no effect on Wikipedia, if only because the sources for Wikipedia articles are increasingly being expressed in metric units. However, this might answer your objection to the wording:

...for the UK, metric units for most measurements are gradually increasing in use, but imperial units are used for some measurements such as road distances and draught beer (see, for example, Metrication in the United Kingdom and the the Times Online style guide under "Metric").

Any further comments or suggestions? Michael Glass (talk) 11:31, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

This is still a change in policy, and I still have a problem with it for exactly the same reason. It still implies that this is some clearly-defined process: that one day all the British will stop using unit X and start using unit Z instead. They'll just do it a bit slower. Since the precise choice of units is a matter for consensus, I see no reason not to leave it where it is. Pfainuk talk 20:23, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Let's wait and see if any others express their opinions here. Michael Glass (talk) 00:32, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Your proposed changes would make the guideline worse. The guideline should reflect current usage, not some vague notion of what might happen in the future. wjematherbigissue 08:13, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
The proposed change is exactly what is needed to reflect the current situation. The UK is very much changing to the metric system. Even their television programs reflect this, in a metric-only policy that has become quite a feature over the past year to 18 months. You may as well accept the reality and stop binding WP to your personal preference for old-speak. Tony (talk) 04:14, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Should usage change then MOS should then change to reflect that. It should not pre-empt any changes. That would be pushing personal preference. As Pfainuk stated above, they is no timetable or defined process that would warrant such a misleading statement. In the foreseeable future it would be very difficult to see things such as road distances, pints of beer, etc. being given in anything but imperial. To be clear, there is no metric only policy anywhere within the media of the UK. wjematherbigissue 08:56, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Pfainuk talk 18:03, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Didn't someone replace "and draught beer" with "and personal heights and weights" in that guidance on the ground that it's typically a more relevant example in encyclopaedic articles? If so, who changed it back, and why? (I'm going to change it now, revert if you will.) ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 09:31, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Just my 2p worth: as far as I'm aware, the UK's official system of measurement is the metric one - although many older people use Imperial measurements in their daily lives. The balance is increasingly moving towards metrification, as more younger people attend school being taught the metric system, and more older people - umm - die, for want of a more sensitive way of putting it. The issue of road distances and draught beer has already been mentioned by other editors here, but I should add that, as far as I am aware, these two exceptions are measured in Imperial units by law. I may be wrong (and someone can correct me if I am - please feel free!) - but if I am correct, I believe that Wikipedia should simply reflect the official measurements for UK-related articles. I.e, metric measurements should be given first, except in the two cases as mentioned. EuroSong talk 17:53, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't agree. For example, heights and weights are officially measured in kilograms and metres. That's what it's stored in on the computers at the doctor's. But barely anyone in the UK actually has any idea what their measurements actually are in metric units, and very few have a clear idea of what the measurements actually mean: if you say a person weighs 50 kg and is 1.7 m tall, most Brits - of all ages - won't have a clue whether he's fat, thin or well-proportioned. Are the most appropriate units in the UK kilograms and metres? I think it's pretty clear that they aren't. Pfainuk talk 18:03, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
The Canadian government pretty much switched to using metric units in the 1980s but the public-at-large still prefers imperial units. I've never heard CBC's Hockey Night in Canada describe a player in kilos and centimetres and 15-metre slapshots. I think the current policy is fine. That being said am not British, so we should let the Brits slug it out with each other. —MJCdetroit (yak) 20:18, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
The British still measure beer in pints and distances in miles, but this isn't helpful to the rest of the world. The British pint is 20% bigger than the American pint, and the rest of the Commonwealth has switched to kilometres on their road signs. The British also measure weights in stones, which is completely baffling for Americans, Canadians, and almost everyone else on the planet. None of this is useful for the readership, particularly the younger readers outside of the US. The younger people in the Commonwealth no longer understand the Imperial system. They may have heard the words, but they don't really understand what they mean. The Americans don't realize that the British use the same names for different-sized units. The older people like myself may be familiar with the old Imperial measures, and know how they differ from the US units, but we're all going to die eventually and then nobody will know what they mean. It's the 21st century and you have to put everything in metric to make it universally understood, at least outside of the US. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 17:10, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think anyone suggested to use imperial units only. The point being discussed is about which unit to put first in the main text, with the implication that a conversion in parentheses will normally follow. (I think these days hardly anyone understand cubits either, but that's no good reason to remove measurements in cubits from the article Noah's Ark, is it.) ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 17:29, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Pfainuk, I'm very sorry to hear that. That most British can't tell if 170cm height/50kg weight is fat or not is a serious problem of UK educational system. If its so serious, certainly it will be needed to have imperial units as an ad hoc measure to the UK readers. But given the world is much broader, and english native readers of wikipedia are not the majority, it should not be as first unit. Why use imperial first when most readers knows metrics?. pmt7ar (t|c) 19:21, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
That's not correct. Americans alone make up more than half the en.wiki readers. ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 23:46, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Pfainuk, I disagree. it depends on the age of the person you're talking to. I, for example, know exactly what kind of height and build such a person as you mentioned would have. I am 31 years old: born in 1979. In the early 1980s, in school I was taught the metric system. Consequently, if someone quotes me a weight in "pounds" then I do not have a natural feel for what it is: I have to perform a conversion calculation to my normal measure of kilograms. While I accept that many people older than myself were taught Imperial measurements when they were children - and therefore they feel more comfortable with them - you certainly can not say "barely anyone" has an idea of metric measurements, as you so boldly stated! That may be true among elderly people - but taking the UK population as a whole, you need to include the younger generations too. In fact, in my 30s I now no longer regard myself as part of the youngest generation: many people of my age have school-age children of their own, who are currently learning metric measurements. So the era of the Imperial majority is quite definitely on the wane. Has it passed the 50% mark? Who knows - maybe, and maybe not. But your statement about "barely anyone" could not be more wrong. EuroSong talk 22:14, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm in my early twenties, and a physicist to boot. I'm quite at home with kilograms of mass, and how much stuff weighs. But the only reason I know my weight in kilograms is because I needed it to go bungee jumping in New Zealand. People simply don't know how much they weigh in kilograms. They don't have a feel for what constitutes a heavy person in kilograms. Nor, for that matter, do they have a feel for how much people weigh in pounds. But they do have a feel for stones, and that's how people's weights are always quoted. Heights in the same way are always quoted in feet and inches. Not a deficiency of the education system, just the fact that as soon as you leave the school grounds, everything changes to imperial. Listen to the radio and they start talking about people's heights and weights? Always imperial. Have a chat with a bunch of twenty-somethings about the optimum crew weight for a Firefly like I did last weekend? Not a kilogram in sight. They are the only units used in practice in this context. Everything I learnt in school was metric, but that doesn't mean I measure my height or my weight in metric units. And that's hardly unusual. Pfainuk talk 22:46, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Isn't that POV? That's relative, you may seldom hear kilograms, but that's you, that's on your area, country or generation, I don't really know. But there are others out there, that don't use imperial. I have personally never used, heard or read in real life any imperial unit, but still I use my rough approximations when I find them on internet (like 1kg/2=1lb, 1.5km=1mile). AFAIK metrics are preferred over imperial, though they're still in use in everyday. Even the UK or England articles are in metrics first. Why encourage a system that is meant to not be used anymore? Standards are also consensus and widely accepted, why reject them?. IMO Wikipedia should contribute with the use of metrics and had imperials as seconds as ad hoc for those people (fortunately not everybody, Pfainuk) who are strongly attached to imperial units or when sources or context justifies it. Other than that, I see no other reason but POV and a conservative attitude to impose imperials (-only, or as first unit). If there is no particular reason to determine the system to be used (nor in sources or context), and you have Imperials (used in few countries) and metrics (widely used worldwide, EVEN on those who use imperial), imposing imperial first is nothing but stubbornness. pmt7ar (t|c) 23:48, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Isn't that POV? The majority of en.wiki readers come from the United States, a country in which the US customary system, not the metric system, is predominant. Many more come from the UK, which uses a mix of metric and imperial units. The notion that these systems are meant to not be used anymore does not reflect reality in the US and UK, which (according to the statistics A. di M. showed us) are home to over 60% our readership between them. The notion that we should encourage these countries to switch entirely is POV.
It strikes me that it fundamentally makes sense to consider the likely unit preferences of our readership when considering which unit should go first. If non-metric units are used, officially or unofficially, by a decent-sized majority of our readership, why shouldn't we cater for them by using appropriate units first on articles that have a strong connection to those countries? Pfainuk talk 08:11, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Then I propose changing the MOS and general aim of Wikipedia, to follow the majorities. I offer myself to do monkey work and change all articles to imperial-first, because USA readers conforms 52% of the visitors. Would that be appropiate? Why "put the units first that are in the most widespread use in the world" then?

Not all of these 60% are like the people you say that can't realize common units like km or kg; that's an statistic of access origins, not unit uses of readers. There are non-US/UK/Can natives who access from there, or use proxies like me sometimes. I support metrics as I understand wikipedia as a encyclopedia who gathers contributed knowledge for anyone to access. Whatever aids the understanding of the readers is positive, and standards are great for that purpose. For the same reason, offering imperial and US units are good too, since a big portion of readers are yet not familiarized with metrics. As an encyclopedia, objectivity and NPOV is fundamental, and standards also contribute for that. Using imperials first which are only used on UK, gives the impression that the article is on a British POV. The actual MOS reflects perfectly what I think. Metrics and most widespread first, with exceptions I also agree (I'm an aviator and use feets everytime, but that's formalities and a generalized protocol, if I used my preferred unit I will end dead on my first landing; your previous comment about sailing is the same, these are specific context which has particular protocols, and are excepted already MOS). Which one should be first is also clear on the MOS, correct me if I'm wrong: if is not an exception case, and editors can't agree, then source unit got first. if the choice is arbitrary, SI first. pmt7ar (t|c) 08:41, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

I support the spirit of the current MOS. We should, in general, use the unit in most common use internationally. But where a topic is specifically related to a particular country, time or person, it is appropriate that we use the most appropriate unit to that country, time or person, rather than the unit in most general use internationally. I do not agree that the use of imperial units is pro-British POV - any more than the use of metric units is anti-British POV. But an insistence on metric units on British-related articles would be POV, as it would take a side in a British political debate (on the extent to which the UK should metricate).
I'd note that sailing does not use stones as the most common unit internationally for crew weights. It uses the unit preferred locally - generally kilograms. But the guys I was chatting with happen to be British, and for the most part don't know their weights in kilograms - only in stones.
The problem right now with the sources point is that certain editors have announced that they dispute every single unit in every single article in an entire WikiProject. In this way they try to WikiLawyer their POV, which is that we should insist on source-units first (regardless of usage), to become the de facto standard for that WikiProject. They use the word of the MOS in an attempt to subvert the spirit of the MOS, which is disruptive. Pfainuk talk 08:58, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Then why would you suggest? I never participated on these talk pages before nor know if policies can be changed. I've followed this from Falklands related article where there still no information of which units use the islanders; so I stick to the MOS and support metrics first as most sources are that way. I won't kill anybody for the wikipedia or will stress myself with discussions, but if the same debate is restarted constantly then the previous consensus has lost support. If there is a proposal to modify the MOS to cover that issue I'll support it. As for the source point (which isn't all that clear), to my understanding: if in this case (using the sources), units on the source go first. To maintain consistence, use the first unit as the majority of the sources (¿?) unless exceptions or quotations. For no sourced units, 1.maintain consistency or 2.SI first. Is that right? Certainly is not clear whenever all units on an article should be based on the source. pmt7ar (t|c) 09:15, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
The principle is that we should use the units in most common use on the islands, regardless of the unit the source uses. In this case, it isn't necessarily very clear, so it seems fair to use the units in most common use in the UK, as per current proposals on that page. The sources-first rule does not have consensus here and does not have consensus there, because it leads to inconsistency, leads to people looking for sources that support their own POV on units, and leads to absurdities such as the argument that an article on Falklands wildlife in Revista Chilena de Historia Natural implies anything about what units are most appropriate to the Falklands. There is no rule that says that the unit used in the sources has to be used in articles, generally speaking.
The same debate is repeatedly restarted there, but for the most part it's the same user (and everyone here knows who it is) restarting it over and over again. He has one person who agrees with him, whose only contribution to Falklands articles is to insist on his own POV on units. All their POV push has done so far is wasted everyone's time. All previous discussions have come back with imperial first as the consensus at the end. The stupid thing is that we don't actually use many units on Falklands articles. It's not that sort of topic. But regardless, users there do not appreciate having the pro-metric POV pushed on them from outside, when in many cases metric units simply aren't the most appropriate units to use. Pfainuk talk 09:31, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't look at usernames or contributions, I only judge from what I read. At my understanding, there is a rule that (if not in other situations) if editors can't agree, source value goes first. If you want to stand that position (you got a point there), let's propose to edit that point, but for now the point exists. AFAIK, the official system in UK is metrics, I understand the traditional use of imperials, but I can't even imagine how being the official adopted system british can't realize basic units like km or kg. For that point, the actual MOS suggests it, so metrics in this time, with imperial conversions. I don't know if all countries in the Commonwealth adopted metrics, but Falklands are not independent, so its reasonable to use the same criteria as for UK (until there is no data from actual usage on the islands, there is no point on calling the "For topics strongly associated with places, times or people, put the units most appropriate to them first" rule). As for all these points, I still see that UK related articles should be on metrics first with imperials conversion, with the exceptions already on the MOS (context, quotations, articles strongly related to places or times). pmt7ar (t|c) 09:54, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

This has been a very interesting discussion but it has veered right away from considering the actual wording of the policy. Should we have a policy which says:

  • for the UK, they usually are metric units for most measurements or
  • for the UK, they increasingly are metric units for most measurements or
  • for the UK, metric units for most measurements are gradually increasing in use?

The question at issue is which one is a more accurate description of the UK use of units. The point is descriptive not prescriptive. Are their any comments on the words, and which one is the most accurate summation of the use of units in the UK? Michael Glass (talk) 12:53, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

They are all accurate (I think) but they answer different questions. The first states how common metric units are right now, but doesn't say whether their use is increasing or decreasing; the others state that their use is increasing but don't say how common they are right now. The first is more useful, IMO. ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 13:18, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
The first statement is the only one which is entirely accurate. The current situation is actually rather static. wjematherbigissue 14:13, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
There is evidence that the current situation is changing. The Times style guide says, "The Times should keep abreast of the trend in the UK to move gradually towards all-metric use..." See [2] and also [3] and [4]. Are you aware of any evidence to the contrary? Michael Glass (talk) 02:24, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
To repeat myself yet again. There is no benefit in the changes you have proposed. MOS should reflect current usage, nothing more, and certainly should not be predicting what might happen in future. wjematherbigissue 17:47, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
The first of the three statements is the most accurate and neutral. Politicized statements about the alleged progress of the metric system are blatant original research absent overwhelming reliable sourcing. Non-metric units are still quite common in British usage for a wide variety of purposes, even if metric is most common for general purposes. One way of looking at it: Everyone in Britain has an internalized sense of the real-world meaning of 40 pounds (weight, not currency), 50 feet, 100 miles, and 10 kilos, 12 meters and a kilometer and half. Americans don't, mostly, even the ones who try. Really, Canadians don't yet either, metricized as they are becoming. We're all in various levels of transition. Even younger US citizens have some idea what liters, milligrams, kilomet[er|re]s and met[re|er]s are, far more intuitively than my older generation. But no one knows what the heck an acre is vs. a hectare. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 08:29, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

#/number

I am asking about how to write out number, as # or "number". For example, in an album article, the album "charted at 'number'/# one on the Billboard 200". Dan56 (talk) 00:26, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Both "No.1" and "#1" are local variations which are best avoided (the former is mostly UK, the latter mostly US usage. WP:Record charts recommends the use of {{singlechart}} to implement the chart itself. That template avoids both options, simply using the numeric value in the "Position" column of the table, consistent with WP:ORDINAL. For free text, observe at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Record_Charts that the Featured content listed articles consistently use "number-one".User:LeadSongDog come howl 19:14, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Further, see earlier discussions here culminating at /Archive_124#Numero_sign_.2F_Number_sign which didn't seem to come to a clear decision on the abbreviated form. Perhaps a bit more discussion is needed.User:LeadSongDog come howl 19:44, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
I'd agree that in prose, it should be written out as "number". The numero abbreviation format, "no. 1" (I can't recall seeing it capitalized and unspaced as "No.1" any time lately), is not chiefly British at all; it's quite common in American usage. I'm also highly skeptical that "#1" is chiefly American, for that matter (and have reason to be skeptical - I learned to read and write in England, have lived mostly in the US, but have also lived and worked in Canada). Both abbreviated versions are common in infoboxes and tables, where space is at a premium, and I wouldn't want the guideline to suggest that such usage is inappropriate. Also, "number-one" and similar hyphenated constructions should only be used adjectivally. "The song peaked at number-one" would not be grammatical (contrast "it was her third number-one single"). Lastly, in accord with longstanding real-world convention, sports statistics are almost always given as numerals, e.g. "number 1 in the AA division". — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 22:38, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
In U.S. newspapers, "No. 3" (or whatever number) is standard, per the AP stylebook. Maurreen (talk) 23:52, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
The symbol # is seldom used to represent "Number" in the United Kingdom because for many years it was not on the British keyboard or the British variant of the ISO 646 character set - its place was taken by the £ symbol.

about prechristian history

What is consensus here in the wikipedia year BC or year BCE? IMHO BCE would be more neutral for all cultures. Just want to know. --Sukarnobhumibol (talk) 23:59, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

It is already addressed in the guideline; use the shortcut WP:ERA. Jc3s5h (talk) 00:29, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
As I see CE and BCE is becoming more and more standard... --Sukarnobhumibol (talk) 01:10, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
The net effect of the above has been much flip-flopping of pages as each editor changes to or from their own favorite mode. It's not clear to me that there is a consensus.—RJH (talk) 18:16, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
The consensus is that once an article uses one or the other set of abbreviations consistently, that set should continue in use unless otherwise agreed on the article's talk page. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:52, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but doing so can sometimes take a bit of detective work, especially when parts of an article flip back and forth. I was contemplating that it could help to have an expandable style guide template for use on the talk page that would indicate the current consensus on such matters. (E.g. the dialect of English (US vs. UK), the date format convention, the primary unit conventions, use of em-dash vs. en-dash, &c.) At least that way you could have an agreed-upon consistency within a page.—RJH (talk) 19:46, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Meaning unclear

Please could somebody clarify the meaning of the following statement?

A literal hard space should not be used since some browsers will not load them properly when editing.

Does this mean the use of an encoded non-breaking space character (such as U+00A0), or is it something else? Thank you.—RJH (talk) 15:02, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes. You have to use &nbsp; because some browsers for some reason would replace the character itself with a normal space when uploading. ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 20:36, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Clarification of the wording on the use of kilometres in the UK

The present wording of the policy reads:

    • For topics strongly associated with places, times or people, put the units most appropriate to them first. For example, US articles generally put United States customary units first. UK articles more often put metric units first, but imperial units may be put first in some contexts. These include:
      • Miles for distances, miles per hour for road speeds and miles per imperial gallon for fuel economy

I believe the present wording would be better expressed as:

      • Miles for road distances, miles per hour for road speeds and miles per imperial gallon for fuel economy…

The law in the UK insists on Imperial measures for road distances. However, the evidence makes it clear that in other contexts, British usage is more mixed. Here are some examples of the use of kilometres for land measurements

  • British walking clubs such as the Long Distance Walking Association and the Ramblers describe their walks with kilometres first:

[5] and [6]. The Sandstone Trail also has marker posts giving the distance in kilometres [7]

  • The Environment Agency refers to the length of the River Thames as "around 235 km long" [8] and uses kilometres in other contexts [9] and [10]
  • Devon and Somerset Fire Rescue Service uses kilometres for the length of the coast, and also for the roads. [11].
  • A brochure for the Forth Road Bridge gives the length of the bridge in kilometres [12]
  • London and Continental Railways use kilometres [13] and so did a Reuters report on a new railway [14]
  • A report in the UK Parliament (Hansard) also used kilometres [[15]

These are just a few examples of the use of kilometres for distances in the UK context. It therefore seems to me to be appropriate to leave it to the good sense of editors to put miles or kilometres first, which ever seems appropriate in the context. Michael Glass (talk) 23:53, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

You're kidding me, right. Miles are by far the most common unit in use by people in the UK when talking about any kind of distance. Do you really think we need this same discussion every month. Stop trying to change the guideline to suit your agenda of metricating articles. wjematherbigissue 00:16, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
This is just getting irritating, the same editor trying to tweak the sections on UK usage of units every few weeks. The consensus is as per the existing text, stop trying to change it every opportunity you get. There is continued disruption on this topic in other places, such as the Falkland Island articles, please get off your hobby horse and accept the situation as it is. Keith D (talk) 00:40, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree with both. And I think it's really not on to try and change policy to get the upper hand in a content dispute: note that this particular difference is at the centre of the Falklands unit dispute. Pfainuk talk 07:14, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
This is really disruptive, constantly raising the same issue repeatedly. I'm inclined to the view that this should be escalated to an RFC or wikiquette alert if it continues; particularly the needlessly confrontational aspects. Justin the Evil Scotman talk 09:10, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the others. I wish Michael Glass was right, but he isn't. And he is being disruptive. If this continues we may need to think about ways to get a topic ban in place. Hans Adler 09:31, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Also agree with the others. This proposal was raised here immediately after the editor was challenged on reversing the presentation the dimensions of a river lock and goes along with an apparent agenda to change lengths of rivers and hill heights. These changes are rationalised on the basis of specific sources such as those mentioned. It is indeed appropriate to leave it to the good sense of editors who understand a subject to put first the units that are appropriate in context. In the context of rivers, for example, in international rowing events (but not the Boat Race) the norm is metres and it not necessary to convert to yards. For scientific measures such as discharge volumes it it not worth converting from m3. However for everyday use and when there are centuries of history and tradition, then miles and other imperial units are more appropriate. It is disruptive for an editor on a mission to start making changes to articles in which her/she has little interest without respecting the status quo and this proposal appears to be aimed at supporting such interference. Motmit (talk) 10:46, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
  • What is "disruptive" is in the eyes of the accusers, and Hans Adler, threats of mounting a push for a topic ban are way over the line. Michael Glass, in my view, is bringing to our attention a change that should have been made some time ago. It is perfectly reasonable that UK measurements of distance be expressed in metrics as main units, with the unfortunate exception of road distances. That is the reality, and WP is not a vehicle for personal nostalgia. Tony (talk) 02:45, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Wow! I suggest a change of one word in the policy and people come out to get me with baseball bats! The proposal was to ensure that editors could choose to use kilometres or miles if they so wanted. It's to emphasise freedom of choice. it's not enforced metrication. I can't see my proposal as a big ask, especially considering the evidence that I have provided. I was hoping that people would look at the proposed change of wording on its merits. I didn't think I'd get a lynch mob chasing me for this suggestion.
However, I do accept that I have rubbed several of you up the wrong way. Sorry about that. I'll try not to argue so long or so persistently in future, Michael Glass (talk) 06:18, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Australia and South Africa

Is it appropriate to include a note that these countries and most other Commonwealth countries are fully metric? I believe that there are a few exceptions on some of the Carribean islands, but not in Africa, not I believe South Asia. Of course if we included such a note, Canada would needs its own note. Martinvl (talk) 21:32, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

I have made this change - I believe that it documents what happens in reality. Martinvl (talk) 16:36, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I've made a small change, so that the wording for Commonwealth countries matches that used for the US - as there may be contexts (mostly historical, I would imagine) where imperial-first units are more appropriate on these articles. Pfainuk talk 18:51, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Age By Calendar

Not a really important question, but one that I'm curious about the answer to. On the Yosef Sholom Eliashiv article, there's is a disagreement as to what age to list him at as of today. By the Hebrew calendar he turned 100 on March 16, and is therefore eligible for Category:Israeli centenarians. By the Gregorian calendar, however, he won't turn 100 until April 10, and should not be in that category. I would have thought that the "Calendar" subsection would cover this so that all ages are listed by the standard of the Gregorian calendar (perhaps under "Current events are given in the Gregorian calendar"), but not everyone agrees, reasonably so. Obviously this hopefully won't really matter in a couple weeks and I doubt that this kind of situation will arise often, so it's hardly a pressing issue, but I would like to know for certain. Also, this kind of issue crops up with certain Asian countries that start their age count at "1" instead of "0". I don't really have a strong opinion on this, or much knowledge of the different calender systems, so I'm not really advocating for one way or another here, but I do think it should be clarified. Canadian Paul 02:52, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Proposed addition/clarification to WP:SEASON

Currently WP:SEASON says:

Because the seasons are not simply reversed in each hemisphere ... neutral wording may be preferable. Use a date or month rather than a season name...

While this is all true, I believe that we should state explicitly that seasons are reversed in northern and southern hemisphere, and it is not always obvious which hemisphere's seasons are being referred to (or words to that effect).

Another consideration is that: not all English-speaking countries have a season named "fall", so use of that term may not be appropriate.

Comments anyone? Mitch Ames (talk) 01:18, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Stating the "seasons are not simply reversed in each hemisphere" is more appropriate than explicitly stating that "seasons are reversed in northern and southern hemisphere" because the latter is not true. Season start and end dates differ in different parts of the world. In Australia, for example, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring begin on 1 December, 1 March, 1 June and 1 September respectively, although seasonal weather doesn't necessarily follow those dates. In Australian tropical regions there are only two seasons, known as "The Wet" and "The Dry", which begin on 1 December and 1 April respectively.
As for the "fall" reference, I'm not sure that we need it. Different parts of the world have different season names and clarification of different season names could lead to over-complication of what is now a relatively concise instruction. That said, there may be some benefit in noting that there are different season names in different parts of the world, although this is already implied by the current wet and dry season references. --AussieLegend (talk) 06:10, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
While I agree that what you say is true, I still feel that the existing wording places undue emphasis on some aspects, thus under-emphasising what (to me) appears to be the most significant problem - that northern hemisphere editors forget about southern hemisphere readers (or vice-versa), where (for many practical purposes) the seasons are "reversed". Given that "over-complication" is bad and "a concise instruction" is good, perhaps we should make the guideline simpler and more direct, like this:
Because the seasons are not the same everywhere in the world, it is generally preferable not to use season names to denote a time of year. Instead use a date or month, or a globally-applicable term such as: in early 1990, in the second quarter of 2003, around September. Use a season name only if there is a logical connection (the autumn harvest). Seasons are normally spelled with a lower-case initial.
Mitch Ames (talk) 11:00, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
I'd agree with that proposal. It's concise and adequate. Is there an article on seasonal variations across the globe? Perhaps adding a link to that in your text would benefit any reader who might want information on how the seasons are not uniform. The current wording explains that to a small degree, but your proposed version does not. I don't think terminology variations need mentioning; unless it's just a statement saying that it's best to stick to basic English: summer, autumn, winter, spring—which are understood everywhere. Night w (talk) 20:43, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
"Is there an article on seasonal variations across the globe?" Seasons is probably sufficient. Mitch Ames (talk) 06:06, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
This proposal seems reasonable. --AussieLegend (talk) 14:47, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
OK, I've updated the project page. Mitch Ames (talk) 02:29, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Deprecating "–present"

There used to be instruction in here, I'm almost certain, to avoid constructions like "1995–present" and "1995–current", or "June 2, 2001 – present", in favor of "1995–" or "June 2, 2001 –", respectively. This is especially needed because statements that something continues to the "present" or is "current" are actually almost always technically a form of original research, when they remain potentially accurate at all. For example, it isn't necessarily true to give a date range for Caprica (TV series) of "January 2010 – present", because the series could have been canceled this morning and no editors here yet know about it. Also "current", "present", etc., are moving targets. Many [mis]uses of these terms lead to false information remaining in articles that are not frequently edited. The trailing "–" suggests the present, but really only means "no end date specified". The guideline does (as of this writing) say to prefer "born 12 May 1980" over "12 May 1980 –", but the "born"/"founded", etc., wordy format is only any good for certain cases, and the "12 May 1980 –" format is common in infoboxes for all sorts of things, and should certainly be preferred over "12 May 1980 – present". That advice needs to get back in here, because some projects are actively spreading the worse-than-useless "– present" format. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 22:25, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

While I happen not to like "June 2, 2001 – present", I think "June 2, 2001 –" is worse. (How on Earth am I supposed to pronounce that? "June the second, two thousand and one through"?) I prefer "Since June 2, 2001".
Anyway, the problem you mention also applies to "Incumbent" and other such stuff; but the solution is to use {{As of}}, not avoiding making any statement which will not stay true forever. (Clicking or "Random article" I get "Wehr is a municipality in the district of Ahrweiler, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Wehr is a small village off Bundesautobahn 61"; how do I know that it was not destroyed by a meteor impact since the article was last edited?) ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 16:44, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Not everyone agrees that Template:As of is a solution to anything, rather than a new problem. To explain that comment a bit, for those unfamiliar with the criticisms: 1) Unless similar but differently-worded templates propagate, the {{As of}} system demands that the phrase "as of" be the only way to word such a textual situation. 2) Not all uses of "as of" qualify for the purpose this template seeks to serve, but few editors will understand that. 3) There are no criteria for inclusion/exclusion, with the result that virtually any fact in WP can be tagged with this template, yet in reality, it is hardly used at all, and most things that arguably should be tagged with it are not, and there appears to be no improvement in this situation even after more than a year of this template being well enough known that we should see its usage grow, if it were actually useful. 4) There's been no evidence presented, to my knowledge, here or anywhere else, that editors actually pay any attention at all to the template's categories, and actively work on cleaning up information likely to be outdated in any coordinated fashion, if at all. 5) Even after all this time it has not been integrated into infoboxes and other templates where its use would seem to make sense, suggesting even less buy-in that its supporters imagine.
That said, I don't have any objection to "Beginning May 12, 2010" or "Since 2 July 1805" and other such constructions being recommended instead of "[date] – present". As long as something is actually recommended instead of "[date] – present". I.e., the entire point of my starting this thread has yet to be addressed. NB: I concede that the "2001–" pronounciation issue is an accessibility problem; when screen readers output that, it could be genuinely confusing to the listener. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 03:29, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
(ec) This is really no different from numerous other facts the encyclopedia states that could change. Consider:
  • Any BLP states, "[person] is a [musician/politician/whatever] ...";
  • The Fat Toadlet (Uperoleia crassa) is a species of frog in the Myobatrachidae family.
  • "[xxx] is a building in [country]."
When the BLP dies, the frog becomes extinct, or the building is destroyed in a terrorist attack, all such pages become incorrect until updated. I would suggest that "—present" does not in fact produce any special problem over and above articles making statements such as the above in the present tense. The need to keep articles up to date, and replace statements that become untrue, is axiomatic and, I suggest, not something for MoS to be prescriptive about. PL290 (talk) 16:49, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I consider this to be a flippant and rather silly counter-argument. Deaths of notable people and new terrorist attacks rarely go unreported here for years at a time (and extinctions and speciations are generally controversial within biology to begin with), but unupdated [nonupdated? I'm not sure there's a "real word" for this] facts of lesser import very, very regularly go unupdated here for years. This is a real problem, and your argument seems to attempt to pretend it doesn't matter, on the grounds of a non-XfD variant of the WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS wikifallacy. I'm not trying to be insulting (but probably am anyway), I'm trying to draw a sharp distinction between things that could change (virtually anything – tomorrow, all-but-lost documents could be rediscovered that give a different birth date for Julius Caesar, for all we know) on the one hand, and facts that are correct as of their writing but virtually certain to change at some point, such as whether a TV show or a band or a website or a periodical or whatever (often of just-barely-AfD-surviving notability, and no longer watchlisted by any active editors) is "current" as of the "present", now, long after the last-updated version of the article text. I feel that you've glossed over the distinction entirely. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 03:53, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not insulted (thank you) and I hope you'll take it in the same spirit when I say I think you're missing my point. Which is: the distinction is artificial. It's not either/or, but a continuum; and at all points along it, care is needed to keep articles up to date. Furthermore it's possible using prose (no dash) to leave articles exhibiting the problem you identify, while it's equally possible to use "– present" without that problem. For instance, history section names. See, for example, the TOC in List of invasions, R.E.M. and History of Luton Town F.C.. It is of course possible to use "Since" instead of "– present", but that breaks the visual consistency of a set of date ranges "x – y", for no good reason. It also introduces ambiguity: does "Since 1990" mean "after 1990" (1991 on) or "from 1990" (1990 on)? In summary, it seems silly to proscribe "– present", when doing so would not eliminate the problem you identify, but would prevent valid use of the form. PL290 (talk) 15:59, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
{{Infobox television}}
Broadcast
Original run November 29, 2008 (2008-11-29) – present

Since it seems to have been missed/avoided completely, it should be noted that this discussion was prompted by SMcCandlish's opposition to the use of "present" in the "|last_aired=" field of {{Infobox television}}. At The Penguins of Madagascar he reverted use of "present" in "|last_aired=" three times,[16][17][18] once claiming "Don't put "present" or "current" at the end of date ranges, per WP:MOSNUM, just leave them open." However, Template:Infobox television's instructions, which were the result of consesnsus,[19] for "|last_aired=" says, "Use "present" if the show is ongoing or renewed and {{end date}} if the show is ended." The real question therefore simply is, is use of "November 29, 2008 – present" acceptable in infoboxes, where information from the article is in summary form? --AussieLegend (talk) 09:09, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

A quick glance at some other infobox guidelines shows that similarly, for "years active", {{Infobox Musical Artist}} advocates "Periods should be punctuated with an unspaced en dash (e.g. 1993–2004, 2005–present), and {{Infobox actor}}, "If still active, use "present" in place of the end year.", while {{Infobox person}} advises for "spouse", "Use the format Name (1950-present) for current spouse and Name (1970-1999) for former spouse(s)." In my opinion, this usage is entirely appropriate. Any fears that WP readers may be given the impression a newly cancelled TV series is still running—an impression just as likely to be given by the prose throughout the article—are not addressed by banning "–present". PL290 (talk) 11:34, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
{{Infobox television}}
Broadcast
Original airing Beginning November 29, 2008

I think SMcCandlish has already suggested the ideal solution for Infobox television: use "Beginning xxxx" to produce something like what's on the right. There's no ambiguity and no accessibility issue. I take PL290's point about there being a continuum of claims from those extremely unlikely to become out-of-date to those practically certain to become out-of-date, but it's still prudent to take reasonable steps to avoid making errors regarding those claims down the second end of the continuum. However, I realise the "Beginning..." format would be awkward in some infobox fields, such as for a current spouse. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 13:06, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

What about "Since ..."? ― A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 21:14, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
With modern English, "beginning" can (albeit incorrectly) imply a future event. "Began" is the correct word to use for a program that has started airing. Regardless of terminology, lack of an end date or "present" is still ambiguous because there is no definite statement about its current status. Many readers will ask "It began on November 29, 2008 but is it still airing?" With "present" there is no such ambiguity. "November 29, 2008-present" is a clear statement that the program began on November 29, 2008 and is still airing as of the present date. --AussieLegend (talk) 06:08, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
{{Infobox television}}
Broadcast
Original airing Began November 29, 2008

Thanks, of course you're right that beginning is incorrect and should be began. But we seem to have lost track of the original point of this thread. "November 29, 2008 – present" (should be an en dash) and "Since November 29, 2008" both imply that the series is still running today. For a little-watched page, this claim has a high risk of becoming untrue and remaining uncorrected. The fact that "Began November 29, 2008" does not specify whether a series is still running is its advantage. The question is whether informing readers that a series is still running is worth the risk that we'll someday be wrong. I guess the answer depends, in part, on how great that risk is, which is best evaluated by experienced Wikiproject Television members. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 13:59, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

"Began November 29, 2008" without an end date can still imply that a series is still running if there are other programs with end dates. Whatever we choose there is a risk of ambiguity. That's just the nature of things. I completely agree with your final statements, we should leave it up to individual projects to determine what is the most appropriate solution. --AussieLegend (talk) 14:11, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
No, the solution is "Since 1998". That is what any language editor would substitute. I suggested this here a year or two ago and was howled down, for some reason. Adrian, it becomes untrue whichever way you express it. Cost of doing business. Tony (talk) 01:04, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Works for me. Can't agree with someone's earlier claim that this is the same as saying "–present", because it simply isn't. Using "Since" or "Began" states only the facts that a) it started and b) it continued for some unspecified time. Using "–present" states three facts, two as above and a third, c) it is still continuing, which is almost certain to become false eventually. I cannot agree that projects should have no guidance on this matter, or they will do all sorts of things that do not make maximal sense (this is in fact the case right now). The entire point of MOS is to spread consistency throughout the project. This is a clear case of lack of consistency, with a clearly preferable solution that is not ambiguous and does not make it near-100% certain that articles will eventually be false. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 23:40, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
"which is almost certain to become false eventually." is somewhat specious. While there may be some little watched pages where this may become true, for the vast majority of articles the end date will be added by someone when the program finishes with no problems, just as happens all the time now. "Since" or "Began" have no advantage over "present" because of their ambiguity. "Began 1 January 1990" is no better than "1 January 1990 - present" for a series that has ended. However, "1 January 1990 - present" is far better than "Began 1 January 1990" for a series that is currently airing because it makes a clear statement of fact that the series is still airing, whereas "Began 1 January 1990" leaves the reader wondering whether the program is still airing. It's ambiguous and as encyclopaedias deal with facts, not ambiguities, we should be using clear terms that present facts, not ambiguities. --AussieLegend (talk) 00:01, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
This actually mostly has to do with biographical stubs, with TV shows and the like being secondary considerations. You seem personally invested in this and believe (see your comments above) that it all has to do with my infobox conversation with you. It doesn't. It has to do with the fact that that conversation prompted me to check on the language in question here only to find it missing. I'm damned certain that MOSNUM used to have guidance on this matter, and I can find nothing in the archives that indicates a consensus to remove it. To get on with the real point (what used to be here or didn't isn't really relevant, nor is what prompted this discussion): It's already been explained at least twice here why "Since" and "Began" do have an advantage over "–present". I'm in favor of "Began", as "Since" does tend to imply present continuity, mostly because of its use on product packaging and other forms of advertising. With "Began", no user is left to "wonder" if a show is still airing, because the article's prose will already go into this. PS: You misunderstood one of my points. The statement, e.g., "2004–present" will almost certainly become false at some point (while "Began 2004" never will). On regularly-edited articles this false statement will be removed the very day it becomes false, but on a very, very large number of ill-watched articles, that statement would remain for anywhere from days to years until someone noticed and bothered to change it. This is not at all an insignificant problem. However, I obviously did not imply that "2004–present" would become false and remain in an article as a false statement in every case, as you suggest. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 19:43, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Per your edit summary, the MoS should indeed not remain silent on this: it should recommend the use of "– present", explaining why it's desirable. "As has already been explained" (if I may borrow your terminology), the alternatives do not improve matters: "both imply that the series is still running today", so "it becomes untrue whichever way you express it". Your demand would simply prevent the infobox from explicitly stating a key fact, reducing its usefulness without changing the fact that the article would—in its infobox and in its primary text—continue to imply that fact (as has already been explained). PL290 (talk) 21:28, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Completely disagree with abandoning the "–present" format. In the musical artist infobox, for example, there is a field for "Years active". Putting "since 2001" doesn't work... infoboxes are supposed to be succinct collections of information, and using words like "since", "beginning" or "began" instead of simply "2001–present" defy the purpose of infoboxes—which is to list information as plainly and simply as possible. When someone is looking to see the active yearspan of an artist or television show, the first thing they want to see is the year/month/day in which the artist/TV show began... they don't want to see "since" or "began". I cannot for the life of me see the problem that people have with the "–present" format... "2001–present" is easily changed to "2001–2010" as soon as it is appropriate. Additionally, "present" (not capitalized) is much less of an eyesore than "Since" or "Began" (which would need to be capitalized as they would be the first word in the listing). This entire debate is ridiculous in my opinion. I strongly support keeping the "–present" format. — CIS (talk | stalk) 21:49, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
"... the {{As of}} system demands that the phrase "as of" be the only way to word such a textual situation."
No it doesn't: "2004–{{As of |EDIT-DATE |alt=present}}" displays as "2004–present" just fine.
—WWoods (talk) 21:04, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
There's absolutely nothing wrong with date ranges such as (2003−present). "Since 2003" is certainly an alternative, but not one the MOS needs to impose or take a stance on. "2003−present" or "2003−2006" is usually much better in infoboxes and wherever space is a concern, while "since 2003" or "from 2003 to 2006" is usually better in prose. But neither are wrong, so leave it to the editors to figure out which they prefer. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 06:59, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

proposed clarification or expansion of WP:MOSTIME

A third method of indicating time in the 24 hour clock would be 0100 (for 1 a.m. or 1 am) At present the MOS requires that the time be written either 1 a.m. or 01:00. However, in some circles (for example, militaries), this time would be expressed as 0100, without the colons. I'm suggesting that 0100 is an appropriate expression of 01:00, 1:00, 1 a.m. or 1 am. Auntieruth55 (talk) 01:19, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Comment: In some contexts, 0100 may be ambiguous, in that it may not be obvious that it is a time, whereas 01:00, 1 a.m., are more obviously times. However, ISO 8601 allows 0100 (basic format), so we probably should too - if it is unambiguous.Retracted - see my comment at 08:03 below - Mitch. Mitch Ames (talk) 06:12, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think this should be allowed at all. ISO is in now way binding for Wikipedia; otherwise we would also have to allow things like 2007-04-06T00:00 that simply don't belong in an encyclopedia. There may be contexts in which 2000 is unambiguously the same as 8 pm, but it will still be confusing. Adding the colon is not going to confuse anyone, won't look stranger than not doing this to anyone, and will encourage uniformity. Hans Adler 07:53, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia does support yyyy-mm-ddThh:mm:ss - have a look under My preferences, Date and time. If we were going to encourage "uniformity", what better way to do it than by following the international standard? Although to be fair, we should stick to the extended format (with separators), because the basic format (while great for computers) is harder for people to read. In fact ISO 8601 says (clause 2.3.3): "The basic format should be avoided in plain text." Mitch Ames (talk) 08:03, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Attempts to push through ISO norms in Wikipedia have failed in the past, and for good reason. These norms are made for highly technical contexts, not for text in an encyclopedia. And as you say, in this case even the norm itself discourages this format for our purposes. So even if we did follow the standard, we would still not use the form without colon.
To get uniformity we need to decide once whether we want to use 2010 or 20:10. "The New Year's Eve party started at noon. The host left the party in the late afternoon and did not return before 2010." In an encyclopedia that uses 2010 as a "basic format" for 20:10 we simply don't know what this is supposed to mean. The example is contrived, but the encyclopedia is full of real examples that would cause at least some irritation if the readers couldn't trust us not to use the "basic format". Hans Adler 09:01, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
In my opinion, the guideline should stay as it is. "0100" may be the norm in those specialized contexts, but I haven't seen it in widespread use and I think it would be unhelpful in an encyclopedia. This sort of thing should stay the same (within generally recognized variations) from one page to another. PL290 (talk) 20:28, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Just a small point, but the world's military forces are the biggest users of 24-hour time, so "0100" is most definitely in widespread use. Because of the extensive use of 24-hour time by the military, times are generally clear to the military. If a military report stated "The New Year's Eve party started at 1200. The host left the party in the late afternoon and did not return before 2010", the statement would be taken to mean 2010 local time on 31 DEC, not the year 2010 or 2010 hours on any other date. However, Wikipedia is not the military and I don't see anything wrong with having to stick a colon in the middle of the time to avoid confusing those who are not completely familiar with 24-hour time. Similarly, I would always write 08:15, not 8:15, but I realise that civilians are not in the habit of using leading zeros so I don't have an issue with that. --AussieLegend (talk) 22:59, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

one-hundred sixty-two

I'm sorry, we've probably discussed this already and I missed it, but in my experience, no one writes out "one-hundred sixty-two" any more, or at least they wouldn't in an encyclopedia meant for a general audience; that really looks old-fashioned to me. But it seems to be required by our guideline to consistently write out the numbers in a list or consistently use numerals. I'm thinking of Japanese_battleship_Yamato#Armament, now at FAC, where I changed it to 162. I didn't want to also change "six" and "twenty-four" to numerals, because the whole paragraph makes good use of the distinction between numbers as numerals and numbers written out ... but "one-hundred sixty-two" just seems a little too much to me. Thoughts? - Dank (push to talk) 22:45, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

WP:ORDINAL states "As a general rule, in the body of an article, single-digit whole numbers from zero to nine are spelled out in words; numbers greater than nine are commonly rendered in numerals, or may be rendered in words if they are expressed in one or two words (16 or sixteen, 84 or eighty-four, 200 or two hundred, but 3.75, 544, 21 million)." I don't see any issue with writing "162". --AussieLegend (talk) 23:08, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Conflict regarding non-breaking spaces

Two sections of this guideline address non-breaking spaces. At WP:NBSP, the guideline states that such hard spaces are recommended between a numeral and an abbreviated unit, "to prevent the end-of-line displacement of elements that would be awkward at the beginning of a new line". At WP:ORDINAL, the guideline suggests that un-abbreviated units, fully spelled-out units, could benefit from the non-breaking space. It states:

  • When both a figure and spelled-out named number are used in a quantity, it is useful to use a non-breaking space, as in 128&nbsp;million or 128{{nbsp}}million to prevent a line break from occurring between them.

(This entry first appeared on 19 March 2009 with this edit by Ckatz, who apparently intended to swap a disputed section for a protected one. I guess the protected version was composed independently—I don't know.)

Back in 2006, this same subject came up at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)/Archive_50#Non-breaking_space_before_non-abbreviated_unit with Centrx avowing that the non-breaking space was needed so that a numeral is not left hanging at the end of a line. Centrx described how, in the grouping '50 centimetres', the the numeral '50' would need a non-breaking space following it, but a written word 'fifty' would not. I disagree—I see no awkwardness in leaving the '50' or the 'fifty' hanging at the end of the line if the next word is a fully spelled-out unit such as 'centimetres'. There is no difference between the two in terms of reader comprehension. The reader reads fifty in each case, and waits the few milliseconds for the beginning of the next line to come into view before understanding what units are being discussed.

So, is the non-breaking space supposed to prevent awkward elements that would otherwise begin a new line, or to prevent awkward elements otherwise left hanging at the end of a line?

Back at WP:NBSP, the guideline helps us understand that the non-breaking space is used when a possible line break would make for awkward reading, such as beginning a line with an abbreviated unit. I gather that the point of the rule is to prevent this:

1. The large-bore frammis encloses a schmoo which is 50
cm in diameter.

Okay, fine, I can see that the beginning of a line is kind of ugly when it is just an abbreviation. The reader might be momentarily confused by in: is it a preposition or an abbreviation for inches? Here's what our WP:NBSP guideline would rather have:

2. The large-bore frammis encloses a schmoo which is 50 cm
in diameter.

The following two examples are both unambiguous to me. They yield the same level of reading comprehension, the same relative lack of ugliness, yet the last one is deprecated at WP:ORDINAL:

3. The large-bore frammis encloses a schmoo which is fifty
centimetres in diameter.

4. The large-bore frammis encloses a schmoo which is 50
centimetres in diameter.

I see no need for preventing a line break if the units are unabbreviated full words; there is no ambiguity. Can we remove that nbsp-conflicting entry from WP:ORDINAL, and let the WP:NBSP section describe every case of non-breaking spaces? Binksternet (talk) 21:31, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Thank you, Binksternet, for discovering that. I've no particular opinion (to the point that I couldn't care less) on which of the above prevails, but I think, especially in a guideline as important as the MoS, we need clarity. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 21:55, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Comment Thanks to Binksternet for letting me know that this was under discussion. However, I have to ask if this is actually the edit you intended to highlight. I don't recall the non-breaking space issue being a part of that edit, nor does it appear to be mentioned anywhere in the text. The sole purpose of the change was to stop a festering edit war over the "Dates" section of the MoS. The existing text was copied as-is into a sub-page which was then fully protected from editing, allowing us to keep editing open on the rest of the MoS page. --Ckatzchatspy 22:16, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

I have no idea what happened in your edit, Ckatz, and I am not blaming you. All I am doing is reporting what I see: the version before your edit did not have the bit about 128&nbsp;million, the version you established had this bit, and it stayed in the guideline until now. Binksternet (talk) 22:42, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Am I missing something? I see no conflict. Use with amounts ($128 million, say) is different IMO from values (say, 400 mph). (Of course, I'd prefer 400mph, but that's another thread. ;p) Given they aren't strictly dealing with the same kinds of things... TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 23:44, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────More specifically, "128&nbsp;million" is quite different from "$128&nbsp;million"; the presence or absence of the preceding sign indicating unit of currency is crucial to the question of how confused the reader may get if the line breaks. Some of our editors would give it a non-breaking space in both cases—I would only do so when the currency sign was there. Personally, I think this first type of line break is okay:

  • The large-bore frammis, with included schmoo, retailed in 1999 for 128

million dollars.

  • The large-bore frammis, with included schmoo, retailed in 1999 for $128

million.

Very different reading flow between those two. Binksternet (talk) 00:46, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Binksternet, no worries, no offence taken. I was just pointing out that the changes I made didn't actually affect the section you're asking about. I haven't been able to find when the actual change was made, but from what I can discern it did not occur when I made the unrelated edits to the "Dates" section. Instead, the change to the "Numbers" text appears to have occurred at some point after that date, but the subpage-redirect is confusing matters by displaying the present-day text blended into the day-of text. (When the dif is generated, it is loading the old version of the main page, and transcluding the subpage as intended. However, the dif generator routine doesn't use the subpage version from that date, but instead the result of a call to the subpage today. That subpage is now a redirect back to the main page, which then gets transcluded into itself. Confusing, yes, but when you load the actual version stored from last year you'll see that the text you've mentioned is not there.) --Ckatzchatspy 03:13, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Ah, that makes a hell of a lot more sense—thanks! At any rate, the question about nbsp remains on the table. Binksternet (talk) 03:45, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't have my style references with me, so I'm not sure if I was describing some established English editorial practice, or summarizing the previous forty-nine Talk-page archives and years of WPMOS, or describing a sensible and logical practice ipse dixit, but what springs compelling to mind at the moment is: if standard style prescribes that even the longest year numbers must begin a sentence spelled out in words, even in bare two thousand and ten, why should a numeral hang out alone amongst a sea of words, away from the unit it depends on for meaning? If the number is so troublesome it can't be spelled out in common words, why not also trouble for elegance and clarity? If the number's scientific context demands a numeral, why not follow the same principle that binds a number to its unit in the dimensional analysis and conversion factors of Chapter 1 Chemistry? —Centrxtalk • 06:00, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

I see your opinion as it stands, but what about the way forward? The current situation must be addressed—we cannot have the ORDINAL section prescribing a different method of non-breaking spaces than the NBSP section. Would you move the line under discussion upward from ORDINAL to NBSP? Would you amend the other NBSP examples to clearly include non-abbreviated units? Binksternet (talk) 14:28, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Request for comment about NBSP

Should the following line be removed from the guideline or moved up from the WP:ORDINAL section to the WP:NBSP section?

  • When both a figure and spelled-out named number are used in a quantity, it is useful to use a non-breaking space, as in 128&nbsp;million or 128{{nbsp}}million to prevent a line break from occurring between them.

The question is whether non-breaking spaces are used between a numeral and a unit of any sort, or just between a numeral and an abbreviation of a unit. In all cases non-breaking spaces would continue to be used as otherwise prescribed to address problems of ambiguity. Binksternet (talk) 14:34, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Removed. I think non-breaking spaces should be used before abbreviations but not before full words, if there is no ambiguity. Binksternet (talk) 16:54, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Kept. Digits should not be left hanging on the right margin separated by a line break from the rest of the number. It is really no different than
lorem ipsum ... 128,
000,000
which we certainly would not do. Numbers expressed in digits (in whole or part) should not be split across lines. It isn't just a question of ambiguity; it's also a matter of good typography. Quale (talk) 03:43, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

nbsp contradiction

WP:NBSP says:

  • Use a non-breaking space ...
    • in expressions in which figures and abbreviations (or symbols) are separated by a space (17 kg, AD 565, 2:50 pm);

Does that mean that nbsp's should be added to MOS:DOB before BC and BCE where it says:

  • When only the years are known: "Socrates (470–399 BC) was..."

and

  • When the reign of a sovereign is uncertain: "Rameses III (reigned c. 1180 BCE – c. 1150 BCE) ..."

? Art LaPella (talk) 17:56, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes? How is that a contradiction? Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 19:01, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
If you mean "yes, the nbsp's should be added", then let's add them. (The contradiction is because the manual's examples don't follow its own prescription, but adding the nbsp's would resolve that problem.) Art LaPella (talk) 20:22, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Michael Glass WQA

I have started a WP:WQA concerning Michael Glass' comments on units on various forums. The relevant discussion is here. Justin the Evil Scotsman talk 14:07, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

This Wiquette is now archived at [20]. Read how it started, how it progressed and how it ended. Michael Glass (talk) 13:45, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

MoS naming style

There is currently an ongoing discussion about the future of this and others MoS naming style. Please consider the issues raised in the discussion and vote if you wish GnevinAWB (talk) 20:54, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

A more inclusive sentence

The present policy reads:

Articles concerning Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia and Australasia generally put metric units first.

In fact, articles about all other countries than the United States and Britain (plus dependencies) generally put metric units first. This includes Liberia and Myanmar. Therefore the policy should read:

Articles concerning all other countries generally put metric units first.

Any objections or suggestions? Michael Glass (talk) 01:21, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

First, I'd note that articles on Liberia and Burma should (in principle) be using the most appropriate units to them as per the guideline. I'm not about to go and convert them all, but I would argue that it is evidence of systematic bias to accept exceptions for the UK and US without accepting them for Liberia and Burma - the former being an English-speaking country. They should not - in principle - be exceptions to the general rule that we use the most appropriate units for the location.
Other than that, I would suggest that the word "country" is not clear: it means different things to different people. If the word "country" is used, we should explicitly refer to BOTs, Crown Dependencies and US Territories as included in the UK and US - or at least not as part of "all other countries". Pfainuk talk 17:01, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

One way to get round the possible exceptions for Liberia and Myanmar is by this wording:

Articles on other countries generally put metric units first.

The problem is not an ambiguity with the word "country" which is clear enough, but with the rest of the advice which mentions the UK and the US without specifying which of their territories use what weights and measures. Leaving out all may be enough to do the trick.

(As an aside, Liberia appears to be switching over to the metric system. See [21], [22], [23]. Michael Glass (talk) 06:00, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

The fact that you can find references about Liberia that use metric units - or even Liberian references that use metric units - does not imply that they are switching over in any significant way and does not mean that metric units are significantly used. The point the Powerpoint presentation is making is that Liberia was, for some time, without effective government and hence without any de facto standard for units, causing confusion (particularly given as all of Liberia's neighbours - and doubtless the global cocoa market - use metric units).
Part of the problem with the word "country" is that everyone knows what it means - but if you ask two people to produce definitive lists they'll frequently end up really quite different. Some include dependent territories. Some include certain parts of certain sovereign states. Some include states with limited recognition. Some include micronations. Point being, your proposal still strongly implies all other countries, and to many that will include dependent territories of the US and UK. Which is inappropriate. Pfainuk talk 06:28, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Our Country article nicely sums up the ambiguity of the word. Lists_of_countries#Other_meanings_of_country also illustrates the problem. Mitch Ames (talk) 08:17, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I think the word "generally" and deleting the word "all" handle the nuances and differing details. Maurreen (talk) 09:58, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
US and UK territories do not always follow the same rules as their mother countries - Puerto Rico for example signposts its roads in kilometres, sells fuel by the litre, but speed limits are in mph and their government website suggests that degrees Fahrenheit are more widely used than degrees Celsius. In the British Sovereign Areas in Cyprus, Cypriot law is used wherever practicable and roads are signposted in accordance with Cypriot rather than British practice. In order to accomodate these differences, I suggest that the additional sentence should read:
Articles on UK and US dependent territories etc should follow the useage of the local government website. Articles on other countries generally put metric units first.
Martinvl (talk) 12:10, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Government websites do not necessarily reflect local usage, and often use different units depending on their target audience (resident or tourist). wjematherbigissue 12:27, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Have you any hard evidence for this? Michael Glass (talk) 13:21, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
We have been through this before as you know, and I do not understand why we should still entertain you trying to bend MOS to suit your agenda of metrication every 4–6 weeks. As was made abundantly clear to you before, it is time you left MOS alone in this regard. wjematherbigissue 13:36, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Does it matter who the government is targetting? In practice I believe that the same audience will be reading Wikipedia. Martinvl (talk) 13:27, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes it does matter. MOS states that common local usage should prevail unless concesus determines that it is not appropriate in a particular cirumstance. Otherwise, we would use the US customary system across the board since that is the system in use by the largest proporion of WP readers. wjematherbigissue 13:36, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Certainly it matters. If you're trying to reflect common local usage in - say - the United States (and we are), a US government website aimed at Indians or Chinese people - or indeed one aimed at general foreigners - is not likely to do that. I would consider that point to be so obvious that it worries me that it has to be spelt out. Using government websites regardless of local usage is inappropriate. Note also that governments in countries where the metric system is not universal frequently have a pro-metric POV in the matter, preferring metric units in cases where the general public prefers non-metric units. Pfainuk talk 17:31, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
On the contrary - MOS specifies that SI should be used and as a last resort, the units used in the source document. Nowhere does the MOS say anything about US customary units for non-US articles. Furthermore, we cannot assume that the US readership is the largest English-language readership of Wikipedia. Apart form the UK, Australia and Canada, English is one of the two offical languages in India and in Pakistan and across most of Africa South of the Sahara. In addition, it is the most widely used language within the EU with 53& of Europeans having an understanding of the language. It is also the language of choice of many better-educated Europeans when looking up encyclopedic articles. Martinvl (talk) 14:05, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
We don't need to assume it. We have statistics that demonstrate it. US-based readers are not just the largest group of readers of en.wiki - they're the majority. In many contexts you can add the Brits to that: nearly two thirds (63%) of our readership live in countries where miles are used as a measure of distance in every day life. If we had to use one system and one system only, our readership stats would suggest that the US Customary system would not be an unreasonable choice. But we don't.
One thing that this page certainly does not say is that we have to use SI or source-based units in all circumstances as you seem to imply. Where we have articles specifically connected to a given country (or time or person), the units we should be using are the ones in most common local use in the country or territory concerned. That's the whole point behind this guideline and we should be applying it across the board. If there is a commonly-used non-metric unit in Canada or New Zealand or South Africa, we should adopt it. Regardless of whether government sources also adopt it. It just happens that there are more such units in British and American usage than in many other places. Pfainuk talk 17:31, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I came to the talk page to complain about the use of US customary units, then found this discussion. Why are the citizens of the USA so touchy about this? US customary units belong to the past, and one day will be of only historical interest; the sooner the better for the sake of the citizens of the USA. Wikipedia should adopt a consistent set of units according to international standards, if only for simplicity. Also, in my time in the UK I found that most people were quite happy with metric units generally, the mile being the only consistently used non-metric unit. en.wiki is for all users of English, and with the UK, India and a substantial number of Americans those happy with metric units are in the majority.Jlittlenz (talk) 10:30, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what motivated this last recent insertion, but my take is that WP:UNITS is reasonable. I happen to live in the Philippines and am presently engaged in a remodeling project. 4x8 ft plywood sheets are common, as are 6" and 4" thick hollow blocks. Height measurements, though, are commonly rendered in meters, and distance measurements are typically seen in kilometers. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 12:03, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Let's just get back to the wording. The present wording says:

Articles concerning Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia and Australasia generally put metric units first.

This offers guidance about what to do in Sierra Leone (Commonwealth) but not Mali, Malaysia (Commonwealth) but not Indonesia, India (Commonwealth) but not Nepal. And yet we know that all of these countries are metric. I am trying to deal with this anomalous situation.

So whatever difficulties there might be with any suggested revisions, the wording as it stands is manifestly inconsistent.

Here is my suggestion, designed to deal with Pfainuk's concern about US and UK territories, and Martinvl's point about usage.

Articles on the US and some of its territories generally put United States customary units first.
Articles on the UK and some of its territories more often put metric units first, but imperial units may be put first in some contexts. ....
Articles on other countries generally put metric units first.

I think that this answers the specific questions about the wording. Of course, it does not go into whether Myanmar or Liberia do or do not use metric measures or whether Government usage is the same as or different from popular usage. These exceptions are covered by the word, generally. Note also that in the case of the UK and the US the wording states that some of these territories use the same units, not all. Well known exceptions are Gibraltar (compared with the UK) and Puerto Rico (compared with the US).

Are there any other suggestions or criticisms? Michael Glass (talk) 08:52, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I do not feel that "generally" carries the implication you apply to it - particularly given that it's the same wording as used in the US case. Thus I find this proposal unacceptable. Add the word "most" before "other countries" and I may reconsider.
On the top parts, I think "some of its territories" is far too vague. "Most" instead of "some" would be a start. It seems reasonable to suggest that articles US and UK territories - including Crown Dependencies - should use the same units as articles on the US or UK (as appropriate) unless there is clear evidence of contrary local usage: obviously, "evidence" does not include speculation based on the unit choices of websites that may or may not reflect actual local usage. Pfainuk talk 21:16, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

On doing a quick check on which territories were covered, I'll accept most.

Articles on the US and most of its territories generally put United States customary units first.
Articles on the UK and most of its territories more often put metric units first, but imperial units may be put first in some contexts. ....

For the other clause, I'm puzzled by your objection. Can you suggest a wording that you would find more acceptable? Michael Glass (talk) 23:11, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

In the point about the United States, "generally" refers only to units. In the point about other countries, "generally" refers both to units and to countries. But both are worded in exactly the same way and yet you are arguing that they mean different things. This is not how it's actually likely to be read. As I said, add the word "most" before the word "other countries", and this will allow for the possibility that there are some countries - Liberia and Burma being the most likely - where metric units should not generally be being put first. Pfainuk talk 14:46, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Most countries is too wide, as this only applies to Liberia and Myanmar, and in both these countries usage is mixed. Almost all would be closer to the mark. Perhaps this would be closer to what you meant:

Almost all other countries prefer the metric system; articles on them should generally follow this preference.

Any comments or suggestions? Michael Glass (talk) 23:55, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

I looked at a selection of Wikipedia articles on Liberia and Burma (Myanmar) - in most instances metric units predominate. Martinvl (talk) 05:31, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Wikipedia has systematic bias. It shouldn't come as a surprise that we don't have a huge number of Liberian or Burmese editors here, and it shouldn't be surprising if people from outside those countries assume that the most appropriate units for a non-US or non-UK article are metric, regardless of whether this is accurate or not. The fact that there is systematic bias isn't an excuse for enshrining such bias in the MOS.
"Most" is appropriate IMO. We should allow for the fact that there may be cases where metric-first isn't appropriate. And I think I could do with a cite for your claim that units of measure in Liberia and Burma are mixed - bearing in mind that speculation based on the unit choices of websites that may or may not reflect local usage does not count. Pfainuk talk 17:04, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia lists 203 sovereign states. Other countries covers 201 of these states. There are only two possible exceptions to the statement that they all prefer the metric system. 99% justifies the phrase almost all.
  • I can't speak about Myanmar, but the evidence for Liberia is clear that both metric and non-metric measures are used. See [24] and also the County Development Agendas, [[25]] where the use of units is inconsistent between the reports and often the reports themselves use both metric and non-metric units. However, the country has had a chaotic history of civil war [[26]] and it is not surprising that there are some inconsistencies. Michael Glass (talk) 22:57, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I see sources of questionable reliability and sources that do not explicitly comment on the matter, plus the CIA and African Development Bank. They don't say that units are mixed, they just make the call in opposite directions. As you note, the civil war complicates things: for the most part I'd imagine that whether to use miles or kilometres was among the least of Liberians' worries. I see no evidence that "in both these countries usage is mixed" for either country.
I still think "most" is better. It avoids looking like it's trying to make a political point about the metric system unlike "almost all". Pfainuk talk 06:10, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Please look at the links I have supplied, and if that is not enough evidence for you I would be glad to provide other links to demonstrate that usage is mixed in Liberia. As for the difference between "most" and "almost all", it's the difference between making a clear underestimation of the spread of metrication and putting it more accurately. Of course "99 per cent of other countries" is another possibility. Would you agree to that? Michael Glass (talk) 13:22, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

You are convincing no-one, so I think it's time to stop now. wjematherbigissue 13:51, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

What exactly does "last winter" or "in the spring" mean?

I have found this type of "date" in a few articles. Its quite common particularly in articles on "popular culture" subjects. For example a rock band's next world tour is described as "starting in the spring of 2011". As a denizen of the southern hemisphere I find this usage particularly irritating. Have schools stopped teaching that it isn't spring/summer/autumn/winter everywhere at the same time? I'd like to suggest that such "dates" be specifically banned unless they are used to describe actual seasonal phenomena such as "swallows arrive in the spring" or "heatwaves are very rare in winter". Roger (talk) 14:14, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

I think the usage is perfectly fine when the location is well-specified from context (e.g. a "world tour" that only tours the northern hemisphere). For example, we usually don't object to "in the night" even though it's not night everywhere at the same time. In any case, where/if this is inappropriate, this seems the sort of thing easily fixed with an edit or discussion on the article's page, not something worth adding to the bulk of the already bloated MoS. Shreevatsa (talk) 14:21, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Shreevatsa. Maurreen (talk) 14:21, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I suppose one could say "third quarter of 2011" instead, but that does sound rather weird. I agree it's hemisphere-centric though, so if you have a better idea... --Cybercobra (talk) 14:25, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
At WP:VG Q1,Q2, etc is understood by the regular editors to be the desired date indicator for video games with tentative release dates. The only problem is that we end up replacing a single season with Q3/Q4 because "Fall" means different months depending which part of North America or Europe the reader happens to be in. We also convert financial quarters in to month ranges (calendar) when we've discovered what a company's financial year start/end is. If I find any seasons I just change them to Q1 etc and point the edit summary towards WP:SEASON - X201 (talk) 14:39, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
WP:SEASON seems to be the solution, thanks! I supose the correct way to deal with problematic "season" usage would be to add a {{clarify}} tag and point to WP:SEASON in the edit note. Roger (talk) 14:50, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
The British press will often write "The English cricket team are going to Australia for the winter ...". My response is that they are not, they are going there to get away from the winter! Martinvl (talk) 05:15, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
In the United States, professional baseball players report to Spring Training in February.[27] -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 15:11, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
How rude and cultural-centric, those American baseball commissioners. Do they not know that in the Amazon, there is no “spring”? In all seriousness, if the context and meaning is clear and the language is “conventional-speak” or is a quote, then it’s fine. If the construct is ambiguous and causes needless confusion for our Australian friends (though they sound funny, I’ve heard that it is English), then revise. Greg L (talk) 03:37, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Follow Current Literature

I suggest we try to get Follow Current Literature into MOSNUM. I propose the following:

Follow current literature

Generally, editors should use terminology and symbols commonly employed in current, reliable literature for that subject and level of technicality. When in doubt, use the units of measure, prefixes, unit symbols, number notation, and methods of disambiguation most often employed in reliable periodicals directed to a similar readership.

The objective of technical writing is to communicate with minimal confusion so that readers can learn about a subject and are primed as well as possible to learn even more in their studies elsewhere. There are three important elements in determining what terminology and units of measure are best suited for a given article:

Preference for international units

Wikipedia generally prefers international systems of measurement, such as the SI, over U.S. customary units or the imperial system. Unless the subject is strongly associated with the United States or one of its territories, or there is some other good reason to do otherwise, write He was 1.83 meters (6 foot) tall, not the reverse.
Discipline-specific practices
Wherever a discipline consistently uses its own units—either conventional or non-SI metric—those practices should be followed to ensure our readers will be able to converse with those knowledgeable in the field. For example:
  • A 450 cc Honda motorcycle engine and never A 450 ml nor 450 cm3 Honda motorcycle engine;
  • Cygnus X-1 is an 8.7‑solar-mass black hole only 6,000 light years away in our own Milky Way galaxy and not Cygnus X-1 is black hole with a mass of 1.7×1031 kg only 6×1019 m away in our own Milky Way galaxy.
  • A gravity gradient of 3.1 µGal/cm, not a gravity gradient of 3.1×10−6 s–2 (in the science of gravimetry).
Parenthetical conversions should be given where appropriate and should generally also follow the practices in current reliable literature on that subject unless there is good reason to do otherwise. Often the conversions will be to modern systems. To retain accuracy when quoting sources, editors should generally use the units used by your cited source as the primary value for that particular measurement. The units to choose for parenthetical conversion througout an article is largely dependent upon the subject matter.
Level of difficulty (Do not write over the heads of the readership)
For some topics, there are multiple modern systems of measurement to choose from but where some would be too complex or esoteric for use in articles directed to a general-interest readership. For instance, the Planck units would typically be suitable only for advanced articles directed to expert readers—for example, an article on the mathematics of black hole evaporation—whereas an article on black holes directed to a general-interest readership should describe their mass in terms of solar mass. Level of difficulty also applies to the decision as to whether or not scientific notation should be employed in an article and, if so, at what magnitude it should begin. Here again, editors should look towards current literature on that subject for guidance in selecting level-appropriate units of measure, unit symbols, number notation, and terminology.

Greg L (talk) 23:48, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

This is redundant with current guidance. No need for it. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 00:02, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
The idea of using nonstandard units or abbreviations that are pervasive in a particular field is fraught with difficulty. The example proposed is a perfect example: Honda uses the abbreviation "cc" on its US site for motorcycle engine displacement, and the entirely non-standard, never-has-been-acceptable abbreviation cm3 on its UK site.
I could go along with nonstandard units/abbreviations if they are used throughout the English-speaking world not only for the topic of the article, but for most closely-related topics as well. But if standard SI or customary units prevail in topics closely related to the article topic, I'd say stick with the standard usage. For example, I'd say that "motorcycles and motor scooters sold by Japanese companies in the USA" is too narrow a field to permit a deviation from standard usage.
I think light-year is a good example of a widely-used non-SI unit that is used broadly enough in astronomy to be used in Wikipedia as well. Jc3s5h (talk) 00:18, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
  • I knew this proposal’s failing would be its use of examples. Whether it is barrels of oil, or whatever. I didn’t know that about Honda’s UK practice. Notwithstanding that, List of Honda motorcycles. Greg L (talk) 01:15, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
This seems to be a significant change as regards units on UK-related articles - specifically, demanding SI on UK-related articles even in cases where it may not be standard in British usage. I oppose this change. If the US has usage-based units, then the UK should do so as well: anything else is POV, as it takes sides in the British political debate over the extent to which the UK should adopt metric units. Note that the three contexts currently listed in this guideline are sourced to the style guide of the Times, a major British newspaper, and that they are limited to those contexts where imperial units are near-universally preferred in modern British usage. Pfainuk talk 17:17, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
While I agree that the style guide for The Times uses mainly imperial units (apart from tonnes and degrees Celsius), the style guide for The Guardian, another major British paper specifies the use of metric units. (See Metrication in the United Kingdom. Government publications and almanacs such as Whitakers Almanac use metric units in most circumstances. Since Wikipedia is essentially a work of reference rather than a newspaper, one shoudl use units of measure as found in other works of reference rather than newspapers (which usually amounts to using the units of measure that are found in source documents). This will align the article with the Wikipedia pillar of WP:VERIFY. Martinvl (talk) 17:59, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
This precisely shows why Greg's proposal is fundamentally flawed – it gives licence to those seeking to push an agenda by allowing them to cherry-pick their "current, reliable literature" to justify the use of their favoured terminology or units.
Regardless, we do not need another round of discussion about metrication in UK-based articles, having barely finished the last one. wjematherbigissue 18:06, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. There are enough users who cherry-pick what they consider to be "current, reliable literature" based on units alone that this becomes an issue. Source-based units have been repeatedly discussed here and the issues with them remain. The current wording on British units is a fair compromise based on actual British usage.
(Incidentally Martin, your comment does not accurately reflect the style guides of either of those two newspapers, and the article you cite is misrepresenting its sources. I suggest you read both Times and Guardian style guides more closely.) Pfainuk talk 18:28, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
  • The point isn’t to let users “cherry-pick” whatever units they want to use, Pfainuk. The point is to sanctify the obvious: Wikipedia is not a venue to push metrification to such absurd limits that Wikipedia would uniquely buck consistent, discipline-wide practices. The examples I used, Honda motorcycle engines and astronomy to name two, are examples of current Wikipedia practices. We clearly would do our readers a disservice if we were to start quoting star distances in petameters because that is an SI unit and lightyears are not. It was my intention, with pointing out two or three examples of how Wikipedia currently follows current literature was to pay homage to the obvious wisdom of our current practices. So, I’ll meet your failure to assume good faith-bit where you wrote of ‘allowing users to cherry pick whatever they want’-bit and see you with my observation that I see I stirred the pot with more of the “metric is glorious and to die for and Wikipedia will show the way to a New and Brighter Future™®©” crowd. I think I’ll go back to terrorism-related articles, where people behave themselves better. Greg L (talk) 19:31, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
  • P.S. BTW, Pfainuk. You seem to have confused me with being an anti-metrification nut. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth; I am rabidly pro-metrification and practice it to absurd limits in real life. I had a round, Honeywell thermostat hand-delivered from Canada by a friend who visited there once so I could have a Celsius-only analog dial. My children had to learn that their house is comfortable at “22” when their friends are talking about “72”. I do all my engineering in SI units and convert to U.S. Customary units only before prints go to machine shops here in the U.S. I also happen to have the common sense to understand that we don’t let pro-metric editors hijack articles like Cygnus X-1 so it reads that the black hole is “60 exameters” away from Earth. Why? Because astronomers in the real world don’t talk that way (nor write that way) and Wikipedia is not to be used as a venue to smooth Earth’s membership into the United Federation of Planets. The objective of all technical writing is to communicate with minimal confusion so that readers can learn about a subject and are primed as well as possible to learn even more in their studies elsewhere. Using the units widely or universally observed in a particular field—even when they aren’t part of the SI—is just one of the essential elements of this. That is just a Well… Duh! thing, even though Wesley Crusher in the year 2430 would frown upon it. Greg L (talk) 19:47, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm afraid I think you've read too much into my comments. My issue is with the coverage of UK-related articles. This proposal seems to say that UK-related articles should be metric-first, something that I oppose on the grounds that usage in the UK is not generally metric-first (as per the current guideline, which I support). I object to the notion that the US should be allowed units based on usage but the UK should not.
The reason I mention the cherry-pickers is that I have a fair bit personal experience of it - the constant insistence that the fact that someone can find a reference that uses kilometres means that everyone in the UK uses kilometres really. Presumably, the miles on all the road signs are just part of an elaborate practical joke.
I have no issue at all with the use of light years or parsecs in astrophysics - I'm an Astrophysicist by training so I know that the use of metres in these contexts would be very strange. Far better to have a unit that actually means something on that scale. I believe the parsec is actually more common (or at least as common) academically, but we should prefer the light year because it's likely to be better known to our audience.
My point is, the choice of units in the UK is a political issue. The current text is based on the style guide of a major British newspaper. It prefers metric units in all cases where the imperial units are not actually overwhelmingly more common in British usage. British usage should be reflected on British-related articles. Pfainuk talk 20:41, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Very well. Thanks for the explanation. To mix metaphors, I’ve floated a trial balloon and opened a can of worms. I retract the proposal. Greg L (talk) 21:10, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
User Talk:Pfainuk wrote "My point is, the choice of units in the UK is a political issue." Please explain what you mean by that statement and how one can best uphold the principals of WP:VERIFY and WP:NOP? Martinvl (talk) 01:40, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
I have no idea of what open proxies have to do with this, and cannot think of a plausible typo that that might be. For verification, WP:V does not require that we duplicate our sources exactly. Indeed, we're not allowed to. Simple mathematical calculations do not require verification and are not original research. WP:UNITS cites an outside style guide and is verified.
And you doubt it's a political issue? Perhaps you ought to read up on the UK Metric Association and British Weights and Measures Association, pressure groups on either side of the issue. Perhaps you ought also to read up on the Metric Martyrs. Given that you quoted chapter and verse on UK law regarding units on another page, I am surprised that you are not aware of the controversy. Pfainuk talk 20:38, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
I was aware that it was a political issue - I was making sure that you and I had the same understanding of the word "political", and yes we do. The British Weights and Measures Association and Metric Martyrs have such a strong Eurosceptic line that if one is to follow WP:NPOV, one should be cautious about converting to imperial units, especially if the views promoted in these sites are the motivation for doing so. In contrast, UK Metric Association neither promotes nor repudiates any such views. Given the political stance that you have brought up, anybody who is trying to avoid a WP:POV would be advised to use the units of measure found in the source documents. Martinvl (talk) 21:39, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
Except of course for the major problems with relying solely on source documents, problems that have been pointed out on this page many times during this crusade of your's and Michael's. Such as the fact that a sources-first rule is likely to lead to massive internal inconsistency. Such as the fact that sources are, as a rule, a very poor approximation to local usage in the country that they are discussing, the rule used for articles related to every other country.
I see you're trying to suggest that, because the UKMA are (you state) neither pro- or anti-European, they are entirely NPOV. No, they're not. We should not be taking sides in a political dispute, as you seem to demand. Rather, we should be applying exactly the same rule to UK-related articles as with articles related to every other country in the world: that we rely on local usage. Not what we would like local usage to be, but what local usage actually is. That's what the MOS as it stands does. As I've pointed out, the fact that you can find a source that uses kilometres does not mean that the British all use kilometres really and just put miles on the road signs to piss off foreigners, as seems to be the implication here. Pfainuk talk 22:08, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

If the choice of units in the United Kingdom is political, then the WP:NPOV approach would be to quote the unit of measure used in the source document first. If there are multiple sources that use different units of measure, then the editor should use the units of measure from the most authoritative of those sources (which will usually be the same as the primary source). Martinvl (talk) 11:26, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Seriously, it has already been pointed out that it is very easy to cherry pick a source that supports any particular preference for units of measure, and primary sources do not always exist (esp. for geographical features). I think this issue has been flogged enough, and should be left alone for some considerable time. wjematherbigissue 12:42, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. All of this has been rehashed so many times over the course of the last fourteen months (all initiated by either you or Michael) that it really doesn't need repeating. If you don't know all the issues with your suggestion I suggest you spend a day reading through the archives. I say a day because you'll probably need a full day to read all of the discussions you and Michael have initiated on this point. Pfainuk talk 19:28, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
User:Wjemather said that it would be easy to cherry-pick, particularly in respect of geographical features. While this might be true, some references, such as government surveys are more authoritative than others and such surveys should be preferred.
User:Pfainuk made some comments that I think are related to the Falkland Island set of articles. May I suggest that he count how many references in those articles used metric units and how many used imperial units? I don't have the figures readily to hand, but I know that it is biased heavily in favour on metric units. If, as he suggests, there is a political dimension to the choice of units used, why does he insist on converting to another units? Doesn't this tell him that something is wrong somewhere - it certainly tells me that? Martinvl (talk) 20:16, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I didn't actually make any reference the Falklands. The point you bring up has been made almost continuously by you or Michael on this page over the course of the last fourteen months. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Will you please stop beating the damp red patch on the floor where the horse carcass used to be? Pfainuk talk 20:28, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree, this tendentious raising of the same issue time and time again cannot continue – it has been dealt with too many times recently. wjematherbigissue 20:34, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

(outdent) Minor nitpick with proposed text in the box up there: If it were not an intrinsically-US subject, then it should be "metres", not "meters". — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 06:09, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Excessive conversions

Conversions between units add clarification for readers who are unfamiliar with the primary units used, but have a jarring effect for readers who are familiar with both. In cases where UK and US units are similar, but not the same may I propose that it is sufficient for editors to specify which units they are using without conversion. Thus if US gallons are quoted, it will be unnecessary to quote Imperial gallons as well.

In the same vein, the different types of ton(ne) should be clearly specified, but not converted - the United States generally using the short ton and the United Kingdom generally using the tonne. (The use of the tonne without conversion to [long] tons is in accordance with Times Style Guide). Martinvl (talk) 11:29, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

As I understand it conversions (for the examples you give) should only be to metric anyway; i.e. measures in US or Imperial gallons would (generally) only be converted to litres. As such I don't see the need for clarification. wjematherbigissue 12:35, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't agree with this. US and imperial gallons, and long and short tons, are sufficiently different as to cause significant confusion - particularly given the similarity of naming. Account should be taken of the fact that a not insignificant proportion of our audience will find itself confused by a usage of, say, 50 imperial gallons (230 l) or 15 long tons (15 t) on one hand, and 50 US gallons (190 l) or 15 short tons (14 t) on the other. That's why the rule is there.
Remember that the fact that some imperial units are not approved by the Times style guide does not mean that they are inappropriate in all circumstances on Wikipedia: the guideline says that we should put the most appropriate units to topics strongly associated with places, times or people. This is deliberate: the units most appropriate to (say) Australia in the 1920's are likely to be different from the units most appropriate to Australia in the present day.
That's not to say that, where there are a significant number of conversions close together, we cannot use some means of converting other than constantly providing conversions for every figure - particularly where the conversions are the same or similar. This applies to articles on American Football, for example, where it's potentially very irritating to both editors and readers to have to convert the yardage all the time. Pfainuk talk 17:26, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
On a related note, please see WT:Manual_of_Style#Erratum_and_proposal_about_unit_conversions. - Dank (push to talk) 04:37, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Date format and Rjwilmsi

I'm trying to find where there is consensus to what is being done exactly here. I'm not against it but this is the type of thing that inflamed the date delinking wars last time and there needs to be clear support to do it.

Specifically, User:Rjwilmsi is going through numerous articles tagged with {{use dmy dates}} or {{use mdy dates}} via AWB and converting the dates. Technically so far so good, but most of these seem to be converting the dates in the citations to the indicated format. I note that a major point in the past and still present in MOSNUM is that dates need to be consistent in the body of the article, and dates need to be consistent in the citations, but there does not need to be consistency of dates between the body and citations. It is unclear if the two templates were meant to be used to apply to citations, and if Rjwilmsi's changes are overriding the editors' preference on affected articles. I've not seen any date-related issues pop up recently so I'm wondering if this was an effort taken on only by the editor (there's a discussion with him on the talk page with OhConfusius regarding a safe range of pages to use it on, but the recent edits are considerably outside OC's suggestion).

I realize this basically converting ISO formats in the citations, and the amount of "harm" done is minimal, but again, I'm far from the extreme position of this and think there needs to be better assurance on this process. --MASEM (t) 21:24, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

If I'm not mistaken, the issue would be if the user were changing the dates within quotations; I don't think that consistency within citation templates is an issue, but I'm sure someone will speak up if I'm wrong. —Ost (talk) 21:40, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Well for example, I prefer ISO dates in citations as it is much easier to edit and expand an article as long as they are consistent, but use the appropriate dmy or mdy dates for the body. My preference is supported by MOSNUM, just as the changed versions are too. The thing is is that from date delinking, we know editors are super-protective of articles such that without a good reason to make the change, this is bound to get some backlash. --MASEM (t) 21:45, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Martinvl (talk) 12:26, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I concur. I also prefer ISO dates in citations because they are quick, concise, and easy to put in; and unambiguous to read. However, I use fully spelled out dmy or mdy dates in the body text. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 14:52, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Dates in the format YYYY-MM-DD are ambiguous. During the debates concerning this format, two reasons for ambiguity became apparent:
  • A significant number of editors stated they were not sure whether the day or month was the middle pair of digits
  • A majority of editors mistakenly believe dates in that format in Wikipedia have something to do with the ISO 8601 specification. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:15, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
The importance of the YYYY-MM-DD format is that the digits are ordered by size, biggest first. If that were to be emphasised in the MoS, the confusion could be removed. Martinvl (talk) 21:17, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
No, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must suppose that our readers, who probably never read the MoS, share the same confusion about the format as our editors. While there is a slender hope that revising the MoS might inform our editors, there is no hope that doing so would inform our readers. Jc3s5h (talk) 23:21, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Abso-damned-lutely, if I may wax infixive. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 06:13, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

[outdent] I'm all for the conversion. It's completely retarded to use one date format in main prose and another in the citations attached to them, and using YYYY-MM-DD dates in articles AT ALL is a terrible idea, as has been discussed here many times, with no solid reason given in support of doing so. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 06:13, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Well, thinking back to the RfC six months ago, that is just not true. There was more than solid support for using YYYY-MM-DD in citations, and yes Jc3s5h it is ISO format. Please refer to the aforementioned RfC before rehashing the same discussion. wjematherbigissue 08:20, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
An RfC cannot, by itself, adopt a technical specification which must be followed in Wikipedia. In fact, I don't think Wikipedia has ever adopted any external specification for article text (including citations). If such a thing were to be done, it would have to be made readily visible to all readers, and I am not aware of any such mechanism being available.
Show me the policy adopting ISO 8601. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:46, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Jc3s5h, are you done badgering anyone that dares speak the words "ISO format" or "ISO date"? Because it's really getting annoying, and seems to be your only contribution to the MoS. There's no need to adopt a policy to regulate how we talk to each other. When people start using in articles dates such as 1032-01-13, without mentioning that the date is ISO or not, feel free to plaster that article's talk page with a rant against the potentially improper usage of an ISO format date. These constant interruptions add nothing to the topic. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 14:36, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Talk page comments suggest that many participants have not the slightest clue about how to adopt a technical standard, or detect if text is governed by a technical standard. It seems that being a pain in the ass makes a small, but inadequate, contribution toward leading these editors out of their ignorance. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:02, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is a common pathology. Perhaps something other than badgering them might work better. How about finding a persuasive argument that will change their minds instead? LeadSongDog come howl! 15:59, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) The intent is not so much to badger the person who incorrectly claims Wikipedia is governed by a particular standard, as to put others who might come across the claim on notice that the claim is disputed. I see no hope of ever resolving the date related disputes on Wikipedia, such as YYYY-MM-DD vs. DD Month YYYY or AD vs. CE. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:22, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

This incessant quibbling about date formats is highly annoying and not at all a positive contribution to the process of editing articles. I'm sitting here with a stack of cheques (I'm the Treasurer for a non-profit organization), and most of the dates are in ISO format, so obviously people can be trained to understand it. Of course, this is Canada, so our kilometrage may differ from your mileage, but I feel that even Americans and Brits can be retrained given sufficient effort and time. The cheque dates are machine-readable (mandatory in Canada, although ISO, American, and British/French date formats are the options). The ISO format is machine-friendly, and in case somebody hasn't noticed, we do everything on machines these days. I'm getting less and less inclined to compromise with latter-day Luddites who refuse to adopt international standards just because they hate change. One Luddite's standards always differ from another other Luddite's standards, particularly as regards American vs. British date formats. If some of these people had their way we'd still be entering dates in Roman numerals on the Julian calendar. (End of rant). RockyMtnGuy (talk) 16:35, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
RockyMtnGuy, where is your proposal that would thoroughly address all the problems with adopting one or more international standards, and insure that every single concept that needs to be expressed in Wikipedia can be expressed? Where is your transition plan, that will insure that no one launches a bot that misinterprets the meaning of information expressed in older ways? Surely you weren't expecting to slip anything through the back door, without thorough review (the way date autoformatting was slipped in). What method will you use to inform readers about any less-than-obvious meanings to information (usually numeric information) so that readers who never heard of MOSNUM will be properly informed? Jc3s5h (talk) 16:50, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
I have no intention of solving everyone's date problems in one fell swoop. (I used to do that sort of thing for a living, but I am retired now). In summary, there are two standard alphanumeric options: dd MMMM yyy (e.g. 31 December 2010) or MMMM dd, yyyy (e.g. December 31, 2010), both of which are unambiguous and equally well understood. The former might be called the British date format and the latter the American date format, but both the Brits and the Americans use either. All-numeric version of the British and American date formats are mutually ambiguous. The ISO date format is the only non-ambiguous all-numeric standard date format in common use (e.g. 2010-12-31). The ISO date format is the most concise and most computer-friendly one available, and is neither British nor American, but I personally like it for that reason. 14:29, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
The point is not to force the "ISO-like" date onto everyone, but, as per the date delinking/autoformating RFC, to leave it as an option for editors for citations only (that is, not in the article body, where only dmy or md,y format is appropriate; the sole exception being in {{sort}} templates for date sorting in tables). That was the end result of the whole date mess: one consistent style (of two) in the body, and one consistent style (of three) in the citations, with the choice left to either some basic rules on geography of the article followed by the initial's author style. The problem I believe is going to happen (and shown here) is that the bulk changes are getting rid of the ISO-like dates for the article style, overriding the editors' decision on that page. If we want to strip ISO dates from citations, we need another RFC to do that, because that wasn't a conclusion from the previous discussion. --MASEM (t) 14:50, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

12-hour clock

Which is right per WP:MOS? "At 8:45 a.m., blah blah. At 9:00 a.m., blah blah blah. At 9:30 a.m., ..." or "At 8:45 a.m., blah blah. At 9:00, blah blah blah. At 9:30, ...". - Dank (push to talk) 22:46, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

P.S. The wording differs by one "should" on the two pages: "12-hour clock times end with dotted or undotted lower-case a.m. or p.m., or am or pm ..." here, and "12-hour clock times should end with dotted or undotted lower-case a.m. or p.m., or am or pm ..." at MOS. - Dank (push to talk) 03:20, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
"The" which "two pages"? — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 06:24, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
MOS and MOSNUM. - Dank (push to talk) 21:32, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
There's no reason to repeat the "a.m." stuff in sentences that close together. This isn't really a MOSNUM issue, it's a basic logic (redundancy) and style issue. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 06:23, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, it's a MOS issue if MOS says something different ... and I think you could argue that the current wording requires the a.m. or p.m. every time, but if someone argues that, I'll ignore them, because everyone does as you say. Thanks. - Dank (push to talk) 21:32, 26 May 2010 (UTC)