Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive 16

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Linking of "Month Year" vs. Month "Year"

Recently got into a debate about linking "April 1992" as April 1992 or April 1992. The MoS's position is at Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Years.2C decades.2C centuries:

  • December 1983 (note that December is not linked)
  • December [[1983]]

The only thing I find in the discussion archives is Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/archive12#.22September 2004.22 vs .22September_2004.22 where it ended with no support of the MoS's position of not linking to "Month Year" but rather going ahead and leaving red links so that it shows up under "What links here".

In short, I see no good reason to not link to "Month Year" (e.g., April 1992) except as an absurd MoS guideline. I find no indepth discussion for why it exists and find no indepth discussion debating it: so here it is, discuss away.

Reasons for linking as April 1992:

  • One can find anything associated with a "month year" just like for, say, September 4th. Believe it or not, I have browsed these lists before as a sort of "random page" reason but for some correlation of randomness. I'd be shocked if I was the first to do this.
  • One can find the degree of need for a red linked page to exist. I see a perfect scenario as having all these as valid pages (really, what else was happening in April 1992 besides Linux getting it's first file system: ext?)
  • It's no different than linking to April 2 except there's more of them

Reasons for not linking as April 1992:

  • Red links = bad (but I disagree as explained above)

I guess I'm really calling for a discussion on this and possibly a vote (if needed) for removing the quoted MoS tidbit. Please, discuss away. Cburnett 08:23, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I don't see a need for either. Maurreen 09:00, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I also do not see a need for either. Furthermore, if it weren't for this linking being tied to the preferences settings, I'd like to see a whole lot less linking to full dates as well. That's the only justifiable reason for linking all the full dates, including repetitions within an article; otherwise, only those of particular significance would need to be linked to. Gene Nygaard 11:35, 2005 Mar 6 (UTC)
Contrary to your claim, it is different from linking to [[April 2]] April 2 or to [[2 April]] 2 April in one very significant way; if you have your preferences set for either 15 January 2001 or January 15, 2001, both of those will look the same, but [[April 1992]] April 1992 and [[1992 April]] 1992 April will not look the same.
Compare also [[1992 April 2]] 1992 April 2 vs. [[1992]] [[April 2]] 1992 April 2 and [[1992-04]] 1992-04 vs. either [[1992]] [[04-02]] 1992 04-02 or [[1992-04-02]] 1992-04-02). Gene Nygaard 11:59, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Is there any way to determine how often (if at all) readers of articles follow date links? The claim is that they're useful, but I doubt whether people actually use them. Certainly, I've always found them completely superfluous (unless the date is a significant part of the article), not to say messy — which I assume is Maurreen's point. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 12:02, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)
No to excessive date-linking. I agree with Gene Nygaard most date-links are unnecessary for the context of the article and are provided solely for the purpose of expressing date preferences appropriately. So since there is no need related to date preferences, month-year combinations should not be linked. olderwiser 15:58, Mar 6, 2005 (UTC)
I also doubt whether readers use date links. Before I looked at Wikipedia, I did look up things in an encyclopedia and online. I was curious about many things but I cannot recall ever been curious about a date such as March 12, 1822, 1820s, or 19th century. Even worse is when the same date is linked multiple times. The trouble is that adding links to dates (and low added value nouns or phrases) is popular, removing them is not. I would welcome any initiative that discourages low added value linking. Bobblewik  (talk) 16:48, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I read the linked dates and decades and centuries for the same reason I read timelines - to find sometimes surprising relationships. No one is asking anyone to follow any links, only providing them to allow for different users different needs, preferences and learning styles. Rmhermen 18:49, Mar 6, 2005 (UTC)

This topic has just appeared on the Village pump. I thought people might be interested. Bobblewik  (talk) 21:49, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Wilhelm Reich

Bobblewik, here is the start of the discussion you asked for. My position is (1) that the MoS is just a guideline, and that there is nothing in it that states all units must be repeated in metric and Imperial; (2) that the page on Reich is written in American Engoish, and therefore American usage applies; and (3) an "800,000-meter estate" is not common usage or good writing. On the basis of these points, jointly and separately, I disagree with your edit. SlimVirgin 22:10, Mar 9, 2005 (UTC)

Here are my two cents:
  • This is dictated by the fact that we do indeed have an "International System of Units" and SI units are always appropriate, in any article. It is also an interdisciplinary system, so even in those cases where non-SI units are common usage in a particular industry or academic field, SI conversions are also appropriate.
  • American English includes SI. Bobblewik used m², so we don't have to argue about the spelling of meters.
  • This specific example would be much better as either "80 hectares" or as "0.80 km²"—if you had put 80 hectares in in the first place, I'd certainly back you up if Bobblewik tried to change it. This is a classic example of a situation where the hectare, which is declared to be acceptable for use with SI, is appropriate. When you get into thousands or millions of hectares, I agree that they are better expressed in square kilometers.
  • Your arguments are sufficient for the retention of acres, along with the metric conversion. But Bobblewik didn't delete the acres, so that isn't an issue.
Gene Nygaard 22:46, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Hi Gene, thanks for your comment. I'd have a lot less trouble with hectares, for sure. However, I would also like to make the point here that the MoS is not policy; it is a guideline, which states of itself quite clearly that it is not binding, so I feel it is a little inappropriate of editors to repeatedly revert when other editors are not keen on the addition of metric units, especially when the editor making the addition has not otherwise been involved in editing the article. It's not the initial addition I object to (Bobblewik has as much right as anyone to edit Reich), but I would prefer more of a consensus approach once an objection has been raised, rather than it simply being inserted again. Having said that, I do value Bobblewik's work on Wikipedia and his views, and don't want to be intransigent. I would certainly agree to compromise with hectares instead of meters, if Bobblewik would. Thank you for making the suggestion. SlimVirgin 23:44, Mar 9, 2005 (UTC)
"This is dictated by the fact that we do indeed have an "International System of Units" and SI units are always appropriate, in any article." - this is complete rubbish. What is appropriate is the use of term that the majority of readers will understand and/or is current in the article's subject matter. The fact that a system exists whose inventor wanted it to be 'international' does not, in fact, make it commonly understood, any more than if I were to create a spelling system completely at odds with standard English and call it the 'International 80.255 system for spelling English words' I could argue that all spellings in wikipedia must be changed 'cos my system's International!
We should take account of the fact that English wikipedia is largely read by people from the UK and the US, neither of whom are familiar with abstruse metric units such as hectares (which aren't even SI, in any case!). Accordingly, these units should not be used preferentially, and certainly shouldn't be used in isolation. Any encyclopaedia that deliberately uses such units when better understood alternatives are available has a very twisted view of its own raison d'être. 80.255 01:27, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I'm confused here because it was Bobblewik who said I should start this discussion on a public page, and now he hasn't responded, yet continues to alter texts as though no one is objecting. I agree with the above (80.255). But I'd say better still to leave things to the individual editor and/or to make things appropriate to the country that's being written about, and not go doubling up on units of measurement in especially in articles where the units are not really an issue. SlimVirgin 04:53, Mar 13, 2005 (UTC)
I can see why you are only half-there, 80 (since we Americans are even more informal, we often use first names). Sure you could make up your own "international" spelling system. But the difference between that and the International System of Units is that the latter is indeed the international system in fact as well as in name. They are less appropriate for large areas, though sometimes used in "thousands of hectares" or "millions of hectares" for things like large forest fires. In those cases, square kilometers are usually more appropriate. But the big advantage of any of the metric units is that those who'd like it in hectares can easily figure out in their heads how many hectares it is, to the same precision as the original, just from looking at a figure in square kilometers. But the same isn't true with Fred Flintstone Units. When the area of Yellowstone National Park is given as "2,219,799 acres", can you tell me what that is in square miles, to the same precision, without using a calculator? You probably couldn't even do it with a pencil and paper, and certainly wouldn't be able to do so without a calculator. It is given, but to only three significant digits rather than seven, in that article.
One thousand acres is aproximately 1.5 square miles. It isn't difficult to come up with an aproximate mental conversion! It took me about 5 seconds to get c. 3300 [(2,200,000/1000)/3*2], which is a reasonable aproximation of the true value. And since 0.25 acres is 40 square rods, it isn't difficult to convert the vale into square feet.
But you miss the point. In real terms, most people do not have an accurate perception of the extent of a hectare or a square kilometre, so being able to easily convert one to the other is of little use. Most people do have an accurate perception of an acre and a square mile, and so these are units to which people can relate to in real terms. 80.255 14:27, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Once you do that, can you also calculate the area in square feet to the same precision? I bet you are like the vast majority of those "people from the UK and the US" you are talking about—you don't know beans about those units you use just because they are sound so comfortable to you. That's all you are talking about with your "familiarity" arguments—not that they understand the units they use, just that they feel more comfortable with the sound of their names. Would you have to look up the number of square feet in an acre in some reference book or web page before you could figure it out? Most of those people you talk talk about would.
Of course, Wikipedia, and even specifically the English Wikipedia, has a much broader audience. Gene Nygaard 13:41, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Hectares are officially declared to be acceptable for use with SI, and their use in the Wilhelm Reich article is exactly they type of use for which they are generally accepted. That doesn't mean that they are always the most appropriate choice; but when they aren't appropriate, or even when they are, the alternatives are square meters or square kilometers. To expand on this, hectares are appropriate for small, identified tracts of land, and for agricultural yields per hectare.

Hi SlimVirgin, thanks for bringing the issue over here. I was paying attention and taking note of what you said here. I also have read your amendment of the manual of style. I don't agree with it but have not done anything about it. I am interested in the views of others on this general issue. This topic has been raised quite a few times so I am not particularly surprised by any of the angles that are raised. In case you think I am avoiding the debate, let me add a couple of angles that I agree with that have also been raised before. Firstly, we do not restrict units to the nation. Forbidding metric units in 'articles relating to a non-metric country' would presumably mean that we should forbid non-metric units in 'articles relating to a metric country'. That would be bizarre. Secondly, it is not true to suggest that 'American articles' are only permitted to be read by Americans. The whole point of Wikipedia is that it is a reference for anyone with web access. Bobblewik  (talk) 10:50, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

But if it's worth knowing to seven significant digits in acres, it's worth knowing to seven significant digits in square miles. Of course, that premise is debatable in the first place, but it is one of the artifacts of using those units, that when adding them up, some people just hang onto the whole number figures without rounding them appropriately.
More directly to your point about approximations, however. I have an accurate mental picture of 220 acres. But since we farmers are getting to be few and far between, most Americans do not. They could not mark off a tract of 220 acres on a map, nor on the ground. On the other hand, I do not have an accurate mental picture of 2,200,000 acres even when I round off that precisely stated value, and I do not know anybody at all who would have an accurate mental picture of that area. I can however, easily get a pretty good picture of 900,000 hectares or 9000 square kilometers; a rectangle 90 km by 100 km, or 30 km by 300 km, etc., or with a precision similar for what you found acceptable for converting acres to square miles, a 100 km square. Gene Nygaard 14:49, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I'm not the person to take your last point up with. I largely agree with you. But the main Manual of Style says that the usage of the country the article is "specific to" should be used. So an article about the U.S. should deploy U.S. usage. Now "usage" has not been defined; and the MoS is not policy, so individual editors in reality may do as they choose, but in the event of an edit dispute, the MoS is supposed to be used as guidance. My point is that it is not policy that every unit must be doubled up. It's not a question of "forbidding" metric units. That is too strong. It's a question of commonsense. There is simply no need to double up most of the time, and particulary when it comes to acres, converting that to thousands of meters. So I'm not arguing in favor of forbidding; simply against unnecessary doubling up. If readers are desperate to know what an acre is, they can look at Acre, but people reading Wilhelm Reich are probably not reading it in order to find out what the meter equivalent is. SlimVirgin 12:26, Mar 13, 2005 (UTC)

Many Wikipedia policies or guides are vague, this makes room for editorial judgment. I'm always weary of policy bloat that takes away this judgment. The case of dual units is a good example; I write a lot of technical articles, where dual units fit right in. The mind is attuned to it and they fit right in. Bobblewik has added dual units to articles I have started many times and it has always made a very nice improvement. Bobblewik's dedication to consistency is another point to note; its something you don't appreciate until its gone. Imagine an encyclopedia where the presentation of units involves every combination, permutation and variation possible! And compare this to an encyclopedia with consistent unit usage and dimensioning schemes down to the punctuation mark. I think we could use a style guide of suggested unit usage aimed at consistency and dual unit schemes (I've seen bits and pieces here and there, but not collected in one place, someone point me to it if there is one).

However, some articles have a flow and feel that that is very different than technical articles, and in this example the dual units detract from the flow of the words. Other topics have unique units with additional meaning and significance that don't translate well. I think there are occasional examples where dual units aren't really called for. SlimVirgin's mentioned less objection to hectares, is this an acceptable compromise? I wouldn't object to removing the dual units on this page. But I think dual units should be pushed on wikipedia.

One more thought; many people object to dual units because they aren't conformable with one of them. Over time, however, people do become accepting of dual units. Especially if they are presented in a consistent fashion. I think having a style guide that presents this would be very valuable -- Duk 17:25, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

areas

"Areas of land should be given in km², which can be entered as km².

"When describing areas of agriculture, forests, parks, wilderness, etc., hectares are an acceptable (not mandatory) alternative to square kilometres."

What is point of this rule? Most people in Britain and America have little familiarity with hectares, and the term doesn't have much meaning in a practical context. Since English wikipedia is largely used by British and American readers, what is point of using an little-known continental unit? Giving land areas in acres is far more sensible, or, at the very least, it should be ensured that both units are provided. The same is true for square kilometres. I should imagine most people from Britain and America make sense of this unit simply by thinking of it as square miles less a small ammount; in other words, the values would be more useful if expressed in square miles, and insisting on expression in square kilomtres is pointless lunacy. If this were the French wikipedia, whose readers are all likely to know and understand these units, then such a policy would be sensible. But it isn't; and nor is it a scientific context that acrues any benefit from it in terms of simplicy of conversions.

To summerise:

  1. I see no reason why areas of land should be expressed in square kilometres. The unit is not commonly used in either the UK or the US, and there is no justification for using it when values can just as easily be expressed in the better-known unit of square miles.
  2. The 'hectare' is a near-unknown unit to most people in both these countries (from which the bulk of the English Wiki readership is drawn) and any mention of it should be manditarily supplemented with an understandable value in acres. There is no excuse for encouraging the use of a unit which so many people do not understand. Giving data in the most commonly-understood form should be the first priority, not adopting some quasi-politicised policy of metrication!

80.255 01:14, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The above is a very sad story of American imperialistic thinking. The only thing of interest is how they do it. You should realise that far more poeple are not familiar with square feet than with m². Even among English speaking people. −Woodstone 10:38, 2005 Mar 13 (UTC)
As a matter of interest, what makes you think that? SlimVirgin 12:28, Mar 13, 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for your reply, Woodstone. It is a marvellous example of the silly and unhelpful mentality I wrote against. I couldn't have come up with more dogmatically deluded obduracy in the face of all reason if I tried. I particularly like the way you try to brand the use of units most people understand with the meaningless slogan of 'American Imperialism'. Using square feet is just like invading Iraq, isn't it just? Your reply consists of a sloganising attempt to cast aspersions on any opposition to your viewpoint, and, more significantly, absolutely no factual evidence to support it. Do you or do you not accept that the majority of the English wiki readship is drawn from the UK and USA? The fact that readers from the USA should have access to information in units they understand is not 'imperialism' by any strange, perverse interpretation of the word. In Britain, numerous surveys have consistently revealed that most people do not think in metric units and better understand their own measurement system. [1] A survey involving over 10,000 people from Feb 2002 revealed that 95% prefered the Imperial system. [2] Even in Australia, a country which has 'officially' used metric since the 60s, use of and support for the system is anything but overwelming. In a survey carried over a decades after metrication, 60.8% said the metric system harder to understand and 90.6% said they thought in feet and inches, rather than metres and centimetres - and this 'metric Australia'! And as for Canada:

Canada's move to metrics ground to a halt in 1983 when the government issued a Moratorium suspending compulsory metric conversion. Since then, it has been Canada's policy not to enforce the country's Weights and Measures Act requiring that metric be more prominent than traditional units. As a result, retailers continue to price and sell fruit, vegetables, meat and other weighed items in imperial units. Metric equivalents are offered only in tiny print. The purpose of One Metre is reverse the Moratorium, thereby compelling retailers to display metric units more prominently than imperial units. One Metre notes, "Without enforcement, the completion of metric conversion will never happen". Quite." [3]

So, all in all, the notion that the average wikipedia reader prefers metric is complete nonsense! At the very least, a very substantial proportion of readers does not prefer the system, and the provision of equivalents in imperial measurements should be obligatory and demanded in this style guide. I don't object the metric units being given in parentheses, but I do strenuously object to abtruse units like 'hectares' being used in isolation, when the majority of readers far better understand acres. Does that make me an "American Imperialist"? Not even being American, I find the accusation laughable! Why is it that you are determined that articles use units with which most people are either not familiar or dislike?

"The scientists adopted the decimal system on the basis of the meter as unit. Nothing is more contrary to the organisation of the mind, memory and imagination. The new system will be a stumbling block and source of difficulties for generations to come. It is just tormenting the people with trivia." Napoleon Bonaparte

80.255 14:06, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Enough of the spewing of anti-metric British Weights and Measures Association nonsense like your italicized, offset quote above. In Canada, all prepackaged goods are metric only. Even the soft-converted sized do not list any pounds or pints. The scales for items weights in the store measure in grams and kilograms. Even if some stores to list the price per pound prominently, it is the price per kilogram which controls. Canada does indeed have areas where English units remain fairly common, but this isn't one of them. Gene Nygaard 14:26, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
That quote was merely to demonstrate that imperial measurements are understood well by many people in Canada, and additionally prefered by a significant proportion. You yourself admit that there are "areas where English units remain common" - so, should people from these areas visit wikipedia, they should be able to find measurements listed in their prefered system. If Canada's pro-metric lobby group complains that "without enforcement, the completion of metric conversion will never happen", it's pretty reasonable to deduce that it hasn't been 'completed' yet, and hence many people still prefer the imperial system. This isn't 'nonsense' - it's common sense; and wikipedia certainly shouldn't unfairly discriminate against those people who don't use metric.
In any case, Canadians do not constitute the majority of wikipedia readers - most from the the UK and USA, where preference for and better understnading of imperial measures is beyond question. The examples I gave from Canada and Australia simply showed that offering the choice of both cannot be a bad thing even in supposedly metric countries. 80.255 14:51, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Incidentally, in respect of Canada again, you might be interested to read this article, which has nothing to do with the BWMA! 80.255 16:03, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

If one thing is abundantly clear, it's that big numbers of people are not familiar with either one of the measurement systems. So let the authors put in units according to their custom. Others can add conversions if required. Can we not just agree never to delete the "other" unit? −Woodstone 22:32, 2005 Mar 13 (UTC)

My original post called for pretty much this; specifically that arcane metric units such as hectares be supplemented with values in acres as a matter of policy. I'm not trying to get the hectare cast out into darkness, but merely ensure that the majority of readers who are not familiar with this unit in real terms have an alternative rendition in better-known units. As it stands, however, policy implies that a value given solely in hectares (or equally unhelpful square kilometres) is acceptable, and I dispute that it should be. I'm all for providing both systems, provided that the principle is not fanatically instituted to extremes in situtions running contrary to common sense (for an example of this, see [4]!). 80.255 22:57, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
That isn't what you were claiming originally.
When you get everyone to stop calling a 90 mm floppy disk a 3½ inch disk, let us know. Then no further explanation will be necessary in that article—we can just take out all the 3½ inch references. Gene Nygaard 23:14, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
It is actually what I originally wrote--"The 'hectare' is a near-unknown unit to most people in both these countries (from which the bulk of the English Wiki readership is drawn) and any mention of it should be manditarily supplemented with an understandable value in acres". 'Supplemented', not 'replaced'.
The floppy disk edit is an example of a suprememly idiotic persuance of conversions in a case where the metric equivalents are both unused and irrelevant, and clutter up the text with pointless repetitions. I not entirely sure what you point is regarding it. 80.255 23:23, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
The point is that it is the 3½ inches which is the conversion, not the 90 mm. If it were 3½ inches, it would only be 88.9 mm. Just look up the standard. Or use your eyes, and a cheap ruler. It's not very hard to see. Gene Nygaard 23:49, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I concede this, and it is mentioned in the article. However, the disk is called a 3½" floppy; it is sold as a 3½" floppy and to all intents and purposes it is 3½". To call it a '90 mm floppy' is a description, not a name, just as the Palace of Westminister could be described as a 'big gothic-revival building not far from St. Paul's', but its name remains the Palace of Westminister. Similarly, to augment all references to Westminister Palace with parenthetical blather about big gothic edifices, though they may be absolutely correct, does not add any useful information to articles.
Moreover, your reasoning clearly wasn't behind the edit I mentioned, because the 'converter' merrily apended imprecise metric values to 5½" disks, the name of which, descriptively, also precisely reflects their length.
But this line of discussion is going off on a tangent. I note that you have yet to make any constructive comment on my proposal regarding areas in the manual of style. Have you any? 80.255 00:27, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Is it that hard, guys? The English Wikipedia is by far the largest and is thus consulted by many non-native English speakers, among other reasons as a source for localised articles. I won't make a guess whether native or non-native English speakers are in the majority. In all countries, including the US, the metric system is legally allowed, used and taught, in most of them exclusively (more or less even in the UK). Therefore there is no reason to not use it, including the units just "accepted to be used with SI, like the minute, liter or hectare.
For English/British/Imperial/US customary/Fred Flintstone/whateveryoucallthem units, the situation is quite different: knowledge of them is pretty much limited to US Americans and older citizens of many former English colonies and the UK itself (plus some metrologists and people interested in the field), furthermore knowledge of the entire "system(s)" is limited even among these people. Anyhow, sources from this areas sometimes use these units and so they should be noted in Wikipedia articles that use these sources, but accomplied by metric values for all the other readers, who are not familiar with the English units (or sometimes a particular one that is rarely used). Where the source is metric, on the other hand, there is absolutely no need for another, English value.
To aid readers you are of course welcome to hyperlink the relevant magnitude links like this: "14.3 ha".
Christoph Päper 18:03, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

For the American readers, have you ever looked at your national law? I hope I do not violate copyright by quoting (bolding by me Woodstone 12:46, 2005 Mar 28 (UTC)):

Metric Conversion Act, Dec. 23, 1975
§ 204. Metric system authorized. - It shall be lawful throughout the United States of America to employ the weights and measures of the metric system; and no contract or dealing, or pleading in any court, shall be deemed invalid or liable to objection because the weights or measures expressed or referred to therein are weights or measures of the metric system. (14 Stat. 339, Adopted July 28,1866)
§ 205b. Declaration of policy. - It is therefore the declared policy of the United States-
(1) to designate the metric system of measurement as the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce;
(4) to permit the continued use of traditional systems of weights and measures in non-business activities.

Quite apart from Imperial / metric difficulties in expressing area, there is a problem with the Wikipedia advice. km² is not an SI unit. Also, it is ambiguous: does it mean 1000 m² (a literal, but wrong, reading) or 1,000,000 m² (correctly, if such an expression can ever be correct)? m² and km² are different by six orders of magnitude giving rise to very large or very small numbers. Some people even think "square kilometre" is ambiguous: does 10 square kilometres mean an area of 10 km² or of 100 km² (a square of side 10 km)? Because of all these difficulties, I think the hectare (and the acre) have a great deal to commend them for "agricultural" purposes (preferable to m² and km²) and, for countries etc., "square kilometre" should be used and never km². Where scientific exactitude is required, SI units (i.e. m²) should be used Thincat 15:09, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

According to the SI standard, the expression km2 is not ambiguous. It is explicitly defined that a prefix (like k) combines with the following single symbol (like m) to form a new symbol (like km), which can be raised to a positive or negative power. Units like cm3 and μs-1 are quite commonly used. The unit ha is excellent for agricultural or urban areas, but on the small side for countries. −Woodstone 17:37, 2005 Apr 18 (UTC)
Thank you for your correction. km² is indeed a valid expression for a unit of area using an SI prefix and a power of an SI unit. It has many awkwardnesses but http://www.bipm.fr/en/si/si_brochure/chapter5/5-4.html confirms it is technically correct. Thincat 13:46, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

"As of"

I don't like the way people use "as of" links. The intended meaning is confusing.

An example:

As of 1947, the Air Force has been a separate branch of the military.

vs.

As of 2005, the Air Force is a separate branch of the military.

The second use is just wrong. People like to use it to say "as of right now", which I think is pointless. That's implied.

Since I made up that example, here's a real world example:

A National Hockey League labour dispute began in 2004 and, as of March 2005, remains unresolved.

Do we really need to say "as of March 2005"? Can't we just say "remains unresolved"? It's implied that it's "as of now". When the lockout is resolved, the article will be changed.

will it? Do I as a reader know if someone is watching this article and keeping it up to date? When I read "the dispute, as of March 2005, remains unresolved." I know exactly how recent this information is, and if the time is long past, am alerted to check if the condition is still the same. I think this usage is significantly better than the one you seem to favor. "as of" is a way of puitting part of the history into the article, and often a good one, IMO. (like anything it can be overused or mis-used.) DES 17:34, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)


I feel that the secomd usage of the phrase is confusing. "As of" should be used to mark a definite point, not to qualify something that's a current event. That's really unnecessary.

– flamurai (t) 17:11, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

I agree with DES about the value of letting the reader know that more recent events might not yet be reflected in the article. In fact, I would use "as of" only in that situation. For your first example, I'd write, "In 1947, the Air Force became a separate branch of the military." JamesMLane 09:24, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Agree as well. But then, in my dialect, "As of" carries very little connotation of something having changed at that point... +sj + 16:22, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)