Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive 18

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Birth/death dates in biographies

My habit has been to use summary dates in the summary (e.g., “Kellie Waymire (1967–2003)”), and full dates (when known) in the article (e.g., “Waymire was born on 27 July 1967 in Columbus, Ohio”). This looks cleaner and neater to me, as well as making the summary summarise what's in the article. I've run into no objections to this until yesterday, when one user (PMA) has reverted my changes, claiming that the MoS is against me. I don't think that it is, but it isn't clear on this point. Any thoughts? Would it be acceptable to make my approach standard? Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 08:50, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies) for the standard. -- User:Docu

That just refers back to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Dates of birth and death). I think that Mel Etitis's approach is fine and certainly allowed by the MoS, but it should not be made into the standard. In short biographies it's not worth including sentences about dates of birth and death. So in these cases the exact dates can be given in the parentheses after the name. Gdr 11:08, 2005 Apr 2 (UTC)

I suppose so — though in biography stubs, my feeling is that adding complete birth and death dates at least pads the article out a bit. Underhand, I suppose. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 19:16, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I would rather see all biographies with the full dates in parenthesis, which is the implied form from the MoS Cburnett 20:49, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC) (signed afterthefact)

I'm not clear that it is — but in any case, I'm asking what people think of my suggestion, so what's important is why you'd rather see it that way, and why you think that my reasons don't make the case. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 20:42, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I don't think why is necessarily important. Any style guide is going to be guided by personal opinion over anything objective. That said, I don't think it's necessary to break the dates up the way you propose it. Putting the birth & death date immediately after the name makes it quickly findable; otherwise you have to find the "____ was born on ____" wherever that may be. Cburnett 20:49, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Personally, I prefer the current solution:

Elwyn Brooks White (July 11, 1899October 1, 1985), was an American author, essayist, and noted prose stylist...

Later in the article, it's generally sufficient to repeat the year of birth/death. Isn't the reference to formats for dates here mainly on how to write approximate dates? "Fl. " is missing BTW. -- User:Docu

Indian numbers

I have gotten into a dispute at Talk:Christianity in India over the question of the use of the Indian numerals lakh and crore. In my view, it is absurd for us to use these numbering systems that nobody outside India is familiar with, and which add nothing to the article. Perhaps, since these terms are particularly used for currency, it would make sense to use them in that context, but in Christianity in India they were being used for population figures. I can see no justification for this. But others seemingly disagree, so I thought I'd try to see what others think. john k 15:29, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I find it incomprehensible that John Kenney should find it "absurd". First off, lakhs and crores are also (unless I'm mistaken) widely understood and used in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and perhaps elsewhere in South Asia. Even if this usage were limited to India alone, we would still be talking about slightly more than one-sixth of all of humankind. This is by no means a trivial consideration, given the ongoing efforts to counter systemic bias on Wikipedia. Furthermore, Indians represent a large proportion of the global English-speaking population. The number of Indians using English as a first or second language exceeds the entire population of the British Isles. There is every reason why Wikipedia should be able to use certain Indian English conventions on India-related articles. In any case, the words lakh and crore are not foreign-language expressions; they're in English dictionaries, and I, at any rate, have never seen them italicized. They're in perfectly common use in South Asian publications (in English).
I actually proposed an India-related numbering convention on Wikipedia talk:Notice board for India-related topics. It's true that there was not much discussion on that head, but such as there was emerged in favour of using lakhs and crores with the equivalent figure in millions in parentheses (along the same lines as citing measurements in metres followed by feet). This seemed to be certainly a transparent, if somewhat redundant compromise, and I'm perfectly prepared to follow it. John Kenney's objection is to the mention of lakhs and crores at all. If Wikipedia wishes to maintain itself as an international NPOV project, we should err on the side of inclusivity. QuartierLatin1968 20:22, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Is Indian English usage overwhelmingly in favour of crores and lakhs over thousands and millions? Would "20 million" puzzle an English-speaking Indian? If so, then I would favour usage like "19.6 million (1.96 crores)" in the text. Otherwise, I think a note explaining the traditional nomenclature is sufficient. Michael Z. 2005-04-11 21:01 Z

I apologize for saying "India" when I meant "the Indian subcontinent." john k 23:20, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Also, Quartier, where is this discussion on the notice board? I can't find it. At any rate, I am not going to oppose use of lakhs and crores for currency, because this seems to be standard usage. But using it for population figures is completely unwarranted, and claims that this has anything to do with NPOV are ridiculous - numbering is an international system, and there is no reason to make things more complicated than they need to be. If you can show me, as Michael asks, that English-speaking Indians wouldn't understand "thousands" and "millions," I'm happy to put lakhs and crores in parentheses for Indian topics. But otherwise I don't see what value is served by this. john k 23:24, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, the discussion was archived. It's now at Wikipedia talk:Notice board for India-related topics/archive2#Need for conventions?. Per Sundar's comment below, it depends on the person's level of familiarity, but my sense is that millions are as mystifying to many South Asians as lakhs are to many Westerners. Hence the advantage in including both, as Michael suggests. QuartierLatin1968 14:25, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Hey, I come here seeing the note on Notice board for India related topics. Please remember that a vast majority of Indians (and presumably others from the sub-continent and probably Indonesia(?)) who are not yet exposed to the western lingo will be puzzled by "million". Take my father for example. He is a commerce professor with a doctorate, but yet not comfortable with millions. Please understand that you need to think from the other side of the fence in cases involving culture and language. I'm ok with giving both "millions" and "lakhs" in India-related articles. Only software professionals and others who work for multinational corporations are comfortable with this terminology. -- Sundar (talk · contribs) 04:19, Apr 12, 2005 (UTC)

I would have no particular problem with listing the Indian numbers in parentheses - although I'm not sure why Indian people should have the right to read their kind of numbers for topics related to India, but not for anything else. But standard English usage should be the main way of presenting things. BTW, does anyone know if articles on French Canadian topics on fr use different numbers from the usual French numbering system, because otherwise the Québécois might get confused by the use of standard French numbers? john k 04:23, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I agree with John and Michael. Maurreen 04:48, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I like the idea of your analogy John, but I'm confused how to apply it – they use the same numbers in Québec as in France. Do you mean Belgium and Switzerland (with septante and huitante/octante)? Or punctuation? (Québec French uses roughly the same punctuation as French French – so in Canada you often see things labelled 6.5 metres in English, and 6,5 mètres in French. Or $6.50 in English and 6,5 $ in French. The only difference I can think of is that thousands are separated by a space in Québec, while in France they are separated by either a space or a dot.)
On a different topic (why to use lakhs in India-related articles and not elsewhere), I suppose it's a good question. Basically I just saw this as part of an evolving set of India-related Wikipedia conventions (such as, use British spellings). QuartierLatin1968 14:25, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I suppose I meant Belgium and Switzerland - I always get confused as to which has the weird numbers. As to the other question, I think British spellings are a wholly different thing from Indian numbers - Brits and Americans can easily understand each other's spellings, even if we don't use them. Westerners are simply completely unfamiliar with Indian numbers. john k 18:26, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I don't see why John has a problem with lakhs and crores if the equivalent standards are applied in brackets alongside for global compatability. Having lakhs and crores will also educate many as to the different numbering systems we have in this world instead of forcing the three digit system on all and not possibly educating the world as to the alternatives.  =Nichalp (talk · contribs)= 18:56, Apr 16, 2005 (UTC)

What is "standard English"? Why are lakhs and crores not "standard English", but millions and billions are? The numbers should be left in their original format (either from the original source, or original author), provided the article uses one format consistently. As an aid to the reader, conversions to another format, in parenthesis, could be given, but I feel that it is inappropriate to completely remove the original numbers in favor of ones own preferred format. Also, manually converting numbers this way may very well introduce errors (is a billion 10^6 or 10^9? how big is a gallon?). srs 23:28, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Lakhs and crores are not standard English, because they are not - they are imports from a foreign language used in English only in places where the term derives from the original language. (If that makes any sense). Nichalp - the purpose of an article on Christianity in India is not to educate people about Indian number systems. I have no problem with using lakhs and crores for monetary values (with normal values in parentheses), but I hold firm that ordinary numbers should be used for population figures. john k 16:25, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Why not educate the others on the Indian numbering system for India related pages? I am firmly against having only lakhs and crores on India related pages if a decimal equivalent is absent that is. If a person from a non South Asian country were to read an Indian media publication, he would see figures in lacs (an alternate spelling) and crores. Of course he would find it difficult to figure out the correct equivalent on first glance. Why not apply the above mentioned metric to wikipedia? After all, this is an encylopedia which aims to instruct.  =Nichalp (talk · contribs)= 07:54, Apr 19, 2005 (UTC)
Lakhs and crores are in every dictionary I've found, so they are definitely standard English. If you want to discard all words derived from other languages, then you wouldn't have very many words to work with as English borrows heavily from other languages. Lakh is derived from Hindi, but it is widely used in places where Hindi is not spoken, so its not particularly a "local" term. "Million" is originally derived from Italian, and so by your criteria, should not be used? "Ordinary" and "standard" for you is not the same "ordinary" and "standard" for other parts of the world. srs 17:47, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

They are in dictionaries, but it is not standard English to use these terms instead of "thousands" and "millions," except maybe in discussions of numbers of rupees. I don't want to discard words from other languages, I want to not use primarily words from other languages that are only used in the part of the world where the word was derived from. john k 18:18, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Why not also in other articles that will be read particularly by people using lakhs and crores? At least in the brackets. --Eleassar777 18:31, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Again, how do you define "standard English"? Convention in the UK and USA may be to use millions, just like convention in South Asia is to use lakhs. There is no body governing what is "standard English", and while it may be appropriate to exclude certain words from http://simple.wikipedia.org, here, there is no reason to exclude perfectly valid words for arbitrary reasons. srs 19:09, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Who are we to say that articles about India are more likely to be read by Indians than articles about, say, nuclear physics? That's a silly distinction. BTW, I looked up "Lakh" in the Times of India - it shows up a lot, but most of the references are to currency. At any rate, in terms of standard English, it is not only the convention in the UK and USA to use millions. It is also the convention in Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and of every other country outside the Indian subcontinent where English is an official language. Furthermore, it is the convention used in every other western language, and which is used by any non-native speaker (outside the Indian subcontinent) who learns English. I don't have a problem with including the lakh and crore figure in parentheses, or for using it for quantities of Indian currency, and maybe in parentheses for other articles about India, but beyond that, we should remember that wikipedia is for an international audience, and that international is not equivalent to "Indian." john k 20:03, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps the Indian English Wikipedia should be started?! ;) Seriously, I think that more work should be put into writing Indian Wikipedia (whatever language) than arguing the use of lakhs here. --Eleassar777 20:23, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)
My understanding is that we accept all forms of standard English in the English Wikipedia. I see no reason to make an exception of Indian English. Of course, this comes with a proviso that, where a word or phrase is unfamiliar in other forms of standard English it should be explained or avoided. I see no reason why this principle should not be applied here. As long as lakhs and crores are explained - I see no difficulty. If millions and billions need to be explained to Indians in other articles, then so be it. An international encyclopaedia should be written for an international audience, jguk 20:48, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

But is a phrase from Hindi which is used in Indian English to be considered a "standard English" phrase? And are you really suggesting that we add conversions into lakhs and crores for every article that uses a large number on the English wikipedia? john k 20:54, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I find myself in agreement with jguk. Embrace the difference; celebrate the diversity. As for adding conversions into lakhs and crores on other random articles: no one has suggested that. Hajor 21:02, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Jguk said, "If millions and billions need to be explained to Indians in other articles, then so be it." That sounds like suggesting conversions into lakhs and crores on other random articles to me. john k 04:27, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

My apologies: I hadn't seen that phrase of Jguk's. Or, if I did, it didn't register. Sorry. Hajor 13:10, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)
John K said, "Lakhs and crores are not standard English, because they are not - they are imports from a foreign language used in English only in places where the term derives from the original language." You could say the same thing about "moose" (international English elk), which comes to us from a Native American language of New England. Standard English has thousands of words from "foreign languages". I think you're honestly underestimating how established and respectable the convention of counting in lakhs is in South Asian English, John – this isn't just code-switching by people whose English is spotty.
Lakhs are mostly used for money – and people – because, frankly, these are the things that most often come in hundreds of thousands. The word 'million' is also used mostly for counting money – and people – so I don't know what that proves. But my sense is that you would also say, for example, there are twenty crores of cells in the human body (or however many there are) – it just doesn't come up as often.
As for whether Wikipedia should use lakhs outside of India-related articles, I feel a little hesitant about setting down anything dogmatic. What are the conventions for using metric and imperial units? Because this is a similar case – the US has a distinct regional preference, in the way that South Asia has a distinct regional preference for lakhs. It seems like we include imperial units whenever somebody happens to think of it, right, but metric units are always listed alongside. In the same way, we might include lakhs whenever somebody happens to think of it, but use millions alongside. Does that seem sensible? QuartierLatin1968 14:35, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It may be that I am underestimating the use of lakhs and crores - I was surprised at the prevalence of "lakh" in my search of the Times of India. The metric/imperial comparison seems somewhat apt to me. On the other hand, the old imperial units are not only the current preferred unit in the US - they are also the unit which used to be the standard throughout the English language. So I think referring to imperial units in non-US topics is probably more valid than referring to lakhs and crores in non-Indian topics. As to Indian topics, the most important thing, I think, is that the standard thousand/million numbers are always given. For counting money, I have no problem with giving lakhs and crores as the principal unit, although the million total should also be given. For population, I'm still not convinced, but if everyone else feels that way it's fine. I really do not think we should give lakhs and crores where ever somebody feels like it. Re: Moose/Elk, I think that's not quite the same. The only English-speaking places inhabited by this animal are where it's called a moose. So it's an awkward situation. john k 15:40, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

John, That's what I've been telling you all the time :).  =Nichalp (talk · contribs)= 18:53, Apr 20, 2005 (UTC)

Years and numbers (cont.)

Rename articles in first decade of the common era?

User:Sj moved articles on the years in the first decade: 11 (year) ... 99 (year). I moved them all back because (1) this is a big change that affects lots of articles and editors; and (2) the change wasn't agreed here or documented in the Manual of Style.

There's some discussion on a particular instance at Talk:3 (number), but this page is the right place for a general discussion. So go ahead!

For the record, I think the current situation (plain numbers for years) is fine and easy for editors to remember. I find it much more common to refer to a year than any other use of a number, and this is true even for numbers less than 10. Gdr 14:25, 2005 Apr 29 (UTC)

Firstly, thanks for paying attention to these articles. :-)
That said, you don't need to revert changes simply because "it wasn't documented in the manual of style". In particular, the 'default' destination for the digits is still the year; simply after a redirect. I agree with Proto below that the digits should actually go to the digit page, and not the year page -- note how much more content there is about the digits than about those years! and note that people always refer to 'the year 1' or '1 AD' or even the stiffly proper 'AD 1', rather than "back in 1, the Romans were preparing for...". But that is something which requires more discussion. Simply moving those pages to a more sensible title does not seem like "a big change that affects lots of articles and editors;" can you explain? +sj + 16:16, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, I already put something on your user page before finding the correct place to talk about this ... I think it makes much more sense to have numbers less than 10 to go to the article on the number, not the year. I know the standard is for all numbers to go by default to the year page, but Sj's alteration made things a lot more intuitive IMO. Proto 14:34, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I tend to agree with this sentiment (that the default should be to go to the article on the digit), but note that this is not the change I implemented. We should discuss this here. +sj + 16:16, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
For consistency's sake, I disagree. Radiant_* 07:30, May 13, 2005 (UTC)
Well, it would also be consistent to require four-digit years, like 0001, 0000 and -0001. Christoph Päper 18:56, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

Why should these 10 years be any different to the articles for the other thousands of years we have? Why should these particular 10 numbers be different to all the other articles on numbers we have? It will be particularly confusing given that the proposed change is the exact opposite of what happens to higher and lower numbers / earlier and later years. Thryduulf 15:13, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Digits are both numbers and characters; have long histories (see the page lengths!); and the years themselves are very rarely (if ever?) referred to by number alone in English. What's this about earlier years? -1 goes to -1, not to "1 BC" ... +sj + 16:16, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
No, -1 redirects to -1 (number), which should but does not have a link to 2 BC (it doesn't have a link to 1 BC either, but 2 BC would be the proper one to link). Gene Nygaard 16:35, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

When I first tried to save the following, an edit confllict occured. I don't have time to merge it properly right now, but here it is:

In the discussion at 3 (number), not only the year 3 or 1-9 were involced; all years 1-99 (and possibly 0) were in play. (Of course 0 is a very special case as the calendar underlying the other years has no year zero.) Anyway, I have collected a little information on the articles 1-10. Here are their initial lines:
  • For other uses, see One, for the number, see Number 1.
  • This article is about the year 2. For other uses of 2, see 2 (number).
  • This article is about the year 3. For other uses of 3, see 3 (number).
  • This article is about the year 4. For other uses of 4, see 4 (number).
  • This article is about the year 5. For other uses of 5, see 5 (number).
  • This article is about the year 6. For other uses of 6, see 6 (number).
  • This article is about the year 7. For other uses of 7, see 7 (number).
  • This article is about the year 8. For other uses of 8, see 8 (number).
  • This article is about the year 9. For other uses of 9, see 9 (number).
  • This article is about the year 10. For other uses of 10, see 10 (number).
First, I suggest the article One is merged into 1 (number) for consistency, and I suggest that all of these initial lines in the articles 1-99 (and later ones too) take the form most of them already have.
Secondly, I think the 3 (number) articles (all the numbers - 3 is just an example) might be split into two or more - a mathematical one, a disambiguation page, a numerology/trivia page...? In that case, the standard phrase in the year articles shold be

--Niels Ø 16:50, Apr 29, 2005 (UTC)

Emphasizing disambiguation with (year), (number), and (disambiguation)

I think the changes suggested above should clearly be implemented for the digits. Ideas about more comprehensive changes, for general ease of use and stylistic consistency:

  • It can be confusing to have a policy that the bare number should not only redirect to, but should be the article for a given year.
  • It is slightly off-style to include the disambiguation list ("other uses of 100") in the article about a given number. It would be cleaner to have a separate disambiguation page, particularly when the list is long.

In light of this, changes that could be made:

Proposed changes

  • Have bare number 2 (for instance) redirect to 2 (year)
  • Make the links to the page on the number-and-numeral clear at the top of the page; perhaps slightly larger than they are now
  • If necessary -- that is, if the number/numeral page is sufficiently long -- create a "2 (disambiguation)" page for dab content and move "other uses" out of the relevant 2 (number) page. Then the disambig notice at the top of the page for the year 2 should link to both the number and the dab, something like
    "For the number 2, see 2 (number). For other uses of 2, see 2 (disambiguation)."
    +sj + 16:16, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Commentary

  • According to Wikipedia:Naming_conventions#Numbers, the number articles with related meanings should be at 3 (number), rather than Three or Number 3 or 3. Similar to letters, where all related meanings are listed under A#Meanings_for_A, this should include content that might have been on disambiguation pages. Template:Otheruses-number leads from the year article to the number article
  • Four, Isère is not related to the number, so 4_(number)#In_other_fields isn't the place to list it, but it's current location at 4 (number) is consistent with other meanings using redirects. The long list at 3_(number)#Groups_of_three could easily go on a separate page. In general, the numbers 1-12 could probably benefit from a format more consistent with the higher numbers, but as they are longer, it's more difficulte to give them a consistent look.
    • My favorite Style Guideline is: "Use common sense when creating page divisions." When there's not enough content for a handful of pages, use just one. We should start creating N (disambiguation) pages, separate from N (number) pages, as they become necessary for numbers with extensive "other uses" sections. If a dab page exists, we should say "for other uses, see N (disambiguation)," which would in turn link to the N (number) page.
      note that the same style guideline led to the happy compromise of having one page per hundred numbers, and then one per thousand numbers, as the numbers get larger and larger. +sj +
  • The years at 1, 2, 3, etc. are the titles with the formats used for dynamic date formatting, so without changing mediawiki, I tend to think it's preferable to leave them there. -- User:Docu
    • The only penalty for redirecting the digits is that people following 'dynamic date formatting' and similar date links will have one (invisible) redirect. Since those ten years are not terribly popular, this is no significant harship on the servers. I think we should make exceptions for those ten.

User:Sj: please can you explain the problem you are trying to solve, and how you believe your proposed solution solves it? Gdr 20:50, 2005 May 12 (UTC)

  • For consistency's sake, please keep naming for single or double-digit numbers (and years) the same as for triple and quadruple-digit ones. Just as 1985 is the year and not the number, so should 8 be the year and not the nubmer. Radiant_* 07:29, May 13, 2005 (UTC)
I agree with the second proposal, "Make the links to the page on the number-and-numeral clear at the top of the page". But I disagree with the first proposal. Even when the usefulness of the number pages is fully realized, the vast majority of people who edit Wikipedia will still appreciate being able to make year links without worrying about redirects. PrimeFan 20:11, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Template for geographical coordinates

I tried to use the template for geographical coordinates {{coor}} inside an infobox template, but it destroys the layout. Is it not possible to nest templates? Or am I doing something wrong? −Woodstone 09:12, 2005 Apr 30 (UTC)

I had some difficulties to set it up at Infobox_Swiss_town, but it works now. "region:CH" calls directly the country specific subpage. There are other infoboxes listed at WikiProject Geographical coordinates#. -- User:Docu

Thanks for the pointer. On Wikipedia:WikiProject Geographical coordinates I found the following bug report: "The current template mechanism does not handle templates as arguments to templates." −Woodstone 10:42, 2005 Apr 30 (UTC)

Indeed, that means one can't add "coor={{coor dms|1|2|3|N|1|2|3|E}}" to the article using the template, but besides defining the use of coor in the template, one could build a template with a subpage, e.g. as Template:Infobox Pope with different displays for the living and dead popes (see how Template:Infobox_pope/dead is included). -- User:Docu

Style for numbers, weights, and measures section vs. international standard

Hello,

the Style for numbers, weights, and measures section is in contradiction with the international standard, see [1].

I know you know (this is explicitally pointed out at the beginning of the section), but I think respecting the international standards is a way to facilitate international exchanges and to respect the NPOV.

Should I place a {{NPOV}} banner on the page? ;-)

Cdang|write me 08:25, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

We can, of course, set our own house rules. Saying that we are going to consisstently follow a certain rule is not a neutral point of view issue with respect to this article. You might object to what's here, and argue for a change, but whatever we decide, stating a rule here doesn't become an NPOV issue. Gene Nygaard 11:48, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
Note also that there are a zillion different standards organizations and style guides. Nobody has plenary authority concerning the rules of usage of the English language.
Note specifically that it is outside the scope of authority of the BIPM, CGPM, and CIPM to tell us how to write numbers in general.
See also SI police force. Gene Nygaard 12:03, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
There is no will to force anyone to anything, just a proposition. The standards are an important thing: nobody is forced to make a screw that follows the standard, but forcing a customer to buy these screws and no other because they do not fit this device would be a terrible commercial mistake (and also a terrible raise of the costs). And remember the Mars Climate Orbiter project failed because someone did not use the international standard.
The contributors and readers of the English pages are not all native English speakers, and if someone reads "1,635", it is easy to believe it is a number between one and two, whereas "1 635" is clearly a number between thousand and two thousand, whatever the origin of the reader.
Thus, imho, the current Wikipedia convention is likely to induce mistake for people who are not native English speakers, and therefore hinders the exchange of information.
Cdang|write me 07:36, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
There are, of course, several different standards for screws—just as there are several different standards for the writing of numbers. Gene Nygaard 14:04, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
  • You're right. We should use a format EVERYONE can work with comfortably. 131.211.210.12 08:23, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
I doubt there's a big problem - in most cases common sense will tell someone that we're not quoting a figure to three decimal places. Besides, I doubt there would be widespread acceptance of change here, jguk 11:58, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
You might underestimate the cultural discrepancies. Or do you considere en: is aimed to native English-speakers only? Do you think the articles should also use only the Imperial system?
Concerning the other doubt, this is precisely the aim of the discussion.
Cdang|write me 10:22, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
To aim en.wikipedia at "native speakers", ie at those whose first childhood tongue is English, would not be defensible and frankly not meaningful, but it's quite reasonable to say that it's aimed at people with some level of fluency. (There is, or was, an effort at a Simple—or was that Basic?—English version specifically aimed at English learners. I don't think that's gone very far but I haven't been following it.) For en.wikipedia to accomodate people with some arbitrarily low fluency, or to cater to the likely interpretation that might be assumed based on some other language's conventions, would be infeasable and quite inappropriate. If someone has not learned that almost all printed English uses "." as a decimal mark (as I understand it, South African English the only exception) and that a great deal of it uses a comma to separate thousands, their complaint is with their English teachers, not wikipedia. Of course their contributions to wikipedia in areas of their domain expertise is greatly valued, but they should expect someone to come along and add further value by aligning it with wikipedia's quite reasonable style. Sharkford 17:20, 2005 May 9 (UTC)
The Simple English wikipedia is at simple.wikipedia.org (e.g. simple:London). A glance at their recent changes show they've had 500 edits in the past week, which is not bad for a small project. Netoholic and Postdif from here appear to be quite active there as well. Thryduulf 13:11, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
I think everybody understands the dot as decimal separator. It's just the case of a number with a thousands separator and no decimal separator that would cause problem, specially when performing a copy-paste operation for a translation.
I proposed to stick to the international standard because I thought it would be an easy change of habits. Now I can easilly live with it, don't worry.
Cdang|write me 12:40, 11 May 2005 (UTC)