Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive 21

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Dual measurements in articles

Several attempts have been made to add metric units Pan Am Flight 103 but they were repeatedly removed. They were removed even if the original data source is metric. They were removed even if put in parentheses after the non-metric units. The examples below illustrate some of the events in the edit history.

User Dan100 discussed the issue with those opposed to metric units. He managed to get agreement from those opposed to metric units that the total prohibition of metric units in the article would be reduced to a partial prohibition. If there are good reasons to remove metric units, then it would be useful to know which units can be removed and under what circumstances. I am not too worried if this is a squabble confined to one particular article, but the argument appeared to be about principles that apply to all Wikipedia articles.

Can we have a discussion on the benefits and circumstances of prohibiting metric units in Wikipedia articles? Bobblewik  (talk) 4 July 2005 14:33 (UTC)


Example 1: Metric height/weight values for McKee

  • 00:47, 28 Feb 2005 SlimVirgin 6' 5", 270-lb Non-metric only
  • 18:58, 12 Mar 2005 Bobblewik -> 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m), 270 lb (122 kg) Dual
  • 04:20, 3 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 6 ft 5 ins, 270-lb Non-metric only
  • 14:40, 9 Jun 2005 Bobblewik -> 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m), 270 lb (122 kg) Dual
  • 03:19, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 6 ft 5 ins, 270-lb Non-metric only
  • 09:31, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard -> 6 ft 5 in, 270-lb (1.96 m, 120 kg) Dual
  • 09:40, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 6 ft 5 ins, 270-lb Non-metric only
  • 01:03, 13 Jun 2005 Grace Note -> 6-ft 5-in, 270-lb Non-metric only

Example 2: Metric estimates of explosive weight

  • 07:23, 21 Nov 2003 WhisperToMe 312 gram Metric only
  • 06:38, 10 Nov 2004 SlimVirgin -> between 10 and 14 ounces Non-metric only
  • 19:57, 11 Nov 2004 AlanBarrett -> 10-14 ounces (280g to 400 g) Dual
  • 18:02, 6 Jan 2005 SlimVirgin -> 10-14 ozs. (280g to 400 g) Dual
  • 07:30, 1 Feb 2005 Telso -> 10-14 oz. (280g to 400 g) Dual
  • 00:47, 28 Feb 2005 SlimVirgin -> around 14 oz. Non-metric only
  • 00:47, 28 Feb 2005 SlimVirgin 450 grams Second instance of weight value. Metric only (source: UK official DERA data). Article now has mismatching values: metric only and non-metric only
  • 18:58, 12 Mar 2005 Bobblewik around 14 oz.-> 450 grams (16 oz) Dual. Both values consistent with UK official value
  • 22:24, 24 May 2005 SlimVirgin 450 grams (16 oz) -> 10-16 ounces One of two instances. Non-metric only. Mismatch between instances re-introduced
  • 06:47, 3 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin 450 grams -> 14 ozs. One of two instances. Non-metric only
  • 07:13, 3 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin 14 ozs. -> 450 grams Self revert. Metric value reappears
  • 07:25, 3 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin 450 grams -> 14 ozs. Non-metric only
  • 14:40, 9 Jun 2005 Bobblewik 10-16 ozs and 14 ozs. -> 450 g (16 oz) Made consistent with UK official value. Dual. Two values in article now match
  • 03:19, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin 450 g (16 oz) -> 10-16 ozs (first value), 450 g (16 oz) -> about 14 ozs. (second value) Article now has two different weight values. Non-metric only
  • 08:46, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin 10-16 ozs -> 12-16 ozs (first value) Revision of value
  • 09:31, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard -> 12–16 oz (0.3–0.5 kg) (first value), -> about 400 g (14 oz) (second value) Dual.
  • 09:40, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 12-16 ozs (first value), about 14 ozs. (second value). Non-metric only
  • 17:29, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard -> about 400 g (14 oz) (second value). Dual
  • 19:08, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> between 12 and 16 ounces (second value). Non-metric only
Addition:
  • 01:03, 13 Jun 2005 Grace Note -> between 12 and 16 oz (second value). Non-metric only

Example 3: Metric container size

  • 00:47, 28 Feb 2005 SlimVirgin 5' x 5' x 5'
  • 18:58, 12 Mar 2005 Bobblewik -> 5 by 5 by 5 ft (1.5 by 1.5 by 1.5 m) Dual
  • 05:49, 3 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 5ft³. Non-metric only
  • 14:40, 9 Jun 2005 Bobblewik -> 4.2 cubic metre (148 ft³) Dual (source: actual AVE container size)
  • 09:06, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 5ft³. Non-metric only
  • 09:36, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard -> 5 ft³ (140 L). Dual
  • 09:40, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 5ft³. Non-metric only
  • 17:22, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard -> 125 ft³ (3.5 m³). Dual
  • 17:40, 12 Jun 2005 Bobblewik -> 4.2 cubic metre (148 ft³) Dual
  • 07:03, 13 Jun 2005 Grace Note -> 148 cubic ftNon-metric only

Example 4: Metric wind speed

  • 03:02, 1 Mar 2005 SlimVirgin 100 miles per hour Non-metric only
  • 18:58, 12 Mar 2005 Bobblewik -> 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) Dual
  • 22:24, 24 May 2005 SlimVirgin -> 100 miles per hour Non-metric only
  • 14:40, 9 Jun 2005 Bobblewik -> 90 knots (170 km/h) Dual (source: UK official accident investigation data)
  • 03:19, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 100 mph Non-metric only
  • 09:31, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard -> 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) Dual
  • 09:40, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 100 mph Non-metric only
  • 17:54, 12 Jun 2005 Bobblewik -> up to 100 knots (190 km/h) Dual (source: UK official accident investigation data)
  • 18:40, 12 Jun 2005 Mel Etitis -> up to 100 s Non-metric only
  • 19:08, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> of 100 s Non-metric only

Example 5: Metric length of debris spread

  • 01:53, 5 Nov 2004 Slimv 180 miles Non-metric only
  • 23:25, 8 Nov 2004 SlimVirgin 130 kms Metric only
  • 22:52, 11 Nov 2004 SlimVirgin 88-mile (142-km) Dual
  • 00:47, 28 Feb 2005 SlimVirgin -> 88-mile Non-metric only
  • 18:58, 12 Mar 2005 Bobblewik 88-mile -> 88 mile (142 km) Dual
  • 22:24, 24 May 2005 SlimVirgin -> 88-mile Non-metric only
  • 14:40, 9 Jun 2005 Bobblewik 88-mile -> 88 mile (142 km) Dual
  • 03:19, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 88-mile Non-metric only
  • 09:31, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard -> 88-statute-mile (142 km) Dual
  • 09:40, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 88-mile Non-metric only
  • 18:09, 12 Jun 2005 Bobblewik -> 130 km Metric only (source: UK official accident investigation data)
  • 18:34, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 88-mile Non-metric only
  • 18:40, 12 Jun 2005 Mel Etitis -> 81 miles Non-metric only
  • 19:08, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 88-mile Non-metric only

Example 6: Metric fragment size

  • 22:52, 11 Nov 2004 SlimVirgin 0.4 inch (10 millimeter) Dual
  • 07:25, 3 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin 0.4 inch Non-metric only
  • 14:40, 9 Jun 2005 Bobblewik -> 0.4 inch (10 mm) Dual
  • 03:19, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 0.4 inch Non-metric only
  • 09:37, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard -> 10 millimeter (0.4 inch) Dual
  • 09:40, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> 0.4 inch Non-metric only

Example 7: Metric temperature

  • 08:46, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin minus 50 F Non-metric only
  • 09:31, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard -> minus 50 °F (−45 °C) Dual
  • 09:40, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin -> minus 50 °F Non-metric only
  • 17:27, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard -> 50 °F (−45 °C) Dual
  • 07:03, 13 Jun 2005 Grace Note -> minus 50 °F Non-metric only

Example 8: Distance of explosive from container

Added by Gene Nygaard 4 July 2005 19:25 (UTC). Should this one be treated differently?

  • 00:47, 28 Feb 2005 SlimVirgin 200 millimeters Metric only
  • 06:47, 3 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin 200 mms Metric only
  • 14:40, 9 Jun 2005 Bobblewik 200 mm Metric only
  • 03:19, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin 200 mms Metric only
  • 09:31, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard 200 mm Metric only

Example 9: "Miles" to an air traffic controller

Added by Gene Nygaard 4 July 2005 20:48 (UTC)

  • 08:46, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin a mile of airspace Non-metric only
  • 09:31, 12 Jun 2005 Gene Nygaard a nautical mile of airspace Non-metric only
  • 09:40, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin a mile of airspace Non-metric only
  • 23:48, 12 Jun 2005 SlimVirgin one mile of airspace Non-metric only

Comments

I see no reason that both systems can't be used. Maurreen 4 July 2005 15:02 (UTC)

  • I find the argument absurd. I would go so far as to say that we should require both systems. The argument that it disturbs the "flow" of the text is ridiculous. It doesn't matter how easily I can read the text if I cannot understand the meaning of it because I don't use the particular measurement system. Rmhermen July 4, 2005 15:28 (UTC)

Many if not most people who learn English as a second language are not familiar with Imperial units. They may have some rough ideas of miles, feet, or pounds. Ounces, degrees Fahrenheit, or ft³, however, tend to be completely foreign concepts. These readers need SI units to understand the content, and I can't see why each of them should have to convert them individually. Being confronted with unfamiliar units disturbs the reading flow a lot more than having both units in the text. I find prohibiting converted units completely unacceptable. (The argument cuts both ways, of course, but in the case at hand it's metric units that are being pushed out.) Rl 4 July 2005 15:41 (UTC)

  • Is there any ground for the claim that people who learn English as a second language are ignorant of non-metric measurements? I find it highly dubious; whether they read literature or newspapers, watch Hollywood films or television news, they'll come across such measurements all the time. Besides, there are dictionaries aren't there? Wikipedia is full of articles that use only one or the other system; in this case, a couple of very insistent (and aggressive, to say the least) editors, including Bobblewik, tried to force a number of changes on the article, this being just one of them (Rl was briefly involved in the argument). I can see no good reason for insisting that articles use both systems. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 4 July 2005 16:36 (UTC)
The provision of dual units is important. Outside the USA, there is a large number of English speakers who are not acquainted with the Imperial units or though they may be aware of them do not use them and do not therefore conceive them in space. The UK government is pushing for universal access to the Internet for school-age children, they will have been brough up on the metric units and their acquaintnace with the Avoirdupoid system will be through their parents. Bi lingual Europeans accustomed to the metric using the english wiki because their own language version is absent will equally be discomfitted. The provision of dual values breaks the flow of the reading less than getting a calculator or dictionary and converting the values mid stream. Any block of text that cannot handle the metric with the "Imperial" in brackets or alongside is fundamentally flawed. The same goes the other way. We should not complain if the metric is accompanied by the Imperial. GraemeLeggett 4 July 2005 16:48 (UTC)
  • Ditto this, Maurreen, Rmhermen and Rl. Let's worry about Bobblewik's other "pushing" elsewhere. Tomer TALK July 4, 2005 17:32 (UTC)
Bobblewik and one other editor reduced the PA 103 talk page to a toxic wasteland with this nonsense, which tends to happen when single-issue editors turn up on pages they don't otherwise contribute to with demands for conformity to whatever it is they're trying to push. The fact is that most non-metric units are understood by most people in most countries: feet and miles, for example. As much as people like Bobblewik think the UK is metric, it isn't in practise: most people I know do use and think in terms of feet, miles, and pounds. It's the same in Canada, and so far as I know, also in Australia and New Zealand. Bobblewik has gone around changing measurements like "a 200-acre estate" to "an estate of 200 acres (800,000 sq metres)", reverting for months on end if necessary to push his version across, while making no other contributions to the encyclopedia. It's bad writing, inconsiderate editing, and totally unnecessary. The MoS is not policy; it's a guideline, and even as a guideline, it makes clear that metric units do not have to be added to non-science articles. Bobblewik is trying to introduce a policy by stealth here. Some consideration has to be made to the quality of writing in articles, given that we want people to read them. Where you have a sentence (as some in PA 103 did) containing several measurements, and each measurement is doubled up, the sentence becomes practically unreadable. SlimVirgin (talk) July 4, 2005 18:15 (UTC)
One final, important, point: Bobblewik is trying to turn the conversation on its head. No one on the PA 103 page suggested prohibiting metric units - quite the reverse. We said that it was up to the editors on the page how the issue was dealt with, as it ought to be, and this is consistent with the language of the MoS. It is Bobblewik who is trying to take it out of the hands of the people who are actually writing the articles. SlimVirgin (talk) July 4, 2005 18:21 (UTC)
I've changed the headers to remove the word "prohibition" because this is just another attempt to be manipulative. No one has suggested prohibiting doubling up if the editors on the page want it. There is no policy for or against the provision of metric units where imperial is used, or the provision of imperial where metric is used. SlimVirgin (talk) July 4, 2005 18:28 (UTC)
Bobblewik is an editor of that particular article. I am an editor of that particular article. Dan100 is an editor of that particular article. It was the owner who decided that there would be no dual units in this article, and who with the help of others also tried to maintain a fiction that the tons used in that article are not metric tons. Gene Nygaard 4 July 2005 18:36 (UTC)
Hello Gene, what a nice surprise to see you here. ;-) Dan100 suggested a compromise, which I'm sure would have been accepted by everyone (and still is likely to be: I'm certainly happy with it), except that you kept harping on about what the word "ton" means. Anyway, we only just managed to stop it at PA 103 and I'm not going to start it up here again. I can only repeat that the MoS is not policy, and even if it were, it would not support Bobblewik's attempt to force people to include metric units in every single article. SlimVirgin (talk) July 4, 2005 19:15 (UTC)
Owner of the article? No-one owns the article, nor has anyone asserted ownership of it. Jayjg (talk) 5 July 2005 19:20 (UTC)
You and I each accepted different versions of what Dan100 proposed as compromises, both of which would have included some dual measurements. Gene Nygaard 4 July 2005 20:29 (UTC)
It is my opinion that SI units are always in order. This is not only the International System of Units, but equally importantly, it is an interdisciplinary system of units. There is no reason why anyone should have to learn a whole new system of measurements to understand the jargon of any particular field, or an article dealing with any particular country—and especially not when reading about an international incident involving people from around thirty countries, as in the Pan Am Flight 103.
Widespread use in a particular location, or in a particular field of activity, can serve as good justification for including those units, but not for excluding SI units. Gene Nygaard 4 July 2005 18:30 (UTC)
I prefer the term metric to SI, the two are not interchangeable, some days cm are preferable to metres, the latter being the SI unit.GraemeLeggett 4 July 2005 18:43 (UTC)
Sure, the SI is only a subset of the "metric system". But your example is wrong; centimeters certainly are SI (though 9.45×1014 cm is not SI). Any time non-SI metric units (such as calories, kilograms-force, curies, rads, and the like), dual measurements including SI equivalents or measurements in only SI units are appropriate; it doesn't matter whether your original Fred Flintstone units are English, or Russian, or obsolete metric, or whatever, the SI values are always appropriate. Gene Nygaard 4 July 2005 20:28 (UTC)

It is quite obvious that those trying to prohibit the addition of metric units vastly overestimate the knowledge of imperial units by people who learned English as a second language. I offer to conduct an informal survey among such people if you care for a small sample of empirical data. I can tell you right now, though, that feet, pounds, and miles are among the very few imperial units that most people will have some rough idea of. You may be lucky with yards and inches. You won't have such luck for degrees Fahrenheit, ounces, quarts, gallons, or acres, not to mention exotic ones like furlongs or stones.

Also, you are ignoring that precision matters. A rough knowledge may help you estimate a number, but you are still lost if you want some precision: For room temperatures, one or two degrees do matter. For the top speed of a car, 10% make a difference. And most people do care whether someone is 5' 5" or 5' 7".

Also, I'm afraid I find the exposure argument somewhat disingenuous given that at least the same portion of the population in English speaking countries have been exposed to metric units, so the same argument could very well be made to convert everything to metric units.

I changed the header back to what it was because it describes the case quite clearly: Some editors prohibited the use of metric units in what they apparently consider "their article". Rl 4 July 2005 18:57 (UTC)

Please don't use headers to make personal attacks, which is what I see this as. No one tried to "prohibit" anything. The editors on the page did not support Bobblewik. These included Jayjg, Mel Etitis, El C, Grace Note, Felonious Monk, Dan100, and myself. Dan100 suggested a compromise, which fitted with the point you made, RI, that those units not understood by many people (e.g. ounces) would be doubled up. This was accepted; end of story. This is how disputes are normally worked out. People seek compromise, not a rigid adherence to their own POV. SlimVirgin (talk) July 4, 2005 19:23 (UTC)
  • I appreciate the comment about conversions making the article difficult to read - however, an informal survey in my Canadian household shows that none of 3 (all college-educated) were sure whether a km or a mile was bigger. One was born before the conversion (& so quite familiar with miles), 2 born after conversion (& the only familiarity with miles was on dual speedometer on autos - but they still were unsure -- & even incorrect) --JimWae 2005 July 4 19:26 (UTC)
Sorry, Jim. An edit conflict or glitch led to the Comment section being trebled, and in deleting two of them, I deleted your comment too. SlimVirgin (talk) July 4, 2005 19:40 (UTC)
Jim, what would hang on the members of your household not knowing whether a mile was larger than a km if they were reading, as an example, the PA 103 article? It isn't a science article, whereby people would want to know very precise measurements. Also, in aviation, certain measurement units are standard throughout the world. Altitude is measured in feet, for example, and this was the convention I used, because the pilot (American ) and air traffic controller (Scottish) had used it. Perhaps, as an experiment, you could ask those members of your household to read PA 103 (or maybe just the intro, as it's quite long), and to say honestly whether the lack of metric conversion detracted from their reading experience; and if it did, whether there were any particular measurements that caused a problem, and if so, which ones. SlimVirgin (talk) July 4, 2005 19:46 (UTC)
  • I saw what had happened; no biggie, Slim. I agree dual measurements in the lead section could be especially distracting. The younger ones in my family would have trouble with ounces (they'd probably think of a juice box), probably 90% of people have no idea how fast a knot is (I almost wrote "what size"), similarly with square miles. Someone suggested minimizing numbers in the entire lead. 845 sq mi is larger than the 5 boroughs of NYC (are dimensions given later?). The volume of the explosives (likely of greater interest in terms of security) would have been about the size of a pen, maybe? I'd move the crater photo up - I keep thinking this is the one that fell in the water (local BC guy was found not guilty of that) - clarifies event was (almost?) entirely over land - existing top photo, at first glance, does not preclude being after recovery from water. I have no intention of getting involved in editing this - I have no background knowledge in it anyway, so I will just leave some suggestions --JimWae 2005 July 5 07:37 (UTC)
Your claim that "in aviation, certain measurement units are standard throughout the world" is patently false. There is almost nothing in aviation that is not done in different units in some parts of the world. Some places, for example, do measure altitude in meters. The international standard in aviation weather reports for wind speed is meters per second, but many countries use knots, and some use kilometers per hour.
However, this does illustrate quite well another of the reasons why including dual measurments when English units are used is of great value:
  • It is ludicrous to expect someone with only a fleeting familiarity, at best, with "miles" to understand in which cases a "mile" is going to mean 1.61 km, and in which cases a "mile" is going to mean 1.85 km.
  • That's especially true when SlimVirgin, who thinks she does know miles, doesn't know this.
  • Just WTF do you suppose "mile" means to an air traffic controller? What was the "mile" used by air traffic controller Alan Topp? You don't really know beans about what is "standard" in the aviation field, do you ? See #Example 9: "Miles" to an air traffic controller which I have added above. Gene Nygaard 4 July 2005 20:48 (UTC)

I think that the Pan Am Flight 103 article would be better with metric conversions. Part of the problem may be that the opening paragraph contains a number of measurements so any attempt to provide metric conversions breaks up the opening a little. So perhaps a rewrite that moved the measurements into the body of the article as well as adding the conversions would prove acceptable to all sides? It's certainly not worth edit warring over. Gdr 4 July 2005 20:00 (UTC)

SlimVirgin made some comment up some while back that in New Zealand (and Australia, Canada and UK), while we are taught metric we are practically imperial; well I assure everyone that New Zealand, or at least myself and the people around me, is completely metric and imperial units are almost never used. Through general knowledge, some people will know some things - a mile is about 1.6 km, an inch about 2.5 cm. If I encountered imperial units in an article, this would mean having to convert them to metric, even if I can do the conversion in my head. Altitude measurements that I hear a generally in metres. I don't know about those around me, but I have no idea how much an ounce is.
My personal opinion as someone who just found out that such a debate existed is that, in this particular case, both types should be stated: imperial because the article is primarily about something American (I assume) and metric because that's what the rest of the world uses.
(btw, I haven't actually read the article in question - or skimmed it for that matter - so if some comments are irrelevant, just ignore them. I assume the debate is over imperial vs. both stated in the article.) Neonumbers 5 July 2005 08:15 (UTC)

This is the MoS guideline

I'd say that before Bobblewik and Gene succeed in turning this into another trolling episode, we should decide what the point of this discussion is. The MoS is clear: there is no requirement to double up. The status of the MoS is also clear: it is a guideline, not a policy, so even if it did recommend doubling up, it would still not be a requirement.

Therefore, what exactly is to be achieved by having this discussion? SlimVirgin (talk) July 4, 2005 19:30 (UTC)

Good grief!. This is that "MoS guideline" you claim to be clear. This is the talk page for that guideline. This is where what that guideline is, and exactly what it means, is supposed to be discussed. Gene Nygaard 4 July 2005 19:38 (UTC)
Don't start your aggression again here, please. That was the point of my question. (a) Is Bobblewik aiming to change what the MoS says, and if so, to what? and (b) Does he realize the MoS isn't policy, so that, if he does succeed in changing it, doubling up will still not be required?
And also (c) as a matter of interest, does Bobblewik go around adding imperial conversions to metric ones where he finds only the latter? SlimVirgin (talk) July 4, 2005 19:50 (UTC)
No, but he won't stop anyone from doing so. Which is all we ask in return.
This discussion is not about whether we have to use metric or dual units, but whether those who are not familiar with imperial units have some right to add them where they consider them useful. The point of this discussion is to find out whether native users of imperial units can prohibit the use of metric units in "their articles" because they think imperial units are good enough for everyone. You can claim to be offended all you want, fact is that you want to remove information that many other people find useful or important. Rl 4 July 2005 20:03 (UTC)
Then we're in agreement. The MoS says that metric conversions may be added, but don't have to be, which is what you seem to be saying too. It will be up to the editors on the page. No one prohibits the addition of conversions, just as no one can prohibit another editor from removing those conversions, which is why I keep saying that prohibit is the wrong word. Like most content issues, it is up to the editors on the page to reach consensus and compromise. SlimVirgin (talk) July 4, 2005 20:08 (UTC)
Yes and no. I mostly agree with what you said, but the problem I am seeing (and today's discussion was a perfect demonstration) is that editors who are not aware of the problems posed by imperial units to people who are not familiar with them agree among themselves that metric units are unnecessary and that they should be removed. The vast majority of non-native speakers, however, are highly unlikely to take part in our discussions, and they depend on our considering their needs as well. Rl 4 July 2005 20:30 (UTC)
The point of an encyclopedia is to supply information to the reader. If an editor adds correct, relevant, NPOV information to an article, the preceding editors should not delete it, just because they do not like it. This goes for any information, including conversions to other units. Let's stop senseless revert wars. &−Woodstone July 4, 2005 20:43 (UTC)
Editing encompasses other issues as well; style issues, whether the information is trivial, etc. Jayjg (talk) 5 July 2005 19:17 (UTC)
Seen the vehement discussions above, we can safely say that converted units are not trivial information. If only one unit is given either way, a large proportion of the readership will be hampered in reading. This would override any considerations of perhaps some loss in stylish conciseness. −Woodstone July 5, 2005 19:34 (UTC)

"we can safely say that converted units are not trivial information" -- Can we? In one case, an editor wants us to specify which kind of ton a country's leader was using when he gave a round figure for an amount of explosive. It's clear to anyone who gives it a moment's thought that it doesn't matter which kind of ton he meant because he was not giving an accurate account. It's rather like insisting that if a person says "you're a million miles from the truth", we must make it clear that they meant the ordinary, everyday miles and not nautical miles (and I wouldn't put it past the editor in question to make such a demand, if he thought he could upset someone by doing so). This ignores the serious question that research into which unit a person means by what they say is not permitted in Wikipedia: we just repeat what they are reported to have said. If a newspaper were to report Mr Blair, say, as saying that he and Mr Brown were "kilometres apart", we are not entitled to correct the source to "miles apart" just because we know Mr Blair is British and does not use kilometres. -- Grace Note, 6 July, about 2.15 AEST (UTC+10)

Can you say straw man arguments? Should any of the problems you just made up ever occur, let me know and I will be sure to help out. In the vast majority of disputes I have seen, the information contained in converted units was non-trivial. Rl 6 July 2005 07:53 (UTC)
The fact that this is merely a guideline does not give an editor reason to act against it or revert changes made to suit it. We call it a guideline because, unlike neutrality, editors that do not follow should not be reprimanded - they should not have to know every detail of this before they write an article. If something doesn't follow, someone else comes to change it, and no-one will revert such a change because changes to conform to style are almost always for the better.
And even if the style doesn't mandate the use of both units (which, in my opinion, it should where measurements are numeric), the same goes for any edit that poses no harm: do not revert. The addition of metric units would break the flow of the sentence unless we're not talking about a specific measurement (e.g. "they were miles apart"). The addition of them shouldn't be reverted, because it doesn't change things for the worse. Neonumbers 7 July 2005 10:52 (UTC)