Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive D4

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Years and dates archives

Comma in dates

Changes to page

I've just made clearer the rôle (or lack of it) of a comma betwen month/day and year (many editors, especially new ones, see the comma in the example and think that this is the recommended format — strandge but true). I've also explained what happens when "th", for example, is added to a date such as [[March 17]], and thus why it shouldn't be done. (You'd have expected people with preference settings like mine to see it as "17 Marchth", but the software's cleverer than that.) --Mel Etitis (Talk) 20:45, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I think it's well worth pointing out not to put "th" on the end of the date. We do in fact say so later under Incorrect date formats, but it's good to point it out earlier because it's a very common error. I added the example of [[March 17th]] as well as [[March 17]]th, because in my experience that's even more common.
I disagree with what you've written about commas, and I've reverted it for the moment. We don't need a guideline about this because whether you use a comma or not, the software does the right thing; so it's instruction creep. The comma is used in the example because that's the grammatically correct punctuation for American-style dates, so (I'm told) it looks more correct to Americans.
An alternative would be to include both with and without a comma in the example, like this:
  • [[February 17]], [[1958]] or [[February 17]] [[1958]]February 17 1958
Then the fact that the comma is unnecessary is implicit rather than explicit. Myself, I'm not sure this is necessary, and I worry that we'd be promoting bad grammar among Americans, but I don't really object to it if other people think it's useful.
Stephen Turner (Talk) 07:39, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
My worry was that many editors waste a great deal of time inserting unneeded commas because of this; mind you, it's true that they waste time re-ordering the month and day, so it's evident that they haven't read or understood the instructions here. I just thought that it would be so much easier to direct them here rather than explain it all to them each time. I reverted your revert, but if you re-revert I'll not war over it. --Mel Etitis (Talk)
I guess I feel that it's better to include the comma, because it's correct punctuation if you're viewing the source, or if the software one day stops magically inserting the comma for non-logged-in users. I'm not going to revert you again, but I'd welcome other people's opinions. Stephen Turner (Talk) 19:24, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
I think it is good to mention that no comma needs to be typed to get it rendered.--Patrick 22:14, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Not everybody who forks Wikipedia uses MediaWiki, thus forks may have incorrectly formatted dates. Advising not to use comma in American dates sets bad precedents (for example unwikified dates), etc. Matthew 01:22, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
/bump/ -- if there are no objections I'll be removing this change soon as it wasn't discussed and is disputed. Matthew 11:42, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
I've now undone Mel's changes. Matthew 11:45, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I can't make out what your objection is; if you're prepared to discuss it civilly, could you explain? You seem to be assuming that everyone who forks Wikipedia will use U.S. formatting. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 18:05, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I can explain his point. It's not that everyone wants to use U.S. formatting; it's that if they don't use MediaWiki, the comma won't be insert or removed automagically. So if someone types [[April 29]] [[2007]] or [[29 April]], [[2007]], an incorrectly formatted date will appear, even if both UK and U.S. formats are acceptable.
In any case, you really shouldn't keep reinserting a disputed edit into the MoS. Even if you think it's straightforward and uncontroversial, Matthew and I have both objected to it, and only Patrick has agreed with it, so it clearly doesn't command consensus.
Stephen Turner (Talk) 09:21, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
  1. With regard to the argument against, it doesn't go through: if people don't use MediaWiki, then dates formatted as [[27 April]], [[1980]] (and they abound) will be wrongly formatted. Both including and not including the comma can lead to formatting problems. Anyone who uses Wikipedia material without MediaWiki will have many problems of this sort, and should be prepared to do some work.
  2. The main point is, though, that the edit I made doesn't say that the comma shouldn't be used any more than that it should be; it doesn't even offer advice, explicit or implicit; it states the simple fact that adding a comma has no effect on what's seen by the reader.
  3. You originally said that you that you didn't really object of other people found it useful, and Patrick agreed with me that it was. You also said that you weren't going to revert. It seems to me that that constituted consensus among those discussing the passage. Matthew arrived eleven days later (initially missed by me); he wants the material to be removed, so needs to gain consensus for that — as it was added and gained consensus at the time. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 12:46, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately Matthew is insisting on reverting to his version without bothering to discuss it here. I'm going to start a news thread at the bottom of this page, in the hope that it will attract more eyes and opinions. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 14:32, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I've moved these two parts of this discussion together. Jimp 18:01, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Part II

A while ago I included a short explanation that adding a comma between day/month and year was unnecessary, as it made no difference to what the reader sees. I did this because it was clear that many editors didn't know that this was the case. There was a short discussion, one editor agreeing outright, and another expressing reservations, but saying that he'd go along with it. eleven days later, Matthew (talk · contribs) started leaving comments at the original discussion (which I missed), and then reverted my change (plus another even less controversial change). He now insists on deleting the new text.

My view is that consensus was achieved concerning the insertion of the material, and someone arriving at a later stage needs to achieve consensus to remove the material. (The removal of the material without that consensus is, I believe, disruptive at best.) With that in mind, would editors join in the discussion and give their opinions? The text in question is:

Adding a comma between month/day and year is unnecessary, as it has no effect on what is seen:

Earlier discussion can be seen above. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 14:40, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with this change and always disagreed with it. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear about that. I just didn't want to get into an edit war until other editors had expressed an opinion. I don't think it ever had consensus. Stephen Turner (Talk) 18:45, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Then I don't understand what you mean by consensus. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 20:57, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Here's another scenario: What if (and I believe it could be possible), the code which renders dates for preferences on Wikipedia catches a bug or is removed for a period, etc, we'd have a ton of dates without commas... that should have commas. Matthew 18:54, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
And if you include the commas, you'll have lots of dates that shouldn't have them. Why do you think that one is worse than the other? --Mel Etitis (Talk) 20:57, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
The reason I object to it is different, by the way: I think it's instruction creep. There's no need to give guidance about incorrect formatting which also happens to lead to the correct result. Just tell them the right way to do it; it doesn't matter if the software is smart enough that a wrong way also gives the correct answer. Keep the MoS as short as possible. Stephen Turner (Talk) 19:49, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

How can it be instruction creep when it doesn't give any instruction? It simply lets editors know that they don't have to place a comma because the software does it for them. As it was before, it gave the misleading impression that one had to include a comma in order for one to show in the article. This insisatence on refusing to mention a simple fact is perplexing at best. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 20:57, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Matthew brought up a very good point: Mirrors and forks will not show the comma. Having the comma improves readability, and easily distinguishes it from the reverse 1 January date format. –Pomte 22:22, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
And, as I said (twice) including the comma will often mean that it appears when it shouldn't. I must say that so far as I can see including the comma does nothing to improve readability.
The most important point, though, is that these objections are to something that I haven't proposed: the demand not to use the comma. All that the text does is point out the behaviour of the software; it lets editors know how the formatting works. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 22:55, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Could you point out to me an example of comma-abuse? I've not seen any (i.e. in British dates). Matthew 22:57, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
I didn't mean you oppose commas; it's just that the flexibility is nice, but shouldn't be encouraged. If users don't know, they can be left in the dark about one more piece of wiki trivia that doesn't improve their contributions. Never seen anyone type [[1 May]], [[2000]]. –Pomte 23:04, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, I agree it's not an instruction, so maybe "instruction creep" is the wrong term. I guess I mean "increases the length of the Manual of Style for no gain". I consider increasing the length of the MoS to be a bad thing. Stephen Turner (Talk) 09:34, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

In fact what seems to be being argued by Matthew, at least, is that the policy should be that the comma be used, which is why he objects to letting people know that it needn't be. That isn't in fact policy, and I can see no objection to lettin editors know the facts of the matter (length of the MoS surely can't be a serious issue — what can a couple of short lines matter?). I also see many edits in which people do no more than add commas to dates; it's a waste of their time and of resources. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 15:44, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Commas in dates shouldn't be used. The software puts them in automatically as required. Wikipedia is a long way from being a text-only encyclopaedia, and the software handles formatting and presentation issues of far greater complexity than dates. Editing WP so as to cater for forks and mirrors (which may have different and mutually exclusive presentation styles) is wasted effort. Let the owners of mirrors and forks worry about how their text looks.
For my part, I see excluding commas as saving characters, and therefore a worthy objective in its own right. --Pete 18:37, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
This sounds reasonable, and I no longer oppose mentioning this with a short bit in the manual. –Pomte 18:51, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

The problem with adding a couple of short lines is that lots of people want to add a couple of short lines, and the MoS has a tendency to grow and grow.

Let me put it another way — if, as you say, it doesn't give any instruction, why would it belong in the Manual of Style? Isn't the purpose of the Manual of Style to give instructions (or at least recommendations)?

Stephen Turner (Talk) 20:04, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Note, unles i am badly mistaken, the software does not "put them in automatically as required" for users who ar not logged in, or who do not have date preferences set. Such users are surely by far the msot common readers of our articels. DES (talk) 21:58, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Actually I've just checked, and the comma is automatically inserted for non-logged-in readers if the formatting is [[April 30]] [[2007]]. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 22:18, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Mel is correct. The date format is left unchanged for anonymous editors, but the comma is inserted or deleted if necessary. Although last time we discussed this, I think there was some doubt whether that would continue to be the case if the date parsing software were ever reweitten. Stephen Turner (Talk) 09:32, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

So far

We seem to have the following position: Patrick, Pomte, Peter, and I are happy to include the information; Matthew is against it, and Stephen Turner is still against it I think. DES has commented, but not yet declared an opinion. Is that right? --Mel Etitis (Talk) 08:21, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

I count: For: Mel, Patrick and Pete. Neutral: Pomte ("no longer oppose") and DES (who opposed but for a mistaken reason). Against: Matthew and Stephen. I would say that it's in that uncomfortable area between majority and consensus, so more opinions would be useful. Stephen Turner (Talk) 09:19, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

In discussions of this kind, someone who says that they don't oppose is surely to be included in the consensus to allow it. I agree, though, that more views would be welccme. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 19:32, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

I support mentioning that commas in linked dates do not matter. It might be worth adding that spaces do not matter either. −Woodstone 21:03, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
I oppose the addition as written. While it may not be the intent, it does give pretty much free license to editors who want to remove commas. I would not object to revising the statement by removing that the comma is unnecessary. And perhaps adding a second example to complete the illustratation. Something like

The comma between month/day and year has no effect on how the date is displayed with the current Wikimedia software:

olderwiser 22:49, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

I suppose that informing editors that the comma is unnecessary does make clear that removing it is allowed; but then removing it is allowed... --Mel Etitis (Talk) 22:59, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

The same logic goes for editors adding commas. Matthew 09:15, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, yes — but then the addition didn't say that they couldn't. It simply explained that the comma made no difference to what was seen. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 10:22, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't go out of my way to hunt down and kill superfluous commas, but I certainly remove them where I find a need to change or tidy up the format. --Pete 04:34, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Just to show more allowed combinations that do not effect the validity of the resulting format:

Woodstone 08:31, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

The first four are all the same as each other for anonymous users or users without a preference set; and the next four are all the same as each other (but not as the first set); and the last one is different from all the others.
So would the supporters of this change also encourage editors to leave out the space to save characters and because it makes no difference to the output? If not, what's the difference between that and the comma?
Stephen Turner (Talk) 09:08, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I've seen many editors going through article adding the comma; I haven't seen any doing the same for these variants (most of which, in fact, are already covered by the MoS as it stands or with the addition). --Mel Etitis (Talk) 10:22, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I have a question: Say the software fixed typos, would that be valid reasoning to leave typos in the article? I don't think so. Matthew 09:15, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
That seems a good analogy to me. "May 31 2007" (or "31 May, 2007") should be regarded the same as a typo. Stephen Turner (Talk) 09:30, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

But no-one's sugesting that "May 31 2007" can be left; what can be left is [[May 31]] [[2007]]. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 10:22, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

It appears Mel has "sneaked" her addition back in, this seems quite pointy considering there's no established consensus here. Matthew 10:27, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
Why encourage editors to omit the comma when it is called for in US-style dates? I saw one via the nav popup, and it looked stinking wrong, so when I found another thing to fix in the article I put the comma in (or back in?). It's OK to point out that it's unnecessary to add the comma if that's the only deficiency in an article, but there is simply nothing to be gained by encouraging editors to leave the comma out, and people who do so are certainly distracting me, and quite likely other editors and readers. I will remove the instruction until there is consensus, and it doesn't look like we're very close to that. Chris the speller 02:54, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
I was about to add a comment but, reading through, it seems that what I'd intended to write has already pretty much been mentioned by Stephen Turner. "what can a couple of short lines matter?" What can a few pieces of rubbish in a park matter? A couple of lines here and a couple of lines there and soon your MoS has expanded to unmanagable proportions. Letting editors know of this trick is all well and good but not here. This is not MoS stuff it might be better placed somewhere like WP:HOW or WP:CH. Jimp 05:12, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Linking dates

When to link

Currently this page has instructions about "how" to link, but not "when" to link. I tried adding some information from one of the other guidelines, but was just immediately reverted as "controversial." Personally, I don't care what the guideline is, but I think it's important that something be said. This is what I had added:

        ===When to link===       
        * Because of the [[m:Help:Preferences|date preference formatting]], dates which include a month and day should be linked, so that
          they will display properly: [[April 22]] or [[22 April]] will display in the same way, depending on a user's settings.        
        * Standalone months and days of the week should generally not be linked.         
        * Standalone years do not need to be linked but some users prefer it.    
        * Dates in section headers should generally not be linked.

Where exactly is the controversy here? My own feeling is that only those dates that are significant should be linked, rather than linking every single date on a page. But I'll go with whatever the consensus is. --Elonka 23:40, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

There is already a lot of guidance about when to link. See the sections "Dates containing a month and a day" and "Partial dates". This text is the result of several long debates and any attempt to change it or add to it is likely to upset one side or the other. Stephen Turner (Talk) 06:15, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Should I make a link to a date with a day, month, year even if it will create a red link? Lmielke359 21:53, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
Please provide an example, as I have never seen such a link. Is it the day (February 43), the month (Bloctober), or the year (2741) that makes the red link? Chris the speller 23:50, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
Here is a date I have in my article Hill City, South Dakota - it is August 12, 1990. I am new to Wikipedia should I link the month and day separate from the year? like this August 12,1990 or what should I do? Thanks for your help. Lmielke359 21:44, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
Link the day and month separately from the year; in your example, depending on how the users' preferences are set, the date will appear as August 12, 1990 or 12 August 1990 or 1990-08-12, -- Arwel (talk) 21:51, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
The most desirable format is [[August 12]], [[1990]]. Note the space after the comma. For articles where the British form is being used, it should be [[12 August]] [[1990]]. Note that no comma is used in this format. Chris the speller 03:39, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Desireable by whom? I see the [[August 12]], [[1990]] vs. [[12 August]] [[1990]] thing as being rather akin to the spelling question: in articles connected to specific (English-speaking) regions (or contexts) use the style used there, otherwise follow the style established in the article but where there is dispute fall back on the style of the first major contributer. Neither day-month-year nor month-day-year is more desireable than the other. Jɪmp 17:23, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
In fairness, the article being talked about was some city in South Dakota. So I think Chris's advice was correct in this instance. Stephen Turner (Talk) 08:46, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Although I think it's funny that a settlement of 780 people can call itself a city. In England, we wouldn't even call that a town — it would be a village. Anyway, that's all off-topic... Stephen Turner (Talk) 08:49, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Oh, yeah, good point. In that article, of course. Do forgive my ranting. Jɪmp 14:40, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Over doing it?

Would it be considered over linking if you link the same date over and over, especially within the same section?  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 21:47, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Definitely. The only reason I can think of to do that would be in a table or list of tabular data, for formatting consistency, but even then I find the practice rather questionable (same goes for repeatedly wikilinking the name of a player or team in a sports statistics chart; once is really enough.) — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 00:48, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Ok, because there was a gent over at Spider-Man 3 wikilinking every date, inserting extra "2007"s throughout the entire article, and citing this page as his reasoning. Since it didn't specify that the "every" was meant as "every date in its first instance", instead of "every single instance", I had to ask to make sure that he was overdoing it a bit. Thanks for the clarification.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 00:52, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Every date containing a day and month should be wikilinked (with a few exceptions such as direct quotes) so that date preferences work correctly. When we find a way of presenting dates that doesn't involve wikilinks, then we'll change over, but for now, kludgy though it is, that's what we've got. --Pete 01:14, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
The question wasn't about whether every date should be wiki linked, but whether every instances of the same date should be wiki linked. I understand general wiki-linking practices of linking the first instance, and this page's practice of linking all dates. But if you are linking May 4 three times in the same section, that's kind of over-doing it a bit.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 01:23, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
So you're saying it's OK for the first instance to be presented correctly according to user date preferences, but subsequent instances can be in the wrong format? No offence, but do you actually understand why we wikilink dates? --Pete 01:42, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm saying that if August 18 is listed 3 times in the same section, and you link every instance in that same section, it's over linking. You aren't doing anything but linking to the same page 3 (or however many) times within just a few lines. I could understand if you are linking at the top of the page, and then doing so later on in the page, but not when you can easily see both links in the same section going to the same page. Per the overlinking section of the MOS: A link for any single term is excessively repeated in the same article, as in the example of overlinking which follows: "Excessive" is more than once for the same term, in a line or a paragraph, because in this case one or more duplicate links will almost certainly then appear needlessly on the viewer's screen. Remember, the purpose of links is to direct the reader to a new spot at the point(s) where the reader is most likely to take a temporary detour due to needing more information. " What this page does not make clear, and if this is what you are trying to convey, then maybe the MOS needs some tweaking, but the page does not make clear if "every instance" of a date is supposed to be linked. What it says is that you should always link a date, but it doesn't say that you should link every instance of that same date. It would contradict the MOS for overlinking. If this is what should be done (meaning, if you should linke every instance of the date, no matter how close it is to its next instance) then the MOS should be adjusted to reflect that specifically. If it was, I wouldn't be here with my question in the first place. Unfortunately, the page isn't clear about linking "every instance".  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 01:53, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Mmmm. Could you go and read the relevant section of WP:DATE, please? We aren't linking dates to provide a link. We're linking them to get date formats to work correctly. --Pete 01:58, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Been there, read that. Again, what seems to be lost in translation here is that I've said it isn't clear about the concept of "overlinking". It even says on the page you just linked to "almost always". Ok, so when do you not? Well, I traveled to the Common's "help" link that is listed there:"the date needs not be linked, and the links that have to be created for autoformatting are even undesirable (because they clutter the page, or invite to create unneeded pages) the date cannot be autoformatted. See also the extension mentioned below to allow autoformatting anyway." - Yeah, that makes a lot of sense in this instance. It doesn't makes sense to link the same date twice in a row, when you can visibly see the fist time. So, actually explain why it has to be linked every single instance without pointing me to some page. I've already established that all of the linking pages, where they pertain to dates, are unclear about the concept of overlinking as is pertains to dates. They don't say "there is no such thing as over linking when you are dealing with dates", they have say that you don't link all the time, but they don't properly explain when those "special" times are. Please explain why this: "May 4 was the day the music died; May 4 was also the died we found out the world was going down the crapper." - is the proper way to link dates (please note it's a dramatic example, you wouldn't have a sentence like that on Wiki anyway).  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 02:11, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
The pages explain why we wikilink dates better than any one person can. it's a co-operative effort to find the exact best wording. If you don't understand something we've weorked long and hard over, then what chance do i have?
Briefly, not everyone in the world uses the same date format. Most of our readers don't have accounts and therefore don't have date preferences set. So we try to present dates in their correct format for the article. US articles show May 4, 1960 and just about everything else shows 4 May 1960.
However, for those Wikipedians with date preferences set, we present all dates in the format they prefer to see and are comfortable with. So, for your example, if you have US dating format set and the article is written with International dating, you'd see: ""May 4 was the day the music died; 4 May was also the day we found out the world was going down the crapper, and so 4 May is celebrated as a day of mourning."
The wikilinks make the date preferences work. They aren't (usually) meant to actually link to anything. --Pete 02:21, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
No offense to you, but to the actual style, that's the most ridiculous thing I've read as far as MOSs go. It doesn't make sense if you use the exact same style (e.g. May 6, May 5, August 18) for the dates on the page. May 1 goes to the page for May 1; 1 May goes to the page for May 1. Not really seeing how that affects others that may use "1 May", instead of "May 1" when it comes to actually putting a link on the article. Are you saying that if I link May 1, like so, then I (living in the US) will see it as "May 1" on my screen, but someone in say the UK will actually see "1 May" linked on their screen?  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 02:27, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
No. Look, if you don't understand how it works, then go read back through the archives of this page and you'll get a feel for it. Until you understand why we use wikilinks for dates, your input isn't helpful. --Pete 02:40, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
My apologise if I feel the page does not adequately explain the reasoning behind overlinking dates (as another use apparently doesn't get it either since they saw fit to agree that you can over link dates), but please don't be a dick about it. I'm merely expressed my concern that the page doesn't do a very good job of explaining the point behind linking every instance of a date, especially in regard to its stand on overlinking in articles. If you don't think you are able to help me, then please don't comment, because I don't need, nor do a deserve, the attitude from your last comment.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 02:47, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but only if that person in the UK has registered an account and set their preference to display "1 May". Anonymous readers see it how you type it, in this case "May 1". –Pomte 04:40, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

This seems to me to conflict with the "brilliant prose" requirement for FAs. In any editor's mind, you don't want to overdo dates. It just get hard to swallow. How about Wikipedia:Use common sense? I personally think it's a good rule in the vast majority of cases, but being familiar with this one, I think we have an exception. Wrad 03:23, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Regardless of whether dates are overdone or not, they should be linked, all of them except for a few exceptions. Looking at BigNole's recent contributions, I find this (partial) edit summary, "...don't understand that particular MOS, but one gent feels that you HAVE to link every date...".
It's not "one gent". It's the MOS. The result of a LOT of discussion and consensus. --Pete 04:16, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
It's a necessary evil. The only way to get the date autoformatting to work is by linking. One day someone might get 'round to fixing it. Jimp 04:27, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Is anyone working on it? Editore99 21:57, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
There has been some progress, but it seems to have stalled again. Stephen Turner (Talk) 09:20, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
This is apparently a minority view, but I think that readability of an article is more important than which format the dates are in, whether 1 June or June 1, and that readability is improved by using only necessary links. The date someone was born or died, or some organization was started, is of course important for a link, publication year of books, release dates of films are another use. But the date someone got his B.A. is not. We're not likely to do a page, People who got their MA on May 1. Two rules about the links I think need to be enforced are, that you do not link as [[May]] [[1]], which is totally useless, and that if two people were born in 1991 you link both--I've sen people linking only the first. Consensus can change (slowly), and the first step is to raise the question. DGG 18:59, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Link only years?

So, according to this article, it is proper to link only years; for example, should a sentence read "In 1970," or "In 1970," Thanks —User:Christopher Mann McKayuser talk 20:10, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Years should be linked if they are relevant to the context of the article, just like any other link. The only reason for special usage of links for dates is to make date preferences work, which only applies for full dates. —Centrxtalk • 04:46, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
Also, birth or death years when the month and day are not known should be linked, per the Socrates example. Neier 23:48, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

I came here about the same point. First, different parts of the MoS contradict each other on this; here, there's no indication yars shouldn't be linked to unless they're particularly relevant, elsewhere the linking of ywars is given as an example of overlinking (in some places the use of piped "Easter-egg" links (such as [[1920 in music|1920]] is strongly deporecated, inothers it's offered as an approach favoured by some editors). Couldn't there be some consistency?

I don't understand Neier's point, incidentally; why does the lack of a day and month make the year relevant? --Mel Etitis (Talk) 11:49, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

I think the section on Partial dates is the definitive answer. What contradicts this section? WP:PIPE and WP:CONTEXT seem to be pretty much in agreement, for example.
I think Neier is arguing that all dates of birth and death should be obtainable by going to the year and selecting "What links here". I understand that point of view, but I don't think the page says that and I'm not sure whether there's consensus for that.
Stephen Turner (Talk) 12:13, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
I have three reasons. One, is that the Socrates example on the MoS page clearly has links to the years, and has no days/months. So, by example, it seemed that the current MoS is saying that birth/death years are linked no matter what. Secondly, a long long time ago (in the Bobblewik days?), I think this was discussed and someone made a point that WP:WPBIO needed/requested the linkages as well. The third reason is what Stephen wrote above. Neier 12:22, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
To me, the Socrates example merely indicates that years long ago are more relevant. I couldn't find the text you're referring to on WP:WPBIO. At WP:MOSBIO, there are some examples which link plain years, but they're all old ones too, and I didn't find any definitive statement, just a link back here.
However, this whole argument may be somewhat moot because most people who are missing day and month lived long ago, and then one can argue that the year is relevant for that reason.
Stephen Turner (Talk) 12:41, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
I found the old conversation. It was User:Docu's point about sorting through the articles that I was thinking about. The poll closed very inconclusively. Neier 13:37, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Mmm. I think things have moved on a lot. There's a lot less date fragment linking now than before (relatively). Rich Farmbrough, 08:35 2 June 2007 (GMT).