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

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Vote at "summary and votes" (approval voting - vote for as many options as you like). For discussion of how these votes should be taken in the future, see wikipedia:vote. The seven options are:

  1. Make [[Day Month]] [[Year]] MoS policy
  2. Keep [[Month Day]], [[Year]] as MoS policy
  3. [[Day Month]] for date titles, allow both [[Month Day]], [[Year]] and [[Day Month]] [[Year]]
  4. Allow both [[Month Day]], [[Year]] and [[Day Month]] [[Year]]
  5. Use yyyy-MM-dd RFC 3339 format internally and allow logged in users to have it reprocessed to their preferred format
  6. [[Month Day]] for date titles, allow both [[Month Day]], [[Year]] and [[Day Month]] [[Year]]
  7. Make [[Year]] [[month day]] [[UTC]] MoS policy
  8. Put a moratorium on the subject for at least 6 months.
  9. Remove dates from the Wikipedia.
  10. Make [[the Dayth of Month]], [[Year]] MoS policy

Note: This vote is currently declared pending. Several users have pointed out problems with the process used and the options as they are currently set up. Automatic conversion options will also have to be explored in further detail. In the meantime, the current Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) should be used, but keep in mind that MoS is not policy, so please try to accommodate others when editing.

A new vote will possibly be set up in mid-July, unless a consensus solution can be found.

Usage of different formats

This is just a summary of what publications/countries use which format, to save repetition in the summary below

  • Month Day, Year (current documented standard)
    • Chicago Manual of Style has announced that 15th edition will "doubtlessly" revert to Month Day, Year format recommendation [1].
    • Standard in U.S.
    • Used by The Guardian (UK), The Sun (UK), The Times (UK), Encarta (US), Encyclopedia Britannica (US, formerly UK), Columbia Encyclopedia (US), New York Times (US) ... most US-based news/encyclopedic publications use this style
    • Google example: "21 June": 562,000 hits. "June 21": 1,780,000 hits. "21st June": 73,700 hits. "June 21st": 146,000. Most web pages use US style (most web pages are US-based, and a greater proportion of US citizens have web access)
  • Year Month Day
    • Standard in Portugal, Sweden, Japan, Korea, China, Canada (in government communication).
  • Year Day Month
    • Not used anywhere
  • the Dayth of Month Year
    • Usually only spoken, not written.

Summary and votes

(approval voting)

N.B.: the Manual of Style is not mandatory. However, copyeditors will change entries to match the manual of style.

- who says who is a copy editor? - if it not mandatory, then it is not mandatory. If copyeditors will change it, then that makes it a mandatory style. The above claim is a contradiction in terms.


  • Make [[Day Month]] [[Year]] MoS policy
+ having two numbers separated by a word is marginally easier to mentally parse (according to The Elements of Style)
+ Datebot should make changeover easy.
+ is the system used by most countries in the world and most wiki users outside the US.
+ Is a logical order, with the units in progression of increasing size
- hard data? (On an eMac, dd/mm/yy is the default in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. mm/dd/yy is only default for the US, and yy/mm/dd is default in Portugal and Sweden)
-as more international contributors join wiki, they are going to want to use the international rather than the US dating system
- Requires change to thousands of articles (are any of the above benefits worth the trouble?)
- requires US editors (current majority) to work in form not natural to them
- some regard this position as "micro-management"
Votes for: (28):
  1. Tarquin
  2. Martin
  3. sannse
  4. Bagpuss
  5. Oliver P.
  6. JTD
  7. Arwel (I prefer "express no preference" - use whichever you want)
  8. Matthew Mayer (though proper date markup would be better)
  9. Catherine
  10. DanKeshet
  11. Patrick
  12. cferrero
  13. Dramatic
  14. Chris Q
  15. mkrohn
  16. Egil
  17. Tom Peters
  18. Infrogmation
  19. James F.
  20. User:anthere
  21. Dante Alighieri (a US editor),
  22. Nohat
  23. goatasaur
  24. Seanos (it's not the USopedia) <---The validity of this vote is contested.
  25. Paul
  26. Fonzy
  27. Jeff
  28. MPF
  • Keep [[Month Day]], [[Year]] as MoS policy
+ appears to be most common in web publications around the world
+ NB: the Manual of Style is not mandatory. However, copyeditors will change entries to match the manual of style
+ Doesn't require any changes of current articles
- Is an illogical, and therefore confusing order, with the smallest unit sandwiched between two larger units, not in unit size progression
- Is not used by the majority of english speakers in the world, so requires non-US wiki editors to work in form they ordinarily would not use
- as wiki grows, the majority of contributors may come from outside the US and not agree to use US dating system, preferring international dating system
hard data on what "majority of English speakers" or "majority of non-US wiki editors" uses? (On an eMac, dd/mm/yy is the default in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. mm/dd/yy is only default for the US, and yy/mm/dd is default in Portugal and Sweden)
- could make wikipedia appear US-focused, rather than international
- some regard this position as "micro-management"
Votes for (23):
  1. Taku
  2. Ortolan88
  3. Stephen C. Carlson (date markup may be best long term)
  4. DanKeshet
  5. The Cunctator
  6. Zoe
  7. Jazz77
  8. Eloquence
  9. Arthur
  10. Lorenzarius
  11. PMelvilleAustin (Month Day is used in Chinese)
  12. John Owens (even though I'm a 2003.05.23 kind of guy when it's just me)
  13. Lou I
  14. Nanobug
  15. Pizza Puzzle (Why say 7th of March when its quicker to say March 7th?)
  16. Notheruser
  17. Fred Bauder
  18. Adam Bishop (even though Day-Month is the "Canadian" way, I always just use Month-Day)
  19. Timwi (why change something already kind of established?)
  20. Minesweeper (I prefer "express no preference" below)
  21. Menchi (It's the more commonly existing form on WP, and it's not incorrect, just regional)
  22. Wik (I agree with Menchi, it's already de facto standard)
  23. Jiang USA Number 1 Woo hoo!!!!!
  24. [[User:Poccil|Peter O. (Talk)]]
  • Encourage [[Day Month]] [[Year]] (change date articles to [[Day Month]] but make no policy for article text)
+ Less troublesome than using datebots
+ Allows editors to work in form natural to them
+ consistent with spelling policy
- links to redirects will remain common
- Could lack of consistency appear unprofessional or hinder reading?
Votes for (14):
  1. Stan Shebs
  2. sannse
  3. Zundark
  4. Enchanter
  5. Chris Q
  6. Taku
  7. Toby
  8. Tom Peters
  9. Martin
  10. the Epopt
  11. User:anthere
  12. Tim Starling
  13. Andy G
  14. Paul
  • Allow both [[Month Day]], [[Year]] and [[Day Month]] [[Year]], express no preference
+ Doesn't require any changes of current articles
+ Allows editors to work in form natural to them
+ Consistent with policy on tolerating U.S./British spelling differences
+ Respectful of world-wide indigenous cultural usages.
+ Less Eurocentric (a good point, perhaps, on this New Years Day, March 4, 2003, according to the Tibetan Lunar calendar).
+ Less US-centric
- not clear what date articles will be titled
- Many links to redirects
- Could one form end up being "official" even though no preference claime, since can't redirect to both dateforms? Could both link to yyyy-MM-dd and be RFC 3339 complient. Would also then accomidate those who want RFC 3339 option.
- Could lack of consistency appear unprofessional or hinder reading?
- Could it lead to edit wars in different segments of Wikipedia where users will try to enforce one style over the other? (see PageHistory:10 Rillington Place for an example)
Votes for (26):
  1. Kingturtle
  2. Bagpuss
  3. Tannin
  4. Enchanter
  5. Arthur
  6. Derek Ross
  7. The Cunctator
  8. Toby Bartels
  9. AxelBoldt
  10. mav
  11. FearÉIREANN
  12. Arwel
  13. the Epopt
  14. jimfbleak
  15. SimonP
  16. User:anthere
  17. Tim Starling
  18. Tiles
  19. Deb
  20. Cordyph
  21. Minesweeper
  22. The Anome
  23. Kpjas
  24. Paul - low turnout and weak mandate for enforcement...
  25. Ryan_Cable
  26. Jiang - if we dont adopt this one, we need to change our spelling policy too!
  27. [[User:Poccil|Peter O. (Talk)]]
  28. Philip Baird Shearer
  • Use yyyy-MM-dd RFC 3339 format internally and allow logged in users to have it reprocessed to their preferred format
+ Worldwide standard for computers.
+ Is a logical order, with the units in progression of decreasing size; particularly logical when combined with times yyyy-MM-dd hh.mm:ss
+ allegedly natural for readers.
+ Ability to link to articles like December 2002 where appropriate.
+ Date articles can be titled according to preferences.
+ Easy for all RFC 3339 using language wikipedias, to link to date pages without having to understand other languages.
+ Allows support for people who don't know what the Gregorian calendar is.
± Editors have to think.
- Requires extra processing on server.
- Requires changes to all current articles.
- Very unnatural for all contributors contribributing to pages other than on computers and mathematics (what the heck does 2003-07-02 mean?)
- Unclear what default settings would be and what preferred formats won't apply to the average researcher who comes here through a search engine -- what do they see? (Majority readers' format: MM/dd/yyyy, or unambiguous format: yyyy-MM-dd?)
- extra load on the database and parser, which would slow down wikipedia still further (fatal flaw?)
- rarely used. (On an eMac, dd/mm/yy is the default in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. mm/dd/yy is only default for the US, and yy/mm/dd is default in Portugal and Sweden)
Votes for (20):
  1. Dramatic
  2. Jeandré
  3. SCCarlson (as long as it is reprocessed to preferred format)
  4. mkrohn
  5. Kaihsu
  6. John Owens (well, we can dream)
  7. Tom Peters
  8. Angela
  9. cprompt (Browser language settings could determine default for anon. users)
  10. James F.
  11. the Epopt
  12. كسيپ Cyp 19:11 209 Karka 02 (Darian)
  13. Phil Bordelon
  14. Dante Alighieri (external standards are a Good Thing)
  15. Eclecticology
  16. Nohat
  17. User:( (2nd choice would be "allow both" above)
  18. Rotem Dan (Hey, that was my idea! ;)
  19. Gorm
  20. Ryan_Cable
  • Keep [[Month Day]] standard, allow both [[Month Day]], [[Year]] and [[Day Month]] [[Year]] in entries, preferring format appropriate to majority editor/readership
+ Doesn't require any changes of current articles
+ Allows editors to work in form natural to them
+ consistent with spelling policy
+ Natural for readers, depending on how well majority of editors match the preferences of majority of readers
± Majority wins on popular entries
- Many links to redirects (~50%)
- U.S form may end up being "official" even though no preference claimed
- Could lack of consistency appear unprofessional or hinder reading?
Votes for (4):
  1. The Cunctator
  2. AxelBoldt
  3. Tim Starling
  4. John Owens
  5. Jiang
  • Make year-month-day UTC MoS policy (ie, no-one is forced to use it, but copyeditors will be changing other formats to it). This is the ISO 8601 and Internet standard RFC 3339 format. One could add a static UTC clock too.
+ External standard
- not clear what date articles will be titled
- Unusual and numeric
- ambiguous when referring to dates between 10 and 99 (unless leading zeros are prefaced)
- confusing and unintuitive when referring to BC dates
- what do we use where only day+month is given? (eg "Christmas is celebrated on 25 December")
- ISO standard is purely for numerical dates, not for spelt out months
- rarely used (On an eMac, dd/mm/yy is the default in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. mm/dd/yy is only default for the US, and yy/mm/dd is default only in Portugal and Sweden)
Votes for (4):
  1. Mac
  2. WMC
  3. Tom Peters
  4. The Anome
  • Put a moratorium on the subject for at least 6 months. Use whatever people want in the meantime. (presumably by this you mean that copyeditors shouldn't change dates?? -- Yup. That's what I mean.)
+ people get back to the real task of writing an encyclopedia
+ allows people to get used to this approach to dates and see whether it works in practice, possibly paving the way to its use as a consensus solution.
± people stop talking about the subject for a while
- only postpones the discussion
Votes for (5):
  1. Danny
  2. mav
  3. fonzy
  4. the Epopt
  5. The Anome
  • Remove dates from the Wikipedia. For far too long has the tyranny of linear time ruled over us all. Advanced theoretical physics suggests that all events happen simultaneously. All dates are, therefore, spurious, and should be eliminated.
+ its wacky good fun
+ people who are bad at remembering dates will appreciate it
- its a really stupid idea
Votes for (1):
  1. كسيپ Cyp