Template talk:Birth-date

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One of the critera for TFD is "The template is redundant to a better-designed template". The template Template:Birth date is heavily used and very well designed and accepted. It is being used on a very many articles and is full-protected because of it. This template has poor and confusing syntax. I am nominating it for merging rather than deleting because of the microformatting. I had been under the impression that the birth date and related templates already did that. If they do not, then I propose that it be added to those templates, which will then populate the desired changes across the encyclopedia. Nothing's broken, so there's nothing to be fixed. Let's not reinvent the wheel when we've already got some great templates that are widely used. (talk) 18:38, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Actually, last month this subject was discussed at length amongst Wikipedia's group most interested in dates and numbers and MOSNUM for one does not agree that the older templates are "better designed". In fact, the consensus opinion was that the family of natural language templates that use {{start-date}}, {{end-date}} are preferred to the older templates, and the MOSNUM guidance reflects that. The family of templates that use natural language dates are also used in a large number of articles and include {{birth-date}}, {{birth-date and age}}, {{death-date}} and {{death-date and age}}. The old templates have no facility for understanding plain text dates and a merge would be technically impractical.
Any conclusion regarding what happens to Birth-date logically applies to all other natural date templates. They cannot be considered in isolation. If numeric orientation is the best design for birth dates, is it also acceptable for death date and age? How about for template {{start date}} that is used to specify times such as launches of spacecraft? If not, then should we have natural dates for some date templates and not others?
It would be helpful if you provided an example of how the older number templates are better designed, or how the new templates have "poor and confusing syntax" For example, let's take human factors design. Do you feel that
{{Death date and age|2008|12|10|2000|11|23|df=y}} which produces 10 December 2008(2008-12-10) (aged 8)
is more user friendly than
{{Death-date and age|10 December 2008|23 November 2000}} which also produces 10 December 2008 (2008-12-11) (aged 8)
Surely not. The numeric orientation is obtuse, error prone, and gets particularly torturous when time of day is added to this interminable heap of numbers. For example, consider the following wikitext for the time JFK was died, reported as approximately 1pm CST:
wikitext display microformat
old {{Start date|1963|11|22|19|00||-07:00}} 19:00, November 22, 1963 (-07:00) (1963-11-22T19:00-07:00) (1963-11-22T19:00-07:00)
new {{start-date|November 22, 1963 1pm CST}} November 22, 1963 1pm CST (1963-11-22UTC19) (1963-11-22 T19Z)
Besides the ease in coding and understanding the time, note the glaring difference that should be obvious to affeciandos of time.
  1. Time zone handling with the old templates requires arcane offsets from UTC. Due due to reliance on obscure ISO encoding rules and non reliance on system support for time calculation, the older start date template is error prone. In this case, the editor did not make the correct adjustment for it not being daylight savings time. Time zone adjustment is what the meaning of the -7:00 is, and for Dallas, it is either -6:00 for winter, or -5:00 for summer as explained in the upcoming link. Actually that's not the only error this hypothetical contributor has made.
  2. The old templates have extremely obscure time encoding rules: The base time should be the local time, not UTC time. Even though the editor who made this mistake is a professed microformats enthusiast, this rule was not either not clear to him or he forgot it. The correct microformat expression of this time with the time zone adjustment as the editor is attempting to do is actually 1963-11-22T13:00-06:00, and the syntax in the wonkey {{start date}} template should be changed to reflect that (for explanation see ISO time zone syntax. Everyone makes mistakes, even microformats enthusiasts. So how can we expect content experts, let alone joe average contributor to understand this stuff? Who is going to spot that error with the syntax in such a unnecessarily complex form?
Stop. Compare what the contributor has to do with the new template. They copy paste from the news account. "November 22, 1963 1pm CST". End of story. Accurate microformat emitted for them without them having to know anything whatsoever about the subject. The old templates are better designed? Come now.
Besides human factors, there are a number of technical errors and shortcomings having to do with the main purpose for these templates: the emission of microformat information. For example, handling of end date data is not conformant with specifications for dtend values. I'd be happy to discuss these shortcomings with anyone interested in this level of technical detail. I think any template writers who examine the template code will quickly see that a merge would be little more than forcing two templates to share the same name with essentially two separate sets of documentation for two distinct syntaxes.
After considering the context of these facts, this proposal for merge appears to be ill considered. -J JMesserly (talk) 08:36, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Violation of delinking prohibition?[edit]

(outdent) These changes from {{birth date}} to {{birth-date}}, etc., would massively delink dates in infoboxes in a non-reversible way. It is in direct violation of Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Date delinking#Temporary_injunction prohibiting any more date linking or delinking until the case is resolved. (talk) 09:06, 19 March 2009 (UTC) this is mistaken. No delinking is involved. Here is an example: [1] Any links present are retained, because the new template unlike the old one supports links if the contributor elected to use a link or template in the right hand parameter. -J JMesserly (talk) 17:27, 19 March 2009 (UTC)