User:Jc3s5h/Proposal on YYYY-MM-DD numerical dates

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A campaign exists to remove "Wikipedia talk:Mosnum/proposal on YYYY-MM-DD numerical dates" and I am preserving it here because it indicates the quantity of debate that exist around this topic. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:00, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposal: to amend WP:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) as follows:

Present text: YYYY-MM-DD style dates (1976-05-31) are uncommon in English prose, and should not be used within sentences.

Proposed text: YYYY-MM-DD style dates (1976-05-31) are uncommon in English prose, and should not be used in sentences or footnotes.

-- Alarics (talk) 18:44, 29 September 2009 (UTC)


Since the RfC has expired, here is my summary:

  • There is no consensus on whether the YYYY-MM-DD format should be used in footnotes.
  • There is no consensus on whether dates that are written in this format should follow the ISO 8601 standard.
  • Proponents of the IS0 8601 standard have not necessarily read the standard and do not necessarily know how to apply it to dates before the 19th century. --Jc3s5h (talk) 19:12, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

The above is not an accurate summary of the discussion. The proposed text said that YYYY-MM-DD style dates should not be used in footnotes. The consensus clearly rejected this proposal, which means there is consensus not to prohibit YYYY-MM-DD in footnotes; or, stating the result in an equivalent way, there is consensus to allow YYYY-MM-DD in footnotes. Eubulides (talk) 20:03, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

I claim there is no consensus because while the opposes were greater in number, the supporters had sounder arguments. --Jc3s5h (talk) 20:25, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
In your opinion. But then you are quite obviously biased. wjematherbigissue 20:42, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
My interpretation is that the consensus was 2 to 1 opposing. On its own that isn't totally overwhelming, what make the defeat absolute in my view was how silly, befuddled, inept, unclear and generally badly thought out the pro arguments were compared to the intelligent, insightful and clearly articulated arguments on the opposition side ;-) Dmcq (talk) 23:58, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. That's funny--gave me my first broad smile of the day (once I saw the smiley face at the end).--Epeefleche (talk) 00:38, 30 October 2009 (UTC)


Canvassing for support
user previous
canvassed? result here
Debresser support yes support
Jimp support yes support
HWV258 support yes support
Greg L support yes support
A. di M. support yes support
Tony1 support yes support
Sssoul support yes support
Headbomb support yes
Pmanderson support claimed yes
Noisalt support, mostly yes support
Gadget850 leaning support yes support
Josiah Rowe support yes support
Drilnoth likely support yes support
Dinoguy1000 likely support yes support
Rich Farmbrough likely support yes
Quasirandom likely support yes
Itzjustdrama unknown yes support
Ohconfucius neutral yes support
TheFeds neutral yes
Johnuniq unknown yes
Simetrical unknown yes
Govvy unknown yes
Dandy Sephy unknown yes
Collectonian unknown yes
Magioladitis unknown yes
Cavrdg oppose yes
Darxus oppose yes oppose
Denimadept oppose yes oppose
Offliner oppose yes oppose

Unfortunately the above RfC was skewed somewhat by canvassing. This canvassing didn't overcome the strong "no" vote in the discussion, but it may have artificially inflated the "yes" vote somewhat. Of the canvassees whose opinions I could determine, sixteen were supporters or likely supporters (based on previous edits replacing YYYY-MM-DD dates with other styles), two neutral, and four opposed. The table of users I saw canvassed is at right.

Of the two canvassers I saw, one was given a friendly notice about canvassing, responded that he had notified all sides and not just supporters, was then informed that he had indeed not notified all sides with four examples being given of supporters who were not notified, and then agreed that they hadn't been notified and then notified them (they are the last four rows in the table).

Canvassing like this does not follow the Wikipedia:Canvassing guideline, which calls this sort of practice "votestacking".

Eubulides (talk) 20:03, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

There was no votestacking. The few messages I sent out met the four criteria for acceptability set out in Wikipedia:Canvassing, viz.: (1) Limited posting, (2) Neutral message, (3) Non-partisan audience, (4) Open and transparent. -- Alarics (talk) 20:17, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
(ec) I disagree that I had been canvassed, although I can't speak for the others. I had been going to support the proposal anyway, and had already posted this question before Epeefleche left the note on my talk page. That was more of a "Here's an update on what you commented on" type thing, not a "you might want to support this" type thing. I had already been aware of the proposal (from WP:CENT, IIRC), and the notice Epeefleche gave me didn't influence my !voting. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 20:21, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Given how lopsided (more than 2:1 against proposal) the vote was, if Alaric was stacking the deck, he did a very weak job of it. - Denimadept (talk) 20:26, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I think it is ridiculous to suggest that the voting has been skewed by canvassing. The table set out by Eubulides is extremely misleading because there was no point in contacting many of the opponents as they had already voted at that point. -- Alarics (talk) 20:33, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
The canvassing fails criteria (3) for acceptability, as it was sent to a clearly-partisan audience. I agree that the canvassing did not overwhelm the final result, but I suspect that it did skew the result somewhat. What happened is that the many people in the table who were in favor were canvassed early on; for example, Josiah Rowe was canvassed on Sept. 29 at 19:16 UTC, less than an hour after this page was created. The four known opponents were not notified until three days later, late on October 2. If one notifies only supporters or likely supporters first, and waits before notifying a few opponents, that helps build up an early lead for support, such as observed here, and this helps to give the impression to other earlier commenters that the proposal enjoys more support than it actually does. Eubulides (talk) 21:00, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Where does it say in Wikipedia:Canvassing anything about how quickly people are to be contacted? The people on all sides of the argument, who had shown any sign of interest in the matter but had not already voted here, were contacted within a few days. And what is the purpose of this discussion anyway? What point are you trying to make? My own feeling is that the proposal almost certainly enjoys a lot MORE support than has been indicated in this voting, because so many of the most active WP editors who get involved in this sort of issue are so untypical of users generally. -- Alarics (talk) 23:30, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Alarics, I also think that you had a (perhaps minor) problem with the third criteria. It ultimately doesn't matter to me "why" you initially contacted only people that were likely to agree with you. Unless you think us all very gullible, though, perhaps you would avoid trying to deny the actual evidence that you "did" contact (initially) primarily perceived supporters -- and also that your efforts at remediating this bias were after someone complained to you. Hairsplitting about exactly how soon WP:Canvassing requires you to notify your opponents isn't an impressive defense.
I also don't think you need to worry about this: honest mistakes happen. You mightn't have realized how your actions would appear to an opponent (it wasn't that many messages); you might have gotten distracted before finishing your originally intended list; you might have forgotten about the policy (who can say that he remembers absolutely every one of them?). Notes on user talk pages also attract attention from people that are watching the user talk page, instead of just the one editor. There are several dozen user pages on my own watchlist, and that's after dramatically shortening the list a while ago. Consequently, I agree with Denimadept's comment: even though a reasonable person would construe your initial efforts as votestacking, it probably wasn't very important.
I usually limit such notifications to WikiProjects, MoS pages and the like to avoid this kind of complaint, but I really don't think that it had much effect on the overall outcome: The proposal was defeated anyway, after all. It's not necessary for us to know exactly how big the margin of "legitimate" opinions were. So perhaps we could all find something more important to do now. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:43, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) for the record: it's incorrect to say that i had previously supported the proposal - see this edit; when Alarics left the neutral note on my talk page that an RFC was going on, he/she was aware that my stance was at best "mixed emotions". as my "vote" indicates it was Noisalt's reasoning that persuaded me to support the proposal. (but indeed: why is this of any importance, beyond the vaguely educational reminder of how others might perceive what we do?) Sssoul (talk) 07:51, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

I was not canvassed! I was involved in this subject from the very beginning! Debresser (talk) 05:49, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

I was converted from a strong no to a medium yes. So if I was canvassed it was successful, but against reasonable expectations. Rich Farmbrough, 12:21, 17 November 2009 (UTC).


Should this discussion be closed in any way, for archiving purposes? It's quite clear that the proposal was not successful, and relevant discussion has stagnated. -M.Nelson (talk) 06:37, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

How does one close a proposal like this? This is getting like The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. Let it die. Dmcq (talk) 22:34, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure if anything besides {{failed}} is necessary. I suppose if people keep !voting we could wrap the voting sections in {{discussion top}}/{{discussion bottom}}. Anomie 00:57, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Wrapped for good measure. --Cybercobra (talk) 01:08, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Hm. ! votes continued to accumulate at the interwiki sorting discussion for years. That was a good thing because it showed changing sentiment and didn't dis!enfranchise later visitors to the page. Rich Farmbrough, 12:24, 17 November 2009 (UTC).
There was no consensus for the pproposal after a reasonable length of time. It failed. It can always be raised again after sometime. AfD's are quite often raised again for instance and sometimes succeed the second time but one doesn't keep them open for years. Dmcq (talk) 14:19, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Would it really show changing sentiment or would it just show more people would !vote for change years after everyone else gave up than would !vote for continuing to maintain the status quo years after the proposal failed? Anomie 18:10, 17 November 2009 (UTC)