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Wikipedia:Date formatting and linking poll

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This poll deals with issues regarding date linking/unlinking and the use of autoformatting (software that automatically changes the date format displayed to logged-on editors' set preference). The poll runs from 00:00, 30 March 2009 (UTC) and concludes 23:59, 13 April 2009 (UTC).

Contents

The history of the dispute

After a long debate at MOSNUM talk and elsewhere, a poll and subsequent debate in August 2008 led to the deprecation (that is, the discontinuance) of date linking for autoformatting purposes. Several editors then moved forward with a large-scale manual, automated and semi-automated unlinking of dates. However, several editors indicated their opposition to this change, at WT:MOSNUM and the talk pages of the editors who were unlinking dates. Discussion continued at WT:MOSNUM on whether enough editors had previously provided input on the issue to accurately represent community consensus. Toward the end of November, two parallel RFCs regarding date linking/unlinking and autoformatting were launched, receiving input from hundreds of editors:

Although these RFCs offered guidance on several points, there is disagreement as to whether that guidance has resolved all aspects of the debate. There have also been claims of an inherent bias in the wording and structure of the questions. This RfC seeks to clarify (i) whether a form of date autoformatting is desired, and (ii) whether the linking of date fragments should be used, and if so under which conditions.

Poll

The poll will commence on 30 March 2009 and will run for two weeks. Users are encouraged to review the proposals and vote in all three sections: Autoformatting, Month-day linking, and Year linking. After the poll has closed, there will be a two-week period for discussion. A second poll in late April will then be considered—if necessary—to look at how the results of the first poll will be implemented. Whilst comments from individual parties are extremely welcome, any threaded discussion will be moved to the talk page.

Autoformatting

Background statement

Does the Wikipedia community support the concept of date autoformatting?

Scope Autoformatting is a way of marking up dates to allow registered users to choose their preferred display format. A variety of methods have been proposed by which this might be implemented. The question posed here is whether the community desires the basic, common elements of autoformatting.

What is a date format? Two main date formats are used by English-speakers: March 11, 2009 (MDY, mainly in North America) and 11 March 2009 (DMY, mainly elsewhere). Other date formats are less commonly used in running text, but frequently used as input parameters to templates: 2009-03-11 (YMD an ISO-style format).

What is date autoformatting? It is a system that allows dates displayed in articles to automatically change to reflect a registered user's settings under "Special:Preferences/Date and time"; unregistered users (IPs) cannot access the preference settings. The existing autoformatting system (Dynamic Dates, outlined here), introduced in 2003, requires use of the double-bracket link syntax to identify dates for autoformatting.

A recent update to Wikipedia's software allows dates to be autoformatted through the use of a function ({{#formatdate}}) instead of with the link-based markup ([[30 March]] [[2009]]). This function displays autoformatted plain-text dates per a registered user's preferences, without links ("30 March 2009"). It adds the option of defining a default date format for unregistered users and anyone who has not set a preference. As with the original system, all dates in an article would require markup to guarantee consistency.

What happens if autoformatting is accepted? Consensus will be sought on specifications, which will then be used by developers and editors to establish a system based either on a modified version of the existing software or on a new markup or template scheme; dates will be marked up accordingly.

What happens if autoformatting is rejected? The markup used by the previous system will continue to be removed, and any dates that are inconsistent with the overall format for their article will be corrected, manually or using automatic means.

Statement for

Date autoformatting is about giving users more options. It allows users to exercise personal control over the way in which dates are presented. This is not a new concept; Wikipedia's existing system has been in use since 2003, and personalized date formats have been an option in operating systems for decades. It is a natural extension of the trend toward increased user choice in how we interface with our computers, iPods, mobile phones, and every other type of personal technology.

Beyond that goal, autoformatting enhances our ability to present a consistent date format. At present, the Manual of Style allows dates to be formatted in either DMY or MDY style, based on regional usage and editorial consensus. The absence of a standard format creates situations where pages are individually consistent, yet stylistically at odds when considered as a collection of articles. This differs from other encyclopedias, which employ a consistent format across the entire publication.

Much has been made of the supposed complexity of autoformatting, but the reality is that Wikipedia's editors have been using date markup for almost six years now. Yes, dates do require special formatting to enable the feature – but this is no different from what is required of virtually every display option on Wikipedia. Markup enables us to enhance the presentation of articles, from the most basic options such as bold and italic text or section headers to more complex features such as templates and tables. Any large-scale changes can be automated through the use of existing editing tools. As for the impact on novice editors, Wikipedia has never expected them to master every aspect of the interface. In fact, new users have always been encouraged to contribute without worrying about spelling, grammar, or formatting options.

Currently, ongoing discussions between editors and Wikipedia's developers are focusing on ways to resolve concerns expressed about the existing system, chief among them the links and what unregistered users see. These issues are being addressed through the active development of an improved system, elements of which have already been incorporated into the system software. Other options under consideration would add enhancements that improve control over site-wide standards while allowing individual articles to be tagged with page-specific default date formats where desired. Looking down the road, date markup has also been identified as central to the development of new features such as automated time lines, automated "this day in history" pages, and enabling improved efficiency with database dumps. Autoformatting would also replace the current need for "dateformat" parameters in templates.

The benefits are obvious for readers and editors alike. Date autoformatting allows greater consistency in how our articles are presented to all readers, it assists editors in presenting a uniform, professional look, and it gives registered users the option of personalizing their interface. In short, this discussion is about offering increased choice to all of Wikipedia's users.

Statement against

There is no problem to solve. Whether day or month comes first (3 January; January 3) is trivial—all English-speakers recognize both; the US military uses DMY, as do many Canadians; by contrast, many publications outside North America, including newspapers, use MDY. Given this mixed environment, it is unlikely that readers even notice, let alone care, which format is used in an article. Featured articles—which represent our peak standards of professionalism—abandoned autoformatting last September and now exclusively use simple, fixed-text dates; this has barely rated a mention at featured article candidates. More broadly, one user has unlinked and corrected dates in more than 7,000 articles, yet has received only a handful of objections.

Fundamental principle that there should not be two classes of users. Because some registered editors would see different dates formats from everyone else (see Wikipedia:DONOTLINKDATES), it would inevitably lead to an inconsistent mess of date formats.

Complex and laborious. Tagging tens of millions of dates with a marker such as {{#formatdate|March 11, 2009}} (double the number of keystrokes—even more if |dmy/md is added), and specially tagging nearly three million articles to establish a default date format, would be an enormous price to pay for the very minor benefit of viewing dates in a specific format, and would complicate matters for new and casual editors. MOSNUM already has simple, well-accepted rules for date formatting, which require no markup. In the context of attempting to achieve a simple solution, WikiMedia's Chief Technical Officer, Brion Vibber, has stated: "My personal recommendation would be to remove all date autoformatting …".

Metadata fallacy. Markup is unnecessary to produce metadata. We already have powerful search tools, including the much-underused Wikipedia-constrained google search (site:en.wikipedia.org), and category searches. For markup to be useful, an option would be needed to enable editors to see all marked-up dates as though linked—another layer of complexity; What links here for a date or year page produces a list of thousands of articles whose only common factor is that some event, related in some way to the topic, happened on that date or year; such low-quality metadata is virtually worthless to editors of future time-based projects.

Development risks. The failure of the original autoformatting was largely due to the ad hoc imposition of a design by programmers acting without agreed specifications (clear objectives) by the community. The so-called fixes suggested are of limited scope and functionality, and have not been agreed to by the community. We should not risk allowing solutions to be tacked on bit by bit over the next few years, requiring increasingly complicated syntax even further remote from the average editor. Among these issues would be non-breaking spaces, AD/BC, slashed, ISO and Gregorian/Julian dates. Date ranges—avoiding the clunkiness and forced repetitions that the original system involved—would be a significant challenge.

Autoformatting responses

Please indicate your vote under ONE option, accompanied by a concise explanation for your choice. Your explanation is important in determining the community consensus.
I support the general concept of autoformatting
  1. Support. While I don't care much about having a user preference to make all dates into one format, something like {{#formatdate}} combined with a {{DEFAULTDATEFORMAT}} magic word to set the default for the whole page is necessary to avoid either forcing all date-handling templates to have a "dateformat" parameter on every use or forcing all date-handling templates to allow any arbitrary garbage in their "date" parameters and forgo any possibility of date manipulation. I also see no point in not allowing those who want the feature to have it, and frankly the "arguments against" above reek of FUD and logical fallacy with no real substance. Anomie 23:14, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  2. Support. I find it much nicer and easier as a reader to have dates autoformatted into a single style. I find shifting formats much more distracting than spelling variants like -or v. -our or -ize v. ise. Eluchil404 (talk) 00:01, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  3. Support. I support partially per Anomie, but also because marking up dates with metadata lets us do interesting things that we can not do otherwise. Too many of the arguments against autoformating are actually against datelinking. dm (talk) 00:02, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. Support. I set my date preference to display dates in U.S. format, so I expect dates to display as such. Also, autoformatting helps prevent edit warring.-Jeff (talk) 00:04, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  5. Support per above. I prefer US format at all times. Unlike other cultural differences (such as UK vs US spelling), this is something which can easily be implemented, as that's how it's been done. Last month, I was partially involved in a rather silly feud in whether to use one format or the other. I think it left some people unwilling to contribute anymore. That is totally unnecessary IMO. --♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 00:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  6. Support. Agree with Anomie, I think much of the issue would be fixed simply by setting a different default (currently the default is to not format it all, resulting in inconsistency) that would be seen by anons and new users. I believe it would be a simple configuration change. Mr.Z-man 00:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  7. Support Autoformatting could be useful when moving templated citations from one article to another: one could copy or share the citation without having to change its date formats. It seems less useful in main text, but for citations it seems worth having. Eubulides (talk) 01:27, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  8. Support autoformatting without autolinking. (This nullifies most of the "Oppose" !votes.) Makes it easier to maintain a consistent date format within an article and may make it easier to collect metadata. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  9. Support - it doesn't matter to me overmuch, but painful experience says that we will be flooded with complaints if we don't do this. However, any autoformatting solution should not result in automatic linking, should allow linking intentionally, should allow casual readers to set a viewing preference (this doesn't mean Special:Preferences especially, just a way to set a cookie), and should allow per-page setting of "correct" (per topic/location) defaults for date display. If we don't do all of these, we'll just come back to the whole ugly fight again. Gavia immer (talk) 02:46, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  10. Support, per Anomie and Gavia immer.-gadfium 03:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  11. Support, not necessarily with auto-linking, although proper handling of metadata is possible without this, it facilitates the process. The move to formatted articles with reusable data is a necessary development generally. Given the number of wikignomes and the ingenuity of bot programmers, there should be no great difficulty in implementing it. DGG (talk) 03:31, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  12. Support, especially given that the developers have already added the capability for link-free autoformatting to the system. Many of the other concerns expressed against DA can easily be addressed; for example, the "#formatedate" expression can easily be invoked through the use of a template with a much shorter name, such as "{{D}}". It is also a means to present a more professional look, as opposed to the mix of formats we now offer. (The multiple-date-format guideline is at odds with most other professional publications, which choose one or the other; when viewed as a collection, our articles appear inconsistent. When was the last time you saw Britannica or the Times use a mix of DMY and MDY?) --Ckatzchatspy 04:33, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  13. Support, per Eluchil404. I would also support a spelling regionalisation autoformatting. AKAF (talk) 06:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  14. Support. Before autoformatting was introduced, there were lengthy rows about how to format dates. This seems recently to have come back, just as some started delinking dates. -- User:Docu
  15. Support. Autoformatting makes sense for the reader. I'd probably have voted against if the link-free option were not available, though. YLee (talk) 09:17, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  16. Support. Please leave as is (or was). This, that and the other [talk] 09:31, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  17. Support. With the understanding that the autoformat feature prevented debates and potential conflicts over date format. --Born2flie (talk) 09:36, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  18. Support The possibilities of metadata of dates. Joy. There will still be no compulsion to special format dates, plus what bots undid, surely they can redo. Spurious arguments don't wash. -- billinghurst (talk) 10:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  19. Support for all the reasons given in the advantages, this is far too simple to be considered "complicated" as those opposing would wish us to think. —Locke Coletc 10:53, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  20. Support. Using this feature is hardly a burden on editors (I use it all the time for dates I add), and is a handy way to resolve perpetual US vs UK date format edit warring. Strongly opposed to the unilateral delinking campaigns by bots and other editors. --DAJF (talk) 11:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  21. Support. The environment may be mixed but Wikipedia is a single unified project. I can live with reading mis-matched date formatting, even if on the same article, but it would be better if all of Wikipedia adheared to a standard.  æron phone home  12:42, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  22. Support. Formatting for dates is minor, but it is very important to have a standard format across the whole project.--Unionhawk (talk) 12:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  23. Support. Per DAF. I was one of the user who objected to the "unilateral delinking campaigns by bots and other editors", and was treated quite rudely by the other side, with odd accusations of "elitism" being hurled, among other things. There seems to be some deep-rooted reasons against autoformatting that have nothing to do with autoformatting itself. I'm glad to finally see a project wide poll on this, though I am at a complete loss as to why this was not done first! I also support measures to ensure that dates are displayed consistently to unregistered users. - BillCJ (talk) 13:03, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  24. Support. The general formatting of all dates gives a consistent output for all articles. The improvements proposed in the software to allow/not allow the date to be linked when autoformatted makes it an even more attractive solution so that people do not have to worry about what is actually in the article text they see it the way they want. Keith D (talk) 13:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  25. Support - the benefit gained from consistency across articles outweigh the potential problems in my opinion. Camw (talk) 13:36, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  26. Support - At the end of the day it is so much easier to read the dates when they are presented consistently across all articles. It will stop people editing articles to change the date to their personal preference, which I often see. Most importantly, wikipedia is about providing articles for the reader, not about providing a hobby for editors, as such arguments about extra key strokes and technical reasons are a bit mute. Martin451 (talk) 14:02, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  27. Support, if only to easily enforce consistent date formatting on an page (I don't have date preferences set myself). If the formatting function has shorter syntax like {{#date:...}} it will be easy to use, easy to understand, will make transcluding templates with dates in them easier, and only one person has to worry once about the proper date format on a given article instead of every editor who adds a date. --Amalthea 14:17, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  28. Support. I'm a user of this – ISO dates for me, please – and I'll miss it if it goes. The statement against does nothing to make me think otherwise. — the Sidhekin (talk) 14:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  29. Support, date autoformatting can provide a consistent look across articles for users with either preferences or a default. This feature has been around and used, albeit unfortunately tied to date linking previously. Technology concerns can be overcome once agreed upon as a feature and the community decides on exact behaviour and markup. Additionally, feature facilitates easier use of citation templates. —Ost (talk) 14:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  30. I want date and time to be displayed as I like. --Morten (talk) 14:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  31. SupportBellhalla (talk) 15:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  32. Support - I support for various reasons. 1) For users that don't all look at dates the same way 2) Because it saves extraneous codes (not a lot, but it can add up, trust me). Plus, when the autoformatting was removed, we were left with dates in articles that looked like this (2007-02-03 or 2007-30-11). I think it was ill planned when it was first removed to begin with.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 15:15, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  33. Support - Autoformatting without wikilinking seems to be a good solution to me. --TreyGeek (talk) 15:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  34. Support the general concept but not the way it was implemented. I think autoformatting without wikilinking, and somehow bringing in either user date preferences or region preferences rather than just relying on 0.5% of readers changing their settings and the rest of us assuming they have. Orderinchaos 15:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  35. Support autoformatting without autolinking, mainly for its use in metadata. However, I will consider removing my date preference so I can see pages as IPs see them, even if the default format is not my favourite. Certes (talk) 16:02, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  36. Support autoformatting because there needs to be consistency because it is sometimes confusing if you mix them up, say 03/03/2009 means the third day of the third month of year 2009, and occasionally I do get confused. DeMoN2009 16:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  37. Support - While I recognize that virtually all English speakers recognize a date in any common format, date formatting is an issue that rarely occurs to editors, and it does look sloppy to have various different formats in one article. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 16:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  38. Support. I can't help feeling this wouldn't even be an issue had the #formatdate implementation come first, rather than overloading this function onto linking. Frankly, I didn't know #formatdate existed until I saw this poll, but I always thought something like this was the best approach. I have generally delinked dates in the past in the course of doing other edits to articles; now I can reformat instead. This is progress. Rklear (talk) 16:48, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  39. Support. Readers may well be familiar with both "3 February 2009" and "February 3 2009" (and I have no strong preference for either format), but auto-formatting can help avoid the abominations that are "3/2/09" and "2/3/09", both by formatting as either "DD MMM YYYY" or "MMM DD YYYY" (i.e. not "DD/MM/YY" or "MM/DD/YY") and by encouraging editors to specify dates using the template. Consistency throughout an article is a big plus, and the option for readers to see date formats based on their browser or OS locale is a bonus. In the future auto-formatting could even be used to wikilink months and years, making dealing with the outcome of the two discussions below relatively trivial. Cheers, This flag once was redpropagandadeeds 17:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  40. Support. I agree with flag's point above. It's much faster for me to see the dates in a way that I see everyday and can recognize. Grk1011/Stephen (talk) 17:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  41. Support as I found it very useful and interesting to be able to click a date and see what other events happened then. Yes, there were (and still are) a lot of articles linked to specific dates (as happens in a world with a long history), but I think that argument is irrelevant. All this worry about articles having too many links to them is pointless worry as we will have more and more articles linked to each other as the encyclopedia grows. Are we going to start limiting the number of links which can be placed into articles when we reach 5 or 10 million articles just so we don't have "too many links" to any given article? That's just absurd. We're going to have to accept that many articles on main topic are going to have hundreds, thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of links to them. In the case of dates, it's likely they will be on the high end of things, but that's what happens when an online encyclopedia grows. And the argument that someone is going to have to go put back the links that someone removed is absurd. Just run the same bots again, only in reverse. It certainly won't be any more difficult than it was to remove them all. I also think the date formatting part is very helpful, and it wouldn't be difficult to set the default for anonymous users (and those who haven't changed it) to something like "3 June 1934". ***日本穣? * Talk to Nihonjoe 17:37, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    1. Making additional comments as SIllyFolkBoy doesn't seem to think my comments above are focused enough. Autoformatting would be extremely useful (as I pointed out above) in order to create a consistent formatting for dates, and it wouldn't be difficult to set the default format to something which is useful to everyone (such as the example I gave above. As I think the easiest way to implement this is the already existing date linking using square brackets, I included the comments regarding the usefulness of doing that, as well as my opinion on the absurdity of the "but it creates too many incoming links to the article" argument. ***日本穣? * Talk to Nihonjoe 19:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  42. Support. Providing a consistent date format would be beneficial to the look of articles and wikipedia. Presumably IP tracing could also be used to provide MDY for North American readers and DMY for others even if not registered users. It would also negate the need for date linking as a way to autoformat which dilutes wikilinks and is generally of little use. Please at least implement the code so there is the option of using autoformat which can be determined, as with reference styles, by consensus on individual articles. |→ Spaully 18:07, 30 March 2009 (GMT)
  43. Support I am a US user who reads and edits mostly US articles, but I hate the US standard for date formatting, much preferring the European standard. It's nice that Wikipedia can offer everyone the option to format dates as he prefers. I think the system was working fine until someone got a bee in his bonnet about "unnecessary" links. Ntsimp (talk) 18:27, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  44. Support giving user a choice. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 18:31, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  45. Support it's worth having it there as an option. I would note that removing autoformatting from featured articles wasn't debated - it was simply done. I voiced opposition then, on the basis that it didn't improve things, but got the feeling that it wasn't worth pushing for. Since then, it's been _a single_ user pushing it. That said, a system that is totally automatic would be much better, particularly if it could also handle timezones (which is a much bigger issue than date formatting). Mike Peel (talk) 18:54, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  46. Support autoformatting. I prefer DMY, don't really mind MDY but I really hate YMD format. It is just so ugly and looks unprofessional to my eye. Mjroots (talk) 19:10, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  47. Support per User:This flag once was red --Cybercobra (talk) 19:47, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  48. Support. Simply better. Ideally choosable via (in order of priority) (i) user option (ii) article option (iii) site-wide default & others. Mr Stephen (talk) 19:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  49. Support. I think the autoformatting is good but if there is a problem with the software allowing users to choose which way they want to see the date displayed then the developers should fix it so we can stop voting on it--Kumioko (talk) 20:07, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  50. Support This removes the potential complication of later trying to unify the styles so that all dates are uniform. Why have them appear differently on different articles, or try to agree on one method (which would never happen), when we can make it a user preference? JeremyMcCracken (talk) (contribs) 20:18, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  51. Support- Why not let users choose how dates are displayed? --Jackieboy87 (talk * contribs) 20:25, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  52. Support, tho MediaWiki automatically formatting dates with extra markup would be better, with nowiki for exceptions. -- Jeandré, 2009-03-30t21:23z
  53. Support the benefits of automated time lines/this day in history pages could be big. Brandonrush Woo pig sooie! 21:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  54. Maybe I'm OCD, but I put a high emphasis on customizability as an integral part of usability. The new software update provides a great middle ground. –Sarregouset (talk) 21:27, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  55. Support though I don't think it's a big deal. Should be automatable enough not to be a big burden. Offers scope for (e.g.) searching for every article that references a particular date which, despite the handwaving in the Statement Against, doesn't currently appear to be possible. Consistency for readers is good. Gareth McCaughan (talk) 21:32, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  56. Support. Wikipedia should be written for the readers, and providing logged in users with a consistent display of dates enhances their experience without detracting from the information provided to a non-logged in user as they would still see consistent formatting within an article. -- Whpq (talk) 21:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  57. Support. I'd prefer to have autoformatting without autolinking, but I'll take it either way. RossPatterson (talk) 22:08, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  58. Support. Consistency and reader customisability are important factors here. Julianhall (talk) 22:16, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  59. Support. Being a web programmer involved in many i18n debates myself, any way to provide users (readers moreso than editors) consistency in displayed data is helpful. --MikeVitale 22:38, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  60. Strong Support With the new parser function and the possibility for a default, the main reasons for opposition are solved. In addition, there is no reason why we should provide anything less than the most convenient viewing experience possible Alexfusco5 23:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  61. Support. I'd rather have the possibility to choose the date format that I'm most familiar with.--Le Petit Modificateur Laborieux (talk) 01:12, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  62. Support Convenience. Also, it keeps the same style as before...autoformatting is helpful. Daniel Benfield (talk) 01:15, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  63. Support autoformatting, it's important for collections of articles to be consistent in date formatting, and the current method allows awkward mismatches between articles. Autoformatting also allows user preference, making Wiki more universal and less centric on the culture of the article's editor(s). Chuckiesdad/Talk/Contribs 01:56, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  64. Strong Support Consistency within and across articles and user choice are important to many people. If it is not important to you, then why are you voting at all? hulmem (talk) 03:13, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  65. I also support autoformatting without autolinking. shoy (reactions) 03:33, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  66. Support needed for reliable semantic data retrieval Nicolas1981 (talk) 06:10, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  67. Support: Despite my fear of the effort involved to implement the system, I like the autoformatting proposal as a way to help readers. To the best of my knowledge, printed encyclopedias don't flip flop between date formats, so why should Wikipedia? (Apologies for lumping the different types of encyclopedias into one category) If you have any questions, please contact me at my talk page. Ian Manka 06:13, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  68. Support: Localisation and personalisation is the future. Wikipedia needs to get on board. — D. Wo. 06:38, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  69. Support More based on the conformity and uniformity argument than anything else. bahamut0013wordsdeeds 07:01, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  70. Support. Autoformatting is a good thing, especially because most editors refuse to write dates in the format I find easiest to decode. With autoformatting all can be happy at the same time. Seriously, who could object to that? Most of the "oppose" votes here seem to argue against the linking of dates, which is indeed disturbing, but is not what this poll asks about either. –Henning Makholm (talk) 11:00, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  71.  – iridescent 13:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  72. Support. Autoformatting is neutral in appearance, while being adaptive to users who do want a preference in date style.GraemeLeggett (talk) 15:39, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  73. suppoet Bubba73 (talk), 15:52, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  74. Support Used to work transparently and effectively to give logged-in users the date preference of their choice. --Old Moonraker (talk) 16:18, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  75. Support I think that date linking/metadata is by far the most interesting aspect. Getting a uniform date format would be a nice bonus, and lets support the Buddhists! The arguments against read like Luddite propaganda, of course the template should be as user friendly as possible. I don't really understand the argument against ISO what is so hard about 20090331? No seriously. Unomi (talk) 16:31, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  76. Support. Avoid arguments over which format to use for a particular article. Bluewave (talk) 16:54, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  77. Support. A date is an essential element to record and archive data, information, and knowledge. Format is an important aspect for time and date stamps. The format should be consistent across the community. After all, are we not a community? Unfortunately, many of the arguments against are not persuasive; these appear more like anarchist propaganda versus constructive comments or opinions about the topic under discussion. If we, as a community, are unable to set a basic expectation for dating records, then why do we have all the other rules and guidelines in place? PatientSafetyGuru (talk) 17:31, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  78. Support. It is essential we get this consistent to avoid something like 1-2-2009/2-1-2009 which is ambiguous. A lack of standardization is just sloppy and makes articles appear to lack any credibility. Given the power of wikibots, auto formatting everything should not be an excessively difficult undertaking.--Analogue Kid (talk) 17:54, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  79. Support. This is the way to do it, because it is very effective. Showtime2009 (talk) 18:09, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  80. Support. I understand that it might be a pain to reconfigure pages using templates or parser functions, but I don't think that's a reason for limiting a users choice. Couldn't a bot be written to do this anyway (or maybe written into AWB)? And is typing 10-20 extra characters really that big a deal? Daniel J Simanek (talk) 18:40, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  81. Support. It shouldn't be beyond the wit of man to allow date auto-formatting. Also, any opposition with rationale given against date linking should be disregarded; we shouldn't be counting the votes of people who've clearly demonstrated that they don't understand the proposition. The argument that there's no problem to solve is something of a non-sequitur too, if all you're saying is that you personally aren't that bothered switching between different date formats then that's not a reason to block the choice of others. Objection on the basis that it causes you more work is possibly valid if you really feel you can't be doing with the extra keystrokes. Personally, I'd prefer a shorter syntax than e.g. {{#formatdate|March 31, 2009}}, something like {{d|2009-03-31}} could work, as others have suggested. --SallyScot (talk) 19:53, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  82. Support. For the price of four brackets ([[ ]]) around dates and no more than ten hours of programming time from an experienced PHP developer (I know this because I already wrote the code once) we can have consistent date formats across the project, the ability to have per-article defaults that override the site-wide default, support for date ranges, and the ability for registered users to specify their date format and date linking preferences independently of each other. This would completely eliminate the need to ever argue about date formats or date linking again, and allow almost everybody to have what they want. --UC_Bill (talk) 20:34, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  83. Strong support. Date formatting should be seen as an obvious first step towards the more general goal of showing Wikipedia readers article content presented in the way the individual reader finds most useful. We ought to do this for something as small as date formats now. We could do this for something as large as English language spelling variations. We should hope to one day be able to do it for much more than that. (sdsds - talk) 20:36, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  84. Support Standards are a wonderful thing - problem is there are so many to choose from - Now we have the solution to one instance of that problem - date auto formating ;) ClemMcGann (talk) 21:44, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  85. Support Its really confusing if you're editing an article in one format and your display is in the other format Nessie (talk) 21:55, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  86. Support But please, let's all support whatever we decide, and leave it that way. This is a monumentally boring topic. We should all get back to writing and researching. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 22:51, 31 March 2009 (UTC).
  87. Support Letting users see dates as they prefer adds to the user-friendliness of Wikipedia. I also note that many of the opposing votes are complaining about links and the "sea of blue", which are irrelevant to the proposed solution, and should therefore be discounted. -- Arwel Parry (talk) 22:57, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  88. Support User (i.e. reader) preferences should take priority over editorial decisions. I'd rather that date formats (and linking) be specified in preferences, than dictated by a small group at MOSNUM. --Sapphic (talk) 00:02, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  89. Support No brainer. Don't interrupt the scan of the article w/ speedbumps like oddball (to the reader) formats. --Kbh3rdtalk 01:22, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  90. Support, surprising myself after some thought. Initially, I was bothered only by the deletion of existing markup, since the "KISS" and "There's no problem to solve" arguments are compelling, and the existing applications (auto-linking to a page about that year, or a page about that date, allowing registered users to choose their date display format) are of dubious merit. But the idea that this metadata might have some future use is tantalising:
    • There is a difference of both performance and quality between a search using a parsing algorithm (i.e., one trying to recognise data by pattern-matching the data itself) and one using metadata. Something that has been marked by a human editor as a date is more informative, machine-wise, than it's own guesswork as to what might be a date. This is true even if the text so flagged doesn't follow any standard convention beyond being humanly readable as a date. If <tag>Oct 18 45</tag> is allowed, as well as <tag>Eighteenth of October, 1945</tag>, and even <tag>in October of that year</tag>, the existence of the tags does nothing to detract from the presented data, and allows the development of future applications which might well present useful data to the user. Consider, for example, a parser which was able to resolve that last example, from the article context, as being a date concurrent with the first two - that might be a useful research feature, and one whose operation could only be helped by date tagging. Or imagine a historical article in which the author finds it useful to use the early, local calendar in order to relate the sequence of events. If each date is tagged, an application might offer automatic pop-up conversions of each date into other relevant calendars.
    • The argument that most current users don't see any difference is relevant only to the existing applications, which nobody seems to think useful. If a future application can exploit this metadata to useful purpose, such an application might become part of the standard interface, rather than being optionally configured on a per-user basis.
    • Whilst date tagging as described above would be potentially machine-useful whilst being mostly user-neutral, far MORE machine-useful would be the addition of a field to the tag specifying the date in a standard format, whilst the enclosed text continues to display as written. This would allow bot-tagging without affecting primary content (e.g. quotations), and allow existing proponents of the optional autoformatter to continue to play with it.
    • There needn't be a requirement that all, or indeed any dates are tagged in an article, and as long as no "killer app" appears which makes editors want tagged dates, it's possible that most articles won't have any which aren't inserted by bot-tagging. With the appearance of such an app would likely come a surge of retrospective date-tagging.
    • Of course, the duplication of the date in the tag involves the risk that the two dates may end up different, but this strikes me as nothing new to Wikipedia editors - almost every fact in the encyclopedia can be found in more than one place, and in many cases in hundreds of different articles. Avoiding the possibility of inconsistency is neither a realistic, nor a necessary aim.
    • The extra work involved in creating pages shouldn't be a problem: editors unconvinced of the worth of date tags may simply omit them. Provided their choice of format isn't too obscure ("on the third moon after Michaelmas, in the year of the long winter"), it shouldn't be too difficult for subsequent editors and bots to add them, should they desire.
    Nyelvmark (talk) 01:30, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  91. Support - I'm from Australia and prefer to see dates in the DMY format. If there's a way to autoformat all dates according to each user's preferences, then I think that's a great idea. Wcp07 (talk) 05:23, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  92. Support This is a real issue within Wikipedia that has already led to ArbCom for several users. I find it to be far easier to make a rule to have the dates appear in a consistent manner than to allow, well, sometimes format A and sometimes format B because there will always be gray areas. Specific guidance will reduce problems if we'd just all agree on a standard format to use. I have no preference in any particular way. That said, allowing personal settings to determine the presentation of the material would be the next best step. The primary reason I'm responding though is that the issues brought up in opposition. I would also like to take a few seconds to address each comment in the oppose notification.
    "There is no problem to solve." A current case at ArbCom says otherwise
    "Whether day or month comes first (3 January; January 3) is trivial—all English-speakers recognize both; the US military uses DMY, as do many Canadians; by contrast, many publications outside North America, including newspapers, use MDY." Recognizing that there are different formats is nothing special. The problem is that each use different standards than each other ans Wikipedia is a conglomeration of all these national preferences.
    "Given this mixed environment, it is unlikely that readers even notice, let alone care, which format is used in an article. Featured articles—which represent our peak standards of professionalism—abandoned autoformatting last September and now exclusively use simple, fixed-text dates; this has barely rated a mention at featured article candidates." While few care which format is used, a quality encyclopedia (which is a goal of Wikipedia) uses consistent dates. Readers do, and should notice these kinds of problems: "The air around Los Angeles was smoggy from 21 December 2008 to January 3, 2009", so people do notice such inconsistencies. Featured Articles' criteria are based upon WP:MoS for these matters, so they aren't the appropriate venue for such discussions anyway. As a contributor to more than a dozen FAs, I can assure you that formatting hundreds of dates across an article (which primarily occur in references) is a ROYAL pain in the butt!!! and isn't a "simple" thing to do, but date consistency is a requirement for FAs. This would simplify the process dramatically
    "More broadly, one user has unlinked and corrected dates in more than 7,000 articles, yet has received only a handful of objections." Another has done so for far more articles than that and now his actions have placed him at ArbCom.
    "Fundamental principle that there should not be two classes of users. Because some registered editors would see different dates formats from everyone else (see Wikipedia:DONOTLINKDATES), it would inevitably lead to an inconsistent mess of date formats." Entire argument is a red herring. There are already significant differences between registered users and anonymous (namely image uploads, page move, semi-protected pages, etc). Adding one more isn't a big deal. As long as we choose a default date format, there should be no inconsistency with non-registered users.
    "Complex and laborious. Tagging tens of millions of dates with a marker such as {{#formatdate|March 11, 2009}} (double the number of keystrokes—even more if |dmy/md is added), and specially tagging nearly three million articles to establish a default date format, would be an enormous price to pay for the very minor benefit of viewing dates in a specific format, and would complicate matters for new and casual editors. MOSNUM already has simple, well-accepted rules for date formatting, which require no markup. In the context of attempting to achieve a simple solution, WikiMedia's Chief Technical Officer, Brion Vibber, has stated: "My personal recommendation would be to remove all date autoformatting …"." This isn't too complex and a bot could implement it without much trouble and would prevent further problems. The Chief Technical Officer Brion Vibber's opinions are his own and this is less a technical issue than a writing consistency issue. Every writing guide has a standard and every major encyclopedia uses a set date. Why should we be any different?
    "Metadata fallacy..." All seems to be concerned with the linking ability of the text which used to be the norm. This is not the case here and is completely off topic
    "The failure of the original autoformatting was largely due to the ad hoc imposition of a design by programmers acting without agreed specifications (clear objectives) by the community. The so-called fixes suggested are of limited scope and functionality, and have not been agreed to by the community. We should not risk allowing solutions to be tacked on bit by bit over the next few years, requiring increasingly complicated syntax even further remote from the average editor. Among these issues would be non-breaking spaces, AD/BC, slashed, ISO and Gregorian/Julian dates. Date ranges—avoiding the clunkiness and forced repetitions that the original system involved—would be a significant challenge." Okay...so what? We already have these problems, but by standardizing dates, we allow such mass changes Wikipedia-wide to be implemented with a single change to a single template instead of millions of changes.
    — BQZip01 — talk 05:39, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  93. Support - I liked the ability to have the date fit your personal preference before it was depreciated, and set up all the content I wrote as such; plus, of course, what's the point in having the preference option to change it if the articles themselves can't be changed by it? Colds7ream (talk) 07:25, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  94. Support - This is a no-brainer. Of course readers should generally see dates in their favorite format. --guyzero | talk 07:30, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  95. It beats trying to decipher what is really meant by 01-02-03 or 04-05-2006 or 2009-08-07. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 09:20, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  96. Support I think it's a really good idea especially because some people need this sort of ease of use. XxReikoxX - The Visual Asia Geek (talk) 09:38, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  97. Support – This is really about two different things: should there be some kind of markup to identify something as a date, and should the markup be used to allow personal preferences in formatting. On general principes, markup is usually a good idea, even if we can't think of good uses for it right now. I enjoy having the ability to specify a personal preference for date formatting, and would like the ability to specify personal preferences for even more things in the future (metric versus non metric units, "colour" versus "color", etc.); such things are impossible without markup. I agree with the objection that anonymous users should not be excluded from features enjoyed by logged-in users, and counter that it is possible, in principle, to modify the software to allow anonymous users to store preferences in cookies. I agree with the objection that {{#formatdate|March 11, 2009}} would be complex and laborious, but counter that the actual markup syntax has not yet been determined, and I would hope that it will not be so complex and laborious. I disagree with the objection under "Metadata fallacy" in the "Statement against"; it is almost impossible for a search tool to tell the difference between a date that is a candidate for reformatting and one that is not (for example, dates in quotations should not be reformatted). I agree with the concerns under "Development risks" in the "Statement against", and hope that those concerns are considered when the syntax details are worked out. People who complain about overlinking are missing the point; formatting and linking are independent concepts, even though both require markup. —AlanBarrett (talk) 15:44, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  98. Support per AlanBarrett, who summarised it really well. —Nightstallion 16:26, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  99. Support By allowing autoformatting we explicitly mark the fact that a particular piece of date is a date. Any semantic markup of that form gets my support, irrespective of how it is used (within reason). I agree with some of the other comments that the {{#formatdate}} syntax is verbose; perhaps something better can be found. But that's incidental. Writing a bot to convert between syntaxes is easy, as is writing a bot to remove the syntax. (Writing a bot to add markup is necessarily error-prone which means it will annoy people, but hopefully we don't need to do that. A bot that reviewed Lightbot's past edits and reverted all of the date markup removal edits might help.) What do we gain with this? Autoformatting, in the current sense of allowing logged-in users to fiddle with some well-hidden setting and switching between '1 April' and 'April 1' is just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps in the future we can use RDF/A to tell browsers that it is a date, and browsers of the future may support autoformatting. (In fact, I would be surprised if they didn't.) It'll allow software (e.g. webcrawlers) to extract dates from articles in much the same way that Google Maps does with geographical co-ordinates. In five years time who knows what will be possible, and what people will want Wikipedia to be able to do. But I can be fairly sure that retaining as much semantic markup as possible—i.e. marking dates as dates, names as names, and so on—can only help achieve this. Losing information is almost always a retrograde step. So let's have some sort of date markup even if we decide that with today's Mediawiki software we do not wish to enable autoformatting. —ras52 (talk) 17:23, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  100. Support, but not because I think autoformatting itself is the biggest problem to be solved, but because I think that dates should be captured in appropriate metadata and microformats. Date linking should be avoided unless relevant, but if those links are removed such that plain prose text is all that remains for date markup, then too much valuable information is lost. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 18:31, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  101. Support, Getting the implementation right is important, but I see very little downside to having more meta data and having format customized content. The objections appear to me to be oriented into 1 KISS arguments and 2 waste of time arguments. The first is, without more, a generalization of the second, and the second seems misguided, particularly given the massive number of edits generated by unlinking in the first place. 3 The impact on the casual user is zero, the impact on the power user is relevant only if one chooses to override the settings, and the only downside is on the users that choose to "waste" their time, and the developers that already "wasted" their time programing it (according to the proposal the function already exists). 4 The remaining complaints appear to be based on a misunderstanding (that autoformating = autolinking, a point others make clear is not the proposal), or that 5 everyone should "get over it" or that it's a good educational experience. This last argument barely deserves mention, other than to say that users should be treated as adults (as they are in most other areas of the -pedia) and can educate themselves as to date formats if they choose; paternalistic editors do not need to make that choice for them. Shadowjams (talk) 19:47, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  102. Support. I prefer to view dates a certain way. Powers T 23:41, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  103. Support. It's a benefit for readers, and the maintenance can be mostly done by bots. Chonak (talk) 00:23, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  104. Support. I prefer unified date formats, and the meta data may be useful too. Mark Hurd (talk) 02:37, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  105. Support, I find it easier to edit and read articles not worrying about whether the date is in MDY or DMY, and having the option to choose is a good idea in my opinion, and even if the option is there that doesn't necessarily mean it always has to be formatted correctly, wikipedia is about users editing, so if a user comes across a misformatted date they can change it, if the user doesn't care they don't have to, everybody wins.-- GoldMan60 ¤ Talk  04:39, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  106. Support It was a great solution for an edit war that I participated in six years ago, and anything that makes it difficult for some to impose their POV about dates is worth having. Eclecticology (talk) 08:25, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  107. Support Allowing autoformatting by personal preference will stop the whole linking-delinking edit war, allow user's their own preference without forcing it on anyone else. It solves a whole bunch of problems in one go. If the developers were to simply create autoformatting for dates, we wouldn't be having this discussion to begin with. The limited amounts of date formats mean it could even be done without additional formatting if the developers made the effort. - Mgm|(talk) 09:52, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  108. Support What with Wikipedia being an encyclopedia, consistency is essential. If a user really objects to having to pay extra attention to the way they input dates, then I'm sure the job could be carried out by a bot, and by supporting users. -m-i-k-e-y-talk 10:53, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  109. Weak support "Weak" because of the problem of inconsistency for unregistered users. Ed Fitzgerald t / c 13:08, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  110. Support, per Jeff (consistent dates, less edit warring).--Esprit15d • talkcontribs 13:29, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  111. Support, let's concentrate on the contents. leave the formatting to the system. --NullSpace (talk) 14:59, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  112. Strong Support Personally, I think it IS worth a tad bit of extra effort to have date formatting. However, those who don't want to make the effort can simply leave it to someone else. Should be a no brainer - let those who want formatting have it; let those who do not ignore it. --ThaddeusB (talk) 16:23, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  113. Support, primarily because it will reduce that pointless and annoying edit warring. Davidelit (talk) 17:13, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  114. Strong Support Why are people afraid of technology? If you don't like it, turn it off in your preferences, but don't remove options. This was one of the benefits of registering and something that encouraged me to do so originally.--Patrick «» 17:14, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  115. Support, only because of the metadata argument. If we unmark dates, we're losing information. Recovering that information, by doing regexp searches or whatever, may be frequently possible, but why give ourselves the hassle? --Northernhenge (talk) 17:48, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  116. I strongly support autoformatting of dates for the simple reason that it is the simplest method for keeping Wikimedia on the side of the READER when it comes to the subject of WYSIWYG that requires the second smallest number of digits. The format that would reduce the number of digits in date formatting to a simple Seven Digit code is one that would use a 4 Digit year, followed by a 3 Digit day, within Brackets, but without interior dashes. This method would rely on the Server interpreting the code, and producing the format dictated by the READER. This method would require calculating the number of the day in question, remembering that there are 366 Days in Leap Years. Granting that this method might be daunting to some, I fall back to the current method, which makes use of a 4 Digit Year, a 2 Digit Month, and a 2 Digit Day, plus 2 interior dashes, to bring up the total number of digits to 10 plus the Brackets. It is the compromise that makes the most sense from all points of view. The Metadata issue is correct as well. As for the issue of Unregistered Users, the simple solution for them is to edit their entry to correct the data format.-SSG Cornelius Seon (Retired) (talk) 17:53, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  117. Support. Dates are not text. Leaving it to heuristics (or humans!) to figure out what date was "meant" is a Bad Thing. --Alvestrand (talk) 18:42, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  118. Support, I think we should try to be more inclusive of a variety of date formats. Also, this makes it easy to switch between, for example, linked dates or unlinked dates. A lot of the changes could be made with AutoWikiBrowser / bots. -Zeus-u|c 19:43, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  119. Support. I see no reason to prevent others from getting a format they can read easily, since it doesn't inconvenience people like me who don't care what format they get. An article writer will need to type a few more keystrokes, but will be entering a standard format and won't need to think about choosing a format appropriate to the article subject. As a side issue, I think autoformatting would be a useful social tool to discourage the appearance of confusing numeric dates (3/2/09 vs 2/3/09, etc). Esobocinski (talk) 20:05, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  120. Support. I think this is a handy feature for users that are not used to the (mostly used) North Amarican date style. Allowing the autoformatting would be a convenient solution for everyone (those who don't care could still be shown the 'normal' date as written in the different articles, whereas those who care could choose their respective preferences). I think this is more the 'wikipedian' way of acting than imposing the date format an author has choosen to use in his article. Old Death (talk) 21:29, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  121. Support - "This is a no-brainer. Of course readers should generally see dates in their favorite format." -Arb. (talk) 21:51, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  122. Support - Far too many articles are already marked with the globalize maintenance template for the most trivial of reasons, some even more trivial than the formatting of the date. The solution offered to replace autoformatting-- to wit, relying on the "overall format" of an article for date format localisation/localization-- likely will aggravate rather than mitigate this situation. -- JeffBillman (talk) 23:11, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  123. Support – I'm a fan of options, but I'm an even bigger fan of consistency, which is extremely difficult (more like impossible) to acheive on a wiki site. momoricks (make my day) 00:39, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  124. Support - Was going to vote "No" on the basis of the difficulty of implementing the Autoformatting system - but on thinking it over I feel that Wikipedia is just the platform for these technological systems to be worked out - and having consistency over all articles for users is a very good thing. In response to the "There's no problem" argument - I don't think that change should necessarily be negated on the basis of having a problem or not. The "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" argument ignores the possibility of new tools that may or may not provide a better experience. You'll never know if you don't try though. Australian Matt (talk) 02:03, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  125. Strongly Support Allowing dates to be autoformatted on a per user is an excellent idea. This embodies Wikipedia's spirit of neutrality. The auto format tag adds the benefit of ensuring dates through out Wikipedia are tagged, so if a better format is later discussed, they will can be rolled over to the new format very easily. That being said, I think an easier syntax might make it more understandable to new users.
    I understand that certain people have emotional "buy in" to the current format, spending thousands of man-hours manually editing dates to their current format. For their contribution I thank them, but I have the same appreciation for their thousands of hours of work as I do for a coder who completed a task of similar scale in several hours of coding. (provided that coder didn't step on to many toes.) We must not forget that it is the fruit of your labor that are propagated to the community, not your journey.Gsonnenf (talk) 04:39, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  126. Conditional Support — Dates should be formatted automatically by the server as the page is assembled for the viewer. Editors shouldn't have to do anything to accomplish this—just type the date consistently throughout an article and it's done. Binksternet (talk) 05:52, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  127. Support looking to the future, auto-formatting simple-syntax dates provides future proofing beyond what many users currently comprehend. All (well, mostly) BOT achievable and provides a consistency not being achieved currently due largely to inconsistencies and constant edit and reverts. Default presentation for IP users, and even that can be targeted based on perceived location. Preferences can even be provided on individual basis for IP by cookie system such as used by google and countless others. What is the resistance to improvement here? not any work for anyone who doesn't want to do it, BOTs and wikignomes can make it happen far better that current mess. Autoformat also allows instant switchback between linking and unlinking per the annual argument over that - and yes, I am aware linking is not intertwined with formatting.--ClubOranjeT 07:29, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  128. Support. To me the advantages of autoformatting are obvious. Updating existing pages will gladly be taken care of by bots. Dampinograaf (talk) 21:03, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  129. Support. --IanOsgood (talk) 22:39, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  130. Support. Semantic through syntax is a good thing. Plus, a lot of people browse en.wikipedia.org who - IMHO - would like the ISO-style more. Also being able to give more detail for a date and showing only a little (like wikilinks) would result in more readable and still information-packed articles. PAStheLoD (talk) 23:09, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  131. Support. The days of inflexible mainframe systems are over, for better or worse—and the perceived complexity it allows is probably worse. It is now routine to experience banner advertising which relates to our recent individual browsing history, and websites which greet us by name and remember our preferences, even though they serve millions of users. Adding functionality which obeys a browser cookie to show dates in the preferred format while not reformatting quoted dates is not technically challenging. As wiki functionality goes, it's downright mundane engineering. Besides user friendliness, a big advantage in such encoding is to simplify and promote date harvesting, which could be used to create an event database to answer questions like "Which month has the most shipwrecks in the North Pacific?" "What all happened in Harney County, Oregon in 1894?" "What was the subsequent noteworthy event to happen after Abraham Lincoln died?" —EncMstr (talk) 05:55, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  132. Support, with some caveats: (a) An unregistered reader must see a consistently formatted set of dates within any one article, by whatever means is possible (tag each article automatically for US/UK variety of English, and make a random assignment where there are no bot-discernible clues? Or something based on the user's IP address, by continent? Or... ?). I see the danger that because all we editors have probably set our date preferences, we don't get to see the potential mess that the majority of readers see. (b) (slight side issue) A top priority must be to avoid, and correct, any use of ambiguous dates like 3-4-2009 or 3/4/2009 (yesterday or last month?) (c) Input required from editors must be minimal in keystrokes and easy to remember, and/or a bot must be able to pick up dates for formatting (suggesting that a "don't format" tag for any date mentioned in a quote or title of a work would be helpful). But on balance, given that the two date formats have as much support as honor/honour etc spellings, I support date formatting if the above can be satisfied. PamD (talk) 10:33, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  133. Support; to me this is a common-sense feature that an online encyclopedia ought to support, and the extra complexity required is not that much - if complexity had been a concern since the beginning WP would never have been created. Time3000 (talk) 10:48, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  134. Support; I prefer the idea of uniformity. tsjackso (talk) 14:52, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  135. Support; If an argument can be found then an argument will occur. You cannot keep everyone happy unless you give them what they prefer. Trivial though it may be arguments have happened over less. If autoformatting can give people their own preferred date format then it's all to the good. The current system works and is only being deprecated by editors looking to find something wrong and then argue about it. Human nature at its very best. So, in my view, autoformatting is the way to go using the current system which is easy to achieve, easy to remember how to do it without any arcane template formatting to remember. Easy is good, easy is less prone to error and best of all easy is a great way of pissing off people who just want to make life difficult just for the sake of it! --WebHamster 15:56, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  136. Support; Both globalization and localization are made easier this way. There is genuine ambiguity in DMY or YMD e.g. my birthday 12/04/72. Within articles with much collaboration, especially in the references, dates typically ARE NOT consistent within the article even now. Let the machine do the stupid work. Also, just because the facility is there does not mean it has to be made compulsory, any more than linking or putting something into sections is compulsory. SimonTrew (talk) 19:56, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  137. Support on todays date of 05/02/09 or 02/05/09. Mainly because all English-speakers recognize both is patently false, if this were the case there wouldn't be half the MOS date issues and date revert wars. Khukri 23:32, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  138. Support. It would be nice to have this facility available. If you don't like it, then just don't use it. --catslash (talk) 23:43, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  139. Support. Consistency, especially within an article, would be a big boon to readability and lessen the vexing task of making sure your dates are internally consistent with the remainder of the existing article. The inconsistency of date formatting across multiple articles is a nuisance for sure, though not a show-stopper. Worrying about all of the existing dates within articles is a red-herring -- there's no requirement to go out and fix them all, though I suspect a robot could be written that would do that. -- btphelps (talk) (contribs) 01:17, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  140. Support. It makes sense to be able to identify dates as such without having to link them, and the ability to alter formats on a per-user basis is a bonus. Igenlode (talk) 02:17, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  141. Support. a) Autoformating should be available as a funtionality separate to and independent from date linking. b) Maybe "all English-speakers recognize both" when it is unambiguous, but "recognising both" is neither the issue nor the problem. The problem is the ambiguity. c) Let the machine do the work. d) If it is available, use is optional (not obligatory). If it is not available ... e) Make it as simple as possible. f) etc. Pdfpdf (talk) 06:52, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  142. Support Per above, i find it easier and faster to view the dates in a format I am use to Brian | (Talk) 08:01, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  143. Support markup for metadata purposes, and we might as well have autoformatting for readers who have specifically asked for it. The syntax {{date|...}} would not be that difficult to understand, and you could find documentation at Template:Date. In articles, special syntax using hashes or square brackets would be more of a mystery. JonH (talk) 09:01, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  144. Support. Most definitely support it in principle and the newer methods for date format is well on its way. Nja247 21:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  145. Support Provides user choice and consistency.--Boson (talk) 21:32, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  146. Support Gives a consistency to the entire wiki. Hohohob (talk) 00:02, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  147. Support #90 makes compelling points Captndelta (talk) 00:57, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  148. Support Would automatically solve one of the discrepancies between different types of English for articles - simply choose the format you prefer and Wikipedia displays it automatically. I love this idea and think it has the potential to be expanded into other areas of English too. Suicup (talk) 06:19, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  149. Support There are two separate issues here. How does the date look to the reader is one, and how is the date actually formatted in the article is the other. As long as there is consistency in the way a date is actually formatted, the problem of how the date looks to the reader is easy to implement. I am all in favor of giving the reader extra options if the cost is low. Phil_burnstein (talk) 09:31, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  150. Support -- It always annoys me that the ~~~~ syntax doesn't autoformat, as it makes it harder to keep the dates and times visually in sync with the history. That's why I always used UTC and yyyy-mm-dd format in my preferences. --William Allen Simpson (talk) 14:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  151. Weak Support -- I support the concept of date auto-formatting for the sole reason of its "enhanced ability to present a consistent date format" in articles.
    1. . My support would be strengthened if the addition of this capability were coupled with a change to MOSNUM that required the use of a function (e.g., {{#formatdate}) to format dates
    2. My support was not influenced by these arguments:
      1. (in favor) ...benefits are obvious. This is just a summary of the three points in favor; moreover, I found the concept to be worthy of thought before deciding, so was not obvious to me
      2. (against) "There is no problem to solve". While I agree that the problem listed in this argument, "Whether day or month comes first (3 January; January 3)", is unimportant, I do not agree that there are no problems to solve. To the contrary, I believe that the lack of encyclopedic consistency is an issue, and that the lack of consistency of date formatting across the encyclopedia is one part of the overall consistency problem
      3. (against) ...two classes of users. I believe this concern, as described, is not an issue because an individual user, during any given session of being logged in or not, would see a consistent date style
      4. (against) Metadata fallacy. I do not see this argument put forward in the statements in favor of the concept, although it is referenced in some of the comments by those voting
      5. (against) Development risks, only because this argument is a subset of the Complex and laborious argument, with which I do agree, below
    3. My support was weakened by these arguments:
      1. (in favor) ...give users more options. In my opinion, less options in terms of data formatting and more consistency in date style across articles (i.e., throughout the encyclopedia) is a necessary addition to merely adding the (as I understand it, to be specified) functionality. To add the functionality without a change to MOSNUM would change by weak support to oppose
      2. (against) Complex and laborious. I was most influenced in this regard by the referenced statement from the WikiMedia CTO
        --4wajzkd02 (talk) 18:38, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  152. Support Allow users their localised choice. I want to read Wikipedia in as close a style as possible to my native English, and to reduce as far as possible jarring intrusions of US style and practice. Cyclopaedic (talk) 19:29, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  153. (in favour) This is an important aspect for interoperability in the future. Crossbottle (talk) 22:48, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  154. Support. Both consistency and user choice are important. There is no technical reason why date-format preferences and other userprefs of a similar nature need to be restricted to registered users; a simple JS hack could allow even unregistered users to choose their preferred date format by setting a session cookie. 121a0012 (talk) 02:58, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  155. Support. Auto-formatting would help to remove the consistency issues that plague a lot of current articles. It would also be nice to allow users to format as they prefer for convenience. Brian Powell (talk) 03:35, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  156. Support It allows the reader to determine how they would like their dates to look and makes sure they're not confused by other styles. AND since everyone gets to pick their own style, it should reduce edit warring over dates in articles. --Falcorian (talk) 05:50, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  157. Support Adds consistency by virtue of all users seeing their preferred format. Any initial pain caused by implementation will be hugely soothed by the long term benefits it would bring. Scrxisi (talk) 12:31, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  158. Support Definite improvement in general user experience, and this doesn't even need a JS or MediaWiki hack to implement (though they might make it smoother). A template, some CSS classes and the already existing #time parser function would be sufficient to do this. Carolina wren (talk) 16:38, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  159. Support Wikipedia is a rich Web application. Having an option for user defined date formatting in a rich Web application is a no-brainer. dissolvetalk 19:48, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  160. Support per #149 and #90. (Yes, I did my own thinking, but other people are better at writing arguments than I am.) ~user:orngjce223 how am I typing? 20:06, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  161. Support - I don't care greatly about this debate, but I don't have any problem with the general concept of autoformatting. The benefits seem pretty obvious, the costs much less so. Robofish (talk) 23:47, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  162. Support. Autoformatting is an effective way to localize dates in a format the user is most familiar with, and would prevent inconsistency in date formats across articles. NTP (talk) 04:23, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  163. Support. There is too much inconsistency in Wikipedia. I support any measure that increases consistency across articles. ... MistyWillows talk 08:09, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  164. Support I like to see a consistent format of dates, but as different users have different preferences, some form of autoformatting is required. -- MightyWarrior (talk) 11:44, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  165. Support because I think it will be easier to have this feature than to agree a common format for dates; and without an agreed common format, articles begin to look messy and inconsistent. Andrew Dalby 12:41, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  166. Support This should solve all reasonable problems. Hipocrite (talk) 14:06, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  167. Support. This, apart from allowing each user to choose date formatting, also gives them the choice of linking dates or not. This should please registered viewers, and the real debate should be over autolinking for unregistered users. (I assume that the date format would be chosen based on the country of origin of the user and thus need not be debated.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Psbsub (talkcontribs)
  168. Support. Just so I can get non-North American date formats! Wikipeterproject (talk) 21:18, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  169. Support; although as an editor I don't really care one way or the other, as a reader it's simply easier and more accessible to see dates consistently presented in the format I'm accustomed to. EyeSerenetalk 09:49, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  170. Support. The very fact that there are people who prefer non-North American date formats (such as Wikipeterproject) requires me to vote this way. To me anything other than "April 9, 2009" looks weird and ugly. And I am sure that many Americans see it the same way. Yet I think we have no call for dominating things -- so autoformatting should allow me to see "April 9, 2009" while these others would see "9 April 2009" or "2009-04-09." Why anyone opposes it escapes me. -- BRG (talk) 13:45, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  171. Support. Though I'm relatively new to Wikipedia (having left the place in 2006 for reasons mostly irrelevant to the discussion here before rejoining recently), I think I need to have a say in this. That stated, and having read both the statements for and against, I think the for statements do make more sense. Firstly, I disagree that we are trying to solve a non-existent problem here. Formatting consistency is an important and integral part of every publication, and the use of inconsistent formatting and double standards reflects unprofessionalism. Yes, it's slightly unfair that unregistered users won't be able to choose the date format they want to use, but this is countered by the fact that they will at least be able to see consistent date formatting on every article. Labourious and complex? I thought this was what bots are for! And the Wikipedia-constrained Google search is underused for a good reason - it's kludge. Why can't we be able to use our own search engine, instead of having to rely on an external search engine? Developmental risks is a real issue, but I believe that, unless we lack the forsight to fix these problems before implementing this solution, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. --A.K.R. (talk) 16:14, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  172. Support. Many people have different date formats, so {{#formatdate}} can really help. Aside from that, since the poll below (on the page Wikipedia:Date formatting and linking poll) has a majority agreeing that only neccesary dates are linked, if we don't pass this, the dates won't be automatically formatted. So I support the passing of this autoformatting! MathCool10 Sign here! 18:52, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  173. Support - worthwhile standardisation, while retaining person choice. Finavon (talk) 18:55, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  174. Support Streamlined date formatting across the board would be a big improvement.Drunauthorized 22:46, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  175. Support The uniformity of the dates throughout Wikipedia would be a small, but necessary, improvement to the professionalism of the website Sean118 (talk) 00:03, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  176. Support Autoformatting prevents edit wars between tiny minds. There are users who think the current link-formatted dates are God's own gift and removing all autoformatting will likely annoy them greatly. Cstaffa (talk) 00:06, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  177. Support - The option to choose how dates are displayed is an important one- sure, users of both systems can recognize the other, but why should they have to do so? It makes it easier all 'round and prevents edit wars. --Alinnisawest,Dalek Empress (extermination requests here) 03:05, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  178. Support --Michael (talk) 04:21, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  179. Support - Having dates in different formats is confusing. --Pot (talk) 04:45, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  180. Support - Confusion in date formats is rampant in the real world. Let's not make it worse. Tarlneustaedter (talk) 05:03, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  181. Support. For readers Wikipedia looks amateurish with the current inconsistency on date formats across—and often even within—articles. Especially the "raw" ISO dates ("2008-05-12") that I observe for the last few months in references using the citation templates (for example at Pearl_Jam_discography#References, that is even a featured list!). In my eyes, date autoformatting is the only way out of this limbo. For IP readers I am convinced that a technical solution can be found that displays "January 14, 2006" for IP's in North America and "14 January 2006" for IP's elsewhere. For editors, the system has to be simple to use and easy to figure out for newbies by looking at existing examples. My preference would be a simple template system based on the ISO standard, for example {{date:2006-01-14}} for above date, {{date:2006-01}} for January 2006, or simply {{date:2006}} for 2006. Intervals could be {{date:2006-01-14/2006-01-22}} for 14–22 January 2006. Etc. if this system can work for others (and it can, otherwise it wouldn't be ISO), it can also work for us! – IbLeo (talk) 05:09, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  182. Support - Consistency is valuable. This will (eventually) help. Ingolfson (talk) 09:44, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  183. Support - the most important thing is that the date is easily understood by the reader and that it be consistent across all articles. Formatting to the user's local seems like the right decision here. The linking and delinking of dates has been silly anyway. Many proponents of linked dates were just looking for some consistency in how dates are expressed. Linking to a list of things that happened on that date never provided much value. Effort involved in making this work is not insignificant but this seems like a job ideally suited for a BOT.--RadioFan (talk) 12:05, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  184. Support - Wikipedia should be genuinely international. If any country other than the US had adoped a different date format we wouldn't even be having this debate. Given the preponderance of US editors, however, it's not unreasonable to toss them a bone and let them format dates as they see fit while the rest of the world gets on with it. AngoraFish 13:54, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  185. Support if the syntax is simple; also, consider something (e.g. teensy superscript dot) to reassure reader he's seeing an autoformatted date and not just literal text that might mislead. But my support vanishes if it in any way leads back to that awful overlinking of years, dates, etc.EEng (talk) 19:03, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  186. Support Irrelevant links just distract form those that are truly of value to the reader. --droll [chat] 22:38, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  187. Support The overhead seems minor, and it lets readers see dates in a consistent manner. Also, consider that the day may come when the format "March 11, 2009" looks terribly out of style and we'll all want those individual instances updated. Better to just automate it now, while Wikipedia is still small. Spiel496 (talk) 01:29, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  188. Support This will improve consistency and display dates per user preferences. But will it eliminate thousands of punctuation errors such as omitting the final comma from "September 9, 1974," where "1974" is essentially an appositive that should be set off by commas on either side?Martindelaware (talk) 06:29, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  189. Support to make things easier/more consistent for readers. --Auntof6 (talk) 07:08, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  190. Support per user Ckatz and the argument about metadata (the most important as I see it). It should also be mandatory using ISO 8601 (proleptic) gregorian dates as input parameter to the #formatdate since this is the International standard nearly every country has adopted (even the US and EU). Nsaa (talk) 10:27, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  191. Support as date and time are common to all subject areas, and standardization is a logical extension of this. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:43, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  192. Support. Why allow an editor to set a "date and preference" in the their profile, and then ignore it? MeegsC | Talk 11:58, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  193. Support. The day someone decided that date should be delinked is the day someone created a huge headache for WPTC. We still can't decide because our articles cover the oceans, not land. Potapych (talk) 12:34, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  194. Support, allows personal choice with minimal issues. (No, "I can't read the wikitext" is not a valid complaint, as it is already unreadable thanks to the pervasiveness of citation templates and parser functions.) Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 18:19, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  195. Support As a reader, I like it.--Fabrictramp | talk to me 23:17, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  196. Strong Support. Per IbLeo (#182)--EMU CPA (talk) 02:21, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  197. Support as long as it is optional, and we don't have bots going around changing plain text dates to formatted dates. Let true consensus, through normal human editing, decide if this is generally useful or not. DHowell (talk) 04:11, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  198. Support useful feature for improving international usability JulesH (talk) 11:02, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  199. Support It could be done gradually and optionally (like { { i p a | } } ), and would help solve the other two problems mentioned.Jchthys 14:34, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  200. Support No need for any bot runs, but as said above let this develop naturally. The option is important as a fly-by editor one does not want to worry about formatting dates the right way (Is this an American or English article?) Autoformat will do nicelyAgathoclea (talk) 14:38, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  201. Support - Autoformatting certainly has potential, I would like to see more options - such as users logged out being able to set some kind of preference, to further take advantage of Wikipedia's electronic nature. It is good that linking is no longer required for autoformatting, and the potential is still open to allow bots to do most of the labour, though it could just develop slowly over time through human editing. I do believe consistency across article would be helpful, like with other encyclopaedias, and while it perhaps ought to be trivial this clearly matters to more than a few people. Camaron | Chris (talk) 14:40, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  202. Strong Support Wikipedia is not a WP:PAPER encyclopaedia, and editors who aren't bothered or don't know how to format dates can leave it to editors who can. Symanticising (if that's a word) articles is only a good thing. -- M2Ys4U (talk) 15:33, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  203. Strong Support Makes sense to support the most popular format --Thelostlibertine (talk) 18:01, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  204. Support. I feel that Linked dates would be good as it would help avoid conflicts as when Tropical cyclones transfer basins it causes headaches for WPTC members. Also i feel that if we are meant to link to "relevent articles" then why shouldnt we link to the date articles? Jason Rees (talk) 23:32, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  205. Support. Date formatting enables the reader to quickly understand dates, and everyone has their preference (I set mine a while back). For unregistered users, it would be a pipe dream to eventually combine autoformatting with either OS/browser locale settings (if accessable from the web server) or by inferring for the country where the IP address domain orginates (using some kind of GeoIP database). +mt 00:56, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  206. Support as the best solution to the related article inconsistencies, edit wars and the policy deadlocks that result without it (e.g. the above-mentioned WP:WPTC situation not to mention the historic inability to achieve consensus with date format proposals such as this). Autoformatting provides a superior ability to adapt and distribute Wikipedia content in a global environment. Date format differences carry systemic bias issues e.g. MDY carries a particularly American systemic bias which if enforced on many articles would reflect poorly on Wikipedia as a global project (and that's WP:NPOV). Also some date formats used in practice (ISO 8601, YMD) are excluded by policy, but could be retrieved with autoformatting. Most of the capability is already implemented in Wikimedia - it's low-hanging fruit in terms of i18n and L10n that should be cleaned up for date ranges and non-registered users, then we should move forward and once again make good use of it. Dl2000 (talk) 01:18, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  207. Support - I definitely like the idea of having the system (finally) format dates to my own preference, rather than whatever format an author likes. Personally, I prefer "YYYY-MM-DD", since that is what I am used to from computer programming. The other way I like to see dates is "DDDD, MMMM D, YYYY". The thought of being able to change dates around like that (something computers can do so easily) is very nice. I've always hated using wiki markup as a kludge to make that work, so I tended not to do so. But once this gets approved and we can start formatting dates automagically, that will be wonderful. It should be as automatic and transparent to the user as possible. Ideally, no special tags required. If a date is in the article and recognizable as a date, the software should adapt it. If there is something that's not a date but is recognized as one, there should be a simple tag (nowiki perhaps, being familiar and similar in purpose?) that would prevent false positives. --Willscrlt (→“¡¿Talk?!”) 14:06, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  208. Support Readers who care enough to set a preference for date format should be able to see dates consistently displayed that way. Readers who do not care enough to set a preference just do not care, and the anti-formatting editors should not care about them either; at least those readers would see them in a consistent format that adds to a professional appearance. Chris the speller (talk) 14:10, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  209. Support. This improves the look and feel of the encyclopedia, by providing the option for (registered) users to view their content in the most appropriate format for their needs. Although unregistered users cannot do this through a preferences setting, it might be possible to implement a localization cookie, or some such thing, that offers them the same option. For the casual unregistered user (of which there are many), by autoformatting, we could define a default state for each article, so that the edit wars could be confined to a localization template that sets default date formatting (and maybe other style conventions) for the entire article. With that, there is still a net benefit to all users in terms of formatting consistency, even though only some users would be aware of the additional benefit of setting their own preferred format. I do acknowledge that there could be a performance penalty due to parsing dates, but having implemented date parsing on other platforms, I can't see this as being a disproportionate disadvantage, computationally. Also, although I'm not familiar with the MediaWiki implementation, it seems reasonably simple to cache these computational results in a way that limits the penalty. Basically, unless the backend of MediaWiki is a mess, I doubt that there will be significant performance losses, compared to the regular loading of pages and evaluation of templates. Finally, any good implementation ought to avoid mandatory linking of the date (which appears to be the intent of the poll question)—but by the same token, the syntax chosen should not prevent date-linking, when appropriate. TheFeds 16:23, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I oppose the general concept of autoformatting
  1. Oppose If Brion thinks that Autoformatting should be removed, that's good enough for me. I think the benefits of autoformatting do not outweigh the trouble implementing it will cause, such as tagging millions of dates with a marker to allow autoformatting. Steve Crossin Talk/24 23:12, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  2. Oppose Per all of the arguments against. We don't need more options. Neither of the accepted date styles are difficult to understand. I think we should continue to move away from the ISO style and we shouldn't be relying on autoformatting for consistency. Rambo's Revenge (How am I doing?) 23:16, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  3. Oppose: This is complicated software, don't let anyone persuade you it's a piece of cake. If they haven't been able to get it right in SIX YEARS, nothing makes me think they will get it right any time soon. Of course Brion Vibber knows what he's talking about. While people say 'no pain, no gain', this is just sooo much pain for little gain. Applying lipstick to a pig doesn't change the fact it's a pig. Ohconfucius (talk) 23:21, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. Weakly oppose. If this issue were to arise now, we would solve it by permitting both formats, along the lines of WP:ENGVAR. Autoformatting was a failed effort at a technical fix to a behavioral problem, and it faces irresoluble grammatical difficulties about whether a comma comes after the date. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:23, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  5. Oppose per PMAnderson. --John (talk) 23:34, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  6. Oppose. The bugzilla analysis is generally against it. Most users can understand both major formats (DMY and MDY). I see no point if it's not going to be retro-fitted, but that's likely to be a nightmare - and automating it would be very risky, as the bugzilla analysis identifies types of cases where automated retro-fitting would be wrong. Finally if making it work requires a template or any other extra mark-up typing, I'm totally against it - WP is so prone to WP:CREEP that it would probably become a MOS requirement in a few years, and I know no mechanism by which we could legislate now that MOS should never require it. -Philcha (talk) 23:45, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  7. Oppose There is no "problem" to solve. As it has been noted, WP:ENGVAR works well for English variants, so why not dates? Dabomb87 (talk) 23:47, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  8. Oppose. -- Donald Albury 23:53, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  9. Oppose: What problem are we trying to solve by this? seicer | talk | contribs 23:55, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  10. As a featured contributor, I have found no reason for it. --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 23:57, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  11. Oppose. The "pro" arguments are not convincing at all, but the "contra" arguments describe very real problems. All the disadvantages just to give a few people the option to display an article with US spelling in UK date format or vice versa? This is obvious feature bloat. --Hans Adler (talk) 00:00, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  12. Oppose - Most Wikipedia users are readers, not editors, therefore most features should be designed for them. Datelinking devalues useful links. It also necessitates useless extra work for editors. Awadewit (talk) 00:07, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  13. Oppose autoformatting. I hate that meaningless blue mess of overlinked dates. And isn't it rather odd that people from the US and UK are supposed to be befuddled by each other's practically identical date formats, when the rest of the world with their much more wildly variable date formatting is quite capable of understanding both of them? Bishonen | talk 00:07, 30 March 2009 (UTC).
  14. Oppose, I don't really see this as needed, I'm not convinced there's a problem that needs this as a solution. Raven1977Talk to meMy edits 00:15, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  15. Oppose I would have thought this had been settled the first, second, and third time around. Now we’re at it a fourth time. No, autformatting is not desirable. Nor is it necessary. Just chose the format most appropriate for the article (based on MOSNUM guidelines), write it out in fixed text, and be done with it. Jumping through all these hoops just so a handful of editors can be spared the shock of seeing a date format they disapprove of is something they will survive; I guarantee it. Greg L (talk) 00:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  16. Oppose. If Wikipedia readers are smart enough to handle "colour" vs "color" and "aluminium" vs "aluminum", they can handle "30 March" vs "March 30". On that premise, I would apply the KISS principle and avoid the added complexity. -- Tcncv (talk) 00:31, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  17. Oppose: there is no need for autoformatting. As already mentioned, it enhances the differences between the registered and unregistered uses, masking any potential inconsistencies. Every article should be consistent, using WP:MOSNUM and WP:ENGVAR.—MDCollins (talk) 00:36, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  18. Per Tcncv. NuclearWarfare (Talk) 00:46, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  19. Oppose. Editors seeing a different output than the readers is a recipe for disaster. I appreciate autoformating, it is nice to have (international format FTW), but when I first became aware of its shortcomings, I stopped using it. Ever since, I've seen a great deal of articles being inconsistent because of this. Articles that have been fixed because I turned the feature off. The only way I would support autoformatting is if ALL articles would have the SAME ouput for unregistered users, preferably international dates (DD MM YYYY) as we are addressing an international readership. AKA, no tagging individual pages with magic words specifying in what format dates should be displayed, that's just asking for having endless revert wars until the end of time. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 01:24, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  20. Oppose: the pros pointed out benefit only those who are logged in. For those who are not logged or are not registered users, they might see dates of varying formats. Autoformat does not promote consistency; the actual text is still inconsistent (and as pointed, obvious to those not logged in). Without autoformat, editors would readily spot any consistency errors in the date formats for an article. Jappalang (talk) 01:46, 30 March 2009 (UTC) Add-on: this is added in response to Sapphic's broadcasting to users who have opposed on the grounds that "autoformatting can be fixed for anonymous users".[1][2] It still does not solve anything, firstly, no one has come up with a workable solution yet (it is only proposed). Secondly, Editors do not need to jump through more hoops to simply input a date. My oppose stands. Jappalang (talk) 01:19, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  21. Oppose - The readers should see the same thing a logged in editor sees, and we shouldn't have to jump through a million hoops to make that happen. Ealdgyth - Talk 01:47, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  22. Oppose The autoformat system links a date to an article about that date not necessarily about the specifics that were identified in the original article. I see them also as a blur of blue on an article, which serves only to completely confuse a newcomer trying out each of the wikilinks. As to seeing the format in the date of preference, merely write the article for the audience especially if the article is substantially about a European subject where the day-month-year standard predominates or in military articles. Again, this is a solution looking for a problem to solve. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 01:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC).
  23. Oppose: Marking up millions of articles for the benefit of few editors is definitely not worth the effort .SteveB67 (talk) 02:07, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  24. Juliancolton | Talk 02:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  25. Oppose: there are so many reasons—the costs are horrendous and the benefit little (frankly, nothing, since day-month/month-day order is trivial); the risks are high that things will go mucky or that we'll be left holding a very smelly puppy; it breaks a basic principle that simplicity is best (if at all possible, and it is the reality now). I hope WPians do the cautious thing and throw this one out for good. Tony (talk) 03:31, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  26. Oppose: too much monkey business. dates should be entered in a consistent format throughout articles, and logged-in editors should see the same thing unlogged-in readers see. Sssoul (talk) 04:21, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  27. Oppose. This seems like a lower priority than spelling autoformatting ({{#formatword|color|colour}}), and would make the edit boxes just as hard to read.--Srleffler (talk) 04:42, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  28. OpposeChris! ct 05:01, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  29. Oppose, Pmanderson puts it rather well. Fut.Perf. 05:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  30. Oppose As the previous arguments pointed out this issue is MoS & behavior related not technical. --KrebMarkt 06:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  31. Oppose The argument against summarizes the point perfectly. This will create a ton of work for a ton of editors for very little gain. Oren0 (talk) 07:12, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  32. Oppose Extra typing and proofreading for no real benefit. bridies (talk) 07:29, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  33. Oppose Agree with the arguments against. Dougweller (talk) 08:04, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  34. Oppose. Autoformatting forces mass medication down the throats of healthy people, just because a few people don't like to sneeze. Lightmouse (talk) 08:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  35. Trivial and unnecessary expansion of bandwidth. DrKiernan (talk) 08:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  36. Oppose Completely unnecessary. The next thing could be "auto-shift-between-US-and-English-English".--HJensen, talk 09:03, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  37. Oppose Marking up every date in every article (millions of them) - just so that people can choose between day-month and month-day? Madness! Colonies Chris (talk) 09:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  38. Oppose Honestly think this is alot of work for very little gain. dottydotdot (talk) 10:03, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  39. Oppose. Tcncv (talk · contribs) puts it nicely. — TKD::{talk} 11:04, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  40. Oppose. For all the same reasons as every other time we've been asked the same question. Utterly pointless function that provides extra work and complication for editors and developers, while providing nothing of value for anyone (especially our readers who won't see it anyway). Will also damage Wikipedia, since if editors use this tool then they won't see dates as readers see them, and so will leave certain errors (punctuation, format consistency) uncorrected.--Kotniski (talk) 11:18, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  41. Oppose. I do understand the difference between autoformatting and linking. I can see many problems resulting from autoformatting. Anyone who has cursed at MS Word (as I do when using someone else's machine) should oppose an extension of nannydom. (I use OpenOffice.) Peridon (talk) 12:34, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  42. Oppose. They look silly, often link to completely unrelated pages and devalue important links in "difficult" articles. I have contributed three FAs and I see absolutely no value in having linked dates. When I first discovered Wikipedia, I clicked on those silly linked dates thinking that additional information on the subject in question could be found. I am sure others have done this. Graham Colm Talk 13:01, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  43. Oppose it's a "solution" to a "problem" that is not serious, and implementing it would be just add another never-ending task for Wikipedia. (New users won't necessarily know how to autoformat dates, so we would be constantly having to clean up after them.) rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 13:18, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  44. Oppose given the extra work for minimal benefit. --NE2 13:37, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  45. Oppose without repeating the reasoning for the gazillionth time in yet another poll (and noting that most of the Support reasoning is faulty). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:38, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  46. Oppose. How many more polls on this issue are we going to take? — Emil J. 13:40, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  47. Oppose. What matters the most is internal consistency in articles (as in the language question), and autoformatting is not needed for this purpose. Punkmorten (talk) 13:43, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  48. Oppose. While not having a strong or informed opinion either way, the idea does not stike me as a good one. Adds complexity where none is needed and seems to invent a problem and fix it. JBarta (talk) 13:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  49. Oppose With autoformatting forbidden, editors will see what readers see, and thus do a better job creating content for readers. The typical reader is not logged in and has no preferences. In addition, both options for implementing autoformatting are problematic. Linking creates link cruft that hides value added links for readers. Using templates will make it harder for us to get new editors, as it becomes one more piece of syntax for them to learn in order to make a change that should be simple. GRBerry 14:01, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  50. Oppose I am against anything which further increases the differences between registered and unregistered users - Dumelow (talk) 14:15, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  51. Oppose There is no need for it. I understand both date formats, and (almost?)everyone else that can read English does too. And it's not exactly hard to figure out if you aren't familiar with one of the date formats. Rreagan007 (talk) 14:49, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  52. Oppose I have opposed before and i will do it again.--SkyWalker (talk) 14:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  53. weak oppose I do not see how the benefits muster up against the expended resources. Had some type of standard been in place before the content of Wikipedia had burgeoned so, perhaps, but trying to retrofit seems silly.-- The Red Pen of Doom 14:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  54. Oppose The crux of the question is, for whom is Wikipedia intended – the relatively small number of registered editors or the millions of unregistered readers who use it as an online encyclopedia? All of the arguments in favor of auto-formatting dates are irrelevent to the vast majority who read a Wikipedia article without registration. Unlike options such as bold and italic text or section headers, which appear to registered and unregistered alike, special markup does not "enhance the presentation of articles" for unregistered readers, nor does it help achieve "a consistent format across the entire publication" at all. In fact, auto-formatting only benefits registered editors and its removal actually enhances the presentation of articles to the unregistered viewer by eliminating the distraction of annoying and confusing blue date highlighting.  JGHowes  talk 15:06, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  55. Oppose In some fields, e.g. history, the format of a date can be an important element of its information content. To be sure, an opportunity for autoformatting is not the same thing as the automatic use of autoformatting. But an opportunity for the content to be changed by something other than the thoughtful decision of an editor seems intrinsically dangerous to the accuracy and authenticity of encyclopedic information. Maybe it would be different if the autoformatting would work only conditionally, e.g. if a special flag is both entered into some article's wikitext, and actually turned 'on' -- to reflect a conscious decision by an editor that date-formats are not of intrinsic importance in this article. Terry0051 (talk) 15:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  56. Oppose The effort isn't worth it, since, as noted, we really have no problem recognizing and understanding these dates regardless of the format. We need this no more than we need special markup so that words end consistently with -or or -our, or so that they end consistently with -ize or -ise (but in words where the usage varies!), or so that serial commas do or don't appear, or so that primary quotations are delimited by single or double quotations marks, according to our preferences. —Largo Plazo (talk) 15:08, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  57. Oppose. Who is Wikipedia for, the readers or the editors? The vast majority of our users never edit and are not registered. And from the perspective of an unregistered user, autoformatting makes our articles worse, not better, because it encourages editors to format their dates without regard for the way dates are generally formatted in the article concerned. A simple extension of WP:ENGVAR solves the problem. Pfainuk talk 15:22, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  58. Oppose any type of autoformatting that requires that dates (or pages) have special syntax. This is a barrier to entry for new/inexperienced editors which does not appear to by justified by the negligible benefit it provides to registered users. I would be surprised if there were many editors who did not understand that 2 March and March 2 are the same date. I also oppose automatic autoformatting of all dates on a page because that would negatively impact quotations, which should have the date in the format that it was used in the source. Karanacs (talk) 15:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  59. Oppose Not worth the effort. Alan16 talk 15:53, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  60. Oppose <sigh> Congratulations to Ryan P and all others who've tried to keep this going in a civil manner, but this topic is tiresome. Autoformatting brings no benefits and has downsides. --Dweller (talk) 15:57, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  61. Oppose --JBC3 (talk) 16:04, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  62. Oppose Not worth the effort and would reduce the readability of the wiki source. Plastikspork (talk) 16:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  63. Oppose, way too much complexity for most users, and zero benefit for the vast majority of our readers. --Laser brain (talk) 16:21, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  64. Oppose I honestly don't see the point - dates are more than readable as they are. It's just making extra wok for minimal gain. Whilst I can see the interest on forums, I think Wikipedia should just leave its style be. Greggers (tc) 16:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  65. Oppose PMAnderson summarises my views exactly. --RexxS (talk) 16:37, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  66. Oppose, this seems to be creating more work and problems with very little benefit. We have some amazing programmers who can help us through any perceived problems. Our readers deserve better articles and we really have spent a lot of energy on these discussions and project-wide on this issue. -- Banjeboi 16:50, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  67. Oppose: Others said it well, namely Pfainuk, Greg L, Largo Plazo, and GRBerry. An extension of WP:ENGVAR is applicable to the issue of date formats, and far preferable to encouraging editors to observe only their local formats. We have no trouble recognising the different variations and might as well autoformat serial commas or whatever other myriad of variations are lurking in the English language. I vote for focusing on perfecting content and having internally consistent articles, instead of creating loads of work to allow an editor-only preference which half would never bother "turning on" anyway. Maedin\talk 16:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  68. Oppose Violates KISS principle and also, Autoformatting is an excessive approach for such a minor aspect: All our readers perfectly understand both MD and DM. Have you ever seen a child look at MD/DM dates and say "what does that mean"? Too much of the community's time has been taken up with this already. We all have better things to contribute to/improve Wikipedia. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 17:06, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  69. Oppose As long as dates are consistent within an article there is no problem c.f. other international variations. OrangeDog (talkedits) 17:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  70. Unnecessary concession to people who get worked up over nothing.--Scott Mac (Doc) 17:28, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  71. Oppose autoformatting It seems unimportant and prone to problems. I also oppose further iterations of this issue-that-refuses-to-die. The "losing" editors should start acting like adults and accept the fact that the community consensus is against them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:30, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  72. Edit Conflicted Oppose I'll first point out the all-knowing nature of devs (see link). This understood, I agree with Brion that it doesn't need to be done and that we tend to make things harder than they need to be on WP. I see benefits, but the cons certainly outweigh the pros. hmwithτ 17:33, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  73. Oppose I think it's difficult to decouple autoformatting from autolinking - currently, you have to make a link or use a parser function. The former is distracting when you view an article, the latter when you edit an article. I don't think the feature is worth the hassle. The resultantly simpler wikitext syntax will benefit new editors and performance, by making the code (slightly) less complex. RupertMillard (Talk) 17:37, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    Apparently this was insufficiently clear for User:Sapphic's taste. I don't mean it's technically difficult to have one without the other because that would be absurd. I meant it's difficult to debate one in isolation — if the only way WP will have autoformatting is with [[]] syntax (autolinking or not) or {{#formatdate}}, the resultantly ugly/hackish wikitext is IMO too great a price to pay for a very slight benefit. Now if somebody wants to ask me about autoformatting with new syntax such as <<2009-04-01>>, as I think I saw somewhere, I'll be neutral, as long as IP users see something easy on the eye, be it tailored to their location or not. RupertMillard (Talk) 08:32, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  74. Oppose per others. TheAE talk/sign 18:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  75. Oppose. Better to embrace the international diversities than use the User prefs to snub them. One should become accustomed to seeing the differences just like you would at your bookshelf. That is part of the learning experience.
    ⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 18:49, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  76. Oppose. Autoformatting, even if it could be made to work properly, offers very little advantage but has very significant disadvantages, as others have drawn attention to above. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:16, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  77. Oppose. Liffey (talk) 19:24, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  78. Oppose, solution without a problem. — Hex (❝?!❞) 19:32, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  79. Oppose ... always have and always will 21st CENTURY GREENSTUFF 20:01, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  80. Oppose. Lots of extra work for everyone for a trivial benefit for a tiny minority. Let's get back to improving the encyclopedia. —Remember the dot (talk) 20:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  81. Oppose Alohasoy (talk) 20:10, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  82. Oppose Minor gains in readability for some people who have issues with date formats cross-articles are not worth the effort to format all dates everywhere in the encyclopedia. Even americans can learn to read DD/MM/YYYY. KellenT 20:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    I'm obviously joking in the above comment; I'm American. KellenT 09:25, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  83. Oppose I can really see no clear reason for doing this; it just isn't that much of a problem. If it applied to everyone, maybe, but just for logged in users... nah. Anaxial (talk) 20:38, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    To clarify: the fact that it's possible to have this apply to everyone means I am less strongly opposed than I would be otherwise; but it doesn't change my actual vote, because my first sentence above still stands. Anaxial (talk) 17:32, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  84. Oppose As long as dates are entered in a consistent format throughout each article, there is no real problem. WP:ENGVAR works well for English variants, dates should be just an extension of this. CS46 21:06, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  85. Oppose since autoformatting would apply only to the minority of readers who are also registered editors. I would support a technical autoformatting solution that would allow a given format to be applied to an individual article (with exceptions for dates in quotations and the like) for all readers, but that doesn't seem to be what's being discussed here. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 21:12, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  86. Oppose Only because of the variations in formatting will not satisfy everyone. As we do with spelling, I believe the US articles should be allowed to maintain the May 9, 1957 format - while the UK, Aussie, and other outside US articles should be allowed to use the 9 May 1957 format. If we can (or will be able to) set our preferences as a default, and this becomes a non-issue, then I would then support. — Ched ~ (yes?)/© 21:18, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  87. Oppose There is no problem to solve here and this will create more problems - Ahunt (talk) 22:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  88. Oppose I see no reason for it. Aside from unnecessarily complicating things, I can't see what this would accomplish. faithless (speak) 22:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  89. Oppose. A lot of busy work for no extensive gain. Wildhartlivie (talk) 22:33, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  90. Oppose - ugh, another RFC? How many times are we going to go through this? --PresN 23:43, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  91. Oppose. There is no ambiguity in understanding the two formats allowed. A lot of effort for a purely cosmetic issue. Same issue as regional spelling differences and should be treated exactly the same way. --NrDg 00:02, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  92. Oppose - There's no reason why general readers should see something different than a few logged-in users who have preferences set. Giants2008 (17-14) 00:12, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  93. Oppose, serves no purpose link wise as the links do not go anywhere useful, adding excessive blue links everywhere (by default, automatically "overlinks" article as dates are usually repeated multiple times. Also negates the purpose of even formatting dates in articles, and can be confusing to IP and new users who see one thing in the article, decide to edit, and see something totally different. Write them as text, and leave it at that. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 01:55, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  94. Oppose. Auto-formatting is a "solution" looking for a problem. It's not even a good solution as it cannot address every date format currently used on WP; and there is no indication that a technical solution can even be found for all the issues raised during the debate. If a technical solution is implemented, its syntax promises to be complex enough to place it beyond the reach of the average editor. A real solution to the date-consistency "problem" is to simply enter dates in a consistent manner—using plain text. All other significant issues simply disappear with the "plain text" strategy.  HWV258  02:07, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  95. Oppose. Computer software should be as simple as possible. Once you begin complicating it you always get into trouble. VikSol 02:32, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  96. Oppose Auto-formatting. No good reason to have to bother with this. Hmains (talk) 03:01, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  97. Oppose autoformatting. This is a technical solution that lacks a problem to solve. Tempshill (talk) 03:04, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  98. Oppose: It looks like a solution in search of a problem. There is a significant penalty in terms of making the markup more complicated and intimidating to new users. Keep it simple. Hawthorn (talk) 03:09, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  99. Oppose. I don't care if my date is formatted one way or the other. It's like color vs colour. I can read and comprehend both. RainbowOfLight Talk 03:22, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  100. "Welcome to Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that anyone can edit." What I have always liked about Wikipedia is that the biggest thing you need to learn to contribute is how to make a wikilink. Basic information like dates shouldn't require formatting more complex than that. Wikipedia has developed a culture that does discourage new users and old alike and there's no need to code the site to be in synch with that exclusionary culture.otherlleftNo, really, other way . . . 03:33, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  101. Oppose Autoformatting Date linking served no rational purpose and wasted the time of writers and editors. I don't want it to return. Finetooth (talk) 03:47, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  102. Oppose so-called autoformatting. It is really unneeded and overly complicated for editing the raw text behind every article. Too much markup intimidates everybody. Well, it intimidates me. Sincerely, a friend to all, GeorgeLouis (talk) 05:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  103. Oppose Simply too trivial to be worth the expenditure of any amount of time or keystrokes by editors or developers. Fixed-text dates of any format are equally useful to readers. --Clay Collier (talk) 05:05, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  104. Oppose Correct me if I'm wrong in assuming the vast majority of users, which means all the readers/editors that never register an account, do not have date formatting turned on. The usefulness is so superficial that it becomes actually not useful considering the small minority that use it. I was very initially opposed to the mass delinking when it first started just because I dislike change like any other human, but I think it's a good idea now after thinking about it for a little bit. LonelyMarble (talk) 06:34, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  105. Oppose Every little added complexity to wikitext mark-up makes it harder to pretend that this is an encyclopdia anyone can edit. Ian Spackman (talk) 07:18, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  106. Oppose: There's no problem that this solves. If dates must be in a certain format, they can be treated similar to British vs. American English: a given format should be used where it is reasonable. NJGW (talk) 07:54, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  107. Weak Oppose: I'd oppose more strongly if I felt it was an important issue, but I don't see that we should be offering autoformatting if it isn't consistent across all dates in the encyclopedia (including sigs), and it could allow for all sorts of dates in the first place. However, it's a bit of a non-issue, we'd do better to agree a recognised style in the MOS if only that was possible. -- WORMMЯOW  08:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  108. Oppose We need less links on pages. Linked dates clog up pages with blue, reducing readability. They also make pages look less professional. We do not have a linked autoformatting system to 'convert' between US/UK spelling, why should we have it for a dating system that is completely mutually understandable? Autoformatting has been a constraint for Wikipedia for years, and should be gotten rid of as soon as possible. Arsenikk (talk) 08:07, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  109. Oppose Autoformatting is not seen by unregistered users, but the datelinks are, and they look like a classic case of overlinking. In fact, for years I wasn't even aware of the autoformat feature and was constantly irritated at these superfluous links. They still seem unprofessional to me, just like you wouldn't link the word "born" in "Barack Obama was born in Hawaii." --Zvika (talk) 08:54, 31 March 2009 (UTC) Added in response to a comment by Sapphic: While my main opposition is to datelinks, I also oppose autoformatting which does not appear as a link, primarily because of the wikimarkup complications which appear to be inevitable with this kind of approach. Our markup needs simplification, not the opposite. Perhaps one day, when we have a WYSIWYG editor. --Zvika (talk) 13:36, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  110. Oppose Can create far too many blue links in articles. --JD554 (talk) 11:35, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  111. Apart from the issue of overlinking, this is one encyclopedia project producing one version of an article for everybody. What's next, allowing users to switch between American/British English? Even if such customization were desirable, it is certainly not worth the effort and complication.  Sandstein  11:44, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  112. Yay! Options on date formats is just what I'd like to see distract me from writing articles. No problem to solve, leave it alone. —Cyclonenim (talk · contribs · email) 11:54, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  113. Oppose The format of the date is an ENGVAR issue like spelling or grammar. An article should be self-consistent wrt all of these. Colin°Talk 12:33, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  114. Oppose There is no problem to fix, by attempting to fix something which is perfectly fine, all that will happen is that we will generate more problems, for example, over-linking, development issues, etc SpitfireTally-ho! 12:54, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  115. Oppose --Apoc2400 (talk) 15:00, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  116. Oppose I was hugely relieved when autoformatting was stopped last summer - For the majority of users, they are excessive and pointless links with very little benefit. Everyone understands what is meant, whether the format used is "Day Month" or "Month Day". As long as we are consistent within individual articles then there is no problem to address.--Jackyd101 (talk) 16:00, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  117. Oppose. Just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should, or that we need to. The format of a date in an article is not a significant issue. Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)#Dates covers the situation well enough. People are quite used to seeing 17 November 1956 and November 17, 1956 - and these do not cause a problem. Both versions are understandable by readers, and most people encounter both versions in everyday life, and will use both versions. It seems totally inappropriate to create work for most editors in order to solve a problem that doesn't even exist. I hope this is the last poll we get on this issue. Four polls within 6 months is rather too much. Each time the consensus is that this is not needed and not wanted. Stop with the polls already! SilkTork *YES! 16:20, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  118. Oppose Marking up every date in every article (millions of them) - just so that people can choose between day-month and month-day? Madness! WAS 4.250 (talk) 16:26, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  119. Oppose this seems like a solution in search of a problem. Something I think people are forgetting is that the vast majority of our readers are unregistered. The people for whom this is supposed to provide the most benefit aren't even going to know it's going on. Leave it as it is, and let an WP:ENGVAR type solution take care of it. Parsecboy (talk) 16:30, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  120. Oppose. I am most persuaded by There is no problem to solve. I was concerned about the "metadata" argument, but I think it is properly answered above in the Metadata fallacy section of the "statement against". —Dominus (talk) 16:32, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  121. Oppose There is no problem to solve. I don't think it will ever work for non-logged-in readers, so is not worth doing. It will never work in all grammatical situations. --Jc3s5h (talk) 16:33, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  122. Oppose There is no problem to fix. There are other ways to deal with date meta-data. Gwen Gale (talk) 16:38, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  123. Oppose This is a weak solution without a problem. Most readers are not even logged in anyway. Richard75 (talk) 17:22, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  124. Oppose I agree with Richard75; I don't think this will accomplish much except put off new editors and make other editors spend time making minor edits, to very minor effect. Ricardiana (talk) 17:29, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  125. Oppose. Most readers aren't logged in, and the different date formats are easy to understand anyway. In addition, anything that reduces the sea of blue in articles is welcome. This is a solution looking for a problem. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:30, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  126. Oppose. What the Statement Against says - specifically, there is no problem to solve. Furthermore the solution is arduous for new editors, and potentially error-prone. David Brooks (talk) 17:40, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  127. OpposeTheLeftorium 18:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  128. Oppose - just solving problems that don't exist. We have plenty of real problems to solve and articles to expand. The Rambling Man (talk) 18:10, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  129. Per Steve Crossin. --Nemo bis (talk) 18:12, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  130. Oppose - Seems like making mountains out of molehills, as well as a solution in search of a problem. In general I'm against adding additional layers of complexity (code) to basic things like simple text, which just alienates new users & leads to technical screwups in editing. "March 31, 2009" and "31 March 2009" mean the same thing, and no one needs autoformatting to derive the same meaning from either format. --IllaZilla (talk) 19:01, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  131. A few comments: The Template:Date is an intriguing addition to this discussion, and made me think long and hard about this. I've read dozens of the comments in these threads, and agree that many people opposing seem to have the wrong idea that this sub-poll is about 'linking'. I strongly support the idea of obtaining meta-data, without blue links. But, am conflicted about autoformatting - partially because who decides whether mdy or dmy is the default? and partially because more wikicode complexity should be avoided if possible. I (currently) think the styling/formatting of our dates should be treated like ENGVAR (because the world is diverse, and we currently reflect that), like our FAs, like the German-wiki (no dates linked), and that an alternative technical solution should be found for extracting metadata - one that doesn't impact readers or editors at all. So, a weak oppose, I guess. But if no other solution can be developed, then the lure of "automated time lines" generation is enough to make me reconsider in the future. Any demos available for that? -- Quiddity (talk) 19:05, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  132. Oppose - metadata is important, but this is not the way to do it. Solution in search of a problem. – Quadell (talk) 19:39, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  133. Oppose. It has benefited maybe a few thousand users at the expense of thousands (millions?) of man-hours and server resources. Autoformatting is, in simple terms, coo coo bananas. --- RockMFR 19:48, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  134. Oppose. It's a tiny detail that loads us thousands of links. Moreover, I think it's weird we demand US oriented articles to be written in US spelling and we allow date autoformating. Date format should apply with the spelling. -- Magioladitis (talk) 19:52, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  135. Oppose. --DuLithgow (talk) 21:01, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  136. Oppose. We should stop date linking for the sake of auto-formatting. There may be other, less intrusive, ways to auto-format dates. — Xavier, 21:29, 31 March 2009 (UTC) Update, to an editor's request, and to make myself clear: I'm opposed to any kind of markup for the sole purpose of date auto-formatting. — Xavier, 21:10, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  137. Oppose. I think the real giveaway here is that statement that autoformatting has "been an option in operating systems for decades". Yes, this is true, because decades ago most operating systems displayed dates in numeric format where there was genuine ambiguity about the meaning of the date if it was in the first twelve days of the month. This seems to have led to an assumption in nerdland that there there is also an ambiguity/readability issue even when the month is spelt out. We shouldn't be following operating systems, but real-world information sources. I have never come across a web information source or news provider that worries about this enough to give readers an option as to how to display the date, so for us to worry about the issue is to engage in original research. In the English-speaking world outside the United States there is no national preference for formatting one way or another - it's just a matter of personal style or of an individual publication's style guide. Are English-speaking people in the United Kingdom confused because The Times[3] uses MMM DD, YYYY but The Guardian[4] uses DD MMM YYYY? Or in India because The Hindu[5] says MMM DD, YYYY but The Times of India[6] DD MMM YYYY? Or in Australia that The Age[7] uses MMM DD, YYYY and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation[8] DD MMM YYYY? Canada: Toronto Star[9] MMM DD, YYYY, but Canadian Broadcasting Corporation[10] DD MMM YYYY? None of these web sites, or any other that I can find, gives the option for readers to display the date in a different format, but I don't see any wails of complaint. And where are all the reliable sources discussing how Americans going into the armed forces are confused about dates being in a different format? Date autoformatting is a classic case of a solution waiting for a problem. Let's either keep to the current pragmatic standard for style, or, as it seems that it's only in the United States that there's a strong preference for one format over the other, why don't we just say that it's MMM DD, YYYY all round? Phil Bridger (talk) 23:02, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  138. Oppose. -- So little value added, so much time wasted. Ground Zero | t 23:36, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  139. Oppose. Formatting of dates adds nothing to any article. We should prohibit wikilinking dates. This proposal moves in the other direction. SMP0328. (talk) 00:25, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  140. Oppose — Autoformatting is as onerous as date linking, so far as the editor is concerned. With my typing skills, it would amount to just another opportunity to make mistakes. PKKloeppel (talk) 01:10, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  141. Oppose no need for it. Kablammo (talk) 01:23, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  142. Oppose—intrusive, pointless. Ceoil (talk) 01:29, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  143. Oppose—True cwap. LilHelpa (talk) 01:31, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  144. Oppose—links should lead users to useful content. Date links do not. -- Ssilvers (talk) 05:29, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  145. Oppose—There's no use for autoformatting. I don't see the problem here. --Popiloll (talk) 06:53, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  146. Oppose— Per WP:OVERLINK. Cluttering up pages with irrelevant links serves no purpose. I know that when I was a new user, I often clicked on these date links expecting some relevant information, and was always disappointed to find none. Gatoclass (talk) 07:28, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  147. Oppose—Anderson above mentions "irresoluble grammatical difficulties", here's another. Take the phrase an August 7 decision change format and you have to have a 7 August decision. {{#formatdate:}} cannot even handle ranges yet; can we expect ever to have it handle this? But let's suppose for the moment that these problems are solved (... it's the year 2187 ...) autoformatting brings with it another ill. By displaying dates in the user's preferred format underlying inconsistency can be hidden from the very people who would otherwise be fixing such problems. Perhaps a page-by-page default system could be implemented to avoid this. Thus WikiMedia's autoformatting has a fair way to go until it is a realistically workable solution. Is it worth the trouble? Is there any great difference between looking at the other sides date formatting as opposed to looking at their spelling? Date formatting is just one aspect of dialect, let it thus go under ENGVAR ... or at least until someone comes up with a workable solution to that. JIMp talk·cont 08:07, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  148. in the words of Donald Knuth, "premature optimization is the root of all evil". But I would be all for a smart client-side date autoformatting tool, e.g. in the shape of a firefox plugin. --dab (𒁳) 08:34, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  149. Oppose—Not a benefit that editors see date formats that vary from that which the general reader sees. We are all flexible enough to recognize and understand dates in various formats. —Mattisse (Talk) 11:43, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  150. Oppose. I've happily gone my whole life without realising that this is an issue, or that there are (supposedly) country-specific preferences. I read "April 1" and "1 April" equally easily -- the difference doesn't even register. As many others have said, I don't see that there is a problem to solve, and I oppose the unnecessary addition of markup that simply serves to make editing more cumbersome, cryptic, error-prone and time-consuming. Matt 11:55, 1 April 2009 (UTC).
  151. Oppose I don't really see the point in this VJ (talk) 12:42, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  152. Oppose - Not much gain (is there any gain at all?), and huge cost. I as an editor don't want to see the page source full of even more cryptic tags. And I'm a software engineer who have been programming date handling for databases every now and then since 1994 (as my paid day job), I know how complex it is to handle dates. The MediaWiki devs should spend their time on more productive issues. They haven't even had time to fix the #time parser function yet, it has known bugs. But they don't know what causes those bugs. And now you guys want to add complex date handling to MediaWiki? --David Göthberg (talk) 17:20, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  153. Oppose - Date formatting makes Wikipedia editing hard :^( Fightin' Phillie (talk) 17:58, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  154. Oppose - Autoformatting adds complexity and it does not solve any important problem. EdJohnston (talk) 19:39, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  155. Oppose – I want to be on the winning side for once. Brianboulton (talk) 23:47, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  156. Oppose - What next, the "autospell extension" that changes aluminium to aluminum or lift to elevator based on the users preferences? Needless bureaucracy where none is required. SFC9394 (talk) 00:03, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  157. Oppose - I basically think it is a waste of manpower to make the overhaul.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 00:12, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  158. Oppose - Too much work for the gain, though I cannot agree with those who say the existing date formats pose no problem. The ISO dates are a pain in the neck and the problem for dates before the 12th of the month is real and needs to be addressed by editors. But i cannot see that autoformatting is a solution. hamiltonstone (talk) 00:45, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  159. Oppose - There's no real problem to fix; most people can understand both forms of dates. It essentially seems like a lot of work for next to no real gain. LedgendGamer 02:11, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  160. Oppose - There's really no need for it. 2 April or April 2, not all that different than the difference between color and colour. Simple difference depending on your dialect. Not a big deal in my view. --Sable232 (talk) 02:38, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  161. Oppose Date formatting would give complex wikitext with the only benefit that sensitive people used to "April 1" could hope to never see "1 April", and vice versa. Complex wikitext makes it harder to focus on the important content in an article. Date formatting would be a pointless overhead on the WP servers, and a frivolous time-waster for editors. Johnuniq (talk) 02:39, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  162. Oppose - Wikitext syntax should be kept as simple as possible to encourage contributions by new users. Complicating syntax for the sole benefit of registered editors is anathema. AxelBoldt (talk) 02:41, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  163. Oppose - I read very easily any date in any format and think that Date formatting is just unnessisary work Bob man801 (talk) 04:28, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  164. Oppose. I was going to "vote" neutral, but I changed my mind. In principle, I like the idea of giving users the option of displaying dates in the manner they prefer. However, I doubt that more than a very small fraction of Wikipedia users have ever taken advantage of this feature (or would do so in the future). In order to benefit from date formatting, a user must be registered and logged in, and must have set the preference for date display. However, my guess is that the vast majority of users who access Wikipedia while logged in are logged in primarily to edit (not to read articles) and don't care about date display (because they are at Wikipedia primarily to edit, not to read articles). Accordingly, I estimate that very few users actually benefit from date formatting. The small benefit of autoformatting does not justify the resources that would be expended to implement it (I figure autoformatting would consume volunteer time and space in articles, and it would intimidate a certain fraction of prospective volunteers, preventing them from volunteering). --Orlady (talk) 04:40, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  165. Oppose When I first discovered that I could autoformat dates through my user preferences, I did it immediately. However, then I discovered that what I was seeing on an article was not what I was seeing when I edited the page. As editors, it is our responsibility to optimize the encyclopedia for readers, the vast majority of whom do not have access to autoformatting, because they are not registered. Autoformatting acts as an impediment to editors, misleading them as to what readers are seeing, and as such is undesirable.--Aervanath (talk) 05:14, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  166. Oppose (1) There is no problem to be solved here (2) We have too much intimidating markup already for new users to handle, and {{#formatdate|March 11, 2009}} is just unacceptable. (3) editors shouldn't be seeing something different from what the vast majority of the readers will see. Shreevatsa (talk) 05:28, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  167. Oppose as unnecessary. Different date formats are like regional variations in spelling: they're very easy to get used to. What's next—autoformatting to change "color" to "colour"? Rivertorch (talk) 05:31, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  168. Oppose Editors should be presented with the same view as the general readers. Taemyr (talk) 05:55, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  169. Oppose Per Sept, Sandy, Karanacs and others.--Yannismarou (talk) 08:03, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  170. Oppose. Autoformatting requires more work, and i see no benefit to readers at all. Everyone understands dates in both common formats. There is already to much syntax required to fullfil MoS requriments for FAs, and anyone that thinks people will not argue over the removal/adding of formatting just as much as national date formats underestimates the desire of editors for pointless warring. Simply having rules for dates as with Engvar is the way to go.134.169.58.89 (talk) 09:12, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  171. Oppose. It's not worth the required effort. Makes editing harder, with at most doubtful benefit to general readers. −Woodstone (talk) 11:20, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  172. Oppose. No. I certainly don't want my markup to move even further from natural language, and the inevitably limited deployment of the templates will force any automated date-based tool to parse non-templated dates. And what would an automated tool do? It is unlikely to be able to tell which dates are closely linked to the article contents and which, say, describe the process of the article topic becoming well-understood.Avram (talk) 16:45, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  173. Oppose, per Pmanderson, Karanacs, and Gatoclass. --Rosiestep (talk) 17:32, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  174. Oppose There should be no difference between casual and registered users.--Shahab (talk) 18:57, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  175. Oppose ENGVAR is the best and simplest solution to this non-problem. -- Mattinbgn\talk 20:46, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  176. Oppose Number 130 says it better and I don't see anyone comment the fact the genealogists in USA are using day/full month/year far more than the other one. Even FamilySearch use this throughout. I use European dating. Samuelsenwd (talk) 21:49, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  177. Oppose. I suspect most readers don't care whether an article says April 2 or 2 April; the order is trivial enough not to warrant the additional coding complexity. Steve TC 22:02, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  178. Oppose this unnecessary added complexity.—S Marshall Talk/Cont 22:24, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  179. Oppose - Our own Chief Technical Officer says: "My personal recommendation would be to remove all date autoformatting." THis whole thing is complex and laborious with little to no added benefit. As long as a date is given, I don't care if it's written April 2, 2009, 2 April 2009, or the second day of the month of April of the year 2009. Jd027 (talk) 23:22, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  180. Oppose. Do I have to repeat the arguments? -- Taku (talk) 01:47, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  181. Oppose - We should not manipulate article text to the animosities of certain user groups, especially when there is absolutely no problem with understanding any date variant. Cacycle (talk) 02:50, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  182. Oppose. I never really saw any advantage in autoformatting, and the implementation (so far) has done more harm than good. Yilloslime TC 04:33, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  183. Oppose, if as an unregistered user I'm allowed to do so. That's one of my reasons for objecting: people shouldn't be wasting time on this when it won't benefit users like me. In addition any amount of additional markup on something as short as a date is unwieldy. And it's not just a matter of rendering "3 April 2009" or "April 3, 2009"; if this comes up within a sentence a second comma may be required in the second format, i.e. "April 3, 2009,". Even if we provide options for this, many people used to other formats will get it wrong. --208.76.104.133 (talk) 05:15, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  184. Oppose. Several reasons given strike me as sensible, particularly the issue of IP users not seeing the formatted date. Mike Christie (talk) 10:57, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  185. Oppose. Although I'm usually in favour of complicated technical solutions to non-problems (especially when I'm supposed to be doing something productive), this one is going to cause more grief than it's worth. As long as we don't use purely numeric dates, there's no ambiguity and the order (4 January vs January 4) doesn't matter at all. One caveat though - if we are using numeric dates somewhere (infoboxes, for example) they should be in a sensible date format, either YMD or DMY, with four digit years. I would support autoformatting to enforce this, but as far as I'm aware most templates do already. Orpheus (talk) 11:00, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  186. Oppose - I don't feel very strongly on this, but on reflection it's a pretty clear decision. Autoformatting is a nice idea in theory, but in practice delivers a mild benefit to a very small number of comitted and involved editors (who are clued-in enough to set preferences) whilst delivering an equally mild detriment to the vast bulk of our readers. A nice idea, but the implementation didn't live up to what we hoped for, and we're hopefully a mature enough project that we can drop things that don't help us. Shimgray | talk | 15:17, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  187. Oppose -- We don't have nor want automatic British/American English spelling. This is analogous. -- KelleyCook (talk)
  188. Oppose - the Manual of Style doesn't allow or recommend confusing formats such as 03/04/2009, so there should be no confusion for human readers. Only logged-in editors with preferences set are likely to be confused - or cause confusion - because they won't see what a passing reader does. 21Bede (talk) 15:51, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  189. Oppose. primarily because this is just a simple case of WP:ENGVAR. The supporters that say that Wikipedia should present dates consistently conveniently forget that we don't spell colour/color or meter/metre consistently across the encyclopedia either. The example that Britannica uses consistent date formats is just an extension of the fact that they use consistent British English spelling. The thing that we need to do is to have consistent date formats within each article and plain text dates can solve that without the need for additional markup. --seav (talk) 16:38, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  190. Oppose - on the KISS principle and because of all the issues facing Wikipedia (which is asking for donations to keep itself going) and its volunteers, this seems very low priority. Further, if anything at all is needed from editors to attend to this issue, it's not worth it. In other words, I wouldn't expend any sort of resources (even this poll seems time-consuming) and in my opinion, as a fairly new Wikipedian, Wikipedia is already bogged down in an enormous number of these kinds of discussions. The current system works, all editors know they are supposed to be consistent within articles, and as a member of the copyediting team, so far I rarely find that any article is inconsistent - but if it is, tag it for copyediting and let it go. Nothing requiring additional mark-up should be added to Wikipedia until a larger number of people are familiar with current mark-up.Levalley (talk) 18:20, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  191. Oppose — [[::User:Malik Shabazz|Malik Shabazz]] ([[::User talk:Malik Shabazz|talk]] · [[::Special:Contributions/Malik Shabazz|contribs]]) 19:41, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  192. Oppose. Malinaccier (talk) 19:47, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  193. Oppose Autoformatting hassle isn't worth the effort so some registered editors can see only one kind of date format. Everyone else will be seeing two formats depending on which article they land on. That is no big deal. Deegee375 (talk) 21:13, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  194. Oppose As far as I can see only logged in users would be able to see it. If that's the case then it simply should not be introduced. Peanut4 (talk) 21:52, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  195. Oppose, not a useful addition. --Peta (talk) 08:15, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  196. Oppose --Alex Holcombe (talk) 08:43, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  197. Strongly oppose—Autoformatting Is For Markup Lovers. The sane (and productive) expend their energy much more wisely.—DCGeist (talk) 09:01, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  198. Oppose - No, No, a thousand times No! Autofotamting is to be avoided at all costs. Also its evil and it must die! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Snappy (talkcontribs)
  199. Oppose Autoformatting would overcomplicate things, and the benefits we would get from it are very minor IMO. Let's simplify the markup as much as possible and not the other way! Laurent (talk) 12:24, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  200. Oppose I just don't see what the big issue is - I'm from the UK (and prefer UK date formatting personally) but I can easily understand the American format (Month Day, Year - maybe not so much M-D-Y) or the ISO format (YYYYMMDD). ~~ [ジャム][t - c] 14:14, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  201. Oppose: Autoformatting does nothing for the vast majority of WP readers, only those who a) are logged into real accounts here, and b) have bothered to set autoformatting options. The autoformatting "feature" causes experienced editors (i.e. those likely to fix article inconsistencies) to rarely notice inconsistent dates within an article, including ISO formatting, that are presented inconsistently to most readers. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 18:22, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  202. Oppose Keep it simple, choose an appropriate format per MOS:NUM, and write it out consistently. We can cope with WP:ENGVAR, we don't need a technical solution to cope with using an appropriate date format. Struway2 (talk) 20:19, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  203. Oppose - There is no real point, it causes problems, and it is not worth the effort and disputes. Ottava Rima (talk) 20:21, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  204. Oppose. I don't see how the result is worth the cost. bibliomaniac15 23:45, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  205. Oppose. Never did see sense in it. --Moni3 (talk) 03:18, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  206. Oppose - Anything that requires digging through preference options will only be used by a tiny handful of users. Furthermore, the vast majority of our users aren't even registered. Much work, little benefit. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 06:02, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  207. Oppose This is a solution in search of a problem. Just keep it consistent within each article. Joshdboz (talk) 07:13, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  208. Oppose Let the editors working on an articlr agree on consistent formats. No need for an automatic process, which could well produce more problems. Jezhotwells (talk) 12:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  209. Oppose Do not add complexity where it is not needed and is prone to errors and misinterpretations.--Avg (talk) 15:41, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  210. Oppose Inelegantly solves what needn't be. --Thomas Btalk 16:53, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  211. Oppose. Arguments against really sum it up completely. — Σxplicit 19:02, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  212. Oppose: Don't think dates should be linked, looks messy. Ryan4314 (talk) 19:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  213. Oppose - I supported the first time, when first brought up, I support it now. --  ThinkBlue  (Hit BLUE) 22:32, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  214. Oppose per excellent arguments. As Tony said, simplicitty without sacrificing quality is key; sadly, autoformatting has the potential to violate both. — Deckiller 23:43, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  215. Oppose: I believe we should strictly follow ISO standard in all and any cases not just with dates but time, units and everything else. Could this be achieved autoformatting would be a trivial task of simple pattern recognition that even could be done locally with java scripting, the only special tag needed is in the case when a format should not be localized. The reason I oppose this is that I think that all form of localization should be in a general format, to implement a special case for dates would be confusing and will work against a uniform standard in the raw text format. I understand that "correcting" everything to ISO standard is a monumental task however I think the benefit outweighs the cost and we do not lack the manpower to do so. Brainz (talk) 04:22, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  216. Oppose - Only a small subset of Wikipedia readers will benefit from auto formatting and the complex syntax deters new editors. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 04:27, 6 April 2009 (UTC) Each month Wikipedia has about 56 million unique viewers. There are only 180 thousand Wikipedians that set a data preference so at best it is 1 out of 300 viewers (0.3 %) that will benefit from date autoformatting. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 02:41, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  217. Oppose - I disagree with differing formats for registered v. non-registered. WP:ENGVAR answers this non-problem perfectly.--2008Olympianchitchat 04:57, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  218. Oppose - Lack of impact/beneficiaries compared to amount of work to implement. Remember cost/benefit. Annihilatron (talk) 13:28, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  219. Oppose - Linking dates for the purpose of reformatting breaks the typical user's concept of linking and they also end up with tons of irrelevant links all over the page. The proposed replacement is just as bad. People who absolutely need to have date reformatting, should do it with a personal javascript or a browser plugin. -- Austin Murphy (talk) 14:26, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  220. Oppose - No reason why date format cannot be done in the same way as spelling and other regional differences. Richard New Forest (talk) 14:52, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  221. Oppose per #1 and per if it crashes the server... miranda 16:33, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  222. Oppose in the cost-benefit analysis, the small cost of added complexity outweighs the almost-indistinguishable-from-zero possible benefit. Knepflerle (talk) 16:37, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  223. Oppose This is a waste of resources imho. R3ap3R.inc (talk) 17:03, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  224. Oppose KISS. Fredrik Johansson 17:28, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  225. Oppose Anyone intelligent enough to work through the configuration options will have no problem interpreting various date formats. —Danorton (talk) 18:10, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  226. Oppose Helps few, makes it less likely that experienced editors will notice formatting problems, confusing syntax makes editing even harder for new editors. Calliopejen1 (talk) 18:25, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  227. Oppose Luxury standardizing with extremely little benefit. Peter Isotalo 18:33, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  228. Oppose why does everything have to be standardised, no need not necessary. Edmund Patrickconfer 19:01, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  229. Oppose There is no problem, a date is a date. It does not matter dmy or ymd, unless you are one of the people who thinks that speaking louder to someone who doesn't speak your language makes them understand :>--Mrboire (talk) 19:47, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  230. Oppose most readers do not see it, pointless in many/most cases --KarlFrei (talk) 20:18, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  231. Oppose very marginal improvement (as either date format is perfectly comprehensible, and the majority of readers do not use accounts) versus a huge dilution of the prominence of valuable blue links. The articles on days and years, while they may serve some purpose, are NEVER a useful link in the context of any article. I believe the consensus against this is strong, but even stronger when one examines the views of users that have either written a featured article or worked as a reviewer in that process. Savidan 20:58, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  232. Oppose if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Dlabtot (talk) 00:19, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  233. Oppose — Negative cost/benefit (cost here in terms of nuisance, effort, and time). It's a neat capability, to be sure, but it is the answer to a question that doesn't really need asking, akin to hiring a translator to translate a speech being made by an Australian to an American audience or vice versa. Nobody's access to Wikipedia is hindered by encountering dates in this format versus that format; let's focus our efforts on implementing features to expand accessibility where such expansion is actually needed. —Scheinwerfermann T·C00:35, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  234. Oppose. The push for autoformatting is an understandable but inappropriate response to Wikipedia's inherent complexity, and to the diversity of Wikipedia's readership. It exemplifies an insidious technocratic, "high-priestly" approach, by which the great majority of ordinary editors are disadvantaged and discouraged. The supposed benefits are not worth the concession that it requires – to a vocal minority who fail to understand the human side of involvement in Wikipedia. Perhaps in future the project will rest on more rational technical foundations; till then, this sort of initiative is to be resisted as unworkable. For both users and editors we need to keep things straightforward and comprehensible.–¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 07:19, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  235. Oppose - quite unnessecary. PluniAlmoni (talk) 09:43, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  236. "Oppose", I suppose. Actually I'm not at all opposed to the general concept of date autoformatting, unlike, say, Noetica, as I interpret his/her response close above. However, in effect we're not asked our opinions on the general concept but instead on the implementation that we're likely to get. This, the implication we're likely to get, I oppose, for reasons pointed out by Jimp in vote (or if you prefer "!vote") circa 146 above. Of course yet more work could go into perfecting a context-sensitive algorithm, and this might even work, eventually; but that would seem a bizarre expenditure of time, effort, and perhaps also processing power, as explained by Largo Plazo in vote circa 56 above. (NB my vote has nothing to do with date linking, which of course (a) sucks, but (b) is beside the point here.) -- Hoary (talk) 09:52, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  237. Oppose. Support Jimp (147). The "for" reasons are very weak. Platia (talk) 14:06, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  238. Oppose Seems like far too much effort and risk for something so trivial. If implemented, it could be followed by proposals for auto-formatting British vs. US spellings, etc. How boring. One delight of Wikipedia is its heterogeneity - it's also the nature of the English language. Why try to squeeze that heterogeneity into a uniform box? Pinkville (talk) 14:56, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  239. Oppose In isolation, auto-formatting is potentially neat. When measured against its downsides, however, it falls short. The very minor upsides are not worth all of the hassle. --Cyde Weys 15:39, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  240. Oppose Seems like a lot of effort to solve a minor issue, and another step on the learning curve for new editors. What's next, an ENGVAR-corrector? Acroterion (talk) 18:31, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  241. Oppose. This is supposed to be The Encyclopedia anyone can edit, not The Encyclopedia anyone willing to learn esoteric markup rules can edit. We're already too far down this particular slippery slope, I think. Jgm (talk) 20:45, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  242. Oppose per Awadewit. Nev1 (talk) 21:33, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  243. Oppose as Jgm above --Doug (talk) 09:05, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  244. My stance remains against date auto-formatting in general; nothing has really changed with the proposed "link-less" system, and I'm unconvinced that any suggested system could solve the problems inherent with this type of treatment.
    1. One of the arguments in favour of auto-formatting is that it would provide a uniform style of dates that many editors desire. I cannot understand, however, what sense that would make when many other aspects of an article would be clearly following the conventions of a different dialect of the English language—this system would create clashes within articles, and unless we are discussing adopting a single date format everywhere, speaking of uniformity in this context is suggestive of tunnel vision.
    2. Another argument is that DA prevents petty arguments. We are supposed to be writing an encyclopaedia for the world at large, not just for the editors. We are all working on one project, so we should be seeing the same things that our readers see. It is one thing to customise things like time zone in the talk and project pages, but in the mainspace, I hold this as a non-negotiable principle.
    I could say much more on DA, but the bottom line is: we don't need it, and we'll be better off without it. Waltham, The Duke of 14:41, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  245. Oppose Kennedy (talk) 15:08, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  246. Oppose I find it useful to see the date format an editor uses to get a rough idea which side of the pond they're on. Plus, autoforatting dates is really, really minor. --Armchair info guy (talk) 15:11, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  247. Oppose Keep Wikipedia as simple and straightforward as possible. Apuldram (talk) 17:32, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  248. Oppose The oppose box sums it all up perfectly for me. I just don't see it as necessary, and it can be complicated and confusing for newcomers. --GedUK  19:10, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  249. Oppose I do not see why it is neccesary and I can see how it hurts newcomers. Zerter (talk) 19:19, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  250. Vote for this (opposing an opposing position is nonsense). Please stop bickering and voting endlessly over something of such minor importance. Brion Vibber's solution is fine by me, as are any number of variants. Nice though it is, we don't need autoformatting of dates, and apparently there isn't consensus to do that. There would be no consensus for autoformatting of spelling, surely. Enough said, end of story. Geometry guy 20:57, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  251. Oppose Confusing and unnecessary. Wikipedia is a thing in and of itself. If you want a completely consistent encyclopedia, do what regular reference books do, appoint a panel of editors who edit it all and give up on the idea of a work that anyone can edit. Wikipedia has too many editing rules as it is. Fijagdh (talk) 21:10, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  252. Oppose Everyone should use YYYY-mm-dd format. Python eggs (talk) 04:39, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  253. Oppose As well as the many other reasons mentioned, I think it adversely impacts readability. Hohenloh + 19:45, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  254. Oppose I acknowledge that this might be beneficial for some, but overall will probably bring more evil than good. Húsönd 20:39, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  255. Oppose I imagine that after a tremendous effort, and the burden of an ongoing cost to many editors and IT, the entire encyclopedia from a readers point-of-view will be, all other things held equal, mostly unchanged. - only editors with negative experiences and ongoing frustrations would be aware of it a month or so after the unvieling. --Karbinski (talk) 20:45, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  256. Oppose having got used to un-autoformatted dates, the advantages of linking dates to date articles is outweighed by the cleaner appearance without trivial blue links for unimportant dates. I've never set the preferences, as it's always better in my opinion to see the dates formatted according to the preferences of the relevant country, as with spelling. Too much effort and hackery to fix a non-problem of dates in two commonly recognisable arrangements. . dave souza, talk 21:57, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  257. Strong Oppose A trivial detail. Next should there be templates like {{British|colour|color}}? -- NipplesMeCool (talk) 23:38, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  258. Oppose Unnecessary, trivial. I see no benefit for the effort involved. Hohum (talk) 17:19, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  259. Oppose The solutions are more bothersome than the problem. There is no strong need for autoformatting. --GGG65 (talk) 18:34, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  260. Oppose If it takes any of the following: one millisecond extra loading time, if it adds extra wikilinks to a page, if it adds problems for old or new or alternative browsers, if it makes a demand on the sometimes already overtaxed wiki servers, if it confuses editing by adding more than 1 or 2 additional signs (i.e. something like #autoformat), this option would be unacceptable to me. As I don't see the problem, I will only accept a 1 in billion chance of negative effets of this. I don't believe this can be guaranteed, hence oppose. Arnoutf (talk) 19:41, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  261. Oppose Date autoformatting can easily end up as an excuse for editors to impose difficult to understand formats in the normal text, justifying this by saying "if you do not like it, just set your date autoformat preferences". Wikipedia pages should be written so that normal people can understand them - they should not need to be logged in members with various wikipedia-only preferences set up.--Toddy1 (talk) 21:07, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  262. Oppose Linking dates is pointless silliness that sends the wrong message and is ugly. 2005 (talk) 23:01, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  263. Oppose...BIG TIME We love over-complicating things here, don't we? Do U(knome)? yes...or no 01:28, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  264. Oppose A waste of time for editors with very little benefit for anyone. McKay (talk) 01:57, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  265. Oppose Just doesn't work and is hardly necessary. --Itub (talk) 02:37, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  266. Oppose It's a waste of time even to discuss this. (1) Wikipedia can live without absolute standards when there is such variety of actual usage. (2) Users are intelligent enough to manage this for themselves. (3) Furthermore, in exact quotation, the format should be exactly what it is in the quoted material. (4) Finally, all this effort should be devoted to improving numerous articles in which a non-expert reader is immediately lost, such as many on pharmaceuticals, Chinese legendry, Indian history, diseases, weather, and so forth. Zaslav (talk) 06:23, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  267. Oppose, but I really think a proper consensus should be made as to which date format we use in prose, refs, etc. Corn.u.co.piaDisc.us.sion 07:32, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  268. Oppose I find the different date formats much less noticable than the different spelling systems which we can live with. There is nothing wrong with some diversity. This is not the Simple English wiki.--Charles (talk) 10:28, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  269. Oppose I agree it makes no real difference, all it does is add extraneous formatting or the annoying links everywhere. - J.Logan`t: 11:17, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  270. Oppose It is too much effort for something trivial. Out of all the complaints I have heard about Wikipedia, there has never been a "The date is the wrong way around" MortimerCat (talk) 11:23, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  271. Oppose - Same reasons as I noted last time, auto-formatting dates often makes for sloppy looking articles when you consider the need for date spans. Thus, we should format dates based on the topic just like WP:ENGVAR. Common sense. لennavecia 15:22, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  272. Oppose  “Customizing the interface” is a misleading red herring – your operating system's preferences don't rewrite web pages and articles for you. Editors write the text, readers read it. The editor uses wikitext to control the output, and a machine shouldn't be trying to improve it by rewriting it based on wishful thinking. The GPL I signed doesn't give a machine the right to correct my contribution, even a bit. What next, build in a pirate-talk filter to give “users” more “personal control?” Michael Z. 2009-04-11 16:11 z
  273. Oppose  This will get more complicated, consume our time and attention, with little or no benefit. I've seen edit wars result from "fixing" date-ranges due to date auto-formatting. We have more important things to do. --A D Monroe III (talk) 18:47, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  274. Oppose – The main problem I have come across with autoformatting is that it is impossible to format ranges of dates within a month so that they display readably no matter what the preference is set to. Autoformatting just causes problems and has no advantages, it should be completely disabled. MTC (talk) 19:43, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  275. Oppose - Too much fuzz about something that adds negligible value to the users. GunnarHj (talk) 23:51, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  276. Oppose for many of the reasons stated above. Ti-30X (talk) 01:32, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  277. Oppose --Juliaaltagracia (talk) 06:47, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  278. Oppose We don't autoformat issues such as American/British usage, so why do this issue? 11 April 2009 and April 11, 2009 are both unambiguous, and as long as an article is internally consistant, there is no need for all of Wikipedia to be so. It would be exactly like autoformatting British users to read "colour" where American users type "color". It seems rather pointless. If the software could be modified to recognize and autoformat dates without any action from users (such as adding wikilinks or template headers or magic words or ANYTHING) that MAY be an OK idea. But the notion that editors should have to add square brackets or even worse, an entire template, to every date just so that we can pick whether we want the month name first or second seems beyond pointless. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 14:54, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  279. Oppose per above arguments. NSR77 T 15:52, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  280. Oppose What need is there for such a feature? This is not a rhetorical question; the answer is none. Unnecessary and trivial – basically per above. Andre666 (talk) 17:15, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  281. Oppose as per Scheinwerfermann (#233) and Waltham (#244). Also, the value of helping persnickety WP editors to see dates always in the format they're used to seeing them in does not outweigh the bother involved. No one is confused by dates, and editors need to be tolerant about style. Reconsideration (talk) 18:20, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  282. Oppose; too much effort for too little return. Make it truly automatic (no special formatting required) or forget it. --Spangineerws (háblame) 19:57, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  283. per all of the above arguments, and because a decision is needed. Hiding T 21:11, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  284. Jake Wartenberg 23:49, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  285. (Disclosure - I was contacted privately to contribute after expressing an opinion last year, and would not have seen this discussion otherwise) - Oppose - What will the default format be? If it forces all articles into the same format, that will be bad - UK articles should default to UK format and USA articles should default to USA format. So the only way to make it work is to have two format statements (one for USA format, one for UK format) - and it's just not worth it for such a minor thing. Adds too much complexity to editing for no good reason. Peter Ballard (talk) 11:10, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  286. Oppose. No benefit (and only grief) for the wiki. Moreover, the pro arguments are not convincing.
    #1 Proponents for date formatting allege that date-formatting is necessary to extract meta-data. That is false.
    • Meta-data has nothing whatsoever to do with date-formatting.
    • Meta-data is not a property of markup. If dates with markup have meta-data, and – as is implied – dates without markup do not have meta-data, then (it follows that) meta-data must be a property of markup. The implied ability to auto-generate meaningful content from markup would be, uh, pretty miraculous.
    • The meta-data instrinsic to dates has nothing to do with how how dates are written or formatted. Regardless of whether a date was formatted by hand, or with [[ ]], or {{#formatdate}}, the information that can be culled from that date will always remain the same. For example, that "12 April 2009" is a Sunday, that it is the 102nd day of the year, and so on.
    #2 Proponents for date formatting allege that "date markup has been identified" (?) "as central to the development of new features".
    • Those "features" have not been developed yet. We can't be expected to vote on vaporware.
    • Wikipedia is not a giant sandbox. If proponents want to develop new features, then they are welcome to do it elsewhere first, and then come back here for feedback.
    • Date-markup has existed for "almost six years now". Nothing whatsoever has been done with it in that time.
    #3 Proponents for date formatting presuppose that automation depends on dates being marked up. This is false.
    • It is not difficult to find all instances of a certain date. From those 80 million hits, of which only a minute fraction are marked up, it should be obvious that one does not need to markup a date to find references to it.
    • It is not at all difficult for software to "find" dates in text. Special markup is neither necessary nor desirable. Every reasonably-competent programmer can put together a routine to parse a text for dates. Such a routine is not significantly more complex than a routine that searches for any other combination of words.
    #4 Proponents have alleged that (server-side) "[d]ate autoformatting allows greater consistency". This is false.
    • Automated date formatting ala [[ ]] or {{#formatdate}} does not facilitate greater consistency than what can be accomplished if editors were to write out their dates by hand.
    • Articles have a whole gamut of consistency issues. Consistency is not just limited to date formatting style, but also includes citation style, ndash/mdash style, era style, and ENGVAR style.
      MOS has guidelines for all these issues, and there is no reason whatsoever why date formatting should warrant special treatment.
    • Editors are obliged to work cooperatively. This means that – before they begin editing an article – they also take the time to determine where the content that they wish to add should go. This means that they also honor the style already in use in an article. Not just citation style, dash style, era style, and ENGVAR style, etc, but date style as well.
    • It is not the task of servers to ensure consistency within articles. What server-side date-formatting automation does do is allow editors to disregard existing date-formatting conventions. Proponents for date markup sell this as an argument for "more choices". But what they really want is a license to say "what do I care what dateformat, engvar, era, citation style is in use? I'm going to use my preferred one, and the technology should sort it out!" Needless to say, that is outrageously inconsiderate, and – from a technical point of view – myopic.
    Summary: There is no "problem". Ergo, there is also nothing that requires a "solution". The original date-formatting solution (DateFormatter.php) was implemented to quell edit warring over date style. In the meanwhile we have gotten a fairly robust MOS guidelines for that and other style issues, and DateFormatter.php is no longer necessary. We don't need another hack to replace the first hack. We need editors to conform with MOS, which is a "site-wide standard" already in place. If anons/newbies fail to adhere to that "site-wide standard", then we can have a bot clean up after them. If established editors persistently refuse to adhere to that "site-wide standard", then we ought to community-block them (Arbcom decisions on style warring are a precendent). MOS rules, and the community doesn't need endless drama over non-problems. -- Fullstop (talk) 13:30, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  287. Weak oppose. I originally voted 'support' because I think more customizability is generally better, and because the predominant "MMM DD, YYYY" date format feels like a case of American cultural standards being imposed on the rest of the world, and that makes me uncomfortable. Phil Bridger (talk · contribs) and others convinced me that that is not actually the case, and that, if anything, this change appeals mainly to Americans who can't cope with Continental date conventions. I'm also convinced that using even lightweight markup to dress up something as fundamental as a calendar date is ultimately confusing for new editors, and we should not be taking the encyclopedia that way. At this point, I think that while a bit of date markup like {{date|2009|04|07}} might still be useful for tasks like building sortable tables, it should not be made the standard way to express dates throughout the encyclopedia. Tim Pierce (talk) 14:33, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I am neutral on the general concept of autoformatting
  1. While I do not oppose the idea of autoformatting (provided that editors have an option to see dates as they are entered in the source, and provided that it uses a simple syntax—something like [{30 March 2008}] would be fine, {{#formatdate:|30 March 2008}} wouldn't), I oppose the current system, and oppose implementing any system on Wikipedia until it is shown to correctly handle date ranges, commas after year in M-Y-D, and so on. I also don't want it to start a slippery slope towards autoformatting of words and the like (at least until we implement an AI able to decide which meaning of "ass" is used when translating an article from American to Commonwealth English, that is). --A. di M. (talk) 06:18, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  2. I don't support the addition of metadata in this case. I just can't get worked up enough to call my "don't support" an "oppose." It's not really an issue, in my mind. Cnilep (talk) 14:28, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  3. While I see the advantage of autoformatting, I am aesthetically opposed to seeing link tags all over a page. Beyond that conflict between two lightly-held opinions, I really don't care about the issue. -- llywrch (talk) 16:22, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. Given how much heat vs. light this has attracted, I really don't care about the outcome, just that it gets settled, conclusively, one way or the other. Jclemens (talk) 16:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  5. It sounds useful, but we already have too much wikimarkup in our articles, to the point that an inexperienced user can't edit pages because of infoboxes and references. When the new GUI comes out next year, then it may be OK to add autoformatting. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 18:08, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  6. Tired of this stupid debate over dates. Lets get back to writing articles and improving the substance of the content. Aboutmovies (talk) 21:28, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  7. What, this still hasn't been resolved? Wait, that's no surprise. What this problem needs is someone proficient in PHP and very familiar with MediaWiki spending about a month working on code covering as many cases as possible, and then coming back and presenting their model + test cases. In the meantime, I could care less, and I have far better uses of my time than arguing over something so utterly trivial. ダイノガイ?!」(Dinoguy1000) 22:16, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  8. Link them, don't link them, how does that matter? I once found that I like the dates being in pretty blue links, but most of the time they don't really serve a purpose. Let's just be done with this discussion so that we can continue to write our articles without linking/delinking dates over and over again. -- クラウド668 07:24, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  9. Much ado about nothing J04n(talk page) 01:13, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  10. Per A. di M. above. Ruslik (talk) 07:17, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  11. I actually like the idea of autoformatting and agree it is a good way forward (and yes i think it could eventually affect BC/BCE and other personal formatting tastes in order to create a more consistent and professional encyclopedia. the concerns about "too much work" are ridiculous - obviously there is somebody out there who would like to do this, a majority of dates are wrapped up in templates and those that aren't could be easily tagged with AWB, i've perfomed several similar edits applying {{convert}} to multiple articles with few errors which had more to do with my own shortcomings. however, it does not appear there is any demonstrated use of this and i would rather see it hacked out at wikilabs or somewhere else first before i agree to having this. - ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 08:08, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  12. Like the idea in principle, but the more templates we add to articles, the more wiki markup bloating the edit windows, the more intimidating even simple editing wikipedia becomes for newcomers. Professor marginalia (talk) 16:54, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  13. I'd don't mind either way whether dates have autoformatting options providing it doesn't rely on date linking. --Phil Holmes (talk) 08:21, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  14. I have no objection to allowing use of the {{#formatdate}} function, as long as it is not mandatory. Using it doesn't seem to do any harm, since unregistered users will see the same thing they would see if the date were not formatted at all, and registered users can use the preference setting if they wish. It also has the minor benefit (apparently, based on limited testing) of properly formatting at least some mis-formatted dates (like changing "April 2 2009" to "April 2, 2009"). Just don't go around berating editors who type in dates in plain text! --R'n'B (call me Russ) 13:26, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  15. Provided the date is specified as 7 March, 1997 or March 7, 1997 rather than 7-3-97 or 3-7-97 then there is no major problem. PRL42 (talk) 16:10, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  16. Voting Breeds Sock Puppets. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gsonnenf (talkcontribs)
  17. I am neutral in that ultimately I do not really care. However, I am leaning towards oppose because autoformatting is only useful to registered editors, not the general reader. Bendono (talk) 18:09, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  18. I am neutral because I see a balance of competing valid interests and can go along with whichever prevails. However I am strongly opposed to the notion in evidence in the subtext of many of the responses that elimination of date formatting eliminates the need for special markup for some dates. Used in narrow contexts such as with infoboxes, there is a family of templates whose only purpose currently is to emit microformat information. There have been a great deal of erroneous remarks that use the term metadata to associate this information with search and the like. Wikipedia also emits coordinate microformat data, and in the same way that it allows interaction with internet map applications, date/time templates allow interaction with internet applications that understand time data. With that said, I share the opinion of Professor marginalia and Peregrine Fisher expressed above and believe that edit text should not be needlessly cluttered with templates or other complicated markup. Even plain wikitext is a significant barrier and stands in the way of the core principle that everyone is an editor.-J JMesserly (talk) 16:37, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
    Neutral, per J JMesserly who makes excellent points just above. I don't really mind either way, but I agree that Wikipedia articles are getting too complicated when viewed in an edit box. Hiding T 14:02, 5 April 2009 (UTC)*Addendum. Just looked at the talk page and seen all the inane arguments over what consensus is. Please add my vote to whichever side gets the biggest pile in the hope it settles this once and for all and all parties accept it with good grace. Hiding T 10:14, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  19. My, my. Count me among the don't care crowd. I will never link another date again, regardless of the outcome of this debate. I've spent many tedious moments on WP linking dates for autoformatting at the demands of review processes within WP. I am sure if it ends up being policy, someone else will be happy to waste their time doing it. Me, not so much. Glad I got to opine though.--IvoShandor (talk) 06:24, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
    What I am saying is, as long as I don't have to do anything I don't care what we do. Thus, the neutral.--IvoShandor (talk) 13:20, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  20. Neutral - I barely understand how it works. Deb (talk) 18:05, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  21. Neutral - I find this a bit unnecessary (for myself to get involved in, ie.). prashanthns (talk) 06:00, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  22. As long as months are spelled out and not abbreviated as numbers (which autoformatting can't separate anyway), there is no real risk of confusion. At the same time, giving people display options is not a bad thing, so long as it does not place an undue burden on the site. Ham Pastrami (talk) 05:57, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  23. Most readers aren't going to be logged in so there isn't much point in going out of our way to get the dates to be autoformatted. However, a lot of people won't really notice the difference between 1 January 2009 and January 1 2009 and I don't mind if some pages use this syntax. Tra (Talk) 10:37, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  24. I tend to favor adopting ISO 8601 (yyyy-mm-dd) which could be autoformatted according to the user's preference. Though not widely used in prose (and recommended against, I believe) it's intuitive and easy to type. I oppose making the editor master a template just to write a date. I strongly oppose bluelinked dates, which are trivia. Thus, I'm not sure whether I should support or oppose autoformatting, as I'm not sure if my preference is on the table. Fletcher (talk) 14:21, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  25. In principle, I would tend to support autoformatting if it did not include autolinking (as it has heretofore) and the option is extended to all readers. Since this debate resurrected itself last summer, the two main reasons for deprecating datelinking have been the “sea of blue” and, more particularly, the fact that only a tiny percentage of readers – those who are registered users – even have the option of viewing dates in their preferred format; furthermore, the use of this option prevented registered users (who comprise a significant portion of the most active editors) from realizing what a mess the date formats in a given article are – which is what the great majority of readers actually see. There was always considerable support for a developer-created solution that would permit all readers to be able to set a preference; this would, of course, not remedy the mixed-format mess, but would at least allow readers to choose to not have to view these problems. To the extent that autoformatting of dates is not available to all readers, then it behooves editors to rely on the raw text format to know what may need cleaning up. The crux of the problem, then, is how resolvable the coding of such an autoformatting parser or template function is. Folk more knowledgeable than myself seem to be falling out on both sides of that issue, so until there’s a specific proposal on how to accomplish that, this whole poll is moot. Askari Mark (Talk) 00:50, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Comments regarding autoformatting
  • How much of a huge, bold, flashing editnotice would be enough to convince people that this section is about autoformatting, not linking? Or do we need an AbuseFilter warning on the word "link"? Anomie 00:12, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • No-one above appears to have conflated the two. Ohconfucius (talk) 01:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • A majority of the "oppose" !votes appear to have conflated the two. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:07, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • To quote someone I know: "I wasn't going to reply unless an idiotic argument was presented by someone. Congratulations." Ohconfucius (talk) 03:21, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Wow. I am currently seeing 3 who mention linking in the rationale as if it was implied by autoformatting, but also give unrelated reasons (Awadewit, Bishonen, Bzuk), 3 who give no rationale (Donald Albury, Juliancolton, Chrishomingtang), and 29 who give a rationale that doesn't suggest they are confused about this. Since when is 3:29 a majority? Perhaps you are confused and think that this is about autoformatting without markup? Then read above under "What is date autoformatting?" It is not presented as an option. --Hans Adler (talk) 08:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Arthur Rubin is a mathematician, so I'm sure he knows what "majority" means.--otherlleftNo, really, other way . . . 03:38, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • And why must I give yet another rationale when so many have already been given. This is not something like AfD, where the weight of arguments invoking policy should be decisive, this is a preference poll. -- Donald Albury 12:34, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I've stated my opinion several times in the past, so I feel there's no need to provide a rationale. This is, as the title suggests, a poll. –Juliancolton | Talk 19:22, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree that this is a poll and tons of reasons have been given by others already.—Chris! ct 20:24, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Sorry, I meant no offence and no rationale is of course perfectly OK. The only problem is that in a situation where some editors give rationales that prove they are confused ("I hate autoformatting because I hate the sea of irrelevant blue links") with no clue how they would have voted if they were not, every vote without a rationale will potentially be discarded by those who don't like the result of the poll.
  • Ah, ye of little (good) faith. -- Donald Albury 16:11, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm concerned about this too. If the proposal is defeated, so be it, but it would be a real shame if it were defeated because a large number of editors were still under a wrong impression of the implementation details. Tim Pierce (talk) 13:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Why is it that so many people seem to think that marking up millions of dates requires a great deal of work, but removing markup from those dates is no work at all?-Jeff (talk) 01:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Bots can easily recognise and remove double-square brackets around dates. Adding date coding (especially complex coding) must be done contextually (instance-by-instance).  HWV258  01:53, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I'd bet that a lot of the basic markup could be done by bots, if all they have to do is recognize dates and enclose them in something trivial. The actual choice of what format to use would need human intervention, but that could be separated from the markup around particular dates. Gavia immer (talk) 02:53, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Agreeing with the above. Bots should be able to easily recognize dates, marked up or not, through the use of regular expressions.-Jeff (talk) 03:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
(To the above two posts) The edit comment of "Most of the work could be bot-accomplished" is the key. How is most defined? Also, "The actual choice of what format to use would need human intervention" is a whopper in terms of slowing down the process. Anyhow, doesn't change the basic point that bot-removal of date formatting is trivial (to get back to the original post).  HWV258  03:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
If you separate the recognition of formattable dates from the format control, it's no big deal - just add a {{DEFAULTDATEFORMAT}} (or whatever name) parameter that works like {{DEFAULTSORT}}, appearing once per article to control the default date display format. Then you can add separate markup to actually set off dates, with an option to set the default display format for that one date. The sticky bit is that dates in direct quotations shouldn't be autoformatted, so a bot solution would have to recognize when to skip marking those up. A bot that got this even 90% right would leave very little work for human editors to slog through. Gavia immer (talk) 04:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
With your response above, you've confirmed the validity of my initial response to the original question (you do remember the original question?). Please take this up on a talk page somewhere—we've been discussing these sort of issues for months now. Thanks.  HWV258  06:10, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I guess we need to add to the bold flashing editnotice that "unregistered users see inconsistent dates" can be easily fixed, so opposing on that basis is rather … misguided. And edit wars would occur just as often in the absence of a magic word with autoformatting, but they'd be worse because the warriors would be messing with dates all over the article (and possibly missing some each time). Anomie 02:48, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Prevention of edit-warring? The notion I see raised above by one or two editors that autoformatting is needed to avoid edit-wars over which format is chosen for an article is, I believe, barking up the wrong tree. Yes, apparently the original system was a response to friction on this matter, but 2003 was early days for the community, and we had established proper rules for neither date formatting nor ENGVAR spelling. We now have well-established practices for both (MOSNUM, MoS), and they are highly successful, by all accounts. Tony (talk) 08:41, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
      • And yet still not as simple as letting editors enter dates in whatever format they like and letting the system auto format them to what readers prefer... at some point in the chain (editing/reading) you'll have someone using or seeing a date format they don't prefer when it needn't be that way. —Locke Coletc 10:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
      • With regards to these "well-established practices" for date formatting, if they are really "highly successful", why has Wikipedia's Chief Technical Officer called for a rewrite of that guideline to use only one consistent format site-wide? --Ckatzchatspy 11:07, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
        • I am on record as wanting a mono-format for dates. Unfortunately, I am in the minority. It's not going to happen, because people believe WP:ENGVAR works, so we have to live with it. Having date-autoformatting could be likened to slicing off part of your feett to fit the new undersized shoes you just bought (in other words, don't make a mistake to compensate for a dumb move. Ohconfucius (talk) 13:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Note that at the time of my comment above, there was only one person alluding to autoformatting as a solution for edit warring (and that in a vague, "it would have helped in this one case" way), while there was one "oppose" specifically claiming that autoformatting with a magic word for setting a default format for the article would directly lead to edit warring over the default format setting with the implication that there would not be such edit warring otherwise. I agree that autoformatting is not needed for edit war prevention; although it would likely prevent some would-be edit warriors from ignoring or fighting over how to apply WP:ENGVAR, I personally regard that as a side effect rather than a major driving reason. Anomie 12:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • (In response to Neutral #1 above) Would something along the lines of "{{d|30 March 2008}}" be simple enough? Keep in mind that the function "#formatdate" can easily be called from a template with a much simpler name. --Ckatzchatspy 06:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    Considering the millions of times such a template would be called, that would be an enormous waste of server resources; but we could ask that the #formatdate function be renamed to #d, for example. --A. di M. (talk) 08:48, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Expansion on my rationale. One of the arguments for autoformatting is to "present a consistent date format". I think we should have consistency, but I don't believe autoformatting is the way forward. Personally, I would love for every article to use the fairly international style of day before month, but I fear that people like arguing about the pointless stuff too much for that to ever happen. Rambo's Revenge (How am I doing?) 13:36, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Isn't that an argument for auto formatting? Here we have a system that removes the need to argue (ever!) over which format to use, and it's a simple software solution. —Locke Coletc 13:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • No it is not. If IPs—the majority of Wikipedia readers—cannot choose their preference then autoformatting is not a good option. The only way to prevent IPs from getting a horrible mess of different formats is to choose what they see. If we do that, we might as well choose the style for everyone or completely standardise all dates into one format. Rambo's Revenge (How am I doing?) 14:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Part of the current proposal is that there would be a Wikipedia-wide default format setting (most likely DMY) for everyone who has not set a preference, including IP users, and a magic word so a particular article can change the default (i.e. to MDY) when that is appropriate per WP:ENGVAR. Then user preferences override the default for that user. This has been said time and time again, which is why can't in good faith understand why opposers keep claiming IP users will see some sort of mish-mash. I also find a claim that every IP user has to be able to set a date preference spurious, as we have an easy way for anyone to set any preference: register an account. Anomie 15:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • But the point you are missing is that in order to maintain consistency for all users, every date on a page needs to be coded (in order to be rendered properly based on various preferences). The problem with "every date" is that it is extremely difficult to define rules needed in order to detect all the different types of date formats found on WP. Date ranges and slashed-dates are just two examples, but also difficult is to precisely detect the comma in US date formats. These issues remain unaddressed—after months of debate, and lots of examples demonstrating the problems can easily be found. Many people voting "support" are unaware of the technical issues involved. (Incidentally, I don't blame them so much as these issues are not easily grasped by people who have not been involved with the debate for some time.)  HWV258  00:46, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Hi, I'm a computer programmer. Are you? The reason I ask is that you assert that "it is extremely difficult to define rules needed in order to detect all the different types of date formats found on WP", which strikes me as a statement that would be made by someone who doesn't actually know what they're talking about. There is no real "detecting" necessary; someone just needs to come up with a syntax for specifying date ranges, slashed dates, trailing commas, and the like. For example, {{#formatdate:1 January 2009/2 January 2009}} could be the format for a slashed date, and output as "1/2 January 2009", "January 1/2, 2009", and so on based on the active format; {{#formatdate:1 January 2009–10 January 2009}} or {{#formatdate:1 January 2009|10 January 2009}} could be the format for entering a date range, and output appropriately (there could even be a preference for "1 January 2009 – 10 January 2009" versus "1–10 January 2009" style output, if people wanted it). With a little more effort, any of the (unambiguous) output formats could also be accepted as input. The need for the trailing commas could easily enough be specified as {{#formatdate:1 January 2009|,}} or {{#formatdate:January 1, 2009,}}. Something else that I personally would like to see is a "{{#formattabulardate}}" function, so people who would prefer to see dates in tables and lists as 2009-01-01 versus 1 Jan 2009 versus the full 1 January 2009 could set a preference for that. It's not particularly hard to do any of that, but why should someone bother when the discussion is full of people (not necessarily you, don't take this personally) who will oppose everything without end, drowning out any other discussion, to the point of WP:POINT? Anomie 12:26, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Actually, I am a programmer (and your question indicates to everyone that you haven't been following the debate over the previous few months). I was the only one who actively push to get a specification for auto-formatting established (here), however nothing came of it (despite a myriad of suggestions in various locations—similar to yours above). You do understand that all your examples above simply will be thrown into a pot—a pot that is already full to the overflowing with similar suggestions—however a pot that has so far failed to provide anything nutritious (or in the least bit edible) for the community. As you have not responded to my point "every date on a page needs to be coded" I'll assume that you have understood that, and are in favour of it. Please consider a page such as this one that has over 700 dates (in many different formats), so to apply formatting to all dates (similar to {{#formatdate:8 January 1705}}) is quite an undertaking (an undertaking that has had no analysis in terms of viability). The people you mention "who will oppose everything without end" are actually people who have thought through all these issues and have come to the considered conclusion that simply entering dates using plain text solves all significant issues, and has no syntactical complexity for the wider editing community. In addition, I belong to the group of programmers who believe it is inappropriate (and downright unprofessional) to commence coding without (at least a functional) specification. A large part of the reason for the mess we are currently in is the (well-intentioned) introduction of code that had no specification, let alone community consensus.  HWV258  23:19, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Of course I haven't followed the debate, certain people have made the situation akin to diving for pearls in a cesspool. I don't understand how you can claim it's so difficult for code to solve the problems you raised in your paragraph above, though, since you state that you are familiar with programming. I also don't see any particular problem with List of compositions by George Frideric Handel; sure, it might need a bit of human attention to get everything marked up, but I see nothing in there that would cause any trouble for a well-written formatter; or is the whole of your concern there that someone would have to do a little bit of formatting work? As for those "who will oppose everything without end", either we're talking about different people or our views are so opposed that we will never reach an agreement on the matter. Anomie 02:10, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I didnt' claim "it's so difficult for code to solve the problems"—rather it is looking increasingly likely that it is impossible to specify the problem in the first place.  HWV258  04:18, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  • How is it impossible to specify what the a bot would do? The bot would find plain dates, pre-existing or entered by new users, and convert them to a standard form inside an autoformat bracket. Regular expressions already exist for finding dates in widely used forms. If the date was ambiguous, such as 07-03-02, it could inform wikignomes via wiki: page or any other method, who could manually fix it, helping in the already existing task of removing ambiguity from Wikipedia. The scope of the bot and implementation seem completely clear, maybe 5 hours coding tops on an existing framework.Gsonnenf (talk)
I think the bot would have to be quite conservative. Spend an hour or so trying to devise a syntax for date formats. After doing so, how to work out ambiguous dates— or at least discover that they are ambiguous and mark them so. Then partial dates such as "April 2009" or "2009". (oh, whoops, it 2,009 kilometres (1,248 mi)). Then quoted dates which must be left alone. Then perhaps the French Revolutionary Calendar. It is *not* trivial. I am in support but I think it is best left to human markup rather than a bot. For sure, have a bot gather the info after it's been marked up, I'm all for that. But not guess what is, or is not, a date. SimonTrew (talk) 03:41, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree the bot would need to be conservative. As I understand it partial dates aren't used with date autoformat, please correct me if I'm wrong. When you say "Spend an hour or so trying to devise a syntax for date formats." do you mean thinking of how to have the parser recognize them? If so, this problem has already has a published solution. Nested quotation recognition is also a solved parser problem. The logic code for determining ambiguity of format in recognized dates is simple as a couple if/then/and statements. This still looks like a simple task, I'm uncertain as to what you mean by "trivial" as it has different meanings in different science fields. I could see how a new coder or one without exposure to modern parsing libraries or parsing exposure may see this problem as complex. With proper knowledge, which I'm sure many coders on Wikipedia have, the solution is simple to implement. I would prefer conservative date changes by bots with human confirmation. This would ease the burden and time constraint on humans. Manually verifying a date on a page would probably take 5-10 seconds, where in going through the sequence of changing them could take about 5 to 10 times as long (depending on server conditions).Gsonnenf (talk)
  • "How is it impossible to specify what the a bot would do?"—this is wandering from the original point (i.e. I didn't mention bots). Please re-read my points.  HWV258  02:00, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I re-read your points and find them moot. The vast majority of date forms can be easily recognized. I disagree with your statement that "every date on a page needs to be coded". Date forms that are intentionally abiguious or not well formed (e.g. year 197x ) should either be clarified manually or left alone. Autoformatting would only need to be applied to well formed dates. Any date that can be recognized unambiguously, (jan 16, 1973, 10/22/1001) could be easily recognized by both humans and parsers. So in this case it is not longer "extremely difficult to define rules needed in order to detect all the different types". The comment "Date ranges and slashed-dates are just two examples, but also difficult is to precisely detect the comma in US date formats" is not correct, these can be easily identified using a parser and regular expressions. The above comment is also very suggestive of a bot, which contradicts your statement "I didn't mention bots". Unless of course you meant that humans would have a hard time "detecting the comma in US date formats", which is complete nonsense. So as it turns out my above argument does not wander from the original point. Unless of course you wandered from the original point in your above statements. If that is the case, please present your original point and present an argument that does not "wander from the original point".Gsonnenf (talk)
  • "I disagree with your statement that "every date on a page needs to be coded"" leads me to believe that we are talking about different things (and your disagreement probably indicates you have not been following the debate over the previous number of months). The point about coding all dates is that it is impossible to guarantee date rendering consistency in an article that contains at least one coded date—but with not all dates being coded in the article. It has been clearly understood by all that you either code all dates in an article, or you code none. If you are suggesting that coding isn't necessary because a page pre-processor can parse (and reformat) all dates in real time—then you are probably the first to do so. These current RfCs are not to do with bot activity (that debate will come after these RfCs are complete).  HWV258  00:16, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  • It sounds like your suggesting that "It has been clearly understood by all" that dates containing (in no particular order) Months/day/year and month/day and all other forms, must be subject to autoformating. This is not consistent with the autoformating Background statement that addresses only MDY/DMY format under its definition "What is a date format?". The entire primary statements of Summary and Pro's only mentions "DMY/MDY" format. The con's section specifies incomplete dates forms of type MD as a possible extension to the proposal, "(double the number of keystrokes—even more if |dmy/md is added)", demonstrating its not part of the initial scope. So when you say "its clearly understood by all that you ... code 'all' dates", you are contradicting the primary background statement if you include partial dates in your definition of dates. It appears you are constructing an argument via false dilemma by asserting all people recognize that ALL dates, included partial dates must be encoded or none at all. This of course is not true as demonstrated by the primary statements on autoformatting.Gsonnenf (talk)
  • Please read the history of the debate (over the previous many months). You are "arguing" in isolation and clearly don't have all the background information at your fingertips. All this has been covered, and I have no appetite for repeating here what has been covered (to death) many, many times before. If you need more help to understand the background of the debate, please take it up in a different forum—I'll be more than happy to attempt to bring you up to speed on the salient points. Cheers.  HWV258  22:56, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  • The IPs would not get a bunch of different styles since the feature would provide a standard default for them. Also, developers have mentioned using Javascript to allow IPs to set a preference, though no developer has yet worked on that solution.—Ost (talk) 15:06, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • *sigh* If you actually read my last post I never claimed IPs will get a mish-mash of styles. I said that the only way to prevent them getting that is to choose their preference for them. I then said that there is no point in choosing a standard style for them, because it would need to be agreed upon. If we can agree a choice for that, we should just implement that choice as the date style across Wikipedia without autoformatting, because that would give real consistency. I am well aware of what is going on and am not fond of other users trying to twist my words towards their !vote. Rambo's Revenge (How am I doing?) 16:55, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • You have presented a false dichotomy in assuming that we would have to pick one format for all of Wikipedia for IP users, with no possibility of overriding that where WP:ENGVAR calls for another format. So yes, you're not quite claiming "IP users will get a mish-mash of styles"; you're claiming "IP users will get a mish-mash of styles unless we get rid of WP:ENGVAR on this issue". Anomie 22:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)


  • (In response to Oppose#89 above) FYI, we are discussing that; the recent changes to the system now allow autoformatting to apply a default format for unregistered users, and there is a patch in the works (I'll try to get the Bugzilla link ASAP) that would add the "per-page" option you've mentioned. --Ckatzchatspy 21:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    Um ... no, Josiah is talking about autoformatting in the sense of allowing a few privileged editors to select a month-day or day-month order. A consistent fixed-text format for IP users is the reality in the thousands of article that have dispensed with autoformatting. Tony (talk) 08:23, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
    Actually, you're both right. I oppose autoformatting as it currently exists, as a special option for a few editors. However, I would support autoformatting as something that could be applied universally with appropriate regional variations. For example, if a citation using the ugly 2009-04-05 format were used in two articles, one dealing with a US-based subject and the other dealing with a UK-based subject, it would appear (to all readers) in the US-based article as April 5, 2009 and in the UK-based article as 5 April 2009. I'd support an autoformatting system that automatically translated dates in that fashion, as long as there was a parameter that allowed for articles to use appropriate formats, in keeping with WP:MOSDATE. In other words, I'd support autoformatting as a method for producing consistency within articles, but I oppose autoformatting as a way to enforce consistency throughout the encyclopedia, or as a way to make dates appear consistent to a small minority of readers. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 06:06, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm in favor of the idea of autoformatting, but against the requirements it will make on editor and hardware. Debresser (talk) 16:50, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm with you. I think the server should do all the work, recognizing dates for what they are and regurgitating them for viewers to match their preferences. Editors should only have to make sure that dates are consistent throughout the article. I'm against using some kind of template or marker or formatting. Binksternet (talk) 06:01, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
That is impossible: It would result in changing of dates in exact quotes which contained dates by default. You should never change an exact quote, but no software is clever enough to unambiguously spot a quote, even if put in by a newbie that formats it in a slightly unexpected way. Creating a way to bypass this is not a solution, because the mechanism to do so is going to be obscure, and most editors won't know it. It ruins usablity for editors, in order to allow a tiny minority of people to select which of two date formats they like. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 06:57, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  • At the present time (61 support, 91 oppose), support #42 and Oppose #3, #12, #13, #22, #42, and #73 think that it's talking about linking. A number of further comments seem think it's talking about things looking different for editors and IPs; which is (1) always true that editors can adjust viewing format, using gadgets, preferences, and Javascript; and is not necessarily true of autoformatting. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 00:09, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
why are you interpreting Oppose #3 and #73 as "think[ing] that it's talking about linking"? i agree that there are a couple of !voters who appear to be confusing the two issues and a couple of "hanging chad !votes", but both Oppose #3 and Oppose #73 appear cognizant that linking and autoformatting are two different issues.
either way it's not a high rate of confusion - that's good! and the "hanging chad !voters" still have time to clarify their views if they care to.
meanwhile, it's right that some !voters are saying they don't want logged-in editors to see different content than unlogged-in users. you disagree with that viewpoint, but that doesn't mean their !votes "don't count". Sssoul (talk) 07:21, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry; either I made a mistake; they changed their !votes, or the !votes got renumbered. Still, the purpose of this poll is to find WP:CONSENSUS, and I don't see even a clear supermajority for oppose (yet). As not wanting logged-in editors to see different content than unlogged in users, one might argue that it's a reason contrary to policy as defined by the developers. We would need to remove the gadgets and javascript customization. I'll post more on the talk page. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:06, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  • The "only for editors" claim has been bandied about throughout this debate over the past year, simply because it is an easy rallying cry for the three or four core editors who are really pushing the "delink" campaign. Thing is, there's never been any proof for the numeric claims (despite repeated requests), and never any acknowledgement of the readers who may have registered an account not to edit, but in order to access features such as date formatting, watchlists, and gadgets. (The "only for editors" mantra also fails to mention that IPs can't access any special perks, not just autoformatting.) --Ckatzchatspy 02:24, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Good grief! how hard can it be?. The whole formatting thing is a no-brainer. Simple fact is, if functionality is provided for autoformatting it can be provided to most IP users too with simple preferences option for them via cookie system or countless other ways. Search engines, most news sources and millions of commercial sites have been doing it since Jesus was a small boy. Come down to it, autoformatting also allows the potential to do away with the linking argument completely because it can be controlled by a users preferences as well. Want to link dates? switch it on via preferences. don't want them linked? leave it off. And don't bore me with the non-logged in users rubbish - most of them a: don't care, b: have cookies turned on (or are unaware of their presence) or c: know how to allow for cookies by site. BOTs to do the bulk conversions to simple syntax (say YYYY-MM-DD or #dYYYY-MM-DD) and wikignomes will make short work of the rest. Default presentation for those who haven't set it (maybe with a bit of fancy footwork detecting where they are accessing from to feed them American or ISO format by default). Doing something is unlikely to make it more inconsistent than it currently is.--ClubOranjeT 08:08, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Has anyone thought of having a bot do autoformatting? That would nearly neutralize editor requirements, just invest some effort in the bot, and sit back and watch! Oldlaptop321 (talk) 23:58, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I think it is accepted on all sides that there will be bots and templates to assist (and hopefully not to destroy). If it is relatively relaxed and gets it right most of the time, like Template:Coord or Template:Convert, I don't see it being a big problem. But like those, you don't *have* to use them, hence my support; they are nice things to have. In a way I can't see why this even goes to a vote since I can't think of much of a reason, beyond finding user preferences, why this can't all be done in a template. SimonTrew (talk) 01:46, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually now I am wondering whether this is in the purvue of Template:Convert. A date is only a measure after all, and its means of expression is its unit of measure. That's probably outside the scope of this vote, though. It's an interesting question to ask those in the "Oppose" camp; do you want to get rid of Template:Convert, even if you don't use it on every single measure you write? SimonTrew (talk) 01:50, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
SimonTrew, this hasn't gone to a vote. We don't vote here. See the "!vote" terminology people are using? That's why. Also, I don't agree with your comparison of this present issue to Template:convert. The similarities are superficial and few, as it seems to me. —Scheinwerfermann T·C02:32, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, so I suppose that's why it says at the VERY TOP of the article Please indicate your vote under ONE option. I never claimed it was a formal, binding, vote.
The similarities are superficial and few precisely because time is just another dimension that can be relatively easily incorporated into the Convert template, or if not, another template can be made analagous to it. And I have worked designing and implementing very complicated units of measure conversion systems, and I know they are not easy. SimonTrew (talk) 02:51, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

All Support entries that are founded on reader choice should be disregarded when finalizing the findings of this RfC. What reader choice? The reader gets the site default, or the contributing editor's choice. Remember that registered users = subset of editors, and in turn editors are a tiny subset of readers. All Support users who clamor that the reader need only edit a setting should be deliberateley ignored by the rest of the community for a period no shorter than the time it takes defeat any and all proposals in support for auto-formatting. --Karbinski (talk) 21:38, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, but that's not valid. There is no requirement that you must edit if you register; anyone - anyone - can register an account, and if they choose to use that account to read only, so be it. Accounts can be useful to readers who wish to use the gadgets, the watchlist, different skins, and so on. --Ckatzchatspy 21:49, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry about that, but if we leave out the middle, it is correct: Remember registered users are a tiny subset of readers. Not that it has bearing, but registered users are also a subset of editors. Karbinski (talk) 21:57, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Many of the contra arguments speak to the issue that most readers are anons. I know from experience that people assume the only reason to register for an account is to make edits. If there were tangible benefits (like getting standardized dates, watchlists, and so on) and those benefits were promoted to readers, we might get more editors. And once they have an account, they might be more obliged to make an occasional edit. And that could lead to editing as a hobby, until they are fully assimilated into the collective. (Oops! Been watching too much Star Trek perhaps?). The point is, anything that is good for editors is ultimately good for the readers, too. --Willscrlt (→“¡¿Talk?!”) 14:14, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Responses
  • Several users have indicated that autoformatting is the only way to achieve consistency through in one article, and this is simply not true. EDIT: This may be true for for achieving site-wide consistency, but that begs the question of why the way the dates look is such a big deal. We can all look at DMY or MDY or even YMD (2000 January 1) and fairly easily determine what the date is.
  • User:This flag once was red, using the ambiguous 3/2/03 type format is not an option anyway.
  • I think you've misunderstood me (or I've not been clear) - my thinking is that by using a template for dates it will discourage the entry of dates as DD/MM or MM/YY, not that dates will no longer be displayed as DD/MM or MM/YY. I agree that this problem isn't going to go away completely, but it should be alleviated as editors get into the habit of specifying dates in terms of {{... day=2|month=3| ...}}, instead of just typing "2/3/09" and hoping that whoever cleans up after them magically knows whether the date is DD/MM or MM/DD. Cheers, This flag once was redpropagandadeeds 12:53, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • "Before autoformatting was introduced, there were lengthy rows about how to format dates. This seems recently to have come back, just as some started delinking dates." from docu (talk · contribs); can someone point me to these length rows on date formatting? I haven't seen any. Not referring to linking here.
  • "Also, autoformatting helps prevent edit warring" A an over-used argument with little evidence provided. Actually, these edit wars are few and far between.
  • To the users who cited metadata as a reason for needing autoformatting, can someone provide examples of how this metadata could be used? Dabomb87 (talk) 02:16, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Other than imposing a site-wide single format, as the developers have suggested, how do you propose to ensure all articles are consistent with one another? Either we go to a single standard, or we persist with the first-past-the-post "this is American no it's international" methodology. If the latter is the case, it is only prudent to provide some method of presenting a uniform, consistent look. --Ckatzchatspy 02:28, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I'll be more clear. I edited my above post. Dabomb87 (talk) 12:47, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


Most of the arguments against autoformatting seem to boil down to "this would be a lot of work, and there is no advantage in it for me". I fail to see how this is an argument for forbidding those who do care about consistency from doing the work. Why does this have to be framed in terms of either "everybody must use this markup" or "nobody is allowed to use this markup"? That's not the wiki way. The wiki tradition would be to encourage people to contribute even if they can't be bothered to use the more complex markups, and then let others insert advanced markup if they care to.

What active harm do all of you opposers suffer because someone else adds autoformatting? It won't require you to lift a finger either way. –Henning Makholm (talk) 11:20, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

This is an important point. Why cant autoformatting be implemented and later have a discussion about whether the MOS should encourage its use? The first section to this poll should have been left until after implementation when users can see what it actually involves. I seem to remember that {{cite...}} came about this way, and is probably more difficult for unregistered users to edit and breaks up the text far more than this proposal. |→ Spaully 12:49, 31 March 2009 (GMT)
Yes but {{cite...}} provides an important - one might even say essential - feature for an encyclopedia. This more than justifies the cost in terms of difficulty of use and so on that the markup introduces. Date autoformatting on the other hand provides at best an extremely minor cosmetic tweak. Most people don't care what formats their dates are written in. They will even use a variety of formats in their own writing or speech without a second thought. The number of people who are actually annoyed by reading a date in a format they don't like must be extraordinarily small. These pedants are considerably outnumbered by those like myself who find needlessly complicated markup annoying, or who are annoyed by the excessive linking and sometimes anomalous results created by poorly implemented date autoformatting. Hawthorn (talk) 23:38, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
The number of people who are actually annoyed by other editors inserting date markeup must be even extraordinarily smaller. Even if you yourself find it annoying to enter such markup, I don't see how it can conceivably annoy you to let other people do it. Nobody is proposing to say that you should enter the formatting yourself if you don't feel like it, but how can it possibly disturb you if other people do so? Again, the proposal is about NON-LINKING autoformatting, so there will be no excessive linking to annoy you. –Henning Makholm (talk) 14:35, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Henning Makholm seems to be overlooking the fact that anyone who wants to edit an article has to deal with the markup other people have inserted - even if "deal with it" only means "figure out how to edit 'around' it". it can be extremely daunting. many people are saying that date-format preferences are not important enough to justify even the double-bracket markup it now uses, let alone adding even more markup (a la {{formatdate|12 December 1981}} to every date in the encyclopedia.) Sssoul (talk) 07:08, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Once the formatting is there, it is not daunting at all. On the contrary, it is extremely self-documenting how the markup you quote works, and I cannot imagine anybody using more than a quarter second thinking "hm, it says formatdate, wonder what that means ... ah, flash of brilliance, it probably is something about formatting the date that comes after.". Now, I can understand not wanting to go around remembering how the markup works, and thus not wanting to enter it from scratch, but really, anybody who have trouble noticing and editing around a markup as clear and unambiguous as the one you show probably wouldn't be able to stitch together a coherent sentence for the encyclopedia in plain prose.
The double-bracketing is annoying because it creates needless bluelinks in the output that are hardly ever relevant in context. That is annoying. But a small bit of really, easily, self-documenting markup to make live easier for the (perhaps few) people who care about it? Not at all. –Henning Makholm (talk) 11:32, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
okay, so you don't find it daunting or annoying to have to wade through markup that you perceive as unnecessary; other people do find it daunting and/or annoying. it's one of those "different opinion" things, and saying "no it isn't" doesn't change that. peace Sssoul (talk) 07:37, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

(In response to support vote # 82) Sorry UC_Bill, but you can't have it both ways. You removed the demo page that could have shown the community how date ranges (and hopefully date slashes) would have worked, and then you claim the programming is easy ("10 hours"?). Please re-establish the demo page if you really have got it going, otherwise you'll have to understand why I'm entitled to treat your claims above with a healthy dose of scepticism. To other voting parties, please note that what is proposed is far more than "four brackets ([[ ]]) around dates" (as even the post before UC_Bill's indicates). I'm not suggesting that you (are you back?) or perhaps other programmers couldn't get something going to handle individual cases, however as has been demonstrated over more than three years, it is increasingly difficult to not only get the basics of auto-formatting right, but seemingly impossible to specify how auto-formatting should work for the many ways that dates are represented on WP.  HWV258  21:57, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

(In response to oppose vote # 138) "I have never come across a web information source or news provider that worries about this enough to give readers an option as to how to display the date"—well spotted; a very good point. In terms of "MMM DD, YYYY all round", there is no need to be so dictatorial, as very often an article will lend itself to "DD MMM YYYY", in which case, that can simply be the format of choice for the page in question. Is it that much of a worry to see dates in the "DD MMM YYYY" format in the England article and at the same time to see dates in the "MMM DD, YYYY" format in the USA article?  HWV258  23:33, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

It's no worry at all to me, as I am from a country (the UK) where both formats are used interchangeably. If you reread my post above (oppose 138) you'll see that The Times, regarded for a long time (at least before Rupert Murdoch bought it) as the UK's newspaper of record, uses MMM DD, YYYY, so why does the Wikipedia article about England lend itself any less to that format than the other? It's a myth that there is any consistent standard outside the United States, so why not just follow the standard that is used exclusively in civilian life there, and used interchangeably with DD MMM YYYY everywhere else where English is used? Phil Bridger (talk) 00:24, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I'm following any more (my confusion above started with the word "there" in "so why not just follow the standard that is used exclusively in civilian life there"—where is "there"?). Are you suggesting that the England article should use "MMM DD, YYYY" date formatting? If you are, you should be aware that that's far more radical than anyone else has dared suggest in this debate? As an aside, if a global format is being suggested, I'd lean towards using the less syntactically complicated "DD MMM YYYY" (you know, the one that is used at the end of each of these posts).  HWV258  01:04, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry if I was unclear, by the word "there" I meant the United States. And once again, what is radical about using MMM DD, YYYY for the England article, when both formats are used interchangeably in England? Everyone seems to be assuming that there is a strong preference for DD MMM YYYY outside the United States, but, as I demonstrated with my links above (oppose 138), this is not true. Phil Bridger (talk) 08:54, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
It's simply not true that they are used interchangeably. If you ever have to fill a form in the UK, it's quite possible that you have to enter a date into fields that look like this, __/__/____. In my experience they will always expect you to use DMY format, even though in some cases they may not mention it because it really goes without saying. This is because DMY format is much more common in general, including when the month is spelled out. --Hans Adler (talk) 15:13, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
In forms the date is usually entered in all numeric format, so there obviously has to be a standard, and, yes, that standard is different in the UK and the US, but in other contexts where the month is spelt out both formats are common. Do you seriously think that people have difficulty understanding the date, or get any sense that there's something wrong with it, when thay read it in The Times[11] or The Financial Times[12] or The Daily Mail[13] or The Sun[14]], or The Daily Star[15], all of which say that it's "April 1, 2009", not "1 April 2009"? That's five of the ten national daily newspapers, so you couldn't get a much more even split. And I have given similar references above to show that both formats are used in several other countries where English is widely used. It's no good saying that it's "simply not true" that both formats are used when the evidence says that they are. And why is it, when we are supposed to base this encyclopedia on reliable sources, that I am the only one of the 248 people who have voted here so far who has bothered to provide any evidence? Phil Bridger (talk) 15:45, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry for absurdly lecturing you without seeing that you are actually from the UK. I agree that standardising on MDY would be an option. However, this is very similar to standardising on Oxford style "ize" spellings for verbs in British English, and it seems that we haven't adopted this either. Therefore it seems unlikely that your argument will convince many in this poll. I think it should really be discussed separately. --Hans Adler (talk) 16:05, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd just like to concur with this point - whenever I see this debate crop up, I honestly find it hard to remember which variant I'm supposed to prefer, or which one I'm supposed to object to. Written numerically, there's a standard, but written textually then "1st February" or "February 1st" are pretty much interchangeable to a British reader, and I'll often use the two in the same piece of writing, or use one one day and the other the next. Shimgray | talk | 15:29, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
A few of the above UK newspaper examples don't use American date format consistently when digging into the news articles. While the top banner of The Sun may show MDY, DMY-based content such as "Published: 04 Apr 2009" appear in articles before the current date [16]; here's a "13th April 2009" from The Daily Star, and another 13th April from The Daily Mail. Such commercial websites may not be reliable indicators for date format anyway as these can sometimes be skewed by software defaults, often biased towards US usage.
Government standards and practice would seem more reliable to consider for this discussion. UK government usage consistently uses DMY and rejects US/MDY format. There are moot differences as to whether ordinal letters (12th vs 12) are used on day numbers, but there is no interchangeability of ordering on official UK levels e.g. TDA, Cabinet Office, Hants, Mansfield District Council.
Furthermore, DMY is generally used by international bodies such as the UN [17], OECD [18], ITU [19], ICRC [20]. That's compelling evidence of what date format is considered the norm on an international scale and where a global project such as WP should be headed. But if we can't get there in the short term, we should make good use of the autoformatting capability (already developed for the most part) for the benefit of the various audiences. Dl2000 (talk) 16:41, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Silly autoformatting: Uladzimir Katkouski, a well-known and award-winning Belarusian blogger, editor of several Belarusian websites and activist for the usage of the Belarusian language on the Internet. He made 1343 contributions to the English Wikipedia and 1286 contributions to nine other Wikimedia projects.[1] Katkouski mostly edited articles about his country and his language. He was hit by a fire truck in 2006 and, after being in a coma for about a year, he died on May 25, 2007.

Context on link misconception

  • To provide some context about the confusion, right now I count date linking arguments as a given justification on the following votes (assuming #s don't get switched by the time you read this): 12, 13, 22, 41, 42, 49, 73, 93, 101, 108, 109, 110, 114, 116, 134, 135, 137, 140, 145, 147. Currently that is 20 out of 159 votes (~12%). Also, neutral comments 3, and 8 share these same misconceptions. Who knows how many other votes, on both sides, share this misconception but do not mention it explicitly.
Only a few of these comments make arguments against based on issues other than linking. The vast majority of the ones I've cited base their given explanation soley on the linking proposal. Shadowjams (talk) 01:20, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
(1) Voters are under no obligation to provide all of their inner reasoning. Are you objecting to those who provided no comment? (2) It is no surprise that many people still refer to the concept of date autoformatting at "linking"—that has been the vernacular term for the concept for some five years. (2) There is reference to "the links" in the Statement for the concept of autoformatting, and to "new features" such as "database dumps" that would, of course, require a feature for editors to identify autoformatted dates as links. Why wouldn't some voters use the common synonym "linking" to refer to the concept of autoformatting. Tony (talk) 09:58, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Because it's a poll and not a vote, reasoning is instructive as to the actual proposal's support. Even the most adamant opponent should not want people to be misinformed about the nature of the proposal (or if they did, they could never vocalize it), and should be disturbed when there's evidence a number of users are confused.
The "linking" shorthand is interesting and something I hadn't heard before. You could be right and some users are using the old terminology out of habit. But certainly some users, the one that mention "blue links", or describe it, believe the proposal will lead to date linking again.
Of my original list (I'm working off the original numbering) numbers 13, 22, 42, 49, 73, 93, 101, 108, 109, 110, 116, 135, 137, 145, 147, either make the distinction themselves, or indicate it by referring to the particular properties of links (blue, they go somewhere, etc.).
Your point also suggests that perhaps some users who call things autoformatting, without mentioning linking, are thinking of linking. Maybe my original census undercounted the number of misinformed editors. Shadowjams (talk) 18:05, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Vote by User:Neurolysis I note that User:neuro returned and added:

  • Sleeping on this, I think I made this comment too quickly.

That looks to me like a retraction. Lightmouse (talk) 18:06, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it was. — neuro(talk)(review) 23:48, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Make the server do it while assembling the page. Why are human editors concerned with this question? Why can't we make the server search for dates in the text and then reformat them for the viewer based on their preference? The server already changes <br>, </br> and <br/> to <br /> without anyone ever noticing. I think dates should be the same; that editors should just type a date and the server will handle how it's served up. There's no reason why bots or humans should have to go through articles and apply templates or formatting. Binksternet (talk) 15:39, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

The problem here is that we don't want to reformat a lot of dates - in direct quotations, for example, or in the titles of cited works, both of which are places where we leave even broken spelling intact. Were we to let this sort of autoformatter loose, we'd need to have a simple way of marking those as not-to-be-changed... Shimgray | talk | 19:53, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
There is a simple way to say to the server "don't touch this particular date"... we can use the nowiki tag. Binksternet (talk) 13:12, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Or indeed any other tag or template to be defined. But while I support autoformatting, it seems to me to be better that tags/templates are used to included it (i.e. an optional extra) rather than exclude it. That way, it's not a breaking change. Of course, editors or those who look after particular projects might choose to run a bot to automate "upgrades" to use the new autofomatting, but it should not be the default behavior of the server.
Perhaps I have got Binksternet's comment wrong, but if the suggestion is that the server should be able to parse text and work out that a particular piece of text is a date, that is a very hard task. I'd suggest that some markup is inevitable. Also, I am not sure if the server understands different languages? Parsing language-specific text surely is the job of a particular Wiki's template not the server core. SimonTrew (talk) 16:14, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps I've also misunderstood the original comment, but just in case the suggestion is to parse dates that don't have some sort of mark-up wrapped around them, have a look at the following example: "On Jan 1, 2000 Wikipedians went crazy". Is that: all Wikipedians going crazy on 1 Jan 2000, or is that 2000 Wikipedians going crazy on 1 Jan?  HWV258  22:42, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
What about adding a freakin' comma after the year if the first of those two meaning is the intended one? --A. di M. (formerly Army1987) — Deeds, not words. 00:31, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Will you make a list of poorly formatted sentences on WP, or shall I? :-)  HWV258  01:10, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Autoformatting into ISO dates

One comment I see recurring among the opposes is that autoformatting is analogous to automatically handling US/Commonwealth spelling, and that we don't want that. Leaving aside whether we do want that (I don't), this argument misses another possibility - the ability to autoformat dates into ISO format. Very few human readers would want that (I would, but I'm a techy geek) but it could be extremely useful to automated parsers, particularly in, say, infoboxes. Cheers, This flag once was redpropagandadeeds 16:04, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Autoformatting for non-registered users

The statement (Wikipedia:Date formatting and linking poll#Background statement) suggests that autoformatting is only useful to registered editors: "Autoformatting is a way of marking up dates to allow registered users to choose their preferred display format". However, is there any reason why autoformatting couldn't be performed for non-registered users? The user's locale could easily be inferred from the HTTP headers ("Accept-Language" in particular) and a suitable date-format used. Cheers, This flag once was redpropagandadeeds 18:17, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

But how can we infer from the header what format the reader prefers? I have shown elsewhere in this discussion that "April 3, 2009" and "3 April 2009" are equally acceptable formats in the English language in the United Kingdom, India, Australia and Canada, and, if you really insist I'll link you to major English language media sources in Pakistan, Ireland, New Zealand, Bangladesh, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and anywhere else that will show that it is a myth that "3 April 2009" is a nationally preferred format anywhere that English is widely used. The only country where there is a preferred format is the United States, so why not just knock this whole silly discussion on the head and use the format (April 3, 2009) that is acceptable everywhere that English is widely used. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:18, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
With respect, you've shown elsewhere that both formats are used, not that both formats are equally acceptable. The Times may use MMM DD, YYYY but that doesn't mean that that format is equally acceptable within the Times' constituency.
And of course we can't infer from the header the reader prefers - "The user's locale could easily be inferred from the HTTP headers ("Accept-Language" in particular) and a suitable date-format used." We can infer the locale; the date-format then used is based on the usual date-format for the locale - no second-guessing whether the unregistered editor is a Times reader or a regular en-gb DD MMM YYYY person.
My point was that auto-formatting can - contrary to the suggestions above - be of benefit to unregistered editors: anonymous IPs with en-us in their HTTP header won't get DD MMM YYYY dates, for example, and only Times-readers are disappointed when their en-gb header results in them avoiding MMM DD, YYYY dates.
Cheers, This flag once was redpropagandadeeds 19:33, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
But it's not just The Times. In another post here I showed that five of the ten national daily newspapers in the United Kingdom use "April 3, 2009", rather than "3 April 2009". Where is the evidence that one format is preferred over the other in the UK? And the same goes for every other country where English is used to a significant extent except for the United States - I've given examples for India, Canada, and Australia, and would urge you and anyone else to provide such evidence if you are claiming that there is any country that uses English to a significant extent where "April 3, 2009" is not a perfectly acceptable format. Once again, why am I the only one of the hundreds of people commenting here to provide any evidence for their position? Phil Bridger (talk) 21:05, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  • In New Zealand (where I am) there is also no preferred format for dates. Individual publications may have a chosen style, but only someone writing for that publication would be aware of that. Nobody gives a toss what format you write dates in. Indeed it is hard for me to understand that this is even an issue. There is a DD/MM/YYYY convention for date abbreviations which differs from the US one, but non-abbreviated dates can be, and are, written and understood in any format. I don't mind writing dates in the US style. Indeed I do so anyway about half the time. However I would be opposed to wikipedia mandating that dates always be written in the US style. That sounds to me like a charter for date nazis. It is a big world with lots of cultures rubbing up against each other. Wikipedia is an international collaboration where people from all sorts of backgrounds contribute. Tolerance and understanding of differences is needed to make this work. Anyone who is so intolerant that they let the style that other people write their dates annoy them needs to be told to lighten up and get a life. Hawthorn (talk) 08:31, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  • My original point was that "auto-formatting can - contrary to the suggestions above - be of benefit to unregistered editors"; nothing said to date has changed that. It may well be that, as a community, we decide that unregistered readers see date as unformatted - that, then, will be our choice. My point is that autoformatting does give us that choice, despite claims to the contrary. Turning to your evidence, in Scotland one newspaper uses DD MMM YYYY and the other uses MMM DD YYYY (with no comma - first time I've seen that): I don't believe that this - or that the evidence you've presented - says anything other than newspapers use a variety of different styles. Surely the key thing here is what people are taught at school, use in their daily lives, and recognise in correspondence from government? If you wish, I'll try and dig our references supporting my belief that DD MMM YYYY is taught in schools in the UK, New Zealand and Singapore (countries in which I experienced education at some level) in preference over MMM DD, YYYY, that this format is used by the governments of those countries, and that people tend to use that format more as a result - and I dare-say that other editors can provide references for other countries. However you're asking for evidence that MMM DD, YYYY is not a perfectly acceptable format - which no one, so far as I can see, is suggesting. Of course people more familiar with DD MMM YYYY recognise and understand MMM DD, YYYY, and it's ludicrous to suggest otherwise. This is about preference, not about acceptability. My preference is for YYYY-MM-DD, and I'd like a system where that preference can be catered for. My preference in no way affects my ability to accept or understand MMM DD, YYYY or DD MMM YYYY. Your evidence shows that people can accept or understand MMM DD, YYYY simultaneously with DD MMM YYYY - which comes as no surprise to me - however I do not believe it shows anything beyond that. Cheers, This flag once was redpropagandadeeds 11:02, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

(In response to neutral vote # 14) Actually, there lies a significant problem: a not-inconsiderable proportion of dates are wrongly input (Sept 4, for example, or your example), and the proposed system would need to be programmed to fix each individual possibility. Another reason, I believe, that we should not mess with editors' control over simple fixed-text dates. Tony (talk) 06:43, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

{{#formatdate:Sept 4, 2007|dmy}} produces "Sept 4, 2007". I don't see how that makes anything worse than it would be if an editor simply typed in an incorrectly written date without the autoformatting code. I voted "neutral" because it seems to me that the autoformatting question really contains two hidden subquestions: (1) should we permit use of #formatdate, and (2) should we require (or encourage or recommend, etc.) its use? I would vote "yes" to the first and "no" to the second; therefore neutral on the combined question. I do recognize that some people complain about having to wade through additional markup code when editing, but I personally don't see that as a big problem. And, on the other side, I recognize that some people seem to think it is important that every date in every article be viewable in the same format, but again I don't see that as a huge problem when we allow (and affirmatively endorse) such inconsistencies as American and British spellings and some other usages that vary from one article to the next. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 12:17, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  • R'n'B, I agree about your point with American regarding British spellings. As an American, encountering “I realise that…” interrupts my train of thought whereas encountering either “4 April” or April 4” causes me no interruption in my train of thought—and certainly no confusion.

    The trouble is, “autoformatting” is nothing of the sort for 99.9% of our readership. For I.P. users, all it would do in any given article is default to one format or another. And that is no better than just writing out the date in fixed text. The real *benefit* of autormatting (presenting a date in accordance with a preferences setting) works only for registered editors. It’s not worth so much fuss to benefit so few users to address a purely stylistic issue over which no confusion arrises.

    For some editors, this is just a big fuss to never see a date style that isn’t their way. Indeed, I just don’t “get it” because I can handle seeing either date format and have no patience for those who insist that everyone else jump through hoops for their viewing pleasure. For the programmers, its about cool code. But they’re trying to sell refrigerators to Eskimos. Greg L (talk) 02:23, 5 April 2009 (UTC)


Frankly, the whole thing seems foolish to me: All autoformatting does is hide inconsistencies, make atrocities like "Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-11-181911-05-29)" invisible - for those with it turned on, that read: (1836-11-18–1911-05-29), and mean that, in situations where there's good reason to use a non-standard format, such as "Accessed 2009-05-04" in a footnote, where compactness is advantageous, it'll be replaced with a less appropriate one. What's the point? What next? Will we make it so that readers in Greece have Macedonia direct to the Greek region, but readers in the country of Macedonia have it redirect to the country? It's just not worth it: A solution searching for a problem.

Furthermore, autoformatting dates must require some sort of markup, because of the problem of dates in exact quotes, and other issues. A quote from a ship's log might begin "13-01-1897: Land spotted. Have adjusted course..." If text was automatically changed, and the user didn't know the obscure methods for turning off date formatting, then, for the convenience of a few pedants who insist on consistent formatting when they browse, we've managed to hurt usability of our editing interface in a non-trivial way. So we have to mark up dates. Can dates be marked up autonmatically? No, that hits direct quotes too, in a hard to spot way. So we're now lookign at manual markup of dates on millions of articles. Bugger that! You'll learn to live with occasionally being faced with the dreaded "March 3" or "3 March". Like normal people. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 06:31, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

That about Macedonia would be a great idea, provided that Italian readers have it direct to the dessert. :-) A. di M. (formerly Army1987) — Deeds, not words. 19:03, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Statement for is biased and fallacious: creative content is not a “user interface” #Statement for betrays the wrong attitude that readers and editors are “users”, and that my creative contribution, protected by the GPL GFDL, is a “user interface” which should be rewritten by a machine to support “user preferences”. “Personalized date formats in operating systems” don't rewrite the books you are reading or correct the language in music you listen to. This explanation is biased and fallacious, and is misleading editors who read it and vote. Michael Z. 2009-04-11 16:41 z

"If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly or redistributed for profit by others, do not submit it." No mention of "machines" being excluded from the aforementioned editing is there? --WebHamster 17:11, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Also note content here is under the GFDL, not the GPL. Fletcher (talk) 17:14, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
You're wrong. The GFDL requires anyone who alters my text to do it under the GFDL. There's no GFDL attached to preferences which rewrite page content, and there's no credit for the alteration placed into the article's edit history. The site can change the style using a skin, but if it edits my text then it is infringing on my copyright, according to my GFDL release terms. Michael Z. 2009-04-11 17:45 z
See WP:GFDL#4._MODIFICATIONS for the obligations of distributing modified versions of documents. Michael Z. 2009-04-11 17:54 z
IANAL, but alteration of mere date strings is likely de minimus. Your phrasing that it "rewrite[s] page content" is vastly weaker when one keeps in mind it is just date strings, which are not copyrightable works by themselves. One should also consider the implementation: if you use a template or other wiki-markup, you have consented to the autoformatting (else you would not have used that syntax); alternatively if you don't use any special markup, it's likely a bot or human will have to go make a change to the article which will be reflected in the edit history. Fletcher (talk) 19:58, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Templates may present letter-of-the-law licensing problems, but at least they are placed by humans and altered by humans, whose actions all appear in edit summaries, and thus are governed by the GFDL.
But allowing a preference for registered or non-registered users to start rewriting the text opens a different can of worms – next it will be blind spell-checking, pirate-talk filters, and who knows what next? Shall we auto-load up machine-translated versions of foreign-language articles, without any local editor in the credits? Do you want your name to be the last one in the credits of an article machine-translated into Chinese? No, thanks.
De minimus is a legal concept, but we are talking about the substance of people's writing; remember the substance of eats, shoots & leaves is a lowly comma. You can put all of the human editors and proofreaders you want on my writing, but I won't entrust it to a machine which is not being supervised by a responsible editor under GFDL. A spell-checker won't replace an editor, neither to produce a professional-quality document, nor to take legal responsibility for modifying and republishing my work. Michael Z. 2009-04-11 23:28 z
I'm concerned that you are claiming WP:Ownership over articles, or parts thereof, to which you contribute on WP. Is it OK if I read them in a different font from you? Or perhaps I prefer to use a speech reader, or read them in French using machine translation. One of us is missing the point; if you think you have ultimate control over the form in which "your" work, creative contribution, text is "republished", don't put it on WP; if not, what's the difference between the examples I gave and changing (manually or automatically) a date format? I can't see any voting stance that implies, as you seem to, that nobody should ever touch "your" text the way you have written it. Have I completely misunderstood? Best wishes SimonTrew (talk) 04:26, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd say you have. WP:OWN is about editing disputes and has nothing to do with this.
You are welcome to transform the article any way you like for your private use. But when Wikipedia distributes articles by publicly displaying them on its website, it is bound by the licence. Read WP:COPYRIGHT, which says “the text of the Wikipedia is copyrighted . . . by Wikipedia editors and contributors and is formally licensed to the public under the GNU Free Documentation License”. Under the GFDL, if the article has been modified from the editors' version, then Wikipedia must not display it without taking credit for modifications. Wikipedia:GFDL:
  • “§ 0. PREAMBLE: . . . this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others. . . .
  • § “1. APPLICABILITY AND DEFINITIONS: . . . A "Modified Version" of the Document means any work containing the Document or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with modifications and/or translated into another language. . . .
  • § “2. VERBATIM COPYING: . . . you may publicly display copies. . . .
  • § “4. MODIFICATIONS: . . . you must do these things in the Modified Version:
    • “A. Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct from that of the Document, and from those of previous versions . . .
    • “B. List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or entities responsible for authorship of the modifications . . .
    • “E. Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications adjacent to the other copyright notices. . . .
    • “I. Preserve the section Entitled "History", . . . and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher of the Modified Version . . .”
I didn't make this up. You and I are bound by the licence, and so is the Wikimedia Foundation. The licence says that any modifications made must be acknowledged in distributed copies. Michael Z. 2009-04-12 16:04 z
You didn't have to quote chapter and verse, I am capable of looking up a reference. Anyway, I really think this is a dead end to this particular discussion. Nothing says the republishing agent has to be a natural person, the Wikipedia page rendering engine could just thwack a copyright notice at the bottom of the page saying "go see the original text"-- in fact, since the rendered version is ipso facto different from the edited text (assuming even the most minimal markup) I could argue it already should-- if it reduces a picture to a thumbnail, for example. These clauses are intended to stop people not crediting Wikipedia and its contributors a whole, not to stop minor changes for rendering purposes. I have started doing some translation and have to credit the original under GFDL, but that doesn't mean I can't change the article, in fact it's encouraged where appropriate The aim of the GFDL is to protect the Commons and Wikipedia etc and to ensure fair use etc. It does not mean, however you would like it to mean, that pages cannot be rendered in a different way by different engines, be they the server or client, or my own blurry eyes when I remove my glasses. I am not going to quote all kinds of references here but the whole Look and Feel argument of the early 80's (Lotus 1-2-3 vs Borlland Quattro) established that, in law in the US, but in practice everywhere. SimonTrew (talk) 22:08, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
A school of red herrings (my favourite is “the discussion is now over, and here's 200 words explaining why...”).
Yes, editing is encouraged, but only allowed under the GFDL. I'm not claiming copyright over my “look and feel,” but over the words I've written. What do your blurry eyes have to do with rewriting some of these words without respecting the explicit terms of the licence? Nothing.
The GFDL does say that whoever the republishing agent is, individual or corporation, they have to take credit for their modification. And you're quite right, thwacking a copyright notice, along with the required change of title and the acceptance of credit could well be enough – but the foundation doesn't. The copyright notice linked from every article says explicitly that copyright is held by the editors, and not by the foundation. Michael Z. 2009-04-13 20:25 z
So argue for them to put a copyright notice on. That's irrelevant to the discussion. It's also slightly ingenuous of you to start with that quote when I never said anything of the sort; I know you will say neither did you, but to head the reply that way implies that. I know... let's suggest that every phrase, word or quote used in wikipedia should have markup and copyright references. So if I quote Churchill I better make sure I have a good source (History of the Engish-Speaking Peoples, perhaps) and make sure that I check whether it is in or out of copyright. What nonsense. The copyright issue is completely irrelevant, and whatever red herrings there were, you didn't point them out. Discussion is over, in fewer than 200 words. SimonTrew (talk) 23:14, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
To answer Martindelaware's question (support 189)

No date autoformatting (DA) system will cope with reformatting these fragments (from Charles Darwin) "On 28 September 1838 he noted this insight." to "On September 28, 1838, he noted this insight." as well as reformatting "He died on 19 April 1882." to "He died on April 19, 1882." without complicating the syntax of the markup or making mistakes when the year is followed by a period (or other punctuation characters like parentheses or ndashes). The present, deprecated, system of DA fails to supply the required second comma to produce apposition. I have seen no suggestion that any "Son of DA" will fare any better. In fact, any proposed DA will increase errors by hiding the missing second comma from many editors who do not have that preference set. --RexxS (talk) 00:25, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Month-day linking

Background statement

Month-day linking is the use of linking markup (double square brackets) on a day and month combination (e.g. [[March 24]]), which creates a link to a specific date article (March 24). Month-day linking has been used by editors to create links to such articles, and (from 2003 to 2008) to autoformat dates (see above).

Advantages of month-day linking
  1. Provides easy access to date articles.
  2. Populates "what links here" pages with possibly relevant data.
  3. Offers editors direct links to destination compared to the less precise "search" function.
  4. Uses a syntax that is logical, easily understood, and has been in widespread use since 2003 by the editing community.
  5. Provides links on occasions in which readers may reasonably wish to see the article on the date, including birth and death dates, dates of celebration (March 17 from Saint Patrick; 5 November from Guy Fawkes) or conventional names (e.g. 10 August 1792 links to 18 Brumaire).
Disadvantages of month-day linking
  1. Provides little or no relevance to an article's topic. These include, in almost all instances, links to:
  2. Dilutes high-value links (overlinking). When a link to a month-day page might be of potential interest to readers, it is better displayed in the See also section rather than in the main body of the article.
  3. Month-day linking does not provide an explanation as to why a reader should follow a link. The use of the See also section for such links can provide explanatory text.
  4. "What links here" for dates typically generates many results of questionable utility or relevance. There are already powerful tools for searching these items, including the precise "search" function and by adding "site:wikipedia.en" to a Google search for dates.
Advantages of month-day markup (whether or not it entails linking)
  1. Clearly marks out date strings for recognition by bots/scripts, which simplifies the automated processing of article text and the gathering of metadata.
Disadvantages of month-day markup
  1. Complicates the editing process with confusing syntax and additional keystrokes.
  2. Possible "metadata" add no value to those from existing tools, so it is unclear whether/why they warrant the use of special markup.
Advantages of removing guidance on month-day links
  1. Any specific guidelines on month-day links that do not apply to all links are instruction creep.
Disadvantages of removing guidance on month-day links
  1. The linking of date articles needs special guidance in our style guide because they are not like ‘normal’ articles—almost all date articles are lists of events, related only by the coincidence of occurring on the same date. Such lists almost never provide a context that helps in the understanding of an article that links to them, and therefore should not be linked to. If date articles are ever improved to the point where they do indeed provide historical context, this guidance may need to be reviewed.


If supported through consensus, one of the following four proposed guidelines (Options 1, 2, 3 or 4) would be added to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Linking and autoformatting of dates and Wikipedia:Linking#Chronological items. Please respond below to the four options.

Month-day: Option #1 (link only relevant dates)

Month-day articles (February 24 and 10 July) should not be linked unless their content is germane and topical to the subject. Such links should share an important connection with that subject other than that the events occurred on the same date. For example, editors should not link the date (or year) in a sentence such as (from Sydney Opera House): "The Sydney Opera House was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007", because little, if any, of the contents of either June 28 or 2007 are germane to either UNESCO, a World Heritage Site, or the Sydney Opera House.

References to commemorative days (Saint Patrick's Day) are treated as for any other link. Intrinsically chronological articles (1789, January, and 1940s) may themselves contain linked chronological items.

Month-day: Option #2 (commemorative links only)

Month-day articles (February 24 and 10 July) should not be linked unless the article is about (or includes, as primary article) a commemoration which usually occurs on that date. For example, Christmas might link to December 25, or Saint Patrick's Day (but not Saint Patrick) might link to March 17 (even though it is occasionally celebrated on a different day due to Lent).

Month-day: Option #3 (link all on first occurrence)

Month-day articles may be linked on their first occurrence in an article, regardless of how relevant the two articles are to each other.

Month-day: Option #4 (removal of guidance)

All specific language dealing with month-day links will be removed from the Manual of Style and related pages. This will have the effect of treating month-day links like any other potential link. (This need not include mentions of linking in the context of autoformatting; whether these are current guidance or a historic note depends on the question on autoformatting above.)


Month-day responses

Please indicate your support vote under ONE option, accompanied by a concise explanation for your choice. Your explanation is important in determining the community consensus.
I support Option #1 (link only relevant dates)
  1. Seems the best option of the four. Steve Crossin Talk/24 23:15, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  2. To reduce link density, I believe in general only the relevant information should be linked, and this should be no different for dates. Rambo's Revenge (How am I doing?) 23:20, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  3. Please, let common sense prevail. Links are hardly relevant and seldom help deepen understanding of the subject. Ohconfucius (talk) 23:23, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. Per WP:OVERLINK. --John (talk) 23:36, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  5. Support, the links are almost never relevant. Remember, dates may be relevant, but the date articles that are being linked to almost always aren't. Dabomb87 (talk) 23:49, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  6. Absolutely. Even when a date is notable in its own right, e.g. Christmas Day, it may be irrelevant to the passage in which it occurs. --Philcha (talk)
  7. Support: The date links are almost never relevant, so this shouldn't need to be done too often. seicer | talk | contribs 23:56, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  8. Support. I hope this provision will be construed fairly narrowly. -- Donald Albury 23:58, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  9. Support, common sense. All links, including links to dates, should only exist when they further the understanding of an article's subject. Raven1977Talk to meMy edits 00:01, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    Support Though I have a fairly high standard for relevance. I would rank the options 1,4,2,3. Eluchil404 (talk) 00:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  10. Support. Common sense suggests to me that option 4 should have almost exactly the same effect. But since not everybody agrees, this is much better, as it settles the question. --Hans Adler (talk) 00:08, 30 March 2009 (UTC) In fact, option 4 is the worst one because there is no chance it will end the fighting. --Hans Adler (talk) 10:24, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  11. Support Dates should be linked like anything else - they should enhance the reader's understanding of the article's topic.Awadewit (talk) 00:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  12. Support This pretty much covers the rare circumstances when dates should be linked. The proposed wording says it all: dates “should not be linked unless their content is germane and topical to the subject.” Enough said. Greg L (talk) 00:30, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  13. Support Reduces pointless links, allows the odd occasion where strictly useful. Dates need treating separately from "normal links" due to the controversial issues surrounding date linking and autoformatting.—MDCollins (talk) 00:40, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  14. Support I would tend to support the remove guidance option, but I suspect that past tendencies to link all dates would lead to continued overlinking. Guidance is needed to limit date links to those of notable historical significance. -- Tcncv (talk) 00:46, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  15. Per pretty much all supporters above. NuclearWarfare (Talk) 00:48, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  16. Support I too pondered on the remove guidance option, but I think it is disparity on this issue that got us here in the first place. Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:03, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  17. Support This is a helpful elaboration of the general guidance on wikilinks. Eubulides (talk) 01:29, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  18. Support I prefer as few links as possible, and find date links rarely relevant. Ealdgyth - Talk 01:48, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  19. Support: reckless linking of dates only serve to disrupt the reading experience; a date clicked about a medieval battle should point to relevant details in that time, rather than showing the day Titanic won record Oscars or such. Jappalang (talk) 01:53, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  20. Support : I get tired of seeing blue links in articles that take me to date articles that have absolutely no relevance to what I'm reading.SteveB67 (talk) 02:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  21. Per Seicer. –Juliancolton | Talk 02:15, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  22. Actually, I most support Option 4 - no guidance means nothing to edit war over, and the practical result would be identical to this guideline. Since the poll format ostensibly won't allow supporting multiple options (Why? Seriously, why?) I support this one on the basis already stated - it is identical to option 4 in practice, and more likely to be supported by others in practice. However, your poll format is broken in any case. Gavia immer (talk) 03:08, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  23. Support.-gadfium 03:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  24. Support—This conservative guidance on when to link month-day items (like, very rarely) is already established on WP. The project is now maturing in its use of wikilinking, from the original undisciplined scattergun to a more selective approach—smart linking, if you like—that avoids diluting high-value links. It's about time. Nothing turns readers off more than a sea of blue, and they will tend to click on nothing. Tony (talk) 03:45, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  25. Support Like others, I find date linking unnecessary and dislike the extra blue. bridies (talk) 04:39, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  26. Support. if the now-deprecated autoformatting system had not incidentally created links, we wouldn't need any extra guidance about linking dates - but it did, and we do. links should be made on the basis of the relevance of the articles they lead to. squillions of unwarranted links need to be removed. i'd also support changing the names of most month-day pages to something like List of Events on Month-Day Throughout History. Sssoul (talk) 04:46, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  27. Support. Seems like the most sensible text. While the treatment is not really different from other links (link only if relevant) date links require special guidance because they are so often made inappropriately.--Srleffler (talk) 04:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  28. SupportChris! ct 05:03, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  29. Support. Rare links are of course okay. What we don't need is routine linking. Fut.Perf. 06:00, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  30. Support. Date linking is a clunky solution in search of a problem. Bishonen | talk 06:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC).
  31. Support as second option (Please see comment under option 4). I prefer option 4, for much the same reason as I do not accept that this poll is best served by supporting only a single selection :-) AKAF (talk) 07:01, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  32. Support If date links won't format, what the hell is the point of linking unrelated dates? Oren0 (talk) 07:15, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  33. Support Links should only be made to dates in exceptional circumstances where they are clearly relevant and needed to explain the context. Dougweller (talk) 08:06, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  34. Support. This is the only option that explicitly states that each date link must be relevant. No more, no less. That is the same with non-date links but after a long period of overlinking, editors need explicit guidance. Lightmouse (talk) 08:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  35. Support, with caveat that dates aren't ever per se "relevant". Bongomatic 09:02, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  36. Support. Would be blessed to get rid of all the irrelevant date links that confuses articles now.--HJensen, talk 09:06, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  37. Support. We do need a rule, for consistency's sake (so no to Option 4). Dates just aren't normal links (so no to Option 3). I don't see a risk of orphaning date articles (so no to Option 2); if they are relevant to a given article they'll be linked to (so yes to Option 1). YLee (talk) 09:21, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  38. Support as per above comments. Extremepro (talk) 09:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  39. Support. I need say no more. This, that and the other [talk] 09:28, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  40. Support. Links should always be judged based on relevancy and value to the reader. — TKD::{talk} 11:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  41. Support (this or option 2; I'm not sure what the difference is in practice, the wording probably needs tightening in either case).--Kotniski (talk) 11:21, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  42. Support Links are almost never relevant. Articles and the edit window looks cleaner without all the wikilinks and markup. - kollision (talk) 11:45, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  43. Support It makes the most sense - you don't want to link to days that are just "days" (birthdays etc.), but it would be rather weird to have a page on a holiday or a world event that didn't link to what was going on on that day... Bangdrum (talk) 11:55, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  44. Support per TKD. Peridon (talk) 12:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  45. Support rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 13:12, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  46. Support - Only when relevant makes the most sense to me. Camw (talk) 13:39, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  47. Support - this is what I've gotten used to in the past months, and it works just like any other links. This is equivalent to #4, but special guidance is necessary because of the history here. --NE2 13:40, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  48. Support. This is what WP:OVERLINK says, no reason why dates should be any different. — Emil J. 13:42, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  49. Reluctant support', I guess this is the best choice, but they are almost never relevant. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:43, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  50. Support but we should be stronger and say that such links are almost never relevant in the guidance. GRBerry 14:04, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  51. Support I hate seeing links to articles with no content related to what I am reading, they are pointless - Dumelow (talk) 14:17, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  52. Strong support. Date links are almost never relevant; if and when they are, this seems the best solution. Cnilep (talk) 14:34, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  53. Support. I might have chosen remove guidance, but the dust won't settle for months or years yet. Light our path, and we may avoid some bumps along the way. — the Sidhekin (talk) 14:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  54. SupportBellhalla (talk) 15:08, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  55. Support that dates are linked for chronological articles, but not for any other purpose. I strongly oppose the other options. Karanacs (talk) 15:28, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  56. Support Unless specifically germane to the article or context, date links are almost always empty links. The prime example of a wikilink which illuminates little or nothing in the original article. Pigman☿/talk 15:35, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  57. Reluctant Support per User:SandyGeorgia. I struggle to think of any circumstances in which these links should be included in articles, so I don't think this is strong enough - but it's the best choice of the four. Pfainuk talk 15:37, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  58. Support Perhaps in the future formal guidance on this issue can be removed. Since it's been a back and forth issue for a while, we need it for now, I think. --TreyGeek (talk) 15:48, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  59. Support The vast majority of date links have no relevance to the article and should only be used when there is a meaning specific to the article. --Captain-tucker (talk) 15:52, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  60. Strong support per most of the above arguments Johnny Au (talk/contributions) 15:55, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  61. Strong Support 61 other people have said it. Read above. Alan16 talk 15:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  62. Support although should not be overused - should be used for articles about the date itself, or linking to very very particular and well recognised uses eg July 4. Orderinchaos 16:02, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  63. Support sparingly --Dweller (talk) 16:04, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  64. Support, mainly for use in "what links here". I rate the options: 1,2,4,3. Let's get rid of the useless links to lists of irrelevant trivia that happened to occur a whole number of years later. Certes (talk) 16:06, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  65. Support, there is no need to needlessly overlink articles. Plastikspork (talk) 16:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  66. Support. Rettetast (talk) 16:25, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  67. Weak support. Seems the most logical to me, but implementing it will take careful work. Greggers (tc) 16:28, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  68. Support. My preference would be to eliminate all linked dates, but this option is the best of the bunch. It avoids overlinking, unless there is some particular relevance to the date. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 16:31, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  69. Support. This is concurrent with the general guideline to make onlyrelevant links. Debresser (talk) 16:54, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  70. Support. There are some rare links that are useful so this would seem to cover them. -- Banjeboi 16:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  71. Support. The history of this debate shows that guidance is necessary, so option 4 is not sufficient. There is little reason to treat links to month-day articles differently from links to any article, so only those which are clearly relevant should be linked. --RexxS (talk) 16:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  72. When we link to articles whose content is not relevant to the context, we do our readers a disservice by distracting them from links to relevant articles. In the absolute majority of cases, month-day links are irrelevant to the context of the article from which they are being linked. –Black Falcon (Talk) 17:21, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  73. Support Links are pointless and detrimental unless they are of semantic value. OrangeDog (talkedits) 17:24, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  74. Support These must comprise the overwhelming majority of pointless blue links! These articles are just big, useless lists of events, births and deaths-who clicks on them? RupertMillard (Talk) 17:38, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  75. Support: I don't find the actual day-month articles pointless as RupertMillard suggests (I rather like them!), but I don't think they should be linked to in the manner that they have been. I also think Option #4 is scary and will only lead to incessant edit-warring (which has already been happening, and we really don't need any more of that!). I think that some guide, somewhere, should state the accepted instances for date links (rare) and keep the issue quite simple and defined. Maedin\talk 18:16, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  76. Support. This should be the "common sense" option as I don't see any reason for it to be otherwise. Dates should be linked under the same rules as anything else - if relevant. |→ Spaully 18:19, 30 March 2009 (GMT)
  77. Support. Links are useful mainly to define or further explain specific terms in an article. Nobody needs to look up the meaning of a date such as March 30. Dirac66 (talk) 18:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  78. Support, allowing linking to Dec. 25 in the Christmas article. Frankly these links are almost never useful in the wider encyclopedia, but do have occasional value. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 18:25, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  79. Pro --Morten (talk) 18:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  80. Support options 1 and 2. Note: marking in both lists for clarity. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 18:33, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  81. Support per above, only link when needed. TheAE talk/sign 18:38, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  82. Support per all the above. Alarics (talk) 18:40, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  83. Support per Casliber above. We need to reach something definitive and hopefully put this issue to rest.
    ⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 18:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  84. Support linking if relevant, but not linked if not relevant. User preference issue can be dealt with in other ways if that is the consensus. Mjroots (talk) 19:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  85. Support. In my opinion the most useful option. Liffey (talk) 19:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  86. Support In general, links to dates take the reader nowhere worthwhile. Mr Stephen (talk) 19:54, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  87. Support Most logical. KellenT 20:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  88. Support This is the clearest option, and the most in keeping with existing policies about overlinking. Anaxial (talk) 20:48, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  89. Support It is the most logical and practical option. ~EdGl 20:57, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  90. Support Agree with comments 2,3,5,6, etc, etc, etc. CS46 21:11, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  91. Support Date-linking in Wikipedia articles was a poor idea to begin, and the less of it, the better.  JGHowes  talk 21:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  92. Support. Would remove irrelevant links while still keeping ones that had value. – Joe N 21:30, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  93. Support. Seems obviously correct to me. Gareth McCaughan (talk) 21:34, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  94. Support. Although in an ideal world, option #4 would be sufficient, in practice I think that the clarity of option #1 will be the most effective. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 21:45, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  95. Support This is the only option that makes sense - new readers are constantly confused by date links to articles that have no relation to the original subject being read. - Ahunt (talk) 22:07, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  96. Support. Although I've long been a proponent of date autoformatting, I've always believed that most date links were irrelevant and wished I could have separate autoformatting and linking. RossPatterson (talk) 22:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  97. Support. The best of the four options by a country mile. There's little on Wikipedia that's less useful than these month-day links. Julianhall (talk) 22:22, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  98. Support faithless (speak) 22:53, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  99. Support per common sense: only relevant words get linked, so it should be with dates. -M.Nelson (talk) 23:08, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  100. Support. If it's relevant, then it is potentially useful to the reader and linking it would increase simplicity in the reader's point of view. Useight (talk) 23:52, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  101. Support - dates should only be linked if the link makes sense, rather than every time. --PresN 23:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  102. Support - There have been many articles I frequent that have had links removed from them. To say I haven't missed them would be the understatement of the year. Giants2008 (17-14) 00:18, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  103. Support this follows existing guidelines and just makes sense; don't link it if it isn't relevant -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 01:58, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  104. Support. Reasonable sense to link to only relevant dates otherwise it's unnecessary. ddima.talk 02:07, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  105. Suppport. Wikipedia does not exist for numerologists alone. VikSol 02:39, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  106. Support, Option 1 not only means that date links will be treated like other links, but there will also be a guideline to put an end to revert wars. We need a guideline because linking has already been done and de-linking means a change: imagine if the word imagine had been linked every time, then suddenly it wasn't. A guideline will prevent any short term confusion. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 02:48, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  107. support and also support mass delinking of all such dates to get to where we should be: few links Hmains (talk) 03:06, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  108. Support. 99% of date links are irrelevant to the article content. RainbowOfLight Talk 03:26, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  109. First choice. shoy (reactions) 03:35, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  110. Support - This is the goldilocks option (not too hard, not too soft, but JUST RIGHT). There should be very few links to dates, but every once in a while, a link may be relevant. --Orlady (talk) 03:53, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  111. Support - I see no reason to treat dates like this any differently than other word. Links should be employed only where relevant in any case. --Clay Collier (talk) 05:07, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  112. Support - However, I think the mark up should be there, even if it is not rendered as a link. Nicolas1981 (talk) 06:19, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  113. Support. Makes complete sense. I remember I was confused as a new user when I clicked on these links and expected to go somewhere relevant, but didn't in most cases. If you have any questions, please contact me at my talk page. Ian Manka 06:21, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  114. Support: This option seems the most consistent with Wikipedia's existing linking policy. Regarding option four, I think that it's not unreasonable to state this in the MoS. — D. Wo. 06:46, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  115. Support: As with other links, date links should have a good reason. Most of the month-day articles do not provide useful context, and this are simply extraneous links within articles. NJGW (talk) 07:46, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  116. Support: Seems obvious to me. Link only if a link makes sense. -- WORMMЯOW  08:19, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  117. Support The best option for reducing unnecessary links. --JD554 (talk) 11:41, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  118. Common sense, really. Why on earth do I need to know, in a random article mentioning a random date, whatever else happened on the same random date?  Sandstein  11:48, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  119. Support. Newbies need guidance not to "improve" an article with irrelevant links. Spike-from-NH (talk) 11:52, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  120. Support but option # gives no examples for link to something like March 24 and I can' think of any reason myself, or any reason to read March 24. Such articles are 100% trivia. Colin°Talk 12:43, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  121. Support - date linking almost never adds to an article, and in fact is essentially WP:OVERLINKing.  Frank  |  talk  13:49, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  122. Support --Apoc2400 (talk) 15:06, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  123. Support - link only a few relevant dates such as July 4, 1776 and July 20, 1969. Bubba73 (talk), 15:54, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  124. Support = This is the best of the four choices. --Jc3s5h (talk) 16:37, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  125. Support, given most date links would otherwise be unhelpful happenstance and clutter. Gwen Gale (talk) 16:42, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  126. Support, indiscriminate linking of dates is pointless. noq (talk) 17:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  127. Support. Will reduce link density. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:33, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  128. Support, but I was almost tempted to option 2. The use of the word "relevant" will lead to edit wars down the road, but what's new about that? David Brooks (talk) 17:45, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  129. Support the proposal meets my expectations of linking only articles which are directly relevant, not those which will lead to a sea of blue irrelevance. The Rambling Man (talk) 18:12, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  130. Support As most logical. Option 4 doesn't seem to preclude the re-creation of mosdate guidelines after they are removed. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:14, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  131. Support, they are certainly ugly and apparently unnecessary. --Aqwis (talk) 18:36, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  132. Support. I think the date policy at WP:OVERLINK justifies itself. Daniel J Simanek (talk) 18:44, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  133. Support - Seems the most sensible solution. Just like with every other possible internal link, we encourage only linking relevant terms that provide addtional context to the reader. Otherwise nearly every word in an article would be linked, which wouldn't help anyone. It's the same for dates. Why there is such an obsession with linking dates all the time, even when such links aren't relevant in any way, is beyond me. --IllaZilla (talk) 19:09, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  134. Support. This is common sense. Moreover, I'll propose something that may trigger reactions: Let a bot run and remove ALL month-day links and then re-add the relevant ones. From my experience, the relevant ones are very few. -- Magioladitis (talk) 19:55, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  135. Strong support: rarely relevant, and irrelevant links impose a mental cost on readers. Also gives pages a cluttered appearance. Making the links less common would make the remaining dates stand out more, which is probably a good thing in those limited circumstances where they are relevant. CRGreathouse (t | c) 19:57, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  136. Support, month-day linking is rarely relevant. — Xavier, 21:17, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  137. Support, month-day linking is rarely relevant. — MarkyMarkD (talk) 21:47, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  138. Support, month-day linking is rarely relevant, and mainly adds visual clutter. Ground Zero | t 23:39, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  139. Support. It's rarely relevant, and this way seems good. Wise dude321 (talk) 01:08, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  140. Support. Avoid overload. --Kbh3rdtalk 01:27, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  141. Support. Me, too. LilHelpa (talk) 01:42, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  142. Support. Very few dates really need to be linked and we do not need an article for every date. --Bduke (Discussion) 02:36, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  143. Support. This type of linking clearly amounts to gross over linking of information that does not add to article content. The only issue I have here is that interpretation of what is a relevant date may well be a cause for edit warring in the future. So if this passes, guidance should be to avoid unless it is clear that the link adds to the article and is really, really needed. Vegaswikian (talk) 03:50, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  144. Definitely the best option of the bunch. — BQZip01 — talk 05:11, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  145. Not sure when a link to a date has helped someone. –thedemonhog talkedits 06:52, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  146. Support. Common sense!! --Popiloll (talk) 07:12, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  147. Support. Ruslik (talk) 07:20, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  148. Support - Seems the most sensible and efficient way to go about it. Colds7ream (talk) 07:27, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  149. Support—Day-month links should be treated like any other potential link but instead of simply removing any mention (option 4) explicit guidance not to link unless the content is germane and topical to the subject should act as a catalyst in turning back the tide and repairing the damage. There is still a fair bit of inertia to link dates out there; we some extra force to help the decelerating won't go astray. However, option 4 could be worth considering in a few years' time. JIMp talk·cont 08:32, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  150. Support. A date can be a meaningful link. Where a link is useful it makes sense to do it. SilkTork *YES! 11:06, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  151. Weak support—If used properly, this use would be a rare occurrence. Usually the information on the date pages is over weighted toward certain types of events and not evenly weighted globally (battles in the Western world, English language literature etc.). As long as the editor carefully considers whether the info on the date page is relevant to the article, then I would support a limited use of this option. I personally have never found a date link meaningful and find it annoying when I accidently click on a date page. —Mattisse (Talk) 12:43, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  152. Support Pointless date links are annoying. Ditto above comment. CheesyBiscuit (talk) 12:47, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  153. Support I think that this is probably the best option VJ (talk) 12:59, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  154. Support. I understand this to more-or-less mean that date links should be treated like any other (link when non-trivially relevant, otherwise don't), but I oppose #4 because I think that after all this fuss we need some specific guidance on this. Saying nothing just opens the door to endless further disputes. Matt 13:05, 1 April 2009 (UTC).
  155. Support I'm struggling to think of any reason to link month-day, except for the curiosity value of finding out what happened on your birthday - and that's not what an encyclopaedia is for. Any metadata these links provide is so vague as to be worthless. It's not helpful to anyone to know that some unspecified event, related to the subject of the article in some unknown way, happened on that day of the year. Colonies Chris (talk) 13:17, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  156. Strong support Linking of irrelevant dates leads to overlinking and dilutes the quality links in an artcle Rubisco (talk) 13:33, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  157. Support This sort of linking is clearly over-linking. --Phil Holmes (talk) 15:15, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  158. Support, although I recommend much more basic, easy-for-beginners examples of good candidate for date linking and bad candidate for date linking than that given. Professor marginalia (talk) 16:38, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  159. - I Oppose all day and month linking; day and month articles are nothing but glorified dab pages. Fightin' Phillie (talk) 18:32, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  160. Support - The reader's time is too valuable to divert it onto a topic unrelated to the one they have chosen to read about. EdJohnston (talk) 19:45, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  161. Support, this kind of internal wiki-linking adds NO value to an article at all because the date is often IRRELEVANT to the context. It often gives historical information which just isnt needed, if people want it they can search for that particular date (Lil-unique1 (talk) 22:37, 1 April 2009 (UTC))
  162. Support. Link relevant dates only. Powers T 23:43, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  163. Support - guidance is needed at present, although some years from now, option #4 may end up being okay. hamiltonstone (talk) 00:50, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  164. Support I would like WP:Popups or some other script to allow me to go to a date page for any date (which would be easier if there was the autoformatting meta data present), but in general excessive irrelevant visible links is bad. Mark Hurd (talk) 02:43, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  165. Support Pointless links dilute the value of useful links. Links from an article should only be used to provide further information about the topic (or related topics). Overlinking is distracting to the reader ("what am I missing by not clicking that link?"). Johnuniq (talk) 02:55, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  166. Support In nearly all cases, date links are irrelevant and distracting. Exceptions can be made for the few that aren't. Rivertorch (talk) 05:34, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  167. Support per Rivertorch.--Aervanath (talk) 05:35, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  168. Support When relevant we should link. Taemyr (talk) 05:59, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  169. Very reluctant Support because I see no better alternative. In the past I'd be closer to option 4, but now it seems too vague to me.--Yannismarou (talk) 08:09, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  170. Support. I've never followed a date link and found anything of relevance or interest, so they are a waste of time to putin, and dilute hight value links. A few relevant dates may benefit from linking.YobMod 09:02, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  171. Support This option improves on the amount of relevant links. (with the understanding that overlinking repeated cases of the same link is already discouraged by existing policy) - Mgm|(talk) 10:04, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  172. Support Relevance should always be the operative factor in any link. Ed Fitzgerald t / c 13:06, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  173. Support as this proposal is consistent with our general approach to linking, and avoidance of overlinking. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 13:31, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  174. Support overlinking is distracting. --NullSpace (talk) 15:07, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  175. Support. Only link relevant dates; month-day linking is rarely relevant. --Rosiestep (talk) 17:58, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  176. Support. Commemorative days are the obvious need for a link, but limiting it to ONLY that is too restrictive. --Alvestrand (talk) 18:46, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  177. Support. Date links were generally irrelevant and just added to link overload, and I think they should be generally avoided. However, if the author thinks that a specific date is truly relevant, then they should be allowed to link. Esobocinski (talk) 19:58, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  178. Support. Linking dates only adds to the "sea of blue" problem; only when strictly necessary should a date article be linked to, as we do for every other article. Steve TC 22:06, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  179. Support – While some editors might interpret this rule more loosely than others (such as using various "rationals" to support the linking of all months/days in an article), a formatting change is needed to reduce link density and irrelevance. momoricks (make my day) 01:12, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  180. Support - Overlinking is something good to avoid - if a date link is there, then it should be there for relevance. Enforcing the rule will be time consuming though, so as long as there's a vigilant network for doing so, I'm in favour of Option 1 Australian Matt (talk) 02:10, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  181. Support - Date links are usually irrelevant for readers. Cacycle (talk) 02:31, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  182. Support This is the only option of the four that makes any sense to me.Yilloslime TC 04:35, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  183. User:MC10/S - seems like the best option of the 4 and prevents overlinking. MathCool10 Sign here! 04:36, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  184. Support I think users should have the option of seeing all dates linked, by means of improved date autoformatting/autolinking software — but I think the default should be something along the lines of option 1. --Sapphic (talk) 06:11, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  185. Pile on support per Duh. Wikilinks are there for a reason, when the reason is there, so should the wikilink.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 06:55, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  186. Me too--ClubOranjeT 07:37, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  187. Support despite the destructive impact on Wikington Crescent. Orpheus (talk) 10:53, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  188. Support. I thought about the "remove guidance" option but that seems likely to lead to more arguments; guidance is just what is needed. Mike Christie (talk) 11:02, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  189. Why would people use these links? Probably not to find a definition of April 14, so we don't need a lot of linking to dates and years. Samulili (talk) 12:40, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  190. Support linking in only relevant cases. It is pointless to link to every date, or even every date that is distantly related to the article in which they appear. Linking these dates should only be used when obviously relevant. The Seeker 4 Talk 16:00, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  191. Support. This option just emphasizes the idea against overlinking for which dates have traditionally been overlinked too much. --seav (talk) 16:51, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  192. Support per relevance and populating What links here, which is often quite useful. Bendono (talk) 18:15, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  193. Support I never understood why there were links to those articles. Deegee375 (talk) 21:16, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  194. Support. Relevance should be the reason for a link, whether a date or otherwise. —ADavidB 06:04, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  195. Support Reduce unnecessary and unhelpful links. Date-month link will almost always be pointless. PamD (talk) 10:19, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  196. .Support Best option. Will prevent needless wikilinking.Mosedschurte (talk) 11:46, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  197. Support Seems like the best way of doing it, and (off hand) follows existing guidelines on when to wikilink. ~~ [ジャム][t - c] 14:18, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  198. Support Best of all four options. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 18:32, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  199. Support Treat month-day like anything else: link only if relevant, which they rarely are. Struway2 (talk) 20:01, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  200. Support Linking every date is obnoxious and contributes to information pollution, clouding the reader's ability to get to the meat of the topic and sort out relevant and interesting links from date links which contribute nothing to the article, nor do they contribute to anyone's ability to find information relevant to a specific date. There are too many such date links to be useful. Nuke all of 'em but the most specifically relevant to a topic. -- btphelps (talk) (contribs) 01:25, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  201. Support, second choice (#2 is my first choice.) – Quadell (talk) 01:31, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  202. Support Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 06:08, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  203. Support, have never seen the need for date linking. Can't actually think of any case where it is necessary. Jezhotwells (talk) 12:18, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  204. Support. Per Btphelps. — Σxplicit 19:05, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  205. Support Removes unnecessary links and makes it easier to to read Hohohob (talk) 01:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  206. Support I see no need for any bare date links. Ever.--2008Olympianchitchat 05:03, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  207. Support -- Same principle as for all links. KISS! -- William Allen Simpson (talk) 14:25, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  208. Support Linking useful if there is a genuine connection, but not otherwise. More general linking leads to the ludicrous and overwhelming situation where trivial dates are linked, such as the date a web page was accessed (I've seen this more than once!). Richard New Forest (talk) 14:58, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  209. Support add practically nothing constructive whilst diluting usefulness of What Links Here, Related Changes, etc. No need to link to lists which are trivially bound by astronomical constants, except in the rarest of occasions. Knepflerle (talk) 16:42, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  210. Support This option provides a clear and consistent recommendation, allows for consistent appropriate linking, and will help minimize overlinking. —Danorton (talk) 18:16, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  211. Support Least complicated and most common sense option. Peter Isotalo 18:40, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  212. Support, Why does everything turn into such a debate. This makes sense, the others do not.--Mrboire (talk) 20:01, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  213. Support — Coherent, consistent, common-sense link policy calls for treating dates the same as we treat any other potentially linkable word, phrase, or number: we link them only if they are really relevant to the article at hand. We don't link words just on speculation that the reader might happen to find the link target interesting, or because we happen to be using a linkable word as part of the article text. —Scheinwerfermann T·C00:44, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  214. Support -- Eliminates a lot of unnecessary link clutter, while still keeping the option available for cases where the links would actually be relevant. Brian Powell (talk) 03:37, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  215. Support All links should be included only if relevant, right? Why should dates be any different? The Grand Rans (talk) 03:51, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  216. Support. It is unconscionable to adopt a policy by which supplying irrelevant links is a feature of the default practice. Most occurrences of dates, in most contexts, are simple markers on a timeline; they are not gateways to any sort of rich and relevant background. In most cases, therefore, a link would make a false promise, and distract from the force and immediacy of the text.–¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 07:36, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  217. Not sure if I understand the difference between this and Option #2, though. (It seems like such an edge case.) --Cyde Weys 15:44, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  218. Support - guides the reader to other articles only when valuable to do so. --4wajzkd02 (talk) 17:58, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  219. Support Treat it like any other link; we deplore overlinking, and mindless policy-driven month/day linking has long been an egregious example. Acroterion (talk) 18:57, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  220. Support Date links are rarely relevant IMHO, but I wouldn't object to there being language to allow linking them in certain cases or when there is a concensus. dissolvetalk 19:55, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  221. Support -- Acroterion said it best...Treat it like any other link. Link when relevant. Farmercarlos (talk) 20:14, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  222. Support...whatever the hundred or so people said before me. But really, this is better than either alternative (link all, or link none: either hampers usability). ~user:orngjce223 how am I typing? 20:15, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  223. Support - yup. Xenus (talk) 09:56, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  224. Support there's no need to link dates except in rare circumstances. Guidance is needed to prevent edit wars over this, and this seems the best option. Nick-D (talk) 11:19, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  225. Support Does this section read "use resonable judgement." I'm a fan of that! Hipocrite (talk) 14:12, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  226. Support best option --Armchair info guy (talk) 15:00, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  227. Support Date links are almost always irrelevant. Link when relevant only, it's a far simpler rule to work with. --GedUK  20:09, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  228. Support Let the writer decide and others edit what is relevant. We'll end up with completely blue pages if we start down this path! Wikipeterproject (talk) 21:23, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  229. Support. Seems appropriate to link only relevant dates, no context for dates, i.e. WP:OVERLINK. Rehevkor 01:35, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  230. Support. If a link adds value to an article, include it. If not, don't. EyeSerenetalk 09:55, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  231. Support. I see this problem as one pertaining to relevancy, and option 1 seems to solve this problem just perfectly. --A.K.R. (talk) 16:21, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  232. Support I only wish to see links relevant to an article. Finavon (talk) 19:03, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  233. Support I find irrelevant links reduce readability. It's like all the linked dates are read by Billy Mays in my head. Cstaffa (talk) 23:58, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  234. Support Events that simply happened on any given month-day combination is not an encyclopedic grouping, it's just trivia. Deep down the community recognizes this; that's why we don't have Category:March 24. Arbitrarily connecting two topics because the Earth happened to be in the same position relative to the sun is not at all link-worthy, it is utterly trivial. These month-day combinations are only encyclopedic when the date itself is representative of a specific event: July 4 and September 11 are common names for Independence Day and the destruction of the Twin Towers, respectively; by contrast, Dec 7, however infamous, is not generally used as a synonym for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Ham Pastrami (talk) 06:15, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  235. Support to avoid overlinking. Fletcher (talk) 19:25, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  236. Support Put an end to this silly overlinking.EEng (talk) 19:28, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  237. Support, linking dates provides no relevant information in the majority of cases. Corn.u.co.piaDisc.us.sion 00:14, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  238. Support, linking to a date usually adds nothing to an article. Do U(knome)? yes...or no 01:23, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  239. Support. Linking of dates other than according to this principle is just annoying visual noise. Removing guidance altogether is a recipe for future conflict. The best option is a simple guideline like this one. McKay (talk) 02:04, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  240. Support  Like any other term, a date should be linked only when appropriate, according to the editors' judgment. Michael Z. 2009-04-11 16:15 z
  241. Support I think that this is the best option as long as "relevant" is defined liberally. I think that too many links is better than too few. Captain panda 17:09, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  242. Although I'd prefer option #3, this seems like an adequate compromise. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 18:25, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  243. Support. My heart says remove all guidance, but my editorial head says we've got many beginners who love to make a sea of blue links, so let's tell them no. Jim.henderson (talk) 20:49, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  244. Support, erring on the side of not linking (if some other autoformat option is available).--Fabrictramp | talk to me 23:19, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  245. Support - Option 1 seems to make the most sense as links should only really be provided if they would be helpful for the reader on the topic they are reading. Removing all guidance would just be unhelpful and would cause future conflicts. Camaron | Chris (talk) 14:01, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  246. Support This seems to make the most sense—only links that are relevant, and all links that are relevant. It's worth having policy on dates as well as other links.Jchthys 14:36, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  247. Support This is the only option that makes sense. -- M2Ys4U (talk) 15:57, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  248. Support We should be strict about this. Such links should share an important connection with that subject Let relevancy rule, with a tight interpretation of "relevancy". Reconsideration (talk) 18:27, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  249. Support; these links are usually unnecessary. Option 4 would be fine too. --Spangineerws (háblame) 19:52, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  250. Support - I expect that hardly ever would these links be appropriate. —Mattisse (Talk) 22:35, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  251. Support This strikes me as the best option of the four. Removing all date linking is too harsh, offering no guidance is a mess, and allowing the first date reference to be linked is useful for years but not full dates. --Perry Middlemiss (talk) 00:31, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  252. I find this the most reasonable option: it avoids undue rigidity, but offers, at the same time, simple guidance based on established linking practice. Waltham, The Duke of 01:07, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  253. Support The most appropriate balance between an absolute ban and overlinking. Dl2000 (talk) 01:34, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  254. Support Links should always be relevant, and dates should be no exception. In addition, if the resolution of the autoformatting question is that autoformatting is not desired by the community, or if autoformatting is desired and the eventual implementation of it does not rely on linked dates, links that were solely for the purpose of autoformatting will need to be removed. Two important points related to this, however. First, no links should be removed until the question of autoformatting is decided. Second, the most efficient method of removing these links is through automated and semi-automated methods. However, since it is impossible for bots and scripts to determine relevancy. a method must first be created to identify and protect links that are determined by editors to be relevant — this, for me, is the main issue related to the current arbitration. Mlaffs (talk) 12:20, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  255. Support Articles that have dozens of dates, all linked, simply look cluttered. This indicates that some editors are not thinking about what will help the reader, but are just following a formula. Chris the speller (talk) 14:14, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  256. Support. This proposed standard relies upon editors' discretion, but that's not unusual for an MOS item. In this case, although that means that there isn't a simple algorithm that covers all possible instances (relevance is context-dependent), the likelihood is high that the end result will be broadly acceptable to the users of the encyclopedia. TheFeds 16:30, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I support Option #2 (commemorative links only)
  1. Seems a reasonable solution to allow the month-day articles not to become orphaned. My preference for options is in the order 2,4,1,3. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:44, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  2. Support options 1 and 2, except "only" part in option 2. Note: marking in both lists for clarity. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 18:33, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  3. Support although this is very similar to option 1 - commemorative dates probably do count as relevant dates - so I would be happy with either. Perhaps date articles should be treated as lists, and linked to from "see also" where appropriate? Mike Peel (talk) 18:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. Support Option 2 is clearer than option 1, since it is not clear what would be "relevant" for option 1 purposes, but option 2 is clearly defined. I agree we don't want to orphan the date articles, and this seems like the way avoid that. Option 4 is ridiculous. Richard75 (talk) 17:19, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  5. Support - Option #1 is too broad. --David Göthberg (talk) 16:39, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  6. Support. Option 2 is stricter than 1. If option 2 fails to win, count my vote to support option 1. −Woodstone (talk) 11:30, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  7. Support, I want the strictest avoidance of overlinking. Tempshill (talk) 18:57, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  8. Support, though only very marginally over option 1 - they both make sense. Shimgray | talk | 13:57, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  9. Support, Option 1 leaves too many pointless links. -- KelleyCook (talk) 15:51, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  10. Support — [[::User:Malik Shabazz|Malik Shabazz]] ([[::User talk:Malik Shabazz|talk]] · [[::Special:Contributions/Malik Shabazz|contribs]]) 19:45, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  11. Support, first choice. – Quadell (talk) 01:31, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  12. Support Of lack of an option that simply eliminates all possible date linking, this will provide the least blue. Date links have no function and reduce readability significantly. Dates are the worst—they look hideous, and serve no practical function for the reader. Arsenikk (talk) 19:14, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  13. Support - I think month-day links should generally be avoided, but that they would be acceptable in articles referring to a holiday or other event that is intrinsically linked with a particular date. Robofish (talk) 23:56, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  14. Support Option 1 leaves too many pointless links. Kennedy (talk) 15:10, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  15. Support: I prefer this as it is stricter than option 1, but otherwise count this as secondary support for option 1. Option 3 is boneheaded; it misapprehends why we link first occurrences of many things ("albinism", "rugby union", etc.), but do not at all link other things ("woman", "night", etc.) except in very particular and peculiar contexts. Option 4 is simply pointless, since as disputations over linking dates re-arise, the necessity to add guidance on the matter to the MOS will automatically also re-arise. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 02:57, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  16. Support. Options 1 and 3 are overlinking. Option 4 is the road to inconsistency and edit wars. This is a good compromise. – IbLeo (talk) 05:22, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  17. Support Second choice would be #1 Agathoclea (talk) 14:45, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  18. Support - Followed (in order) by #1, #4, and #3. Automated or default removal of dates should not be implemented, however. I would like to see date linking die in a mostly natural way, but I would like to see it die. IF the date is significant to the article, that's one thing. But linking every date is a waste of the reader's time. --Willscrlt (→“¡¿Talk?!”) 13:21, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I support Option #3 (link all on first occurrence)
  1. This is how everything else is linked, I don't see why dates should be treated any differently.-Jeff (talk) 00:10, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    Not too bothered really, but I think it is better when the days & months are linked. Unsigned contribution struck out,  Sandstein  20:38, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  2. Support, But only for certain dates (like birth and death) I am going to be the apparent oddball here and say that I think that overlinking is bad but there is nothing wrong with linking the dates the first time, or maybe even twice if one is an infobox and 1 is in the article itself. We have to remember that WP is not a paper encyclopedia, it is a 4 dimensional online encylclopedia that allows pages to be "linked" to other pages. I alot of folks have argued that it adds little value to them, but if I am reading an article and want to look at the date why should I have to type it in to go see it. Also, if we are going to remove links to dates then should we also consider deleting the date articles themselves, we are going to get quite a few orphaned date articles of we remove all links.--Kumioko (talk) 20:18, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  3. Support, Personally I love links, it is the whole reason why WP > paper encyclopedia, will the data necessarily point to something germane to the article at hand? Perhaps not, but that doesn't mean that the reader won't find whatever it links to interesting. We might as well take out 'random page'. I would have voted for 4. But worried that it will simply be used to removed linking, not further it. Unomi (talk) 16:44, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. I guess I'm rooting for the underdog here, but I feel that linking dates adds an inherent depth to wikipedia which is probably unobtainable anywhere else. I detest overlinking and don't think that every date in an article should be linked, maybe option 2 1/2 ? Like Kumioko said only birth/death dates, or the relative equivalent - the date of an important discovery, but not every date at Handel works. -- ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 08:26, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  5. Strong Support. I think it is part of what makes Wikipedia so cool: If a date is contained somewhere in an article, you are able to see what was going on at the same time (which is quite important if you are for example researching something...) Also, personally, I like reading the month-day pages linked from articles. They give a link to knowlage I probaly wouldn't have found else and make interesting connections between articles. They're just a cool thing. Also, what is relevant to one may be unrelevant to someboedy else... How do you want to determine what is relevant or what is not? For me, these links are relevant since they give the opportunity to find and discover other interesting articles better than any other feature. Old Death (talk) 21:42, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  6. Strong Support. Per above, adding that serendipity sometimes plays a useful role in research.[21]Daytrivia (talk) 22:59, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  7. Support - I can't see any convincing argument against it. Deb (talk) 18:02, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  8. I support this option. My reasons are the same as those explained by everyone else who supports this option. Go links!Simplebutpowerful 00:12, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I support Option #4 (removal of guidance)
  1. Strongly support. All links are required to be relevant and helpful to the reader. what more do we need to say about these? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:32, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
    • This is the only way to ensure that date links are treated like other links. I observe that, despite the successful campaign to remove this objective from this poll, this equality has received support from support for all forms of language.
    • Even #3 has been read to impose restraints on date links which do not apply to other links, as in These comments. #1 and #2 have been used to justify extreme and sweeeping removals.
    • I therefore strongly oppose #1, Oppose #2 (which at least concedes a major use of these links) and weakly oppose #3. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:38, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  2. Yes please; take as much as possible out of the hands of the hands of the people who made this clusterfuck in the first place. Mr.Z-man 01:10, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  3. Strongly support as first preference. It doesn't seem that the date guidelines in MOS actually help anyone to do anything which they wouldn't otherwise be doing, and the constant edit wars show how little consensus the whole concept of a manual of style has. AKAF (talk) 07:04, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. Option #3 is just silly: other than for the current form of date autoformatting (i.e. Dynamic Dates), I can see no reason whatsoever to add any link in the sentence "Retrieved on 30 March 2009." at the end of a citation. Option #1 spends way too many words, and makes the point of "relevance of the content of an article rather than of its topic", which some editors like so much way too explicit. (I wonder if they would remove the link to Ronald Reagan in Santa Fe Trail (film) on the basis that most of the former article is about his career as a politician, which couldn't possibly be relevant to a film in which he acted decades earlier.) Also, it seems to acknowledge that the month-day articles are listcruft, which can be taken as decreeing that they should forever continue to be such. (Will it still be so useless to link the article April 23 from St George's Day if it becomes like this?) Option #2 happens to match somewhat closely the criteria I would personally use to determine when to link such articles (except that I would say "event" rather than "commemoration"—how is linking 21 June from Solstice any worse than linking 17 March from St Patrick's day?—and I would add "... and eponymous events": ideally September 11 could contain a section about how that phrase has become a synonymous with the attacks of 11 September 2001, which would be outside the scope of the already very long article about the latter, but which could be linked to by it). But I don't think we need explicit instruction on when to link dates any more than we need explicit instruction on when to link common names of animal species: the Wikipedia guidelines are already bloated enough without WP:Linking mentioning that St Patrick's Day isn't celebrated on 17 March in some years. Hence, I support option #4, although I wouldn't oppose adding "...and days of the year" to the third bullet point of WP:LINK#What generally should not be linked. (FWIW, my preferences are 4-2-1-3 in decreasing order.) --A. di M. (talk) 09:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  5. Support. Too many events are simply irrelevant, and would rather metadates be used. Day/Month alone is next to pointless. -- billinghurst (talk) 10:32, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  6. Support, MOS should not be dictating when to link as it is a Style Guide, not a Content Guide. MOS overreached when they tried to dictate when to link. —Locke Coletc 11:02, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  7. Support I see no fundamental reason why 1) Wikipedia should have uniform expectations or 2) such expectations should be enforced. Jclemens (talk) 16:29, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  8. Support I wish I could say something more than what has been clearly -- if not forcefully -- stated above. There are many, many useless links in articles that have nothing to do with days, months or years, but for some reason a group of Wikipedians have decided to focus their attentions on removing all date-related links, instead of finding & removing these unhelpful links. -- llywrch (talk) 17:03, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  9. Strong Support as I found it very useful and interesting to be able to click a date and see what other events happened then. Yes, there were (and still are) a lot of articles linked to specific dates (as happens in a world with a long history), but I think that argument is irrelevant. All this worry about articles having too many links to them is pointless worry as we will have more and more articles linked to each other as the encyclopedia grows. Are we going to start limiting the number of links which can be placed into articles when we reach 5 or 10 million articles just so we don't have "too many links" to any given article? That's just absurd. We're going to have to accept that many articles on main topic are going to have hundreds, thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of links to them. In the case of dates, it's likely they will be on the high end of things, but that's what happens when an online encyclopedia grows. And the argument that someone is going to have to go put back the links that someone removed is absurd. Just run the same bots again, only in reverse. It certainly won't be any more difficult than it was to remove them all. I also strongly oppose #1 and #2 and #3 is too arbitrary. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  10. Support per Nihonjoe --Cybercobra (talk) 19:50, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  11. Support. I've been aware of these discussions for a while and today I saw the watchlist notice so I decided to finally make a comment on the topic. I find these proposals CREEPY. This is much more than when to use italic text or in what way bullet points should be used in an article. This is about links, the fundamental infrastructure of the web and the connections between articles on Wikipedia. Whether or not a specific date article requires a link is not the point, such a blanket guideline is too much and it'd be better handled on a case by case basis. --Bill (talk|contribs) 20:41, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  12. Support Let the editors maintain control over what is and isn't relevant. bots do enough as it is — Ched ~ (yes?)/© 21:27, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  13. Support Dates should be treated like anything else, if they are relevant to the article they can be linked. TJ Spyke 21:36, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  14. Support We need exactly one rule for when to use links, dates are not special. When I click on a link I expect useful information in the context of what I am reading. Date categories serve the purpose of linking in time similar events and can be specific to the type of article. --NrDg 00:09, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  15. Support. Many dates require linking, regardless - and besides that, Infoboxes look much nicer when dates are highlighted. Hence, I support #4. Daniel Benfield (talk) 01:23, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  16. Support It just doesn't matter so let people do what they want. hulmem (talk) 03:18, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  17. Option one is just a watered-down version of this, which is more elegant and relies (gasp!) upon the judgment of the community. Somehow I think we can handle treating dates like other links and having one less MoS to have to look at!otherlleftNo, really, other way . . . 03:56, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  18. I am hard pressed to see any use for articles that list events that happened on a certain date (month-number) throughout the centuries. What difference does it make that Pierre Corneille was born on June 6 (1606, in the Julian calendar, just by happenstance the same combination of a month and a number as D-day, 1944, in the Gregorian calendar)? And what about those civilizations that don't use the Western calendar? Thus I would never choose to link a date, and I would certainly not liked to be forced to. For what it's worth, I normally will delete date links in any article I am editing. Thus I support Option 4, or maybe Option 1. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 05:46, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  19. I dont care if dates are linked or not in general, but individual editors in a particular article can best determine this. This option also allows things like "births in YEAR", etc. dm (talk) 06:01, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  20. Strong support. Only one of the options which stands a cat in hell's chance of actually being followed. Physchim62 (talk) 18:59, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  21. Strong support reduce the number of rules and increase creativity J04n(talk page) 01:19, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  22. ✔ Yep. It's a wikilink, so why shouldn't it be treated as any other wikilink? — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 09:25, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  23. Strong support I really agree with J04n's comment. With Wikipedia edited by many contributors, with different ideas of appropriateness, imposing one Procrustean solution is stupid. (I felt the same about year linking, and I wonder why the two are being polled separately.) -- BRG (talk) 14:46, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  24. Support Let editors determine appropriate implementation at the article or project level. Content discussions are not under the purview of MOS. --guyzero | talk 20:48, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  25. Strong support. Anything that doesn't need to be in the MOS, shouldn't be in the MOS. Trust the editors to know what's best in each set of circumstances. – iridescent 20:50, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  26. Support this proposal that leads to the least rule-creep.—S Marshall Talk/Cont 22:27, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  27. Support per guyzero above. — Hex (❝?!❞) 15:28, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  28. Support. Do we really need the instruction creep? bibliomaniac15 23:47, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  29. Support. Enough instructions already.--catslash (talk) 23:54, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  30. Support. However, leave a comment that the style used to be to link every date, and many articles still do this, but now dates should only be linked if the they follow the general rules. JonH (talk) 09:08, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  31. Support. Treating dates like other links does not seem much different from proposed solutions. And yet, the cost of a specific guideline is nonzero. --Thomas Btalk 17:00, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  32. Strong Support Where to add links and what to link to is currently at the discretion of the editor. I would need a compelling reason to change this. Phil_burnstein (talk) 09:45, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  33. Support. Reconsidering my position. Eluchil404 (talk) 22:29, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  34. Support. Every unnecessary piece of policy should go.--Pgallert (talk) 09:49, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  35. Support. Editors can make up their own minds. Too many rules and they're unlikely to be followed. G-Man ? 22:48, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  36. Support. This or option three, but mostly I think editors should decide. I'm not troubled by overlinking, and I believe attempts to make Wikipedia conform to a consistent style are futile and foolish. There's already too much excuse for rule-mongering editor-hobgoblins to tromp on newcomers. Fijagdh (talk) 21:27, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  37. Support (or rather, oppose everything else) - years are one thing, but days are usually pointless. Leave it up to the editors' discretion. --Alinnisawest,Dalek Empress (extermination requests here) 03:10, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  38. Support I've never understood the need for these links. --Auntof6 (talk) 07:17, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  39. Support The date pages have nothing of consequence to these articles, end the clutter and get rid of them all. You can still find them by typing it in the search box.- J.Logan`t: 11:23, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  40. Support perhaps with a caveat that we add a small non-guidance statement to MOSNUM or MOSLINK stateing explicitly "Links to dates are not treated any differently than links to other articles." or some such. Not necessary, but may be helpful. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 14:57, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  41. Support. Dates are not special. Jayron32's suggestion for a caveat is imminently sensible too; given the history of the affair, a sentence that explicitly states "not special" might be a good idea. -- Fullstop (talk) 12:08, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  42. Strongly Support: Let the editors decide (as they should with so very much else that the MoS and outside 'bots are trying to decide for them) what's useful or helpful and what isn't. The editors who are actually concerned with the particular topic at hand will disagree at times, but they can argue it out the way they decide any other secondary matter on the basis of specific issues. —— Shakescene (talk) 20:24, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Other comments
  • Septentrionalis originally gave reasons for their opposition to the first 3 options here. Ryan removed them because they should go in the comments section. I've linked Septentrionalis' original opposition diff here as I don't want to refactor their words but feel a history record should be present in canse Septentrionalis does not return to comment further. Rambo's Revenge (How am I doing?)
    • Much obliged. This has, however, succeeded in suppressing my arguments. I am sure this is not Ryan's intention; but those who unilaterally imposed this format have motives not beyond question. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:24, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • (Without having checked Septentrionaliss comments). Option 4 seems acceptable, but would require additional interpretation to see if it where it would end up fitting in the spectrum from option 1 to option 3. Furthermore, option 1 is mis-titled; it should read "link to only (presently) relevant date articles". Where "link to only relevant dates" would appear in the spectrum from option 1 to option 3 would also be a subject for discussion. For those who wish to quote WP:OVERLINK, this would explicitly amend that guideline, as well. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:54, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Requiring voters to pick exactly one option is broken. It's possible for a rational person to find two options generally acceptable, and at least one option unacceptable, and this format essentially requires voters to pick one of their preferred options at random and hope that everyone with identical properties picks exactly the same way rather than splitting down the middle. An Acceptable/Unacceptable vote for each choice would have been far better. Gavia immer (talk) 03:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • The adv/disadv discussed metadates, yet all options only addressed linking, not metadates, so it is unclear whether that is an oversight, presumed or inferred. billinghurst (talk) 10:36, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Option 4 is intuitive, since the reason most people oppose month/date linking is the same reason they oppose any other overlinking. But month/date linking is such a ubiquitous "problem" (if it is a problem) that I think it deserves its own mention outside of regular overlinking guidelines, to make our stance more explicit. At the very least, that would be helpful when you need to provide a rationale for having added or removed date links in an article. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 13:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • It seems to me that Option 2 is more restrictive than Option 1, as it excludes all relevant, but non-commemorative links. However, I question whether I'm interpreting it correctly, because I had it in mind that Arthur Rubin (sole supporter of Option 2 at this time) generally favored linking dates. I oppose irrelevant links, and believe that major celebrations that always happen on the same day of a year are generally relevant links. That is, I'd link to July 4 for the American holiday generally known as The Fourth of July, but not System Administrator Appreciation Day (even if it were always 31 July instead of on the last Friday of July).
  • Why is 1940s mentioned? It's not a month or day. I could have supported #1, but I can imagine lots of articles that could link to 1940s with good reason. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 18:17, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Because #1, despite the number of editors who support it on the grounds that it will lead to treating date-links like any other links, is being used by a handful of extremists to justify removing all datelinks whatsoever. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
      • That's pure FUD. The obvious reason is that the 1940s are not mentioned as an article that needs an exception for being linked to (it doesn't, because it's not covered by this poll). They are mentioned as an example of an article from which even under option 1 it will be OK to link to 1940, 1941, ..., 1949 (and perhaps also to 1937 and 1956). --Hans Adler (talk) 10:30, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • The format of this poll is protested; see this section on talk. A {{disputedtag}} would be appropriate. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I hate to be the first one to go out on a limb and ask this, but why is there no option that advises against all links? Judging by the commentary up there, such an option would receive substantial support. Giants2008 (17-14) 00:22, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
    • This has been noted by several editors, but it is too late to go back and address it now. In any case, I think we can all tell by looking that dates should be linked once in a blue moon, if ever. Dabomb87 (talk) 00:35, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
    • If you want to disallow links from 1940s or 1939 to 1940 you are not going to get much support. If you allow them, it's really just a special case of option 1. Obviously the fine-tuning of option 1 should happen after the poll; otherwise we would have had to fine-tune the other options as well. --Hans Adler (talk) 10:35, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Further comments: For those who think a linking bot can be written. It's possible, but the occassional presence of a number next to a month which do not form a date make such a bot problematical. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:20, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Also, it appears that most people voting for #4 think it's #1 (link very rarely), and many people voting for #1 think it's #4, possibly because of the subtitle. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:20, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I have 1 comment in regard to option number 1, we should be more descriptive when identifying which dates will be linked that "relavent". I think that birth and death dates are relavent, although others may not so I think this needs to be clarified.--Kumioko (talk) 19:52, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm having trouble understanding the practical difference between options #1, #2, and #4. What are cases where a month-day would be linked under one option, but not linked under a different option? – Quadell (talk) 19:54, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
    • I really can't, in good conscience, vote in this, unless I have some good idea of what the difference is between the options. Can anyone please give examples of month-days that would be linked under one plan but not under another? – Quadell (talk) 14:06, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
      • The article Saint Patrick's Day begins Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá ’le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig), colloquially St. Paddy's Day or simply Paddy's Day, is an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa AD 385–461), one of the patron saints of Ireland, and is generally celebrated on 17th of March.
        Using option #1, the words "17th of March" would not be linked to the article March 17 because that article contains nothing that helps or expands the understanding of Saint Patrick's Day.
        Using option #2, the words "17th of March" would be linked to the article March 17 because the date March 17 is normally the commemorative date for St Patrick's Day.
        Using option #3, the words "17th of March" would be linked to the article March 17 because it's the first occurrence of those words in the article. However, no other occurrences would be linked.
        Using option #4, the words "17th of March" might or might not be linked to the article March 17 because we wouldn't be giving any guidance and your guess is as good as mine.
      • Hope that helps. --RexxS (talk) 22:00, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
        • To clarify: is the only difference between #1 and #2 that recurring events are linked in #2 and not in #1?
        • Also, there's a problem with that analysis of option #1: the March 17 article does say "1756 - St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in New York City for the first time (at the Crown and Thistle Tavern)." One would also learn that it's the same day as Joseph of Arimathea's feast day, and one might wonder how those saints interrelate. In general, wouldn't one wonder how the celebration of a particular holiday affected (or was affected by) historic events that happened on that day? The wording says "unless their content is germane and topical to the subject", and I can't think of a recurring event where what happened during that event was not germane and topical to it. (The first National Brotherhood Week fell on the same day that Malcolm X was assassinated, a coincidence mentioned in the article itself. Would it be non-topical and non-germane to wonder what other events happened?) – Quadell (talk) 22:42, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
          • (1) Option #1 states commemorative dates are treated as for any other link. That is, link to the date-article if that article helps or expands the understanding. (2) The first St. Patrick's Day celebration in NY is already in the St. Patrick's Day article, so under option #1 it would not be linked because you already had that information. (3) Personally, I can't see how wondering about a relationship between Joseph of Arimathea and St. Patrick helps me expand my knowledge of St. Patrick's Day (which is about the celebration, not the saint). There are only 365 days in a year, there are bound to be coincidental Saint's Days. (4) You are making the same error as many of the supporters of linking dates of birth and death: Although those dates are very relevant to the person, the wikipedia article almost invariably is not. On the odd few occasions where the year-article for the year of birth actually contains something relevant to the subject's early life, that information ought to be in the "Early years" section of the biography anyway. (5) Wikipedia is not a collection of trivia, or coincidences either, and while I sympathise with a natural inclination to wonder about possible connections, I would prefer Wikipedia to remain as a source of reliable information. YMMV. --RexxS (talk) 23:54, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
            • Thanks for the explanation. I think the wording doesn't make it very clear. I have to wonder if most voters for option #1 are aware that it would prohibit links from events to their month-day articles. (Afterall, if Joe Blow was born in Detroit, we normally link to Detroit, even if the Detroit article doesn't say anything about Mr. Blow. That seems to me to be a pretty direct parallel.) – Quadell (talk) 01:31, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
              • Well to be honest, I probably wouldn't make that link to Detroit, but if someone found it useful to Joe Blow, why not? It's hard without real examples, but I'd make the link to Detroit, for example, where it's mentioned in Al Capone - even though he wasn't born there. On the other hand, I'd hardly ever link United States in a biography, as most people probably know where it is. --RexxS (talk) 19:24, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't understand this poll at all. can somebody please tell me how can I vote against all date links? Loosmark (talk)
    • Option 1 allows you to vote for linking only when relevant. If you think they're never relevant, you could vote option 1 but add an explanatory comment to your vote. Colonies Chris (talk) 10:03, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
      • But i don't support linking only when relevant, i am for no linking of dates whatsoever. why i don't have the possibility to express my opinion by voting in clear way like everybody else? Loosmark (talk) 12:55, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I think Option #1 is particularly stupid. Who decides what is relevant? -- BRG (talk) 14:51, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
    • very good point. thats why we need an option to vote against all date linking. Loosmark (talk) 22:34, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't consensus decide what is releavnt, as with all content? Voting for no linking ever would mean over-riding consensus on a page, in which linking a date is really useful (can't think when, but it could happen!). Guidelines should be flexible wrt consensus.YobMod 09:04, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Too right it does. That's what collaboration is all about!Wikipeterproject (talk) 21:25, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I think I might be in favor of Option 1. However, the write-up given for this option would be a lot more useful if it included example(s) of instances where the date should be linked, rather than just the converse. Jgm (talk) 20:52, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
How to disable the display of wikilinks on dates

From Wikipedia:Village_pump (technical)#CSS link color settings for mw-formatted-date. After some testing, it was found that following addition to ones CSS (at Special:Mypage/monobook.css if you are using the standard style sheet) disables the display of wikilinks around dates:

span.mw-formatted-date a {color: black;}

Hope this helps. -- User:Docu

Thanks, Docu ... except that I like my wikilinks. Thing is, smart linking—that is, a selective approach—is the way to optimise the utility of linking for our readers and ourselves. (I do turn the bright blue down to a darker shade of blue, but that may be because my Mac monitor is pretty strong on colour display. My user page has instructions on how to do so.) Tony (talk) 14:56, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Personally, I wasn't under that impression. I'm sure you'd be better off if you just changed the link color of auto formatted dates. The articles will always disappoint you in the context of most articles they are linked from, similar to other frequently linked articles, e.g. United States. This unless you know how they are structured and what they include. -- User:Docu

Year linking

Background statement

Year linking is when a specific year is linked to in an article (1987), or a pipe link to a year article on a specific topic ([[1987 in sports|1987]]).

Advantages of year linking
  1. Provides easy access to year articles.
  2. Populates "what links here" pages with possibly relevant data.
  3. Allows readers to browse freely through global historical context via year.
Disadvantages of year linking
  1. Rarely relevant or useful to achieving a greater understanding of an article's topic.
  2. "What links here" often generates many false positives and sources of questionable utility or relevance; the search box can easily be used instead.
  3. If added indiscriminately, articles may become overlinked and high-value links would be diluted.
Advantages of year markup (whether or not it entails linking)
  1. Simplifies automated processing of article text (i.e. gathering metadata).
Disadvantages of year markup
  1. Complicates the editing process and contributes to instruction creep.
  2. There are already powerful tools for gathering "metadata", including the search box and by adding "site:wikipedia.en" to a google search for years.
Advantages of removing guidance on year links
  1. Year links do not differ significantly from other links; year articles should be treated like any other articles for this purpose. Any specific guidelines on year links that do not apply to all links are instruction creep.
Disadvantages of removing guidance on year links
  1. The linking of year articles needs special guidance because they are not like ‘normal’ articles—almost all year articles are lists of events, related only by the coincidence of occurring in the same year. Such lists almost never provide a context that helps in the understanding of an article that links to them, and therefore should not be linked to. If year articles are ever improved to the point where they do indeed provide historical context, this guidance may then need to be reviewed.


If supported through consensus, one of the following four proposed guidelines (Options 1, 2, 3 or 4) would be added to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Linking and autoformatting of dates and Wikipedia:Linking#Chronological items. Please respond below the four options.

Years: Option #1 (link only relevant years)

Year articles (1795, 1955, 2007) should not be linked unless they contain information that is germane and topical to the subject matter—that is, the events in the year article should share an important connection other than merely that they occurred in the same year. For instance, Timeline of World War II (1942) may be linked to from another article about WWII, and so too may 1787 in science when writing about a particular development on the metric system in that year. However, the years of birth and death of architect Philip C. Johnson should not be linked, because little, if any, of the contents of 1906 and 2005 are germane to either Johnson or to architecture.

Years: Option #2 (Option #1 plus birth/death years, etc)

Year articles (1795, 1955, 2007) should not be linked unless the year is particularly relevant to the topic; that is, a seminal event relevant to the subject of the article occurred in that year. Examples may include the birth and death of a person, and the establishment and disestablishment of an organization.

Years: Option #3 (link all on first occurrence)

Year articles may be linked on their first occurrence in an article, regardless of how relevant the two articles are to each other.

Years: Option #4 (removal of guidance)

All specific language dealing with year links will be removed from the Manual of Style and related pages. This will have the effect of treating year links like any other potential link. (This need not include mentions of linking in the context of auto-formatting; whether these are current guidance or a historic note depends on the question on auto-formatting above.)

Year-linking responses

Please indicate your support vote under ONE option, accompanied by a concise explanation for your choice. Your explanation is important in determining the community consensus.
I support Option #1 (link only relevant years)
  1. Best option out of the four. If the year link is relevant to the article, link it. If not, don't. Steve Crossin Talk/24 23:16, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  2. I would prefer absolutely no links at all, because they are hardly relevant and seldom help deepen understanding of the subject. Let common sense prevail. Few links only please. Ohconfucius (talk) 23:25, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  3. Once again only link to the year if it is very relevant to the topic. Links to YYYY in music/film etc. are okay, but even some of those are linked to too much. Rambo's Revenge (How am I doing?) 23:25, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. Per WP:OVERLINK. --John (talk) 23:37, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  5. Absolutely. Even when a date is notable in its own right, e.g. 1492, it may be irrelevant to the passage in which it occurs. --Philcha (talk) 23:51, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  6. Support: We are overlinking enough as is. seicer | talk | contribs 23:58, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  7. Support. I hope this provision will be construed fairly narrowly. -- Donald Albury 23:59, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  8. Support, the value of these links are way overstated. Year articles are still (mostly) lists of trivia; please note that I am not necessarily saying that these articles are bad, just that they will not help readers of other articles in their current format. Dabomb87 (talk) 00:01, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  9. Support, only link the year if it's relevant to the article. Again, common sense and the best way to prevent overlinking, in my opinion. Raven1977Talk to meMy edits 00:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  10. Support. Exactly the same effect as option 4, except there is a chance of less fighting. --Hans Adler (talk) 00:11, 30 March 2009 (UTC) Just to make sure that nobody reads this as option 4 being my 2nd choice. It is not. It's actually the worst option because it doesn't settle the question. --Hans Adler (talk) 10:22, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  11. Support - Date links, like all others, should enhance a reader's understanding of the topic. This can be decided on a case-by-case basis. Awadewit (talk) 00:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  12. Support. When did you last require "easy access to year articles"? I never have. Year articles are breathtakingly useless. And the day—impatiently awaited—that I do want access to one of them, the search box gives quite easy enough access for my needs. Moreover, the famous "metadata" isn't the same as "useful metadata". Bishonen | talk 00:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC).
  13. Support This pretty much covers the rare circumstances when years should be linked. The proposed wording says it all: years “should not be linked unless they contain information that is germane and topical to the subject matter”. Enough said. Greg L (talk) 00:36, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  14. Support as per Greg L.—MDCollins (talk) 00:45, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  15. Support (Ditto my date linking reason.) I would tend to support the remove guidance option, but I suspect that past tendencies to link all dates would lead to continued overlinking. Guidance is needed to limit date links to those of notable historical significance. -- Tcncv (talk) 00:48, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  16. Per Steve, Bishonen, and Greg. NuclearWarfare (Talk) 00:49, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  17. Support The additional guidance would help avoid overlinking years. Eubulides (talk) 01:38, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  18. Support as this is the closest to my preferred position of link no dates at all. Ealdgyth - Talk 01:49, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  19. Support: among the options, this is likely the one to cut down the "sea of blue" best. Jappalang (talk) 01:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  20. Per Steve Crossin. –Juliancolton | Talk 02:16, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  21. Support: Of all the options available, I support this one. I tire of seeing fields of blue date links that take me to places that are not germane to the topics I'm reading.SteveB67 (talk) 02:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  22. Support.-gadfium 03:24, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  23. Support: Year articles are almost entirely a bunch of coincidental happenings. I cannot find one year article that would provide the deeper understanding of a topic that you'd want it to (see Bishonen, above). The sea of blue looks seriously unprofessional in an article, dilutes the good links, and clutters the text. The "See also" section at the bottom is a better place if an editor feels an unbridled urge to link to one or two years, but I'd still want to see the justification—not just so people can indulge in discretionary browsing (I think we kid ourselves that readers hit such links, anyway). Tony (talk) 03:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  24. Support I find year links unnecessary and dislike the extra blue. bridies (talk) 04:43, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  25. Support. I strongly oppose the presumption in #2, that links to year articles (which contain mostly trivia) are somehow more relevant in the case of birth and death dates. If anything, they are less relevant. Random events occurring in some year are almost never relevant to the life of someone born in that year, for example.--Srleffler (talk) 05:00, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  26. SupportChris! ct 05:03, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  27. Support. links should be made when the articles they lead to are relevant. on the rare occasions when a year page might add some useful context, the "see also" section is the perfect place for it. i would also support renaming most year articles to something like "List of Events in [Year]". Sssoul (talk) 05:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  28. Support, as with the date links. (Note that in a perfect world I would side with Pmanderson and vote for complete removal, but apparently some people need to be told more explicitly.) Fut.Perf. 06:04, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  29. Actually, I most support Option 4 (just as in the month/day section, so skip the rest if you know where this is going) - no guidance means nothing to edit war over, and the practical result would be identical to this guideline. Since the poll format ostensibly won't allow supporting multiple options (Why? Seriously, why?) I support this one on the basis already stated - it is identical to option 4 in practice, and more likely to be supported by others in practice. However, your poll format is broken in any case. Gavia immer (talk) 06:17, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  30. Support There has to be an excellent reason to link to a year. These will be rare. Dougweller (talk) 08:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  31. Support. This is the only option that explicitly states that each date link must be relevant. No more, no less. That is the same with non-date links but after a long period of overlinking, editors need explicit guidance. Lightmouse (talk) 08:28, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  32. Support Why link to irrelevant years like birth years, unless they are relevant? So, only link to years if they are relevant. I was puzzled why I linked to years when I joined the project three years ago. It was and is a waste of time and adds nothing to articles.--HJensen, talk 09:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  33. Support with caveat that years are seldom "relevant" per se. Bongomatic 09:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  34. Support. I need say no more, as before. This, that and the other [talk] 09:29, 30 March 2009 (UTC)\
  35. Support. Years that aren't relevant don't need to be linked, which is most of them. Extremepro (talk) 09:30, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  36. Support There are many films set in a historical year which are worth linking to, otherwise I see date linking as unnecessary. Alientraveller (talk) 09:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  37. Support; useful if the year has some pertinence, not useful if the year has no relation. Good discretion is needed here. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 10:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  38. Support. Links should always be judged based on relevancy and value to the reader. — TKD::{talk} 11:11, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  39. Support. If I understand correctly, then this is what we do now. I see no reason to change. Adding unhelpful links to articles harms Wikipedia, since readers are misled as to where they might find additional relevant information.--Kotniski (talk) 11:26, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  40. Support. I was going to write something witty, but Bishonen encapsulated it much better than I could have (or is it would have?) Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:32, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  41. Support Option 2 was also tempting, but Arther Rubin's comment down in the Comments section (that it's too open to interpretation) is a good point, and also there is the problem that it would add yet another detail to scare newbies. So I can't support Option 2 unless it is clarified (for example, to link only the year in the first sentence of the article, where it says when X person was born or X book was written), and even then I might still not support it. Option 1, on the other hand, can effectively allow the same kind of linking and delinking as Option 2, and is an easier "rule of thumb" to remember. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 13:21, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  42. Support The most reasonable proposal. Articles shouldn't be overlinked with trivial links. - Darwinek (talk) 13:24, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  43. Support - This seems to be the best option. Camw (talk) 13:40, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  44. Support - this is what I've gotten used to in the past months, and it works just like any other links. This is equivalent to #4, but special guidance is necessary because of the history here. --NE2 13:42, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  45. Support, just like with month-day linking. — Emil J. 13:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  46. Support because it's the best choice, but year links are almost never relevant. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:45, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  47. Support Here, however, there are likely to be relevant articles that should have significant prose and could be linked via piped links (e.g. XXXX in European politics, YYYY in Asian art - where XXXX and YYYY might be years, decades, or centuries depending on the topic and time). Such links are generally more likely to be relevant than the useless year lists we currently have. It would be fine if the guidance suggested such piped context links as more likely to be of use to the reader. GRBerry 14:08, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  48. Support as per my response to the month-day poll - Dumelow (talk) 14:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  49. Strong support per month-day poll Cnilep (talk) 14:37, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  50. Support that years only be linked when absolutely relevant, primarily in chronological articles. I oppose the other options. Karanacs (talk) 15:30, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  51. Support per Bishonen. But again, I want this to be a bit stronger - the year articles are almost always irrelevant to the subject at hand and should almost never be linked to. If you want to reference an event that happened in a specific year, surely it's far more logical to link the event. Pfainuk talk 15:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  52. Perhaps in the future formal guidance on this issue can be removed. Since it's been a back and forth issue for a while, we need it for now, I think. --TreyGeek (talk) 15:49, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  53. Support Basically the same as above. Alan16 talk 15:54, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  54. Strong support based on most of the above. Johnny Au (talk/contributions) 15:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  55. Support Makes the most sense, although I personally see no point in links to year except in date articles. I think the piped links are a good idea and should not be discouraged, and discouraging direct year links will make them more visible. Orderinchaos 16:04, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  56. Suport What SandyGeorgia said. --Dweller (talk) 16:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  57. Support, partly for use in "what links here". I rate the options: 1,2,4,3. Let's get rid of the useless links to lists of irrelevant trivia, though option 2 is also tempting and I would happily accept it too. Certes (talk) 16:10, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  58. Support - Gran2 16:15, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  59. Support, there is no need to needlessly overlink articles. Plastikspork (talk) 16:25, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  60. Support. Rettetast (talk) 16:28, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  61. Support. Personal logic prevails. I'm certain that there should be some guidance, but wonder how time consuming it could end up being... Greggers (tc) 16:31, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  62. Support. Whatever we can do to minimize the unnecessary overlinking of years. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 16:34, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  63. Support. This is concurrent with the general guideline to make onlyrelevant links. Debresser (talk) 16:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  64. Support. We have to veer toward quality links for our reader's benefit. This is a good step. -- Banjeboi 16:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  65. Support. It is important to distinguish between a year being relevant to an article and the year-article being relevant. Often the first is true; very rarely the latter. Clear guidance is essential to avoid future disputes. When year-articles reach the quality of 1345, 1346 and 1347, then links to them will likely be relevant. This option will remove the current state of overlinking, without prejudicing relevant links when year-articles are improved. --RexxS (talk) 17:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  66. When we link to articles whose content is not relevant to the context, we do our readers a disservice by distracting them from links to relevant articles. In the absolute majority of cases, year links are irrelevant to the context of the article from which they are being linked. –Black Falcon (Talk) 17:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  67. Support Again, all links should have semantic value. OrangeDog (talkedits) 17:28, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  68. Makes sense to me--Scott Mac (Doc) 17:32, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  69. Support All of the disadvantages to the other options resonate strongly with me. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:37, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  70. Support As per month-day links. RupertMillard (Talk) 17:39, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  71. Support. As above: This should be the "common sense" option as I don't see any reason for it to be otherwise. Dates should be linked under the same rules as anything else - if relevant. |→ Spaully 18:20, 30 March 2009 (GMT)
  72. Pro --Morten (talk) 18:27, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  73. Support per SandyGeorgia. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 18:29, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  74. Support: Really can't see the point in linking them. Others supporting in this section have said it much better! Maedin\talk 18:39, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  75. Support. I don't value linking the years...I never use them myself so it scores as code-cruft to me.
    ⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 19:08, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  76. Support this option, seems the best of those presented. Mjroots (talk) 19:15, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  77. Support. As with date linking, it's only useful occasionally. Mr Stephen (talk) 19:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  78. Support Most logical. KellenT 20:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  79. Support It is the most logical and most practical option. ~EdGl 20:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  80. Support. Same as the dates; years can occasionally be relevant, but very rarely and therefore much be linked to with caution. – Joe N 21:36, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  81. Support per Hans Adler. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 21:50, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  82. Support This is the only option that makes any sense and avoids linking to articles that are irrelevant to the first article. - Ahunt (talk) 22:10, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  83. Support. Linked years are typically even less relevant that linked month+days. RossPatterson (talk) 22:15, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  84. Support. As with the month-day linking poll, option 1 is the best option by a distance. Useful rarely, overused massively. Julianhall (talk) 22:27, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  85. Support faithless (speak) 22:55, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  86. Support - I see no point in having these links, and like I said above, I haven't missed them in cases where they have been removed. Giants2008 (17-14) 00:25, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  87. Support, agree this is the best option and brings year linking into compliance with general linking guidelines - if its relevant, fine, but just linking Year in films, year in Sports, year itself, etc is not. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 02:00, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  88. Support. The bright blue is a visual distraction and it's only relevant to numerologists. VikSol 02:42, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  89. Support, Option 1 not only means that date links will be treated like other links, but there will also be a guideline to put an end to revert wars. We need a guideline because linking has already been done and de-linking means a change: imagine if the word imagine had been linked every time, then suddenly it wasn't. A guideline will prevent any short term confusion. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 02:47, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  90. support and also support mass delinking of all such dates to get to where we should be: few links Hmains (talk) 03:08, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  91. Support. Most years are highly overlinked and irrelevant to article content. RainbowOfLight Talk 03:28, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  92. First choice. shoy (reactions) 03:36, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  93. Support. Best choice to limit over-linking and improve the readability of articles and the utility of links is to treat years just like any other word- only link if it's a related or useful topic. --Clay Collier (talk) 05:08, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
    Support the first choice. Years and dates are like any other links, they should only be linked if relevant. Better yet, link the thing that makes linking the date relevant, and leave the date as an unlinked event. SDY (talk) 05:26, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  94. The year in which a person is born is seldom relevant. A wp:mos should point that out. Support this option or No. 4. Yours, GeorgeLouis (talk) 05:55, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  95. Support. Again, another thing that has always puzzled me since I joined Wikipedia. Links should always be relevant. If you have any questions, please contact me at my talk page. Ian Manka 06:23, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  96. Support but that does not mean no autoformatting. Especially for negative years (before year 0). If we want more cool tools exposing Wikipedia data in interesting ways, we must write years in a very explicit way. Nicolas1981 (talk) 06:36, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  97. Support: only articles with relevant information should be linked to, otherwise why link? Other uses are trivia. NJGW (talk) 07:48, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  98. Support: I was leaning towards option 2, but in reality, I don't see the benefit of finding out more about a year someone was born. -- WORMMЯOW  08:21, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  99. Support Again, this seems the best option to reduce unnecessary blue links. --JD554 (talk) 11:43, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  100. As with month/day, above.  Sandstein  11:50, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  101. Support but option 1 doesn't give a good example of a reason to link to a general year article like 1795. Colin°Talk 12:48, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  102. Support. I would also suggest to avoid linking to articles like 1964 in sports because they are rater useless. Timeline of World War II (1942) is fine. --Apoc2400 (talk) 15:12, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  103. Support. Bubba73 (talk), 15:55, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  104. Support. Best of the options. --Jc3s5h (talk) 16:38, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  105. Support, but the outlook on what would be a meaningful link to a year should be rather tight. Gwen Gale (talk) 16:47, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  106. Support, as above. noq (talk) 17:07, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  107. Support There is no point in irrelevant links. That they might be "interesting" is not the point (and is also a rather unlikely outcome anyway: have you tried reading those articles?). Richard75 (talk) 17:26, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  108. Support. Only link if the year is directly relevant to the article. Less is more when it comes to links. The more links, the less impact each link has. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:36, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  109. Support As most logical. Option 4 doesn't seem to preclude the re-creation of mosdate guidelines after they are removed. All options except 1 will lead to an overly high link density in too many situations. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:05, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  110. Support so once more we stick with linking relevant links only and not inundating our readers with a bunch of unrelated links. The Rambling Man (talk) 18:14, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  111. Support. I think the date policy at WP:OVERLINK justifies itself. Daniel J Simanek (talk) 18:46, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  112. Support - It's all about context. 99% of an article about a year has no relevance to the subject of another article that contains that year. With regard to the "Background" statement, piped links should always be contextual. "Year in whatever" links almost always belong in a "See also" section. --IllaZilla (talk) 19:14, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  113. Support: only when directly relevant, to reduce the burden on readers. CRGreathouse (t | c) 20:00, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  114. Support, second choice. Option #2 is my first choice. – Quadell (talk) 20:04, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  115. Support. Context-irrelevant links are worth avoiding, and there is no reason to make an exception for dates. ~ mazca t|c 20:50, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  116. Support, just adds visual clutter and very low-value links. Ground Zero | t 23:40, 31 March 2009 (UTC).
  117. Support - it settles the issue by setting a policy. The policy doesn't need to be rigidly enforced and awareness of it doesn't need to be high. Hawthorn (talk) 23:55, 31 March 2009 (UTC) clarification: Would prefer no date linking at all. Hawthorn (talk) 09:53, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  118. Support the only sensible option provided, link the date to a relevant listing that connects to the article's content. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 01:00, 1 April 2009 (UTC).
  119. Support - Relevence good - Irrelevence bad. --Kbh3rdtalk 01:29, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  120. Support per summary. don't see the need for linking birth / death years, already linked to year of birth and death categories and onwards, and several million links to years does nothing really worthwhile.--ClubOranjeT 01:54, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  121. Support. Most years do not need linking. Only a few add anything to the article by having a link. --Bduke (Discussion) 02:38, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  122. Support as the most logical option. Again to avoid edit wars, guidance should be to only use if you can make a strong case for adding the link. Vegaswikian (talk) 03:57, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  123. Again, not sure when a year link would help a reader. –thedemonhog talkedits 06:53, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  124. Support. Ruslik (talk) 07:23, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  125. Support. The most relevant option. --Popiloll (talk) 07:24, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  126. Support—As with day-month links, year links should be treated like any other potential link. However, we're not ready for option 4 yet. Explicit guidance not to overlink will be a helpful maybe even essential part of reversing the damage done so far. JIMp talk·cont 08:44, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  127. Support. SilkTork *YES! 11:15, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  128. Support Too many year links are annoying, and they're usually worthless. CheesyBiscuit (talk) 12:50, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  129. Support This is the best option, we don't need to overlink VJ (talk) 13:03, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  130. Support. Same arguments as for day-month linking. Matt 13:09, 1 April 2009 (UTC).
  131. Support Virtually none of out year articles are worth linking to, and we need specific guidance to roll back the existing overlinking. Any metadata these links provide is so vague as to be worthless. It's not helpful to anyone to know that some unspecified event, related to the subject of the article in some unknown way happened in that year. Colonies Chris (talk) 13:13, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  132. Support Year links are over-links. --Phil Holmes (talk) 15:17, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  133. Support - I was born in 1985; but I don't think I deserve having my birthday listed in 1985. However, noting Kristallnacht in the 1938 article would help show a timeline of what was happening around that time. Fightin' Phillie (talk) 18:05, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  134. Support. Link years only for very exceptional reasons. Every link must be revelant to the article, something like "read more about that subject", not confusing, not irrelevant. Birth/death dates should not be linked, this is overlinking. The same reasoning I would follow for common terms such as "municipality", "astronomer", "German", etc. -- Magioladitis (talk) 19:44, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  135. Support - Per WP:OVERLINK. EdJohnston (talk) 19:51, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  136. Support. Relevant year links only. Powers T 23:44, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  137. Support - as per day-month linking. hamiltonstone (talk) 00:51, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  138. Support Pointless links dilute the value of useful links and are distracting. Johnuniq (talk) 02:59, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  139. Support In nearly all cases, date links are irrelevant and distracting. Exceptions can be made for the few that aren't. Rivertorch (talk) 05:35, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  140. Support Again per Rivertorch, who appears to be reading my mind.--Aervanath (talk) 05:39, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  141. Support. I've never followed a year link and found anything of relevance or interest, so they are a waste of time to put in, and dilute hight value links. A few relevant year may benefit from linking, but rarely.YobMod 09:06, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  142. Support The sea of blue which can be found in some articles is worsened by having irrelevant date links. Only relevant links are useful, and as such only these should be highlighted in blue. See WP:OVERLINK -m-i-k-e-y-talk 11:05, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  143. Support. Year links should be done at most to year articles on specific subjects. −Woodstone (talk) 11:34, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  144. Support, pretty much for the same reasons as supporting Option #1 on month/day links. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 13:33, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  145. Support too many articles linked to a specific year, and that makes "what links here" link useless --NullSpace (talk) 15:12, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  146. Support, per WP:OVERLINK: "...avoid cluttering the page with obvious, redundant and useless links.". --Rosiestep (talk) 17:51, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  147. Support, since there was no option for "Never link a year". "World War II (1942)" or "US films of 1942" are linkable. "1942" is hardly ever. --Alvestrand (talk) 18:49, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  148. Support. Seems the most reasonable option: Don't link years that are just factual timeline markers, which is by far the most common. Optionally link years if the year article provides relevant context. Esobocinski (talk) 20:04, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  149. Support. Link years only when necessary for context or usefulness, as we do for everything else. I really wonder why this was controversial all these years. Steve TC 22:08, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  150. Support – While some editors might interpret this rule more loosely than others (such as using various "rationals" to support the linking of all years in an article), a formatting change is needed to reduce link density and irrelevance. In addition, piped year links, such as [[2008 in film|2008]], are useful to readers. momoricks (make my day) 01:21, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  151. Support - As per Months and Days. Relevance isn't a difficult thing to determine with years. Australian Matt (talk) 02:13, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  152. Support - All links must be relevant for users. Cacycle (talk) 02:34, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  153. Symbol support vote.png Support - relevant links can prevent overlinking. MathCool10 Sign here! 04:39, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  154. Support. Guidelines should strongly encourage links such as 1924 in Science in the see also sections as an alternative however.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 06:57, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  155. Support. As for the month-day linking. Mike Christie (talk) 11:05, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  156. Support. Obvious choice as it follows standard policy against overlinking. The Birth/Death option is a strawman as we already have categories for these. -- KelleyCook (talk) 15:56, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  157. Support Best option available, as linking to random years that happen to be mentioned in the article is pointless. Link density would be far too high if more than the obivously relevant years were linked.
  158. Support. Similar to my support for option #1 in the month-day linking poll. --seav (talk) 16:54, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  159. Support — [[::User:Malik Shabazz|Malik Shabazz]] ([[::User talk:Malik Shabazz|talk]] · [[::Special:Contributions/Malik Shabazz|contribs]]) 19:47, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  160. Support I never understood why there were links to those articles. Deegee375 (talk) 21:17, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  161. Support Remove unnecessary, unhelpful, links - almost always there is no point in linking to the year. PamD (talk) 10:18, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  162. Support Personally, I don't see the need to link to any year, but I suppose this is the best option, of one must chose one of them. Giano (talk) 11:40, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  163. .Support Best option. Will prevent needless wikilinking.Mosedschurte (talk) 11:45, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  164. Support Again, as with month-day linking, this seems the best way to go, and (I believe) in-line with existing wikilink guidelines. ~~ [ジャム][t - c] 14:19, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  165. Support Best option of the four. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 18:35, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  166. Support Like anything else, link only if relevant, which they rarely are. Struway2 (talk) 20:03, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  167. Support Almost all date links are, as stated frequently above, actively useless. To be discouraged unless serving some function. Igenlode (talk) 02:21, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  168. Support, as least worst option, most year links are unnecessary. There may be occasional uses for it which I have not as yet encountered. The main potential use is already covered by cateorys such as 1937 births, etc. Jezhotwells (talk) 12:22, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  169. Support. Best of the worst option. — Σxplicit 19:07, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  170. Support. Most fitting option I believe. Nja247 21:09, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  171. Support - Better option. --  ThinkBlue  (Hit BLUE) 22:53, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  172. Support As per month linking relevancy. Hohohob (talk) 01:19, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  173. Support I see no need for any bare date links. Ever.--2008Olympianchitchat 05:03, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  174. Support Link where truly relevant, not otherwise. Richard New Forest (talk) 15:01, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  175. Support, although I do wish dates were not linked whatsoever. Corn.u.co.piaDisc.us.sion 16:00, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  176. Support - little benefit of linking to these lists with only trivial common connection. If an event is topically linked to others (no matter what year), perform the courtesy of linking directly to it - it's neither useful nor helpful to leave your readers scrabbling through a trivia list of events that happened in an almost arbitrary 365.25 day band around it. Knepflerle (talk) 16:51, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  177. Support this option provides guidance on when to link, guidance that will help avoid overlinking, and such guidance will help minimize style dispute. —Danorton (talk) 18:20, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  178. Support appropriate guidance. years are rarely useful, so generally should not be linked. occasionally they can be helpful (e.g. linking 1970s in the article western cosmetics in the 1970s, so readers can see other cultural changes of the era). because there is a particular problem with overlinking years (a relic of autoformatting of yore) it makes sense to add a guideline specific to years. Calliopejen1 (talk) 18:29, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  179. Support A guideline encouraging sensible discussion will be more likely to lead to sensible editorial choices. Peter Isotalo 19:06, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  180. Support Of lack of an option that simply eliminates all possible date linking, this will provide the least blue. Date and year links have no function and reduce readability significantly. Arsenikk (talk) 19:14, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  181. Support seems to be the standard of wikipedia to include what is noteworthy, and this would follow that recomendation.--Mrboire (talk) 20:06, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  182. Support — Coherent, consistent, common-sense link policy calls for treating years the same as we treat any other potentially linkable word, phrase, or number: we link them only if they are really relevant to the article at hand. We don't link words just on speculation that the reader might happen to find the link target interesting, or because we happen to be using a linkable word as part of the article text. —Scheinwerfermann T·C00:44, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  183. Support As has been repeated many, many times by myself and others, every link should be included if relevant and not if not. Date links are no exception.
  184. Support. For the same reason as I gave for other date links: It is unconscionable to adopt a policy by which supplying irrelevant links is the default. Most occurrences of dates, in most contexts, are simple markers on a timeline; they are not gateways to any sort of rich and relevant background. In most cases, therefore, a link would make a false promise, and distract from the force and immediacy of the text. I grant that the year will sometimes be relevant – more often than a month or a precise day. In such a case, linking may be a good option. Simple!–¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 07:45, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  185. Wowza, this option has landslide support. Looks like the community is finally coming to a consensus on this issue. --Cyde Weys 15:41, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  186. Support, easily, creating links to every single year is kinda useless. As Wikipedia:Overlinking says. Xenus (talk) 16:16, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  187. Support - links to years are generally unhelpful, and this option would remove most of them. Robofish (talk) 00:01, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  188. Support There's generally little need to link to years and it shouldn't be encouraged, but there are circumstances where its appropriate. Nick-D (talk) 11:21, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  189. Support No need to link every year, but some links would be useful. -- MightyWarrior (talk) 11:42, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  190. Support best option --Armchair info guy (talk) 14:58, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  191. Support matches my support in the daymonth; anything different for years would be confusing. --GedUK  20:14, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  192. Support: Option 2 is too vague, and will lead to load of overlinking and fights about overlinking. Option 3 makes no sense at all (for the same reason that we don't link the first occurrence of everyday words like woman and food except in unusual contexts). Option 4 is pointless, as MOS exists for a reason, and inevitable date-related disputes will automatically re-engender MOS debate and eventual guidance on the matter. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 03:02, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  193. Support. I can't think of many occasions where years need to be linked, but the option should be available if doing so will improve a reader's understanding of an article. EyeSerenetalk 09:59, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  194. Support Links are visually distracting. Irrelevant links reduce readability. Cstaffa (talk) 00:01, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  195. Support - definitely the best option of them all. Link relevant ones, as that actually adds to the article; don't link the others. --Alinnisawest,Dalek Empress (extermination requests here) 03:07, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  196. Weak support. I would prefer not linking years at all, just like we never link weekdays (I hope). "Relevant years" seems POV-loaded to me and could lead to edit wars. But this is the least worst option of the 4. – IbLeo (talk) 05:32, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  197. Support for piping I support this guidance for unpiped years. Lots of things happen in a year, and most have no relation to each other, and the year should not be linked from such articles. However, if a year is properly piped to define related contexts, I believe that this is an acceptable compromise. 2000 is a useless trivia page, but 2000 in film can be meaningful (for example, if one is researching year-over-year trends in film). Ham Pastrami (talk) 06:25, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  198. Support Ditto what I said for month-day linking: Put an end to this silly overlinking.EEng (talk) 19:31, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
  199. Strong support Linking the year a film was released or a book was published or a song was written makes sense, since it leads to articles about similar accomplishments within the same year. But why link birth and death dates? How often does someone read a biographical article and feel the need to see who else was born or what else happened in that year? 209.247.22.164 (talk) 13:51, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  200. Support  Just like a date or any other term in an article, link if appropriate, and according to the editors' judgment. Michael Z. 2009-04-11 16:20 z
  201. Support, remembering that the year article is almost never relevant.--Fabrictramp | talk to me 23:21, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  202. Support - Like with month linking links should only be provided if they have some relevance to the topic at hand; removing all guidance would again be unhelpful and cause future conflicts. I don't see birth/death linking as particularly necessary. Camaron | Chris (talk) 14:08, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  203. Support -- "relevance" is a bit vague, but I guess it has to be. I do a lot of linking to the years-in-poetry articles, especially from bibliography sections of poet articles and list-of-[nationality]-poets articles, but that seems to be allowed with this option. Year-in-music and Year-in-film links are clearly relevant to anyone considering the historical context of a work of art, which would be the only reason someone would click on the link anyway. Same for any year-in-topic link. -- Reconsideration (talk) 18:36, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  204. Support - provides the best balance between overlinking and utter barrenness. However, projects could be allowed to refine the guidance on year-linking e.g. a sports project could advise when a 2003 in sports link is appropriate. Dl2000 (talk) 01:39, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  205. Support, particularly with regard to links to 'year-in-subject' articles within articles about that subject, whether piped or not. Links should always be relevant, and dates should be no exception. In addition, if the resolution of the autoformatting question is that autoformatting is not desired by the community, or if autoformatting is desired and the eventual implementation of it does not rely on linked dates, links that were solely for the purpose of autoformatting will need to be removed. Two important points related to this, however. First, no links should be removed until the question of autoformatting is decided. Second, the most efficient method of removing these links is through automated and semi-automated methods. However, since it is impossible for bots and scripts to determine relevancy. a method must first be created to identify and protect links that are determined by editors to be relevant — this, for me, is the main issue related to the current arbitration. This is even more critical for year links than it is for month/day links. Mlaffs (talk) 12:26, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  206. Perhaps special guidance will not be necessary in the future, but as long as we are accustomed to a precedent of treating year links differently from the rest, having identical guidelines for the two and expecting identical results will simply not do. This option about a simple relevance check is just the ticket. Waltham, The Duke of 13:55, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  207. Support. As previously noted for month-day links, relevance is context-dependent and discretionary, but on balance, this proposal will likely result in a broadly acceptable result. TheFeds 16:35, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  208. Support - Single years are ridiculously overlinked now. The one reader in 10,000 who wants to go to a particular year article can type 4 digits (or fewer) and hit the "Go" button. No sense in cluttering up every article just to save 4 keystrokes for these very few readers. Chris the speller (talk) 20:24, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I support Option #2 (Option #1 plus birth/death years, etc)
  1. Again, this seems the best solution for readers of the article, with further discussion probably required to determine the exact circumstances where year links should be allowed and/or encouraged. I would rank the options 2,4,1,3. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:47, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  2. Support. Years are much more often relevant than month, day articles and should generally be linked to provide chronological context where relevant. I would rank the options 2,4,1,3. Eluchil404 (talk) 00:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    Support, birth years, death years should all be tied together in some way. dm (talk) 00:15, 30 March 2009 (UTC) Switched to option 4 dm (talk) 06:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
    Support. Say yes to global historical context. — Hex (❝?!❞) 08:30, 30 March 2009 (UTC) Changing to option 4; however, this is the only non-4 option that makes sense. — Hex (❝?!❞) 11:49, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  3. Support. Like date links, years should not be linked to unless relevant. Unlike date links, however, there is some relevance to being able to quickly find out what else happened the year that someone was born or died. YLee (talk) 09:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. Support I would like birth dates to be linked. Reywas92Talk 14:25, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  5. Support. As a reader, I rather like having birth dates etc linked, and I know some who are fairly obsessed with it. Every "On this day ..." speaks to the popularity of this kind of link. — the Sidhekin (talk) 15:01, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  6. Support. As a long-time fan of printed almanacs, I like this option best. — Bellhalla (talk) 15:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  7. Support This has been the practice on Wikipedia before the controversial change to the MoS last summer; & as Bellhalla notes, these are of demonstrable interest to many of our users. (And, in the spirit of Eluchil404's note above, I would be inclined to vote with option #1 if it weren't for the fact I can't assume good faith that this is simply a way to eliminate year-linking completely by then arguing there are no relevant years which justify a link. So my first alternative to this would be #4 -- eliminate the section entirely.) -- llywrch (talk) 16:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  8. Support davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 18:34, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  9. Support per llywrch --Cybercobra (talk) 19:53, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  10. Not too bothered really, but I think it is better when the days & months are linked.
  11. Support, But only for certain dates (like birth and death) I am going to be the apparent oddball here and say that I think that overlinking is bad but there is nothing wrong with linking the dates the first time, or maybe even twice if one is an infobox and 1 is in the article itself. We have to remember that WP is not a paper encyclopedia, it is a 4 dimensional online encylclopedia that allows pages to be "linked" to other pages. I alot of folks have argued that it adds little value to them, but if I am reading an article and want to look at the date why should I have to type it in to go see it. Also, if we are going to remove links to dates then should we also consider deleting the date articles themselves, we are going to get quite a few orphaned date articles of we remove all links.--Kumioko (talk) 20:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  12. Support. I would be inclined to vote with option #1 but I suspect that would be too heavily weighted towards elimating all year-links. I don't think all births and deaths should be year-linked, but the etc would provide some help for the pro-link argument in specific cases. CS46 20:55, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  13. I also support option 4. 1000% support of Gavia immer's comment above. AKAF (talk) 07:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  14. Support with reservations: what I'd really prefer is #1 without the "don't link birth and death years" language. Gareth McCaughan (talk)
  15. Support: as another commenter said above, just say yes to global historical concept. -- The Anome (talk) 01:34, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  16. Support: Birth and death years can be helpful for providing a quick historical context. — D. Wo. 06:50, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  17. Support, by reference to the usual content of the years' own articles, which are heavy on b/d. David Brooks (talk) 17:48, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  18. Support, first choice. #1 is second choice for me. – Quadell (talk) 20:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  19. Support, birth/death years should be linked when historical context is relevant. — Xavier, 21:00, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  20. Support - Again, seems the most sensible way to go about it, giving relevant links for readers to follow. Colds7ream (talk) 07:29, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  21. Why is there not a duplicate of this option above in regards to month-day linking? neways, i support this because, again, it provides great level of depth to the non-paper encyclopedia. Addtionally, while the "you can use Search" arguement might work with search terms like March 2 (regional differences being ignored), if I wanted to find events that happened in the year 105 i would likely get a multitude of false positives i'd have to wade through. Again, not all years should be linked, but any that are extremely important in regards to the subject are potentially linkable. -- ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 08:35, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  22. Support I would like WP:Popups or some other script to allow me to go to a year page for any year (which might be easier if there was the autoformatting meta data present), but in general excessive irrelevant visible links is bad. Mark Hurd (talk) 02:47, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  23. Support Although a link to decade, era or similar might be better than the year article for birthyears. Taemyr (talk) 06:01, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  24. Support Birth and death dates are relevant and really should be included in option 1 to begin with (especially when the people listed are already on the linked year page) - Mgm|(talk) 10:06, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  25. Support Birth and death years certainly seem "relevant" in any case. Ed Fitzgerald t / c 13:04, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  26. Support To me, birth/death years are relevant links. --ThaddeusB (talk) 16:29, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  27. Support Birth/death years of people, organisations, etc are relevant links. -Arb. (talk) 22:05, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  28. Support I would prefer that users have the option to see all dates linked, including years, via some improved version of the date autoformatting/autolinking software — but I think something like option 2 should be the default. I think date/birth years are always relevant to a person, so I don't actually distinguish between this option and option 1. --Sapphic (talk) 06:16, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  29. Support - marginally (but just marginally) preferable to #1, which is also a good solution. Shimgray | talk | 15:34, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  30. Support -- Birth and death years are relevant, and it will be handier once the date preference formatting is removed from the links. -- William Allen Simpson (talk) 14:30, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  31. Support for reasons already stated. Deb (talk) 18:00, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  32. Support for maximum usability. Also, I'll steal Sapphic's argument above. ~user:orngjce223 how am I typing? 20:17, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  33. Support as I do believe this option is the same as option 1, as the type of events described are relevant.--4wajzkd02 (talk) 21:21, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  34. Support - Broadly support. Although the meaning of 'events relevant to the subject' is open to interpretation, and will probably lead to more arguments. G-Man ?
  35. Support - first choice, choice 1 also acceptable. Birth and death years are relevent. Hipocrite (talk) 14:14, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  36. Support. Again, the issue here is relevancy. However, here I have decided to go for option 2 instead. I disagree with the part in option 1 regarding birth and death years. The birth and death of someone or something, etc. can often be used as markers for an era of influence, and/or such. For example, knowing that Philip C. Johnson died in 2005 lets me know that, with the exception of post-humous works, there are no works by him after that year that he will be directly or personally involved with, since he's already passed-on, and that any works after that year will be, at most, influenced by him but not directly or personally worked by him. --A.K.R. (talk) 16:34, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  37. Support Just as I said in the month section, I think that "relevant" should be defined liberally. Better to have too many links instead of too few. I also think birth and death years are always relevant. Captain panda 17:12, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  38. The last sentence of option #1 makes it unacceptable. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 18:31, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  39. Support while I personally can't what the fuss about these anniversaries is I notice that there is a large call for that kind of information. Agathoclea (talk) 14:47, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  40. Support Birth dates et. al. are important information. Option 1 is also acceptable. -- M2Ys4U (talk) 16:17, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  41. Support - Again, my ranking is #2, #1, #4, and last #3. Important and relevant dates and years should be linked. Irrelevant ones not. It's as simple as that. But an automated system should not make that determination, nor should there be a "witchhunt" to track down violating dates. Let date changes evolve naturally. It's safer. Important dates could be lost in articles otherwise. --Willscrlt (→“¡¿Talk?!”) 13:25, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I support Option #3 (link all on first occurrence)
  1. This is how everything else is linked, I don't see why years should be treated any differently.-Jeff (talk) 00:11, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  2. As above, I think it should be like this, it can be interesting. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dottydotdot (talkcontribs)
  3. Support Lets give the readers as many opportunities to find new information as possible, relevance is subjective and secondary. Unomi (talk) 16:51, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. strong Support. Year links give access to have an overview about what happened around a certain date. This is relatively important while doing research, because this can add (historical) background information for those who which to know more about what happened at a certain time, what events might have also influenced public opinion etc. Also, what is relevant to one may be unrelevant to someboedy else... How do you want to determine what is relevant or what is not? For me, these links are relevant since they give the opportunity to find and discover other interesting articles better than any other feature. Old Death (talk) 21:53, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  5. Support, when I've been reading articles, I generally found date/year links helpful to get historical perspective. --Soman (talk) 07:19, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  6. Strong Support. Per above, adding that serendipity sometimes plays a useful role in research.[22]Daytrivia (talk) 22:59, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I support Option #4 (removal of guidance)
  1. Strongly support. All links are required to be relevant and helpful to the reader. what more do we need to say about these? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:32, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
    • This is the only way to ensure that date links are treated like other links. I observe that, despite the successful campaign to remove this objective from this poll, this equality has received support from support for all forms of language.
    • Even #3 has been read to impose restraints on date links which do not apply to other links, as in These comments. #1 and #2 have been used to justify extreme and sweeeping removals.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:41, 30 March 2009
  2. Yes please; take as much as possible out of the hands of the hands of the people who made this clusterfuck in the first place. Mr.Z-man 01:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  3. Support. I agree that years have been linked too much, but option #1 is over-reacting; on the other hand option #3 is silly (who would make any link in "Retrieved on 30 March 2009" at the end of a citation?). Option #2 is sane in principle, but the word seminal remembers me more of sperm than of anything which has anything to do with hypertextual links. The point is, I would make links if the historic context when something happened is relevant: I wouldn't link to 1824 in "However, there is no formula for general quintic equations over the rationals in terms of radicals; this is known as the Abel–Ruffini theorem, first published in 1824, which was one of the first applications of group theory in algebra": that theorem could have been published in 1624, or in 1924, and that would make no difference to the point being made about quintic equations. But I don't think I would be able to put down in words all the rules I would use to decide when a link to a year is relevant: I know it when I see it. This issue is best left to editors' common sense than to blind application of a list of rules. (FWIW, my preferences are 4-2-3-1 in decreasing order.) ---A. di M. (talk) 09:29, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. Support As above, incl. metadata commentary and options. billinghurst (talk) 10:37, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  5. Support MOS should not be dictating content decisions to editors (and really, even style issues per Requests for arbitration/Jguk), so all such language should be removed. —Locke Coletc 11:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  6. Support Anything more than this will result in overcorrection. Wrad (talk) 17:03, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  7. Strong Support as I found it very useful and interesting to be able to click a date and see what other events happened then. Yes, there were (and still are) a lot of articles linked to specific dates (as happens in a world with a long history), but I think that argument is irrelevant. All this worry about articles having too many links to them is pointless worry as we will have more and more articles linked to each other as the encyclopedia grows. Are we going to start limiting the number of links which can be placed into articles when we reach 5 or 10 million articles just so we don't have "too many links" to any given article? That's just absurd. We're going to have to accept that many articles on main topic are going to have hundreds, thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of links to them. In the case of dates, it's likely they will be on the high end of things, but that's what happens when an online encyclopedia grows. And the argument that someone is going to have to go put back the links that someone removed is absurd. Just run the same bots again, only in reverse. It certainly won't be any more difficult than it was to remove them all. I strongly oppose #1 and #2, and think #3 is too arbitrary. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:25, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  8. Support. I find these proposals CREEPY. This is much more than when to use italic text or in what way bullet points should be used in an article. This is about links, the fundamental infrastructure of the web and the connections between articles on Wikipedia. Whether or not a specific date article requires a link is not the point, such a blanket guideline is too much and it'd be better handled on a case by case basis. --Bill (talk|contribs) 20:41, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  9. I also support option 2. 1000% support of Gavia immer's comment above. AKAF (talk) 07:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  10. Support Let the editors maintain control over what is and isn't relevant. bots do enough as it is — Ched ~ (yes?)/© 21:28, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  11. Support We need exactly one rule for when to use links, dates are not special. When I click on a link I expect useful information in the context of what I am reading. Use dated categories to serve the purpose of linking in time similar events and can be specific to the type of article. --NrDg 00:11, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  12. Support Many dates require linking, regardless. Infoboxes look much nicer when dates are highlighted. Hence, I support #4. Daniel Benfield (talk) 01:22, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  13. Support It just doesn't matter so let people do what they want. hulmem (talk) 03:19, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  14. Support Switched from option 2 as per Pmanderson. It's the only way to be sure.dm (talk) 06:06, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  15. Support. Switched from option 2 as well. Date links are not special. — Hex (❝?!❞) 11:49, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  16. Support removal of all guidance (changed from option 1). This whole issue reeks of WP:CREEP and WP:BIKESHED. Editors can make their own decisions. I would always choose Option #1's logic, but don't feel that this justifies having a written guideline for it. This whole tempest in a teapot is reminiscent of people getting hot and bothered about the correct dash to use. When we hit the WP:DEADLINE, we can clean up the little stuff before we send it to the printers. SDY (talk) 15:35, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  17. Strong support. Let's rid the MoS of such useless naval-gazing. Physchim62 (talk) 19:11, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
  18. Strong support fewer rules=good J04n(talk page) 01:22, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  19. BAM! The Man has too much power. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 09:23, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  20. Strong support I really agree with J04n's comment that fewer rules=good. With Wikipedia edited by many contributors, with different ideas of appropriateness, imposing one Procrustean solution is stupid. -- BRG (talk) 14:42, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  21. Support Let editors determine appropriate implementation at the article or project level. Content discussions are not under the purview of MOS. --guyzero | talk 20:49, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  22. Support Editors should be allowed to link particularly important years to provide readers with background information about the events that occurred in that year, in order to better contextualize the current article's subject. Option 1 appears to disallow this; option 2 focuses on birth and death dates, which are the least relevant when talking about the events in a person's life; option 3 dilutes the value of year links. This leaves only option 4 for me. AxelBoldt (talk) 03:07, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  23. Support. I've always viewed this matter as a choice of individual preference. There's much too much creep here. bibliomaniac15 23:48, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  24. Support. Enough instructions already.--catslash (talk) 23:57, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  25. Support - Seems better than any alternative. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 06:10, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  26. Support. However, leave a comment that the style used to be to link every date, and many articles still do this, but now years should only be linked if the they follow the general rules. JonH (talk) 09:09, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  27. Support. Cost of a reg is nonzero. --Thomas Btalk 17:01, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  28. Strong Support Absent a reason to change, why make a new rule? Phil_burnstein (talk) 09:55, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  29. Support. Every unnecessary piece of policy should go. --Pgallert (talk) 10:05, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  30. Support. Matching my comments on dates. Leave the decision up to editors. If you want to achieve consistency, it's best done by getting rid of all of these bothersome volunteer editors and having a small group of appointed editors who makes all the decisions and follow all of the rules. If you want to continue the free-for-all of anyone can edit, then you have to also accept some free-for-all formatting. I'm a whole lot less distracted by a sea of blue links than I am by the zillions of footnotes. Fijagdh (talk) 21:38, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  31. I would almost go with Option 3, but if a year link is relevant twice or more in an article it'd be good to link it twice; this is not the case for month/days. Therefore, I support this option, seeing as it's the most likely way such would be encouraged.Simplebutpowerful 00:22, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  32. Support As Guyzero expressed it above: "Let editors determine appropriate implementation at the article or project level. Content discussions are not under the purview of MOS." Thanks, Lini (talk) 01:05, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
  33. Support I've never understood the need for these links. --Auntof6 (talk) 07:20, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  34. Support The date pages have nothing of consequence to these articles, end the clutter and get rid of them all. You can still find them by typing it in the search box.- J.Logan`t: 11:21, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
  35. Support perhaps with a caveat, maybe a statement in MOSNUM or MOSLINK that states explicitly "dates are not treated any differently than any other word or term with regards to linking guidelines". That may make it more clear for users who historically are use to linking dates excessively, as the old guidelines said to do so. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 15:00, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  36. Support. Dates are not special. But, as Jayron32 has observed, given the history of the affair, a (placeholder) sentence that explicitly states "not special" might be a good idea. -- Fullstop (talk) 12:15, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
  37. Support: Sometimes year links are quite relevant, often they're just a distraction, but that should be argued by the editors of a specific article on the basis of issues specific to that topic. If auto-formatting by link is removed, however, then an indication in the Manual that this is no longer a reason for linking would be extremely useful. ¶ There really ought to be something like a Collection of Suggestions to give helpful, non-mandatory hints and comparisons with other articles, because any stylistic guidance in the Manual of Style eventually becomes in many uniformity-minded editors' eyes, universally and peremptorily obligatory, to be strayed from after some (usually little-known) ill-tempered, arcane and monstrously huge discussion like this one, that soon gets buried away from profane eyes in Wikipedia Talk: MOS or Wikipedia Talk: MOSNUM Archive no. 23 or 37. —— Shakescene (talk) 20:41, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Other comments
  • Only Option 1 will be some assurance there will not be a 'sea of blue' on each article. Ohconfucius (talk) 23:27, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
    • I don't think that under option 4 or option 2 many articles would have more than about half a dozen links to years (except "list"-type articles); and how one or two links to year articles in a paragraph are so much worse than this example of Harvard citations (toh, four-digit numbers referring to AD years displayed in blue, too...) is something beyond my understanding capability. At least, the "Lazare Ponticelli" article remains easily readable even when the birth year is linked, unlike that section of "Irish phonology" with Harvard cites. --A. di M. (talk) 15:02, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Both options 2 and 4 require additional interpretation to determine their meaning, even though I consider them the only marginally acceptable forms. Furthermore, option 1 is mis-titled; it should read "link to only (presently) relevant year articles". Where "link to only relevant years" would appear in the spectrum from option 1 to option 3 would also be a subject for discussion. (All these proposals explicitly amend WP:OVERLINK as well as WP:MOSLINK, so comments referring to WP:OVERLINK may be irrelevant.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:54, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  • You may take my "per WP:OVERLINK" comment above to mean that I support the current consensus version of this guideline and think the dilution effect of adding links which are valueless on a random basis throughout our articles to cause far more harm than benefit to our users. Thus I am in favor of retaining the guidance against adding low value links which year articles surely are. --John (talk) 00:01, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • To repeat what I said at the month/day question: Requiring voters to pick exactly one option is broken. It's possible for a rational person to find two options generally acceptable, and at least one option unacceptable, and this format essentially requires voters to pick one of their preferred options at random and hope that everyone with identical properties picks exactly the same way rather than splitting down the middle. An Acceptable/Unacceptable vote for each choice would have been far better. Gavia immer (talk) 06:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    • I think making this a questionaire with multiple choices would make it very difficult to interpret the outcome. Also, it would open up for the critique that people should ideally weight their votings; this would obviously make the process extremely complicated. This is a poll. There, I think you should make only one choice (as in votings in democracies). Whether the poll is designed good enough is another issue, but note that it is the outcome of a long and terribly heated process. So the fact that a poll has been designed by parties who can, how shall I put it, be quite disrespectful towards each other, is quite remarkable.--HJensen, talk 09:22, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I wonder how people used years links in one way or the other to do something? Were they useful to you? How did you go about? <<"site:wikipedia.en" to a google search for years>> doesn't strike me as particularly convenient way. -- User:Docu
  • Everyone please have a look at 1345, 1346, and 1347 for examples of how some year articles have been improved. 1929 is currently undergoing improvement. Wrad (talk) 15:06, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I have found a case where, for the life of me, I don't see why the year was not linked: Year Without a Summer. (A list of events for that year would be of understandable interest to a reader: any curious person would want to know how life continued when faced with a massive, world-wide crop failure.) Despite all of the arguments above about year links are useless, the only reason I could understand why 1816 was not linked in that article was due to an ban on links to years without exception. -- llywrch (talk) 16:34, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Looking at 1816, there is not a single bit of info that is relevant to the aforementioned crop failure. That link should not have been added. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:25, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
        • As I said above, "any curious person would want to know how life continued when faced with a massive, world-wide crop failure" -- in that case, everything that happened in 1816 is relevant. And if the number & types of activities did not noticeably change, that's relevant too: it proved to be a hardship, not the end of the world as a similar situation was portrayed in Dies the Fire. -- llywrch (talk) 17:16, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Are you sure you got the right year? Year Without a Summer is in the header; Tambora is the first item in the list of events; at least two others are arguably the product of famine. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:02, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
        • Two facts that are already in the Year Without a Summer article and two that might be related (though I can't even tell which ones you're referring to). How is that going to help anyone's understanding? Colonies Chris (talk) 09:49, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
    • This is why I chose option 4. I think option one is far too prone to an over-reaction against year links. Just treat year links the way you would any other link! That's the whole point of option 1 anyway! Wrad (talk) 17:04, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    • In that article, even "summer" got delinked .. -- User:Docu
      • What would be the point of linking it? Is it likely that anyone reading the article would not know what 'summer' means? Colonies Chris (talk) 09:49, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
        • I guess you aren't old enough to experience the occasional (& embarrassing) lapse of memory where you are unclear about something you know, & need a helpful prod to get the facts straight. It's not so much that a reader wouldn't know that summer is the warmest season of the year, but may forget (for example) that summer in the Southern Hemisphere falls on different months than in the Northern Hemisphere; July in Portland, Oregon is far warmer than July in Auckland, New Zealand. -- llywrch (talk) 17:16, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
        • In case you didn't notice, the article "summer" contains more information than just "what 'summer' means", otherwise it would have been transwikied to Wikictionary. --A. di M. (formerly Army1987) — Deeds, not words. 12:38, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Option 1 is mis-titled, since the proposed text is not in fact saying "link only when relevant" but "link only when relevant, and by the way X and Y are not relevant". I would support option 1 if it were less dogmatic about not linking things like birth and death years. Gareth McCaughan (talk) 21:40, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Good point. I wonder how many people voting for option #1 implicitly assume birth/death dates are relevant links. I guess Wrad is right about the need for another poll on the matter. -- llywrch (talk) 18:15, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't like overlinking any more than the next guy, but I really think that option 4 will lead to editors overreacting. We don't want to kill all year links, and if you have a special guideline for year links that says they can only be linked in X, Y, or Z situations, then people will think: "If year links have a special section, then that means they must be judged more strictly than any other links." I don't think that is what most people supporting the first proposal intend to support. I much prefer option one. Year links need to just quietly slide into the same mass of rules all other links abide by. If we overreact, then we will, I guarantee you, be back in a few months, after several edit wars, having another poll. Wrad (talk) 17:11, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

  • The only issue I see with #4 is that there appears to be a disagreement over when a year is relevant. Some people think birth/death years are relevant; many don't. Some people think a year link is relevant if the article subject is listed at the year article; other's don't. Without some guidance, we're likely to continue to have a lot of edit-warring and talk page disagreements that waste everyone's time. Karanacs (talk) 17:12, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Looks to me, then, like we're doomed to see edit warring with any and all of these options, and we're also doomed to have this poll again in the near future. Wrad (talk) 17:37, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm against any year links but there is no such option in the poll. Loosmark (talk) 04:42, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Potential insertion of Option 0 moved to talk page. Please discuss there whether that option should be added at this stage or not. Karanacs (talk) 19:24, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Karanacs: You first changed my vote to another option. Then when I reverted that you deleted my vote. You do not delete my vote. Here it is again. And don't you dare deleting it, changing it or moving it:
I support Option #0 (don't link years)
1: Support - I prefer not linking year numbers at all. If you want to link the year, then do a proper link that more clearly says what it is linking.
--David Göthberg (talk) 19:45, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I would support an autoformat feature with automated parsing of plain text. Dates would be input like 2009-04-02 only (no brackets, no functions, no format string). Anything of the form yyyy-mm-dd would be interpreted as a date, unless explicitly escaped. Specific formatting would be applied, based on preferences or environment variables. −Woodstone (talk) 11:41, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I think discretion needs to be allowed to leave it in the hands of the article editors. I do agree, however, with Woodstone's comments about use of auto-parsing option, and if the editor wishes to have the date linked, then to link-box the dates. A dump would need to be periodically pulled for people who use awb (or something like it) to make the edits to alter any dates entered by otherwise experiences editors. But basically, I think the dating should onlny be necessary in the first instance in the article, and only if it lends to a greater understanding of the article and if the article the link is from is mentioned in the date's own article (such as "December 25 is the day used to commemorate Christmas, being the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ", in which all three of these articles cross reference one another). If there is no such mention in the date article, but the item is in another date oriented article, it'd be appropriate to acknowledge that ("U2 released their album on January 1, 2000. See 2000 in music."). --rm 'w avu 10:56, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Does option 1 really solve anything? It seems to me that 'should not be linked unless their content is germane and topical to the subject.' is as wide open to interpretation as our current 'policy' and will probably just lead to more edit warring. G-Man ? 23:13, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
    • Exactly. Option one doesn't change a blasted thing. Option 4 is the only thing that makes sense. Wrad (talk) 06:02, 10 April 2009 (UTC)