Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers/Three proposals for change to MOSNUM

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This Request for Comment is now closed. Please do not modify the archive below and instead participate in discussions at WT:MOSNUM. Thank you!
Note to readers: There are two active requests for comment. Please also see:



(moved from WT:MOSNUM)

Three issues have been causing disruption on this talk page and on MOSNUM itself, and it is high time they were dealt with more formally. Please indicate support or oppose beneath each proposal, followed by a brief comment if you wish, and your signature. Please note that any proposal to allow the linking/autoformatting of only dates of birth and death would require a change to the following requirement in MOSNUM, and is not under consideration in this RfC: "Dates in article body text should all have the same format." Tony (talk) 13:50, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Proposal 1: A return to the linking of dates and date fragments[edit]

That the following text in MOSNUM:

  • Linking: Dates (years, months, day and month, full dates) should not be linked, unless there is a reason to do so.

be changed to:

  • Linking: Years, months, days/months, and full dates should normally be linked.
  • Oppose I think that there would be no point at all to make full dates linked. It could just be considered a waste of time and space. --KingRatedRIV (talk) 13:18, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose There has never been a requirement to link these. The strange addiction to date links is largely a side-effect of autoformatting. Lightmouse (talk) 15:01, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose for all of the reasons that have been put forward over the past two years. Tony (talk) 15:17, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose with reservation: we should link to dates, as to other words and phrases, when the link is useful to readers. Wider linking exists only for the purposes of autoformatting, which is a mistake. But at the same time, normally do not should not be strengthened to, or construed as, never; indeed, it should be moderated slightly, since there are clear classes where such links are useful to at least some readers - which is why we are having this discussion. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:11, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are very few instances when linking dates is useful. Making links the default is a very bad idea. Pcap ping 18:05, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. They were only linked to support auto-formatting. Now that is deprecated there is no need to litter articles with dozens of redundant and distracting links. --John (talk) 18:17, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
    • I'm not going to argue about this proposal—only raising a likely point of fact. I did some brief research and concluded that date-linking was done before the advent of "auto-formatting". The latter seems to have been in November 2003. I picked three articles which I knew were older than that and I did find revisions with linked dates from 2001–2002. I'd be curious how typical these results are and would have liked to do a complete search of old revisions but I don't have the resources for that. — CharlotteWebb 19:06, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Was someone serious when they proposed this one? One should only link to articles that are germane and have a particular relevancy to the subject matter. It would be bankrupt logic to think that just because these lists of random trivia have a little bit of everything under the sun, that a reader researching, for instance Jonas Salk should be able to traipse through October 28—when Mr. Salk was born—and (maybe perhaps) find something related to vaccines or doctors. Greg L (talk) 19:32, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Strongly. No comment. --SkyWalker (talk) 19:45, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, if autoformatting continues not to work. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 20:05, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CONTEXT. DOUBLEBLUE (talk) 21:22, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose- The blue ink adds an element of visual confusion to a page; and because of that links should be used only when it is necessary to clarify article content. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 21:31, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Such links provide nothing useful to the reader, and only serve to confuse. Phil Bridger (talk) 22:09, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Useless links that devalue the worth of the feature. Readers grow tired from clicking on them.
  • Oppose Graham Colm Talk 22:20, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Wikilinking is only supposed to be used in order to provide greater clarity regarding a word, phrase or name used in an article or talk page. No such greater clarity is needed for dates or years. SMP0328. (talk) 22:28, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose What purpose these links has is beyond me, and when starting here on the Wiki I found it very confusing that dates were linked (to pahes with random information). HJensen, talk 22:43, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Tony's arguments, titled "Disadvantages of date-autoformatting" --Apoc2400 (talk) 23:32, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CONTEXT. EdJohnston (talk) 23:35, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - the existing wording gives scope for a very small proportion of dates to be linked, but basically complies with WP:OVERLINK - only link what is necessary. "It is generally not necessary to link: Low added-value items when linked without reason—such as, "1995", "1980s", and "20th century" ". If somebody wants to find out what happened on November 23, they can just search for it. Random context consisting of unrelated events is not necessary in an encylopedia.—MDCollins 23:36, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose My thirtieth edit to Wikipedia was to remove excessive date links from an article. They provided no information relevant to the article. I have been following this date linking discussion on MOSNUM for the past few months. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 01:52, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, so happy to have those useless blue links gone. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:07, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose No use whatsover, as well as other arguments put forth through the years. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:27, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose  HWV 258  03:57, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Because wikilinking is the wrong way to mark up dates as dates. We still need to solve that problem. Minor quibble: should explicitly dab "wikilink", "datelink" and "link" LeadSongDog (talk) 04:15, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose — isn't this already settled? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:52, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose as these date articles usually contribute nothing to the understanding of any given article linked to it. Ohconfucius (talk) 04:55, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose these dates should never be linked. What happened to the RfC at Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Date Linking RFC?--User:2008Olympianchitchatseemywork 05:52, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above arguments. If the only goal is to format the dates, a better solution is required. G.A.Stalk 06:21, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - date links very rarely add anything relevant/useful. the phrase "unless there is a reason to do so" needs clarification, though Sssoul (talk) 06:27, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, per WP:BRD, this is a return to the status quo. We can revisit the change later, once the out-of-process change of the guideline is reverted. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:50, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose "unless there is a reason to do so" means that the rare occasion when linking is useful can be catered for, otherwise linking lowers readability (WP:MOS_(links)#Overlinking_and_underlinking) David Woodward (talk) 10:53, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: no reason to change this very long-standing principle (don't know when it came in, but it's been operating at least since I can remember - please note that this is not about the autoformatting links). --Kotniski (talk) 11:03, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Useless proposal. Ruslik (talk) 13:35, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Datelinks dilute the value of other, more useful links in the article. Karanacs (talk) 14:49, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, no arguments given to not adhere to WP:CONTEXT. Of course, what is "reason" and what is "context" in this instance might be discussed. -- Jao (talk) 15:10, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Overlinking makes articles harder to read, this one is a no-brainer.--Goodmorningworld (talk) 15:21, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Linking of full dates in a non-Gregorian calendar, combined with a user date preference setting of "2001-01-15T16:12:34" creates falsehoods. Also, it is not uncommon to mention the same date several times in an article, and if date linking is acceptable at all for the purpose of guiding readers to related articles, only the first mention of a date should be linked, so it is wrong to say dates should normally be linked. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 16:37, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I oppose this linking, be this interpreted as a change to the status quo or otherwise; I am aware of the bugzilla report. Knepflerle (talk) 16:53, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've also thought that the date linking status quo was pretty dumb, honestly. This should cut down on the overlinking. If there's a patch to fix the autoformating problem in the pipe, by all means get it going, but I don't think that we need to wait on it either. If it becomes desirable to link the dates later, it will be easy enough to do so. HiDrNick! 17:23, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose both the change and the original When I first joined wikipedia date linking was the norm. But it seemed to serve no useful purpose. There was no ability to see what happened on (for instance) 21 November 1963, etc. Date linking was just one of the strange quirks of wikipedia at that time. Having said this, the mass unlinking was also a bit pointless. I don't mind if some articles have linked dates - though it would be more useful if they were linked to articles on a full dd-mmm-yyyy date.--Toddy1 (talk) 18:22, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I have never encountered a situation where the link led anywhere relevant, useful, or even interesting. Date autoformatting was a half-baked solution to a non-problem which hid the real problem; that editors didn't see what regular readers saw. It ought to be consigned to the rubbish bin, not resurrected. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:07, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, as a list of what happened on, say, the date of 25 September is almost never relevant to an article which happens to mention an event which occurred on that date. It Is Me Here t / c 20:32, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per reasons above, this issue has already achieved broad consensus. Kaldari (talk) 20:48, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose because overlinking is bad and the article linked to isn't useful. Tempshill (talk) 20:51, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Autoformatting is nice, but the best way to get there is to adapt the software so that autoformatting is possible without linking. With the total amount of effort that has gone into this debate, a complete novice could probably have learned enough about programming by now to simply make that change to the MediaWiki software. -Pete (talk) 21:31, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose with clarification - Need to decide when date linking is appropriate but linking all dates is bad. --MASEM 22:22, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • oppose. A handful of dates are notable, e.g. 1492 or April 1st, but even then only in context. --Philcha (talk) 23:44, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Pile-on oppose Very selective linking is on occasion acceptable, in the spirit of wp:IAR, but on the whole, no. - NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 23:46, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Ugly, messy and complicated. Ryan4314 (talk) 00:52, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support: at least in most historical articles, year (might) give the right perspective to the reader. It is also interesting to know "what else happened in that year". --TakenakaN (talk) 01:13, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: I am against any inappropriate imposition of uniformity. This matter should be more sensitive to context, and to the type of article one is editing.–¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 01:43, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • oppose: such linking adds nothing but clutter to articles and serves no useful user purpsoe. Any such links that currently exist should be removed by any and all means, manually or in bulk. If a reader wants to know what else happened on a day, they can easily search for it. Hmains (talk) 04:01, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, ugly and uninformative. Tim Vickers (talk) 04:35, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: The respective date and year article linked do not currently add context. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 17:44, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I do not see how random lists of what happened on a date add context to an article. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:13, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. No reason to link to dates unless there's a specific event that happened on the , in which case, you should link to the event rather than the date.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβςWP Physics} 01:57, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Opposed. The value of datelinking – i.e., autoformatting – is exceptionally limited, and it has never been a requirement in any case. However, the case for linking “years in XXXX” is a separate issue in that it involves more than just style issues. Askari Mark (Talk) 03:16, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose for all the reasons this was abandoned in the first place. JIMp talk·cont 10:06, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose; date linking only takes focus away from the "higher-value" links around it, and sends readers to completely irrelevant articles that add no context to the article being read. Dates should only be linked when sufficient context is present. Steve TC 10:44, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Can't see the advantage and the disadvantage is overlinking pointlessly. --Dweller (talk) 12:02, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Linking all dates is distracting and useless.  Sandstein  14:34, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Linking all dates is like linking all occurences of any/every linkable term; a distraction. It makes sense to link dates to relevant timelines in certain articles; e.g. an article on the American Declaration of Indepence might pipe link to an article on the timeline of the American Revolution. Studerby (talk) 19:35, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Linking all dates is time-wasting and purposeless. Ben MacDui 19:57, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The usage of the word "normally" without any qualification or hint about what constitutes normality (or more importantly abnormality) is a recipe for disaster. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 20:35, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Stupid overlinking. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:04, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Excess links are distracting. Dates should only be linked when there is a specific relevance to the topic at hand. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 23:21, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose – The links are redundant, confusing, and unsightly. We do not need them. Waltham, The Duke of 01:45, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. DrKiernan (talk) 08:15, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, looks really bad, and the resulting links are irrelevant to an article. No need for autoformatting, the important thing is internal consistency within articles. Punkmorten (talk) 08:18, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. A link to a date article should be subject to the same rules of justifiability as any other link. --RexxS (talk) 04:54, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The linking of component parts of a date is of little use (except in the case of eg. 1 April, but there it would be more useful to link to April Fool's Day, which in turn could link to 1 April as it a recurring yearly date). Linking to a fully YYYY-mm-dd could be useful to find events occuring on the exact same day, but this has never be done anyway. If this is done, it could be done automatically as there are a finite number (3 combinations) of allowed date formatting. —Sladen (talk) 15:20, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Highfields (talk, contribs, review) 15:39, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Regressing to an inferior state for the sake of it *just* to keep people happy, with no clear benefits, should never be encouraged. Orderinchaos 15:44, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Relationship between articles based on date is very rarely relevant. Creates pointless and useless overlinking that no-one ever benefits from. --Escape Orbit (Talk) 15:59, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose links are usually irrelevant to the article and should not be required.--Flash176 (talk) 16:38, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Links are an eye catcher. There should be a good reason to link. I don't see one here. -- Goodraise (talk) 16:47, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Experienced Wikipedia users know to ignore these links as useless. However for new users, of which hopefully we have many, they can be bewildering. I recall, one of the first times I used Wikipedia, clicking a date link, then being totally at sea as to what relevant information was on the date page. CBHA (talk) 16:52, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I have a tendency (caused by my curiosity I guess) to click on every link in a Wikipedia article, to learn more. Date links with no relevant information are just annoying in that case. CielProfond (talk) 17:24, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose- For reasons stated above.--Michael X the White (talk) 17:36, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Irrelevant overlinking detracts from articles. priyanath talk 17:56, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The arguments for why autoformatting is not beneficial to anonymous users are compelling enough for me to support its deprecation. dissolvetalk 18:05, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Only full date links (day-month-year) seem useful to me--the other choices yield very little relevant information when a reader clicks on them. Binksternet (talk) 18:12, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - unnecessary overlinking: this wastes editors' time and is very rarely useful to readers. Pfainuk talk 18:14, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - does not add value to articles. Gerardw (talk) 18:27, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Too many blue links are an eye sore. In a way it degradates the important interwiki links. -Killiondude (talk) 19:41, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Opppose This is absurd. There is no support for making that change. Protonk (talk) 20:45, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose Adds nothing. I thought this had already been settled ages ago. Stupid idea 21stCenturyGreenstuff (talk) 21:01, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose These are useless and bothersome when reading. Joe Nutter 21:17, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Yilloslime (t) 21:56, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The recent removal of these aberrations have been a joy to behold. Let's leave those irksome irritations behind. Poltair (talk) 22:36, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose This has been debated to death in the past and there is no reason to suspect opinions have changed. Low value links detract from the genuinely useful links in an article. CrispMuncher (talk) 22:46, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose over and over again. They clutter up the page and add nothing except a "that was useless" response when a new reader clicks one for the first time. Unusual? Quite TalkQu 23:01, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, for the reasons that have already been discussed.--Srleffler (talk) 23:18, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, this goes against WP:OVERLINK (in essence) and adds no useful content to the article. §hep¡Talk to me! 00:49, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose because these links are simply pointless and have nothing to do with the articles they link from. Richard75 (talk) 00:55, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - It's lovely not having this sea of blue, pointless links to gads of trivia, and formatting nightmare for date spans! Be gone with it forever! لennavecia 02:41, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose These links are not useful to readers/users. kilbad (talk) 03:49, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose today, oppose tomorrow, oppose the day after that. The arguments being made in favour seem to fall into two categories: WP:ILIKEIT and procedural objections not related to the question itself. —Scheinwerfermann T·C04:56, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose Links are generally irrelevant and cluttersome. RainbowOfLight Talk 05:39, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose because they add nothing to the individual articles. Auntof6 (talk) 06:18, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - only when they serve a useful purpose, and it should be a year-month-day link - that page could further link to year and month-day for those who would want to follow those links. Pdfpdf (talk) 07:49, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - if there were a way to reformat dates without them appearing as links, and if dateformats were settable on a per-article basis, and if articles didn't spit unformatted dates into the face of the vast majority of readers, and if the date formatter was smart enough to catch malformed dates, then I would say keep them. But under the present conditions, the proposal that "Years, months, days/months, and full dates should normally be linked" will only cause irritating "seas of blue" (as some have so aptly called it). -- Fullstop (talk) 09:21, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per earlier comments. Manxruler (talk) 09:27, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Linking dates is obtuse overlinking, confuses new editors about linking, and is ugly. 2005 (talk) 10:22, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Pointless and confusing to newbies. -- Mwanner | Talk 14:08, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose It is pointless most times unless the date actually contributes to the context of the article or statement, which is rare enough that discretion should be used. --Banime (talk) 14:45, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per all the above. Articles look far better without links.--UpDown (talk) 15:48, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, but... I don't think that dates should be linked to general articles about the year, but if they can be linked judiciously to topic- specific articles such as 1808 in art, then that's fine with me. Petropoxy (Lithoderm Proxy) (talk) 16:26, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Neutral This is a false choice, neither of these extremes are correct. Saying there should be no links is as incorrect as saying everything should be linked. I do believe every date should be wrapped in a template of some sort, but I dont believe all of them should be clickable visable links. dm (talk) 16:39, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - when I click a link, I want it to take me to an article that will tell me about something related to where I was. Doesn't happen with these date pages. --EEMIV (talk) 17:16, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Unnecessary overlinking creates confusion and detracts from the article. Elucidate (light up) 18:03, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose But you really, really, need a better description on the MOSNUM page of what would constitute a "good reason to do so". Sure, no such description is going to cover all eventualities, but at least the argument on the other RfC would largely be circumvented...Anaxial (talk) 20:18, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose We don't need a sea of blue, especially since most date links are irrelevant to the article. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 23:31, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose ...just as the above, we dont need a large area of date-links, it wont make use to anyone... Rehman (talk) 01:03, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Overlinking does not help the reader. Avenue (talk) 04:10, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support: Not that it will make a dent here, but comments that date links don't help the reader, or confuses them have no basis in any asserted facts. Doing otherwise means a user's preferences are rendered useless, and unnecessary edits are made by editors changing date formats around. It was a mistake to change the policy first time around, and it's a mistake to not remedy it now. Sadly a majority of these opposes are per or as above and are hopefully viewed with care. Nja247 (talkcontribs) 12:04, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Besides the fact that date autoformatting makes little affect on readability (the blueing of dates actually decreases the readability) and currently doesn't work for the majority of readers, these edit wars supporters of date autoformatting speak of are yet to be seen (and have little basis in any asserted facts). WP:ENGVAR has worked exceptionally well for things like color/colour, I see no reason that it shouldn't work that well for date formats. The fact that MOSNUM says that "If an article has been stable in a given style, it should not be converted without a style-independent reason" should help to prevent such wars. Dabomb87 (talk) 15:57, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Although I'm in favour of some sort of formatting solution, hyperlinking is wrong. Hyperlinks in articles should take you to somewhere relevant to the subject, but links to dates generally don't do this,. Such links have only ever been a kludge to provide a technical solution for getting dates formatted the way the users prefer.--A bit iffy (talk) 16:55, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Minimal benefit. Macdonald-ross (talk) 19:52, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Serves no purpose but to mislead.--HJensen, talk 22:13, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I would like to see autoformatted dates, but the current method is messy and broken. Its use should not be encouraged by the MoS. Wronkiew (talk) 23:07, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose These serve no purpose but to confuse readers - Ahunt (talk) 23:08, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Totally pointless. The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 23:16, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose I see the date articles as totally worthless. --Natural RX 00:31, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - No need to litter articles with useless links. Pages read much better without date links. Giants2008 (17-14) 01:33, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Ugly. Existing text is fine: If there is a reason, then do it. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:47, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose unless we don't have to link it ourselves. --Mark Chung (talk) 09:17, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose for all the usual reasons. Gaius Cornelius (talk) 14:59, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose It is useless overlinking. — Emil J. 15:23, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Overlinking to with no benefit to the core audience or articles. Hohum (talk) 16:45, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Distracting and a waste of time. Libcub (talk) 16:49, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've never seen why linking all dates is desirable, even allowing for the (marginal) benefit of autoformatting. --Merlinme (talk) 17:42, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Having links on every single date is distracting, and of microscopic use to our readers. --Elonka 18:27, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Unnecessary. Time consuming. Nonsense. --➨Candlewicke  :) Sign/Talk 21:25, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Defaultly linking to irrelevant pages is stupid. If you're just mentioning a date in passing (say, to keep a series of events in order for the reader's convenience), then why should it be linked? Sure: link the Independence Day (United States) to July 4. But let's not have every single one of the 8,700+ articles that mention July 4 in the entire encyclopedia link to the date's article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:08, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Simply: text shouldn't be linked without justification. The vast majority of these date links are irrelevant and ignorable. The blue text constitutes overlinking, and places undue visual emphasis on dates. Michael Z. 2008-12-02 01:14 z
  • Oppose - The blue text is ugly and distracting, and autoformatting is not used by the vast, vast, majority of Wikipedia readers. Peter Ballard (talk) 01:37, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Relevancy should be used when linking dates. It also devalues the use of wikilinks for other more important/relevant dates. londonsista Prod 06:05, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Essentially for the same reasons as the above comment. --Fpoto (talk) 08:15, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose What I could say has already been said. Dismas|(talk) 08:33, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- billinghurst (talk) 09:24, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - date linking is hugely over-valued by some people. The actual benefit seems very small to me. Ingolfson (talk) 11:38, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose - Date-holds little value in most cases. TheMoridian 13:45, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There needs to be a clear reason for linking a date. Just linking because we can is foolish. "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all" - Peter Drucker. SilkTork *YES! 16:33, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose — Date-linking implies a relationship between the event in the article and the other events on the same day. If such a relationship exists it should be stated in the article rather than force the user to search the link. However, if such a relationship exitst the other event should be linked.
JimCubb (talk) 19:50, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose – Agreed, date links are useless. | Loadmaster (talk) 20:53, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose generally no, unless a link to, say, 1940 in literature or something. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:41, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose -"unless there is a reason to do so" covers all objections - I'd probably add "obvious" in front of "reason." Smallbones (talk) 00:23, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Date linking is a waste of time and detracts from the article. Donaldd23 (talk) 00:29, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. « Hiram111ΔTalK Δ 02:18, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Clearly over linking in many articles. Its time to close this discussion and move on. Vegaswikian (talk) 03:56, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There is no reason to recommend that dates be linked. There are some (rare) situations where date linking may make sense, so leaving that as an option is okay. Truthanado (talk) 04:04, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are situations to link dates, but in the norm, there's no need. -- WORMMЯOW  10:01, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose it simply does not help, it is useless information. Miguel.mateo (talk) 14:10, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose date linking as a default does not make sense as events are not necessarily important in the whole realm of history. Plus I find it aesthetically undesirable. Grika 16:10, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Unhelpful and discrediting. -- Banjeboi 21:49, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Useless.fazels2
  • Oppose. No more useful than linking common terms like colors, numbers, days of the week, etc, etc. A bad idea. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 03:35, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Linking dates should stay as the exception, rather than the rule, because it serves no useful purpose otherwise. SBC-YPR (talk) 09:28, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Date links should not be treated any differently than other links. Because of the classic overlink phenomenon, it distracts the reader, and affects readability. Wikipedia has been described as a time sink by some journalists and critics, so let's avoid needless dispersion. Cenarium (Talk) 11:33, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose From day 1 of the Internet, an underlined link has been an invitation to the reader to click to find something interesting and relevant to the topic at hand. While that definition implies something of a value judgement, the reflexive linking of all (or most) dates clearly falls outside that guideline. WP links should be inserted thoughtfully; the cost in readability should balance the value of the link. David Brooks (talk) 17:42, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose as pointless overlinking. Eusebeus (talk) 20:47, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Pile-on oppose useless linking should be avoided. Parsecboy (talk) 15:47, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Anything I'd have to say has already been said by the multitude of other opposes. --Bobblehead (rants) 18:00, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose links are just distracting. Eóin (talk) 21:06, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose links are above all else unnecessary and clutter. The Fiddly Leprechaun (talk) 00:41, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose those bots will rise up and destroy us all one day if we let them. Dream Focus (talk) 01:37, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose – Not useful, distracting to real (relevant) links, clutter. Mr. Absurd (talk) 20:16, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Support: I consider linking as very useful, since question of overlinking can be solved by Prussian blue. Guy Peters TalkContributionsEdit counter 22:39, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose because the content of the link is rarely useful. I still remember first being delighted by the relevance of WP's links but, even to a newbie, dates stood out as an annoying exception. Sadly, Prussian blue also hides the more useful links. Certes (talk) 00:20, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose the links are not useful Snappy (talk) 03:39, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support per CielProfond. Links in an article is a good thing; I have no idea why so many people are opposed to this. Distracting? How is a different color distracting? This is hardly a problem of overlinking. GlassCobra 11:24, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose at least ½ the time the links are at least irrelevant and most of the time bare no relationship pertaining to the article from which they have come. Edmund Patrickconfer 14:21, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose These links are irrelevant information. Their being links highlights them visually, which means that articles end up directing attention toward irrelevant information. This proposed changed seems like a way to get around consensus regarding WP:OVERLINKING. RJC TalkContribs 16:01, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Linking all days, months and years creates a large amount of irrelevent links whitin wikipedia, Dates should only be linked if the date is of significant importance to the article i.e the article is referenced on the article linked to the date--Jaydub47 (talk) 00:42, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per wp:context. -- Quiddity (talk) 01:28, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose If I am reading (or editing) Attack on Pearl Harbor, why do I care to follow a link that tells me that Ellen Burstyn turned 9 years old that morning?? Audemus Defendere (talk) 07:13, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - with slight reservations that the wording should encourage linking to dates where there are, for instance, other events taking place that could be seen as related to the article (even if any causal link is disputed e.g. revolutions taking place in different countries).Sladegreenforum (talk) 09:56, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose—blind date linking creates distracting low-value links. Pagrashtak 14:38, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose There is no point in linking to dates - why would anyone want to look at them? Darth Newdar (talk) 16:13, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose — There should be a reason for any link. Date links are not exempt from that. —Celtic Minstrel (talkcontribs) 17:31, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - date linking is for the most part idiotic, it adds no value to the article in the overwhelming majority of cases. Nick Thorne talk 20:32, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The benefits of linking every date are small (in my opinion) and of no benefit to most readers. It clearly goes against the policy for wikilinks generally that wikilinks should be used sparingly and only where it would provide additional helpful information for the average reader. Rreagan007 (talk) 23:13, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: There's no need to link dates, the date articles just say what happened on that certain day, certainly no benefit from linking to them, it makes pages look ugly and makes readers think that links arn't important. – Jerryteps 01:43, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. In fact I do not see the advantage of specific policy on this area and so aim to be in the minority: both the "link all dates" position and the "link no dates" positions are unnacceptable extremes. Policy should be left at the creative tension between Wikipedia:Build the web and Wikipedia:Only make links that are relevant to the context. Too many of the opposes seem to dislike links in general. --Rumping (talk) 09:49, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There is no need to link days/dates/years unless they are especially relevant to the topic. Linking dates assigns undue weight to date-related articles, and only needs to be done where especially notable (e.g. Sabbath could link to Saturday; World War I could link to 1914).--Jeffro77 (talk) 22:58, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment This choice being offered is a classic example of a Straw man. Implying that the choice is between the present policy and ALL dates being linked, which very few people are actually proposing. The question being asked gives a false choice. As with rigged opinion polls, this question is being asked in a particular way to gain the answer that its promoters want (i.e not to link dates). This poll is therefore of limited validity. G-Man ? 00:18, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
  • G-Man, I agree. My vote is for Sanity. Link to dates when they're relevant or interesting and don't clog up the page with a bunch of marginal links. Just like everything else. ǝɹʎℲxoɯ (contrib) 05:47, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Some dates should be linked; most not. At least, as July 1, 1948. If July 1, 1048 becomes standard, then we can compile a worldwide diary with half a million or so daily entries saying what happened every day. But separate month/day and year links, they should not be usual. Jim.henderson (talk) 06:52, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose with exceptions where the day/date itself has significance, eg, September 11 or Fifth of November. Radiopathy (talk) 03:34, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Articles look cluttered with every date fragment linked. Better only to link if there is a special reason such as the commenmoration of that date. Viv Hamilton (talk) 15:11, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Date links do not help readers, except in very, very few exceptional cases. By linking dates, we point the reader to an article with a long list of facts about a particular date that have no relevance to the article that he or she was reading. -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:16, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Wikipedia looks far more professional with dates unlinked. JS (chat) 13:10, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The date links cure few problems, and cause many. Eubulides (talk) 20:14, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Linking of dates IMHO is overkill. – IbLeo (talk) 12:29, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There's no benefit from date linking like this, and it distracts the eye. --Phil Holmes (talk) 10:12, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Linking all date fragments makes the more relevant links disappear in clutter. Rettetast (talk) 13:59, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There is no need to routinely link dates. Sam Blacketer (talk) 13:32, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This isn't quite a straw man, because some people do like the system that was prevalent before the middle of this year, but the current wording is fine (i.e., link only when there's occasion for a date link). —— Shakescene (talk) 20:22, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Proposal 2: A return to date autoformatting[edit]

That the following text in MOSNUM:

Autoformatting: Dates should not be linked purely for the purpose of autoformatting (even though in the past this was considered desirable).

be changed to:

Autoformatting: Dates (containing either day, month and year, or day and month) should normally be autoformatted.

  • Oppose Autoformatting only achieves its own objective for a tiny proportion of editors and it causes lots of problems. Lightmouse (talk) 15:01, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose for all of the reasons that have been put forward over the past two years.Tony (talk) 15:17, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Autoformatting is an attempted technical solution to a behavioural problem. We have since developed behavioural solutions, like ENGVAR, to this problem: live and let live. For its technical problems, see WP:Autoformatting. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:11, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Overkill solution for very small benefits. Pcap ping 18:10, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CONTEXT. No reason to link dates. --John (talk) 18:17, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Autoformatting benefits only A) registered editors, who have B) set their user preference. Autoformatting does not benefit regular I.P. users. Furthermore, the autoformatting masks serious shortcomings with date formats in articles; they can be inconsistent and inappropriate in the extreme but the editors who would care most (those who would set their user prefs) can’t even see that these problems exists! We editors see *pretty* proper dates but I.P. uses see “Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on 1941-12-07.” Autoformatting was a brain-damaged proposal from the beginning and should never have been ever made. For editors who might not fully understand what autoformatting has been doing to our I.P. readers, see WP:Why dates should not be linked. Greg L (talk) 19:37, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support why should we disadvantage those who choose to customise the interface by selecting a date format for their convenience. The software should be modified to handle non-logged in users and to present a unified date format for these uses. This would prevent edit wars over date formatting and all of the needless changes to date formatting as all full dates would be linked and presented to user in a consistent way no-matter which format they are in the article. Keith D (talk) 19:55, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong support. At the moment we have a mishmash of date formats all over the Wikipedia, none of which is consistent and not always consistent within articles. If autoformatting works, then I'll support it. If not, then we should link the damn dates; I completely fail to see what the problem is with them. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 20:05, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Owen, please see WP:Why dates should not be linked. Then you will have an answer to why you “completely fail to see what the problem is with them.”. It will also clarify what happened with the stated premiss of your above post: “If autoformatting works…”. Greg L (talk) 20:23, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Questionable benefit for only those registered users who have it enabled. Questionable because it hides inappropriate mixing of date formats and surely no one is shocked to see date formats different than their own preference anymore than seeing ENGVARiations of spelling. DOUBLEBLUE (talk) 21:26, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We should be doing what is in the best interests of our readers, the vast majority of whom are not logged in. The month should always be spelt out in dates, so there is no ambiguity that needs to be resolved by autoformatting. Phil Bridger (talk) 22:12, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Graham Colm Talk 22:21, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Wikilinking is only supposed to be used in order to provide greater clarity regarding a word, phrase or name used in an article or talk page. No such greater clarity is needed for dates or years. SMP0328. (talk) 22:28, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Serves no purpose in helping article's quality (and 99 pct. of readers' can't reap any potential benefit).HJensen, talk 22:45, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per my oppose above. --Apoc2400 (talk) 23:32, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose since it has no benefit for article quality. EdJohnston (talk) 23:37, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - autoformatting simply doesn't work for 99% of our readers. Dates can be adequately, and consistently formatted by WP:ENGVAR.—MDCollins 23:38, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - No benefit for most readers. Makes it difficult for editors to maintain uniform date formatting in the text and references. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 02:01, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, no benefit to readers, extra work for editors, and obscures inconsistencies our readers see. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:08, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Autoformatting works against editors seeing potential date format problems and results in a worse experience for the regular non-editor in the present circumstances. Also: may cause "blue overlink" and almost never provides a relevant link to an article. Linking should have a sole, primary use: to provide links to articles that may help/interest the user given the context.Sillyfolkboy (talk) 02:14, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The order of the dates does not matter anyway, and the autoformatting mechanism (linking useless dates and years) makes the whole function even less desirable. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:29, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose  HWV 258  03:54, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Autoformating is the wrong reason for date markup. Dates should be marked up to enable assisted interwiki translation, date-range searches, timeline generation, and bibliographic (e.g.) database queries.LeadSongDog (talk) 04:48, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, since autoformatting works only for logged-in readers. Wasn't this settled six months ago? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:53, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose,DA is about as desirable as a wart on one's foot. As everyone capable of reading English knows that [[12 November]] [[2009]] is the same as [[November 12]] [[2009]], I can really see no point in putting in this extra work for an unquantifiable and intangible benefit. It's not as if we are expressing ourselves in the highly ambiguous 11/12/09 - and even if we did, no machine or algorithm is going to sort that out. Ohconfucius (talk) 04:58, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - a better solution is required if linking is required for the sole purpose of autoformatting. G.A.Stalk 06:22, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose autoformatting by means of wikilinks - it's a confusing misuse of links that undermines their purpose (which should be to provide useful information). if another means of autoformatting were developed - one that doesn't involve (or look like) links and that works for unregistered users as well - i might support that, but it's not a very necessary function. Sssoul (talk) 06:40, 24 November 2008 (UTC) ps for the record: i'm aware of the patch that Ckatz pointed out, and would not support it as it's currently described. Sssoul (talk) 05:34, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose I would prefer to use standard date formatting rules: mdy or dmy only.--User:2008Olympianchitchatseemywork 07:14, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Support, although, again, phrased as a change from a condition other than the status quo. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:52, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Change to oppose, as autoformatting is a reason, making this change moot. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:58, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: any autoformatting, apart from being a totally pointless waste of time, is going to be fraught with technical difficulties. The autoformatting we have is particularly stupid, since it forces linking (and replacing it by a function that parses square brackets but doesn't make a link would even more contrary to common sense). --Kotniski (talk) 11:08, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Opppose. Before I consider supporting this, I want to see how any technical fix works in practice. Nothing has been implemented yet. Ruslik (talk) 13:38, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Autoformatting is useful only to the small number of registered users with date preferences turned on. When it is on, editors of a page may not realize just how bad the page looks to unregistered users (the majority of our readers) and registered users without date preferences enabled. Karanacs (talk) 14:51, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the utter uselessness of the current system. -- Jao (talk) 15:10, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Ohconfucious says it well.--Goodmorningworld (talk) 15:24, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Date autoformatting of non-Gregorian dates presents falsehoods to those with a date preference setting of "2001-01-15T16:12:34". Also, Wikipedia contains articles in a variety of national variety of English, as does the World Wide Web. Attempts to make some partial style changes to articles by changing the date format produces an unpleasant style that is neither fish nor fowl. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 16:40, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose a technical solution in search of a problem, be this interpreted as either maintaining or changing the status quo. Knepflerle (talk) 17:01, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose the change. The overlinking should be ended. HiDrNick! 17:23, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose most users of wikipedia do not have date autoformatting - wikipedia is for all, not just the people who administer it or edit it.--Toddy1 (talk) 18:13, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. For exactly the same reasons that I oppose Proposal #1. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:09, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose as the pages that the dates link to are almost never relevant to the article they linked from. It Is Me Here t / c 20:34, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per reasons above, this issue has already achieved broad consensus. Kaldari (talk) 20:48, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, because overlinking is bad, and the article linked to is not relevant to the parent article. Tempshill (talk) 20:51, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - see my reasons above, in Proposal 1. -Pete (talk)
  • Oppose with the current (as of Nov 1, 2008) DA scheme. However, it has been noted at bugzilla that the devteam can implement a solution that does not link automatically and addresses the issue of what anon/editors w/o prefs see, as to solve most of the underlying problems against it. --MASEM 22:24, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Fix autoformatting another way. There is no reason to mess up what the vast majority of people see so that you can have your correctly formatted dates. If it bothers you that much, fix it. - NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 23:48, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • oppose Autoformatting also wikilinks dates, and is only of used to logged-in users. If, as MASEM says, (22:24, 24 November 2008), the devteam can implement a solution that does not link automatically and addresses the issue of what anon/editors w/o prefs see, that would be far better. --Philcha (talk) 23:52, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: See my above comments. Ryan4314 (talk) 00:53, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Far too draconian; far too insensitive to the context of use.–¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 01:43, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • oppose: such linking adds nothing but clutter to articles and serves no useful user purpose. Readers can understand dates, whether they are 'dd mm yy' or 'mm dd yy', without much thought. Hmains (talk) 04:04, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose a disservice to the huge majority of readers who never create an account to pander to a vanishingly-small minority who actually care about how dates are formatted enough to tweak their preferences settings. Tim Vickers (talk) 04:37, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - if our main readers, most of whom never register an account, cannot see the autoformatting, it serves no useful purpose. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:14, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As registered uses cannot see the badly formatted dates.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβςWP Physics} 01:57, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Opposed. The value of autoformatting is exceptionally limited, and it has never been a requirement in any case. However, the case for linking “years in XXXX” is a separate issue in that it involves more than just style issues. Askari Mark (Talk) 03:16, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose autoformatting only works for Wikipedians and of us only those who've set a preference; worse still what it does is hide the mess the rest of the world sees. JIMp talk·cont 10:11, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose; autoformatting can obscure problems that occur in the text that the vast majority of our readers see, but those who are likely to fix the mistake (i.e. regular editors) won't. It was a fix to a problem that is no longer present, and should be discarded accordingly. Steve TC 10:48, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose can't see any useful advantage. --Dweller (talk) 12:03, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As above, linking all dates is distracting and useless.  Sandstein  14:35, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. The lack of autoformatting makes Wikipedia harder and less enjoyable for me to read and I am a reader as well as an editor. Eluchil404 (talk) 18:25, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The current "auto-format by linking" mechanism is ill-conceived. A "date" template that respected formatting preferences (which could be retained in a browser cookie for non-logged in users) that did not result in a link would receive my support. Studerby (talk) 19:41, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Can be handled per/in analogy to WP:ENGVAR. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:09, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Best leave the format of dates in a particular article to the editors' judgment. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 04:31, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. DrKiernan (talk) 08:15, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, unnecessary as long as we strive for internal consistency within articles, which we should even if autoformatting were the standard. Punkmorten (talk) 08:20, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Autoformatting is the wrong solution to a small problem. ENGVAR and the way we handle units shows how it should be done. --RexxS (talk) 04:59, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Highfields (talk, contribs, review) 15:41, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The lack of autoformatting makes Wikipedia easier to read in my view - the blue is distracting and, with date prefs switched off, I'm not confronted with a bizarre array of non matching dates as editors see the same things as readers and are obliged to fix them. Orderinchaos 15:47, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. (For the purposes of demonstrative simplication): Most of the world uses 1 January 1970 (LSB ordering). Logical thinkers, computers, lists and often China/Japan uses 1970-01-01 (MSB ordering). One country in the uses January 1, 1970, an ordering which is neither. An exception has been made in WP:MOSNUM to allow articles specific to that one country to use this "odd" date format, but this is not an excuse to convert all the other articles on Wikipedia to use an (exceptional) date format on the (further) excuse that "autoformatting will fix everything". Auto-formatting only works for those whom it has been configured, which in turn only works for those whom have logged in, which in turn means those with an account—all in all, a low percentage of Wikipedia viewers. If the a desire exists to link dates, this could be done automatically within the Mediawiki engine (and with non-intrusive CSS formatting!). If fully qualified dates were linked (year-and-month-and-day) then a lot of the dates would be likely redlinks and we could treat these in the same way as any other non-notable noun without an article in Wikipedia and unlink it. Alternately, discuss (ab)using the Category: system for dates, if that (non-intrusive) method gets shot down, then this (intrusive) method definitely should. —Sladen (talk) 16:01, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Burdensome solution to trivial issue. --Escape Orbit (Talk) 16:03, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose.--Flash176 (talk) 16:40, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Irrelevant overlinking detracts from articles. priyanath talk 17:57, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Usually useless when clicked on. I think blue links should always yield relevant information to the reader. Binksternet (talk) 18:14, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Autoformatting produces a load of useless links, and looks unprofessional to the majority of readers (who do not log in) as dates are formatted every which way in articles. Pfainuk talk 18:17, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - a) Set an auto-format general preference so that dates are formatted for users who are not logged in. b) Tweak the code to remove blue-links under dates - or to at least provide that option. c) Done - all oppositions to auto-formatting have then been addressed. -- SatyrTN (talk / contribs) 19:37, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose I figured this was the most settled portion of the debate. No need for this. Will just generate another thousand robot edit wars over date linking. Protonk (talk) 20:47, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose I am speechless. Why was this even raised? 21stCenturyGreenstuff (talk) 21:04, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose While having all the dates display the same does increase readability, there should be a standard set for this; autoformatting is not the way to do it. Joe Nutter 21:19, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Ends don't justify the means. Yilloslime (t) 21:57, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose A quite unnecessary debate. Poltair (talk) 22:41, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, although the question is poorly framed.--Srleffler (talk) 23:20, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose I see no use in just linking one certain "set" of dates, again links should provide extra reading material relevant to the article, most date articles aren't relevant to the articles they are linked from. §hep¡Talk to me! 00:54, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support What is wrong with auto formatting? While I agree that linking doesn't accomplish much except for autoformating, why should they not be autoformatted? It prevents edit wars over date formatting and all you people that don't want them autoformatting, set your date preference to "No preference" Alexfusco5 01:08, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Alex, where are these edit wars that you are talking about? Autoformatting is a trivial function that doesn't affect the appearance of the dates that much. The problem with the current autoformatting is exactly that; if we editors set our preferences to "no preference" (as I suspect many have), then we, as well as the IP readers, see the inconsistencies that those with preferences on do not see. Dabomb87 (talk) 01:20, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
      • Then nothing exists that will stop all the editors with no preferences from fixing it. Alexfusco5 17:00, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - Dates should be consistently formatted throughout articles depending on the standard for the country the article topic is related to. See WP:ENGVAR and add a line about date formatting. لennavecia 02:47, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Autoformatting is a very good thing for readability. We should strive to localise for our readers. -BarkerJr (talk) 04:39, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Lightmouse. RainbowOfLight Talk 05:42, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Autoformatting and linking should be separate and independent functions. As "BarkerJr" says: Autoformatting is a very good thing for readability. We should strive to localise for our readers. Pdfpdf (talk) 07:55, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - if there were a way to reformat dates without them appearing as links, and if dateformats were settable on a per-article basis, and if articles didn't spit unformatted dates into the face of the vast majority of readers, and if the date formatter was smart enough to catch malformed dates, then I would say autoformat them all. But under the present conditions, the proposal that "Dates (containing either day, month and year, or day and month) should normally be autoformatted." will only cause irritating "seas of blue" (as some have so aptly called it). -- Fullstop (talk) 09:21, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per earlier comments. Manxruler (talk) 09:27, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, yet again. -- Mwanner | Talk 14:10, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Opppose again, this is pointless and doesn't add to the article most times. See my comments in previous proposal. --Banime (talk) 14:50, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Autoformatting and linking should be separate functions. Dates should be universally autoformatted once this is separated from linking. I find Gerry Ashton's comment above very striking, as I do use the YYYY-MM-DD format. The arguments that this is "incorrect" for historical dates are, as far as I an tell, not very strong. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:05, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Separating linking from Date Autoformatting, I believe all dates should be autoformatted for uniformity, eliminate ambiguity, and to make the metadata parseable. Nothing to do with linking per se dm (talk) 16:42, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Unless there's some non-[[ ]] code we can put around dates to get them to format without also being links. --EEMIV (talk) 17:17, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Will cause edit wars, create unnecessary clutter, and too many links. Elucidate (light up) 18:04, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose with qualifications Autoformatting is a good thing, and I think it should be encouraged. Unfortunately, the only way we have of doing this at present (i.e. linking) is quite unsatisfactory. So I have to oppose the specific wording of the amendment, while supporting its general premise - that autoformatting is good.Anaxial (talk) 20:14, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose We can't just randomly switch back and forth from no auto-formatting to auto-formatting and back again. Would cause far too many problems unless a technical solution was found. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 23:38, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Leads to overlinking. -- Avenue (talk) 04:12, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support: Again, we have 'facts' being asserted with no ascertain to facts and a majority of people opposing per or as above. Doing otherwise means a user's preferences are rendered useless, and unnecessary edits are made by editors changing date formats around. All dates should be auto-formatted for uniformity and to honour user preferences. Nja247 (talkcontribs) 12:13, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support: preferences=good, forcing people to read wacky date formats=bad. -- Jeandré, 2008-11-30t19:57z
  • Oppose Why should the reader be able to choose date format? I have never understood that. The next thing will be autoswitching between English English and American English. --HJensen, talk 22:16, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose These serve no purpose but to confuse readers - Ahunt (talk) 23:08, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose until a better autoformatting system is available. Wronkiew (talk) 23:10, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 23:16, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose No benefit/little benefit to overall readership. --Natural RX 00:35, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Autoformatting doesn't benefit most of our readers, who usually aren't logged in. Not worth cluttering text with useless links. Also, why should date linking be necessary for autoformatting? If it's so important, the developers can introduce an alternate system that doesn't require date links and fixes the date formatting problems. Giants2008 (17-14) 01:40, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose I really cannot see any benefit to either autoformatting or date linking. Gaius Cornelius (talk) 15:01, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The current autoformatting system is brain-damaged. No technical feature should be used as an excuse for massive pointless overlinking. — Emil J. 15:25, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong support Autoformatting does benefit readers who are logged in, and doesn't harm readers who are not logged in. Note that autoformatting does not have to be in the form of an actual link. I can't see any technical barrier to making a different wikimarkup for autoformatting.--Fabrictramp | talk to me 16:30, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Autoformatting relying on links is of tiny benefit to logged in users, and creates a massive amount of pointless overlinking to irrelevant articles for everyone else; i.e. most users. Hohum (talk) 16:52, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, if this can be done without linking. Provides for consistency and user customization. Libcub (talk) 16:57, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Too many links, for little benefit. Autoformatting without links might be justifiable though. --Merlinme (talk) 17:57, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose for basically all of the reasons repeatedly made above. If it worked -- for everyone -- then I wouldn't care one way or the other. But it doesn't, so we shouldn't. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:11, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Dates are not difficult to interpret. We read various dates in all kind of writing, and there's no reason to use a special mechanism to reformat routine text. Furthermore, the unnecessary linking of the text is visually disruptive. Michael Z. 2008-12-02 01:18 z
  • Oppose - the blue text is ugly and distracting. The vast, vast majority of Wikipedia readers (not editors, readers) do not use autoformatting. We already have variance of spelling by region, so variance of date formatting by region is not a problem. Peter Ballard (talk) 01:40, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. I couldn't stand it if wikipedia imposed the YYYY-MM-DD format on me. –Sarregouset (talk) 01:43, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Same reason as above, but the opposite :) Dates should be autoformatted to a common default style without links, which should be customisable. --Fpoto (talk) 08:19, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Readers can deal with switching between date formats from one article to the next. Just keep it the same within the same article and everyone will be able to deal. Dismas|(talk) 08:34, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support the principle that people see the dates as best suits their needs. Technical issues may present difficulties, which becomes a matter of sorting that issue before proceeding. -- billinghurst (talk) 09:29, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support It makes things look better for those that want dates to look a certain way and does NOT hurt or hinder those who don't want it. Those who don't want to use it would just be seeing it the same way they would with no autoformatting. People don't have to use it, but it should at least be an option for those of us who do. TJ Spyke 16:10, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As was pointed out in the lengthy discussion which led to the current situation, the overwhelming majority of users end up with messy dates when autoformatting is used as it conceals the true picture. The proper way to ensure the dates in an article are formatted properly is to do it manually - the same way we write articles. Modern technology is wonderful, but we can't have an "auto-date writer" any more than we can sensibly have an "auto-article writer". There are some things that require human attention. Auto-formatting is manually set up anyway - and the editor who wishes to go through an article and put [[ ]] round every date, would do the Project a better service by going through and making each date appear in an appropriate format for the article so that it looks right for every reader, not just logged in Wikipedians who have set a preference. SilkTork *YES! 16:42, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support – While I oppose date linking, I support some form of date formatting. An example is the System time article, which currently uses date tags for formatting; the datelinks are useless (and I have removed them), but there is some utility in having the dates autoformatted. I would like to see more use of standard templates (e.g., {{Date|1996-06-15}}) for specifying dates in universal format(s) within the raw wiki text. | Loadmaster (talk) 20:59, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. « Hiram111ΔTalK Δ 02:21, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Clearly over linking in many articles. Its time to close this discussion and move on. Vegaswikian (talk) 03:57, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Auto-formatting affects a small minority of all Wikipedia user. Most are unregistered users who see dates in their raw input format. We should standardize on that. Auto-formatting actually encourages non-standard usage of dates. Having said that, the function must still be maintained for backward compatibility. Truthanado (talk) 04:07, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It's difficult, because autoformatting is a nice-to-have. However, if every date in the encyclopedia has to be linked - when it's not providing useful information - and the majority of people who are reading the encyclopedia (I'm assuming more people read than edit) do not use this feature, it'd be better to not have the dates formatted at all. -- WORMMЯOW  10:22, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support it will stop stupid fights over which date format to use in an article. Miguel.mateo (talk) 14:12, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
    • Actually it won't. This has been discussed previously. -- Banjeboi 21:53, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Sorry they just aren't useful and seem to cause more problems than solutions. Our job is to convey information and the date pages trend towards mucky trivia creep. Even if greatly improved they would still have little to no relevance to the articles linked. -- Banjeboi 21:53, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There seems little reason to link OR autoformat dates; we already expressly forbid changing between American English and British English arbitrarily, the same basic idea should apply to date formats. September 1, 2008 and 1 September 2008 are both unambiguous, and there's no need to massively overlink an article just to allow a user to set a preference to autoformat between the two. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 03:37, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The disadvantages of autoformatting seem to outweigh the benefits and making it the default will lead to cluttering of the page. SBC-YPR (talk) 09:37, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Neutral as long as it can be decoupled from linking. Oppose if it remains coupled. David Brooks (talk) 17:44, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Autoformatting is useful. Just because you think auto-formating is not helpful does not measn everyone feels the same way as you do. Different editors have different preferences for reading Wikipedia. Tohd8BohaithuGh1 (t·c·r) 22:35, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose in most cases autoformatting of dates does not serve a purpose. The majority of Wikipedia users do not log in so they aren't going to be able to utilize the autoformatting anyways. --Bobblehead (rants) 18:04, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose the difference between formats is too trivial to matter. Eóin (talk) 21:13, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose – Auto-formatting causes unique and undesirable divisions in linguistic practice, and is accompanied by a host of technical and editing problems. Waltham, The Duke of 02:06, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose – Causes problems for certain wordings in sentences; since there is already distinction between English and British language, the same should apply to dates. Mr. Absurd (talk) 20:16, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong support: very useful and no harm to others. Prevention to endless edit wars between US and UK style. Guy Peters TalkContributionsEdit counter 22:42, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support but only as a temporary measure until a better solution is implemented, and to assist with automatic conversion of existing dates to that solution. Certes (talk) 00:24, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose serves no purpose Snappy (talk) 03:41, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose what service do they provide, how do they improve the article, they hinder, over-complicate and Why? Edmund Patrickconfer 14:23, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Autoformatting makes what should be an easy edit into a coding hassle, to say nothing of the technical problems that have been raised in doing it effectively. RJC TalkContribs 16:03, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per wp:context, and wp:engvar. Editors should view the same content as anons. -- Quiddity (talk) 01:30, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Especially because, as I suspect, automated formatting will result in months not being spelt out, which will create confusion and inaccuracy - we won't know if "1-3-2008" is January 3 from a US editor or March 1 from a Brit. Audemus Defendere (talk) 07:08, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Consistent dateformatting in articles is a good thing(tm). It seems to me that most people are against this - not because autoformatting is bad, but because the default format (ISO) is broken for human readers. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 21:08, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose No net benefit. Pagrashtak 14:39, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Conditional Support — I actually support both the new and the old version of the text. I think it is beneficial for dates to normally be autoformatted, but I do not think dates should be linked purely for that purpose. I would recommend developing a way to autoformat dates without linking them. —Celtic Minstrel (talkcontribs) 17:34, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I see no value in date autoformatting. In any case why should dates be treated any different to other content in Wikipedia? We allow US or UK spelling by editors and people seem to manage. Nick Thorne talk 20:38, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Date autoformatting creates no value for the average user and only adds to the overlinking problem. Rreagan007 (talk) 23:15, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Auto formatting creates problems where dates are formatted in different ways in articles which has autoformatted links and non autoformatted links, dates should not be auto formatted at all. – Jerryteps 01:59, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. Again I do not see the advantage of specific policy on this area and so aim to be in the minority: allowing (rather than requiring) date inking does minimal harm and helps some readers. Some of the opposes seem to trying to make a point on consistency of date formatting. --Rumping (talk) 09:55, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Not all users are aware that linking a date will format it, and using square brackets to do so is not intuitive. Linking to dates may also assign undue weight to date-related articles. Dates can be formatted using the {{Date}} template (though that template should probably be expanded to use an editor's locale settings if set).--Jeffro77 (talk) 23:26, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It would only be of value if it defaulted on for all users in some way, not just those logged on, but there is no way of doing that and preserving or capturing what the (non-registered) user's vs the article's preference should be. Viv Hamilton (talk) 15:15, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Date autoformatting is unnecessary and points a reader to an irrelevant article list of random events that occurred on a particular date. Date formats should be like spelling: If it's an article about New York, it should be in U.S. date format. If it's an article about London, it should be in UK date format. If it's an article about a London-New York exchange program, either format is fine. -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:20, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The benefits of date autoformatting are outweighed by their disadvantages. We should not be advising editors to the contrary. Eubulides (talk) 20:14, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, provided that a template styled date format is adapted. As an editor I would like to simply type e.g. {{date|2005|9|23}} instead of having to worry about whether the right format for this particular article would be 23 September 2005 or September 23, 2005, or if I spelled Setptember correctly ;-), or if I forgot a comma. And I am quite convinced that we can find the clever developer it takes to show September 23, 2005 for IP's in US/Canada and 23 September 2005 for everyone else. – IbLeo (talk) 12:39, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Linking date fragments makes the more relevant links disappear in clutter. Rettetast (talk) 14:00, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. While linking is indeed a burden, we're talking about autoformatting here. Users should be able to see whatever version they want. If this won't bother the devs too much, perhaps: 1) keep the status quo for registered users; 2) for IP's, autodetect their location and format the dates according to their IP address. If they want to view it another way, they can make a change (which will be stored as a session cookie in their web browser). -- King of ♠ 07:03, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Proposal 3: Automated/semi-automated compliance with any particular guideline requires consensus[edit]

That the following text be inserted into MOSNUM above the See also section, under a new title:

==Automated and semi-automated compliance==

The use of an automatic or semi-automatic process to bring article text into compliance with any particular guideline in the Manual of Style (dates and numbers) requires separate and prior consensus at [[WT:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)|the talk page]].
  • Oppose Bots and semi-automated processes are very useful to save effort, particularly for MOS janitorial edits. Lightmouse (talk) 15:01, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose because the use of bots/scripts to spare editors at large the labour of manual clean-ups to comply with the style guides is well-established and of significant benefit to the project. WP requires a massive amount of ongoing house-cleaning that is performed superbly well by bots/scripts, despite the small number of false positives. Requiring special consensus here to cover activity WRT specific guidelines would be impossibly cumbersome and bureaucratic, and unnecessary given that there's already a process for bots. Tony (talk) 15:15, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly support for automatic tools; support for semi-automatic tools. Editing text without understanding it, as bots do, is a recipe for doing harm to Wikipedia; our current disruptive bot has changed book titles; changed dates in quotations, and User talk:Lightmouse#Error in prose introduced by Lightbot. A human editor could have avoided all of these with the slightest degree of attention; a bot cannot do so unless it can recognize all the ways we indicate titles and quotations. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:11, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
    • We got the present situation, with most dates linked, without bots, by persuading editors that that was the WP way; we can (and should) reverse course by the same means. Lightbot is not, on balance, helpful in this. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:54, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
      • Just because we did something one way doesn't we have keep doing things that way if there is a better, more efficient method. Dabomb87 (talk) 23:03, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Why would this be special? There is a process in place for approving bots already. Pcap ping 18:10, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Per Pohta ce-am pohtit just above. --John (talk) 18:17, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose What the hell? This isn’t the Soviet Union, where comedians had to literally run their material by the Thought Police before doing a standup comedy routine. Editors who run bots (in order to be prolific and productive) only need to ensure that their bot activity is compliant with MOSNUM guidelines. They absolutely do not need to get permission from other editors before they can be permitted to modify their bots to do this or that. Such an absurd policy would do nothing more than create yet another step of wikilawering to drag things out until editors just want to puke. If we can obtain a true and proper consensus on a guideline, then that’s the end of the story. Greg L (talk) 19:48, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per Greg L — OwenBlacker (Talk) 20:05, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Tony and Greg L. DOUBLEBLUE (talk) 21:29, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, despite opposing the two above propositions. Bots should not be used to force through anything controversial, even when I agree with the actual change. --Apoc2400 (talk) 23:33, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose for semi-auto bots/scripts - semi-auto bots bring articles into line with all other aspects of the MOS, so why not this one. Fully-automatic bots might not be able to tell varieties of WP:ENGVAR, and so should be used which much caution. We can't get consensus here, so requesting consensus to semi-automatically correct 3 dates in an article is a waste of everybody's time, making it quicker to do them by hand. Let the scripts be bold, they can always be reverted if they make a genuine mistake.—MDCollins 23:43, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - the unleashing of a bot to unlink dates before consensus had been reached at the previous RFC was unacceptable (it also had a misleading description: audits do not change, they count). dramatic (talk) 01:07, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Exactly, and this RFC is determining consensus right now, so your argument does not make much sense. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:31, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
You mean that you think that it is fine to use a bot to jump the gun and run a bot to implement one possible outcome of a debate that hasn't been decidded yet? I think not! To all the others defending bots - this proposal doesn't say that they shouldn't be used for MOS tasks. Simply that there shpould be some clear finality on a policy before the bots should be unleashed. dramatic (talk) 08:03, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
The bots already have enough controls, and they were only editing articles to comply with MOS. Dabomb87 (talk) 17:16, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
No, the last time this was debated (September?) a bot was already stipping dates while the debate was still quite young and far from consensus (that's how I found the debate, following a link in a bot edit summary). dramatic (talk) 23:51, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We should be using the most efficient methods possible to update Wikipedia. If a task can be done by a bot then this frees up human editors' time for other tasks. Phil Bridger (talk) 22:15, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Graham Colm Talk 22:22, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, we already have sufficient bot controls. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:10, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - For the reasons stated above. SMP0328. (talk) 02:15, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per Tony and Greg L. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 02:21, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Do we need explicit mandates for everything? Dabomb87 (talk) 02:31, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Bots enjoy adequate supervision already. EdJohnston (talk) 02:40, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Disambiguation needed - does "requires concensus" refer to the guideline or to the use of bots?LeadSongDog (talk) 04:51, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
LeadSongDog: it refers to the use of bots. I hope that enables you to declare now. Tony (talk) 14:41, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Oppose provided that this interpretation is captured clearly. The fuss wasn't about using unauthorized bots, but about using them to implement a questionable element of a guideline, in that it was lacking the clear concensus that this RFC's proposals seek to establish.LeadSongDog (talk) 16:52, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose and question purpose of this proposal. I don't get it — what is the supposed benefit of this? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:55, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Bots are already subject to stringent requirements of the WP:BAG, so further consensus from here is just bureaucracy. Delinking is drudge work, and semi-automated processes bring greater consistency save considerable time and effort. Ohconfucius (talk) 05:04, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. G.A.Stalk 06:26, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose for reasons already given. Sssoul (talk) 06:42, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose There is no reason to prohibit scripts and bots from doing what would be acceptable if done with a manual edit. That is the whole purpose of having these tools.--User:2008Olympianchitchatseemywork 07:17, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Srong Support, as there was no consensus for the "guideline" wording, there should be no consensus for bots. Furthermore, there is no way for a bot to determine whether a change should be made, as even Tony's false consensus says dates should "usually" not be linked. The determination of unusual conditions cannot be made by a bot. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:54, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: there should be and are processes for approving bots and guidelines about the use of scripts and so on. While there should be such regulation, there is absolutely no reason to put it on the MOSNUM page, and anyway no reason why consensus needs to be gained separately for putting into practice a rule that has already gained consensus once. This would lead to disruptive churning of the sort that we have suffered almost to the limits of tolerance over the date linking thing.--Kotniski (talk) 11:13, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I think it is not helpful to single out bots and tools and ban them. However I think all such bots and semi-automated scripts should be thoroughly tested, and then only run under the tight supervision. Ruslik (talk) 13:47, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Karanacs (talk) 14:52, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If the community deems that articles are better without these links, then they should be removed with all available means. If someone misuses an automated tool, take it up with that user. -- Jao (talk) 15:10, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. To the extent that this is about Lightbot, the bot employed by Lightmouse to do useful work, I am very impressed with how responsive Lightmouse is to complaints. More generally, as others have pointed out above, the use of bots to do the drudge work is a boon and not a problem.--Goodmorningworld (talk) 15:30, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose for semi-automatic edits. Neutral for fully automatic bots. I'm skeptical of the ability of fully automatic bots to be properly programmed, except in very narrow situations. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 16:43, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • If consensus for removing date links is achieved above, I'm happy for the bot approval group to be responsible for the testing and approval of relevant automatic tools. Agree that the higher the level of human intervention on these edits, the higher the accuracy of the edits; accuracy is to be demanded over volume. Knepflerle (talk) 17:05, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
    • That is to say, I oppose the creation of a separate approval process and instead support close cooperation - timely and clear notification of any MOS-relevant discussions at the bot-approval group to be made here, and notification to the bot-approval group of any relevant discussions on MOS automation that occur here. Knepflerle (talk) 17:10, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There's nothing wrong with the existing bot approval process. HiDrNick! 17:23, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Some of the bots are very annoying.--Toddy1 (talk) 18:24, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Pointless wikiwonkery. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:11, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per Tony1, Greg L, et al. It Is Me Here t / c 20:40, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, there's no reason for this to even be raised on style pages. However, it should be expected that in the bot approval process or after approval that bot operators and reviewers are aware of what may be disputed sections of MOS guidelines and thus not initiate or halt bot operations until such disputes are over. This might suggest that talk pages of MOS should have a permalist of bots that act upon it and what they are doing such that if a section is disputed, the bot operator can be notified. (this is not a style guide issue, more a general bot operation one) --MASEM
  • Oppose And what is wrong with the current process. If you feel that a bot's rights should be revoked, take it up with them. - NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 23:50, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • support. At present a bot's Talk page is is the property of the bot's operator, who is therefore free to remove complaints. Some form of public accountability is needed. In addition any professional software operation agrees requirements, tests that the requirments are met and only then goes into production. --Philcha (talk) 23:58, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
    • If you have a problem with a bot operator it can be taken to BAG and the BON, there is a form of public accountability through the approvals group and noticeboard. At BRFA vots are tested on requirements, code is generally checked over by other programmers, and then when everything is deemed okay processes can begin. §hep¡Talk to me! 01:00, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: That sort of bureaucracy nearly cost us the war! Ryan4314 (talk) 00:56, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Unworkable. There is already an enormous amount of business to transact at these MOS talkpages. The process of deliberation is already seriously compromised. Don't add to the chaos.–¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 01:43, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • oppose: such links adds nothing but clutter to articles and serves no useful user purposee. Any such links that currently exist should be removed by any and all means, manually or in bulk, the faster the better. There should be more bots like Lightbot. There should be more coders, like Lightmouse, who does outstanding and commendable work, under very trying circumstances. Hmains (talk) 04:11, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, we have guidelines to centralise such discussions, any such requirement would be unworkable. Tim Vickers (talk) 04:39, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Requests for Bot tasks should have the final say on this issue. Not a "MOS talk" issue. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 17:41, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I see no reason not to use properly approved processes, and no reason they need to be approved twice. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:15, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: No reason to make an exception. There's already the BRFA process, which is plenty enough.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβςWP Physics} 01:57, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose this specific vetting option. I see little value in forcing every case of compliance cleanup to be run through the editors here. However, in the case of large-scale, wiki-wide changes (such as automated or semi-automated mass bot delinkings), the potential for large-scale disruption calls for some general community approval (perhaps at WP:VPP) would seem advisable and desirable – especially given recent events here. Askari Mark (Talk) 03:16, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose there is a whole lot of work to be done cleaning up this date-linking mess. It would be ideal if it were done in a timely manner. If editors disagree on what a bot has done, then let it be discussed on talk. There's nothing special about this clean up job. JIMp talk·cont 10:19, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose; we have limited resources here, and the benefits of using automated tools (time-saving, consistency) far outweigh the very occasional mistakes that are made (and which are quickly brought to light and fixed manually). We don't need yet another approvals process either. Steve TC 10:52, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Bots and automated edits do huge good all over the encyclopedia. That they occasionally screw-up is a truism and unfortunate, but hugely outweighed by the good. The key is to feed back to the processes, to get scripts and usage tightened up, and where that's not possible to stop that individual script or user. This proposal is nasal trimming. --Dweller (talk) 12:06, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We do want to comply with our own MOS, don't we?  Sandstein  14:36, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose I see it as an unnecessary bureaucratic hoop; if a bot goes off and makes changes that are against consenus, then a bot can fix 'em. That this is beyond the skillset of most editors isn't important; we have far and away enough bot maintainers to do this. Bots shouldn't be an exception to normal processes in this particular regard. Studerby (talk) 19:47, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Per Tony, Greg L et al. Ben MacDui 20:01, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Nobody should make mass edits based on MOS rules that are constantly changing, but that's common sense, and the proposed wording is way too strong. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:12, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. For both automatic and semi-automatic, per the reasoning used in MDCollins' last sentence. --RexxS (talk) 05:06, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Someone needs to do the work, and it's a bit too much to expect editors to do it manually. If a bot screws up (i.e. contains bugs), it can be cleaned up after, but if it's doing legitimate cleanup work and making Wikipedia more useful, I see no harm at all. Orderinchaos 15:46, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Sounds like a hurdle designed with the single purpose of delaying and hindering implementation of MOS. Either editors do it or bots do it. The rules apply equally to both, and bots do dull jobs a lot faster. --Escape Orbit (Talk) 16:08, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: the same process should appliy to bots and users; a separate bot consensus destroys the bots' utility. Coemgenus 17:11, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Tony, Greg L etc. Pfainuk talk 18:20, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: There's already a mechanism in place to rein in bots that aren't doing the right thing. Binksternet (talk) 18:21, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose 21stCenturyGreenstuff (talk) 21:05, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Per Greg L above Joe Nutter 21:22, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose If a bot is properly constructed and tested according to the rules for bots, there is no need for further consensus on whether it is desirable that articles comply with the MOS. Poltair (talk) 22:47, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Bots are totally indiscriminate. G-Man ? 23:14, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. --Srleffler (talk) 23:22, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose We already have BRFA, there is no need to make botops jump through so many hoops. Approved means approved, there should be only one venue for bots to be approved and we have that at BRFA. §hep¡Talk to me! 00:57, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support for automatic tools, neutral for semi-automatic tools (that require human intervention). Bwrs (talk) 02:36, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - I don't have to get approval to make these changes manually, so why should anyone have to get approval to do it with AWB or a bot? لennavecia 02:48, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support There is a three-revert rule. This is in place to prevent excess load being placed on the servers. Having bots fighting over style will put worse load on the servers. I think letting bots do this would be a big mistake for performance reasons. -BarkerJr (talk) 04:43, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Um... 3RR is to prevent disruption not for WP:PERFORMANCE reasons, which we are explicitly told not to worry about. There are numerous bots that put more load on the servers than a bot altering date formatting. Assuming this RFC defines what the format should be then the bots won't be "fighting" as any bot that does the opposite will be blocked for breaking a style-guideline that was formed with an overwhelming consensus. ~ User:Ameliorate! (with the !) (talk) 05:41, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Phil Bridger's statement "We should be using the most efficient methods possible to update Wikipedia. If a task can be done by a bot then this frees up human editors' time for other tasks." RainbowOfLight Talk 05:46, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - use of an automatic or semi-automatic process ... requires separate and prior consensus at [MOSNUM/talk] is unnecessary bureaucracy. The bot approval process is sufficient. -- Fullstop (talk) 09:21, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per earlier comments. Manxruler (talk) 09:27, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above, the bot is usually the best bet and any mistakes can be handled by humans quickly. --Banime (talk) 14:53, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Neutral The bot and semi-automated scripts have caused a fair number of problems, some due to the underlying data, others due to people not paying attention and some to mistakes in the code. In this particular case, removing the linking did something specific and unfortunate, it removed metadata about the date which cant easily be replaced and is at this point, already gone for a large number of articles. dm (talk) 16:46, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: the existance of a guideline surely represents consensus for its enforcement, whether automatic or manual. Of course, bots should go through the WP:BRFA to ensure they aren't going to be inadvertantly damaging. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 21:23, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose That's what Wikipedia:Bot Approvals Group and Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval are for right? No need for redundancy. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 23:47, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak Support - BAG is not a substitute for community consensus. BAG mainly evaluates bots for technical suitability. The last thing we need is more controversial bots running around because no one spoke up on the BRFA about potential problems. (BAG member) Mr.Z-man 00:55, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Greg L. Mentioning relevant bot approval requests on MOS talk would be polite, though. -- Avenue (talk) 04:18, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support: The use of bots in this area has lead to cold and careless edits to articles. This is being made into an argument about bots in general, when it is not. There should be a human touch to the process before allowing the bot to indiscriminately plough into an article in relation to the wording of the proposal. No one is asking for a go ahead every time a bot in employed. There must be some oversight in areas such as this where bots have done some damage. I am again disheartened by good editors basing their oppose on per and as above. Nja247 (talkcontribs) 12:21, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Whenever a bot can do boring MOS-related jobs, let them do it by allo means! Then editors can focus on contents.--HJensen, talk 22:18, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support because it would address legitimate concerns people have about these bots, although I would prefer that only an announcement be made (with a link to BAG) to the MoS talk page. Wronkiew (talk) 23:17, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongest possible oppose - Why should every single bot run that brings articles in compliance with our style guidelines require prior approval from the MOSNUM talk page? That's ridiculous. Date-linking removal in particular is a perfect task for a bot, as it automatically handles a boring job without affecting an article's content. Giants2008 (17-14) 01:51, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Bad question. Not well enough defined. "What is consensus" does not have consensus (help at Wikipedia:What is consensus?), and this proposal would only create roadblocks, and is not the wiki way. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:55, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Bots do lots of useful work and help created a harmonious look and feel to wikipedia. Gaius Cornelius (talk) 15:45, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Simply not required. Hohum (talk) 16:55, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support: Automated formatting brings helpful consistency to Wikipedia, and releases editors from the need to find the relevant Wikipedia formatting policy out of the crowd. Libcub (talk) 17:02, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Overly bureaucratic. Problems do occur occasionally, but they are generally resolved without too much pain. This would eliminate a lot of good work to stop a small amount of problems. --Merlinme (talk) 18:02, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, conditional: I'd unequivocally support it if clarified as "The use of an automatic or semi-automatic process to bring article text into compliance with any particular guideline in the Manual of Style (dates and numbers) requires clear consensus at the talk page, if there is a reasonable possibility that an ambiguous interpretation is being used." (For the record, I don't think such a guideline would affect the debate at hand.) arimareiji (talk) 18:29, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose I strongly oppose having a special rule in place for this single issue. We have perfectly good rules for bots and don't need a separate process just for this one issue. I particularly think that the idea of requiring a special process for semi-automated (that is, with a live editor doing and reviewing the work) is stupid. Editors should be allowed to edit. They should not have to get special permission from a special group of people to do so efficiently. I specifically oppose this because the people originally pushing for this were doing so largely because they were on the losing side of the consensus, and their solution seems to be "Well, you can change the guidelines to support de-linking inappropriately linked dates -- but if you actually edit articles to make them conform with the new guidelines, then we're going to pitch a fit." (See for example Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Tony1.) Looking over these pages, there's a very strong consensus in favor of only selective, contextually appropriate linking of dates. This issue has been discussed for what, two years now? I've exceeded my patience with this frivolous and vexatious use of process to delay implementation of the consensus. Can we be done with this issue now? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:20, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support These are style guidelines. Writing style is too complex to be “generated” by computer software. Running a search-and-replace operation is not “writing”. Michael Z. 2008-12-02 01:22 z
  • Oppose - a different rule for bots compared to manual editors makes no sense. Peter Ballard (talk) 01:44, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - we already have a bot approval process. And most talk pages get ignored. Questions about content can sit there for days/weeks/months unnoticed. Then if the dates get changed, the same people that have been ignoring the talk page, will say something about the dates being changed "all of a sudden". Just do it. Dismas|(talk) 08:39, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support maybe stronger and vaguer than I would have worded it and seems worded for failure. Broad consensus should be required and that seems to be missing from the existing process. -- billinghurst (talk) 09:34, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Enforcement of accepted guidelines should be encouraged by all means possible, it makes no difference whether it is done by a bot or a human. — Emil J. 10:59, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per Greg L - there is a difference between a controversial change (which is continuing doing something against the stated wishes of other editors or against standard policy) and getting consensus (which is an extra step that is requested here for any change). We should not add such a requirement. Ingolfson (talk) 11:45, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - if the edits are controversial, the problem is that too few editors are seeing the MoS discussions. Adding an extra step to the discussions will not address this problem, and will inconvenience editors who wish to use bots to make changes which have consensus. Warofdreams talk 12:11, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose It's a waste of human energy to enforce this guideline, and the bot makes fewer mistakes anyways. Calliopejen1 (talk) 16:26, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. « Hiram111ΔTalK Δ 02:25, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Without the help of bots, this problem will never go away. Vegaswikian (talk) 04:00, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Requiring consensus before a bot is allowed to do useful work is counterproductive. It is important, though, that bot errors, when they occur, must be quickly corrected. Truthanado (talk) 04:09, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. In response to WarofDream's point, what is happening is that individuals have found that an easy way to circumvent the process of creating a consensus on a matter is to make an edit to the MOS, wait a day or two, then claim they have the support of this document & unleash a bot to make the changes. By the time anyone who disagrees with them notices what has been done, the issue has become moot & they fight an uphill battle trying to effect a comprehensive reversion of what has been done. And I don't want to need to monitor the MoS to prevent this kind of bad-faith activity: I want to contribute content following common sense, guidelines like the MLA Handbook, & only consult the MoS when I am unsure about how to handle a specific problem. -- llywrch (talk) 21:10, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Ouch! Adding extra steps beyond the processes already in place seems to serve only to add more stress and angst. If clever vandals are disrupting we can sort that out. If some mad bot activity is taking place we can address that as well. -- Banjeboi 22:00, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose MOSNUM compliance editing is the definition of tedious and repetitive work. It is EXACTLY what bots are designed to do. That a tiny minority of editors objects to aspects of MOSNUM does not make those aspects of MOSNUM controversial, the overwhelming consensus above indicates this, and seeing as these edits are tedious, repetitive, and non-controversial, I see no reason to place extra restrictions on bot-editing beyond the standard bot approval process. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 03:41, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Isn't the purpose of using (semi)-automated processes to avoid unnecessary lapses of time? Mandating approvals will only delay the process of (semi)-automated editing. Besides, there's already a separate approval process for bots.
  • Oppose – It would generate a workload that cannot be managed and slow things down to the speed of a very small snail. I consider the checks in place sufficient, and one must consider what is practicable, too. With over two-and-a-half million articles, we do not have the luxury of spending a week and two on each small change. Waltham, The Duke of 02:14, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong support. This prevents vandalism of removing allegedly overlinked dates, when no human mind is used and all linked dated are simply delinked. Guy Peters TalkContributionsEdit counter 22:46, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose as long as the existing approval process ensures that bots do not change text which deliberately departs from guidelines. Certes (talk) 00:31, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per Tony and Greg L. Snappy (talk) 03:45, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Support per Arthur Rubin. Conflicts over this have caused massive amounts of edit warring and largescale bot changes across many articles. Beside that, however, bots are no substitute for human judgment. GlassCobra 11:35, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose. Bots are supposed to do mundane tasks, like bring articles into conformity with guidelines. Slowing down this process doesn't make sense, considering that bots are not running out of control. Instead, it seems like a way to circumvent consensus: lost the battle regarding the guideline? fight on regarding its implimentation! RJC TalkContribs 16:07, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per all above. Consensus ≠ Unanimous agreement. See question #1 above for demonstration of non-unanimous consensus. -- Quiddity (talk) 01:32, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong support for the same sort of reasons given by Septentrionalis, dramatic, apoc and Arthur Rubin above. If a consensus develops to follow some particular format, editors will incorporate that into editing paragraphs and articles which they're already editing because they know something about the subject; they can therefore make the best judgements about relevancy and recognize something like a quotation or title when they see one. I already delink almost (but not quite) all dates in the paragraphs I run across. You can't argue with a Bot, even a relatively-benign one like Lightmousebot. —— Shakescene (talk) 04:43, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Now (from this and other comments), I understand the distinction and am less puzzled. Thanks.
  • Although this is hardly a decisive argument, semi-automated editors can be careless. One benign, experienced and completely trustworthy human editor using Twinkle in pursuit of a spammer didn't see that he was wiping out two months' worth of work on New York City. —— Shakescene (talk) 02:02, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose as this measure defies the very core of individual creativity, and would in the end destroy that most basic of human rights - The right to dissent. This would set a horrible precedent in my opinion.--Yachtsman1 (talk) 20:41, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. I would prefer no bots were used on date formatting. Whatever the style guidelines end up as, they will involve a degree of judgement in individual cases, and so is inappropriate for for automated tools or bots. An example of a peculiar semi-automated edit which broke a redirect: [1].--Rumping (talk) 16:17, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose—ridiculous. If someone wants to use a semi-automated process to add non-breaking spaces between numbers and units of measurement, why should he require separate approval? Asking for consensus to adhere to a guideline? Should bots require separate approval to assume good faith as well? Pagrashtak 14:47, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Somewhat support — Bots can easily make mistakes if they encounter an unexpected circumstance. I think some form of approval should be required for them. For semi-automated processes, I'm not sure. It may be fine to let them run without approval. —Celtic Minstrel (talkcontribs) 17:38, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose for semi-automated. So far the arguments for this have centered on bots encountering unexpected circumstances. Semi-automated scripts and tools such as AWB by definition require human intervention to work an should not cause such issues. Phatom87 (talk contribs) 16:22, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose Bots keep pages in compliance without manual intervention. There should always be a way to tell a bot to ignore a page in the bot's coding for special cases. Timmccloud (talk) 23:07, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly support per the reasoning of Septentrionalis, GlassCobra, Arthur Rubin, and Llywrch. Semiautomatic edits (using AWB, for example) can be just as disruptive and dangerous as bots. For example, look at the thousands of articles recently edited by Lightmouse using AWB, often at the rate of 1 article every 4 seconds. See this discussion that was closed by an administrator (Reedy) who himself uses AWB to make rapid edits, an apparent conflict of interest. See also this discussion on Reedy's talk page. Tennis expert (talk) 06:01, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - I see bots and "script-assisted" users making many errors as well as being unbelievably irritating in their smug belief that they are somehow "contributing" to this project just because they make lots and lots of unnecessary edits. For those of us who actually create articles, it's just another example of how wikipedia is fast losing sight of its original agenda. Deb (talk) 12:52, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose. Editors using Bots do a great job in my opinion. We are already have an approval process for bots and guidelines about doing rapid edits using bots. It is great for the consistency of presntation of the encyclopaedia that there are people who are willing to do these tasks. They ought to be able to get on with bringing articles into line with the MOS. All edits, even from Bots, can be reverted. The worse that can happen is that there is a later consensus to revert - in which case the bot edits can be reverted by another bot! Viv Hamilton (talk) 15:22, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Given that the MOS is merely a guideline and not a policy, why is it necessary or desirable to have a bot to "bring articles into line with the MOS"? I have never understood why people (or their bots) are allowed to force an article to comply with mere MOS recommendations in opposition to the longstanding consensus of the editors of that article. Tennis expert (talk) 22:01, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I couldn't agree with you more. There are often reasons peculiar to a particular article, subject, field or set of data that make a format that varies from the MoS more suitable; quite often it's a rough but workable compromise after an article's editors tried other approaches (usually including those recommended by the MoS).
An extreme example, in my view, is AWB's flagging of "first and only" for redundancy, when there could be several good reasons to prefer it to "only" alone. [What a bot is good for is things like cleaning up misspellings (rather than variant spellings), although even those cases need human supervision for cases such as misspellings, antique spellings, foreign words, slang or historical punctuation in an original quotation or title.] Rage against the machine. —— Shakescene (talk) 22:54, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Proof that the MOS is merely a guideline and not mandatory comes from the criteria for an article being classified as a "good article". Such an article has to comply with only a few aspects of the MOS. If the MOS were "mandatory", the article of course would have to comply with all aspects of the MOS. Therefore, it's bankrupt for MOS enforcers to argue that the MOS is mandatory without first actually making it mandatory. Tennis expert (talk) 05:13, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. No need for additional guidelines in this area. Eubulides (talk) 20:14, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Comments[edit]

  • The problem here is going to be deciding which articles fall into the WP:MOSNUM exception of being "allowed" to use January 1, 1970, which is rather subjective. Bots are not good at subjective.Sladen (talk) 16:19, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • While I appreciate the work done by bots, and oppose date linking generally, using a bot to delink dates would necessarily imply that all linked dates should be unlinked. Surely some few datelinks should be kept-- September 11 comes to mind. -- Mwanner | Talk 14:22, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
There is no reason to link September 11. The correct link would be September 11 attacks, which a bot should leave alone because teh date is not surrounded by brackets. Truthanado (talk) 04:12, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm disturbed by the large number of Opposes I see which state some variant of "because bots are useful." I don't think that's the question being asked. arimareiji (talk) 18:29, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
    • Similarly, I'm disturbed by the large number of Supports I see that appear to be completely unaware of the existing bot-approval process. No bot is allowed to run on Wikipedia to do anything without explicit permission. The question here has two parts:
      1. Should (real, live, human, non-bot) editors have to get special permission from a special-interest group at WT"MOSNUM (that is, a special exception to the normal process) to use an ergonomically friendly script (such as Twinkle) to make changes that they want to make anyway
      2. Should making dates conform with MOSNUM by a (non-human) bot be considered so incredibly special that it requires not just the normal, extensive bot approval process, but also special permission from the special-interest group at WT:MOSNUM.
      Compare this "special rules" system, for example, to the way we handle vandal fighting and external link spamming: is undoing an error made by a date-link-changing bot dramatically harder than undoing an error made by ClueBot, or any of the many other bots that run everyday on Wikipedia? WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:19, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Please remember that Proposal 3 also concerns semi-automatic edits also, which are supervised by humans. Dabomb87 (talk) 01:04, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment I expect to see this revisited in a year or two when a less obtrusive way of doing these things is devised. I think the oppose comments reflect the overuse and the obtrusiveness, not the principle. DGG (talk) 18:11, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment. The statement that the guideline "Dates in article body text should all have the same format" somehow eliminates the possibility of linking birth and death dates in biography articles is clearly incorrect. This guideline refers to date formatting, not to linking.
  • What's this deal about ignoring birth/death dates? This does not apply to consistency because it is only within the parentheses in the first sentence, not in the article body text. I don't like date links littered everywhere, but they should be linked at the very top where it's relevant. Reywas92Talk 21:31, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
  • That's an interesting new use of the word 'relevant' that I hadn't come across before. Charles Darwin, a featured article begins "Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882)". I looked at 12 February. Among 48 KB of other stuff, it turns out he shares a birthday with Abraham Lincoln and Lolly Badcock - relevant?? I then looked at 1809. It seems Darwin was born the day after Robert Fulton patented the steamboat. Same nonsense at 19 April and 1882. If anybody suggested that articles should have non-date links to that sort of trivia, they'd be laughed at. If I want to see jokes I read Icanhascheezburger, not Wikipedia. --RexxS (talk) 03:29, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Tony (talk) 13:50, 23 November 2008 (UTC)