Wikipedia talk:Eras

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Observations, and two suggestions.[edit]

Ok, so it seems necessary to jump-start this proposal. The current situation is not sustainable, and the compromise proposal didn't fly. Its vote page shows about a 50%/50% split, but closer reading indicates that voters fall into the following 3 camps, each of which is non-trivial in number:

  1. "BC/AD is a universal standard and BCE/CE is ridiculous"
  2. "BC/AD is POV and BCE/CE is the only acceptable solution"
  3. "This is all m:instruction creep and there isn't really a problem"

Groups 1 and 2 are utterly irreconcilable, and they're just going to have to accept that neither of them gets to win, IMO. Group 1 would like to argue that group 2 is a fringe minority group, but they are present in large enough numbers at Wikipedia that we can't squash them and still claim to follow a consensus model.

Group 3 need to be convinced that there really is a problem (if there really is one - I'm currently assuming there is), and we need to come up with wording in the MoS that doesn't seem too instruction creepy.

I'm in group 3. Some pages are so old that it would take an undue amount of effort to figure out:
  1. What was the originial format
  2. Has there been any discussion in the talk page archives concerning a derivation from the original format.

--Elliskev 19:10, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Name one. I don't think history pages are all that hard to navigate, and if there's been a consensus in the past, someone from the past will certainly emerge from the woodwork, link in hand, to let you know that. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:28, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
OK. I'll grant that I can't name one. And I grant that someone would probably come along and point out relevant talk history. And, I'll grant that talk history is pretty simple to navigate. However, there are edit wars going on and people are being blocked for 3RR and those that are being blocked are complaining that the original format was that to which they were changing. It's pretty plain to me that there needs to be something done. Maybe it's as simple as posting the format to be used at the top of the talk page. Maybe it's something else. I don't know. I just think there is a need for discussion. --Elliskev 23:51, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Now, I suggest, and if nobody talks me out of it, intend to pursue, two lines of attack for this issue. First, there's been some talk about implementing a technical solution, in which users can choose what date format they prefer to view, somewhere in "preferences". That needs following up, independently of whatever happens with this proposal. I might sleep for 8 hours first, but when I wake up, if nobody's done any follow-up at Village pump (technical), I'll get after it.

Secondly, there's this proposal. Since the compromise proposal didn't work, here we are again. We've got, in addition to the status quo version, six alternatives, detailed here at Wikipedia:Eras, all set up for voting of some kind.

I suggest we start working this hydra down to a managable number of heads. First I'll leave this message up for a while and see what other approaches people suggest (that whole sleep thing again...). Then, pending something better coming along, I think we should consider a round of polling on the six alternatives, and possibly some others that nobody's thought of yet. I would suggest a soft poll, consisting of "weak yes" and "weak no" votes, all very non-binding and exploratory just to feel out whether we can narrow the field by eliminating the worst and clunkiest versions. When we've determined which alternatives have some support, we can discuss their particulars in more detail.

What do people think of all this? -GTBacchus(talk) 14:00, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

If a technical solution such as you describe here is actually feasible, in that people will write the code and then implement it here at Wikipedia... then that sounds like the best solution. I seriously doubt any sort of non-technical compromise can be found that will leave a majority of people with good feelings afterward. What can we do to help, aside from talking about it?
P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 14:16, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
A technical solution would be best, but has to be fairly comprehensive. It should be as easy to use as putting all years, prefixes, and suffixes into links (as is commonly done for years alone now). It will be quite a job to find them all.... William Allen Simpson 16:23, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I did start a page doing that on Wikipedia:User preferences for BCE/CE notation, but stopped as there was no appetite for it. If there is now an appetite, please feel free to finish that off. You'll still need a developer willing to add it all to the software - but if all the "thinking" has been done beforehand, it shouldn't take a developer a long time, jguk 16:46, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I've left a wake-up call at the project discussion page there. Anyone who's interested in helping with that aspect... -GTBacchus(talk) 23:56, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Seems to me that the problem is that the implicit "don't change it if it's already consistent," rule is not stated explicitly, and that there's a lot of people (usually, but not exclusively, advocates of BCE/CE) who like to change articles, and then there are other people who yell at anyone who reverts back. I would suggest that we simply state the "if it's consistent, don't change date format" rule explicitly, and that it be elaborated to indicate that, essentially, from the first time that the article is consistent in terms of what date format it uses, we should use that date format. john k 18:54, 18 December 2005 (UTC)


Yes. Wonderful idea. We should perpetuate a system that, in theory, allows anyone at all to use whichever dating system they feel is appropriate as long as they started the article.
Right. This brings a few things to mind.
1. No one owns articles at Wikipedia.
2. The rules governing BCE / BC dating conventions are nearly as badly worded as Fair Use statutes in the USA. Ergo, the current status quo leads to conflicts, full-blown edit wars, nose warts, and other nasty things.
3. Here is a revolutionary thought- *one* system of dating articles. Whether it be one of the available types that is widely known, or a technical solution so that people can flick a radio button in their settings, *one* system is far better than what we currently have in place.
Speaking for myself, I would rather be listening to what GTBacchus has in mind. He seems to be up to something good.
P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 19:14, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Look, if people actually abided by the "don't change it" rule, there wouldn't be any problems. The problem is that there's a large group of people who feel they have the right to change any article to BCE (usually - I'm sure there's some instances in the other direction), and this leads to major disruptions. I agree that the current policy is terribly worded, and I'm not advocating no change. I'm saying that we simply institute a "whatever the first writer said, goes" policy as an explicit policy, with no exceptions. The problem is not that such a standard would be difficult to achieve. While there's often been confusion in articles as to this issue, I don't think I've ever seen an argument which was really about this, since it can be objectively determined. Such arguments that I have seen usually revolve around BCE advocates going on about how BCE is more appropriate for this particular article, even if it was originally written in BC. What we need to do is just explicitly say "don't change it." There's too much leeway right now. As to having "one" system, I would be perfectly fine with that. The problem is, there was a vote on this, and it was completely inconclusive. The best option might be to have a two part vote. One vote would be "I agree that we should have a vote in which simple majority rule determines which date format we should use." If there is a consensus to go ahead along these lines, we could then have a second vote, in which people basically just get to choose either to use all BC/AD, all BCE/CE, or to continue with the current policy. The option with the most votes wins, since we already agreed by consensus to abide by the majority position.
Obviously, the ideal would be for each user to just be able to set it on their own, if that's technically feasible. john k 20:12, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Chooserr's BC/BCE Ideas[edit]

I full heartedly support Dwains version. I'm not going to go out there and change articles that started BCE/CE to BC/AD, but I believe it's wrong that one person can change the entire dating format. PHG starts his articles off with the BCE/CE format, and I won't revert them. If it becomes policy that the creator decides the dating format it will eliminate all the problems IMO. Chooserr 17:13, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

In the mean time I'm going to revert the Sophocles article...which was changed only days ago to the less common BCE/CE system.

I know why no one wants to adopt the Dwain's version...it's because half of the BCE/CE articles would be changed back to BC/AD. I bet there isn't one article on wikipedia using the BC/AD formating that was started as BCE/CE. I dare anyone to find me an article with BC/AD dates that started as BCE/CE...Chooserr

Wikipedia:Civility. Please.
P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 18:58, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Chooserr, if I understand what you mean when you say "Dwain's version", I think that's probably the most popular version around, in fact, it's what lots of people assume the rule is now. Therefore, I can't agree with you about why no one wants to adopt Dwain's version, when I think there are actually lots of people who do, like myself for example. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:28, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Please stop edit warring over completly random articles--Aolanonawanabe 18:14, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I'm not edit warring over completely random articles...Prove that I am. Chooserr 18:16, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
    • You just started the BC/BCE edit warring on wicca an article that hasn't been edit warred over since the WfD thing back in August, that's either random, or something much more headache worthy than I'm willing to be bothered with--Aolanonawanabe 18:18, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
      • I encountered the article, and I am not changing it to a AD dating system I am just getting rid of un needed controversy. No one speaks of the current date using CE or AD. Why say 1960 CE? Why say AD 1960? Chooserr 18:20, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
        • Encountered? Where, how? Wicca hadn't been editing in over an hour, there's no way it was visible in recent changes...? it almost looks like you're htting the Random article button, and reverting the first article that pops up with BCE in it--Aolanonawanabe 18:22, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
        • As I said to you, Chooserr, at the Wicca article- what say we cool it with changing the date markers until we come up with a solution here? Changing them right now is pointless since it looks like a technical solution may be able to be coded. That slices the Gordian Knot into cat food. Cheers.
        • P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 18:58, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
          • This seems to be a discussion of a specific edit war spilling over onto a discussion page for the more general issue. Though no official policy was introduced, there are a few points which are self-evident. Firstly, era names should only be used when necessary (i.e., if all dates are since AD 1 it's not necessary). Secondly, for various reasons, there are situations where one form is preferable to the other. Finally, changes to the era style being used in the article should only be made after consensus is reached through discussion on the article's talk page. There has been a great deal of discussion, name-calling, and out-and-out fighting conducted on this issue-- the long and short of it is that it isn't worth edit-warring and you can generally find a solution by consulting the regular editors of the article in question. siafu 19:21, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Secondly, for various reasons, there are situations where one form is preferable to the other. I think this is where we run into problems. If we are going to have a compromise, and try to avoid arguments, we simply can't accept this, because accepting this will lead to huge numbers of arguments. In the era before Christ, when Christianity did not exist, one can pretty much claim that it would be preferable in every single article to use BCE, rather than BC. This means that we don't have a compromise at all, just a bunch of arguments. I think the arbcom basically recognized this, and said that changes shouldn't be made to articles that are settled. That should be the last word. If we wanted to come up with some explicit criteria for when BCE should be used and when BC should be used, that would be one thing. But just having some vague idea "sometimes one is more appropriate - argue it out on the talk page" is just asking for trouble, especially when other statements have been made along the lines of "don't change an article that is already settled." john k 20:06, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I have no idea where the idea that there should be absolutely no changes made to article in terms of date notations came from, but the arbcom itself recently made it clear that this wasn't the case. Consensus is always the decider, and that's the way it works on Wikipedia; sometimes it's one way, sometimes it's the other. If there's an article whose source material is primarily, or even exclusively, written using BCE/CE, it may well be preferable to use that notation, and vice versa; that's just an example, but it is clear that there are situations where one form is preferable to the other. siafu 21:05, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
What situations would those be? So long as the central guidelines can provide no guidance whatsoever in what situations would make one version preferable to another, this is just asking for needless dispute. If it's all about consensus at individual articles we will never work anything out, because this is not an issue where anyone's position has anything to do with the character of individual articles. As to your potential example, it's worthless. No primary sources are written which use either method of dating for BC/BCE. And AD/CE is only used when necessary to disambiguate, which is usually for the earlier part of the period, when, again, no primary sources will use either system. As to secondary sources, there will always be many secondary sources written using both formats, so that's a worthless guideline.
If an actual specific guideline could be developed which had the support of consensus as to when one version is appropriate, and when another one is, that would be fair enough. But nobody is proposing this, and it is highly unlikely to imagine that any such guideline would gain the support of consensus. Otherwise, all this "it should be determined on individual pages based on vague, unwritten criteria" business is just trying to make things more problematic. john k 21:57, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Actual, specific guidelines have been proposed multiple times, with no consensus reached. We have to make do with the situation as is. As for secondary sources being "worthless", surely you jest. Primary sources are not the main source of information for wikipedia, as using only primary sources would entail original research. It's not insignificant what style or terminology is used in the scholarly literature on a particular topic, either. The reason I'm being vague on the point of "certain situations" is because I don't imagine it would be possible to foresee all of them. Almost every content decision here on wikipedia is made on "vague, unwritten criteria", it's not going to break anything significantly to have it be this way for this issue either. The only thing that needs to be "enforced" is actual discussion and consensus-building; that's the only way to avoid edit-warring. If you think you can come up with a universal guideline that will obtain consensus, best of luck to you. The fact is, however, that there are too many people who are too invested in the issue for reasons having nothing to do with any of the articles in question on both sides that developing a universal consensus that can be applied to all articles is impossible. siafu 22:20, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Secondary sources are worthless because there is absolutely no subject where you will actually be able to find that secondary sources have some sort of huge dominance for one usage over another. As to the basic issue, the problem is that almost nobody involved with this debate actually, in practice, thinks that different versions are more appropriate in different situations. The claim that there are is actually a claim that we should basically always use BCE/CE, as I think Aecis has demonstrated. And most people who support BC/AD think it should be used in all situations, since it is the more common usage. So individual discussions are never really discussions about what people think about individual topics, but debates about the policy in general. This is not an issue which is amenable to discussion on individual articles. It's an issue which ought to be settled as a general rule. I suggested a potential procedure for, in the absence of consensus about which date format to use, we might be able to settle on using a single one by a majority vote. In the absence of such a rule, the almost possible thing that will not result in constantly having this stupid argument over and over again is just agreeing not to change articles from the format they started in. This is the only genuine compromise possible, since any other attempt to come up with a "compromise" based on using judgment in individual articles is just an invitation to change everything to BCE/CE. john k 01:35, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
The "vote" you're referring to has been held at least three times to my memory, with no consensus or clear majority ever established in either direction. If you think that there's a way to break that deadlock, you will be more creative and successful than some of the best editors and negotiators here on wikipedia. On what grounds are you stating that this is not a topic that can be amenable to specific discussion? I'd note that when it actually has been tried, it's been successful, and that the horrible edit-warring that has occurred before was primarily a result of certain editors changing the dating style without bothering to discuss it first, or even abjectly refusing to engage in discussion. siafu 03:11, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Siafu, you said, "I'd note that when it actually has been tried, it's been successful;" can you provide any examples of articles where a consensus has managed to agree on either BC/AD or BCE/CE? That sounds very interesting. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:56, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
The examples that come immediately to mind are Parthia, and I believe that there was a satisfactory compromise worked out over on Jesus. In general, articles relating to the History of Iran and Judaism were those most worked over in this dispute. siafu 04:03, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
That's encouraging. I think we have to allow for consensus to trump any "rule" on a case-by-case basis, if we're going to keep being Wikipedia. I think that a more solid requirement of having to obtain talk-page consensus to alter an article from its original style would channel people's energy from revert warring and onto the talk pages.
john k's argument then seems to be that you just end up with the same ideological dispute on dozens of talk pages, when it doesn't even relate to the content of those articles. I can't deny that's likely to happen, but what happens with it? It's an stalemate dispute, every time, except in the relatively rare cases where a large group of authors have a united approach to the article. Otherwise it just gets argued to a standstill on each talk page, and that's that. It's not a huge change from what's happening now, but I think forcing it from the edit summaries and onto the talk pages will be good for Wikipedia, just by reducing revert warring. -GTBacchus(talk) 08:47, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Chooserr did not change wicca to add BC/AD. He removed a completely unnecessary "CE". This is what the Manual of Style says one should do, and I can see nothing wrong with that. john k 18:51, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Is Wikipedia a religious site or is Wikipedia a secular site? In the US government, the separation of Church and State is implied, not explicitly expressed. There are a lot of Christians in this country, yet, we still remove or prohibit anything that remotely resembles a religious (Christian) reference. The point is that Wikipedia is not a religious oriented site, therefore, religious annotation should be discriminated against. Why don't we vote on which religion we should follow and declare Wikipedia the reference site for that religion. Or why don't we stop using religious references and stay consistent with scholarly, scientific, secular thought? Here in the states, slavery was voted (expressly or implicitly) into existed. Does this mean slavery is right or OK? Let's stop contributing to the idea that Christianity is the best religion. Let's move ahead with secular ideas ans secular annotation. Let's stop glorifying one religion over another. Why is the Christian deity better than any other deity? Why are we even talking about deities in this age of enlightenment? Christians have every right to worship whatever they want. why are the rest of us having to follow suit? Why are we forced to frame our dates based upon a potentially fictional character? Stop the madness. THC Loadee (talk) 20:09, 6 February 2009 (UTC)THC Loadee

I have the perfect solution[edit]

Since the one thing everyone can agree on is that modern era dates don't need either, I suggest we strip both systems, that way there is no conflict, simply replace BCE/BC with a (-) sign, and add a 0 in front of two and three digit numbers,
like this:
1997 stays 1997
560 AD becomes 0560
730 CE becomes 0730
27 BC becomes -0027
348 BCE becomes -0348
...and so on, it's no more arbitrary than any other changes made to the calender system in the last 2000 years, I mean heck, if we still used the origional unrevised christian calendar system, it would probably be July right about now,
maybe we can set a new standard, first encyclopedia to ever denote years using negative non-zero-integers--Aolanonawanabe 19:27, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
It strongly appeals to me (simplicity, mostly NPOV in style, et cetera), except for one small element- each date would need to be wikilinking since that system is intuitive to some, but I would consider that 'some' a minority. We have to consider that people under the age of 18 will use Wikipedia, and the further we go from conventional norms in formatting things like this, further we also go from having articles easily understood by a wide range of levels of education.
Still, though... it appeals to me... :)
P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 19:38, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • An even better idea just struck me, why limit ourselves to integers, let's divide everything by 1000, that way 1997 can be changed to 1.99700, of course then we might wind up edit warring over how many significant figures a year should be reported to--Aolanonawanabe 19:34, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I mean obviously 1.99 is easier on the eyes than 1.99700000, but then people born in between 1990 and 1999 might object to having their birthdays erased--Aolanonawanabe 19:34, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Dunno. After a certain age is reached, people might be thankful. ::grin::
  • P.MacUidhir (t) (c) 19:39, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

That proposal is nothing more than the astronomical year numbering (and since you are using negative numbers, you need to have a zero, which means 27BC would become -26). --cesarb 19:50, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

An even better match: your use of zero-prefixing shows your proposal is in fact ISO 8601 year numbering (you just need to add the zero). --cesarb 19:54, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
In fact we could even do it the other way around, and make this into 2004--Aolanonawanabe 19:55, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

This is unacceptable. Either a policy of just using BCE/CE or just using BC/AD would be far superior to this proposal. The first rule of things like this should be "don't make up formats that are only used in Wikipdia." john k 20:01, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't know, I think if you give it a little time, years*10-3 could become quite catchy, would remove a lot of uneeded formatting, for instance..
decadeds could now be denoted by reporting the years to only three sig figs, I mean instead of the time consuming process of typing out 'the nineteen sixties' you could just use .196x101,
instead of months we could just use more sig figs, for instance instead of 'January the first month of the year' you could just write 2006.1x10-4,
it could potentially cut down on many minutes worth of typing per article,
of course we'd have to switch to a system of months compatible with a base ten numbering system, but it would all work out in the end--Aolanonawanabe 20:17, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
ISO 8601 is an international standard. --cesarb 20:38, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
But is used in only very limited contexts. The fact that it is one off from the actual BC dates doesn't help. Saying that the Battle of Salamis happened in -0479 is very confusing. john k 21:52, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Aolanonawanabe, you're right, of course. ISO 8601 is clearly the most appropriate for lots of articles, if not all. Unfortunately, you can't get consensus behind it, and a bunch of articles are going to stay in the Wrong Version, and we're all going to have to live with that. In order for this proposal to move forward, all sides are going to have to accept that they can't win within a consensus framework, and we need to look for a different solution. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:40, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Following other examples?[edit]

Discussion seems to have died down without final consensus, so I'm going to add my two cents. Because I am a masochist. I think this whole long discussion fits into a wider discussion on the choice between two equally POV usages which has cropped up in other instances on LJ. Other discussions seemed to lean towards "Use as appropriate". For example, in March 2005 it was decided that Gdansk would be used for clearly Polish times and areas of discussion, while Danzig would be used for clearly German times and areas and "Gdansk (formerly Danzig)" or "Danzig (now Gdansk)" should be used where there is overlap or uncertainty. Should we not take a lead from this?

This is basically a vote for compromise. Define where a apparently European/Christian POV is appropriate and where a pointedly non-Christian POV is appropriate (e.g. in my opinion, in articles regarding non-Christian religions), and use both everywhere else. I know there has been plenty of contention over where those POVs are appropriate (including both variations on "Nowhere!"), but I think it should be agreed that consensus towards one particular system is unlikely. Decide to compromise, and then decide (reasonably) exactly where the lines of the consensus will be drawn.

(If it were not for the apparent consensus [or is it full policy?] against Wikipedia-specific systems, I would suggest that all dates be uniformly converted to BW and AW [Before Wikipedia and After Wikipedia], measuring 2000AD/CE as 1BW and 2001 as 1AW! Would a Wikipedia-centric POV be neutral, given that Wikipedia itself is neutral? Or attempts to be?) Xander 10:21, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

couple of points[edit]

I dont see why we have to compromise at all; why are we even discussing this, given the rarety of CE notation in general literature?

1/ i have never seen any evidence that a significant amount of people are actually offended by the 'religious' terms AD and BC.

untill we do, i suggest we assume that most people treat AD and BC the same as "thor'sday" (ie dont care).

2/ we are not an organisation for promoting stylistic change, so we should not play a part in trying to oust the standard ways of reffering to time by using the uncommon and controversial BCE and CE.. AD and BC are the standard. if and when that changes, then our articles should change -- untill then, we should keep AD and BC.

just make the policy be to use AD and BC. if the world changes and adopts CE and BCE, then we can make a bot to edit all our articles

honestly. it reminds me of the claim that 'history' is masogonistic --Dak 03:54, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Regarding your point number 1, the fact that you haven't seen something does not mean that thing doesn't exist. In this case, it does exist, and there are significant communities within academia that exclusively use BCE/CE and have for years. You point number 2 would have more applicability if BCE and CE really were so uncommon, but they're not. -GTBacchus(talk) 10:16, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
re your first point: that's true, but not seeing something certainly doesn't mean that it exists, either. im just suggesting that we actually look for these masses of offended non-christians, rather than just assuming they exist. do you have a citation? maybe a study/survey of peoples feelings re AD/BC?
re the second part: someone above mentioned that AD BC is more common than CE BCE by a ratio of 50:1, and also that it's a lot less common outside of america, and virtually unknown in some countries (its pretty unknown in the uk, for example) --Dak 16:00, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
Also regarding point number 1, the dozens of pages of heated arguments preserved here on wikipedia on the matter should be more than enough evidence to the contrary. siafu 15:43, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
no, i want to actually see evidence that alot of people are offended, not evidence that a few wikipedians are offended. whilst i'd still think it's stupid, and my point 2 would still stand, i'd be more willing to consider voting either to change to, or allow, CE BCE if a lot of people genuinely object to the terms; as it stands, all i see is a vocal minority trying to push an oppinion via unsuported claims that AD BC offend a significant amount of people. --Dak 16:00, 24 November 2006 (UTC)


You want a citation for how common the BCE/CE usage is? (Note that this is a more relevant point to cite than how many people are "offended". There may be people using the newer notation for reasons other than offense taken.) Have you looked at the footnotes to the section Common Era#usage? There are 11, indicating that BCE/CE is preferred by the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Smithsonian, the Egyptian Study Society, the American Journal of Philology, the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, the Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, the Maryland Church News (that's Christian), an increasing number of U.S. textbooks, the College Board's history tests, some National Geographic Society publications, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, the United States Naval Observatory, and on some shows, the History Channel. Does that seem like a minor fringe to you? -GTBacchus(talk) 03:49, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
i didnt say they were fringe, i said they were uncommon -- which is true (I'll point out that i can't list all the organisations that use AD BC because there are just too many of them). all i meant is that, if we JUST want to be encyclopaedic, and not play a roll in changing the english language/notation, then we should remain neutral in this issue and use the (current) standadard; hence, use AD and BC, and if CE BCE become standard, then switch to them. yes, in a way that's more relevent than who it offends, but i'd still reccomend rejecting the arguments based around AD BC 'being offensive' without actual proof that a significant number of people are offended --Dak 15:16, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Did you actually read through that list of examples? It's really not very uncommon. It's not as if I listed anywhere close to all the organizations that use BCE/CE - I wouldn't have enough room either. In certain domains, it's BC/AD that's quite uncommon and would get you stared at and people asking a lot of questions about why you're the only one in the room using an antiquated and prejudicial notation.
When you talk about arguments based on "being offended", I think you're failing to mention the actual meat of the argument, which isn't the offense, but the reason for the offense, namely that BC/AD isn't NPOV. I'm not necessarily taking that position, just pointing out that characterizing the argument as being based on "offense" isn't really accurate, and makes it seem to be emotively based rather than rational, which strikes me as prejudicial. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:44, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
it could allways be both emotional and rational, ie if theres evidence of, rather than an assumption of, alot of people being offended/objecting to the BC notation, then it'd be a rational emotion-based argument, rather than an irrational emotion-based one. offence is a percieved thing; if only an insignificant number of people actually percieve an offence, then there is no offence and it's not prejudiced. i have seen no evidence that a significant amount of people percieve an offence.
not really very uncommon != common nor standard. it is uncommon, by definition. BC is common, BCE is rare. and as for the NPOV approach... well, like i said, it's not wp's job to effect notational changes in the english language, which we'd be playing a small role in doing if we change to BCE: the most common 'pov', if you want to call it that, is that AD/BC is how you reffer to dates after or before this arbritrary date. if and when that changes, then sure, let's change all the ADs and BCs to CE and BCE, but if we do so before that, wp would be adopting the MINORITY OPINION that ad/bc are somehow 'wrong', and that bce/ce is the 'correct' or 'standard' way of reffering to dates before/after this arbritrary point in time.
i know that adopting the majority oppinion isn't what NPOV calls for, but adopting the minority oppinion would definately be in breach of NPOV (not that im entirely convinced that bc/ce falls under NPOV, excepting the articles on those subjects) --Dak 19:02, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

having said that -- and, whilst im still for simply allways using ad/bc -- i've added another compromise option to the straw poll, if anyone's interested. --Dak 15:35, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

This is not an issue of Religion VS. Non-Religion[edit]

Instead, it is an issue of Nuetrality among all Religions. "You" may feel like BC/AD are "Right" and you may choose to ignore the existence of all other methods, and you may decide that "your" system is perfect and makes sense but you are not the majority. No one knows who the majority really is. People in China don't care about "Before Christ" and they make up a hefty chunk of the world pop. Should we use their system?

This is ridiculous. I'll say that again - THIS IS RIDICULOUS. The BCE/CE system was designed so that the world can have a system that will be nuetral to everyone. No one is telling you to start crossing the AD off of your calendar and changing it to CE. You can call it whatever you want, and write whatever you want. It is YOUR choice. But this isn't the Calendar hangning by a magnet on your fridge. This is wikipedia - and just like historic and scientific articles that now through modern communication and the internet are being read the world over - we need to be nuetral. Why? Because why should we pick any one way to do something that caters to only one group? If BC and AD are the standard here, then why don't we start putting pictures of Jesus everywhere and ending every article with "God Bless". Because it is ridiculous - that is why. Because it doesn't make sense to pick one groups method. BCE and CE were made FOR religious people AND non-religious people. It didn't get invented in some dark basement by evil christian haters. It was used like everything else in the world today - a way to not offend people since generally, as is the case here, no ONE group is ever the majority.

I saw one person here claim that Politcal Correctness shouldn't apply here. Then where should it apply? Do you call mentally disabled people Retards? Do you call members of the Gay Community Queers and Fags? So when should we NOT use it then, everytime YOU dont like it? THAT IS RIDICULOUS.

I 100% disagree with the use of BC/AD. I personally use them all the time and find zero offense to either method. This has nothing to do with offensiveness - in fact it is only offensive to some, whether it is BC or BCE ect... a group of people will always dislike it. However Wikipedia is not censored. But more importantly, it should be set to a more "global standard" so to speak. Many religions and groups of people may have different uses, dates, names, and so on. Each group of people no doubt finds their own way superior, and none of these methods are compatible. So, most importantly, Wikipedia readers are not all christian, not even mostly christian. There is an extremely large number of different Religions, Races, Backgrounds, Nationalities ect... So in this case, as in all similar cases (whenever possible) a standard that can fit them all should be use.

BCE/CE are in no way "Godless", they are two abbreviations - they do not carry any other meaning aside from what they stand for, BCE = Before the Common Era and CE = Common Era. There is no Godlessness or attempt to Expunge Religion in those words. BCE does not mean "Christianity is Wrong". It carries NO Religious or Non-Religious meaning. But AD/BC implicitly imply Religion and to a further extent, Christianty as being central to all dates. Try to remember that although YOU may believe in something, not everyone does. For example, there is no page on Wikipedia called "True Prohphet" that names Jesus or Muhammad or whoever as the One TRUE Prophet. Why? Because people believe different things. In that case however, there is no "middle ground"

But here there is. BCE/CE can be applied to everyone. And only people who invent their own meanings will take offence (and thus those people will find offense for themselves elsewhere, even if they are appeased on this matter). BCE/CE does not change the dates, it doesn't shift the entire system around. It is just a name used to fit with everyone. We should not use BC for example, which stands for Before Christ because 1) not everyone even believes Christ was a person, 2) Those who do may have their own names for the split 3) Some may have a different calandar system altogether. Just like there is no page claiming a True Prophet, the BC/AD system shouldn't be used because it does not apply to everyone.

But no matter who you are, what religion you are, The Era since the supposed time of Christ can easily be thought of as the recent, or Common Era. The era before that? Before the Common Era. NO ONE who truly understands that this is a nuetral postion should be upset by these abbr. (unless, like I said, they are looking to be offended or find an opportunity to preach their convictions and beliefs while bashing others).

In fact, Religious Nuetrality was the EXACT reason for this method. It has NOTHING to do with Atheism or Godlessness or whatever you want to call it. It is meant for ALL RELIGIONS. If there were a Non-Religious system then the date would have no split, and would start either from the beginning of the Universe or the Beginning of the Earth. (and besides, if it REALLY bothers you as a christian, just read it as BCE - Before Christ Existed and CE - Christ Exists)

But in all seriousness - anything but a nuetral position is in violation of the No Bias policy. If you think I am biased, then bring in a bunch of people who are neither Christian nor Non-Religious - since they have no bias, they are the best candidates to discuss a Nuetral System or the BC/AD system. Alex DeLarge 12:50, 25 May 2010 (UTC)