Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers

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of the latest dispute over date formats.

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Multiple seasons in a date[edit]

How should a date that uses multiple seasons be entered? An issue of a certain journal ("Medieval Life," used on the Pioneer Helmet page) is dated "Autumn/Winter 1997/8." I've changed the years in the citation to "1997–98," but can't find a workaround for the seasons (e.g., "Autumn–Winter," "Autumn-Winter," or "Autumn/Winter") that doesn't tell me to "Check date values in: |date=." Thanks in advance for any suggestions! --Usernameunique (talk) 21:51, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

Try Help_talk:Citation_Style_1. EEng 21:54, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! Asked there. --Usernameunique (talk) 22:54, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
If you resolve it there could you ping us here? Possibly this page should be updated. EEng 23:22, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Maybe this page should be updated, but I don't think this page should go into formatting dates within citations, only date format in general. Date formats purely within citations would be discussed at WP:Citing sources or, if and only if the article uses Citation Style 1 or 2, Help_talk:Citation_Style_1. Jc3s5h (talk) 23:50, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
I said "maybe". EEng 02:11, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
Here's the answer: Help_talk:Citation_Style_1#Multiple_years_and_seasons_in_a_date. Essentially, MOS does not contemplate such a date, and thus citation styles 1&2 don't support it. "Autumn–Winter 1997" was suggested as "sufficiently correct enough" to avoid confusion. --Usernameunique (talk) 18:32, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

Unit conversions : giving both equally[edit]

In aircraft articles, specifications are given in metric and imperial. Template:convert is often used between units, but can imply errors by rounding when it shouldn't, when conversion are made backwards, with the wrong source unit. The best thing to do is to retain the manufacturer specs, as in Airbus_A330neo#Specifications where the template isn't called but the manufacturer conversions are used, with its deliberate rounding. To avoid confusing it with the output of Template:convert, I separate units with a slash instead of giving one or the other inside brackets, I don't even know which is preferred : obviously Airbus engineering works in metric, but its marketing is often in imperial units as it is customary. Do you think this agnosticism, not choosing a preferred unit and showing it, can be useful for the reader? --Marc Lacoste (talk) 14:01, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

I agree that using the source's conversion precision is best, but I don't see any reason to display these conversions differently from the way the template would. The general reader doesn't care who did the conversion, and precision geeks can check the page source if they care. Kendall-K1 (talk) 14:22, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Agree with Kendall, plus maybe we should add "WARNING: DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA TO BUILD AN AIRPLANE" to WP:General_disclaimer. EEng 14:33, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
why assuming the general reader is dumb? It isn't precision geekery, I'm perfectly fine with appropriate rounding, but aircraft are certificated to hard limits and badly interpreted rounding can deteriorate over multiple conversions. This info isn't intended to build an airplane but to understand its capabilities. --Marc Lacoste (talk) 16:31, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
<rolls eyes> [1] [2] EEng 16:48, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
If you can't express yourself as you want, blame you, not your reader.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 21:28, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
I expressed myself as I wanted, but unfortunately overestimated the sophistication of my audience. EEng 21:36, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
You seem nice.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 19:46, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Julian and Gregorian calendars and Days of the Year articles[edit]

I posted this 19 February 2014 and it was archived 12 March 2014 without generating any useful discussion, but it remains an issue.

In section Julian and Gregorian calendars it says, "Dates of events in countries using the Gregorian calendar are given in the Gregorian calendar." For example, Greece did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1923, so events in Greece prior to 1923 are supposed to be given with the Julian date. Presumably this rule applies generally, but it does not specifically state that this rule applies in Days of the Year articles. A reader looking at a Days of the Year article (e.g. January 1) would assume that two events or births in the same year both happened the same day. This would suggest that all events, births, and deaths in Days of the Year articles should be in the Gregorian calendar starting in 1582. The downside of this would be that articles about people and events relating to countries that adopted the Gregorian calendar after 1582 would have different dates from the Days of the Year article. This could be confusing!

I think WP:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers#Julian and Gregorian calendars should be modified to clarify the application of "Dates of events in countries using the Gregorian calendar are given in the Gregorian calendar" to Days of the Year articles. Whichever way the decision goes, I would suggest that events, births and deaths after 1582 in countries that still used the Julian Calendar should have clarifications in Days of the Year articles. For example, Ioannis Kapodistrias (11 February 1776 – 9 October 1831) is listed in February 11 as

His Gregorian birthday is February 22, 1776. So if it is ruled that the use of Gregorian dates goes by country in Days of the Year articles, I would modify his listing in February 11 to something like

And if it is ruled that Days of the Year articles list Gregorian dates starting in 1582, I would suggest listing Ioannis Kapodistrias in February 22 something like

Anomalocaris (talk) 16:17, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

"Months and Years" style guide is blatantly wrong[edit]

The style guide states the following rule: “A comma follows the year unless followed by other punctuation”. It then provides the following sentence as an example:

The weather on March 12, 2005, was clear and warm

This sentence actually demonstrates that the rule is wrong (quite apart from the fact that the official style guide cannot even punctuate its own examples correctly with a final period). Remove the date from the sentence, and one is left with:

The weather, was clear and warm

The comma within the date (12,) is part of the date format, whereas the comma following the date (2015,) is part of the sentence structure, not part of the date. So removing the date from the sentence leaves us with a misplaced comma. The other way of trying to explain this concept is to reverse the above. A date is formatted thus:

March 12, 2015

Now create a sentence:

The weather was clear and warm.

Now add the date to that sentence:

The weather on March 12, 2015 was clear and warm.

Finally, the best way to avoid this issue altogether is to refrain from interrupting the natural flow of the sentence in the first place simply by writing the sentence thus:

The weather was clear and warm on March 12, 2015.

Therefore, I urge that we remove the above incorrect rule from the style guide altogether.

Dilidor (talk) 18:18, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

Other style guides, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, endorse the comma before and after the year. I suppose the rational is that the year is extra information that often isn't provided, so the extra information is set off with commas. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:46, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
I find Dilidor's logic quite compelling. An alternative illustration of the same point is to write "The weather on 12 March 2015 was clear and warm". Do away with the pesky comma. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 19:21, 24 April 2017 (UTC)