Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers/Archive 141

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Archive 135 Archive 139 Archive 140 Archive 141

Problematic binary prefix paragraph

While editing Kilobyte user Comp.arch has misinterpreted this paragraph:

Wikipedia follows common practice regarding bytes and other data traditionally quantified using binary prefixes (e.g. mega- and kilo-, meaning 220 and 210 respectively) and their unit symbols (e.g. MB and KB). Despite the IEC's 1998 guideline creating several new binary prefixes (e.g. mebi-, kibi-) to distinguish the meaning of the decimal SI prefixes (e.g. mega- and kilo-, meaning 106 and 103 respectively) from the binary ones, consensus on Wikipedia currently favours the retention of the binary prefixes in computing-related contexts. Use 256 MB of RAM, not 256 MiB of RAM.

It's no wonder the paragraph was misunderstood; it's a long-winded way of saying we don't normally use the IEC symbols such as "Mi". But the paragraph can be read to mean that when combined with byte or bit, kilo- and mega- always have their binary meaning and never have their decimal meaning, which is just wrong. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:39, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

What I actually put in Kilobyte (that you reverted along with more that I hadn't put in):

Wikipedia standard uses kilobyte to mean KB = 1024 bytes unless 'kB' or 'KB', or other method is used is used to state intended meaning.[1] It also recommends kilobyte over kibibyte.

I'm referring to the Wikipedia standard and although not usually a reliable source, isn't it reliable as it's own guidelines? Anyway I can say this in Kilobyte article without getting reverted, for citing Wikipedia or for not citing anything? comp.arch (talk) 09:48, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
The word "kilobyte" might mean 1000 bytes, or 1024 bytes. If the former, the usual symbol is kB; if the latter, the usual symbol is KB. I don't think there is any standard claiming that kilobyte means 1024 bytes unless otherwise indicated.
Wikipedia style conventions are not suitable as subject matter for articles. One reason is that a reader who has not participated as a Wikipedia editor might not realize that the style suggested in the Manual of Style and its various subpages is not consistently followed, and can not be relied upon to accurately interpret any ambiguous terminology that might be present in some of our articles. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:23, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

fractions and accessibility

How is the use of the Unicode precomposed characters (e.g. ¼, ½, ⅖) bad for accessibility? From the standpoint of readability, the improvement in typography is a win. The "½" character means "one half" just like the character "5" means "five". I don't see what's not accessible. ⇔ ChristTrekker 13:50, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

When the rest of text the has been balanced between being readable while getting a reasonable amount of text on the screen, the Unicode fractions are too small to read. A different problem is that articles that use these fractions are also likely to need fractions for which no Unicode fraction is available, leading to inconsistent typography. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:41, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
The former argument is font-dependent, but I concede the latter point. Unless it's an isolated use of a common fraction, it may make more sense to write them out oneself. ⇔ ChristTrekker 18:20, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Migratory seasons

I was wondering why there is an exception to the WP:SEASON guideline: "Season names are preferable, however, when they refer to a phase of the natural yearly cycle (migration to higher latitudes typically starts in mid-spring)." To me this makes no sense at all for pelagic species, such as the Sooty Shearwater, which traverses both hemispheres during its migration. AugurNZ 21:42, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

I have just read more of B.d.mills' treatise on hemispheric bias, and in particular the section on the talk page about bird migration in which they mention that usage of season names is appropriate when taken from the perspective of the bird itself, not from the perspective of a human resident of either the northern or southern hemisphere. Perhaps this information should be added somehow to the guideline page, for clarification. AugurNZ 22:03, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

Roman numerals for centuries?

The manual says "Do not use Roman numerals, such as "MMXII" for "2012", to denote years." Much farther down, it also says "Centuries and millennia not in quotes or titles should be either spelled out (eighth century) or in Arabic numeral(s) (8th century)." It might be good to change the first instruction to "... to denote years or centuries.", or is it already obvious enough? I had to dig a little. Chris the speller yack 15:51, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

It would perhaps then better be reworded as 'Do not use Roman numerals to denote years or centuries, such as "MMXII" for "2012".' It seems a quite uncontroversial change to me. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:18, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
That would shorten the MoS by a little bit, and that is good. There is a downside though. When I make corrections to uses of centuries, I link to WP:CENTURY because there is a good description of how centuries should be written there. That would become less clear. SchreiberBike talk 23:41, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Ordinals in dates

What is the reasoning behind this prohibition, and what is its history in this manual? — Scott talk 08:46, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

I had wondered about this too, so I searched the archives. I didn't find any record of an early decision not to use ordinals in dates, which made me think that the decision was made very early. In fact, I went to the 100th edit of this section of the MoS (back in 2004) and ordinals were not mentioned but dates without ordinals were used in the examples of how to properly write dates. There's nothing inherently wrong with ordinals in dates, and there have been occasional efforts to change the MoS to allow them, but there has never been a consensus to change. SchreiberBike talk 21:06, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I've come back to this section and found the interesting debate that's happening below; I would appreciate any further insights from other MOS regulars/long-timers as to where and when this rule originated on WP. — Scott talk 15:04, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
  • It's a rather archaic practice to use ordinal dates. Although people might employ the construction in vernacular, very very few people use it in written form these days. The usage declined massively in the 1960s. Of course, we still see them used in quotes, for example Victoria Cross citations. But then we don't change verbatim quotes to remove them. -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 02:57, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
I believe many professional style guides (such as the Chicago manual) share our MOS's recommendation not to add "-nth" to date's day numbers. Startswithj (talk) 14:58, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Oh please, let's go with the authoritative style guides in English—US, UK, Australian—in proscribing the messy little ordinal suffixes. It went the way of "the" and "of", years ago: "the 22nd of June", people wrote 50 years ago. Tony (talk) 12:18, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
and "the 22nd inst." in the preceding century.— [hours later: this is a shift of focus from what may or may not be archaic -P64]

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── As I understand Chicago (not a current edition), '22 July' is the appropriate spelling of both "twenty-two" and "twenty-second" as spoken, so we should change so-called verbatim quotations in this respect. That is, when we do use numerals. --P64 (talk) 13:57, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

I for one would strongly object to changing the spelling of direct written quotes. If the quote is totally oral, there is perhaps a bit more flexibility, but Wikipedia is almost always going to depend on a text source for any quote. DES (talk) 15:23, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Changing quotes to remove archaic usage is a total nonsense. If we were to do what you proposed, then we'd have to change all instances of "thou" in Shakespeare to "you", because the use of pronoun thou is archaic in most modern English dialects. Does that make much sense? No. A written quote should not be changed. Especially in this instance, where it does not affect comprehension. RGloucester
However, this isn't what MOS:QUOTE#Typographic conformity says. It allows "alterations which make no difference when the text is read aloud". This seems to me to apply to changing, for example, "July 22nd, 1934" in the original to "July 22, 1934" in Wikipedia. I would personally read both aloud as "July the twenty-second, ..."; others might read both as "July twenty-second". This is quite different from changing "thou" to "you". Peter coxhead (talk) 17:13, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Actually i would read "July 22, 1934" aloud as a cardinal "July twenty-two nineteen-thirty-four". DES (talk) 00:01, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
As would I. The vast majority of spoken usage in my experience of a lifetime in an English-speaking country has included ordinals, and I find it hard to imagine that the people using them in that way would read out printed cardinals as if they contained an invisible ordinal. In fact, any such claim gets a "citation needed" from me. This is not my being a prescriptivist; I simply remain unconvinced that the reading style described by Peter coxhead is a common one. — Scott talk 15:04, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't know if this is relevant, but "July twenty-two" (not just the order but also the use of the cardinal) sounds decidedly American to me. I think most Brits would usually read "22 July" as "the twenty-second of July". So there may be AE/BE differences. --Boson (talk) 15:58, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
I'll endorse this. That's indeed how most British people would read a date, however it was written. -- Necrothesp (talk) 16:09, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
Archaism is not the point, I agree. Just now I inserted a break in my preceding comment. --P64 (talk) 18:00, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
It isn't really that different from changing "thou" to "you", as the meaning doesn't change. It merely is a different way of speaking. I'm away of what the MOS says on the matter. I am, however, disagreeing. There isn't any reason to harm the integrity of the historical dialect present in a quote. It is essential that this remain, so that the reader understands how people spoke and wrote and the time the quote was produced. RGloucester 21:42, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Who is advocating changing quotes to remove archaic usage? Not the MOS, certainly. End of story? -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 04:58, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, User:RGloucester is clearly wrong to equate changing "thou" to "you" with changing "22nd" to "22". The first change does alter meaning: "thou" carries distinctions not present in modern "you", such as singularity, being in the nominative case, and familiarity or condescension. The second change does not alter meaning. On the other hand, I suspect the root cause here is an issue which comes up over and over again on the various MoS talk pages: whether or not it's right to change the style of a source, coupled often with a lack of agreement on what counts as style. The MoS advocates changing quotes to remove archaic styles, but not to remove archaic usages. It's only the "end of story" if there is full agreement both on this principle and on what counts as style. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:29, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm well aware of that, dear fellow. But to the modern reader (which is who will be reading it), it does not change the meaning. That is because we now can use "you" with condescension and familiarity and because "you" could always function as either a singular or a plural, so that has not changed. We use "you" now in the way "thou" was originally used, and we all use "you" in the way "you" was originally used. The two have merged. I know the original T-V distinction, but even that began to fade by the time Shakespeare was around, when it became a muddle of pragmatism. This muddle ended-up with thou falling out of use.
Regardless, this is irrelevant. I don't think the MoS should remove archaic styles for the sake of it. Are they not an integral part of what locates said text in the era it is from? I suppose I shan't argue over this, as it matters little to me. But it sounds queer regardless. RGloucester 13:51, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't think it is "irrelevant", because, as I noted above, there is a recurring issue here; you are far from being the only editor not entirely happy with the view taken in the MoS that Wikipedia is free to change styles from those in the source. But to discuss this sensibly we need to be able to distinguish "style" from other issues. The fact that many modern readers don't know that "thou" and "you" at one time had different semantic and pragmatic features doesn't mean that one should be replaced by the other when quoting a source, because other modern readers (even if only a small minority) do know this, and the information should not be hidden from them. On the other hand, "October 10th" and "October 10" have precisely the same meaning; it's a pure style issue.
(Previous heated discussions involving the issue of what is purely a matter of style include: changing hyphens to en-dashes, the de-capitalization of the English names of species, and the use of logical quotation in articles in American English.) Peter coxhead (talk) 09:43, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Comma after the year in MDY format where the date is an adjective

This discussion has recently come up in WP:SEVERE, and it's probably best to have the discussion here, rather than there, for consistency. At issue is whether a comma has to be placed (specifically in a title) where the MDY date serves as an adjective describing a noun that immediately follows it (e.g. June 1, 2011[,] tornado outbreak). I was taught that it is permissible to omit the second comma, and I have found various Internet sources that support this; however, I have found some that disagree. The MOS does not explicitly address commas involving MDY dates acting as adjectives, so I figured I would bring the discussion here for some guidance. Inks.LWC (talk) 04:54, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

I don’t see that being adjectival makes any difference; the usual rationale for using both commas is that the year is a kind of parenthesis, and should not seem more closely connected to what follows than it is to the rest of the date. (That said, I think I would usually prefer paraphrasing to avoid the adjectival usage.)—Odysseus1479 05:20, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
There has fairly recently been a similar lengthy discussion at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (geographic names) that hasn't led anywhere so far. HandsomeFella (talk) 08:10, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
Likewise, I prefer to re-phrase to avoid the awkward construction which, in my view, requires the additional comma to complete the parenthetical remark but looks odd. This is why the title of September 11 attacks omits the year after extensive debate.[1][2][3] See, for example, where I changed …the September 11, 2001 attacks… to read …the attacks on September 11, 2001,…[4] sroc 💬 15:22, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree both with requiring the comma to parallel parenthetical phrasing, and with rephrasing wherever possible. I was just noticing July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike, which reads strange to me…seems it should be July 12, 2007, Baghdad airstrike, or better, Baghdad airstrike of July 12, 2007. Startswithj (talk) 19:08, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, there are lots of examples of this. sroc 💬 04:30, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

RFC - Clarifying Units of Measure in UK Geographical articles

An RFC to clarify the use of units of measure in UK geographic articles has been published at here.

Martinvl (talk) 14:45, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

There is now a related discussion at WP:ANI related to the long term disruption of WT:MOSNUM by Martin, I urge other editors to make a constructive comment as to how to move forward. Wee Curry Monster talk 15:19, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I suggest that participants in the debate here refrain from putting forth a position at the UKGEO RfC until later on. It would be better to see what members of the project think on a substantial level before bringing our chaos to their shores. RGloucester 16:17, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Would now be the time to start the argument about what is a UK geographical article? I guess that the UKMA activists would claim all 20400 or so at Category:UK geography articles by importance. To take an early example, would we regard A1000 road as a geographical article which should put km ahead of miles? Not in my view. - David Biddulph (talk) 16:45, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Actually, by my understanding of those activists' definition, the number affected would be much larger than that - every settlement, county, river, stream, and so on. Districts of towns and cities, small areas. Effectively any distance measured on a UK-related article would be kilometres-first. I'd be shocked if this amounted to only 20400 articles. My view is that we shouldn't create a distinction, meaning that the precise terms of the distinction are irrelevant. Kahastok talk 16:58, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I do not agree. Martin's RFC description is strongly biased and I see no reason why he alone should be able to put his perspective. I am willing to declare my involvement, though. Kahastok talk 16:58, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I apologize for what I've wrought, I did not intend for this heavily-skewed RfC to open, nor to bring further chaos upon this debate. I think it is best that I withdraw from these discussions. RGloucester 18:37, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Not your fault, by any means. So far as I've seen you've done the best you could in a difficult dispute. I wasn't at all surprised by the contents of the RFC (I've seen Martin start many RFCs and none of them were written neutrally), but I can see it would be a nasty surprise to those not used to it. Kahastok talk 20:01, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

WP:STRONGNAT and international events hosted by the United States.

In specific regard to the article 1994 FIFA World Cup which is the single World Cup event hosted by the United States, one editor seems to have the opinion that all articles pertaining to association football (soccer) should use DMY and MDY is not appropriate, despite the event being held in the US. The article and all articles pertaining to this event should use MDY since it was hosted by the United States. JOJ Hutton 00:32, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

This is not an issue which should be discussed here, in my view. Clearly a case can be made either way: soccer is not a sport associated with the US, so there's no "STRONGNAT"; this particular World Cup was held in the US, so there is. Editors need to reach consensus on the talk pages of the relevant articles. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:33, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it was hosted by the USA, but the vast majority of people who took part in it and watched it were not from the USA, and the MDY form seems to be pretty much exclusive to the USA. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:55, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
Vast majority, yes, but thats shouldn't be a factor. The deciding factor should be the country in which the event was held. And since this one World Cup was held in the US, this one World Cup should use the MDY associated with the US.--JOJ Hutton 12:00, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
We're not talking about an immovable object based in the US, or an individual that is/was a US national. Even the US military has, by our convention, adopted dmy dates per WP:TIES. So mdy is not the only American date format. I think the location where the footy tournament takes place can be regarded as accessory to the event. An American born of US parents in Britain is still American. Imagine if Michael Jackson were to have died in England during his last concert tour, I'm sure the Americanness of the deceased and the death would be strongly defended, as it would be argued that the primary subject was MJ. Similarly, this is a FIFA event, and should be dmy by the same argument that you have so strongly defended the Americanness of films (i.e. organised and funded by) which we have been heatedly arguing about. The USA doesn't own this like it owns basketball, baseball or the other type of football, and is only the host of one of the series of an organisation that seems to have adopted dmy as its format. -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 15:32, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
Either way, there's no general principle involved here, so the issue should be discussed on the article's talk page, not here. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:20, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
Well this is very disturbing trend indeed. I wouldn't say that any country owns any sport. The mere idea that since soccer (football) isn't as popular in the United States and therefore articles pertaining to tournaments held within its boundaries are not subject to WP:STRONGNAT is somewhat ludicrous. We are only talking about the articles related to a single tournament. I see no reason why the articles should not follow the standard date formats for the host nation. And this is not the same issue as with the films. JOJ Hutton 16:27, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree with JOJ. If arranging the 1994 World Cup doesn't constitute strong national ties to it, I don't know what does. HandsomeFella (talk) 06:19, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
Likewise – commenting on the "owning basketball, baseball", etc, sentence above – basketball tournaments such as the European championships, the Olympics (except when arranged in the USA) would use the international date format. HandsomeFella (talk) 06:26, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
When WP:STRONGNAT does not apply (for example, because the topic is international, or the topic is strongly related to a non-English-speaking country) the manual is neutral about which date format to use; both mdy and dmy are acceptable. The format used is normally the format chosen by the first major contributor. The concept that the so-called international format (dmy) should be applied to international topics is not recognized in this manual. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:53, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree that is what WP:DATERET currently says, although in my opinion it's one of the weaker guidelines. I see no reason for an article totally unrelated to North America to have mdy dates. (The first person introducing a date to an article might have done so without giving the format much thought, if any at all, and the rule is thus in many cases only preserving random, ill-conceived choices.) But that was not my point here. My point was that the 1994 FIFA World Cup article surely must be considered to have strong national ties to the United States, despite being an international event, and despite the fact that association football was more or less "invented" in Europe. It has also been claimed – though I can't find where right now – that FIFA is said to have played a bigger role in arranging and financing the tournament than it usually does. I can't find any guideline giving the latter claim any significance when comes to deciding the correct date format for an article.
My point was furthermore, that, conversely, the fact that the sports of basketball and baseball were invented in the USA has no significance in deciding the date format in articles on tournaments arranged outside North America, for instance the European basketball championships.
Cheers. HandsomeFella (talk) 20:19, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
In addition, since someone brought it up, the first major contributor to add a date to that particular article was an MDY date.--JOJ Hutton 20:38, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, in that case, both WP:STRONGNAT and WP:DATERET speak for mdy dates. All settled then. HandsomeFella (talk) 15:58, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This is not an issue which should be discussed here, as football is not a sport that has strong ties to the US. I will revert any and all attempts to coopt the article by American nationalists as that has no place on Wikipedia. Walter Görlitz (talk) 16:00, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Walter, you don't have veto rights. Nobody has. It has been properly discussed, and you can't just sit by idling, and when the discussion concludes, just pop by and say "I'll stop any attempt". It's hard to assume good faith, and you could end up being reported for disruptiveness, but I'll give you another chance: where do you think the matter should be discussed? And, by the way, I'm not American, I'm not even from North America: I'm from Europe. I'm obviously not acting from a nationalistic perspective, but instead trying to implement guidelines. It's (mildly) insulting to suggest that. Could you possibly be judging people's motives from self-knowledge? HandsomeFella (talk) 16:26, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I think the event being hosted in the US is largely irrelevant; would editors insist on DMY dates being used if the Superbowl was every held in London (as might well happen in the not-to-distant future)? GiantSnowman 16:55, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
How could it be irrelevant? Was the fact that the 1996 Summer Olympics was arranged in the USA irrelevant? HandsomeFella (talk) 16:59, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes. You haven't answered my question about the Superbowl. GiantSnowman 17:53, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
If London had a team and the Super Bowl was held in London, then yes the dates should be DMY based on already established practices of using the date format of the nation in which the event was held. Only the 1996 World Cup article isn not following this practice.--JOJ Hutton 19:44, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
...but London doesn't have a team - two US teams competing. GiantSnowman 19:48, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
(ec) Okay, I'll answer it. It would definitely be a problem. Which national ties would be the stronger, those to the arranging country, or those to the "country of origin" of the sport (including the teams' nationality), and given the one-off character of the event? I would say, at least for now, that the "country of origin" has it – but that is of course in theory, as it hasn't happened yet, and it doesn't strike me as likely to happen – ever.
We already have a similar situation, with some opening games of previous NHL seasons being arranged in Europe. I would still see this as a mainly North American event, despite the location. (Frankly, I can't see any reason to go and see those games, unless you're an expatriate American or Canadian, living nearby. We have hockey in Europe.)
HandsomeFella (talk) 19:56, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Actually its not really and Apples and Apples question now is it though. You can't compare a sports league against and international competition because they are not rated the same and the participants do not represent their particular counties.--JOJ Hutton 20:28, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
The US is not "laying claim" to this article. Two independent editors – at least one of them not from North America – are of the opinion that arranging the tournament creates strong national ties. Most countries around the world were in some way involved in this tournament; at least in the qualifying stages. One (1) of them, United States, arranged it. That definitely creates stronger national ties to the US than to any other country. HandsomeFella (talk) 07:25, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
The US didn't arrange it - FIFA did. Personally I would expect to see the same style applied to all articles in a series like this, so I would prefer to see the article have the international date format. Number 57 08:00, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Ok, the US didn't arrange it, but it was arranged in the US. What part of the guidelines restricts the national ties if FIFA arranges a tournament? HandsomeFella (talk) 08:49, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't think any of us would have a serious issue with a tournament between US teams organised in the US by the United States Soccer Federation, but that's certainly not the case here. -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 08:23, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
The way Walter Görlitz have argued, it sounds like all articles on association football should have dmy dates because the sport was "invented" in Britain. HandsomeFella (talk) 08:49, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm not reasoning that way, but I've noticed a certain degree of uniformity, as an aside. The vast majority of association football articles (including footballers) tend to be in dmy but for the US Puerto Rico and Mexico. I'm used to seeing rugby and cricket articles in dmy (almost without exceptions) and American football, baseball articles in mdy (again, almost without exceptions) in WP. Most likely it's because these are essentially sports in the majority played in countries most frequently and respectively using those date formats. -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 09:18, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The 2002 World Cup was held in Japan, yet I don't see anybody campaigning for the implementation of the Japanese calendar in that article. The 2022 World Cup will be hosted in Qatar, will we use the Islamic calendar (more specifically the Hijri year) in that article? GiantSnowman 11:55, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Far from the need to implement those calendars into the English Wikipedia, the guideline at MOS:DATE only covers DMY and MDY formats so those formats wouldn't be appropriate or even within guidelines. So you are using a false analogy. --JOJ Hutton 12:00, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Oh, come on, GS. This is about whether we should use one variant of date format used in the English-speaking world, or another variant, also used in the English-speaking world. Why on earth should we use a Japanese or an Islamic calendar? You're way out of line here. Maybe you should look hypocrisy up. HandsomeFella (talk) 12:03, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Is there something I'm not aware of??? GS may have used a bad example, but that doesn't seem even close to a justification for the ad hominem? Cut it out, will you, please? -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 12:26, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Ohconfucius, you may want to check this edit summary of GiantSnowman's. HandsomeFella (talk) 14:56, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
You want to use American dates for an international tournament because it was hosted by the US; so why not use Japanese dates for an international tournament hosted in Japan? GiantSnowman 12:16, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Thats because we only have two options on the English Wikipedia. DMY or MDY. There is no option for Japanese dates. Thats why.--JOJ Hutton 12:33, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Sigh, way to go miss the point. GiantSnowman 12:39, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
No I get the point, but don't confuse understanding the point with disagreeing with the point. If the Japanese calendar was one of the options then yes that date would be used on that article. No questions asked. Point is that its not an option so there is really no reason to argue for it one way or the other. The real question is, why is this particular article, the 1996 World Cup, the only article about an international event held in the United States not using MDY dates? No reason for it. --JOJ Hutton 12:48, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
It's to do with the fact that this is an international tournament, not an American one, and the vast majority of countries seem to use DMY. GiantSnowman 12:50, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
So basically during an international tournament in which the United States participates, we automatically use DMY no matter what because most of the counties participating use DMY even if that tournament is held in the United States? So basically we never use MDY ever again because most of the world uses DMY? That isn't neutral, its biased, and basically flat out wrong. This Wikipedia guideline was set up to be fair to all parties, including the United States and other countries. We are suppose to be sharing the English Wikipedia, but lately it seems that British/international editors have been able to slowly push for more DMY and less MDY, mostly based on technicalities. Soccer isn't owned by an international body. Tournaments held within respective nations usually use the respective date format and English spelling of the host nation. Unfortunately neutrality is lost in this case. --JOJ Hutton 13:01, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
"Soccer isn't owned by an international body" - no, but it is run by one. They use DMY for the tournament, so should we. GiantSnowman 13:07, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Its been obvious to me for a long time that this MOS have an unusually large amount of British/international watchers and editors. Much higher percentage than there are overall on the English Wikipedia. The current debate over the weights and measures in Britain has only really increased that number. Its clear that most of the editors who currently watch this MOS are in favor or DMY even if the larger community as whole would not be. For shame. The only option may be to go to arbitration on this since it appears that there is a bias among many of the current watchers of this MOS. Another option that I have looked into in the past is to split the English Wikipedia into a separate American Wikipedia. This has been brought up in the past and rejected, mostly because we have been able to successfully work cooperatively. Unfortunately that cooperative spirit seems to be dwindling and dwindling fast. For shame.--JOJ Hutton 13:39, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Ah yes, it's clearly a conspiracy by us pesky Limeys. GiantSnowman 14:03, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Not alleging a conspiracy I'm just making a point that at the moment most of the active watchers of this MOS are British, mostly because of the current and obviously heated discussion involving British weights and measures. Its not a conspiracy, its a fact. But because of this fact there may an unusually high bias among most of the editors who may comment on this discussion. Many of which would have no problem making every article, STRONGNAT or not, DMY. The way to solve that may be to have the English Wikipedia split into a separate American Wikipedia. There are already five separate English Wikipedias, including a Simple English Wikipedia. That way, you can have all the articles DMY as much as you like on the regular English Wikipedia.--JOJ Hutton 14:10, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm not a watcher, and you'll see I've not commented on any other discussions here. I am here from a football (sorry, soccer) perspective only. PS "The way to solve that may be to have the English Wikipedia split into a separate American Wikipedia" is the most ridiculous, melodramatic thing I have read in my 8 years here. GiantSnowman 14:22, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't think its melodramatic. Its actually practical. No more arguments over spelling or dates. No more oddly looking articles. Just straight DMY or MDY. No arguments no problems. I'm not the only one who has advocated for this. Given that there are already five separate English language Wikipedias, its not a far stretch to include one more. Its good for everyone. As long as there is cooperation on this English Wikipedia, there wouldn't be any need for even discussing it. Unfortunately there seems to be less cooperation every year.--JOJ Hutton 14:32, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • So you don't think its melodramatic, but that it's actually practical? It just seems like you're accusing others here of votestacking because things don't seem to be going your way. Threats of separatism and going to Arbcom are like sneaking to the teacher or taking the ball away because the others aren't playing a game you like and threatening others over a simple difference of opinion. Can we bump up the age of this conversation, please? -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 15:32, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Not vote stacking in the traditional sense but there are definitely extenuating circumstances outside of this thread that may be skewing the conversation in one direction or another. Creating a separate American Wikipedia may be a long shot, but its not out of the rhelm of possibility, nor is it so far fetched that it couldn't at least be discussed. And ARBCOM was created for situations just like this. To settle disputes that need settling. If you feel that you are correct, then you should't feel threatened by having ARBCOM to take a look at it. Unless you feel that they might make a decision against you.--JOJ Hutton 20:14, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Just to clarify: you making a threat and me potentially feeling threatened are two very different things. You may be attempting to intimidate but there's no assurance I or any of the others will succumb. -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 01:28, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't know where you're stationed, but I was posted to the US for over a year, and we always used DMY. The characterisation of DMY as un-American or anti-American is just plain wrong. Nor is MDY unknown here in the Australia; DMY is specified in the Commonwealth style guide for practical reasons. Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:43, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Its not a military article but an article about a sports event held in the United States. I do feel that US military articles should use MDY as well because the articles are "suppose" to be written for the general reader not just the military reader. Its also confusing why the military articles have to use DMY based on the technicality that the US military sometimes uses DMY dates, but that the article London Times uses DMY dates despite the fact that the paper is printed using the MDY date format. The same logic should apply but somehow doesn't.--JOJ Hutton 22:57, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, there are too many inconsistencies within WP, and that's what the MOS ought to seek to align. Many editors, usually behaving notionally in a nationalistic manner, pull in different directions, meaning that it's difficult to arrive at an overall consensus over a unique style. I would much prefer a single unified format (whether mdy or dmy), but I realise that's not going to happen short of there being a revolution or takeover. The US military format is a bit of an oddball here on WP, and if we take the interpretation to its logical conclusion, it will mean that we need to study each organisations style guide and seek to follow the date formats they respectively use. But that's the status here. What to do? -- Ohc ¡digame!¿que pasa? 01:41, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Inches - ok?

This: [Kindle Fire HDX-edit]

made me wander, is it " for inches or ″. [“Mojito” means search/replace seems to have been used.] I can only find "feet/inches and stones/pounds for personal height and weight;". It doesn't say. Should it (for peoples height)? Anyway mm (SI-units) seem to be the correct chose. That will be an uphill battle I think for computer screens. Sometimes mm is also shown, sometimes x' (y mm) or the other way around. The thing is mm is more accurate and I can't measure the screens of devices I don't have (had trouble in same article getting the most accurate mm estimate). comp.arch (talk) 14:35, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

As a UK user, I'd take that 7 ' " ' to be inches, as in 7 inch. It would be better (perhaps more acceptably) written as 7 inches (180 mm) and 8.9 inches (230 mm). Note, I'm using the template {{convert|8.9|in}}. Pyrotec (talk) 15:01, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
WP:Manual_of_Style/Dates_and_numbers#Unit_symbols is explicit: in for the inch (not in., the quotation mark ", or the double prime ). NebY (talk) 15:18, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
That results in [Kindle Fire HDX edit], that I don't even like myself. And the MOS is explicit about "in" (or inches) implying but not explicitly banning " for in, right? I propose allowing that in some cases. comp.arch (talk) 15:00, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
I would interpret the guideline as follows:
The article is not really UK- or US-related so the dimensions should be given first in SI units with customary units in parentheses, e.g. 180 millimetres (7 in). If inch is written out in normal text, rather than using the symbol, then I suppose normal rules should apply and we should write "seven inches", or attributively "seven-inch").
However, I don't think we need be more Catholic than the Pope. Attributively, I would expect even non-US sources to talk of the "7-inch model" and I believe we should do the same. If this is done, I can see an argument for using inches as primary units when giving dimensions and I think this should be left to editorial judgement (or recommendation by a relevant project for the sake of consistency between different products). I would prefer the guideline to explicitly recommend editorial judgement in such cases. I would personally prefer to follow sources and use "7-inch" in the text (as a designation rather than a measurement) but use SI units when giving dimensions in infoboxes and tables but would have no objection to primary use of inches, for obvious reasons. —Boson (talk) 18:32, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Screen lengths are usually given in inches, even in Japan, where they have no history of using imperial/customary. This is a pragmatic choice. However, do not use the symbols, which may be confusing. User the conversion template. RGloucester 18:45, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
I believe that inches would be covered by the change in wording, included, in all the proposals in the RFC above, to prefer "the most prevalent units in the field internationally". Kahastok talk 18:52, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
In the Olde Measurements, " means inches, ' means feet and x means yards. I would discourage the use of the abbreviations, because not everybody seems to know them. Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:49, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Another possible issue with using " as an abbreviation for inches is how do screen readers present "?Nigel Ish (talk) 22:11, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure it's quite that simple since different primary units are used for different purposes and are adapted to different markets and legal regimes. Nominal display sizes are usually given in inches, and computer displays traditionally used the diagonal in inches but, with the possible exception of the USA, measurements, e.g. in standards and technical specifications, are mostly given in SI units (millimetres).
For instance, if you look at a sample of the English specifications for the iPhone 5 at (e.g. for Canada, UK, India, Israel, Malta, Japan), the dimensions are given with millimetres as primary units (usually with inches as secondary units):
  • Height: 124.4 mm (4.90 inches)
  • Width: 59.2 mm (2.33 inches)
  • Depth: 8.97 mm (0.35 inches)
  • Weight: 132 grams (4.65 ounces)
except for the US market, where they are given as
  • Height: 4.90 inches (124.4 mm)
  • Width: 2.33 inches (59.2 mm)
  • Depth: 0.35 inch (8.97 mm)
  • Weight: 4.65 ounces (132 grams)
So what is "prevalent" depends on whether you give the USA a huge weighting compared with other countries. Generally basing our guideline on international standards and legislation, which largely govern what has become prevalent internationally, helps obviate the need for endless discussions about Ghits etc. when usage is not obviously different. I presume this is the rationale for the current wording of the guideline.
My personal preference is informed (inter alia) by the above considerations. --Boson (talk) 01:35, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
On the other hand, in a context like "the 7-inch model actually measures 7.9 inches . . . ", it might be preferable to put inches first; it might even be appropriate to omit the SI units altogether if they are given elsewhere. I am generally in favour of giving more weight to context and editorial judgement, if necessary weighing consistency within and between articles against other considerations. --Boson (talk) 11:28, 31 October 2013 (UTC)


I think the OP is asking whether to use the symbol " to denote inches or the word. I would suggest for a tablet for example use 7 in (180 mm) using {{convert|7|in|mm|abbr=on}}. Wee Curry Monster talk 12:52, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

My reading of the original question (and the diff quoted therein) was that the OP was asking whether to use a quotation mark or the prime symbol (i.e. curly quotes or straight quotes), but the discussion has drifted away from that subsequently. - David Biddulph (talk) 13:38, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Ah, in which case it should be ". Wee Curry Monster talk 13:43, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
WP:Manual_of_Style/Dates_and_numbers#Unit_symbols is explicit: in for the inch (not in., the quotation mark ", or the double prime ). NebY (talk) 13:57, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
The poster seems to have several questions.
The question about prime/double prime has been answered by NebY: use neither the quotation mark nor the double prime.
The next question/comment seems to be starting a discussion on millimetres vs. inches for computer screens:

"Anyway mm (SI-units) seem to be the correct chose. That will be an uphill battle I think for computer screens. Sometimes mm is also shown, sometimes x' (y mm) or the other way around. The thing is mm is more accurate and I can't measure the screens of devices I don't have (had trouble in same article getting the most accurate mm estimate)."

Perhaps Comp.arch will explain. --Boson (talk) 14:08, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
BTW Amazon uses inches, for example 8.9", in the UK, TV screens are advertised in inches and I'm looking at a 17" monitor. In the UK inches predominant in the market in my experience. Wee Curry Monster talk 14:20, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
We all three (you, me, and Amazon) seem to be in agreement.
If you go to Amazon and click on "Technical details", you will also see:
  • Size: 231 mm x 158 mm x 7.8 mm
  • Weight: Wi-Fi — 374 grams. 4G LTE + Wi-Fi — 384 grams
So Amazon apparently agree with my personal preference (as described above) of using inches for nominal screen size and millimetres for actual dimensions - except that Amazon do not follow my preference of giving the dimensions in inches as well. --Boson (talk) 14:57, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, can you tell me the diagonal size of screens in mm. I'm having trouble googling them. I can not rely on dimensions as above and use Pythagorean theorem or convert by hand to mm or with template, not down to millimeters and can't possibly measure all screens. comp.arch (talk) 15:41, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I couldn't remember if " or ″ is used inches in for English and went looking in the styleguide and didn't find it so wasn't sure which one is allowed (similar to symbols for actual quoteations) or both or both are banned (is it?). I might change from symbol to "in.", but not in the mood for a crusade on this issue at least to add mm. comp.arch (talk) 14:29, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, both are not to be used (I'll not use the b*n word). I really appreciate your unwillingness to go on a crusade. NebY (talk) 14:52, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

As an aside on the point "I can't measure the screens of devices I don't have", you probably wouldn't want to, since it would probably count as original research. Measuring the displays might seem trivial (if you have them) but there have in the past been problems about how to measure screen sizes. --Boson (talk) 15:32, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Right, good point. This matter is resolved on my part if people agree to my change to the MOS-page itself (and I've edited Kindle Fire HDX since that would a previously have been "illegal"). Wording might be better. Its a very narrow exception, might want to expand it, but works for me. comp.arch (talk) 15:55, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
No, I don't agree with the change you have made. I don't see any consensus to allow the double prime for inches. I believe there is consensus for the statement that nominal sizes of computer screens are often given in inches. --Boson (talk) 16:20, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
The possibility of allowing the double prime symbol in headings etc. should be discussed as a change to the statement
  • Standard symbols for units are undotted; e.g. m for the metre (not m.), kg for the kilogram (not kg.), in for the inch (not in., the quotation mark ", or the double prime ), and ft for foot (not ft., the apostrophe ', or the prime ).
under the heading "Unit symbols". Otherwise we would have conflicting advice. There may also be accessibility issues.--Boson (talk) 16:38, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
MOSNUM's guidance was created in full awareness that all sorts of sales literature and suchlike uses " for all sorts of products. There's nothing so peculiar about monitors and other displays that an exception should be made for them alone and there are plenty of articles on displays (including Computer monitor itself) that conform to MOSNUM without difficulty. If anyone wants to make the case that MOSNUM should approve the use of " for inches throughout Wikipedia then let them make it, but let's not open the door to a proliferation of special cases that would render the guidance meaningless. Also, it devalues MOSNUM to drop exceptions into it on the fly. We want to encourage editors to look to it for guidance, not as something that they'll consult, dislike, edit and go back to doing whatever it was they were planning to do in the first place - hence all that hard work that's gone into the above discussion on imperial measurements over the last few months. NebY (talk) 17:12, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree fully. I've reverted the changes per WP:BRD. There is no need for a special exception for every little thing, not least in the UK section, where this is an international matter. RGloucester 17:14, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
The notification system reports that to me as a reversion of my edit, so I would like to confirm that I'm happy with the reversion, though I myself was loth to simply revert a good-faith edit by Comp.arch. It would be nice though, if we could achieve some sort of consensus for things like computer displays to avoid the appearance of saying that editors must (1) avoid all mention of the word "inch" when talking about 7-inch displays or (2) must write out the word "seven", rather than using the numeral. I think there may be a case here to distinguish between measurements and something like "common names" of models. —Boson (talk) 17:42, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
It would be sorted by the concept of "using the most prevalent unit in context" remark, in all the proposed revamps above. As inches are the most prevalent unit uses for screens, even in countries that don't use imperial/customary, they'd be used. Nevertheless, I tend to feel that an issue doesn't exist, as Wikipedia has subsisted just fine without such a tailored mention of screens. RGloucester 18:00, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
I basically agree. On the other hand, if we are rewriting the section, my personal preference would be to state explicitly that there are a few exceptions where inches are used, especially since these are limited to a very small number of products (such as displays, tires, and plumbing). I would prefer it if the drafts did in fact use your word "context" when talking about the primary units, because "in the field" different units are used in different contexts; so the text could perhaps do with some minor tweaking at a later date. The specific problem here is that inches are used almost universally when specifying the nominal size of the screen (i.e. the diagonal) but everywhere except the USA, millimetres are used as primary units when specifying the dimensions of the product. If we are all agreed on that, that is fine with me. This is partly a problem of credibility with the professional writers who take great pains to observe these distinctions (which is why they are prevalent). I am not sure that the drafts take account of this situation; they may even aggravate it. I am not extremely worried about consistency between articles, but it is also a goal. The articles iPhone5, iPad Air, and Kindle Fire do seem to observe the distinction I am talking about, but looking at other articles, usage is not consistent. Anyway, this is probably not something that is worth arguing about, and I would prefer not to talk about the drafts in this section. --Boson (talk) 20:21, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
If by "Wikipedia has subsisted just fine", means ignoring the MOS, then you might me right. Note: "All other articles: the main unit is generally an SI unit or a non-SI unit officially accepted for use with the SI." (Note exections above in the MOS, why are those and not for this?) The Kindle and iPhones, are US-products that might qualify for an exception but Samsung Galaxy S4 is not, note in Infobox: "5 in (130 mm)". According to the MOS, shouldn't it be 13 cm (5 in)"? Or maybe 1 dm ? :) Note that 5 in (not 5.0 in) means 11.43-13.97 cm, saying 130 mm is too specific. This might already be covered by the MOS (but also widely ignored). Measuring yourself is original research. Inches are primary and for diagonal screen sizes (not dimensions in general) I see nothing else generally mentioned in WP:PRIMARY sources and I guess WP:SECONDARY just convert incorrectly. comp.arch (talk) 11:06, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
The MoS is not a straitjacket. If there is a reasonable reason for deviating the standard, as this reason is reasonable, that can be done. RGloucester 14:19, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

RFC: Proposed amendment to MOS:COMMA regarding geographical references and dates

There is an RFC at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style § RFC: Proposed amendment to MOS:COMMA regarding geographical references and dates with a proposal to clarify the position on the use of commas after dates in DMY format. sroc 💬 22:51, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

A Modest Proposal

RGloucester earlier mentioned the Chinese Wikipedia using server-side conversion between traditional and simplified characters. How difficult would it be to implement this for units in the English Wikipedia? That way, anyone would be able to see modern units or everyone's favourite neo-medieval units according to individual preference. It seems to be the only remotely satisfactory solution to our problem, and it's what all smartphone apps (e.g. Google Maps) and suchlike already do. Archon 2488 (talk) 22:31, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

It might be better to ask at WP:VPT. My first impression is that this would go far beyond transliteration and that developing a system that can scan free text, locate numeric values, determine which are to be converted and which not, determine the appropriate target conversion suiting the user's preferences as set by a complex system that satisfies all national, cultural preferences and deliver it in realtime might not be the best use of WMF's resources. But the good people at WP:VPT may tell you I'm talking through my hat and this will be the very next thing after Visual Editor. Pitch it there. NebY (talk) 23:45, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
If I might borrow your hat.... my preference would be for the units to be selected randomly anywhere that consensus couldn't be reached. If you don't like what turns up, just keep hitting "reload" and eventually you'll see the units as $DEITY intended. Garamond Lethet
23:56, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't see why it would be a "complex system" in principle... you have two fundamental choices, just like at sites such as Weather Underground (US and Imperial versions of old-school units could easily be shown side by side in those cases where they are different). This whole business of alternating between metric and imperial depending on whether it's the weight of a human or the weight of a badger is absurd, and there's no reason why Wikipedia should be expected to entertain such illogical and inconsistent preferences, just as WU doesn't cater for people who want wind speeds in knots, rainfall in mm and temperatures in Fahrenheit (although in the case that there were massive demand for such a feature it might not be infeasible). The metric version could also show (for example) km/h and m/s alongside one another, or kcal and kJ (i.e. for those few cases where there's more than one metric unit commonly used for a certain thing). Scanning text for phrases of the format "<number> <unit>" cannot be too difficult - surely it'd just be an automated version of the convert template? Archon 2488 (talk) 00:56, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
We could also incorporate vivid units, as used by all good communicators. Of course, we'd have to cater for national differences. In the UK, the pressure at the bottom of the Marianas Trench is described in terms of elephants standing on a Mini-Cooper but in the US it's SUVs on your toe (8,000 and 3 respectively, if you were wondering). In the UK, large areas are described as multiples of the size of Wales but IIRC they have to use Iowa in the US. It's all down to the Weights and Measures Act of 1824 or something. Anyway, Wolfram Alpha can do it so I'm sure Wikipedia could. NebY (talk) 11:11, 9 November 2013 (UTC)