Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive 129

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Expanding a bit of MOSNUM logic out to a more general MOS-ish topic

Resolved: Just a pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

In Talk:Hybrid name#Spacing or not spacing the multiplication sign I strongly advocate the format "Genus × hybrid" rather than the "Genus ×hybrid" preferred by one botany organization. I've based much of this rationale on much of what is recommended with regard to spacing by WP:MOSNUM, and will be taking this to WT:MOS for discussion. I am thinking more broadly that the highly consistent spacing advice given here can be generalized into a clear principle in WP:MOS more broadly. The super-short version is "don't squish disparate types of text together (and no, we don't care if some group off-WP does)."  :-) — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 06:22, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Falklands Units RFC

An RFC on units on articles related to the Falkland Islands has been started here. Editors are invited to comment. Pfainuk talk 07:19, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Publishing deviations from the MOS

In certain cases it becomes necessary to publish special cases related to units of measure (for example, US-specific articles, UK-specific articles, scientific article etc). In order to provide transparency, especially where many groups are involved, may I suggest that the following be added as the last item in the subsection Which units to use and how to present them:

  • If the preferred set of units of measure for an article or set of articles deviate from those described here and it is necessary to publish such changes, the publication should either be on this page or at the start of every affected article.

I am making this proposal because in 2009 the Falkland Islands Group agreed a consensus on units of measure which is now hidden in an archive. An article Geology of the Falkland Islands which was written by the Geology group was modified by a member of the Falkland Island Group because it did not conform to the Falkland Island Group consensus. This resulted in an edit war. Do we honestly expect members of the Geology Group to wade through Falkland Island Group, or should they be bound by such consensus? After all, the article concerned falls neatly into both groups' area of interest.

I believe that future problems of this sort can be solved by consensus of this nature being more openly published. My suggestion is to enable such open publication to take place.

Finally, should this apply only to units of measure, or to standards generally? Martinvl (talk) 07:25, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

This is instruction creep.
Y'know, the ironic thing is, the reason why we don't follow the MOS as closely as we might like on Falklands articles is because Martin won't let us. He insists that the MOS must apply - as though it were a law - but only in cases where it recommends metric units. In cases where it suggests that imperial units are to be preferred, the MOS becomes some evil thing that cannot be touched with a bargepole.
This is just another standard tactic of Martin's. He knows he can't get consensus for 100% metrication of Falkland Islands against the MOS, so he's trying to force it through. He's repeatedly tried to have the most recent consensus position declared "null and void" on a variety of technicalities, and this appears to be an attempt to force things through by making life difficult for those who disagree with him. Pfainuk talk 17:42, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
In his review of my proposal, User:Pfainuk uses the term "MOS". Had I not known him better, I would automatically have thought that he meant WP:MOS, but having seen his comment elsewhere, I cannot dismiss the possibility that he is really referring to WP:FALKLANDSUNITS. Would he please clarify what he means by "MOS"? Martinvl (talk) 19:35, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is not part of the MOS. It is - essentially - a proposal that we follow WP:UNITS, including imperial units all those contexts and only those contexts listed by WP:UNITS as contexts in which they are appropriate. You refuse to follow the MOS, insisting essentially that all units must be metric. Indeed, on prior form you've refused even to allow the conversion of metric units into imperial ones. This is the position that you've spent the last four months trying to force on us against consensus on one technicality or another. When it comes down to it, the reason we don't follow the MOS particularly closely is because you won't let us.
But this is not the place to be going into our difficulties. I suggest that this latest attempt to force your views on other editors against their will cease, and that all discussion continue on a more appropriate forum. Pfainuk talk 19:57, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
So far you have said nothing constructive. Do you have a problem about publishing subsidary MoS documents in a place where everybody can be aware that they exist? I don't. If I have misunderstood the concept of publishing Manuals of Style, please give me some examples of what other groups do? Martinvl (talk) 20:32, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Proposal: use of SI units for technical information

Wikipedia being a worldwide source of information, I propose the SI unit to be given first for any technical information, no matter where the subject of the article was designed and/or manufactured. The only exception to that rule is if the unit use internationally is not SI; for example the altitude of flight of an aircraft is measured in feet (see Ceiling_(aeronautics)), hence the use of feet primarily when speaking about the altitude of an aircraft (the wingspan though, for example, would be in meters). Xionbox (talk) 19:37, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Assuming you mean what I think you mean by "technical information" (which is a rather ambiguous term), I disagree. I would suggest that, if (for example) an aircraft was designed using non-metric units and then built based on non-metric specifications, it would seem odd to insist on putting the metric first regardless.
The current rule is that we allow for non-metric units in contexts where they are (or were) in common use in topics that are specific to a given place, time or person. When something is commonly measured in non-metric units in the place to which it has a strong connection, it would seem odd for us to buck the trend. It also works well as a long-term compromise, given the fact that most countries and most people in the world use the metric system - but most of our audience live in countries where non-metric units are in common use. Pfainuk talk 20:59, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
The problem with both arguments here is that there can be endless debate about which unit to use, about what is technical and what is not, what is or was in common use in a particular place or time, or how many or few readers are familiar with metric or other units. The obvious solution is to supply both sets of units. However, this does not stop people from campaigning about which one should come first.
One way to cut through the static is to state that as a general rule we should follow the most authoritative sources. This is more likely to reflect local usage than the preferences of either Imperial or metric campaigners. However, this is resisted by several editors with the following claims:
  • It would lead to massive internal inconsistency. No evidence is ever supplied to back up this assertion.
  • It would lead to cherry picking of sources. No evidence is ever supplied to back up this assertion.
MOSNUM already says "If editors cannot agree on the sequence of units, put the source value first and the converted value second. If the choice of units is arbitrary, use SI units as the main unit, with converted units in parentheses." In my opinion this is eminently sensible and should be followed. Michael Glass (talk) 02:30, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
MOSNUM states that the most appropriate unit should be used based on a number of factors including locality. Endless discussion has been had here already (fairly recently, please check the archives), and I can't think that there is anything new that would need us to go over it all again.
Michael, it is easy enough to back up the second assertion (which I have made several times) by simply pointing to your own contribution history. Also as I made clear to you last time, there is no official definitive ranking system that would let us know without question which sources are the "most authoritative". We do not need this discussion again. wjematherbigissue 06:10, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Wjemather. If you want to see all the responses to this, I suggest spending a day rereading the archives. It'll take all day because of the sheer number of discussions you have started on this topic, Michael. I suggest that you drop the stick and back slowly away from the rapidly drying red patch on the ground where the horse carcass used to be. Pfainuk talk 07:05, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Wjemather, you have made several assertions.

  • You have asserted that MOSNUM states "the most appropriate unit should be used based on a number of factors including locality". This distortes what the policy states. It says, "Except in the cases mentioned below, put the units first that are in the most widespread use in the world. Usually, these are International System of Units (SI) units and non-SI units accepted for use with SI; but there are various exceptions for some measurements, such as years for long periods of time or the use of feet in describing the altitude of aircraft." The other exceptions are also clearly set out, as are the rules to be followed in case of dispute.
  • You have accused me of cherry picking sources. I am not aware of any occasion where another editor has come along and replaced one of the sources I quoted and substituted another source. You have stated that it is easy for you to quote an example of cherry picking of sources, so quote an example.
  • You say that it isn't easy to decide which source is authoritative. Give an instance.

Can you back up your assertions? Michael Glass (talk) 08:42, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

WHACK. Even though all that - WHACK - remains of the horse - WHACK - is a rapidly drying bloodstain on the ground - WHACK - I reckon we can still - WHACK - get it to move if we - WHACK - flog it enough. WHACK.
Why is it, exactly, that you have to initiate exactly the same discussion point every three weeks? What, exactly, do you think is likely to make this discussion different from the last twenty on exactly the same topic? Where is the benefit in your repeating the same arguments continually for a matter of years? This has been done to death. There's no need to continually try to resurrect it. Pfainuk talk 12:41, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
So we should put the dimensions of Buckingham Palace in imperial units despite that most of wikipedias users and tourist looking for information about it, uses the metric system? Chiton magnificus (talk) 16:22, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
I'll start by noting that statistics demonstrate that over 50% of our readers live in the United States, a country where non-metric units are primary. Nearly two thirds live in the US and UK combined, those being two countries where non-metric units are in common use. I think it's fair to suggest that, in fact, the majority of our readers use non-metric units.
As it is, the MOS doesn't explicitly suggest imperial units for the dimensions of British buildings. But if local editors determine that in fact the most appropriate units are imperial, based on historical usage, then that's their prerogative. Pfainuk talk 16:40, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
The majority of English speakers use American spellings. However, we rightly use British spellings in British articles. Similarly, though the majority of English speakers are more familiar with the older units than metric units, we supply both units in articles, so that the widest possible audience can understand. The question at issue is which unit should go first, metric or Imperial? In most cases it's a no-brainer: Metric for most of the world and US customary units for specifically US articles. Then comes the difficult one: Great Britain. In the British context, usage is divided and contested, and we have fights over which units to put first in some British articles.
Xionbox's proposal is simple and practical: in general, follow the sources. So, when writing about technical subjects (or Buckingham Palace, for that matter), look at what the sources do, and as a general rule, follow it. This rule will help to ensure that Wikipedia will neither be too much in advance or too much behind British preferences. In practice, this would mean that the measures used on the Buckingham Palace website [1] would be put first in the Wikipedia article on Buckingham Palace. And that's what happens.
Why then should such a moderate and sensible proposal be opposed so passionately? The answer is quite simple: it's too metric for the Imperial diehards. Now they are entitled to their opinion, just as the metric enthusiasts are entitled to theirs, but when it comes to setting policy, we need a simple, straightforward test that will cut through as much nonsense as possible. Xionbox's proposal will do that. Despite the fears of the diehards, there is plenty of British information in the older units, so their concerns are quite overblown. Indeed, if the warriors from both sides of the fence could put their energies into verifying facts, Wikipedia would be more accurate and less acrimonious. Michael Glass (talk) 04:53, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Or perhaps it is simply perhaps because SI zealots are relentless in their efforts to marginalize the non-SI units? The best way to get both sides to do more important work like fact checking would be to cease bringing the issue up every other week. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 05:23, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
No Michael, you are wrong. MOS already accommodates the use of appropriate context specific units. You are seeking to justify mass conversion of articles based on selecting your preferred (or as you put it, "most authoritative") source. I say again, this tendentious raising of the same issue every few weeks must stop. If you continue, there will be no option but to move for a topic ban. wjematherbigissue 06:14, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Wjemather, I asked you so substantiate your allegations. You didn't even try. Now, having failed to substantiate your allegations you have returned with threats. Your Argumentum ad baculum does not impress me. Your fear of the effect of finding authoritative information is as unfounded, as Headbomb's fear that non-SI units are about to be marginalised. Substantiating information in Wikipedia articles is not going to cause the collapse of the older measures. Michael Glass (talk) 06:42, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Why does this need going over continually? As per Headbomb, the best way of getting people to do more important things would be if you stopped making the same proposal over and over and over again. Pfainuk talk 07:37, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
The problem with forcing any "standard" to be first is that it may not be the choice of industry or sources relevant to that subject. They, industry and sources, may have chosen to specifically not use the "standard" which means in those situations Wikipedia would be pushing a point of view inconsistent with the real world standard use. This would be contrary to the aims of Wikipedia regarding neutrality, which are the most important aims. Glider87 (talk) 16:20, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Glider87's comment above gives good reasons for following the sources when deciding the order of units in an article. Michael Glass (talk) 08:32, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
The guidelines already address Xionbox and Glider87's concerns.
  • "In scientific articles, use the units employed in the current scientific literature on that topic. This will usually be SI, but not always...",
  • "Some disciplines use units not approved by the BIPM, or write them differently from BIPM-prescribed format. When a clear majority of the sources relevant to those disciplines use such units, articles should follow this (e.g., using cc in automotive articles and not cm3)",
  • "Use familiar units rather than obscure units..."
There is no cause for a change that I can see. wjematherbigissue 08:55, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Wjemather, two of the three points that you refer to could only be determined by reference to the current literature, so the principle of following the sources is already part of the policy. Michael Glass (talk) 14:08, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but only relating to certain disciplines and scientific articles. It absolutely does not extend to the country-related metric/imperial arena, which is obviously what you want to see but as has been established previously is not going to fly. It is safe to say this discussion should now be closed, since the original concern is already covered by MOS and no changes are required. wjematherbigissue 14:45, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Four points in response:
  • Following the sources is also part of the policy to resolve disagreements: If editors cannot agree on the sequence of units, put the source value first and the converted value second. If the choice of units is arbitrary, use SI units as the main unit, with converted units in parentheses.
  • Xionbox's concern was about technical articles. To cover that concern the wording could be changed to read, In scientific and technical articles, use the units employed in the current scientific and technical literature on that topic. This will usually be SI, but not always; for example, natural units are often used in relativistic and quantum physics, and Hubble's constant should be quoted in its most common unit of (km/s)/Mpc rather than its SI unit of s−1. (possible additions bolded)
  • We would need further discussion to determine if this change of wording was acceptable.
  • I agree that wider questions could be better discussed in another thread. Michael Glass (talk) 02:17, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the proposed modifications of Michael. In addition, the MOSNUM does not explicitly say the SI units are mandatory, only the order of units is mentioned. I propose it explicitly mentioned the mandatory use of SI units. Some articles only mention information in Imperial units, which is very impractical for anyone not accustomed to these units.
As for the statistics showing 52% of the visitors are from the US, one must keep in mind the US will eventually grow up/move on to the metric system. Hence, I see no reason why Wikipedia shouldn't be part of, or initiate, this major evolution, which would finally make the US comply with the rest of the world. As of the 10% of visitors which come the the UK, having a lot of contacts living in the UK, I can assure you most UK inhabitants understand the metric system correctly. My arguments make the statistical argument not entirely valid. Xionbox (talk) 16:28, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Er, no. MOS should absolutely not mandate the use of SI or metric units. Please refer to the related guidelines and the archives, where you will find countless reasons why your proposal is wholly unacceptable. If there are articles that provide only Imperial (or US Customary) measures, then conversions should be provided in parentheses per the guidelines. wjematherbigissue 16:46, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I see no reason why Wikipedia shouldn't be part of, or initiate, this major evolution. I do. It's essentially speculative. We should work based on the world as it is, not the world as we would like it to be. There are, as Wjemather says, very good reasons for imperial units to come first in some circumstances, including some that might very reasonably be described as "technical". All units, except in a few narrow situations, should be converted between the two (or three) systems anyway. Pfainuk talk 17:36, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Wjemather, please provide a concrete example of when Imperial measurement system should be used over the metric one. I just went over the archived "debate on measurements" and did not countless reasons why my proposal is not acceptable; actually, I didn't even find an example to prove Pfainuk's point that There are very good reasons for imperial units to come first in some circumstances.
It is in fact speculative that the US will eventually switch to the metric system, however, identically to a child who likes to walk on all fours, they may have to be pushed to change to the metric system (or to walk on only two feet in the case of the child, no measurement pun indented).
In addition, if the US officially changes to the metric system tomorrow (the US is in the process of change, as related by multiple source and the Wikipedia article about the metrication of the US), would you support to keep the old system as well? If so, it seems like you think the US visitors are not able to learn the metric system, which is a pretty sad view of the US people. Xionbox (talk) 22:42, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I am working on some early 8-bit microprocessor articles and the semiconductor industry used imperial units in the 1970s and 1980s. Silicon wafers were 2, 3, 4 or 5 inches in diameter and the individual die sizes were measured in "mils" (0.001 inch). The Intel 8080 microprocessor die was 165 x 191 mils. The Motorola 6800 started at 212 mils and was shrunk to 160 mils per side. The IC packages were 600 mils wide with 100 mil pin spacing. Inches and mils were used in technical journals, trade magazines and industry standards. Today everything is metric but virtually all of the sources from the 1970s and early 1980s use imperial units. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 02:38, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Xionbox, sadly it is clear that you have not looked through the archives thoroughly, but to answer your question: Imperial should be used in UK articles for road distances, speed limits, volumes of beer, personal measurements, etc., etc. There are many further common instances highlighted by the Times Style guide, but there will be others also. To address you other points, Wikipedia is not here to push anyone's WP:POV or persuade others to change from one system to another. It will certainly not be influential in any metrication in the US. Wikipedia should use the units that are appropriate to the context of the subject matter reflecting actual usage, whether that be metric, Imperial, US customary or some other discipline specific measure. wjematherbigissue 08:17, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I actually agree with wjemather that Wikipedia is not the place to campaign for the adoption of the metric system, but equally it is not the place for a diehard stand in favour of the Imperial weights and measures. Here are things that we need to do to cater for English-speaking users of Wikipedia:

  • Whatever the source of information we need to provide information that the widest number of people can understand. That often means providing information in two or even three sets of units.
  • We need to respect local customs. That's why we have both English and American spellings on Wikipedia. This leads to anomalies such as Salt in American spelling but Iodised salt with British spellings.
  • It's the same with weights and measures. In general we put American Customary units first in American articles and Metric units first in most of the rest of the world. In scientific articles the guidelines prefer the use of metric measures, with exceptions where scientists use different measures. That's the comparatively easy part. The hard part is with the United Kingdom, where both sets of units are used for different purposes, and the whole situation is quite controversial.
  • Basically there are two ways of dealing with the questions that arise. One way is to provide a list of when to put what unit first. Another way is to refer to the sources. Both methods have both advantages and disadvantages so it's not surprising that both are mentioned in the style manual.
  • Swtpc6800 mentioned early microprocessors. This is another area where referring to the sources about the units to put first would be valuable. The same applies to many technical areas, as Xionbox pointed out.

When it comes to guidelines I think we need them to clear, so editors know what the rules are, and it's also handy to have procedures to deal with disagreements. It's a pity that discussion gets so heated about this issue, but that's probably a lot to do with the situation in the UK. Michael Glass (talk) 14:32, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to remove that ugly and useless "MOS Review" box

Since we can't do anything without getting bogged down in bureaucracy, here's a formal proposal to remove that useless template ({{DocumentHistory}} and related). Alternatively, we could just send this to TfD. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 21:34, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Support: As proposer. This serves no purpose whatsoever, other than to clutter the page with yet-another useless banner. This "MOS review process" has been cooked up in 30 seconds by a single user. Pages history templates are for well-defined process. If you want to know the history of the MOSNUM, click on "history", and browse the archives. There's no point in documenting the "status history" of a page as a guideline/policy/essay/etc... Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 21:33, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Date formats in 1835

The reference I used for the Erie and Kalamazoo banknote image I have on the commons, File:Erie and Kalamazoo Banknote 1853.jpg, shows how dates could be expressed in 1935. The "habitual drunkards" here may want to follow this source:

Laws of the territory of Michigan, "An act amendatory to an act concerning habitual drunkards, and to protect their estates, approved the twelfth April, eighteen hundred and twenty-seven." -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 02:52, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

And? Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 06:18, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Which units to use and how to present them

At the moment MOSNUM deals with these two concerns in one subheading. I think it would be preferable to deal with them under two subheadings, one for which units to use and the other for how to present the units. Does anyone have any comments, suggestions or concerns about this proposal? Michael Glass (talk) 13:52, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Without you having given any reason for wanting to split that sub-section, I can only say that it is unnecessary. wjematherbigissue 14:28, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Agreed with wjmather. I can't think of a reason to do that, and you haven't given any. So I say let's not do that. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 14:47, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Wjemather and Headbomb. There seems little reason to do this. Pfainuk talk 17:43, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Michael. Having two separate sections would be clearer for readers. That would also make unit usage a more important topic in the MOSNUM. Hopefully contributors will then use the correct units more carefully. Xionbox (talk) 16:16, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

In response to the comments and concerns expressed I agree with Xionbox that two separate sections would be clearer for readers and easier to follow. This by itself is a good reason to consider the change that I have proposed. However, I also acknowledge that I have not explained the reasons for making the changes clearly enough, and I apologise to the three other editors who couldn't see the point of making any change.

The main problem is that advice on both which units to use and how to present them are scattered. This is especially true of the advice on how to present the units. By gathering the them into the two subheadings we can appreciate the policy more clearly. The best way to demonstrate this is with the advice on how to present the units. In this case, the particular advice was spread in several sub-headings, and putting it together clarifies the policy.

I must emphasise that this is not a matter of adjusting or editing or changing the wording, it is simply to rearrange the dot points without changing them. Putting the policy advice in two headings: Which units to use and How to present the units may reveal a need for further editing but this is a separate question that can be dealt with now or later.

Here is what "How to present the units" would look like when they are gathered together:

  • Avoid inconsistent usage. Write a 600-metre (2000 ft) hill with a 650-metre (2,100 ft) hill, not a 2,000-foot (610 m) hill with a 650-metre (2,100 ft) hill.
  • Nominal and defined values should be given in the original units first, even if this makes the article inconsistent: for example, When the Republic of Ireland adopted the metric system, the road speed limit in built-up areas was changed from 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) to 50 kilometres per hour (31 mph). (The focus is on the change of units, not on the 3.6% increase.)
  • When imperial units are different from US customary units, double conversions can be useful: The song's second verse reveals that Rosie weighs 19 stone (266 lb; 121 kg).
  • Avoid ambiguous unit names (e.g., write imperial gallon or US gallon rather than gallon). Only in the rarest of instances should ambiguous units be used, such as in direct quotations, to preserve the accuracy of the quotation.
  • Measurements should be accompanied by a proper citation of the source using a method described at the style guide for citation.
  • Where footnoting or citing sources for values and units, identify both the source and the original units.

"Which units to use" could look as it is below, which follows the order in which the dot points appear in the present policy.

Apply these guidelines when choosing the "primary" unit for a measurement:

  • Except in the cases mentioned below, put the units first that are in the most widespread use in the world. Usually, these are International System of Units (SI) units and non-SI units accepted for use with SI; but there are various exceptions for some measurements, such as years for long periods of time or the use of feet in describing the altitude of aircraft.
  • For topics strongly associated with places, times or people, put the units most appropriate to them first.
    • US articles generally put United States customary units first.
    • UK articles more often put metric units first, but imperial units may be put first in some contexts. These include:
      • Miles for distances, miles per hour for road speeds and miles per imperial gallon for fuel economy
      • Feet/inches and stones/pounds for personal height and weight measurements
      • Imperial pints for draught beer/cider
      • See also Metrication in the United Kingdom and the Times Online style guide under "Metric"
      • Articles concerning Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia and Australasia generally put metric units first.
  • In scientific articles, use the units employed in the current scientific literature on that topic. This will usually be SI, but not always; for example, natural units are often used in relativistic and quantum physics, and Hubble's constant should be quoted in its most common unit of (km/s)/Mpc rather than its SI unit of s−1.
  • Some disciplines use units not approved by the BIPM, or write them differently from BIPM-prescribed format. When a clear majority of the sources relevant to those disciplines use such units, articles should follow this (e.g., using cc in automotive articles and not cm3). Such non-standard units are always linked on first use.
  • Use familiar units rather than obscure units—do not write over the heads of the readership (e.g., a general-interest topic such as black holes would be best served by having mass expressed in solar masses, but it might be appropriate to use Planck units in an article on the mathematics of black hole evaporation).
  • If editors cannot agree on the sequence of units, put the source value first and the converted value second. If the choice of units is arbitrary, use SI units as the main unit, with converted units in parentheses.

I hope that this answers the concerns that have been expressed. However, if there are any further comments or suggestions or concerns please let me know. Michael Glass (talk) 11:27, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't think this is a good idea, because an editor who is placing a measurement in an article needs to know the whole story about what to write in one place. Also, the point about Rosie should be in the what units to use section, not the presentation section, since that point is instructing editors to use three units for one measurement. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:40, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Good point, but I think the problem here is with the expression "What units to use." The section under this heading deals with the question of what units to put first and those are the words that should be used. The reason is twofold: "put first" is accurate while "what units to use" is potentially misleading, because it can give people the impression that only metrics or only Imperial/customary units are used. As the guidelines are quite clear that both metric and the older measures are to be used in a wide variety of contexts we should be careful not to confuse the issue.

A second point is that we need the whole story in one place. The problem here is that there are too many things that should be in one place than there are places to put them together. The next best thing is to have the sections side by side, which is what would happen with these two sub-sections: What units to put first and How to present the units

Thank you for raising this point. Have you spotted any other unintended consequences that need to be dealt with? Michael Glass (talk) 14:23, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

(Postscript) I have also decided to put poor Rosie in Unit conversions where I think she fits better. Any comments or feedback? Michael Glass (talk) 05:20, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I have now changed the heading to "Which units to put first..." for the reasons given above. It is potentially misleading to use the expression "Which units to use as both units are used. Michael Glass (talk) 10:26, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Scientific and Technical Units

On going through the policy I noticed that several points were about scientific and technical units. I think it would be a convenience for people using the policy to have these dot points under the heading, "Scientific and technical units". The dot points are as follows:

  • In scientific articles, use the units employed in the current scientific literature on that topic. This will usually be SI, but not always; for example, natural units are often used in relativistic and quantum physics, and Hubble's constant should be quoted in its most common unit of (km/s)/Mpc rather than its SI unit of s−1.
  • Some disciplines use units not approved by the BIPM, or write them differently from BIPM-prescribed format. When a clear majority of the sources relevant to those disciplines use such units, articles should follow this (e.g., using cc in automotive articles and not cm3). Such non-standard units are always linked on first use.
  • Use familiar units rather than obscure units—do not write over the heads of the readership (e.g., a general-interest topic such as black holes would be best served by having mass expressed in solar masses, but it might be appropriate to use Planck units in an article on the mathematics of black hole evaporation).

The dot points above are literally about what units of measurement to use. This contrasts with the rest of the section, which is about which units of measurement to put first. As the rest of the dot points are about which units to put first, how they are to be set out and related questions, they would need to follow each other in sequence, so the points about scientific and technical units would have to go before or after the others. I think putting them first would be preferable. Then, any relevant dot point that followed would also apply to these points.

Once again I ask for any comments, suggestions or concerns. Michael Glass (talk) 10:33, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

I have now moved the three dot points above into their own section. Michael Glass (talk) 10:17, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Reverted. The entire topic is about which units to put first, including the parts on scientific articles. Whether they then need converting is dealt with later. Putting the detail of the rule before we put the rule is confusing and unclear. Your proposal puts the cart before the horse. As such, I oppose it. Pfainuk talk 10:57, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I agree that the placement was not ideal. Perhaps it would be better to leave it in its place but give it a sub-subheading. Michael Glass (talk) 13:04, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Are there any questions, comments or concerns about this proposal? Michael Glass (talk) 02:07, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I have now added the sub-subheading as I proposed. The text is otherwise unchanged and the order of the text is also unchanged. The reasons for this extra heading are as follows:
  • These three points are on scientific and technical matters, so their subject matter is distinct from the other dot points in the section.
  • With their own subheading these points will be easier to find. Otherwise they might get lost in the detail of the policy.
  • This subheading separates the technical and scientific points from the other points in the section, so the other points are also displayed more clearly.
  • The wording is unchanged and the order is unchanged, so the policy is essentially the same. The difference is that the policy is set out more clearly.
I hope that this change meets with approval. Michael Glass (talk) 04:05, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

The four-minute mile

For people of an older generation, the excitement of Roger Bannister breaking the four minute mile is an indelible memory. However, that memory, no matter how vivid it might be, comes from the year 1954, so only people over the age of 60 would be able to remember it. Now that many English-speaking countries have abandoned the older measures for over 30 years, an explanation of the exact length of the mile is necessary. Therefore using example of the four minute mile as an expression that does not need a conversion to be applied is no longer tenable, and as the article on the Four-minute mile explains the length in metres, the example should be removed from MOSNUM. Either a more suitable expression should be substituted or the sentence could simply state:

  • Generally, conversions to and from metric units and US or imperial units should be provided, except:
    • When inserting a conversion would make a common or linked expression awkward.

Are there any comments, suggestions or concerns? Michael Glass (talk) 10:49, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

"Four-minute-mile" would seem to be a very good example of a case where adding a conversion would make a common or linked expression awkward. Thus I oppose this change. Pfainuk talk 11:00, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
What else? Should the article about "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" say "one inch (2.54 cm) of love is ..."? A. di M. (talk) 14:09, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

How to present these units

At the moment, the dot points on presenting the units are scattered. Some are in Which units to use and how to present them while others are in Unit conversions. I propose to put these dot points together under How to present these units and then put them in the policy as shown below:

Which units to use
Countries use different units for the same measurement. Apply these guidelines when choosing which unit should come first:
  • Except in the cases mentioned below, put the units first that are in the most widespread use in the world. Usually, these are International System of Units (SI) units and non-SI units accepted for use with SI; but there are various exceptions for some measurements, such as years for long periods of time or the use of feet in describing the altitude of aircraft.
  • For topics strongly associated with places, times or people, put the units most appropriate to them first.
    • US articles generally put United States customary units first.
    • UK articles more often put metric units first, but imperial units may be put first in some contexts. These include:
      • Miles for distances, miles per hour for road speeds and miles per imperial gallon for fuel economy
      • Feet/inches and stones/pounds for personal height and weight measurements
      • Imperial pints for draught beer/cider
      • See also Metrication in the United Kingdom and the style guides of British publications such as that of the Times Online (under "Metric").
    • Articles concerning Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia and Australasia generally put metric units first.
  • If editors cannot agree on the sequence of units, put the source value first and the converted value second. If the choice of units is arbitrary, use SI units as the main unit, with converted units in parentheses.
  • In scientific articles, use the units employed in the current scientific literature on that topic. This will usually be SI, but not always; for example, natural units are often used in relativistic and quantum physics, and Hubble's constant should be quoted in its most common unit of (km/s)/Mpc rather than its SI unit of s−1.
  • Some disciplines use units not approved by the BIPM, or write them differently from BIPM-prescribed format. When a clear majority of the sources relevant to those disciplines use such units, articles should follow this (e.g., using cc in automotive articles and not cm3). Such non-standard units are always linked on first use.
  • Use familiar units rather than obscure units—do not write over the heads of the readership (e.g., a general-interest topic such as black holes would be best served by having mass expressed in solar masses, but it might be appropriate to use Planck units in an article on the mathematics of black hole evaporation).
How to present these units
  • Avoid inconsistent usage. Write a 600-metre (2,000 ft) hill with a 650-metre (2,100 ft) hill, not a 2,000-foot (610 m) hill with a 650-metre (2,100 ft) hill.
  • Nominal and defined values should be given in the original units first, even if this makes the article inconsistent: for example, When the Republic of Ireland adopted the metric system, the road speed limit in built-up areas was changed from 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) to 50 kilometres per hour (31 mph). (The focus is on the change of units, not on the 3.6% increase.)
  • Avoid ambiguous unit names (e.g., write imperial gallon or US gallon rather than gallon). Only in the rarest of instances should ambiguous units be used, such as in direct quotations, to preserve the accuracy of the quotation.
  • Measurements should be accompanied by a proper citation of the source using a method described at the style guide for citation.
  • Where footnoting or citing sources for values and units, identify both the source and the original units.
Unit conversions
Where English-speaking countries use different units for the same measurement, follow the "primary" unit with a conversion in parentheses. :This enables more readers to understand the measurement. Examples: the Mississippi River is 2,320 miles (3,734 km) long; the Murray River is 2,375 kilometres (1,476 mi) long.
  • When imperial units are different from US customary units, double conversions can be useful: The song's second verse reveals that Rosie weighs 19 stone (266 lb; 121 kg).
  • Generally, conversions to and from metric units and US or imperial units should be provided, except:
    • When inserting a conversion would make a common or linked expression awkward (The four-minute mile).
    • When units are part of the subject of a topic—nautical miles in articles about the history of nautical law, SI units in scientific articles, yards in articles about American football—it can be excessive to provide conversions every time a unit occurs. It could be best to note that this topic will use the units (possibly giving the conversion factor to another familiar unit in a parenthetical note or a footnote), and link the first occurrence of each unit but not give a conversion every time it occurs.
  • Converted values should use a level of precision similar to that of the source value, so the Moon is 380,000 kilometres (240,000 mi) from Earth, not (236,121 mi). However, small numbers may need to be converted to a greater level of precision where rounding would cause a significant distortion, so one mile (1.6 km), not one mile (2 km).
  • Category:Conversion templates can be used to convert and format many common units, including {{convert}}, which includes non-breaking spaces.
  • In a direct quotation, always keep the source units.
    • Conversions required for units cited within direct quotations should appear within square brackets in the quote.
    • Alternatively, you can annotate an obscure use of units (e.g. five million board feet of lumber) with a footnote that provides conversion in standard modern units, rather than changing the text of the quotation. See the style guide for citation, footnoting and citing sources.

Please note that NO wording of any dot point has been changed. One heading has been changed and one heading has been added. Are there any comments, questions or concerns? Michael Glass (talk) 02:38, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Suggestion for a simple WP:COMPUNITS disambiguation scheme

I'll illustrate with an example:

  • A 64 MBb video card and a 100 GBd hard drive

This has the following advantages over the SI v. IEC debate:

  • It's clear
  • It's easy to write
  • It's easy to pronounce: "megabytes binary", "gigabytes decimal"
  • It's fairly unobtrusive
  • It doesn't introduce new terms into the lexicon
  • It doesn't pick a winner or a loser between the binary and decimal camps

You might argue this violates the "no original work" ethic, but it strikes me as more of a copy-editing decision than anything particularly novel.

FWIW, I'm in the binary camp. I could live with this.

Jeberle (talk) 07:58, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

First let me say that I support your recent disambiguation edits to bring articles closer towards WP:COMPUNITS. Related to your proposal, on balance I think it is better to use the style in the sources and disambiguate by using the exact number of bytes or power notation rather than getting close to the "no original work" ethic by inventing another system.Glider87 (talk) 10:34, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd say we should avoid in-house abbreviations (but if we were to go with this, I'd suggest subscripts not superscripts). JIMp talk·cont 08:42, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Full vital dates vs. years

Regarding the Dates of birth and death section, this has probably been discussed but cannot easily find it in the archives. The issue is that I have been working on some biography articles, many that have little or no separate lead section. I generally convert thing like "John Doe (January 2, 1921 Fargo, North Dakota – February 3, 1999)" into instead "John Doe (1921–1999)" in the lead, with a body sentence that says "John Doe was born January 2, 1921 in Fargo, North Dakota", and spelling out the full date in the infobox, but been reverted. My thinking that the exact day the person was born is generally not an important enough detail to go in the lead. It just seems too redundant to have the full date appear in three places (lead, infobox, first sentence in body) right net to each other - that twice should suffice. The vital years make sense, because many people have the same name. Distinguishing them from other (often namesakes in the same family or field) is imporant, but the years suffice for that in almost every case. The current rule mandates the entire date be spelled out every time, which does not match many articles. It also is inconsistent with the rules for lead sections, which states "The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic" therefore I would propose that it be at the editors discretion to allow years only the lead if the exact days of the year are not notable. The Biography MOS has at least one example using the year only. Maybe the Bio MOS is where this discussion or rule belongs? W Nowicki (talk) 19:00, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree, most times the day and month aren't significant enough for the first sentence of the lead. (The places of birth and death are more likely to be.) A. di M. (talk) 09:47, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes; I must admit I've got quite used to seeing the full date in the lead sentence, but perhaps I look at different biographies. It seems quite neat with just the year. And the example in Biography MOS covers the case of the living person too: "John Doe (born 1946) ....".
Disagree. The month, day and year of birth and death in the lead, after the name, is something I will fight to keep. — CIS (talk | stalk) 13:35, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Why? The burden of proof seems to be on those who claim an exception to the guidelines on lead sections. The lead (especially first sentence) should just give a very quick way to verify that this article matches the topic (person) a reader is looking for. To clarify, I would advocate allowing both styles, consistent with current practice and the lead section rule. Say, a long article with the vital details buried deep inside it might make sense to have them three places, or a very short one with them only in the lead and infobox. But repeating details thrice in a moderate sized article seems like undue weight. I have seen both styles in printed encyclopediae. W Nowicki (talk) 18:43, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

It makes sense to me. CIS, if you will fight, fight. JIMp talk·cont 08:39, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I would be fine with allowing both styles, as per W Nowicki. If the ([year]–[year]) format is accepted, I would suggest that the endash not be separated by two spaces as with the full Month, Day, Year format. (i.e. January 1, 1900 – December 31, 1999) and (i.e. 1900–1999) — CIS (talk | stalk) 00:45, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

UK Style Guides We shouldn't just link to the most conservative one.

At the moment, MOSNUM refers to the Times Style Guide to illustrate British usage of metric and other measures. However, other UK style guides such as the Guardian Style Guide and the Economist Style Guide appear to rank more highly than the Times Style Guide in a Google search.

I believe that several guides should be noted because they have some quite notable variations, with the Economist Style Guide <> being most in favour of metrics, followed by the Guardian, <> and with the Times style guide <> standing out as the most conservative of the three.

It is not neutral to link only to the most conservative of the newspapers; links to all three style guides would give readers access to a broader spectrum of authoritative views on British usage. I propose to add links to the Guardian and the Economist guides.

Are there any comments, suggestions or criticisms about such a change? Michael Glass (talk) 10:23, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

And so, the campaign to try and force metrication of articles related to the UK continues. Whatever happened to "[w]e need to respect local customs"? You've turned 180° on this in less than 72 hours.
Like it or not, not one Briton in a hundred is likely to know their height and weight in metric units. Like it or not, not one Briton in a hundred is likely to give distances between towns in kilometres. And like it or not, not one Briton in a hundred is likely to go to a bar and order a half litre of beer. I have no idea why the concept that people might actually use imperial units in preference to metric units is so difficult to believe, but apparently it is. But nonetheless it is true that in these situations British people generally do use imperial units in preference to metric.
This whole thing has got ridiculous. Without a topic ban, it seems clear that Michael's attempts to try to force metrication of UK-related articles will continue at a rate of no less than once every three weeks for many years to come. It's already gone on for eighteen months, and we have long since gone past the point where there is any benefit at all in these continuous proposals. Right now, these proposals serve only to annoy and I see no reason why we should have to put up with it. Pfainuk talk 11:11, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Pfainuk has exploded like Colonel Blimp! How dare I quote anything other than the Times! It just goes to show what a scurrilous person I must be! I referred to The Observer! I noted the opinion of The Economist! I dared look at something other than The Times!!!

I believe that when we seek evidence of British usage, we quote several authorities, even if they are slightly different. By that means we can get a truer picture of the range of opinion in the British public, and not just its most conservative manifestation.

The Times is most patently not the most conservative position taken in Britain. The most conservative position would be to call for 100% imperial units in the same way as we currently do with US customary units for the US. Including temperatures, weights and so on. These are the units used by thousands of people in the UK - far more, I would imagine, than use 100% metric units as you demand. The Times reflects modern British usage without taking a side in the metrication debate.
But the question remains, why is it that you have to push this continually? Fact is, you've been pushing metrication on UK-related articles every two to three weeks for years now. It's long since passed the point where anything of benefit is produced from these constant proposals. On the other hand, they leave people unable to do other things that might actually be useful to the encyclopædia. When I suggest a topic ban may be a good idea, it's because we're supposed to be improving the encyclopædia and having the same discussion over and over again for a period of years does not do this. Pfainuk talk 10:51, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Pfainuk, your argumentum ad baculum is not a reasoned reply. This is not about metrication or non metrication but about linking the policy to one style manual as an example or more than one. This is the kind of thing I am suggesting.

See also Metrication in the United Kingdom, the Times Online style guide under "Metric", the The Guardian Style Guide under "Metric" and The Economist Style Guide

Nothing here to scare anybody, just links to several style guides. Michael Glass (talk) 12:57, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Michael, you could be a little more diplomatic; but I agree entirely with your line. Pfainuk, holding out for your personal version of the world can only be a termporary stance. Please reconsider your trenchant opposition to updating WP to reflect the real world. Tony (talk) 14:20, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
That's just funny. You're the one who would have us use Wikipedia to try to change people's habits as regards units of measure. All I want is that our advice on articles related to the UK actually reflects the units that are used by real people in the UK. We should be working based on the real world, not the world as you would like it to be. And that, whether you like it or not, means using imperial units in some circumstances on articles related to the UK. Pfainuk talk 14:41, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Can't we just get back to the question of whether we should link several style guides to the policy rather than just one? Are there any comments, questions or criticisms of that specific proposal?' Michael Glass (talk) 15:10, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
We could just link the article Metrication in the United Kingdom, which cites both the Guardian and the Times style guides. BTW, I would replace all that stuff which looks like a shopping list with something shorter, for example:
  • For topics strongly associated with a particular place or time, put first the unit typically used in that place or time: for example, United States customary units are typically used in the US; in the UK, imperial units are used for some measurements such as road distances and draught beer, and metric units are used for most other measurements (see Metrication in the United Kingdom).
(What's the point of "or people" in the current text?) The US and the UK are just examples (which also happen to be where most readers come from); we shouldn't give the idea that there's something special with them. A. di M. (talk) 15:34, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
BTW, I've been bold and made it clearer that the Times is only intended to be one example. I don't think anyone would object to that (revert it if I'm wrong). A. di M. (talk) 15:39, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with the change made. Though I have changed Metrication in the United Kingdom because that article gave a pretty misleading impression of both two style guides.
I'm not sure I've ever quite understood in what circumstances a specific person would require different units from other people from the same place and time.
As to the other point, I certainly oppose your current wording because it implies that there is a split in British usage between distances along roads and distances not along roads when no such split exists in reality. The very last thing we should be doing is making an already complicated situation worse by creating our own artificial divisions where none exist in local usage.
Part of the problem we have on this point at the moment is that editors have a habit of taking the precise wording of the guideline and using it to try and force points that weren't intended. The shopping list does help make the whole thing a bit harder to game. Pfainuk talk 16:47, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
But it also encourages to game it in the first place. One would be less likely to try and use "the MoS says so" as a rationale if the MoS is worded in a way that makes obvious it's not supposed to be a hard-and-fast line. (As for the point about road distances, what if it just said "in the UK, imperial units are used for some measurements and metric units are used for most other measurements (see Metrication in the United Kingdom)"?) A. di M. (talk) 17:36, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
If I recall correctly, the link to The Times style guide was inserted because it most closely reflects actual usage in the UK. As such, it is not necessary to link to additional style guides. Moreover it is not sensible to link to ones that do not closely reflect actual usage. I find this further attempt to bend MOS to support metrication of UK-related articles most unwelcome. wjematherbigissue 18:28, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for all those comments on my proposal. A di M's revision is certainly an improvement and I welcome it. I'd just like to make the following observations:

  • People in the same place and time do need different units. Older people may be more comfortable with the older units while young people may be ignorant of them. Hence the need to provide conversions. It is also necessary because many English-speaking countries have now been metric for over 30 years, so people's needs differ.
  • It's all very well to talk about usage in Britain. However, if British sources provide information in metric terms, that is also part of British usage. What is more, it is verifiable, and what we put in articles should be verifiable. These differences in usage are not artificial, but real, and we need to rely on real and verifiable instances of usage.
  • While A. di M's wording has improved matters it still raised the question why this particular style guide was chosen. Wjemather has answered that question: it most closely reflects actual usage as he sees it. Trouble is, that doesn't necessarily reflect what is written in authoritative sources. Hence the inconsistency between the sources and the Times' take on popular usage.

However, A di M's revision has improved matters. Michael Glass (talk) 01:52, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Michael, you participated in many of the previous discussions so it is inappropriate for you to somehow plead ignorance to the issues and raise the same points again. The Times style guide most closely reflect actual usage, not as I see it, as consensus saw it. As we have gone over countless times before, many publishers of information are either not targeting the native market or are tied into compliance with EU directives, so can absolutely not be taken to reflect actual local usage. And please stop going on about authoritative sources – the concept is not defined. It is exceedingly frustrating to keep going over the same ground time and time again. Consensus is clearly against metrication of UK related articles, and that is not going to change any time soon. wjematherbigissue 07:08, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Wjemather, please read the policy on no personal attacks and reliable sources. The question at issue isn't metrication, but verifiable usage. Michael Glass (talk) 13:02, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
What the....? If you can find a personal attack in anything I said, I will gladly apologise. However since there is none, I request that you strike the offending remarks post haste.
The question at issue is your desire to bend MOS to justify mass conversions based on your view of what is the most authoritative source. No such concept exists, and nor should it given the obvious POV problems it would introduce. As has been pointed out to you many times before (and again below) it is all too easy to find a reliable source that will support any given choice of preferred units. Your apparent sudden amnesia will not fly when we can just look through the history and archives to see your contributions to previous discussions. wjematherbigissue 15:43, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Oh yes. The "I don't like what you said and so I'll try to deflect attention by accusing you of personal attacks" line. No, we should not be basing our units on the speculation of some editors who draw their conclusions solely from whatever websites happen to suit their POV. I endorse Wjemather's post of 7:08am. In full. Including any part of it that you consider to be a personal attack. Pfainuk talk 17:05, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, I'll tell you some of what I find offensive in what Wjemather wrote:
  • The accusation that I pleaded ignorance.
  • The 'your apparent sudden amnesia' line.
I also find it objectionable when people make claims without evidence, such as:
  • "It is all too easy to find a reliable source that will support any given choice of preferred units." Not one shred of evidence for this claim. If it's all too easy, produce the evidence.
  • "The source that uses kilometres is automatically to be considered more authoritative and more reliable than the source that uses miles." I made no such statement. It's a 'straw man' argument. In fact, if a source is better or more reliable and uses the older measures, I would have no objection to using it.
  • "The systematic gaming of the system that comes with [source based units]" Where's the evidence for this?
It's easy to make these statements. Now back them up with credible evidence. Michael Glass (talk) 03:33, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Firstly, you (MG) took full part in the discussions which resulted in the current wording. In fact you initiated them. So insinuating that you cannot understand how it was arrived at is frankly ridiculous. As to your other points. You consistently manage to find metric sources to justify conversions from Imperial (I note the Japan Times being used to convert the Jubilee River article as a recent example (and there are many, many other instances) – this illustrates pretty well how easy it is to find a source to support your preference and how gaming of the system can and does occur). Who determines which source is the most authoritative? You? Considering one RS to be more authoritative than another clearly violates NPOV, and the only reason to do so would be to support a particular preference. wjematherbigissue 09:17, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
I put this information in the edit summary to alert other editors to this fact. If you check the link it contains some very useful and highly relevant information about the Jubilee River. Please read it. It certainly wasn't gaming the system to refer to it. I stand by my edit. Michael Glass (talk) 00:53, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
You are kidding no-one. There are many, many other sources (mainly UK-based) that could have been chosen, but you selected one from Japan because it was in metric, and then used it to justify metrication of the article – very much gaming the system. Further, I just chose the latest in a long line of UK articles that you have metricated in the same fashion. I shall not be presenting any others here as it does not help this discussion, but I think we are getting perilously close to moving to a forum where it will be appropriate. wjematherbigissue 08:41, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Hold that, you're at it again. wjematherbigissue 11:04, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Ah, so the "most authoritative source" for the length of one of the most important rivers in the UK is a school project. Interesting... Pfainuk talk 17:07, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
So, when you accused Wjemather of personal attacks because he said "it is inappropriate for you to somehow plead ignorance to the issues and raise the same points again". Which is quite patently not a personal attack in any sense of the term. Given that you have brought the same points up every two or three weeks for well over a year now, I actually find it surprisingly restrained. And yet presumably you think this, which is far worse on the WP:NPA scale, wasn't a personal attack? Pfainuk — continues after insertion below
No personal attack? Pull the other leg! Michael Glass (talk) 00:53, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I believe you demonstrate my conclusion. You didn't have an answer to Wjemather's perfectly reasonable point so you accused him of making personal attacks. Never mind that there were no personal attacks in the post you complained about, you did it anyway. Pfainuk talk 21:18, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
What you describe as his perfectly reasonable reply contained assertions without any evidence to back them up. Assertions without credible evidence are worthless. Michael Glass (talk) 00:53, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd bet that for most measurements of (e.g.) road distances in the UK, one can find both sources giving metric values and sources giving imperial values, anyway. A. di M. (talk) 13:16, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, many British measurements are given in Imperial measures. In many cases these are the only measures used. The fear that Imperial measures will be sidelined is unjustified. Michael Glass (talk) 13:36, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
So, if for a given measure there are both reliable sources giving a value in kilometres and reliable sources giving a value in miles, the choice of which to put first in the article isn't just about RSs... A. di M. (talk) 14:52, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
When Michael's trying to push source-based units the rule in that situation is pretty simple. The source that uses kilometres is automatically to be considered more authoritative and more reliable than the source that uses miles. WP:RS doesn't really come into it. Which is part of the problem with a source-based system: the systematic gaming of the system that comes with it is a major problem. Pfainuk talk 17:05, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I know that people in the same place and time might not use the same units, but what's the point of saying "topics strongly associated with places, times or people" in the guideline? A. di M. (talk) 07:40, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with A di M. I think the wording would be better as "For topics strongly associated with places, and some historical references, put the units most appropriate to them first. The present wording is baffling and should be revised. Michael Glass (talk) 13:02, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that would be better. A. di M. (talk) 13:16, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I've made that change. I hope it passes muster. Michael Glass (talk) 13:36, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't agree. It should apply to any article related to specific historical period, not just some of them. Switch it to: For topics strongly associated with a given place or time, or something equivalent, and I'll accept it. As I say, I've never really understood what article might be included based on the words "or people" in that sentence. Pfainuk talk 17:05, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Pfainuk, I accept your suggestion, but not the defective wording that Wjemather restored to the text. I've revised the text, using your wording and tightening the end of the sentence. Michael Glass (talk)

Knock it off, the wording was not defective and you made a clearly controversial change without consensus. It never hurts to wait for others to have their say before rushing to make changes, and it is also always worth a look through the archives to find out how the current wording came into being. It avoids much conflict. Please be more patient in future. wjematherbigissue 07:34, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, the point of saying "...or people" isn't obvious; at least, I didn't get it. Whatever it's supposed to be for, there must be a better way to say that. A. di M. (talk) 07:42, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

A.di M., have a look at the text at the moment. I hope that you find it more satisfactory. Michael Glass (talk) 08:48, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Proposed move of two dot points

The following two dot points are in [Unit Conversions].

I think they would be better placed immediately following the dot points about presentation of units in [|Which units to use and how to present them].

I propose moving them to this location.

  • This move would bring together the dot points on presentation of units.
  • It does not involve any change of wording.
  • It doesn't raise any policy issues that I am aware of.
  • It makes the policy slightly more coherent and easy to follow.

Are there any comments, suggestions or concerns about this proposal? Michael Glass (talk) 03:25, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Template:Start date and others

Templates like {{start date}} and {{start date and age}} have MD,Y date format by default which is actually used only in the United States and Canada. Since Wikipedia is an international encyclopaedia, I suggest the default format should be DMY. Artem Karimov (talk | edits) 11:03, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

The argument is reasonable, but only if you're willing to change the ones that should be MDY. I lean toward making the absence of default deprecated. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:04, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Prove that the vast majority of editors who placed the template intended the day month year format, and changing the default will produce the appearance that the editors actually intended to produce. If you can't provide this proof, leave the default alone. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:42, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
To ask for something that is virtually unprovable in support of a minority point of view is not a strong argument. What would be more realistic is to debate if the default option is confusing, which it is. That would be a good place to start. Glider87 (talk) 23:21, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Which format is in the majority is irrelevant to the concept of changing the default. A bunch of editors used the template. We must assume good faith and suppose they looked at their edit either in a preview, or after they made it, and were satisfied with the result. It is wrong to make a change to the template that changes the appearance that was implicitly approved by the editor who placed the template, unless we are sure the editor created an inappropriate format. Since there is no way to be sure all those editors made format mistakes, we must leave their work alone. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:20, 7 June 2010 (UTC)


I changed the use of UK pints in respect of milk to bottled milk on grounds that milk is usually sold in the supermarkets in 1, 2, 4 and 6 pint containers, but farmers subsidies are calculated per litre. Martinvl (talk) 07:49, 10 June 2010 (UTC)


The guidelines rightly say to write approximately in full and not to write approx. However, there is a shorter, better word: about. I think the Manual of Style could suggest using about instead of approximately, perhaps like this:

  • When part of a full sentence, write approximately in full or use about (e.g., write Earth's radius is approximately 6,400 kilometres, or Earth's radius is about 6,400 kilometres), not Earth's radius is approx. 6,400 kilometres or Earth's radius is ~ 6,400 kilometres.

What do others think? Michael Glass (talk) 06:22, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

I would personally not use "about" with a measurement correct to within less than 1% like that one, but YMMV. A. di M. (talk) 10:28, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Quite, approximately is more correct when it comes to measurements. wjematherbigissue 11:06, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong with the way Michael Glass uses "approximately" and "about", but there is no need to mention this in the guideline. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:57, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to reposition two other dot points

Two other dot points in "Unit Conversions" would be better placed with the other points on presentation of units. They are these two:

  • In a direct quotation, always keep the source units.
    • Conversions required for units cited within direct quotations should appear within square brackets in the quote.
    • Alternatively, you can annotate an obscure use of units (e.g. five million board feet of lumber) with a footnote that provides conversion in standard modern units, rather than changing the text of the quotation. See the style guide for citation, footnoting and citing sources.

I propose to move these two dot points. Are there any comments on this proposal? Michael Glass (talk) 00:31, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Spelling and metrication

The process of metrication has resulted in many units, such as the furlong, yard, foot (length), inch, and pound (mass) falling out of use in countries other than the United States. More precisely, these units have fallen out of use in law and commerce because for the most part, they are not allowed on the labels of goods being sold and not used in statutes or regulations; it is difficult to judge the extent they are still used in general oral conversation. Since these units are still widely used in law and commerce in the United States and are less-used elsewhere, should we use US spelling (including "meter" rather than "metre"), date format, etc. in these articles about these units? Jc3s5h (talk) 17:39, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Does your proposal include overturning the existing WP:RETAIN policy? I can foresee a flurry of unwelcome and unnecessary changes if implemented. --Old Moonraker (talk) 17:49, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
No, my proposal is that the metrication process is likely to trigger the "unless there are reasons for changing it based on strong national ties to the topic" clause of the WP:RETAIN guideline when units fall out of use everywhere except the US. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:05, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
How will that time be identified, please? --Old Moonraker (talk) 18:37, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
All of the above measurements are still used outside of the US, often in sport or in non-scientific situations. The yard does not originate in the US, and it seems pointless to have different spellings of meter/metre especially when nearly the whole world uses the original spelling of metre. Bevo74 (talk) 18:45, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I do not claim the units are not used at all outside the US, nor do I deny that they originated in the UK. But today they are used predominantly in the US, so they are more strongly associated with the US than with other countries.
As for the statement "it seems pointless to have different spellings of meter/metre especially when nearly the whole world uses the original spelling of metre", SI does not mandate the spelling of unit names, only the spelling of symbols. To see some of the various spellings for the meter, just click on some of the links to other-language Wikipedias on the left hand side of the window. Jc3s5h (talk) 19:06, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Moonraker asked "How will that time be identified, please?" I would say the time has arrived for furlong, foot, inch, and pound (mass). Yard and mile are not so clear; yard is still used on UK road signs and in association football (or so I'm told; I haven't been to the UK since 1970 and don't follow either kind of football). Miles are still used on UK road signs. In my view, when the unit becomes unusual in current written sources that are writing about the present day rather than historical events, and which are not writing about the US, then the unit is much more strongly associated with the US than elsewhere and if an article about the unit exits, it should use the US variety of English. The written sources to be considered should include product labels. Jc3s5h (talk) 19:14, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Britain has dual measures on product labels in many goods in supermarkets - including pounds and ounces. The foot and inch are still widely used in day-to-day life. Feet and inches are overwhelmingly the more common units used for measuring a person's height in the UK (hence being mentioned in the guideline). It's also common to measure the heights of hills in feet.
Roads and footpaths in the UK use either miles or yards depending on distance and context. They are only very rarely mixed - generally when describing the length of a marathon (26 miles, 385 yards). Furlongs are still used in horse racing, I believe, but not in any other context.
Association football is generally described in yards. Formally, the measurements are metric approximations to the distances in yards (for example, players have to remain 9.15 metres (10.01 yd) from a player taking a free kick), but in practice everyone in the UK uses yards. OTOH, cricket pitches are still defined in imperial units, I believe. Pfainuk talk 19:52, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
The article on the foot has a significant amount of historic information, much of which predates 1776 (and even more predates 1828 when Webster published his dictionary). This is probably sufficient reason to enforce the WP:RETAIN policy. Martinvl (talk) 20:36, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I would suggest that history would not be a deciding factor, in part because present-day usage outweighs historical origin in deciding what country a unit is strongly associated with, and also because the variety of English a person spoke in 1776 probably had more to do with exactly where in the UK the person's ancestors lived (perhaps depending on which London street the ancestors lived) and had little to do with whether the person was living in Britain or America. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:25, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

I have not looked into the other articles mentioned above but I would claim that furlong passes MOS:TIES An article on a topic that has strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation uses the English of that nation. Because while this is a well known unit of measure to the general public in the UK it is virtually unheard of in the united states. Not only that the first major edit to was it in British English on 17:49, 8 June 2004. We should stick with WP:RETAIN if MOS:TIES is in dispute as it has resolved many disagreements in wikipedia such as "Gasoline" → "Petrol". -- Phoenix (talk) 03:36, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

These units have strong historical ties to every English speaking country nor have they fully fallen out of use. Beer is sold in pints around the English speaking world. Canada might never fully metricate with a non-metric neighbour. UK roads are measured in miles. The units come from or at least via England even the gallons. So I'm not sure we have a strong case for US spelling across the board based on ties, not strong enough to counter the argument to retain current spelling. Of course if a unit has a particular tie (like the furlong has) then the argument is valid but are there any articles where this is a problem? JIMp talk·cont 00:19, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to add a new subheading and make the existing subheading heading more closely reflect the dot points under it

The section headed "Which units to use and how to present them" has two groups of dot points. The first group deals with which units to put first; the second group deals with how to present the units. Dealing with these two issues under one subheading is not as clear as it could be. I therefore propose to add a sub-subheading entitled How to present the units and to change the existing subheading to Which units to put first.

The reasons for this are:

  • Inserting an extra heading makes both sections easier to find.
  • Inserting an extra heading breaks the text into sections that are more readily understood.
  • The layout is consistent with the sub-subheading on scientific and technical terms.

In addition

  • The new headings are clearer and easier to follow, as each heading deals with just one subject.
  • Dot points on which units to put first would be under "Which units to put first."
  • Dot points on the presentation of units would be under "How to present the units."
  • The new headings don't change the wording of any of the dot points.
  • The only change is to the headings.

Are there any comments, suggestions or concerns about this proposal? Michael Glass (talk) 01:07, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Unneeded, the section is crystal clear. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 10:37, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
That being said, I wouldn't be opposed to using bold divisions than headers (;Foobar rather ===Foobar===). This would prevent the TOC from growing unwiedly, which is my concern here, rather than opposition to the idea of emphasing the division. Of course, if others prefer headers, then I'll live with that. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 10:43, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, only the last three bullets aren't about which units to put first. Of these, the first one is redundant with the "Avoid ambiguities" below; the other two could be merged together, e.g. "Measurements should be accompanied by a proper citation of the source using a method described at the style guide for citation; if the unit put first isn't the one given in the source, the original unit be noted in the citation." Such a point could be then moved into "Unit conversions". So, this section will only be about which units to put first. I'll give it a try; everyone feel free to revert. A. di M. (talk) 15:46, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

I've made several changes as follows:

  • I have removed the phrase or time as the examples that followed were all based on place. Questions of time may be better dealt with elsewhere.
  • I have followed up Headbomb's suggestion and inserted a bold division How to present the units This helps to clarify the layout without further lengthening the table of contents.
  • I have put the citation advice into the presentation section, as it is about how to present figures rather than about unit conversions.
  • I have put a short note with a redirection about ambiguous unit names
  • There are two points about citation. The first one is to cite all measurements; the second one is about noting the original unit in the citation if it is not put first. As they are different, I think they may be better as two separate points.

I hope that these revisions are helpful. Michael Glass (talk) 03:54, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Review of Manual of Style (dates and numbers)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This page is currently undergoing a review to ensure it forms a relevant and effective part of the Manual of Style. Please add review comments below along with notes of any improvement actions taken during the review.

"Manual of Style" or "Style Manual"?

Why use three words when two words would do? I propose that we change the names to Style Manual. Michael Glass (talk) 23:20, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

This came up in a related discussion fairly recently on the main MoS talk page; I think the current name was the most popular. But should you wish to pursue the question further, I suggest raising it there rather than on a subpage, where fewer editors may be aware and contribute. PL290 (talk) 08:23, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Role within the MoS

Questions which may highlight issues. Does this page fulfil a recognized and necessary role within the MoS? Is there a role conflict with any other MoS page?

Review comments

Relationship with other MoS pages

Questions which may highlight issues. Does this page have a clear identity in relation to other MoS pages? While a reader is obtaining guidance from this page, is it clear to the reader where to go for more general, and more specific, guidance related to its topic?

Review comments
  • Those considering such questions should keep in mind that there are usually ongoing discussions on the main MoS talk page about reorganizing the MoS. Any suggestions made here would do well to take the wider context of those discussions into account. PL290 (talk) 08:32, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Effectiveness of guidance

Questions which may highlight issues. Is the prose clear and concise? Does the guidance given reflect consensus?

Review comments

Size and structure

Questions which may highlight issues. Is this page too large to be manageable, or too small to be meaningful as a page in its own right? Should it be restructured? Should it be merged with another page?

Review comments
It's fine large. There are two American ane one UK style guide which are at or over 1,000 pages. They are meant to be comprehensive. Many others point to them (Chicago and Oxford are two). Wikipedia's style manual will necessarily be lengthy to be comprehensive as well.
I recommend the addition of a typography section. Chicago and the American Medical Association's style guide (984 and 1032 pages respectively) both have chapters on typography and design. Wikipedia's style manual doesn't yet—instead spreading design and typography topics throughout. They should be consolidated. --Airborne84 (talk) 14:00, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Duplication of detail

Questions which may highlight issues. Is any detail here also present on any other MoS page? Are the two in step? Should the detail be confined to one place, and only summarized at the other? Should transclusion be considered?

Review comments
  • Some cases of duplication at same level of detail as main MoS. One example is the section on non-breaking spaces, but I think there are probably others. The main MoS should probably not repeat such detail, but provide a summary along with a link to this page. Currently the two are not in step regarding the nbsp detail. PL290 (talk) 21:11, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
    • Comparing the non-breaking-space guidance on this page with that in the main MoS, each has a similarly detailed list of bullet points. The main MoS already includes a See also link to the section on this page, so unless anyone objects, I propose to remove that detail from the main MoS, leaving just the link and the one statement that currently starts its bullets: "Use a non-breaking space (also known as a hard space) to prevent the end-of-line displacement of elements that would be awkward at the beginning of a new line." PL290 (talk) 20:49, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
      • Agree. While you're at it, I would remove one of the links from this page: "See also: ... Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Non-breaking spaces". If you're already looking at the detailed version on this page, I don't know why you would want to click the link; after the change described above, you would be rereading a one-sentence summary. Art LaPella (talk) 21:08, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
        •  Done PL290 (talk) 15:44, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
          • Wouldn't it have made more sense to leave the detailed advice at MOS rather than MOSNUM, given that (e.g.) the point about quotation marks has nothing to do with dates and numbers? A. di M. (talk) 18:27, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
            • Funnily enough, the point about quotation marks was absent from the version of detail that was at the main MoS. Nothing new's been brought here. Seems best to keep all the detail in one place, and since a very great deal of it is to do with numbers, this page is still the better one as far as I can see. PL290 (talk) 19:18, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • The same is true in regard to units of measurement. MOS and MOSNUM have policies that are almost identical but it would probably be better if there was only one policy. Michael Glass (talk) 03:43, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
The use of units of measurement is guided by the following principles:
  • Avoid ambiguity: Aim to write so you cannot be misunderstood.
  • Familiarity: The less readers have to look up definitions, the easier it is to be understood.
  • International scope: Wikipedia is not country-specific; apart from some regional or historical topics, use the units in most widespread use worldwide for the type of measurement in question. The details of how that is achieved and guidance on the correct useage of units of measure is in WP:Manual of Style (dates and numbers).
Apart from the last sentence, this text is already in that article. Martinvl (talk) 15:57, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
A less scanty summary should be possible, such as this. A. di M. (talk) 16:07, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I would be more than happy with that, at least as a start point. My only comment is to repeat what I was taught many years ago when I had a stint doing some technical authoring for DEC (Digital Computer Corporation) - each heading must have at least one paragraph in the lead before subsidiary headings are added. Martinvl (talk) 16:28, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Hmm ... I do like the idea of separating the more esoteric, specialist concerns from the everyday ones, but I think it's a mistake to equate that with separating the summary from the detail. The less scanty summary, by repeating actual detail, means that the main MoS reader, finding they do in fact want the esoteric bit, must wade through much of the same detail again in order to find it. Also, the repeated detail will inevitably get out of step (as witness what happens currently where detail is repeated from one part of the MoS to another). So I prefer Martinvl's suggested summary, which allows all the detail to be kept together in one place, on this page. But it would certainly be helpful to put the specialist concerns in a separate list following the everyday ones. PL290 (talk) 09:05, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

It would be good to examine the wording of both MOS and MOSNUM in detail and choose the better wording where they differ. Despite their great similarity there are some differences, and some are significant. Michael Glass (talk) 12:28, 7 June 2010 (UTC)


Review comments
Canadian date formats. Currently the guide indicates both American and UK date formats are acceptable. That is not the case. The Government has a preferred short and long format as does the Canadian Press and most post-secondary institutions. The American long format is the format of preference. Short format is quickly converting to YYYY-MM-DD and occasionally YYYY-MMM-DD on government forms. The ambiguity of the policy has created lengthy debates on several articles within the Canada project. See Talk:Victoria Day‎ for one recent example. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 06:21, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
These discussions were over whether the articles should have been converted from one format to another. They did not reflect a desire to re-open debate over what has been a long-standing consensus to accept both formats. --Ckatzchatspy 06:46, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. That's why we need to set a single policy to avoid having people pick-and-choose (and wilfully change formats as was the case in both of the articles I have been working on) which is best. The idea that both US and UK formats are acceptable is not borne by fact but by a few pushy editors such as we have seen on those talk pages. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 06:50, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, that is your personal opinion; this discussion would suggest otherwise. --Ckatzchatspy 07:08, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
No an opinion would be "this is what I feel". My statement is that we need a single policy. My statement is that Month Day, Year is the format used by Canadian Press is a fact. That it's the format used by most universities is a fact. That it's the format used by the government is a fact. That you prefer Day Month Year is a fact (as you've gone on record). --Walter Görlitz (talk) 13:39, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
"We need to set a single policy to avoid having people pick-and-choose which is best" is your personal opinion, which the majority of editors disagreed with the last time something similar was brought up. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 15:53, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
I could see how you, as one of the problem editors who hides behind this ambiguity, would like it to remain ambiguous. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 17:08, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Walter, please avoid such comments; you only weaken your argument by insulting other editors. --Ckatzchatspy 17:23, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
So you're commenting on the editor to tell me to stop commenting on the editor. Interesting. I merely pointed-out that MIESIANIACAL has used the wording of current policy to apply his preferred formatting. If any of this is libellous, please let me know, but it's all documented so what I'm saying is correct. It's certainly not an insult. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 19:03, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

What in the world is going here? We don't need yet another unclear and convoluted attempt at some kind of unneeded and uncessary reform, with template clutter on top of that! I won't archive this, but I'm removing that horrifying banner. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 12:04, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

It is necessary since there is a clear preference for one style and we are waffling on it because of a few vocal editors. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 13:39, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
If the SSG proposal was accepted the Canadian exception could be handled far better at least in my opinion Gnevin (talk) 15:11, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
To that end I would like to end the "perfectly acceptable" argument that has been used by both MIESIANIACAL and Ckatz when debating the Victoria Day format change. I would like to create a list of institutions in Canada where the American format is acceptable and where the U.K. format is acceptable. We would simply provide links to their standards so that evidence and not personal opinion of what is and isn't acceptable can be presented. Where would a good place to create a page or sub-page be? --Walter Görlitz (talk) 19:03, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Depending on length .Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(Canada-related_articles) or Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(Canada-related_articles)/dates if very long Gnevin (talk) 21:05, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Before it goes "live", it should be hashed out on the talk page. Given what has been expressed so far, I'm really not comfortable with such a list being written straight into the guideline. --Ckatzchatspy 22:15, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't see your comfort as being a guideline for Wikipedia, but I understand your concern. I don't think anything is being taken "live". This is simply a list to indicate what current date formats are accepted in Canada. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 22:45, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Before another MoS holy war gets rolling too far, a few facts:
  • Mu (negative). That was short format. We are discussing long format. ----WG
  • Walter Görlitz's statements about "The American long format is the format of preference" is one big [citation needed] and debatable as follows...
  • Government usage is demonstrably inconsistent - while American formats are seen, international formats are also frequently seen at such sites as Environment Canada, PM, CRTC, DND
  • Other style guides such as The Canadian Style accept both long formats [2]
  • Finally a salient point. ----WG
  • Newspaper-based styles such as the Canadian Press guides should not be considered reliable nor be given much weight - Wikipedia is not a newspaper for one thing, and Canadian newspapers actually used American spelling until the 1990s (The Globe and Mail began the trend away from that in October 1990);
  • While not a newspaper, newspapers use style guides and hence it does apply here. ----WG
In conclusion, the "preference" is debatable, various date formats have usage in Canada, there is no evidence that the edit wars are a pandemic (at least not beyond a few indicated cases), and consensus does not support any changes to the existing WP:DATEVAR/WP:RETAIN statements with respect to Canadian subjects. Dl2000 (talk) 01:41, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Edit wars are not the issue. Editors going in and changing the format and then stating that it should not be changed citing MoS and other issues is. There is no harm in discussing it provided that it doesn't become a holy war or VHS/Beta or Windows/Mac/Linux battle. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 01:53, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Walter, sorry, but your post was really hard to read as originally entered. It was difficult to tell what was from you, and what was from Dl2000. If you really feel it is necessary to weave your comments like that, could you please sign the individual comments so that readers can tell who is saying what? --Ckatzchatspy 06:26, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

They're indented individually. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 06:28, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

I have created Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (Canada-related articles)#List of date formats used. I don't have access to the CP style guide but references seems to imply that it is Month Date, Year for long date format and mm/dd/yyyy for short date. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 23:58, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Ending this review

This review has been open for a couple of weeks now, and has generated discussion of a number of areas. There are issues of duplication of detail between this page and other MoS pages; consensus was achieved to remove this duplication in one area, and this has been done. If anyone wishes to make further specific proposals as part of this review, or respond further to existing points, please do so now. Once this review is archived, please re-raise any unresolved matters as and when required, either on this talk page or the main MoS one as appropriate. PL290 (talk) 21:07, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Policy should be world-wide in scope rather than just US and Commonwealth centred.

At the moment, the policy refers to the US, the UK and Commonwealth countries. I think it would be better to give guidance more generally, Unfortunately, a previous proposal [3] got no-where, but I still want to work out a wording that would be generally acceptable.

The present wording reads:

    • For topics strongly associated with a given place or time, put the most appropriate units first.
      • US articles generally put United States customary units first.
      • UK articles more often put metric units first, but imperial units may be put first in some contexts. These include:
        • Miles for distances, miles per hour for road speeds and miles per imperial gallon for fuel economy
        • Feet/inches and stones/pounds for personal height and weight measurements
        • Imperial pints for draught beer/cider
        • See also Metrication in the United Kingdom and the style guides of British publications such as that of the Times Online (under "Metric").
      • Articles concerning Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia and Australasia generally put metric units first.

I would like to suggest the following revision:

    • For topics strongly associated with a given place or time, put the most appropriate units first.
      • Articles about most countries generally put metric units first.
      • US articles generally put United States customary units first.
      • UK articles more often put metric units first, but imperial units may be put first in some contexts. These include:
        • Miles for distances, miles per hour for road speeds and miles per imperial gallon for fuel economy
        • Feet/inches and stones/pounds for personal height and weight measurements
        • Imperial pints for draught beer/cider
        • See also Metrication in the United Kingdom and the style guides of British publications such as that of the Times Online (under "Metric").

My reasons are as follows:

  • The emphasis changes from the Commonwealth to a more world-wide focus.
  • Focusing on the US, the UK and the Commonwealth and excluding the rest of the world is questionable in an encyclopedia.
  • The position of the clause is more appropriate at the beginning because the first clause covers most of the world.
  • If the clause on the US comes first the policy is open to the criticism that it is too centred on the United States or on English-speaking countries generally.
  • It is more acceptable to have the dot points stepped in one direction. It makes for clearer, easier reading and it looks better.

Other points are as follows:

  • The wording remains descriptive rather than prescriptive. It describes how articles are rather than prescribing how they should be.
  • The other wording is unchanged.
  • This is draft wording and is open to improvement.

I hope that this time we will be able to come up with wording that reflects the world-wide nature of the encyclopedia while continuing to give the respect that is due to local usage. Michael Glass (talk) 01:55, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

While the English Wikipedia should maintain a world-wide view about subject matter, matters of style rightly focus on English-speaking countries because that is the language the articles are written in. By coincidence, the countries that make the greatest use of non-metric units also speak English, but if there happened to be a country that made a great deal of use of some local units that would not be intelligible to English speakers, we would put metric first for that article because otherwise our readers wouldn't be able to understand it. Similarly, in an article about Germany, we would observe English capitalization conventions, not German. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:49, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Policy should reflect that most of our readers are from the US and Commonwealth.English Wikipedia page views by country. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 02:54, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Matters of style would rightly apply to all articles. In this particular case the guidelines cover articles on the US, the UK and Commonwealth countries but fail to cover other countries. We therefore have the anomalous situation where there is policy for

  • India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but not China, Russia, Thailand and Indo-China
  • The United States and Canada, but not Latin America
  • Malaysia but not Indonesia
  • Mozambique but not Angola
  • The UK and Malta but not Continental European countries

and so on.

My proposed change is designed to remedy this anomaly. It does not affect what the guidelines say about the US and the Commonwealth, but it extends this policy to other countries who do not happen to be covered at the moment. Then policy would cover all countries (almost 200) and not just the 55 countries that are covered at present.

I hope that this answers the concerns that have been expressed. Michael Glass (talk) 04:11, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

What you propose has exactly the same problems as the last time you proposed almost exactly the same wording a mere seven weeks ago. None of them has been addressed. Yet another example of your continual insistence that we perpetually go through exactly the same discussion. Pfainuk talk 06:22, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
The only problem is that you lump Canada in with the US and Canada is officially metric. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 07:06, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Unnecessary repetition. The first paragraph of the section of the guideline (not policy) reads: "Except in the cases mentioned below, put the units first that are in the most widespread use in the world. Usually, these are International System of Units (SI) units and non-SI units accepted for use with SI; but there are various exceptions..." That petty well covers the rest of the world without the need for repetition. Commonwealth countries are covered specifically to make it clear that they should be treated separately from the UK. wjematherbigissue 08:51, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
What others said. It's already covered, and this just a repetition of what you just said a few weeks ago. Please drop the issue. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 09:10, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

In that case the entire clause about Commonwealth countries is redundant and should be removed. Having it remain there is just misleading. Would anyone have any objections if I removed it? (talk) 10:24, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

There is some redundancy yes, but it is warranted, and it certainly isn't misleading. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 10:35, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I do not think it is particularly redundant or misleading. As I stated, it provides a necessary clarification regarding countries that officially used the Imperial system in the not too distant past, and in fact some of which still use various Imperial measures in everyday life. wjematherbigissue 10:41, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Is there not a case to rearrange the rules as follows:
  • Scientific articles use ...
  • Economic articles use ...
  • Technical articles use ...
  • ...
  • All other articles use SI apart from articles that have not already been convered and that have a strong link with the following countries:
  • United States where customary units may be used
  • United Kingdom where the following units may be used:
  • miles - ...
  • feet and inches - ...
  • - ...
  • Republic of Ireland - As for the United Kingdom, except that kilometres are used in place of miles
  • Canada - [or are Canadian articles be totally metric?]
This will remove the need to mention the Commonwealth. It might also be possible to merge the Irish and British use of units of measure if the use of miles is restricted to those roads and railway lines that are signposted in mile. Martinvl (talk) 11:50, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
The instruction is "For topics strongly associated with a given place or time, put the most appropriate units first." The following sub-bullets about the US and the UK are supposed to be examples. If someone doesn't know which units are the "most appropriate" in an article about Kazakhstan or Liberia, probably they oughtn't be writing such an article in the first place. (But I would support having something more explicit than "most appropriate", for example "put first the unit typically used in that place or time".) And a long list of items such as Martinvl's could exhaust the reader before they even figure out what the general principle behind them is. (If you had to give guitar string gauges in an article about an Italian guitarist, you would give them in the unit normally used in Italy to measure guitar strings – namely, in inches. Then, if there were a country in which guitar string gauges are normally given in an unit other than the inch, you would follow the gauge in inches with a conversion in that unit, so that readers from that country could understand; but it turns out that this is not the case. But with a long list of cases the reader could be unable to see the forest for the trees and assume that the usual rule to use metric units applies because there's no exception about music-related articles.) A. di M. (talk) 12:33, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I would agree to that change in wording: from "put the most appropriate units first" to "put first the unit typically used in that place or time". It's what we mean, so it makes sense that it be what we say. Pfainuk talk 17:09, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
No, "put the most appropriate units first" is too strong. The units used in a particular place or time may be too obscure for modern English-speaking readers to understand, so a balance must be struck. Factors to consider are:
  • readers who view an article about a particular place and time are more likely to be familiar with that date and time
  • the sources on a particular place and time may usually use the units that were common at that place and time
  • the units used in a particular place and time might be too obscure for modern readers
  • the conversion factors for units used in a particular place and time may be disputed; depending on whether the numbers used in an article are modern measurements or are transcribed from old sources, modern or old units may be more appropriate. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:19, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I think the biggest issue here is with the "or time" bit. You have a point: clearly we don't want to be trying to convert an article into some obscure unit from the tenth century that we can only reliably use on an order-of-magnitude basis. In those contexts, "most appropriate" is a better wording. In relatively modern contexts, however, where the units concerned are relatively well known and defined, I believe that saying "put first the unit typically used in that place or time" stands up, and is clearer than the current wording. It could perhaps be noted in addition to, rather than instead of, the "most appropriate unit" line. Pfainuk talk 20:03, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I would be fine with "For topics strongly associated with a given place, put first the unit typically used in that place". A. di M. (talk) 10:10, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Would there be any objection if I removed the words "or time"? The wording would then read:
For topics strongly associated with a given place, put the most appropriate units first.
Any comments? Michael Glass (talk) 01:23, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd give a clearer explanation than "most appropriate": for example, "typically used in that place". Also, I'd add "for example" to show that the US and the Commonwealth aren't supposed to cover all the world. (I'm going to do this; revert if you don't like it.) A. di M. (talk) 08:59, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
I like it. It's crystal-clear and a definite improvement to the wording.Michael Glass (talk) 14:23, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

”Most appropriate” or “Most widely used” units?

I revoked the changes to the MoS because I do not think that the question of “most appropriate” or “most widely used” has been thought through carefully enough.

Firstly, Wikipedia is written for the benefit of its readers, not for the benefit of the residents of the area that is being described. If the units of measure used in the literature correspond to the expectation of the readers, then there will be no problem. If however this expectation does not hold, then the issue needs to be resolved. One of the aims of the MoS is to resolve this problem.

The English language version of Wikipedia is not only read by people whose native tuonge is English, but also by people for whom English is a second language, but who prefer to read the English language version because it is more comprehensive.

If an article describes the locality in general terms, then it is probable that the residents of that area would form the majority of the readers. This is almost certainly true of the United States and of the United Kingdom, but is probably not true of some remote islands. For example, Gough Island has a typical resident population of six – South African meteorologists - yet it get over 100 hits a day. In the case of Gough Island, the readers are almost certainly not the residents. Another example worth considering is Ulan Bator. Although the city has over a million residents and appears in Wikipedia in a large number of languages, the English language version appears to be the most comprehensive. Thus I would assume that a significant number of readers of that article would be readers for whom English is a second language.

I think that these example show that although the units of measure used in a locality might be the appropriate ones to use in a Wikipedia article, this is not always the case. For this reason I argue that the words “most appropriate” should be used rather than “most widely used”. The principal measure of “appropriateness” would be made by consulting the literature relating to the subject and deviating only if there is a good case to do so. Martinvl (talk) 15:57, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

The fact is that in many cases you can find both literature using a unit and literature using a different unit. What should one do in those cases? (Also, without explicitly stating what the measure of appropriateness is, saying that you should use the most appropriate units is nearly a tautology: "most appropriate" indeed means "the ones you should use"!) A. di M. (talk) 16:09, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
I would use the most appropriate units. For example, British road construction manuals use metric untis, but road atlases use imperial units. If the article on British roads is biased towards the technical aspects of the road, it would be appropriate to use metric units; but for distances between towns or cities, it would be appropriate to use imperial units (unless of course metric units are explicity used on the road signs). Martinvl (talk) 16:16, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
So would I. But being told to put "the most appropriate units" first doesn't help someone who doesn't know how to decide which units are the most appropriate. A. di M. (talk) 16:20, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
A. di M.'s point about people who don't know how to decide could be solved by adding an appropriate example or two to the existing examples about the US, UK, and Commonwealth. A perfect example would be some small non-English-speaking place that still uses local customary units that would be unfamiliar to most English-speakers. Due to the small size and language of the place, we could presume that most readers would not be able to understand the local units, so SI, Imperial, or US customary units would be more appropriate.
However, I don't know if such a place exists. It might be the case that SI, Imperial, and US customary units are the only contenders, and articles about any place that has never been affiliated with the US or the UK should list SI first. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:39, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
Burmese units of measurement? On the other hand, any article about Burma is going to have much more serious issues than the choice of units of measurement, so I'd rather not use that example. A. di M. (talk) 17:50, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
This is actually a good example - are we writing the English version of Wikipedia for English-speaking or Burmese-speaking readers? If we are writing it for readers who prefer the English version - American, British, Australian, Indian, Dutch (nl:Myanmar is one third the length of Burma) then we should use international (ie SI) units first (as has been done). (BTW, between the mid-19th century and 1947 Burma was part of the British Empire). Martinvl (talk) 18:45, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, if the point is just who the readers of the English Wikipedia are, it turns out that most of them don't prefer metric units. Anyway, if the appropriate conversions are used, everyone can understand the measurement whether they are from America, Britain, Australia, India, or the Netherlands. A. di M. (talk) 10:03, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
About 63% of readers are from the United Kingdom or the United States, the rest are form totally metric countries. The United States figures might be inflated - how many users do so via corporate accounts that have .com addresses - for example? The remaining 37% are from countries that use metric units as their principal unit of measure, so lets not introduce mob rule - be selective about which articles appeal primarily to US readers, which apply to UK readers and which appeal to the world at large. We should bear in mind that whereas UK football fans might prefer imperial units if they want to find out the height of the Englan goal-keeper, British schoolchildren doing a school project will be expect to use metric units, while the business researcher needing a quick overview will also expect metric units as this will match the units that they have gleaned form other sources. Of course the football fans will not be looking at the same articles as the business researchers. Finally, if Wikipedia is an encyclopedia rather than a newspaper, what is wrong with repeating the units of measure used in good almanacs, be they Whitakers Almanac, the CIA World Factbook or Wisdens Cricketers almanac. That is why I prefer the use of the word Appropriate.
Citations for those statistics of usage? --Walter Görlitz (talk) 19:50, 13 June 2010 (UTC) A. di M. (talk) 19:56, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. They can't be used as they are based on domain name not on IP address. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 20:09, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
It says: "Share is the percentage of requesting ip addresses (out of the global total) which originated from this country". Seems reasonable to suggest that they are in fact based on IP address. Pfainuk talk 20:30, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Your claim that the US figure may be inflated does not appear to be backed up, and I think we have to accept the figures as they are.
Nobody is trying to demand the use non-metric units first in general; only where geographical, historical or other reasonable circumstances apply. I do not accept your absurd interpretation that "most appropriate" means or has ever meant that we should use metric units even when such units do not accord with local usage. We would not list tautological rule, to use metric units except in certain circumstances in which we use metric units, in this way. And why on earth would we list several examples that directly contradict this interpretation? I do not think it is much to ask for local usage to be respected in our unit choices on articles that are strongly tied to a specific country. This is not "mob rule", it's a reasonable accommodation to make, bearing in mind that nearly two thirds of our readership who live in countries where non-metric units form a common part of day-to-day life.
The best idea would be simply to repeat the language of the rule itself: "put the units first that are in the most widespread use in the country concerned". In historical circumstances, the same rule should apply where such a rule is reasonable, with other units to be used as appropriate otherwise. Pfainuk talk 20:29, 13 June 2010 (UTC)


The Units of Measurement sections of MOS and MOSNUM are largely, but not completely identical in layout and wording. In many cases, MOSNUM is better but in some cases MOS has the better wording. One example is in the introduction. MOSNUM's wording is brief but cryptic whereas MOS's wording is longer but clearer, and better in getting the message across.

MOSNUM: If there is trouble balancing these bullets, consult other editors through the talk page and try to reach consensus.

MOS: In instances where these principles appear to conflict with one another, consult other editors on the article's talk page and try to reach consensus.

As the Manual of Style version is clearer and much easier to follow I propose to bring the wording over into MOSNUM. Any comments, suggestions or concerns? Michael Glass (talk) 05:17, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

I think this might be the best wording:
In instances where these principles appear to conflict, consult other editors on the article's talk page and try to reach consensus.
It's shorter than the MOS version, but just as clear, and almost as concise as the MOSNUM version, but not as cryptic. Michael Glass (talk) 05:33, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
As the shorter version proposed above was challenged on MOS I decided to go with the longer version that is in MOS at the moment. Michael Glass (talk) 11:52, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Full vital dates vs. years

The previous discussion evidently was deemed cold by the archive bot. So I propose to edit as we seemed to roughly agree, and then perhaps add more clarification in the BIO MOS. That is, allow (1999–2222) or (January 1, 1999 – December 22, 2222) depending on if the full dates vs. years are relevant and not redundant. W Nowicki (talk) 20:52, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree. The days and months are seldom relevant enough to be put in the first sentence and typically only make the reader have to skip one more line of text only to know who the hell the subject of the article was. A. di M. (talk) 08:21, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I tend to disagree. It helps detect date vandalism if the dates appear both in the lede and the infobox. (It's more common for living or recently dead people than long-dead people, but I've seen it on a few people on my watch list.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 08:29, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm opposed to the change for other reasons, but I'm sure consensus is against those, so I won't bring them up again. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 08:38, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Not sure it is a "change" since my proposal is what seems to be in many articles, more like a clarification. Note I only advocate removing the details from the lead if they also appear in the body and the infobox. That is, they should appear at least twice, and three times if the article warrants it (lead is long enough). I have never seen date vandalism but work on more historic bios so you probably have a point for that class of people. Many historic people also might have a specific date of death well known but birth dates often are harder to pin down. W Nowicki (talk) 17:08, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
We need to clarify "redundant" in the MOS, then. I'm sure some would now create a bot to remove dates from the lede. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:59, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

MOS's advice on unnecessary vagueness

MOS gives the following advice on avoiding unnecessary vagueness:

Use accurate measurements whenever possible.

Vague Precise
The wallaby is small. The average male wallaby is 1.6 metres (63 in) from head to tail.
Prochlorococcus marinus is a tiny cyanobacterium. The cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus marinus is 0.5 to 0.8 micrometres across.
The large oil spill stretched a long way down the Alaskan coast. The oil spill that drifted down the Alaskan coast was 3 statute miles (5 km) long and 1,000 feet (300 m) wide.

Is this worth reproducing in MOSNUM? Michael Glass (talk) 13:29, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 06:25, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Question Concerning Dates

OK, I apologize if this has been discussed before, but I have been searching through guides and talk page archives for an answer to my question and to tell you the truth I am not about to go through pages upon pages of MoS holy wars to answer a simple question. Was consensus ever reached on whether the YYYY-MM-DD format is allowed in citations or not? I need to know whether I'm about to head over to Google and start a mass conversion of citation dates. Thanks to whoever can help me out. — Parent5446 (msg email) 18:01, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

There seems to be consensus to allow YYYY-MM-DD format in citations on the basis that this is an area where space is limited, and that format is allowed where space is limited. There is no consensus as to whether the dates of publications may be in a different format from the retrieval date.
Also, some historical articles may cite dates where the citation date is given in a non-Gregorian calendar, and the YYYY-MM-DD format is not allowed for those. In such an article, for the sake of consistency, the YYYY-MM-DD format would have to be avoided altogether (again, there is no consensus about whether retrieval dates could be in YYYY-MM-DD format even when the rest are in a different format).
Please note that the phrase "start a mass conversion of citation dates" tends to get people's attention. Dates in an article with an established style should not be changed without consensus on the talk page. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:20, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Here's the latest RFC on the issue: Wikipedia:Mosnum/proposal on YYYY-MM-DD numerical dates. As for me, I typically use YYYY-MM-DD for retrieval dates – unless the article I'm editing already consistently uses another format for that purpose, and don't give the day and month of publication at all (unless there's a good reason to do so) so that the issue of consistency between different parts of a citation often doesn't arise at all. A. di M. (talk) 09:26, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Indian number names

The words "lakh" and "crore" appear quite often in articles about Indian related subjects. As a non-Indian I find it impedes understanding when I read sentences such as: "Since liberalization, the value of India's international trade has become more broad-based and has risen to Rs. 63,080,109 crores in 2003–04 from Rs.1,250 crores in 1950–51." (quoted from Economy of India). I think use of these (non universal English) terms should be discouraged. I'm fairly sure Indians who are fluent in English are quite familiar with "thousand", "hundred thousand" and "million". Roger (talk) 17:49, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

You can make the same argument about SI vs. Imperial measures—but we keep both around, because to use only one or the other tends to provoke disputes over national usage, rates of acceptance and facility of comprehension. The trouble is, Indians really do tend to express numbers that way, even if thinking or communicating in English. If you want to minimize confusion (at the expense of readability), include a conversion in parentheses. Ultimately, the governing content guideline is WP:ENGVAR, specifically the section about strong national ties to a topic, but also the "Opportunities for commonality" section. There may be a valid debate to be had about whether thousands-based digit grouping would be acceptable to our Indian readership—but I suspect because of the Western roots of most of our MOS editors, we might not be fully qualified to have that debate amongst ourselves. TheFeds 18:11, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
In the case of Imperial and SI units it is a well established practice on WP to simply state the other unit in parentheses directly after the primary unit. Roger (talk) 11:08, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
For currency conversion in particular, you can use {{INRConvert}} to handle the conversion. -- JHunterJ (talk) 18:30, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
This is not about currency conversion at all - its about names for numbers that are used exclusively by people from the South Asian subcontinent. For example I don't know if the first amount mentioned in the quote I gave is 63 billion or 63 trillion or 63 hundred millon (which would more correcly be 6.3 billion) Rupees. Roger (talk) 11:08, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
First of all apoligies to User:JHunterJ - I was interupted when making my last edit and I appear to have messed up both his and my postings.
We must realise that India is the world's largest English-speaking country, even if it is a second language for a substantial number of its inhabitants - however many will use the English version of Wikipedia rather than the Hindi or other indigenous language version. Although Indian users are currently a small minority of Wikipedia users, the growth potential in India is huge. Since Wikipedia is an international medium, it must cater for all varities of English. We already have a number of regional manuals of style for various parts of the world. I would welocme one from India, though of course the rest of the Wikipedia community should check it to ensure that it is compatible. I would welcome guidance from the Indian community on matters such as when to use Bombay and when to use Mumbai. On the other hand, I would expect the authors of such an article to give guidance on how to use, and more importantly communicate to non-Indians, the meaning of the word such as lakh and crore. From a personal point of view, I would suggest a statement at the start of relevant articles that reads One lakh = 100,000; one crore = 10,000,000. This would avoid the need to convet every value as it is quoted. Martinvl (talk) 20:31, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
There's one more option I forgot to mention above—link the words (like lakh), when you think clarification would be useful. I don't think the note at the beginning of the article is a great choice; maybe a footnote would be better, if an explanatory note in the article is desired. TheFeds 22:24, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
A wikilink won't really help because that would mean I have to jump to a different article just to understand a number - that will totally disrupt the readability. Its not a solution at all. Roger (talk) 11:08, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
I've always taken ENGVAR to only apply to native English varieties (and India has fewer native English speakers than Germany). If ENGVAR is supposed to also apply to non-native speakers, then Naples had better be moved to Napoli, since I think that is how most of the people living there – but none of those who are native English speakers – refer to their city even when speaking English. A. di M. (talk) 10:00, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
The problem with this suggestion is that Indian English is a recognised variety of the language and is to a large extent standardised. "Crore" and "lakh" are legitimate loanwords within the Indian variety of English. Roger (talk) 11:08, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to drop a note about this discussion on the India WikiProject's talk page, we could do with participation from them. Roger (talk) 11:08, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

There are two reasonable choices - a) links for Lakh and Crore b) using parenthesis. Personally i prefer parenthesis. Using both lakhs and millions might be a little inconvenient for the writer but it is best option to satisfy both Indian and non-Indian readers. Most Indian English readers dont use million/billion yet (i still get hopelessly confused trying a mental conversion)--Sodabottle (talk) 12:05, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

If we go purely by millions, billions and trillions, then the person checking the reference would be confused. The reason is that most reporting in all Indian newspapers, figures in all official gazettes and documents are in lakhs and crores. So, if one were to see that the "Fiscal deficit was 1 trillion rupees in 2008-09" (in Wikipedia), the referred website / document would actual say 1 Lakh crores. Reader would then have to look-up the details of lakhs and crores. Other editors will also have to look-up details for each edit of figures (reviewers, admins - checking for vandalism, for example), if they are not familiar with lakhs and crores, when such alternative nomenclature is not presented right there in parenthesis.
I think the better of the choices is to use the figures in western nomenclature in parenthesis, like "Fiscal deficit was 1 lakh crore rupees in 2008-09 (1 trillion rupees)". VasuVR (talk, contribs) 17:27, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly agree with VasuVR. Roger (talk) 06:00, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Also strongly agree. Link lakh/crore and provide a Western conversion in parens. Solves everything quite nicely. --Cybercobra (talk) 00:56, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

BTW, searching the archives through the box at the top of this talkpage for "lakh crore" turned out several past discussions on this, the most recent one being /Archive 122#WP:ENGVAR and Indian number format (lakh/crore) from April 2009. ― A._di_M.3nd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 10:17, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Since this has already been discussed, but no conculsion was reached, this is probably worth an RFC and an addition made in the MoS, otherwise this will crop up every year or so. Martinvl (talk) 20:47, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Martinvl, is that a formal rulemaking procedure? If so, yes please do it so that this issue can be settled properly instead of being regurgitated repeatedly. Roger (talk) 10:01, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Agree with Roger. It seems to me that "lakh" and "crore" are local terms for words that are already established in English. The fact this locale has one billion people does mean it is equally recognized in other locations. Linking is fine, but why link when there are proper terms in English. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 02:56, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Surely you mean "this locale has 100 crore people"! just a joke but it illustrates the problem perfectly. Roger (talk) 10:01, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I think that since Wikipedia is an international resource, it is best to use generic international English in articles. Local dialects which are not understood outside of their local areas are not helpful to readers from outside of those areas, who will not understand what the local terms mean. English is turning into a global lingua franca which allows people whose first language is not English to communicate with other people whose first language is not English - as long as they do not use local dialect terms which are not understood outside of their local dialect areas. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 04:04, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
Would I be following a consensus if I were to add the following to the section on WP:NUM:
Use of lakh and crore – In India, the terms lakh (100,000) and crore (10,000,000) are often used in contexts where other English-speaking counties would use the terms million or billion. These terms may be used in articles that are specific to India provided that:
  • The source document used lakh and/or crore.
  • The term is explained, either in parenthesis after each use thus "Fiscal deficit was 1 lakh crore rupees in 2008-09 (1 trillion rupees)" or each article or section has the text "(1 lakh = 100,000; 1 crore = 10,000,000)" immediately after the title line. The choice of information presentation is at the indivuidual editor's discretion.
If this is roughly what people want, I am happy to put it into the MoS page and see what the Wikipedia community at large thinks. Martinvl (talk) 11:54, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't think either should be mandated. As long as it fits stylistically with the article, the "originating edit" should stand, whether the source document used it or not -- maybe 7 sources are used in an article, 5 use lakh and 2 don't, but the article is written to consistently use lakh. If the originating editor doesn't include a conversion, a subsequent editor who thinks the article would benefit from the conversion should be welcome to enhance the article with it, but neither the originating editor nor the conversion editor would be stylistically wrong. So:
Use of lakh and crore: In the Indian numbering system, "lakh" (100,000) and "crore" (10,000,000) are used in contexts where other English-speaking counties would use "million" or "billion". These terms may be used in articles as appropriate (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style#National varieties of English), with or without explanation or conversion. For example
  • "Fiscal deficit was 1 lakh crore rupees in 2008-09 (1 trillion rupees)"
  • "400 crore (US$62 million)" (via {{INRConvert|400|c|0}})
  • "(1 lakh = 100,000; 1 crore = 10,000,000)" immediately after the title line.
The choice of information presentation is at the editor's discretion. If an editor adds an explanation or conversion, an explanation or conversion should be retained in subsequent edits.
Perhaps a new template for the "title line" option, similar to {{ChineseText}} or {{Chinese name}}, except linking to Indian numbering system and providing the definitions of lakh and crore, would be appropriate. -- JHunterJ (talk) 12:50, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I think it would be best to treat lakh and crore as terms that need to be explained for the wider readership just as the British use of stones (14 lbs) (6.35kg) needs to be explained. So, if India is said to have 100 crore people, this would need to be explained as 1,000 million or 1 billion and 10 lakh would need to be explained as a million. A link to the meaning of the words would be useful, but it would not be a substitute for a conversion of the figures in lakhs and crores into millions or billions. Michael Glass (talk) 13:29, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
We could probably stand to simplify the requirements a bit—in this discussion, all we really need to determine for sure is whether there is (or isn't) consensus to use the terms, and whether some sort of clarification is (or isn't) necessary. For example, it should probably be a matter of editorial discretion to decide whether, in an article with many numbers, every one of them needs to be accompanied by a conversion and/or link (provided that adequate clarification exists in reasonable places). I don't think we really need to put the conversion note at the beginning of the section (consider using a footnote with group="Note", if anything). Also, while the {{ChineseText}} template box looks decent, current use of those boxes implies a technical issue with page rendering, rather than a comprehension issue. I don't think we should confuse things by introducing an alternative meaning for those boxes.
As for {{INRConvert}}: that's a neat idea for a template, but the conversion will change when it gets updated (manually and sporadically). It's therefore not going to be accurate for historical conversion values (and especially inaccurate when considering inflation)—that makes it a bad choice for things that are dependent on a reference that represents a particular point in time. If we call it out in the MOS, we need to explain this complication to readers. (Also, if we do use it, we should see if we can get a bot to autoupdate it based on the template's source data—a frequently-updated text file provided by the U.S. Federal Reserve.)
Stone is a good comparison on one level—in that it's a popular regionalism that goes far beyond slang—but it is different in the sense that it's a unit conversion, rather than a second way of representing the same quantity. Conceptually, maybe this numbering question is more like the difference between expressing a real number as a fraction versus a positional number (e.g. 116 vs. 0.0625).
By the way, while we refer to this numbering system as Indian for convenience, it's also in wide use in Pakistan and Bangladesh. We probably should avoid unintentionally implying that it's an India-only thing if we write something into the MOS, or put some sort of a template on a page. TheFeds 20:42, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
By my reading, we have a rough agreement that lakh and crore can be used on articles related to the Indian Subcontinent and should be converted them in whatever way is most appropriate in the article in question, and that they should be converted to millions and billions - a position that I would endorse as well. It may be worth our creating some kind of template, but I think inline conversion would be fine as well.
A question that I am not qualified to answer, I believe, is what to do about the reverse situation. Are the million and billion sufficiently well known in the Indian Subcontinent for us to be able to use them without conversion in articles unrelated to the Indian Subcontinent? From a practical standpoint, given the number of articles that use millions and billions, it's the sort of thing that we should only do if the need is really pressing - but note that one in forty of our readers comes from India alone - a small but not insignificant proportion, so I feel the concern ought to be raised at least. Pfainuk talk 21:17, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I believe the term South Asia is the apropriate (inclusive and non-nationalistic) descriptor for the region and people concerned. Roger (talk) 08:19, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I've added a bullet point to the MOS on this topic, which I believe does a credible job of capturing the consensus here. One minor note: I chose to follow WP:ITALICS and didn't italicize the loanwords lakh and crore—that's a bit divergent from our usage above, but seems justified. TheFeds 03:51, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Duplicate "Unnecessary vagueness" paragraph

The MOS:NUM#Unnecessary vagueness section has a duplicate section near the bottom of the page. They don't match exactly. The first one is red and green, and the second one has an extra example (search for "Malibu"). So which duplicate do you want to keep? Art LaPella (talk) 00:33, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

DocumentHistory template

Dear colleagues, I added a {{DocumentHistory}} template to this page when interest was expressed in the idea that we should begin to keep track of the status of MoS documents in this way. I did so after this initiative by another editor was welcomed at the main MoS talk page, but unfortunately, User:Headbomb has taken against the template and has now reverted my edit several times, so that despite some support for using it, it is now gone again from this page. No objections to the template have been expressed by any others. Contributions are now sought to the discussion on the main MoS talk page about whether to continue the use of this template in MoS pages. PL290 (talk) 07:48, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

As there is clear support for this initiative, I have reinstated the template once more. Please do not remove it again. It serves a useful purpose. Please join the the discussion on the main MoS talk page with any further comments. PL290 (talk) 08:41, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
There is absolutely zero support for this template to be present (do not conflate support for doing a review of MOSNUM with support for the template's presence). It clutters the page with useless crap, and has zero utility whatsoever. An article's history template document landmark events, such as peer reviews, promotion, front page appearences, etc... This documents nothing, and what it could document is pointless to document (proposal, promotion, etc...). I'm removing it again and please do not reinstore this useless clutter. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 00:37, 2 July 2010 (UTC)


For the disambiguation part (ie. writing out 5MiB as 5×1024² bytes) does the MOS mean to do it for EVERYTHING (eg. computer specifications, games system requirments, etc.) or only when there's an ambiguity? Adding (xx×1024^x bytes) after everything seems very tedious and redundant to me, and infers a false sense of accuracy when there might not be (eg. system requirements). --antilivedT | C | G 05:39, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

A bit of light on this. This question arrives via the Ubuntu (operating system) article. Until recently the specifications were in MB. Recent edits changed them to MiB to reflect the requirements on the Ubuntu site. I changed them back adding clarification as suggested by the guideline. It was pointed out that my clarification was incorrect and I requested that the MiB be represented in 1000^x Bytes since it's not as common as MB. Feel free to see the edit history and discussion at the article. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 07:32, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Just because a small minority of Ubuntu documents use IEC it doesn't mean we can ignore the majority of sources. In other words sine the majority of references relevant to this topic do not use IEC so we don't either. You might want to add a footnote clarifying that although some Ubuntu sources use MiB the majority of other sources use MB in the binary sense. I'll leave that up to you to decide. Glider87 (talk) 01:35, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Fractions, decimals and metric units

The text of this article mentions "eighth of a millimetre". My unerstanding is that vulgar fractions should not be used with metric units. I propose therefore to replace "millimetre" with "inch" in this example and to add an additional bullet point:

  • Fractional parts of metric units should always be expressed in decimals (5.25 mm), not vulgar fractions (5 1/4 mm). However imperial units may use either forms - both (5.25 inches and (5 1/4 inches) are acceptable, provided that there is consistency in the way that the fractions are represented. This is consistent with consumer protection legislation in the both the United Kingdom [1] and the United States[2]


  1. ^ "Para 3(5)". The Weights and Measures (Quantity Marking and Abbreviations of Units) Regulations 1987. Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 1538. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. 1987. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  2. ^ "Fact Sheet on Metric Labeling for Consumer Packages". NIST. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 

Martinvl (talk) 20:54, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Using decimals rather than fractions appears to be a convention. But I failed to find any official policy against fractions in SI. Three of the seven SI base units are defined in terms of fractions, two of which are vulgar fractions:
  • 'The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second.'
  • 'The kelvin, unit of thermodynamic temperature, is the fraction 1/273.16 of the thermodynamic temperature of the triple point of water.'
  • 'The candela is the luminous intensity, in a given direction, of a source that emits monochromatic radiation of frequency 540 x 1012 hertz and that has a radiant intensity in that direction of 1/683 watt per steradian.'
See the official SI website.
However, the convention seems rational to me. If anyone can find a high level reference to the convention, it'd be useful to see. I agree that the phrase 'eighth of a millimetre' is inconsistent with the convention and probably should be changed. Lightmouse (talk) 21:58, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
I found a reference - it is unlawful in the UK for purposes of trade to use vulgar fractions in conjunction with metric units (The Weights and Measures (Quantity Marking and Abbreviations of Units) Regulations 1987). Is this sufficient? Martinvl (talk) 09:32, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
I have included two refernces in the proposed text (see above). Martinvl (talk) 15:05, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

We should not require that metric units always be expressed as decimals. The citations given by Martinvl are confined to the realm of consumer goods, where the goal is to allow the consumer to compare various packages. Decimal values are certainly superior for that purpose. However, we may sometimes have to write about nominal design values that may be vulgar fractions. For example, if a certain circuit board process required as many contacts as possible in 1 mm, and the designers found the maximum possible was 3, then the contact pitch would be 1/3 mm.

If it was a good idea to require values to always be expressed as decimals, BIPM would have said so. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:47, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

I take your point. Would you be happy if the bullet point read:
  • Unless there is sound reason to the contrary, fractional parts of metric units should be expressed as decimal fractions (5.25 mm), not vulgar fractions (5 1/4 mm). However imperial units may use either form - both (5.25 inches and (5 1/4 inches) are acceptable, provided that there is consistency in the way that the fractions are represented.
This text waters down the strength of the requirement and also removes the consumer legislation links. Also, I have replaced "eighth of a millimetre" with "eighth of an inch" as this does not affect the point that the text is putting across. Martinvl (talk) 19:19, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes, I would agree with the text posted by Martinvl at 19:19 UTC. Jc3s5h (talk) 19:56, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

The current text is missing a parenthesis. I propose the more active phrasing:

  • The fractional part of a metric unit should be a decimal fraction (5.25 mm) unless there is a good reason for it to be a vulgar fraction (5 1/4 mm). Imperial units may use either form (5.25 inches or 5 1/4 inches).

I don't see any need for this "rule" to be applied so broadly. What is wrong with saying "Mature oompaloompa trees are between 21/2 and 31/2 metres tall" or "Vehicles heavier than 121/2 tonnes require special permission to enter the city"? The trade regulations of one country are not a sufficient basis for an entry in the MoS - WP is not a business website selling goods to UK citizens. Roger (talk) 19:16, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Vulgar fractions are very rare with the metric system (though they are not unattested). Where an American would write 3 38 inches, a continental European is very likely to write 8.6 centimetres. So, while I'd rather not have a rule discouraging 5 14 mm in the MoS, I wouldn't use similar examples. (As for your examples, while 2 12 metres would be fine for the height of a tree – 2.5 metres would be false precision suggesting that the value is correct to within 10 centimetres or less – , I would express the vehicle mass limit in whichever way the law itself expresses it, which would be very unlikely to be with a vulgar fraction.) ― A._di_M.3rd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 11:04, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
It is not false precision to use a decimal fraction. The value 2.5 m does not imply the precision is ± 0.1 m, it just implies the precision is in the tenths digit. This does leave ambiguity about whether the precision is ± 0.1 m, ± 0.5 m, or anything in between. When such ambiguity is not acceptable, an explicit precision must be stated. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:24, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, actually it might even be taken to be as small as ± 0.05 m (though not in that context). ― A._di_M.3rd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 14:03, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Roger deleted my "tongue in cheek" comment as rubbish.[4] That may be, but that term could apply to half of what is covered on the MOSNUM talk page. People are dueling to the death over a half-liter bottle of Coke or how to report the temperature in the Falklands (or something like that.) The only thing that prevents these disputes from escalating to atomic warfare is that would cause a nuclear winter and we could not decide what months are in winter. So I ask again, is the term "half-assed" a vulgar fraction? -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 21:26, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Sorry for missreading your intentions. I'd say yes it is a vulgar fraction. I just want to know why vulgarity is such a crime in the metric system.

Scientific notation, engineering notation, and uncertainty

There seems to me to be an ambiguity with scientific notation. The section states

"Scientific notation is done in the format of one leading digit/decimal marker/rest of digits/×10n, where n is the integer that gives one leading digit."

However, it does not then state whether it is allowed for the leading digit to be zero.

I could argue that the same ambiguity arises with engineering notation, but there I think it is less pronounced, because it seems less likely an editor would increase or decrease the exponent by a factor of a thousand simply to force or avoid a leading zero. Si Trew (talk) 13:34, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

To that end, anyway, there's no way I would start shuffling around exponents simply to meet MOSNUM if there are several quantities being compared and one or two happen to fall out of range. But I don't think that needs saying, WP:COMMON is enough there I'd have thought. Si Trew (talk) 13:42, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Merger of Falkland Island Units

It is proposed that the article WP:FALKLANDSUNITS be merged into WP:MOSNUM.


The reasons for this are:

  • It is eminently reasonable that any editor should expect to find guidance and/or rules pertaining to style in the article WP:MOS or in articles that are clearly descended from that article. The descendent that deals with units of measure is WP:MOSNUM. This article has special rules for the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Whereas it is probable that most readers who consult articles that are specific to the United Kingdom are British and that most readers who consult articles that are specific to the United States are American, this is not the case for the Falkland Islands – the article Falkland Islands receiving on average over 1000 hits a day – an enormous number for a locality with a resident population of under 3000. This suggests that either every Falkland Islander reads the Wikipedia article weekly (unlikely) or that the readership is the international community at large.
  • The special rules that apply to the United Kingdom and the United States only apply is certain cases – in particular scientific articles are expected to follow the rules found in the literature rather than the special rules applying to those countries.
  • There is no clear paths from WP:MOS to the article WP:FALKLANDSUNITS so editors writing articles that are pertinent to the Falkland Islands but who are not members of WP:Falklands cannot reasonably be expected to be aware of this article. This is particularly true for projects such as geology, orthinology, botany, philately, numismatics, fisheries, economics, military history and the like.
  • The structure of WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is such that it purports to cover all articles that deal with the Falkland Islands, not a subset as is the case with the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • The article WP:FALKLANDSUNITS does not introduce a single concept that is specific to those islands (such as the Vergée in Jersey and Guernsey), moreover it is almost a cut-and-paste of the United Kingdom section of WP:MOSNUM.
  • The wording of WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is prescriptive in respect of non-SI units while the wording of WP:MOSNUM is permissive.

Overriding Question

This raises the question, “Does a small archipelago which is home to fewer than 0.001% of the world’s English-speaking population warrant its own rules regarding units of measure?” I cannot see any good reason. The solution as I see it is to merge the existing artilce into the article WP:MOSNUM. The only question is how the merger should be done?


My proposal is that this be accomplished by:

“UK articles more often put metric units first, but imperial units may be put first in some contexts …”
with the text
“Articles that are strongly associated with the United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories more often put metric units first, but imperial units may be put first in some contexts …”

Martinvl (talk) 19:17, 1 July 2010 (UTC)


IMO, having WP:MOSNUM spend two kilobytes of words about said archipelago would be even weirder, by far. ― A._di_M.3rd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 23:19, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

I note with interest that you did not choose to inform WP:FALKLAND of this discussion. I will do this for you.
Let's start at the beginning. The point of WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is as an attempt to resolve the long-running units dispute on Falklands articles. It is a standing proposal, not part of the MOS.
It's a standing proposal rather than a project-agreed guideline because we can't get consensus on Falklands units. The last position to reach consensus was for imperial units as per the former instruction here. While there was consensus to change the rule here, there has been no consensus there.
Why has there been no consensus? Because Martin and another user who everyone is familiar - Michael - refuse to allow us to base our usage on local usage. Apparently, local usage does not sufficiently conform with the pro-metric POV, so they reject it. The main point of contention is the use of miles for distances that are not strictly along roads. Apparently the notion that the British and Falkland Islanders might use miles for all distances, rather than just those along roads is so extremely offensive to them that any notion that it might possibly be used is entirely unacceptable. Never mind that when the same users brought up the same point here it was sent packing pretty quickly. We aren't allowed to have consensus on units on Falklands articles because Michael and Martin have decided that the British and Falkland Islanders switch units of distance essentially at random.
So why pick out WP:FALKLAND? Dozens of projects have their own style guides that are not immediately available from here. WP:EU/MOS, for example. Why is everyone else allowed to adopt their own style guidelines, but the Falklands aren't? I sense this is less for the reasons given and more about politicking around the Falklands units dispute. WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is a reasonable proposal. Delete it and you undermine the proposal. Then it might be easier for you to try and use the letter of the MOS to overcome its spirit: to force metrication on us in spite of local usage and in spite of the lack of consensus for them. Pfainuk talk 20:05, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

I should like to add that I object very strongly to Martinvl's canvassing. His choice of locations to canvass is in violation of WP:CANVASS rules against votestacking, in that he notified users individually who support his position in the Falklands units dispute, but not users who oppose his position. Pfainuk talk 20:10, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Reject Proposal I'm tired of this utterly lame dispute. We have two editors who have zero interest in the project work on the Falklands, who hijacked our attempt to improve the articles on our watchlists with their crusade to metricate Wikipedia. They will accept nothing less that full metrication and contrive various ruses to do so. Every 3 - 4 weeks we have yet another proposal to metricate in complete contempt of other users opinions. This needa an RFC on user conduct not more time wasting. Justin talk 20:23, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

May I ask what is so special about those islands to justify all this discussion? Which is the specific context in them to explain why shouldn't be treated like any other similar place? The reasons provided seem like an answer to "Why not?", but not to "Why?" MBelgrano (talk) 21:47, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
The answer is nothing, its a dialogue of the deaf, with people of a fixed view seeking to impose that on others. I'm more than tired and irritated with the same push every 3-4 weeks. This needs escalating into dispute resolution and examination of tendentious user conduct. Justin talk 08:13, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. No point in adding to the MOS 2 KB worth of text which will only ever be relevant to a few dozen articles or so. (And this page has no "special rules for the United Kingdom and the United States", but rather examples of the way the general rule – “[f]or topics strongly associated with a given place, put the most appropriate units first” – applies to those countries.) ― A._di_M.3rd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 23:19, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment. Almost irrelevant side-issue which does not really call for a merger, but a simple redirect to WP:ENGVAR, with a possible mention that the Falklands are a British territory and as such adheres to British usages. Ohconfucius ¡digame! 01:51, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment I don't believe that there is any need for Falkland Islands weights and measures to be treated any differently from other UK-based articles. Martinvl's proposal is designed to deal with that issue in a way that is consistent with usage in the UK. I reckon that if 2 KB worth of text helps to resolve a long-running dispute, then it's worth it. Alternatively, some adjustment to the proposal on Falkland Islands Units to bring them into line with both the letter and the spirit of the UK rules might be another way to help resolve the dispute. At the moment we have several Falklands articles that do not conform with modern British usage, or MOSNUM policy on UK articles, or even the proposed policy on Falklands articles. Some movement here could help. Michael Glass (talk) 01:58, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Right, they don't conform particularly closely with WP:MOSNUM. Because we haven't yet achieved consensus on what to change units on Falklands articles to.
It's been acknowledged that WP:FALKLANDSUNITS does not do much more than regurgitate WP:UNITS. It's been accepted that the proposal need not apply in cases where there are good reasons not to. But I'm not going to accept your demand that we use it to introduce metrication by the back door. Or indeed your source-based system that does not generally reflect local usage. Pfainuk talk 06:33, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
When Falkland articles don't conform to modern British usage it is because you and Justin changed them to Imperial first. One recent example was your change to the Economy of the Falkland Islands on 5 June 2010 [5]. One way of making progress might be to revise these articles in line with your proposed policy.
You say that your proposal does not do much more than regurgitate WP:UNITS. If that what it does, then why do we need it? However, that is not what it does. As Martinvl said, "The wording of WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is prescriptive in respect of non-SI units while the wording of WP:MOSNUM is permissive. That is a very big difference when one of the chief complaints about it is that it is too prescriptive and a straitjacket for editors. Your proposal, above, that exceptions must have good reasons" is not reassuring, when the people deciding those good reasons are wedded to the older units.
I think we need another way forward, and that might be to approach the changes step by step, concentrating on what we agree on rather than fighting over the things that we disagree about. That is why I have proposed that we agree to change the weather units in the Falkland Islands article. That simple change would help to demonstrate that you have made your proposal about the units in good faith, and not as a ruse to stall change indefinitely. Michael Glass (talk) 10:27, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Michael, your "source based convention" was rejected at WT:MOSNUM numerous times, its been rejected at WP:FALKLANDSUNITS for exactly the same reason. At one end it can lead to ridiculous sentences when the order or precadence of units switches arbitrarily in sentences, in practise it ends up as metrication by the back door since sources with metric units are preferred by yourself. Presenting the same proposal every 3-4 weeks and ignoring its repeated rejection is disruptive behaviour and I like many others are distinctly irritated by it. And it has been demonstrated in good faith to you that Government usage does not necessarily reflect local usage, so the bad faith response that this streches credulity is not helpful.
WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is prescriptive precisely because you and Martin would use the permissive nature of WP:MOSNUM to metricate articles against consensus and local usage. I also find your constant accusation of "ruses" to stall change irritating and based upon a bad faith presumption that is unacceptable. People have been prepared to compromise, WP:FALKLANDSUNITS was a compromise, accusations of a lack of compromise on the part of others is disingenuous and unhelpful.
If you wish Wikipedia to go metric, then the way to do that is to convince everyone at WT:MOSNUM. Stalling and frustrating a group of editors who want to improve a topic area isn't helpful. Pfainuk had started to implement WP:FALKLANDSUNITS, he reverted those changes as you and Martin decided to restart the debate several weeks after it had been agreed without dissent. So demanding he make a change againt the current consensus as a good faith gesture, is simply a demand made in bad faith. I don't see how further dialogue can move this on, as it is a dialoge of the deaf; you won't listen or compromise. What is needed here is an RFC on user conduct, as I have suggested previously. Justin talk 11:47, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Justin.
When you say that it is "too prescriptive and a straitjacket for editors", I believe that other editors should be made aware that what you're demanding is that this proposal be entirely subject to your whims. That you demand that we allow you to metricate in contexts where modern British/FI usage is imperial without any good reason at all. Isasmuch as it is prescriptive, it is prescriptive entirely because anything less would be exploited to further the metric agenda.
"People deciding those good reasons" would be all of us, by consensus. I am perfectly willing to consider any reason put forward. But it needs to be a good reason: the fact that you don't like imperial units and the fact that the source might use a different unit from the default are not good reasons.
Finally, I notice that you have once more tried to restart the weather debate. This is an entirely pointless discussion that does nothing beyond wasting all of our time. Suffice to say that I object to the notion that we should apply a consensus that does not exist, as Michael demands.
This whole discussion so far is what I call one-sided haggling. I have compromised several times in this whole saga. Your position is essentially exactly where it was when we started. If someone needs to compromise here to demonstrate good faith, it's you, not me. Pfainuk talk 16:39, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Stop dodging the question I asked. You know that changing the weather units would be in line with your own proposal. Are you or are you not prepared to demonstrate good faith by agreeing to change the weather units in the Falkland Islands article? Michael Glass (talk) 22:53, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
You really want to spend weeks going through this again? Never mind that you have asked this question hundreds of times before, and never mind that I have answered it hundreds of times before. You keep on asking, over and over again. I can't believe you don't know the answer already, so the best faith reasoning I can come up with here is that you're trying to irritate everybody and to waste their time.
Why is it, in your view, that I have to constantly demonstrate my good faith when you have never demonstrated good faith in this yourself? You're the one who's spent sixteen months with an essentially unmoving position, trying to force metrication by the front door or (more commonly) by the back door, every three to four weeks. I think the person who needs to demonstrate good faith here is you, not me. I think we've reached a point where it needs to be demonstrated that you're actually willing to compromise and to build consensus rather than just starting up the same argument over and over again for the rest of time.
For the benefit of anyone else who's still reading this: I feel that we should not be implementing a consensus that has not yet been reached, and that instead the existing consensus should stand. Michael and Martin have both argued essentially that the lack of consensus should mean that their POV prevails. I further have a problem with the fact that Michael is constantly demanding compromises from me, but is not willing to compromise in any way himself, or to ask for compromise from other pro-metric users. Pfainuk talk 07:14, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Pfainuk, the fact that you won't agree to changing even the weather data demonstrates that you had no intention of changing anything at any time if you could help it. Proposing to change the weather data was far less than what you proposed, and was a gigantic concession. You were not prepared to go even that far. This makes a mockery of your claim of having compromised. There is no more to be said here. Michael Glass (talk) 22:59, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

A gigantic concession? It wasn't even a small concession. You demanded something for nothing. You haven't compromised in sixteen months of this same discussion going over and over and this was no different.
Yes, if we get consensus, then I will carry through with that consensus. You've seen that before, and if we get consensus you'll see it again. But to get there you are going to have to compromise - something you haven't done in this yet. Those who prefer imperial units have compromised plenty. Now it's your turn.
That said, it's becoming increasingly obvious that the hope that you might actually be willing to try and build consensus is naïve. If you were going to compromise you would have done it in the last sixteen months. You haven't. You started by demanding full metrication by the front door, you're now demanding full metrication by the back door. If there's someone who has lost credibility here through lack of willingness to compromise, it's you. Pfainuk talk 08:18, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Pfainuk, that's a lie. I asked for a change to the weather data. You refused. The rest is spin. Michael Glass (talk) 02:58, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Is there any point in answering this? Any benefit to the encyclopædia to be gained from continuing this textual diarrhoea? I see none. So I'll leave it by noting that I reject your accusations. Pfainuk talk 18:21, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

A new proposal

  • I propose Michael Glass should drop the stick and back away from the dead horse. Glider87 (talk) 13:00, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 14:57, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Agreed Justin talk 18:12, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Agreed Pfainuk talk 08:18, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
What the hell... Agreed. [6] (go to 0:18:30...) :-) ― A._di_M.3rd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 10:45, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Agreed — I think I heve proposed this before. Apcbg (talk) 11:24, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Another proposal

  • I propose Pfainuk should similarly drop his stick and back away from the other end of said horse. Walter Görlitz (talk) 03:32, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Get back to the subject

This thread has got bogged down in personal attacks. In order to get the discussion back on topic, I have some observations:

Which can be fixed by suggesting an amendment and gaining concensus, the merger proposal has still been rejected. I would also suggest if you intend to comment on personal attacks, then refraining from them would be a good idea. Justin talk 07:43, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
My proposal was inadvertently corrupted by another editor inserting his response in the middle of my original posting. I am prepared to accept that this was an accident rather than vandalism. Regardless of why it happened, I invite other editors to reread my proposal and to make comments in teh light of the whole text, not just the first part fo the text. Martinvl (talk) 07:50, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
And I still disagree and you have a lack of agreement in general, restarting the same discussion again is the very definition of tendentious conduct. WP:FALKLANDSUNITS was a good compromise and an eminently workable one, the articles should reflect local usage not some utopian metric dream. Justin talk 11:31, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

The reason the geology article doesn't follow WP:FALKLANDSUNITS is because WP:FALKLANDSUNITS doesn't have consensus at present. If and when it gets consensus, the geology article is one of those that will change. I maintain my objection to this notion that we should delete a perfectly reasonable standing proposal. It is unnecessary and needlessly provocative.

I also note, with slight bemusement at finding myself on the other side of the argument, that the proposed text does not necessarily fairly reflect actual usage in all BOTs. The British Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus (which between them form one of the British Overseas Territories) follow, insofar as it is practical, Cypriot law. Almost all permanent residents are Cypriots as the British are barred by treaty from using the bases for non-military purposes. I can't comment from experience, but I would imagine that local usage is metric-first in practically all situations that are likely to occur in articles on the subject. Why should they used a mixed system? I believe that Gibraltar also uses the metric system to a greater extent than the UK proper: distances and speeds along Gibraltar roads are measured in kilometres and kilometres per hour, for example. The situation is more complicated than that line would suggest.

As to the relationship with WP:MOSNUM? Well, I'm sure we can agree some appropriate means of doing this without deleting the proposal. It's just that this is the first time that this has been brought up. The proposal is not intended to be subordinate to WP:UNITS but rather complimentary to it. I have edited it to more clearly reflect this, and I hope that the current version can get consensus. Pfainuk talk 18:13, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Withdrawal of proposal

Although I am still unhappy with many aspects of WP:FALKLANDSUNITS, I believe it best that these be remedied by the Falkland Islands Group. I therefore withdraw my proposal to merge the two articles. I have however amended the opening paragraph of the article WP:FALKLANDSUNITS to read Since the Falkland Islands follow British practice in respect of units of mesaure, Falkland Island articles should do likewise which I believe captures the spirit of both articles.Martinvl (talk) 10:43, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

WP:SEASON and the natural world

WP:SEASON redirects to a section that discourages the use of seasons as dates except where there is a logical connection. There is another usage of seasons in articles which is entirely appropriate: the natural world, such as the cultivation of plants and the like. Here we sometimes see the reverse mistake being made, where people assume that seasons always occur in specific months. One example would be assuming that crocuses (an autumn-flowering plant) always bloom around October, and stating "October" in the article instead of "autumn". This kind of mistake can be quite subtle, such as this text from an old version of Pedunculate Oak [here]: Flowering takes place in mid spring, and their fruit, called acorns, ripen by autumn of the same year. Do you see it? It assumes that spring precedes autumn in a calendar year, which is impossible in the Gregorian calendar in the southern hemisphere.

I think we need to expand the guidelines for WP:SEASON a bit. In particular, we need to clarify the situations where seasons are preferred, and mention that seasons and dates are not generally interchangeable. We could do this by adding another whole paragraph, but I think a small clarification and adding one or two more succinct examples may suffice. The only example of the logical connection for seasons mentions "the autumn harvest" which is a bit human-centric. Perhaps we can add as another example something like "apple trees blossom in spring" as an example of seasons in the natural world.

My recommended changes to WP:SEASON:

  • Add a sentence along these lines: "Seasons and dates are not generally interchangeable." (I'm not really happy with this wording. Maybe someone can find some better way of expressing this?)
  • Add this additional example showing a logical connection in the context of the natural world: "apple trees blossom in spring".

These small amendments may be necessary for those times when people visit WP:SEASON in the context of seasons in the natural world, but instead find discussions about calendar dates. -- B.D.Mills  (T, C) 12:48, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

I've never got the point of that piece of instruction in the first place. "The seasons are not the same everywhere in the world so it is generally preferable not to use season names to denote a time of year." So what? Times of the day aren't the same everywhere, either, so should I avoid using night, morning, afternoon, evening, ... but only give UTC times? (As for oaks, I'd say "ripen by the following autumn" which doesn't assume anything.) ― A._di_M.3rd Dramaout (formerly Army1987) 14:33, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Is it worthwhile adding the sentence - "For example, Christmas falls in mid-summer in Australia and other Southern Hemisphere countries" - as one who was brought up in the Southern Hemisphere, this might be self-evident, but how would those who have never lived in the Southern feel about such a statement. All too-often I see the British press making Anglo-centric comments like "The England cricket team's winter tour of Australia ..." when they are writing about a tour that starts October and finishes the following March. Martinvl (talk) 18:52, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Such "dates" are quite common in articles about bands. Statements such as this are quite common: "The Screamers world tour is scheduled for next summer, they will be visiting Sweden, UK, Germany, South Africa, Australia, Japan and Canada." If all the places listed are in the same hemisphere it may arguably be acceptable but often the destinations are not mentioned at all. I think the only time using seasons as dates is really logical is for describing genuinely seasonal events or phenomena, whether human or natural. Roger (talk) 13:26, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
I think the present wording is clear and adequate. Seasons in the two hemispheres are reversed, and near the Equator, there are other seasons, such as the Wet and the Dry in northern Australia. The sentence above should be revised to read:
  • "The Screamers world tour is scheduled for June to August 2011. They will be visiting Sweden, UK, Germany, South Africa, Australia, Japan and Canada."
The British press are very Anglo-centric on matters such as this. Since a significant number of Wikipeida editors have probably never lived in the Southern Hemisphere, this bias is lost on them and they use the phrases that they read in the press. The MOS is trying to remind them the Souther Hemisphere really does exist. Martinvl (talk) 14:41, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

It should make clear that the seasons cannot be used as dates because they are reversed in the southern hemisphere, and the tropics have different seasons than the temperate zones (i.e. a wet season and a dry season). However, while seasons cannot be used globally for dating things, they have legitimate uses, as in saying "Apple trees bloom in the spring". However, if editors say "Apple trees bloom in the spring", they should be aware that they are implying that they bloom from September 21 to December 21 in the southern hemisphere. (Interestingly, the article says that if grown in Ecuador, which is in the tropics, they bloom twice a year.) RockyMtnGuy (talk) 21:55, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

The point of my original post above was to propose an amendment to the MOS to clarify when the usage of seasons is the most appropriate choice within an article. The cultivation and growth of plants is one example of where seasons should be preferred and calendar references eschewed. Crocuses bloom in autumn, not April or October: they are a part of the natural world and their life cycle is driven by the seasons and not by calendars.
On the above apple tree post by RockyMtnGuy:
  1. Seasons in different parts of the world are not necessarily defined by the astronomical definition that is favoured in North America. "Spring" in Australia means the whole months of September to November. This is one reason to be very careful with the usage of seasons within articles because some dates are ambiguous. The D-Day landings on June 6, 1944 can be in any of the four seasons depending on the point of view of the reader.
    The D-Day landings were in Normandy, and June 6 is late spring in Normandy, so the D-Day landings were in late spring. Period. Forbidding using "spring" there is akin to forbid using "morning" when talking about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima because when that bomb exploded it was night in Britain and afternoon in America. A. di M. (formerly Army1987) (talk) 09:52, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
D-Day was 6 June 1944 - that is a single specific day and a known/specific place - so its not really a good example. There is no point in mentioning the season at all - unless one wants to say something about the weather. It would be interesting to see how future writers will refer to the Football World Cup that has just ended. I've read/heard a few reports already about how a significant number of spectators from the northern hemisphere were surprised at the cold weather in South Africa. Roger (talk) 11:35, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
  1. Because apple trees do indeed bloom more than once a year in some parts of the world, the blooming of apple trees is not a good example of a concise (5 words or less) seasonal reference from the natural world that we can use as an example. -- B.D.Mills  (T, C) 03:59, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Crocuses aren't a good example either. When I think of crocuses, I think first of spring crocuses. How about "Snow is most common in winter"? Art LaPella (talk) 00:31, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
In Arizona, New Mexico.... --Walter Görlitz (talk) 00:40, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand. According to the last paragraph of Phoenix, Arizona#Climate, over 0.1 inches of snow has been recorded in Phoenix only 7 times, and most of them were in winter by any definition. Is that what you meant? You might be able to find an exception someplace like the South Pole, and it never snows in Honolulu, but isn't it a better example than crocuses? Art LaPella (talk) 03:16, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I can find exceptions to any rule too like snow in July and August in Montana and Alberta. I think the purpose is clear. Snow is not a good measure. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 03:39, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Is snow more common in July and August than in January and February in Alberta? If not, "Snow is most common in winter" is also true there. A. di M. (formerly Army1987) (talk) 09:52, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I was thinking of the saffron crocus which does flower in autumn. Snow can work as an example from the natural world. Plant cultivation runs into trouble such as shown above. But do we need a perfect example or just one that is good enough? The existing "autumn harvest" example is flawed because one can readily find examples of crops that are harvested at other times of the year, yet that example is good enough to stand as an unchallenged example for several years. So we don't really need the perfect example but simply one that is good enough like the existing "autumn harvest" example. All we really need is one additional example. I think it should be a plant or animal that has simple, well-defined seasonal behaviour that can be described in no more than six words. If we have issues with different behaviour under cultivation, then simply choose an undomesticated lifeform that has well-defined seasonal behaviour in its native range or imply this with different wording, for example: wild apple trees flower in spring. I think this last example will work well enough. In examples, does it really matter if cultivated apples flower twice a year in Ecuador or if snow does not usually fall in winter in Arizona? -- B.D.Mills  (T, C) 04:49, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
No we don't need a perfect example, and I wouldn't have said anything if you had said "saffron crocus". "Most plants in the Crocus family bloom early spring" (the Wikipedia:blacklist won't let me link that directly). Art LaPella (talk) 05:12, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Pferdestärke has got to go

I posit that "Pferdestärke" or PS as a unit of power has no place in common use on the English Wikipedia. It merely breeds confusion over power units as a unit that obsolete, non-SI and exceedingly rarely used in the majority of English-speaking countries. It is a leftover of history that is noteworthy for its existence, and still useful in those locales and languages in which is it lingua franca, but its presence in the English Wikipedia serves only to engender confusion. I don't advocate its complete removal- in cases where the PS measurement was significant to some issue or another, I feel that it could remain in use- but it should never be used as a unit of preference. I have found in the past that the state of power unit usage on the English Wikipedia is quite confused- with instances of each of the common units (HP, kW, PS) being used alone and also with a conversion, none of which was consistent. I propose that we make a standard policy for listing power which would be either "XX HP (YY kW)" or "XX kW (YY HP)" which does not allow the use of PS as a standard unit of measurement unless the context of the article makes it necessary in order for the rest of the article to make sense. Phasmatisnox (talk) 18:25, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

I think section 4.1, "WP:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)#Which units to use" adequately covers this, although it would seem an extreme case that someone had a valid reason to use the German "Pferdestärke" instead of English "horsepower", and my WIkipedia Search does not bring up any articles when searched on that word (they would seem to have the same definition in common use, judging from de:Pferdestärke). Si Trew (talk) 15:11, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
I did a quick Google search of English Wikipedia for the word and it seems, in the three pages of hits returned, it is only used on this page, Template:Convert and archives of its talk page, a few automotive templates and a few automotive articles about German makes. I don't see a widespread problem here. Si Trew (talk) 15:16, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
The problem that I see is not that the whole word "Pferdestärke" is being used, but rather, when, say, an engine output is specified, it often comes out in "PS", like Honda CBR600F2, Mercedes-Benz W123, or Honda Prelude. (search for " ps") I've seen this quite a bit. If you do a wiki search for "ps" and ctrl+f for 'power' you will see tons of examples of articles referencing power output in PS. Phasmatisnox (talk) 16:54, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Add to this that it may be confused with PSI. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 17:30, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
That's all very well, but I don't see the relevance to WP:MOSNUM, which in the first place is a guideline not a policy, and in the second seems to cover the issue adequately by the section I mentioned above. Since changing WP:MOSNUM won't automatically change the articles, surely the thing is just to edit the articles appropriately? Si Trew (talk) 12:31, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree. IMHO, certain motor cart manufacturers use PS or "Pferdestärke" for advertising purposes. Martinvl (talk) 12:33, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Which are those? --Walter Görlitz (talk) 13:54, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Visit VW UK and select the "Engines" tab. There they state that PS is the "metric equivalent of Horsepower" (which IMHO is rubbish - I believe it to be "Horsepower tranlated [fudged] into German"). This does not mean it has to go, rather the twisting of the truth must be shown up. Martinvl (talk) 14:21, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Okay, so I think we can agree that PS is generally not, according to the MOS, the correct unit to use, with exception to circumstances which render the PS unit to be a vital informational component. It has been fairly argued that the existing MOS provisions do cover this already. However, I believe that it has been shown that power units in particular have a problem. Is there a way that we can fix this problem? If making a change to the MOS isn't the fix, what can be done to encourage adherence to the MOS's guidelines in this issue? Phasmatisnox (talk) 17:59, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Given that the real world persists in using this obsolete unit, the treatment at horsepower seems appropriate. It explains the various definitions and their rather subtle distinctions. When a WP article depends on a reference that quotes a power in PS without conversions to less ambiguous units, it would be appropriate to link to those explanations as shown, rather than guess at which definition was intended by the author of the reference. Any conversion should, in such cases, be clearly indicated as approximate. LeadSongDog come howl! 18:46, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
According to the VW brochure linked above, it's a metric measurement that is slightly larger than HP. Not sure why you think it's obsolete particularly when it's currently in use: "It is still in use for commercial and advertising purposes, in addition to the kW rating, as many customers are not familiar with the use of kilowatts for engines.". --Walter Görlitz (talk) 18:59, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't really much care what advertisers do. It's in the nature of their business to find tricks to fool consumers into thinking they are getting a little bit more for their money. EEC Council Directive 80/1269/EEC replaces DIN 70020. It uses kW exclusively for the measurement of engine power and forms the legal basis for measuring that power for vehicles traded in the EEC, including Germany. Happy reading. LeadSongDog come howl! 20:27, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── So you don't care what advertisers do and you don't care if our information has no relationship on the advertising material that readers see. I understand that the measure has been replaced. So have pounds in Canada. In fact that was more than thirty years ago. However you still see grocers advertising their produce in price per pound. People who have never been taught the imperial system of weights still shop this way. I would say that as long as it's not the primary measure and that another measure is also listed that PS is fine. --Walter Görlitz (talk) 20:41, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Units of Measurement tidy-up

I think that the current layout of the Units of Measurement section is a little untidy, particularly the phrase which reads "Except in the cases mentioned below, put ...". I propose that this section be re-arranged as shown here. This proposal has some minor changes to the headings, but does not change any text (apart from changing the word "below" to "above" to reflect some text being moved).

One of the areas in this section that needs to be looked at is whether the section on scientific and technical terms needs to be broken into two sections. I think that the new layout will simplify such a break-up should it be required, with the new section on technical units coming ahead of the heading "Default case". Furthermore, if other special cases need to be considered in this section they can be slotted into the list in the same way.

Even if new sections are not added, I think that this is a tidier way of presenting the information. Martinvl (talk) 11:11, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

...And over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over...
Why is it that you cannot leave this section alone? Please drop the stick and step away. The horse died months if not years ago. Pfainuk talk 17:11, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
What is wrong with trying to improve the wording or the layout of the policy? I believe that Martin's proposal should be examined on its merits. Michael Glass (talk) 17:19, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
I believe that continually opening discussions on the same point, over and over again for a matter of years, is pure disruption. Pfainuk talk 17:42, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the current wording is confusing. With the various subheadings that are present, it's far from clear what is referred to by "the cases mentioned below". I'm not sure though that reversing the sequence is the best solution, since that forces the reader to consider the detail least likely to apply, before getting to the more general guidance. I would therefore suggest instead finding a clearer way of referring to the "cases below", perhaps terming them "Exceptions to the general rule" or somesuch. I believe locating them under a meaningful title such as that, and using that title to refer to them, will solve the problem in a way that still allows the general reader to find the general guidance first. PL290 (talk) 17:45, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Previously, all of the contexts listed under "Scientific and Technical units" were directly under that bullet point, and all were considered "cases below". We would be best off reverting to that situation.
Note that Martin's proposal changes the meaning - so that the wording no longer says that articles specifically related to a given country should be exceptions to the general rule that we "put the units first that are in the most widespread use in the world". The net effect, by the letter of the proposed rule (which is important given who the proposer is), would appear to be the wholesale metrication of all articles that have strong connections to a given country that does not always use metric units. We would appear, according to the letter of the proposed rule, to lose the allowance for US- and UK-related articles (and others) to use non-metric units in accordance with local custom.
Naturally, given my comments above, I strongly oppose. Pfainuk talk 18:01, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
I would not say that the proposed version changes the meaning, I would say it makes the section contradictory. First it says the exceptions are above. Then it says to put the units most frequently in the world first. Then it says to put the units most frequently used in certain places first, if the article is strongly associated with a certain place. But if measuring lengths about as long as a person's forearm, and the article is , for example, Boston, there is a contradiction. First the guideline would say to put centimeters first, then it says to put feet first, but the advice to put feet isn't an exception to the centimeter advice. If it isn't an exception, and it isn't the same advice, then it is a contradiction.
Naturally I oppose changes that make guidelines contradictory. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:12, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Irrespective of the motives of certain individuals, I don't think the proposal has been thought through. General guidelines should always come first, followed by any specific exceptions. That is how MOSNUM reads now, and micro sub-sections are unnecessary, so there is no need for change. wjematherbigissue 18:15, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
I have made a few small revisions to my proposal - firstly I have made it clear that the user should scan through the list of headings and use the first one which is appropriate for the item in question; secondly I have added two dummy items to show how it could look. Naturally the ordering would be important, but in practice, if there is proper discussion, I do not believe that this will present a problem. May I add at this point that in real life I have had considerable experience in writing computer programs and I have drawn on that experience. Computers are dumb beasts - they do what you tell them to do, no more and no less. I have used the standard computer programming methodology in designing this document. Martinvl (talk) 20:23, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
No, I cannot think of a single reason why you would put a specific interpretation/exception (i.e. tech/sci) ahead of the guideline that caters for the majority of situations. Your proposal would undoubtedly make things worse. wjematherbigissue 20:51, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Agree. This would be a significant change in the guideline and I can't say that I think it would be for the better. Pfainuk talk 20:54, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
I can think of one very good reason - when I read a book, I like to start at page 1 and read the pages sequentially - I don't like have to jump backwards and forwards. The same applies to a document. wjemather asked why science and technology was first - it doesn't have to be - it can be the penultimate section - the only section that has a reserved spot is the other section which must be last. Martinvl (talk) 21:05, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
No, the sub-section you have labelled "others" should come first as it covers the widest array of situations. I'm afraid you're going to have to put your programming theory to one side and pretend that the readers are not computers, although logically I think you have it the wrong way round anyhow. wjematherbigissue 21:18, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Its a bad proposal. Humans do not run algoritms and subroutines like compouter programs. Except for minor tweaking/rote tasks by bots Wikipedia is edited by humans, not computers. Put the general rule first then list exceptions/variances because that is the way (most) humans work. Calling the general rule "others" is a straw man because in fact they are the default and vast majority of cases Roger (talk) 21:23, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
I have taken on board comments that have been made. Please revisit the proposed text. Martinvl (talk) 11:19, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but that still leaves "Except in the cases mentioned below", which could mean virtually anything, especially preceding a clump of bullets which themselves have nested bullets. To repeat my suggestion: the exceptions need grouping in a named section, and referring to by that name, if this change is to bring any improvement. PL290 (talk) 11:31, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
I believe Wikipedia:Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass is relevant. Roger (talk) 11:38, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
User:PL290 wrote "... but that still leaves "Except in the cases mentioned below", .... I have replaced that with "Except in the cases mentioned in the subsections below". Woudl this help? Martinvl (talk) 12:10, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Only slightly. You yourself drew attention to that problem phrase in your opening words of this proposal; what do you think is the solution? My opinion is that if such a phrase remains, there's no reason for it to be ambiguous. Look at the ToC: in the current version of the guideline, 18 sections follow Which units to use--presumably you don't intend to refer to all those! Hence my suggestion to use an explicit name. if exceptions must be referred to. PL290 (talk) 12:23, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Is the newest change to the proposed text any better? Martinvl (talk) 14:41, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
In my opinion, yes, As ever with these things, there's probably further copyediting and clarifying that can be done after it's in situ, but I'd say that although still not perfect, that is now an improvement over what we currently have. PL290 (talk) 15:01, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Oppose any version that has been proposed so far, and I don't see a problem with the current version. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 15:05, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
I, also, still oppose. This is still a significant change in the guideline (since it removes the possibility of using nationally appropriate units on scientific and technical articles, something that - particularly on technical articles - is potentially very relevant). Pfainuk talk 16:59, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
The existing guideline, by dint of the phrase "Except in the cases mentioned below", already appears to specifically exclude scientific and technical units from the guidance on nationally appropriate units. (And the proposal would therefore bring no substantive change, just clarification.) However, if that exclusion is not the intent, a different clarification is needed. PL290 (talk) 17:40, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
The change that produced this split was part of a wall of text here and was presented as a matter of "convenience" rather than a substantive change in the guideline. It did not exactly get a ringing endorsement of editors here (no-one other than the proposer endorsed it and several voiced opposition) but eventually it didn't get reverted. I think it now should be. Pfainuk talk 18:00, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
I still oppose this proposal - a solution in search of a problem. Roger (talk) 07:33, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Date format issue across multiple articles

I've opened an RfC on what to do with the date formatting across the entire series of biographies on Canada's governors general: Wikipedia talk:Canadian Wikipedians' notice board#RfC on date format for GG bios. Input is requested so as to bring this issue to a resolution. Cheers. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 16:22, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Oil spill measurement units

There is a discussion if acre-foot should be used or not as a unit to measure the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Some guidelines could be useful. Beagel (talk) 08:58, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Acre-feet are not used in US media for oil spills, as far as I have seen. The only field I have ever seen them used is public water supplies. Jc3s5h (talk) 11:42, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
Acre-feet are never used for measuring oil. They are only used for measuring water in reservoirs, and then only in the United States: i.e. a reservoir covers x acres and the water in it is y feet deep, therefore the volume is x times y acre-feet. Appropriate units for measuring oil are standard oil barrels (US) and cubic metres (SI).RockyMtnGuy (talk) 06:42, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

bible verses and such

I should assume the following are correct with regard to the spacing of n-dashes?

  • Romans 13:1–7
  • Matthew 5:1 – 7:29

I personally figured spaces might avoid confusion in the latter case, but something on the MOSNUM page to said effect would be helpful. ―cobaltcigs 10:13, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

It appears that the British Bible Society uses ndashes without spaces. See See Page 7 (pdf page 10) the section on Antichrist. Are you suggesting updating the documentation with template:bibleref2? Walter Görlitz (talk) 15:12, 26 July 2010
That publication also uses full stops in place of the colon, which seems strange. ―cobaltcigs 00:34, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
There seems to me a general problem with how to format ranges. MOSNUM gives guidance for currency ranges, date ranges, UoM ranges and other particular ranges, but not ranges in general. It seems another blunderbuss target, it would seem to me that a general definition on what do do with ranges should be kinda in one place (with particulars or see-alsos to them after). WP:ENDASH says not to use spaces. Personally for quite a while (until about a month ago) I was putting spaces in page ranges in references, with no undo's reverts, though I think that is against MoS: I was doing it partly because I like it that way, but mostly because I thought it was MoS and then found that it wasn't.
So, it seems, WP:DASH covers it adequately, but ranges perhaps could do with being pulled together somehow. Perhaps just that WP:RANGE and WP:RANGES were redirects to WP:ENDASH? (But WP:RANGE is taken for advice on blocking ranges of IP addresses.)
I suppose an interesting subsidiary point comes with whether the chapter and verse numbers should be in Roman numerals, and what should separate them, though I imagine that has been discussed countless times before, particularly leading to the likes of {{bibleref}} and {{bibleref2}} so to standardise them.
Si Trew (talk) 14:43, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Come to think of it I see no guidance with regard to time ranges either.

  • 8:10–11:30 p.m. (maybe?)
  • 8:10 – 11:30 p.m. (maybe?)
  • 11:30 p.m. – 1:05 a.m. (very good)
  • 1:05–55 a.m. (perverse)
  • 1:55 – sunrise (no idea)

The first style (with 10–11 directly adjacent) seems undesirable, to me at least. ―cobaltcigs 00:34, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Decade or Century ?

In a book I was reading about the lead-up to the First World War, the term "the 1900s" appeared. They meant 1900-1909, not 1900-1999. There needs to be a term for the first decade of a century (the term "the oughties" that I've heard is mere silliness). In the conventional sense, we have just passed the first decade of the twenty-first century, and some standardized term needs to be used such a first decade. It used to be that the term for the century was used, but it seems that the phrase using the plural of the first year in the conventional sense appeared because it seemed that the general public was dumbed-down and couldn't handle that the term "Twentieth Century" referred to the years that began with 19. (talk) 23:41, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

To the 99.99% of our readers who don't study every detail of the Manual of Style, "1900s" means 1900–1999, so we couldn't use it to mean 1900–1909. WP:CENTURY discourages using "1900s" at all. So the choices are circumlocutions like "1900–1909", "1900s decade" or "the first decade of the 20th century" (although that means 1901–1910). We could choose one such phrase and standardize it, but only at the cost of WP:Instruction creep and further discouraging anyone from trying to find anything in the rest of the Manual. Art LaPella (talk) 01:16, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
If the century is already established by context, "the '00s" would indicate the decade, just like "the '50s". Or what about "the 190xs"?
—WWoods (talk) 06:34, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Comma pairs around the year?

In the example provided here:

Month before day: February 14 and February 14, 1990 (comma required)

This means that a comma around the year is required, is this correct? Example: On February 14, 1990, ...

Thanks,  Davtra  (talk) 05:39, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

In that guideline, "comma required" means the comma after "14" (otherwise it would say "commas required"). However, a comma is also ordinarily required after "1990" according to the seventh bullet point of WP:COPYEDIT#Common edits. Exceptions include when a period or other punctuation is already after "1990". Art LaPella (talk) 05:56, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. I think this is where (my) confusion comes in. If the example February 14, 1990 has a comma already applied, then where is the comma for February 14? I assumed the examples February 14 and February 14, 1990 are then February 14, and February 14, 1990,.  Davtra  (talk) 06:13, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
A sentence like "February 14 is Valentine's Day." doesn't need a comma, so "February 14 and February 14, 1990 (comma required)" has to mean the comma after the second 14 is required. It doesn't mean that there should be a comma after the first 14. As explained last time, a different guideline says there should usually be a comma after 1990 but not always, so maybe that's why they didn't include a comma after 1990 in this guideline. My experience is with automating these guidelines using AWB, not changing them. Art LaPella (talk) 18:06, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

The example ends at "1990", so the guideline says nothing about what character should follow the "0". Normal American English usage would consider all of the following to be correct:

  • The event occurred February 14, 1990.
  • What day of the week was February 14, 1990?
  • I was really miserable February 14, 1990!
  • The rally held February 14, 1990, was a great success. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:32, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

As another angle which may shed light, remember that these are not comma pairs per se; the comma after the 14 is because of US date formatting (February 14, 1990). With UK date formatting (14 February 1990) there is no comma. (See WP:DATESNO.) Any comma after the year should be considered in its own right. PL290 (talk)

The phrase “held February 14, 1990”, being of parenthetical import, should have a comma both before and after it, or in neither place. ―cobaltcigs 18:41, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

You refer to a comma pair which could parenthetically offset the phrase beginning "held". That is a different matter from the one given in the discussion title, "Comma pairs around the year". PL290 (talk)
The Associated Press Stylebook (2007, p. 159) directly disagrees with cobaltsigs.

When a phrase refers to a month, day, and year, set off the year with commas.

EXAMPLES...Feb. 14, 1987, was the target date.

Jc3s5h (talk)

Who can edit all the Geoboxes?

On several occasions I've wanted to ask something about the widely used and many variants of Template:Geobox. Unfortunately, the template is protected and discussions about it are scattered across many articles and projects. I've just come across Kern River which currently gives a flow of "47,000 cu ft/s (1,330.89 m3/s)". The conversion seems to be coded into the protected template. The original value of 2 signicant figures has been converted into 6 significant figures. I think the template has been over-engineered and has lost the simplicity and universal editability that is at the heart of Wikipedia. How do you change the template? Lightmouse (talk) 11:58, 31 July 2010 (UTC)


This came up as I was doing the GA review at Number.

The MoS (in WP:MOSNUM) tells us to write fractions "in fractional form", but we're not told what that is. In the section "fraction", we are told we can (not that we must, of course), use {{frac}} and are given an example for common fractions.

But we are not told what "fractional form" is and we have to guess. I think this needs to be defined. I think this is important, because for example at Number fractions (not in <math> sections) were written as a/b, and it could well be argued that is "fractional form" but I don't think that's the intention of the MoS. I think somewhere else in the maze that is MoS there is a more specific definition, because I am pretty sure it's encouraged to use the form that {{frac}} supplies, i.e. superscript-oblique-supscript, and somewhere there's an discouragement from using the characters ¼, ¾ and so on. (I believe using might also help those using non-graphic user agents such as browsers for the blind.)

So I think a strict definition of "fractional form" is needed. I would suggest as a draft definition:

Fractional form represents a fraction with the numerator in superscript text (using the <sup> tag), the denominator in subscript text (using the <sub> tag), and a normal-sized oblique bar (/) between them. There should be no spaces between these three parts.

I note also the section "fractions" says how to write out "common fractions" without defining what they are. Since in maths text typically fractions are algebraic, e.g. in Number they are like ab, these are not common fractions in the arithmetical sense. So, there's no advice on how to write out fractions that are not common fractions at all.

On that article, I have (I hope) used common sense and changed the fractions to use {{frac}}, in the absense of anything on the talk page suggesting that there is any consensus for them to be otherwise. However, there is a good case in articles like this to use "a/b" to show the implied division – something this article actually is a bit woolly about, since it seems to flick between using "rational number" and "fraction" interchangeably, which I don't think is a good thing for an article trying to pin down definitions.

As always, I should appreciated your views. Si Trew (talk) 10:39, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

I can't actually find the quote "in fractional form" anywhere in the MOS. Also, I would take the phrase "in fractional form" to mean "as opposed to decimal form", i.e. not necessarily advocating any specific way to write 3/4, but rather not to write it as 0.75. RobHar (talk) 21:14, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
My slight mistake, it says "in fraction form" and is in WP:ORDINAL. Si Trew (talk) 21:31, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
In fact that sentence is a mess: "Simple fractions are normally spelled out; use the fraction form if they occur in a percentage or with an abbreviated unit (1⁄4 yd or a quarter of a yard, but not a quarter of a yd) or if they are mixed with whole numerals." So we write 89317%? And what is a "simple fraction"? Si Trew (talk) 21:34, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
I would interpret "simple fraction" as just an (integer) numerator over an (integer) denominator like 3/2, as opposed to 1&nsbp;1/2, or something more complicated. "Common fraction" is defined in the article Fraction (mathematics), but "simple fraction" is not, though the term is used in that article. Strange. RobHar (talk) 22:40, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
This is because "simple fraction" has two overlapping meanings: one the distinction Rob Har makes (opposed to compound), and the other being that simple fractions have (absolute) value less than 1 (also called proper; opposed to vulgar). The old habit was to write 3/2 as 1&nsbp;1/2, and so for all fractions greater than one, which is what our present text requires; if so, the two meanings are identical. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:35, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

I suppose I should add an observation that the MoS tends not to use template implementations as definitions, so referring to {{frac}} is OK but should not make the implementation the specification. As far as I know, MOSNUM never mentions {{convert}} at all, for example. There are other places in the MoS that effectively define templates as the specification, but I think it is a bad idea: any conforming implementation (article or template) can be used instead. Si Trew (talk) 10:45, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
User:Arthur Rubin has commented on the GA review that math articles should follow WP:MOSMATH#Fractions. Fair enough. The fact I was unaware of that perhaps indicates that there should be some kind of link; the definition in MOSNUM is, to my mind, far too woolly. I do accept that MOSMATH applies only to mathematical articles; nevertheless it is this kind of hunt-the-guideline that always happens at MOS, and makes you tear your hair out. Si Trew (talk) 19:00, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that the present copy of this guideline doesn't specify that what representation should be used, only that {{frac}} is available. (There is also an error in the copy/paste information: ((frac|N|p|q}} ({{frac|N|p|q}}) pastes as:
  • N p⁄q ,
rather than the stated:
  • N+p/q .
Please notice both the different fraction character, and the the presence of "+" (rather than a non-breaking space) in the stated copy.
WP:MOSMATH#Fractions should probably be noted in this guideline, even if it doesn't apply to the specific instance of number. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:36, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
I hadn't noticed it was a different bar. To be clear: the former is I think U+0244 FRACTION SLASH ([7]) whereas the latter is U+002F SOLIDUS ([8]). Si Trew (talk) 21:14, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Fractions#Writing fractions may be of help; it also has a source. There are several ways to write fractions; most of them exist because they are useful in different circumstances: but 347/999 is a natural distinction, which really should be left to editorial discretion. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:30, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm all for editorial discretion and not making MoS so prescriptive. But if something says "write fractions in fraction form" it might help if it defines what "fraction form" is; it should not be open to interpretation in the way it currently is. Currently, then, as far as I make out, it just means "write fractions the way you write fractions". It might as well be removed completely, then. Si Trew (talk) 14:35, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, there is some substance about using appropriate forms (5.25 cm, and not a quarter yd), but let's see an edit. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:06, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
What do you mean, "let's see an edit"? I will not edit MoS without consensus because it is bad enough as it is with it changing under one's feet by doing that, where in good faith we comply with the MoS one day and not the next. Which is why we come here for consensus and hold our boldness. Rubin has put in thoughtful remarks, I have less so just marked my observations when editing real articles instead of spending my life on MoS, all is to the good but to myself I will just make articles better. So what edit would you like to see, Pmanderson? Or if you don't want to see an edit, would you perhaps say what you mean? Si Trew (talk) 22:34, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure, but perhaps "let's see an edit" means to specifically describe the specific edit that was intended, rather than making the change. Something like: "After the "fraction form" sentence at WP:ORDINAL, include the definition of "fractional form" that was stated near the beginning of this talk section". (Are we both happy again?) Art LaPella (talk) 04:25, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
  • To Si Trew:Always edit MOS without consensus; why should it differ from pages which actually matter to someone other than their editors? Time enough to discuss when you actually run into an objection. The "stability of MOS" is a shibboleth that keeps it useless - and keeps it from being consensus, by avoiding the process which keeps the rest of Wikipedia converging to consensus. In this case, it also keeps me from seeing what you have in mind. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 07:56, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

MoS and MOSNUM now different WRT currencies

Dear friends, I note that the changes made to the MoS guidelines on currency have brought that page and MOSNUM further out of line with each other. I wonder whether editors here would mind comparing the two, and negotiating parallel changes at MOSNUM. Tony (talk) 15:43, 2 August 2010 (UTC)


The layout of WP:SEASON and surrounding paragraphs is messed up in my browser, with the text at the left margin and the bullet point located above the word "Seasons". Does anyone else see this? Ucucha 16:51, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

This is apparently caused by the shortcut box. I was able to fix it by moving the boxes to a separate line. Ucucha 16:56, 3 August 2010 (UTC)