Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive 7

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Voting Dispute (& Misc?)

Mav proposed a required margin of 75% for any option to win. While I sympathize with the general idea, we need to be clear about what this means. This vote was started to determine whether the current MoS policy should be changed. If we set a margin of 75% now, that means that the current MoS recommendation will not be changed if none of the options (including the so-called compromise options) wins by such a margin. This is of course very much in my interest, but Mav will probably argue like this: If none of the options wins, we need to change the MoS to one of the inconsistent options, i.e. "everyone can use their preferred style."

I want to make clear that this is not acceptable nor democratic, since it would basically say "This option, which was never reached through an open consensus or a democratic process, is going to win, unless any of those other options reaches more than the 75% margin." If we can agree that any of the options that propose to change the MoS needs to reach a 75% winning margin, that's fine with me. --Eloquence 04:43 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)

James, nobody said that you should get "75% of votes" to win, Mav proposed that the vote margin should be 75%, so if the option "Month Day" had 20 votes, option "Day Month" would require 25 votes to win (20=75% of 25), at least that's how I understand him. I can certainly accept whatever option receives the most votes, though. --Eloquence 05:48 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Ok. I must have mis-understood. I have removed my mis-understanding, least there be any . . um . . misundertanding. :-) wikipeace. FearÉIREANN 05:53 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Eloquence: For any option to win there needs to be wide support for it. If, as JT says, most users want to only use their style then let them in the articles they work on when and where it makes sense. And the use of the word "policy" is absurd in this whole matter; never, not once, has the MoS ever been policy; It's only function is to serve as a guidebook on the preferred house style for editing (and then it is not enforced on authors but rather is something that interested copyeditors generally follow). It is a loose agreement, soft conventions if you will, on how Wikipedians as a whole think looks and works best. Therefore these style guidelines are useless if they do not have a great deal of support.

Oh and the argument that the previous MoS guideline is the default fallback (or previous "policy" as you stated) is is logically flawed for this simple reason (pardon for the shouting); WHEN THAT GUIDELINE WAS WRITTEN THERE WERE NO REDIRECTS FROM THE [[DAY MONTH]] STYLE TO THE [[MONTH DAY]] STYLE. So, ''of course'' it was the ''only'' guideline we had at that time because only [[MONTH DAY]] links actually worked! But after the initial part of this discussion started 4 months ago a few users went ahead and made all 366 redirects. The vote went nowhere and became such a confusing mess and joke that people on nearly all sides of the argument were able to logically argue that their choice was the actual winner. Now since the redirects were there (thus finally permitting [[DAY MONTH]] links) then the natural fallback was to allow both and prefer neither. The aborted vote effectively killed the old guideline since it became very clear that a sizable group wanted to link dates in the International style. But another sizable group wanted to link using the American style. So we have both. I'm going to put the margin back in now. If you take it out then I'll take out your date since I don't recall you being given the authority to choose such a date (or even call for a vote, for that matter). ---mav 06:04 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Sorry, but shouting does not change the facts: The only policy that has ever been formulated in consensus is the one we have now -- to recommend the Month Day format. After all, you only changed the MoS text after this discussion started. All the mucking around with redirects is certainly helpful to adopt another option, but these options can be voted on. If people want the laissez faire solution to win, they can vote for it. It's there. To say that this is going to be the default if no other options get so-and-so many votes is simply an undemocratic way to get what you want. Let's imagine for a second that only 1 person wants that option to win and all other options have a high, but very similar number of votes. According to your logic, the 1 vote option should win anyway because it's now technically feasible to use it. This is obviously not acceptable. --Eloquence 06:17 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)
There you go again with the word "policy" -- MoS is not a set of policies. Please re-read what I said above about what the MoS is. It can only be enforced through the good will and agreement of a clear majority of users -- not a simple majority!. If and when there is no such supermajority for any one thing then we cannot have a guideline on that. You are trying to elevate a loose guideline to a policy that you can then hit people over the head with. IMO that isn't very wiki. I question the validity of this entire vote and have already pointed out its major flaws. We have no process on when to decide to have a vote (expect in the one case were Jimbo said we could do so) and no process on choosing what the particular choices are. This makes this vote invalid and void. And the SHOUTING was a response to your argument that the default fallback is the current "policy." I've already explained why that is a load of rubbish. And on Wikipedia guidelines and policies are, very often updated to reflect current usage. It has already been proven that the current usage is to tolerate both and prefer neither. --mav
If a user consistently unbolded intro text, or changed the birth date format, and reverted to that version even though a copyeditor corrected it, they would be reprimanded and quite possibly banned. We may not call the style guide policy because we accept that users do not consistently follow it, but it effectively is policy, because copyeditors implement it and will certainly get very annoyed if users repeatedly revert to a non-MoS version.
I did not start this vote. If I did, I would go entirely different about it, like I did with m:Article count reform. I do not like the arrangement of options and I do not like that preferential voting does not allow me to express my disapproval of any particular option. I did, however, use this existing vote as a basis because many people have already participated in this discussion.
They did participate in this discussion because there was an increasing desire by some users to use a different date style than was the current MoS recommendation at the time. Currently, most users favor changing the date style. Some users favor allowing both. Because the vote was not organized properly, with no deadline set and no outcome announced, some users have started to simply use their preferred option: Some have used whatever is in an article, others (like me) have used the existing MoS, others have used Day Month. Now the inevitable happened, and two people with different standards (me and Awrel) collided. You now suggest that the "use whatever you want" option is the effective "status quo" and that only through a massive majority (75%) could this ever be changed. This is ridiculous because the policy was never officially changed (through an open process) in the first place, and because it is quite clear and always was from the vote results that a large number of users do not favor the solution of allowing both styles, because, like me, they dislike inconsistency across different wiki pages. You care so much about keeping users -- then please also care about keeping users like me, instead of scaring them away by undemocratically changing our policies to allow more inconsistency in style.
You can question the vote results. You can delete the whole vote page for all I care. I won't set up a new one. If you do not accept the vote, I will insist that the MoS not be changed until a new vote is held, and a new result announced, and I will not accept any other process.
If I was you, I would start campaigning for the inconsistency option. It doesn't seem to be winning. --Eloquence 06:49 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)
Neither was Ralph Nader in the 2002 election. Yet enough people voted for him to make the razor thin margin between Republican Bush and Democratic Gore to result in a tally that fell in Bush's favor (since the great majority of Nader voters were Democrats). This vote is fundamentally flawed because, as you said, there is no way for people to register their disapproval (and the degree of their disapproval) for each choice. Therefore, even though it is approval voting, people tend to go for the style they know and love instead of voting for something that all parties can at least live with (that is why registering disapproval is so important). It has been months since this very poorly-devised poll was set up. I say we bin the whole thing and have you set up a real nice poll (like you did for the article count reform). I hate this poll with a passion -- sorry if that has spilled over. We also should let Jimbo set the ground rules on the vote (margin and timeframe) since he is fair and is the only person with authority around here. --mav
Fair enough -- I'd like to wait with that until mid-July though, because setting up a good vote takes some time. I'll also work with Martin on this because he's usually good at arriving at compromises. Can we agree to leave the MoS page as it is in the meantime? --Eloquence 07:11 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)
The page needs to explain that this vote is being scrapped and the framework for another better vote is being worked on. In the meantime there should be no convention in this regard. --mav
OK, we disagree about the "no convention" part. How about allowing copyeditors to adapt articles to the current MoS, but not to revert the reversion of such a style change? And no, this would not be the official MoS text, only the solution for the transitional period. --Eloquence 07:27 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)

This is all becoming rather a moot point. I was quite serious when I said I would code automatic conversion. A basic demostration is now available at . The user preferences aren't done yet, so at the moment it just acts as if the user has requested MD,Y format. I think I was a bit ambitious with my spec: I still haven't done yearless conversion (e.g. DM -> MD with no Y around), and I don't capitalise months yet. Do people think these features are necessary?

Some other points for discussion:

  • Should a style be imposed based on what country the user's IP address comes from? Or what their browser setting are?
  • Should "session preferences" be implemented, allowing ordinary readers to change their date formats, etc.? What about long-term cookies, to save these preferences?
  • Are there any thoughts on whether or not article titles should get the same dynamic treatment?

-- Tim Starling 10:03 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)

I don't think the year should be necessary, because otherwise you'll likely get a mixup of different formats on a page that has an extensive timeline. It will start with "January 10, 2003" and then only say "February 15". However, we need to make sure there are no false positives. It must be case sensitive because "may" is also a verb and "march" is a noun/verb. What is the Y,,,DM format for?
I have no opinion on whether the words/numbers should be links. Requiring them to be links reduces the likelihood of false positives, but some people prefer not to have all dates linked.
Auto-detection for anons would be neat, but "nice to have", i.e. not necessary. Anything beyond that is IMHO overkill. --Eloquence 11:03 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Okay, yearless dates will be implemented. The current code requires links, and I think it's easily worth the inconvenience, to reduce false positives. We don't want to get into parsing sentence structure. Plus I'm biased -- I like articles with lots of links. The "Y,,,DM" format simply demonstrates the fact that my regular expressions allow an arbitrary combination of spaces and commas between DM and Y components. It's a shortcut, but I can't think of any problem with it.

What about the number of supported date formats? 3 may be enough. 4 or 5 may be even better. :)

On an unrelated matter, does anyone know what happened to user:-- April? I last saw April 6 months ago. :) Excuse me while I go think of some more... -- Tim Starling 11:41 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Unrelated trivia: did you know that Ershi Huangdi was the 2nd August Emperor of the Qin Dynasty?

If we were to standardise, the custom of Wikipedia seems to be to choose the "most international" choice, which is surely day-month-year:

  • We have already standardised on "aluminium" and "metre" becuse the relevant international standards bodies use these non-US English spellings. So US-majority-rules is an argument that has been rejected.
  • It's clear (from computer national date formats) that day-month-year is favoured by most nations.
  • As an example, ISO uses day-month-year on its English language home page.
  • Was there not an American film called "Born on the 4th of July"?

(BTW note the false logic at the top of this page: day-month-year is not "British style" it's "most-places-other-than-US" style and so by that argument ought to apply to all articles except those about the US.)

So if there was a standard, it ought to be day-month-year. But it's pointless micro-management to look for consistency in this. Now there are day-month redirect pages there is no problem. Let anarchy prevail.Andy G 18:20 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Hasn't this been discussed already? We have a vote in progress to decide this issue. It seems that at the moment, DM,Y is winning. Note that the format "the 4th of July" is not among the proposed alternatives. Does anyone think it should also be supported by the software? Perhaps in the format "the [[4th of July]], [[1776]]"? -- Tim Starling 00:07 25 Jun 2003 (UTC)
I think it'd be good to set up redirects from 4th of July (and maybe July 4th to July 4. But I think you can get away without supporting it in software, because 4th of July vs 4 July probably doesn't excite the same level of passion... :) Martin 20:25 30 Jun 2003 (UTC)

The "turnout" seems rather low to justify any sort of mass changing of articles. Besides I can imagine certain types of writing (including discussion of date formats) where automated global changes to date formats would significantly damage articles. -- Paul (Hobgoblins for small minds)

There's not going to be a mass changing of articles, there's going to be a software feature allowing a user to choose their preferred date format. Dates will be converted on the fly. The default is to leave it as-typed. This is not a pipe dream, this is a piece of code which is mostly already written, and will likely be in CVS by the end of the week. If you think it's going to make articles unreadable, now is the time to say something. Do you think there should be a method of overriding the user preference on an article-by-article basis, say with a special command at the top? -- Tim Starling 00:56 1 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The date/time page is too long for me to edit, but I'd like to put in another plea that Julian/Gregorian and double dates be handled properly! -- Someone else 01:16 1 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Do you have a specific feature request in mind? For example, do you want "[[December 25]], [[1642]] o.s." to be converted to "[[January 4|December 25]], [[1643|1642]] o.s."? Or perhaps "[[December 25]], [[1642]] o.s. ([[January 4|n.s.]])? -- Tim Starling 02:52 1 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I had dates such as 22 Feb 1615/6 and pages such as George Balanchine, Aleksey I of Russia, Peter I of Russia, George Washington, Vladimir Lenin in mind -- Someone else 03:15 1 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The "year in literature" pages are steadily growing, and anyone interested in discussing whether publication dates should link to them or not is invited to have a look at Talk:Hollywood, California. --KF 04:55 7 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Moved from Wikipedia:Village pump:

Date of death convention

What is the convention for listing the day of someone's death, if the time of death would make it ambiguous with respect to UTC? (For example, Bob Hope died at 9:29 pm Pacific time on Sunday, July 27; if I figured it correctly, this would be 4:29 am UTC July 28.) -lee 14:53 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I would say put it in local time. CGS 15:12 28 Jul 2003 (UTC).
I'm guessing the date he died in his time zone should be used. -- Notheruser 15:18 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)
What about this? On some date pages (June 25), the date of death is represented by a "+", while on others (February 26), it is "d." Personally, I prefer the latter. It's obvious what it means, and it is neutral with respect to religious belief, as I'm assuming the "+" represents a cross. While I haven't seen it myself, there might be a Jew, Muslim or atheist with a little "+" beside their name, and I'm sure they'd be rolling over in their grave. TimothyPilgrim 13:23, Feb 26, 2004 (UTC)
Wikipedia:WikiProject Days of the Year recommends using d., not +. Angela. 01:23, Mar 27, 2004 (UTC)
I suggest using "born" and "died", not "b." and "d.": "born" and "died" are much clearer, and we're not trying to save space here: Wiki is not paper. Gdr 15:00, 2004 Jul 5 (UTC)

Month abbreviation

Is it acceptable to do the following, especially in a table:

who it is Aug 12, 1992
them is who Sep 7, 1999

It seems much more concise..... (RayKiddy)

You mean abbreviating months? It looks fine to me, but note that the software won't recognise it as a date, so it won't be rearranged to suit people's user preferences. -- Tim Starling 00:53, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

ISO 8601 date format

Eclecticology has tried to change these guidelines for some reason. I don't think any of these changes are acceptable and as I can not see that they have been discussed I have reverted the page. The changes were

  1. saying [[1958]]-[[02-11]] was advocated rather than [[1958]] [[February 11]].
  2. numbers may be used for expressing a month, which the policy used to be clearly against
  3. writing decades as '80s rather than 1980s was acceptable, where again, the page previously said exactly the opposite.

Angela 22:48, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I agree. I think there's always been a clear consensus against using numbers for months, since that's the easiest format to misinterpret. The debate was between November 11, 2003; 11 November 2003; and 2003 November 11. --Delirium 05:23, Nov 13, 2003 (UTC)

In response

  1. Saying that the format [[1958]] [[February 11]] was advocated instead of [[1958]]-[[02-11]] is a bolfaced lie.
  2. In ISO 8601 the month is always indicated with a number.
  3. There is no reason why using the format '80s within an article (not in a link) in unambiguous circumstances should not be acceptable. Eclecticology 05:33, 2003 Nov 13 (UTC)

Excuse me, it's not a "boldfaced lie", it was supported by Phil Bordelon, at the bottom of Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/archive6. There was no proposal at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/vote to use RFC 3339/ISO 8601 as a visible date format, the proposal there was to use it in the wikitext, and then convert it to a more readable format as the page is rendered. Our software will not convert RFC 3339 dates. Hence there is no reason to mention RFC 3339 in the manual of style, except perhaps to say that it shouldn't be used since it won't be converted. -- Tim Starling 06:00, Nov 13, 2003 (UTC)

Bordelon said "I endorse the ISO standard method (YYYY-MM-DD)." What could be clearer? As to the vote, it seem that you didn't read items 5 and 7. Throwing in the word "visible" looks like a deceptive word game. The wording was "allow logged in users to have it reprocessed to their preferred format"; it did not say "more readable format". It currently does not convert to my preferred format. If I choose to use ISO 8601, and it isn't converted that's not my problem. Not mentioning it at all is even more wilfull deception, unless you phrase it as an unwillingness to abide by international standards. Eclecticology 06:39, 2003 Nov 13 (UTC)
I see. Would you be happy if I added ISO 8601 (whichever flavour you nominate) as a fourth dynamic format? That way it could be listed in the manual of style as an acceptable alternative. -- Tim Starling 07:31, Nov 13, 2003 (UTC)
Ec, why are you claiming February 11 is in accordance with ISO 8601? That's a wilful bald-faced deceptive rhetorical lie and you know it ;) Do you want support for negative years as well? -- Tim Starling 07:50, Nov 13, 2003 (UTC)
I would go along with that.
If I still need to set up redirects to accomplish that end I would be glad to set them all up, instead of just those already there which have been on an as needed basis. Eclecticology 08:15, 2003 Nov 13 (UTC)
Ec, why are you claiming February 11 is in accordance with ISO 8601? That's a wilful bald-faced deceptive rhetorical lie and you know it ;) Do you want support for negative years as well? -- Tim Starling 07:50, Nov 13, 2003 (UTC)
I haven't really said anything about dates without the year accept that I would go along with the original author's style. I apologize if my failure to address that left such an impression. In due course, I would add a sentence to the article to the effect that ISO 8601 only applies when the full date is used, or when it's only Year-Month.
I detect a hint of mixed sarcasm and thoroughness in your reference to negative years.  ;) That concept had crossed my mind, but I dismissed it as not particularly immediate. To be consistent, I would answer yes. I've never been bothered by the use of "BC" instead of "BCE", but it would address the complaints of those who object to the Christian connotations. Eclecticology 08:15, 2003 Nov 13 (UTC)

I don't see how ISO 8601 is even remotely relevant, and would object to it being used at all, and would change any usage of it. ISO 8601 specifies a format for computer-readable dates, not human-readable dates. It is something used by CS and Engineering people, not encyclopedia writers. You will note that no major manual of style even knows of the existence of ISO 8601, let alone recommends its use. In short, it is wholly unsuitable to an encyclopedia. To see just how uninterested in human readability ISO 8601 is, their allowed encodings for the date/time "13:10:30 on February 14, 1993" are "19930214T131030" or "1993-02-14T13:10:30" (quoted directly from the standard). This is obviously ridiculous for use in written text, which is why people who write encyclopedias don't refer to ISO documents. --Delirium 08:01, Nov 13, 2003 (UTC)

I'm content to have it as an option, and am equally content to have others choose other options. I would respect what others use, and would see attempts to change what I use as highly disrespectful. The 2003 editions of both The Chicago Manual of Style at ¶9-40 and the Oxford Style Manual at ¶7.10.1 mention it without recommendation. Which major style manual did you have in mind? I've never suggested the alternate usage without hyphens. I have not taken a position on the time portion of the standard, even though I strangly favour the usage of a 24-hour clock which Wikipedia is already using in its date stamps. The representation of time is more easily opposed than dates, so heading there is really a straw man argument. I am not even suggesting that we adopt the Year-Week-Day format or decimal rendering for the time of day. If on the other hand, someone else proposed the European technique of using roman numerals for the months I would not oppose them. I would not normally use that myself, but I would respect the choice of the original author of the article. Other calendars would be treated respectfully, and I would at least try to understand what is being done. Eclecticology 09:04, 2003 Nov 13 (UTC)
Hmm, I wasn't aware of that. I seem to recall the Chicago Manual making somewhat of a splash by being the first major manual to recommend the (predominantly American) style of e.g. November 12, 2003, but I haven't seen the 2003 edition. --Delirium 11:17, Nov 13, 2003 (UTC)

And apparently the ISO itself agrees with me: the news section of does not use ISO 8601 dates, instead using dates of the form 4 November 2003 (the only use of ISO 8601 is in a computer context: the last-modified timestamp). --Delirium 08:12, Nov 13, 2003 (UTC)

That is very inconsistent of them. Eclecticology 09:04, 2003 Nov 13 (UTC)

These formats were listed on VfD and an overwhelming majority of people wanted them deleted [1]. The point is now moot as Tim is shortly to update the automatic date-munging code to make links in [[YYYY]]-[[MM-DD]] format link to the standard pages, as is now done for [[# Monthname]] [[YYYY]].

There will then be no need for redirects for people who may happen to write date links in that format, and these redirects can then be deleted with no harm done. Only full YYYY-MM-DD dates would be automatically linked to the date pages; a MM-DD or DD-MM link floating alone -- would would be ambiguous -- will not be linked.

Daniel Quinlan has suggested [[2001-01-11]] as an alternate way of writing ISO 8601 dates. It's easier to type, and the wikitext is also a valid ISO 8601 date. If there are no objections I'll put it in, along with the other 7 formats now supported. -- Tim Starling 23:56, Nov 17, 2003 (UTC)
7?? The only problem that I see with this format is that it links to a specific date in a specific year. I don't object to it; I just question its usefulness. What I was trying to do with [[2001]]-[[01-11]] is to enable linking separately from both parts without having to write a whole lot of piping, and instead of dealing with each of the 366 possibilities only once. Eclecticology 00:09, 2003 Nov 18 (UTC)
Note that the software can turn the [[2001-01-11]] into two links, or even (should someone eventually do the work) a software-generated disambiguation page with links to a specific date page should one exist. That would be handy for turning old current events pages into specific date pages. Daniel Quinlan 00:28, Nov 18, 2003 (UTC)
OK, I can wait to see how it works. Eclecticology 00:39, 2003 Nov 18 (UTC)

The 8 formats, roughly in PHP date() notation, are:

$this->targets[DF_DMY] = "[[F j|j F]] [[Y]]";
$this->targets[DF_MDY] = "[[F j]], [[Y]]";
$this->targets[DF_YMD] = "[[Y]] [[F j]]";
$this->targets[DF_ISO1] = "[[y]]-[[F j|m-d]]";
$this->targets[DF_YDM] = "[[Y]], [[F j|j M]]";
$this->targets[DF_DM] = "[[F j|j F]]";
$this->targets[DF_MD] = "[[F j]]";
$this->targets[DF_ISO2] = "[[y-m-d]]";

But only the first 4 can be selected in user preferences. -- Tim Starling 01:02, Nov 18, 2003 (UTC)

Integer and Decimal-fraction Notations

On a different note, isn't 200,300 ambigous (I understand the Brits are supposed to do 200.300 in metric measurements)? And 0.000000304 hard to read? In Australia, the recommended format is the less ambigous and easier-to-read 200 300 and 0.000 000 304. I could live with the comma in big numbers, but I really think the existence of some separator after the decimal point really should be used. --Kesuari 11:03, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)

IMO "200,300" (with no space after the comma) is ambiguous only if you don't know what language you're looking at. In the English that seems to predominate on WP, and might be called "Standard International English", it means the same "200 thousand plus 300". (In German, e.g. & IIRC, it means "200 plus 300/1000".) When editors edit here in dialects that don't recognize that there are differences between British and American usage, we fix it into "SIE". If there is any version of English where "200,300" can mean what is meant by "200.300" in this "SIE", its advocates should not be surprised if their edits using that unsuitable-to-WP dialect are translated into something that is consistent with "SIE".
Don't bother trying to accomodate "0.000000304"; except in tutorials about scientific notation, it should always be be written either 3.04 x10**-7 (as a last resort), or with "**-7" replaced by the superscripted form of "-7" (if you know the format for producing that). As to the hash-mark-8200 thing, i'm at a loss to criticize its use here more specifically than to say that on my browser it shows up as the kind of box that usually means "no representation available"; it probably should not be used here at all, and if it is, it should be explained in some logically accessible place. --Jerzy 16:04, 2003 Nov 17 (UTC)
Never, ever write 3.04 x10**-7 in this encyclopedia. The method for writing superscripts is explained right here, at Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers). But I'll say it again anyway: 3.04&times;10<sup>-7</sup>. -- Tim Starling 01:28, Nov 18, 2003 (UTC)
Let me add my support to that, despite my being gauche enuf to put it on a talk page w/o stopping to think that the meta article at hand would have the answer w/o any reasonable fear of a long search of the voluminous MoS. However, even having written real HTML occasionally, i value Wiki for the opportunity to avoid on-off tags. IMO, among what all secondary-school grads learn, it's the only "fancy typography" that you can't write correctly in WP w/o on-off tags. Even if i am wrong, could processing "<digit>**<optional sign><digits><nondigits>" the same as <digit><sup>optional sign><digits></sup><nondigits> be a future feature or WP or Wiki? --Jerzy 21:11, 2003 Nov 18 (UTC)
The hash-mark-8200 should be a small space (works for me, assumed it'd work for anyone, my bad). Can be approximated with &nbsp; (i.e. it's supposed to be '0.000 000 304'. --Kesuari 1.20ish 18 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Noted w/ interest (tho that looks just like any other space for me), since it avoids the harm of the other. But still no reason to use that representation.

--Jerzy 21:11, 2003 Nov 18 (UTC)

Must years always be links?

I realize that dates should always be links so that dynamic dates will work. But do we really have to make every year a link? If I'm writing a biography with a lot of years, in 19xx she did this, in 19yy she did that, it seems silly to make every year a link. There's no point to it, it doesn't go to a page the reader is likely to want, and it makes it harder to read. Opinions? Tualha 16:59, 13 Dec 2003 (UTC)

You're absolutely right. Eclecticology 21:21, 2003 Dec 13 (UTC)
Linked years are useful because they allow people to click what links here on the year page and see what events happened that year. Angela. 15:55, Jan 4, 2004 (UTC)

Date/Number Ranges

I did not notice a style guideline for formatting ranges of dates and numbers. Common usage on Wikipedia seems to be to use a simple hyphen for numbers ("refer to pages 2-12") and to use a spaced hyphen for dates ("Jonathan Bruce Postel (August 6, 1943 - October 16, 1998)").

My personal preference would be to go by the Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.), which recommends an unspaced en dash in both cases ("refer to pages 2–12", "Jonathan Bruce Postel (August 6, 1943October 16, 1998)"). An en dash can be entered by using the HTML character entity &ndash;.

LarryGilbert 01:06, 2004 Mar 13 (UTC)

I've found it. It is indeed in the style manual (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Dashes). —LarryGilbert 07:55, 2004 Mar 14 (UTC)

Auto-formatting large numbers

I understand the distinction between the American meaning of "billion" and the British meaning of "billion". I wonder if the possibility of some kind of auto-formatting (similar to what's done with dates now) has been discussed? Is this more of a software issue, and if so, can someone point me to the best place to discuss such software issues? Thanks. —LarryGilbert 22:33, 2004 Mar 15 (UTC)

As noted in our article on the subject, Australia and the UK now predominantly take "billion" to mean 109. So reformatting it for British viewers to mean 1012 would be rather confusing. BTW are you any relation to Stephen Gilbert? -- Tim Starling 22:59, Mar 15, 2004 (UTC)
Uh... Stephen Gilbert or User:Stephen Gilbert? Actually, probably neither. :-) I'm told I may be a distant relation to A. C. Gilbert, though. —LarryGilbert 08:00, 2004 Mar 16 (UTC)


One article, 4510, doesn't follow the rule mentioned on this article. See Talk:4510 for what to do with it. 02:59, 22 May 2004 (UTC)