Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive 72

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Centuries

Centuries should always be written out in prose (i.e. "eighteenth century") and should never be written using numerals. Both the MLA style guide (in section 3.5.5 of the 6th edition) and the Chicago style guide (in section 9.36 of the online edition) recommend this style. Awadewit | talk 21:38, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

The only argument I can think of against this is that those two style guides are aimed at people who are fluent in English, but for some Wikipedia readers, English is a second language. It might be easier for someone who is not fluent in English to understand 18th century than eighteenth century. --Gerry Ashton 22:11, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
If someone is having that many problems, wouldn't the simple English wikipedia be better for them? I did think that the English wikipedia was for people fluent in English. Awadewit | talk 22:37, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Contradiction

  • According to MLA and Chicago, centuries should always be spelled out (see here). There are different rules for dates. Awadewit | talk 05:03, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Nothing against (at least) allowing for centuries to be spelt out (note, however, that their corresponding article titles are not) but I see not reason that we need conform to either MLA or Chicago. Jɪmp 15:16, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
  • I thought that we were aiming for "professional" writing standards. MLA or Chicago is one way to define them. Right now, the MOS is not really a MOS since so much of it simply says, "do what you want, within reason and consistently". It would really be best if wikipedia had an in-house style. MLA and Chicago are the most common. That is why I used those. They are also the two most cited in debates at FAC, etc. Awadewit | talk 21:22, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
  • We are "aiming for 'professional' writing standards." I would agree. "MLA or Chicago is one way to define them." I would agree with this too (emphasis added). I don't know that an MoS becomes more or less of an MoS by becoming more or less prescriptive but in this case perhaps stricter rules might help. Yes, it would be best if Wikipedia had an in-house style ... that's what we're working on but it'll be Wikipedia's style not someone else's. This should be arrived at through consensus of Wikipedians not simply by reference to some other style guide. Quoting other style guides is all well and good as a step towards reaching such consensus but should not be used in place of it ... not that I'm accusing anyone of so doing (one way of gaining consensus it to throw something on a page and see how long it stays). Note also that I'm not opposing your edit: I'd suggest where ordinals can be spelt out in one or two words they generally should be within text. Jɪmp 04:33, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
A MoS is supposed to be prescriptive, by definition. Consensus usually does not achieve a prescriptive style (note wikipedia's current MOS and this discussion which seems to be drifting off topic slightly). It is helpful to rely on other style guides which ponder these questions much more deeply than we. Awadewit | talk 05:27, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
I s'pose I meant to refer to how much detail the prescription contains. Is it better for an MoS to be more detailed in its prescription? Perhaps consensus does usually "not achieve a prescriptive style" but this is not to say that it cannot. Where it does not succeed, though, you've got to ask why. Is it that parties cannot agree, is it that no one could be bothered, is it that consensus is against a prescriptive approach? For better or worse, though, this is how its done here. It may be helpful to refer to other style guides which may indeed have a greater depth of ponderance but these are no substitute. We are getting off topic, yes, but I did mention I'm not against your edit itself. I reckon that Art LaPella has a very strong argument: this page specifies spelling intergers from zero to ten out & doing the same for ordinals as for cardinals since century names from the tenth BC to tenth AD contain ordinals this entails their spelling out. As for the likes of the twenty-first century, is this any worse than writing 21? I would say that it isn't and so if we've got 21, then we'll have to cop 21st century. My argument is, though, that we needn't have to have 21 either. I fail to see any logic in stopping at ten. It had been mentioned before that an alternative might be to spell out those numbers which can be written as one or two words. Yes, there's an example of consensus' failing: the topic was archived and we're still stuck with ten. It can, of course, be brought up again & I think I might ... Jɪmp 07:07, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Dates are usually considered separately from other numbers (I don't know why, but they are). One of the reasons that I mentioned these other style guides in the first place is because they define professional writing. When I see "21st century" I recoil in horror. Such typography does not appear in professional prose (at least in the humanities). However contradictory it may seem, that is the way it is - dates are treated differently. I simply wanted to raise the issue that wikipedia's MOS reflects an unprofessional style. Awadewit | talk 07:16, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't recoil in horror at either convention. I'm not convinced that there should be a rule at all, but since there is, how should I edit the Main Page to keep everybody happy? If your rule is that dates are treated differently, then say so in the rules. As it is, if I take your rules at face value I should sign this "July Ten". Art LaPella 03:15, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Manuals of style are all about rules. Also, please look at the title of this section - it is a discussion about how to treat centuries. Days of the month have separate rules. The Chicago manual of style and MLA both say that days should not be spelled out (section 9.35 in Chicago (15th edition - online) and section 3.5.2 in MLA (sixth edition). I quote from Chicago: "When specific dates are expressed, cardinal numbers are used, although these may be pronounced as ordinals." Awadewit | talk 03:27, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, July Ten ... okay, dates probably should be considered separately from other numbers. "... style guides ... define professional writing" (emphasis added) or do they describe it ... a well worn debate ... perhaps they do a bit of both ... but either way you've got a point. If this is not how it's done in professional prose, let's not do it here. All I'm saying is that User:Chris the speller is not wrong to have reverted you until the matter had been discussed. For discussion takes precedance over appeal to some other style guide (though such an appeal is an absolutely valid part of such discussion). And discussion is what we're having here and I don't see anyone's opposing the edits that Chris reverted (including Chris). As for myself, I'd prefer centuries to be spelt out (at least those between the one hundredth BC & the one hundredth AD ... just about all that you'd normally want to mention) if only for æsthetics. Jɪmp 04:05, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Whether style guides "define" or "describe" professional writing is irrelevant. They, in some mysterious way, arbitrate what professional writing is, particularly research-based writing. I did not think that my change would cause a big brouhaha. I think that I was right - the only thing we seem to be really discussing is style manuals themselves. There is no real debate, yet, over the change. As we are all in agreement that centuries should be spelled out, can we make the change now? As much as I love my dog-eared copies of Chicago and MLA, I am not really interested in having an existential conversation about them right now. :) Awadewit | talk 04:37, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
And can we also agree to something like "Whole numbers from zero to ten should be spelled out as words in the body of an article, excluding dates, times and measurements."? Art LaPella 07:06, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
If you exclude measurements, there isn't much left; just counts. I believe that it is customary to spell out whole numbers from zero to ten in general writing, even for measurements, but it is customary to always use numerals in scientific writing. --Gerry Ashton 07:17, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
What is this discussion about? It began about centuries only (note heading "Centuries"). Are we talking about all uses of numbers and dates? Please note that the only changes I have proposed are related to the writing out of centuries discussed here. Can we keep the discussion focused on one thing at a time? It will be much easier, I promise. :) Let's decide the century problem and then move on to the next issue. One step at a time. Awadewit | talk 07:41, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
You're quite right if we're to talk of other issues this should be done under another heading. "Whether style guides 'define' or 'describe' professional writing is irrelevant." ... absolutely hence my "either way" bit. You never know where the next brouhaha is going to pop up. The point that it "might be easier for someone who is not fluent in English to understand 18th century than eighteenth century" has been brought up ... whilst this is true I'd suggest that for such readers there would exist far greater obstacles to comprehending Wikipedia than ordinals spelt out as words. "can we make the change now?" Why not? But hasn't the existential conversation been fun? Jɪmp 19:52, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
I have changed the MOS. Awadewit | talk 22:31, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Should the actual articles be moved as well then? 18th centuryeighteenth century and so on? Otherwise we'll be having a hard time trying to copyedit countless existing references to use the spelled-out version since the main articles are still using numbers in their titles. What an article is titled is usually a clue to what a link should be.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 12:33, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
What a nightmare domino effect! This is why I usually try not to get involved in these things. The article titles should probably be changed, but since the rule is only about prose, I'm not sure that it is absolutely necessary. Isn't the redirect enough? What do others think? Awadewit | talk 12:55, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

However

Millennium:
Centuries:
  • '
Decades:
Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{". Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "{".

I would, however, suggest that it be pointed out that spelling out the century name applies to its appearance in prose. Generally when the century name appears in a table, navigation box, info box or the like (such as {{Centurybox}} featured to the right), you'd not want it spelt out. Then there is the question of what to do about titles (be they article names or subheadings). I would not oppose the moving of century articles to spelt-out versions but would like to note that this would involve a lot of work. Jɪmp 23:57, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

I said that centuries should be spelled out in prose in the MOS change that I made. Doesn't that address this concern? Should the table, etc. issue be made clearer? Awadewit | talk 00:34, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Oh, yeah, so you did ... but I reckon it might be helpful if it were pointed out that unspelt-out century names are generally preferred in (titles), tables, etc. Jɪmp 00:43, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I say be bold and change that right away. Awadewit | talk 03:11, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Hold on, can we look at some stats?

I'm late in joining this discussion, but I strongly prefer to see centuries written in numbers (no strong views on pre-10th centuries!). Can I draw to your attention some statistics? If you search in Wikipedia you find usage as follows:

"seventh century": 897
"7th century": 3207
"sixteenth century": 2,638
"16th century": 11,433
"twentieth century": 12,503
"20th century": 41,221

So a large majority of editors (more than 3:1), whether addressing ancient or modern topics, have chosen to use numbers for their centuries. That looks like near-consensus. The Guardian newspaper's Style Guide, which many UK people accept as a useful handbook, specified "sixth century, 21st century, etc" [1]. I hope that we can reconsider this decision, as it seems to go against the majority view of active editors: a small group of people here are telling three-quarters of editors that they are wrong. PamD 10:31, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

A bit more research: Encyclopedia Britannica online: "Sixteenth century" 95 and "16th century" 4623. Grove Dictionary of Music 51:500 for the same pair. But Oxford Dictionary of National Biography seems to have a style guide specifying spelled-out centuries. So, practice varies, though the online version of the other large encyclopedia goes for numbers. I suggest that we should not start changing text in article away from the format in which a large majority of editors have written it. PamD 11:24, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
  • I think it's most inappropriate to be forcing the spelling out of two-digit centuries. Personally, I'd much prefer that the insistence was the opposite: ninth century, but 14th century. I really dislike the extra length and, I believe, slightly greater difficulty in reading spelt out two-digit numbers. Tony 11:19, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Many thanks for these stats, which are I think very persuasive as to correct encyclopedic style. I don't mind "ninth century", but only in articles that don't move on to the "11th century" etc. Johnbod 15:00, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Month and year

The MoS page currently says:

  • Do not put a comma or the word "of" between a month and year:
    • Incorrect: "December, 1945" and "December of 1945"
    • Correct: "December 1945"

Why is this? When relating a sequence of events in narrative text, not in a time line or a bulleted list or a table, i think the "of" form is bstter style. An invented example: "In December of 1985 there was a further development: Jones wrote to Smith, saying..." Why is that IMO completely reasonable format conceded "incorrect" by the MoS? DES (talk) 02:51, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure why it says that either. I already use "of" because it sounds better. I think the comma example is incorrect but not the "of" example. Awadewit | talk 03:10, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't sound better at all: it sounds clunky and is redundant, just as "outside of" is unacceptable in formal written registers. Tony 15:19, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
That is a matter of opnion. I have certianly encounterd the usage "<month> of <year>" in formal written history. In any case "clunky" is not much of a reason for an MoS guideline. I maintain that this form emphasizes the sequence more than "In December 1985...". I would favor changing this section fo the MoS. What do others think? DES (talk) 16:34, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

The Four Seasons

The MOS page currently has a rule about using season names as an indication of period (hence avoiding "spring 1917" - since this occurred at different times in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and not all in the tropics). While I can see this being a problem if reference was to the whole Earth as opposed to a particular country or region - if the context is clearly localised, and the "seasonal reference" has some relevance then what is the point of this rule? For instance, how can there be serious objection (on MOS grounds anyway) to "spring 1917" or even "the spring of 1917" in the context of historical events related to the the Western Front in WWI France? Either the rule needs scrapping as unnecessary, or a short caveat needs adding to it (something like "unless it is clear in context what months are covered by the reference, especially if the weather of the season concerned is not irrelevant to the issue at hand"). A current campaign being mounted by an editor with a very strong POV about "Hemisphere Bias" needs in my opinion to be countered. It would help if he were no longer permitted to hide his trivial but irritating agenda behind an MOS rule. Soundofmusicals 08:54, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

It's northern hemisphere readers, particularly Americans, who I worry will not know when "winter" is in a SH context. Tony 09:10, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
If that is the purpose, it is better achieved with a suggestion, not a requirement, that editors consider specifying the time of the seasons on Southern Hemisphere articles. This could not be used for the anti-bias campaign; and it should only become an FA comment if the article is genuinely unclear. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:34, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
I actually think the current rule is pretty sensible - but it needs a slightly stronger caveat about not taking the avoidance of season names too "Biblically". There are clearly many instances where the use of a season name (or names, as "spring and early summer" 1918) is a perfectly appropriate, and quite unambiguous, method of indicating a time period. Something like "The Second World War broke out in autumn 1939" is clearly inappropriate, and "whose autumn??" is fair comment, but "The Battle of Britain was fought in the unusually fine English summer of 1940" is in a totally different class, and may well in fact be a better way, assuming that exact dates are either not appropriate in context, or possibly even unknown or disputed. We know where England is (perhaps except for Americans??) and so the time of year, while imprecise, is clearly not in the least ambiguous. It may well be preferable - for instance if one were making a point about the season being deliberately chosen for strategic or tactical reasons. For Southern hemisphere seasons it is perhaps more reasonable NOT to assume "common knowledge", and say something like "In the summer (December - February) of 1901/1902 there were unprecedented bush fires in the district". I DO think that the MOS needs to be rewritten a bit at this point, anyway. Am I allowed to do it? Sorry if that's a silly question but I've not been in this area before. Soundofmusicals 23:02, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
How would this go as a replacement for the current rule?
Because the seasons are reversed in each hemisphere — while areas near the equator tend to have just wet and dry seasons — neutral wording is often a more appropriate way to describe times of the year (“in early 1990”, “in the second quarter of 2003”, “around September”). A precise date, where known, is usually better still, of course. Do not use a season name if this use results in ambiguity, especially if consideration of the time of year adds no real information. For instance it is ambiguous to say that "Apollo 11 landed on the Moon in the summer of 1969" — whose summer? On the other hand where the season is in context unambiguous, especially if it has at least some relevance, avoidance of season names should not become too dogmatic. For instance, assuming we are talking about a particular place, "Before the autumn harvest" is probably appropriate, as might be "The offensive recommenced the following spring". For southern hemisphere subjects disambiguation with brackets "that summer (December to February) there was a severe drought" is probably appropriate. Seasons are normally spelled with a lower-case initial.
I am the editor that Soundofmusicals is referring to, and I take issue with his assertion that my edits are POV. A few points:
  1. I try to focus on seasonal references when those seasonal references are de facto date references and the season appears to have no real impact on the events concerned. These are the only ones I consider questionable.
  2. Usually I suggesting changes on the talk pages of articles and tag the seasonal reference within the article itself. Occasionally I do make a change within the article but I generally avoid this if I cannot confidently make the change myself.
  3. I try not to discriminate between seasonal references for either hemisphere. It appears to be a northern-hemisphere cultural phenomenon that almost all such usage is in articles pertaining to the northern hemisphere. Should I happen to find such a usage in a southern-hemisphere context I would also call it into question in the same manner. Despite Soundofmusicals' unfounded assertion of POV bias, I try to be impartial; it is not my own bias but the northern hemisphere bias in Wikipedia in general that makes it necessary for me to question a lot more seasonal references for the northern hemisphere.
  4. I am not perfect, I sometimes tag the wrong references. Good editors will recognise the fallibility of others and will be able to refute the need for such changes with clarity and in a reasonable manner.
This disagreement arose when I queried the following seasonal references on the Sopwith Triplane article: (1) By the autumn of 1917, (2) in the spring of 1917. (Click here to see these in context.) In my opinion these were in violation of the MOS because they appeared to be examples of seasons used as dates, and a reason for giving seasonal context in these instances was not established within the article. Instead of defending the need to retain these references within the scope of the MOS, this editor chose to attack me on the talk page of the article, and apparently got so worked up at my questioning this wording that he ran off to this MOS talk page in order to force through his own POV in the MOS so I cannot cite it in future as a reason to use more neutral wording.
His proposed wording change in the MOS is not acceptable, particularly in that it imposes a northern-hemisphere POV: For southern hemisphere subjects disambiguation with brackets "that summer (December to February) there was a severe drought" is probably appropriate. This POV must not be imposed in the MOS as it is in contravention of geographical NPOV guidelines. The example of an acceptable seasonal reference The offensive recommenced the following spring given as another example is vague and incomplete and some clarification is required here. If the war restarted because it was too cold to fight during the winter, this is acceptable if the reasons are explained and it is appropriate (... once the snows thawed, enabling supplies to be transported) but it is not acceptable if the seasons had nothing to do with the events and appear to be just a date reference (... after diplomatic efforts to bring peace failed). A well-written article will use seasonal references judiciously to convey a clearer picture of what is going on and also provide dates to clarify when things are going on. A well-written article will not confuse the two; that is, it will not use seasons as a substitute for other date references to describe when things are going on.
This only pertains to seasons being used as a substitute dates. When discussing the seasons themselves, or their effects, these guidelines should not apply. -- B.D.Mills  (T, C) 03:16, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
I have already answered the substance of this rant on the specific page where it came up. The MOS has been changed NOT because I "forced" it, or, as I may well have done, changed it myself, but because the consensus was that the rule you invoked so dogmatically was pedantic in the extreme, unnecessary, and POV driven, and badly needed moderating. PLEASE don't get into a revert war with the people (NOT ME) who changed it - accept that this is yet another case where you are wrong, and have been from the start.
WHY is your attitude POV? Basicaly, because, far from being driven by a genuine desire to improve the style of Wiki articles it concentrates on your peculiar idea that "Southern Hemisphere People" are a some kind of persecuted minority who need YOU to protect their right to have NOT their religion, nor their culture, nor their language but their SEASONS (of all things) recognised as equally valid with those of the evil oppressive Northern Hemisphere people. All I can say is I do wish you could have a go at being a real member of a real persecuted minority (of whom there are, alas, far too many in this wicked world) - it might bring you to your senses a bit!!
I haven't done a detailed survey and I have no intention of doing so, but I suspect that about 80% of all mentions of seasons of the year in Wiki are pretty justifiable, and ones that given a moment or two of even your thought are quite appropriate. Of the remainder - most are probably very like the Sopwith Triplane example - really pretty much six of one and half a dozen of the other. WHO CARES? I don't care enough to revert it - but I still say that to claim bluntly that the article as it was was "in violation" of the MOS was (even with the rule as it was) extremely silly. Changing it may make very little difference - but that is the whole point - it cuts both ways, doesn't it???
The very tiny percentage of cases (most of them manufactured) of real "hemispherical bias" that have been demonstrated that ARE objectionable - NOT as a matter of persecuting poor SH folk by the way, but because of poorly written and ambiguous style - are very well covered by common sense anyway - but are still quite specifically covered by the rule in its modified (advisory rather than prescriptive) form. My suggestion was if anything kinder to you, in that it treated your basic idea much more sympathetically. None the less I am more than happy with the new rule. Are you? If not, why? If so - for goodness' sake let's hear no more of this!
Now - how about finding something that is not a misuse of your evident gift of eloquence. A more worthy cause, in fact. And doing it. Now. Soundofmusicals 05:52, 17 August 2007 (UTC)


Projects adopting their own MOS

[2] Is this actually possible? --fullcourt 23:14, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I suspect the editor is just confused about the difference between bare years and full dates. A WikiProject can usefully make its own guidelines specific to its subject area, but they shouldn't contradict the encyclopaedia-wide guidelines. Stephen Turner (Talk) 00:19, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Coordinates, again

Time to deprecate 'coor *' templates

Now that Google Earth have confirmed that they are parsing {{coord}}, and WikiWorld and Geo Names have said that they will do so, are people content to restore the wording removed in this edit, deprecating the older coor * coordinates templates? Andy Mabbett 14:56, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Put it another way: I shall do so, shortly, unless anyone objects. Andy Mabbett 16:41, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Do we have a real world in the wild example of {{coord}} actually being parsed and appearing in the wild? If not, it is too early. Regan123 17:43, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I fail to see why that's a requirement. Andy Mabbett 17:52, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
How do we know it is working until we can see an example. Therefore I object until one is seen. Regan123 17:57, 27 June 2007 (UTC) Additonal: It appears that {{coord}} has not made it over to Google Earth yet. See [3]. Regan123 18:01, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
See http://earth.google.com/userguide/v4/geoweb_faq.html Andy Mabbett 18:26, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I have seen the FAQ. There is still the issue that coord is not actually shown to be working with Google Earth in the wild, unless you have an example that shows that it is? When that can be shown then depreciation, conversion, deletion and amending the MOS is not an issue. At the moment it is. Regan123 18:41, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
We do have examples in the wild of {{coord}} showing up in geonames (Para captured one - Netherton Tunnel Branch Canal) plus http://earth.google.com/userguide/v4/geoweb_faq.html (which announces that coor has been deprecated by Wikipedia, rather to my surprise) so I am content to accede to the restoration of the wording per nom. (I think conversion and deletion need an overall plan as adumbrated on AM's talk page by the Anome, which I would also support.) -- roundhouse0 20:19, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Curiously that particular article is no longer visible in GeoNames service, though some others with coord are. The disappearance may be related to a bug on their side where they weren't showing the most important coordinates from the article, but the first found. Anyhow, people are mostly interested of Google's support, and Google Earth doesn't show any of the coordinates that have been on Wikipedia with coord only. On the support they have said that "We can make our parsing tools recognize the new template; however, we definitely do not want our decision to support this template to be misconstrued as an endorsement or ultimatum." The arguments here shouldn't then be that Google is recommending the template, but that they are now supporting it. We seem to have trouble agreeing on what "support" actually means.
Almost everyone involved in this so far has agreed that we should help maintain the quality of Wikipedia data in notable external services, and that's why we're talking about it here. Basically we could deprecate a data entry format with external dependencies when a) a wikipedian says that an external service is planning to support the new template, or b) when an external service announces that they are planning to support the new template, or c) when an external service announces that they are currently supporting the new template, or d) when we can verify that an external service is supporting the new template but seems to be struggling, or e) when we can verify that an external service is correctly supporting the new template in all the use cases we have.
Personally I would go somewhere after c, where we actually are now for the most part. Our database dumps are so few and far apart that if someone has problems changing their parser, it may push our migration months forward. In this case that might not matter though, as the change isn't critical. I'm just disappointed on how the new template has been allowed to spread without ensuring the support before. With Google Earth we're currently in the situation where the new coordinates added using coord are not visible to the users, and it's also uncertain what has happened with coordinates that have been converted from the current templates to coord. But that's where we are now, and it wouldn't be very convincing to pretend that we can keep a narrow field such as geographical coordinates under control, when we have seen how people determined to get their way through really can do so. What the Manual of Style says now as a guideline isn't going to change a whole lot one way or the other. --Para 23:46, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
"The arguments here shouldn't then be that Google is recommending the template" - See http://earth.google.com/userguide/v4/geoweb_faq.html Andy Mabbett 08:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
What's written in the FAQ is just a misunderstanding of what's going on in Wikipedia, based on what a single wiki contributor out of hundreds of thousands has told them. They may just be far-sighted and don't want to constantly be updating the page to reflect the state of an everchanging community. So far nothing has been deprecated and the only Google person who has communicated with us has said that "we definitely do not want our decision to support this template to be misconstrued as an endorsement or ultimatum". Therefore you must not use anything from Google to endorse deprecation. The issue here is whether for us support means a public announcement of it or our verification of the data being visible. --Para 11:54, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
"based on what a single wiki contributor ... has told them" - really? Who's that? Google have said more than once that they're parsing coord, and are happy for us to start converting existing coor * templates to coord. That's a matter of record. the argument for deprecating coor * templates in favour of coord is that coord offers far greater functionality for our editors and users. That should be enough, but some wanted to wait until Google Earth and other external bodies were aware of, and then until they were parsing, coord. Now that they are, they seem to want to introduce further, unnecessary, delays. Andy Mabbett 12:09, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
This is not about how Google feels about the template, they're not part of Wikipedia. The community here wants to see the data in Google's service, and so far none of it is there, despite it having been available in all the database dumps since April. The single contributor who has agressively pushed the change forward regardless of support or its absence would be you my dear Andy. You could have avoided all this if you had just discussed with the community in the beginning of the terms of the change and tried to reach consensus, instead of ignoring them and then pretending to be representing the whole of the community with your personal opinion. The delay may feel unnecessary to you, but as you have seen repeatedly, it is not for others. --Para 12:31, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
"This is not about how Google feels about the template, they're not part of Wikipedia" - quite, which is why (that fact we know that they're aware of coord, and have said they will parse it, not withstanding), we should go ahead on the basis described by SEWilco, below. I have been discussing coord and trying to reach consensus for some time now; it's difficult to do so when the goalposts keep moving, as I've recently described, and when a handful of editors keep making unfathomable or simply false claims about what's proposed. Andy Mabbett 13:30, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Coord follows no standard, it's just an improvement over the existing templates, and unrecognised at that. Had you tried to reach consensus at first before starting to apply coord in articles and templates, you could always refer to that discussion and its goals, pointing out that that's what the community wants. Instead it's all in bits and pieces everywhere of the shortcomings of the template and about it having been applied prematurely. The discussions always get sidetracked and you never try to direct it back to the original propositions. Such discussions show no consensus. It is very tiring to have this bickering every time you try to move forward with whatever it is you're doing. I can just see you insisting on doing the eventual conversion little by little starting as soon as possible, instead of all at once after a long discussion somewhere. Disagreeing people will come in trickle and you end up defending your position over and over again without anything to back it up with, but still go ahead with the project. Oh yes, my crystal ball is mighty, and I for one want nothing to do with all that. --Para 16:21, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Coord both follows standards and is a standard. Of course it is "recognised"; and I did reach consensus first. I agree with you about the tiresomeness of the bickering; feel free to stop at any point. If your arguments rely on a crystal ball, don't expect me or anyone else to be swayed by them. I can't see how your edit summary, "AM fails" is either meaningful or helpful. Andy Mabbett 16:33, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Or we just use coord because it follows a standard, whether an external service is presently using the information or not. (SEWilco 00:16, 28 June 2007 (UTC))
Amen! All the services concerned are aware of that standard, have said that they will use it, and in the case of Google Earth, have said that they are happy for us to convert existing coordinate templates to it. I still fail to see why we are delaying the provision of {{coord}}'s extra functionality to our many users. Andy Mabbett 08:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Whatever it's worth, there seems to be some misunderstanding by the author of http://earth.google.com/userguide/v4/geoweb_faq.html as Wikipedia hasn't really depreciated the other templates.

Either solution would still need to address the problem of {{coor dms}} or {{coord}} being used within other templates. In these cases, {{coord}} just adds a lot of overhead and formatting problems, but it's unlikely that it's being parsed by anyone.

A solution, formulated by sk on Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Geographical_coordinates#Formats, is to standardize variable names (e.g. "latitude_degree") to indicate coordinates in other templates, such as Template:Geobox Settlement (which currently uses lat_d, lat_m, lat_s, lat_NS, long_d, long_m, long_s, long_WE). -- User:Docu

Meersbrook (53.353889,-1.472778) tagged with coor title d by Anombot2 on March 14 and then subjected to a struggle between coor title d and coord, doesn't seem to show up in either geonames or Google Earth. Sheffield Cathedral (53.383,-1.4694), which I changed from coor title to coord on May 18, also shows on neither. (Google Earth has added a lot of Sheffield tags in the last week, eg Fargate, coor title d, April 17.) An example of coord showing up unequivocally on Google Earth would certainly be handy. -- roundhouse0 08:15, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
why would it? Andy Mabbett 08:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
I withdraw the support given above, as AM persists in turning a blind eye to objections. -- roundhouse0 12:15, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Oh FFS! To what objections do you think I have "turned a blind eye"? The evidence cited in your now struck-through post remains: We do have examples in the wild of {{coord}} showing up in geonames (Para captured one - Netherton Tunnel Branch Canal). Andy Mabbett 12:21, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
"In these cases, {{coord}} just adds a lot of overhead and formatting problems" - please don't make such claims, without substantiating them. -- Pigsonthewing
The formatting problem was acknowledge by Pigsonthewing himself here and the overhead question raised on here, but eluded by pigsonthewing as well. -- User:Docu
What I said about the supposed "formatting problem" was: "This is a bug with the template's use of font-size:90%. Please fix that and do not remove microformat markup as a work-around." In the end, I did fix it, but you reverted that. I "eluded" nothing; you asked if something was a problem, and nobody seemed to think it was; though I pointed out to you that "it would seem far more sensible for any concerns you may still have to be raised on the template's talk page, where the author of the template is more likely to see them". Did you do that? Andy Mabbett 11:18, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
"it's unlikely that it's being parsed by anyone" - that's already provably false. You keep making false claims about coord. Why? Andy Mabbett 08:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Why is that claim false? You already avoid responding answering to questions about {{coord}} being used directly in articles, so why do think using {{coord}} on Templates would work? Are there any users who claim they would support it? -- User:Docu
Just a few entries above your claim is roundhouse0's post time-stammped "20:19, 27 June 2007 (UTC)". If you think I've failed to answer any questions about coord, please point them out and I shall do so ASAP. Using coord on templates does work. Why would you think otherwise? Many users do support it, not least in this section of this page. Andy Mabbett 11:18, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Google doesn't. Googel even claims it's "depreciated" to use coordinates on article in any other template on articles, but {{coord}} - odd no? -- User:Docu
<sigh> Google does'. See http://earth.google.com/userguide/v4/geoweb_faq.html Andy Mabbett 11:26, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Would you provide us with a quote explaining that google does support using {{coord}} on Templates? -- User:Docu
See http://earth.google.com/userguide/v4/geoweb_faq.html Andy Mabbett 11:41, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

This FAQ does not say that Google supports using {{coord}} in templates. Since this is also an issue for other geo data consumers I think sk's approach is worth considering. I think it is premature to change this MoS until it has been decided whether to use that approach. -- Patleahy 16:00, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

The cited FAQ makes it abundantly and unambiguously clear that coord in other templates is parsed by Google Earth. sk's approach is untenable, for the reasons given at the link you cite. Andy Mabbett 16:36, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Let me re-iterate my request, would you provide us with a specific quote from the FAQ, rather than just an URL? -- User:Docu
"This template can be used anywhere within the article text.". My emphasis. Andy Mabbett 16:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
"article text" = Article namespace. -- User:Docu

Accuracy of coordinates

Pardon me for jumping in here. I have not been following this discussion, and am unsure whether this is the proper forum for raising an objection to the current usage of coord. Perhaps what I have to say will be relevant to the ongoing discussion & reevaluation. I have found that the coordinates published in Wiki for many high-rise buildings are seriously incorrect, compared with NGS benchmarks, surveyor measurements, GPS measurements, and the FAA & FCC databases. This is apparently because the "coord" information has been derived from Google Earth. The latter has a notorious parallax problem with high-rise structures due to not looking straight down on these structures. Centering on a rooftop will generally give a considerable error. (Somewhat better accuracy is achievable using a building's footprint, when that is sufficiently visible). The illusion of great accuracy is given when the coordinates are stated to the hundredth of an arcsecond, but what use is that when the error can be two full seconds or more? If I substitute well-established NGS, FAA and/or FCC coordinates for the erroneous ones, will my edits only be reverted by a robot? Am I misleading users of Google Earth who will expect the erroneous coordinates, in order to facilitate locating the structure? That would seem a case of the tail wagging the dog. Shouldn't we be providing the best available information, regardless of possible impact? Hertz1888 23:33, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

This is better discussed at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Geographical coordinates (feel free to move my comment). I agree with everything you said, though Google Earth certainly isn't the only source for our coordinate data. Perhaps the footprint part would actually be on topic in the Manual of Style as well? It would be best if any automatic changes would first compare the distance of the two points and put differences too long on the talk pages instead. Could there be a database rights issue with the use of the whole of such data though? Anyhow, please continue at the project talk page. --Para 00:02, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Note also that WikiProject Geographical coordinates has a section on issues of precision. Andy Mabbett 09:05, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Thank you both, Para and Andy. I will pursue as time permits. Clearly the global or generic implications of this issue are far-reaching, when the question of automated reference to databases is brought in (well beyond the scope of my original query). For all its easy access and convenience, Google Earth and its cousins seem to have brought with them a tendency for overdependence. When coordinates are derived by centering on portions of structures well above ground level (e.g., rooftops or spires), and the camera was not directly above the structure, the results will inevitably embody gross errors. Hertz1888 01:04, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

On re-reading your original comment; I should also point out that the issue is not related to {{coord}} and applies equally to the old coor * templates, and indeed any others which use coordinates. Andy Mabbett 14:46, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia has announced that Google Earth supports coord

Note also that Wikipedia itself has now announced that Google Earth supports coord. Andy Mabbett 14:46, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Please see Template_talk:Infobox_UK_place#Google_Earth_compatibility:_geotags_are_invisible Regan123 17:14, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. I have done, and have replied there. My point remains: Wikipedia has announced that Google Earth supports {{coord}}. Andy Mabbett 19:26, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
We have articles using coord that have vanished from Google Earth. Regardless of what they say, evidence these articles have reappeared is needed before changes. Regan123 20:38, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

It looks like the Wikipedia Signpost got it somehow wrong as Google doesn't claim to support {{coord}} within templates. -- User:Docu

I refer you to my earlier refutation of your fallacious belief. Please stop spreading FUD. Andy Mabbett 08:07, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
Please provide a link to your "earlier refutation" rather than resorting to personal attacks. -- User:Docu
What "personal attacks"? Andy Mabbett 19:11, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Standardize names for coordinate variables in template namespace

Following the lenghty discussion above, please see a proposal for a section to be added to MoS at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject Geographical coordinates#Standardize names for coordinate variables in template namespace. -- User:Docu

(previous comment by Docu (talk · contribs) There is no consensus for this change, which was not included in the proposal at the above link. Andy Mabbett 14:16, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Deprecating old coordinates templates

Once again: are people now ready to begin deprecating and replacing the old coor * family of templates in favour of {{coord}} ? Andy Mabbett | Talk to Andy Mabbett 22:40, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

As Regan123 points out above, people want to see the fruit of their work in the external services before they can be sure the changes here are properly supported. I still can't see any articles in Google Earth that have had coord coordinates only. --Para 09:30, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Can we end the coordinates section dispute?

I would love to remove the disputed tag I added to this section months ago. Now that User:Pigsonthewing (aka Andy Mabbett) is blocked perhaps we can have a discussion leading to consensus on the wording. Can someone suggest wording for this section? Thanks, Patleahy (talk) 16:13, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

The standardized template parameters are already at the end of the section. What other issues remain? I suggest a new discussion with a list of remaining issues, if any. (SEWilco 22:10, 20 August 2007 (UTC))
Ok, I removed the disputed tag. I thought there was still an issues about whether Google maps and others supported {{coord}} this yet. -- Patleahy (talk) 18:05, 23 August 2007 (UTC)