Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive 9

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Names for the era: BCE/CE versus BC/AD

Christian ethnocentrism?

Forgive me if this topic has been broached before; I scanned the archived discussion pages briefly and saw no mention of it. Shouldn't the standard nomenclature for designating the era of a year be updated to make it non-specific about religion? BC -> BCE & AD -> CE? I see that this might be considered revisionism by some since the numbers would, in fact, still be based around the same event, but of course it's really just a matter of convenience to keep them. It's important for the western world, if it's going to enforce its dating system on everyone else anyway, not to enforce its religious trapments as well. Most serious scholars, particularly those who completed their formative years recently relative to the grayer-haired ones who might (or might not) be stubborn about keeping things the old way, have adapted to the secular style. I'm surprised Wikipedia hasn't done so as well, given the general standard of objectivity and compromise between all points of view (even non-christian ones!) found here. Aratuk 10:43, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I disagree; rebadging the Christian-derived basis for a calender[sic] to the PC joke that is CE/BCE is, to put it mildly, pointless. The problem is not the set of letters, nor what they stand for, but the event that they refer to, and given that we, as members of a multi-cultural world society, are unlikely to all, or even in majority, agree to a common point means that CE/BCE is meaningless. Indeed, I find the "C" somewhat offensive—it's meant to stand for 'Common', but the switch-over from 31.xii.1 BC to 1.i.AD 1 is of absolutely no significance to me, personally, and so is certianly[sic] not a "common" feature of my culture. Sticking with reality is, IMO, far more pointful.
James F. (talk) 11:41, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I agree to the use of CE and BCE to replace the traditional BC and AD. Being a multilingual, multinational, and a multicultural encyclopedia, it would do Wikipedia well to drop these archaic terms in favour of something that everybody can use. Christianity is not the only religion represented in Wikipedia,[sic] indeed, there are many non-religious Wikipedians working on the project. In the spirit of NPOV, that's the way to go. TimothyPilgrim 13:16, Feb 26, 2004 (UTC)
I was also surprised to find BC/AD as the dominant form in Wikipedia, and support BCE/CE. -- Zigger 20:07, 2004 Mar 23 (UTC)
The simple thing is to allow the person who starts an article to use whatever system he wants. The ISO 8601 system avoids the problem entirely by using negative numbers for BC[E] dates. I'm a non-believer in any religion, but I still see the attempt to enforce the BCE/CE usage as an attempt to impose political correctness, and that alone is a reason to oppose it. Eclecticology 01:04, 2004 Mar 24 (UTC)
I agree with Eclecticology in that there should be no imposing or enforcing, and that contributors are relatively free to do what they want (regardless of whether they start the article). It's just that
  • The siglia? BCE/CE are regarded as more religiously neutral than BC/AD.
  • They are not some new fad to bait the right-thinking. They may have been used in the 1700s by Jewish scholars, then by theological scholars, then by wider academic communities particularly in the last twenty years.
  • Political correctness was used as a weasel phrase, and no reason to preserve Christian dominance in a reference work at the expense of neutrality.
  • The Manual of Style has value. It offers a concept of correctness. We deal with that by discussing it.
  • Personally I prefer BCE/CE to ISO 8601 to BC/AD, but I am not always offended by BC/AD. I'm still trying to get my head around mya ^H^H^H MYA. There are some Christian organisations that are offended by BCE/CE. Mileage varies...
  • I hope that Wikipedia's software will format dates in users' preferred format in the near future—as well as converting the units of measure that have less religious assertion.
-- Zigger 13:46, 2004 Mar 27 (UTC)

I changed the section on years to allow dates BCE. AD and CE are allowed but only recommended for ranges of dates that span the epoch. Gdr 16:17, 2004 Jul 5 (UTC)

Rename BC → BCE?

This debate was moved here from Wikipedia:Village pump.

There's a debate over on Talk:Centuries about the use of BCE/CE in place of BC/AD. While not as well known among the general public (especially outside the USA), the "Common Era" nomenclature has basically become the international standard in academic circles. Detractors argue that it's simply Political Correctness, an annoying Americanism, or a fad. I think it's arguable that the connections to Christianity implied by BC/AD are inappropriate (if not offensive) when applied to historic events from other cultures.

The debate is also mentioned in the article for Anno Domini as well, in the section entitled "Alternative nomenclature for the same era".

I suggest that we rename all the BC date pages so that they're at their BCE equivalents, and create redirects. Authors of individual articles can decide for themselves how they want to label the dates, but I think the "official" versions should use the more generic term.--Wclark 21:55, 2004 Jul 10 (UTC)

It's absurd. As a non-Christian, I find it vaguely annoying that years are in BC and AD, but using exactly the same system but using different abbreviations is totally pointless and changes nothing. The French Revolution had the right idea: they reckoned years from a new point, changed the names of the months... If there was a serious proposal to do that now, it would be kind o' cool, but just changing the abbreviations is utterly silly. Calling Anno Domini the Common Era is just plain denial about what our era is based on.
The era is based on a lie. The acronyms (not abbreviations) should be as accurate as possible. Common Era is correct, independent of politics, as it describes the huge body of cultures around the source of the calendar being united in a common practice. lysdexia 21:55, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Now that I mention names of months, how about January, March, etc., named after Janus, Mars and other Roman gods I don't believe in. How about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...? Maybe I find it offensive to worship the Moon, Tiw and Woden. Should we go hyper-politically correct and call them Firstday, Secondday, etc. as in Portuguese and Chinese? — Chameleon My page/My talk 22:47, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Asian languages, Chinese not the least, are too primitive and stupid to have cardinal numbers, so it has no words for first, second, etc. lysdexia 21:55, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I completely agree. As a "radical atheist" (with thanks to Douglas Adams), I find it deeply offensive to suggest that I'm so stupid as to (a) be annoyed by the reality that most of the development of modern culture, and especially that of the last millennium or so, has been driven by a Christian-dominated world, and (b) not recognise this for the hollow, vile, ridiculous joke of re-branding what is still a Christian-dominated calender[sic], rendered no different by some lame attempt at hiding this.
James F. (talk) 23:12, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)
The days of the week and months of the year are pagan. The world is by nature pagan. Pagans created civilisation, technology, and philosophy. Christianity in the Dark/Middle Ages was circumstantial to any progress that Europe made. Many people identified themselves as Christian in the new Roman Empire's takeover to fit in: Pagans, Jews, and I'm sure even some Arabs "converted" to Roman Catholicism to fit in; and if they didn't, they were jailed, driven out, or killed. If you call fear and circumstance driving progress, then you're the hollow, vile, ridiculous joke. lysdexia 21:55, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The point isn't whether "BCE" accomplishes the task of white-washing history (I tend to think it's a bit misguided too[.]) but whether it should be accepted as the standard or not. It makes no difference why BCE is being used, just that it's being used. The academic/scientific community seem to be gradually adopting BCE as the standard, and I'm just suggesting Wikipedia honor that convention (whether we agree with the motivation behind it or not).--Wclark 01:22, 2004 Jul 11 (UTC)
If you don't care about the whys (reasons), then you shouldn't argue about any subject, ever. lysdexia 21:55, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If you think you have the stamina to make at least 3000 moves and redirects, you have my admiration. I rather have BC, because i do think ACE[sic] its an annoying political correctness. And flawed: common era? common to who[sic]? i blieve the jews, muslims, chineses, and Ancient Romans, for what matters, have a different opinion of what is common. Muriel G 01:17, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Common is a statistical term. If you don't understand its meaning, consult a dictionary. It is common to the Western world. lysdexia 21:55, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The People's Republic of China uses the Western AD/BC calendar almost exclusively, and they call it gongyuan which translates as "common era". I suspect the western calendar is common to all sorts of people when they are speaking in English and want other people to know what year they are talking about. - Nat Krause 02:50, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Perl scripts have the stamina to do whatever I tell them to do. Your (or my) POV on the BC vs. BCE debate is irrelevant. CE is sometimes taken to stand for "Christian Era" (which is probably better than either "Year of our Lord" or "Common Era"). In any event, it's certainly common in the sense that it's used as the international standard (yes, even by Jews, Muslims, Chinese, etc.).--Wclark 01:26, 2004 Jul 11 (UTC)

Could we make it a user preference, like month day vs day month? We should be already doing [[404 BC]]—couldn't we have an option to render it as 404 BCE? Myself. I prefer BCE/CE,as not religion/culture specific, but arguably we should go with the most common option as the default. m.e. 01:51, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I like the idea of having the date display as a preference—but that doesn't solve the problem of what names to use for the date pages themselves. Also, I don't agree that we should always go with the most common option in situations like this. If there is a scientific or academic standard involved, I'd argue that that takes priority.--Wclark 02:30, 2004 Jul 11 (UTC)
There are lots of terms that academics use that most people wouldn't have a clue what it meant. BCE/CE are like that. I'll bet that your original statment[sic] is correct,[sic] most people know what BC/AD means. Why on earth go to something obscure, when we're trying to provide accessible information, not obfuscate it? Elf | Talk 03:55, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)
You think that most people know what BC/AD means?? when there are so many dumb teenagers who think AD means After Death? lysdexia 21:55, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
BCE/CE are hardly obscure. Anyone who has taken a university history class in the past decade (or two) is almost certainly familiar with this usage. I don't see how obfuscation is really an issue here, since redirects would be put in place to make sure that 300 BC still took you to the same page it always did (even though that page would now be named "300 BCE"). Article authors would still be able to present the date however they deem most appopriate[sic]. Display preferences could even be added so that the user sees whichever usage they prefer. All we're talking about is whether the BCE pages redirect to the BC versions, or vice versa. Since BCE is the more generic term, and an academic/scholarly standard, I still think it should be the main page and the BC versions should be redirects.--Wclark 04:40, 2004 Jul 11 (UTC)

If I were the type of person who would use the phrase "political correctness", this would be an example of it gone amok. Leave the damn dates where they are. People who know what BCE means, will also understand BC, but people who don't know what it means will be completely confused. RickK 05:59, Jul 11, 2004 (UTC)

That's not a good reason to choose BC over BCE for the Wikipedia. All we should care about are what the standards are, not why the standards are what they are, or whether people are aware of the standards (isn't part of our jobs to make them aware?). Most people have no idea what AD stands for, yet that doesn't prevent us from making AD a redirect to Anno Domini rather than After Death. The only good argument I've seen so far for why the Wikipedia should stick with BC as the de facto standard is that it's the more common usage among laypeople. BCE is the standard among academics, so the issue is really whether we go with the more popular usage, or the scholarly one.--Wclark 06:10, 2004 Jul 11 (UTC)

isn't part of our jobs to make them aware?—no, it's to make sure they don't leave in frustration. Hey, we could write it all in Spanish too, so that they'd have to learn how to read Spanish, but our job isn't to drive them away. Wikipedia policy is to use the most common naming convention. Are we writing an encyclopedia for academics, or for a general reader? RickK 06:14, Jul 11, 2004 (UTC)

I said part of our jobs. There's a balance. Like I said, we don't treat AD as if it stood for "After Death", even though the majority of people probably think that's what it stands for (it's a pet peeve of mine, and I correct people on it more frequently than you'd probably believe). More importantly, it's not Wikipedia policy to adopt popular naming conventions over scholarly ones—at least not consistent policy (and if I'm mistaken here, please point me at the appropriate policy page). Maybe it should be. That's the real problem here: do we use the popular convention (BC) or the academic one (BCE)? Should there be a general policy for making these kinds of determinations in the future?--Wclark 06:24, 2004 Jul 11 (UTC)

I think that BC and BCE can coexist in Wikipedia. We can live with different formats for displaying dates; we can live with different systems of measurement. So we can certainly live with two names for the BC/BCE era. (For dates in the AD/CE era, we can avoid the whole question of what to call the era by writing the date as a plain number, as recommended in Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers).) It seems to me that in some articles it is more appropriate to use BC (for example, Dionysius Exiguus) and in others it is more appropriate to use BCE (for example, Buddhism). For now, we can live with both names, and eventually the software will give us an option to display our preferred name for the era. Gdr 15:04, 2004 Jul 11 (UTC)

The issue isn't (entirely) how the dates are displayed so much as which pages are actual articles vs. which are redirects. Since this topic never seems to get anywhere (I found at least five different places where the BCE/BC dispute has been discussed on Wikipedia over the years[.]) I propose the following:
  • My "Wclarkbot" bot (pending approval on the Bot talk page) will create redirects from all BCE dates to their BC equivalents. For example, 300 BCE will be made into a redirect to 300 BC.
  • I will find articles which use the BCE convention (Google returns over 500 of them) and edit them to point directly to the BCE redirects.
  • Once 300 BCE and 300 BC are on more equal footing in terms of ease-of-use, we can begin to monitor how frequently each is used by Wikipedia contributors.
As things currently stand, authors wishing to use the BCE convention must go out of their way to do so, using their own labels for the links (for instance, [[300 BC|300 BCE]] to get 300 BCE). This is an obvious bias in favor of the BC convention, and should be eliminated—although by keeping the BC pages and creating the BCE versions as redirects, we can still keep BC as the Wikipedia standard for the time being and not upset the status quo. --Wclark 15:26, 2004 Jul 11 (UTC)
Your bot proposal looks sensible to me. When you've created all the redirects, please update Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) to reflect the new recommended use ([[300 BC]] or [[300 BCE]], not [[300 BC|300 BCE]]).
Personally, I think it's a shame that Wikipedia has the idea of an article living at a particular name, with other names being redirections of second-class status... Gdr 17:59, 2004 Jul 11 (UTC)

Since too many people currently object to using BCE as the Wikipedia standard, and since I was too impatient to wait a week to have my bot approved (though I'm still waiting for that to use for other tasks) I just went ahead and created all the missing BCE → BC redirects by hand. I've also started compiling a list of pages that have the old style [[300 BC|300 BCE]] date links, so that I can convert them to the new style [[300 BCE]] links to the redirects. That page is at User:Wclark/BCE fix if anyone wants to help out. Note: I am not touching links that display the BC convention. Once the BCE links are updated, it should be easier to determine how much they're being used vs. the BC links. I'm still an advocate of switching the Wikipedia standard to BCE, but I concede that we need more data on how popular it is among contributors. I plan on revisiting this topic in a few months with more data. --Wclark 05:53, 2004 Jul 12 (UTC)

"Common Era" is by no means standard, and it is undesirable as a standard. — Chameleon My page/My talk 12:53, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)
"Common Era" very much is the standard among academics. Take a look at any (American, Canadian, British) undergraduate textbook published in the last decade. You'll be hard-pressed to find one that still uses the AD/BC convention. --Wclark 14:29, 2004 Jul 13 (UTC)
I agree with Wclark. BCE and CE are very common terms, especially in scientific textbooks. I cringe everytime I see the term BC or AD. I took a first-year (Christian) religion course for kicks and the prof actually had the audacity to suggest that it meant "Before Christian Era". As an atheist, professional scientist, and amateur astronomer, I'd like to see the Julian date system used, but I have to recognize that much of the world uses an archaic system. BCE is an entirely appropriate and inclusive term and I fully support its use as a standard in Wikipedia. TimothyPilgrim 17:59, Jul 13, 2004 (UTC)
It's funny that your name is Pilgrim. lysdexia 21:55, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I appreciate the support, but in the interest of remaining objective (or at least trying to) I should point out that the issue for Wikipedia probably shouldn't be whether BCE is less offensive than BC, but whether we should adopt an academic standard (BCE) over the more popular convention (BC). I'd thought the policy was to use academic/scholarly/scientific standards whenever possible, even if they were less common than the alternatives—but apparently there isn't any consensus on this. --Wclark 18:31, 2004 Jul 13 (UTC)
Apparently there isn't a consensus, when there are questions like "Are we writing an encyclopedia for academics, or for a general reader?" I was not aware that it was necessary to make a choice on that matter, expecting that Wikipedia ought to (and does) both contain material accessible to even a second-grader (we have one as an editor) and also material only useful and understandable by specialists, but with material mostly in between those extremes. And what has that issue or questions about people being driven away if it were written in Spanish (which it isn't and won't be) have to do with the use of what is a normal and widely used convention that many, including myself, have used for decades and which is also used by many in writing Wikipedia articles? Southern Baptists officially condemn the convention, so I suppose they might object. Jehovah's Witnesses fully support it. It was actually popularized in the 1960s by Christian theologians (having been previously adopted by some Jewish theologians and historians) and from there moved into Biblical archeaology, into other archaeology, and into general historical writing and scientific writing.
But this issue is a devisive[sic] one. See Religious The use of "CE" and "BCE" to identify dates which claims:

We probably get more critical E-mails about the use of CE & BCE than about any other single topic, other than homosexuality, abortion in the Bible, and whether Roman Catholics, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses are actually Christians.

Jallan 00:26, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I think we should go with BCE and CE. That's the academic standard, and rightly so, in my opinion. Josh Cherry 14:44, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It's an academic standard, certainly, but is it really the academic standard? Gdr 15:46, 2004 Jul 25 (UTC)
In the English-speaking world, yes it is the academic standard. It's difficult to find any textbooks that still use the AD/BC convention, and most journals require BCE/CE usage as part of their style guidelines. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that the Wikipedia should use those same conventions. The fact is that the AD/BC usage is significantly more common among laypeople, especially outside the USA. Many articles still use miles/inches/etc. rather than the academic/scientific standard of metric units, so there is some precedent for going with what's popular and well-known rather than what's academic. I've created all the appropriate redirects from the BCE dates to their BC counterparts, and am in the process of directly linking all actual usage of BCE dates in articles to those redirects (so as to make tracking simpler). This debate springs back up every couple months, and never seems to get anywhere because there is so little in the way of hard data. Once I'm through converting all 600 or so articles that reference BCE dates, I plan on re-visiting this issue in a few months with more data comparing frequency of usage for BC vs. BCE in actual Wikipedia articles. Until then, I'd suggest we shelve the debate (unless somebody has some hard data on usage they'd like to share, rather than just opinions). --Wclark 19:00, 2004 Jul 26 (UTC)
BCE/CE is POV, BC/AD isn't. BC/AD is the de-facto standard wherever the Gregorian calendar is used. Some academics, especially in the USA, prefer BCE/CE; that's up to them. Just where are all these text books with BCE/CE? I read extensively on calendrical matters and I rarely come across this notation in non-USA material. It's irrelevant how many articles use BCE/CE as against BC/AD. The fact is Wikipedia should not be used as a vehicle to promote minority views that are at odds with a current standard. Wikipedia should use the most common notation until such time as it ceases to be so—globally. Therefore, to maintain strict NPOV in this matter, BC/AD should become our standard. Ask the man in the street what BCE means and he'll not know what you're talking about (even in the USA), but the chances are he'll know what BC means. Arcturus 16:27, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
BCE/CE and BC/AD are both POV. Even if we were bound by de-facto standards (and IMHO that would be a silly thing) it's simply not true that BC/AD is more common wherever the Gregorian calendar is used—in China, for example, their terminology for dates translates as common era. I'm surprised that you're finding significant usage of BC/AD in textbooks, but if you're looking at older (or republished) material that may explain it. It's a quite common observation that BCE/CE usage is the standard in modern academic texts (for just one example, [1]). As noted in that article, BCE/CE usage was fairly widespread dating as far back as the 19th century, but in theological circles it goes back to at least Maimonides in the 12th century.
The relative usage of BCE/CE vs. BC/AD in Wikipedia articles is relevant because it's a point of debate on this issue, and one for which we can actually collect useful numbers. I'm not sure what you mean by "minority views" since the BCE/CE convention is used by many different groups, often with mutually exclusive agendas (there are Christian groups that promote its usage as a means of "whitewashing" the religious overtones, as well as secularists who believe the usage to be more in line with their worldview). Among readers of the English Wikipedia, "Standard" units of measure (miles, gallons, pounds, etc.) are more widely understood (owing to American dominance), yet there are valid arguments for adopting the Scientific (and in this case, International) standard of Metric units—so the fact that one or another system is more widely understood is hardly decisive.
I really wish everyone would just use ISO conventions and be done with all this naming-of-eras nonsense, but I really wish people would just stop getting so bent out of shape over the connotations of one usage over another. To be perfectly frank, the position of the anti-BCE/CE folk strikes me as particularly anti-American and borders on anti-Semitism (and for those reasons it always rubs me the wrong way).
If it weren't for the date articles themselves (e.g. 1 BC vs. 1 BCE, this problem could be trivially solved by allowing BCE/CE or BC/AD to be a preference setting that each user could configure on their own, just as the MM/DD or DD/MM settings are now. Something along those lines may still be the best approach. --Wclark 17:12, 2004 Sep 5 (UTC)

AD before or after the date?

While we are at it... In Armenian (people), "301 AD" was recently "corrected" to "AD 301". I realize that would be correct word order in Latin, but I believe it is minority usage in English. I'm not getting into this sort of petty editing on either side, but just thought it worth noting here, hoping that those who are working on this can sort this out. -- Jmabel 05:42, Jul 12, 2004 (UTC)

Well... since you're posting to the talk page for the Manual of Style (dates and numbers) I suppose it's apropos to quote what it has to say on the matter:
    • To specify a period of years spanning the start of the Common Era, use AD or CE for the date at the end of the range (note that AD precedes the date and CE follows it). For example, [[1 BC]]–[[1|AD 1]] or [[1 BCE]]–[[1|1 CE]].
So there you have it. Minority usage or not, it's Wikipedia style to put the AD first. --Wclark 05:58, 2004 Jul 12 (UTC)
Is it right to do so though? Pcb21| Pete 08:24, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)
See Anno Domini. The Chicago Manual of Style confirms that AD goes before the year. So does the Guardian's house style guide. Gdr 09:26, 2004 Jul 12 (UTC)
However, I see that 1 (number), 2 (number), etc. do not follow this style. Lots of work needed to make things consistent... Gdr 14:27, 2004 Jul 12 (UTC)
  • "AD" is from the Latin Anno Domini 2004 literally meaning "In the year of our Lord 2004". The "in" is because "anno" is in the ablative case. "AH" meaning "Anno Hegira" fo Islamic years should also appear before the number. The question may be between a "minority usage" or a majority mis-usage. Eclecticology 17:50, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Well, it's literally "in the year of the lord". The "our", which is often objected to, is traditionally stuck in the translation, but that would be a translation of "anno nostri domini" - Nunh-huh 00:37, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)
AD before the date is more academic and we should prefer that. But the layman puts it after and that is also acceptable. — Chameleon My page/My talk 12:51, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Multiple references to years and dates?

Is it considered redundant to have multiple links to the same year or date in an article—for instance, linking to 2004 or to July 10th more than once? This question comes up because the TechTV article has a number of dates in it, and I don't know if I should feel guilty for removing the redundant date links. My question wasn't answered in the dates and numbers manual, but I have not checked the archives yet. If there's another place where this question is answered, maybe we should link to there from here. --Ardonik 23:27, Jul 12, 2004 (UTC)

All month-day or month-only dates should be linked,[sic] otherwise they won't be formatted according to the user's date formatting preference. It currently doesn't matter for years—HOWEVER, I'm in the processing of adding functionality to allow users to set preferences for BCE vs. BC conventions (and maybe to optionally display AD or CE as well). So to be on the safe side, I'd suggest linking all dates. --Wclark 00:15, 2004 Jul 13 (UTC)
Thanks for your prompt reply. I'll correct the TechTV article accordingly. --Ardonik 00:48, Jul 13, 2004 (UTC)

Dates in Tables

I just got through editing the tables of Prime_Minister_of_India and President_of_India I intended to only switchover to the wiki-pipe-markup, but after a little experimentation I found that by following the mon dd, yyyy format considerable screen space was gained (small monitor perhaps?), also it stacked more neatly than dates with the fully-spelled-out month names. I then found out that there was already a dispute over date-formats on the Pres. page, and followed a link here. According to the guidleines in this manual, months must be expressed in full to avoid any ambiguity. Would it's[sic] use in a table like the ones I've linked to above, qualify as ambiguous? If so, I'll gladly revert the dates to the normal format, though I really do think it's[sic] use in such a table is quite a bit neater. -- Phil R 14:43, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The problem is that dates with short form months do not reformat according to user's preferences. With my preferences set to "dd month yyyy", on Prime Minister of India I see all the May dates resolved according to my preference, and all other dates in the table in the "incorrect" "mon dd, yyyy" format—most disconcerting! -- Arwel 18:23, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback. Hadn't thought about [or ever used] the dynamic date formatting. The May dates hadn't been masked (3 letter mon). Sorry about that. It's now corrected. (now if only I could figure out how to get back the anonymous default user preferences that got changed just to test this :-) I also managed to find some vague references in the talk archives (see top of page links) about similar formats: namely "archive1" (look[ ]for simian), "archive7" and "naming conventions (calendar dates)" (look[ ]for abbreviation). The format may possibly be ambiguous, used anywhere else on a page, but in a table-column of only dates it is neater to use. -- Phil R 21:42, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)