Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive D5

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Years and dates archives

Default date display setting

Perhaps MediaWiki should convert all supported date formats (e.g., [[May 28]] [[2007]], [[28 May]] [[2007]], [[2007-05-28]]) to the default (e.g., "May 28, 2007") for new and unregistered users rather than leaving it in whichever date format was used to link it? I find it more convenient to use the ISO date format than the more verbose form, and since it is automatically converted to the user's date format preference, I figured it would be OK to do that. However, if new and unregistered users will be seeing them as YYYY-MM-DD rather than Month DD, YYYY, that's not good. :/ -Matt 16:14, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Matt: I took the liberty of reformatting your comment because it didn't come out right if date preferences were set!
I agree with your point of view. I wish the MediaWiki software did that. I too used to write [[yyyy-mm-dd]], assuming that the software would convert it. However, you'll have to lobby the developers for that change, and in general I'm afraid they seem to have little time, and we seem to have little influence. All we can do on this page is give style advice given the current state of the software.
Stephen Turner (Talk) 20:01, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
One problem, of course, would be what to set the default as. Should it be Month DD, YYYY or should it be DD Month YYYY (or even YYYY-MM-DD). Would we ever get consensus there? But, then, on the other hand, should there be a default? Isn't it better to treat this like spelling with consistency within articles but not necessarily across them - leaving the format seen by the unsigned in whichever had been written in the article? Jɪmp 02:53, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Date formats should be treated like regional spelling. Color and colour, April 4 and 4 April. According to the nature of the article. If we were to settle on one date format or another as a universal default, then we would get howls of outrage from the other side, as well as the recognition of a precedent and license to convert colour to color, feet to metres and so on throughout the wikipedia. This is a can of worms we don't want to open! --Pete 03:15, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
I see Jim and Pete's argument. Myself, I still think either default would be better than none, although you've made me less sure than I was. But it's really a moot point: I don't think the developers are likely to regard this feature as a priority even if we agreed we wanted it, and certainly not if we don't agree. Stephen Turner (Talk) 09:10, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Really we should be smarter on the preferences, and if not set we could deduce the location, and so have simple localization prefs.... But I didn't want to push for too much. And I'm not sure what's happened to Rob Church's patch anyway. Rich Farmbrough, 11:59 2 June 2007 (GMT).

Just following the rules, folks

The stuff I've delinked has been among the categories that wikipedia's rules of style says should be delinked, such as days of the month or things that have been linked more than once. Treybien 1:56, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Piped 'Year in xxx' links

There are lots of piped year links on Wikipedia. What do people think about generalising the policy being used at the music project? Lightmouse 11:01, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

There was a time when I used piped year links, but now I strongly dislike them, for two reasons: (1) no-one will ever follow the link, because they think it's just another useless year link; (2) even if they do follow the link, it won't take them where they expect: it's bad if links have a surprising destination. So I would be happy for us to advise against them. Stephen Turner (Talk) 11:40, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Like Stephen I think piped year links are bad, and even question the value of many links to "X in Y" articles, because they are still very general listy articles. A see also link to "1980's punk scene in New York" where there was some description of how the scene developed, might give useful context to an article, but "1984 in music" or even "1984 in American Music" will give little context, especially if the articles are listy. In summary, I support generalising the music project policy. Rich Farmbrough, 09:10 2 June 2007 (GMT).
Would anyone like to add the appropriate wording? Lightmouse 09:01, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
I disagree & feel you should do more to encourage comment from others before making a blanket policy. If the complaint is about linking to "listy" articles, then the complaint is about those articles really, not about the links. Personally, I find links to years (e.g. 1946 to be helpful, and more so where they are piped to a specific area (e.g. 1946 in architecture). I note that Lightmouse has been busy deleting single-year links from a wide array of articles, but like other visitors to Lightmouse's talk page I find this to be disruptive - the guideline as stated explicitly acknowledges that some editors like these links and I don't think it's appropriate to go through deleting them all in the absence of a clear policy against them. All that does is make more work for us poor editors either putting them back or amending them.
The (see 1946 in architecture) format is fine for an article which is dealing with only one event, person etc, but for an article surveying the historical development of something (e.g. reinforced concrete) it's far too awkward. -- Kvetner 11:19, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Kvetner: the discussion is not whether linking 1946 is helpful; or whether linking to 1946 in architecture is helpful; but whether it's a good idea to disguise a link to the latter to look like the former, for example: "After the destruction of the Second World War, many new buildings were designed in Germany. In 1946, someone started construction of something". This is the sort of link that I think should be strongly discouraged. Stephen Turner (Talk) 15:30, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
I was addressing that point as well as introducing a new one, but in case that's confusing I'll separate them out. I will say again that I disagree with the proposal to change the style guidelines so that piped year links are deprecated. I think they are useful and for the reasons already discussed - links to the year pages only (1946) are less relevant than a link to a more specific page (1946) - while the (see 1946 in architecture) option remains clumsy for any article which discusses a variety of dates. Therefore the piped links remain a useful compromise between year links which are less relevant or which clutter up the text unnecessarily. I think they have sufficient value that there's no need for a blanket policy, although I have no problem with individual WikiProjects deciding on their own preference. -- Kvetner 20:48, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Given that example, where only the year is mentioned, IMO it should only be linked if the year is somehow relevant to the article (WP:CONTEXT). Another point worth mentioning: Article content vs. infobox content, I have seen piped-context year links used in infoboxes as an alternative to including non-related year links solely for date-formatting preferences. --Stratadrake 02:32, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
It's come up again at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Aircraft#Easter egg links in user box. I think I am also against having this on a project-by-project basis and I agree that piped links are to be avoided for lack of utility. --John 22:45, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Deleting year links

I'm bringing out my other point separately, which is to ask for opinions on the practice of deleting year links indiscriminately across a wide range of articles despite their being no policy requirement for this and despite the guidelines explicitly acknowledging that many editors like such links. Any views? -- Kvetner 20:48, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

In the past, this has resulted in some user blocks, and some rather nasty revert wars. I recommend reading through the archives of this talk page, and possibly User talk:Bobblewik and associated archives such as here or here before doing this. Neier 10:07, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Year ranges

Am I missing it, or is there nothing covering year ranges: a) 1352-3, b) 1352-53 c)1352-1353? All I can see is a link to the dash policy, which doesn't cover this question. An editor keeps changing b)s to c)s - which other people change back. b) should be standard, in my view. Johnbod 02:13, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

I think b)s are comprehensible enough. I'd support making them standard. a)s, of course, create consistancy problems when next to ranges spanning across decades (e.g. 1352-69). The problem still exists with b)s when next to ranges across centuries but the problem would be less frequent in this case. Jɪmp 03:20, 21 June 2007 (UTC)


Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Years, decades, and centuries

Does this section imply that dates that occur AD or CE should not be referred with AD or CE? I know I didn't express my question so I'll provide an example. Is 18th century preferred to 18th century AD/CE? I imagine the context may influence which one is better. If BC/BCE dates are frequenty mentioned then it may be better to add the AD/CEs in too. Am I correct? GizzaDiscuss © 23:15, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, there's no point in adding AD's all over Voltaire. In a sequential chronological History of metalworking or something, as a minimum you should probably start with a BC, have one or two for your last BC dates, & an AD for your first one or two of those. More may be necessary & all dates may need them if you are jumping around. Or do more, like this list Timeline of clothing and textiles technology Johnbod 23:28, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I'd say only add AD or CE where not to do so would cause confusion or lead to unnatural prose. Of course, it is context dependant but in your example, I'd suggest that 18th century should be preferred to 18th century AD/CE. Given that BC/BCE dates are frequenty mentioned I don't see that it follows that it may be better to add the AD/CEs in too. These are not symmetric in the mind's eye. To crudely exemplify what I mean, consider 2007 BC & 2007 AD verses 2007 BC & 2007, surely you'd agree that the AD (or use CE if thou wilt) is unnecessary. We don't put plus signs before all positive numerals. P.S. I'll be moving this into the appropriate section above. Jɪmp 00:18, 5 July 2007 (UTC)