Forums: Index > Watercooler > Date formats

"9/11" etc[]

I would like my work on Australian and English subjects to display the dates in Australian (and English) format "dd mmm yyyy" rather than in the US format "mmm dd, yyyy". To that end, I have created a template "date-int" as an alternative to "date", and add a parameter "df" (day first) to the templates "get birth" and "get death" (modelled on that parameter which already existed for the templates "Birth date" and "Death date").

As the next step in this process, I have added the "df" parameter to the template "Showinfo person".

The logical next step would be to add the "df" parameter to the template "Showinfo children", but the complexity of the recursive templates underlying it makes my head ache.

Rather than a series of parameters which have to be passed down from template to template, a simple alternative is a "global variable" in the /info file for the subject.

So here is my proposal: add another (optional) field to the /info structure, named "Day first", and modify the templates "get birth" and "get death" so that they "get" this field as the value for the "df" parameter to pass to the templates "Birth date" and "Death date" (respectively).

I think it is entirely appropriate that articles on American subjects should use the US-date-format. I would like articles on British and Australian subjects to use the other date format. Since the birth-dates and death-dates (especially for the child table) are generated by templates, the only way to give the author freedom of action is to change the tamplate.

The parameter that I have added to "Showinfo person" can then be removed.


Thurstan 07:19, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Great idea. However, have you checked Wikipedia's complex but fairly complete (though different) solution to the problem, allowing logged-in users to see all date links in their preferred format? (That would cover marriage date and baptism date and burial date with no extra work and probably no headache.) — Robin Patterson (Talk) 12:56, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Sounds good, but how is it implemented? If I type [[Jan 12]] into Wikipedia, it displays as if it were [[12 Jan]] (as determined by my preferences). Where is this magic done? Thurstan 21:30, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the pointer, I had a look at what Wikipedia has to say. I think that "Date autoformatting" is not turned on for this wiki, and I don't think it is the solution to the same problem. In fact, I find it is not longer recommended (see Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Date autoformatting and its talk page).

The problem I am trying to solve is to follow the guideline:

Articles on topics with strong ties to a particular English-speaking country should generally use the more common date format for that nation. For the U.S. this is month before day; for most others it is day before month.

It is not unreasonable for articles on American subjects to use US-date-format, but I think that British and Australian subjects should be able to use the other date-format. Since the displayed birth and death dates are generated by templates (particularly for the "children" table), the template must be changed to give the author freedom to choose date-format. I think (as I would) that my proposal gives a simple (to use and implement) way of giving the author a simple choice to get a consistent result. Thurstan 02:13, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

As I said, great idea. And thanks for the link reminding me to catch up with Wikipedia's partial change of mind and definite (though far from unanimous) move away from autoformatting; a good half-hour's read!!
But be ready for :
  1. articles about people who changed citizenship significantly halfway through their lives
  2. diehard Brits who keep up the st nd rd th endings (as on Coronation Street Wikia)
  3. diehards of any persuasion who reverse the author's preference (though at least such changed articles will maintain consistency as far as your system permeates - which seems not to include biography text)
  4. disagreements about whether "mmm" should always be just three letters and whether leading zeroes should appear
Robin Patterson (Talk) 03:28, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I'll get onto it soon. I am not worried about your caveats: I am trying to find a mechanism that enables me to get the look which I want. I think the problem of getting everybody to follow guidelines (did I mention the dreaded word "consistency"?) is a lot bigger than date formats. Thurstan 04:47, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Done. I've named the parameter "Day first" (above changed to reflect). Thurstan 06:53, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

1741/42 etc[]

Descendants of Thomas Woolsey (1655-1741/42) & Ruth Bailess (1660-1714) is an impressive example of the years that had an "Old Style" extent and a different "New Style" extent during the rather gradual move from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. The abovementioned Thomas was born in the first quarter of what most of Catholic Europe was calling "1742" (NS) but in the last few months of what the British Empire was calling "1741" (OS).

Should we have the second year named in full? "1741/42" or "1741/1742"? Question needs to be answered before we start bulk Loading Gedcoms and/or completing various sets of year-related pages and categories. The Gregorian calendar article has just the two digits (and in one case just one, omitting a leading zero). But that won't do for 1599/1600 or 1699/1700, which says to me that we need the four digits if we are to make templates that work universally.

Google search for "1699/1700" produces only one exact hit in its first ten and only one in its second ten (family history pages, of course!), with most of the other five million probably being "1699-1700", including some that are clearly indicating OS/NS (e.g.

Same process for "1698/1699" shows that reduction to two digits where possible is not universal: in the second group of ten we find, which has that expression, and two others over the next two pages, total 3/40. Although "1698/99" seems to be more common if one looks at its frequency (15/20) in the first 20 of each list, the "1698/99" list has only about 38,000 hits altogether, suggesting 27,000 relevant hits, whereas "1698/1699" has over two million total, suggesting 3/40, i.e. 180,000 relevant hits.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:14, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Slash not possible in page that is to have info page[]

Using the "/" screws up the info pages. The "/" is used to separate the page name and the subpage. Everything before the "/" will be treated as the BASEPAGENAME. We should use just one system and note the other system on the article. -AMK152(talkcontribs) 04:04, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

OK, no slashes in person pages. That should be specified on at least two instruction pages. — [[User:Robin. Now done. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:21, 17 April 2009 (UTC) Patterson|Robin Patterson]] (Talk) 05:46, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Oops, guess I am the guilty person here. Good to know, especially now that I am now moving to info page entries. William Allen Shade 06:00, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Guilty of having magnificent pages that people notice. Not guilty of inserting slashes in the wrong place because there was no law against it at the time!! It's good to see you creating info pages, Will. (There may be an easy way to continue having pretty boxes in parts of your articles, but I'm not a box designer.) — Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:21, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

"1741/42" or "1741/1742" on non-person pages?[]

Opinions? — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:46, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

My preference is 1741/1742. However, we should be consistant with what we name pages. John Smith (1741-1825) and Descendants of John Smith (1741/1742-1825) is inconsistant. Plus, I think it would be better to use a subpage "/descendants". -AMK152(talkcontribs) 03:24, 16 April 2009 (UTC)