Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Editing/Simplified/semi-automated conversion for units of measurements

Simplified/semi-automated conversion for units of measurements

  • Problem: Currently, converting units of measurement on Wikipedia between the Imperial and Metric system or otherwise requires the editor to go through a lengthy process of searching for and generating a convert template, cutting the measurement which they wish to convert, pasting the component parts of the measurement into the various sections of the convert template, adjusting the convert settings and applying all of that . This process then has to be repeated again and again if the editor wishes to convert multiple units, such as in a data table or specifications list.
  • Who would benefit: Novice editors who are not sure how to convert units, seasoned editors who wish to convert units more quickly, especially in situations such as large data tables, when creating a page, or when carrying out repeat/copy edits across a large number of pages. (EDIT: As other editors have pointed out the conversion tool is used outside of the Anglosphere, although not to the same extent as within it. For instance, users have cited certain Russian units as well as many historical/traditional units. An unsigned user also said that the convert template is used on around 80 wikis. In addition, I know that, for measurements such as horsepower, there are a variety of units, such as hp, kW, PS and CV that are used globally today.)
  • Proposed solution: I propose a tool somewhat similar to auto-correct, which, when a unit of measurement is detected, may highlight or otherwise ask the user in a non intrusive way if they wish to convert that unit, and subsequently provide a button or single click solution that creates a convert template for them with the magnitude of the measurement and unit already entered into the template in their respective categories. The interface could open up when you right click, prompting you to convert the units, and then offer you a straight, one click conversion to metric/imperial that automatically fills in the "unit to", "unit from" and "value" boxes and leaves the other settings as default.
  • More comments: Currently, what most editors, or at least myself, do is create an empty convert template and copy it so they can then paste it throughout an article and input units into it. This is inefficient, however, as you still have to input all the values which can be lengthy, and it also removes your ability to copy anything else.
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: TKOIII 20:11, 29 October 2018 (UTC)


  • See also related phabricator task (phab:T190813 [converting en:Module:Convert to extension) and phab:T77978 - unit conversion in Wikidata). eranroz (talk) 18:31, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
  • It's a bit odd that the United States is the last country defending the Imperial System. What would Benjamin Franklin think? Actually, technically, the US uses Customary Units, which are significantly different from the British-defined Imperial units. A US pint is ~95mL less than an Imperial pint, for instance. The UK still uses Imperial for a few purposes, such as beer and roadsigns. The former British Empire largely uses metric. The only country still officially using the Imperial standard is Belize.
The convert template is not just about Imperial/metric. It can handle weird historical units from old sources, for instance. According to the Phab ticket it is used on ~80 wikis. We need better unit conversion, especially on Wikidata (I recently had a Wikidata query return unitless temperatures).
For ambiguous measurements, like "pint", I'd support prompting, but if the editor's input is in metric, I'd oppose the prompt. I'd rather have a bot do it and save the editor's time. I don't like having computer programs nag me to do something they could do better. :) HLHJ (talk) 23:48, 17 November 2018 (UTC)


  •   Support SEMMENDINGER (talk) 19:19, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support James Martindale (talk) 19:32, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Tom Ja (talk) 20:06, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Oppose. Sorry, but this is just the problem of Anglosphere. I believe the limited resources of the Community Tech team should be spared for proposals which have a greater, if not global, impact. There are many local problems with MediaWiki or WMF projects such as the limited support for Iranian calendar. Do I want to see a broader support for the Iranian calendar here? Yes. Do I want to assign this laborious task to the Community Tech team? No, because that would be selfish. 4nn1l2 (talk) 00:50, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support it's a genuine global problem and solution seems lightweight, good to have it on board. Cohaf (talk) 00:57, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support @4nn1l2: Please note that at least Russian use Cyrillic-based unit symbols (e.g. кг) instead of Latin-based (e.g. kg), so this should also be useful for Russian users. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 04:28, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    @Liuxinyu970226: Do Russians use Imperial units? 4nn1l2 (talk) 04:33, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    @4nn1l2: Sometimes yes, and they even translate them, e.g. they translate inch as "дюйм". --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 04:37, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Hiàn (talk) 04:38, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Libcub (talk) 10:35, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support ديفيد عادل وهبة خليل 2 (talk) 13:14, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Atsme📞📧 16:07, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   SupportThanks for the fish! talkcontribs 20:16, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Oppose Redactyll (talk) 15:40, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Viswaprabha (talk) 23:04, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Oppose Waste of scarce resources as mentioned by 4nn1l2. Waddie96 (talk) 07:54, 19 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support I think it would be nice to have basic unit conversion between many units provided by default as a Lua module to any and all wiki. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:53, 19 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Novak Watchmen (talk) 00:37, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support As this proposal's creator, I wholeheartedly support this ;) TKOIII (talk) 18:19, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Poslovitch (talk) 20:30, 22 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Dreamy Jazz (talk) 13:26, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Filipović Zoran (talk) 19:34, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support General Rommel (talk) 00:46, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Minoo (talk) 20:49, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Ogat (talk) 02:18, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
  •   Support Dumbassman (talk) 18:01, 29 November 2018 (UTC)