Dates in Wikipedia

I've been finding that adding Wiki links for any dates mentioned in articles is tedious and unrewarding. Dates are expected to be Wikified in the form September 3, 1939. Apart from as a near-random browse or as a filler on talk radio ("On this day in history..."), I see very little utility in a link to the "September 3" page from a page about the Second World War. It's also a pain trying to make just the first occurrence of a year a Wiki link.

A spacetime DTD would help solve this problem - at least for XML versions of pages. Note also that "September 3" is ambiguous without the time zone.

Of much more interest would be encouraging Wiki pages to be built up for true individual days, in the form September 3, 1939. This way, it would be much easier to build up a true picture of what happened on that day by checking "What Links Here", and it would be easy to get timeline effects. You could also have automatic conversions (or "views") showing the date in different calendars (Gregorian, Julian, etc.). Of course, the "On this day" pages would still exist, linked from the true date pages, a kind of condensed form of all the true date pages for that day of the year, concatenated together.

One implementation method would be a new format of typing dates, similar to Wikipedia's ISBN system for books: something like DATE:1939-09-03 would work. Alternatively, leave dates untagged and they can be converted in real-time from text such as "September 3, 1939". Since the current date configuration is so common, it could be easily spotted and auto-converted to the whatever new format was chosen. An advantage of special-casing dates would be that date format becomes a matter of user preference: I can see all dates like 3/9/39 if I want to avoid cumbersome long dates.

Extensions: It would be useful to link to September 1939 rather than the two terms separately if you have a month but don't have a specific date. This page would automatically link to all the days in that month, with stubs strongly discouraged so that you can see at a glance on which dates "something happened".

For an exemplary presentation of a chronology see Chronology of the Modern World 1763-1965 by Neville Williams, Penguin 1975. ISBN 0140510583

-- w:User:Hotlorp

Sorry but this ain't going to happen any time soon. A previous version of PediaWiki had a link in the sidebar for the current day. It was very, very unpopular and was replaced by Current events. Most days in history before the 20th century didn't have anything that us in the 21st century would care at all about (or could even find out at all due to loss of records). Heck, just look at the majority of the year page prior to the 16th century - empty templates. We might one day get to individual days (at least the last 200 years of them) but for now we should focus on filling the year and day of the year pages. --Maveric149

That's a shame. I truly can't see what the "day of the year" pages are doing in an encyclopedia, whereas Wikipedia is crying out for a good chronology. IMO people would be encouraged to populate these empty date and year pages if the "what links here" pages were useful for dates - they certainly would be for actual dates; and then the year pages could emerge as a kind of summary of the important daily events of that year. There's no natural way these user habits will emerge with the current setup. Of course, the further back in time you went, you would be more likely to be interested in the "<month> <year>" pages rather than the date pages.

-- w:User:Hotlorp

What about Money in Wikipedia? I can't find anything about this, so I'm assuming (probably incorrectly) that it hasn't been discussed. In the manner that ISBN pages work, perhaps currency could be the same? So a link to $5 USD would go to a page saying approximately how much this would be in euros, pounds, etc. See also w:Currency -Fagan

Very difficult unless you can nail down the exact rate of exchange at that time. But this is possible with tables that go roughly year by year. It's quite important to know how much of say an average person's wages it was to rent a room for a week in London in 1550, etc., and that's impossible without some tables of this sort. I don't think it's useful to do it for currency without this information so you can relate the purchasing power of that amount of that currency - have to use some basic index like rent, basic food, etc. While some things like transport have gotten much cheaper.


Just an idea: What about a markup format to handle ranges of dates, and code to deal with that? If a person was alive from 1869-1930, I don't want to label them with each year they were alive. Do they "count" as a person notable in their birth year, 1869, or in 1890s when they were most productive or did something especially famous, or notable for when they died? It seems potentially quite useful to be able to mark an entry with a range. Literary or artistic movements, times that a country existed, or events that happened over any period of time. Large-grained by decade, by year, or fine-grained down to the day level.

--Lizhenry 02:24, 20 November 2006 (UTC)