January 6th, 2006

  • mooism

Dates should never be given in an all-numeric format

Dates should never be given in an all-numeric format

Short, concise description of the idea
Months in dates should be indicated using the word for the month rather than the number. This eliminates ambiguity.

Full description of the idea
Americans interpret 02-03 to mean the 3rd of February (mm-dd). Most Europeans interpret 02-03 to mean the 2nd of March (dd-mm). LiveJournal should say “2nd March” when it means the 2nd of March, and “3rd February” when it means the 3rd of February (e.g., for birthdate on user info pages), thus removing the ambiguity.

An ordered list of benefits
  • Readers can be sure they correctly understand the date.
  • Providers can be sure their readers will correctly understand the date.
  • Less confusion and embarrassment caused by e.g. getting the date of a friend’s birthday wrong.

An ordered list of problems/issues involved
  • The server might display the date in the wrong language. However, in this case it is likely that other text on the page is already being displayed in the wrong language anyway.

An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation
  • Code which generates textual forms of dates should be aware which language they should be in.
  • Places where dates appear include, on user info pages: “birthdate”, “date created”, “date updated”.
  • Journal styles should always have an unambiguous date format available at least as an option.