New guidelines on dates in thread titles (Cafe Society)

After scifisam2009 raised the issue in ATMB, and discussed amongst the Mods, Dex has updated the “please use descriptive thread titles” section of the Cafe Society rules and guidelines.

Since Yanks and Brits use different conventions in all-numeral date designations (month first for Yanks, date first for Brits), confusion can arise when using an all-numeral date in a thread title.

Going forward, please make an effort to spell out the name of the month, or use a letter abbreviation for the month – Jan 18, not 1/18 or 18/1.

We’re not going to start issuing warnings on this or anything, but appreciate your efforts to keep thread titles as helpful to your fellow Dopers as possible.


twickster, Cafe Society moderator

Unsticking this, but of course please continue spelling out month names as a courtesy to others.

It was too much to ask for an American message board to adopt the American standard for dates?

Yep. everybody kept getting confused about what date 18/1 was.

To what end? There’s a lot of international participation here. There’s a lot more hassle in having a bunch of us wondering whether 2/3 is February 3rd or March 2nd, and in asking a fair number of Dopers to adopt a method that is directly opposite what they’re used to, than there is in having everyone type one or two more keystrokes in using a method that is familiar and clear to all. So yes, all things considered, that is too much too ask.

Is it too much to ask that you accept that gracefully?

For some reason, this tiny American brain has a really hard time forcing itself to see that as a date. I feel like Tom Hanks’ Short Attention Span Guy on SNL.

“18/1? What’s that? Oh - it’s a date! January 18!”
<2.7 seconds later…>
“18/1? What’s that?”

Does anyone think that 9/11 happened on November 9th?

“A lot” is being generous. I’d be stunned if the internatioinal participation were more than 5%.

“Hassle” may not mean what you think it means. Asking 95% of the membership to change how they do things is more hassle than 5% being confused. And if it were made clear in the forum sticky that all dates in thread title will conform to American standard, it wouldn’t take that 5% very long to get acclimated. Instead, 100% of posters will now need to adopt a change.

This really does seem to be a solution of most resistance. And it’s not that I’m not accepting the rule. I’m questioning the intelligence of the idea in the first place.

Juntember 1st 2008, right? Not even a year ago.

I’m an American working in an American office, for a global company headquartered in Europe. Long ago I made the decision to use the month abbreviation in all internal company emails, not numerals. Otherwise, confusion reigns. I think this decision by the mod is sensible.

I meant this to mean that mods would edit date formats in thread titles as needed as a courtesy to membership.

I bet the use of most other forms of measurement – miles, gallons, mpg, fahrenheit, etc… – also confuses the international contingent but it doesn’t make sense to have the vast majority change their system to accomodate. This is an American board, and international participants should know going in that they need to take into consideration that we use different measurements. (Dates being a measurement of time.)

If I went to an English or Australian board the absolute last thing I’d do is ask all of them to adopt a different date format so I wouldn’t get confused.

If you worked for an American office that was headquartered in America and had one small affiliate in England, instructing everyone to adopt a different standard for the benefit of that one small affiliate would be counterproductive.

But those specify the units being used. Notice the confusion when someone says it’s 40 degrees-is it 40F or is it 40C(104F)?

Dates are not a measurement of time, they’re a type of coordinates.

That’s why I only use one temperature… -40!

No confusion there. :slight_smile:

Speaking as a translator, to English, I agree with the OP completely. I always spell out the months, even if the original text was all numerals. Who knows who’ll be reading it? Why risk confusion?

Yes, and the government was behind it.


As a former payment processor, I concur. Anybody who thinks date formats are standardized and no one has a problem with them is leading a woefully sheltered life. :slight_smile:

Anything that improves communication and understanding is a boon. Why waste time and posts clarifying the date when there’s a perfectly simple way to make it clear to all? spelling hte month is a reasonable request, and they said it’s not a mandate, just good manners.

I’ve always thought it was a dumb idea to substitute a numeral for the month. The first of March or March first - is anyone confused? 1/3 or 3/1 - which one is today and which one is the third of January?

It’s not a matter of adopting a different standard. It’s spelling out the month (or using the abbreviation). I say today is Mar. 1, 2010. In Europe they say today is 1 Mar 2010. Different standard, but no confusion.

I’ve always denoted the date as Day Month Year; that way it’s smallest to largest. It makes sense in a possessive way too: First day of March of 2010. And I always spell out (or 3 letter abbreviate) the month. There’s never any confusion that way.

I don’t see where this new guideline is difficult or onerous for anyone, not even for people in flyover country.

1 March 2010