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Website date format


ExTechOp
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Currently, the only choice for the date format on the website is mm/dd/yyyy (which is sometimes called "middle-endian"). This is a format commonly used in the United States, Canada, Palau, Philippines and Micronesia. The rest of the world mostly uses either dd/mm/yyyy or yyyy/mm/dd (see Wikipedia for more on the subject).

 

Currently it is possible to select per-user the measurement units (metric/imperial) shown on the website, would it be possible to have the date format be a similar selectable feature in "account details"?

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There have been a number of discussion about this over the year's and several recently. Might search for those.

 

It is a good idea but I think a low priority to get done.

Several have suggested a more text based format that would be clear to all - like: 7th-Feb-2007

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Several have suggested a more text based format that would be clear to all - like: 7th-Feb-2007

 

Well, clear to all who read English. If "7th-Feb-2007" became the standard, wouldn't that also become an issue for non English speakers? I know the months in German, and they are close enough to English that it should not be a problem. But I have no clue how close any other language is.

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Several have suggested a more text based format that would be clear to all - like: 7th-Feb-2007
Well, clear to all who read English. If "7th-Feb-2007" became the standard, wouldn't that also become an issue for non English speakers? I know the months in German, and they are close enough to English that it should not be a problem. But I have no clue how close any other language is.
For example, the month names in Finnish have nothing to do with the romance language -originated versions: tammikuu, helmikuu, maaliskuu, huhtikuu, toukokuu, kesäkuu, heinäkuu, elokuu, syyskuu, lokakuu, marraskuu and joulukuu. And, generally speaking, three-letter abbreviations for month names are not used and look extremely odd when forced on us by too-rigid computer systems.

 

I would prefer to see the ISO 8601 format in use, it is at least fairly well understandable to everyone on the planet. Of course the best alternative would be for the date format to be selectable per user, just like the distance units are.

 

I believe one of the reasons for the existence of Geocaching.ru is that at the time, the Russians found Geocaching.com to be lacking in support for non-latin character sets and non-american notations (like the distance, maybe also the date format). I know these things had a part in the birth of Geocaching.fi, which has a cache owner-maintained "backup" of Finnish cache listings from Geocaching.com. Developments like this of course in the end can mean this hobby ends up being split up into numerous non-connected national niches, which is not good for anyone.

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I believe one of the reasons for the existence of Geocaching.ru is that at the time, the Russians found Geocaching.com to be lacking in support for non-latin character sets and non-american notations (like the distance, maybe also the date format). I know these things had a part in the birth of Geocaching.fi, which has a cache owner-maintained "backup" of Finnish cache listings from Geocaching.com. Developments like this of course in the end can mean this hobby ends up being split up into numerous non-connected national niches, which is not good for anyone.

 

We are in thoughts that also the Greek community may want to make its own site and completely have its own local game.

There are many friends here in Greece that do not like many "features" and politics that are followed by the owners of this site.Of course the date format is one of them.We prefer the DD/MM/YYYY format but of course this is ALSO a low priority issue as long as the name of the country FYROM, that although Jeremy agreed into something NO CHANGE was made...Also the ads...Yes, we can pay for a subscription, but I WON'T pay a subscription under the above circumstances...I will agree to ExTechOp that things tend to local versions and geocaching.com does everything for this split-up.

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I know I'll get flammed but.....

Just remember geocaching.com is free (unless you pay for a few extra features) AND

I propose the US military make all other countries pay for use of the GPS system that us American tax payers pay for that the rest of the world uses for free or at least scramble it for everyone else unless they pay for a code for the GPSr.

 

OK see, not everyone can agree on everything. This site is free and just so happens based in the US. The game of geocaching is played using US satelites that no one except US taxpayers pay for so a little squabble over date format seems childish. I think TPTB knows everyones wishes for user selectable date format and that might be an upcoming option under ver 2.x.

 

Right now, I'd rather be able to come home after caching on a saturday and be able to sit down and log my caches without a timeout error than worry about a date format or measurement standard or ads that $3 a month takes care of(which by the way is under testing and not permanent, yet).

 

I have real life stuff to go do and the game of geocaching will have to wait until I get free time. I have bills and taxes to pay..... :laughing:

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Several have suggested a more text based format that would be clear to all - like: 7th-Feb-2007

 

Well, clear to all who read English. If "7th-Feb-2007" became the standard, wouldn't that also become an issue for non English speakers? I know the months in German, and they are close enough to English that it should not be a problem. But I have no clue how close any other language is.

 

Being that the site is written in English with no option to change the default language and that a majority of those that use this site live in the USA. I see no problem here. I am sure that eventually other preferences will eventually be accommodated. I've visited websites in the UK and I've found that I've been able to use their date system with little trouble. Since humans are very good a adapting I don't see it as a priority.

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I propose the US military make all other countries pay for use of the GPS system that us American tax payers pay for that the rest of the world uses for free or at least scramble it for everyone else unless they pay for a code for the GPSr.

 

I believe (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) that for every civilian GPS unit sold, the makers (of the unit or of the chipset) have paid a license fee to the Pentagon (or whichever agency runs the satellites) to receive the data, and this cost is of course passed on - with an appropriate markup - to the consumer. So civilian use is already paid for by all owners of GPSr units. The US taxpayers paid for the military side, but then they get the military benefit (this is all in theory, of course, but when it comes to financing any project this big, theory is probably all you're going to get).

 

Should the European system (Galileo) ever actually get built (I'm not holding my breath), it will be free worldwide down to the metre level (if you want centimetre accuracy, that will cost).

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I believe (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) that for every civilian GPS unit sold, the makers (of the unit or of the chipset) have paid a license fee to the Pentagon (or whichever agency runs the satellites) to receive the data, and this cost is of course passed on - with an appropriate markup - to the consumer. So civilian use is already paid for by all owners of GPSr units.

 

There is no such license fee. The data is unencrypted and can be picked up by anyone savvy enough to receive and manipulate the data.

 

Of course US taxpayer dollars do pay for the technology.

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Currently, the only choice for the date format on the website is mm/dd/yyyy (which is sometimes called "middle-endian"). This is a format commonly used in the United States, Canada, Palau, Philippines and Micronesia. The rest of the world mostly uses either dd/mm/yyyy or yyyy/mm/dd (see Wikipedia for more on the subject).

 

Currently it is possible to select per-user the measurement units (metric/imperial) shown on the website, would it be possible to have the date format be a similar selectable feature in "account details"?

 

The challenge here is that we have to find every date format and have it output based on the preferences. I have this on the planned list of features for v2 of the web site - in addition to being able to localize the content in different languages. The exception will be for countries who read right to left. That's just too darn hard.

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I believe (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) that for every civilian GPS unit sold, the makers (of the unit or of the chipset) have paid a license fee to the Pentagon (or whichever agency runs the satellites) to receive the data.
You're wrong. There is no such license fee for this or for any U.S.-government-funded technology spinoff. We're rather proud of that.
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I believe (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) that for every civilian GPS unit sold, the makers (of the unit or of the chipset) have paid a license fee to the Pentagon (or whichever agency runs the satellites) to receive the data.
You're wrong. There is no such license fee for this or for any U.S.-government-funded technology spinoff. We're rather proud of that.

 

Thanks. I'll go and beat up the person who explained to me that there was (it was in here somewhere, quite a few months back. You mean you can't believe everything you read on the Internet? :()

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Someone mentioned ISO 8601. The problem with it is that it is all number-based, with only two places for letters, and they don't help for dates. When you get a date such as June 7th, is it 06-07, or 07-06? If you aren't really familiar with the thing, it gets dicey. Also, some places put the month first, others put the date.

 

Here is a possible option that I use a lot. It uses Roman Numerals for the month. Yes, there are a few places that have never heard of them, but most of the world has a basic knowledge of them, and it is an easy system to teach, at least up to twelve, which is all we would need.

 

Examples:

 

June 7th, 2007 would become either 7-VI-2007 or 2007-VI-07

January 19th, 2010 would become 19-I-2010 or 2010-I-19

November 11th, 2008 would become 11-XI-2008 or 2008-XI-11

 

There is almost no way to confuse the number of the month with the number of the date; it is nearly self-correcting, as the only ones who will screw it up are probably not smart enough to turn on a GPSr, let alone use one. I am not suggesting that this is what GC.com should switch to, although that would cut across most of the issues. I *am* suggesting that this is a practical way to avoid almost all possible confusions between the numerous ways to write a date that are in existence in the world. Calendar differences (Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc) are not, of course, covered.

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Just remember geocaching.com is free (unless you pay for a few extra features) AND I propose the US military make all other countries pay for use of the GPS system that us American tax payers pay for that the rest of the world uses for free or at least scramble it for everyone else unless they pay for a code for the GPSr.
I assume this means you've never heard of GLONASS or EGNOS nor seen a receiver that can use multiple systems?

 

I would also like to point out that one of the reasons the Galileo system is so delayed is that the US Government officially stated in 2002 that they still wanted to have selective availability if need be.

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Someone mentioned ISO 8601. The problem with it is that it is all number-based, with only two places for letters, and they don't help for dates. When you get a date such as June 7th, is it 06-07, or 07-06? If you aren't really familiar with the thing, it gets dicey. Also, some places put the month first, others put the date.
I'm so glad you looked up the ISO 8601 link I put in my post; "ISO 8601 prescribes a four-digit year to avoid the year 2000 problem."

 

Thus, the ISO 8601 date for today (Finland is UT+3) is 2007-07-01 which doesn't really leave much room for confusion anywhere in the world.

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Thus, the ISO 8601 date for today (Finland is UT+3) is 2007-07-01 which doesn't really leave much room for confusion anywhere in the world.

Only in those areas where the Y-M-D convention is used. There are areas where the convention is Y-D-M, in which case the example you give translates to 7th January, 2007. I agree that Y-M-D makes a lot more sense, but it is not universal. Using Roman Numerals for the month removes much (not all) of any possible confusion.

 

BTW, Canadians (in my experience) are as likely to use D-M-Y (e.g. 7th June, 2008) as what we Americans generally use. I still find this to be the most logical system, but I certainly had no problem with adjusting to the local standard when we visited Italy and Switzerland in 2005. "When in Rome..." and all that :laughing:

 

Also, while the ISO 8601 standard is logical in its structure, it is not a practical structure for day-to-day living. ISO standards make much sense in a business, scientific, military and even a political context, when one is documenting current activities for future use and analysis, but in those of how people operate their daily lives, it is cumbersome and awkward. How many people don't know what year they are living in? Very few. How many won't know the month? More, certainly, but I would still think that the percentage is quite small. The date? Rather more; we all screw up when writing a check, or doing something else that requires the current date, at some point in our lives. Still, that number is going to be fairly small at any particular time. The exact time, however, is very tough for most people to get right without a clock. Putting the time at the end of a date-stamp makes sense in some applications, but if someone asks me what time it is, I am not going to tell them, "2007, June 30th, 3:44 pm PDT (+9)" No, ISO 8601 is not really appropriate here; it is overly-qualified. Let's pick either Y-M-D or D-M-Y, and leave it at that. Having figured that out, the only thing to determine is how we denote the month. I would opt for using something that amplifies (or at least more-strongly delineates) the information needed, but that's just me :laughing:

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Thus, the ISO 8601 date for today (Finland is UT+3) is 2007-07-01 which doesn't really leave much room for confusion anywhere in the world.
Only in those areas where the Y-M-D convention is used. There are areas where the convention is Y-D-M, in which case the example you give translates to 7th January, 2007. I agree that Y-M-D makes a lot more sense, but it is not universal.
Would you care to name a place (on this planet, please) where Y-D-M is commonly used in all-numbers dates, as neither I nor Wikipedia has heard of such?
Using Roman Numerals for the month removes much (not all) of any possible confusion.
Being a part-time website designer, I can see there is the not-so-small problem of having the month code change from 1 to 4 characters in length, and the fact that in many fonts all digits are the same width (making tables line up nicely), but I, V and X are different.

 

BTW, I've seen roman numerals being used in gravestones from the 1700's and 1800's, pretty much the way you propose, though often in a very obscure way like 18-27/X-08 (which would mean 27th of October 1808).

BTW, Canadians (in my experience) are as likely to use D-M-Y (e.g. 7th June, 2008) as what we Americans generally use. I still find this to be the most logical system, but I certainly had no problem with adjusting to the local standard when we visited Italy and Switzerland in 2005. "When in Rome..." and all that :laughing:
My original suggestion was only for the places on the website where all-numbers dates are used for brevity, like when listing several caches that match a given criteria on one page. Places where the date can be written out "in full" are of course a whole different kettle of fish. I18N is a horrible mess, you don't want to go there.
Also, while the ISO 8601 standard is logical in its structure, it is not a practical structure for day-to-day living. ISO standards make much sense in a business, scientific, military and even a political context, when one is documenting current activities for future use and analysis, but in those of how people operate their daily lives, it is cumbersome and awkward. How many people don't know what year they are living in? Very few. How many won't know the month? More, certainly, but I would still think that the percentage is quite small. The date? Rather more; we all screw up when writing a check, or doing something else that requires the current date, at some point in our lives. Still, that number is going to be fairly small at any particular time. The exact time, however, is very tough for most people to get right without a clock. Putting the time at the end of a date-stamp makes sense in some applications, but if someone asks me what time it is, I am not going to tell them, "2007, June 30th, 3:44 pm PDT (+9)" No, ISO 8601 is not really appropriate here; it is overly-qualified. Let's pick either Y-M-D or D-M-Y, and leave it at that. Having figured that out, the only thing to determine is how we denote the month. I would opt for using something that amplifies (or at least more-strongly delineates) the information needed, but that's just me :laughing:
Why do I suddenly feel like I'm reading the "Freedom2Measure" website? :laughing:

 

IF you had actually read the ISO 8601 link that I've now twice provided, you would have found that the standard is fine with giving YYYY-DD-MM as a date stamp in places where no time information is required.

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Just remember geocaching.com is free (unless you pay for a few extra features) AND I propose the US military make all other countries pay for use of the GPS system that us American tax payers pay for that the rest of the world uses for free or at least scramble it for everyone else unless they pay for a code for the GPSr.
I assume this means you've never heard of GLONASS or EGNOS nor seen a receiver that can use multiple systems?

 

I would also like to point out that one of the reasons the Galileo system is so delayed is that the US Government officially stated in 2002 that they still wanted to have selective availability if need be.

 

According to this 2004 news article the frequencies that were being proposed for use was the major issue. A side issue was permission to jam the system in war zones (selective availability?). Which was also agreed upon. As you can see for years now, ever since 2004, the USA has been in favor of the Galileo project.

 

The current and real reason the Galileo project is majority delayed is due to a lack of funding. The EU was trying to use private funds to cover 100% of the costs of this project. However that isn't shaping up as well as they had hoped. Now to looks as if the tax payers once again will be funding another GPS project. See the following current news articles dated 2007;

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IF you had actually read the ISO 8601 link that I've now twice provided, you would have found that the standard is fine with giving YYYY-DD-MM as a date stamp in places where no time information is required.

I had a quick read of what I thought were the relevant sections (the article is heavy going). It looked to me like the date format is meant to be the obvious and logical one (from most to least significant, i.e. YYYY-MM-DD). I can't see how anyone could object if that was adopted - it's an international standard, has the advantage of a logical structure (unlike YYYY-DD-MM - why would anyone want to use that?) and avoids the confusion of attempting to use abbreviations.

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I must add that the only exception to the ISO date would be where YYYY-DD-MM is in common use: as these are only a very few countries, I guess that it wouldn't be too onerous to apply a conversion to the date for those who declare themselves to be based there.

 

The reason being that the standard version looks very similar to the familiar date in these areas so it would lead, in practice, to an inordinate amount of confusion. Most of the world would, I imagine, be happy enough with the standard format - at least, it's better than the rather odd format used presently.

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I must add that the only exception to the ISO date would be where YYYY-DD-MM is in common use: as these are only a very few countries, I guess that it wouldn't be too onerous to apply a conversion to the date for those who declare themselves to be based there.

 

The reason being that the standard version looks very similar to the familiar date in these areas so it would lead, in practice, to an inordinate amount of confusion. Most of the world would, I imagine, be happy enough with the standard format - at least, it's better than the rather odd format used presently.

 

Don't just assume that because someone is connecting from a certain country that they also speak the language there. My job often takes me overseas sometimes. I remember trying to use Google while in Italy once and because of my IP address Google defaulted to the Italian version of Google. Which wouldn't have been too much of a problem except the Italian version of Google ranks Italian language websites higher than English language ones. I emailed Google about this and they gave me a work around link. http://www.google.com/intl/us/

 

When Geocaching.com goes multi-language and multi-regional I HIGHLY suggest that there be a way to override the language/region. Either by a special link, like Google's system, or by settings in a persons profile.

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Don't just assume that because someone is connecting from a certain country that they also speak the language there.

Yes, but my suggestion is that the site would show the date format based on your profile details (once you're logged in). Generally, it would be YYYY-MM-DD, but for some users YYYY-DD-MM would be displayed, simply because it would be too impractical to enforce the standardisation on North America... :D

 

This isn't about translating the site, but just standardising the date format.

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Yes, but my suggestion is that the site would show the date format based on your profile details (once you're logged in). Generally, it would be YYYY-MM-DD, but for some users YYYY-DD-MM would be displayed, simply because it would be too impractical to enforce the standardisation on North America... :D
As I previously asked someone else, can you name a place where YYYY-DD-MM is commonly used in all-numbers dates, as neither I nor Wikipedia has heard of such? USA commonly uses the "middle-endian" format of MM-DD-YY.
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can you name a place where YYYY-DD-MM is commonly used in all-numbers dates

Sorry, I did mean MM-DD-YY: these odd date formats are quite confusing. :unsure:

 

As an aside, what is the point of having the month first? I suppose that anyone from the USA will be able to answer that.

 

I think it's simply historical: Americans have always traditionally said, written, etc the date with the month first ("Today is July [the] 2nd") and Europeans have said "c'est le 2 juillet", etc.

 

In the UK, both are used about equally in conversation, as far as I can tell from a non-scientific study. But that seems to be an exception. In most countries, there's one standard way of doing it, and anything else sounds wrong.

 

So if you're always used to saying "July 2nd" and you want to simplify that numerically, of course you'll say "07/02". That's fine, as long as you don't need to talk to people who use a different numerical convention, and for whom "month first" just sounds plain wrong.

 

Neither is "right" or "better", because they aren't really competing. DD/MM/YYYY looks slightly less wrong to people who are looking at it with the eyes of a geek because at least the scale increases in the same way across the whole expression, but of course for a geek (I plead guilty) only YYYY/MM/DD passes the elegance test, and even then you have to remove the slashes, so that if date B is after date A, then the numeric representation of B > the numeric representation of A.

 

Most operating systems have ways to allow world-wide audiences to see the date "their way", and I trust that a future version of this site will take that into account.

 

It's perhaps worth comparing this to the metres/feet issue. The US military ended up accepting the metric system because 16 other NATO armies weren't about to go to feet and inches. So one of the first things they have to teach new recruits is the metric system. (As other have noted here, the US has been officially metric since 1893, which is the best example of the difference between theory and practice which I've ever seen.) Similarly, the 24-hour clock is known to many Americans as "military time".

Edited by sTeamTraen
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Currently, the only choice for the date format on the website is mm/dd/yyyy (which is sometimes called "middle-endian"). This is a format commonly used in the United States, Canada, Palau, Philippines and Micronesia. The rest of the world mostly uses either dd/mm/yyyy or yyyy/mm/dd (see Wikipedia for more on the subject). ...
Actually, I just returned from a trip to Spain, Italy, and France. While there, I commonly used mm/dd/yy. :unsure:

 

Anyway, Jeremy already spoke to this issue. He's workin' on it. Based on that, I don't understand the drama.

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