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0 to 9 or 1 to 0?

"In that sense, the first decade of the 20th century indicates a period from January 1, 1900 until December 31, 1909."

But the 20th century began in 1901. So surely the first decade of the 20th century is 1901 to 1910.

To put it differently, it's the 191st decade. Now we're in the 201st decade, which goes from 2001 to 2010. Of course, this means that pluralised multiples of 10 aren't calendar decades ... though I suppose you could call the 1990s the 199.9th decade.... -- Smjg 00:43, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Well I think that a Decade like the 'Nineties' is from 1990 to 1999, and do not think that 1990 is still in the 1980s! Websters Twentieth Century Dictionary says of the thirties: the years from thirty through thirtynine (of a century or a person's age). Similarly the Concise Oxford Dictionary: fifty (in pl) numbers etc, esp years of a century or life, from 50 to 59

PS: they both define Decade as ten years, or a group of ten (see below re the Netherlands, ie decade is not used for ten days in English) Hugo999 (talk) 13:22, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia has uncountable numbers of conflicts and errors. resource does get the page about centuries right:

"According to the Gregorian calendar, the 1st century AD started on January 1, 1 and ended on December 31, 100. The 2nd century started at year 101, the third at 201, etc. The n-th century started/will start on the year 100×n - 99. A century will only include one year, the centennial year, that starts with the century's number (e.g. 1900 is the final year in the 19th century)."

If a century starts with the year 1 then the first and subsequent decades in a century must start with 1. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

You're taking it as a given that language is always consistent. o Either way, reasoning this out is original thought. We need to find sources. --DragonHawk (talk|hist) 22:36, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Good sources are on the NASA site and the US Navy Oceanography site. They say: Years of the Gregorian calendar, which is currently in use today, are counted from AD 1. Thus, the 1st century comprised the years AD 1 through AD 100. The second century began with AD 101 and continued through AD 200. By extrapolation we find that the 20th century comprises the years AD 1901-2000. Therefore, the 21st century began with 1 January 2001 and will continue through 31 December 2100.

How simple can it get. If the century and millennium start wit the year 1 so does the decade. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:56, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Your "if the century and millennium start wit the year 1 so does the decade" is patently original thought. You need to cite sources that specifically talk about decades. -- Moreover, there is a crucial difference that you neglect: millennia and centuries are typically labeled with ordinal numbers (21st century), while decades are named with prefixes (nineteen-sixties = those years that are of the form nineteen-sixty-something = 1960-1969.) Your argument would have some validity only if decades were indeed numbered ordinally ("197th decade"). That, however, is not done, so your argument is baseless. --Jmk (talk) 09:34, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Additionally, the article is currently making statements that are out of place in an encyclopedia attempting to follow facts. It's saying things like "appropriately numbered," "proper definitions, "many people throughout the world mistake a decade," "common use for this may be for ease of grouping," "technically," "correct usage" and "should be," that are all statements biased in a normative fashion or that come through as original research. The final "although both are in common usage" also seems false considering that 0-9 is by far the more common way to group decades nowadays, as far as making lists or marking events is concerned, at least in regard to the western world and the Gregorian calendar. It's pretty established that a week starts with Sunday, for example. Most almanacs put it first and it's common parlance to say it's first. There's no such "official" way to define a decade, and the more common usage is the 0-9 use, including even special celebrations for dates like the year 2000, which are generally taken divide centuries or millenniums.
Let's also keep in mind the calendar was made retrospectively. People didn't start using it right after Christ was supposedly born but 500 to 750 years after that, and the bulk of uses have more to do with relatively recent dates rather than those of the ancient world, so it's usually not a problem if the "first decade" were to appear incomplete when dividing years in the 0-9 fashion. Who is like God? (talk) 03:33, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Section removed, as being mostly absurd. Thanks for pointing it out. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 08:10, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
According to ISO 8601 the Week starts on Monday, and there is a year 0. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:07, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
0 to 9 is completely false. We start by counting with 1 and end with 10. Furthermore, there is no year zero in the calendar. The first decade AD began with the year 1, and therefore every consecutive decade, century and millennium all began and will forever begin with a year 1. Very simple. -- (talk) 11:20, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
And by the way: This is not original research, because according to ISO 8601:2004 the non-existent "year zero" equals the calendrical year 1 BC. See Year zero. Stop filling resource with nonsense. -- (talk) 11:25, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
See also Off-by-one_error#Fencepost_error. -- (talk) 11:46, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but ISO 8601:2004 says nothing about decades. It does not even contain the word "decade". So the standard gives absolutely no support for the "1961-1970" idea; that idea is still original research. -- Interestingly, the standard does contain the word "century": on page 13, we learn that the two-digit notation "19" indicates a century, where six digits have been omitted from the date string. In other words, "19" refers to the period from 1900-01-01 to 1999-12-31, since those are the days that give "19" if you omit the last six digits. --Jmk (talk) 06:48, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

I have two issues with the current wording: First, it says "usually" 1-10 and "commonly" 0-9. These statements seem to be at odds, since "usually" and "commonly" have similar meanings in context. The only citations I have found online so far about common and accepted usage would be, and it indicates no starting date requirement for a decade. (A bit of original thought here: I expect the issue is because of the proximity to the "3rd millennium" debate and the lack of a common term indicating the 2000-2009 interval as one would've had in 1990-1999 in '90s.) Second, I do not see any reputable and widely accepted sources that demand that a decade be counted from any reference point. In fact, decade has a broader meaning than even "10 year interval". See Decade Counter for example. Also, interesting point (and though not an authoritative source) Janet Jackson's album Design of a Decade indicates the 10 year period of 1986-1996. Final point: resource itself identifies decades in the xxx0-xxx9 interval in List of decades. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:12, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

I'd suggest that this whole debate is a straw man argument on both sides. The only consensus definitions for the word decade refer to the interval, not the starting point. (See citation above.) Each faction is presuming references to "the decade" refer to the interval with their preferred starting point, and then concludes the other faction is false for being inconsistent with this tacked-on presumption. As such, I propose the page be revised to include a section indicating "controversy" and that each side of the argument be elaborated upon in its own section without criticism of the other. The main definition should then refer to only the part for which there is consensus: the definition of an interval of 10 years, without regard to a starting point. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:42, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't think your observation of "straw-men on both sides" is correct. The only folks who cling to "the" decade seem to be the ones who want to use ordinal numbers (first decade, second decade, ..., perhaps then 197th decade?). Their claim that the common "initial digits" definition is somehow "wrong" is based on this assumption of there being "the" decade. -- If the common ground is that any consecutive ten years is a decade (I'm fine with that, and it is supported by dictionaries), then obviously e.g. 1960--1969 is a decade and there's nothing wrong with that. We can then proceed to explain how this decade is called (nineteen-sixties), again supported by references. Any claims or insinuations that this common system is somehow "incorrect" are out of place in the article. I have now revised the article accordingly. --Jmk (talk) 04:12, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
There's a subtle shift in language there. No one should contest that 1960-1969 is a decade. The issue that seems to be in contention is what is being referred to when someone refers to the decade, without further qualification. Your revision skirts the issue by adding qualifiers as in "the decade from 1960 to 1969" followed by a definition of the term "1960s" rather than "the decade" (without qualification). I propose this revision to enhance neutrality (proposing here, rather than editing directly, since I do not want to perpetuate an edit war): "Although any period of ten years is a decade, a convenient and frequently referenced interval is based on the tens digit of the calendar year, as in using 1960s to represent the decade from 1960 to 1969. Often, for brevity, only the tens part is mentioned ('60s or sixties), although this may leave it uncertain which century is meant. These references are frequently used to encapsulate pop culture phenomena that dominated such a decade. In contrast, some writers like to point out that since the common calendar starts from the year 1, its first full decade contained the years from 1 to 10, the second decade from 11 to 20, and so on. The interval from 2001 to 2010 would thus be the 201st decade. However, contrary to practices in referencing centuries, ordinal references to decades are uncommon. Thus, though unqualified references to "the" decade strictly have at least two interpretations, one is forced to consider whether the context is a common cultural reference, a lesser-common ordinal reference, or some other context. An example of the latter is the statement, "during his last decade, Mozart explored chromatic harmony to a degree rare at the time," which merely refers to the last 10 years of Mozart's life without regard to which calendar years are encompassed." --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:13, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
I like your further revision. In particular, you managed to describe the tens-digits system much more succintly than I did. --Jmk (talk) 08:04, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

The description on this page "Since there is no year zero (0) in either the proleptic Gregorian calendar or Julian calendar, the decades 0s (both BC & AD) comprised of 9 years instead of 10 and similarly the centuries 0s BC & 0s AD comprised of 99 years." seems patently at odds with the description on the century page ( "According to the Gregorian calendar, the 1st century AD/CE started on January 1, 1 and ended on December 31, 100" Furthermore, the reference to (3) supports the notion that "the" (rather than "a") decades start with 1 and end at 0 -- further down the page in the extended definition section it states: "A decade may also be a well-defined historical period of ten years in a dating system. In that sense, the first decade of the 20th century indicates a period from January 1, 1901 until December 31, 1910." Though...that section sources this wiki... --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:23, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Evidently, they really threw a wrench in things when they did not use a year zero. Practically, I think most people would say that anything that took place in 1960 took place in the 1960s. So that would put the decade from January 1, 1960, to December 31, 1969. On this reasoning, it seems that the first centuries CE and BCE get short changed, each by one year. How does one missing year (year 0) equal two? It really isn't missing, you see, because the question really amounts to a counting discrepancy that gets pushed outward toward both ends of the number line -- befuddling plenty of people even tens of centuries. (talk) 11:55, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

The citation removed in this [] had nothing to do with Anno Domini, and was merely postulating for a thought experiment that year 1-10 was a decade. The assertion that there even is such a thing as an ordinal decade in the Anno Domini time system is without citation, and is [removed] for that reason. If an actual citation is found for any usage of nth decade with regard to Anno Domini, please undo this edit and provide a source. DrSammyD (talk) 22:18, 1 January 2020 (UTC)

10 days or 10 years?

In the Netherlands, a decade means 10 days, and a decennium means 10 years. The Dutch Wikipage says that a decade meaning 10 years, is in fact wrong. What is the true meaning of ab decade, and who is right? --Robster1983 16:17, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "true meaning" when talking about words in different languages. In Norwegian, hat means hatred but in Hungarian, hat is the numeral 6 (wikt:hat). Which one is the true meaning? Perhaps they are both wrong and the true meaning of hat is a covering for the head? If you want to find out what the Dutch word decade means, I guess a Dutch dictionary would be the place to start, not the English Wikipedia. --Jmk (talk) 06:26, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Jmk however would like to add the following comment: in French (or in German) a décade means ten days, however may also mean ten years (from English influence). In order to avoid this ambiguity, "décade" has been progressively replaced with "décennie" to describe a ten years period. It seems that there is no equivalent in English to describe a ten days period (?). Yanndudo (talk) 09:48, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

English has the term "fortnight" to cover a 14 day (or night) period, but yeah, no 10 day period. There doesn't need to be a one for one with each language. -- fcsuper (How's That?, That's How!)(Exclusionistic Immediatist ) -- 02:50, 3 March 2010 (UTC)


decade means that somebody is lower in something than somebody else --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:29, 31 January 2008 (UTC) That would be decayed, not decade, buddy. Time for some spelling practice! --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:57, 2 January 2011 (UTC)


Editors (or perhaps one editor) under different IPs keep confusing the article and pushing [1] [2] the idea that an ordinal reference would be the "proper" way of counting decades, and that e.g. the 1960s would include the year 1970 (definite nonsense), apparently against the consensus reached on this talk page. They do not seem to be interested in joining the discussion here, however. It might be deliberate vandalism, or perhaps simple neglect of common editing practices. Either way, perhaps this article should be semi-protected, to encourage those editors to raise their issues on the talk page instead of edit-warring. --Jmk (talk) 20:54, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

And what's this idea about the 197th decade? Original thought or not, it's a simple fact that nobody who speaks English refers to ANYTHING as "the 197th decade" regardless of when it begins or ends, regardless of whether the subject is informal writing, or the writing of science or history. This is fluff that assumes that "decades" are "wrong" if they include years that end in 0 as the last year of a decade rather than the first. This assumes that somehow, almost everyone who speaks English is doing it "wrong". Utter prescriptivist nonsense, and out of place for Wikipedia. (talk) 03:40, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

"two thousands" ?

'For example, the decade commonly referred to as the "two thousands" ended on December 31, 2009.'

Who calls it this? All I ever see used is "the noughties". Graspee (talk) 08:40, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't see it commonly referred to as anything in particular. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:03, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I removed the sentence. It doesn't seem to add anything. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:23, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

From what I understand, the first decade of 20th Century also had no nickname during that 10 year period. The Aughts was not really adopted until after the decade was over. We are kinda in the same situation now. Who knows what will take hold this time around, as people seem afraid of less common words these days. -- fcsuper (How's That?, That's How!)(Exclusionistic Immediatist ) -- 02:54, 3 March 2010 (UTC)


The lead paragraph includes:

This etymology is sometime confused with the Latin decas (ten) and dies (days), which is not correct.[1]

Problems: 1. The reference is to a French dictionary, which is not appropriate for the etymology of an English word. 2. The French dictionary says the word derives from Latin (which in turn derived from Greek). says the English word derives from French, via Latin and Greek. So I am changing the lead paragraph to reflect this.UnvoicedConsonant (talk) 19:24, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

turn of decade?

Not a native speaker, I was looking here to understand if 1929-1930 were the turn of the twenties or of the thirties... not found. I think this is much more important than the dispute 0-9 or 1-10. If one speaks of decades, he is not up to mathematical precision, so that it does not really matter; otherwise one tells the exact range explicitly. --Esagherardo (talk) 05:31, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

Little late, but here goes. In English, the "turn of" phrasing refers to the period being entered. "The turn of the 20th century" was the transition into said century. Thus, 1929-1930 would be the "turn of the '30s". However, no one actually talks about things like that. We speak of "turn of the century" and "turn of the millennium", but not "turn of the decade". An expression such as "dawn of the '60s" is much more common. (And, in turn, is not used for centuries and millennia.) --Khajidha (talk) 14:52, 9 May 2018 (UTC)

Closely related RFC on "Century" talk page

Please see the discussion at Talk:Century#RFC: Are August 2019 edits in accord with March 2019 RFC above? about whether centuries and decades begin in years who's last two digits are "00" or in years who's last two digits are "01". Jc3s5h (talk) 19:37, 31 August 2019 (UTC)

A standard decade in the Gregorian calendar.

Does the 1st decade of the 21st century (as an example) last till 2010 (but not longer), or till 2011 (but not longer)?-- (talk) 15:53, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

I don't consider it used often enough to be well-defined. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 17:26, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
@ Because of differing opinions over when calendar decades, centuries and millennia begin and end, the meaning of expressions such as "first decade", "second decade", and so on is disputed. See the current discussion at Talk:Century#RFC: Are August 2019 edits in accord with March 2019 RFC above? Blurryman (talk) 00:14, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
By the way, the section '0 to 9 or 1 to 0?' above is related to this.-- (talk) 14:32, 16 September 2019 (UTC)


To begin with, we need a source that anyone uses "the 202nd decade", etc. Once that is established, we can discuss whether this paragraph gives undue weight to the minority usage. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 17:30, 12 December 2019 (UTC)

Agreed, the only time I've ever seen ordinal decades used in any setting outside of a few online forums. I don't think there is any notable debate about it. BlackPointSeaview (talk) 17:37, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps an article from NASA can be acceptable? The issue is they don't call the period from 2001 to 2010 as the "201st decade", they just call it the "2001-2010" decade so I'm sure if we dig in a little deeper, we can find something. WildEric19 (talk) 19:12, 12 December 2019 (UTC)
@Arthur Rubin: So just because the majority of the people is not smart or educated enough to understand a decade ends at the end of the 10th year we should change when a decade ends? I thought the whole point of resource was to educate as much people as possible for free. We should use the correct information on here, meaning the decade ends 31st of December 2020. LesRoutine (talk) 14:39, 16 December 2019 (UTC)
@LesRoutine: That is absolutely wrong.
  • Centuries
    • The 20th century runs from 1901-2000 (although some conflate it with the second entry, below)
    • The century known as the 1900s runs from 1900-1999
  • Decades
    • The 202nd decade runs from 2011-2020
    • The 2010s runs from 2010-2019
The difference is that hardly anyone off resource uses the "202nd decade", so it shouldn't be given as much space. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:59, 17 December 2019 (UTC)
@LesRoutine I strongly agree with Arthur. Apparently claiming other people are "not smart or educated enough" is not the appropriate way to settle a dispute solely because they do not agree with your viewpoint. The 2020s runs from 2020-2029, the 203rd from 2021-2030. Both decades are recognized, but resource happens to use the popular culture decades - are you going to suggest that we change the system? Do you want us to stop using the "1990s" and use the "200th decade" instead? Most importantly, are you going to claim resource is wrong? There is no "official way of counting decades", because it can mean any 10 year period. I think you've made a mistake. WildEric19 (talk) 23:31, 17 December 2019 (UTC)

I plan to revert User:Blurryman's restoration of a paragraph beginning "An ordinal decade" because the two sources provided by Blurryman are bilge water. Ordinarily the New York Times is a fine newspaper, but this story, claiming that the Modified Julian date is somehow relate to deciding the start date for decades, is sheer nonsense. Also, the article doesn't make any clear statement about what the right answer is.

The story from the Old Farmer's Almanac contains the statement "According to the contemporary historians of the time, Jesus was born during the 28th year of the reign of the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus." Bilge water. The only contemporary historian to mention Jesus was Josephus, and he didn't give a birth date. Such stories are not fit to support anything. Jc3s5h (talk) 01:13, 21 December 2019 (UTC)

@Jc3s5h: It's rather sad to see an experienced editor using such confrontational language. Merry Christmas to you too. Your reading of the articles is rather selective. I'll bow to your greater knowledge and accept that there are some statements of dubious authenticity in them, but they do not detract from the reporting of the expressions of a preference for a 1-to-0 decade grouping, including Geoff Chester, an astronomer and a public affairs officer at the United States Naval Observatory, and Mordecai-Mark Mac Low, a curator in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History who said "There are two different ways to designate decades." I suspect that the New York Times writer did not attempt to provide a "right answer" because it is clear from the article that there are strongly held views on both sides expressed by authoritative sources. These sources still seem to me to be better than your recent citing of a single author to justify the claim in another paragraph that "a nominal decade is often used to refer not just to a set of ten years but rather to a period of about ten years". [Italics added.]
I also have to say that I am slightly puzzled that you have entirely deleted this text which was part of that which you reinstated on September 30th after the discussion at Talk:Century#RFC: Are August 2019 edits in accord with March 2019 RFC above?, and you subsequently slightly amended it on October 9th. What has changed since then? Blurryman (talk) 13:40, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Having re-read the NYT essay (not article), I agree that it has too many errors to be considered a reliable source for the statement that anyone believes the next decade should be 2021–2030. It could be used as justification that someone uses the ordinal decades. It fails to support the statement in our article. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:56, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Having reviewed the New York Times article, I concluded that it may deserve mention, but it's not really helpful (or even relveant) to our current situation. Of course, just because such article was posted in an old prestigious journalistic company does not immediately assure everything posted in the article can be trusted right away - editors sometimes make errors, and I've spotted a few of them while reading along. For such, I support Jc3s5h for this time. WildEric19 (talk) 02:14, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

The article as it stands needs a lot of work. In practice no one demarcates decades ordinally in any context; this is not the convention used anywhere in English. This is absolutely WP:UNDUE. Asserting that 'the years 1981-1990 is referred to as the 199th decade' is simply false. No, it is not. The idea is so overwhelmingly negligible it should not be mentioned in the article at all. Literally every single result for 199th Decade is a discussion about how to describe decades and comparing it to the 1980s. Not one use is anyone actually using 199th Decade in this context. Here are some Google Ngrams, 1. the twenties to the nineties, 2. the 20s to the 90s, 3. 1920s to 1990s, and finally (and certainly least), 4. 190th decade to 200th decade. Which it couldn't do at all because there were 'No valid ngrams to plot!'.Frond Dishlock (talk) 03:32, 1 January 2020 (UTC)

I don't see this site linked as reference in this talk page yet, so I am just going to link this here. The article brings up both sides of the argument and is the most accurate site I have found online to date on any matter related to how we track the passage of time. aharris206 (talk) 11:39, 01 January 2020 (UTC)
The time and date article is literally about the argument being had in this talk. There are still absolutely no references an Nth decade outside of discussions about this exact esoteric subject. 0 usage. If this isn't WP:UNDUE, then WP:UNDUE is completely meaningless. Nth decade has been added to 2 out of 4 bullets in the article. At most it should get 1 mention, and only that there is an argument about it within the confines of this esoteric subject. But it has it's own graph now. Can we remove at least that? DrSammyD (talk) 22:10, 1 January 2020 (UTC)
I did a google search for "6th decade of the 20th century", and found 146 hits, of which at least 3 are from scholarly papers. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 00:42, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
And I did a Google search for "the 50s" and "the 1950s" and got 18,300,000 and 54,500,000 hits respectively. 146 is overwhelmingly negligible by comparison, there's also no context for how that phrase is used in those results. They could well be referring to a period dating from 1950 to 1959. Heck, some of them could even be mistakenly talking about the sixties. As the ngrams demonstrated, the usage is so low it doesn't even register to be analysed, which is also the case with "6th decade of the 20th". It's also very relevant that describing a period as the "6th decade of the 20th century" isn't what this article asserts at all. Rather it asserts, falsely, that "the term 196th decade spans the years from 1951 to 1960". This objectively isn't the case. As DrSammyD said, if this isn't WP:UNDUE nothing is.Frond Dishlock (talk) 02:50, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Hilariously, the first article that shows up on google referring to the "6th decade of the 20th century" is actually intending to refer to the 60's in the abstract, which incidentally would be the 7th ordinal decade! The same is true of the congressional report that uses the phrase DrSammyD (talk) 03:05, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
haha, yes! I just got an edit conflict when going to point out the same thing, but you beat me to it, just checked that too. Looks like my offhand guess was right, -and from a scholarly paper no less! :DFrond Dishlock (talk) 03:15, 2 January 2020 (UTC)

Well now, looks like we have a definitive answer. Seriously though, the article desperately needs a tidy up, and maybe some sort of future-proofing, since I suspect this is going to come up every decade change. Looking back I see it came up 10 years ago too.Frond Dishlock (talk) 14:49, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

Okay, nothing much is moving, so being bold I've made a number of changes using what has been discussed on the talk page, maintaining a NPOV. It seems strange that this should be a divisive issue at all though. Hopefully this satisfies everyone, if there's any specific issues please raise them rather than reverting all of the changes.Frond Dishlock (talk) 03:28, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

Invisible comment

I don't see a consensus in favor of the invisible comment; per resource guidelines, it should be deleted. I'm not going to do it; fighting for an invisible comment which actually had consensus is one of the things that got me desysoped. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:30, 18 December 2019 (UTC)

Deleted. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:09, 21 December 2019 (UTC)

Edit request.

Request to remove this assertion; "Particularly in the 20th century, a nominal decade is sometimes used to refer not just to a set of ten years but rather to a period of about ten years - for example, the phrase the sixties often refers to events that took place between around 1964 and 1972"

There's no support at the provided citation which supports this. It's a book review, of a book that discusses anecdotes about culture covering a certain era. It isn't an authoritative source on this subject, nor does it support that this is common usage. 'Sometimes' is also arguably WP:WEASEL. The book referred to there states "Personally as someone who lived through the Sixties - a time I count as beginning with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and ending with the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974 - I have many personal memories of that turbulent, exhilarating, depressing, moving, maddening time that simply do not come together in a tidy package of conclusions", making it clear this is a personal demarcation, rather than an assertion about what the term 'The 60s' means. (talk) 03:41, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

  • ?Y Done.  Nixinova   T   C   03:21, 1 January 2020 (UTC)

Terminology: cardinal vs. ordinal

The terms ordinal and cardinal to refer to 1-based vs. 0-based decades don't seem to be widely used in literature. And they are clearly contradicting the actual meaning of the words ordinal and cardinal: because both common meanings of a decade (i.e. both 0-based decade and 1-based decade: e.g. 2010-2019 vs. 2011-2020) are cardinal decades (the cardinality of the number of years is 10). So is there a widely supported in literature use of these two terms - to denote what would much easier be called 0-based and 1-based decades? cherkash (talk) 16:46, 2 January 2020 (UTC)

@Cherkash: Well, I'm not sure about cardinal; the commonly used term would be "odometer". But "ordinal" is correct; the difference is between the 2020s and the (rarely used) 203rd decade; no credible person states that the 2020s begins in 2021. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:51, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
@Arthur Rubin: I am least worried about the suggested use of the "203rd decade". One doesn't need to go to a precise decade count to know that 1-based decades start with numbers ending in 1 and end with numbers ending in 0. So without referring to the (admittedly silly in everyday use) high decade counts (as in "203rd decade"), one can still talk about decades like 2021-2030 - all you need to know is that they end with the year divisible by 0. So there's nothing about this notion of decades that implies they are ordinal. cherkash (talk) 00:16, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
@Cherkash: I see no evidence that 1-based decades are used more often than 2-based decades. We might have a couple sentences (I don't think a paragraph is justified) on ordinal decades, in addition to a few sentences on arbitrary decades. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 00:19, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
@Arthur Rubin: This discussion is specifically about cardinal vs. ordinal terminology. I think you digressed. cherkash (talk) 00:52, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
Not really. "Ordinal" is the best name for a marginally notable topic. If there were a name in the literature, we should use that, but the topic doesn't appear enough to have a consistent name. I was going to suggest "standard" for "0-based" decades, as it's both standard and common, but it's too common to be given a name in the literature. -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:02, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

It would be because 1-based decades are based on demarcating the ordinally numbered centuries. 20th, 21st, etc. 2021-2030 being the 3rd decade of the 21st Century Anno Domini for instance. What else would you call it other than the 3rd decade of the 21st Century? Making them ordinal decades in the defined sense of that word. No one calls them Decade 1, Decade 2. etc after all, and the suggestion of 203rd decade currently present in the article is literally not used by anyone in any context, so that definitely shouldn't be in the article at all. That's less WP:UNDUE, and more just flat out incorrect information/WP:OR. We may not even have to use ordinal or cardinal if we just removed the assertions about decades numbered -1 to -0, and just described the firmly established extant convention for demarcating decades which is used ubiquitously in English. At most a note that when describing the decades of the ordinally numbered centuries in the AD calendar era using ordinal numbering this would technically be periods like 1901-1910 for the first decade of the 20th Century AD and so on, but that this is far more rare.Frond Dishlock (talk) 03:23, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

@cherkash on reflection I see your point in regard to cardinal. We're not actually counting anything when we denominate decades by their tens digit. With ordinal though, we do say the first decade or the 21st century. Since no one has shown anything to suggest that counting decades ordinally from the first decade AD is used anywhere, by anyone, in any context, i.e. 196th decade, etc. I have removed that in my latest edit. The form of describing ordinally which decade of the ordinally numbered century it is does appear in references though so I have left this.Frond Dishlock (talk) 03:21, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

There are a few sources that use cardinal vs. ordinal to try to explain which years a decade or century contains. But this is not predominant, and I think those who resort to these words are misusing them and we should not imitate them. Consider the definitions on the Lexico website, which is affiliated with the Oxford English Dictionary: cardinal number and ordinal number. If I conform to these definitions, the whole point of AD notation is to put years in order, so nearly every number in this discussion is an ordinal number, or at least a kissing cousin of an ordinal number.

A valid example of a cardinal number related to calendars would be this sentence from the Vermont Department of Taxes, related to being a Vermont resident for tax purposes:

You maintain a permanent home in Vermont, and you are present in Vermont for more than 183 days of the taxable year

The number 183 is a cardinal number because the order of the days does not matter; it's just a count. Jc3s5h (talk) 20:59, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

But I don't see what's wrong with using "cardinal". When you count money, for example, the cashier most likely wouldn't ask you how much you owe in the ordinal form (Your total is 200th and 31st cents.), but they give you the total using cardinal numbers (You owe us $200 and 31 cents). For example, I always use cardinal in my age. I was born in 1939, so that makes me 80 years of age, though I can say I'm in my 81st year but if you want to go down that road, then you'll have to consider someone who is 17 an adult because they're in their 18th year. Here in the US, our drinking age is 21 so does that mean a person who is 20 today can legally purchase alcohol solely because in ordinal terms, he's in his 21st year? I don't think so. Sure you can argue the calendar years are counted ordinally, but not when it comes to cardinal decades, we treat years as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 as opposed to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th with the ordinal form. Many of us agree this is 2020, not the 2020th year unless you want to change the system by changing 2020's title to 2020th as with the other years posted here in Wikipedia, but I don't think anyone not even the bureaucrats, are going to agree with that silly idea.
The reason why I am opposed to removing the term "cardinal" is because I've seen a reddit post earlier of users being able to tell the difference between a cardinal decade (The 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s) and an ordinal decade (199th, 200th, 201st, 202nd, and 203rd decades) thanks to us, they read the resource article of "Decade" something we worked hard for and I'm proud of us for helping remove the confusion. They agree this year is the first year of the new cardinal decade, but the last year of the remaining ordinal decade. I'm afraid if we remove "cardinal", they'll go back to being in a state of confusion. If it's working, don't fix it. As per @Frond Dishlock who suggests that we don't use Decade 1, Decade 2, etc. is because the 2000s is a decade, we don't necessarily have to say "decade" after the 2000s because 2000 to 2009 is still 10 years and qualifies as a "decade". WildEric19 (talk) 21:58, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
Cardinal numbers are for counting, ordinals are for ordering. When we are arranging years in to decades, that is fundamentally an ordering operation, so everything is either ordinal, or closely related to ordinal. In the cash register example, it's all about quantity. The cashier doesn't give a whit whether the bills you hand him are in order by their serial numbers. So the amount due is a sort of a cardinal number. (It would be more pure if the amount due didn't require any coins and you paid using only one dollar bills.)
As for reddit, if people are picking notation from resource that isn't found other places, that's bad. We don't do original research here. Jc3s5h (talk) 00:26, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
I removed the assertion that this is called 'the cardinal method', as a search of literature, here, it does not appear to be used in this context (where it is used it appears to be methods which are 'cardinal' in the sense 'of chief importance'). Have tried a compromise of describing that the groupings use cardinal numbers in the sense of cardinal numerals, as opposed to and to distinguish the method which describes decades ordinally. I don't think it's strictly necessary to use it, but it may be useful for that reason. The OED at least states in its entry for cardinal number "one of the primitive or 'natural' numbers (one, two, three, etc.), as distinguished from the ordinal adj. numbers (first, second, third, etc.)."Frond Dishlock (talk) 00:38, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

Lead section

Is it appropriate that the lead section goes off on a tangent about other words for spans of years with a similar etymological basis? According to MOS:LEAD it should be an introduction to and summary about the most important content of the article. That is, about the subject of the article, and that tangent doesn't seem to be directly about decades per se, and the fact that they also come from Latin is really significant afaics. Seems more suited to see also section, where century and millennium already are linked, though the shorter periods are not very commonly used terms so whether they even need to be is questionable too.Frond Dishlock (talk) 03:42, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

Imprecise or Incorrect Introduction in the Usage Section

The current revision states in the beginning of the Usage section: Any period of ten years is a "decade", and there is no "official" legal nor administrative start or end point. It is immediately followed by two references of which one is dead and not archived, [3] and the other one does not state that there is no legal nor administrative start or end point. [4] Contrarily, an older revision uses the same two references, but states Although any period of 10 years is a decade, which is still arguable, but not a blatant misrepresentation of the references, as of the current state. Therefore, I would suggest to revert it to the aforementioned sentence, or alternatively a better reference should be provided.--2A04:4540:8204:2800:99DE:D6EA:A6FD:A09F (talk) 14:18, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

Here is a National Public Radio article which quotes experts who ought to know if there was an official definition of a decade:
The conclusion is there is no definite answer; it depends on how any individual wants to approach it. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:05, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
xkcd hits the nail on the head [5]. --Jmk (talk) 15:36, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
Ha! I added that to a section above just a bit before your comment too. Almost needs to be in the article :DFrond Dishlock (talk) 15:45, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
This cartoon misrepresents the debate and does not "resolve" anything. Nobody who understands the issue argues that the year 1990 should be included in "the 'eighties". The decade from 1981 to 1990 is described in some other way. Blurryman (talk) 01:10, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
Calm down Karen. It's a cartoon. For that matter, nobody that understands the issue would be arguing decades are counted as anything other than 0 to 9.Frond Dishlock (talk) 09:58, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
@Frond Dishlock Descending to a schoolyard insult is a clear signal that you have lost that argument. Your other remark is simply wrong, because, although 0-to-9 is one type of decade grouping, it is not the only one which is possible or which is used, as the article makes clear and many other contributors on these pages have pointed out, such as Jc3s5h above. Blurryman (talk) 19:07, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
no no, it's a signal that your reaction was hyperbolic. It wasn't an argument; it. was. a. cartoon. 0 -to-9 is in fact the only type of decade grouping used in English by firmly established convention. The fact that you had to say "is described in some other way", is very indicative. Because while the terminology of grouping decades by the tens, the 20s, 30s, 2020s, 1930s, etc, is used, no one in any context demarcates decades using ordinal numbers, there's no articles entitled " 197th Decade in Fashion" because no one, literally no one, demarcates that as a decade in that way. At most, they may contextually describe a decade in relation to a century, i.e. 'The Nth Decade of the Nth Century", but again not as a nominal grouping in of itself, and no one would ever refer to 'The 7th Decade of the 21st Century in Fashion' either. Also that descriptive form isn't even included anywhere in the article at present, which only asserts the preposterous 197th Decade format. Which again, isn't used by anyone as already demonstrated. Saying that it's 'possible' is irrelevant. The article doesn't make anything clear at present, because it's a mess.Frond Dishlock (talk) 23:24, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
@Frond Dishlock Your initial remark in your previous comment was offensive, and I note that, far from apologising for it, you have now tried to justify it by offensively characterising my brief and economical rebuttal of the specious argument in the cartoon as "hyperbolic". Also, you have again displayed your disrespectful and condescending attitude with "it. was. a. cartoon", although that didn't previously prevent you from writing that the cartoon "Almost needs to be in the article" and, in another section, labelling it as a "definitive answer". This all suggests that, despite being a cartoon, you think it makes a serious argument, so there is nothing "hyperbolic" about my simply and briefly pointing out that it doesn't. I used the phrase "described in some other way" to keep it short, but here is one example. We do agree upon one thing: the article is presently a mess. Blurryman (talk) 19:56, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
Oh pish posh. Your 'rebuttal' was misplaced. My use of 'ha!' and 'seriously though' refute your argument. Don't be so po-faced. Also the decades in question at that link are not referred to with any specific name or designation, the span is merely indicated in the form of 1901-1910, so that supports my position. The same as any group of ten years is a decade. This is merely a result of their data set starting from -1999 to -1900. The cartoon isn't specious, you're just failing to appreciate the point being made.Frond Dishlock (talk) 22:00, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm not wasting any more of my time on someone who cannot conduct a civil conversation. WP:EQ. Blurryman (talk) 00:20, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
Alright, sorry. Mea culpa. I can see how that may have come across as brusque on reflection, this was not intended, but rather as good-natured banter. This may be a cultural difference, I would ask you to WP:AGF and I will do the same.Frond Dishlock (talk) 03:10, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
@Frond Dishlock Thank you for that generous gesture. Apology accepted. Let's move on. Blurryman (talk) 00:09, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Research supporting the Ordinal viewpoint is required (Resolved)

If anyone may help me look for a source that complies with the reliable sources policy that would be appreciative. To begin, I don't know if "nth decade of the century" is appropriate because I have never heard an author use such a title, and for this more research is required according to Wikipedia's verification policy. We don't do original research here, meaning we came up with the name without backing a credible source. The ordinal perspective section needs a citation that supports our claim. It's like going to court, you need evidence. Don't expect the judge will believe in anything you say without representing evidence first. If you have a question or would to discuss this, I'm open for comments on certain time (I will be getting surgery on Wednesday so I'll be offline after the operation for healing) I'm looking for someone who could help me look for a source, I thank you in advance. WildEric19 (talk) 21:50, 18 January 2020 (UTC)

The good news is I found a CNN article to support the ordinal form of decades, but the issue is it doesn't titled ordinal decades as "nth decade of the mth century", but as "nth decade". Here is the source, but more research can be helpful. WildEric19 (talk) 22:04, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
I did a search a few sections up for ""6th decade of the 20th century", and it came up with a 146 hits, at least 3 from scholarly papers. Another editor noted it was used in those papers for a decade near the 1960s, rather than the correct 1950s. So, it shouldn't be used as a source in this article.... -- Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:28, 19 January 2020 (UTC)
The good news is I was able to find this to support a case of the "203rd decade". Now, we need confirmation that the "3rd decade of the 21st century" exists. Update: Due to a dispute, I restored the old verison and removed the new diffs. WildEric19 (talk) 21:19, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
The problem is: either we leave the current version, or we remove the sentence altogether. The reason for that is that any approach, including the cardinal method, will have all decades numbered so that any decade will be the "Nth decade" in that method. For example, the 1st decade in the cardinal method starts in 1BC. On the other hand, Anno Domini centuries are always numbered ordinally, so that when we say 1st century BC, there is no ambiguity. So, if you're not happy with the sources supporting this comment on format, I propose we remove it altogether. But, personally, I think that we should keep it, given that it's not hard to find sources where the format "Nth decade of the Mth century" is adopted, and, furthermore, the comment is on how the method works instead of how it is used. The claim is that all ordinal decades can be formatted in this way - not that they are. O?L?D?S?T?O?N?E?J?A?M?E?S 21:49, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
I want to be very clear why your diff was reverted. It's because your statement of centuries always (Which I think by the way is a weasel word) being counted ordinally is not correct according to the general usage on our century article. If we were to go with this title, it would be considered original research which we don't do here plus violation of the verification policy (which state all claims must be accompained with a source - which we at this moment, don't have and this is the issue we're currently discussing). For your convenience, I restored the old version, but it's temporarily. If we are unable to find a source, then we have no choice but to remove it. This is NOT a debate to when centuries/decades begin or end, the issue is the lack of reliable sources. I ask you please give me a hand searching for a source, Rubin was able to find one, but as he pointed out it's not a best citation and shouldn't be used. I'm still looking. WildEric19 (talk) 22:16, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
I see, yeah, that statement is probably incorrect, then. I've edited the article so that the phrase in question now says 'Nth decade since the start of the common era'; I think this statement is pretty uncontroversial and would probably constitute WP:BLUE? It's pretty much common knowledge that Anno Domini ordinal decades start counting ordinally since the start of the common era, which is implied by the fact that, for example, the next decade starts in 2021, for which there are plenty of sources. This fact was also demonstrated in the visual aid table, which has since been removed for some reason? I think it is very helpful to leave this table there. Anyway, I hope you don't mind this style of editing, whereby we both make edits which take into account feedback given here on the talk page without first discussing the edits and stop at the first revert. I think it's just quicker and more efficient this way. What do you say? O?L?D?S?T?O?N?E?J?A?M?E?S 01:06, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

@WildEric19: the Time & Date source you added to this thread at 21:19, 22 January 2020 (UTC) isn't a suitable source, because it says 'the upcoming decade is technically the 203rd decade, but we call it the twenties."' I interpret that to mean that the term "203rd decade" is nomenclature used only within the discussion within that web page, and everybody else calls it "the twenties". So rather than supporting the point of view that "203rd decade" is proper usage, it really supports the opposite view.

@Oldstone James: I see two problems with interpreting "Nth decade of the Mth century" as the period MN1 through M(N+1)0. First, Mth century might be the Mth century in ISO 8601 numbering or astronomical year numbering, in which case it is the period MN0 through MN9. Or, the author might write "Nth decade of the Mth century AD", but when informed this means period MN1 through M(N+1)0, might tell the person making this point to stuff his pedantry __ ___ ___, it means period MN0 through MN9, all arguments to the contrary be damned.

After all, English is full of logical inconsistencies, and it is not the role of resource to enforce logical consistency if the general public rejects it (at least in the arena of English usage). Jc3s5h (talk) 01:18, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

Agreed, I've already removed this wording and replaced it with a more accurate statement. O?L?D?S?T?O?N?E?J?A?M?E?S 01:28, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for sorting things out @Jc3s5h. And I'm glad @Oldstone James and I can agree on something together and not argue :-). WildEric19 (talk) 02:08, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
Ha, you threw a quick glance at my editing history, didn't you ;) I fully share your sentiment. I'm so sick of the everlasting arguments and conflicts here on resource that I'm really glad we could collaborate productively on this occasion. Thanks for being agreeable and not rushing to revert my edits straight away despite disagreeing with them; this is overwhelmingly appreciated. Also, not to spoil the climate, but what were your reasons for removing the visual aid? I thought it was really helpful and intuitive. O?L?D?S?T?O?N?E?J?A?M?E?S 02:42, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

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