Convert dates BCE into Old Era dates (similar to Holocene Calendar aka Human Era).
This extension converts BC/BCE dates into Old Era dates. Old Era is 10,000 years before Christ (from 10,000 BC to 1 BC) that are numbered in chronological order.
This idea is not new. You may have heard about Holocene Calendar - a calendar reform proposal made in 1993 by Cesare Emiliani. Old Era can be viewed as the first 10,000 years of that calendar.
There was another calendar reform proposal in 1963 by E. R. Hope. He basically proposed an era identical to the Old Era differing from it only by name. He called his one the Anterior Epoch.
I came up with the idea of the Old Era before I learned about the 1963 proposal, and I decided to keep the name Old Era, because it sounds simpler.
It’s important to note that this project is not a calendar reform proposal. I don’t propose an official change of the calendar. I just use the Old Era. And I’ve been using it for years. Why? Because I like learning history and I like the way history feels when it’s presented with a timeline that doesn’t number years backwards.
I recommend you to try it too. When using this extension set a goal of becoming comfortable with Old Era dates in a day or two. Being comfortable means you should be able to understand year numbers without translating them back to Christian dates. To achieve this you need to learn by heart a few OE dates of main historical events.
This is how this extension works.
Most of the dates BC are detected and translated automatically. The extension can even detect ranges of dates. For example in this line “1274 - 1245 BC” both numbers would be identified as years BC and translated.
If some dates are not being translated by the extension, the reason most often
is a missing BC. Since Wikipedia is editable, you can make such dates translatable by simply adding missing BCs. Most of the time it is appropriate to do so, because it leads to improved readability.
It’s not always possible or appropriate to add a “BC” to a date. In such cases I use my server to store translation instructions for such dates. However this makes entire project dependent on me. To fix this, I plan to propose a certain mark-up on Wikipedia. It will be a universal markup for dates BC. Any extension or script will be able to use it no matter what timeline it will translate the dates into.
The mark-up will be used only for some dates, not all dates. It will be lightweight and invisible to Wikipedia readers. Once the markup is accepted by Wikipedia, I will shut down my server, and the entire project will simply live inside Wikipedia where you’ll be able to fix any date conversion issue yourself.
The next step will be to make sure that all the dates BC on Wikipedia are translatable (by adding missing BCs and the markup I just mentioned). This will mean updating thousands of articles. I’m currently developing tools for this work.
There are only about 60,000 articles that contain dates BC. That’s less than 1% of all the articles on Wikipedia. Probably most of them are translatable to begin with. Still, we have a lot of work to do. Months or even a few years worth of work, depending on how many people will be involved in the project.