Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Editing/Simplified/semi-automated conversion for units of measurements

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Simplified/semi-automated conversion for units of measurements

  • Problem: Currently, converting units of measurement on Wikipedia between the Imperial and Metric system or otherwise requires the editor to go through a lengthy process of searching for and generating a convert template, cutting the measurement which they wish to convert, pasting the component parts of the measurement into the various sections of the convert template, adjusting the convert settings and applying all of that . This process then has to be repeated again and again if the editor wishes to convert multiple units, such as in a data table or specifications list.
  • Who would benefit: Novice editors who are not sure how to convert units, seasoned editors who wish to convert units more quickly, especially in situations such as large data tables, when creating a page, or when carrying out repeat/copy edits across a large number of pages. (EDIT: As other editors have pointed out the conversion tool is used outside of the Anglosphere, although not to the same extent as within it. For instance, users have cited certain Russian units as well as many historical/traditional units. An unsigned user also said that the convert template is used on around 80 wikis. In addition, I know that, for measurements such as horsepower, there are a variety of units, such as hp, kW, PS and CV that are used globally today.)
  • Proposed solution: I propose a tool somewhat similar to auto-correct, which, when a unit of measurement is detected, may highlight or otherwise ask the user in a non intrusive way if they wish to convert that unit, and subsequently provide a button or single click solution that creates a convert template for them with the magnitude of the measurement and unit already entered into the template in their respective categories. The interface could open up when you right click, prompting you to convert the units, and then offer you a straight, one click conversion to metric/imperial that automatically fills in the "unit to", "unit from" and "value" boxes and leaves the other settings as default.
  • More comments: Currently, what most editors, or at least myself, do is create an empty convert template and copy it so they can then paste it throughout an article and input units into it. This is inefficient, however, as you still have to input all the values which can be lengthy, and it also removes your ability to copy anything else.
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: TKOIII 20:11, 29 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]


The convert template is not just about Imperial/metric. It can handle weird historical units from old sources, for instance. According to the Phab ticket it is used on ~80 wikis. We need better unit conversion, especially on Wikidata (I recently had a Wikidata query return unitless temperatures).
For ambiguous measurements, like "pint", I'd support prompting, but if the editor's input is in metric, I'd oppose the prompt. I'd rather have a bot do it and save the editor's time. I don't like having computer programs nag me to do something they could do better. :) HLHJ (talk) 23:48, 17 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]