From MusicBrainz Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

“Circa” dates

reference MBS-2954

Currently there is no way to store an approximate date in Musicbrainz. This applies to performance dates as well as artist birth/death dates.

The ticket above lists a couple of options for how to deal with them.


Option 1: Circa checkbox

A single “circa” (or “approximate”) checkbox for each date. This would indicate that listed date is approximate:


In AR displays it would be:

  • composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (classical composer) (circa 1787)

Option 2: six checkboxes

Six checkboxes: “circa”, “before”, “after” for each of start/end. This would give finer-grained details on any start or end date.


Option 3: dropdowns

Similar to option two, but with mutually exclusive options instead of checkboxes:

circa - option 3.png

Votes and reasons

I prefer a single “circa” box because…

  • I just want a way to say 'the dates we have are approximate'. “circa” does this, without needing to worry about whether a given date is the earliest or latest possible. —Hawke (talk)

I prefer a lot of checkboxes because…

  • There may be instances where we know an event could not have occurred before or after a certain date. For example, we don't know exactly when Kurt Cobain died, only that he was discovered dead and estimated to have died a day or two before his body was discovered. -- HibiscusKazeneko (talk) 18:16, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
  • If we're going to add an "advanced" feature like this, there's no reason not to go for the one that allows us to get the most precise possible data. Also, sometimes "circa" isn't something we know at all, say, we can know a composer died "after 1553" because that's the last year we have stuff written by him or whatever, but that certainly doesn't translate to him dying "circa 1553". Or if something is released in 1975, it is likely that it was recorded reasonably close to that date, but the only think we can know without guessing is it was recorded before 1975 --Reosarevok (talk) 18:25, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
  • See above. :) --Freso (talk) 18:46, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

I prefer a dropdown because…

  • I see it as: (circa) == (relatively closely before or after). Therefore, I'd prefer the second, but with a maximum of one of the three (really, four, adding exact) options available at once. This makes the AR display more straightforward as well: ({before |after |circa |<nothing>}{year}{-month}{-day} to <same>), e.g. (before 1996) (circa 1284-02) (after 1500 to before 1600), etc. If we get real clever we can change it to "between 1500 and 1600" in the latter case :) A <select> dropdown would seem to be the most straightforward implementation of this. Barring that, I'd at least like to see circa checkbox on both dates; often birth dates are approximate, but after someone is well-known their death date is known exactly. Ianmcorvidae (talk) 19:04, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

I have a better idea:

Additional comments

I’m fairly certain that most people, given a vague date will put it in anyway because some information is better than none. I know I do. —Hawke (talk)

I think six checkboxes is the wrong approach because before and after are mutually exclusive for a given date (you can't start both before *and* after the same date). If we do decide to support more than just a single circa checkbox, I would do it as a dropdown with four options (something meaning exactly, "circa", "before" and "after"). --Nikki (talk) 19:42, 5 March 2013 (UTC)