(created: Fri Dec 10 UTC 1999; updated: Fri Dec 10 20:05 UTC 1999)
Here on Everything/E2, we, the noders, must remember that others are from all over the world using many types of browsers. Hence, numerical presentation can be an important thing to keep in mind when conveying information. For example, depending on ones' browser and numerical formatting preferences, "1,234.56" might mean "1 and 2345 ten-thousandths to the 6th power", "1 and 23456 hundred-thousandths", "1 thousand, 2 hundred thirty four and one half to the 6th power", or "1 thousand, 2 hundred thirty four and 56 hundredths". Why? Because some people use a comma every 3 places for readability and a decimal for integer/fractional separators. Others switch those around. Some text-only browsers, like lynx don't show superscripts and subscripts (the HTML tags <sup> and <sub>).

So, to help avoid ambiguities, I have some suggestions.

  • (important) Use spaces (preferably &nbsp; (which will prevent a number from wrapping on another line)) to group 3 numbers together. "1 thousand, 2 hundred thirty-four and 5678 ten-thousandths" would be written as "1&nbsp;234.567&nbsp;8" which yeilds 1 234.567 8 .
  • (not-so-important) Use a decimal point to denote the switch from integers to fractions. However, as long as the spacing scheme above is used, it is still possible to use a comma instead.
  • (important) Whenever a number has an exponent, trying to display it in the visually correct format makes it easier to read. For example, "104" sure looks nice, right? Actually, some browsers may simply display this as "104". So, if you're like me and just "have to" display it in the "pretty" format, provide one or two of these alternative methods: say it out, like "10 to the 4th power"; or, use the "caret", like "10^4".
  • (kind of important) Whenever you use a Greek letter, like "π" (written by "&pi;"), also provide its name, such as "lower-case pi".
  • (kind of important) When creating a node that is only a number, do not put in spaces. This makes it easier to link to. But, when linking to it, do put spaces. For example, the number node "1073741824" has no spaces it in, but you should link to it like "1 073 741 824", which is typed in as "[1073741824|1&nbsp;073&nbsp;741&nbsp;824]".

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