The Impracticality of the MM/DD/YYYY Format

July 9th, 2019

The main problem with the MM/DD/YYYY date format is the confusion that it creates due to its sheer existence. I can never be completely sure about the date of something dated 05/09/2005 when neither of the first two numbers are over 12 and they are not equal to each other. This problem would not be so pervasive if it wasn't for the the MM/DD/YYYY format merely existing.

A second, more subtle problem is the minuscule amount of time it wastes. In almost all scenarios, when someone is asking for the date, they know the year, they almost certainly know the month, but they're unsure about the day. Responding with something like "July 9th" wastes the questioner's time by a fraction of a second by providing them with the redundant information that it is July, because they almost certainly know that. Writing "07/09" does the same.

I'd like to wear my hypocrisy on my sleeve. I'm guilty of using this date format as evident by the dating of this essay. The reason for this goes back to the fact that I like to look at mjala.li as more of a timeless compilation of my essays rather than a timely blog concerned with day-to-day events. I want this website to be look-backable rather than keep-up-withable and "July 9th" is simply better-flowing than "9th of July." Maybe efficiency isn't the highest form of elegance.