Summary: [i18n] Custom format for saved signature timestamps
                    (four/five tildes)
           Product: MediaWiki
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: All
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Severity: enhancement
          Priority: Normal
         Component: Internationalization

Currently, the four or five tildes in signatures are replaced with a timestamp
which is formatted only using the default locale conventions of the local wiki.

Ideally, this should preferably generate a standard template containing the
date and time elements, so that the template could be formatted according to
user's preferred language.

Users that are visiting wikis in foreign languages currently have huge
difficulties to decipher these dates, notably when they use translated month
names or translated timezone names, or another date format (with elements in a
different order), or another set of digits (for example Western Arabic, Eastern
Perso-Arabic, or Indic, some of them being very confusive for unaware users).
In addition, these characters may not even display properly (due to lack of
font support), even if this wiki has built a page tuned for another language or
script (such as “Embassy” pages).

I know that talk pages, if they are rendered in distinct locales, may fill up
the cache, but after all the talk pages are already accepting the use of
templates that whose rendering are dependant of dynamic variables and that are
cached separately.

Using a template to format these dates (possibly protected by putting its wiki
code in the restricted, but localizable MediaWiki namespace), would certainly
help maintaining usability.

The alternative of using LiquiThreads is not always wanted in all wikis or in
user talk pages (many users have difficulties with liquidThread, notably with
its management if histories and archives), and want to control it themselves.

Another reason for this change is the difficulty to parse talk pages (notably
in vote pages), to identify who really signed it.

Please add a possibility of customizing how the timestamps generated by
signatures (four or five tildes) are saved, in a way that is BOTH
machine-readable, but still user-friendly for readers and editors: the
generated code should be minimalist, such as:


(you may assume here either the UTC timezone, or directly the timezone of the
default server's locale to avoid complex date computing to be performed in the
referenced template)

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