My organization has shunned date fields in the past because there isn't an obvious way to enter only a partial date value. For instance, rather than just entering the year 2017, ArcGIS forces the user to pick a month and day as well, eg. 1/1/2017.
As a workaround, they use text fields with the format YYYYMMDD, with the MM and DD portions being optional. This also allows users to enter UNKNOWN if they aren't sure.
The problem arises with web editing forms where users can't use the handy calendar widget to select a date and instead have to enter numbers in a specific format into a text field. Needless to say, this is cumbersome and confusing for non-GIS-savvy staff. This also makes the values fairly useless for querying, and other functionality that you get with date fields.
Have others encountered this problem, and if so how did you approach it? Thanks for any suggestions.