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Thread: proposal: change "X weeks ago" to actual date

  1. #1
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    proposal: change "X weeks ago" to actual date

    I don't find the trend of specifying dates as "1 week ago" and "3 days ago" and "20 minutes ago" to be useful in UX contexts. I sometimes want to know the date a post was posted, and that kind of simplification is more frustrating than helpful for me. My phone's text messaging app does this with text messages "yesterday", "2 days ago" and it drives me nuts.

    If there is an option in the forum software, I'd personally vote for real dates/times rather than these forms. Or maybe both: "2 weeks ago, Sep 1 2023 4:45pm".

  2. #2
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    Re: proposal: change "X weeks ago" to actual date

    I totally agree with you. It's annoyed me for years, but it was set up that way in the early days of the forum and no one has yet (to my knowledge) questioned that. Believe it or not vBulletin (the software used for the forum) describes the "1 Minute Ago", "2 Hours Ago", or "3 Weeks Ago" option as "friendly".

    Seriously, vBulletin developers?!

    There is an option to display date-stamps in a - ahem - rational way, but there are a couple of complications.

    1. It's not immediately clear whether times will be displayed to a particular member in whatever time-zone they have set in their profile, or whether it's UTC for everyone. Even if it displays in the time-zone that the individual member has set in their profile settings, many members never change the defaults, and the default is UTC. We may get some puzzled users.
    2. There is a choice of date format, namely:
      1. US Format (e.g., 04-25-98)
      2. Expanded US Format (e.g., April 25th, 1998)
      3. European Format (e.g., 25-04-98)
      4. Expanded European Format (e.g., 25th April 1998)

      One of the ordinary number only formats will cause confusion to some, since we have members from all around the world, so I think it would have to be either the Expanded US or Expanded European format. Since the forum server is in London and I'm British, I'll vote for European , but everyone deserves to have their opinion heard.


    I don't think the software has the granular control that allows for displaying both date and "x weeks ago".

    I encourage people to comment - let's see how much support there is for a change.
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  3. #3
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    Re: proposal: change "X weeks ago" to actual date

    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecat View Post
    I totally agree with you. It's annoyed me for years, but it was set up that way in the early days of the forum and no one has yet (to my knowledge) questioned that. Believe it or not vBulletin (the software used for the forum) describes the "1 Minute Ago", "2 Hours Ago", or "3 Weeks Ago" option as "friendly".

    Seriously, vBulletin developers?!

    There is an option to display date-stamps in a - ahem - rational way, but there are a couple of complications.

    1. It's not immediately clear whether times will be displayed to a particular member in whatever time-zone they have set in their profile, or whether it's UTC for everyone. Even if it displays in the time-zone that the individual member has set in their profile settings, many members never change the defaults, and the default is UTC. We may get some puzzled users.
    2. There is a choice of date format, namely:
      1. US Format (e.g., 04-25-98)
      2. Expanded US Format (e.g., April 25th, 1998)
      3. European Format (e.g., 25-04-98)
      4. Expanded European Format (e.g., 25th April 1998)

      One of the ordinary number only formats will cause confusion to some, since we have members from all around the world, so I think it would have to be either the Expanded US or Expanded European format. Since the forum server is in London and I'm British, I'll vote for European , but everyone deserves to have their opinion heard.


    I don't think the software has the granular control that allows for displaying both date and "x weeks ago".

    I encourage people to comment - let's see how much support there is for a change.
    I would love to see that change, if possible.
    I hear a lot of noise from others over that, and up to now I've shrugged shoulders and just moved along. (Not a strong selling point)
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  4. #4
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    Nov 2014
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    Re: proposal: change "X weeks ago" to actual date

    Glad to know I'm not the only one.

    As a US person, the US date system is totally insane, so I personally support 2023-09-15 style dates, for whatever that is worth.

    I don't know if this is relevant to the config for this forum, but if so it looks like "normal", GMT, "yes" for DST, and format for date "Y-m-d" would be what I would do if I was king of the world.

    Looks like you could set Format for Time to "g:ia T" to show the time zone, e.g. "5:23pm PDT", so that shouldn't be ambiguous.

    In terms of users not setting their timezone, I don't think too many people will be confused; I think in 2023, especially on a tech forum, most people aren't still going around making assumptions about time zones, right? I would hope so, anyway... maybe just wishful thinking.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2019
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    Re: proposal: change "X weeks ago" to actual date

    Quote Originally Posted by clepsdyrae View Post
    I don't find the trend of specifying dates as "1 week ago" and "3 days ago" and "20 minutes ago" to be useful in UX contexts. I sometimes want to know the date a post was posted, and that kind of simplification is more frustrating than helpful for me. My phone's text messaging app does this with text messages "yesterday", "2 days ago" and it drives me nuts.

    If there is an option in the forum software, I'd personally vote for real dates/times rather than these forms. Or maybe both: "2 weeks ago, Sep 1 2023 4:45pm".
    I fully agree with you. I hate this "modern" trend change it even if it's change for the worse.

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