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Aug 11, 2006 05:21 AM


I have given it a try, I really have, but this weird convention of identifying dates as "5 days ago" or "4 months ago" is driving me nuts. What's next - "four score and seven years ago?" "Posted in the 7th day of Capricorn?"

For years thousands of CH posters managed to navigate the board and identify posts by the date and time they were posted. It was easy - nobody asked for a change. Since CH has moved from a tree model to a flat model it's even more important to be able to get an idea of when something was posted. On an active thread seeing 15 posts all marked "one day ago" doesn't tell me much.

I know - some well intentioned site designer thought this would be a swell idea. They meant well but it isn't working out.

There's a reason that every other site identifies posts with the actual date and time - it works best.

Give us back our dates and times.

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    1. Totally agree - I complained early on, and the CHTeam agreed then that it wasn't exactly "user friendly." Two months later, nothing's changed.

        1. Specially if that means we'll get Bob posting as he did before the change!! Please do whatever he wants, we miss him!!!!

          12 Replies
          1. re: adamandeve

            For better or worse I'm posting at about the same level I did before the site changeover. Maybe even a bit more.

            I appreciate all the work that was done to bring the site up to speed but this "4 months ago" convention gets in the way of trying to follow posts in the order that they are written. It's like trying to read a book where every page in a given chapter has the same page number. You know roughly where it belongs but it makes it hard to follow the actual flow of conversation.

            The default for message board software is real dates and times. I would think that all the programmers need to so is throw a software switch to make the real dates appear. It's not hard to do. Why not do it and make people happy?

            1. re: Bob Martinez

              Based upon the feedback we've received, more people enjoy the relative dates than not.

              1. re: Engineering

                How about this. The server is already keeping the actual dates and times - it uses them to do a calculation every time you call up a thread to tell you how many hours minutes and days it's been since something was posted.

                Since it's there already, how about giving us the individual option to display it? People could make their own choices. If possible (and the feature may be already built into the board software already) each user could identify their home timezone. That way the time settings would be accurate for all parts of the country.

                That would make everybody happy.

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  Great suggestion. And count me among those who prefers actual dates and times.

                2. re: Engineering

                  Well, I'd much rather see REAL dates vs. "59 days ago" or "7 months ago". I agree with Chuckles below - how about giving us the option to choose our Time Zone? That way, we're not all working off of GMT and calculating when the post actually was - we can see it in our own real time?

                  1. re: Engineering

                    It should be simple to display both real and relative dates, side by side. The home board could identify the default local time zone, with a profile option to customize the local zone.

                    1. re: Engineering

                      Feedback from who? I'm one of the folks who definately wants the real date and time. Having to try and figure out a date from "2234 days ago" makes no sense.

                      1. re: Engineering

                        "Based on the feedback" you've received? Are you getting different feedback from what we see on the board? It really looks to me like most people prefer real dates. Personally, I find "227 days ago" to be inconvenient and annoying.

                        1. re: jhammon

                          Fine. Here's more real feedback. CHANGE THE DATES!

                        2. re: Engineering

                          Sorry for replying to you Chow Engineers yet again in the same thread, but I figure my best chance of you listening to us on this post is to reply to you specifically. (Re: my comment "10 days ago" advocating both real and relative dates)

                          Of course, tomorrow "10 days ago" will not be the same thing as it is now, so a major failure of relative dates is the inability to reference a specific post. On the other hand, in defense of relative dating, recent posts on a hot topic, i.e. "2 minutes ago", "5 minutes", "1 hour", etc. make it easy to track very recent activity.

                          So, why don't you admit that 1) many people really do want real dates, and 2) there are real advantages to real dates plus real advantages to relative dates ?? Thus, the logical thing to do is provide the ability to do both??

                          I would also like to acknowledge your generally fine website so as not to appear as a completely unappreciative boob. Thanks for the overall great job.

                          1. re: Engineering

                            I prefer real dates. I'm glad at least the first post in every thread currently has real dates. The relative dates (e.g. "455 days ago"), like in all the replies currently, drive me up the wall. I'm astonished that anybody would enjoy relative dates.

                            And to echo ShortOrderHack, so as not to seem like an unappreciative dingbat, I'd like to say thanks to the Chowhound Team for the overall great job. This board is a lot easier to use than the old one, and loads a lot more quickly. I use it a lot more. The old one crashed my browser or froze up my computer half the time, despite having broadband.

                            1. re: Engineering

                              Well count me in as another who would prefer real dates and times....

                        3. I find relative dates less confusing than GMT.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I find them equally confusing: neither one gives me any useful information.
                            It would be nice to be able to specify a locale in my profile and have dates
                            in my timezone. And if it's really being designed by consensus, as Chowhound
                            Engineering suggests, then maybe provide an absolute/relative switch in
                            the profile as well.

                            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                              So long as I have a rough idea of the posting time to within a few days, it doesn't make a significant difference for me one way or the other.

                            2. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Theres's no reason why it would have to be GMT... They could make it Eastern time and anyone in the US could figure it out. There's no priority here to accomodate users in other countries, so that won't be a concern.