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Nov 28, 2011 10:55 PM

New-Style Time Stamps

Is there any chance that the time stamp style could be made user-settable? I prefer the old style (time and date) rather than the new one ("about X hours ago"). I never liked this style on Facebook, and am disappointed that CH has adopted it as a non-optional format.

I realize many (if not most) users will welcome the new format, but it would be nice if it were optional rather than unilaterally imposed..

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  1. Agree. I think when the site was initially relaunched back in 2006 this was a change that was made and it wasn't well received. I prefer an actual date and time.

    1. I'm guessing this was done in response to the innumerable complaints about people inadvertently replying to ancient posts. I don't really care which format they use, but it will be interesting to see whether this does in fact reduce the number of old posts that get reactivated.

      14 Replies
      1. re: BobB

        Hmmm, I don't see how this change will make a difference in responses to older posts. The "new-style time stamps" only apply to posts from the past day. Posts older than that have the same old time stamp.

        1. re: Chris VR

          That remains to be seen, as it's only been in effect for a day or so. No older time stamps got changed, so anything posted before yesterday still shows an actual date. We're already seeing posts marked "about N hours ago" and "1 day ago." Tomorrow, will we start seeing some that say "2 days ago"? And next week, "1 week ago"? And eventually, "5 years ago"?

          Stay tuned.

          1. re: BobB

            Well, I just opened a thread where someone today replied to posts from 2003, so I'd guess that it's not working as well as planned.

            1. re: 512window

              My theory is that they made this change primarily to be more like Facebook and Twitter. I think the CH interface is superior to either (with a few minor caveats), so I see this as a step backwards.

              As I mentioned in the original post, I know some people will prefer this dumbed-down time stamp format, and I don't begrudge them that. However, please let those of us who can do the mental arithmetic have the choice of having real time stamps!

              1. re: Peripatetic

                small h (below) also mentions another important use case: searching for dates in long threads. I also do this, typically searching for "2011" to find the post that bumped a long-dormant thread.

                By Peripatetic on Nov 30, 2011 3:25 PM PST :)

              2. re: 512window

                If in fact I'm right about the intent, it won't actually be useful unless and until they convert all the existing posts to the new format. Which may or may not happen. Whatever, it's not something I feel the need to get all worked up about.

            2. re: Chris VR

              I was right - I just stumbled onto a thread that has a "2 days ago" post in it.

            3. re: BobB

              I was assuming it was a response to the timestamp issue lately (i.e., they're wrong), which apparently they're having trouble working out:

              Reverting to X hours/days ago gets around the timestamps being off for everyone (I'm in the same time zone as Chow's home office, and mine hasn't been correct since the time change). I hope I'm right about the reason, and that after they figure out the issue, they'll restore the time/date scheme, which like others here I much prefer.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                I might add that the timezone issue was fixed around the same time relative time-stamps were put into place. You can check for sure using the below post from the testing thread:


                1. re: Engineering

                  So, what was the motivation for changing to relative time stamps? Was it, as I suspected, to help deter the unintentional reactivation of old threads? If so you'll need to restamp all the existing posts too. Or is there another reason it was done?

                  1. re: Engineering

                    The time zone issue is not fixed for me. Your post text stating 10:30 pst shows a time stamp of 11:30, and I'm in the pst time zone.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Hm. The fix might not go into effect until the old cookies are cleared out and you have a fresh login. If that doesn't do the trick, let us know.

                      1. re: Engineering

                        Ok, cleared out all and cookies, cleared cache and relaunched browser and the time zone has reset successfully. Thank you!

                        I'll also be interested in seeing if that helps with the multiple crashes of firefox this week when browsing this site.

              2. I do not like it, and I'll tell you why. When I open one of those super-long threads, I like to search for today's date in order to see only the new responses, without scrolling through 400+ posts. I tried to modify my system by searching for "days," and then I realized I also had to search for "hours" and "minutes." This is not an improvement.

                3 Replies
                1. re: small h

                  Oooh good point. I totally forgot that I use(d) that trick too on long threads.

                  1. re: Chris VR

                    I agree. I hate this. I was hoping it was an error.

                  2. re: small h

                    New system! Now I search for "ago." That brings me to the expanded posts, as the compressed ones display an actual date stamp. Glad that's settled. For now, anyway.

                  3. Now My Unread Posts shows no date stamp at all!