Relative times are not a good idea



  • Bug: Cannot determine the date/time a post or reply is made. It only shows "hours/days" ago
    Expectation: It is currently 1:22pm. Exactly what time is 4h ago? No guarantee it is 9:22am. What date is 11h ago? I would expect posts and replies to have a non-braindead timestamp, like '25-May-2014 1:23pm'. I don't expect to have to do mental time-based math to know ALMOST when something was posted.
    Solution: default date/time format should not be "[x][unit] ago"



  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    Bug: Cannot determine the date/time a post or reply is made. It only shows "hours/days" agoExpectation: It is currently 1:22pm. Exactly what time is 4h ago? No guarantee it is 9:22am. What date is 11h ago? I would expect posts and replies to have a non-braindead timestamp, like '25-May-2014 1:23pm'. I don't expect to have to do mental time-based math to know ALMOST when something was posted.Solution: default date/time format should not be "[x][unit] ago"

    I am not seeing this as a bug. This is so simple, a kid in standard 4th can figure out. I asked my cousins' son who is in 4th standard and he said 11 hours ago means yesterday.

    Edit: Also if you take your mouse and move it over the <1m, you'll see a date and time.



  • Your post was made 1400779469.496 seconds after the unix epoch. Is that exact enough?



  • If you mouse over the "3m" or "4h" the timestamp will display.



  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    It only shows "hours/days" ago

    I HATE HATE HATE this too.



  • It would be nice if there was an option to show the timestamp instead of the ago crap instead of having to mouse over everything.



  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    It only shows "hours/days" ago

    This also adds useless computational complexity to the whole thing, because some computer somewhere has to continuously do all that complex subtraction math and imposes a need to refresh the view. Simply showing the post time & date avoids that nonsense.

    But, then again, I am a simplicity advocate...



  • @too_many_userna said:

    complex subtraction math

    Filed under: quoted for wat



  • @ben_lubar said:

    Filed under: quoted for wat

    Filed under: whoosh



  • @too_many_userna said:

    This also adds useless computational complexity to the whole thing, because some computer somewhere has to continuously do all that complex subtraction math and imposes a need to refresh the view

    Is not Ajax solving this for you, already? Also computing power has changed as evident by this graphic.

    If you are not on decent speed, then you are not mattering any more.



  • My work PC has a quad-core Xeon E5 CPU in it and Discourse still feels slower than a 2001 website on a Pentium III.



  • @mott555 said:

    My work PC has a quad-core Xeon E5 CPU in it and Discourse still feels slower than a 2001 website on a Pentium III.

    I think you're speaking in hyperbole for effect. I am finding this to be super fast. I am on dual core Generation 2 Pentium chip. So if you're truly slower than 2001 website, then I am feeling sorry for you. If you're using figure of speech for effect, I am going to have to learn to take everything you post with a pitch of salt.



  • Normally you can take everything I post with a pitch (sic) of salt. But this time I am not exaggerating.



  • @ender said:

    What browser do you use? Surprisingly, I don't have any speed problems with Discourse on Opera 12 on my E5-1620, other than stupid ajaxy loading indicator when scrolling quickly.

    Whatever the most recent Firefox is, when they screwed over the UI. And I believe I have some kind of budget NVIDIA Quadro GPU.



  • @ender said:

    What browser do you use? Surprisingly, I don't have any speed problems with Discourse on Opera 12 on my E5-1620, other than stupid ajaxy loading indicator when scrolling quickly.

    I think he must be on IE6. I am using IE11 and everything runs super fast that when I blinking, I missing something.



  • 11 hours ago isn't always yesterday. And depending on the braindead "hours ago" logic the forum uses, it could roll over on the top of the hour, the bottom of the hour, or the minute.

    And "1 day ago" tells me fucking nothing about when during the last day it was posted.



  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    11 hours ago isn't always yesterday. And depending on the braindead "hours ago" logic the forum uses, it could roll over on the top of the hour, the bottom of the hour, or the minute.

    And "1 day ago" tells me fucking nothing about when during the last day it was posted.

    nitpicker :smile: :squirrel:



  • Nagesh, I'm personally disappointed that you've found the move as a personal motivation to post way more than you ever used to on the old site.
    Please do us a favor and stop - you're not helping anything or anyone.



  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    Bug: Cannot determine the date/time a post or reply is made. It only shows "hours/days" ago

    Hover over the Xh/Xd indicator - a tooltip comes up giving the time to the minute.

    After (currently) 6 days, the indicator will change to an absolute date, as opposed to a relative time.



  • @PJH said:

    Hover over the Xh/Xd indicator - a tooltip comes up giving the time to the minute.

    Hover tooltips is not nor will ever be a solution to anything regarding functionality or required information dissemination. It doesn't work on touch devices. It takes (mouse movement time + hover time + comprehension time) * (number of posts), whereas just having the information on the screen is near instantaneous. And the information is obviously right there!

    If this becomes a configurable option, by default it should show full date time, just like all forums in the existence of whenever. Configurable options are great and all, but the goal should be to have the default be in "least surprise, most familiar" mode. If I, as a user, have to change and maintain this ever-growing list of "options to restore base functionality" on every single Disc-Course forum I encounter, I am not going to want to use any. And this is already a borderline hard sell. Don't make it harder.



  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    If this becomes a configurable option

    It is configurable already actually.

    Sort of.

    However

    1. setting how long it takes to go from a relative stamp to an absolute timestamp to zero days (It was originally 30 days) doesn't seem to have done anything useful for this
    2. Even if it did work, the absolute timestamp appears to be an abbreviation (30 Feb, Jan '13, etc.) rather than a full timestamp including time.


  • @Lorne_Kates said:

    It is currently 1:22pm. Exactly what time is 4h ago? No guarantee it is 9:22am. What date is 11h ago?

    I have to ask:
    Why do you care?



  • @ben_lubar said:

    after the eunuch epoch

    By golly I'm glad we left that epoch behind us.



  • I thought we had that discussion already? For your convenience I'll post my answer again.

    @Luhmann said:

    Actually I don't agree: I don't give a rats ass if that was posted at 10:49am or 10:39am. First: were I live we use a normal, easy system called a 24 hour clock. So for me am/pm requires mental power. Second: I just don't care, what I do want to know however is: was this long ago or recent. Today or yesterday? Are we talking about hours or minutes ago? I don't wan't to know exactly when ... that way I don't have to look at my clock and/or calender to figure out what day & time I have now and then do some calculations and judge if this counts as 'not long ago' or 'long ago'. Even SharePoint does this now and I wouldn't call that hip or trendy. It's just more in line with how normal people think about time: not absolute like a clock but more with descriptive categories. If you ask someone the time you most likely get a response like; around a quarter for 11 or a bit for 11 and not 10:39. What's more: if you hover over a time indication you get the exact date and time. So if you really want to know if the post was made during lunch brake or at night you can still find out.



  • @Luhmann said:

    I thought we had that discussion already? For your convenience I'll post my answer again.

    You're only talking about one particular post. What's your solution for deciding which of two post was made earlier, when both are 3 h ago (and made in different topics)? And please don't mention tooltips in your answer, they're not available on mobile devices.

    @PJH said:

    It is configurable already actually.
    Sort of.

    Uh, user-configurable! IIRC, phpBB does it already... (fwiw, my own setting would be D j M Y, H:i:s (x) -- with x standing for the current "relative to present" value)



  • @c__ said:

    What's your solution for deciding which of two post was made earlier, when both are 3 h ago (and made in different topics)?

    What's your solution for deciding which of two posts was made earlier, when both are 3 s ago (and made in different topics)?

    Does it really matter?



  • @ben_lubar said:

    What's your solution for deciding which of two posts was made earlier, when both are 3 s ago (and made in different topics)?

    In that case, the two posts can be considered simultaneous for most reasonable purposes.

    @ben_lubar said:

    Does it really matter?

    Are you saying it never does? Why have time-stamps at all, then? Clearly, just "recently" and "long, long time ago" should be enough for everybody!



  • @c__ said:

    Are you saying it never does? Why have time-stamps at all, then? Clearly, just "recently" and "long, long time ago" should be enough for everybody!

    If I have two posts that were made in August 2010, do I really care what nanosecond they were posted at? Generally only the largest nonzero unit of time is needed to get a reasonable idea of when something happened.



  • @ben_lubar said:

    If I have two posts that were made in August 2010, do I really care what nanosecond they were posted at?

    Sometimes time of posting is also the context. A good example are April Fools' posts - if it weren't for the full date, you'd start questioning sanity of people.



  • @ben_lubar said:

    Generally only the largest nonzero unit of time is needed to get a reasonable idea of when something happened.

    Ugh... I even tried to sleep on this, and it doesn't make more sense now. So: WTF do you mean "largest nonzero unit of time"? Isn't this "third millennium" for every post in here? Or even "first exa-second"?

    Hm, or maybe sleeping on this actually helped: did you mean to talk about time difference? Because that is very much a subjective opinion, TYVM...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @c__ said:

    Hm, or maybe sleeping on this actually helped: did you mean to talk about time difference? Because that is very much a subjective opinion, TYVM...

    Well yes, of course it's the time difference. Otherwise we'd be talking about something like “in the 14th billion year period since the big bang” or equally useless noise. For what they're doing (which perhaps should be desktop only) showing just the largest unit of the time difference makes a bunch of sense; anyone who truly insists on knowing when a post was made exactly has the info as a tooltip.

    But why you'd care about the fraction of a second where a post arrived at the server, I really can't pretend to guess.


  • Banned

    We can certainly add the explicit time of the post to the share dialog when initiated from the timestamp. That should resolve any mobile complaints.

    But in general, the exact to the second time something was posted is not particularly relevant. You always know order, as the stream is in chrono order.



  • @codinghorror said:

    the share dialog when initiated from the timestamp

    Why the hell does a timestamp initiate a share dialog in the first place? It's about as arbitrary as it gets.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    Sometimes time of posting is also the context. A good example are April Fools' posts - if it weren't for the full date, you'd start questioning sanity of people.

    Yes, because people here only post things that make you question their sanity on April Fool's Day.


  • Banned

    Fairly traditional for the timestamp to be the permalink on blogs and Twitter and so forth. In this case there is also the explicit permalink glyph at the bottom of each post as well.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @codinghorror said:

    there is also the explicit permalink glyph at the bottom of each post

    That's the one I approve of; nice and visible and discoverable, all things that mark good user-oriented design. (I'm not 100% if the image used is the best one — it conveys linking but not sharing — but I'm not convinced the other alternatives I've seen elsewhere are better, so I'll give a free pass on this.)


  • Banned

    Good news everyone!

    For those of you on a touch device, tapping the timestamp of the post at upper right will now show the exact time of the post now too.


  • Banned

    Unfortunately, @zogstrip, bug with this -- opening the dialog multiple times causes the same time to appear for multiple posts. The dialog should reflect the time of the post it was last opened from.



  • This has been fixed. The share dialog now reflect the time of the post it was last opened from.



  • Yup, definitely not seeing that.



  • Looks like only the share dialog initiated from the "relative timestamp" shows the full time. The share dialog launched by the share button does not include the full timestamp.

    And, even better, the "relative timestamp" share dialog doesn't appear on Chrome for Android.



  • @ChaosTheEternal said:

    on Chrome for Android.

    Correction: On the mobile view.

    @codinghorror @zogstrip It might be a good idea to get in the habit of switching to Mobile View when you/we test things.



  • Thanks for reporting it, this is now fixed :octopus:


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