[openstreetmap-website] Timestamps across the web site / make format user selectable (#631)

Frederik Ramm notifications at github.com
Fri Dec 6 01:03:48 UTC 2013


This is a feature request for user-selectable date/time styles across the web site. A detailed explanation follows below.

For a long time we've been using vague timestamps like "about 5 years ago" in several places in the UI. - I see where the motivation comes from (less clutter, nicer on the eye, easier to translate, no time zone issues) but I've always hated it.

The reason is that more often than not, I was using the web site to investigate something. Was a certain edit *before* or *after* a certain other edit? Did they make that change *after* I sent them the message? Was this account created before or after I blocked that other account? Was the block they got a reason for the edit, or was the edit the reason for the block? And so on. Precise time stamps make this kind of work much easier, especially if you're looking at a time ranger where everything is "about one year ago".

With the recent UI change, these imprecise time stamps are used in even more places, occasionally augmented by a hover facility that will show a precise time stamp. In this trac ticket https://trac.openstreetmap.org/ticket/5045 the issue has been discussed, and the complainant has made available a hack that would allow people to have precise time stamps at least where the hover code is enabled. 

So far, so good, and you'll say that my use case is niche and anyway I could build tools for myself to find out what I need to know. BUT, and I say this from my DWG background: Going forward, we will need more "ordinary users" taking stewardship if data, investigating strange edits and wrongdoings, reporting or flagging bad ones, even dealing with them themselves. The "niche" that DWG currently occupies will have to widen in the future, with more and more people looking at the finer details of what is going on in OSM. 

While "5 hours ago" is nice for the casually browsing user, it makes life harder for those who actually want to do some sleuthing, and we don't want to make it harder for them.

Yes it would be terrific if we could have a second web site that was specifically aimed at experts but we won't any time soon. So in the mean time it would be great if the needs of more analytically inclined users were kept in mind when changing things. It would be great if, in their profile settings, users could choose whether they want precise timestamps throughout, or the reader-friendly "5 hours ago" variant.


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Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub:
https://github.com/openstreetmap/openstreetmap-website/issues/631
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