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I think it would be pretty cool to add date/time context to questions. I have seen a lot of questions where the answer changes based on date/time (usually involving certain technologies/versions). So, when a user Googles the question, the selected answer may not be the correct answer anymore because of changing times. It only seems that this is going to become more and more of an issue as the site continues to grow.

Maybe it's just me, but some kind of nice, user-friendly question timeline might be cool. Then again, I wouldn't want things to get over-complicated.

What are other's thoughts on this?

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2 Answers 2

There already is a timeline for each question.

Every question, answer, and comment has a time listed for when it was created, and questions and answers have a time listed for when they were last edited.

I think that provides plenty of context. People can easily look at the dates on each answer to judge whether the information could be outdated.

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-1 I appreciate the response, but that 'timeline' is nothing but a glorified (but cryptic) question log (like an SVM commit history). Also, how do you get to the timeline from a question? – Stephen Watkins Oct 6 '11 at 1:16
@stjowa The timeline is a hidden feature, it's not linked from anywhere, and I agree with you about its usefulness. The main point was the other part -- I don't see how it could be made any easier to see how current posts are. The dates are right there. – agf Oct 6 '11 at 1:24
Thanks for giving your input. Yeah, I understand that questions/answers/comments are time stamped. However, doesn't the semantics of a definitive question/answer (which is the goal of SO, I think) become lost when you end up having 2 or 3 other definitive answers to that question to accommodate for different time periods? I've seen it on here quite a few times. So, instead of creating 3 different questions for specific time periods (and losing the votes/google rank/info of the others), it seems that a nicely presented timeline could suffice well. But, I guess I'm by myself on this one :-) – Stephen Watkins Oct 6 '11 at 5:13

If the question is only pertinent for such a period of time, it should either not be asked or it should be closed. We even have a close reason for that.

If an answer is out of date, a new one should be posted, or the old one should be edited. This is how it has always been on the stacks.

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Almost every question is pertinent to a period of time. And, users coming from Google can fairly easily get confused by out of date answers. This happened to me today. That's why I suggested this. – Stephen Watkins Oct 6 '11 at 5:00
You misunderstand. There is either "this will only be valid for a few weeks" or "the answer to this question will eventually shift". Not all links on google are 2 hours old. Not all books are 2 hours old. Some things need to exist for a long time, some things can only be considered transient. Thanks for the downvote, since you obviously haven't got the slightest clue how the stacks work. – jcolebrand Oct 6 '11 at 5:15
Wow, you seem upset. You take this very seriously. I just didn't agree with your answer and I downvoted it (like I'm guessing you downvoted my question). Obviously, most people do not agree with what I'm suggesting here and so I'm sure you'll get more upvotes than downvotes. – Stephen Watkins Oct 6 '11 at 5:25
I take all of stackexchange very seriously. I want to make the internet a better place. I'm not going to dignify anything else you say in this argument-thread, as you seem like someone who has not invested anything of yourself into understanding the network. – jcolebrand Oct 6 '11 at 15:18

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