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“Yesterday” time specification shown when it was actually the day before yesterday

I asked the question on 26 January at 16:07:44.

Today, on 28 January at 15:06:12 GMT+2 it is marked as "asked yesterday", while tooltip message still displays the "2 days back time":

Odd date

I've found almost the similar question on Meta from April 2011. And I guess the "problem" remains because of different time zone used internally, besides my basic calculations still can't give me "yesterday" for the given time (and it seems I'm wrong).

Anyway, even if my maths is bad, and the question can be tagged with , I see an obviously confusing discrepancy of labels and tooltips. Maybe we need to change the contents of labels to make things more clear? Since mentally for me "yesterday" was yesterday from the wake up till night sleep, but not 46 or 47 hours ago. Meanwhile many even might not know what Z in the date means.

Let it be a feature request. What I see to be less confusing:

  1. before 48 hours: "asked/answered X hours ago"
  2. after 48 hours: "asked/answered MMM DD 'YY at HH:MM"

In order to prove my idea, here is a link to English online dictionary for the word "day". We can see that there are several common meanings like: "when you are awake", "not night", "time at work", which contradicts with the astronomical meaning of the word.

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marked as duplicate by Martijn Pieters, Al E., Toon Krijthe, Lance Roberts, Austin Henley Jan 28 '13 at 16:51

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Short info: You didn't ask that question at 16:07 of your time, but at 16:07 UTC. Still confusing as it wasn't yesterday even in UTC. –  Ral Zarek Jan 28 '13 at 13:22
Equate downvotes on this with "I've gotten used to this weirdness and am now just comfortable with it, screw clarity for everyone else." –  Grant Thomas Jan 28 '13 at 13:42
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1 Answer

Posting times are displayed in the UTC timezone. At the time you took that screenshot, it was 13:06:02 UTC, and the post was made less than 45 hours before. You can see that in the time displayed in the tooltip; it's formatted as a ISO 8601 date time string; the Z stands for the UTC timezone.

You need to wait another 4 hours before it'll show that it was asked 2 days ago.

If you look at the reputation dropdown in the top bar, you'll find it displays the current time in UTC:

UTC time

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OK. Thanks for giving a reason for that, I see that I am totally confused with time zones. But the request still remains: the users shouldn't know anything about the internal time, they need a clear time display, considering their own time zone. –  VisioN Jan 28 '13 at 13:21
@VisioN: Do you see that the time display in the title tooltip has a Z behind it? That Z means UTC time.. –  Martijn Pieters Jan 28 '13 at 13:24
So, does it mean that it shouldn't be yesterday by all means, if I definitely asked the question two days ago? –  VisioN Jan 28 '13 at 13:39
@VisioN: Any age between 24 and 48 hours old is called 'yesterday'. –  Martijn Pieters Jan 28 '13 at 13:44
Not to most humans. –  Grant Thomas Jan 28 '13 at 13:49
The problem is that the definition of "yesterday" differs from timezone to timezone. SE users live all over the world! Only after 24 hours is it definitely yesterday for each and every timezone on earth. –  Martijn Pieters Jan 28 '13 at 14:07
I would like my questions to be marked as being asked two days in the future. –  Dave Newton Jan 28 '13 at 14:17
@MartijnPieters Mathematically it is true, but not mentally. For me yesterday was on 27th from my wake up till the late night, when I went to bed. And I'm sure most have the same criteria. –  VisioN Jan 28 '13 at 14:29
@VisioN: Not just mathematically. For someone in the world, you posted that question at 00:07. It won't be 'yesterday' for them until 24 hours later. That's the reality of running a site for a worldwide audience. –  Martijn Pieters Jan 28 '13 at 14:37
@MartijnPieters Then I'd refuse of utilizing the constructions like "yesterday", "2 days ago" etc, since "day" as a word has different meanings. –  VisioN Jan 28 '13 at 14:39
@DaveNewton I would also like to reserve a table at the restaurant at the end of the universe ^_^. I heared that Jon Skeet has his personal chair there, just near Chuck Norris one (so THAT is how he manages to always reply before others) –  SPArchaeologist Jan 28 '13 at 14:47
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