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Member for today

Should this not be changed to say "1 day" or "3 hours", etc? Especially as the "last seen" also works in this way.

Note that members who joined 24 hours ago have been members for "2 days", etc.

You'd say "x has been a member for 1 day" over "x has been a member for today"; saying "member for today" just doesn't feel right to me.

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Can you elaborate why you think 1 day would be more appropriate than today in this context? (English is not my native language but I believe member for today and member for one day are equally valid.) –  Frédéric Hamidi Mar 22 '13 at 14:06
    
In English, the grammar works. "Member for today" is entirely acceptable. But for consistency I agree that it might look better with "member for 1 day". However, it's not a bug. =) –  J. Steen Mar 22 '13 at 14:07
    
please see faq about downvotes on the meta. (By the way I haven't voted yet, I just wanted to point out) –  Hugo Dozois Mar 22 '13 at 14:08
    
Because it doesn't really sound right. You'd say "this member joined today" or "this member has been a member for 1 day" over "this member has been a member for today". –  James Donnelly Mar 22 '13 at 14:08
11  
"Member for today" does sort of sound like he has some kind of temporary membership that only lasts for a day, like a guest pass at a gym or something. The expansion of that would be "This user has been a member for today," which sounds very temporary to my ears. "This user has been a member for 1 day" sounds more... normal. /$0.02 –  The Community Mar 22 '13 at 14:36
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Member for "less than one day" works fine –  Ben Brocka Mar 22 '13 at 14:40
    
@BenBrocka the problem with that is when they'd reach the 24 hour mark. They'd go from "less than one day" straight to "2 days". –  James Donnelly Mar 22 '13 at 14:41

5 Answers 5

Replacing "today" with "less than 1 day" should work fine, without needlessly introducing a granularity of hours into a time interval that is supposed to be relatively long.

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This also makes it easier to localize, although I'm not sure if that's a design goal here. –  Tmdean Mar 22 '13 at 17:39

Totally agree it should be changed, and now with the new profile page design it should be easier.

My own suggestions to replace it:

  • Member for less than 24 hours
  • Joined today (instead of the whole line)
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1  
I like the second one. The whole of the rest of this page seems like people are trying to be over precise. –  Matt Ellen Dec 11 at 8:54
    
@Matt true, "Member for 25 seconds" sounds bad as well. –  Shadow Wizard Dec 11 at 8:57
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This is the best answer so far, but my suggestion is better yet: don't bother changing everything! "Member for today" is still correct English, and the line is such a minor part of the user experience that we should waste the devs time with this! –  Rory Alsop Dec 11 at 9:59
    
@Rory thanks, but if it's only a few minutes of dev time thing it's worth the efforts. –  Shadow Wizard Dec 11 at 10:03

They probably have not actually been a member for the whole day, so saying "1 day" would not be better than "today."

That someone who's been a member between 1 and 2 days is said to have been a member for 2 days doesn't mean that when there is an opportunity to be clearer, that opportunity shouldn't be taken. It should, and is.

Furthermore, an inaccuracy of a fixed amount is more serious when it affects a smaller quantity. It's much more serious to say that someone who has been a member for 1 minute has been a member for 1 day than to say that someone who has been a member for 1 day + 1 minute has been a member for 1 days. The latter is off by a factor of approximately 2. The former is off by a factor of 1,440.

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This is why I added the note about members who joined yesterday. If 24 hours is regarded as 2 days then 0 hours should be regarded as 1 day, no? –  James Donnelly Mar 22 '13 at 14:10
    
@JamesDonnelly Those are good points which I should have addressed; sorry about that. I've edited my answer to address them. –  Eliah Kagan Mar 22 '13 at 14:13
    
Hmm, I've updated my question to include the possibility of going even deeper, "member for 5 hours", etc. –  James Donnelly Mar 22 '13 at 14:16
    
@JamesDonnelly I think increasing the granularity (by saying that someone has been a member for n hours or n minutes), as suggested in the updated version of the question, would probably be an improvement over the current way of displaying the information. –  Eliah Kagan Mar 22 '13 at 14:22

There's related bug reports for scenarios where intervals are treated as a point in time.

It would be a good idea to come up with distinct and consistent presentations for points in time and intervals across the site. For points in time, we already use:

just now
today
in [n] [unit of time]s
[n] [unit of time]s ago
[explicit date format]

Note that you need different formats, depending on whether the point in time is in the past or the future.

We need a separate format for intervals:

[a short time/less than a [minimum unit of time]]
[n] [unit of time]s

In this situation we are clearly looking at an interval of time, so it should follow the appropriate grammar:

Has been a member for: less than a [minimum unit of time].
Has been a member for: [n] [unit of time]s
                       ___________________________________
                                                    |
                                                    |Interval format

Where a reasonable minimum unit of time is a day.

Alternatively, you could stick with the point in time format and use, "Has been a member since" instead of "Has been a member for":

Has been a member since: today
Has been a member since: [n] [unit of time]s ago
                         _______________________
                                             |
                                             |Point in time format
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This is a small detail, but you're right in pointing out that for today could be considered incorrect, since it comes with a strong connotation of temporary status in most contexts. As in:

You can join meta for today.

I'll be your moderator for today.

How to fix this?

If the member for language needs to be static, getting rid of today is the easiest way to remove the ambiguity. The replacement can use more or less precision:

  1. Displaying 1-hour precision in the first 24 hours of membership is consistent with how last seen is displayed, so that would help with consistency.

    • member for 1 hour
    • member for 23 hours

  2. Or a slightly less precise variation, though it's a bit long-winded.

    • member for less than one day

Though it makes me wonder if there's some hidden unit changes we haven't seen yet due to their extremely tiny or gigantic scale.

Member for 2 jiffies
Member for 2 days
Member for 2 months
Member for 2 centuries?
...

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