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It would be nice to be able to set a filter that challenges me with annoying math questions if I post a comment, question or answer (selectable) after a certain time of day.

This may help prevent someone from asking a very basic or nonsensical question while being over tired, frustrated, intoxicated or a plethora of other mind numbing conditions. The other benefits are similar and obvious.

G-Mail has this ability from Google Labs. It would be great if SO provided the same (optional) functionality.

Of course, most of us could solve the given problems easily no matter our state of mind .. it serves as a reminder as well as a challenge. The title of the pop up could be "Should you sleep on this?"


Thanks for the constructive criticism. This is not a bad idea, but it would be much better implemented as some kind of a browser plug-in, not as a feature of SO.

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How about you just take responsibility for your own behaviour at all times? Don't worry, if you're being a prat we'll just delete it ;-p

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I'm posting the question because some do not. – Tim Post Oct 24 '09 at 18:22
@tinkertim: that's what downvotes are for. – Ether Oct 24 '09 at 20:11

EDIT: I originally had concerns over requiring time zones, but as the comments point out, you can just use the client-side time "right now"... there's no need to be able to predict a different time, which is where time zones in.

My answer is still "no, this isn't a good idea" because I believe it's a solution looking from a problem. I've seen no evidence that this is actually causing a problem, and I believe the SO team has better things to do with their time than chase theoretical issues. If we were seeing hundreds of drunken posts, that might be a different matter.

Original answer

"Midnight" depends on where you live - or rather, your time zone.

Any sane developer will run screaming at the idea of doing things which depend on time zones. I intend to give a few examples in my talk on Wednesday, but basically you'd have to have a really important feature to make it worth tangling with time zones.

(Coping with simple situations isn't actually that hard - but the whole thing is a mess, particularly when it comes to choices, changes etc. There'll always be someone who disagrees with your system's idea of what their time zone is.)

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If my system time thinks its 3:30 AM .. and I have set my own threshold for 2:00 AM .. I fail to see the issue? – Tim Post Oct 24 '09 at 18:23
@tinkertim: You'll need to tell the SO server what time zone you're in though, so that it knows what time you think it is. I suppose JavaScript might be able to get that right, admittedly... but I think it's a generally nasty area for pretty much no benefit. How often has this actually been a problem for you? Can you give examples? – Jon Skeet Oct 24 '09 at 18:30
@Jon Skeet - I still fail to see the nastyness when the whole business could be completed (client side) on submit? Yes, I had JS in mind when considering it. All the server has to know is what time you think is a bad time, not what time your system thinks it is. If you have a clock that skewed, you have far greater issues than asking/answering/commenting on questions :) – Tim Post Oct 24 '09 at 18:40
I've just had a flashback - it involved Jon, a gingham dress, and "it's Joda time"... – Marc Gravell Oct 24 '09 at 20:08
@tinkertim: With only the client side time of this instant involved, it is indeed simpler than I thought. I still don't think it's worth the effort involved to implement it though. Again, how often has this been a problem for you? It sounds like a solution in search of a need... – Jon Skeet Oct 24 '09 at 20:59
Very much agree with your edit. If anything, this kind of feature should be implemented at the browser level and challenge your submissions to all sites. Even then probably as a plugin. – Joel Coehoorn Oct 26 '09 at 19:11

I think that it's reasonably likely that any problem sufficiently complicated to prevent a good, but tired programmer from posting a question on SO is also complicated enough to prevent a new programmer from posting. If it's just a reminder not to ask questions or post answers late at night, a post-it note on your monitor probably works just as well, costs nothing in development time, and doesn't impact anyone else on the system at all.

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Some of us consistently do our best work after midnight.

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