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Why does the default time range on the ‘recent activity’ page work as it does?

Something seems to be broken with Recent Activity:

  1. After being away from the site for a while, the first time I click on the envelope icon (which took me quite a long time to discover), I see one collection of activity. If I click on it again a few minutes later, the list is gone.
  2. The time period covered seems to vary from a few seconds to more than a day.
  3. There isn't a "recent" button along with "today", "yesterday", etc., which I found to be confusing (if I click on "today", the only way to see recent again is to click on the envelope icon).

Suggestions:

  1. Change the concept of "recent" to be something concrete, like maybe the last 12 hours.
  2. Add a button in the main menu for "Activity," to replace the envelope icon.
  3. Add a button on the activity page for "recent"
  4. Have the time range end at the present, rather than extending into the future as it does now (which is confusing). AFAIK, it's not possible to have activity at a time that hasn't happened yet.
  5. Display the time range in the user's local time zone, rather than GMT.

Update:

When I clicked on the envelope icon this morning (after clicking on the Questions button to refresh my session), Recent Activity reported:

2009-11-25 18:28:19Z to 2009-11-25 23:59:59Z

all times are in UTC; the current time is 2009-11-25 18:28:26Z

in other words, it's reporting activity over the last 7 seconds. I don't find that particularly useful (nor do I think this is a duplicate of the post mentioned in the comments).

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What, you're GMT+12? –  random Nov 25 '09 at 3:39
    
sounds like it's UTC+13 - which may or may not be +13 from London (depending on whether BST is in effect) –  warren Nov 25 '09 at 11:56
    
Daylight savings now, which means it's probably +13. –  random Nov 25 '09 at 12:06
3  
Duplicate of: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/27558/… –  Jonathan Leffler Nov 25 '09 at 12:53
comments disabled on deleted / locked posts

locked by Diago Jan 18 '10 at 8:41

marked as duplicate by random, Jeff Atwood Nov 26 '09 at 1:33

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.

3 Answers

See: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/27558/why-does-the-default-time-range-on-the-recent-activity-page-work-as-it-does for a discussion.

Roughly, it uses the last time you looked at the data as the start time for the interval. If you go to the page repeatedly, you'll see some information, then no information, and then (if you've been given some rep or comments) some information again.

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My guess is that it by default shows activity during the current session.

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@RickNZ: I'm not saying that this would be particularly useful. –  sth Nov 25 '09 at 14:10
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I always assumed it displays whatever happened since my last visit of the site. If yes, then there can be no fixed time range.

Update 1:
Example: If I visit the site in the morning and then again in the evening, I will get the highlighted envelope in the evening. Clicking on it I will be presented with any comments and answers I got since I was there in the morning.

Update 2:
I don't know where it is explained. To me this is quite intuitive.

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