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I got an email notification at noon today saying a scheduled chat was going to happen in 2 hours.

The chat is actually scheduled for 8 pm UTC and it translates into 3 pm my time, not 2 pm. The notification should've said the chat was starting in 3 hours.

I am in the EST (Toronto) timezone. Is there a timezone setting I missed somewhere or is this a notification bug?

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Hmm... similar bug reported yesterday, in chat. (Thanks for the assist, @TimStone.) – Pops Feb 16 '11 at 18:08
My initial wild speculation is that this is a not-accounting-for-daylight-savings-conversion bug, but it's not like I have access to the code. – Pops Feb 16 '11 at 18:13
Chat doesn't know (or care about) your time zone. "in 2 hours" just means "in less than 3 hours, but in at least 2 hours" – balpha Feb 16 '11 at 18:16
@balpha I have trouble accepting that behaviour as correct. If there are no assumptions made about the recipient's timezone (which is fair), I believe it shouldn't say "in 2 hours" and just say something like "later today". The scheduled start time in UTC is already listed and should be sufficient. Otherwise I think the message is misleading. – Adam Lear Feb 16 '11 at 18:25
If my intent was to say "This behaviour is correct", I would've posted that as an answer, not as a comment. All I wanted is offer some explanation as to why you're seeing what you're seeing. – balpha Feb 16 '11 at 18:56
@balpha Sorry, I was just trying to say that current behaviour is odd at best. Thank you for the explanation. – Adam Lear Feb 16 '11 at 19:02
I've reported a similiar issue with chat events a bit ago:… – Mad Scientist Feb 16 '11 at 20:46
up vote 3 down vote accepted

We now round the hours correctly (instead of picking just the non-fractional part), i.e. "in 2 hours and 58 minutes" translates to "3 hours". Also note that the room's schedule page (which is linked from the email) now shows the event's date in the user's timezone.

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I suggest that SE piggybacks on one of the many time converting systems for upcoming chat events (the only situation where timezones really do matter), like this:

Starts Saturday at 18:00 UTC, lasts 120 minutes.

Starts tomorrow at 18:00 UTC, lasts 120 minutes.

Starts today at 18:00 UTC, lasts 120 minutes.

Starts in 59 minutes, lasts 120 minutes.

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Please note that while has a few nice touches like detecting your timezone correctly, it will be misleading when organizing events on March as the US moves to DST and the EU doesn't. – badp Feb 16 '11 at 19:52

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