Some history: I appreciate that the timestamp "0 seconds ago" (or "in 0 seconds" in rare cases) has been replaced with "just now" on 3 September 2011. Now, as of 14 September it's "momentarily" for very close future dates and "just now" for very close past dates.

The rationale behind the first change was that "asked in 0 seconds" looks rather awkward (and "just now" also looks more friendly than "0 seconds ago" to me). The rationale behind the second change: "just now" doesn't make sense in "You can accept an answer just now" if it's still 3 seconds to go.

However, the second change broke what was intended with the first one – now we get timestamps like "asked momentarily" (due to clock skew issues, as Jeff Atwood explained. This isn't any better than "asked in 0 seconds".

How to fix: As hammar suggested in a comment, for small time differences, "just now" should always be displayed for things that have to lie in the past, like posting of questions / answers / comments and edits. Similarly, for things that just have to lie in the future, it should always be "momentarily".

(As a side note: Robert Harvey is quite right that "You can accept an answer momentarily" should be avoided entirely if possible; just let the user accept the answer and don't make him wait 3 seconds. Maybe this could apply to all very close future dates?)

  • Heh, I thought about suggesting this exact thing the first time I saw that a comment was posted "momentarily," but assumed it was a lost cause. Good luck, though! Minor nitpick: whenever you set a time limit, in this case the 15-min no-acceptance period, you're drawing a line. If the point is that there's no major difference between 15 minutes and 14 minutes, 55 seconds, then the solution is to do whatever is easiest, not to redraw the line at 14.57 (Robert did originally say "If it isn't too much trouble to implement").
    – Pops
    Sep 26, 2011 at 18:56
  • 2
    @PopularDemand That's the funny thing about psychology. Speed limits are lower than they would be otherwise because people generally speed. And the amount they speed is surprisingly predictable, so for example in a "100-safe zone" you set the speed limit to 80 and people go 20 over, resulting in the desired 100. Similarly, keeping the posted time as-is (15 minutes) while making it 14:57 behind the scenes could have a similar effect (fewer complaints and less need to fiddle with special wording, in this case).
    – user154510
    Sep 26, 2011 at 19:55
  • +1 Yes, yes, yes pleeeeeze!
    – Daniel
    Sep 26, 2011 at 21:42
  • @Popular: You're right, my account of Robert's suggestion wasn't faithful. (Better now?) But this isn't really the point of my feature-request; I'd be happy already if the side note would just be ignored and the main thing got implemented. Concerning "lost cause": Well, drɱ65 δ was successful with his original request, and my request isn't too different, is it? Sep 27, 2011 at 7:50
  • I just didn't think the team/Jeff would be interested in pursuing this anymore, but I'm glad they did! And yes, I do appreciate your wording change.
    – Pops
    Sep 27, 2011 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


I decided that times that are 1 second or less in the future will show up as

you can foo the bar just now

(e.g. the same as being <= 4 seconds in the past, to account for minor server clock skews.)

times that are 2 to 4 seconds in the future will continue to show up as

you can foo the bar momentarily

  • 2
    OK, that'll probably fix the "posted momentarily" issue - great. In rare cases we'll still have the "You can accept an answer just now", which should be avoided in my opinion, but I guess this is really a very minor issue, so +1 from me. Sep 27, 2011 at 12:52

This has been seen on comment timestamps, which is amusing but looks like SE doesn't understand the meaning of the word "momentarily" (I appreciate that this is not really the case).

Comment timestamp reads "momentarily"


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