Are there differences in how the various Stack Exchange sites catalog what the timing means to be "consecutive"?

I've missed out on the Fanatic badge numerous times simply because I missed what appeared to be the 24 hour cutoff at GMT or whatever it is.

I looked at my Stack Overflow profile and it says 1 consecutive day, but what prompted me even to look was the fact that I received the Fanatic badge for programmers.stackexchange.com. I looked at my profile on Programmers, and it says 100 consecutive days. The truly odd thing is that I visit these sites together when I visit. First, Stack Overflow then Programmers.

How is it possible to visit both sites in an identical fashion and not have identical results?

Just as a small disclaimer, I'm not complaining that I didn't get the badge on Stack Overflow; I'm asking about the difference in behavior across both sites. To expand on the similarities, when I pull my browser up, the first thing I do is click on the logo to force a refresh of the page that way (just to make sure my browser hasn't brought up something cached).

Sometimes I click into a question, and sometimes I don't. I can guarantee that I have not clicked into a question on Programmers 100 days in a row any more than I have clicked into a question on Stack Overflow, so the act of clicking the logo to retrieve new questions must have been sufficient on Programmers.

  • See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/29303/… for more information. Just viewing the home page doesn't count as a "visit".
    – ChrisF Mod
    Dec 19, 2011 at 11:39
  • @Scrooge: And yet somehow it did for Programmers. Dec 19, 2011 at 11:44
  • The other reason could be that you've missed a "day" due to time zone differences.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Dec 19, 2011 at 11:53
  • @Scrooge: I would be cool with that, but if I missed a day for 1, I should have missed a day for the other don't you think? Dec 19, 2011 at 11:59
  • I would have thought so, but without access to the logs to see when you visited on each day I'm only guessing.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Dec 19, 2011 at 12:02
  • I earned Fanatic on SU way before I got it on SO or MSO because of one day when I visited all three sites at 8 PM. SU loaded first, at 7:59 local time (23:59 UTC) and SO and MSO didn't load until it was 8:00 (00:00 UTC the next day).
    – Pops
    Dec 19, 2011 at 15:07
  • I always go to my profile and click on the "#visited, #consecutive" information. It pops up a calendar to show if my "visit" has been officially recorded or not by coloring in the day. Anal, I know.
    – LarsTech
    Dec 19, 2011 at 16:50
  • @LarsTech: Sure, I'm not overly concerned with actually getting the badge, I honestly don't think I qualify for it on Programmers. I've seen the profile piece before though and read up some of the meta on it, I've just never really concerned myself with it. Dec 19, 2011 at 17:30

3 Answers 3


We calculate our calendars based on the UTC timestamp for all sites. We do not check anything differently on any of the sites.

You've apparently missed Stack Overflow rather regularly on Saturdays, apparently. Checking your Programmers access times, the vast majority of these are right after the turn of midnight on UTC. It is not impossible to imagine that, on a weekend, you'd mistime your visits so that your first "Saturday" Stack Overflow visit is still on Friday UTC, while your upcoming visit ends up on Sunday UTC. This would cause you to miss Saturday due to what barely is a 24 hour gap in access.

  • You have moderator access apparently, can you look specifically at yesterday? Today I have 100 consecutive on Programmers and 1 on SO. My access times should be within a couple of minutes of each other yesterday because I clicked on the links one after the other (I don't recall how many times, but guessing I would say 3). Dec 19, 2011 at 15:34
  • Our tools only show the first access time in a day, so we technically can't see how close to midnight you might've made an "end of day" visit. As for yesterday... apparently you missed the entire weekend, so I can't actually call it the fault of a midnight miss. It is more likely that you simply had insufficient visit activity to count as accessing the site. The explanations of what "counts" are never very clear from what I've been told, unfortunately, but my understanding is that you'd need to actually interact with the site (click anything) and not just load a single page.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Dec 19, 2011 at 15:49
  • Then there may be a bug because I clicked into a C++ question yesterday inadvertently on SO, and I definitely don't think I've done enough on Programmers to have warranted a fanatic badge by comparison. Dec 19, 2011 at 15:54
  • @Joel - Your last access dates were 2011-12-19 11:27:21Z and 2011-12-16 11:15:51Z, we only record a record once per day for a user...so hitting in the same day won't net another UserHistory record. Scrooge is correct, the homepage does not count, it's explicitly ignored. Dec 19, 2011 at 16:08
  • @NickCraver: I understand that's how it should be, but it either is not identical on Programmers or there is a bug somewhere because the same actions (or inactions if you will) registered different results across the two sites. Dec 19, 2011 at 16:12
  • @Joel - I'm looking into this, I see what the difference is, but it's not intentional...I'll update when we decide what to do here. Dec 19, 2011 at 16:20

As far as I know, just viewing the homepage of a site is not enough - you can leave auto refreshing page and go for vacation then receive fanatic if that would have worked.

I don't the the exact requirements for a day to be part of the "consecutive" count but most likely it needs one of those actions:

  1. Any "active" action like commenting, asking, answering or editing.
  2. Viewing [x] amount of pages, maybe the system even check you don't just visit the same pages like previous day. (bot busting)

(I might be wrong of course, if anyone can prove me either wrong or right I'd be grateful)

  • 1
    Yah, I'm familiar with the idea of refreshing not being enough. That doesn't bother me. The question isn't "why didn't I get the badge?", the question is how can I do the same thing on both sites and receive different results? Dec 19, 2011 at 11:46
  • @JoelEtherton you sure you done the same things exactly? Dec 19, 2011 at 12:29
  • Yes. I leave my browser open with 4 different pages active when I go home from work each day. When I come in the morning, I visit each of them in turn. First StackOverflow, then Programmers, then the other 2 (non-exchange sites). On the weekends, I load them from home in a similar manner. If you had asked me this morning if I'd done enough to earn a fanatic badge for either I would have said no. Dec 19, 2011 at 12:36

Maybe while you were on Programmers, the StackExchange day changed, so you didn't visit SO that day. You might be in a timezone where your use could be like that?

  • For that to be the case I would have to have done it within minutes of either side of 0000Z. Dec 19, 2011 at 15:35
  • True but if you look at @GraceNotes answer, it does seem to be the case.
    – Belinda
    Dec 19, 2011 at 15:52

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