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Chat shows the timestamp for some of the messages, but I don't understand when that happens.

In the following screenshot, the timestamp is show for two of my posts, but while in the first case the timestamp is show for the message I wrote after I returned to the chat window from a different browser tab, in the second case it is shown for the second message.

screenshot

Are the timestamps shown following specific criteria? What are those criteria?

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The soft answer is: Often enough so that you usually have a good idea about the timing of previous conversations, but not too often for them to be annoying clutter.

You probably want the hard answer, though:

A monologue (one of the "speach bubbles" that combine subsequent messages by a single user) gets a time stamp if

  • its first message is at least 15 minutes after the last time stamp, or
  • it's preceded by 5 non-stamped monologues (in other words, at least every 6th gets a time stamp).

In the mobile interface where the monologues look a bit differently, every single one has a time stamp.

  • I would have never though of the combination of "speech bubbles" and "monologues." – kiamlaluno Sep 25 '12 at 8:56

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