I was going through the flagged posts review page in the 10k moderation tools and it is there that I happened to stumble upon what could possibly be a bug. I was amazed to see that the time which was displayed for the joined field was actually lesser than the time which was displayed for by the answered field. How is this possible? How can a user answer to any question even before joining Stack Overflow? Is it some sort of bug or what, because I don't think this is a valid scenario. Please have a look at the snapshot below to understand what exactly I meant.

A potential bug, may be

How is this possible?

  • Ummm... Something to do with answering anonymously? – michaelb958--GoFundMonica Oct 13 '13 at 9:59
  • Or maybe the "joined" field is not updated as often as the "answered" date because it doesn't need to be as accurate. – psubsee2003 Oct 13 '13 at 10:02
  • @psubsee2003- I don't think that is the case. I waited for 2-3 mins before taking the snapshot and within that time, both the joined time and answered time incremented by 2-3 mins simultaneously. – SudoRahul Oct 13 '13 at 10:05

From my own little research, this user used the following form to answer:

This resulted in automatic creation of unregistered account with one answer. The join time and answer time are exacty the same.



So this means there was some temporary mismatch/hiccup most likely server cache out of sync.

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  • Yay, I (sort-of) guessed right! – michaelb958--GoFundMonica Oct 13 '13 at 20:41
  • So is it not a bug? I mean can't we do anything about the server cache not being in sync or something?! – SudoRahul Oct 15 '13 at 4:04
  • @R.J not sure if it's a server cache issue or live update issue - a dev will have to look into this. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Oct 15 '13 at 7:11
  • @ShaWizDowArd - So who can ask a dev to look into this?! Can a moderator do this? Does it look like a bug to you? because it certainly does look like one to me. – SudoRahul Oct 15 '13 at 7:20
  • @R.J we did all we can by posting here on Meta, now we can only wait and bump this question from time to time with a bounty until a dev will take a look. Moderator already guess what this is but it's not 100% sure as it might be something else going on. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Oct 15 '13 at 7:37
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    @ShaWizDowArd - Seems like that the only thing we could do for now! Thanks for your time btw:) – SudoRahul Oct 15 '13 at 7:44

This occurs because the time they answered gets live updated via JavaScript, to update the time as time continues to pass. However, the join date doesn't get the same treatment. So as the answer time continues to increase (accurately), the join time appears to become inaccurate relative to the answer time.

This is what the flag looked like when I first loaded it:

Initial flag times

This is what it looked like after I left it on the screen for a few minutes:

Updated flag times

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  • So is it not a bug? I mean was it meant to be that way, that the joining time doesn't get the same treatment as the answering time? – SudoRahul Oct 13 '13 at 16:33
  • I wouldn't say its a priority one issue, but I certainly feel, if a little bandwidth is available, that you can ask a dev to may be look into this. – SudoRahul Oct 15 '13 at 7:43
  • @R.J It wouldn't be a bandwidth issue. These times are updated completely by client-side JavaScript and require no connection to Stack Exchange whatsoever. I wouldn't consider it a bug, more of a feature request (bugs are for things that aren't working as intended). – animuson Oct 15 '13 at 15:36

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