I am often puzzled by the time indication on this platform

I asked a question yesterday and this morning I noticed that I asked it today:

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Since it is already past midnight on the west coast in the US, this would only make sense if the Stack Exchange servers are in Hawaii.

At the same time I often also noticed that 1 hour lasts longer then an hour on my laptop or watch. This is specifically visible in chat, where you sometimes see asked 1 hours ago, while it is often already 2-3 hours later.

  • @hjpotter92 UTC doesn't make sense in the example given above, since I am on UTC +1
    – Andra
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 12:35
  • 4
    UTC + caching
    – 410 gone
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 12:38
  • @EnergyNumbers caching?
    – Andra
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 12:53
  • 1
    @Andra it's more of meta meme actually, not really relevant here. When something goes wrong, we blame caching first. Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


All Stack Exchange times are based on UTC. As such, my Virginia-based clock has each day running from 7pm to 7pm the next day, since I am -5GMT. On the West Coast it would lag even more - 4pm to 4pm. If you asked your question in the evening and checked back in the morning it would still be the same day UTC.

While the arguments for or against any one time zone may be valid, the truth is that as an international default, it isn't too bad.

As to chat, it is probably a caching thing. The calculation to determine "an hour ago" may not be particularly taxing, but do it enough and it is. As such, SE is going to calculate it once and keep serving that until it recalculates. That may be a but more than an hour.

  • 1
    I am not challenging an international standard, on the contrary. Still the example given in the OP doesn't make sense if the SE platform is based on UTC. The example question was asked yesterday and yet it states that it was asked today although I am only 1 hour away from UTC
    – Andra
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 12:56

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