When a date is to be shown that is from this year it is shown as "Mar 12" for the "12th of March" rather than "Mar 12 '14".

While the full form is not what I'm used to (as a European) it is at least unambiguous. However "Mar 12" reads as "March 2012" to me and confuses me every time. Although I have (after months of pain) stopped misreading it I still feel the Parse Error: Needs Stack Exchange Mode and the slight pause as my brain tried to reparse it.

The most recent example of someone confused by this is here Why inaccurate ''member for" info is shown in Stack Overflow. I was myself caught by this way back.

Feature request

Even for recent dates; once the date is shown at all show the full date including the year. So this post was posted on Mar 22 '14.

This seems to have no downsides as it takes no extra space (there needs to be space for the long form anyway) and is much clearer to those of us who don't use an American date system.

  • 2
    But then there'll be another feature request pretty soon... I think a userscript could solve the problem quite easily: in spans with class="relative time" replace the content by the [truncated] title attribute, at least if the date is different from the current one. E.g., the timestamp of your question reads as <span title="2014-03-22 16:05:03Z" class="relativetime">9 mins ago</span> at present. Mar 22, 2014 at 16:17
  • 3
    @cheapeffectivedietpills A user script really should be plan Z, its not going to remove the problem for 99% of people Mar 22, 2014 at 16:18
  • 2
    99% of people have some problems, but SE timestamp ain't one [for them]. Mar 22, 2014 at 16:21
  • 6
    @cheapeffectivedietpills sigh a user script isn't going to remove the problem for 99% of people having this problem Mar 22, 2014 at 16:22
  • I think the amount of people having this problem in the first place doesn't warrant changing the format. If you know the format, it's no longer ambiguous at all, and including the year in the timestamp clearly indicates that it's a very old post - that's a visual cue I wouldn't want to lose.
    – user98085
    Mar 22, 2014 at 23:56
  • @FEichinger I don't see it as that big a clue. I don't see why we don't have an extra option on a preference page that allows the user to choose the format. Mar 23, 2014 at 7:01
  • 2
    @FEichinger, as for "including the year in the timestamp clearly indicates that it's a very old post": that's true in some places, but for, e.g., posts it's based on the current calendar year, not on age. Today, the last 2013 question shows "asked Dec 31 '13 at 23:02". I assume it did the same on January 1st.
    – Arjan
    Mar 23, 2014 at 8:54
  • 2
    I always though mar 12 stands for mar 2012. Apr 3, 2014 at 11:41
  • Seems clear to me this is never going to be changed.
    – jcollum
    Nov 12, 2020 at 21:31
  • It would also create a lot of unnecessary timestamps like "Asked yesterday at 13:32, 2020". Duh! I don't think it's really necessary, especially when you can hover over the timestamp to see the exact date.
    – Ollie
    Nov 14, 2020 at 18:02
  • @Ollie is MM DD YY the default time format in your location? I think that makes a big difference as to if the current stack exchange display is confusing or not. Nov 14, 2020 at 22:37


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