When I load a StackExchange site, the questions on the main page show up with timestamps like "answered 5m ago joeuser": 7m ago

But after a minute ticks by, all the timestamps get recalculated and are shown with different abbreviations for the time spans (like "answered 6 mins ago joeuser"): 8 mins ago

The new lengths often cause the page to reflow like something meaningful has been changed.

Is this a (very small) bug, or is there some good reason for it?

2 Answers 2


Well that sucks! We have no clue why it's different - I'm sure at some point there was a reason. In the next build the base page will also use the "mins" format like other question lists to.


span elements with the class relativetime are found by this js, which includes

return e.minutes+" mins ago"

Thus why the conversion to n mins ago. Server-side, the short notation is being output: e.g., nm ago.

I think the two should be consistent, where I'd personally prefer the formatting currently implemented client-side.

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