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In the UI, can the following sentence be rephrased, please? Can

"Last seen more than a week ago" be changed to
"Last seen a week to ​a month ago" (~same length as original!) ?

So much more informative; one doesn't have to search to find out that that's always the case?

Addendum:

Likewise, can the following sentence be rephrased, please? Can

"Last seen more than a month ago" be changed to
"Last seen ​a month to a year ago" (same length as original!) ?

I think these are good:

Last seen ​a year ago.

Last seen n years ago.

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    Doesn't the fact that Last Seen is broken up into these time frames imply that you don't need ranges? If someone's profile says "Last seen more than a week ago", you can imply that they were seen less than a month ago, or else it would say "Last seen more than a month ago" Dec 12, 2021 at 19:55
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    No. Heck, I currently don't know what the time frames are. It's not reasonable to assume all users will know "that Last Seen is broken up into these time frames." As I said in the OP, "So much more informative; one doesn't have to search to find out that that's always the case?" As I did before posting this. QED. I didn't know that SE doesn't give more than that information out without having to search for it. Dec 12, 2021 at 20:05
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    It's a bit verbose. Perhaps using "less than" instead of "more than" would be better (e.g., "less than a month ago" in this case). Then, only use "more than" for time spans that are more than the highest displayed value.
    – 41686d6564
    Dec 12, 2021 at 20:44
  • BTW: The intervals are in this comment on that answer; so it's not simply a case of explaining a single interval ("Last seen a week to ​a month ago"), but the need to add the limits for each of the intervals.
    – Rob
    Dec 12, 2021 at 21:22
  • It's not verbose, @41686d6564. That's not in it. Was in the first version, but not in the version as of ~ an hour (per SE ) before you commented. The proposal is "Last seen a week to ​a month ago". Terse. Dec 12, 2021 at 23:52
  • Good point re. @AaronShekey's comment. Addendum added. Seems silly to create a separate Q. Haven't seen what comes next. What would be good <s> Last seen ​n to n+1 years ago? </s> Nah. Last seen ​a year ago. Last seen n years ago. Would be good. What come Dec 13, 2021 at 0:02

2 Answers 2

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Clearly stating the upper and lower limits of the time interval would make the information more accessible.

This could be considered a user friendly change especially for users who are unfamiliar with the site. That way they needn't wonder about what the sentence means exactly, nor spend time on an additional meta research.

You also make a strong case since the character count is kept the same.

(I find the implicit form more appealing. But that is forgetting how much time I've had to spend learning about the site - an experience that would ideally be shorter for whoever comes next.)

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    Well, (putting a security or information theory hat on,) it's only true for users who don't know and can't figure out the time frames: "Clearly stating the upper and lower limits of the time interval would explicitly add information" that's disclosed to users. (In other words, it doesn't make more info available. It just makes the available info more usable.) Dec 12, 2021 at 20:08
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    @WHO'sNoToOldRx4CovidIsMurder yes, I mean SE can be a rough ride when you're starting out. Any UX item that doesn't leave you wondering will make the experience that much easier.
    – bad_coder
    Dec 12, 2021 at 20:11
  • So what's the next step.... between a month and a year? Getting exponential.
    – charlietfl
    Dec 12, 2021 at 23:59
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    @charlietfl a number of privacy concerns were raised about the "last seen" field over the years. It was recently removed and restored with the current granularity. This post is about the phrasing not about the intervals, that should be a separate discussion thread.
    – bad_coder
    Dec 13, 2021 at 0:06
  • Perhaps charlietfl was trying to say what Rob said, not what bad_coder heard. Dec 13, 2021 at 0:28
  • "Clearly stating the upper and lower limits of the time interval" ... not about intervals...hmmmm?
    – charlietfl
    Dec 13, 2021 at 0:30
  • @charlietfl what are you saying? What was the point in you first comment?
    – bad_coder
    Dec 13, 2021 at 0:38
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    It was literally what the next interval would be. The more than logic seems far more natural language and thinking to me than also defining upper bounds in text. All that has been proposed so far is the week/month interval. What comes next was my question
    – charlietfl
    Dec 13, 2021 at 0:42
  • @charlietfl see, now you've said it explicitly in prose with no words missing and I was able to understand it unambiguously first time around. Now that's efficiency! Proof-of-concept :)
    – bad_coder
    Dec 13, 2021 at 0:46
  • @charlietfl they could define the upper interval as "long time no see" (I always found that expression funny). Or maybe: "last seen long long time ago, in galaxy far far away" (also very funny).
    – bad_coder
    Dec 13, 2021 at 0:51
  • I agree but OP seems to feel there need to be range bounds and personally the upper part of the range is pointless to me. It's not a social network and once it's past a month who is really going to care by how much? Also more privacy when not defined by range
    – charlietfl
    Dec 13, 2021 at 0:54
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I agree that the current phrasings can be interpreted confusingly, but your proposed phrases feel... clunky, and less succinct than what we already have, at least to me.

I much prefer @41686d6564's alternative suggestion in the comments, where the sentences refer to the end of their time frames rather than the beginning; eg.

Last seen more than a week ago

becomes "Last seen less than a month ago" or "Last seen within a month", and

Last seen more than a month ago

becomes "Last seen less than a year ago" or "Last seen within a year".

I'd argue that this is more clear than what we have now (since there's a clear end to the time frame), and almost as clear as the phrases you've suggested, while still feeling just as succinct as the originals.

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    I'd argue that this is slightly more clear than what we have now but not nearly as clear as the phrases I've suggested, while and mine are still about as succinct as the far less clear originals. Dec 14, 2021 at 23:41

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