What I would expect is that any date within the current calendar year would display with day/month only, while all dates from previous years would have the full day/month/year format.

This is not always the case. Dates falling within last year (2023) are treated inconsistently: some get the full format, while others display day/month only, as if they were from the current year (2024). There doesn't seem to be a clear pattern as to which dates get which format within the last year.

It seems[?] like anything earned 2 or more years ago does consistently display with the full format.

Here is an example: check out this cool gold badge which a user has earned next month! That's not a verb tense usage mistake: it's just that the date I've circled in red is from 2023, but it is displayed without the year, so it looks like it should be this August. (The one circled in green is also from last August, and it does display as expected.) screenshot of badges from a user profile, with date formats displaying inconsistently

Could it be that instead of considering the calendar year, the algorithm just goes by some set number of days before the current date? So, everything more than X days old shows the year, while anything more recent doesn't? No, that doesn't work either: you can see that the date that's missing the year is closer to now than the one that has the year displayed!

Maybe it's the other way around, and more distant months in 2023 skip the year? (Because there should be less possibility of confusion with the same dates in 2024?) This pattern seems to hold, but I'm not sure where/how the cutoff is chosen. It seems to be some time between August 5 and August 10, judging by both the previous screenshot and this one: another screenshot of badges from a user profile, also with date formats displaying inconsistently

But, this doesn't make sense. If it's only ambiguous dates that show "2023" explicitly, why isn't the cutoff July (it's July 3 as of posting this question)? If it's intended to give an extra month's 'buffer' for even more clarity, why isn't the cutoff August 3 or September 3? I don't get why it changes suddenly in the middle of August.

Is the datetime-display algorithm something that's publicly known, and if so what is the rationale behind it?

  • 2
    Should be one year according to this by-design bug, however looks like they have a bug causing it to be 11 months, as it should be July 5, not August 5. Commented Jul 4 at 8:05
  • 2
    @ShadowWizard That's because they've said they're using 330 days, not the familiar 365.2425 days that we all know and love. :)
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 4 at 14:01


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