No, this isn't a duplicate of all the normal "make badges and the rep cap day local" requests. It's very specific to April 1st.

Users should be required to specify their time zone next time they log in to Stack Overflow:

  • Don't try to guess it from JavaScript. That will be ambiguous.
  • Don't present a list; lazy users will just pick a random entry
  • Insist on both the Windows system ID for the time zone and the Olsen database name. That way there's no room for ambiguity.
  • If a user can't get a valid combination after 3 attempts, suspend them. They're clearly not trying hard enough.
  • Allow a user to change their time zone only when the date of their current time zone is the same as the date within the new time zone.
  • Periodically confirm their time zone by giving them pop quiz on when their DST will next change (if at all).

Then, and only then, can we make sure that any April Fool's Day specific features show up at the right time.

  • 1
    Request for clarification: Are "US/Eastern" and "America/New_York" (for example) considered synonymous, or will one result in a ban?
    – Josh Lee
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 6:39
  • @jleedev do you happen do be referring to North American Eastern Standard Time (NAEST)? It's not really clear from your comment.
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 6:40
  • Oh well, into the penalty box for me…
    – Josh Lee
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 6:41
  • still Sounds like this one: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/40119/…
    – random
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 6:48
  • 9
    SO should allow only two timezones - JSS (Jon Skeet Sleeps) and JSA (Jon Skeet Awake). JSST (Jon Skeet Saving Time) correction is automatically applied, of course. Users with less than 20K rep automatically are on JSS; over 20K are on JSA. Since we all know Jon replies in real-time and sometimes even before the question is asked, this approach would guarantee that Jon Skeet's time is not wasted with beginners questions. Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 7:32
  • Jon Skeet is just waiting for this to get tagged as status-planned so he can pimp out his Jodatime porting project, Nodatime!!
    – snicker
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 21:30
  • 9 years on... I'm still seeing these April Fool's gags (currently unicorns, stars and scrolling banners) what seems like a full day too early! And that IS annoying. I thought most things SE/SO are UTC based - but not this. April Fool's seems to be based on someone else's time zone in the US someplace?
    – MrWhite
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 11:46

5 Answers 5


I disagree.
I'm Israeli, we set DST at random intervals according to local politics, and I will sure to fail that test.
The jokes belong on Purim, Adar 14 according to the Hebrew calendar, and Adar 15 on ancient cities surrounded by walls. On leap years, the Jewish calendar has another month - Adar A and Adar B, and Purim is held on Adar B. Of course, if that falls on a Sabbath, the holiday can be postponed by a day. Now, implement that.

  • 6
    Punishing users who live in time zones with hard-to-predict DST boundaries is a small act of defiant subversion. Together we will overthrow the shackles of DST.
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 6:55
  • But surely Joda Time can already deal with this @Jon?
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 6:56
  • @Pekka: I really don't know in this particular case, to be frank :(
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 6:59

To make it complete we should also make sure we collect the cultural preferences for the users, to properly present special features on the correct local fools' day, According to Wikipedia there are a number of other days to take into account:

  • 1st or 2nd of April in Iran, depending on exactly when the Persian new year occurs.
  • December 28th in many Spanish-speaking countries (should be the default for a Spanish version of SO).
  • 1st of May in Denmark and southernmost Sweden.
  • The Israeli rules according to @Kobi's post.
  • Excellent amendment. Hopefully we'll see all this in 6-8 weeks, give or take a year.
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 6:54

Why limit it to the current day? Users viewing historical questions might get confused when their time zone doesn’t match the time zones in effect when the question was asked. Using the historical tzdata information as a reference, require the user to correctly distinguish "summer time", "war time", "United States standard eastern time", and the like; and to correctly figure out what time it is on any given day in arbitrary cities of Indiana.

  • I like war time.
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 6:57
  • Indeed, when viewing questions posted on some day, the layout of that specific day should be used, no matter when it's viewed!
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 10:26

Seconded. Otherwise, the site could be in April Fool's mode for hours after it has already ended in the user's time zone. TIt would reflect poorly on Stack Overflow's professionalism.

The pop quiz would have to be really quick (like, ten seconds) to prevent cheating. Also, it needs some blinking lights and sound.

Also, thanks @jleedev, only one spelling of each time zone name can be allowed. Every deviation must result in a ban.

  • And judicious use of <marquee> Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 8:45

I decry all of this cultural relativism. If internet history teaches us anything, it is that April Fool's Day begins whenever it is April 1st anywhere and that the worst faux pas is to release an April Fool's Day joke early (releasing it late is just lame). Due to the spotty international connectivity of the early internet, there is a mistaken belief that it must be April Fool's Day on the east coast of the US. Due to this belief, it is sometimes considered safest, to avoid the cardinal sin of releasing the joke early, to wait until 12:00AM ET before unleashing the hounds. Informed netizens know, however, that as soon as it hit's April 1st on the International Date Line the jokes are acceptable.

On a related note, I understand that they've recently replaced kremvax with a quad-core PC running Ubuntu Server-Edition and are bringing up a StackOverflow clone on it.

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