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When does a day start?

Some time ago I really, consciously tried to get my "Fanatics" badge. I made double sure I'd visit the page once a day and see the "last activity:" updated. That's about as far as I'll get "serving the system" - I don't feel like setting an alarm clock or somesuch.

Some day, I visited a few hours later than I usually did. Not much, perhaps two or three hours.

My "consecutive days" counter was back to zero.

I'd like to know, what is the condition for the server to "zero" the "consecutive" field?

Is there a fixed "zero hour" (that would be somewhat unfortunate for people on the other side of the globe)?

Or does it zero after X hours? What's the number X then? 24 hours wouldn't be nice either, because the "time to visit" would "creep" forward, and not everybody has 24/7 SO access...

That would be nice to know, because obviously, visiting once per day was not enough in my case.

  • 3
    Your question is either addressed at the requirements of the badge or the definition of the day. It's done according to one UTC day - you need to visit the site at some point between 0:00 UTC and 23:59 UTC. There is no hour limit or anything. But if your timezone isn't UTC, a few hours may be all it takes to cross the date line.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Mar 17, 2011 at 16:58
  • My days (50-something at that point) were reset on the Thursday when they were rejiggering the database. I know I visited at least twice that day. :( Mar 20, 2011 at 17:24

2 Answers 2


I believe it's simply whether or not you visited on a certain calendar day UTC.

There are thus a number of badges that become much more difficult to achieve if you live in a disadvantaged timezone. Fanatic is one of them. Hitting the rep cap is also much more difficult if your typical usage time straddles midnight UTC.

Call it unfair or call it an understandable sacrifice to keep the system simple and performant. I call it both. My counter was reset at something like 75 days.

  • 5
    If you visit twice per day, Fanatic becomes surprisingly easy. The only hard part is insisting to visit only once per day.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Mar 17, 2011 at 16:59
  • @Grace: I shouldn't have to visit twice a day to fulfill an achievement that says I've visit at least once a day :-). During the week I'd have no problem but it was the Saturdays that killed me the first time around. Mar 17, 2011 at 17:00
  • You don't have to visit twice a day, it's quite achieveable doing it once a day exactly as stated. But if you aren't near the UTC line, then doing only that is simply taking the hard route. Personally, I dropped on my 87th day or so.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Mar 17, 2011 at 17:06
  • I finally got fanatic about 3 days ago. After being dropped at 40 twice, I just started visiting twice a day consistently.
    – John
    Mar 17, 2011 at 17:11

Stack Overflow uses UT days as it's cycling system, so if you don't visit within a UT day, you'll be reset. That's really annoying if you're in a substantially different time zone from the UK. For example, you could use all your votes up in the evening, come into work the next morning, and still have no votes until the afternoon, if you lived in California.

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