after absence for a day i returned to checking what had happened while i was gone. a question that i knew i had seen earlier reported "asked yesterday":

signature block from referenced question

the date shown, on a mouse-over, is "2014-09-08 19:25:37Z". since it is now september 10 where i am ("2014-09-10 14:31:43Z" reported for the time of posting, though not of the edit to enter this info), and i did see this on september 8, albeit late in the afternoon, surely more than 24 hours has elapsed at the host site, and i would expect to see a more specific date. what's up?

(the question referred to is Labelling aligned equations with text.)

1 Answer 1


This seems . Based on the current time of 2014-09-10 14:31:43Z,

  • "today" is defined to be the time range 2014-09-09 14:31:44Z to 2014-09-10 14:31:43Z (or the past 24 hours) and is listed in a "just now", "Xs ago", "X mins ago" or "X hours ago" fashion;

  • "yesterday" is defined to be the time range 2014-09-08 14:31:44Z to 2014-09-09 14:31:43Z (or between 48-24 hours ago);

  • times prior to 2014-09-08 14:31:44Z (or more than 48 hours ago) will be listed in a "X days ago" fashion.

The time stamp 2014-09-08 19:25:37Z falls within the "yesterday" category.

As reference, the current UTC time can be obtained by clicking on Achievements in the Top Bar:

enter image description here

  • 1
    sigh. thanks for the explanation, although i find it somewhat arbitrary. to me, a day starts at midnight, and i would find any number of "midnights" logical -- universal, greenwich, astronomical, the time zone where i happen to be, or local at the site of the principal host/server of the forum (as long as i know where in the world that is). guess i'll just have to learn to cope. i assume you'll add the "by design" tag as soon as you're absolutely certain this is so. (in the meantime, i accept the answer.) Sep 10, 2014 at 18:31
  • @barbarabeeton On the other hand, if you were at Hawaii and asked a question around noon, it would get the "yesterday" timestamp at 2 p.m, which would be IMHO confusing. if the number of UTC midnights was counted. It though would be possible to count things in the local timezone probably, however, all timestamps of SE are UTC now, so it would be again confusing to suddenly use the local time for something. As well, fetching the local timezone knows to be a bit tricky.
    – yo'
    Sep 11, 2014 at 7:14
  • @tohecz -- well, i actually do know how to deal with the international date line. if all timestamps are now utc, then i would still hope that utc midnight could be taken as the division between yesterday and today or the previous day. Sep 11, 2014 at 13:26
  • 1
    Solid answer, thanks.
    – Haney
    Sep 11, 2014 at 19:05

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