The way dates are displayed is confusing

The example I am using is this one:
DVD permissions issues - cannot use DVD - #6 by sixpack13 (Could be any other one). As we all know, the date of a post is diplayed to the right of the username.

This is how a post from some day in August 2021 looks like grafik

And this is how a post, 12 months later, on August 25th, 2022 looks like: b8d9a5e567e2b5768d76580a008356c004065e43.png. Imagine the post had been published on August 22nd.

I find this very confusing. Can we change the date display setting to something that everybody can understand and that distinct differences can be made, like YYYY-MM-DD?


That is a pretty common way to display dates in modern applications.

I have never found that confusing but I see where you are coming from.

That doesn’t mean it’s correct. The way it is displayed is neither concise nor consistent.

Moreover, the way Discourse display the date(s) is not in accordance with, which does not allow truncation of year to YY since 2004.


I don’t have strong feelings on how we should display dates either way. That being said, I don’t think there is a “correct” way and an “incorrect” way. These types of decisions are stylistic design choices.

For example, I don’t see any reason a forum display should be compliant with ISO 8601.

Hmm… I never really made a comparison or so, but I am not sure if this is common. The common way in English is, and this is just my rough perception and not a fact, 25 Aug or Aug '21 if set in contrast. Or sometimes, years are not abbreviated. Both is clearer than the way we use in discourse, which is more the traditional American (not English) way, but - at least in my perception - this way is usually even in the US only common when the year is clear or not relevant or not set in contrast. I also already recognized that this is a bit confusing here.

I don’t think this is worth to put much efforts in, but in order to have a format that is internationally comprehensible (which does not necessarily imply an ISO standard or so), I would agree to adjust this if it can be done easily by an admin.

I don’t there is a single way in English. It varies by region as opposed to language. That being said, it is a little surprising it isn’t regionalized to the user at all. It actually is localized.

Absolutely. But there are ways that are understood and common everywhere, and those that are common only in specific regions. The discourse way is more the second imho.

Of course the regionalization would be a good alternative! At least if this could be done easily.

Actually, I just tested it and it does change.

If you set your Language to English(UK) it displays “4 Apr”

When I set Timezone, Region, and Location to Berlin/Germany, I still have the American format. Maybe just some language formats are implemented? And also, nothing of that is automated.

It seems to use the setting from the Interface Settings under “Interface Language”

Yeah, just found that out, too. However, besides that it is in many cases not comfortable to not work in the “standardized” language English, users have to know about it, where to set it, and then do it themselves. So not really a proper solution. Nevertheless, it is not worth to put much efforts in. It is not a big issue. So the question is just if an admin has an easy and quick way to optimize (or automate) it or not. If not, let it be imho.

It doesn’t look like it.

I don’t see anything in the default discourse settings.

It may be possible with a plugin or some other more advanced customization.

Yeah, it is definitely something only a site admin can check.

@hhlp what would be our options to set this globally?

Yes, I am admin on other discourse forums so I took a spin through the settings and didn’t see anything.

While I am not an admin, I must say that the date display can certainly be confusing.

I recently had an instance where the ‘year’ was interpreted as ‘date’ when I made a post. The mon 'YY can easily be read as mon DD if one fails to note the ' in the first.

I really think that something should be worked out where the admin has an option to select how the date is displayed and then the system we use be changed to make a more significant distinction between 'YY and DD in the display. Jun '21 & Jun 21 can be difficult to distinguish as different to the casual glance.


This might be worth to test:


Here is how it is currently set. I’m not sure exactly why, or for that matter in what order these are applied. (The format strings are documented here.)



I think that making it be Aug 2021 vs Aug 25 would resolve the basic problem noted. If someone figures out how to do that let me know. :slight_smile:


I you sure that applies to those dates?

That looks like the settings for plugins. :thinking: