Users sometimes mark their edits in questions or answers with a date:

edit (7/6/2012)

This is confusing. I'm not talking about marking edits, I'm talking about the date format. We're an international community, and to USAmericans this will be 6 July, while most of Europe will read it as 7 June. Therefore I would suggest we would use the ISO 8601 standard format:


which is unambiguous.

This is just a suggestion for anyone who inserts a date in her question or answer. That you insert it should imply that you want to be well-understood.

edit dd. 2012-07-12 ;-)
Kortuk doesn't like it for the use with the edits, but it applies to everywhere where you type a date, of course.

Further reading:
A summary of the international standard date and time notation

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ I've always disliked the month-day-year order too, especially when each is just a number. There are other ways to be unambiguous, like using letters for the month, like 6 Jul 2012 or even Jul 6, 2012 (yuk). Let's adopt your proposal by 10/11/12. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2012 at 12:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olin - But text isn't international either. In Italian for instance "July" is "Luglio", abbreviated as "Lug". \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jul 12, 2012 at 12:51
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh but even then, the rest of the site is in English, all questions and answers are in English, and we're conversing in English. It may not be "International" but it would be unambiguous. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Jul 12, 2012 at 13:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO - True, but we do have an ISO standard for it, so why not use it? \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jul 12, 2012 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ The existence of a standard is not a sufficient reason to implement it. I would rather have the developers focus their efforts on things that will directly benefit all users of the site, such as that schematic editor, rather than chasing down small things. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Jul 12, 2012 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO - It's not just the existence of a standard, it's a very sensible standard, as Markus arguments here. And it's not something that will turn the whole site upside down. Just know that "9/7" isn't always "9/7". \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jul 12, 2012 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh I completely missed the "Users" part of your question. I thought it was a feature request. I need to wake up ~_~ \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Jul 12, 2012 at 14:19
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ There is already an edit time stamp at the bottom of the question, the use of placing edit in the question detracts from readability and should be stopped, but I need to write a meta post. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jul 12, 2012 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, make this generally applicable as I write an answer for why we should not be time stamping or writing edits :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO - Regarding chasing down small things. I refer you to Jeff Atwood himself. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2012 at 22:51

2 Answers 2


I think this is a good idea to practice (reducing ambiguity is always a plus) and I wouldn't mind it being the "preferred" method, but I don't think that it should be a requirement for all dates for a few reasons:

  1. Someone ignorant of our "customs", such as a brand new 1-rep user, will use whatever format they use daily. Editing a post for just using an ambiguous date format is a trivial edit in my opinion.
  2. There are also a lot of questions with ambiguous and poorly worded sentences with terrible punctuation and grammar that nobody bothers to fix, so why are you concerned about a date? I think those are more valuable (and more time consuming) edits.
  3. The site provides dates in unambiguous formats (mouseover a date/time for the ISO 8601 format)

Note that this affects the "damn Americans" as well since we don't know what format the date is in. I personally have not had an issue understanding the timing of dates for the simple reason that most edits are made shortly after asking questions, and the day/month transposition gives a date that is about a month away (minimum).

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ A trivial edit like that is a nice way to tell them how the community like it, IMO. I guess a less intrusive way is to leave a comment, but those might not be adhered to. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2012 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I much prefer ISO 8601 date formats, but I dislike the usage of comma for decimal mark notation. (I'm American.) Oh, will we ever agree on anything? \$\endgroup\$
    – JYelton
    Oct 11, 2012 at 20:29

Posts in general shouldn't be "updated" a la:




This is not a forum; Mr. Drive-by Googler should not have to spend 5 minutes trying to parse what's going on, what was attempted, and how it was ultimately solved. The question should present a problem (that is at least in theory broadly applicable, otherwise it is too localized), and the upvoted/accepted answers should provide a clear resolution. Excessive back-and-forth probably means that there are multiple questions, and/or the first was just bad (as it had an awful foundation).

If someone has an update; they should work it into the body of the post. If the edit is to the question where it drastically changes the meaning and there are already answers, they should be notified via comments (as they're not necessarily going to notice the explicitly marked update anyways).

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It's not about marking the updates, it's about the date format, and like I said in the question, applies to any mention of a date in a question or answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jul 17, 2012 at 5:23

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