Clock Many of us include the time in our comments.

The comments should serve as a conversational area, and it makes sense that you would be interested in when the last reply was written, or how long it has been since you left your reply.

However, time is relative to where you are in the world. While it is nearly 10pm here in the UK, it is past 3 in the morning in India. On the internet, hearing the time is meaningless if you don’t also know the time-zone it is in.

And that begs the question; why do we bother to include the time in the comments at all?

It is conventional of course and it will be of use to you and others in your country, but not much use to anyone outside.

Two Possible Solutions

There are two simple (And somewhat obvious!) solutions:

  1. Add the time-zone into your design. This can be done by adding a PHP tag to your theme.

    However, it can just as easily be done manually, and it’s one less tag to load. Work out what time-zone your server is set to (WordPress users have the ability to set the time-zone in Options > General), and then write this after the time in your comments template.

    You may also want to consider writing the time in relation to GMT (Or UTC, depending on what you want to call it), instead of using its real name. Odds are that most people will know what their time-zone is in relation to GMT, but far fewer users will be aware of the exact offset of every zone.

    For instance, GMT – 6 will probably mean more to you than MDT.

  2. Use JavaScript to find out the local time of each user who connects. You can read good guide to JavaScript times here.

    While this will certainly work, it does have a few little problems. There is no obvious sign that it is set to their time-zone, so will first-timers trust the info? And is it worth forcing the user to load another JavaScript for the sake of this?

Do you show the time in your blog’s comments? Is it useful to the user already?

I can say that I do show the time in my comments, but until a few hours ago, it wasn’t useful.

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