Date stamps are shown in a non-standardised format "mmm d 'yy":

When you hover the pointer over the date, you get title text showing the date and time in ISO 8601 standard format: "yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss"

Wouldn't it be better to show date/time stamps in a standardised or localised format on the web page? Why or why not?

  • 4
    I would assume it's because that's much more readable
    – Amith KK
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 8:54
  • 6
    @AmithKK I don't think it is better readable myself. More likely that an American in charge is being American ;-)
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 9:23
  • 3
    @Rinzwind there's nothing American about that. That's just English. That's how you (often) say dates in English. The Americanized version would be "04/24/2016" while the British would write "24/04/2016". But both would write "Apr 24 '16", nothing American about this.
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 13:00
  • 3
    The format/order M D Y of any variation is predominantly used by the US: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_format_by_country. British folks would never/rarely say or write M D Y (I'm English!). The ISO standard levels the playing field for all preferences by using the same scheme we have all been using for time, e.g. largest unit to smallest unit: yyyy-mm-dd conforms with hh:mm:ss, it's logical. Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 13:24
  • 1
    @Broadsworde Logical and a specific group of humans (how about that terdon?) don't go hand in hand. /me murmers customary units suck. metric ftw!
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 14:27
  • 1
    Related: the date-format tag on Meta Stack Exchange. Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 17:48
  • 2
    Seconding OP as British person. We write "24th April 2016" and say "the twenty-fourth of April ..."
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


I'd prefer a more common date format too, though none in particular as long as it lists day, month, and year in either this or the reverse order.

The display of hierarchical data tuples in an order that is neither ascending nor descending along the hierarchy is confusing to everyone but those who are counter-intuitively accustomed to it (i. e. North-Americans).

I'm aware that this may be a fight against the windmills of American cultural dominance that is entrenched in the Stack Exchange company: “If it's good enough for us it ought to be good enough for everybody.”


I have a solution for Firefox users that uses userContent.css and is probably adaptable to other browser. There's a greasemonkey script in the same place too.

I added the code to a gist.

The solution comprises using CSS to get the title attribute from the date span tag, and display it on the page. The span title uses what I think is RFC 3339 format, very similar to ISO-8601. As there is a space, just the YYYY-MM-dd thus can be shown, comments show a full ISO-like date.

The original date is just hidden by matching the background colour. Could use color:transparent, and probably do something fancy like float the pseudo-element ::before over the actual <span>.

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