One puzzling aspect of certain legacy forum platforms is their use of “verbose” timestamps. Often times the landing page for the legacy platform shows the actual date and time of the last post for each category. Or when viewing a list of threads, we are shown a list of dates and times that do not account for the user’s timezone.
Besides being unbelievably tacky (much like a tramp stamp), this data is not particularly helpful because most people can’t calculate date differentials in their heads. Just look at the examples below. It’s almost impossible to know how long ago that content was posted.
We know that popularity and decay are what drives interest in a given thread. When users are unable to quickly determine a thread’s decay (i.e., how fresh the thread is) the platform becomes more confusing because the raw data is, well, raw.
Our wish to avoid this confusion explains why we indicate the content age in terms of minutes, hours, or days ago.
This approach allows users to quickly grasp the freshness and relevancy of the content, as show in the screen cap below.