Date and time stamps in all blog/news articles

This post was written on 2010-02-05 (That's February 5th, 2010 for those not familiar with ISO 8601 -- and please, make yourself familiar with it, and use it -- but that's another post), at around 14:31h Seattle local time.

I expect that date to appear above the title of this post, and the final time of me publishing it to appear down below.  Automatically, and in a fairly easy-to-find way.

It would be great if all web articles did this.  Now, I'll grant you: I've been guilty in the past of occasionally omitting this detail in some web articles of mine, and there are some that need to be corrected to include it.  By and large, though, those articles have not been of a news variety, and tended to include only information that I generally considered to be relatively timeless (though really, anything can change, so a datestamp is really still quite desirable). Recently I was reading a news-style article, though, that referred to something having happened "last week".  Well, I came across this article from a source other than the front page of a news site.  As such, I had no implicit idea if I was looking at an article from today, last week, or several years ago.  I was still on the top screen-page of information, in the second paragraph of the article, so I glanced up above, looking for a date, to try to get my bearings.  Nothing.  I then proceeded to scroll to the bottom, to look for a date.  I couldn't find one.  I did eventually find one in the meta tags on the page.  2009-12-11.  OK, so about 2 months ago.

Surely it would be better to have this information written plainly at the top of the article (ideal), and/or at the bottom of the article (less ideal if "or", more ideal if "and").  That way, (a) readers who have no idea how to look for a meta tag would still be able to find the information, and (b) readers (like me) who do know how to do that will be able, instead, to just glance up while still mid-sentence and grab a context for what they're reading, and continue without having to be interrupted to write a blog post about how frustrating it is that there wasn't a date.  :-)

So, please, news purveyors, bloggers, and really any content creators, please: provide datestamps, at least, and preferably also timestamps (sometimes that matters -- especially on the day the item was published) on your articles.

I will endeavor to make sure that all of my future content is done this way, too, and perhaps retroactively add it to some of my old content.


(2010-02-05, 14:43h local)

P.S. (2010-02-05 15:02 local) -- I just e-mailed the webmaster of the site in question.  Hopefully they'll fix their site.  Yay, reporting problems, so that people might actually have a chance to realize their error and fix them.  Though again, that's probably another post.

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