Fix time zones.

Case number:699969-2012914
Topic:General
Opened by:alcor29
Status:Open
Type:Bug
Opened on:Wednesday, March 16, 2022 - 22:17
Last modified:Friday, March 18, 2022 - 19:56

Is it possible to please have only one time zone for everything, web site, client, meetings etc. It doesn't matter which zone as long as it's always the same zone. Current example. Website says 23 UMT which in PDT is 3 PM. Yet it is now past 3 PM and the client says there are still 2 hrs and 45 minutes left. Very confusing and it's hare to know if we should shut it down or keep running scripts. Thank you. Maybe just always use UMT. We can figure out how that translates to our local area.

(Wed, 03/16/2022 - 22:17  |  3 comments)


bkoep's picture
User offline. Last seen 15 hours 41 min ago. Offline
Joined: 11/15/2012
Groups: Foldit Staff

Hmm, sounds like maybe a bug in the client. Puzzle 2118 expired March 16 at 23:00 GMT. Based on the timestamp of this feedback (March 16, 22:17 GMT), the client should have been reporting 45 minutes remaining.

Where did the client report 2 hrs and 45 minutes remaining? Was this in the Puzzle Menu? Or was this within Puzzle 2118, like when you hover the cursor over the puzzle title in the upper left corner?

Are you seeing inaccurate times for any current puzzles?

alcor29's picture
User offline. Last seen 17 hours 48 min ago. Offline
Joined: 11/16/2012

Yep It was Puzzle 2118, like when you hover the cursor over the puzzle title in the upper left corner?

And 2120 due to expire at 18UMT (10am PDT), reads 18hrs CDT which is 16hrs PDT or 4pm.
The current 2121 also says 18CDT and the web site says 18:00. I assume UMT which is 10 am PDT. Or is it CDT. This is why I think we ought best practice is to have one time zone for everything whether it's CDT, PDT, UMT or Ulan Bator time. It's impact is that we may think we have more time before closing when we don't or we stop working too early.

LociOiling's picture
User offline. Last seen 1 hour 26 min ago. Offline
Joined: 12/27/2012

Just a few random observations here, no firm conclusions. I think alcor29 has a point about some inconsistencies regarding time, but I'm not sure if there's a bug.

First, on the fold.it website, the current UTC time is displayed at the top of most pages. That time always seems to be accurate. It's displayed without the UTC date, so a little mental translation may be needed.

(The time zone code used on fold.it is "GMT", which is OK, but maybe calling it "UTC" would be more correcter. It's been 50 years since Greenwich was officially part of the standard. GMT is still the official time zone in some parts of the world, but UTC is the reference time on which all time zones are based.)

Second, also on the website, puzzle expiration time is shown in UTC/GMT, but without the time zone code. Less than clear, and again, some mental translation is needed.

Other items on the website have the same issue. For example, forum and feedback posts show UTC date/time, but don't include the time zone code. It can be less than clear how recent a forum post is, even though the current UTC time is shown at the top of the page.

Third, in the the Foldit client, hovering on the puzzle title in the upper left shows the expiration time and the time remaining. The computer's time zone settings seem to be used, and the time zone code is displayed. For example, puzzles on my computer show expiration times in "CDT" or US Central Daylight Time.

Also, in the final 24 hours, the time remaining is constantly displayed in the score box.

For me, both the hover time and the final 24 time remaining seem accurate. If there's a bug, more information is needed, such as log.txt and maybe some screenshots. I'd suggest #bugs-and-feedback on Discord.

In general, I think using the user's local time makes the most sense. So the website should be consistent with what the client shows. For the web stuff, a little Javascript can convert the UTC time to the machine's time zone setting. Maybe this can be yet another requirement for the long-awaited new website.

For clarity, any display of a time should also include the date and time zone code.

A few spots on the website have a date only, for example, puzzles show only a create date. It probably makes sense to treat those dates as 00:00 hours UTC. I'm not really sure whether it makes sense to display a date and a time zone code without a time. I can't think of any examples where you'd see "03/18/2022 CDT", for example.

There's another issue regarding date and time *format*. On Windows, there are "Region" settings that control this aspect. I suspect that Javascript could also honor these settings, but not sure. I haven't done any testing to see whether the client displays of date/time use these settings.

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