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In the Prefs, for the time, there are a contradiction and an error
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Description

I am on en.wikinews.org
I go to the Prefs.
For the time zone, I choose "Fill in from browser".

See this screen photo:

Screen photo. Prefs. There are a contradiction and an error.

The screen says:

"Time zone:" "Other (specify offset)" "02:00"

There is a contradiction. The time zone or the offset? You have to decide. These are different. Here in France, the time zone is GMT+1 whereas the offset is +2.

There is an error. Here in France, the time zone is GMT+1, not GMT+2.

It would be nice to clarify and to correct that.

Usually, computer systems are good at knowing the time, they know the time zone, they know about the summer time..., better than me.

It may be a good idea to let the site handle that and to free the user from dealing with that. The Prefs are already too heavy.

Thank you.

Nnemo

Event Timeline

Correction:

The screen photo is: F3854987.

There is a contradiction. The time zone or the offset? You have to decide. These are different. Here in France, the time zone is GMT+1 whereas the offset is +2.

In France the timezone is UTC+2 so the offset is +2, hence no contradiction.
There is no error either, as GMT is not used for anything. UTC is the standard, GMT is just one random timezone like any other timezone out there.

Closing as invalid.

No, in metropolitan France the time zone is GMT+1, = UTC+1.

In metropolitan France, the offset now in summer time is +2.

The time zone and the offset are two different things.

No, in metropolitan France the time zone is GMT+1, = UTC+1.

In France the timezone is currently UTC+2 (CEST), and in winter it is UTC+1. If you want this to be adjusted automatically when DST starts or ends, set the timezone from the dropdown accordingly. GMT is irrelevant.
If you want to manually specify an offset to UTC, you can do so but you will have to adjust it everytime DST starts or ends...

The time zone and the offset are two different things.

I agree, but what is the exact request in this task? :)

Change the string from "Other (specify offset)" to "Other (specify offset instead of timezone)" or what is requested here? And would a longer string really be more helpful?

I am sorry. This is unclear. So you mean that with what I did the time will be incorrect after the end of summer time?!

I suggest that you read again the task description.

I request that Prefs be simple, correct, clear, and just work.

Ideally, don't ask all this to the user.

Does the site really need to ask that to the user? Can the site know or guess the time automagically?

If a user decision is needed in some case(s), can the site just make the guess and allow the user to specify otherwise?

What does the site need to know? The time zone? The offset? Both? Both would be really too many! I request that the site ask clearly, at most, one of these. And, ideally, none of these.

I suggest that you read again the task description.

I already commented on the task description in my previous comments and the task description has not been edited since then...

I request that Prefs be simple, correct, clear, and just work.

Some might say that this is the case. If there are specific issues, please point them out. I asked in my previous comment whether you think that having an "offset" option under a "Time zone" dropdown is wrong and what you'd expect instead.

Ideally, don't ask all this to the user.

The user could explicitly set their timezone under "Time zone", or use "Fill in from browser" or the UTC default if really wanted - "Other" is an advanced option here. Again: What would you change to make it "simple, correct, clear, and just work"? Rename some options? Remove some options? Change the order of options?

Does the site really need to ask that to the user? Can the site know or guess the time automagically?

I honestly do not know what the default option is for this dropdown...

If a user decision is needed in some case(s), can the site just make the guess and allow the user to specify otherwise?

Isn't that the current situation?

What does the site need to know? The time zone? The offset?

Whatever single option the user chose I'd say. :)

Ideally, don't ask all this to the user.

The user could explicitly set their timezone under "Time zone",

Does the site really need to ask that to the user? Can the site know or guess the time automagically?

I honestly do not know what the default option is for this dropdown...

I just made a test with a new account.

I found the Prefs by default:

Time: 19:35. Whereas it was 21:35 here. Time zone: Other (specify offset), with value empty.

If a user decision is needed in some case(s), can the site just make the guess and allow the user to specify otherwise?

Isn't that the current situation?

Apparently, the guess is not made, or the guess is incorrect.

What does the site need to know? The time zone? The offset?

Whatever single option the user chose I'd say. :)

I still think that asking one only of these values would be simpler. But you suggest that the site ask both and that the user choose to set either one of these. In this case, the site should set the other option correctly, so that the two be consistent. Today, the site fails to do that.

I just made a test with a new account.
I found the Prefs by default:
Time: 19:35. Whereas it was 21:35 here. Time zone: Other (specify offset), with value empty.

That sounds like UTC time with a wrong dropdown value and hence a bug. Thanks for testing this!

I still think that asking one only of these values would be simpler. But you suggest that the site ask both and that the user choose to set either one of these. In this case, the site should set the other option correctly, so that the two be consistent. Today, the site fails to do that.

I just made a test with a new account.
I found the Prefs by default:
Time: 19:35. Whereas it was 21:35 here. Time zone: Other (specify offset), with value empty.

That sounds like UTC time with a wrong dropdown value and hence a bug. Thanks for testing this!

Note that the server doesn't know your local time. Only the client scripts (JavaScripts) can get the local time of your machine, and select the timezone offset accordingly. That's why the "fill in from browser" option exists in that dropdown, and when selecting it, the timezone offset is filled and the dropdown changes automatically to "other (specify offset)"

If you're asking to fill in automatically the timezone offset when the user enters preferences for the first time, this may be confusing to the user, because the user may be entering preferences specifically to set the timezone because (s)he found it was wrong, but suddently it's set correctly in preferences so (s)he may think there's nothing to change here... Another option may be to fill this value on account creation, that would make more sense.

Note that the server doesn't know your local time. Only the client scripts (JavaScripts) can get the local time of your machine, and select the timezone offset accordingly. That's why the "fill in from browser" option exists in that dropdown, and when selecting it, the timezone offset is filled and the dropdown changes automatically to "other (specify offset)"

If you're asking to fill in automatically the timezone offset when the user enters preferences for the first time, this may be confusing to the user, because the user may be entering preferences specifically to set the timezone because (s)he found it was wrong, but suddently it's set correctly in preferences so (s)he may think there's nothing to change here... Another option may be to fill this value on account creation, that would make more sense.

I am boldly closing this task - declining based on the given technical obstacles plus to some extend it is also invalid as there is neither a contradiction nor an error as initially stated.

matmarex claimed this task.
matmarex added a subscriber: matmarex.

I think what @Nnemo wrote here at the beginning is correct, but a bit confusing. Let me try to clarify:

  • In France, the time zone is "Europe/Paris" (according to the IANA time zone database).
  • This time zone corresponds to two time offsets from UTC:
    • In the winter, the time offset is +1 hour.
    • In the summer, the time offset is +2 hours.
    • (It also defines exactly when the offset changes, but that's not relevant here)

MediaWiki can display dates and times according to either a time zone, or a fixed time offset (for historical reasons). If you accidentally pick a time offset instead of a time zone, you're going to be unhappy.

I see two problems with the interface on Special:Preferences:

  • "Fill in from browser" actually only fills in a time offset, not a time zone. This is obviously incorrect in large parts of the world that use daylight saving time.
  • "Other (specify offset)" is confusing. Perhaps something like "Other (fixed time offset)", or "Other (time offset from UTC)", would be clearer.

Change 566883 had a related patch set uploaded (by Bartosz Dziewoński; owner: Bartosz Dziewoński):
[mediawiki/core@master] mw.special.preferences: Allow filling in real time zone instead of offset

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/566883

Change 566884 had a related patch set uploaded (by Bartosz Dziewoński; owner: Bartosz Dziewoński):
[mediawiki/core@master] Clarify label for fixed time offset from UTC in preferences

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/566884

Change 566884 merged by jenkins-bot:
[mediawiki/core@master] Clarify label for fixed time offset from UTC in preferences

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/566884

Change 566883 merged by jenkins-bot:
[mediawiki/core@master] mw.special.preferences: Allow filling in real time zone instead of offset

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/566883