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Blog timetravel…or when timestamps collide

I just spent fifteen minutes or so trying to figure out why a blog post I edited here disappeared. Apparently, between my blog editor (Ecto) and my blog software (WordPress), I have discovered a new form of time travel.

WordPress works with time as an offset from GMT. So, when pacific daylight time is in effect, the offset I should have in my preferences for the site is an offset of -7. When pacific daylight time is in effect, the offset should be -8. I forgot to change the offset last weekend.

When I originally created the posting, Ecto apparently didn’t send along a timestamp- or possibly it did and WordPress ignored it. The posting appeared on the site, and all was well. Chris came along and added a comment. I replied to the comment. Then I edited the posting a while later to correct a spelling mistake. This time, Ecto did send along a time stamp…an hour in the future, at least as far as WordPress was concerned. WordPress helpfully concluded that this was a timed posting that should appear later…in the “future”…so it removed the posting from visibility.

At this point, I re-entered the picture. My posting was gone, as was my friend’s response, and my response to his response. This confused and, briefly, angered me: what stupid thing had I done? What nefarious hacker had vandalized my site, and why??!!

Once I figured out the whole timestamp thing, I was able to put things back in order by first correcting the WordPress setting that started the whole problem, then manually entering times suitably “in the past” for the original post and the replies. Chris, please note that the times for that post are invented. And I am now submitting a paper to the Vulcan Science Council refuting the whole “time travel is impossible” theory.

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