One of our core values is inclusion, and with the amount of activities in the Orca ecosystem picking up, we will need to make it easy to coordinate with folks around the world.
A challenge that has been coming up on occasion is communicating meeting times. Today, many of our members are in the US, and often Eastern Time and US date formats are used as defaults for discussing meeting times. This causes confusion in a few ways:
- Sometimes people use the term EST to refer to a meeting time, even though the US is now on Daylight Saving Time. This would be confusing to those in locations that do not observe Daylight Saving Time, or may observe it at different times of the year.
- The use of a 12 hour clock could become confusing in the future, as we will likely need to schedule meetings outside the normal US work day to accommodate contributors from other regions of the world.
- The use of the MM/DD/YY format is confusing to those in Europe who default to DD/MM/YY.
The result is that we waste time and potentially degrade the experience of contributors from other parts of the world.
I recommend that we agree to use less ambiguous defaults when referring to dates and times for Orcanaut activities. Following these 3 guidelines would eliminate ambiguity:
- Use Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) for the communication of meeting times. Please note that we could continue to use the capabilities of tools to localize time zones to individual participants where that functionality is available - this would just be the default in cases where we are unable to do that.
- Use a 24 hour clock to express hours and minutes.
- Use the YYYY-MM-DD format for communicating all dates. This not only avoids confusion between US and European date formats, it also provides the benefit of sorting in chronological order when the date is used to start a file description.
While each of these changes will require a bit of adjustment for us today, the benefits in the long run would more than compensate. That said, I’d welcome any concerns of questions regarding this to further strengthen this idea before formally proposing it. I intend to propose this in about a week or so and would appreciate feedback during that time if possible.