Your content needs a date!

Author Christian Reading time 2 minutes

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It's far too often that I encounter blogs, "What's new?"-sections or other content which doesn't have any form of date or timestamp indicating when the content was first published, last modified, etc. And, to a certain degree, I find it annoying. As these information provide a crucial context. It allows me to make certain assumptions and sort it in correctly.

It's like when you read a Changelog for a piece of software and the added/changed/removed features are not attributed to the version of the software where they did change. Not helpful at all.

A political piece, written at the height of a scandal might not include crucial information. Which only was discovered months after. During the lengthy and boring police investigation. About which - of course - nobody writes in detail. With a date next to that text I can sort the piece into it's correct position in the timeline and explain to myself why certain arguments weren't done or are plain wrong - but maybe were the current knowledge at the time it was written.

Today I got curious about what happened to the german PC handbook publishing company Data Becker. And I found this blogpost (in german) by Thomas Vehmeier: Data Becker – eine Ära geht zu Ende ( Apparently he worked at Data Becker in the middle of the 1990's. And in this text he writes about his experience and how & why Data Becker failed when the Internet, and therefore the market, began to change.

But.. There is no date. Nowhere. He also doesn't mention the year when Data Becker got out of business. Classical archaeological problem. We can only definitely say "It happened after the 1990's". But apart from that? Well he links to the WirtschaftsWoche. A german business magazine. They do a have date on their article. 9th October 2013. And they wrote that Data Becker will go out of business in 2014.

Does this clarify when his text was written? No, but it answers it somewhat sufficiently.

Albeit it illustrates my problem. Yes, it is not an unsolvable one, but still annoying - for me. And, I guess, I'm again in the minority here.