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How do users typically react to reading articles and blog posts that do not have published by dates? Do users trust the content with dates removed?

Let's say for example a travel blog does not have published by dates on their articles. Do users trust the content of "Top 5 Things to do in..." if the dates were removed? Or does it not matter at all?

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    Without dates on articles, press releases, and other content, users have no idea whether the information is current or obsolete. Are you publishing contents that are date dependent? Feb 20, 2014 at 22:04
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    Are we specifically talking about for a travel blog or is this just a hypothetical? Even when it comes to visiting other countries, things change.
    – cimmanon
    Feb 20, 2014 at 22:15
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    It drives me absolutely insane when there is not publish date on an article, for the reasons @ChairmanMeow points out. I promise I've seen plenty with and without publish dates to make this a valid data point. Please keep publish dates. :) Feb 20, 2014 at 22:42
  • @cimmanon It's hypothetical since this has been brought up many times with various clients with different niches. One specific client however is a travel blog.
    – Michael
    Feb 21, 2014 at 15:43
  • @EvilClosetMonkey I totally agree but seeing as this has come up several times with many clients, I needed more information to backup my thoughts on this.
    – Michael
    Feb 21, 2014 at 15:45

3 Answers 3

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People (users) like to organize and categorize things in their surrounding. We like to build our own understanding of the world in chunks of information, as if we need to know how the world is. Some categorize things or information by color, others by shape, scent, sound, surfacing, shining or look.

As we do this categorizing of things or information we want to put it in another context - the linear (but not constant) timeline. When it happened is as important as what happened. We know that certain things happened during a certain period of time, and as the world is always changing - time is the only thing that can make us understand the world.

As when Bloomberg posted Steve Jobs obituary almost three years before his passing, is something that was world news then, but now - six years later - who remembers?

Time is crucial for users to understand the world in its context.

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Posted dates matter. It drives me up the wall to visit a site and they've removed the dates. I understand why they are removed. I want to make sure what I'm reading is relevant and not outdated.

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  • This is just your own subjective opinion though. The question isn't about what you individually think - we'd just get hundreds of answers with people saying "well I like it like 'this'". We need objective answers in order for them to be any real use.
    – JonW
    Feb 21, 2014 at 9:36
  • @JonW: that may be true, but often knowing that at least one person would be seriously irked can be enough to make a decision. Especially as J.T. also states why he would be irked and the reason (knowing whether the content is relevant or outdated) would be useful for anybody reading the content. Plus: not everything in UX has been researched, so sometimes personal opinion is all we have. Benny's answer doesn't have any real references either (the obituary is just a link to an example where dates matter). Or did you mark this answer only because it happened to appear in a "short answers" list? Feb 21, 2014 at 10:27
  • @MarjanVenema It's more of an encouragement to make the answer less subjective, focus more on the reasoning and not on the personal preference side of things.
    – JonW
    Feb 21, 2014 at 10:43
  • @JonW: ah, could be the wording of the "mark" I guess. If it had said what you just did, I'd probably not have "jumped to the defense" :) Feb 21, 2014 at 10:46
  • @MarjanVenema: Yeah, I've removed the notice as it wasn't really suited. Hopefully these comments will just encourage some expansion / updates of the answer.
    – JonW
    Feb 21, 2014 at 10:54
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It depends of the content, for example the travel blog, imagine that you are looking for comments and reviews for your next trip, what will be more useful? the last month review or the post 1 year old, sometimes dates are irrelevant, for example if you write a review of a book the post will be valid until a new version go out (long period of time)

For example in a history project that I worked the date of publication was irrelevant because the text are always valid, contrary to a video site project that needs fresh content twice a week to engage users and date became important.

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