Note how posts now have information displayed about when the last modification was.
Why I think modification times are important for posts
The context of when something was written is an important part of being able to understand the text. Much writing makes extensive references to the current state of affairs and references to recent events.
This is especially noticeable in tech, some things that were best practices can become horribly out of date even a year later. So whenever you are reading posts about technical topics it's good to keep in mind when a post was written so you get a sense of what environment the post was written in.
How much historical context is required to understand a post varies by topic:
- A low context post would be a post that has a first-principles approach to looking at a problem, unless something is later found to be incorrect these tend to be fairly self contained.
- Somewhere in the middle you'd have a post about some specific version of a technology, you can go look up when that version was (hopefully) and get a sense of what was happening at the time. This is still something that requires context to understand so including links to the version would help the readers.
- One of the highest context types of article is a "what ... should I be using in [year]" such a post only makes sense in the historical context of exactly when it was written.
A great thing to do (if you have time) is to go back and edit in relevant information about old posts when you find out about some important change. This gives a really nice history of how things have changed and this information itself can be incredibly valuable in the future.
Take for example some posts on here:
- A day in the life of a package maintainer: This whole post was about how various things broke across different versions. The exact same code stopped working entirely with an update. A classic example of where keeping date information about when the post was made would be relevant.
- How I set up a linux environment: In this post I mention how I was using Crunchbang, but Crunchbang has since been abandoned and this is information worth updating.
- A post about CI for Django projects on Travis CI: This was valid at the time it was written but now that there's been some changes with Python 3.7+ this is in need of an update. I wrote about how these changes affected things in the A day in the life of a package maintainer post.
Knowing when the last modification time was made is quite nice in these articles because the date really does change how the reader will interpret the article and help guide any decisions that hinge on how up to date the content is.