Meta September 13, 2020

Indie Hackers has a timezone bias

Mathias Lykkegaard Lorenzen @ffMathy

Right now, milestones show a list of "today's milestones". The problem with this, is that it seems to be in accordance with IndieHacker's server time.

That means that if I am in a timezone where the beginning of the "day" is actually at 1 AM, then I am unlikely to make a milestone there and less likely to be seen.

This leads to people's milestones being hidden away by the ones that had the chance to receive more upvotes.

I know this is how Product Hunt does it as well, but why not change it into showing milestones from the past 24 hours?

That way, you don't give anyone an unfair advantage, and it should be a fairly simple change I suppose.

  1. 8

    Having a single cutoff time seems a necessary component of having a daily leaderboard, and the daily leaderboard is a big part of the feature. I wouldn't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. So if I do end up changing this, it'll be in a way similar to @alchemist's suggestion to let users schedule milestones for a future timestamp. I think Product Hunt has this feature too.

    All that said, I've been considering taking the milestones leaderboard off the homepage for quite some time and using that real estate for something else. In that case I might move the leaderboard to the product directory, which is the second most popular page of the site. (It's still 4x less popular than the homepage, though, in terms of pageviews.) I'd probably also mix the most popular milestones into the main feed, which is controlled by an algorithm that doesn't favor any particular time zone.

    1. 2

      Having the daily lists of milestones is great, I love looking back over to see what people have done. Keeping those to the actual date the milestone happened is preferential.

      I do like the separation of the milestones from the posts.

      Would it be easy to change the milestones on the homepage (that drive most of the traffic I imagine) be those submitted in the last 24h instead of using a date cut off? Would also have the affect of making the milestones more dynamic than it currently is.

    2. 2

      +1 for mixing milestones into the main feed!

  2. 2

    I noticed this issue as well.

    One improvement that wouldn't require @csallen to write a new DB query would be to display how much time is left in a day when you're composing a milestone.

    A second improvement would be to let users schedule milestones a few hours in the future.

  3. 2

    I read something similar which was about Product Hunt and was surprised they did that as like you say it is a bit unfair for other timezones. Didn't realise this IndieHackers was the same for the milestones. Your suggestion definitely makes a lot of sense to do it in the past 24 hours instead of assuming start of day is midnight.

  4. 2

    Nice suggestion, +1

  5. 1

    That's a fair point. The top posts on the homepage are following exactly the logic you've suggested - "Popular Today" is showing the posts with the highest rating from the previous 24 hours. That way there is no timezone bias. I've never understood the benefit of cutting the day at 12 at midnight.

  6. 1

    I'm in GMT+8 and I feel the same for IH, PH, LinkedIn and Twitter. My content usually pick up if I post it in the late evening of my timezone (= mid-day of Europe and morning of US)

    Not sure if it's a timezone bias, or my network mostly out of my timezone. But its happening.

Recommended Posts