No Year in Dates of Posts with screenreaders


I use a screen reader, so I’m not sure if this is the way the website works generally, but I am never able to see what year a post was made in. It occasionally reads the year that an edit was made in, but only month and day for the original post.

Is this how it displays for sited users? I’d assume not, considering I’ve read many threads where people mention the age of the thread, but I can’t be sure.

Either way, I would very much appreciate it if I were able to see the year that posts were made in along with the rest of the date info.

Thank you for otherwise keeping the forum very accessible, I have few issues with using it. Inclusive design means a lot.

For posts that are less than a month old, it will tell you how many days ago it was posted.

For posts that are less than a year old, it will tell you the day and the month.

For posts that are more than a year old, it will tell you the month and year. It should say something like “Apr '20”. Could the screen reader be skipping the apostrophe?

The title attribute of a date will have the full unabbreviated date/time. I’m not sure how you’d access that with a screenreader though.


Thank you for bringing this up. This forum uses Discourse software which presents messages in a topic in an unusual way that was the source of much much discussion.

Long topics become a “timeline” which expands as a thread does. As I look at your original post, it doesn’t show the year, it shows 5m which means it’s 5 minutes old. That changes - there just now to 6m.

If I click on the 6m, it drops down the detail: Post #1, July 25, 7:07 PM. It’s using my local time, and I believe the inference is when it doesn’t specify a year, it’s the current year.

We do have a “screen reader” theme that can be selected, but I honestly am not sure what that changes. Most themes are produced by Discourse or by experienced users from the Discourse Meta site, so I’d hope it actually facilitates text to speech. If anyone has tried it, please let me know.

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I made a small edit to change the position of the reply box. I’m not sure if it’s still even helpful.

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Ah, thanks. Yep, the relative timestamps also display for me, and I can click them to show the full date. For some reason when I do that it jumps my focus right to the “copy URL” field, but it’s trivial to scroll up from there to read the date.

I’m using that theme, though honestly I’m not sure what it changes either. I used the forum for a good few months without it, and then found it digging around in the settings and thought it a good idea to use it just in case. Good to know that this is just how the site works, though.

If I click the reply button I automatically get placed in the reply field, so if you did that, I appreciate it!

If anyone is looking for a guinea pig for future modifications to that theme, I’m game. I come on here often and wouldn’t at all mind helping out.


Literally the only change in the screenreader theme is that it sets

#reply-control {
    position: relative;

This makes the reply box be positioned at the bottom of the page, rather than as a pop-over on top of the rest of the page. Someone told me before that it was better for screenreaders.

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They were right. Screenreaders analyze a webpage in a left-to-right, top-to-bottom manner, meaning that the visual layout of a page and the screenreader’s document view often differ. When you set that as you have, it lets the screenreader ask where the popup is, rather than it having to try and guess and format it accordingly. That almost never goes well, unless the designer has also implemented a way for the focus to be moved on the event of the popup becoming visible.