There are many different cultural conventions for specifying date and time. Some of these are ambiguous. For example, if somebody writes 4/5/18, a reader in the United States may read that as April 5th, 2018, while their colleague in the United Kingdom would interpret it as May 4th, 2018. Their grandfathers may have read the year as 1918.
There is an international standard (ISO 8601) for writing dates and time, and that’s what we use at Ratburger.org. Now, when I say that it’s what “we” use, I mean only what the site employs when displaying dates and times. In your own writings, you’re free to use anything you wish: visit my Calendar Converter and go wild—French Republican Calendar? Mayan Calendar? No problem!
But, if you want people to understand what you’ve written, it makes sense to adhere to adopted standards, and they’re simple and make a lot of sense. To specify a date, write:
If you need to specify a time, for example for the Moon landing, use Universal time, as follows, according to ISO 8601:
where the “T” denotes the time and “Z” indicates it’s in the “Zulu” (don’t ask) time zone or, UTC.
You’re welcome to use whatever convention you wish for date and time here, but the site will use ISO 8601 and UTC with adamantine persistence. Why use ISO 8601? It’s an international standard, and dates written that way are sufficiently unique they can’t be confused for other conventions. They are independent of time zones and quaint notions such as summer and winter time. A given date and time has the same meaning for anybody, everywhere on Earth. If placed in a computer database and sorted lexically (by character order), they are automatically sorted in chronological order. If you’d written “1969-7-20T20:18:4Z”, for example, it wouldn’t be sorted in order with other dates which had tens digits in the month and seconds fields.
If you really want something free of social construction, you’re free to use Julian Day numbers.
— John Walker, 2018-04-07T23:51:46Z JD 2458216.494282407