What is OpenSim standard time?

(Image by Leo Reynolds, via Flickr.)

Here at Hypergrid Business, we’re in the process of launching a virtual events directory (now that the vendor directory is up and working).

And the question comes up — what times do we list events under? The Second Life events directory shows everything as SLT time — which is the U.S. Pacific times zone, where parent company Linden Lab is based.

Since the Second Life viewer clearly shows the time in SLT, it’s easy for users to figure out when to get to a particular event.

With OpenSim, there are no such considerations — there is no single company setting a common time zone for the entire service.

There are several alternatives.

Eastern time: Since Hypergrid Business is based in Massachusetts, we can dictate U.S. eastern time as the standard for all our listings. This will confuse readers who are used to SLT immensely, and add an element of fun and whimsy to the discovery of virtual events.

Pacific time: Silicon Valley is the new center of the universe. Everyone knows this. Might as well bow to the inevitable and go with PST.

Local time: Event organizers have to be located somewhere. They can pick a time zone that is convenient for them. For example, a German grid can list their events under standard German time, and a French grid under their own time zones. This will make it easy for local users to attend the events — but will create headaches for folks in other areas trying to figure out the time zone conversions.

All time zones: We can list several time zones for each event — Pacific, Eastern, GMT, Hong Kong. Let readers pick and choose which time zone suits them.

GMT/UTC: Greenwich Mean Time — or Coordinated Universal Time –  is already the global standard, even if many people in the U.S. have never heard of it (blame our educational system). Using GMT will make it more difficult for some people to get to events, including those of us who are easily confused. This is the target demographic for many marketers, however, as well as of any organization offering educational programing.

Your time: Anyone who registers on our website gets to pick their preferred time zone, and all times are recalculated appropriately. The programming challenge of how to do this is beyond me, but there are probably WordPress plugins out there already that can handle it. Alternatively, the displayed time can be based on the user’s browser settings.

What do people think? Any advice?

Maria Korolov