[docs] [issue9305] Don't use east/west of UTC in date/time documentation

Alexander Belopolsky report at bugs.python.org
Mon Jul 19 18:21:45 CEST 2010

New submission from Alexander Belopolsky <belopolsky at users.sourceforge.net>:

I am opening this to supersede issue7229.  See discussion following msg107148.

In many places offsets representing the difference between local time and UTC are described as minutes or seconds east or west of UTC.   This is not correct because UTC is not a place and minutes and seconds don't measure distance in this context.  Replacing UTC with the Prime Meridian will not fix that because some regions in the western hemisphere use positive offsets from UTC.  or example, Madrid is at 3° 42' West, but uses Central European Time which is UTC+1.

I believe geographical references in the python documentation are irrelevant.  What users are interested in is how to convert local time to UTC and UTC to local time rather than what is the sign of time.timezone in Madrid.

I suggest the following wording for time.timezone description:

time.timezone: The number of seconds one must add to the local time to arrive at UTC.

Similarly, tzinfo.utcoffset() can be defined as "Returns timedelta one must add to UTC to arrive at local time."

assignee: docs at python
components: Documentation
keywords: easy
messages: 110774
nosy: belopolsky, docs at python
priority: normal
severity: normal
stage: needs patch
status: open
title: Don't use east/west of UTC in date/time documentation
type: feature request
versions: Python 3.2

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