Timing for Timezones: How to effectively schedule an event

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Willy
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This thread will aim to explain in detail how to properly schedule an event to suit the people who are interested in coming (or everyone, if that's the case).

The most common and widely-understood method for communicating a particular time to people across all timezones is by using GMT. This stands for Greenwich Mean Time. GMT works by having a single reference point to the time in a particular part of the world - this is of course located in Greenwich, UK, but also refers to the UK as a whole. (The entire country is at GMT 0)

Other countries in the world have a 'GMT time' that correlates directly to the time in the UK. For example, I live in South Australia, and my timezone is GMT +9:30 (9.5 hours). Therefore, when the time is midnight in London, it is 9:30am where I live, and I am 9.5 hours ahead in time of people in the UK. Another example is the US state of California. Being in the opposite direction around the globe, the time in California must be GMT -x, rather than +x. California is located in the GMT -8 zone. Therefore, when it is midnight in London, it is 4pm in California. California is 8 hours behind the UK. This map will help you locate where you are on the spectrum.

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When scheduling an event it is important to consider the lives of the people who wish to participate. Is school currently on? Will the event occur on a weekday or weekend? Will the people participating have other commitments at the time you wish the event to take place? Ultimately the time of the event is up to the person organizing it, but it is important to consider what is convenient for other participants - you may end up very lonely. Generally speaking, events (especially large ones) should be organise for the weekend only, unless all participants come from a single/nearby timezone.

Organizing events for all players
In the Ace of Spades community (and in most other gaming communities) player tend to come from three key areas. These are:

North & South America (Including the contiguous United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil & Argentina)
Europe (Including the British Isles, continental Europe, and major population centres in western Russia)
Australasia (Including Australia & New Zealand, Japan, the Phillipines, Vietnam and China)

It is important to remember that while North and South America and Europe generally have a similar sized player representation, the Australasian community - while still significant - is only about half the size of either. Therefore, when scheduling a large event it may be unavoidable to make the time unsuited to Australasian players.

If you're going to try and schedule an event suited to all players like I have in the past, I've found two times work fairly well when used on a weekend, albeit not perfectly. These are 11pm GMT and 3pm GMT.

If an event is scheduled for 11pm GMT on a Saturday night, it will occur at 9am on a Sunday morning for most Australians (by far the largest representation in the Australasia group) and 11am Sunday morning for those in New Zealand. This will be 7am for people in the Phillipines and China (difficult but not impossible if you're dedicated to attending) and 8am in Japan. On the other side of the the globe, the event would occur at 3pm Saturday in California, midday in New York City & the eastern US, and 10 am in major Brazilian population centres and Argentina (11am for those in central/western Brazil and Chile). Those in Europe may suffer slightly, as the majority of continental Europe is GMT +1 or 2, and therefore the time will be 1 or 2am accordingly.

If an event is scheduled for 3pm GMT on a Saturday afternoon, things are slightly more tricky, but perhaps more convenient for some. It will occur at 1am Sunday morning for most Australians, but unfortunately will take place at 3am if you're in New Zealand. Asians may have better luck, occurring at midnight Saturday for those in Japan, and 11pm for those in the Philippines and China. In California, a match at 3pm GMT occurs at 7am, 9 am in the Eastern States and 10/11 am in South America. Europeans have the most luck here, being able to play at 3, 4, 5 or 6pm on a Saturday afternoon.

Generally speaking, 11pm GMT is the best time for all people, but circumstances and people attending may make this not work out.

Europe and North & South America
When scheduling a large match it is wise to make the time primarily suitable for these two areas. 11pm GMT works great when trying to schedule for participants worldwide, but does not exactly constitute the most convenient time for any one timezone. Between Europe and the Americas, the best times to schedule on a weekend are between 6 and 8pm GMT. This falls right into prime-time for most Europeans, and occurs between late morning to early afternoon on a Saturday for people in North and South America.

I've probably forgotten heaps of things and will update this thread whenever necessary. Please do not hesitate to PM me or query me on IRC if I've left out anything important. Additionally, if you have any timezone-related questions either contact me or post on this thread. Thanks, and good luck! :)


Note: This thread does not yet take Daylight Savings Time into account, if you're unsure you can ask me or do some research here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_s ... by_country
Ballistic
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very helpful Blue_BigSmile

bookmarked
scrawl
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Very helpful.
Jdrew
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why don't you sticky this? You are a mod after all..
Willy
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I am unable to do so until dan sets up my usergroup with the correct permissions :)
Jdrew
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oh, nice guide BTW
Captain_Pi
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Very detailed wording, consistent within all regions. Holidays may also be a thing to point out but I guess the number of holidays is negligible in a 365-day calendar. All in all, good job putting this up, Will.
Jigsaw
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scrawl wrote:
Very helpful.
Afrodude
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Okay so, I'm not sure if I'm stupid or something, but a lot of these times are off.

11pm GMT != midday on the US East Coast. It would be either 6pm or 7pm depending on Daylight Savings status. On the West Coast, 11pm GMT is 3 or 4pm.

3pm GMT is 10 or 11am EST and 7 or 8 am PST.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe these are the accurate conversions for the US coasts. Otherwise, really great guide for those looking to organize events in the future.
$Eddy$
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Willy wrote:

Note: This thread does not yet take Daylight Savings Time into account, if you're unsure you can ask me or do some research here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_s ... by_country
Afrodude wrote:
Okay so, I'm not sure if I'm stupid or something, but a lot of these times are off.

11pm GMT != midday on the US East Coast. It would be either 6pm or 7pm depending on Daylight Savings status. On the West Coast, 11pm GMT is 3 or 4pm.

3pm GMT is 10 or 11am EST and 7 or 8 am PST.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe these are the accurate conversions for the US coasts. Otherwise, really great guide for those looking to organize events in the future.
You're right I think but you might want to take the note at the bottom into account.
Afrodude
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$Eddy$ wrote:
Willy wrote:

Note: This thread does not yet take Daylight Savings Time into account, if you're unsure you can ask me or do some research here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_s ... by_country
Afrodude wrote:
Okay so, I'm not sure if I'm stupid or something, but a lot of these times are off.

11pm GMT != midday on the US East Coast. It would be either 6pm or 7pm depending on Daylight Savings status. On the West Coast, 11pm GMT is 3 or 4pm.

3pm GMT is 10 or 11am EST and 7 or 8 am PST.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe these are the accurate conversions for the US coasts. Otherwise, really great guide for those looking to organize events in the future.
You're right I think but you might want to take the note at the bottom into account.
Both the US and Britain (GMT) use DST. Besides, Daylight Savings Time typically only causes for adjustments of ~1 hour. The times in the OP are off by 6-7 hours.
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