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Post Modification Date – Manual Editing

  • #9993
    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    I really like the idea of sorting my posts by their modification date. The problem is that even the slightest change to the post updates the modification date automatically.

    I would love to see a toggle next to the “Updated on” section of a post that allows you to choose whether or not to let Publii automatically update the modification date on save.

    Also, the ability to click and manually adjust it like with the “Published” date would be a great!

    It’s often very useful to display the modification date on the post but it would be great to have control over it so that trivial updates to a post don’t lead the viewer to believe that the content has recently been updated when in fact you only corrected the spelling of a single word.

    Anyways, I’ve become a very big fan of Publii and have been telling everyone I know that they need to switch to it. I’m not sure if this is the best place to request a feature or not. Hopefully this is useful and maybe others will agree that this is a good idea or point me in the direction of how to achieve a similar result with the current version of Publii.


    Avatar photo[anonymous]


    I am not sure if it is a good idea to allow modification of this date – in my opinion it should be always been set automatically. Such option will add some additional UI only for very specific cases.

    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    Hey Dziudek,

    Thanks so much for your reply.

    The post modification date is a very important bit of information for visitors. The information in a post may be more or less relevant to a reader depending on the date it was last meaningfully updated. Ultimately, this control should be in the hands of the author.

    It’s a very good thing that Publii has the option to display this date as well as publish the proper metadata in a machine readable fashion. It’s not so good that an insignificant change to a post or no change at all updates the post modification date automatically with no option for the author to intervene.

    A common fraud that some publishers do is to make an article seem like it is current when it is not. Readers and search engines often prefer fresh content. Now if I accidentally save and close an old post in Publii, the date is automatically updated and a reader or a search engine might think that I’m intentionally trying to deceive them. That’s not something we want. I would much prefer to have control over the date to always give the most honest and accurate information. A fully automated system isn’t capable of knowing this information. The choice really should be in the hands of the author.

    I hope I’ve been able to communicate my reasoning adequately. Please let me know your thoughts.


    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    I will stand with my opinion that modification date should be updated with every post update – even small. For cases when you want to display other modification date where user decides what is a change worth mentioning, you should just use custom post field which will contain such date and display it instead of modification date generated by Publii 🙂

    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    Thanks again for your response Dziudek! I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. This is going to be a long one. As a serious fan of what the Publii team has done, I hope it is useful.

    I guess I don’t understand what the point of the post modification date is then if it’s not meant to inform humans and machines when the post was last meaningfully modified. Removing an extra   space wouldn’t count as a meaningful update in my opinion. Nor would opening your post, not making a single change, and then clicking save and close.

    In my opinion the post modification date matters and should be editable by the site owner similar to how the post published date is fully editable by the site owner. Could you provide examples for why you believe that it should not be user editable? If not, might you be open to being swayed by examples that I provide below?

    Should the modification date be automatically updated even when no changes have been made? In my opinion no, but that’s not how it currently works. If the save button is clicked then the post modification date gets updated no matter what. As a basic user of computers for over 30 years I’ve learned to click save often to avoid problems. With Publii I better think twice before clicking save or else I might create problems for my site and readers.

    Problem #1 – A reader may not be properly informed about when the post was truly last modified if I’ve enabled “Display last updated date” in the post options section of the Publii interface.

    “This article was updated on June 13, 2023” is displayed to the reader using the Simple theme even if I didn’t modify the post at all, but clicked save.

    Problem #2 – A search engine may not be properly informed about when the post was truly last modified.

    (Currently Publii does not give the user a choice as far as I’m aware to enable or disable the post modification date from being displayed in the metadata.)

    Problem #3 – The display order of posts would be wrong if I configured my Publii site settings to order posts based on the modification date.

    A simple solution would be to allow the site owner to edit the modification date in the same way that they can now edit the published date. Do you believe giving the site owner control of the modification date is harmful? If so, how?

    Am I just completely missing the point and purpose of the post modification date? If so, can someone help me understand what it is and what purpose it serves if it’s not ultimately meant to help readers of your site better understand how current an article is?

    If I have a blog about how to build sites using Publii and I choose to show the modification date to my readers as well as choose to order posts by last updated because I think it’s in the best interest of the reader, isn’t it a bit weird that I don’t have the option to correct the spelling of a single word in an article without it jumping to the the top of my blog roll and informing readers that “This article was updated on June 13, 2023” when in fact the last meaningful change was 3 years ago.

    I hope the tone of what I wrote is taken in the manner I intend. That is with admiration for everyone who has helped make Publii what it is. I’m a big fan and hope the very best for this project going forward.


    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    Well, as I have described it above – if you need a full control over displayed post modification date for website users, which will be totally different from the real post modification date, then you can use custom modification which will allow you to use custom field with modification date to display, instead of the one generated by Publii 🙂

    You want to achieve ordering by this date but now you want to prove that it is necessary to have an option to modify that date manually 🙂

    For example in WordPress you have no UI to modify the modification date at all and it is also stored automatically. And at this moment I will stay with my opinion that it should be updated automatically with every post save.

    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    My reply is being blocked for some odd reason, so I posted it here:

    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    A small fix that I would like is to NOT update the modification date when there’s no change in the post at all and I hit “Save and Close” button (out of habit) to get out of the edit window.

    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    That’s was very helpful candidexmedia! Thanks for the info.

    Dziudek, It’s interesting the Publii handles the modification date in the same way that WordPress does. When I Google it I find a lot of information about how WordPress users also struggle with this problem as I described it above. Of course with WordPress if more than a few people have a problem then there will likely be a plug-in to solve it. Sure enough, there are WordPress plugins to solve this problem. What is the ideal way to solve this problem with Publii? Should we support an effort to create a plugin?

    Something I like very much about Publii is how many standard features are built-in. SEO is a great example. With Publii you have access in the GUI to control SEO options that require a plugin to do with WordPress. I would personally love to see a built-in option with Publii to edit the post modification date. It makes no sense for it to be completely automated while being tied to important standard features of Publii like post ordering. Fixing a typo shouldn’t cause the intended post order display to break.

    I would vote for this to be built-in, but I can understand if others voted for it to be solved with a plugin if that’s even possible. As many WordPress users and plugin authors have shown, it is a problem that is worthy of a solution. I understand Publii is much smaller than most CMS projects so I accept if it’s just not feasible to fix it with the current resources. I guess I am at least curious to know what an ideal fix for this problem would look like in your opinion or if you even agree that there is a problem at all.