On Jekyll, living in the future, and bias

Posted by Katie McLaughlin on March 1, 2016

As you may have read, recently GitHub Pages updated the version of Jekyll they run to 3.0.

With that, there’s a number of features they mention as requiring some manual intervention. Right at the bottom of the GitHub post, there’s a link to the Jekyll Upgrade Guide.

One of the features mentioned in this document is the --future flag. This is a feature that was previously true by default, but now is false by default.

What this feature does is allow future-dating of posts: you can write something and it will be in your git repo, but not be published until you build after the post date.

Which means that if I write and test a new post locally this is fine, but if I push it to GitHub, it may not appear. I wrote a quick post yesterday at around 8am my time, and it didn’t appear on GitHub.

Yesterday was Feb 29. So, I assumed (spoiler: incorrectly) that this was a leap year bug.

What actually happened is I blogged in the morning.

Turns out since being forced to use Jekyll 3, this was the first time I had posted so early as to appear as though I was future-dating content, which by default is now not displayed. And GitHub Pages runs on Pacific time (UTC-08:00). I’m current on UTC+11:00. Can you see the problem?

According to GitHub, I’m posting from the future!

Now, the fix for this is as follows: add this to your config.yml

timezone: Australia/Sydney

.. replacing timezone with a value as defined by tzdata.

To enable future-posting, set:

future: true

But, because this issue just happened to be encountered on Feb 29, it was assumed to be a Leap Year bug. I wasn’t the only one to think this. This is just another example of bias being attributed to a misdiagnosis of a problem.