BBC a poor Time Lord

The BBC is in trouble for setting up its website so that it read the time on the user’s computer rather than telling them the truth.

The BBC Trust has upheld a complaint that the clock on the BBC homepage was “inaccurate and misleading”.

An unknown time pedant, who perhaps emerged from a blue phone box, complained that while readers assume that the clock is correct, it really only reproduces the time on the user’s computer.

If this is off, then using the BBC’s website to set your clocks, or configure your Time Machine could be dangerously off.

The Trust said having a clock which does not state it derives its time from a user’s computer is not consistent with BBC guidelines on accuracy.

A BBC spokesperson said the clock would be removed “in an upcoming update” because the BBC takes accuracy “very seriously”.

Apparently it takes huge amounts of technology to set up an alternative central clock, and the fact that most users already have a clock on their computer screen means it is easier to remove the clock.

The technical issues involve dramatically slowing down the loading of the BBC homepage which was a problem. If the site moved to a format in which users across the world accessed the same homepage, irrespective of whichever country they were in, it would be “impossible to offer a single zonally-accurate clock”.

We are not sure that is right as programming a time-zone clock is the sort of thing they give programmers at school.

However the BBC had asked its product management team to investigate the problem and it had reported back to the committee that it would take about 100 staffing days to make the changes involved in switching to an independent clock. Less if they can get the sonic screwdriver to work.