Time Definitions

Language to use when communicating software delivery.

This is based on an article originally posted by Sapience, a community manager for Lord of the Rings Online. Some of the text in this article is copied verbatim from the original because it was well said. An archived version of the original article can be read on the LOTRO Wiki.

I work in software development and often get asked by product managers marketing teams when a thing will be done. Here are some commonly used measurements that I use when communicating delivery times.

Please keep in mind; the measurements below are highly accurate (as are their relationships to each other).



Never gonna happen!

At some point in the future (also; At some point)

No one knows when that day or time will be, not the angels in heaven, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. Matthew 24:36

In the future

This isn’t going to happen during any variety of soon you care to use. In fact, it’s pretty far out there. Not as far as ‘at some point’, but you should not schedule your vacation around it. We’re probably talking about something that is possible within the modern era. Assuming, of course, the pre-tribulation rapture folks are wrong and we’re still here after all that crazy ‘end of the world’ Revelation stuff.

In the near future

This is absolutely, positively, without question, a possibility. In fact, it might even be a real possibility. But as to when, I’ll have to get back to you on that one.


No lie. It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen really freakin’, like, eventually. But it will happen! There’s probably a Notion doc floating around here somewhere…


It’s official! I have given consideration to a possible date and there are now several possibilities.


I’ve narrowed the date down to something within the calendar year!


No really, I have a date now. It’s even penciled in on a calendar somewhere.


I have a date, and I'm probably going to tell you what that date is… soon.


OK! No more messin’ around. There is a date, I found the calendar I wrote it on, and I am going to tell you. Like right freakin’ shortly! Seriously!


This is going to happen within the next 24 hours. Give or take some random number of hours which may or may not exceed an amount equal to the number of miles between the reader and the International Date Line divided by 163.97241. Unless the person is actually standing on the International Date Line at the time of reading, in which case the world will end in a cataclysmic divide by zero error and none of this will matter anyway. This is all barring any conflicts with ‘The Schedule’, of course.

As soon as possible

Time being the slippery thing it is, this has quite probably already happened. If not, it is very likely to happen while I'm typing up the message telling you when it will happen. Assuming, that it is in fact possible.

Modifiers and Adjustments


As a general rule, capitalization will tip you off as to a measurement’s place in time. Capital letters denote a longer period of time than lower case letters. This applies to all uses of capitalization when dealing with time. Thus Soon is longer than soon. Likewise, MoreSoonerish, Moresoonerish, and moresoonerish are all incrementally shorter periods from longest to shortest.

TM and its uses

The notorious ™ has very specific meanings. It denotes a longer period of time than the word or phrase would otherwise represent without the addition of the ™. It can also be an indicator of the level of annoyance because you keep asking about “The Timeline™”.


The use of quotes, like the use of ™ and Capitalization has specific meaning. It is another measure of extending the noted period of time. Though it denotes a shorter extension than either ™ or Capitalization. Single quotes are shorter extensions than double quotes, but may be used interchangeably.

Combined notation

When you see a combination of modifiers (™, quotes, and capitalization) you must consider the impact of all modifiers on the base measurement. The more modifiers, the larger the expansion of time from the base measurement.

Addendum A: Assertions

It’s on schedule

This relates exclusively to a highly theoretical method of calculating time commonly referred to as, ‘The Schedule’. The Schedule is part of an emerging understanding of time called Quantum Scalability Time. Schedule Time has the amazing ability to exist, not exist, and potentially exist or not exist all at the same instant. It is only the act of observing The Schedule that forces it into a fixed state in which the normal rules of Time apply. This is commonly called “entanglement”. Entangling one’s self with The Schedule is a very risky proposition as it can lead to temporal disorientation. Especially as it does not require one to be in any physical proximity to The Schedule. Nikola Tesla attempted to extricate himself from The Schedule entanglement, which is the reason he could “talk to aliens” in his elder years.

Addendum B: Backward Causality

I told you so

Any attempt to look back upon or view the flow of Time from a future point will amplify and enhance the predictive and pre-deterministic nature of soon. The effect of this observance is to reveal the perfect accuracy of all predictions within the fabric of the Time Continuum. In short, the act of shipping code will cause the time line to become self-evident and clearly predictive of the exact moment in the future at which the release will happen when viewed from that future.