As a new WP user, I couldn't figure out why there was this very nice place to define the date format I prefer to use, but when I looked at my posts, there was a completely different format. The format would vary with the theme I was trying out, but none of them were what I had set. I finally figured it was because the themes were using the_time and a hard-coded format within the files. So I removed their hard-coding and changed instances of the_time to the_date and suddenly my date format appeared.
But wait! After my change I noticed that the date only showed up on one post per day. I don't normally add more than one post in a given day, but some time I might and I'm a strange person, I guess, who wants it to appear on all of the posts. Or maybe not so strange because it occurred to me that this was the reason the theme designers were using the_time instead of the_date.
I looked it up in the Codex and found that this is a feature and that designers are encouraged to hard-code the date into the_time function to work around this only-one-post-per-day-gets-the-date thing. That really surprised me.
Isn't there an easier way around this issue? Wouldn't it be a simple matter to include an option to "Show date on every post" on the page where the general options are set? Just a checkbox would do, with a value of 1 or 0, with 1 being "always show dates." Then there would just be a little alteration to the actual the_date function to check whether or not that option had been set.
Please let me know why this wouldn't work. I can't believe I'm the only person who ever thought of this, although I didn't find a similar suggestion when I did a search of the forum. Maybe there's something I didn't think of that would cause problems in the program if you implemented this.