How does Webflow's automatically tracked Published Date for CMS items work?

There is some confusion regarding Webflow's automatically tracked Created, Modified, and Published dates. Following common logic, some of my clients assume that sorting items in the blog feed, for example, using the automatically created Published date is a good idea, but very soon they discover that it's not. Essentially, Webflow's internal published date does not reflect the date an item was first published; it reflects the most recent date it was published. In this case, let's say you updated your article (it can be a significant update or just spotted and removed a typo) once the article is pushed live; its published date is also updated. If the blog sorting relied on that date, the old article will be moved to the top.

Take a look at this screenshot to gain a better understanding.

Webflow CMS item view in a dashboard - screenshot

I created this article on September 29th, then I published it on October 10th. Later, on November 2nd, I noticed a typo and fixed it. However, I haven't published the article yet, so the status is "Staged Changes." Once I push it live, the publish date changes to the date when the article goes live.

It's not an oversight or a bug on Webflow's part. There is a reason for tracking changes like this. Perhaps the user interface could be improved to reduce confusion, but it is what it is. If my client wants to have full control over item sorting based on the date, I usually implement a custom date field for the collection and set up sorting based on it. This way, my client has automatically tracked data for internal tracking and a fully modifiable date field for sorting and display.