Do you display the list of live forum users on your counterpart website?

Do you show the list of live users on your website, which is part of your community?

For example, you might run Discourse and WordPress. Then the question is regarding WordPress: do you show which users are live (online)? If you don’t, why not? If you do, then:

  • is it on the home page only, or some specific page?
  • is it static or live content? (live gets autoupdated every N seconds)
  • how many users do you display?
  • any screenshots?

Is it useful at all? Please elaborate.

I’ve never thought of doing it because never heard of anyone implement it.

Though this can be very useful in certain environments where the main website is able to display the number of online mods!

e.g. if some Company or Group (e.g. lineageOS) uses the community forum as a means of providing technical support, a number being displayed on their front page may be helpful for someone looking for urgent support regarding their device.

This also comes with negative impact for the person who is being displayed as online (people sending DM, tagging unnecessarily and misdirecting requests etc. ) hence, Instead of using the profile of the person, number of online users seems like a better idea.

But why Users? users may or may not be helpful as not everyone has the same set of skills and knowledge and that may prove dangerous sometimes.

Hence, This totally depends on the usecase of the community and how do they think they’d benefit out of it.

It is distracting. If I need presence information for a person, I’d use an instant chat solution. I try my best to not distract my site visitors, so they can get on with their day and hopefully leave my site and do something interesting AFK.

vBulletin used to do this (prob still does) with “x users currently online” at the bottom of the homepage. As a user I hated it, esp because my timezone often means that not many people are online. It felt like hanging out in an empty room.

I’m interested in your potential use case @meglio.

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I used to use it as Moderator to get an idea of whether or not I should be more on the lookout for problems. No other Staff logged in, Ruh roh George. Lots of Staff logged in, sigh of relief.

I do similar in Discourse except I check Admin -> Users -> Active

As a user, I opted out because I wanted to not get interrupted. As Staff, I was convinced that my presence should be discoverable in case a member needed my assistance, and opted in.

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Initially I wanted to explore whether such a WordPress plugin would be popular. Then I realised the topic is interesting per-se, so intentionally skipped talking about the plugin.

What I mean is something like this: Who's Online Plugin (discourse-whos-online), however, with more configuration and layouts, and embeddable in WordPress, e.g. via a widget or shortcode.

So, putting plugins aside, I was interested in the use-cases, whether anyone thinks it is useful at all.


I like the idea. This would be useful to show in admin panel: how many users are currently online by user group and by trust level.

Paired with other widgets to show stuff like the latest posts on Discourse it would be a great way to bring life to a WordPress site, and make the two feel like more of a cohesive whole. The existing wp plugin is great, but there are still a lot of gaps between the two.

The information is currently exposed.

For Staff, I recognize the accounts when I see them on the Admin page.

If you want to see everyone you can also go to a group page eg.

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Well, too many clicks to see an insights of who’s online. What is meant here is to have an insight in one place, in a single table, possible a widget in the admin dashboard.

I had this on my last work, and it was amazing!

Our main intranet portal already had a persistent connection with every visitor (server-sent events or web-sockets) and in-site notifications.

We integrated the site notifications with discourse notifications, effectively interleaving those in all intranet sites.

And on the homepage, we had a full heigth column, with last 10~20 posts in Discourse, with user avatar, name, topic title, and timestamp, that was updated in real-time.

This was before Discourse webhooks existed, so we used PostgreSQL triggers, today should be even easier to do something like this.