Right now there’s quite a bit of whitespace next to the scrubber bar.
I think a good addition to it would be to have the people replying, or reading a topic right there in more of a compact view.
I made this quick mockup right here:
This would be helpful as the only place to see who’s replying is the bottom.
If you’re against the feature let me know and I can try to defend it, I just think it would be helpful when browsing.
Mobiles can be problematic. Otherwise on bigger screens it is matter of taste — for me it would make that side… too crowded.
Maybe this could be a desktop only thing?
I don’t mind the idea of filling in the space. I think I’d be confused looking at two different areas to see who is typing depending whether I’m on desktop or mobile.
Do we need to know who is responding to a topic before we’ve finished reading it?
I think the current placement is ideal - while I’m catching up on posts I don’t need to see avatars appearing next to the scrubber. If I’m not up to date on the conversation why do I need to know about posts which have yet to appear?
If anything avatars popping up and going away while the topic continues below would probably serve as a distraction.
Personally, I think it would help me with knowing the incoming replies. I could be reading, for example a feedback thread that I made and I would like personally to have the incoming replies known at all times.
It could be a site setting or option in your user preferences because I agree that it’s not for everybody, but some people could benefit from it.