No "Members Online Now" block but how about a Green Dot?


(Holden) #1

I’m so glad Discourse doesn’t have the option to show a “members online” block - I’ve always thought they’re terribly ugly and cheesy and I’ve wondered if anyone ever users them.

But how about adding a little indicator next to a person’s avatar, card and profile page that displays if they’re online?


(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #2

This would be a good read:


(Holden) #3

Thanks for that @Falco - indeed, that was a good read.

This is more what I’m talking about:


"You can see who is online (indicated by the green dot by their name)"

I’ve noticed lots of other of other forums have this feature now (xenforo, muut, etc.). But of course that’s not to say Discourse should do the same. However, this green dot is unobtrusive and seems to have become a universally accepted and understood UI element.

From what I’ve read, @sam might be making Babble an official plugin, so I think something like a simple, green, pulsing dot might be useful to have.


(Rod James) #4

The only person that uses the online users info is a scared forum admin.


(Holden) #5

I don’t agree with that. Friends, colleagues, etc check to see…


(Rod James) #6

I respect you disagree with my opinion. However, I do believe that it is not a useful tool, when you’re already publishing presence in your life elsewhere.

It also creates a hell of a burden on the servers, polling all your online clients every N seconds and publishing that to the database, then polling it for every page load for every user. It’s almost as bad as instant messaging.


(Jeff Atwood) #7

Well to be fair we do have all this data already because of our message bus.


(Tom Newsom) #8

If I see that a user is online, I am more likely to respond to their posts (regardless of how old those posts are)

“Oh, they online. I’ll reply now and they’ll get a ping, and we can go back and forth”

as opposed to

“Eh, I’ll reply later”


(Sam Saffron) #9

I am very open to this type of feature in a pm like scenario, especially for support style pms

  • Bob emails support
  • PM created on discourse targeting N users
  • Bill can see Bob is online and starts typing a reply
  • Joan looks at the support ticket, she does nothing cause Bob is typing

I am a lot less eager to add this stuff for general forum use, I feel it can be very intrusive


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(Holden) #10

Yeah @Tom_Newsom I’m sure there are lots of use-cases like the one you mentioned where this might be a nice feature to have. Again, it’s just a little green dot, it’s unobtrusive and IMO it adds a little more modern flair (but Discourse already has that in spades).


(Sam Saffron) #11

It’s not about the UX pollution, it’s about the intrusiveness, why is it your business that I am online?


(Holden) #12

For sure, I see your point @sam. I guess I’m just so used to it that it doesn’t bother me at all.


(Tom Newsom) #13

Of course, other forum software with this feature allows you to opt out and always appear offline.


(Sam Saffron) #14

I get that, but there is an added pressure to turn it on from a community that uses it. And the question of defaults.

I get that some communities may find it useful, for an internal discourse instance at a workplace it may be very desirable


(Mittineague) #15

Many years ago I became annoyed that my hotmail account let it be known when I was logged in.
I would be busy trying to catch up a bit on my emails during the few minutes I had before I needed to leave for my job.

At times a pop-up would appear from a friend that didn’t have a pressing engagement wanting to idly chat.

I had the choice to ignore and risk offending the friend or abandoning my intended goal.

Anyway, years later when I joined the SitePoint forums, one of the first things I did was to hide my online status so as to not be interrupted.

Later, when I became Staff, my Team Leader pointed out that I should consider making myself visible so that members could contact me via PM if they had an urgent problem that I might be able to help with.

I can’t speak for others, but as non-Staff if I want to chat I’ll chat.
If I’m busy reading or putting together a post, I want to not get interrupted.
Selfish perhaps, but I’m not always up to, nor in the mood, for multi-tasking
Different story as Staff though


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #16

I fully agree with keeping “X Members Online Now” and other walls of stats off of Discourse, however as staff I would very much like to see online vs offline for users, and maybe even if someone is typing. I cannot even begin to count how often the moderators ninja post each other, and many times don’t see the previous post until after they submit. I feel like adding some type of UI indicator for staff only would be very helpful, both in PMs and regular topics.


(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #17

That’s why I would much rather see it as a plugin. It raises the barrier to entry just enough that admins will do a second take and consider “will this improve my community?” as opposed to “well it’s there already, might as well enable it”.

[quote=“jomaxro, post:16, topic:36329”]
I feel like adding some type of UI indicator for staff only would be very helpful, both in PMs and regular topics.
[/quote]Being able to limit your public online-status by Trust Level or Group would indeed be a very handy feature.


(Alessio Fattorini) #18

Sorry but I can’t get de difference, if I can see the presence by PM I’m doing your business yet :wink:
See the same on general doesn’t make any difference


(Wes Osborn) #19

We run into this problem often too. I’ve wondered if there could be some sort of a shared drafts options for staff to help reduce the overlapping posts problem.