Out of Office user indicator

This may be better suited for a plugin but I have an instance where I’d like to have some form of an indicator on my username/avatar that tells users I’m out of the office. It would help set expectations on when to expect a response. There are cases when I see a new topic created and some frequent back and forth between the OP and others but then all of a sudden the OP disappears for a few days or a week. When they finally do post, they feel obligated to say “Sorry. I was out on vacation.”

This could also be helpful for solo developers who use Discourse who run support categories. It would help users see that they need to rethink expectations on a response.

So I’m asking about some form of “out of office” flag on the username that could be set via user preferences.


Nothing really exists, you would probably use a custom field on the user for that in the plugin, and ship it down with the user with the topic payload.

eg: https://github.com/discourse/folksy-store-name


You can sort of tell when someone is gone because of “last post” (visible on user card) and “seen” (visible on user page) stats.

If someone has not been seen for quite some time, you could mark their account either on the user card, or in their user name next to all their posts, but that’d be super noisy.

I’ve also seen some sites graph this as a sparkline next to each user showing their … I dunno, post rates over time or attendance rates. If the sparkline flatlines… you know they are not there without needing to be told that.

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Maybe what @joebuhlig is looking for is some sort of indicator that your office is open for business, or that office hours are open or closed.

But it seems to me that a solo entrepreneur could (and probably should) just put up a banner when they go on vacation or know they are not going to be near a computer and able to answer questions. Or they could recruit somebody from the community to field questions while they are away.

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Good point, @tobiaseigen. It never crossed my mind that there should be a bigger, more obvious indicator. Combine that with @codinghorror’s suggestion and I am probably fine. In the case of “support not available” situations, a banner topic would make a lot of sense.