Who’s Online: Users Currently Reading Topic

Can this plugin show list of topic online users? I do not mean just users who respond, I mean a list of all peoples who are currently reading the topic.


Yes, i’d love to have the online user feature on my topic pages too.

So that the widget also shows, how many people are actively reading this / replying on a specific topic in realtime?



When other people are replying, Discourse core already shows an indicator at the bottom of the topic and in the composer.



yes i know, but it only shows if others are replying, discourse core should also show that when others are just reading on those topics and not replying :slight_smile:

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I disagree. Space is very limited on mobile devices and showing who is currently reading a topic just clutters the page. Also, there are privacy concerns that could be raised here, in particular for European communities.


It would be though nice to have an indicator on the topic list for each topic on how many users are reading it like (147 reading) without specifying users, in my experience it is a very quick way to understand what are the “hot” topics in real-time.


Hi @nildarar – for what purposes would you use this feature? :thinking:

And how would you define “reading” a topic? For “view replying,” it is clear that anyone typing into a reply window is “replying,” but I’m not certain how you can operationally define “reading” effectively–although I certainly recognize that many apps and sites make the attempt. :wink:

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This was already mentioned in the past, but I feel this feature should be ACTIVATED again for people hiding their public profile. I don’t see what the privacy concern could really be here (except maybe track the time taken to compose an answer, but that’s probably not a big concern): If you post, people can obviously assume you composed that post just before (Ok, maybe it was earlier, there was a draft, etc. But usually, a post from you appears just after you’re writing, so IMHO showing you are composing isn’t a secret). I feel this to be useful in many instances, and that it’s unfortunate it may be unavailable for some users.

“Hide my public profile and presence features” could be renamed as “… presence statistics” in the preferences (some of which are showed in the user list, though, . But that has also already been raised in the past)

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Because space in mobile is limited, we should not ignore the features and we have to provide them to the users in different ways. For example, it is not possible to display navigation on mobile phones, but we don’t hide them. Today, a large percentage of users only work through mobile.

I have already reported an example of this problem:
:point_right: List of post replies in mobile theme

In our society, many people are friends with each other and when a topic is created, they want to make sure that their friends visit the topic. In many cases, they try to mention their friends.

In addition, it can be sweet for the OP, it is interesting to know how many people are reading the topic you created.

It also greatly solves the problem of displaying all online users on the site. For example, if we have 10000 people online, it is not possible to display all of them at the top of the site, but it is easier to display online people in each topic.

Why not solve this with the Follow Plugin?

With that plugin Users receive a notification if one of the people they are following posts a new Topic or replies to one. In addition there is an additional Discovery list called Following which lists the latest Topics people they are following have been involved in.


The features of this plugin are still very limited, and we are afraid that it will be too early to use it. Because adding new features creates new needs.

In recent years, messaging apps have raised the level of user expectations from online forums and the winner of this competition is certainly them. Because surely the majority of users compare features instead of comparing the type of system.

Today, users are heavily dependent on features like Delivery Report or Seen Report. In contrast to privacy features such as restricting these reports, the need for many users.

In our community, many users compare topics with groups in a messaging app like WhatsApp that was created for a specific subject. This is because young users do not have any background from online forums.

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Please explain that in more detail. What feature is missing that is critical for adoption?

I’d say it’s close to being feature complete. What else would you want to do with it?

You want Users to see when their friends are posting - get them to follow those people and it will tell them when they do with notifications. If they need to see a combined Latest feed restricted to all people they are following, that exists to.

You can set it up so people can see who is following who, or make that info private.

What’s missing?

If you were to spec this up now and ask for it to be built especially for your site, it would cost you $1,000’s, but here it is, open source, available for free!

The plugin has been in Production for over 1.5 years! It’s a Pavilion plugin so gets ongoing professional support. There are no known significant bugs and it is stable. When there are bugs, they get addressed in a reasonable time.


As I said, since everything is compared to messengers and social networks, users are constantly making a lot of requests.

The main reason we try not to use third-party plugins as much as possible is that they may lose support over time or have problems with core updates that take a while to resolve.

Overall this plugin is great and certainly one of the main plugins we will be using in the near future.

Seeing online users in the topic or viewing the message reader users the needs that make the system so much more lovable.

I can boldly say that Discourse is the largest community building system and it is not bad that it can meet the needs in different ways.


That’s why we created Pavilion around a set of core plugins, so we could provide more dependable and ongoing support. We check all our plugins just before the beginning of the month. If you stick to the discipline of only upgrading once a month at the beginning of the month, you will find fixes are already in or we are very quick to turn them around, especially for critical, breaking issues.

Yes, we can’t guarantee support every day of the month. If you want that you will need to pay someone. We are going to launch a paid product for whole month support at some point.

We are also working on an automated ‘early warning system’ to warn users about upgrading when using our plugins if we know there is a breaking change in latest.

In general, if your needs are more edge case than core Discourse provides, you need to turn to third party plugins. We are trying to develop the best model in that space.


Thanks @merefield,
Great, as I said, this plugin is part of our list of popular plugins and we will be using it soon. However, before installation, we must fully examine the social dimensions of using it.

One of the important uses of displaying online users in any topic is the good feeling that is conveyed to the users. With this feature, you will easily realize that you are not alone and several other people are reading this topic at the same time. Like online peoples in messenger groups …

After this, users also request more privacy settings. As time goes on, users will need more as they compare apps.

Telegram Messanger (Desktop) v:2.3.1


My 10 cents would be that wanting Discourse to be like a chat system is great, but Discourse appears to be focussed on more high latency, lower paced, more considered discussion, wouldn’t you agree?

That focus will definitely guide the feature set.

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Yeah, for a topic (and forum) attracting enough users.
It may also show the exact opposite: That almost nobody is viewing a topic, where you may have put some time and efforts into posts. Double edged sword. On top of that: Popular forums/topics don’t really need it. And those needing it are probably the ones where the information showed isn’t the “good” one (unless you start to rig what’s showing, of course).

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@nildarar, if they mention their friends correctly–via @ tagging–then their friends receive individual notifications directing them to the topic (as you should have received for this reply).

Additionally, if users have gained the right trust level, they can invite other users to topics.

Red = invite notice
Blue = by whom
Yellow = where (topic/post)
Purple = when

This is offered organically for every topic via the OP, once there has been a like or reply, by selecting the down arrow.

I agree with @Paracelsus that a count of “currently viewing” for each topic might be a nifty option.

:woman_shrugging: Otherwise, anything else that publicly specifies to other users what topics a specific user has viewed (because nothing guarantees read) just seems nosy at best and potentially exploitative at worst.

ETA: To be clear–just because User1 wants User2 to read their topic does not entitle User1 to any indication of whether User2 viewed the topic or not. Whatever is happening there might be more appropriate for a PM.


I agree with you, I think Discourse should go with a bigger perspective that is appropriate for a wide range of audiences. As I mentioned above, the next generation of users is growing up in the world of messengers. Ordinary people of that generation will have no interest in Internet forums and this type of system is not accepted for them. Except for certain groups such as software developers or … other users use the system in the form of chat.

Managers of Discourse Forums have to deal with this issue a lot, which in itself causes dissatisfaction among their users.

Yes I agree, sometimes it can have a negative effect. This can be customized with site settings for different forums depending on the size of the forum.

However, users are interested in seeing how popular their content is. For this reason, all social networks show some statistics to the content owner. Or messengers use Delivery Report and Seen Report depending on the type of use.

Thanks, this solves the problem of consecutive mentions.

Yes, it is :+1:


Well, you could have thresholds, like show if more than 20 users are reading/viewing a topic. This way it would only show those where something is “really going on”. We had this on our SMF forum for categories and I think it was very useful… when users came to our forum they would immediately see a lot of users concentrated on a certain category and realise that something was happening there.

I mean, even out-of-the-box discourse has a similar concept. The columns with the replies and views are also coloured differently to highlight more viewed/participated topics. Here it would almost be the same thing, but with a more “real-time” feeling (and more appealing and useful, in my opinion).