Interesting feedback, thanks for sharing.
I’ve thought about adding an option for users to opt-out, but haven’t got around to it yet. My concern with adding it is something that a few of your users mentioned. Essentially:
I don’t mind knowing about other people, but I don’t want other people to know I’m online
I think that’s a pretty natural reaction for people to have, but as soon as lots of people opt-out, the feature becomes entirely useless.
If I do add the ability to opt-out, it will be behind a site setting so that forum admins can make the decision for themselves. I don’t think I’ll get around to it any time soon, but #pr-welcome if any developers want to implement it