Hey Geek, lately i have been on howtogeek very actively. And i am wondering if possible if you can add a feature that lets us know if members are online. It will be very helful because we can consult help from the people that are online. THANKS
A MUST NEEDED FEATURE(20 posts)
I also think it's a good idea.
The usefulness of it must be why it's in most forum software.
Edit: It looks like there is a plugin to do it for bbPress.
Not sure how well it works though.
I'm not in love with this idea on a variety of fronts. My first thought is that questions are usually answered very quickly here anyway and knowing who's online will not expedite replies. Another thought is that many of us leave HTG open in a tab, so while we may appear 'available', that may not be the case. Finally, without a component to remain 'invisible' as in IM, some may be hassled.
The regulars here hang out, um, regularly. We're not hard to reach, as you already know.
The bbpress plugin is actually already installed, but only I can see it at this point.
There's a number of problems with enabling this plugin, the biggest one being whether or not you are shown online as scott mentions, but also that it doesn't work like a regular forum and show you something like "6 members and 123 guests are online".
The other problem is also what scott said.. just because it's showing me online doesn't mean I'm necessarily paying attention. That could give people the wrong idea if they are trying to get ahold of me, or you, or whoever.
Once I solve these problems I might enable it.
I had thought about that too, I just forgot to put it in my above post.
Maybe if the status indicator was user selectable and there was immediate post notification it would work better.
Like Yahoo Messenger type features. You could select Invisible, Away or Available and any new posts would popup in a new window when posted.
Even just a HTG Forums post notification program itself would be a good idea.
I don't like refreshing the page to find out or waiting 15 minutes for the RSS program to catch new posts.
Then if someone asked a really simple question I can answer it right away.
i just realized, a possible side effect of knowing who's online, posters might address their issues to specific people, like "@jd2006 i need help with..." or "@whs how do you...?"
@pipo: One idea I thought of for that case would be an online list that says something like "2 Windows Vista user(s) online, 1 Windows XP user(s) online" instead of "jd2066 and whs online".
Just so people have an idea of if their question could be answered soon. If it said "0 user(s) online" then people would know they need to wait longer for an answer.
now that i've said it out loud (typed it out loud, lol), i guess that means i can't do it, just kidding. ^_^
you have a point, i think that's probably better than seeing who's online.
does that work on all open tabs/pages or can you set it to just a specific tab/page?
The extension above is configurable on a per tab basis. In fact, in December it was the tool we used to refresh the Amazon page every 5 seconds to get a Wii ;)
The only downside is you have to reset your preferences every session, that's a bitch and why I rarely use it.
This may be an interesting discussion but I find it as useful as a hole in the knee. I can usually tell very well who is online by the questions and answers coming in. This together with the posting time (x minutes ago) tells me the story. I think the point Pipo made is very valid and next people will use proxies to disguise their presence. If anything at all, the headcount must be user controlled or a generic number. There are some other features, as we have discussed a while ago, that would be higher on my priority list.
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