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Status Indicator





polly-gone
I have seen on a lot of forums a small little picture below each person's avatar to indicate whether or not that person is online. I think that this would be really handy to have if you would like to PM somebody with something time sensitive, etc. and you want to know if they are online.

This could probably be easily implemented using the same data that lists all of the people online at the bottom of the homepage. They might already even have a phpBB add-on for this.

-Nick Smile Smile Smile
ninjakannon
I don't think it's worth the extra bandwidth and loading time that would be required to download the image, or even the few bytes used just to get text, not to mention the time to implement. Not enough people would make positive use of the feature.

If you want to check whether someone is online then just take a look at the list on the homepage. Anyway, if you're going to PM somebody, just do it as soon as you can; if they're online they will probably reply very quickly, if not then you'd just have to wait.
polly-gone
Those issues are pretty much irrelevant! It could be a small, few byte image that utilizes CSS Sprites so that every person on the page would make use of the same image, just set differently using CSS, it would take MAYBE 30 minutes to implement and there wouldn't be much increase in bandwidths or loading time. The simple few lines of code to check whether or not someone is online would take less time to run than the code to retrieve everyone's email, website, aim, msn, Yahoo!, and ICQ usernames.

It would be a handy feature and those issues really aren't relevant with today's technology.

-Nick Smile Smile Smile
ninjakannon
My point is that despite the very small number of extra bytes and low implementation time it is still not worth it. Plus, it would just be page clutter.

Do you believe that even 10%, even 5% of the people on this forum would make use of this feature? You know that I don't; my reasons are simple: most members don't PM other users that often, replies are not expected instantly in almost every case where a reply is required, people don't care whether the users they are replying to / reading posts from are online, if I want to PM someone I may not even be on a page where they have posted. I might even be able to think of a few more reasons.

I feel this sounds really negative, I don't mean it to be! - I'm just not in support of your suggestion.
polly-gone
Actually it is worth it. Look at it this way. There isn't one right now, that's not doing any harm at all. If there is one, that's still not causing any harm but the 5% of people who want it will have it. There is only an upside.

And it wouldn't even be page clutter. I have seen it in many forms from something that says "Online" or "Offline" below the avatar, to a red dot below "Report this User" for offline, and a green dot for online. Most of the time, anyways peoples posts are longer than their avatar/points/information area so it would just be filling a small amount of negative space.

-Nick Smile Smile Smile
rvec
I think it's a good idea and not hard to make. Bondings could just use the "members online in the last 5 min" stuff and if the poster is in there show a green dot. No css needed, just a normal image.
polly-gone
Exactly rvec! It would be super simple, and everyone might find a use for it eventually if it is there to use!

-Nick Smile Smile Smile
SonLight
A good way to implement the "online" feature would be to change the color of the text on the PM button. I would suggest black for offline. It could be the same color as now when online, or maybe slightly brighter if a brighter color consistent with the theme could be chosen.

The choice between one of two images for the PM button would cost little, but still it would be repeated for each post in the thread. The online/offline indicator would be a little subtle, but easy enough to be used by anyone who had enough interest to learn about it. I would suggest having three images, so the feature could be turned off and that too would be clear.

There are some questions in my mind about the reliability of the feature. Usually the online indication is based upon interaction within the last five minutes, but that doesn't guarantee the user is still there. Even if the user is still there, I believe there is an option to enable or disable the popup window for the PM. If it's disabled, the message is likely to not be noticed until the next login.
ninjakannon
polly-gone wrote:
Most of the time, anyways peoples posts are longer than their avatar/points/information area so it would just be filling a small amount of negative space.

Ironically, the post in which you wrote that wasn't longer than the information you mention. A large proportion of posts fill less space vertically than the user information next to them.

I'm not against the concept of the feature but do, although I understand that you don't, still believe that adding new content to every post would be cluttering for little benefit. However, I admit that the cluttering would be small.

This said, SonLight came up with the brilliant idea of integrating this feature into existing content. SonLight mentions that this could be subtle and I wonder whether making the PM button the online/offline indicator would be too subtle. Perhaps instead a tasteful alteration of username colour with an alt tag "x is online" would do the trick?
Hogwarts
polly-gone wrote:
Exactly rvec! It would be super simple, and everyone might find a use for it eventually if it is there to use!

-Nick Smile Smile Smile


It doesn't matter how simple it is, you're being ignorant of the fact that even ideas which would take several seconds to implement aren't being implemented. You're also ignoring the fact that at the bottom of the forums, you can already see who's online and not! Whilst SonLight's idea utilizes existing clutter, it would end up looking rather fugly. If you did it otherwise, it would add to the clutter. There's a reason it's at the bottom of the forum index.. and not 20 times on each page.
deanhills
ninjakannon wrote:
I'm not against the concept of the feature but do, although I understand that you don't, still believe that adding new content to every post would be cluttering for little benefit. However, I admit that the cluttering would be small.

Totally agreed, if it is to add more clutter, then that would make things more unattractive, and why waste when we already have who is online at the bottom of the page. However, rvec made me think, since I consider him a technicological wise person. Also, if we could implement the suggestion of SonLight's of having our PM link being a different colour when we are online, maybe there won't be any additional clutter and it would actually make things look more attractive, like turning on the light in our little corner when we log into the forum? Think SonLight's is a really cool idea Cool Smile

For those who do not wish to have this, and want to remain anonymous, perhaps we can still have the option of turning off the "PM Link" from changing colours when we log into the forum.
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