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Why do members "hide" their online status?





deanhills
I'm curious. Although I can understand staff wanting to "hide" that they are online, why would members want to "hide" their online status? This is not criticism, more like curiosity and trying to figure out the motive for wanting to use this feature.
SonLight
Maybe it's a bit paranoid, but when I saw (as I did just now) "two registered users, Deanhills and SonLight" online, I automatically think 1) Is he stalking me? and 2) Am I stalking him? It's just sort of a reflex, knowing there are situations where you worry about certain bad guys identifying you, and that what appears to be temporary can often become permanent on the web.

A big annoyance of mine is when I look for a product, and that product then follows me onto many ads following. Although I do think about hiding my online status occasionally, I feel it would be somewhat antisocial and also unnecessary here. I might feel differently in some security-related forums.

Welcome back (home) to the forums, and thanks for sharing some info about why Frihost's nameservers have been unreachable recently.
deanhills
SonLight wrote:
A big annoyance of mine is when I look for a product, and that product then follows me onto many ads following. Although I do think about hiding my online status occasionally, I feel it would be somewhat antisocial and also unnecessary here. I might feel differently in some security-related forums.
Mine too. Particularly when I've written an e-mail about a new trip I'm planning and next thing all of a sudden I get all of these ads appearing about the destination. Including spam. I'm beginning to think I should look at paid e-mail software so I can get away from the commercial ones, as they are getting more expensive by the day in terms of invasion of my personal space. And maybe paid browsers as well.

But OK, think I can understand the stalking thing. Makes sense.
rx9876
I think there is nothing can be hide now a day.
The banks (or others) leak our information to the people paid little money.
The sales calls our phone or knocks on our doors and try to sale their products.
The fraud gang using those information to target their victims.

Just be careful not to fall into their trap.
deanhills
rx9876 wrote:
I think there is nothing can be hide now a day.
TRUE, exactly how I feel, until a BIG plane of Malaysia Airlines completely disappears in thin air. Actually nice to know that the world can still be a bigger place than we think it is. Razz

Anyway, maybe what the vanishing plane demonstrates to me is that if you disconnect electronically, as well as block any electronics from registering you on their radar screens, you may stand a chance of a little bit of privacy, which of course means you have to be paid in cash, and keep your money under your mattress. No more Frihost and Internet. No electricity. Razz
rx9876
deanhills wrote:
rx9876 wrote:
I think there is nothing can be hide now a day.
TRUE, exactly how I feel, until a BIG plane of Malaysia Airlines completely disappears in thin air. Actually nice to know that the world can still be a bigger place than we think it is. Razz

Anyway, maybe what the vanishing plane demonstrates to me is that if you disconnect electronically, as well as block any electronics from registering you on their radar screens, you may stand a chance of a little bit of privacy, which of course means you have to be paid in cash, and keep your money under your mattress. No more Frihost and Internet. No electricity. Razz


Malaysia Airlines...
Very humor.

There are so many street surveillance covering whole the city.
Carrying mobile phone exposed people's location too.

If people wants privacy, they might need to live in wilds or mountains.
However, the inconvenience might not acceptable.
Gregoric
I do not understand it either. The only forum that I use being offline is a board where I was appointed as a moderator, and thus I do not want people seeing me online to PM me. But well, if one wants to browse the forum not being listed as online, that's his/her decision.

Anyways, isn't it like the moderators can see who is hidden?
deanhills
Gregoric wrote:

Anyways, isn't it like the moderators can see who is hidden?
Yes they can. The hidden ones usually appear with asterisks. Bondings at one stage, and I think Mathiaus too were the only ones to hide their online status. So if I saw "two hidden" it was nice to think of the two on board working in the background. Nowadays it is mostly members who are hidden, and easy to figure out who they are, when they are posting as well.
TurtleShell
This isn't the same, exactly, but I hide my online status on those social networking things like facebook and google because I don't want to chat with people. Ever. I don't have time for that crap!
william
I've been hidden ever since I made my account here. I don't quite recall why, I think it was just because I was given the option and thought, "why not?". Admittedly, there aren't too many reasons to be hidden on Frihost (except to keep people guessing and to hone your clandestine persona Twisted Evil ), particularly because it only displays whether or not you're online, not which thread you're in. On other forums, I do hide simply because I don't want to broadcast what I'm reading to everyone. Sure, admins and mods can see it, and that's fine by me. But I've seen that feature abused by trolls who randomly attack and judge based on whatever thread a member is reading. They're warned, of course, and I've never been targeted, but there are numerous benefits to not broadcast what you're doing. Also, on some larger forums, there is also the issue that if you're online, people start sending messages directly to you. Hasn't happened to me in a while, but if you're a highly contributing member on a large forum, it does happen. It wouldn't be too big of a deal if they didn't expect immediate responses, but alas.

Also, I have used the feature on Frihost a fair bit back in the early years to be able to immediately respond to a thread when the original poster was online. The prime example was the old Daily Guess a Number Game. There was a small prize (I think it was 10 Frih$) for being the first one to guess. I and a couple others were subscribed to the thread, so we would be notified whenever there's a new post. So, it would be a race, and when MSN received the email faster than Gmail, I could lose by seconds. Thus, by opening up the forum minutes before the day ends, waiting for the original poster to get online, I could see the response before the email arrives and claim the prize. Razz Were he hidden, I wouldn't have had that advantage. Yeah...I think I had too much time back then.
deanhills
william wrote:
On other forums, I do hide simply because I don't want to broadcast what I'm reading to everyone. Sure, admins and mods can see it, and that's fine by me.
I do that too from time to time. But I then just don't log in at all - probably called "lurking" in my case. Except if I see something I'd like to respond to, I just log in when needed. And then end up staying logged in. I rarely do that at Frihost though.

william wrote:
Also, on some larger forums, there is also the issue that if you're online, people start sending messages directly to you. Hasn't happened to me in a while, but if you're a highly contributing member on a large forum, it does happen. It wouldn't be too big of a deal if they didn't expect immediate responses, but alas.
I've had that happening to me at Frihost quite regularly. Particularly because I'm a volume poster and passionate about issues as well. I don't mind that though. And one doesn't really have to respond to those inquiries if one doesn't want to. I follow Bondings' example in this. Razz He used to encourage people to PM him by asking them to remind him of things that need to be done, but probably only responded to those that really needed to be responded to, if and when he had time to do so.
william
deanhills wrote:
I do that too from time to time. But I then just don't log in at all - probably called "lurking" in my case. Except if I see something I'd like to respond to, I just log in when needed. And then end up staying logged in. I rarely do that at Frihost though.


The problem with not being logged in is that I don't have access to features like subscriptions, voting, repping, etc. I could log in every time, but that's just an extra step. With that said, I don't have an account on half the forums I lurk, so there's that. I'll usually make an account if I need to ask/answer a question or, more often, to open an attachment. In the case of Frihost, I really dislike how the forums look when you're not logged in. Not to mention that long threads aren't split into pages (I crashed a web browser once when I opened that "What song are you listening to" thread). So, I'm rarely not logged in unless I had recently deleted cookies.

deanhills wrote:
I've had that happening to me at Frihost quite regularly. Particularly because I'm a volume poster and passionate about issues as well. I don't mind that though. And one doesn't really have to respond to those inquiries if one doesn't want to. I follow Bondings' example in this. Razz He used to encourage people to PM him by asking them to remind him of things that need to be done, but is of course very selective about responding to them.


Fair point, but let's just say that most of the people I interact with here are more, um, polite than the forums where users are ready to snipe when you're online (read: gaming forums). Razz It's worse when they're not just asking a question but rather requesting (well, more like demanding) a free game or coupon, or something along those lines. Let's just say it's a good thing there's usually an ignore feature. I also remember, years ago, when I was an admin on a small RPG forum, I'd get users demanding to become moderators whenever I was online. If I didn't agree...um...they used "language" that would look like "**** **** ****" on Frihost. Bans were handed out. I guess what I'm trying to say is...gaming forums generally aren't very pleasant. Confused
deanhills
william wrote:
In the case of Frihost, I really dislike how the forums look when you're not logged in. Not to mention that long threads aren't split into pages (I crashed a web browser once when I opened that "What song are you listening to" thread). So, I'm rarely not logged in unless I had recently deleted cookies.
You're right about this. That is definitely one of my reasons too. When one isn't logged in Frihost looks like a decapitated rooster. Razz

deanhills wrote:
Fair point, but let's just say that most of the people I interact with here are more, um, polite than the forums where users are ready to snipe when you're online (read: gaming forums). Razz It's worse when they're not just asking a question but rather requesting (well, more like demanding) a free game or coupon, or something along those lines. Let's just say it's a good thing there's usually an ignore feature. I also remember, years ago, when I was an admin on a small RPG forum, I'd get users demanding to become moderators whenever I was online. If I didn't agree...um...they used "language" that would look like "**** **** ****" on Frihost. Bans were handed out. I guess what I'm trying to say is...gaming forums generally aren't very pleasant. Confused
OK, now that makes sense. I've got no experience really with gaming forums, but have heard it can get pretty tense. People get banned all of the time, but at the same time unbanned all of the time too.

Hilarious about people demanding to be Mods. If they wanted to be Mods that is probably just the way not to do it. Razz
Peterssidan
Maybe people visit Frihost from their workplace and don't want their employer to find out. Wink

I have considered hiding my status at times to avoid that people think I'm visiting too often but I never bothered enough. I visit quite frequently to look if there are any new posts. Ctrl+L, F, R, Down key, Enter and there it is. After being a member for so long I do it without thinking. It's a habit.
deanhills
Peterssidan wrote:
After being a member for so long I do it without thinking. It's a habit.
Exactly the same with me. I've always got a Frihost Window open, 24 hours. Almost habit to log in and log out ever so often. Right now I want to make as many posts as I can, but looks as though it has become quiet again.
william
deanhills wrote:
OK, now that makes sense. I've got no experience really with gaming forums, but have heard it can get pretty tense. People get banned all of the time, but at the same time unbanned all of the time too.

Hilarious about people demanding to be Mods. If they wanted to be Mods that is probably just the way not to do it. Razz


Yeah, I always found it hard to understand how people with a common interest could be so hostile and impolite to each other. My only assumption is that the trolls are online and the gamers are actually playing the games. Razz Car forums have this problem, too, but to a much lesser extent.

As for demanding to be mods...yeah, I think they thought they could do a better job than us when they were the ones making a mess in the forum. With that said, the most belligerent one was likely a tween, so I'm almost willing to forgive that. Wink

Peterssidan wrote:
Ctrl+L, F, R, Down key, Enter and there it is. After being a member for so long I do it without thinking. It's a habit.


I'm with you there. Razz Except, mine is a little shorter at Ctrl+T, F, Enter. The weird thing is that before stepping away from my computer, I always wonder if I've forgotten to do something. So while thinking about it, I naturally, without thinking, hit those sequence of keys for Frihost, as well as similar sequences for other sites.
johans
deanhills wrote:
I'm curious. Although I can understand staff wanting to "hide" that they are online, why would members want to "hide" their online status? This is not criticism, more like curiosity and trying to figure out the motive for wanting to use this feature.


perhaps they dont like the icon online. lol

Well, its there choice. In my opinion they dont like to be bothered and pressured to reply to there friends here in frihost.

I guess it more use on friends to friends the status online. Rolling Eyes
sysna
Maybe someone has received a private message and doesn't want to answer it Very Happy so he has to hide his online status if he doesn't want the sender to know that he has seen the message and didn't reply.
grofet
Some people have not much time on internet and do not want to get message from other people. Some people also want to stay away from other people in the internet for some reasons. Some people use the hidden feature just for fun to browse as invincible user. I think it's normal for people to hide their online status. If the most of people on the internet never use the hide online status feature i think the feature would be never exist in many application on the internet.
deanhills
grofet wrote:
If the most of people on the internet never use the hide online status feature i think the feature would be never exist in many application on the internet.
That is true and logical. I'm not criticizing it, I'm just curious as to the reasons why people choose to hide their online status. From the discussions including your own there seem to be some good reasons for it.
Peterssidan
sysna wrote:
Maybe someone has received a private message and doesn't want to answer it Very Happy so he has to hide his online status if he doesn't want the sender to know that he has seen the message and didn't reply.

It's very easy to see if a message has been read. The message will stay in the Outbox until the receiver has read it and after that it's moved to the Sentbox.
jamesparker
It varies from person to person, some time people are busy that is why they avoid being online, may b they are talking to some important person that is why they do not want to show their online status , as i said already that it totally depends.
Josso
Gregoric wrote:
The only forum that I use being offline is a board where I was appointed as a moderator, and thus I do not want people seeing me online to PM me. But well, if one wants to browse the forum not being listed as online, that's his/her decision.

Anyways, isn't it like the moderators can see who is hidden?


Yeah phpBB it'll come up as italics and vB it'll be a *

I do it with moderator accounts as well but it's mainly because I don't want someone exploiting a brief gap where there isn't even 1 moderator around. When a few people do it, you never know if it's a mod or not. 101 guerrilla mod tips by Josso™
sysna
Peterssidan wrote:

It's very easy to see if a message has been read. The message will stay in the Outbox until the receiver has read it and after that it's moved to the Sentbox.


If you get online but do not open the message the sender thinks you have done it on purpose, but if you hide your online status and get online then the sender thinks you haven't read it because you didn't get online.
Peterssidan
sysna wrote:
Peterssidan wrote:

It's very easy to see if a message has been read. The message will stay in the Outbox until the receiver has read it and after that it's moved to the Sentbox.

If you get online but do not open the message the sender thinks you have done it on purpose, but if you hide your online status and get online then the sender thinks you haven't read it because you didn't get online.

Well, that's a good point I guess. The online information isn't really that necessary to be honest. A forum could do just as well without it.
HJDSK
Seeing when people are online isn't necessary, at all. I do not hide my status BUT I can understand why people do. It is an extra layer of privacy for people who care about this stuff.
mathiaus
deanhills wrote:
Bondings at one stage, and I think Mathiaus too were the only ones to hide their online status.

I only hid my status during a one month period when we had a trouble poster that liked to PM me more than I liked. When he got banned I became visible again. I liked everyone to see that the staff were around and encourage them to behave Wink


deanhills wrote:
So if I saw "two hidden" it was nice to think of the two on board working in the background. Nowadays it is mostly members who are hidden, and easy to figure out who they are, when they are posting as well.

I didn't realise you were so sentimental Laughing
Nice though...


In answer to the OP, I think the main reason is to hide from people!
deanhills
mathiaus wrote:

I didn't realise you were so sentimental Laughing
I am. I've got a soft spot for anything to do with Frihost. Was doubly happy to see you posting tonight as I could visualize happy members with hosting space. Very Happy
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