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Is there a way to identify whether users are online or not? Something like online offline status symbols used in a chat application for every user.

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+1: Like the idea, was totally considering posting this myself, no joke... –  RSolberg Jul 11 '09 at 6:34
    
Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2770/… –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 11 '09 at 10:50
    
the seen: field on the profile already does this –  Jeff Atwood Jul 11 '09 at 14:15
    
@jeff that is only visible one profile at a time though, correct? –  RSolberg Jul 12 '09 at 6:57
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What will you gain from knowing someone is online? There's no chat or any other interaction model (at least not now) –  marc_s Jul 12 '09 at 13:47
    
-1 I don't like this idea. It would create a stressful feeling. Just leave comment with the name, that is it. The user will get the pm anyway and if they really want to socialize more, then let them chat (but they do it on their own wish). –  user131971 Jan 8 '12 at 11:39

6 Answers 6

Is this materially different to the "Seen:" field on the profile?

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what rich said! –  Jeff Atwood Jul 11 '09 at 14:16

With no chat feature, online/offline status is useless?

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Technically yes :P Although it could help resolve some burning questions that some users may have, such as "Is he ignoring my comment or has he simply not seen it". –  Ian Elliott Jul 11 '09 at 7:58
    
Not true. Many forums tell you who was recently active (I requested a similar feature) which tells you when is a good time to get a quicker response to your question. If I see MrjQuery is online, he's likely answering jQuery questions. –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 11 '09 at 10:49
    
@[Jonathan Sampson]: you can see that on MrjQuery's user profile already. –  Steven A. Lowe Jul 13 '09 at 1:20

It would be a nice feature with the option to turn it on or off, similar to turning on or off facebook chat. For various reasons I prefer my online status not to be visible.

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SO.com is not a social networking site. There is no reason this feature would be beneficial on a programming Q&A site.

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I think this is an interesting idea, but would be concerned about the overall number of users on the site at any given time cluttering it up. Maybe a count would be sufficient with the ability to drill into that number to see the user names?

This could also tie in well with the idea of a friends list where an icon could be added next to their user name if online or something along those lines (think Office Communicator type of thing)...

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This is a nice idea. But do we want to see Stack Overflow act like a chatting site?

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