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A lot of times I find myself doing some work very late at night (eg, when most users are not) - so if I ask a question about a particular topic, it might only hear crickets unless I bump it the next day (which sucks).

What I'm proposing is that, after a certain reputation (say, 1000), you can see approximately how many people are online that are interested in your "Interesting Tags" list. So, if I have a question about something obscure, I wouldn't have to just shoot it into the dark; I could ask it more strategically so it's more likely to get exposure, get people talking, and get everyone's questions answered.

The reputation requirement would be mostly to avoid discouraging new or unestablished users from posting; users who frequent the site/have a high rep are certainly going to ask the question later - others may just not come back.

Any thoughts/amendments are welcome.

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Great feature request! How would you know who is "on" though? SE does not enforce logging off, therefore, I could log on, not log off and then be visible in a week, because I didn't log off. I suggest that the number of people (interested in your tags or answered etc) who have logged on in the last 15-45 minutes be shown. –  Moshe Nov 29 '10 at 17:04
    
Either by logging in or by recent actions, I suppose... though the former would likely be a lot simpler. Either way, I think the numbers are still very useful. –  mway Dec 2 '10 at 23:59

3 Answers 3

This is a nice-to-have kind of feature, just like most Stack Overflow user statistics. I don't really see what it would change, though. Interesting, but not very useful.

If implemented, I would rather see the people who have answered question in a particular tag at least once, not people who have marked the tag as interesting. The latter group could contain people who have never answered questions in the tag. So that statistic would be misleading, if the goal is to see how many there are online that could potentially answer your question.

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A good point - that would be much better. –  mway Oct 30 '10 at 17:08
    
I would say that you should see a few different numbers. How many people are on in general, how many people are on that have interest in your tags, and how many people are on that have answered your question in the past. –  Moshe Nov 29 '10 at 17:01

I'm in favor of this feature request.

Just note that user's don't need to see which users are on, just how many. (Although that can be a 20K rep privelege.)

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If you want to see who is online right now in a particular tag (room), why not just go to http://chat.stackoverflow.com ?

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How is the number of chat users on a channel representable for all users that have particular SO-tag marked as interesting? With this logic, the StackOverflow chat would have close to, or just as many users as StackOverflow itself. Not everyone knows about the chat yet, and many are not really interested in it either. –  Mads Elvheim Oct 30 '10 at 16:27
    
SO chatrooms are not the same as asking a question - I would probably not use the rooms for asking anything. –  mway Oct 30 '10 at 17:07
    
@mads similarly, I am not really interested in this feature request.. So that is intentional –  Jeff Atwood Oct 30 '10 at 19:23
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People on chat are not necessarily on SO itself, answering questions. –  Moshe Nov 29 '10 at 16:56
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Tags don't always have chat rooms, and people need to log on to that chat room to be visible. This feature would need to count the last log on because SO doesn't enforce logging off. –  Moshe Nov 29 '10 at 17:03

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