We’ve been running our community with an online presence widget at the very top:
People demanded it big time and got happy once we introduced it.
We even tried switching it off and watching people’s reaction, and most of active users got disappointed and contacted our mods and asked to get the feature back.
We asked them - WHY?
It turns out, the main reason is the following: there is often a question that one wants to get answered by a particular expert, and intuitively they think it’s a good idea to ask the question when the expert is online.
Even I get questions time to time that say: oh, Anton, while you’re online, may you please look into ABC or XYZ.
I realize it might be specific to our culture of communication though. Yet I’m going to support this approach while it makes difference, and not going to teach people that it’s okay to ask while others are offline (not everyone is okay to get taught, so let them do it they way they want it).
Hope it helps someone considering the presence feature on their forum!
Now, if you’re showing “who’s online” on your website, may you share your experience, please:
- why did you introduce it
- does it make real difference
- how is it used by your community members