An Instant Messaging Option?

  1. I think it may be useful to have an instant message option for when helpers and helpees are on at the same time, mostly for when both are active on the same thread, maybe better than posting, waiting a minute then refreshing or something. You also don't get as many emails about new posts on active threads.
    There could just be a "Instant Message" option next to reply which would open up a popup window with a text field and all forum members in the conversation, similar to igoogle's google chat feature. Active members who have come to browse and help people on the same thread could have the "Instant Message" button replaced with a "Join Conversation" button which would add them into the conversation with an alert to all people in the conversation.
    If bandwidth becomes an issue, there could be a timeout between posts, but still a real time conversation with no need to refresh. There could also be a real time refreshing list of people who are currently writing a message on the thread you are currently viewing.
    Thanks for reading :).
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,049   +84 Staff Member

    The PM feature can basically serve that function as it stands, albeit not a true "real time" interaction. If that "real time" interaction is desired, the forum does at least provide a spot in the users profile to list their IM protocol handles.

    The major problem with an IM feature, though, I would guess is that those who are helping in the thread would lose track of what was occurring in the private discussions taking place in the IM. Things would quickly get very confusing and tangled.

    Not to mention that if an issue were ultimately resolved in the IM function, the solution would not be available to others who are searching for an answer to the same problem.
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 4,349   +122

    Good point, and it could get marginally messy if you put in all the messages, though you could still try and enforce a timeout between IM's so you could still control it to some degree...

    I still think at least the list of people currently writing a message is a easy simple implementation, and maybe an auto update when someone responds.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,336   +293

    interesting; this would take TS from a bulletin board system to a real time support system.

    for the benefit of future users, all such traffic would need to chronicled to the bottom of the existing thread when the last person in the 'IM chat' disengaged from the conversation.
  5. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,745

    Remember users can try to get real time support by visiting the IRC chatroom. Details are in my signature below!
  6. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Topic Starter Posts: 4,349   +122

    Ahh, very helpful :).
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,456   +288

    I was sure we had discussed this at least once in the past, but I couldn't find any links.

    But, IMO we don't need that feature because of the IM stuff you can put in your profile if you want and because of the IRC room.

    But I think if you come to the IRC room with a problem you haven't even attempted to solve yourself you aren't going to get much help. Most of us just hang out in there for fun rather than to solve problems. But if you have some issue and some ideas to what it could be, or what you've done trying to fix it then we are much more receptive to helping.
  8. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Actually I think real time support would be good too
    Some type of live messaging chat, that could be available at TechSpot forum
    I'm not speaking of IRC exactly, I am aware that we can have a live support program installed that can be totally private. Actually this area may not even be free :rolleyes: - I don't know, just an idea.
  9. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,049   +84 Staff Member

    Is the board actually supposed to be a tech support oriented place, though? Is it not just a place where enthusiasts can post/discuss things freely regarding technology?

    Somehow, most of the tech forums I've been to are swarmed with inexperienced users seeking assistance - but is that really the intent of the board? Should support be fully accommodated because that is how users interact with the board?

    ...Even more, would it really bring about any justifiable improvements to the community? As SNGX and others have said - the IRC exists, while it has a more casual atmosphere, it's there. And again, exchanging IM handles is fully supported.
  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    The only "justifiable improvement" on having this option (of which may never be an option, nor is it possibly likely to be in the near future, or ever)
    Is when users require immediate attention (as some post) and want a support fix whatever the cost (note TechSpot forums are free)

    It was just an idea, that I think I brought up once before.


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.