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 .