Apr 26, 2011 2:07pm

The OkC website seems to have an odd way of detecting whether a user is online.  Users that I typically use IM with will log off for the night, and I noticed that, consistently, it will show "Online now" and "IM disabled" for hours after I know they've signed off.  And in some of those cases, my favorites list doesn't even detect that they're online.

I know this isn't that big a deal, but is it really that hard a thing to implement?  I mean, they're signed in or they're not... there shouldn't be an "in-between," so what's with this signed-in/signed-off limbo?  Anyone else ever notice this?












Apr 27, 2011 8:52am

OkCupid has never had a "realtime indicator" of logged-in state, at least partly for technical reasons.

When you have 4 million active users and oftentimes 70,000 logged in at the same time, it's not a trivial exercise to continuously update the status visually on every single web session.

Also, when so many people are on flaky/unreliable internet connections (increasingly, unreliable wireless connections) immediately showing someone "offline" just because their link went dead for 30 seconds is not a very good idea.

Lastly, the fact that someone shows up as logged-in at all (even when they are not IM'able) is actually a very new thing here - so people are making a big deal about it because a lot of people are showing 'logged-in' that in the past wouldn't.

It can take up to 30-60 minutes for the status of a user who has logged-off to change in the favorites list. If they are using either the Firefox toolbar or one of the smartphone apps, they can appear to be logged in even when they're not because those tools/apps keep a continuous connection to the website, and some people either don't close their browser entirely, or some smartphones keep the app running even though the user isn't using it, making it appear as if they are continuously online.



Apr 27, 2011 9:04pm

I've recently discovered that it takes 4 hours for a profile to drop offline after the user stops visiting. Signing out might be faster.


Apr 28, 2011 3:40am

Yea, they definitely can do better.  A 4 hour window is significant.  Cutting it in half would help, but I honestly think it is to inflate the numbers.  I notice that when I do a search for people actively only with IM it is far less then the claimed numbers.  I mean if we logged in and only saw 4 people online near us we would be less likely to try to message them.  I imagine that that is why the wait time is so long.


Apr 28, 2011 8:02am

I agree that the "timeout period" seems to have increased over the last 6 months or so, but as I mentioned above that could be partly due to the smartphone apps.

One of the issues I've run into is this architectural thing with the Android OS which apparently doesn't believe in having explicit "close this application" buttons, preferring to let the OS decide which apps to kill after there are too many running unused.

For example, shortly after a friend bought one of the original Droids, we discovered that after we had configured Gtalk on there, if she wasn't careful, even if she wasn't using the IM app, she would show up as continuously logged-into Gtalk (for days) if we didn't use a 3rd-party app-killer to completely kill the app when she wasn't using it. There was no native way to do that without the 3rd-party tool.

(Edit: Also, don't forget that you wouldn't even see a favorite's status as "online" if they weren't IM'able, up until about a couple of months ago. I've had IM turned off here for many months now (either/both of the internal "off" button or killing the script entirely) which always had the side-effect of basically never showing me logged-in in the favorites list. Now I will show as logged-in whenever I'm actually logged-in, which is a  recent change to the site architecture. Ergo, lots more people complaining about the logout timeout period these days.)


May 4, 2011 12:18am

I've experienced IM turned away right here for quite a few weeks now (either/both belonging to the inside "off" key or killing the script entirely) which generally experienced the side-effect of essentially certainly not displaying me logged-in from the favorites list.


Pearl Ring

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