Both valid points!
We've never had a way to tell who all is really coming in and NOT EVEN posting - this is a social experiment for just awhile and not meant to mess up any PMing to current online users. I just want to collect some data here and this is the only way I know how.
If we have 160 members log in every day, why then only do 10/15% post - I'm wondering if that is typical to forums and assume it is. But in the same respect, it is great to know 160 members are coming in daily, I sure didn't know.
We've caught as many as 59 people in that 20 minute online setting, but that never reflected a full days worth.
The busy dinner theory is true I imagine, I have never felt the forum a competition with any other forum, nor would want that, I do though think it interesting to see names of members who I can't think I've seen post before, and doing this and clicking on their name allows me to see how active they have been posting.
Hopefully, after a few more days of trial, I'll have a good average daily count and lower the number back - and remember Annette, even when it was set to 20 minutes, it didn't mean that the green-light people were actually still on, only that they had been the last 20 minutes. That's why the WHO'S ONLINE list generated can still be helpful, make sure it is sorted by DATE with the ARROW POINTING DOWN next to it, that show most resent online - you should not see a date, only a time if the sorting is listed proper, if you see a date too, then the list is showing who was on 24 hours ago and sooner in that order.
Hang in there. Not to take away from PMing members, but there are many other more INSTANT MESSAGING OPTIONS out there like AIM and others - coordinating people there (as in our voice chat) is a sure fired way to communicated fast and efficiently.
The worse case missing someone online is having them PM you next time they log back in - I understand "that" isn't the same as getting written right back, so I totally understand your point. I'll likely end this poll of active members at the end of the month, giving me about 10 days of data. Then things will be back to normal. I will likely reset the clock to 30 minutes (instead of 20) not a huge difference I think.