Group chat: members-in-attendance list

I administer a private group for a go club which has monthly online meetings (as well as weekly otb meetings). One of the group members has not participated for some months, yet his name was persistently showing in the list of those attending group chat, despite the fact that he insists he did not have the group chat page open.

In order to clear this problem, I temporarily kicked him from the group, expecting that would definitely clear his name from the list. However, immediately after I kicked him, I checked the group chat and his user name was still showing as in attendance. Furthermore, he then reported that he was still able to visit the group chat. Thereafter, I checked the group chat page and he was no longer shown as in attendance and, upon further enquiry, he found that although he had visited the group chat once after being kicked, having left the page, he could no longer return.

What I would like to know is:

  1. What triggers a user name to appear in the list as in attendance
  2. What causes that user name to be removed from the list
  3. How is it possible for a user name to persist in the ‘in-attendance’ list when they do not in fact have the group chat page open?

With respect to point 2, the user in question suggests that “when you are in attendance in a group and then start playing a game inside or outside the group it holds your place as it were in the group so you can drop back to the group quickly when you finish the game”. Is this right?

When we are having online meetings, I usually keep the chat page open in one tab and play my games in another, so I would expect to continue to be shown as in attendance at the chat anyway, since it is still open in my browser.

Edit: added another small piece of information to the description of what happened after I kicked the user.


It would probably be more accurate to say that I visited another group page rather than I left the group. I believe that it keeps the group page open to that user if it was the last group he visited and he is still online (please insert “she” etc if appropriate).

I have OGS running in a tab on my browser all the time as I play correspondence games mostly at the moment.

I believe that the answers to the questions are:

  1. If the group in question is the last group he visited and he is currently online (even with an open tab in the browser).
  2. When the user is removed and he either goes offline or visits another group.
  3. Because it keeps the group chat page open if it was the last group page visited before going onto a different page other than another group chat page.

I don’t really see that to be a fault in OGS - it is rare for people to be removed from a group, especially when they have done nothing to cause offence. Possibly it is rare for people to stay logged-in with OGS in a browser tab for long periods. Perhaps loss of keyboard focus could be detected differently but this would be hard to get right for the most number of people.

It seems a little drastic to remove me without any reason other than the slight irritation of my being marked in attendance which could easily be resolved if members were asked to visit another group chat after leaving the group chat if they wanted to remain online something which hasn’t been asked before.

The new physical location of the club is a problem to me. I tried going once but I was unable to get a game before it was time to set off home. I had agreed to take part in a weekly Bridge match which is on the same evening. Although that is mostly irrelevant, I didn’t want to leave the group as my Bridge partner is spending some weeks in the USA in a couple of months. Neither do I see why correspondence games can’t be agreed in the group so I cease to be “inactive”.



Thank you for identifying yourself. I was trying to get information from someone on the inside, rather than your own speculation about the matter, which would probably have best formed part of our ongoing private conversation. Those parts of your post which have nothing whatsoever to do with the functionality of OGS, such as your status within the club, certainly have no place here and you should address your concerns to the Club directly.

For the record, since you have raised the matter publicly, I can advise you that having failed to get any response from the mods about this issue, I kicked you from the online group temporarily in order to (successfully) solve the problem of your persistently being registered as present in the group when, to the best of my knowledge, you haven’t participated in online activities with us since May last year. That’s your prerogative, of course. There’s no compulsion to attend. However, since you have told me there is something else you prefer to do on club night, I don’t see why it’s a problem not to be in the online group. As I told you, when you are ready to join in again, just ask and I will invite you back.

Edit: sp. prerogative

Further to my original query, although I succeeded in getting JohnCollins removed from the list of those in attendance by drastic means, that is not the end of the problem, since his place has now been taken by another group member who had not apparently visited the group chat. I contacted him and it seems that his user name remains ‘in attendance’ whatever he does, so it would appear there must be a bug whereby the system feels obliged to have at least one member of the group showing as present at all times.

I don’t think the list is supposed to show which people are actively watching the chat, but rather people who are currently online and are “subscribed” to the chat, in the sense that they receive notifications if new chat is posted.

For the public chat channels that are not connected to a group, this lists any person who has the chat interface opened and for whom the chat shows up in the side menu. For example, with this test account I have opened the English and Off Topic public chats, thus my account shows up in the list whenever I have chat opened, and disappears as soon as I start doing something else on OGS (although the name stays in the list if the chat interface is open in another tab or in the background, so it isn’t related to keyboard focus or something like that):

As you can see, the chat name colours blue and has a little number next to it when there are new messages:


For group chat channels the lists works slightly different, since people usually receive notifications (in the top right) whenever new chat is added, assuming they have not set the group channel on ignore:


As a result, users are counted as “present in chat” whenever they are online on OGS, even if they don’t have the chat window open or are not on the group page. Basically, the list shows all users that are online on OGS and are members of the group. The only way to leave the channel, is to either go offline or to leave the group.

Perhaps this is not the most intuitive way to organise the list of users in chat.

I could imagine the situation could be improved with some icons next to usernames with three different colours to make a better distinction between users that are (1) online but not actively watching any chat channel (2) having a chat channel open in the background, or being focused on a different channel and (3) actually being present either on the chat channel or on the group page.

In any case, I don’t believe there is any bug going on here, and that the list functions as it was intended. I suggest you just simply ignore people who show up in the list while not reading the chat. It’s hardly an inconvenience after all. Perhaps you could check attendance it the manual way, and ask everyone to say hi before you start the meeting.


I haven’t fully experimented with this but I think it works?

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When I tested it, those settings prevent you from receiving notifications, but you will still be listed.


It feels like that’s probably either a bug, or it’s mislabelling the red button then :slight_smile:

More like “turn your back on the chat” or “close the chat” than leave channel :slight_smile:

Thank you for your full explanation. I would have to study it further before saying that something should work differently.

These sound like good suggestions on the face of it.

Anyway, I have understood enough, I think, to know why JohnCollins’ name was always showing in attendance when he hadn’t in fact participated for a long time. Nevertheless, the way he uses OGS would cause his name to show, which is not helpful, but not a bug according to your explanation as I’ve understood it. Thanks for your trouble.

Actually, this might not be right, I don’t think, as another group member was showing green-lit but not ‘in chat’ while I was investigating this. It’s possible the green light switch-off was delayed, I suppose, or is that instant?

Rather, the fact that he uses OGS is what causes his name to show up. See the list as a list of group members currently online.

I don’t think there is anything John could do to both be able to play on OGS, be a member of your group and not show up in your list.

I think I’ve seen that happen, yes, but I’m not entirely sure. All I know is that as far as I tested, the chat list in groups shows whether someone is online on the website.

In any case, personally I’d recommend having meetings on a different platform than the OGS group chats. Services like Discord or Slack offer a lot more than OGS will ever have; like chat being persistent (whereas OGS only keeps the most recent 50 and deletes older messages), better visibility of who is present in the room, voice and/or video calls, the possibility of creating several different rooms and restricting who is allowed to enter them, moderation options like muting people to keep things organised, ability to edit messages after sending or to delete messages, sending images, the list goes on and on…


But what about playing go or just using a board ?
A group on OGS has all this at disposition (and more) Is there some good implementation in Discord, Slack… ?


Well, OGS doesn’t support having the group chat next to a board either… It’s either a screen full of chat, or a screen full of Go


I think in the particular context of a group which only meets once a month and already has a discord page it doesn’t really matter what the chat/Go ratio of the group page is or anything else.

The experiences of busier groups are probably more relevant.

Browsers aren’t good at detecting that people aren’t talking to them or looking at them any more and passing the info on to the server. I notice FB often tells lies in that regard.

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and is never not on OGS, which is a way of using OGS that is different from the way I and other group members use it…

That is unfortunate because we don’t want to be given the impression he’s present when he isn’t. According to what you say, he could be busy playing someone else on OGS while ignoring the group meeting but would be registered as present in group chat.

This is not a useful “feature”. Someone could be logged into OGS, but in fact be fast asleep while we are having our online meeting. We don’t want to know that someone is logged in to OGS while we are having our meeting; we want to know who has the group chat open, so we know they may respond to messages there. Of course, someone could also be asleep with the chat page open, but it’s less likely.

Assuming you are correct about the functionality of the list of names displayed under “chat”, it’s hard to see how permanently showing as present in chat a person who never in fact actually attends in chat is not a bug. It’s hard to imagine that the system was intentionally designed that way.

I will have to do some spot checks when I see one of the group is online, check whether they are shown as ‘in chat’. Yesterday evening evening, while I was briefly monitoring group chat, two group members appeared on the list. I spoke by PM to one and he said he was online but did not have group chat open. Before I could message the other, he disappeared from the chat list. He was still showing as online after his name went from chat, but not for long.

We also have a Discord channel so that those attending online meetings can communicate by voice. Not everyone takes up the option, nor should they be obliged to.

To answer an earlier suggestion, we do also have a protocol whereby group members are asked to announce their presence in group chat on arrival, to sign off before leaving and to make a note when leaving their screen temporarily. It is a voluntary protocol which there is no way of enforcing. If the system could reliably inform who is present and who isn’t, that would be better.

Not clear what you mean by this term.

I’ve deleted the last two replies to this post for getting a bit too personal with some specific details.
I’m not closing the whole thread yet in case there is genuine follow up on the original question in terms of names showing up in chat.


This is not the first time you have denied me the right of reply to personal attacks. If I knew how, I would complain that you are exhibiting bias in the way you moderate.

Why would you close the thread when there are issues relevant to the subject matter which are still open?

How about starting a review board and having your group meetings there? Then you can see who is present, and you’ll have additional benefits of an archived chat log and a board to use for whatever.

I like to see who is online from my groups since they might be available for challenges or a chat or whatever.