Marking users away from Mattermost vs away from computer

There are two situations where a user may be marked as away from Mattermost:

  1. If a user is working on their computer, but is away from Mattermost (e.g. they’re working on another browser tab)
  2. If a user is away from their computer

Currently Mattermost marks the user away if either 1) or 2) occurs. This has a few benefits:

  • Email and push notifications are sent to users if they’re away from Mattermost
  • Let’s other people know they’re working on something outside of Mattermost, potentially reducing distractions

However, some users feel that a user should be marked as away only for the second case - if the user is working on their computer, they would be marked online even if they’re not at their computer.

Posting here for thoughts from the community, does anyone have preference on when a user is marked away?

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Our users are used to the second case. Almost all IM systems work like this. Mattermost behaviour is described as “strange”, “bug”, “unnatural” etc. Our work is mostly done in other applications, so often the whole contact list is marked as away.

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Agreed with kwad.

Everyone assumes the second case because that is how others work. If Mattermost wants to have this new definition of “away”, it might be reasonable to add two different types of “away” (away from Mattermost vs away from computer).

Appropriate decisions could be made based on either. e.g. desktop notifications would be reasonable when away from Mattermost, mobile notifications would be reasonable when away from computer


Hello everyone!

Thank you for bringing this idea up. I would stand for #2.
I am a Project Manager and it is very important to me to understand whether my message/urgent request is being ignored or the user isnt on his machine indeed. Its ok to me to have different approaches in web and desktop.

Looking forward to seeing this implemented in future releases.
Thank you.

The biggest issue with being marked “away” for both 1 and 2 is this scenario:

  1. Have push notifications set up for mobile. Ensure they are only sent when in the “away” status.
  2. Be on the desktop app and get a message that would produce a notification.
  3. No mobile notification.
  4. Switch to another window.
  5. Get a message that would produce a notification.
  6. Popup on the desktop and mobile notification.

When I’m at my desktop, I don’t need my phone buzzing every time I get a message. I get the notifications on my desktop. If there are people who want their phone to buzz while they are sitting at their desktop and getting notifications on their desktop, then an option to allow that (away vs idle) can be added.

Thanks everyone for the replies, love the feedback you’ve shared!

One thing to note is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to differentiate who is away from Mattermost vs. from their computer on the web app. So if we carried out with the change suggested here, we would have

  • web app: User set away after being away from Mattermost for 5+ minutes
  • desktop: User set away after being away from computer for 5+ minutes

which would make the experience inconsistent.

Any thoughts on how to best consider that scenario?

You can add a blurb in appropriate places to let the user know about the functionality difference. Where you can currently edit the notifications…
Trigger push notifications when
[ ] Online, away or offline
[ ] Away or offline
[ ] Offline
Notification alerts are only pushed to your mobile device when your online status matches the selection above.

Change the second option to:
[ ] Idle, away, or offline (idle only available on desktop app)

I personally don’t see anyone ever wanting “Away or offline” when “Idle, away, or offline” is available, but if some people want it kept, you can always have the four options. For non-desktop-app users, the “idle, away, or offline” and “away or offline” options would be synonymous.

If it’s only a change in the desktop app, wondering if it would be a separate setting on the desktop app settings page instead? Just because the “idle” state wouldn’t mean anything for those that don’t use the app.

One thing I’m a bit uncertain is how this would work if someone had the Mattermost instance open on the browser and the desktop app.

If they’re “away” from Mattermost for 10 minutes, but still at their computer, then they’d be “away” on browser but “online” on desktop app. I suppose the “online” state would be shown to other users?

If a user is working on their computer, but is away from Mattermost (e.g. they’re working on another browser tab)

This seems to be causing some confusion within our team as in most cases, the intended message recipient is at their computer, but just has not opened up the Mattermost app (or browser tab) in the last 5 minutes.

Maybe there could be a per-user setting like Auto Away After X Minutes which defaults to 5 or 10 minutes, or an option to disable auto away completely.

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I believe scenario 1 is rediculous. Most people don’t work in Mattermost and just because they have not interacted with Mattermost in 5 minutes should not cause them to be marked as away. At the very least, there should be a setting to allow a user to stay online as long as they are logged into their computer.

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Option 2 would be the overwhelming preference for us as well. We’ve just recently transitioned our firm from Lync to Mattermost and “Mattermost doesn’t accurately display away information” is the biggest and most frequent complaint we’ve received.

With the newer version of the Mattermost client, is there a way to set it so when the person is away from their computer, mattermost shows away, but not show away if away from mattermost ? Basically if a person keeps using their computer, mattermost should show the person as online.

@robertf Not at the moment, but we have a ticket to implement this for the desktop app:

It’s open for community contributions and we’d love to work with anyone who might be interested :slight_smile: