#634 Idle timer based on OS activity


A user can be sitting at their PC working and still get marked AFK due to them not talking in Mumble. Could we update their idle timer based on their Windows' (or other OS's) timer? Windows: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms646302%28VS.85%29.asp

This would greatly help many of my users while in game and no one is talking.


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  • Jesepi

    Jesepi - 2010-08-10

    I agree with this. It needs to be keyboard and mouse activity instead of speaking. I tried using an afk script but people were being moved just for not talking.

    I have a person who is a mute in real life. They listen to others, but never will speak other than TTS binds to a channel or user.

  • VDV

    VDV - 2011-03-03

    I can't say how much I'd love such a feature.
    It would also grant us the ability to grant us the ability to create ICE script that automatically switch user to AFK channel and/or disconnect them.

  • Stefan H.

    Stefan H. - 2011-03-03

    Transmitting system global idle time can be a privacy issue for some which is why it wasn't implemented that way.

    A possible workaround might be to make this user configurable. But in our experience this would simply mean that the vast majority of users will stick with the default which makes making assumptions on one or the other behavior unreliable.

    So imho the issue at hand: Accept the privacy implications or leave it as it is.

  • VDV

    VDV - 2011-03-08

    Hmmm... I don't think that users are afraid of the possibility that the server knows whether they are active on their computer or idle. I mean, seriously, the default behavior of MSN include idle notification and you can't find any privacy concern when googling that subject.

    On the other hand, it is a fact that a lot of hosts could benefit of such feature, whether to save bandwidth or to develop additional game related services (as I'd like to) or to "clean up" channels where people just go to sleep without disconnecting or... long list there !

    Looking at Teamspeak3, idle time is taken into account and, once again, I see no privacy debate anywhere. Hosts are happy, and... users to ! Because it is annoying on the end user side to talk to an empty chair or because it is annoying to see sleeping people camping channels or because "I've seen him on the 'who's online' widget on the website, i connected to talk to him but he never answered", etc.

    There are plenty of reasons on both sides to benefit from such a simple feature to implement... This little additional variable would grant the ability to create a wide range of ICE scripts from a simple
    "auto move to AFK channel after X min and auto disconnect after Y min"
    to a more perverted
    "even if you're not in the lineup, you have to be "active" on mumble between 8 and 9 in the case of an unforeseen player rotation".

    On your side, if you're unsure about privacy concerns, just give it a try in a beta or a snapshot and grab comments. I can safely bet that you'll only have positive comments.

  • VDV

    VDV - 2011-03-08

    And if you're still not convinced, you could opt for a more complicated solution :
    - Make it a server side option (default off)
    - When first connecting to a server with "idle notification=on", display a privacy warning with a "don't warn me again" checkbox


  • Zuko

    Zuko - 2011-03-08

    "Transmitting system global idle time can be a privacy issue for some which
    is why it wasn't implemented that way." - Your argument is invalid. (look @ other apps)

  • Nathaniel Kofalt

    I'm very confused how transmitting what is essentially a keep-alive flag could be considered a privacy issue. This would not even be visible by other users, and there's no way to enforce a server idle policy in an intelligent manner without this.

    Every chat client I'm aware of (MSN was already mentioned, Pidgin, etc) does exactly this. It's convenient and in no way sends personal information. It's essentially a screensaver. Maybe I'm missing something here?

    If people are truly concerned about this, add an option to disable sending activity notifications, but definitely make it opt-out. Further, perhaps only send the activity heart-beat once every 60 seconds or so.

  • synndkenny

    synndkenny - 2011-06-18

    I'm also asking you to please implement this properly. The numerous messages below me detail why this is not a privacy concern issue. Thank you for your consideration.

  • Adam Baldwin

    Adam Baldwin - 2011-10-23

    I'd like to also see this implemented. My guild is currently evaluating Mumble as a replacement to Ventrilo for our gaming usage and while Mumble has a lot of pluses, the inability to have a true "AFK" system that measures something besides "last transmission time to the server" is a big gap for us (as we like to keep our channels pretty clean, but will have periods where significant numbers of guild members will be quiet (during boss encounters, for example) past where I would set a regular AFK timer (~15 minutes).

    I appreciate the privacy concerns that are raised here, but feel like the added utility that such a function offers in terms of general "housekeeping" trumps them.

  • VDV

    VDV - 2011-11-08

    Old ticket still open but it's still a very very important matter for a very very little code change.
    As a few tickets are dealing with the same subject, i'll paste what I said before :

    I -really- need a way to get an idle timer (not using the computer) on the server side to create 2 ICE scripts :
    - auto move to AFK channel after X min
    - auto disconnect after Y hours

    We also got users without microphones (pure listeners), therefore, all "voice based" activity is just plain nonsense for them.

    This would also solve some bandwidth concerns were AFK players are still being sent constant audio... I've got users keeping their client online 24/24 because they just don't care.
    This would also add possibilities like "even if you're not in the lineup, you must be "active" on mumble between 8 and 9 in case of an unforseen player rotation".
    This would also... I think I made my point ^^

  • Stefan H.

    Stefan H. - 2011-11-10

    Well. The problem isn't the implementation....the team is kinda split on whether we actually want sysidle time which is the reason there has been no progress on this issue.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous - 2011-11-10

    dd0t: In that case, could you please provide clarity on what arguments currently stand against implementing this issue? Since your original comment in March, several users have come forward to answer the stated privacy concerns and offer further use cases in support of this issue. I'll re-state that I find privacy concerns over this feature to be bewildering to me; I am confused how an idle timer, which is prevalent in every communication program I am aware of (Gmail - Skype - AIM - Lotus - Steam - Pidgin - etc) applies differently here.

    I have yet to hear a clear & valid argument against implementation of this feature; if one exists, I would encourage anyone to post it. So far I haven't heard anything substantial that should stand in the way of development, and would like to see this issue resolved if at all possible.

    As many users have stated, you could definitely add an opt-out option (always report AFK time as INT_MAX), as I would consider people worried about idle reporting to be a very VERY small minority. A further alleviation to concerns might be to only report idle time in minutes, as I'm sure that's all system administrators need. If there are other concerns, please state them so they can be discussed or resolved.

    As an aside, I'll also add my name to the list of admins who are losing money on bandwidth costs due to this missing feature; as others have mentioned, the problem of listener-only users makes AFK scripting impossible, and I have several users who walk away from their machine while sitting in active channels. Social resolution of this problem is impractical; a technical resolution is required.

  • VDV

    VDV - 2011-11-14

    I second this comment.
    A simple search for "idle" on the tracker shows how much this feature is needed (by different people, with different reasons, over months if not years).

    Even if we consider the "confidentiality issue" (99.999+% don't), even if there is no workaround (there are), the benefits (advanced server scripting, benefits for hosting services, cleaner channels with afk moved away, etc.) totally outweigh the potential cons ("i fear that people know when i'm using my mouse/keyboard while using a vocal chat")
    And if we add the easy implementation in the weighting...

    So please please please consider this... /implore

  • Greg Bell

    Greg Bell - 2012-01-05

    Despite being one of the people who feels very strongly about the privacy issues regarding idle reporting**, I feel that this feature can still be implemented properly.

    A 3 way client-side configuration option included in the wizard could easily address the issue.

    The suggested options are:
    1) Disable all idle usage reporting
    2) Allow idle usage reporting to server only
    3) Allow idle usage reporting to other clients

    On the server side, simply add an api to ICE so that the admin can check the clients setting for this.

    This allows server administrators to set separate timeouts for users depending on this setting, while providing a way for users to restrict who has this data.

    Additionally, a 10 minute resolution with a simple "Yes/No" response would be more than sufficient for moving/kicking AFK users, while limiting the stalker potential.

    **For those of you who don't see the potential privacy issue, I had a stalker ex who was using my im client idle times to determine when I was at home or at work.
    She was also monitoring the idle times of my brother, my best friend, and my new girlfriend.

    She would show up at my office during my new girlfriends lunch breaks, and follow us to lunch.
    She would also "randomly" be at our favorite hangout every time more than 3 of us went there.
    It took me about 2 weeks to figure out how she was timing things so well.

  • Matt Lewandowsky

    I'd like to point out that the privacy concerns are fairly moot: No one is asking for this information to be displayed to clients. If it were requested as such, it would surely be only available to "privileged users". These users already get a great deal of information about connected users, and regular users already see a Mumble-specific idle timer.

    I suppose a server admin could write an ICE-based viewer which provides OS-level idle times of users and that could be considered "bad". However, at the same time, the likelihood of a server admin actually doing so (and not being WTFed at by his users) is pretty low.

    In the interim, I'm starting to think that TTS-only users can best be served by telling them to set their client to "Muted" to avoid being auto-swept into the AFK channel. However, this is likely to backfire as people figure out how they can avoid being set auto-AFK. :/

  • VDV

    VDV - 2012-04-08

    Any news/additional comment?

  • Craig Mouser

    Craig Mouser - 2012-11-07

    One other use case I'd like to put forward. My friends use mumble on a daily basis. Recently converted from Ventrilo. I wake up before most of my friends and will join the main channel. While I'm waiting for people to wake up a lot of times I'm moved AFK without even noticing for not talking. How is that considered accurate? I have noone to talk to, why should I be considered Idle?

  • VDV

    VDV - 2013-01-02

    1.2.4 going beta, any inputs regarding this major issue ?

  • Mikkel Krautz

    Mikkel Krautz - 2013-01-02

    While it's not something that can make it into 1.2.4, as we're feature frozen, I strongly believe we should address this in a way that makes everyone happy in 1.2.5.

    A lot of you really want this.

    Assigning this issue to myself.

  • Mikkel Krautz

    Mikkel Krautz - 2013-01-02
    • assigned_to: Mikkel Krautz
    • milestone: --> Unassigned
  • Craig Mouser

    Craig Mouser - 2013-06-24

    Great to hear this is getting implemented Mikkel! Looking at the previous version releases it looks like 1.2.5 may not be out for quite some time. Do you have any idea when that may be?

  • VDV

    VDV - 2013-07-15

    Seeing this unassigned makes the community sad.

    It would be great to have this in the very first beta, so hosters can work on their scripts.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous - 2013-08-01

    What is the procedure for either extending the PTT idle timer or shutting it off. Our community has a person that can not physically speak. So their PTT timer keeps sending them to the afk channel in the middle of stuff.

    Sincerely & Respectfully,

    Lance R. Violator
    TFD WEB Director

  • Kissaki

    Kissaki - 2013-12-04

    At the moment, the client can mute or deafen itself on inactivity.

    For a feature that works like you elaborated the Client would have to
    implement the afk detection and moving - which limits the move to a channel the user has access to - and the user would have to set up the target
    implement the afk detection on the client and implement a notification message to the server, which could then handle appropriately

    The second is the way to go.
    I wonder if allowing an ice notification would be sufficient.
    Then, the admins could decide what to do when users go afk/come back. Move them to channels, or just mute them? Etc.
    Ofc, he would need ice scripts then. Implementing it in Murmur itself seems a bit duplicate to me - but with the Ice hassle … well.

  • VDV

    VDV - 2014-01-09

    Shameless bump.

    Please give us news... There is no way to tell you how much I need an idle timer... Through ICE script, it would allow me to connect my server to my community website and actually see who spends the most time online and rewards them...

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