An important, controversial issue!

Nirbheek Chauhan nirbheek.chauhan at
Tue Apr 24 18:18:38 EDT 2007

Seeing how there's no separate setting for idle, I always thought away and
idle were synonymous in Gaim. Atleast, thats how Gaim handles Google Talk's
"idle" right?

On 4/25/07, Sean Egan <seanegan at> wrote:
> Pidgin currently understands 5 primitive presence types from our
> buddies: offline, available, unavailable (or busy), away, and extended
> away. They're all represented by what everyone agrees are very
> excellent new Tango-styled icons. They're really well done.
> What not everyone agrees on is how appropriate the metaphors used by
> these icons are to the statuses they represent. I've heard no
> objection to offline, available, or unavailable. "extended away,"
> itself isn't hotly contested, except for how it relates to this highly
> important, controversial issue: the away icon.
> In previous, Gaim builds, the "away" status was represented as a
> yellow notepad note, like a
> post-it: This icon
> originally came from our AIM roots, where it was used to represent an
> away message. Within Gaim, it has come to represent a note you might
> leave on your door or desk when you leave for a while.
> Importantly, this is the icon that has represented "away" in Gaim for
> as long as it's existed.
> The current "away" icon in Pidgin is
> or, larger:
> This comes from MSN and Yahoo!, primarily, which use a "clock" to
> represent their 'away' status. My claim is that this is a suitable
> icon as it might remind one of the clock signs on storefronts that say
> "We'll be back in 15 minutes!" like this guy:
> whereas
> extended away would be like a storefront sign that says "Closed for
> the Winter," and thus a note.
> Our current "extended away" icon is based on Gaim's old "away" icon:
> I have been adamant in my defense of the clock icon, but other
> developers are of the belief that a clock indicates "idle," rather
> than "away," and is thus confusing to existing Gaim users (most
> importantly themselves) who are not used to seeing a clock mean
> anything at all. They think we should find something else to represent
> away, although there's certainly no consensus of what a good "Away"
> icon would be.
> I certainly do see the connection between "idle" and "clock," and if
> this is going to confuse a significant bunch of people (or an
> insignificant bunch of significant people), we should find a better
> icon.
> So, this isn't a poll or anything, but a solicitation of opinion. Does
> "clock" mean "away" to you? Does it mean something else? Does it mean
> nothing at all? If a clock isn't the best icon for "away," what is?
> What's "extended away"?
> -s.
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Nirbheek Chauhan
Sophomore UG
Civil Engg

               -- Nirbheek Chauhan
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