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Seems like unnecessary clutter to me. Just click their name if you want to know that bad if someone is online. And what does it even matter if they are online or not while you are reading a thread?
And also what Kepler said, just make whoever you are dealing with for B/S/T your friend and that way you: A) Know if they are online right away B) can find their profile easily by just clicking your profile and looking at your friends list
Once you are done dealing that person, simply unfriend them and all is well.