Hidding online statistics for guests & other techniques


Feb 14, 2020
I've seen this implemented on many sites. Fake traffic and "members recently online" is another way of masking true online activity. Is this recommend for a site with low traffic? I guess it is demoralizing for potential new members to see no one online at the time of their visit, but are you also denying them reality if you serve them false statistics? How do you guys feel about it?


Aug 26, 2010
I'd say you'll get the best answer by asking yourself what gets you interested in a forum. Is it statistics or is it because you've Googled and the search result has returned something of interest.

As an Internet user I'm only interested in finding the best result from my search terms. If that comes from a forum that has been dead for years I really don't care as long as the content is good.

Having said that if the forum appears active and it's dedicated to something I have a lot of interest in, I might join but that would always be for the content and never because there were x number of members online.

In short I don't believe there is any alternative to quality content. If you don't have that, you don't have a forum.


Dec 6, 2012
I see fake stats the same way I see limiting guest views to the first X posts, or preventing guests from seeing hyperlinks, or images, etc....
They're all the same, and represent the same issue to me.

haqzore said:
If your site features & content are compelling enough to encourage signing up, people will sign up.
If it's not, they won't.

Forced registrations / falsified stats are archaic and drive empty accounts that never post at best, and turn away guests that would've read more if you let them at worst.

Keep it simple while thinking through these things: If you have to force a sign up or falsify stats, you likely have other problems that deserve your intention.