When users step away from their keyboard, and for some reason they seem to do that from time to time, I would like to somehow know, without having to msg them, if they are avalable or not. Today this is mostly solved by adding various ugly things to nicks, the user Keiko will mark imself as a`keiko, keikoafk or similar, this is messy. A much better way would be to encourage the use of the /away command, and then automaticly mark the users who have used the /away command in another colour than the rest. This way one can look at the nicklist and see who are avalable, but you don't get the constant changing of nicks.
Some other irc-klient already have this feature (xchat), and I must say it is one of those small things that really makes the sometimes angering experience of irc a little less frustrating. The problem is that almost no one is using the /away to set away, because they want to mark themselves clearly, they just change their nick. Horrible. Let's solve this.
I asked in the #mirc channel at EFnet, and this guy whos name I can't recall, mentioned that this might be done by using %vars or $identifiers, what ever they are. Hope this helps any.
Sindre Pedersen Bjørdal