The simple answer is that you might be interested to know what has happened while you have been "away".
I don't see a problem with setting your status as away if you just want to monitor activity, your callsign is in brackets so everyone is aware.
Not everyone it seems. I wondered what the brackets around a callsign meant. One should learn something every day.
Still, unfortunately, none of those I wasted my time on today had any brackets whatsoever!
Cheers, Pete. Ben.