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Just to chime in with an idea to move forwards on the heated issue raised in this Question, rather than try to reverse the issue.

Sometimes a comment is modified by the system, removing a @user: in the begining of the post. This is apparently because the user will be notified in any case.

In such an event, can there be a nice yellow notice box notifying the user that their post has been changed? This will allow the comment-poster to modify their post, by omitting the @ symbol for example, to specify to whom the comment is written, but without invoking s/@[a-z]+:// .

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Notice boxes are a very expensive UI item from a cognitive standpoint; they are an interruption, and it's going to be pretty annoying for most users. Are you sure you don't want to just re-check your own comment to see if the @user remains intact? –  Robert Harvey Nov 15 '11 at 19:33
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I think that it is even more confusing when you edit the comment, put in the @user and find it disappears without explanation when you hit add comment (or whatever). if you like, the box can appear for a finite number of times for each user. –  Yossi Farjoun Nov 15 '11 at 19:34
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Also, I think that changing my text is very expensive from a cognitive stand-point: if I do not understand whats going on, I have to start looking at meta and asking questions and doubting my sanity...I'd much rather have a box remind me. –  Yossi Farjoun Nov 15 '11 at 19:35

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