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How do comment @replies work?

Simple enough question. Only once in a blue moon, when commenting, am I able to use the @ button to tag someone. Usually, @ does nothing. Is there a reason for this?

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marked as duplicate by ben is uǝq backwards, random Nov 15 '12 at 23:46

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You can only Tag someone else who has already commented on the Question / Answer. Also you cannot @tag the asker when commenting on the question.

The reason for the first restriction is to stop you tagging questions with "Paging @JonSkeet" and notifying Jon to answer your question. The second is because the asker is always notified of comments to their question, so there is no need to tag them.

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But for example, I can't tag you in this comment by using @... Occasionally I'll get a pop up with your name, but not this time. I wrote @DaveShaw: in manually, but it gets deleted. – Andrew Martin Nov 15 '12 at 23:47
@AndrewMartin - that's the whole point of it. When I typed this comment, I could tag you, but not Dave because he is the original author and will always get notified of this comment, whereas you on the other hand will only get paged because I mentioned you in the comment. So, when you were commenting on Dave's post, obviously the system decided that there is no need to tag him in it as he is the only recipient. – bPratik Nov 16 '12 at 0:01
@bPratik: Ah... feel kinda stupid now. Thanks for that! And thanks for the wording in your response. You could have been much... harsher lol! – Andrew Martin Nov 16 '12 at 0:03
@AndrewMartin I am here now because I was notified of your tagless response :) – DaveShaw Nov 16 '12 at 0:05
@DaveShaw: And as I've learnt to tag, I'll do it once to show off :) And then I'll stop bothering you! Promise! – Andrew Martin Nov 16 '12 at 0:07
@DaveShaw You can @tag the post author if there are comments by several people already (not sure whether that requires that the post author be one of them, a short test suggests yes). (Sorry for the noise.) – Daniel Fischer Nov 16 '12 at 1:43

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