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What would you think about removing the @-sign before the name in the chat? You would still have to type in the @ in the input box, but it doesn't need to be visible in the transcript.

I think that the text would get a nicer flow to it.

Or what do you say? Kill my darlings...

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Hmm... Just as in facebook. Nice idea, I think – MysticMagicϡ Feb 8 '13 at 7:24
This would obviously be a huge blow against discoverability; could you elaborate on how "a nicer flow" would offset that problem? – balpha Feb 8 '13 at 7:29
discoverability? you mean when you search in the transcript? It could still be possible to search for @Name. Compare with the ` sign. You can search for and include "code" signs, and it will only find those entries. Or did I misunderstand your question? – Markus Feb 8 '13 at 7:46
No, I'm talking about feature discoverability for new users. Currently it's fairly obvious how to ping users by just looking at how other people do it. Your suggested change makes that impossible. Oh, and also: Please @balpha me when replying to me, so I get notified. Oh the irony :) – balpha Feb 8 '13 at 8:21
@balpha Ahaa I see what you mean, still if you again compare with the ` sign, it's the same thing there. It would be possible to format the name as it is formatted in right after the comments here (red and linked) so people see that it indeed is a @Name and not just text. Well it was just an idea. It also seems that I have been down voted, I guess for not useful idea... – Markus Feb 8 '13 at 8:40
@markus if you're going to format the name as it is here instead of leaving the "@" behind then how does that improve the 'flow' of the text? Having random parts of a string of text change colour seems just as likely to be jarring as the '@' symbol. And the '@name' syntax is used in a similar way on other large sites and is a well understood shorthand. When people see it there is a good chance they understand what's going on without having to learn anything new just to use this site. Making it easy for people to understand how the site works is the best way of keeping things "flowing" – RobM Feb 8 '13 at 10:22
I see what you (all of you) mean with the simplicity of the @, however I don't think that anyone has trouble understanding the "Facebook way" either, and there are still the code, italic, bold, links and images things that people "have" to learn. With that said, I just want to explain why I have the idea. There are a lot of studies about reading that has shown that while reading, the brain more or less only reads the first and last letters try it here, and adding a @ before a word screws up that process... – Markus Feb 8 '13 at 10:49

In a chat room it might be useful to see that someone was actually pinged instead of merely talked about when discussing a question they'd worked on.

If I couldn't see that someone had already been @-pinged then I might do so again to draw them into a discussion that ought to involve them, leading to them getting multiple notifications about the same chat discussion.

That seems a poor trade off for making the "flow" of text look marginally "nicer" to the group of people who agree with your feelings on that.

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