Why do users use @ ("commercial at," or "at sign") in their comments?
Does it actually route the comment to the name provided after the @?
What is the right format of using it?
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It's just a convention of referring specifically to a user within the stream of comments.
Twitter maxed it out popularity-wise, but it's been lingering mainly on blog comments where you would have the other commenters talking to each other and not being in a threaded view.
A recently completed feature request now means that the convention does something: