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I know Stackoverflow is wisely trying to avoid an excessive notification system (like's facebook's, but I would definitely like to know when somebody responded directly to me. Since we're already notified when someone comments on our question/answer, this would be for when someone responds to my comment. I sometimes ask questions or express opinions in comments, and I would love to know when someone responds.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Normally, you only get notified of comments when you own the post.

You will now get notified of any comments that refer to you by @username in a comment, even if you do not own the post.

Rules:

  1. Only applies to other people in the comments that you are commenting on.

  2. Response must include @username that you are referring to, where "username" is a reasonable match to the user's current display name (as seen in the comments above yours).

  3. There must be a starts-with, case insensitive match of at least THREE characters to the displayname. So @a and @ab will never match anyone or anything.

  4. Spaces cannot be used to match, so if the person's display name is "Peter Smith" then just use @peter to match.

  5. Matching is performed in reverse chronological order, so if there are five people named "John" in the comments, writing "hey @john, have you considered apples?" will match the most recent John to comment.

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1  
Kuddos for how the matching is done, especially point 5. Simple but clever! –  Arjan Jan 16 '10 at 7:31
    
@Arjan Who is Kuddos? Is he related to kudos? And, bananas? –  random Jan 16 '10 at 7:50
    
@random, thanks for confirming it works. Kudos to you too. ;-) –  Arjan Jan 16 '10 at 8:03
    
I just received this notification for the first time today - nice work! This was an unexpected treat. –  Mark Ransom Jan 20 '10 at 16:06

This isn't really possible at the moment for two reasons:

  1. Names aren't unique; and
  2. People often abbreviate. In your case I'm more likely just to put "@Crazy".

Personally I think this kind of thing just needs to be handled by a subscription model something like this

  • If you post a question, you should get notified of any answers (this happens already) as well as edits to those answers (this does not);
  • If you post an answer, you should get notified of edits to that answer (this does not happen), comments on that answer (this does), edits to the question (this does not) and gaining or losing accepted answer status (gaining does, losing does not);
  • If you post a comment to a question, you should be notified of edits to the question and subsequent comments on that question (neither happens);
  • If you comment on an answer, you should be notified of edits to that answer and future comments (neither happens).

You should be able to opt-out at any time ("unsubscribe") from these notifications. Likewise you should be able to opt-in ("subscribe") to something like:

  • New answers;
  • Edits to a particular answer;
  • Edits to any answer;
  • Edits to question;
  • Comments on question;
  • Comments on a particular answer;
  • Comments to any answer;
  • Some or all of the above.
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2  
Yes, a more nuanced feedback mechanism (coupled with a more sophisticated set of preference customizations) is sorely needed! –  Ether Nov 1 '09 at 16:51
    
+1 for this, except I'd want notifications of comments on any answer I'd left comments on. –  Alex Black Dec 4 '09 at 3:48

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