I could see this causing some problems because:
- Maybe someone refers to an unrelated @Brian on twitter, and then @Brian changes his name on stackoverflow.
- Comments can be stolen by renaming your name to someone and then back to someone else.
- Sometimes people will refer to me as @Brian; however, a real @Brian may change his name to @Bob and then no one would know people were referring to me.
- This wasn't implemented since day #1, so there are probably a lot of @Name's out there that can be stolen to be renamed to an unrelated person.
- How do you differentiate between @Brian the developer, and a user named "@Brian the developer". Spaces could cause bad renames.
- Search / replace for name changes could be a costly operation on all text comments
- You are changing the text strings of people's comments, so changing their original comments may make them mad.
I think it would be possible this way:
I think this could be accomplished though for future comments via some new username insertion schema. At the time of posting the comment, the server would not store the string @username, but instead @userGUID, then at the time of displaying it would resolve those.
If the server replaced the @userGUID, it could also put a link to the @username's account, so that the poster of the comment could ensure it referenced the correct user.
Still I'm not sure that would be worth the effort.