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I find it very hard to sometimes type nicks that have characters that I don't have on my keyboard or have very long names.
It's a convinience feature, makes the comments easier to use and also helps commenting on a big thread.
It shouldn't be very hard to implement.
Parhaps adding a reply button that will just add the nickname to your comment instead will do. Is there a reason not to implement such features?

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@Tobias: So this is not possible? Ok so the end-case is a bit more complicated and requires you to save a placeholder to replace the nick if needed? Imo the current status where you type is the same as just having this feature that won't really track who you reply when their nick changes. – the_drow Jun 16 '10 at 9:07
sorry, it's not a duplicate but only related - I read to fast. Your request should be easier to implement. But "reply" has been declined:… – Tobias Kienzler Jun 16 '10 at 9:13
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There's are userscripts over at StackApps that do autocomplete and add a reply link

(StackApps is a sister site for userscripts and apps that use the api or add functionality to the sites.)

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tbh I just copy/paste - but in theory it would be possible to spot them at the client with regex and offer a reply button via jQuery.

knowing this site, someone will have a grease-monkey script in 5, 4, 3....

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Fun fact: did you know that when B. Smith comments, followed by B. Gates, using @B. Smith actually notifies the latter? One would need to remove the spaces in the @mention to avoid that. – Arjan Aug 14 '11 at 10:21

If you're using Firefox or Chrome, there's a Greasemonkey script over here to add a reply button in comments.

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The link is now dead for some reason :/ – the_drow Mar 2 '11 at 20:44
@the_drow: updated the link, thanks – Kip Mar 3 '11 at 5:00

Long names and non-keyboard characters can both be handled by the current comment system.

If a name is too long, all you need to do is use the shortest unique string of at least 3 characters. The system handles the rest for you. So instead of trying to type out (picking random person with a decently lengthed name...) Juan Manuel Formoso's full name, I can get away with @jua, adding extra letters if I need to ensure that he specifically gets the reply.

For non-keyboard characters, if the name is something like Péter Török, you can get away with @Peter. Now, if you're talking about someone who isn't even using this alphabet of letters for their display name, then unfortunately you'll have to rely on copy/paste. The number of users for whom this is the case, however, is small.

This should mitigate the majority of problems with names that are too long or you lack the proper keyboard to type. The feature requests for auto-completion or a reply button are both previously discussed.

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