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Some great comments make only sense when you read which other (not-so-great) comment it was a sophisticated reply to, so I suggest for the comments that are displayed by default, the comments to which they contain an @reply (if any) should also be displayed.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Too many scenarios in which the "target statement" of an @reply is not in line with the actual most recent action. I see this has much potential to simply bring out noise, or otherwise simply not have any useful effect. Below are some very common occurrences which this mechanism would fail on.

  • Target statement is an earlier comment, and the responder either doesn't care about the more recent comments or was writing before they were posted.
  • Target statement is a comment, but the recent activity is a revision.
  • Target statement is the actual post, but the author has posted comments as well.
  • Target statement is the last comment of one author, but someone with the same prefix posted later and "intercepts". @Jon suffers from this a lot.
  • Target statement is not a single comment, but the entire exchange over time.
  • Target statement is meaningless to the exchange and the intent is just to alert a user of something, such as a new meta discussion or something else tangentially related elsewhere on the site.

A comment reply's only importance of activity is to notify the user in question, and because there's a human on the other end of the exchange you can settle for the context clues that a machine cannot detect.

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I should have thought of the Jon-issue myself, observed it thrice this morning... – Tobias Kienzler Sep 17 '10 at 12:55
So basically to make this work we'd need a sub-answer-to-comment system or worse... – Tobias Kienzler Sep 17 '10 at 12:56

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