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Often times I will post an answer to a question only to have the OP comment on my answer saying "this is nice, but I really need it to do X, Y and Z as well." I'll then update the answer to accommodate this new request but now I'm curious how I can notify the OP that my code has been updated without posting a comment under his question. I've noticed several comments with the @user idiom and I'm wondering if that is merely for readability sake or if it actually has some functionality behind it.

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@SiegeX: Check your inbox. – Bill the Lizard Dec 14 '10 at 1:57
Thank you all. The link provided by Jon only mentioned the envelope, but now I see it actually dumps it into the inbox. My envelope didn't do anything but I read there may be some lag associated with that. – SiegeX Dec 14 '10 at 2:06
@Bill: that was unnecessary, the poster will be notified of any comment which is made on their own post (or on all posted answers in case of a question). Comment replies is only useful whenever you want to reply on a comment on a post which is not commenter's own. – BalusC Dec 14 '10 at 2:08
@BalusC: Now you should receive a useless message in you StackExchange inbox. LOL – Linuxmint Dec 14 '10 at 2:11
@Linuxmint: and also in SiegeX's inbox. – BalusC Dec 14 '10 at 2:12
@BalusC: Yup! It worked! – Linuxmint Dec 14 '10 at 2:14
@BalusC: That's right. I'm in the habit of always using @user comments now, so I keep forgetting. – Bill the Lizard Dec 14 '10 at 2:21
My inbox is blowing up, I feel so special! – SiegeX Dec 14 '10 at 2:32
I think there was some theoretical reason to use @username even if it's on username's own post; this came up before. Maybe it's just in case the system ever decides to show directed comments differently – Michael Mrozek Dec 14 '10 at 3:43
@Michael It used to allow comment replies on deleted posts. However, that has ceased to be the case, so using it in reference to the post author is more of a formality these days. – Grace Note Dec 14 '10 at 16:17
I added the global inbox to How do comment @replies work? As there are quite some rules, I vote to close this as a duplicate, to ensure future readers get to know those rules. – Arjan Dec 14 '10 at 18:36
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes, putting @user will show up in the users "Stack Exchange" inbox.

But: only for the first @user (and always for the original author of the question/answer one is commenting on). See all nifty details in How do comment @replies work?

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@Arjan: Nice editing! :D – Linuxmint Dec 14 '10 at 21:17

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