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I feel this will be helpful when one wants to comment the same thing to several users, because repeating the same comment for each user will make the thread unnecessarily long.

So I was wondering if there can be such feature added:

  1. single comment to specific several users in the same thread, such as "@Tim, Tom and Paul: ";
  2. single comment to all the users who already participated in the same thread, such as "@all: "

The extent of the thread can perhaps be answers to the same question, since the comments will be most probably on-topic.

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Maybe something automatic IF the guy is already in the thread? –  Dr Beco Apr 2 '11 at 23:46
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@DrBeco: Currently, no one is ever notified that is not already in the thread. –  John Apr 2 '11 at 23:59
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@John: Although I didn't mean to ask, it will be nice if there is also function to notify users outside the thread. –  Tim Apr 3 '11 at 0:11
    
A very similar idea has been discussed many times and rejected. meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/431/… –  John Apr 3 '11 at 0:15
    
Is the thread the whole question, or it is sectioned as bunk of comments for each answer? What if I cite someone from outside, like if I cite @geekosaur here now? Geekosaur, sorry if you was introduced here! :) –  Dr Beco Apr 3 '11 at 0:42
    
Where can I find basic info about how the notification works? I tried the FAQ but I may be making some wrong searches... –  Dr Beco Apr 3 '11 at 0:49
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@DrBeco Here you go: How do comment @replies work‌​. –  Anna Lear Apr 3 '11 at 4:17
    
Thanks for your kindness @Anna –  Dr Beco Apr 3 '11 at 4:42
    
Odd, this might be a duplicate, but the other has been deleted. For those who can still see it: Is @all comment supported. (Maybe it was just asking about the option, but its answers are used as the source of the FAQ.) –  Arjan Apr 3 '11 at 9:46
    
Ad 1: that is a duplicate of Allow more than one @name notification per comment. –  Arjan Apr 3 '11 at 12:02
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4 Answers

I disagree with the @all, this could make everything very noisy, specially in very long threads and could be very annoying.

This said:

Point seven of the How do comment replies work says:

Only the first name mentioned using the @name syntax will be notified. For example, @alice @bob Hi! will notify Alice (if she has participated in that post), but never Bob.

I do agree that maybe it would be comfortable to add the option to reply more that one user at the same time, maybe with the limit of, lets say 2 or 3?

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I'd say a limit of 2 should be fine usually. This is handy for notifying two people in disagreement and trying to say who is actually correct. (assuming you know) –  Earlz Apr 3 '11 at 2:50
    
@Earlz: I agree that 2 should be enough most of the times, I've edited my answer. Thanks –  Trufa Apr 3 '11 at 3:37
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A multiple comment like @alice @bob Hi! should work without adding too much noise. It is a lot of typing to notify several users, enough to discourage people from doing it unless it's necessary. An @all, on the other hand, is unfortunately too easy and too tempting as a replacement for the real targets, so it won't ever work...

Also, Dr Beco had a point in his comment to the question. It is not clear to me what is the extent of the thread. Is it the discussion below a single answer or any comment that belongs to the question and any of the answers to it? If it's the former, then I would consider cross-answer notifications, since the comments will be most probably on-topic.

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Thanks for bringing the extend question. I would like to have both as possible options, i.e. following a reply, or following all replies to the same question. –  Tim Apr 3 '11 at 4:18
    
Well, with multiple notifications, you would have that option right from the start. It's just a matter of who do you tag with the @ .If you include people in more than one reply, then you're choosing inter-answer notifications. –  Aleadam Apr 3 '11 at 7:07
    
Cross-answer would create a lot of noise in the inbox, I'd say. (And it would be hard to implement if different Joe's were participating in comments to different answers.) –  Arjan Apr 3 '11 at 9:50
    
@Arjan why so much noise? I'm still suggesting targeted tags, not an @all. Right now, you are forced to comment on both threads perhaps the same thing, which I see much worst than just adding a second @ tag. I understand the second issue (two Joes) but that could also happen on the same thread, right? I don't understand why SE does not enforce unique ids anyway (but that is a complete other issue) –  Aleadam Apr 3 '11 at 16:45
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A BIG NO.

A single @all on threads having 10 commenters would spam all 10 commenters with notifications, 8 of which probably don't care about the thread anymore. If this ever gets through, the first comment I would give is to go through all 15 questions on http://stackoverflow.com/questions/?sort=votes and make an @all comment about cheap fake leather boots.

Allowing multiple names to be appointed is tempting, and I've been wishing for it sometimes as well, but also no. Most of the time, replying to multiple persons makes the discussion confusing as there can be multiple branches of discussion threads you would need to read to figure out what the heck someone is talking about.

The comment system is simple, let's keep it that way.

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The only reason I'd like multiple @names is because new users might not know only the first is notified. In Provide more user feedback for unsuccessful comment replies warnings were suggested, but eventually those were not implemented. Assuming the developers did give the suggestions some thought, that's fine with me. Indeed, let's keep it simple. –  Arjan Apr 3 '11 at 12:09
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What if my username is all?

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