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When posting comments or questions, is there an existing way to properly tag members? You often seen @Person etc, can we have these @ tags actually link to the member profile like all major social networks? I think it would be a nice addition if not already possible.

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Stack Overflow is not a social networking site. –  Cody Gray Apr 12 '11 at 12:30
    
Thanks captain obvious. :) I never said it was and never said it should be. But some social features could be beneficial, especially given the fact that there is a type of commenting system that can become quite populated at times. –  Digital Architect Apr 13 '11 at 11:13

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The @tags are just to trigger notifications in that user's inbox, meaning they should already be in the conversation, in which case you can just look up the thread and find their name and click on it.

Remember that:

  • usernames on stack exchange sites are not unique (even within each individual SE site), so @foo could map to a dozen or more users with that same name
  • usernames can be changed (multiple times!) so, a reference to @foo now may need to refer to @bar later to refer to the same user

This is in contrast to most other social networking sites where your username is your ID and it is what uniquely identifies your account. On stack exchange sites that is not the case.

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Now that you mention it, making the tags actual links to user profiles would help you see who would actually get notified of the reply and would tell you who a comment was aimed at after that user changes their name. –  Gabe Apr 11 '11 at 23:01
    
Yeah you could definitely code that functionality so that when you tag, it checks that tag only within the context of the current post and that would ALMOST solve the issue of users with the same name completely. Only situation would be users with the same screen name posting in the same topic/question which I bet would be so rare it's not even an issue. Even so, in that situation a simple context menu giving you the choice between those users by their unique ID would solve that. –  Digital Architect Apr 12 '11 at 22:24

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