This is so minor I almost didn't post it, but maybe it's worth doing:

A few users have names which are not friendly to keyboards which are designed primarily for English characters. I have no trouble whatsoever with that. An even smaller subset of users have such names with such characters as the first character of their name.

As an example, the user currently named ಠ_ಠ Won't

My request (for an admittedly tiny base - but of some consequence, considering who my example user above is) is that the auto-complete for @-replies also considers the user's first plain-ASCII-compatible character; w, in the case of user ಠ_ಠ Won't Or actually, I suppose it would be the underscore (_) in this case. What if a user has a name with all 'special' characters? Well, that makes my request more weak, certainly. It simply would not cover such situations. (a space should never be considered, IMO, as that would needlessly pop up the auto complete when someone was merely trying to type an @ alone)

I envision the most useful situation for this would be mobile users, where it might be a bit more complex to copy-paste the user's name and/or type in the 'special' characters.

EDIT: Arjan notes in a comment below that in the 'slug' portion of the URL for Won't, his username is represented simply as wont. It seems that this might be a logical place to take from for this, at least for considering what characters to 'exclude' from being considered as the first "regular ASCII character".

  • 1
    Before this was implemented natively, I had been thinking of a way to provide access to names that weren't easily typed so that you could at least tab through them, but never got finished with it. Would certainly be nice to have, even just for the edge cases.
    – Tim Stone
    Dec 28, 2011 at 22:05
  • I always thought that @ಠ_ಠWon't simply would not work anyway. Does it?
    – Arjan
    Dec 28, 2011 at 22:20
  • 2
    @Arjan Typing @ then 'ಠ' does, in fact, trigger the autocomplete properly. Dec 28, 2011 at 22:23
  • This feature-request will almost certainly play hell with users having legitimate Unicode characters in their names, such as this one
    – user102937
    Dec 29, 2011 at 0:12
  • @RobertHarvey What would the 'slug' portion of the URL for the profile page of such a user on SE show? Assuming such a user would have a blank slug, this suggestion would then basically do nothing to help with such users, as they would not have any characters in their username which apply. I mentioned that possibility in the OP. Dec 29, 2011 at 0:31
  • either this, or prevent people from trying to get too creative with their usernames
    – prusswan
    Dec 29, 2011 at 1:08
  • @prusswan I like the usernames as they are now. Many people will have non-English usernames which require characters outside of the ones I'm speaking of here, and I do not advocate limiting that ability for this. I would prefer things stay like they are now than that. Dec 29, 2011 at 1:35
  • but that's clearly not the case with the example you have shown. I don't believe catering to such cases is worth the effort beyond a minimal benefit of aesthetics on an English site, although a different set of allowable characters could be defined for non-English SE sites.
    – prusswan
    Dec 29, 2011 at 2:37
  • Oops, @Robert, some users do have empty slugs indeed: stackoverflow.com/users/351545 or stackoverflow.com/users/570689 And those who use Unicode "CJK Unified Ideographs" (say, characters?) followed by ASCII, only have the ASCII in their slug: stackoverflow.com/users/290629/shengyuan-lu
    – Arjan
    Dec 29, 2011 at 8:04
  • (As an aside: @ಠ_ಠWon't not only triggers auto-complete, but indeed also notifies him. And so does @爱国者 for that user-without-a-slug.)
    – Arjan
    Dec 29, 2011 at 8:23
  • 1
    HEhehehe. Take that. Actually, you might want to check out this stackapp, as it solves this problem for all users.
    – user1228
    Dec 29, 2011 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


In this particular case I think the correct solution is for a moderator to realize that their quirky choice of clever display name is making it difficult for others to speak to them.

Cleverness over utility is never a good practice, and it sends exactly the wrong message coming from a moderator.

  • A very good point, I think. If it were only for "possible future users with uncommon first characters starting their nicknames", I doubt I would have even thought of this. Dec 29, 2011 at 8:51
  • True, Jeff, but maybe 卢声远 Shengyuan Lu is a better example. But even then, this would still need copy & paste for users like ДМИТРИЙ МАЛИКОВ. Alternatively, maybe names starting without an ASCII character can be shown directly after typing the @ character? (Right now, one needs to type at least one more character after the @.)
    – Arjan
    Dec 29, 2011 at 9:10
  • Aw, you're no fun.
    – user1228
    Dec 29, 2011 at 15:20

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