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Eeeeek - what happened to my @ salutation?

Assume that I got a response (answer or comment) from user e.g. John X.

Most of the times when I want to reply to him and do @John X: in the beginning of my comment, when I press save I see : instead.

In order to be able to see the reference I have to put a space between @ and the name.
I.e. @<space>John X.

It wasn't always like that though and sometimes the space is not needed.

Has anyone noticed this as well?


2 Answers 2


When the conversation is only between you and the post owner, @ mentions (aka alerts) are automatically removed.

The : is not part of the syntax, and is thus not removed. If you put a space between the @ and the user name, you're invalidating the mention and it is not removed, but it doesn't matter either way since the post owner is always notified of comments on their posts.

  • Strange.Because sometimes I see an answer to a comment if I explicitly check for it.I.e. a notification was missing.But I am not 100% sure to be honest
    – user155461
    Jan 21, 2012 at 15:30

That space in the username John X is potentially complicating matters.

From the unofficial FAQ about the @comment feature:

  • Use @name, where name is the username with all spaces removed.
  • Single trailing punctuation such as a dot, comma or colon is ignored, like @name, yes works, but @name... no does not.

There's the further, important, point:

If the first word in the display name is at least three characters long, then there must be a starts-with, case-insensitive match of at least three characters in the display name. This means @a and @ab will never match anyone, unless a user uses a first word that is only two characters. Like: @Jo will notify Jo Miller, but not John, and @B. will notify B. Gates, but not B.Gates. If there are more than three characters in @name, then all given characters must match (neither @alix nor @aliceinwonderland will match user Alice).

To reply to John X, I'd suggest either @John: or @JohnX:. I like to stick with : or , because those make more sense than reading a comment like: @sarnold. You're silly. Putting the notification at the end works (which is why the . is allowed) but I find it easier to find comments directed to me if the @sarnold is right up front.

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