Why does Stack Overflow only allow one @User per comment?

This restriction lead me to a non-comment like this:

@MiMo - seem my previous comment (Only one @ user per comment)

Which left me wondering why Stack Overflow is blocking me from notifying two users of a response.

I am sure there is a reason for this, can some one share it with me?

  • 1
    So you can't spam loads of users at once, and have to choose carefully who needs to be interrupted with a red light on their inbox.
    – AndrewC
    Jan 23, 2013 at 0:50
  • 13
    @AndrewC Opposed to spamming one user per comment, and generating more noise for everyone else. Much better! Jan 23, 2013 at 0:54
  • 1
    @NullUserExceptionอ_อ That's my understanding of the reasoning. I don't recall being party to the decision and don't have the ear of the team enough for convincing me to be worth your while.
    – AndrewC
    Jan 23, 2013 at 0:58
  • @NullUserException Personally, I'd find multiple notification occasionally handy, but I answered the question as written, which was about why, not whether. The one nice thing about the state of play is that it's impossible to do "@ Jeff, @ Joel, @ Jay,: Can you fix this bug right away, this is urgent for me."
    – AndrewC
    Jan 23, 2013 at 1:13
  • 6
    For those voting to close: I don't believe this question is a duplicate. The linked question is a feature request, asking to allow multiple @user pings. This question is asking the reason for only allowing 1. Jul 5, 2013 at 11:06

2 Answers 2


As far as I can tell, Jeff, who created Stack Overflow from scratch, was fanatic about protecting the users from unnecessary notifications and emails. For him, and for many others, too many notifications and/or emails would be distracting and disruptive. No personal messages, no instant emails.

I believe this is the reason behind not allowing more than one possible notification (except OP) in a single comment. If the comments system would have been built these days, with the current team, there is good chance we could have pinged more than one user in one comment.

Personally, I'm quite neutral on this. Notifications don't bother me, but I do understand those who are bothered by too many notifications, so I won't support changing the current behavior.

As for chat, which does allow pinging as many users as we want in a single message, it's much more flexible, and those taking part should expect many notifications. So everything written above isn't relevant for chat.


The problem with multiple @ usages is it opens up a way to ping lots of users with a single comment. I think blocking all uses of multiple @s is overkill, such as when two users ask identical questions and you want to answer them both in one comment.

This is StackExchange's heavy-handed method of keeping one person from bothering multiple people at once.

  • Is this really an answer? I think it's a mere repeat of what's said in the question and the comments.
    – M.A.R.
    Nov 17, 2015 at 21:15
  • @Ϻ.Λ.Ʀ., a comment is not an answer. Nov 18, 2015 at 0:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .