In a similar vein to

System should detect new users mistakenly making repeated same (or similar) edit requests, and provide appropriate feedback

but definitely less important...

I recently tried to post a comment and had it go through without the "@[nameofanotheruser]" I had typed at the beginning (I was addressing another user.) I ended up trying multiple times to edit the comment to add that back in, but it would never 'take'.

I thought the system was just not working, and the problem was exacerbated by the fact that the other user had a name with non-standard characters (so I thought that may have been causing the problem).

After I asked about this in the comments, that user clued me in to the fact that @[nameofanotheruser] is not required (and for some reason is actually forbidden...not just pointless) when you are posting a comment on that user's answer, but this could have been explained more easily with a simple pop-up message delivered at the time the comment is being entered.

  • The pop-up text could be "'@[nameofanotheruser]' is not required here. Users are notified of all comments on their own questions and answers."

  • Alternatively, those "@" statements could just be allowed is those cases. They may be redundant, but unless they actually hurt something (double notification, maybe?) stripping them out may not be worth the confusion it generates.


More support for the 2nd solution I mentioned (just allow @ statements in all cases):

Even under [anotheruser]'s question or answer, @[anotheruser] can be even more than just harmless, it can still serve a purpose! It still conveys to that the comment is directed at [anotheruser] and not the wider readership. ...in addition to simply keeping the look of directed comments standard, and preserving WYSIWYG.

  • They should simply read this : meta.stackexchange.com/questions/43019/… Jun 17, 2013 at 19:04
  • 1
    @ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd The very first link I followed from the page you suggested, "See comment replies in the Markdown help", which is the only one of any of these pages that I did read before using the @ syntax, leads to meta.stackoverflow.com/editing-help#comment-reply where there is no mention of how replying works! It must have been removed from that page. In any case, some people will not even read as much as I did before using it.
    – A.M.
    Jun 17, 2013 at 19:07
  • @benisuǝqbackwards Done. I would be happy with either solution (though the one proposed there relies on peripheral vision a bit more. ;) )
    – A.M.
    Jun 17, 2013 at 19:17
  • 1
    @ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd The Space Shuttle manual is simpler than that. In any case, @ removals have been greatly relaxed since they were first put in. AFAICT they now only occur when it is blindingly obvious that the only person you could possibly be talking to is the poster of the question or answer.
    – user102937
    Jun 17, 2013 at 19:35
  • @RobertHarvey To your first point, yes, that page is pretty complicated. (and it's on a Q&A page, not on a page you could reasonably expect a new user to read before trying to direct a comment for the first time).
    – A.M.
    Jun 18, 2013 at 0:36
  • @RobertHarvey To your second point, though, while it may be blindingly obvious that the only person you could possibly be talking to is the questioner or answerer, that still assumes a user knows the finer points of this. It is still not obvious why new users can (seemingly) find themselves unable to talk to that person...or why the system just seems to be glitching.
    – A.M.
    Jun 18, 2013 at 0:42
  • @A.M. Well, FWIW, I don't believe that it's necessary to remove @ whoever from any comment.
    – user102937
    Jun 18, 2013 at 16:54
  • @RobertHarvey Thank you. Actually, just reading the wording of your comment (phrased as "is it necessary for it to work the way it does" rather than the default perspective of "is it necessary to change the way it works") was enough to make me to think of more benefits of the option of just removing @-stripping altogether. I just added those to my answer.
    – A.M.
    Jun 18, 2013 at 17:08
  • 1
    Sure. Note that, in busy threads (i.e. those where there is more than one other person besides the poster commenting), @ is already preserved for everyone.
    – user102937
    Jun 18, 2013 at 17:10
  • That's a great bit of fine-tuning (which a person could fail to notice...thanks), but it further reduces the list of cases in which the @ is stripped, and I would say further calls into question the rationale for treating such cases differently.
    – A.M.
    Jun 18, 2013 at 17:13
  • By the way, what happens when there is a conversation between the OP and one other commenter, and then more people join? I imagine the @ statements are not (saved somewhere until needed) and then restored. I don't think failure to restore them would really compromise the flow of the thread, but it is an interesting use case.
    – A.M.
    Jun 18, 2013 at 17:17
  • @ notifications are not automatically restored. Removal of notifications is based on the comments above the new comment, not on the comments below it, and that's how you should read conversation threads (look up, not down).
    – user102937
    Jun 18, 2013 at 17:21


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