The background to my question about comment replies has several parts, but I essentially have a single question.

  • When using StackExchange on my mobile, it does not provide me with autocomplete when I type @ followed by the first couple of characters of a name.

  • I now know that I only need to type the first three characters of a name—or less if it has fewer letters before a space and it is unique.

Recently, I was on a train and I wanted to reply to a comment left by somebody. However, that person's name was expressed in Asian symbols that I couldn't type on my phone. (At least not easily.) I could have copied and pasted all of the symbols (which were also separated by spaces), but I would not have had autocomplete to "confirm" it was correct—and I wasn't sure if it would be.

So, my question is, how do you know for sure if a short @name is going to be correct or not in the absence of autocomplete and in situations such as this where the name isn't understandable to you? Do you just copy and paste the whole thing, remove any spaces, and assume it will work?

  • What kind of phone do you have? If there's someone in the comments I'm replying to with a non-alphanumeric username, typing @ alone suggests that person without any other text. Does that not function properly for you?
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jun 11, 2018 at 15:08
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    @Catija that's because you're using the full site theme on your phone. While this works, it's very wonky and not easy to use. If you'll switch back to mobile theme on your phone (or desktop), you'll see there is no autocomplete. SE simply did not put the proper code for that in the mobile theme resources. Jun 11, 2018 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


I'm afraid the answer is that we can't know if the name we type is correct. The only sure way without autocomplete is to copy and paste the name.

Related feature request is Add the comments @ auto-complete to mobile theme but five years later, the chances of this being done are around zero, so we really shouldn't build our hopes up.

My pro tip is that since the name in the comment is a link and can't be easily copied, open that link (to user's profile) in a new tab, and in there long-tap the name, thus selecting it:

long tapping name selects it

Then it's easy to copy and paste, and this way spaces won't be copied as well.

Another way is switching to full site theme on the mobile device by tapping the "full site" link in the footer, but that's not easy to use, the design would be horrible, and things might break unexpectedly since the full site theme is not meant for mobile devices. You can always switch back to mobile though.

  • 1
    That sounds good in theory. Unfortunately, when I'm viewing comments on my Android (using the Google Store app), the names, while in bold text, do not act as links. If I press the name in a comment, all that happens is the entire comment gets highlighted. Jun 11, 2018 at 15:19
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    @JasonBassford oh wait, you mean the android app then, not mobile web in a browser. That's something totally different, and you do have a way to autocomplete, by tapping the reply arrow that appear on top: i.stack.imgur.com/PSq4r.png (if you don't see that arrow it means the author of the comment will be pinged anyway, even without having @ there.) Jun 11, 2018 at 15:24
  • Ah! Thanks for that. It took me a while to realize that I need to look at the top of the screen, after selecting the comment, in order to see the changed menu bar—something I had not noticed before. (It also provides a link to the user's profile.) Jun 11, 2018 at 15:42

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