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My username isn't too specific (Jasper). Every once in a while, I come across someone else with the same name. And sometimes, we even comment on the same question or answer.

Now, I don't mind all that. However, as such a situation occurred today, I was wondering about how pings work. Based on the logic described in How do comment @replies work? that means that the ping will always arrive in the inbox of the most recent commenter with the same name, making it impossible to ping the earlier commenter.

That doesn't seem like it would be intended behavior (i.e. one user making it impossible to ping another user). Is this nevertheless how it works?

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That doesn't seem like it would be intended behavior

But it is. The system focus on "the least possible amount of notifications as possible", still from the very early days, and it still didn't change. That's because most people (maybe not you or me, but most others) consider non relevant notifications as noise and annoyed by them.

So if @Jasper would have pinged all Jaspers who commented, that might annoy all Jaspers except you.

Having the ability to ping a specific user by using the ID is one way to solve it (e.g. @146270 where 146270 is your user ID) but it requires extensive development time and to be honest... we don't really need it.

Bottom line: if you really want to say something to someone and can't do that in a comment on a specific post, you can try doing it in other ways: comment on one of their own posts, or even chat.

  • I think the situation that just happened is one that goes against your implied claim that this causes the least amount of annoyance. I was the second Jasper to reply on an answer, and subsequently others tried to ping the other Jasper, but reached me instead. So yeah, all "wrong" Jaspers were pinged, and the correct one wasn't. So, the same number of people got "annoyed" by an irrelevant notification, and there were also people whose pings never arrived, so they might be annoyed by not getting a response (granted, that annoyance will be smaller). Of course, all of this is not this question... – Jasper Jun 20 at 13:36
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    @Jasper I see your point, but the point in my answer is that only one Jasper got pinged and might be annoyed, but not 2, 3, or even 10 in extreme cases. :) – Shadow The Dragon Wizard Jun 20 at 13:39
  • @ShadowTheCurlyBracedWizard However, I think more than two users with the same name commenting on the same question is extremely rare. Personally, I see the incorrect pings as my own fault for not having a better display name. Now, one might disagree with that, but I think it's fair for someone who has the display name "user" to say it's objectively their own fault (and I think that's practically almost a requirement to get into the more than two users with the same name situation) – Jasper Jun 20 at 13:49

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