I like the new @username feature of comments. However, what syntax do I use when the username has spaces (or perhaps other weird characters) in it?


2 Answers 2


Based on a comment in the blog post, I implemented a way to handle this. The situation:

  1. Spaces are not used for matching user displaynames.

  2. The user displayname match must be 3 characters minimum, so @a and @ab will never match, but @abc will.

This is fine most of the time, but it is problematic for users with both spaces in their names and either very short or very common first names like "Al Smith".

Now, spaces are removed from the display name for the purpose of matching. If you need to refer to "Al Smith" then @als will work -- or @alsmith.

(Matches are done in reverse chronological order so you only need the minimum 3 characters necessary to match the displayname of the most recent comment under yours -- the matching process stops as soon as a match is made.)

  • 1
    @JeffAtwood Better solution. Thanks for changing. Now some link action on the @username could help to see, if it worked.
    – janpio
    Commented Jan 18, 2010 at 6:55
  • 4
    @jan I considered that, and "it worked!" feedback would be nice, but comments are busy enough without adding more hyperlinks.. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4798/… Commented Jan 18, 2010 at 7:10
  • 1
    ITYM "above" yours, not under, unless you've got your browser rendering text in bottom-to-top order or something ...
    – SamB
    Commented Apr 7, 2010 at 23:41

I just saw in What is the relevance of “ @ ” in comments? this info:

  1. Spaces cannot be used to match, so if the person's display name is "Peter Smith" then just use @peter to match.
  2. Matching is performed in reverse chronological order, so if there are five people named "John" in the comments, writing "hey @john, have you considered apples?" will match the most recent John to comment.

I guess the answer is "you can" and it "mostly works the way you want it to anyway" and that's good enough for me!

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