I often find myself informing the newcomers about the comment @replies, since otherwise the comments they write (when trying to reply to someone) often remain unnoticed due to lack of notifications.

I propose adding an automatic message explaining how the reply system works.

Something like this:

When the user tries to post a comment, if:

  • Nobody would get a notification unless they @mention someone, i.e.:
    • They're commenting under their own post, and
    • At least two other users have commented on the same post (if there was only one user, they will get notified regardless; if there were no other users, we assume that the comment is not directed at anyone in particular), and
  • The user hasn't dismissed this notification before, and
  • (optionally) They have <N rep (or any other criteria to avoid showing it to existing long-time users).

Then show following text next to the comment textbox:

When replying to other users, begin your comment with @username, otherwise they won't get notified. (more details)


I'm not a native speaker, so the message wording can probably be improved.

  • 5
    Does it do this already? See this really old post
    – Laurel
    Mar 19 at 2:00
  • 1
    Uh...what I find really annoying is being told stuff I know very well over and over again. Mentioning users with an @ in front is pretty standard thing in many online platforms, I needed to see it once in comments to understand what it is about. I don't need to be told this many times until my rep improves. Yes, not everybody is familiar with @-mentions but it's not some hidden knowledge no new user could have, either.
    – VLAZ
    Mar 19 at 9:17
  • 4
    @VLAZ Note that I suggested not showing it again after the user presses 'dismiss' once, regardless of rep. Mar 19 at 9:20
  • @VLAZ HolyBlackCat also suggests to put this next to the comment bar, so you can simply ignore it, just like the help in the sidebar whenever you post a new question.
    – Joachim
    Mar 19 at 11:02


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