Possible Duplicate:
@<name> comments should link to the named person’s profile (like twitter)

Rampant throughout the system is the adopted usage @SoAndSo to target a user. However when that user changes their username this info becomes irrelevant.

I'm suggesting a feature to maintain relevance of these by autolinking to underlying user id. It doesn't have to happen in real-time; the system could scan for @soAndSo designations at its leisure and automatically link to the underlying user id for robustness and permanent association.

This could also pave the way to future endeavours like associating "incoming" and "outgoing" information with a user. More semantic data at the very least.

Note: This differs from this other meta request which is about linking @user to comments.

Kinks that would have to be worked out:

  • Might be interesting to provide the user a prepopulate select list of available @items skimmed from the page for selection (client-side).
  • if the system asynchronously autolinks, the user may have changed their user id in the meantime to something different or even to mimic somebody else.
  • misspellings - could be skipped instead of deciphered. People would have incentive to spell them correctly in light of this feature.


  • Seems like a duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4798/… to me.
    – Arjan
    May 7, 2010 at 17:03
  • 2
    @Arjan I don't think so, that one is about notifying users in comments, this is about linking to user profiles.
    – Pekka
    May 7, 2010 at 17:04
  • Ah, I misread "the @UserName: is converted into a javascript 'link'" for a link towards the user. Then it's a duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9652/…
    – Arjan
    May 7, 2010 at 17:13
  • I'd suggest a prepopulate select list in the same way that Facebook does it :)
    – Earlz
    May 7, 2010 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


Hmm. I can't see how this would be useful. If I want to open leppie's profile, I look for his original comment and click the link there.

It happens often to me that I want to learn more about a user, but usually that is when I read one of their comments, not a reaction to it.

And it would add a lot of visual clutter. My tendency is "nay".

Edit: My tendency is still more "Nay" than "Yea" but the OP does make a good point I hadn't thought of. See the comments.

  • 6
    However if you want to do the inverse and go searching for leppie because of a comment targeted "@leppie...", and the username no longer exists, then you will have to do some guess work by looking through the thread, or worst case not find leppie at all.
    – John K
    May 7, 2010 at 17:05
  • 2
    @jdk now that is a valid point. Especially looking at certain users who like to rename themselves every 30 days. ahem
    – Pekka
    May 7, 2010 at 17:37
  • Just recently I changed my username on some of the associated websites and wish @stuffToMe would follow me. I realized a lot of people hope that kind of stuff doesn't follow them!
    – John K
    May 7, 2010 at 17:53
  • So who is this @jdk you are referring to - an imaginary friend? :)
    – John K
    May 7, 2010 at 18:06
  • @now yeah yeah, I get your point :)
    – Pekka
    May 7, 2010 at 18:09

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