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According to How do comment replies work? and explicitly stated in What responses will trigger an OP’s red-envelope icon?, you should use @OP's-user-name to notify the OP of a question when commenting answers. On the other hand, I just saw someone (who uses Stack Overflow for some time) commenting answers with @OP.

Does this also notify the OP or is this just a mistake of the commenter?

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    @thepurple: This notify me anyway, because you commented on my own question. – Marcel Korpel Jun 3 '10 at 15:53
  • Yeah, you're right. I'm an idiot. – squircle Jun 3 '10 at 15:54
  • @thepurplepixel - try on my answer below. – user145242 Jun 3 '10 at 15:55
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    As I possibly should have made clear in the linked question, @OP-user-name only works if the OP has already commented in that comment thread. I don't believe it is any different from normal comment notifications. – mmyers Jun 3 '10 at 16:00
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The question of whether it works has been answered. As for whether it should work — in case someone wants to make this a feature request — I'll say the following:

  1. "OP" only contains two characters, which is too short for a reply under the current rules, per FAQ bullet point 3
  2. If implemented, this could lead to collisions with usernames that start with "OP"
  3. There's no significant difference in effort between typing "OP" and the first three characters of the OP's username

You could make "@OP" a special case of a less-than-three-char reply tag, but I believe the effort to implement and confusion to future users outweighs the benefit.

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    But using @OP's-user-name is IMHO a reasonable feature to attent the OP when commenting on someone else's answer. – Marcel Korpel Jun 3 '10 at 16:04
  • @Marcel, agreed. I was only trying to address the issue of using the actual two-char string "OP" with this answer. – Pops Jun 3 '10 at 16:06
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    Can we use other special strings next?! @C for closers, @D for downvoters, @U for for upvoters, @M for all moderators, and @JA for Atwood. And @me for good measure, so I can send myself notes. – Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 16:39
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    Don't forget @<> for diamond mods! – Pops Jun 3 '10 at 16:41
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    @JS is good for Jon Skeet or the Javascript on the page. – ζ-- Jul 16 '12 at 18:37
  • I'm not saying this should be implemented, but I disagree with bullet point 3: typing "@op", is exactly typing three characters, typing the first three letters of the op's name is first looking what the username is and then typing a couple of characters. Now you can argue the effort of looking up the name is insignificant, or that it should have happened well before you started typing, but without these arguments, simply mentioning the number of characters feels like misrepresenting the situation to me. – Jasper Jun 20 at 13:06
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There are no shorthand notifications to alert a specific person with comment replies. The only thing that will work is using their name. @OP wouldn't work because it is only 2 letters anyway.

A lot of people do things like @closers, @downvoters, and similar such. They don't do any mechanical effect and are kind of an artifact of how to address people. Many times people also use @name to refer to people that aren't even in the current discussion. I see @Jeff very often for Jeff Atwood in questions he hasn't participated in. It's basically used by some people to identify who is being spoken to/about, rather than to highlight.

Calling it a mistake is a bit of a misnomer - it's probably a force of habit at that point. It's similar to how some people use @ to refer to the poster, when they get automatically notified anyway.

Also, @name should not, to my understanding, work on the OP if the OP has not actually participated in a particular sequence. mmyers clarifies this in the comments.

  • Example, @Marcel shouldn't work here. – Grace Note Jun 3 '10 at 15:59
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    Indeed. I always thought it would. – Marcel Korpel Jun 3 '10 at 16:03

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