Most experienced users know that if you post a comment then the author / editors will receive the comment automatically without the use of the @use(ername) notation. These same users know that they must include the @use notation if they respond to a comment made by a non author / editor.

However, it seems that many new users see that a comment is left w/o the @use notation, so they assume that they can respond to the comment, and the commenter will be notified, without that notation.

I've accidentally noticed that this happens quite often (going back to look at something else in a post that I have commented on).

Just something I've noticed. Not sure how many people don't receive comments because of this.... When I remember I often include the @use notation even if responding to a new author / editor just to encourage them to respond in kind.

Anyway, not sure that this is a question or request per se, but it is an issue. It could be solved by forcing the @use notation always, though I don't necessarily like that idea.

I just went back through my comments, and in the past day I was written 3 comments that were meant for me, but the author didn't use the @use notation, so I wouldn't have gotten them.

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  • 1
    I thought I read somewhere that they were working on a "reply" link that would automatically insert the @user text, but I could be wrong...
    – Aarobot
    Sep 14, 2010 at 18:13
  • 1
    @Aar - That'd be sweet indeed. Sep 14, 2010 at 18:14
  • Something to help that situation would be nice. I'm always having to go revisit questions where I've asked the OP for more information, since many of them won't respond in a way that notifies me.
    – Tim Stone
    Sep 14, 2010 at 18:24
  • 2
    Yeah, this happens to me all day too. Dozens and dozens of comments never reach the recipient because new users forget this. (I've complained about the same thing before but in a different context)
    – Pekka
    Sep 14, 2010 at 18:27
  • Did anyone else briefly wonder what jsfiddle would have added to the discussion about @user notation, and why the stylesheets were mixed up?
    – Brant
    Apr 12, 2011 at 21:30

3 Answers 3


There's a specific workaround now in place for the example you cited in the screenshot.

  1. post owner comments on own post
  2. if there are existing comments by one other user
  3. the new comment will notify the one other user, regardless of whether @user was specified

This allows for better conversations between the owner and a single other user, as this auto-notify behavior will continue until another user comments.

  • This is a huge improvement by the way. It sorts out 95% of all "newbies' comments don't reach me because they don't add my user name" type problems.
    – Pekka
    Apr 24, 2011 at 21:10
  • But only if the 2nd comment is made by the post owner, right? And then maybe even only if that 2nd has no @name at all? Like Pekka will not be notified for this, I think. (The @name in this very comment is ignored, given the formatting.)
    – Arjan
    Apr 24, 2011 at 23:12
  • So, @Pekka, did you get a notification of Arjan's comment? (Posteriority will want to know the outcome of this little experiment!) Apr 25, 2011 at 17:15
  • @Hendrik nope, I was not notified! I think this is only for questions though, not answers.
    – Pekka
    Apr 25, 2011 at 17:16
  • @Pekka: Thanks for the prompt reply. I think this is for all posts, but I'm not 100% sure. Apr 25, 2011 at 17:19
  • @Hendrik Works on all posts, and repeatedly as long as only one user is engaged with the post author.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Apr 25, 2011 at 20:47
  • @Grace: Thanks for the confirmation about "all posts". I didn't know about "repeatedly as long ..." - very interesting! Apr 26, 2011 at 18:08

If someone needs to be taught how to do this stuff, they should actually be taught how to do it and not simply given a "hint". There's so many ways that we can demonstrate how to use comment replies, but without users actually learning the ins and outs of the system, observation alone will always be sufficient to learning how to use it.

This is the same kind of problem as the fact that we see a lot of "@Downvoters" and "@OP", the people who may use @Yi to respond to Yi Jiang, people who try to reply to multiple users, as well as proper @ syntax that is directed at someone who hasn't even participated in the discussion at all. And, far less frequently, people who don't realize your name is not spelled the way they think it is.

So if you see a new user reply to you without the syntax, feel free to give them a link to the rules. It'll be far better than assuming they'll catch on.

  • That deals nicely w people you see comment, but it doesn't solve the problem of when you leave a comment for a new user (and you're afraid you won't receive the reply) - especially on a question that'll get few views. Sep 14, 2010 at 18:28
  • @Peter The point of my answer is that there is no universal solution that will work - it's a problem that you just need to watch for unless you want to link it to every person you comment to. Personally, I don't like adding a comment reply to the post author unless I need them to see it after the post is deleted. But I'm also responsible enough to keep track of questions that I have commented on which I have not been gotten back to, though partly out of consequence of display name fiascos.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 14, 2010 at 18:30

What about a link "reply to this comment" below each comment that automatically adds the @user notation to the comments text-box? By the way, I am not taking about a thread system, just a link that takes care of this specific issue (adding the user name). This will also help avoiding spelling issues.


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