When I changed my old user name to current username the comments that address me by starting with @myoldname look silly and pointing to nobody. Shouldnt they by approriately updated as well ??

UPDATE: Thanks folks. I realize the technical non-feasibility of updating a simple text based pointing convention (such as the @name convention ) at such a large scale and with so many edge cases. But consider the process of code entry into the response box. There are simple ways for the system to recognize that its code and it colors it accordingly. Why cant the system (on a little hint by the commenter ) be able to do the same with the @name convention and unambiguously bind it to the intended user and persist it? That will make the automatic update very easy and error free.

  • A tiny bit related: other people using things like @FirstLastname in comments, is one of the reasons why I stopped using my last name here — just as I could not envision if I really never wanted to change it, but learned that changing all occurrences (including on the sites of content scrapers) would be impossible after some time: Is it bad to use your “real name” as your user name? – Arjan Feb 2 '11 at 17:42

I don't think comments are intended to be that important a part of the site's content. If you have a comment thread that has valuable content, the content will remain useful regardless of the usernames mentioned or left dangling. Hence the behavior of upvoted comments being displayed out of order on a long comment thread. The @ notifications should have fired before the rename as well, and will serve their purposes without some intensive find and replace on all comments.

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    This. Plus, too many edge cases - what if multiple Johns or Peters take part in the conversation. – Pekka Feb 2 '11 at 17:34
  • @Pekka, good point - even if there was a strong need for the renaming in old comments, it may not (is probably not?) even be a feasible task. – jball Feb 2 '11 at 17:38
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    @Pekka: Been there done that! – John Feb 2 '11 at 17:57

I agree that this would be handy. But this would be difficult to change because if your old name was "OldName", the @ comment could be @Old or @OldName or @O. Also there could be 3 other users also named OldName and you would not want to make changes to those comments.

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