When leaving comments to comments, it feels rather random to type in people's names. Is there a way to automatically insert a user's name?

ETA Like I mentioned to @Code in the comments, "random" means this:

I mean that it feels like I could make typos, I need to figure out if people are called "argnfrllg" or "argfnrllg" or "argnfllrg", which I don't want to do. I don't care about their names, but SO is making me. I need to flick my eyes from the text I entered to the name in the comment box. Is that "marig" or "mariq"??

EDIT: Should this be marked as "implemented" now, since there is a tab-completion feature of user names to the comment field?

  • 1
    Possible duplicate: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4798/… Jul 2, 2011 at 16:43
  • @staticbeast I am not suggesting any javascript implementation.
    – TLP
    Jul 2, 2011 at 16:44
  • Fair enough, I was mostly referencing the first part "Every comment has a 'Reply' link after it. Clicking on this link adds the standard @UserName: to the comment edit box.", but you are correct, it's not a duplicate. Jul 2, 2011 at 16:48
  • @staticbeast It's hard to participate in this forum, since most things have been suggested before. Also, the downvotes are kind of depressing, especially when they come without explanations.
    – TLP
    Jul 2, 2011 at 16:51
  • 1
    On SE sites there is not a button to reply to a comment; there is a button to add a comment, but that could be a comment to the post, not to a previous comment.
    – apaderno
    Jul 2, 2011 at 17:03
  • @kiamlaluno Your name is a reason I ask :) It's easy to misspell. Is there a reason you deleted things from my question? Not too sound too noobish, but is there a reason people are downvoting honest questions?
    – TLP
    Jul 2, 2011 at 17:07
  • 2
    @TPL You can write @kiam or @kia, and I would get notified. As per down-votes on meta, they simply mean users disagree with what proposed, or what the question implies.
    – apaderno
    Jul 2, 2011 at 17:11
  • 1
    You may find SE Modifications useful. Jul 2, 2011 at 17:22
  • @Rick I did not even know about mods, interesting. However, I'm not sure I feel comfortable installing all these things just to save some typing.
    – TLP
    Jul 2, 2011 at 17:40
  • @TLP: downvotes mean something different on Meta than they do on the "real" sites. Here, they mean, most often, "I disagree with your proposal". You've implied some functionality that you'd like to see, and others don't think that functionality is worthwhile or appropriate. Jul 2, 2011 at 18:12
  • @Michael Then the votes should be displayed separately, should they not? It's quite different to ask a question that gets 51/50 votes, compared to 1/0. I do not yet have the necessary priv to see vote tallys (except on my own questions, where I can see the rep changes).
    – TLP
    Jul 2, 2011 at 18:18
  • @TLP: As you noted, you'll get that privilege at 1k rep. I don't know that I agree that a breakdown is an essential feature, and that's offtopic in this context anyway. Jul 2, 2011 at 18:20
  • @TLP: You can see the vote breakdown for your own questions in the reputation tab in your profile. Jul 2, 2011 at 18:55
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    How is it "random" to type in people's names you want to reply to? Unless you're replying to random, of course. Jul 3, 2011 at 11:11
  • 1
    Yeah, in other news, I find it obnoxious that I have to actually read what people type before I can reply to them. Couldn't we have something that automatically generates a coherent reply? That'd make things so much simpler. Jul 3, 2011 at 11:20

3 Answers 3


On SE sites there isn't a button to reply to another comment; there is a button to add a comment, but the comment could be a comment to the post.

As there isn't a button to reply to another comment, it is difficult to know which text should be used to pre-fill the comment.
The feature seems going in the opposite direction of the recent changes that remove the @-reference when not required.

  • When I first started out here, I kept looking for things, such as clicking a name or a picture to insert the @name. Why is there no such functionality?
    – TLP
    Jul 2, 2011 at 17:42
  • @TPL Some features for comments are not implemented because comments are second class citizens; the main, and most important, part of SE sites is the questions and the answers. That is why, when there are too comment for a post, the system now ask if the discussion needs to be moved to chat.
    – apaderno
    Jul 2, 2011 at 18:05
  • 1
    Point in question: My name is TLP, not TPL :)
    – TLP
    Jul 2, 2011 at 19:22
  • Whoops! I apologize.
    – apaderno
    Jul 2, 2011 at 20:24
  • @TLP, but you should have been alerted to the comment even if your name had been left off completely: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/97098/…
    – sarnold
    Jul 3, 2011 at 0:22
  • @sarnold This is not about comments on my own questions, it's about comments in general.
    – TLP
    Jul 3, 2011 at 2:36

It's quite unlikely that this will ever be implemented as an official feature of the site.

But there's already a user script that provides such functionality. If you're interested in this sort of thing and the additional clutter doesn't bother you, consider installing it.

   reply links on comments

  • So this is some sort of ideological objection from the community, and from you?
    – TLP
    Jul 3, 2011 at 11:34
  • @TLP: I...don't know what that means. No, I'm not personally in favor of the feature. And it seems like if this were going to become an official part of the site, it would have already been so. You're not the first person to have ever thought of this. But I provided you with a possible solution, and as a special bonus, one that actually works. I don't understand the implication of that comment. Jul 3, 2011 at 11:36
  • Grey Well, you seemed to be upset enough to use sarcasm in your comment on the main question, so I gather it is either personal against me, or some sort of ideological objection to the concept of making things easier. You did say something about "why not make the computer write our comments for us too??"
    – TLP
    Jul 3, 2011 at 11:46
  • @TLP: I keep comments separate from answers. The comment was indeed a sarcastic reply to your objection that you have to pay attention to the name and spell it correctly. Yes, you do. I don't see anything wrong with that. I pay attention to the people that I'm replying to. I read their comment, and look at their user name. 90% of the time, I'll even click through to their profile (if I don't already recognize them). It's just basically the same way I engage with all people, on SO or not. But rarely is anything I say personal against anyone. I just disagree. Jul 3, 2011 at 11:48
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    @TLP it's ideological objection of the developers of SO and SE network, who don't think such feature is necessary, and it's their full right in my opinion. They know best what's good for the community in the long run and see the whole picture e.g. how much server load any feature is causing and side impacts that we as "ordinary" members can't really see or know about. Hmm.. reminds me of something but we won't go there lol. :) Jul 3, 2011 at 11:48
  • @TLP: But, that's a completely separate issue from the answer. Since I knew of an actual solution, regardless of my personal views, I posted an answer. Had I not known of a solution, I'd have left it at witty comments. Jul 3, 2011 at 11:49
  • @cody I also look at the names, and avatars, and take an interest in people. But I am not interested in how "user123073" spells his name. If this was an email, and this user name was his real name, then it would be polite to learn to spell it correctly in the greeting "Hello Michail!" This is nothing like that, though.
    – TLP
    Jul 3, 2011 at 12:02
  • Anyway, I suspect you are right, people don't like it, and it will never be implemented.
    – TLP
    Jul 3, 2011 at 12:04

A few guidelines:

  1. @name is not required, ever, when talking to the post owner. The post owner is always notified of every single comment on their post no matter what, in all circumstances, forever and ever amen.

  2. @name is optional in the case when the post owner is entering a comment after another person. That is:

    question -- User A

    comment (User B): why didn't you frozz the bimblee?

    comment (User A): I tried frozzing the bimblee but then my nachos reticulated.

    Here, B would be notified of A's comment even without @username because it can be reliably inferred. Obviously the post owner, User A, is not talking to him/herself here...

  3. You only need to enter the first 3 characters of a name for a valid match to a previous commenter username, so when replying to Oguers Ancewwa you do NOT need to type @oguersancewwa -- just type @ogu or @oguers

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