I just noticed something that really bugs me on Stack Overflow.

There is @-syntax for summoning people in conversation.
Sometimes such @s are redundant.
One such situation is when you try to summon the guy who posted the answer.

As such, you don't have to say

@Jon, you're a saint! Cleanse my heart.

because Jon gets notified of any comment on his answer.

I believe this is the reason SO currently truncates redundant @user part:

you're a saint. Cleanse my heart.

But I don't want that. I wrote a sentence that started with capital and finished with a dot.
Now it starts with lowercase, which looks ugly.

Can we either cancel truncation, or uppercase truncated comments if they were uppercase in the first place?

To summarize my point:

I didn't ask the system to edit my comment. You know what—I don't care if the poster gets notified anyway.
Good. You set the business rules.

But why do my comments get distorted for no apparent reason, other than that I don't remember the business rules for @alerting?

Solutions that look fine to me (in order of convenience):

  • remove the truncation (@Jon, you're a saint);
  • truncate just @ (Jon, you're a saint)
  • 2
    I would just post "Jon, you're a saint! Cleanse my heart." Jul 7, 2011 at 14:30
  • 7
    @Shadow: referring to people via @ has just become a mind pattern for me. I don't usually think whether the system will inform the person anyway—I just want to communicate my message, and the system distorts it. This is where it gets annoying.
    – Dan
    Jul 7, 2011 at 14:46
  • My thesis is if system is already smart enough to do alerts only once, it should not impose this business logic on me. Otherwise the validation would have to occur once in the system and another time in my head, or I'll get an ugly comment.
    – Dan
    Jul 7, 2011 at 14:48
  • 1
    I understand, but this is too minor to be considered bug in my opinion so just shared what I would do in such a case. :) Jul 7, 2011 at 14:50
  • 8
    @Shadow: they implemented the truncation and this is a problem caused by it. I can't really understand the reason why such message needs to be truncated, therefore I think this bug is just as important as truncation itself. Or equally non-important (but equally!).
    – Dan
    Jul 7, 2011 at 14:55
  • 1
    @ShadowWizard 'minor' as in non-breaking, yes, but it's still rape, of sorts. If we're trying to build a better internet, isn't malformation of others' sentences a little naive? I've been meaning to post something similar regarding the lower case 'p' at the beginning of the 'possible duplicate' auto-posts. Jul 7, 2011 at 14:55
  • @Mr.Dis: The lower case 'p' has already been discussed. You should try and search. Jul 7, 2011 at 15:34
  • possible duplicate of Capitalize "possible" in the automatically inserted comments when you vote to close as a dupe since it establishes that the system doesn't care about capitalization, and it's funnier.
    – Pollyanna
    Jul 7, 2011 at 15:51
  • @Adam: my comments are not automatically inserted, mind you. I don't care how system messages look, at least as long as they're consistent. But my comments consistently start uppercase, and I'd love to always keep them that way.
    – Dan
    Jul 7, 2011 at 15:56
  • @gaeron Even when the user's name who you are addressing obviously prefers a lowercase version of their username?
    – Pollyanna
    Jul 7, 2011 at 15:59
  • 3
    @Adam: I think you got me wrong... The problem is "@lowercasename: a sentence of mine" becomes "a sentence of mine". In the source string, I wouldn't uppercase user's first letter (because user name is more important than grammar). But in the result string, there is no user name, and thus there is nothing here to justify grammar violation and eyehurt.
    – Dan
    Jul 7, 2011 at 16:02
  • @gaeron so if I prefer a lowercase style, you propose that the system uppercase my comment because you prefer an uppercase style? Exactly how would the system determine what the user intended to have happen, or in other words, what rules do you propose that wouldn't uppercase comments for users that intentionally wanted lowercase, vs your comments where you prefer uppercase?
    – Pollyanna
    Jul 7, 2011 at 16:08
  • 2
    @Adam: I see your point now, thanks. Then it's better to not truncate the message at all.
    – Dan
    Jul 7, 2011 at 16:20
  • 1
    One advantage of the second fix (Jon, you're a saint) is that it educates users about when the @lert was automatic. On an unrelated note, 'Lert' would be an awesome username. Jul 7, 2011 at 16:23
  • 3
    Sure, I understand why people are objecting to the automatic removal of this information. It violates the principle of least surprise, and it's not doing a very good job of instructing people how to use the system because it doesn't explain that an unnecessary portion of their comment was snipped out. But that doesn't change the fact that it's here to stay. Requests to disable or modify it have been officially denied. So calling the original poster by name is no longer an option. My suggestion is to just omit the part that'll be inevitably removed, and thus capitalize it correctly.
    – Cody Gray
    Jul 9, 2011 at 5:26

2 Answers 2


I didn't want the system to modify my comment in the first place. Please don't make the system modify my comment any further. Further modifications require assumptions that aren't always true.


If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Why was this changed in the first place?

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