Possible Duplicate:
Don't remove the @ part of my comment

A brief scan through similar questions here on Meta revealed that apparently SO staff regards the feature useful for removing noise.

I beg to disagree and humbly suggest that aside from serving as mere notification triggers, references also indicate the intended recipient to us, readers.

References make following the discussion easier. Current approach distracts attention every time an unreferenced comment comes up: Are there at least three users involved? Or was the reference simply omitted? To whom was the comment intended for anyway?

In short, is @name noise really so bad that it justifies inconsistent referencing which distracts more than it helps?

Principle of Least Astonishment

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    ☃@Saul - +1. One of my least favorite anti-features. – Kobi Jul 21 '11 at 9:34
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    I have found myself editing comments on several occasions; I assumed that I had simply forgotten to put in the @<user> part, but my edit didn't really help :-S – jensgram Jul 21 '11 at 9:44
  • possible duplicate of Don't remove the @ part of my comment Your objection is made explicitly in some of the comments to Jeff's answer. – Cody Gray Jul 21 '11 at 9:51
  • @Cody Gray: The issue of readability is not discussed in the answer you refer to. – user151803 Jul 21 '11 at 9:59
  • Hrm, I see you're already having trouble reading comments. Notice that I said "made explicitly in some of the comments". Your argument appears to be that these @replies indicate the intended recipient, which increases readability of comments. Billy ONeal made that same argument in a comment. But the point is really that this is unlikely to get changed, whether we like it or not. – Cody Gray Jul 21 '11 at 10:05
  • the average # of comments on all posts is two. Having millions of redundant @postowner comments on millions of posts with 2-3 comments is a massive reduction in readability. Remember that the post owner is always notified of every comment by default; click the "help" link under "Add Comment" for details. – Jeff Atwood Jul 21 '11 at 10:08
  • @Cody Gray: I suppose simply overlooking Billy's comment is out of the question? But thanks for the clarification. He does talk among other things about disambiguating recepients but also mentions it being irrelevant to him whereas I feel that selective auto-removal of @name creates unnecessary distraction. – user151803 Jul 21 '11 at 10:28
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    @Jeff Atwood - All I am saying is that explicit references reveal the flow of discussion instantly. Otherwise it takes more effort. – user151803 Jul 21 '11 at 10:58
  • there is no flow of discussion in the typical case; comments address the person "on the podium" (aka the post owner) unless they explicitly indicate otherwise. When someone stands up and ask a question of a person presenting on stage, they are not addressing another random audience member... – Jeff Atwood Jul 21 '11 at 11:03
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    @Jeff Atwood - There isn't automatical reference insertion in the typical case either. I honestly do not see how imagining a podium makes more sense than a simple @name. – user151803 Jul 21 '11 at 11:33
  • Er, aren't the @name replies only removed in cases where it is absolutely, trivially unambiguous who's being addressed? I cannot fathom why this is such a contentious issue. – McCannot Jul 21 '11 at 12:58
  • @camccann - Well.. can you tell by a mere glance, without going through the details, if the above comment by Jeff Atwood is adressed to everyone or someone particular? – user151803 Jul 21 '11 at 13:28
  • @Saul: Irrelevant. He didn't use a reference, and if he had it would not have been removed, just as my (technically superfluous) reference to you was not removed from this comment. – McCannot Jul 21 '11 at 13:38
  • @camccann: The point is that with automatical removal, there is no quick way of telling whether the reference was omitted intentionally or behind the scenes. A comment addressed to the public looks the same as the one addressed to the OP. Which, unlike before, requires one to waste time on counting participants and on reading an unreferenced comment to find out who is the actual recipient. – user151803 Jul 21 '11 at 14:24
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    @camccann: Well, some of us apparently care. I am not arguing about importance of comments, they were deemed important enough to be implemented separately after the initial launch of SO. All I am saying is that explicit references reduce the effort of reading. – user151803 Jul 21 '11 at 14:44