Reading this: How do comment @replies work?

It describes how this mechanism works, but in using it (and seeing it used throughout the sites), it doesn't turn the name into a link to either the profile of the user or (what I would prefer) link to the comment being replied to. This seems like a logical functionality to me, and was surprised to see that this wasn't implemented on this site.It appears to me that it'd improve the user experience of the comment system if it was implemented in this way.

If it turned into a link, it would confirm the poster that the user was identified and will be notified of the reply, but it would also assist in being able to quickly jump to the comment being replied to, to understand its context, for onlookers.

It also simply looks better. Usually if I see that the text is unformatted, it says to me that it's just part of the general comment and not treated differently. When reading, it also can make it a bit more difficult to be able to know where exactly the comment starts, since there are no visual cues.

I didn't see any question regarding this kind of functionality so I would like to suggest it, as I think it would improve the experience of the comment system on this site.

  • 1
    The @replies only work if the person has actually participated in the discussion. Which means a link to his profile is already present, even though you might have to use an in-page search to find it.
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 21:38
  • @Ivo Regardless, I feel that it would mean for a better UX (even if it was just a simple style change of the @User text), especially since longer comment strings get folded down. Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


This is very hard to implement because here on Super User (and every other Stack Exchange community), more users with the same user name are allowed to exist. Because this can lead to conflict in which user should be linked to, it's not used.

Implementing this feature would require a complete redesign of the comment/user system.

More reading on this matter on Meta.SO:

@<name> comments should link to the named person's profile (like twitter)

  • However, the comment system is capable of identifying users and notifying them of replies (as per the question I linked above). Why could that system not be used to similarly identify the user/comment being replied to and then highlight or linkify the username in the comment when you post it, then? It appears it uses an intelligent system by filtering out only those users who commented at all. I don't mean to use this system for highlighting any instance @User in the question itself, only those users tagged for reply notifications in a comment. Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 21:38
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    @sidran32 There are cases in which two users with the same name can be part of a thread. Sending out two notifications isn't a problem... creating a link to the wrong user however is...
    – Pylsa
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 21:39
  • That makes sense. Though, as I mentioned above in my comment to Ivo, if it was to forgo the linkification, a style change would improve the UX of reading the comments, in my opinion. Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 21:41
  • @sidran32 Yes, I won't be arguing about that with you... But I think it's a matter of personal preference... I don't mind the current style at all.
    – Pylsa
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 21:44
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    The main thing is that they don't want too much clutter in the comments -- this has been brought up on meta.SO many times before and always declined. @sidran
    – slhck
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 21:48
  • I see. Thanks for the explanations! Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 21:50

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