I noticed that as of quite recently, you can't address more than @one @person in comments.

Is it to discourage people from being obnoxious? To avoid spam?

I often want to talk with more than one person in conversations which I think are legitimate and contributive, so I find myself wishing that the problem this new rule addresses could have been dealt with in some other way.

2 Answers 2


There are a couple of issues:

  1. Only the first named @user was ever notified so any others wouldn't know that the comment had been posted.
  2. The owner of the post where the comment is posted is always notified.

So if I added the following comment on a post of yours:

@Rei, @Jim how about doing this way.

Only you would be notified.

It's an effort in social engineering to get people to use the system correctly.

  • Ah, so it's kind of a technical limitation then. Thanks for super-quick answer. Aug 5, 2011 at 11:25
  • 2
    I don't understand your comment about getting people to use the system correctly. Sometimes, I want to address two people in a comment. Should those be two separate comments, especially if I want to say the same thing to both of the people?
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Aug 5, 2011 at 11:57
  • @Thomas - as the system only looks at the first @name there's no point in you adding the second. If one of the people is the post owner then you can just refer to them by name. If neither person is the post owner then, yes, you will need to post two comments. However, you might be better off moving the conversation to chat in that case.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Aug 5, 2011 at 12:00
  • 1
    OK, interesting. The only problem with chat is that I prefer the asynchronous aspect. For example, I'm browsing P and M.P now because I'm running a script that'll take 5-10 minutes. When it's done, I can continue my work and will probably ignore P for a couple of hours, until my lunch break. I just can't bring myself to use chat in this setting, although perhaps I should, I guess.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Aug 5, 2011 at 12:03
  • 1
    @Thomas Owens: while I mostly agree with your observation (that feature annoy me too), I must say asynchronous aspect can be achieved in chat. The best proof is P.SE chat ;)
    – user2567
    Aug 5, 2011 at 16:12

Is it to discourage people from being obnoxious?

Pretty much.

This has been discussed several times over on MetaSO - this is a good example.

It's worth contrasting the design of comment @-notifications with those of chat, where you can notify multiple users in a single message:

  • Comments always notify the post-author, regardless of @... Chat messages appear to anyone in the room.
  • Comments can @-notify anyone who has ever commented / edited the post... Chat messages can notify anyone who has been in the room recently.
  • Comment notifications persist in your global SE inbox... Chat notifications produce a small indicator within chat, with an entry in the SE inbox only if you don't respond.
  • You can only leave one comment every 15 seconds... You can post multiple chat messages within that timespan.

In short, chat messages will only notify people who are probably expecting them, having recently joined a chat room for the purpose of chatting. Comments might notify people who've long ago forgotten about the topic. Making it easier to mass-notify multiple users via comments has a much larger "harassment" potential.

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