When a user changes names, is there any way for "@" comments using their former name to be changed automatically to their new moniker? Otherwise, it looks like the commentators made a mistake. See comments under OP here as an example: Why do Americans say “tuna fish”? (mgb became Martin Beckett)
There is an ooold request on the meta Meta, "change all @username references in comments when a user changes their name", that has been withdrawn by the OP after some discussion.
Basically it doesn't work because:
- all at-mentions are just plain text (so the system doesn't know that I'm responding to user ID 5822, all it could look for would be an "@Callithumpian" somewhere in the comment);
- user names are not unique (there can be any number of Callithumpians around);
- people don't have to at-mention your complete name, the first 3+ letters will suffice (so while there probably aren't that many different Callithumpians around after all, there could very well be a whole bunch of Cals, Callis, Callithumps and whatnot).
So this leads to a number of possible issues. The (accepted) answer by Brian R. Bondy lists a few of them:
- Maybe someone refers to an unrelated @Brian on twitter, and then @Brian changes his name on stackoverflow.
- Comments can be stolen by renaming your name to someone and then back to someone else.
- Sometimes people will refer to me as @Brian [rather than using the full name, @Brian R. Bondy]; however, a real @Brian may change his name to @Bob and then no one would know people were referring to me.
- This wasn't implemented since day #1, so there are probably a lot of @Name's out there that can be stolen to be renamed to an unrelated person.
- How do you differentiate between @Brian the developer, and a user named "@Brian the developer". Spaces could cause bad renames.
- Search / replace for name changes could be a costly operation on all text comments
- You are changing the text strings of people's comments, so changing their original comments may make them mad.
Just a warning: if this feature is implemented, I will change my username over and over again, each time choosing another user's name, until either all comments begin with "@Pesto" or the system collapses under the strain. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Dec 4 '09 at 17:17