Is it appropriate to use comment section to refer to a specific user who is most likely to provide an answer? For example, when there is a request for the IUPAC name, one might want to type cast @Loong (or sudo summon @Loong:) ), because this is the person who is most likely to provide one of the best answers (no offence to the rest of you guys).

Would you say it is a good idea, or rather an inappropriate one?

In one hand, users are utilizing their favorite tags in order to receive notifications regarding the questions of interest. The problem is, when a new question is posted, it is quite often insufficiently/wrongly tagged. Also, for the interdisciplinary questions tagging may not be the best selector.

In the other hand, it breaks the core SE philosophy in regard that individuals are free to invest their time and will in solving particular problems, and it might be considered as if they are forced to do so.

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    $\begingroup$ I think you cant actually summon someone unless they've previously commented (possibly to prevent this kind of thing). Generally maybe bring it up on chat, but possibly not a great idea to start asking specific people to answer things - Loong has a full time job and like the rest of us cherry picks things to answer based on time/interest etc. $\endgroup$
    – NotEvans.
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ @NotEvans. Doesn't @username send <username> a notification? $\endgroup$
    – andselisk Mod
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ @andselisk Only if (a) they're the author of the post (that specific question or answer) being commented on; (b) they've edited the post; or (c) they've already commented on the post. Otherwise, the notification isn't sent. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ You should really get your way to chat ;) Any user active in chat in last week can be pinged there, and chat mods can superping any user. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ @hBy2Py Thank you, I didn't know that. I thought @ works globally regardless the role of the user in the post. Then my question is pretty much meaningless. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk Mod
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Maybe I should. Actually, I've been in the chat once, frightening experience for an introvert :D $\endgroup$
    – andselisk Mod
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ If you wanna ask someone, here's the way to go. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Many thanks! I guess this question should be deleted? $\endgroup$
    – andselisk Mod
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ Not necessarily, maybe it could be duplicate. I didn't duped anything in meta yet ;D $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ No duplicate so this may be a question to send others for pinging info :) $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:58
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    $\begingroup$ @andselisk You do realize that if this idea got through, it'd flood your inbox, right? ;) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ @paracetamol All right, all right. Calm down, I see, this wasn't a great idea:) $\endgroup$
    – andselisk Mod
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


I feel this would be inappropriate because the person you wish to answer your question has other time commitments.

Furthermore, it might rob your question of a great answer from another user. Other users would be unlikely to answer it since you essentially specifically asked them not to.

If you would like a specific person to answer your question, you could bring it up in chat. Also, if it's in @Loong's area of expertise, he might come to the question naturally.

There are so few questions on the site, at this point, that we pretty much get a good look at the latest pickings. If we don't answer a question it's because we don't have the expertise, aren't interested in the question, feel the answer was sufficiently covered by someone else, or just don't want to.


Leaving aside the side effects Melanie so correctly pointed out, this would not work in the first place.

The only people you can ping are:

  • the post author (is pinged automatically)
  • editors of the post
  • people who previously commented.

On questions, you can also notify - moderators or gold badge holders who closed or reopened it - any user who set a bounty on it (current or expired).

For more detail, I refer to the post on meta.SE. Therein you can also find further information on how comment notifications work and how much punctuation you can put in.


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