One of the many things I was excited about in our move from MO 1.0 to 2.0 was the chance to leave responses to previous comments that automatically notify those people. Occasionally, a conversation occurs, and I would like to notify more than one person in the same comment. ("@Einstein: As @Godel said, you can't prove consistency (that's what you said, right?).") You know, like cc'ing someone on an email. But when I tried to do so just now, an error message popped up letting me know that that wouldn't work.

I assume that this was a design decision by the StackExchange folk, and not a technical obstruction. I can imagine some reasons, none entirely convincing, why I might have made that decision — anyone want to explain the actual reason? Alternately, can I submit "the ability to make simultaneous notifications" as a feature request?

If this question is better suited for a centralized meta.SE site, feel free to migrate it.

P.S.: In response to the text box, I cut and paste half of my comment into a second comment. This had two suboptimal outcomes: (1) There is now one more comment than there needs to be. (2) When I tried to click submit, I was told I cannot submit two comments within the same 15 second window. Unfortunately, my count to "15 Mississippi" went a little fast, and every attempt resets the clocks. I should mention: this was in the comments section of a question I had asked, where I was responding to comments raised; surely I can be trusted not spam myself?

Or, surely, I can learn to be a little more patient. 15 seconds isn't really very much time. I mean, I spend longer than that trying to convince myself not to click "refresh" yet again on Google News.

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    $\begingroup$ There used to be an @all (for all people in the conversation I assume) that was discontinued. As Manishearth explains SE is I think very hesitant to add the ability to easily notify many people in order to avoid noise. I can understand this to some extent but also find one notification per comment a bit too restrictive and thus would support the idea to increase the number of people that can be notified per comment while still having some limit. Somewhat relatded meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/197/… $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 2 '13 at 11:18
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    $\begingroup$ meta.stackexchange.com/questions/85771/… $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 2 '13 at 13:57

Comments are third-class citizens on SE. Their purpose is solely to lead to improvements in the post. This can be by correcting mistakes, asking for clarity, or making suggestions of improvement. They are not for discussion -- try to avoid starting a discussion in comments. If you wish to discuss, create a new room in chat. The chat platform is much better suited for discussion than comments -- you have the ability to ping multiple people in one message, the ability to reply to specific messages, and the realtime experience is smoother (however it works fine for discussions across timezones, too).

With this in mind, one rarely has to mention more than one user in a single comment (and when you do need to, just split it into two comments). Note that the owner of the post is always pinged (no need to explicitly @mention them).

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    $\begingroup$ PS: I hate that 15 second timer reset thing. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Jul 2 '13 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, that's about what I expected. I'll try to figure out this "chat" thing I keep hearing about. I've grown accustomed to seeing all question-related discussion on the same page as the question (and, based on not having tried it any other way, I see this as a feature), and I have yet to find a "chat" button. But I trust that the SE team has thought more about these things than I have. $\endgroup$ – Theo Johnson-Freyd Jul 2 '13 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ @TheoJohnson-Freyd: perhaps I am taking your comment in a too literal way, but the "chat" button is right at the top of the page (next to meta/main depending on where you are). Note however that (I think) there are still some issues with joining chat; see several relevant meta-questions. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 2 '13 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ @quid I mean, one that somehow connects to any particular question. In any case, I really am mostly interested in situations where I'm not trying to have a long discussion, but trying to respond to related comments that point out related problems (or even that incorrectly suggest fixes). $\endgroup$ – Theo Johnson-Freyd Jul 2 '13 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ @theo oh, it's fine to have a short discussion, it would get cumbersome if you had to make a chatroom every time. If you sense it becoming long (>10 comments), then create the room. Leave a link in the comments for completeness. Also, note that you will be prompted with "would you like to [automatically move this to chat]" if a comment thread gets long. While you can ignore it, try to use it: it sets up the chatroom and all in one click $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Jul 2 '13 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ A note: these are SE guidelines. As a moderator on Physics I manually shift long conversations to chat and try to encourage its use, however MO mods are free to not enforce this, imo. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Jul 2 '13 at 21:37

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