When typing comments, it's useful to use the "@" system to alert a user to a comment (and also to make it clear to a 3rd party who you are addressing a comment to, as comments have no "thread-like" structure here). For example, typing "@MatthewDaws" would make it clear a comment was aimed at myself.

Some users have usernames using non-Latin based characters, which is definely all to the good of trying to make MO reflect the whole world, and not just the English speaking bit of it. However, this seems to make it very difficult to interact with the "@" system, because my (English) keyboard doesn't allow me to type these different characters.

Is there an "official" way to use the "@" system here?

I have had some luck by highlighting and copying the username, and then typing "@", pasting, and then backspacing until the "auto-suggest" system selects the correct username. But that feels a bit clunky...

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    $\begingroup$ ... and then backspacing until the "auto-suggest" system selects the correct username: You don’t need to do that. The autocomplete system is only an aid for you to type the name; it does not perform any magic that would be required for the @ notification to work. Once you copy the name, you are good to go. (In principle, the notification system does not consider text after the first blank space, hence it will only “see” the first word of a multi-word user name if you don’t remove the blanks, but that usually does not matter unless the first word is extremely short.) $\endgroup$ Jun 24, 2021 at 9:03
  • $\begingroup$ I must be still in the dark ages because I have no idea what you're talking about! I copy (Ctrl+c) the desired name, then in the comment space type '@', then paste (Ctrl+v) the name, then type ':', then spacebar, then begin writing. I do this except for very short names as a way of avoiding typos (and also avoiding having to spend several seconds carefully proofreading the name to make sure there's no typo), and I generally don't pay attention to what the characters in the name are nor have I encountered problems with "strange" characters. $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2021 at 18:02

1 Answer 1


I am not sure about people using mobile devices, but on desktop using comment replies doesn't seem that different for users with non-Latin usernames.

If I am in a comment where such user can be pinged, after I type @, I am offered the username(s) with non-standard characters.


For usernames which start with a Latin character, I am offered the username(s) after I type @ and the first letter of their username.


In case it helps when searching for further information, I'll mention that this feature is called autocomplete.

As an fallback option, one could always copy-paste the username - but this is certainly a bit cumbersome (as you have mentioned already in the question).

More on this:

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    $\begingroup$ Ah, great, so the first link you give has an answer: meta.stackexchange.com/a/168155 which says that just typing "@" will bring up a list of all non-Latin usernames, allowing you to select one. That's good enough for me! $\endgroup$ Jun 23, 2021 at 11:32
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    $\begingroup$ On the mobile website, autocomplete indeed does not work, hence for names that are not easily typable, one must resort to copy and paste (which can also be difficult). One thing that helps is that it is not necessary to type the whole username after @: any prefix of the name of length at least 3 is enough. (If the prefix matches more than one user, it pings the one who commented most recently; see meta.stackexchange.com/a/43020 for details.) Also, the system does not insist on proper diacritics on Latin letters (meta.stackexchange.com/q/48968). $\endgroup$ Jun 24, 2021 at 8:46
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilJeřábek Maybe summarizing the things concerning comment replies on mobile devices in a separate answer would be a reasonable thing to do. (Personally I have never used MO/SE on any mobile device, so I do not want to write about stuff that I do not know.) $\endgroup$ Jun 24, 2021 at 9:37
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    $\begingroup$ @MatthewDaws, if this is good enough for you, then wouldn't it be appropriate to accept the answer? $\endgroup$
    – LSpice
    Jun 24, 2021 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, somehow this being the meta site, it completely didn't occur to me to need to accept an answer! Now done... $\endgroup$ Jun 24, 2021 at 20:43

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