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I know that sometimes if you want a specific user to be notified by a comment, you have to put @so and so. But can someone explain to me when that is and isn't necessary? Thanks!

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    $\begingroup$ You certainly don't need to @-ping the owner of the post you're commenting on, since the owner is necessarily notified by comments of any sort on his post. Otherwise, there have been previous meta threads on the commenting mechanism; please search around. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Jun 14 '13 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ I edited the title, which described a different question. FYI in case you want to un-do the change. $\endgroup$ – zyx Jun 15 '13 at 13:09
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Canonical meta.SO thread How do comment @replies work? has everything you wanted to know about comment notifications and much more. Basically, you don't need to include @ in two cases:

  1. you are addressing the owner of the post under which you comment.
  2. you are commenting on your own post, on which only one other user commented so far.

In case 1, if you are not the first one to comment, you may still decide to use @ for the sake of clarity. The system will let you do so in this situation; but otherwise @ is automatically removed when it's unnecessary.

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