We've made some changes to @mention as part of the recent release. @mentioning is a useful mechanism for drawing a post to another user's attention. It is very useful, but several people highlighted limitations with it that we wanted to address.
The most immediately apparent change is that @mention now brings back more results, with a scroll bar to go through those results. It used to bring back a maximum of 7 entries, now it can bring back up to 20 results, with a scroll bar to show the options.
The @mention service for selecting users behaves differently based on the number of characters entered. If you enter only one or two characters after the @ then the system will show results from your friends list. Otherwise it goes to the full member list.
We also added a tooltip to the @mention list that will show the username. We added this because you might know the community member's username, but not their real name, and this made it hard to see the person you were looking for even though their name is in the list.
We strived hard to get better results for when very short usernames are being looked for. The system adds more relevance to the full name than it does to usernames, and we tried to mess around with this relevance order. Unfortunately some of the results were unpredictable . So it remains very difficult to @mention someone with a very short name such as DAB We plan to revisit this sometime in the future.
We also investigated difficulties being able to @mention people with an underscore in their name. Because @mention replaces underscores with spaces, adding the underscore makes it harder for you to find the person you are looking for. We looked at ways to fix this (like escaping _ into __), but the technicalities of how this worked prevented this. We have raised this with our vendor and we hope for a resolution soon.
We hope these changes will make @mentioning a lot more useful and welcome additional feedback!