Changes to @mentions and names in HipChat

| June 29, 2012

Note: We made changes to this system a few days after this post due to user feedback. Please see @mentions and names, take 2.

As HipChat has grown over the last year, so has the average team size. It’s become clear that HipChat could use some improvements when it comes to how names and @mentions work. Today, we’re starting to roll out a few improvements.

What are the new changes?

  • Each user in a company will have a unique @mention name. The mention names have the format @FirstLast with letters and numbers only. Pete Curley would be @PeteCurley and Mike Cannon-Brookes would be @MikeCannonBrookes
  • Full names are now displayed in chats and tabs instead of First L. This will solve the issue of having multiple John M.’s and not knowing which one is talking.

When is this happening?

You may have already been prompted to update your HipChat client. It will eventually be a required update, but you can update it manually if you can’t wait.

Hey! I want to pick my own @mention name!

We know. You want to pick your own mention name like you can in IRC and other chat programs. We’re not ruling out that we may do this in the future, but for now we’re just trying to solve the things we know are broken (like multiple Johns getting mentioned when someone types @john). We highly value real names in HipChat. We think it’s one of the main things that separates us from consumer chat services. If we add it now and mess up the experience, we’ll have a hell of a time removing the feature. If we keep things simple now we can always add more flexibility in future releases.


  • Ira

    Sounds like a reasonable solution.

  • Matthew Orres

    I like it. The quoted string worked, but there were quite a few people that were unaware or just didn’t give a damn about the suggestion box that’d pop up to create it, so they’d go on mentioning the ever-present “Johns”. Keep up the great work!

  • levifig

    Now that you mention IRC, that’d be a much nicer interface to add (unlike the unusable, except for bots, Jabber interface)! 🙂

  • Henrik N

    The full name looks a lot more formal than before, which is a bit of a shame. We’re a team of a handful unique-namers on a first name basis 🙂

    I doubt you want to spend more time on it, but one thing you could do is use first name if unique, or else full name. So “@Aaron”, “@BurtXson”, “@BurtYson:twitter “. You could even use first name + last name initial if that’s unique enough.

  • Anonymous

    Personally I think this new format is rather tedious. It’s rather brazen to ignore decades of IRC wisdom and prevent people from choosing their own handles.

  • Mathieu F

    It’s the easiest solution but not the most user-friendly one imo. Having the option to only enable it for users with the same first name would have been better. Or giving them the opportunity to pick up a customized handler. I don’t understand the “We highly value real names in HipChat”. Isn’t that something for the users/room admins to decide?

  • Codafoo

    I wish this change was optional as well as a small team org in hipchat.

  • Kenta Murata


  • そらはー

    +1 for change about showing full name, but

    *** -1 for change around mentions. -1. ***

    1. Why I have to type enter after unique substring of username to complete his/her name?
    2. almost mentioned name became like camel cased. for example, my name “Shota Fukumori” became “ShotaFukumori” from “shota.”
    3. new mention names are tooooooo long. take longer time to recognize.

    wanna revert this change. thanks.

  • Garret Heaton

    Just want to let everyone posting here know that we’re looking into issues caused by this change. It’s clear that a lot of small teams prefer the old style.

  • Artem Russakovskii

    I like this solution, finally @artem doesn’t ping all 3 of my hipchat accounts (which I created due to HipChat not supporting multiple logins under the same account).

    However, I believe pressing space before would also auto-complete while now it doesn’t, which makes people write @mentions without actually @mentioning. I think the right way could be a hybrid solution between how it used to be and now, depending on uniqueness of all registered users.

  • Jeremy Ebler

    Checkout our chatbot’s plugin, HipRepeater. It offers this @mention aliasing, and even allows you to @mention groups. Very useful.

  • James A

    Another frustrated small team member here, feeling suddenly weird about referring to all my team members by their full names. This doesn’t feel like it was a good change. 🙁

  • Tom


  • Sérgio Souza


  • Gustavo

    We had to change the names because of the mobile: Everton Cardoso -> ver to, Gustavo Aragao -> gus tavoRevert this change, please.

  • Kevin Smith

    I’ve been living with this change for a full day and I have to say I hate it. My team isn’t large but we’re not small either (~10 ppl give or take). We have several members with the same first name which the old-style mention format handled quite nicely. Name completion after the change feels tedious and bulky. Please change it back.

  • seth

    Not happy with the change. We had solved the name collisions by all adopting initials and adding that as our first name in profile (that was ugly, but current is worse).

    Really not liking the verbosity, short names much easier, nor the formality.

    Mapping to real names makes sense in hipchat but that seems entirely different from what aliases are allowed.

  • Marc Paradise

    A frustrating change. Most of us had already changed our names so that we can be quickly pinged by prefix – “mp Marc Paradise”, etc.    Easy and doesn’t require pausing to look at a popup window and process autocomplete options, which is kind of annoying when you’re typing a quick message to someone. 
    In addition, there are months of muscle memory to overcome. When I try to ping someone, I use their chosen prefix – don’t even think about it.
    Hope to see this reverted soon.

  • Anonymous

    Like many others, I’m not really liking this new change.  It’s overly formal, as well as cumbersome.

  • Jessica

    I think the most frustrating part of this change is that it wasn’t announced unless you read the hipchat site. Some people had upgraded while others hadn’t, so the ones who hadn’t upgraded could only be mentioned with @first and didn’t get pinged for @firstlast or @”first last”. I miss being able to just use @first, it was much easier. It would be nice to know if your @mentions actually went to someone though, the old system was far less sensitive.

    • James A.

      That’s totally what we’re feeling. You can’t just jerk functionality away from people without telling them first. We have a *lot* going on in our HipChat over the course of a given day, and now we have tons of missed messages because all the notifications that *used* to work suddenly don’t anymore. Our team is taking a productivity hit, and we’re losing money as a result.

  • James A.

    By the way, you guys have a large user base that you can *ask* about things like this. Just ask us. We’ll tell you what we’re going to hate before you spend a lot of time building it and announcing it in public.

  • Jeff Moser

    We have 20 users and we do not like this change. It makes the chat room feel overly rigid and formal as if we’re drones in Corporate America rather than a fun and nimble company that HipChat was initially created to foster.  Moreover, it makes the chat history more verbose.

    There were (and still are) lots of corporate chat programs available when I decided to pick HipChat for our company. I’ve taken some heat for picking HipChat over some alternatives in the past (especially for the mobile clients, although they’ve gotten better with time). I still stayed on with HipChat because I thought you “got” the importance of focusing intensely on a great chat experience for making companies feel small.

    You’re not Yammer. You’re not Chatter. You’re not Lync. This is a good thing. Don’t let the Atlassian acquisition change the initial fire you had inside of you to make an insanely great chat experience.

    Right now you’ve forced us to hack our names to get back the behavior we want (i.e. I renamed myself to “Jef f”). You might want to compare database snapshots before and after this change to see how many other people have done the same.I’d prefer the old style or at least make it an option to pick which one we want or only do the full name if there is an ambiguous case. This algorithm is not challenging. But please give us some confidence in subsequent blog posts or comments that your fully committed to not becoming overly corporate like the Yammers of this world. (But if you are, tell us as soon as possible so we can plan for alternatives).

    Please demonstrate to us users that you still are nimble and can respond to your daily users who picked you out of the alternatives.


  • Kyle

    Agree, this change is really frustrating for a smaller team that doesn’t have anyone with the same first name. 

  • Mustafa

    Hey! Any chance we can create multiple mention names for ourselves? I know it’s silly…

  • Gaz

    We integrate HipChat with git, trello, ci systems etc… which all use consistent ‘nicknames’ chosen by the users James R is known as @JR across all platforms (except hipchat) when these messages get deployed there’s no mention in the channel. Extremely frustrating and lots of messages and updates are lost in the stream.