doing a save and check verifies that the difference exists
That was a quick and easy change, but it still turned into a link when hovered, and still functioned as a link. Using Firebug it shows up as "<a class="username subject" href="index.php?members/a.7/">A</a> (same with or without the edit)
I logged in as user A and quoted a post to generate the alert. This template edit is simple enough I'm sure I did it correctly.
Just in case the TMS failed I went and edited alert_post_insert directly with the same result. Is the syntax correct?
Well I messed around with this a bit more, changing $user.username to only $user or username just to see what changed. This removed the username completely. Then I switched it back to Jake's $user.username and the edit finally took hold. No highlight to the username (or link operation) as desired. It's very frustrating that some edits don't "take" regardless of whether they are direct edits, TMS edits or EXTRA edits.
The side effect of this template change is that the whole secondary content area of the alert dropdown now becomes a link to the topic. This means that clicking on the avatar, the topic link or any text area or blank area performs the topic link function. Mousing over any of these areas turns the arrow cursor into a hand cursor and the background changes shade (indicating that the link is everywhere). With this happening, the normal link underline from mousing over the actual topic link looks odd. This is one edit I might not keep.
I seem to be the only person to routinely get what I call "edit weirdness". XF would be much easier to use if this didn't happen.