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As Ian notes, creating a notification for the target user is particularly important if you want them to see your comment. Some Wikipedians have hundreds or thousands of pages in their watchlists, and/or log in infrequently; so notifications are powerful tools.

If you are addressing a user on their own user talk page, they will be notified of a new, signed comment regardless of whether you mention them by name. But if you're replying on your own user talk page, or an article talk page, or a noticeboard, you should make sure they get a notification. Though a little redundant of Ian's answer, I'll note various ways of doing this -- the third is my preferred approach:

  • [[User:Username|Username]] is the basic wiki syntax, and results in Username
  • {{ping|Username}} is useful, and results in @Username:
  • {{u|Username}} is similar to "ping", but leaves out the punctuation, resulting in Username

You can also address multiple users at once, I believe with either the "ping" or "u" templates, as follows: {{u|Username1|Username2|Username3}}.

Finally, there are times when private communication is more appropriate; you might consider the "Email this user" link, visible in the lefthand navigation when looking at a user's user page or talk page. (Both users have to have entered a valid email address in their accounts in order for this to work.)