Are you viewing the community in threaded view or linear view? I always use linear view and generally rely on the context and members using @forumname, or just addressing it to a particular person as I do.
Since people can run a mix of threaded and linear, I've had a person in my community complain since they really like threaded view and when those of us who use linear, aren't disciplined in using the reply box on the post they are replying to, and instead just reply to the end, it really confuses things for them.
Interesting discussion on whether the software should enforce on style or the other in a community, and what else could be done to encourage member behavior to maintain thread integrity.
Maybe this is a blog idea for one of the Lithium bloggers? Threaded vs Linear.... who prefers what and why, and how to allow the two to peacefully co-exist?
You are right about people replying to the last post instead of paging back up to the top to reply to the original post that is why I suggested this Idea: https://lithosphere.lithium.com/t5/Suggest-Your-Ideas/Reply-to-Original-Post-button/idi-p/22378 that would make a reply to OP button available.
I also like the Linear view but I would hate to see the choice forced on anyone. I think the solution will be in making replying to the OP easier and some way of seeing who the reply is to.
If you find my post helpful, and it answers your question, please mark it as an "Accepted Solution" © JakeR