Wikipedia talk:Signatures/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Archive 1 | Archive 2



Supporters of this rule include: Ed Poor, Koyaanis Qatsi (strongly),Hmrox, Eclecticology(mostly, but I do forget to do it sometimes), JHK, 24 (mostly), user:Tsazack, Hyacinth, Jusjih (though I occasionally forget), Pgan002 (automatic signatures)

Opponents of this rule include: Anon.

What was the point of implementing the "sig" preferences option? Having one name on your user page and something completely different in the sig is just daft. It serves no purpose other than to confuse -- Tarquin 11:42 Mar 11, 2003 (UTC)

Your opinion about what is daft, is noted, Tarquin. May I presume that you know of what you speak? -豎眩sv
I have changed my username to match my sig. This is at least the third time I have made changes purely to please Tarquin. I hope he can now wiki in peace. -º¡º
I agree, signatures should be immutable, defined as the name and a "(Talk)" link.

Something just struck me. Why when we write ~~~~ does it link to the user page and not the user talk page? When we hit someone's usernic we usually want to leave them a message, not read their main page. I've been leaving a message on some pages in visiting four people, it involved eight journeys, to a user page, then talk page, next user page, then talk page, etc etc. Can that be changed? After all, if we want to see their user page, we can always go to it from the talk page, but as 9 times out of 10 we want the talk page, it would make sense to make it the default, with the longer route reserved for the rare occasions when we actually want to go to their main page. Any observations? FearÉIREANN 01:35 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

This has come up before and there are arguments for and against it. One major problem with that approach is that we will end up with mixed signature types unless we do a massive conversion, which might be confusing. Also, I think links should reflect the content of their pages -- when I click on a user name, I expect to see something about that user.
There should be both. Any links to prior discussions? -Pgan002
On the other hand, it is clearly very inconvenient to post comments with our current system. Brion has written a quick hack to put at least a shortcut to the edit page on the user page ("Leave a comment for this user"); this would mean that you effectively have to click the same number of times as with your solution. Eventually what I would love to see are some nice tiny icons that appear next to each username, one, maybe like the blue (i) logo, shows the user page, one, maybe a speech bubble, shows the talk page, one, a speech bubble with an exclamation mark in it, opens the talk page in edit mode. Because that would be much different from the sigs we have now, it should be reasonably non-confusing. In the meantime, I think Brion's solution should work fine. --Eloquence 02:16 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)
agreed -Smack

This comment was the first reply to Jtdirl, but clearly he didn't like it: Maybe a dual link would be better. -- Tim Starling (Talk) 01:37 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Oh sugar! Sorry Tim it must have got erased in the edit conflict I found myself in. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. (Or as we supposed Irish speakers would say Tá brón orm!) FearÉIREANN 05:22 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

It's alright, it was just an honest mistake, and easily corrected. Save the multilingual apologies for when you burn down my house or shoot me or something. -- Tim Starling 05:38 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)
New comment on old talk - Note that this old problem has been mitigated to an extent - By fiddling with the nickname string in the user preferences it is possible to provide a link to both the user page and user talk page in the same signature. The software puts [[User:UserName| sig ]] around the sig string. So by making the sig string nickname ]] [[User_talk:UserName|(talk) you end up with [[User:UserName| nickname ]] [[User_talk:UserName|(talk)]] replacing ~~~~ and a get a link to both pages. Many users now implement this (with lots of interesting variants! Word has it that User:Dori was the first to come up with this trick. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 12:34, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Shouldn't the default signature be like this? -Pgan002 01:07, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

templates in sigs

Regarding the statements Do not use page transclusion or templates for signatures (signatures which include {{User:Name/sig}}, for example). This is usually seen as an avoidable drain on the server and database., what is the evidence that these cause a drain on the server and database? Is this drain theoretical or has the effect been documented? And just how serious is this drain. It seems that using a template for long signatures makes talk pages considerably less cluttered. That they might be a target for potential vandalism seems a non-issue as anything in Wikipedia is a potential target for vandalism. I guess the negatives of using templates in signatures isn't very convincing as presented here. olderwiser 18:25, Feb 16, 2005 (UTC)

Certainly, a simple text signature (like mine) stored with the page content is less of a burden than yours which is transcluded. First of all, the system has to maintain links to your transcluded signature (see Special:Whatlinkshere/User:Bkonrad/sig). Obviously, the more places you sign, the more links must be maintained. Second, whenever you do change your signature, all those talk pages are purged from the server caches, and must be regenerated (see Wikipedia:Meta-templates considered harmful for a similar discussion of the issue). Third, your signature page is a vandalism target, and will be forever, even if you leave the project. It's not much of a signature if anyone can change it in the future. Lastly, under current policy, someone could request deletion of their /sig page (since it is in your userspace). What happens then? All of this is avoided if we say here and now that only simple, static signatures should be used. -- Netoholic @ 18:48, 2005 Feb 16 (UTC)
Why did you revert my edit to this page? It is, after all, not policy, and making it appear so is somewhat misleading. Your crusade is a mysterious one, and I'll be glad to conform to such a policy if it ever exists, but for now it does not. — Dan | Talk 03:35, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
That seems like a false argument. So, you aren't saying the conclusion and reason is wrong; you're only complaining that it isn't policy? I have explained the very real technical problems above. I ask that you change your signature to a static one, and direct anyone else you see who uses a template or transclusion to this page so that they can take action. -- Netoholic @ 05:13, 2005 Mar 7 (UTC)
My signature, "— Ram-Man (comment) (talk)", has the advantage of providing someone with a link to my talk page. I copied this from someone else and it is very useful. As to the concerns listed, my sig page is protected, and it is also never going to be edited. If I need a new sig, I will create another "/sig2" page in place of the existing "/sig", thus two of the concerns do not apply here. On another note, we have not banned template usage in other situations. A number of templates that I have personally used in Wikipedia articles have become obsolete and needed to be deleted. The same concern applies. So as far as that goes, the amount of overhead is the same as any other template. So what is the problem? -- RM
The difference is that signature templates/transclusion do create avoidable overhead. The overhead on regular templates is acceptable, since it goes into the presentation of the encyclopedia. User signatures are simply meant to be a means to an end, to foster background communication. Adding direct overhead by using anything other than a normal-text signature just adds burden to the server, which is somewhat self-serving, really. -- Netoholic @ 02:24, 2005 Mar 29 (UTC)

I recently started using a template and just got alerted of the fact that it takes up resources. I came here to see how big the impact really is, but i can't find information that would allow me a sober assessment. Can anyone provide some numbers? Thanks — Sebastian (talk) 20:16, 2005 Apr 26 (UTC)

Why not use {{subst:your sig}} and maybe add it to the page as the suggested method? pamri 07:23, July 13, 2005 (UTC)
The sig I had in mind looked similar to this. It was long and cluttered edit and diff view. — Sebastian (talk) 16:44, July 13, 2005 (UTC)
I use {{SUBST:User:GeorgeMoney/sig}} in my signature. --GeorgeMoneyTalk  Contribs 01:17, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

I strongly agree. If Wiki wants us to sign our posts, why can't we customize our sigs?

Tsazack 20:59, 5 October 2005 (UTC) (talk)

signing for others

I know there is a help topic on how to add someone elses signature when they have forgotten it, that should link from here. I'd do that, but I can't even find that article. SchmuckyTheCat 15:37, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Agreed; there needs to be something on {{Unsigned}} AySz88^-^ 17:29, August 31, 2005 (UTC)

Things to avoid: Appearance

Under "Things to avoid: Appearance" it states that "(it) is possible to be playful with the signature, for example by including ornamental Unicode characters (☻♂♖♥★, etc.) and using <font> HTML tags to change the color and/or size", yet it does not state if this is to be avoided or not. The way I read it is that it is acceptable to use Unicode characters and font tags. Witch is it? ·Zhatt· 20:50, July 12, 2005 (UTC)

from what I read, it isn't acceptable, i may be wrong. --Sstabeler (talk) 10:43, July 30, 2005 (UTC)

This should be made absolutely clear in the document! -Pgan002
Personally I'd prefer a complete absence of "playful signatures" and for everyone to have a very simple and obvious one - yes, like mine. ;) It's a small but very common irritation to have to hover over a link in someone's sig to find out which bit is the link to their Talk page, and given the importance of inter-user communication on WP I think clarity should have precedence over creativity. I seem to be in a minority though, and I can't say it's the biggest problem WP possesses, so I'm not expecting any real changes. Loganberry (Talk) 12:07, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Same here. Exploding Boy 23:04, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
I agree -Pgan002

Thanks for the reply. Zhatt 22:54, September 8, 2005 (UTC)

Timestamp generated by ~~~~

I think it would be nice if the timestamps generated by ~~~~ were displayed in your local time. Your timezone is something you can set in your preferences, and pages like "my watchlist" display dates in your local time. Also, properly formatted dates (such as November 8 1980) are displayed according to your preferences.

I'm not sure where the proper forum to voice this opinion is, so I thought I'd start here. Any thoughts? Has this been proposed and rejected already? JerryOrr 00:34, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Good Guide FrogieFever 02:58, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

When previewing, you'll note the time remains the 4 tildes in the editing field, and is automagically updated in the actual preview part. As soon as you save the page, the stamp becomes raw text, meaning something static that cannot/won't change. Your suggestion would need a change in the Wiki software, making sigs/stamps features a little bit of code instead of the raw time. Retodon8 12:53, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

More options with the time stamp feature would be better. User:MarcusHolliman 03:37, 22 May 2006

It would be nice if the date stamp appended by FourTildes were rendered according to MyPreferences as are dates and times in articles when properly formatted. Should I post this at MediaWiki instead? Chris 03:34, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Help with signature date, please

I am trying to make my signature comply with ISO 8601 international standard date format. I have that set correctly in my user preferences, but no matter what I do I can't seem to get my signature to output with the proper date format. I have tried overriding the "Nickname" preference, inserting:


but that does not insert the actual current date and time, it merely inserts the variables. This is more than a little frustrating: ISO 8601 is the international standard date format, and it ought not to be this much work to get Wikipedia to display dates correctly rather than in the bizarre "day month year" format that appears to be the default. Is there something I am missing? BBlackmoor (talk) 20:38, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Correct your date preferences, not the signature preferences. =Nichalp «Talk»= 13:46, 23 October 2005 (UTC)
That's the first thing I tried. My date preferences appear to have no effect on what my signature looks like. -- BBlackmoor (talk) 14:32, 23 October 2005 (UTC)
User:Mzajac might be able to help you as he too has this format. =Nichalp «Talk»= 14:39, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the help, everyone.[1] -- BBlackmoor (talk), 2005-10-24 T 21:04:56 Z

I've written a user script: User:Quarl/advanced_sig.js that allows you to use whatever signature you want for ~~~~ (it replaces the text when you submit) and also replace the signature toolbar button if you want. The default is an ISO 8601 timestamp that looks like my signature here. Quarl (talk) 2006-01-05 05:52Z

Forced Signatures

Is there a way to take away the option, so people are forced to give the ~~~ or ~~~~ into their post?

ImaTard 01:53, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

Could you be more specific? =Nichalp «Talk»= 14:39, 23 October 2005 (UTC)
What ImaTard means is, isn't there a way to make people sign their names, or, if they are not members, numbers, so we can at least relate to them?--ViolinGirl 20:48, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

Basically, the problem is that wiki is not a discussion board. Using wiki pages for discussions is sheer bad design, and makes it trivial to misattribute, and even modify, people's contributions. For example, I enjoy drowning puppies. --Jimbo

Yes, the history page will clearly demonstrate who really added a comment, or if they changed someone else's, but who bothers to carefully study the history of discussion pages to ensure that all attributions are correct and all comments unmodified (and, frankly, why should one have to?).

If it is Suspicious like above then I will check the history. If not then I won't. But the history page isn't proof anyway. Admins can Purge Part of the history out of a page such as to remove sensitive information. Although their usually are telltale sines of such changes. If they add a fake signature then it would show up on the page history. If you change the page history then it will show up on the deletion log. Some developer could remove it form the deletion log but than some other place might give it away like a mirror sight that didn't update it's cache or an archive sight Wayback--E-Bod 02:55, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Yeah and you can always Quote somebody out of context especially when the person has a good sense of humor.

I am deeply opposed to free speech.--Jimbo Wales 21:09, 5 May 2006 (UTC)[2]

It's So much more funny when it's true--E-Bod 02:55, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

"Non-confusing" sigs.

A recent Arbcom decision mandated (in that particular case) use of a "non-confusing" signature. This would seem to be the place to address the issue of "confusing" sigs in general. In particular, ought it to be the case that signatures:

  • Link to the user's own user (and/or talk) page;
  • Textually contain, or visually resemble the user's actual username; and/or
  • Be free of meta-syntax, that would cause problems if copied verbatim.

Two of the above would have been possibly at issue in the case I'm thinking of, though no standard of confusing/non-confusing was actually specified. Other instances also spring to mind. Is there consensus for general guidance as to any of the above? Alai 19:32, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Page Rename?


Just wondering, what do people think of renaming this page to Wikipedia:Please sign your posts on talk pages.

BenAveling 20:33, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

That could involve a lot of policy renames, if we extend the principle... Mind you, this is perhaps the exception in being in the imperative. What about Wikipedia:Signing your posts on talk pages? Alai 05:51, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
I think the imperative is fine - that's the way this tag is usally used. Regards, Ben Aveling 04:20, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


Just a heads up that I'm going to raise this at Wikipedia:Requested moves.

Regards, Ben Aveling 07:42, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Let's make 'no images' MUCH stronger

The image server is over-stressed again, and 'vanity' user sigs are one of the most expendable uses of images (IMHO, of course). Can we please ban them instead of just "discourage"ing them, as discussed at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Unnecessary_images_are_killing_performance.2C_and_should_be_banned. I'd like to see stronger admonitions against blinking and Unicode, etc., as well--I don't know what they are, but this[3] user sig shows as nothing but question marks or boxes on IE, Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, and Opera. Niteowlneils 22:42, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Talk page link in my signature has stopped working

Can anyone help? I didn't change anything and all of a sudden it was like this. Grant65[[User talk:Grant65|(Talk)]] 09:54, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Noticed that too. You need to change your Prefs, check the '[v] raw signature' and edit your nickname to a *full* link. HTH, --bitterMan.lha 15:02, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
I noticed I was in the same boat today and just couldn't figure out what was wrong. Thanks for the help there. Doug A Scott (talk) 16:48, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
This happened to me, as well. What on earth? John k 07:30, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Signatures should not contain images

...or should they? Please join the discussion there. Radiant_>|< 23:52, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

anon sigs

Is there a template for the previous comment was from anon user xx.yy.zz? I couldn't find it under 'cat:Wikipedia_templates' or similar. I'd be happy to link it in somewhere. Srl 20:51, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

thanks Srl 01:23, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Requested move

Moving this page to "Please sign your posts on talk pages" would make what is often used as an instruction more polite.

On the downside, cleaning up the resulting redirects might mean more than the usual work because people often write "please Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages" and a decision on what to do with those would be needed.

Regards, Ben Aveling 07:52, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one sentence explanation, then sign your vote with ~~~~


Add any additional comments
  • Okay, I'll bite. Oppose. I prefer conciseness over politeness in titles. (Besides, when they say "sign your talk pages", I think they really mean it—"please" can sometimes be disingenuous; for example, how often have you seen those little stickers on rental tapes (in the USA anyways) that read: "Please rewind—or 50 cents charge!")
    -,-~R'lyehRising~-,- 10:22, 3 December 2005 (UTC) 23:36, 6 December 2005 (UTC) Ann C never worked at WKJG. Also the Karen Frankola lawsuit was a minor part of the history of this station since it ruled in the stations favor anyway. Most people don't know or care about this.


Not moved. Eugene van der Pijll 20:55, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

External links in signatures

I propose that we add this to the WhatToAvoid section. Zocky 19:40, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

External links
Mass posting of links to a particular website is strongly discouraged on Wikipedia. Posting a link to an external website with each comment you make on a talk page is likely to be viewed as spamming or an attempt to improve your website's ranking on search engines. If you have to tell other Wikipedians about a good website that you are associated with, please do so on your user page.
  • Agreed. It seems necessary. For example, User:Stirling Newberry has essentially said on User talk:Zocky that he will not stop until policy comes about against him. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-9 19:44
  • Agreed. —Matthew Brown (T:C) 21:23, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
  • agreed most strongly -- sannse (talk) 21:24, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Speedy agree, with a comment that they may/will be removed on sight. -- Netoholic @ 21:53, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
    • I've already done so for all of his signatures. I don't consider it any different from link spam in article external links. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-9 22:03
  • I concur, it sets a precedent that can far too easily be abused. DS 22:02, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Agreed. bogdan 22:03, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Sounds reasonable. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 22:29, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree that external links should be discouraged in sigs. Rhobite 04:08, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Agreed. -- DS1953 04:34, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I Support the discouragement of this practice.--cjllw | TALK 01:59, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Agree -- murder1 04:24, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

One line summary

There being a need for concise one line summaries of guidelines, I offer this version. Please feel free to change it as necessary, and update the template Template:Guideline one liner to suit your taste. Please don't remove it simply because you think the summary is inaccurate for this guideline. Comments and opinions welcome! Stevage 03:05, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Formatting the Date

I've recently tried signin documents by manually typing in the date, because I didn't like the default format. However, a couple of other user were concerned, even after omitting the date with 3 tildes. I was wondering if it was possible to format the date, so it shows the Month DD, Year, X:XX AM rather than DD Month, Year 01:23 -- Eddie 08:06, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

If mummy feeds you chocolate every day then some day dies, you will have to go and get your own chocolate - even though you don't like it. If she teaches you the wrong way to do things then you won't like it having to change. You can remain backward while the rest of the world slowly slowly moves forward LEARNING the logical and admittedly initially more difficult way. It took me some years of self control before I could use the correct format and now it irritates me to hear people wanting to retain a completely irrational date format. 20060306182127 Now that may look complicated to you for the first time. When it has been used a hundred times you will find that people who use anything else are making life very complicated. I will undertake the job of proving this (since I am so obsessed with it) because there are a lot of people who do not comprehend. I will return when it has been clearly and logically explained and you will then hopefully not think of me being so arrogant as I do appear here. Kenneth Keen 00:48, 7 March 2006 (UTC) 20060307004729

Thtmkssmchsnssttmptngtwrtnglshwthtspcsrvwls. (That says "That makes as much sense as attempting to write English without spaces or vowels", for those of you who are still sucking at your mummy's teat of irrationality.) --Sam Blanning (formerly Malthusian) (talk) 09:53, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Nice to see someone awake. When you have not been taught to use a telephone then you will look at the plastic in someone's hand and say "Well if I want to talk to you then I won't want to use this". That is natural. It takes a certain amount of openness and of course "intelligence" to be able to comprehend something which has not yet been explained. It is good to see someone who responds to something which appears illogical rather than just not understanding and moving on. You have prodded it to see if it is alive. Yes, it is and yes it is 100% rational. Humans are not 100% rational. We have to learn to be rational and that is not easy. The rational here is simply the biggest number first. Simple. Rational. And when you teach this to a child of three and it is comprehended then you try teaching that child when it reached the age of 6 that some people want to put the middle number first, then a smaller one and then two smaller ones and then the biggest and then the next smaller he will look at you and ask "Are you serious?" For various reasons the recording of time has left us with all variations of recording the date and once you understand the concept there is no argument against the logic one except that it is difficult for those of us who have learnt the illogical one. The British had that problem last century when they were confronted with the problem of adopting the metric system. No one wanted this difficult metric system, having been used to the "convenient" imperial system. Thankfully, someone forced it upon them and now only people like my mother is still having difficulty. In some years there will be almost no one who is harking back to have the old system reinstalled. Unfortunately when we deal with world markets we come across those who are still fiddling around with antiquated systems, "because they don't LIKE the new ones". Without a little effort (the very essence which sets humans above the animals) we would still be grovelling around in holes in the ground but a certain spirit in us motivated those who were the winners, to take up some tools and use them. You don't want to be left behind do you? (Give yourself three years, then you will see, it is like picking up a phone - how would you do without it? Am I guilty of proselytizing here?)Kenneth Keen 23:09, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, then how to modify date in signature? Here (in en wiki) it is not a big problem, but in some other wikis it is. -Yyy 11:45, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

why tildes?

im wondering. why tildes? 03:49, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

I suppose because some keyboard symbol needed to be used, and tildes aren't used for much else, and they're conveniently located in the corner of the keyboard.
My question is, why doesn't Wikipedia automatically sign your comments for you on talk pages? I could see requiring a manual sig if you wanted to allow logged-in users to post on talk pages anonymously, but people can sign your unsigned posts for you, so that can't be the point. So what is the point? Nareek 14:58, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
How would the server know where to sign your name? Zocky | picture popups 05:33, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
It would put it at the end of new text inserted onto a discussion page, I guess. Though when you put it that way, I can see how that would create some problems--mainly, people wouldn't be able to edit their comments. Nareek 13:25, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Plus, sometimes people make two comments in the same edit. --Sam Blanning (formerly Malthusian) (talk) 09:54, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Also there are occasions when you don't need to sign a post on a talk page, e.g. if you are archiving, correcting a typo, adding and {{unsigned}} template, reformatting, etc. Sometime you want to sign things that aren't talk pages, e.g deletion debates. Thryduulf 12:06, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Refusal to sign comments

I've had to deal with a user to refuses to sign his comments on the talk pages. He's made a lot of comments, so going through each one and adding {{unsigned}} is not easy to do. What should I do about it? At what point are unsigned comments vandalism? Could they be removed? AucamanTalk 09:07, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

I have seen many failures to sign comments on the talk pages. I consider unsigned comments vandalism when the contents are very meaningless, but I am not very sure whether to remove the vandalism. I may prefer adding <!--- things visible to editors but not readers --->.--Jusjih 07:08, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
how can it be vandalism if this is just a guideline, rather than policy? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 01:03, 28 April 2006 (UTC).

Guideline or policy?

This is listed as a guideline, but I see no reason that it shouldn't be a policy. Thoughts? android79 16:53, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, for one thing, doing it this way probably prevents bickering over what is and isn't covered by the policy/guideline. I also have to wonder about the part about transclusion, where it says "imagine what it would be like if everyone did that"... actually, I don't have to imagine it; almost everyone does that on the Homestar Runner Wiki, and it apparently doesn't cause problems. But maybe there's something about Wikipedia so that it wouldn't work the same way? (for instance, they apparently have had issues with our version of the "new messages" bar, with the "last change" link). Yeltensic42 don't panic 21:15, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

"|"'s in signatures

  • Halló! I just want to drop a note about "|"-characters in signatures which are / where very common. With such a signature you will not be able to sign inside templates.
  • A signature that is valid in all projects looks like
[[{{SUBST:ns:user}}:Foo|]] · [{{SUBST:fullurl:{{SUBST:ns:user_talk}}:Foo|action=history}} Th] · [[{{SUBST:ns:user_talk}}:Foo|T]]
  • When refering to other projects it is most safe to use "generic namespace names". Note That only "w:en:" and "m:" are interwiki prefixes who work in all Wikimedia Foundation projects known to me. Bests regards Gangleri · Th · T 18:32, 15 March 2006 (UTC) 09:41, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Unsigned template

Is it ok to add an explanation on using the unsigned template to the main page? Something like this...

Dealing with unsigned comments

The template {{unsigned}} can be used at the end of an unsigned comment to attach the username or ip to the comment.


{{subst:unsigned|user name or ip|date}}


{{subst:unsigned|}} becomes —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

{{subst:unsigned|John Doe}} becomes —This unsigned comment was added by John Doe (talkcontribs) .

{{subst:unsigned|John Doe|23:59, 1 April, 2006 (UTC)}} becomes —This unsigned comment was added by John Doe (talkcontribs) 23:59, 1 April, 2006 (UTC).

I added the above to the page. For more discussion, see the following:
Shawnc 01:23, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

eight ~s

Why does 8 ~s in a row make this signature:

02:29, 5 April 2006 (UTC)TheJabberwock

? TheJabberwock 02:29, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Because the software takes the first five ~ to mean "DATE" and the latter three ~ to mean "NAME". If your question is why it doesnt turn out as "NAMEDATE NAMEDATE" or "DATE NAME", that's pretty easy to: The software checks for five consecutive ~ first, then for four consecutive ~, and for three consecutive ~ last, so that "~~~~~" doesn't turn out as "NAME ~~" instead of "DATE"... Hope I could help! 12:38, 5 April 2006 (UTC)


Response to removal of unsigned templates?

Based on a comment on Template talk:Unsigned, and my experience with a disruptive user on Talk:Heaven's Stairway, I would like to know what the appropriate response should be for a user who repeatedly removes unsigned templates. —Viriditas | Talk 01:21, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

try this--annon

Simple as that--E-Bod 22:04, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Futher explain customizing signatures

The "customizing your signature" section is unclear. How do you simply change its color, for instance? I'd explain, but I am still to figure it out myself... --Chodorkovskiy 16:45, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Oh, that's easy. Just copy the following text into your nickname box in preferences:
[[User:Example|<font color="Any color">'''Example'''</font>]] --Chodorkovskiy (talk) 05:26, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, I knew someone would help me! --Chodorkovskiy (talk) 05:26, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Tip of the day/June 30, 2006. --GeorgeMoneyTalk  Contribs 04:21, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Cyrillic signatures

A lot of users I've seen have chosen to sign their name in the Cyrillic alphabet, for aesthetic purposes I assume. However this renders their signature practically unreadable to those English speakers who do not read Cyrillic (who, dare I say, may be in the majority?). I'm a big opponent of using signatures that do not easily convey someone's true username so I'd like to add to WP:SIG a note about not using Cyrillic. Is there any support for this? GT 21:07, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Assuming you are talking about en.wp then I agree, a romanisation should be given where possible. It doesn't seem too much to ask the user to sign their name in the appropriate alphabet and if a user can read a language well enough to contribute then that user can probably sign their name with that language too. This seems to be wikipedia policy for articles so I can't see why it shouldn't also apply to discussion pages. — Flooq (Talk) @ 03:39, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
I disagree, the users can always just click on the name to get the user name if they really need to know it. JoshuaZ 02:26, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree. This should also apply to discussion pages to create conformity. --Siva1979Talk to me 03:43, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

unsigned2 useful

A small thing, but I find that {{unsigned2}} is more often useful to me than {{unsigned}}, and was surprised not to find it in the Dealing with unsigned comments section. As noted in the template's talk page, it is perfect for use when cut-n-pasting from page histories. Any problem with adding this here as a one line mention? Shenme 04:16, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

I think it's much more useful than {{unsigned}}. ~MDD4696 16:18, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Signature length poll

GeorgeMoney is running a poll to see whether his signature is too long. Voice your opinion. ~MDD4696 16:21, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

To make your own poll, go to Wikipedia:Signature Poll.

Reference to Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/-Ril-

At least one arbitration case contains a policy principle relevant to signatures. I have accordingly added the following statement:

A distracting, confusing or otherwise unsuitable signature affects other users, and a user with an unsuitable signature may be required to change it (See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/-Ril-).

--Tony Sidaway 06:31, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Imposing signature restrictions

Given the recent debacle over Nathanrdotcom's signature, I think it'd be appropriate to discuss imposing technical limitations on signatures. I find images in signatures abhorrent, and I see no reason why someone should be able to have a 4000 character signature on Wikipedia (both are currently possible).

If others agree, I'd like to generate consensus on what these limitations should be. I propose a 512 byte or 200 character limit to signature size, and a ban on images. For reference, this paragraph is 223 bytes/characters.

After some discussion, perhaps we can have a straw poll. However, I'd like some others' opinions or thoughts first. ~MDD4696 21:51, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Some thoughts on the proposal, feel free to add to them:

  • The purpose of signatures is to make it easy for people to identify who posted a specific comment.
  • Signatures that take up many lines in the wikicode make it difficult to read.
  • Images take up more bandwidth than text.
  • Using an image in a signature renders "What links here" useless for that image.
  • MediaWiki stores signatures as bytes in the database, so I'm not sure how the limit would be implemented technically. Regular ASCII characters only take 1 byte, whereas fancier Unicode and such take 3, so depending on how the limit is specified, it may end of being higher (bytewise) or lower (characterwise) than intended.

Limits on images

I'm all for banning images from sigs, if for no other reason than it creating tonnes of extra work when a sig image is deemed to be redundant, for example several old reduldant flag images still linger because they are still used on a couple of hundred talk pages, deletion discussions and so on. In such cases sig images add considerabe amounts of work with image cleanup, we can not expect images to last forever. If someone wants to rename, or replace a image with a better version and the old image happens to have been used in a sig it creats tonnes of extra work. Since File links only show 500 links it means that if the image is used across hundreds of talk pages you have to remove all ocurances of the image from those pages just to be eable to see if the image is actualy used in some articles too. Even if that issue is fixed it would still be a lot of extra work to sift though all the links to find "legitemate" users before the image is deleted (wich would leave tonnes of ugly redlinks all over the talk pages. I don't think the bandwidth issue is a major problem though, most sig images are tiny, and images can be used tastefully, and generaly don't clutter up the wikicode, I'm most concerned about the the "spam" to the file links, and such. --Sherool (talk) 22:22, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

I support banning images in signatures, and would add a ban on super- and sub-script as well as large and small font sizes. Exploding Boy 23:20, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I think that banning any particular styling would be rather difficult to generate consensus on. Let's try to start with images and a max signature length. ~MDD4696 23:24, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I don't think "creativity" is a valuable attribute for signatures. There are plenty of outlets for creativity in the world. Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a social networking site. Fnarf999 23:41, 15 May 2006 (UTC
  • I'm all for imposing restrictions on sigs, and I think I, for the most part, could agree with this proposal. I'd suggest, however, that one image, a small .png, is not extremely excessive, though certainly not preferable. Super- and sub-scripts within signatures don't bother me much, as long as I can tell what link takes me where. What I absolutely cannot stand are imbedded links that give no indication of where the link will take me; i.e., I can't stand the small green Esperanzian e's and, as with Mdd4696, where part of the sig takes me to a talk page, part to a user page, and part to contribs. I have no problem with Example T/C or Example (something that somehow means talk), just so long as I know what each link does. (In fact, I think I'd prefer if everyone would link his sig in some form to his talk page.) Colors, etc., don't bother me much until I go to write a reply and can't read through all of the wikicode to figure out who I'm talking too, which I think could be solved by imposing a size limit on the sig. In other words, let's turn this baby into a proposal! AmiDaniel (talk) 23:47, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Heh, I rather like my signature... it's all about being subtle, you know? I guess the reason it doesn't bother me is that I don't mind hovering the mouse over a link for the title to pop up, but I can see how it could get annoying. ~MDD4696 04:41, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm on the fence. I added additional "cons" to the list above. If done purely technically, it takes time away from the programmers; if there are non-technical aspects to it, it's m:Instruction creep, which isn't in my opinion a trivial problem. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 23:57, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I don't think we have to worry about this being much of a problem for the devs, although we could ask. ~MDD4696 04:41, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I don't agree with imposing rules on signatures. People should be able to exercise reasonable discretion as long as their signature doesn't pose a problem. Stupidly large, distracting or misleading signatures can already be dealt with as disruption under current policy, as observed (and enacted) for instance in Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/-Ril-. --Tony Sidaway 01:40, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • In contrast with the Tony, I am for imposing limited rules on signatures. There's no justified purpose in having images in signatures. The WP:SIG page itself says images are discouraged, but offers the only reason they aren't banned outright that "some people have objected to such a ban, arguing it would stifle creativity." As Fnarf notes above, Wikipedia is not a community/social-networking site like MySpace where people tag their identities with supposedly "cute" or "creative" graphics. The purpose of a signature here is as an identifier during discussion, and non-textual injections of graphics can be not only a distraction, but when they show up repeatedly on a page, a downright nuisance— no matter how small. There's no need to be subjective and spend time arbitrarily deciding which signature graphics are "stupid" or appropriate; just say no to images altogether, and the issue is moot. Contrary to Exploding Boy, I think that super/subscript usage isn't a concern (obviously, as I superscript "talk" in my sig.) However an over-sized John Hancock can likewise be an annoyance.—LeflymanTalk 02:33, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
    • I should clarify my comment above by stating that, of course, I consider all images in signatures to be completely inappropriate. However I would not want to make strong policy on this at the moment. --Tony Sidaway 11:16, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Kill sig images dead. But allow markup unless it gets to more than, say, six lines in the edit window (or 696 characters, in other words). —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:02, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Strongly kill sig images, they don't accomplish much and make talk pages slower when loading from a slow connection. I'd support a limit on sig character length, but haven't made up my mind precisely what one is good. I note however that Simetrical's proposal is close to useless since even the most egregious sigs are rarely 6 lines. (Maybe 4 lines max?). JoshuaZ 04:11, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • The more I think about it the more I'm in favour of removing all ability to screw with signatures. Pick a user name, and get on with editing. There are plenty of other sites where people can get "creative." Exploding Boy 04:16, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Block image use. As image use in signatures appears to raise a great deal of ire in many, and numerous users use them, many without even realizing that they are inappropriate...I move to block all use of them. I have also noticed a number of administrators that use them as well. I imagine that such accross-the-board blocking will affect us all, but ultimately bring more peace, thus allowing everyone to focus on the continued development of a good encyclopedia. Best, -- Kukini 12:52, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Sig images are a discourtesy to our editors on slow connections (some people really do still use dialup) and on slow computers (a busy talk page could have hundreds of signatures on it; rendering all those little pics is hard work for some older machines.) I'd be pleased to see the back of them. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:35, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I too would support the banning of the use of images in signatures, the pros far outweigh the cons on this one. While we are on the topic of signatures; I know it's more of a personal issue than a technical one, but the use of multiple colours in signatures can be extremely problematic for users like myself. I have achromatopsia, and therefore find many such signatures almost impossible to read. Similarly, linking to other pages through one's signature is deeply unhelpful. I know people may want to advertise such valuable projects as Esperanza, but doing it through one's signature is not the place to do it. The more I think about it the more I think that people should not be able to fiddle with their signature at all, the ability to do so is more trouble than it's worth. If people want to be "creative", the mainspace is the place to do it. Rje 15:05, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I'd be inclined to go for a straightforward ban on image use: much simpler, and more to the point less likely to lead to misunderstandings and resentment, than saying "use discretion", but then getting into the realm of overruling the user. And there's often rumblings about overloading of the image server, here's a good place to start losing them. I concur with Rje on sig-links, and I'd go further: opinions on what projects are "valuable" clearly differs, and as such links have been used in the past for out-and-out campaigning for (or against) one cause or another, I'd rather not open the door to same by having (allegedly) benign links as precedent for worse. And can we please work into the guidance something to the general effect of "use sig-text that at least vaguely resembles your username"? Alai 18:23, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose any change to current signature policy. This is just spill over from a pair of user's grudge match. JohnnyBGood I-5.svg t c 19:53, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • It's actually not, JohnnyBGood, that's why I brought it up here. There have been numerous instances of intrusive signatures to the point where I felt it was becoming a problem. Wikipedia:Signature Poll was created recently I believe as a result of the increasingly intricate signatures. ~MDD4696 21:13, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Allow image use, the minor server load issues are not worth antagonizing good contributors over (happy Wikipedians write a better encyclopedia). Images are very small, and the typical sig flag images are most probably cached somewhere anyway. The developers would have prohibited images in sigs long ago if they were a big issue. Kusma (討論) 01:01, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
    • note that images make for much shorter wikicode than fancy font formatting, so from the point of view of reading the source, they are much preferable. Kusma (討論) 20:32, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Signatures are supposed to identify you. Period. I'm all for banning images and limiting sig size (to a low 2 digit number). I would also favor banning colour, font and most other gaudy games. I don't want to see this sort of silliness on pages or pick through it in edit windows. --Moby 09:26, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
    Ditto. -Quiddity 17:22, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I'll support any policy that gets rid of this damnable clutter. I'd favor editors showing courtesy towards their peers, and voluntarily reducing their signatures, but that's apparently infringing on their non-existent right to free speech on a private server, so we'll have to whack them with instruction creep. Mackensen (talk) 03:03, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  • No images in signatures, for all the reasons in the list above. -Pgan002
  • No images please. Unless someone can find some reason that they are necessary (other than "It's fun" or "We don't want to restrict"). Serves no useful purpose. Fagstein 18:00, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Commentcome on, there harmless! The Gerg 01:19, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Character/Byte limit

I'm for a sig restriction of 200 characters. This would be best done by building it into MediaWiki. Long signatures make the editing view look cluttered, s well as taking up disk space. Computerjoe's talk 14:51, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good.--HereToHelp 16:44, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely. The cluttered wikitext is very aggravating. -Quiddity 17:18, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes. -Pgan002
Yep. Any arbitrary number will likely cause a problem, but if you cant do it in 200 chars, your sig has issues -- MrDolomite | Talk 15:06, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Technical versus Policy

Another issue I just thought of: Which is more appropriate? A technical solution or policy? A technical solution would be the simplest to implement I believe, and we could make a note on WP:SIG that images were disabled by consensus. ~MDD4696 21:13, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

It seems that the image issue has been discussed several times before. I think that this is in favor of a technical solution: despite previous consensus against images, people are still using them. ~MDD4696 21:18, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Cyde made the very valid point that it is still possible to have signatures with images even if it is disabled in the preferences. ~MDD4696 03:37, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Straw poll

Sign your name in the section indicating your position on images in signatures. Be sure to take a look at the above discussion if you haven't already, and add any additional comments there. This poll ends at 17:00, 27 May 2006 (UTC).


Allow images in signatures
  1. Kusma (討論) 17:26, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. --Wompa99 20:24, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. --NorkNork Questions? fnord? 08:20, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. • The Giant Puffin • 13:44, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. -President GangstaEB-15:59, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  6. Conditional support: if they are small, load quickly and are otherwise non-disruptive.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 20:40, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. Conditional Support: as above. --DanDanRevolution 07:56, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  8. Barnaul 21:07, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. As long as they're small enough not to change the leading. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:05, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  10. The Gerg 01:18, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  11. Conditional support, as above — as long as they're small, non-disruptive (and non-animated). (It should also be noted that most browsers will only need to load the image once per image per talk page, so the load issue is only a problem if multiple editors use different images.) — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 15:37, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  12. General Eisenhower • (at war or at peace) () ()
  13. Conditional support as Piotrus above. Whispering 00:20, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
  14. HGB 22:48, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Forbid images in signatures
  1. ~MDD4696 16:36, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. HereToHelp 16:45, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. Quiddity 17:16, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. Exploding Boy 18:20, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. Prevent rather than forbid. David Kernow 18:34, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  6. R. S. Shaw 19:56, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. Jeandré, 2006-05-20t22:15z
  8. Keith 22:29, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. Dakpowers | Talk 23:22, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  10. Thunk 00:58, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  11. QuillOmega0 01:14, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  12. Pgan002
  13. Danaman5 03:43, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  14. Makes discussions frustrating to read. T. J. Day 04:25, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  15. I find them distracting, and they are unnecessary, people can have themselves a bit of idenitity with coloured text or whatever – Gurch 10:20, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  16. Moby 13:55, 21 May 2006 (UTC) Forbid in code, not just policy.
  17. J@red 23:30, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  18. Finally. I'd be happy to remove my "juggling janitor" tagline if it turns out to be too long. JesseW, the juggling janitor 00:09, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  19. Prevent, as this will bring more peace to the wiki than "forbidding" will bring. Kukini 00:13, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  20. As above. — Inky 00:53, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  21. Images in sigs are waste of bandwidth. Megapixie 01:53, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  22. Wikipedia is not MySpace. — Phil Welch (t) (c) 02:30, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  23. AmiDaniel (talk) 02:32, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  24. abakharev 03:59, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  25. Augustz 05:59, 22 May 2006 (UTC) I don't mind images etc on a user page, but when following discussions images are distracting in a sig, and often make the comments of those who use them stand out over others who do not.
  26. Visviva 08:50, 22 May 2006 (UTC) A ridiculous waste of our limited resources.
  27. As above -- Masterjamie 14:26, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  28. Joevano 15:04, 22 May 2006 (UTC) I generally find pics in signaures to be an ego thing, and are not really needed.
  29. Petros471 15:16, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  30. Please! the wub "?!" 17:30, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  31. ChrisKennedy(talk) 20:15, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  32. Preventing it doesn't go far enough, as some people use JavaScript injection to make their own custom sigs (which could easily still have images in them). --Cyde↔Weys 20:18, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  33. Colors are enough. --A Sunshade Lust 21:36, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  34. Someoneinmyheadbutit'snotme 00:23, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  35. BryanG 02:38, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  36. To allow users to add useless images to their signatures would harm, not help Wikipedia. Displaying and storing images takes bandwidth, bandwidth that people pay money for when they contribute. How are you going to tell people who contribute to Wikipedia that an online encyclopedia is our top priority, if we would allow that money to be used to host image signatures? Randomengine 13:14, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  37. digital_me(Talk)(Contribs) 14:39, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  38. No need for images. Colors and font style are enough. Anonymous_anonymous_Have a Nice Day 14:52, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  39. Support, possible exception being made for the use of one (1) .svg image. — May. 23, '06 [15:55] <freak|talk>
  40. Forbid. Lets focus on writing an encyclopedia! ike9898 18:39, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  41. Forbid. Per Ike9898 Captainj 20:30, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  42. --Folksong 21:28, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  43. CuiviénenT|C, Wednesday, 24 May 2006 @ 00:45 UTC
  44. ~Chris {t|c|e|@} 00:48, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  45. Rx StrangeLove 05:10, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  46. Hyper-complicated signatures are visually distracting. And by that, I mean annoying. Isomorphic 05:13, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  47. Jiang 15:28, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  48. -- Omniplex 15:29, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  49. For faster page loading. --Fang Aili 說嗎? 17:32, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  50. Way too unnecessary a form of clutter. BigBlueFish 19:39, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  51. LordSarir 21:42, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  52. Hoekenheef 22:43, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  53. Cynical 23:08, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  54. Tony Sidaway 23:12, 24 May 2006 (UTC) Unlike a signature length limitation, I think this is both workable and simple and would effectively convey the message that Wikipedia is not a place for fripperies and paradiddles. Since it does seem to be a popular proposal, I add my weight to it.
  55. Bookandcoffee 21:32, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
  56. Nareek 15:40, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  57. magn0lia 16:59, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  58. There is no reason to have images in a sig. --Rory096 21:09, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  59. Including enforcing the prohibition in the MediaWiki software. BlankVerse 22:22, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  60. I'll add my two cents to all the excellent points made here: Imageless sigs make Wikipedia more friendly to text-based web browsers like Lynx and screen readers for the blind and visually impared. Yvh11a 00:34, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
  61. Forbid: Images in a signature are superfluous. Polaris999 18:19, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
  62. If I must choose one way or the other, I am against images in signatures on Wikipedia. They are distracting, and tend to (though not always) look unprofessional. --Elonka 00:51, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
  63. Preventing would be even better. AnnH 00:25, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
  64. Yes, please. Jkelly 02:14, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
  65. Chairman S. TalkContribs 21:40, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
  66. Image are excessive and distracting --Reflex Reaction (talk)• 16:34, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  67. unnecessary extra verbiage —Phil | Talk 21:24, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  68. Unneeded waste of resources (bandwith, memory, whatever). --Ligulem 08:11, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
  69. Please -- Hirudo 13:23, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
  70. Needless. This is an encyclopedia, not Myspace. 10:35, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
  71. Clogs up what links here on images to an needless extent. Philc TECI 17:07, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
  72. Λυδαcιτγ 01:33, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
  73. The time has come for unambiguous standards. -- nae'blis (talk) 21:13, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
  74. Slows down the system. :NikoSilver: 00:06, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
  75. ChaChaFut 17:49, 20 June 2006 (UTC) For many of the already stated reasons


No changes regarding signature length
  1. Existing policy is clear that editors with improper signatures can be required to change them (-Ril- arbitration). No change to policy is required. --Tony Sidaway 17:10, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. Ask editors with horrible signatures nicely to change them, don't outlaw the behavior (I believe most will see the light of reaosn if asked by different editors on different occasions). A length limit is also likely to cause problems with users with long usernames - they'd be barred form having a talk and contribs link. Kusma (討論) 17:30, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. As above. ~MDD4696 17:54, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. As per User:Tony Sidaway. One other thing: my signature, which currently consists of notion but my name and a link to my talk page, is 60 characters in Wikicode, and would be many more if my name was longer (to encode, the name is written out three time (one for the link to user page, another for the name, another for the link to talk page). I know a lot of people have the Esperanza "e" in their names, which takes up a good few charcters. Putting an arbitary limit on seems a little silly, as it is easy to have a non-ridiculous sig of length 150-200. Having no images seems more sensible, but does this need to be encoded into the software? Batmanand | Talk 21:14, 20 May 2006 (UTC)...
  5. See reason 1. Thunk 00:59, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  6. As per #1 + #2. J@red  23:32, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. No change in policy (although possibly clarify guidelines, mindful of instruction creep of course). My sig is over 200 chars I think... and would be longer if my userid were longer. I do think it's confusing to have a sig that isn't your username and from which you can't clearly derive the username without editing the page. ++Lar: t/c 13:50, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  8. As per Tony Sideway -- Masterjamie 14:22, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. Per #1. Though I'm against images, colors and links are perfectly fine. DakPowers (Talk) 18:35, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  10. I have never seen a signature that would be 'too long'. #1 + #2 seem to work, why overbureaucratize Wiki with needless restrictions?--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 20:41, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  11. As per Kusma. BryanG 02:41, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  12. I don't know why this is even an issue. I've never heard of it being controversial until lately. (No need to explain it to me; honestly I don't care that much.) --Fang Aili 說嗎? 17:34, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  13. As per 1. digital_me(Talk)(Contribs) 18:01, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  14. Strongly agree with above comments. BigBlueFish 19:42, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  15. Agree. I think I'm just a step above my horrid TKE signature, and as is my simple sign is 187 characters. There are bigger fish to fry. Teke 06:24, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
  16. General Eisenhower • (at war or at peace) () () 20:33, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  17. Don't need a policy, but we should be scolding people with long sigs. --Rory096 21:10, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  18. We don't need more rules, just talk to people if their sig is causing a problem. HGB 22:49, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Restrict signature length
  1. to a signature and optional talk page link. Exploding Boy 18:21, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. 4000 chars for a signature seems overly large. David Kernow 18:35, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. Jeandré, 2006-05-20t22:15z
  4. to just a name (linking to the user's page) and a talk page link, labeled "(Talk)". -Pgan002
  5. Danaman5 03:43, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  6. As per Exploding Boy. Implementation must be accommodating to people with long names. T. J. Day 04:27, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. Restrict it to, say, 1000 characters just to stop the absurdly long ones (such as that mentioned by David Kernow above) – Gurch 10:20, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  8. To around 1000 characters. Limiting people to just a link to their userpage and talk page is too restrictive - • The Giant Puffin • 13:46, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. Moby 13:57, 21 May 2006 (UTC) Restrict to <100. How long can a username be?
    From what I understand, they mean the java characters in the signature. Mine is simple, but 187 characters. Ironic, considering that's the same name as my unused sock that I never realized until now. I'm going to contemplate...Teke 06:35, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
  10. Finally. I'd be happy to remove my "juggling janitor" tagline if it turns out to be too long. JesseW, the juggling janitor 00:09, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  11. Restrict, but to say 1000 characters. Kukini 00:12, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  12. As above. A limit would be useful, but limiting signatures to 200 characters seems like overkill. — Inky 00:56, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  13. limit somewhere between 500 and 1000 characters - anything you like within that. Megapixie 01:56, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  14. As recent incidents show, an unambiguous rule is preferable to a vague guideline that can be interpreted as not actually prohibiting anything. — Phil Welch (t) (c) 02:30, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  15. AmiDaniel (talk) 02:32, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  16. abakharev 03:59, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  17. Per Exploding Boy, restrict to username, talk link (and perhaps contribs link). There is absolutely no reason to sign with anything but your username; doing so creates unnecessary confusion, especially in those unforgivable cases where the sig and the username are entirely different. -- Visviva 09:08, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  18. Someoneinmyheadbutit'snotme 00:23, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  19. Limit between 500 and 1000 characters. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:09, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  20. I agree with Exploding Boy and Visviva, username, talk link, and contributions are all that is necessary. Randomengine 13:18, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  21. Limit of 500-1000 characters. Anonymous_anonymous_Have a Nice Day 14:55, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  22. Less than 500 characters. —CuiviénenT|C, Wednesday, 24 May 2006 @ 00:45 UTC
  23. Per Phil above and my own regular experience wasting time wading through someone's signature in order to edit. Rx StrangeLove 05:14, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  24. Jiang 15:28, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  25. Restrict to 256 characters or less. --Cyde↔Weys 19:44, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  26. Restrict to name, (talk) (contribs). Cynical 23:09, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  27. Restrict to around 500 characters. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 15:38, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  28. Restrict to less-than 300 characters. -Quiddity 18:28, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  29. Restrict to less than 256 characters. -- Polaris999 18:23, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
  30. Restrict to less than 500 characters. --Reflex Reaction (talk)• 16:34, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  31. Restrict to actual user name, with optional talk/contributions links. --Elonka 21:31, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  32. Restrict to name and optional talk/contribs -- Hirudo 13:24, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
  33. Restrict to 250 carachters. Philc TECI 17:11, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
  34. 200-250 characters seems like plenty, as a guideline. -- nae'blis (talk) 21:13, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
  35. Restrict to 500 chars. :NikoSilver: 00:08, 16 June 2006 (UTC)


Implement as policy
  1. Exploding Boy 18:22, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. You can always get around implementing it technically simply by copying over the code (or using JavaScript to inject it for you). If it's a policy it won't leave any loopholes. --Cyde↔Weys 20:19, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. Guidelines appear not to have worked. If the devs are willing to put up a technical solution, that'd be fine too. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:10, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. We should only have to correct each user once. Let's do it by policy first and only do it technically if we notice there's a serious problem with compliance (or find some example which forces us to change our minds). Fagstein 18:13, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. Putting my name here and on technically. If the devs can write a fix that would be great, but I think a policy should stop it anyway. --Rory096 21:11, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Implement as guideline
  1. Although I prefer simple sigs, it is unreasonable to force users not to edit as they please...which is why a guideline would be a good alternative.--Osbus 01:45, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. Making it a policy is too forceful. There are always exceptions to the rule, so this should just be a guideline to encourage people, not make them - • The Giant Puffin • 13:46, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
    • You guys realize that the signature guideline already is not to have extremely long signatures with images, right? 21:33, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. It already is a guideline, and it's not too hard to enforce; I'm not seeing a problem. J@red  23:33, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
    But I do question how you "enforce" a guideline. The situation with nathanrdotcom (talk · contribs) suggests to me that there needs to be something beyond a guideline, either a policy or technical restriction, but that's just my opinion. AmiDaniel (talk) 02:59, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. abakharev 03:59, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. Prefer guideline. not opposed to a technical limit if it is really large... 2000 bytes of text perhaps? ++Lar: t/c 14:02, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  6. Guidelines only. Maybe with technical restrictions on extremely long signatures to prevent spam (e.g greater than 1000 characters) —CuiviénenT|C, Wednesday, 24 May 2006 @ 00:45 UTC
  7. Try the guideline approach first, with clearer limits. -- nae'blis (talk) 21:13, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Implement technically
  1. ~MDD4696 16:36, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. HereToHelp 16:45, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. Quiddity 17:16, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. Prevent images and lower max signature chars. David Kernow 18:41, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. Jeandré, 2006-05-20t22:15z
  6. A policy could be edited by someone who opposes it on the fly. Thunk 01:00, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. At least implement a length limit. I suggest also make signatures immutable, just the name linking to the user page and a "(Talk)" link. -Pgan002
  8. Danaman5 03:43, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. Assuming it can be done technically, this is probably the best way. I don't agree with taking out the ability to customize, just disabling images and capping the length – Gurch 10:20, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  10. Moby 13:58, 21 May 2006 (UTC) per Lessig.
  11. Finally. I'd be happy to remove my "juggling janitor" tagline if it turns out to be too long. JesseW, the juggling janitor 00:09, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  12. I believe it should be either prevented or allowed. Thus stand for the technical implementation. Kukini 00:15, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  13. Any other way would just cause endless fighting. Megapixie 01:59, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  14. Wikipedia is not MySpace. — Phil Welch (t) (c) 02:30, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  15. AmiDaniel (talk) 02:33, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  16. Augustz 06:00, 22 May 2006 (UTC) Why create more work / stress. Implement technically by all means
  17. Petros471 15:19, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  18. I'm surprised it has never been done before. the wub "?!" 17:34, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  19. Someoneinmyheadbutit'snotme 00:23, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  20. Prevents continuous arguing over sigs. BryanG 02:45, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  21. Jiang 15:28, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  22. Rory096 21:11, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
  23. If restriction is approved, it should be technically enforced. -- Polaris999 18:27, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
  24. Chairman S. TalkContribs 21:41, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
  25. Technical enforcement is best --Reflex Reaction (talk)• 16:34, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  26. Hirudo 13:25, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
  27. A technical solution will allow for the most consistent application of the policy. --Elonka 18:14, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
  28. Why force admins and others to a useless chase that the machine can solve on its own? :NikoSilver: 00:09, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Although the polling period has expired, everyone feel free to continue to discuss the signature issue. Things have gotten a bit busy in the past week IRL for me, but I will pursue a course of action that reflects consensus here. Thanks all! ~MDD4696 17:16, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I've put in a bug on Mediazilla... we'll see what the devs say. ~MDD4696 02:45, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

An addition on the possible consequences of persistent refusal to deal reasonably with complaints

I have added the following:

Persistent refusal to react in a reasonable way to complaints about your signature may result in a brief block, though this is controversial.

I hope that this is acceptable as a reasonable description of the possible consequences of reacting in a disruptive manner to reasonable complaints about a particularly obnoxious signature. --Tony Sidaway 15:51, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Removal of "superscript" in examples

Exploding Boy has deleted in the examples section the usage of superscript "<sup>" for signatures, which I believe to be inappropriately pre-emptive. This appears to be based on his expressed view that he would "add a ban on super- and sub-script", stated above. As the issue of such usage has not been discussed-- and in fact, may be one of the most widely used customisations for signatures-- I would suggest this has no consensus for removal.—LeflymanTalk 18:19, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

They're only examples. Removing the superscript doesn't remove the ability to use superscript in signatures, and doesn't create a policy. As you said, these are examples. Why was there superscript in them in the first place? Exploding Boy 18:23, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Exactly because they are examples of "Customizing your signature", which, when removed, make the examples seem kind of pointless. As I noted, superscript is likely the most used customisation; removing it from the example is tantamount to "hiding" it for new users. If you believe that superscripting should be discouraged, propose a statement to that effect, but don't pre-emptively remove it from the example, please.—LeflymanTalk 19:36, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Not to be rude, but nonsense. The "examples" still have plenty of customization, and all they are is examples. They're not meant to be a template. By your rationale we should include all the bells and whistles various people use in their signatures in the example. If users are that interested in customizing their signature, they'll figure out the possibilities on their own. Exploding Boy 03:23, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Actually, that's a strawman argument. I'll ask again: please revert your change to the examples, as you had no consensual basis for the deletion, other than your personal preference for not having superscript in signatures. —LeflymanTalk 04:13, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
No, that's not a strawman argument (but this is rapidly becoming a road to nowhere). Again, the purpose of the example is to show users some of what's possible in signature customization not all. Removing the superscript (only!) does not prevent any user from using superscript. It doesn't change the policy. It really doesn't change anything. And so far, only you seem to have a problem with it (and I note you use superscript in your signature). Exploding Boy 04:19, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

I too think the examples should not include superscripts and subscripts. In this way users are at least encouraged to have simple signatures, which are easy to follow. What's more, the default signature should be good, so that most users do not feel a need to customize it. -Pgan002 00:49, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Explanation of separate reverts by User:Tony Sidaway of two edits by User:JohnnyBGood

JohnnyBGood (talk · contribs) made two edits on this guideline today so far.

In his first, he removed the edit which I described here. I summarily reverted this undiscussed removal because there had been no objections on this talk page. My summary was "Restore the description. It's accurate as far as I'm aware, and no objection has been raised on talk." [4].

In his second, he made the following text edit.


A distracting, confusing or otherwise unsuitable signature affects other users, and a user with an unsuitable signature may be required to change it (See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/-Ril-). Persistent refusal to react in a reasonable way to complaints about your signature may result in a brief block, though this is controversial.


A distracting, confusing or otherwise unsuitable signature affects other users, and a user with an unsuitable signature may be required to change it (See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/-Ril-). Persistent refusal to react in a reasonable way to complaints about your signature may result in a brief block if your signature is infact disruptive (note: just having an image in your signature is not disruption), though this is controversial and can be disputed if you are blocked.

The added words are highlighted in bold.

I think this adds words to the quite pithy description without adding meaning. Unreasonable behavior is always blockable, and a controversial block is de fact disputable.

Accordingly I shall take the unusual step of making a second revert today. --Tony Sidaway 22:54, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

I would strongly object to any addition that blocks may be used for inappropiate signatures. Blocks for disruption are already listed in WP:BP, there is no need to add "disruption of this guideline". Blocks for disruption, while contraversial, are an accepted policy, blocks for not following a guideline, however, are not. Justifing a block on inappropiate signature (when even the ArbCom regarded it as "trivial") is excessive. Also, Arbcom did not ban -Ril- for his inappropiate signature, so there is no precedent for an admin doing so. Accordingly, I will now remove the mention of potential blocking, as this is more than covered in the Wikipedia:Blocking policy, which is also the best place to discuss any suggested changes to that policy. Regards, MartinRe 23:05, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree with MartinRe's position on this. JohnnyBGood I-5.svg t c 00:21, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

The wording is as follows: Persistent refusal to react in a reasonable way to complaints about your signature may result in a brief block, though this is controversial.

The reason I inserted this is because this is in fact the state of affairs at present. Individual dissenting opinions notwithstandings, if you don't react reasonably to a request to change a grossly inappropriate signature, an administrator may block you. No change to policy is required; it's only a clarification of the potential consequences of breaching this guideline. Nevertheless it is not strictly necessary to note it here; the block log, dialog on WP:AN and User talk:Tony Sidaway and User talk:Nathanrdotcom and the RfC Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Tony Sidaway 3 are ample. --Tony Sidaway 13:53, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

As gently as possible, this looks oddly like a retcon. We've never felt it required to block for a sig before, and putting it in now is, um, suboptimal. Some "individual dissenting opinions" also feel that the block in question was wildly out of line, so...
brenneman{L} 14:01, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
On the other hand, this phenomena of sigs so long that it becomes difficult to comment around them is a recent development. When a signature takes up four lines in the edit window that's beyond sub-optimal–it's discourteous. Mackensen (talk) 02:37, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
That's simply not true. There have been long (and over long) sigs ever since we were carving on wikirocks. Multiple images, rainbow colours, multiple font shifts, lengthy messages... She who shall remain nameless had a rotating anagram in her sig, for goodness sake. The only think "new" is blocking people without warning for their sigs. - brenneman{L} 02:50, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, if that's the case then I honestly don't remember it being that way back then (and by back then I mean 2003 and 2004). Your signature takes up three lines in my edit window. This is disconcerting. Others take up four or five. I've been having trouble following discussions. The problem, for me, isn't what shows up on the page; it's the massive amount of code in the edit window. Again, I call it a professional courtesy. Mackensen (talk) 02:53, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
That's a different point, and one that I won't disagree with. No one had ever complained about my signature before, by the way. I've noticed that people tend to move towards plainer appearing sigs as they mature, but as you've pointed out mine is lengthy code for a plain affect. For me personally, if there was some a strong guideline or policy about sigs I'd be unfazed by complying, and I'd certainly consider changing mine if people complained. (Well, maybe if one more person complained?) My only objection was to the arbitrary blocking for a nebulous guideline followed by a change to policy (and back to guideline?) unsupported by consensus. - brenneman{L} 03:32, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, looking above, I suspect a change may be in the offing... Mackensen (talk) 12:39, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm rather concerned that an admin is changing guidelines into policies on such a controversial issue without consensus. Tony, having a long sig may NOT result in a block, that's exactly why your block of nathan was so controversial. You have acted without consensus before, you are molding Wikipedia into what you would like it to be, just because you don't like something is not a reason for you to act unilaterally in changing it. You have acted unilaterally before, and the only comment I got from you was "I'm sorry, but that's the most mindbogglingly stupid thing I've ever seen on Wikipedia". (I admit I was tired at the time, but you still deleted all the templates without any consensus and no comment except that) Nathan's three small images totalling less then 1.4 kb are nothing, it took less then a second to load even when I used to be on dial-up and I don't see how having images in your sig prevents any-one from reading discussions, source loads first, then displays, then the images are loaded. It is perfectly possible to read the discussion while the sigs haven't loaded yet. The arbcom ruling on Ril's sig is irrelevant, it deals with sigs that confuse users as to your user-name, not images in sigs. PS: And hear hear to this. +Hexagon1 (talk) Flag of Australia.svg 13:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Hexagon says "Tony, having a long sig may NOT result in a block, that's exactly why your block of nathan was so controversial." That's a non sequitur. Obviously having a long signature can result in a block. That the block may be controversial is another matter. The statement "you have acted without consensus before" is of course completely meaningless. It is true of absolutely every single editor on Wikipedia who has made more than a couple of edits.
Signatures that impede the functioning of Wikipedia can, and should, be treated like any other form of disruption. You may not want to put this into this document (it's just a guideline) but the functioning policy here is the Blocking policy which is clear on the blockable nature of disruptive activities. --Tony Sidaway 17:02, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
If you think that -Ril- is irrelevant, this can only mean that you have not actually read and understood the -Ril- arbitration.
* Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/-Ril-#Improper_usernames_and_signatures
Principle 4: "Users with improper usernames or signatures may be required to change them."
The principle says nothing about the specifics of why the username or signature may be considered improper. A signature that distracts readers or makes talk pages difficult to edit is of course improper. Its purpose must be solely to identify the user; other uses that hinder the operation of the wiki are disruptive, and may sometimes be blockable, --Tony Sidaway 17:07, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
I think it's clear that they meant improper as in confusing, or rude, not three tiny pictures totalling less then 1.5 kb in size. Having three tiny pictures doesn't count as disruptive, that's non-sense. And your first paragraph is taking my words far too literally, it's obvious that's not what I was saying. You say a sig's purpose "must" be solely to identify the user. Have you been to any sort of Internet discussion? Especially at any sort of forums. Sigs that are 700kb and larger, sometimes images or flash animations. That's when they get disruptive. Not three tiny flags, that's totally acceptable, and doesn't hinder or disrupt a discussion in any way. +Hexagon1 (t) 16:00, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Colours in signatures (I refer to the "hear hear" you mention) do cause problems for some users. See above. Exploding Boy 16:14, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

This is absolutely true. As a sufferer from color blindness I can say that unnecessary use of color in signatures makes pages very difficult to read. --Tony Sidaway 17:02, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Wouldn't suffering from colour blindness make colourful sigs even less disruptive? May I ask which colour blindness? +Hexagon1 (t) 16:00, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
It's red-green color-blindness in my case. I much prefer a monochrome reading environment because the different colors have different tone values and tend to make the eye "stutter" instead of passing over a word. --Tony Sidaway 16:12, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
You know I would hate to sound callous, but Wikipedia shouldn't be changing because of one users problem. Perhaps you might consider a filtering proxy program that filters the images on talk pages and turns them into links of some sort. Or perhaps requesting an option of a text only Wikipedia, having a text only version of Wikipedia would make it easier for other accessible devices to read the articles. PPGMD 18:29, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree with your reasoning. However the conversation had strayed from my actual point, which was quite different. This relates to "distracting, confusing or otherwise unsuitable signatures", and obviously the precise nature of the signature counts. I recently had to ask someone to change his signature because he was including PAGENAME in it in such a manner that the signature changed according to page, appearing as the bogus email address . Another editor had to be blocked after reacting in a somewhat trollish manner to a simple request to do something about his signature which comprised some 730 characters and contained three images, resulting in each one of his comments being followed by a signature larger than most paragraphs on Wikipedia. The instant case for "distracting, confusing or otherwise unsuitable signatures" is -Ril-'s old signature (~~~~). --Tony Sidaway 18:44, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Just a comment on PPGMD's remark: our aim should always be to make Wikipedia more, not less accessible, and if a given signature adversley affects even a single editor/reader, then it should be changed. By the way, colour blindness affects some 10% of people; that's a pretty large group. Exploding Boy 19:26, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

A bit bemused

I'm not quite sure what to think of this proposal. Here's the source to my sig:

'''<font color="green">[[User:Lar/Esperanza|+]]</font><font color="blue">[[Special:Emailuser/Lar|+]]</font>'''[[User:Lar|Lar]]: [[User_talk:Lar|t]]/[[Special:Contributions/Lar|c]]

I have all that stuff in there for what I thought were good reasons, and it displays as "++Lar: t/c" which is pretty small. But if I understand some proposals correctly, it's too big by some of their standards... If it's clutter of talk pages that is the problem, then perhaps templatized sigs ({{User:Lar/Sig}} or the like) are the way to go, they'd be smaller. But IIRC that was shot down a while back as not really a good use of resources. I'd hate to see everyone's sig get restricted to nothing. Despite using popups I find it very useful to have a direct link to someone's talk. ++Lar: t/c 21:23, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes, but is it necessary to link to your Esperanza page and your Emailuser link as well? If we could get an actual tech rundown on the resources consumed by templates they may not be a bad idea. — Phil Welch (t) (c) 21:39, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, Esperanzans are requested (it's not a requirement) to make a letter or character green and link to Esperanza. If the guideline here gets put in place suggesting sigs be shorter I am sure that Esperanza will change that guideline. So that's that one. As for email, I think it's handy. I wish everyone had it in their sig. I get a fair bit of email myself. My point here is that if we aren't to use templates (which I support) then this amount of characters is not at all unreasonable, yet some proposals seem to be suggesting it is. As a note (not a cricitism or justification!) ... your sig has contributions and talk too, just not email or Esperanza... perhaps yours might be considered too long by some too, which is even more bemusing. ++Lar: t/c 22:55, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, but my sig is only like half a line, and yours is more than one. — Phil Welch (t) (c) 01:46, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure why Esperanza does that, but perhaps they could be told to stop. I don't know how helpful it is to have 20,000 links to Esperanza floating around out talk pages. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:12, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the suggested link for the Esperanza "green E" is now to a user page such as can be seen in my (and Lar's) signature. This helps reduce the amount of users that accidently send messages to Wikipedia talk:Esperanza. EWS23 | (Leave me a message!) 05:52, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Frankly, that makes it even more pointless...why not just put a link to Esperanza on your user page? Christopher Parham (talk) 06:06, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Using templates is not a good idea for signatures unless you subst it, defeating the purpose of using one. When someone is reading an archived discussion, they want to see exactly was was written. That is the point of the archive--it is an unchanging historical record. If you ever change the template at a later time, the archived discussion no longer represents exactly what was written. And Lar, I find your signature perfectly reasonable. ~MDD4696 23:05, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
What I mean by exactly would be the content... adding {{unsigned}} or ordering sections chronologically (as they should have been) I think would be ok.... ~MDD4696 23:29, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think Lar's signature is that bad, but he really doesn't need emailuser and Esperanza in there. Moreover, the Esperanza recommendation seem to me to be encouraging a kind of linkspam--clearly the sole purpose is to advertise the existence of a subgroup or clique within Wikipedia--a highly unwikipedian activity. It's not that serious, but it's pretty hard to justify lengthening one's sig especially for a non-wikipedian purpose. Signatures already contain a link to the userpage; they should not in themselves perform the same functions as userpages. A talk link is polite. Beyond that I don't see that anything else is justifiable; when weighed against the added cruft (used in its true meaning) on talk pages. --Tony Sidaway 17:16, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Just a sidenote: as far as I know, Esperanza does not require nor even request a link, that would be a ridiculous thing to ask or (even worse) demand. --JoanneB 14:04, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
JoanneB: Apologies if I've misstated anything, and I certainly agree it's not (and shouldn't be) a requirement to link an E anywhere. But this page: Wikipedia:Esperanza/So_you've_joined_Esperanza...... does, at least to me, read like a request that members do so. That page is in E-project space, and so those just joining could well take what is written there as at least common practice. I may have misinterpreted things but that's how I took it when I joined. And I think it's a good practice. While it is true that the user page could carry the inf, seeing a green E in an otherwise mono sig is a suggestion that hey, this user ought to be expected to be a bit more civil than the norm, and might be able to help you out if you ask. That's not just advertising the org, it's making others aware that you're there to help. Which is a good thing, IMHO. ++Lar: t/c 14:32, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I have tweaked said page [5] to make it more clear that the green e is not compulsory (I have never had a link in my sig, and I joined Esperanza soon after it started). I didn't think there was a page telling new members to do it, I figured it was just spreading via imitation. the wub "?!" 17:50, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I didn't know that page existed (I should have, I know). I understand how that led people to believe they should do it, and even with the current wording I'm not happy with that template (thanks though, The wub!), personally. But that's an issue outside of the scope of this page. --JoanneB 18:10, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. It does seem to be a fairly common habit in Esperanzans. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, but Esperanzans should perhaps reflect on whether having a signature larger than is necessary is really that useful to the project. Lately when editing long and complex debates,and bulleted "votes" in particular , I've found it very difficult indeed to find the comment I wanted to reply to, because the many signatures were as large as and usually much larger than the comments. --Tony Sidaway 18:14, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I have to admit that I find this complaint fairly mystifying, despite having heard it from three or four individuals now. I have no problem with this: Code is clearly code, set off by various {{/<-es, and simply using "preview" clears up any confusion that I have. The fact that signatures are at the end of a comment in almost every case, and comments are seperated by delimiters like : and * in almost every case... This seems more like flavour-of-the-week complaint, especially in light of the non growth of sigs.
brenneman{L} 11:32, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Well we can easily show that signatures have grown. Compare Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Bishonen with Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/King of Hearts. Take both into edit mode and notice the startling contrast. Just one year ago nearly all signatures were of the simple [[User:USERNAME|USERNAME] type. Now many signatures are multi-line monstrosities. This does make it very difficult to locate comments in edit mode, because much, sometimes most of the text, is often HTML gibberish belonging to various signatures.
Having said that, I don't think we want to make hard limits or say people can't have images in signatures or anything, as long as the signatures aren't unsuitable. But if (as recently) someone has a 700 character signature, that is equivalent to about 100 words--rather longer than this paragraph! The signal-to-noise ratio of the page in edit mode falls and it becomes much harder for people to participate in the debate. At this point it's certainly reasonable to require the editor to do something about the noise.--Tony Sidaway 00:31, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
That is a rather interesting comparison! Amusing, almost. I do agree that having long signature syntax makes editing around other signatures more challenging. (This may have already been proposed), but what about putting a character limit on signature syntax? That way, there are no specific restrictions on signatures, but whatever people want to put in it must fit within the limit, which would limit how much could be done. -- Natalya 16:37, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Oh you mean coding a limitation into the software? I think we'd want to have a soft limit settable by the mediawiki site maintainer, if that were to be implemented. Although I think that might appear at first sight to be a "wizard wheeze" or universal panacea, in practice I suspect that it would simply enourage more people to use some kinda of javascript injection method for inserting a signature. This would circumvent any such technical limits imposed by the server software, so the whole thing would, I suspect, be a wasted effort. --Tony Sidaway 18:13, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Large signatures and editing

I'm not trying to minimise the complaints that a few people are making, but "consensus" shouldn't have quite the volume element that we're seeing here. The fact is that people are using longer sigs, according to you and the sample I took from last year. (See charrt below.) Lots of them, apparently. And these people are taking part in discussions, leaving their longer sigs all over the place... and until the last eight days, we've heard very little about it. This practice had wide tacit approval. My sig is three lines long now, and it was longer before and I never heard one complaint until very recently. This would seem to indicate that the vast, preponderous majority of people just don't care very much about the length of signatures. And I still do not understand how it's a real problem to get the "signal from the noise." Are you just not using preview when you edit a discussion? - brenneman{L} 02:01, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not overconcerned about signatures even as large as yours, but they do degrade the wiki. Use of preview does not help to locate a comment in an edit box. If you look above on this talk page, you will see strong evidence of quite a lot of concern about images in signatures and overlong signatures. "Nobody ever mentioned it to me" isn't a good rebuttal to such strong evidence of concern, and such clearly stated problems. As an example of the latter, I present a fairly recent Wikipedia:Protected page revision [6]. This is an excerpt, giving you an idea of its appearance in a browser edit box:
*{{article|Tourism in Croatia}}. Edit warring. '''[[User:Voice of All|<font color="blue">Voice</font><font color="darkblue">-of-</font><font color="black">All</font>]]'''<sup>[[user_talk:Voice_of_All|<font color="blue">T</font>]]|[[Special:Emailuser/Voice of All|@]]|[[WP:EA|<font color="darkgreen">ESP]]</font></sup> 20:36, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
*{{article|Falun Gong}}. Edit warring. '''[[User:Voice of All|<font color="blue">Voice</font><font color="darkblue">-of-</font><font color="black">All</font>]]'''<sup>[[user_talk:Voice_of_All|<font color="blue">T</font>]]|[[Special:Emailuser/Voice of All|@]]|[[WP:EA|<font color="darkgreen">ESP]]</font></sup> 14:09, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
*{{article|Dalmatia}}. People "taking turns" reverting each other a few times for days back. '''[[User:Voice of All|<font color="blue">Voice</font><font color="darkblue">-of-</font><font color="black">All</font>]]'''<sup>[[user_talk:Voice_of_All|<font color="blue">T</font>]]|[[Special:Emailuser/Voice of All|@]]|[[WP:EA|<font color="darkgreen">ESP]]</font></sup> 14:12, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
You will notice how difficult it is to located the text amid the signatures. The signature length in this case is about 270 characters. --Tony Sidaway 06:02, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Here's what that really looks like. Broken record: Use preview. I do not have the SLIGHTEST problem with finding the comments in this. And silence gives consent: The fact that this was never an issue, that not only was it never mentioned to me but that I struggle to recall it being mentioned to anyone ever is in fact a compelling rebuttal. - brenneman{L} 08:18, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes, you do seem to be repeating again and again that "this is what this really looks like." Well no, that isn't what it looks like on the preview display, but unfortunately it is what you're confronted with when you're in the edit box trying to find the location in the mass of gibberish that corresponds to a piece of text.

Are you serious in your contention that "silence gives consent"? The mind boggles!

Needless to say you can't rebut the arguments on signatures simply by saying you can't find instances of the arguments being advanced in the past. The above sample from a screenful of gibberish is, I suspect, impossible to refute. --Tony Sidaway 18:17, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Impossible to refute? I don't find it that hard to skip over the signatures mentally when I'm looking at the edit window. In the code you copied out above, I find the content without noticeable exertion: There's a few relevant words after each bullet, and then you just let your eyes skim to thew next bullet. I think most people who work with any amount of code develop a similar skill.
It's true that code-heavy signatures (and irritatingly colored ones) can be kind of annoying, and a line should be drawn somewhere, but I don't see it as a huge problem. What if they were limited to say... 200 characters?
On the other hand, "This was never an issue before, so it isn't one now" is a fallacy. If something isn't a problem, and then it grows into one, somebody has to be the first to notice, and say something. That Tony should be the first isn't really that surprising, is it? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:34, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Well I don't know how to take the idea that you "don't find it that hard to skip over the signatures mentally when I'm looking at the edit window."
Let's look at this. This is the same text with a much shorter version of the signature:
*{{article|Tourism in Croatia}}. Edit warring. [[User:Voice of All|Voice of All]] 20:36, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
*{{article|Falun Gong}}. Edit warring. [[User:Voice of All|Voice of All]] 14:09, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
*{{article|Dalmatia}}. People "taking turns" reverting each other a few times for days back. [[User:Voice of All|Voice of All]] 14:12, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
There, isn't that easier? Instead of presenting a multiline forest of text that your brain has to skip over in order to find a tiny embedded piece of text, the signatures are just little tags at the end of each line, and the text actually typed by the editor occupies a large proportion of the space in the edit box and is thus much easier to find. You don't have to "skip over the signatures mentally" (a task, incidentally, that I find excruciatingly difficult--we're not all alike in our mental agility). --Tony Sidaway 01:18, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
This may vary by personal preference and style but I don't find it hard to find the * at the front of a line to determine where things start. What I find hard is when sections go on for a long time, but that's a different issue. I can see the argument that shorter sigs make it easier but they don't make it perfect, it seems to be a matter of degree. I guess I'll go back for wishing we could use templates... I totally understand and support why we can't, no one has to explain it again but it sure would solve this, I think. This seems like there is no right answer that everyone will completely be happy with. ++Lar: t/c 01:34, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony, I certainly didn't intend any comment on any capacity of yours; I apologize if I came across that way. It's certainly well within the range of "normal" to not feel at home in a sea of code. The stars and curly braces stand out to me along the left margin, and that tells me where to actually look closely. Why stars and curly braces should stand out to me, I've no idea. I also find it useful to highlight certain paragraphs with my mouse sometimes, when reading anything on a screen. The way the last line of each item doesn't go all the way across helps, too.
Still, the second version is certainly easier to read. I just think we're balancing two things here: Ease of reading in edit windows, and allowing people to customize their signatures as they see fit. For me, the former doesn't outweigh the latter by much, if at all. I keep my own signature short because... I dunno, I'm just built that way. Sometimes, I'm a little bit irritated by someone else's signature, but it's never bugged me to the point I wanted to make someone else change to suit my sensibilities. From the above poll, it appears that plenty of Wikipedians favor a character limit, technically imposed, and I guess we'd need a policy against workarounds, too. I don't oppose any of that, but I did want to note that Brenneman's not being completely off-the-wall here, i.e., there's no reason to be surprised if lots of people say, "what problem?"
I have had some trouble finding the right spot in an edit window, especially on long pages, but I think that has less to do with signature codes and more to do with very long sections without subheaders - those are a pet peeve for me. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:57, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Mackensen/Brenneman meta-discussion

Aaron, forgive, but are you capable of assuming that a user has a valid complaint when don't happen to agree with it? I hate pulling rank, but I've been here three years, and I can tell you that sigs have gotten considerably larger, and with far more html and wiki markup than they ever had before. If this trend continues, I'm going to have real difficulty parsing conversations in the edit window, and I'm not the only one. "Flavour-of-the-week"? Do you even understand why this is inappropriate? Mackensen (talk) 12:47, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I'll try to answer that as honestly and completely as as possible.
  • One user states their view on long/complex sigs. I state mine. I don't say "you're wrong" although I suppose "I'm mystify[ed]" can be seen as having said so. I'm unlcear on why stating my case is wrong, but saying that I'm being "rude" in having a long signature is not?
  • Aye, I can certainly defer to your tenure, and do understand that you're talking about a different time-scale than I am. I'll have a sniff and take some samples, so we can talk about facts rather than impressions.
  • With regard to "flavour-of-the-week"... no, I'm afraid I don't understand the problem with it. From my (potentially skewed) perception, this has gone from a non-issue to a giant, blockable-for-disruption problem with very little in between. I've provided a little table to illustrate. Look at the number of posts to this page over the last four years. I know that's a rough measure, but it supports my feeling that this has come up suddenly. I'd note that the spike here co-incided with "04:20, 15 May 2006 Tony Sidaway blocked "Nathanrdotcom (contribs)" with an expiry time of 12 hours (Persistently flaunting a stupidly large signature with multiple image inclusions)".
  • I know that last comment feeds into the "Aaron has a problem with Tony" paradigm, but it is a striking thing.
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this with me,
brenneman{L} 13:48, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Table of posts to this page per day

Number of edits to this page compared to growth in mean sig length on AfD

What's the point? Can we get rid of this please? It really doesn't seem to be relevant to the discussions at hand. --Cyde↔Weys 17:35, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Nevermind, I see it's referenced in one of Brenneman's posts above. Still, is this necessary? So a lot of discussion started recently ... I bet lots of talk pages have similar patterns, as various events ebb and flow. Can we move this off onto a subpage or something? --Cyde↔Weys 17:40, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Sorry you didn't see the point, I see why it's there. If it is bugging you and you want to make it a subpage? Have at it... it's a wiki. I think it makes a valid point, that this seems to have all of a sudden come up. That's not a bad thing, it just is. The way things are done here is a bit inside out from other communities that deliberate first and then make rules and then act on them, we act, then see what we did, then make guidelines to capture the defacto. That said I strenuously oppose censuring people for sigs unless we start with ones that use garish colors or obnoxious nonstandard cursors when displayed, rather than starting with the size of the sig when it's in edit text. ++Lar: t/c 18:28, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I find it almost unreadable with the "small" tags, and the "br" tags make it just along list. Perhaps someone could produce a chart of some sort. I've still no idea what it's supposed to mean. --Tony Sidaway 00:22, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Bah. I've made it into an image, but whatever happened to {{sofixit}}? Regardless, unless we think that there is some other venue that this was being discussed on, there doesn't appear to have been much chatter about sigs until right around the time we saw a block for having a long one. The smaller chart is the mean signature link on AfD for a year. Note that there is a fairly large increase, aroung 75%, with no increase in traffic on this page at all. - brenneman{L} 02:19, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the block has stimulated discussion, much of it in favor of hard limits on signatures (worth discussing, though I oppose them as unnecessary and unpracticable). This is what discussion pages are for, so I don't find it surprising and I don't still can't work out why this needs to be recorded in a chart. --Tony Sidaway 03:08, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
I've also done a quick grab from six recent AfDs to see if the trend has continued. The median from that sample was only 65. However, looking at the distribution (see below) this doesn't mean that it's actually gone down. It just means that I didn't grab one of the super-massive sigs that are around. Looking over the data from last years afd and the sample that I took below, I'd say the median length of signtures hasn't changed much (about 25%), but that there has been an increase in the number of "top end" signatures. Although we had 700+ signatures around a year ago, it's actually the increase in the 150-300 range that appears to be making a differance. *cough* Esperanza *cough* It's the "drunk at the footy" effect really: A few really large signatures combined with a slight increase in the medium large signatures appears to be creating an impression that an overall trend that is much stronger than it actually is. - brenneman{L} 02:45, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Dude, you gathered and charted the mean signature length on AfDs??? that's so incredibly geeky... way cool! I think the root question here is, what does this mean other than demonstrating how things seem to work here. Problems wax, get dealt with or not, and sometimes wane. While they're waxing is when actions outside policy and the backlash/acceptance of them seem to decide or codify what eventual policy is. I'm just starting to get this so sorry if I'm repeating the obvious to everyone else. I still think, though, that actions outside of policy have to be civil and can't go too far outside of consensus at the time, all at once, or things go whacked. ++Lar: t/c 03:06, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
10 12,12,14,14
15      15,17,17,18
20      22
25      26,26,26,26,26,28,28
30      30,30,32
35      35,38,41,44,47
50      56,68,69,72,93
100     131,156,180
200     222,256
300     355

Even having lots of 150-300 character signatures has severely degraded our discussion environment. 150 characters is the equivalent of over 20 words, 300 is around 40 words, and so on. If a signature is as long as this comment, then it makes discussion much more difficult. It isn't just an impression of problems. It is actively more difficult to edit discussions than it was even a few months ago.

By the way, Who had a 700+ character signature one year ago? --Tony Sidaway 03:08, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Explanation of two edits by User:Tony Sidaway

I have made two removals of text which don't seem to belong in a guideline.

There have been some calls for banning them entirely; some people have objected to such a ban, arguing it would stifle creativity.

From the above, I have removed the bolded section. To talk of "stifling creativity" in a signature on a discussion forum is simply fatuous. There are reasonable objections to banning images from signatures, but "stifling creativity" isn't one of them.

It is also possible to be playful with the signature, for example by including ornamental Unicode characters (☻♂♖♥★, etc.) and using CSS styles to format it.

I have removed all of the above since "playfulness" with signatures in shared discussion spaces really isn't something to be encouraged. Let's keep them readable and simple. --Tony Sidaway 02:55, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

  • I've reverted both of those changes. The first is simply reporting of the state of play: Some people have called for stricter guidelines, some have objected. The second, again, is a simple statement of fact: It is possible to be playful. The wide use of these forms indicates that it's not universally considered "fatuous."
  • We're attracting a small crowd for such a large change. The number of people impacted by any strengthening of this guideline would be massive. It should go on WP:CENT.
brenneman{L} 03:10, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

None of the above implies any material change in the guidelines, much less a "large" one. The first change is removing a silly objection and the second is removing a suggestion that doesn't really belong in a guideline in the first place. --Tony Sidaway 03:25, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

New section "Internal links"

I've given this a start. Just a bit of commonsense, really. The key is parsimony.

It is considered polite to include a link to your talk page for the use of people who want to discuss something with you person-to-person. Outside that, it is probably wise to be parsimonious with internal links. If you find a particular Wikipedia page useful, put a link into your browser bookmarks or favorites list, not your signature.

--Tony Sidaway 03:25, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

A quick browse of any widely used page (WP:AN or WP:PUMP for instance) will show that this bit of "commonsense" is not that common. Links to contributions and e-mails are frequent, and Esperanza is also a sprinkled liberally around. At least one arbitrator has an internal link to contributions in their sig: Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) Again, I'd much rather see a wider net cast on this discussion.
brenneman{L} 07:56, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

When commonsense isn't much in evidence, it is necessary to state it explicitly. This is why we have guidelines. --Tony Sidaway 11:44, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Harmonious editing

I'm deeply dissapointed by the entire way that this is being handled. Do we work in a co-operative, consensual environment here or not? Because what I'm seeing is full Tony power, stuff everyone else. There appears to be a fundamental misunderstadning of the way that wikipedia works here. When you make a change, you don't "own" that change, and "announcing" that change doesn't mean that it can't be reverted. It doesn't mean that that change has to remain in place until you're convinced otherwise. If someone reverts a change and explains why on talk, reverting back is bad form.
brenneman{L} 04:25, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

You're somewhat confused as to what happened here. I performed an edit and then wrote it up. You then blindly reverted it claiming that it hadn't been discussed. I later reverted the asking you to examine the talk page to see that I had indeed discussed it. You then proceeded to the talk page and wrote up your own earlier revert. No ownership is implied, but I do warn you not to blindly revert edits by other editors, asking them to discuss them on the talk page without first checking to see if they have done just that. If you continue to do so you will probably often find that you have ignored significant explanation and supporting arguments for an edit. --Tony Sidaway 06:10, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony, please do try and understand something: What contitutes "significant explanation and supporting arguments" to you may not be, in fact, enough. There is room for others to disagree. There is a differance between discussing something and telling us what you've done. You and I have had this problem many, many times. When we do not agree, you seem to feel as if once you "explain" than the discussion is over. I looked at your explanation on the talk page and I do not agree. I don't know how I can make that any more clear. Just because you want the page to look a certain way, it doesn't have to look that way. When someone asks you to discuss a change, actually wait for some back and forth to occur before sledgehammering your view onto the main page. I'd encourage you to read Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle and Wikipedia:Harmonious editing club. (Although I note you've once been removed from that list.) It might also be a good idea for you to review Wikipedia:Edit war and consider further how they begin. - brenneman{L} 06:55, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Of course I agree with all of the above, except the lamentably large section where you misrepresent the fact and launch into your trademark personal attack. As I said, I reverted your blind revert, which had clearly been made in ignorance of the existence of a discussion on the matter on this talk page. I am pleased that you finally got around to reading my comment and adding your own. Feel free to re-revert. --Tony Sidaway 11:43, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Edit by User:Tony Sidaway on signature policy

The opening of things to avoid now reads as follows:

A distracting, confusing or otherwise unsuitable signature affects other users, and users with improper signatures may be required to change them (See -Ril- arbitration).

The words "users with improper signatures may be required to change them" are taken directly from the principle adopted 5-0 by the Arbitration Commitee in the -Ril- arbitration, which is cited with an appropriate link.

Although this is only a guideline, not a policy document, it is probably a good idea to reflect policy as accurately as possible. --Tony Sidaway 05:34, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

brenneman{L} 07:32, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
You have misread Fred's comment. -Ril- was refusing to change his signature. Fred proposed (in workshop) the remedy "-Ril- (talk · contribs) shall use his own user name as his signature" and accompanied this proposal with a comment on -Ril-'s intransigence in insisting on using an unsuitable signature: "Being forced to deal with a triviality of this nature is ridiculous. Interaction on Wikipedia requires easy identification of which user you are dealing with and easy means of communicating with them." [9] . It was not the triviality of the order, but the petty quibbling of the editor being thus ordered.
Of course you're right that the Committee isn't bound by precedent, but you also misinterpret the nature of their principles. They are interpretations of existing Wikipedia policy, and often comprise the only written form of pre-existing Wikipedia policy. That editors can be required to curb excessive behavior in the interests of the community follows from the nature of Wikipedia. The cited example illustrated how this applies to signatures. --Tony Sidaway 11:26, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Casting a wider net and the wiki way

As this is starting to be a two-man show, I'm taking this page off my watch list. I have placed notes at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Signature_limitations, Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Policies and Wikipedia_talk:Esperanza#Signature_limitations asking for more input. However, I'd like to make a few final comments and observations before exiting stage left.

Wikipedia is composed of a vast multitude of editors, with a diverse range of skills, interests, and opinions. Their level of contribution varies as well, some creating 200+ articles about notable historical figures, some whose largest contribution is Groucho glasses. We are intended however, to have some level of mutual respect for everyone, to be civil and courteous. This means attempting, as much as possible, to acknowledge that there exists a plurality of valid opinons, and to attempt to work towards building a consensus that encompases them.

I feel like that principle has been badly violated here. A single incident on the 15th, followed by heavy editing with very little attempt to draw in more contributors. Callous rejection of divergent opinions, and nascent edit warring. This isn't how things are meant to work. Willingness to revert heavily, a thick skin, and copious time should not be the determinators of outcomes.

brenneman{L} 08:35, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

My views:

  • Images - bad, even if there isn't a server load issue (WP:AUM anyone?). IF someone is loading say AN/I (which is already over 256KB) they shouldn't need to download a bunch of 2KB or bigger images too. Thankfully, images are not common. Small SVGs I'm not sure about.
  • Templates - Mostly the same. OK if substed or if the sig page is protected and almost never edited, but still should be generally avoided.
    • Parser functions - Only if they are properly substed and are not complicated. User:Kotepho/sand2&action=edit is excessive (the only example I've run into). If you want to do something that fancy, use javascript.
  • Confusing
    • Name is not the same as username - OK within reason. brenneman => User:Aaron Brenneman for example.
      Sue Anne => User:Sreed1234 is bad as Sue Anne could be many different people and there is not an obvious relationship. We have WP:CHU might as well use it even if I don't like it as it is less confusing.
      Transliteration is so-so; I know what ···日本穣 is, but others don't. If you do it at least have a nickname in latin alphabet in there.
    • Just plain weird things (¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸ or ~~~~) - Distinctive enough and not easily confused with another user's name. I don't really have a problem with them.
  • Length - Longer than 200-250 characters is excessive (~ 2 lines in my edit window). It does make replying in discussions hard. How does preview help me find a specific comment to reply to in a threaded discussion? I end up doing s/^(:*)\*(?=\*)/\1:/g and adding newlines just so it is managable is extreme cases.
  • Links - If I want to see your contribs, talk page, email, etc. I know how to find it, but they aren't terribly disturbing. Linking to your RFA, a proposal, an RFC, etc. should be frowned upon. External links is a flat out no.
  • Misc elements - font, colour, size, unicode glyphs, sup, sub, whatever are fine. Some people have an issue with sup and sub apparently, but I haven't seen it--anyone have a screenshot? I don't like people using cursor: but it isn't so much of an issue to require guidelines over.

Ideally, signatures would not be stored in the wikitext and you could have the timestamps in whatever style/timezone you want and the option to turn off custom signatures down to just [[User:Username|Username]] ~~~~~ or [[User:Username|Nickname]] ~~~~~. It would solve a great deal of the issues with signatures, but I don't think it is going to happen any time soon. Kotepho 10:45, 23 May 2006 (UTC) (I don't mean to be picking on anyone's sigs with my examples. they are just the first that come to mind.) Kotepho 10:45, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm not personally in favor of hard limits (though a lot of editors do seem to be in favor--see above). The last thing I want to see is administrators forcing people with 300 character signatures to change them, or to remove reasonably small images from signatures.
In especially egregious cases, however, administrators have always had the ability to bring a recalcitrant editor to heel. A 700-character signature is the equivalent of 100 words, and substantially longer than this entire edit including the signature and timestamp. That is well into "excessive" territory by any standard. --Tony Sidaway 11:35, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Emphasis of vandalism danger

This sentence needs special notice because it represents a risk of serious disruption of the wiki, so I have bolded it in the text:

Signature templates are also vandalism targets, and will be forever, even if the user leaves the project

--Tony Sidaway 12:03, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

You cannot even have a template in a signature that is not subst'd now unless it is behind another template or you do not use the built-in signatures; however, I can see cause for the section staying still. Kotepho 12:44, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
That's okay, but there's nothing, alas, to stop someone transcluding a template in place of a signature. This can be done using javascript, has the same appearance, but also makes the wiki vulnerable. --Tony Sidaway 16:34, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

The purpose of the signature

New section. It needs to be explicitly stated that:

The purpose of signing edits in discussion is to enable other editors to recognise the username or IP of the person who made the preceding edit and the time at which it was made. You should make sure that your signature does this and append the signature to all discussion edits you make.

Since the signature is likely to be repeated hundreds of times in shared public spaces, it is pretty important to be clear about its purpose. --Tony Sidaway 16:45, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Is this intended to be interpreted to require people to use signatures that include their actual ID? There are a lot of examples of folk using signatures that do not match their ID currently. You have to mouse over or follow the link to know who they are. ++Lar: t/c 01:40, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

As long as there is a link to an identifying page that is enough to identify the username. It's possible to have a signature that doesn't contain any way of tracing your username, but this wouldn't be good. --Tony Sidaway 01:51, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

I might suggest something like...
The purpose of signing edits in discussion is to enable other editors to easily recognise the source of a comment, perferrably using the username or IP address of the person who made the comment and the time at which it was made. You should make sure that your signature does this and append the signature to all discussion edits you make.
If "easily" isn't a necessary adverb here, then I'd use "clearly" in its place. --InkSplotch 03:26, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Many revisions by User:InkSplotch

For those of you who likely have this page on their watch lists right now, I've been making quite a few changes this evening (and might have some more left in me). My goal isn't to change the language in this document, just to clean it up a bit and unify the tone some. In doing this, I may well change the meaning of some contested words or phrases. I'm trying to work in small sections, in case someone feels the need to revert my changes (I've already noticed some editors have moved in to correct some of my typos). In any case, that's what I'm up to. --InkSplotch 03:22, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Eek, I think I started something. I see we (User:Tony_Sidaway and User:Kotepho) are all on the same page (literally). As an aside, I didn't even know you could use parser functions in a signature. The very thought frightens me. --InkSplotch 03:36, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony doesn't know that everyone isn't as erudite as him, but I think you did a better job than I did in general. Also, you can and at least one person does use parser functions for a different date format. Kotepho 03:40, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Erudite? --Tony Sidaway 10:37, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Don't look at me, I had to look up "parsimonious" earlier, before I could change it. --InkSplotch 12:47, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Ah. I plead "guilty as charged", m'lud. --Tony Sidaway 13:59, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Page name (again)

The name only mentions one aspect of this guideline. Would Wikipedia:Signature or Wikipedia:Signature guidelines be more apt? Kotepho 03:40, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

An excellent suggestion. --InkSplotch 12:48, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm so sorry, I'm trying to correct some stuff, but then the whole article dissapeared! I don't know what happened twice! Sorry! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

There were database problems earlier, but everything looks fine to me. Kotepho 04:31, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Guideline vs policy

Can we make signatures manditory? It isn't like anyone should have a reason why not to sign their posts as it is visible in history anyways... --Cat out 18:10, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Well what are we going to do, block people who don't sign? --Rory096 21:12, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Only if we can figure out who they are... (KIDDING! just look in the history) ++Lar: t/c 16:26, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
A lot of the points outlined in the existing guideline are common sense, and they are only enumerated as a reference. This page is a prime candidate for instruction creep, and for something as variable as signatures, it's important that we keep the rules to a minimum. I would like to think that the vast majority of Wikipedians see how refusing to sign comments is counter-productive, such that the few isolated incidents there have been aren't justification enough to add a note here. I have come across one particularly stubborn user myself, and I can't see how any others like him would last long on the project. ~MDD4696 03:05, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Explanation of some edits by User:Tony Sidaway around 1600 UTC on 28 May, 2006

I've added "Avoid using images of any kind in signatures." because the straw poll seems to be running very strongly in the direction (60/12 in favor).

After brief discussion on the administrators' channel, I've added a new reason for not using images. A new image can be uploaded in place of the one you chose, making it a target for vandalism and denial-of-service attacks.

I'm softened the wording used by User:Kotepho from "are prohibited" to "should not be used" because this is a guideline and the language of prohibition is inappropriate here. A change of policy to prohibit images would be a different matter and would probably have to be proposed and discussed elsewhere. --Tony Sidaway 16:08, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I changed it because before they were previously listed under "Things to avoid" and the poll showed consensus for something more; just saying to avoid them would have been no change. The wording of the second part was an artifact of playing around with a few choices and forgetting to correct both parts, so I have no objection to the current wording (other than it being rather redundant). Kotepho 16:53, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
If this is a guild line and not a policy why are there an administrator editing pages to it? Shouldn't a guild line be something that is followed voluntarily by a user, not enforced by a bot? PPGMD 18:58, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Adminisitrators are editors too, and may contribute just like anyone else. The difference between a guideline and a policy is how it's enforced, and so far as I know there isn't a bot enforcing signature guidelines. If you have evidence of such a thing, you might bring it up on the Administrator's Noticeboard, and ask if such a thing has been authorized by someone. This just being a guideline, I expect not. --InkSplotch 19:05, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Just checked my watch page again, it's Phil Boswell, and he's using AWB. Being a guide line I would expect that asking the user to change would be the best thing to do, not using AWB and edit users comments, particularly ones in closed voting pages. PPGMD 19:43, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm orphaning an obsolete image. Since the guideline says "don't use images" I am removing the image rather than replacing it. HTH HAND —Phil | Talk 19:54, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Ah, I see now. It's not a bot, just a tool. Phil, if I understand you, you've presumably identified an image used only in signatures, and you're removing links to it in preperation for removing the image? That's pretty proactive, and I'd be careful not to let it turn into a userbox type affair. In fact, even if you're updating current links to the image it's not changing these user's profiles, so if you do render the image obsolete their next signature will result in a broken link. I'd agree it's silly to have an image on the system solely for use in signatures, but this guideline may not be strong enough to support an IFD. You might try the IFD first, before going to all this trouble.
If I'm misunderstanding everything, I apologize. :) --InkSplotch 20:20, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
It's a gif png obsoleted by a svg (the image is more suited to vector graphics). It will be speedied under I1 when all instances are dead, at which point the signature owner has the option of complying with the guideline by removing the image or, at his option, continuing to breach the guideline by replacing the gif version with the new svg in his signature. --Tony Sidaway 20:28, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Actually the image is used elsewhere, and when the signatures have been cleared away, it will make it easier to replace the appropriate uses with the new SVG. HTH HAND —Phil | Talk 21:18, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
That isn't the only image you are removing from the signatures, a number of your edits are removing images that aren't listed as being obsoleted. Also the bot that replaces the other images can just as easily replace the users in the user signatures. You are just using the image being obsoleted as a reason for the edits even though they are going beyond what you claim. Yes I checked the edit history. PPGMD 02:34, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
Except he's not only doing that, he's removing all images in comments. He has removed a number of images from signatures that aren't listed as being obsoleted.PPGMD 21:05, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Seems reasonable. The use of images in signatures severely clutters the list of links for such images. --Tony Sidaway 02:39, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
Well it seemed hardly fair to single out just those users who had chosen that particular image; furthermore, as Tony rightly says, it can make it very muddled when someone comes to do housekeeping on an image if the vast majority of links are to long-forgotten discussions buried on AFD and archive pages. HTH HAND —Phil | Talk 07:42, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

(unintending) As I've now commented to Phil repeatedly over the last hour with absolutely no response from him, while he is meanwhile continuing to serialize edits without consensus, I am prepared to revert each and every one of the edits he's made with this justification using similar semi-automation. I find it simply appauling that he would begin doing this without first gaining consensus to do so, and, as others have done with the userboxes in the past, I believe he simply hoped no one would catch on until he was done. Do the archives not say "Do not modify this discussion" at the very top in bold print? I'm equally as opposed to images in signatures but removing them from users' sigs without consent or policy behind him is simply unacceptable, and I hope that he realizes this. If he wants to see these images deleted, he should bring them to IfD and remove the links after they are deleted. Using semiautomation and citing a guideline to orphan these images and thereby to justify their deletion is not the way to go about it. AmiDaniel (talk) 08:35, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

After talking to Phil on IRC, I now understand what he was doing here, and I apologize for overreacting. As the images are now available in svg format, he was removing the obsolete images. He did not see a need to replace them with the new images as WP:SIG strongly discourages (or is it now prohibited?) the use of images in sigs--that seems reasonable to me. AmiDaniel (talk) 09:41, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Unregistered sigs

Rm suggestion that anons sign with pseudonyms. There have been valid concerns raised on the VP about anons signing as such, and while it's not prohibited, it shouldn't be encouraged)

I've restored this. I'm not sure what's wrong with it, and unfortunately I think the village pump discussion referred to is no longer available. -Dan 19:45, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

it also makes it harder for users to talk to you

It makes it more personal and identifies speakers better. -Dan 01:53, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Not sure what you're talking about, however I can tell you that the way you've signed makes it much more difficult for me to identify you. If I wanted to leave you a message on your talk page, I'd have to go into the page history and find your edit, then navigate to your page from there. It's quite clear that this is much more difficult than it would be if you'd simply sign your post using four tildes, so I don't think your changes are valid at all. Exploding Boy 04:27, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
If they use an AOL proxy the IP isn't going to do you any good to leave a message anyways. Personally, I don't mind people leaving a name. How about -Dan ~~~~? Everyone wins. Kotepho 09:22, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
(Right, and I've posted to this section under two addresses, one of which I know at least one other person edits from, and even more may be reading from it.) This suggestion isn't bad, in fact I'm pretty sure I've seen people use the format -Dan ~~~~, as well as -Dan , (Jun 14), and my favourite of course, -Dan ~~~~~. I wouldn't mind adding any of these as alternates. -Dan 14:02, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Even worse. We don't want to be encouraging people to edit in ways that make it impossible to communicate with them. We want to encourage people to create stable user names and use them to edit under so that we can communicate with each other, and so that we can more easily track and discourage vandalism (among other things). Shared IPs are already a problem in that regard. The guideline should not be encouraging people to "sign" their posts in such a confusing manner; it may have been that way for years, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't change. Frankly, if you're going to go to the trouble of typing a name before the four tildes (which is marginally better than just typing a name), why not just register a user name and make everyone's life easier? Exploding Boy 15:08, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

No, granted, just because that's the way it was doesn't mean it shouldn't change. But I do think it does mean it shouldn't change without discussion and agreement, don't you? And at this time, it appears there is not. I am not going to revert you again at this time, but I would like you to have a look at the notice at the very top of the project page, and possibly consider reverting yourself.
Now then. I fail to see what's confusing about this. Is the last question directed at me in particular, or was it a general question? I realize there are those who would like everyone to log in, and even to disallow unregistered edits altogether, and maybe things will eventually move in that direction. But that is really not something to be addressed here. For the purpose of this page, we can encourage people to log in, but we assume that many won't, and deal with it. -Dan 16:18, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Right. But we can still encourage them to sign their posts properly, by typing four tildes. Exploding Boy 16:27, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

You presuppose the issue. Please understand I have been signing this way for a while, and I can't recall a complaint, being told to "sign my posts properly", nor even polite variants thereof -- nothing at all. Unless the above counts as a complaint, which I suppose it does. So alright, perhaps this counts as the first time, and perhaps if there were more of it I might reconsider. I do hate to make a big deal of such a small thing as this, but it does seem like we are inventing problems that don't exist with respect to unregistered users. It also seems that we are using the policy page to prescribe guidelines (and without agreement, at that) rather than describe, or at the very least prescribe with agreement of concerned editors. Therefore I still think you should revert. -Dan 16:51, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand your objection. According to the guideline, the purpose of signatures on Wikipedia is to:

  • identify you as a user, and your contributions to Wikipedia
  • enable other editors to recognise the user name (or IP) of the person who made a given statement, and the date and time at which it was made
  • encourage civility in discussions by identifying the author of a particular comment

Your current signature does none of those things. I agree, this is a small thing. It seems like a simple matter to just sign with four tildes. Exploding Boy 17:22, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

here is a good example. (I switched over from four tildes to a name about a year ago, therefore this is one page which actually shows both versions.) A name is much more personable and identifiable than an unremarkable and varying number, no? And it does include a date and time, so yes to that too. (Sure, maybe if I used a login it would be even more so, but that, as I say, is not the point here.)
I admit I don't understand your objection either. I do greatly appreciate the work of anyone who is vigilant against vandalism, but this does not seem to help to "track and discourage vandalism". Are we having problems with the way vandals sign their talk posts? -Dan 17:58, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Someone who didn't know you, wouldn't know on whose talk page request clarification of your additions, nor know on which IP to request a block if you violated WP:3RR. Dan ~~~~ seems much preferable to Dan ~~~~~. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 19:01, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Hmmmm. I'm not sure I understand. If there is an unregistered user addition to an article without a talk page note, then the question of how that person should sign is moot. Similarly 3RR is moot. And besides, you can't even see 3RR from talk pages. Only history or watchlist. Follow the link there. Right?
This could, I suppose, come up when an unregistered user makes a questionable addition and does leave a note on a talk page. Perhaps, considering also what has already been said about changing or shared addresses, that same article talk page is where one would want to respond, reserving IP talk pages for immediate messages about changes which were made without a note.
Perhaps an example you have in mind would help here. As I say, I can't recall this being an issue -- except of course just now, and hey, after all, that does make two complaints I guess. If the times really are changing, then I can certainly accept that. -Dan 20:22, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Bloody hell. I just typed a long response and it vanished. Urgh. Maybe I'll try to recreate it later. Exploding Boy 22:28, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

That sucks. But you know what? In my head I gave myself one day to make my case. If you have a long response, then let's just say I failed, shall we? It's surely not worth more than that. 23:18, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Customization instructions

I propose that all instructions for customizing signatures be removed from this guideline. People are citing their presence on this page as license to create and tact acceptance of extravagant signatures. Either way, this is not what a Wikipedia Guideline should be doing, and it makes explaining and complying with the guildeline more difficult. The guideline should be only about What signatures are, Why they are important, Where to use them, and How to use them properly (and how they should not be used). Exploding Boy 14:57, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree, obviously. The instructions should remain somewhere on Wikipedia, because they're useful, but not on this document where their presence may mislead. --Tony Sidaway 15:02, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

I propose that the customization section should be reduced to the following:

Registered users can customize their signature by going to Special:Preferences and changing the field "Nickname".
Although not a policy, it is common practice (and common courtesy) to use a signature name that is either identical or closely related to your account name. Likewise, signatures that obscure your account name to the casual reader may be seen as disruptive.
To learn more about how to make complex signatures, see Wikipedia:Tip of the day/June 30, 2006.

Exploding Boy 17:49, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Seems good to me. This shouldn't be a howto. --Tony Sidaway 19:37, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I've removed "Although not policy..." from the above wording as in the current version. I know from experience that a phrase like that will be read as "Ignore this" by some editors. "It is common practice (and common courtesy)" is enough. --Tony Sidaway 17:11, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Good point. People are already citing the fact that this is a guideline and not a policy as license to ignore everything on the page. Exploding Boy 14:39, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm concerned about that tip, as mentioned here. The poor HTML output of most WYSIWYG editors is very messy. We shouldn't be recommending this. Pending a proper fixup of the tip (which ideally would include a link to an HTML guide, which will serve all our editors well both on and off WP), I'm going to delink it. Johnleemk | Talk 16:27, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

The problem of that tip has been remedied by providing some simple advice on economical customization using HTML. However I do wonder why we're linking to something as ephemeral as a "Tip of the Day" in the first place. --Tony Sidaway 17:11, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Is there any good use for custom signatures?

Aside from simple things, like adding a link to your talk page after your name, most of the signatures are just plain annoying. Signing with a name other than your actual username, including images, and including long mounds of code all get really annoying. I assume that custom sigs won't be banned, but for crying out loud, at least think of what you are doing. You don't have to give your life's story every time you leave a comment on a talk page. BigDT 21:34, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

I use a custom signature to direct to my talk page (my user page is just a redirect anyway). Custom signatures have been around for a long time and I personally recommend their use to provide a link to the talk page as well as the user page. Contributions links, Esperanza links and the like are probably unnecessary because they're not likely to be used much and you can get them from the user page anyway. --Tony Sidaway 19:36, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Why can't we customize our sig?

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Hmrox (talkcontribs) 21:56, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

What do you mean? Of course you can customize your signature. Just don't let it get out of hand. ~MDD4696 19:46, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

If you are asked to change your signature....

...this is a very odd thing to say, isn't it? What other guidelines have this kind of clause in them? 18:27, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

The reason I added this is because people have a tendency to immediately get their hackles up when asked to alter their signature. The first thing they usually say after reading the guideline is something like "it's just a guideline, not a policy, so I don't have to follow it." This isn't true. Exploding Boy 20:59, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree with... whomever it was... that said that this guideline is not the place to say what a guideline is, if someone says that smack them with a cluestick. The only part I really object to is the "If you think your sig meets this guideline, it might be a misunderstanding, so tell them off." part. The rest is fluff, but I can happily ignore it. Kotepho 03:40, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. I removed that part. Having been on the receiving end of some vociferous and emotional objections to polite requests to remove images from signatures in the last few days, however, I can say from experience that a lot of people appear to have no idea what a "guideline" is. Exploding Boy 03:44, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

I've removed the blurb once, but missed that it was being re-added as I was also moving the section up, and I removed it again. - brenneman {L} 06:40, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
The way the quote from the page explaining what a policy versus a guideline is appeared way offtopic at the point where it was, so I removed it again. If you want to reinsert it, put it in a paragraph where it makes sense, not in "Dealing with unsigned comments". Kusma (討論) 16:14, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Post confusion recap

I removed the "what's a guideline" blurb when moving the remaining paragraph up. Exploding boy restored the blurb, so it (I don't know how) got left behind when I moved the section into a higher subsection. I removed it from it's "floating" position in the wrong paragraph. Exploding boy restored in into its incorrect position. Kusma again removed it from its incorrect position. Exploding Boy again restored it, this time leaving it in two places. Finally Kotepho removed it from the higher position.

I'd note that Exploding Boy has restored this phrase four times now. I see neither consensus on this page nor in the edit history of the main page for inclusion of this off-topic reminder on what a guideline is. I'd like it to be removed. brenneman {L} 01:18, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I also would like to see it removed (or at least completely rewritten, the quote from the "What is a guideline" page really does not fit into this page). The points that not only policies, but also guidelines can also be enforced (like anything supported by consensus) does not have to be made on every single guideline page. Kusma (討論) 01:28, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Kusma. Make it part of Wikipedia:Guidelines or something. Not here. -- nae'blis (talk) 20:43, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
Removed. - brenneman {L} 13:17, 30 June 2006 (UTC)


how do you like mine?--Bee(y)Ti 01:22, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Well, let's see. First, it takes up 8 lines in the edit window. It contains all caps, and a lot of code. It's got extra large fonts in it. All in all, I'd say it goes against the spirit and letter of the guideline. Exploding Boy 01:33, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Wait is that good or bad?--Bee(y)Ti 01:35, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Um. Bad. For 11 words that you've posted in this section, you've taken up sixteen lines of space. Exploding Boy 01:41, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Your signature is bad. Please change it before your next post. Try to cut the length in the edit window at least in half, and remove the shouting (ALL CAPS). Kusma (討論) 01:45, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Any suggestions?--Bee(y)Ti 01:51, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
How 'bout now?--—The preceding comment was added by Beeyti (talkcontribs) . 01:53, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

This just has to be some kind of joke. Well it made me laugh anyway. Please deal with that huge and intrusive signature as a matter of urgency. --Tony Sidaway 01:48, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Now it's even worse. I don't know what you've done, but your signature now intrudes on surrounding text maiking it impossible to read-. Exploding Boy 01:57, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
I didn't change it yet--—The preceding comment was added by Beeyti (talkcontribs) . 01:59, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Well I don't know. Maybe it was the combination of that signature plus whatever template your using to sign at the moment. Exploding Boy 02:00, 21 June 2006 (UTC)


I am not really good at talking to people about their sigs, so can somebody please talk to this user because his/her sig is 5 times larger than one of his/her comments.

User:GeorgeMoney/Signature Poll/Codebox

--GeorgeMoney (talk) (Help Me Improve!) 05:53, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Done. - brenneman {L} 00:05, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Images are eeevil reasoning

Some of the bullet points are a bit questionable. I'll put them in full below, and comment on them individually for ease of response.
brenneman 12:26, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

  1. They are an unnecessary drain on server resources, and could cause server slowdown
    Do we have any developer comments on this? Otherwise it should be removed. - brenneman 12:26, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
    Personally, I don't read this as implying a developer's edict, but I can see how it might be interpreted that way. Despite that, I think it's good as-is, and ought to remain. I don't think we always need to wait for Developer intervention before we consider server drain. --InkSplotch 15:04, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
    Per InkSplotch, I'd say that this one is just self-evident. An image necessitates the transfer of a whole extra file, so it is more of a drain than plain text. (Even the smallest images are still a few kB in size, and even the longest signatures are at most a few hundred bytes.) They're definitely unnecessary; Wikipedia would function perfectly well with no images in any signatures. The only part that might require developer comment is the bit about causing server slowdown—and even then, it would only be a comment about degree. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:36, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
    How can this not be interpreted to require developer comment? It's a server load issue, so unless we've got links to some comments, it's just a rumour. Here, I'll start one now: "Redirects cause server load, and should be avoided." - brenneman 15:48, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
    Then I'd point out that redirects have some benefits, we'd go back and forth, and maybe we'd create a guideline on the subject. In this case, however, I think it's valid to point out that they use server resources in what could potentially be a harmful manner without providing noticible benefit to the encyclopedia. I don't think we need a Developer to point this out to us, because then it does become an edict, which passes into law/policy, and before we know it people are clubbing each other with this page "because Developer X said so", when it's just a guideline and we ought to be able to point out the sensible things like this before they become a major issue. Because it's a "sensible" issue, and not fact carved into stone, though, I think it's very valid you bring it up for discussion...because if consensus turns out to feel it's not sensible, then yes, it ought to be removed. Oh my, I'm abusing my commas again...sorry. --InkSplotch 16:34, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
  2. A new image can be uploaded in place of the one you chose, making your signature a target for possible vandalism and Denial-of-service attacks
    Has this ever actually happened? - brenneman 12:26, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
    I wish I could answer with authority, but I believe I recall seeing something on AN/I during the early discussions about Nathan's block that, yes, it has happened in the past at least once. It was caught quickly, and disruption was minor. --InkSplotch 15:04, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
    This is a weakness in the software that, I suspect, is unlikely to be fixed soon. It can cause shortlived problems with high impact, by providing a vandal with a means of quickly flooding thousands of pages with inappropriate images. --Tony Sidaway 23:43, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
  3. They reduce searchability, making pages more difficult to read
  4. They make it more difficult to copy text from a page
  5. They are potentially distracting from the actual message
  6. Images in signatures give undue prominence to a given user's contribution
    I think these four should all go. Pure opinion, no basis in fact that I can see. - brenneman 12:26, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
    As a guideline, I don't feel all of these suggestions need to be solidly rooted in fact. That said, I'd be OK with eliminating that first (re: searchability), possibly because I don't entirely comprehend it. I've also not encountered issue with copying text, but I quite like the distracting and prominence clauses. --InkSplotch 15:04, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
  7. In most browsers images do not scale with the text, making lines with images higher than those without
  8. They clutter up the "file links" list on the image page every time you sign on a different talk page
    Ok, these I can believe. - brenneman 12:26, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
    I might also suggest a bullet for something about cluttering up the markup. Some tiny pictures can have quite large names, which can severly impact editing ability. Likewise, I've seen some image names that push the bounds of civility. To go back to the first bit of server resources, if graphics in signatures becomes accepted and commonplace, it could lead to an influx of unessential, unsourced, possibly infringing graphics that would just be a massive headache to the cleanup crews. Anyway, my two cents... --InkSplotch 15:04, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
    I'd say that there's also a missing point about the effect on our editors. Editors who are not using top-of-the-line computers, the newest browsers, and the fastest connections – a lot of people still use dialup – would pay a heavy penalty if many signatures contained images. Longer pages with lots of signature images will take a long time to download and render—if those pages will render at all. The Administrators' Noticeboard, Reference Desk, and Village Pump pages are already quite large; do we want to make them even more unwieldy by littering them with hundreds of little images? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:36, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Ok, so based on the above I'm going to replace the existing list with the following. - brenneman {L} 12:13, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

  1. They create a large number of "What links here" entries on the image page
  2. They are an unnecessary burden for users with slower connections or older computers
  3. They are potentially distracting from the message, giving undue prominence to a given user's contribution
  4. They make lines with images higher than those without as most browsers images do not scale with the text

I like your list, but I still feel the first two of the original (re:server load, and valdalism) should be included with it. --InkSplotch 12:59, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
One problem I encountered the other day was a large discussion page (WP:TFD) took ages to load. This was not because of its size but because it contained numerous signatures with images in them, and was at that time responding rather slowly to requests. So the server load problem does seem to be a real one. Because images add absolutely nothing of use to the dialog, this is problematic behavior. --Tony Sidaway 13:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I'd prefer to leave out the vandalism so as not to give anyone ideas. And the server load should have developer commentary, has anyone asked? - brenneman {L} 05:09, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

File links

Actualy it's "file links" not "what links here", this is particularly bad because "File links" have no paging mechanism (I have a RFE filed on that at bugzilla, don't remember the # offhand though) and they only show the "top" 500 links, meaning without access to the actual database (like a toolserver script) there is no way to determine all the pages that link to an image. This is something of a pain when doing image maintainance, obsolete images hang around for years becuse it is hard to "safely" delete them when used across thousands of talk pages. You eitehr have to replace the lot (wich is a lot of work, even with AWB, or you will leave redlinks all over the place, wich tend to cause yelling... --Sherool (talk) 13:33, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Do we have some examples to refer to? - brenneman {L} 05:09, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Well Image:Peru flag large.png and Image:Star of life2.png to name a couple. --Sherool (talk) 14:12, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I find that a much more compelling argument than vauge talk about server load or hypothetical browser problems. I've moved it to the top of the list above and added a subsection above your comment to make it easier to link right to it when suggesting someone remove an image. The actual item "They create a large number of "What links here" entries on the image page" could use a bit more punch, though. - brenneman {L} 23:22, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

signature transclusion workaround

I know this probably violates WP:BEANS, but I just noticed someone with a transcluded signature: CrnaGora (talk · contribs). He got around it by having a forward slash instead of a backward slash in the subpage. I've left a note on his talk page asking him to stop (only about 40 instances are extant, thankfully), but this is clearly an exception to the "hardcoded" preventative measures on signature transclusion. -- nae'blis (talk) 21:28, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

What do you mean by "forward" and "backward" slash? I would call "/" a forward slash, but from context it seems to me that perhaps you are referring to "\" as a forward slash. In any case, well spotted and thanks. --Tony Sidaway 22:44, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Aye, and that's what he's got: The software is trained to catch User:Somebody\Sig and auto-subst: it, but his is User:Somebody/Sig, and it slipped through. -- nae'blis (talk) 03:44, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
Anyone reported this to bugzilla yet? It's still happening. violet/riga (t) 13:29, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I haven't, no (no Bugzilla access from work, and I can't seem to find time in the evening). I don't see anything in the existing reports, either. Can you summarize it in a new report? I'll try to remember to get to it tonight if no one else does. -- nae'blis (talk) 15:12, 20 July 2006 (UTC)