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Help:Wiki/User Account and Preferences/Signatures

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Basics

Here's a list of all the signature options:

What you type What will be stored What shows on the page
~~~ [[User:FFW|FFW]] FFW
~~~~ [[User:FFW|FFW]] 04:40, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC) FFW 04:40, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)
~~~~~ 04:40, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC) 04:40, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

If your preferred signature consists of non-ASCII characters (Chinese for example), you are encouraged to use ASCII characters in them as well. This is because not everyone can view certain characters, and instead may find a box or other replacement where the non-ASCII character would properly be.

Customizing your signature

Registered users can customize their signature by going to Special:Preferences and changing the field "Nickname". The software automatically places "[[User:<yourusername>|" and "]]" around the text entered in this field, so that whatever nickname you choose to use as a signature will be linked to your user page. Please use a signature name that is either identical or closely related to your account name, or use your real name.

If you want to use a more complex signature (for instance, including a link to your talk page), you can choose the "Raw signatures (without automatic link)" checkbox in your Preferences. Just fill the "Your nickname" field with your desired signature, exactly as you want it to be substituted for the tildes.

Please note that the inclusion of images in your signature is discouraged — it is distracting to many users, puts an unnecessary drain on the servers, and can badly distort the normal display of talk pages (especially if the image link should become broken, or the viewer has images turned off in their browsers).

Note that the talk link is somewhat "disguised" in some signatures — it might look like a last name, or even the last letter of a name, or a single symbol. Hovering the mouse pointer over the link should tell you (in a tooltip, browser status bar, or other) whether the link is pointing to "User", "User talk", or something else.

Things to avoid

Images and Appearance

There are several objections to having images in signatures. In particular, they cause server slowdown and serve no purpose in an encyclopedia project other than vanity, in addition to making pages more difficult to read.

It is also 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.

However, these elements in the signature are discouraged for several reasons:

  • they use additional server resources
  • they can reduce searchability and make it more difficult to copy text from a page
  • they are potentially distracting from the actual message
  • in most browsers, images do not scale with the text, making lines with images higher than those without.

Your signature also should not blink, as this annoys many other editors. Neither should it be too long (long signatures with lots of HTML/wikicode may make page editing more difficult), nor contain <big> tags (produces big text), or line breaks (<br> tags)

Length

Please try to keep signatures short, because very long signatures cloud up the page source in edit mode, making it harder for other editors to find where your comment stopped. Both images and long signatures carry the danger of giving undue prominence to that user's contribution. Reduce it to the minimum necessary.

Transclusion/template

Avoid using page transclusion or templates for signatures (like those which appear as {{User:Name/sig}}, for example). These are avoidable drains on server resources. Transcluded signatures require extra processing and, whenever you do change your signature source, all talk pages you've posted on must be re-cached. You can imagine the impact if these kinds of signatures were in common use. Signature templates are also vandalism targets, and will be forever, even if the user leaves the project. Simple text signatures, which are stored along with the page content, use no more resources than the comments themselves and avoid these problems.

If you really must use a userpage as a source of boilerplate for your signature, at least substitute it so it is only transcluded once, for example {{Subst:User:Name/sig}}.

External links

Mass posting of links to a particular website is strongly discouraged. Posting a link to an external website with each comment you make on a talk page is usually viewed as 'linkspamming' or an attempt to improve your website's ranking on search engines. Therefore, signatures should not include external links. If you want to tell other members about a good website that you are associated with, please do so on your user page.

More about Talk pages

See Help:Wiki/Talk Pages for accepted conventions and guidelines regarding the use of talk pages.