Wikipedia talk:Signatures

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Common confusionEdit

Since Help:Signatures redirects here, this page functions as a help page. I see a lot of new editors trying (in various ways) to add a signature to the beginning of their comments. While WP:TILDE does say to post signatures at the end of a comment, I think this might be too easily missed, especially for new editors who already have a lot to process. Having it simply stated in "Nutshell" summary to add signatures "to the end of your comment" (or whatever) might make this issue slightly less common, and slightly easier to explain. This could also be added to the lead paragraph.

I also see a lot of editors, even some experienced ones, adding tildes to their edit summaries. I'm not sure how to address this, but it's a similar issue. Grayfell (talk) 20:56, 26 July 2019 (UTC)

Character/Byte limitEdit

Is there currently a character/byte limit to signatures? I found this Wikipedia talk:Signatures/Archive 1#Imposing signature restrictions discussion from 2006, but the rule for signature size limit doesn't seem to be in the guideline now. My signature is 346 characters or 364 bytes. Is that too big of a size? → [[User:Wei4Green|]] · 唯绿远大 22:33, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

WP:SIGLEN talks about a 255-character limit and suggests that less than two or three lines in the edit window is desirable. Your signature appears to come from User:Wei4Green/signature. A good test is to edit Talk:The Hill and look at the wikitext. Your signature is too overwhelming there IMHO. Johnuniq (talk) 22:39, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
@Johnuniq: Thanks. I reduced it to 241 characters. I couldn't find the policy because I was finding the keyword "size" instead of "length" on the page. Should I also replace my previous signatures with my most recent one to avoid violating the policy? [[User:Wei4Green|]] · 唯绿远大 22:54, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
We generally don't do that. I could imagine extreme cases where that might be warranted, but yours isn't one. ―Mandruss  23:46, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
@Wei4Green: I notice that your current signature is so tall that it increases the white space between lines. If I'm not mistaken that violates WP:SIGAPP bullet 1. ―Mandruss  23:50, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
Is the declaration font-family:微软雅黑; valid? I thought that CSS property values had to use the Latin script. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 09:46, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Non-ASCII Unicode characters are valid in this context; it comes down to [1] and [2]. I'd guess most people here on the English Wikipedia don't have a font named "微软雅黑" installed, though, unless it's included in all versions of Windows or something like that. Anomie 16:45, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
@Wei4Green: Possible further reductions:
  1. Without the nowiki tags, 224 characters: [[User:Wei4Green|]] · 唯绿远大
  2. Without the nowiki tags and the pipe character in the userpage link, 208 characters: [[User:Wei4Green]] · 唯绿远大
But at least fix the height problem I referred to above, and I'm not sure of the best way to do that. ―Mandruss  18:59, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Removing the inline-block declaration would be the best way to do that, but I guess it would then look pretty cramped with the border. Maybe a thin border and a minimal amount of vertical padding would look okay. Enterprisey (talk!) 02:20, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Thank you guys so much. I took Mandruss's advice and Enterprisey's advice. How do I deal with the padding parameter? I want to, as Mandruss said, reduce the white space above and below. [[User:Wei4Green]] · 唯绿远大 04:33, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
@Wei4Green: I haven't a clue, and you may be in WP:Help desk territory now. We appear to be done talking about signature policy. Whatever you end up with, please do sufficient testing to be certain that the signature does not affect vertical line spacing. ―Mandruss  04:39, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

WP:SIGLENEdit

Is WP:SIGLEN a policy or a guideline? Wei4Green · 唯绿远大 04:29, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

It's on a guideline page and lacks {{policy section}}, so I'd say guideline. ―Mandruss  04:34, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Font size limitEdit

What is the biggest font size that a signature can be? Is 11.7pt OK? I want to increase the font size because my Chinese signature gets sort of distorted when it becomes bold on my talk page.
Example: Wei4Green · 唯绿远大<span style="border-radius:20px;background:#066;padding:0 5px;font-family:微软雅黑;color:#FFF" class=nowrap>[[User:Wei4Green|<span style=color:#9FC>Wei4Green]] · [[User talk:Wei4Green|<span style="color:#FFF;font-size:11.7pt">唯绿远大]]</span> Wei4Green · 唯绿远大 22:53, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

@Wei4Green: The way to avoid the bold is to amend the user talk page link so that it has a fragment, such as <span style="border-radius:20px;background:#066;padding:0 5px;font-family:微软雅黑;color:#FFF" class=nowrap>[[User:Wei4Green|<span style="color:#9FC">Wei4Green</span>]] · [[User talk:Wei4Green#top|<span style="color:#FFF">唯绿远大</span>]]</span>Wei4Green · 唯绿远大. Please also note that the value of a style= attribute must be quoted, and each HTML opening tag must be balanced by the appropriate closing tag, as in my example. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 15:50, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
@Redrose64: Why is that? I wanted to shrink my signature to be as short as possible. Wei4Green · 唯绿远大 16:26, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
In HTML, certain closing tags are optional, but most (including </span>) are mandatory. If you don't balance the tags, then the WP:LINT people will add them in; and if you persist, sooner or later they will complain to you. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 22:07, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
What Redrose64 says is, of course, correct. However, for the case of signatures the situation can be stated more clearly. If an editor fails to fix their signature after having a problem explained, the editor will be blocked if no other remedy is available. It's one thing to have quirky ideas about formatting article content, but arguing about invalid signatures is just pointless. Johnuniq (talk) 23:13, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
Easy there. Why is that? is a question, not an argument, and reflects a desire to understand, not a failure to submit. ―Mandruss  23:20, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
Thank you again Redrose64, Johnuniq, and Mandruss. I will follow Redrose64's suggestion if I switch back to my original design. I'm still learning HTML, so mistakes happen, though I still don't understand the need of quotations and closing tags when the result is what I needed. Wei4Green#TeamTrees🌳 23:39, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
It's best to follow the documentation, that way everybody should see the same behaviour. Browsers vary in how undocumented features are handled - what works in (say) Firefox might not work in Edge, and vice versa. When the doc for the span element explicitly states Neither tag is omissible you shouldn't go against that: it may behave as you intended when viewed in your browser, but might not in mine. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 16:17, 26 October 2019 (UTC)

Unclosed tags in signaturesEdit

Looking at a talk archive, I saw a page that was mostly rendered in small text. It turned out to be the result of a bot run by ShepBot (rendered as §hepBot) from 2009-02-28T04:36:01Z to 07:02:45Z (1200 1075 edits) with this edit summary: Delivering notice re:Coordinators' working group having a missing closing </small> tag: — <small>Delievered by <font color="green">[[User:ShepBot|'''§hepBot''']]</font>''' <small>(<font color="red">[[User talk:ShepBot|Disable]]</font>)'''</small>, or perhaps an extra opening tag, depending on what the intent was (are nested small tags allowed?). I fixed one of them by stripping the two opening and one closing tag

These pages are hard to read as a result. What is the suggested fix? Can these be auto-fixed? Unimportantly, note there is also a spelling error that could be fixed.

Ahecht mentioned above I have been running a bot to catch the more widespread errors .... —[AlanM1(talk)]— 23:11, 12 November 2019 (UTC)

A couple of details:
  • The contribs list for ShepBot above shows 1075 edits. Search for "Delievered by §hepBot", though, shows 1108 hits (1070 in Wikipedia talk:, 34 in User talk:, 3 in User:, 1 in Wikipedia:).
  • The majority of the edits in the contribs list (1047) shows a change of +1,049 bytes. One edit only (to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Maldives) shows +1,048 bytes instead, the difference being that it removed an unnecessary newline from the top of the page. The 27 remaining edits, which were performed chronologically first, were +1,047 bytes, the difference being only one blank line below the header instead of the three blank lines in the majority.
—[AlanM1(talk)]— 02:35, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
The WP:LINT people are on this, although it is taking a long time because it is a huge task. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 21:59, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

Proposed changesEdit

1. WP:4TILDES quoteth:

  • At the end of your comments simply type four tildes (~), like this: ~~~~.

When newbies (and some experienced editors) follow this advice explicitly, it ends up running the sig right up against the end of the content – especially hard to read when the content has no trailing punctuation. E.g., a comment by Someuser: Blahblahblah foo bar bazSomeuser (talk) 23:12, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

I'd like to change this to:

  • At the end of your comments, simply type a space followed by four tildes (~), like this: end of your comments. ~~~~.

2. I'd also like to add clarification that the signature should be last:

  • The signature should be at the very end of your comments, as expected by various automated tools. Do not add anything after the ~~~~.

Comments? —[AlanM1(talk)]— 05:33, 2 January 2020 (UTC)

Support the first since the logic is hard to dispute and it has a very small "footprint"; you're just slightly extending an existing sentence for clarification. As for the second, I do sometimes see an editor put something like a list of sources or some proposed text after their signature, and I've sometimes "fixed" that as a routine refactoring action (I believe there should be a signature at the end of every post). Not sure we need a guideline to that effect, however, and I would like to see other arguments. Particularly I would like to hear about what various automated tools are adversely affected by that. ―Mandruss  05:59, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
When I tell someone how to add a signature, I spell it out because people used to email or forums think that a signature should be on a line of its own. I say something like:
  • At the end of the last line in your comment, type a space followed by four tildes (~), like this: end of your comment. ~~~~.
I wouldn't bother mentioning automated tools: just say that there should not be any extra text after the four tildes. This is a guideline and people who understand what they are doing might rarely make an exception. Johnuniq (talk) 06:42, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Useful: Some editors seem to sign their post at the start, not the end. PamD 10:13, 2 January 2020 (UTC)

timestampsEdit

A discussion regarding timestamp creation along with signatures is currently open, anyone interested is invited to join the discussion. Best regards, — xaosflux Talk 14:34, 4 January 2020 (UTC)

FYI the just-added language includes Signatures that are customized may be considered disruptive and editors using them may be blocked accordingly. I believe this should probably be clarified as Signatures that are have a customized timestamp may be considered disruptive and editors using them may be blocked accordingly. Pinchme123 (talk) 01:08, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

I just changed this to Timestamps that are customized but your version occurred to me as well after I made the edit. The discussion on this change was closed @ ANI before I think a clear consensus had been worked out, and some were opposed to CREEP. In the associated discussion about the problem signature I felt that that particular signature should be prohibited and that I would probably support an outright ban on changing the timestamp in any way but had not considered every possibility for why they might be changed. The section on non-Latin usernames indicates that right-to-left scripts will cause an appearance of Wed ,23:58 (שֵׁם) May 2016 - I don't know where the number of the day is supposed to be or if this is a typo. But if that is the system-generated format I assume bots understand it? —DIYeditor (talk) 07:41, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
Bots look at the wikitext, they don't care about the directionality. So the first item in the bytestream needs to be the time as hh:mm followed by a comma, a space, the date as DD Month YYYY, a space and finally the timesone. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 10:06, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
... finally the timezone in parentheses. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 12:45, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
@DIYeditor: When that example was added, they put the day name ("Wed") instead of the day number. I cleaned it up. Anomie 15:27, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
@DIYeditor: Brevity is nearly always preferable. Thanks for your better update! Cheers. Pinchme123 (talk) 17:47, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

That discussion is closed, less than 24 hours after the invitation. It also was about a single user's behaviour. All in all, I find the invitation misplaced - please do not discuss general changes in a section about individual users. CapnZapp (talk) 21:55, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

Rich Farmbrough (talk · contribs) has found this post from almost seven years ago where InedibleHulk (talk · contribs) says that they will "gladly change it back". Apparently not. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 09:03, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
He said there that he would change it back "if any major problem arises". As we've seen, he is the judge of how major the problems are, not the Wikipedia editing community. So that comment is not inconsistent with his more recent ones. ―Mandruss  09:24, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Aye. Shit finally got real, now here I am, changed back. The system works. InedibleHulk (talk) 10:31, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Proposed solution - if a new discussion page comment has a time in a format that most bots do not recognize, SineBot or another bot will time in a standard format but do it in a way that makes it invisible in web browsers. SineBot already "signs" comments that have a username but no date with {{undated}}. Adding an "invisible" correctly-formatted time will keep the bots happy without making editors feel like someone is "messing with" their signatures. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 19:00, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Signatures".