Bulbapedia:Signature policy

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0273Seedot.png This is an official Bulbapedia policy. In a nutshell:
A signature should clearly indicate who the user is, and should contain a link to the user's user page. Images and line breaks are not permitted in signatures.

Signing your comments on talk and discussion pages is considered good etiquette, serving to identify the author of a comment. To this end, it is important to sign your comments with a signature that is both recognizable and non-disruptive.

When to use signatures

Any post to User talk, Article talk, or other discussion page should be signed. Article contributions should not be signed. Exceptions to these rules will generally be marked as such.

How to sign a comment

Signing your comments is easy: simply type four tildes (~~~~) after your post (do not reply with three tildes as this will result in a missing time stamp). This will automatically translate into your signature when you save the page. Alternately, you can click the "your signature with a timestamp" button (Signature button.png) on the editing toolbar (just above the editing window). In both cases, the result is the same.

Dealing with unsigned comments

When running across a comment that hasn't been signed, any user can add attribution using {{unsigned}}. Simply check the article's history to see who originally posted the comment, then type {{unsigned|username}} after the comment in question (make sure you put the username of the user who made the comment in the template, not your own).

If you forget to sign your own comment and don't notice the error until later, do not sign your comment late; this will result in an incorrect timestamp. If nobody else has added the correct attribution yet, you can mark the comment yourself using {{unsigned}}, as outlined above.

Customize your signature

By default, a user's signature will link back to their user page and user talk page. If a user desires, the signature can be customized, but it is required that you keep within the following guidelines and common sense when customizing your signature.

Signature guidelines

  • Signatures cannot contain images or external links.
Signatures should be text-only when rendered (viewed on the page); images are disallowed, due to the slow load times they can cause on talk pages, and the server stress it can cause occasionally.
External links are also disallowed, as this is viewed as a form of advertising; exceptions to the rule are interwiki links or link templates. (If the link uses [single brackets] or no brackets at all, it's an external link. Keep this sort of stuff on your user page.)
  • Signatures should not exceed 80 characters on-screen when rendered.
Keep the signature short and simple; if the length isn't within a reasonable size, this can cause a signature to be needlessly distracting.
  • No line breaks.
Do not use <br> tags or line breaks within the signature, as this will cause the signature to take up multiple lines of text on a page.
  • The font size of the signature will be no larger than the font size of normal text.
Do not use <big> or <font size=#> tags to increase the text size of the signature. This will disrupt line spacing. Use common sense; if the end result of your code makes the signature taller then the rest of the text on the page, it's probably something you should avoid.
  • <sup> and <sub> tags are limited to one at a time.
Multiple instances of superscript or subscript will extend the text above or below the text line, disrupting line spacing. A single instance of superscript or subscript is acceptable, however.
  • No signature templates.
Keep the entirety of your signature's coding within your Preferences; do not use {{transclusion}} to add your signature, as a changeable signature template can cause server stress when changed, and may be a target for vandalism.
  • A link to the user page or the user talk page is required.
Make sure that your signature at least links back to your own user page or to your user talk page. Your signature may contain other links as well, but exercise common sense when adding links.
  • Signatures must reflect a user's actual username, in part or in whole.
If other users can't tell who they're talking to even after reading your signature, then your signature isn't doing its job. Generally, this rule is flexible; shortened versions of your current username make good signatures, or slightly modified (with special characters and such). But please, exercise restraint on this aspect; "Super-Pikachu" is not going to cut it as a shortened version of "User:Joe".
Use foreign character sets sparingly as well, unless your actual username is also in a foreign language. If you must use a character set for your username, take special care that it translates to your actual username, and avoid changing it too often (as this will cause unnecessary confusion).

Failure to adhere to these guidelines will result in a warning to change your signature; deliberately refusing to adhere may result in a ban.

How to customize your signature

Users can customize their signature in their preferences; type the signature you want to use in the "Signature" field, to replace your username with the desired nickname when signing (remember to keep this signature a reflection of your username, to avoid confusion with other users).

For slightly more advanced users, wikicoding can be included into the signature to further personalize it. In this case, be sure to check the "Treat signature as wikitext" box under the Nickname field in your preferences (otherwise, the coding won't work). You'll need to manually link to your user page in this case.

For example, let's say User:Example wants to add a little color to his/her signature.

Adding this coding:

--[[User:Example|<span style="color:green">eXample</span>]] <small>''([[User talk:Example|<span style="color:red">tAlk</span>]])''</small>

Would result in this signature:

--eXample (tAlk) 17:26, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

The amount of coding and effects you could theoretically add to your signature may seem very enticing, but keep the above signature guidelines in mind. Remember, your signature is meant to identify you on a discussion page, not to briefly list off your favorite Pokémon, etc. Keep your signature simple; you've got a whole user page to introduce yourself in. When in doubt about an aspect of this policy, don't hesitate to ask a staff member.

See also

Bulbapedia policies and guidelines
Manual of style AnimeGamesMangaSidegamesTCG
Help pages Dispute resolutionFAQList of link templatesWikicode
Articles Manual of styleNotability requirementsSpeculation policyUnreleased materialsProtectionVandalism
Talk pages Code of conductSignature policyTalk page policy
Templates Link templatesList of link templatesTemplate policyUsertag policy
Userspace Username policyUserspace policyUsertag policy