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Users can easily sign their posts at the end of a comment. Signing is normally done on talk pages only, not on conjointly written articles.

Signatures must always comply with Bulbapedia:Signature policy.

Default signature options

There are three default options. Four tildes are standard (full signature). Typing three tildes results in a username-only signature (without timestamp). Typing five tildes results in a pure timestamp (without username).

Function Wiki markup (replaced when saving) Resulting wiki code Resulting display
Signature plus timestamp
[[User:Example|Example]] 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Example 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Signature alone
Timestamp alone
12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

The common format to type a signature – two hyphens (or a long dash) followed by four tildes (-- ~~~~) – is derived from the computer network Usenet, where two hyphens mark a signature block. Clicking on the signature button (Signature button.png) will add two hyphens alongside the signature (--~~~~).

The actual signature string, the tildes, automatically get substituted with username (linked to the appropriate user page) and timestamp (time/date), when you save a signed edit. This helps other users to follow the chronological order of discussions, and to identify the author of a particular comment.

The username part is controlled by the message MediaWiki:Signature. $1 on those messages get substituted by the user name editing the page, and $2 with either the user name, or a custom signature as specified in Preferences. If the user enables raw signatures in preferences, the contents of the custom signature is used directly.

If you don't find the tilde on your keyboard, you can use the signature button signature button on the edit toolbar as a typing aid.

Signatures do not work in edit summaries (they do not translate from ~~~~ there), but of course there would be no need to use this in an edit summary. The date and your user name are recorded and displayed against edits anyway.

Raw signatures

Users can customize their signature (the text displayed on the link pointing to your username) by changing the field "New signature:" in their Preferences. By default, anything you enter there will be wrapped with [[ ]]. To use a special linking (without this automatic link), you have to enable “Treat as wikitext”.

When ticked:

  • Nothing is added to the text that you specify. What you specify is what is used between the two dashes and the timestamp.
  • Wiki markup and HTML markup (as far as allowed in general in wikitext) can be used: the wiki-code is processed, and the HTML is passed on, allowing the browser to interpret it. However, templates and parser functions are not expanded, and images are not allowed. The maximum length is 255 characters.

Note that if you customize your signature, you should avoid displaying the identity of another unrelated user account. The link should unambiguously point to your effective user page or talk page on the wiki. Changing your signature will not override the username that is recorded in page histories.

Custom signatures must always comply with Bulbapedia:Signature policy.

The most common raw customizations are the following:

Purpose Raw signature Resulting signature display (generated by four tildes)
Embedding the dashes in the signature
-- [[User:Example|Example]]
-- Example 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Adapting the displayed username to your convenience
eXaMpLe 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Adding a talk page link
[[User:Example|Example]] ([[User talk:Example|talk]])
Example (talk) 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Invalid raw signatures

You may find the following message displayed in your user preferences:

Invalid raw signature; check HTML tags.

This means you are using invalid HTML markup on your signature. Some possible causes with their corresponding solutions:

Unclosed tags
If you are opening a tag without the corresponding closing tag (for instance: [[User:Example|<font color="white">Example]]), you should close the tag (for instance: [[User:Example|<font color="white">Example</font>]]). It's also a good idea to put the tags outside the link if possible (for instance: <font color="white">[[User:Example|Example]]</font>).
Mismatched or incorrectly nested tags
If the tags are mismatched (for instance: ;<s><u>hi</s></u>), fix them (for instance: <s><u>hi</u></s>).
Unquoted attributes
It's also recommended to use quotes on all attributes (for instance, use <font color="white"></font> instead of <font color=white></font>).
Unclosed entities
If you have a HTML entity which is lacking the final ;, you need to add it; if you have a bare &, it must be replaced by &amp; (a bare & is always a mistake in either HTML or wikicode).
Unescaped special characters
If you are using one of &, <, or >, and want it shown as text, it must be escaped as &amp;, &lt;, or &gt;, respectively.

See also