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When posting in the forums or on talk pages, you must sign your posts. This helps other readers identify who posted what and organizes a mass of comments into an easy to read conversation. Signing will also help other users to identify the author of a comment, and to navigate to that person’s talk pages/message walls. Moreover, signatures contain a time stamp which records when a comment was made.

While it is important to sign your comments on the forums, talk pages, and some project pages, signatures should never go in the mainspace (i.e., the article namespace). No matter what content you add to an article, you may never sign it, because Scratchpad is a collaborative effort, and the articles and files belong to every one of the contributors. Credit is given to each contributor in the page history, which lists every revision ever made to a page.

How to sign your posts

There are two ways to sign your posts. The first is to type four tildes (~~~~) at the end of your post, which, when saved, will generate your signature and a time stamp. The other way is to click the signature button (The signature button) at the top of the editing window. This will insert the four tildes for you!

Different signature forms

Typing four tildes results in your signature and a time stamp, which is almost always what should be used, but there are other possibilities as well. Typing three tildes results in just your signature appearing. This is most commonly used when the time a comment was made is unimportant, such as a guest book or a list of project members. Typing five tildes results in just the time stamp appearing.

Ambox notice Note: These examples may not look like yours. Currently, there is no uniform signature that is required, so all signatures, as long as they adhere to the Scratchpad policies, are welcome.

Wikimarkup Resulting code Resulting display
~~~ [[User:Example|Example]] Example
~~~~ [[User:Example|Example]] 02:45, July 20 2024 (UTC) Example 02:45, July 20 2024 (UTC)
~~~~~ 02:45, July 20 2024 (UTC) 02:45, July 20 2024 (UTC)

Custom signatures

The default signature is a simple link to your userpage. Many users wish to express individuality in their signatures, so they create customized signatures. Users are encouraged to do so, however they must adhere to a few simple rules. We have these rules because without them, custom signatures very quickly begin making a mess of things. Custom signatures are often very long in terms of the code required to produce them. When many such signatures are posted in full on a single page, the page can get very long and become difficult to edit for users with slower internet connections.

In addition to bandwidth concerns, when an image is used in a signature, it quickly becomes included on hundreds of pages that it would not normally appear on. If the image in question ever needs to be replaced or renamed, the huge amount of pages that it links to becomes a large issue, since it must be replaced on each and every page to prevent it from appearing as a wanted file, a file which is linked to, but does not exist.

To prevent both of these issues, signatures must be placed on pages as a template. This means that, when the signature is viewed in the page editor, it shows up as {{Signatures/Example}} instead of the entire code for your signature. Not only does it make pages much smaller by compressing the entire code of your signature into that one snippet of code, but it makes replacing images far easier, since the image need only be changed on the template, then it will be updated on every page that the template is used.

Creating your signature

When creating signatures, the following rules apply to both editors creating their own signatures and to editors creating signatures for others.

  1. Signatures must link to the user's userpage or the user's talk page if he or she prefers not to have a user page on this wiki. Signatures may link to both if the user so desires. The name does not need to be the user's exact account name, but it must be a name by which the user is widely known. Without this provision, signatures do not provide the useful ability to identify a comment from a certain user on a page.
  2. Signatures may not exceed the maximum height of 31px.
  3. Users may only have one signature template page. That page may contain more than one signature, but only one may be used at a time. Methods by which this can be accomplished are listed below.
  4. Signatures cannot contain more than two images, since signatures with more than this can cause computers to load them slowly.
  5. Images contained in signatures may not be higher than 31 pixels. Users can scale images to 31px high without distorting them by using the code: [[File:Example.png|0x31px]]
  6. Signatures must not contain linebreaks. This results in a line break when the signature is used, which interferes with formatting and other page code.
  7. Signatures that use HTML tags must be balanced. This means that every <span> must have a matching </span>. You can tell if your signature is balanced by typing something after it. If it is plain text, then your signature is balanced.
  8. Signatures must not be excessively long. There is no set limit for how long is too long, but use common sense.
  9. Signatures may not be animated. This includes animated GIF images, GIF slideshows that switch between still images, or flashing text.

Having others create your signature for you

Users who do not wish to create their own signatures can request experienced users to create one for them on the experienced user's talk page.

Setting up your signature

Once you have your signature code, either by creating it yourself or by having another user create it for you, you must create a template to store your signature on. Usually, this is Template:Signatures/<insert name here>, however it can also be a sub-page of your user page, such as User:<insert name here>/Signature.

  • If using Template:Signatures/<insert name here>
    After the code for your signature, without hitting enter or inserting a line break, paste the following code: <noinclude>[[Category:Signatures|{{ucfirst:{{SUBPAGENAME}}}}]]</noinclude>
  • If using User:<insert name here>/Signature
    After the code for your signature, without hitting enter or inserting a line break, paste the following code: <noinclude>[[Category:Signatures|{{ucfirst:{{BASEPAGENAME}}}}]]</noinclude>

This won't appear in your signature when you sign, but is used to add your signature to Category:Signatures and to sort it based on your username. An example of a signature page is:

<span style="border:2px solid green;">[[User:Example|Example]]</span><noinclude>[[Category:Signatures|{{ucfirst:{{SUBPAGENAME}}}}]]</noinclude>

Once the template page is set up, go to your preferences, ensure that "Custom Signature" is checked, and paste this into the "Signature" field:

{{subst:#ifexist:Template:Signatures/<insert name here>|{{subst:Nosubst|Signatures/<insert name here>}}|— [[User:<insert name here>|<insert name here>]] ([[User talk:<insert name here>|talk]])}}

This code will use your templated signature if it exists, and if it does not, it will paste a standard signature using nothing but normal Wiki links. This is useful, because your preferences apply to every wiki, but your signature template may only exist on this one. If your signature is not on a sub page of Template:Signatures, then change Template:Signatures/<insert name here> and Signatures/<insert name here> to whatever page your signature is located on, such as User:<insert name here>/Signature

Multiple signatures

While only one signature can be active at time, users are free to change signatures whenever they wish, as well as having multiple signatures to pick from. A common way to do this it is to store signatures on your user page and paste whichever one you want to use currently in your template page. Another more advanced method is to store them on your signature page, but prevent them from appearing along with your current signature by use of noinclude tags. For example:

<span style="border:2px solid green;">[[User:Example|Example]]</span><noinclude>

Other signature codes


Notice that the opening <noinclude> tag is pasted before the line break. If you do not do this, it will break the signature formatting.

Dealing with unsigned comments

If you see an unsigned comment, feel free to use the {{unsigned}} template. The table below shows how to use this template.

Wikimarkup Example code Resulting display
{{unsigned|user name or IP|date and time}} {{unsigned|Example|2024-07-20 02:45}} —The preceding unsigned comment was made by Example (talkcontribs) 2024-07-20 02:45.

You may also want to remind users to sign their posts if they aren't, or if they don't know how, direct them to this page.