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Signing your posts on talk pages and other OLPC discourse is good etiquette and facilitates discussion by helping other users to identify the author of a particular comment. The responder can navigate to talk pages and address their comments to the specific relevant user(s). Discussion is an important part of collaborative editing because it helps all users to understand the progress and evolution of a work.

Edits on article pages should not be signed—the article is a shared work based on the contributions of many people and one editor should not be singled out above others, unless the user is providing their opinion.


Purpose of signatures

Signatures on OLPC identify you as a user, and your contributions to OLPC. They encourage civility in discussions by identifying the author of a particular comment, and the date and time at which it was made. Because of that, having an uncivil signature is strongly discouraged (in some cases, to the point of blocking the user until it is changed). In general, anything that is not allowed in a user name should not be used in a signature either.

Appearance and color

Your signature should not blink, or otherwise inconvenience or be annoying to other editors.

  • Markup such as <big> tags (which produce big text), or line breaks (<br /> tags) are to be avoided, since they disrupt the way that surrounding text displays. The limited use of non-breaking spaces to ensure that the signature displays on one line is allowed.
  • Be sparing with superscript or subscript. In some cases, this type of script can also affect the way that surrounding text is displayed
  • Avoid making your signature so small that it is difficult to read
  • In consideration of users with vision problems, be sparing with color. If you must use different colors in your signature, please ensure that the result will be readable by people with color blindness.


Images of any kind may not be used in signatures for the following reasons:

  • they are an unnecessary drain on server resources, and could cause server slowdown
  • a new image can be uploaded in place of the one you chose, making your signature a target for possible vandalism and Denial-of-service attacks
  • they make pages more difficult to read and scan
  • they 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
  • they clutter up the "file links" list on the image page every time you sign on a different talk page
  • images in signatures give undue prominence to a given user's contribution

As an alternative to using images, consider using unicode characters that are symbols, such as these: ☺☻♥♪♫♣♠♂♀§.


Keep signatures short, both in display and markup.

Extremely long signatures with a lot of HTML/wiki markup make page editing and discussion more difficult for the following reasons:

  • signatures that take up more than two or three lines in the edit window clutter the page and make it harder to distinguish posts from signatures,
  • long signatures give undue prominence to a given user's contribution,
  • signatures which have long HTML/wiki markup and contain no spaces cause other editors' edit boxes to show unnecessary horizontal scrollbars (such signatures may have spaces added to them by any editor),
  • signatures that occupy more space than necessary in the edit box displace meaningful comments, thus forcing the editor to scroll when writing his reply, and
  • the presence of such long signatures in the discussion also disrupts the reading of comments when an editor is formulating his reply

The software will automatically truncate both plain and raw signatures to 255 characters (characters used for HTML/wiki markup are included!).

Internal links

It is common practice to include a link to your user page or user talk page (often both); the default signature links to the user page. At least one of those two pages must be linked from your signature, to allow other editors simple access to your talk page and contributions log.

When you insert your signature on your talk or user page the talk or user link will appear black, bold and inactive as it is a self-reference, so test your signature elsewhere.

It is better to put information on your user page, rather than in your signature. However, including brief additional internal links is generally tolerated when used to facilitate communication or to provide general information, but undesirable if seen as canvasing for some purpose.

Do not place any disruptive internal links, such as <super>[SIGN HERE!!!</super>, which refers to an autograph page.

External links

Do not include links to external websites in your signature.

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 could be taken as link spamming, or an attempt to improve your website's ranking on search engines. Although this does not actually work, it is best not to do it.

Dealing with unsigned comments

Note: Does not work yet. More data must be imported first from wikipedia before these become functional.

The templates {{unsigned}} and {{unsignedIP}} can be used at the end of an unsigned comment to attach the username or IP to the comment. None of these templates automatically populate (fill in) the name or IP of the poster and the time of the post. That information is best copied from the history page and pasted into the following templates. Note: All of the unsigned templates must be substituted.

Wikimarkup Resulting code Resulting display
{{subst:unsigned|user name or IP}} {{subst:unsigned|Example}} —Preceding unsigned comment added by Example (talkcontribs)
{{subst:unsigned|user name or IP|date}} {{subst:unsigned|Example|23:59, 1 April, 2006 (UTC)}} —Preceding unsigned comment added by Example (talkcontribs) 23:59, 1 April, 2006 (UTC)
{{subst:unsignedIP|IP address}} {{subst:unsignedIP|}} —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
{{subst:unsignedIP|IP address|date}} {{subst:unsignedIP||23:59, 1 April, 2006 (UTC)}} —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:59, 1 April, 2006 (UTC)

The templates {{unsigned2}} and {{unsignedIP2}} do almost the same as {{unsigned}} and {{unsignedIP}} when used with two parameters, but the ordering of the parameters is reversed. This is useful for copying and pasting from the edit history, where the timestamp appears before the username. {{unsigned2}} and {{unsignedIP2}} also automatically add "(UTC)" at the end.

Wikimarkup Resulting code Resulting display
{{subst:unsigned2|date|user name or ip}} {{subst:unsigned2|23:59, 1 April, 2006|Example}} —Preceding unsigned comment added by Example (talkcontribs) 23:59, 1 April, 2006
{{subst:unsignedIP2|date|user name or ip}} {{subst:unsignedIP2|23:59, 1 April, 2006|}} —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:59, 1 April, 2006

It is also a good idea to notify users, especially new users, that they should sign their comments.

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