[svlug] ESR's .sig

Chris Waters xtifr at dsp.net
Thu May 25 11:11:07 PDT 2000

Joey Hess <joey at kitenet.net> writes:

> Justin F. Knotzke wrote:
> > 	What is the proper netiquitte regarding .sigs?

> http://www.math.fu-berlin.de/~guckes/afw/#sigrules

I'd have to say that's a bit extreme -- nearly everyone on this list
violates some part of that standard.  Part of the problem is that it's
silly: first it says four lines max, then it says nothing but your
name and one email address -- no quotes, no ascii art, no nuthin'.
Unless you have an AWFULLY long name, you're going to be hard pressed
to come up with four lines of nothing but name and email!  So why even
have such a limit?

The fact is that four lines max is a widely accepted guideline.
Name+email only is not.  Furthermore, the referenced "rules" here are
inconsistent.  They recommend putting your phone# and other peripheral
info in header lines instead of the .sig.  Now that's fine, but in
that case, why not put your name and email there too?!  Those even
have *standard* headers where they can go, i.e. From:, Sender:, etc.
If these "rules" were internally self-consistent, they would simply
say "don't use a .sig, period."

I also strongly disagree with the "nothing but your name and email"
part because I often recognize people by the quotes in their .sigs,
even when I've forgotten the name and email.

After years as a net.veteran, here's the basic guidelines I've seen
most people agree on:

1.  Use the standard separator ("-- ") between the body of the message
    and the sig.  (Most email programs will do this automatically.)
    It's a standard -- use it!

2.  No more than four lines.  Period.  Two is preferred.  Keep it
    short and sweet.

3.  No non-ASCII line art!  This is different from the "ASCII only"
    requirement of the referenced "rules".  Basically, iso8859-* is ok
    if you need to spell something properly (like your name), but code
    page 437 line characters aren't.  (Unfortunately, this is a tricky
    idea to get across, so, if in doubt, stick to ASCII.  Fortunately,
    the disappearance of MS-DOS has rendered this rule less important
    than it once was.)

4.  No HTML or other markup.  URLs are ok, but any mail reader that
    can render HTML will recognise URLs without markup, and many mail
    readers that cannot render HTML will still recognize URLs.

Those are the requirements, but I'd also add a recommendation:

4.  ASCII art is discouraged because many people use proportional
    fonts.  However, many mail readers will always render sigs in
    mono simply because this guideline is so widely violated.  So, if
    you're planning to violate this recommendation, make *sure* you
    obey rule 1 above, so that mail readers can detect your .sig.  And
    keep in mind that many people people will still see just a random
    jumble, rather than your oh-so-clever "art".

Those are rules I suspect we can all live with.

Chris Waters   xtifr at dsp.net | I have a truly elegant proof of the
      or    xtifr at debian.org | above, but it is too long to fit into
http://www.dsp.net/xtifr     | this .signature file.

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