Types Of Signature

Usual case

The usual case is a signature at the end like this -- FridemarPache.

The usual case is the usual case because I have spent a great deal of time over the years editing signatures to conform to this convention. The two dashes simulate a hyphen which I surround with spaces even though that is not the typographic norm. I also make the signature flow with the paragraph and sometimes collapse or reorder paragraphs to avoid ambiguity. -- WardCunningham

Ward, is what you really want an "em-dash"? It's a cause of continual annoyance to me that the browser vendors didn't (and continue not to) support well-known typographical features, like n- and m-dash, properly. Just out of interest, why the trailing space? An em-dash would, indeed, not usually be space delimited. -- KeithBraithwaite.

Further to this, the trailing space allows the signature to be "orphaned" from the dash which, to my mind, reduces the degree to which ambiguity is avoided. I will sign with my suggested alternate. -- BenTremblay

Keith (and Ward), traditional books have the advantage that they can be, and usually are, carefully typeset and hyphenated. In a reading medium as crude as this one -- possibly proportional text in a font of unknown quality on a screen of unknown resolution in a box in a window of unknown size with no hyphenation -- you want to give the layout mechanism all the leeway you can. If a browser encounters two hyphens closed up with the words on either side, it will probably throw the resulting "word" to the next line, distorting readability even further. -- KeithDawson


BoLeuf: My own thought on this is that the " -- " is not really an em-dash, but more effectively separates when surrounded by whitespace. In any case, the typographical rule for em-dash is not always visually friendly even in typeset books, because it binds words too tightly -- heh, just like italics is by convention used for emphasis even though it visually is weaker than the normal text. Actually, I looked up usage in a Canadian style guide I happen to have, and there the recommended form is simply (en-)dash with surrounding whitespace where e.g. the Chicago manual says you should use em-dash without spaces. Spaced dashes are the norm for attributions I see, not em-dash, so this fits well with wiki usage here according to Ward.

I use " -- " frequently in my wiki notes to compress lists of page links so they don't span too far vertically. Wiki text is compact enough with the InterCap? convention that you need that extra space to distinguish Just a wordy way of saying we should not feel too bound by so-called typographical rules of engagement. --(end)-- BoLeuf


Less usual case

PhilGoodwin: I have sometimes edited ThreadMode discussions to put the authors name first followed by a colon instead of at the end so that it reads more like a script than an email digest.

WayneCool: I agree that this makes some longer interactions more readable when the give and take of the dialog is the essence of the writing. (Ward prefers to leave this to HaroldPinter.)


Initials as signatures

Some people sign comments with only their initials. This only works when they have already signed earlier comments with their full name. If you see initials, try looking up the page for a full name that matches.

This shorthand is actually an inconvenience for those who refactor long and wordy dialogs. (ShortWikiSignaturesSmell.) If you find that you have posted so often that typing your whole name is an effort, consider revising your own earlier comments so that they say what you intended in the first place.

Plus, people are trained to recognize their initials as their own. It's sort of unnerving to see your own initials scattered around text that isn't yours. - rk (That is, the other rk)


Hmmm... Maybe I haven't been being a GoodWikiCitizen, especially if the above by WardCunningham is really his writing. I thought the convention was dash-dash-NameSmash, so it showed up in the data mining experiments as a signature, not a dash-dash-space-BumpyWord. I have recently and often edited pages to remove this and other white space. I guess I'll stop that till I hear more. -- ChrisGarrod

Ward definitely says surround with spaces. And by the way, he says elsewhere that he prefers space lines either side of any horizontal line. -- MissGoodyTwoShoes? (except above and below categories?)


CategoryWiki, WikiSignature. See also: FooDash

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