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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.
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||
||Username 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)|
||12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)|
If you edit without logging in, your IP address will take the place of a username. Usernames and IP addresses are also stored in page histories as a record of who wrote what, so others can always verify signatures.
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 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, or MediaWiki:Signature-anon for users not logged-in.
$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 Help: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 of the default 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.
Note that timestamps are currently formatted by default and saved according to the default locale conventions (language, script, date and time format) used on each wiki, and not according to the conventions of your current preferred language.
Registered 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 “Raw signatures.” Then you can add Wiki markup and also HTML (as far as allowed on the wiki) as you like, but the maximum length is 255 characters. Please note that striking signatures are often disliked by other users.
Note that if you customize your signature, you should avoid displaying the identity of another unrelated user account, unless you also own this account or are explicitly authorized by this user: the link should unambiguously point to your effective user page or talk page on the local wiki. However, changing your signature will not override the username that is recorded in page histories. Some wikis may also have defined a restricting policy about the usage of external links or images in signatures. Look at the policies documented and on enforced your local wiki about user accounts and identities.
If you enable “Raw signatures” but don't add any customized signature string, you'll sign with your unlinked username.
The most common customizations are the following:
|Purpose||Raw signature||Resulting signature display (generated by four tildes)|
|Embedding the dashes in the signature||
||-- Username 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)|
|Adapting the displayed username to your convenience||
||Preferred User Name 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)|
|Adding a talk page link||
||Username (talk) 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)|