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   » » Wiki: Signature Block
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A signature block (often abbreviated as signature, sig block, sig file, .sig, dot sig, siggy, or just sig) is a block of text automatically appended at the bottom of an message, article, or post.


Email and Usenet
An email signature is a block of text appended to the end of an email message often containing the sender's name, address, phone number, disclaimer or other contact information.

"Traditional" internet cultural .sig practices assume the use of monospaced text because they pre-date and the use of in email. In this tradition, it is common practice for a signature block to consist of one or more lines containing some brief information on the author of the message such as phone number and email address, URLs for sites owned or favoured by the author - but also often a quotation (occasionally automatically generated by such tools as fortune), or an picture. Among some groups of people it has been common to include .

  |\_/|        ****************************    (\_/)
 / @ @ \       *  "Purrrfectly pleasant"  *   (='.'=)
( > º < )      *       Poppy Prinz        *   (")_(")
 `>>x<<´       *   (pprinz@example.com)   *
 /  O  \       ****************************
     

Most email clients, including Mozilla Thunderbird, the built-in mail tool of the web browser Opera, Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, and Eudora, can be configured to automatically append an email signature with each new message. A shortened form of a signature block (sometimes called a "signature line"), only including one's name, often with some distinguishing prefix, can be used to simply indicate the end of a or response. Most email servers can be configured to append email signatures to all outgoing mail as well.


Signatures in Usenet postings
Signature blocks are also used in the discussion system.

  ...orist it's an unnecessary optimization and a (to use your words)
  "performance hack", but I'm interested in a Real operating system ---
  not a research toy.
     

  =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
  Theodore Ts'o                                bloom-beacon!mit-athena!tytso
  308 High St., Medford, MA 02155                ty...@athena.mit.edu
     Everybody's playing the game, but nobody's rules are the same!
     
- a real example from Theodore Ts'o during the Tanenbaum–Torvalds debate "LINUX is obsolete", comp.os.minix

The Usenet standard RFC 3676 specifies that a signature block should be displayed as in a fixed-width font (no , images, or other rich text), and should be delimited from the body of the message by a single line consisting of exactly two hyphens, followed by a space, followed by the end of line (i.e., in C-notation: "--&nbsp;\n").See Charles H. Lindsey: Usenet Best Practice, 2005, and also RFC 3676: The Text/Plain Format and DelSp Parameters, section 4.3, 2004, and RFC 1849: “Son of 1036”: News Article Format and Transmission, section 4.3.2, 2010 (first circulated in 1994). This latter prescription, which goes by many names, including "sig dashes", "signature cut line", "sig-marker", "sig separator" and "signature delimiter", allows software to automatically mark or remove the sig block as the receiver desires.

 --
 Brad Templeton, publisher, ClariNet Communications Corp.         in...@clari.net
 The net's #1 E-Newspaper (1,160,000 paid sbscrbrs.)  http://www.clari.net/brad/
     
- a real example from posting in rec.humor.funny in 1995 showing sig dashes.Note that the email address has been automatically obfuscated by Google Groups "Admin: "Internet Jokebook" price reduced to $9.95", 02/12/1995, rec.humor.funny


Email signatures in business
Businesses do often automatically append signatures blocks to messages—or have policies mandating a certain style. Generally they resemble standard in their content—and often in their presentation—with company logos and sometimes even the exact appearance of a business card. In some cases a is automatically attached.

In addition to these standard items, of various sorts are often automatically appended. These are typically couched in legal jargon, but it is unclear what weight they have in law, and they are routinely lampooned.

Business emails may also be some signature block elements mandated by local laws:

While criticized by some as overly bureaucratic, these regulations only extend existing laws for paper business correspondence to email.


Internet forums
On , the rules are often less strict on how a signature block is formatted, as typically are not operated within the same constraints as text interface applications. Users will typically define their signature as part of their profile. Depending on the board's capabilities, signatures may range from a simple line or two of text to an elaborately-constructed HTML piece. are often allowed as well, including dynamically updated images usually hosted remotely and modified by a server-side script. In some cases avatars or take over some of the role of signatures.


FidoNet
With , echomail and netmail software would often add an origin line at the end of a message. This would indicate the FidoNet address and name of the originating system (not the user). The user posting the message would generally not have any control over the origin line. However, single-line , added under user control, would often contain a humorous or witty saying. Multi-line user signature blocks were rare.

However, a tearline standard for FidoNet was included in FTS-0004 "FidoNet EchoMail Specification" and clarified in FSC-0068 "A Proposed Replacement For FTS-0004" as three dashes optionally followed by a space optionally followed by text.


See also


Notes and references


External links

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