• Let's talk about signatures.

  • General discussion about the RAILROAD.NET site, forums, or content ONLY. Please do not post your general railroading questions, please choose an appropriate forum. For help using the site, please post in the Help Using RAILROAD.NET Forum.
General discussion about the RAILROAD.NET site, forums, or content ONLY. Please do not post your general railroading questions, please choose an appropriate forum. For help using the site, please post in the Help Using RAILROAD.NET Forum.

Moderator: Jeff Smith

  by Otto Vondrak
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to start a conversation about signatures, let you know what I was thinking, and get your comments as well.

The signature feature allows you to have a pre-set message automatically inserted at the bottom of every post (this setting is part of your profile). We've been fairly open about the use of these signatures, only asking people to shorten them when they get out of control, or remove advertisements or other questionable material. We've also been pretty easy about the use of non-sequiturs (a "non-sequitur" would be something like random Simpson's quotes, your personal philosphy on life, or other random non-topic stuff). We've also been pretty easy about the use of including links in your sig, but even now those are getting out of control.

Frankly, I get pretty tired of seeing signatures that are longer than some people's posts. I also dont think anyone's really impressed or amused with some of the "cuter" statements out there. I have personally asked some people to please edit or cut down their signatures, and most people have been pretty nice about it. Only one person got really upset with me and left because he felt I insulted his sensitivities and his right to post whatever he wants.

My thoughts on the whole matter:

1) You can use your signature to identify yourself. Use your real name if you so wish, and your title if you have one (Moderator of ___ Forum, for instance).

2) I would like to see links removed from signatures and put where they belong: the "www" field in your profile. Every post you make will have a "www" button that links to whatever you point it to. We frown on advertisements (even if its a railroad-related product), but if you want to put the link to your company in the "www" field, that's fine.

3) I would like to see us cut back on the non-sequiturs. Even the sequiturs. that means all the TV quotes, your allegiance to your favorite railroad/locomotive, your views on the current political situation, and your "Keep On Truckin"'s.

I don't want to stifle creativity, but look at it this way. Don't you think these signature statements lose their meaning once you see them on this site multiple times? Telling us about your favorite loco is very cool- but after seeing it at the bottom of 400 posts, does it still have the same meaning?

Work with me here. We're asking for a little bit of restraint and self-control. What do you think?

Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by AmtrakFan
I would agree with you Otto because I hate when people signatures are a Paragraph long.
  by gitrplaya5u
Like mine?

  by Otto Vondrak
Zack, if you want everyone to know you're a "kool dude," I guess that's up to you. But if you were REALLY cool, you wouldn't have to tell everyone each time you post! :-) People would automatically know you are cool because you post at Railroad.net, duh.

Already I've got a question regarding the use of links. I asked a user to please remove the link in their sig and place it in their profile. Their repsonse was:
It's just that I have no way of getting people so see my site. They will now have to look at my profile to see the link. I myself never look at people's profiles, but I hope others do.
If you enter a web site in the "www" field in your profile, that link will appear at the bottom of every post in this form: Image, alongside buttons for your email, AIM screen name, and any other information you wish to share. When people click on that button, it will take them to whatever URL you have specified in your profile.


  by The S.P. Caboose
I agree Otto. I think it's also okay to use a slogan, like mine, that is of the railroad. Sure mine is a fallen flag, but basicly positive.

  by Otto Vondrak
It's a judgement call. We're certainly not going to force anyone to do anything at this point. I'm trying to trim back the really unruly sigs that have really long, multi-line quotes, some sort of epic tribute to a long-departed railroad or locomotive, etc. etc.

I don't want anyone to think I'm picking on folks or trying to single people out. I periodically send out notes to people asking them to trim back or tone down their sigs. Likewise, if you see a sig that you think is particularly unruly, please let me know.

We're just trying to cut back some of the clutter and make this site easier to read overall. When we visit the forums, we want to get right to the meat- the discussion!!


  by Robert Paniagua
Mine looks better now, and I agree with you Otto, The new sig rules are better, and I think disabling the link feature for the signature part would also help with the new signature policy as well.

  by Otto Vondrak
They are not rules yet- which is why we're discussing them. The last thing I want to do is just throw down new rules without getting reaction and discussion from it first. Right now they are guidelines, and we're going to start asking people if they could start meeting these guidelines a little closer. Likewise, if you see what you think might be an unruly or obnoxious sig, please let me know, and I'll talk to the person privately about it.


  by Reddy Rocker
Does this mean I can no longer state that I am the "Proud Bus Shuttle Boycotter of 2004/2005"? Meh, I'll change it anyway, I'm kinda sick of it, too.

  by Ken V
Otto, for my 2¢'s worth...

I see nothing wrong with a short non-sequitur or motto/mantra in the signature. It can provide the reader a better sense of the poster's point of view, especially for newcomers. While seeing the same thing over and over again can become tiring, it also provides some sort of continuity.

What really bothers me are the signatures that have a lot of meaningless junk or change so often it's hard to keep track.

My personal philosophy is to only include my signature line in my first post in a topic and not repeat it in follow-ups. This does take a conscious awareness and sometimes gets overlooked.

My own tag: "Anytime could be be train time" hasn't changed throughout all the various incarnations of the Railroad.net site. I'd hate to see it become non-grata.

  by CRail
I think things like "shuttle bus boycotter" is ok because it kind of defines who you are, or how you feel about something.

Like mine, it explains how i got my name, and how a feel about "photographobic politicians." And if i have any announcements such as "6 NEW PHOTOS! CLICK WWW"
I have noticed how some signatures are out of control, but most of them are ok.

  by Mike Roque
I think keeping the signatures small will solve most problems. We can still object to obnoxious signatures, but most are more or less OK...it's just the huge inappropriate ones that are the problem.

  by Ron Newman
Can the software be configured to impose a limit (maybe 2 or 3 lines)?

  by Otto Vondrak
I don't think we can limit it in the software, which is why we try to contact people one-on-one and counsel them on their sigs.

As far as non-sequiturs in your sig- I know if I want to get to know someone, I'll read their comments and perhaps message them privately. I'd hate it if people judged me by what I wrote in my sig.


  by emd_SD_60
Is mine all right?