Help:Signatures

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User signatures help identify which comments have been made by which users on discussion pages.

Signature basics

How to sign

If your browser supports Javascript, you can use the signature button on the toolbar to sign your comments.

The Wiki software has built-in support for user signatures and timestamps. To leave just a signature, type three tildes (~~~). To leave a signature with a timestamp, type four tildes (~~~~). To leave just a timestamp, type five tildes (~~~~~). For example, if your username is "UlurusGirlfriend":

Typing... Yields... Links to ...
~~~ UlurusGirlfriend your user page
~~~~ UlurusGirlfriend 15:05, 31 January 2007 (EST) your user page
~~~~~ 15:05, 31 January 2007 (EST)

If your browser supports Javascript and you have the toolbar enabled in the Editing tab of your Preferences, then you can also click the signature button (see image). The signature button automatically inserts --~~~~ (a double dash, plus your signature with timestamp).

When you save your changes, your timestamp and signature will automatically be substituted (i.e. the tildes will vanish, and be replaced by plain text) to the page. This prevents the signatures and timestamps from changing automatically whenever the page is edited.

The timestamp will always show the current server (Eastern) time. Also, the appropriate timezone abbreviation is appended. Since the server is located in the USA where Daylight Savings Time is observed, (EST) will be appended to the timestamp only from the first Sunday of November to the second Sunday of March. For the rest of the year, (EDT) is appended.

When to sign

You should sign all comments on discussion pages. You should not sign any article pages, including Theories and Spoilers articles. You should not make comments about an article on the article page itself; that's what the discussion page is for. To access an article's discussion page, click the "discussion" tab at the top of the article.

Threading comments

To thread comments on a talk page, simply use an extra level of indent to "nudge" your comment underneath the comment to which it is a reply. You can indent using either an indent or a bulleted list, but in general it's best to match the formatting of earlier comments in the thread. To indent or bullet under a comment, add one more colon or asterisk than the parent comment.

Typing... Yields... Example markup Result
: Indent First comment
:Second comment
::Third comment
First comment
Second comment
Third comment
* Bullet First comment
*Second comment
**Third comment
First comment
  • Second comment
    • Third comment

Custom signatures

It's possible to customize your signature using your user preferences. You may wish to add a link to your talk page, or to provide some minor formatting to your signatures. Avoid images or elaborate formatting; discussion pages are not forums, and elaborate signatures can cause formatting problems with threaded comments. In particular, avoid any alignment or line breaks (<br>); they always break threaded comments.

To set a custom signature, go to the User Profile tab of your user preferences.

Changing your display name

In Nickname, type the display name you wish to use for your signature. This is the same as piping new text to your user page link. In other words, if your user name is "UlurusGirlfriend" and your Nickname is "Simone", then your signature will look like [[User:UlurusGirlfriend|Simone]] and will display as Simone.

Custom formatting

To customize how the link itself is created, tick the "Raw Signatures" box. This will cause your signature to be whatever is in the nickname box, without creating a link to you user page. Using this, you can override your signature using whatever formatting you like. For example,

Nickname with Raw Signature Yields... Comment
''[[User:UlurusGirlfriend|Rockin' my world]]'' Rockin' my world italics, override username
<span style="font-size: 8pt; font-weight:bold;">[[User:UlurusGirlfriend|Rockin' my world]]</span> Rockin' my world HTML and CSS work, too
[[User:UlurusGirlfriend|]] <span style="color:green;">(my</span> [[User talk:UlurusGirlfriend|talk]]<span style="color:green;"> page)</span> UlurusGirlfriend (my talk page) add a link to your talk page, change colors

When using raw signatures, it's important to remember to add any links you want your signature to have yourself, since automatic links won't be created. For information on WikiMarkup and links, see Help:Editing.

Creating a signature template page

If your signature includes complicated formatting, or if you would like to test and edit it without having to change your preferences, you can create a new user page. To create a new user page, type the name of the page you would like to use in the Search box, press "go", and then click the "create this page" link on the search results. A user page should consist of the word User:, your username, a slash, and the desired subpage name. For example, if User:UlurusGirlfriend wanted a user page called "signature", she would enter "User:UlurusGirlfriend/signature" in the search box.

Edit the userpage so that it consists of the signature you want to use. Be careful not to include line breaks, as these will throw off the formatting of the talk pages on which it is used. It is not necessary to include a timestamp as the template replaces only the nickname portion of your signature.

Once you have the signature page set up to your liking, save your changes and edit your user preferences as above. In "nickname", enter the full name of the userpage you have created, enclosed in brackets and preceded by subst:, and make sure "Raw Signatures" is checked. In the above example, User:UlurusGirlfriend would enter "{{subst:User:UlurusGirlfriend/signature}}" in the nickname field.

You can then sign your posts using four tildes or the signature button as usual.

Extended formatting for signatures

A signature's background should never occupy more than a single line, or else it can obstruct viewing the preceding or following person's comments on a talk page. However, some users have signature formatting which is so long that their one line occupies multiple lines of space in an edit box. When other users edit the talk page to reply, it can become difficult to scroll through the talk page. The preferred solution to this is not to substitute your signature subpage, but to instead include it as a template call. This is done by creating a second userpage called "autosig" and setting its content to be the call to the "signature" userpage created in the previous example. Then, in your user profile you set your nickname to substitute the "autosig" page instead.

For the previously explained example, after creating her desired "signature" user page, User:UlurusGirlfriend would enter "User:UlurusGirlfriend/autosig" in the search box, press "go", and then click the "create this page" link on the search results. She would then enter "{{User:UlurusGirlfriend/signature}}" into the edit window and click the "save" button to store her new userpage. Next, she would click "My Preferences" and set her nickname field to "{{subst:User:UlurusGirlfriend/autosig}}" and click "save" (The MediaWiki code forces the use of "subst:", and that is okay here since we are substituting one template with another). As with the previous example, "Raw Signatures" must be checked.

She will then be able to sign her posts using four tildes or the signature button as usual, and her signature would then be stored in talk pages as "--{{User:UlurusGirlfriend/signature}} <time and date>", thus limiting the length of signature formatting on each talk page to a single line while allowing her to make it as dynamic as she wishes. An added benefit of including instead of substituting her template is that she can later go back and just edit her "signature" subpage and all talk pages already containing her signature will instantly get modified without any additional editing.