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Users can easily sign their posts at the end of a comment. The common format to type a signature – two hyphens (or a dash) followed by four tildes (-- ~~~~) – is derived from the computer network Usenet, where two hyphens mark a signature block. 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. Signing is normally done on talk pages only, not on conjointly written articles. Signatures do not work in edit summaries (they do not translate from ~~~~ there).
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.
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.
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||Resulting code||Resulting display|
|Signature plus timestamp||
||-- Username 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)|
||-- 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)|
Registered users can customise their signature (the part between the two hyphens and the timestamp) by changing the field "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.
If you enable "Raw signatures" but don't add any customised signature string, you'll sign with your unlinked username.
The most common customisations are the following two:
|Purpose||Raw signature||Resulting signature display|
|Adapting the displayed username||
||-- User Name 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)|
|Adding a talk page link||
||-- Username (talk) 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)|