Signatures for posts

by Oscar_Cunningham1 min read11th Jul 201111 comments


Personal Blog

Kaj_Sotala suggested here that some people may wish to add signatures to posts (i.e. top-level posts, not comments (hell no!)) to link to the author's homepage and such, and this idea was supported (poll). I suggested that we make such signatures into an official looking standard template, and this suggestion was upvoted. This post contains my design for such a template. The last time I learnt HTML was back in 2003 when I was about eleven, so this is probably bad code by modern standards, but I'm hoping that people will criticise until we have a version that looks good on all browsers.

Code (Improved by Dreaded_Anomaly):

<div style="background:#f7f7f8; display:table;">
<a href="/user/Your user name goes here/submitted/"><img style="float: left; margin: 5px;" src="URL of the image goes here" alt="Your name's posts" width="64" height="64" /></a>Text goes here (links entered as usual)

Which produces a signature like the one at the bottom of this post. To use the code in the article editor press the HTML button and enter it at the bottom of the page. (Note that having your image be 64*64 to begin with will mean that it doesn't need to be scaled. Scaling sometimes makes images look weird or pixelly.)

I suggest that everyone who uses such a signature writes about themselves in formally and in the third person. Think of an "About the Author" section on the dust-cover of a book. This will raise the status of the site by making it reminiscent of an edited publication.

Oscar's postsOscar Cunningham is a Mathematics student at Trinity College, Cambridge (UK). Interests include probability, decision theory, and Ultimate.
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There seems to be a tendency to want to make LW look more like "The Rest Of The Internet", full of avatars, signatures, icons, and other "exciting" visual clutter. I really hope we can resist this natural-descent-into-entropy. The "purely functional" visual simplicity of the design is integral to the beauty of the site. For example, I could really have done without the recent substitution of icons for text buttons, which makes LW look increasingly like Facebook or something. Every once in a while, somebody proposes avatars, and I panic.

There is no reason LW needs to resemble other forums. In fact, I think I'm probably not alone in actively not wanting it to do so. But if we don't want it to do so, then we need to actively resist, because there is apparently an automatic tendency in the other direction.

I was ambivalent about Kaj's proposal, but I think I'm pretty firmly opposed to this. I don't want to know what people look like, and I don't want any more "personalization" of posts beyond distinct usernames and writing styles. Even these are already enough to introduce plenty of undesirable status-signaling games (I understand that there are some people here who actually use software to block usernames!); can you imagine what will happen if people start associating themselves with images and "funny quotes"?

Simplicity. Uniformity. Anonymity. These are virtues.

undesirable status-signaling games

Yes. To whatever extent possible we should try to avoid priming that part of our psychology --- that is, most of our psychology.

Looks OK if limited to posts, optional for each post, and implemented as a site feature, not as HTML snippet pasted manually, for the reasons Wilka gave. But in that case it should just be part of standard profile information. And if it's part of standard profile information, maybe it shouldn't show by default on posts after all.

Would it be possible for whoever to did the design to also do the layout for this? The style can go in the main .css, otherwise it could interfere with any future layout tweaks of the site.

I like the idea, I just don't like the potential future work of having to go update N signatures when the main site styles are tweaked.

I'm strongly reluctant to adding pictures. Though if the majority doesn't mind them, I'll just block 'em.

The anti-kibitzer should be made to block signatures, if signatures exist.

Thirded as to the first part. (I'm not sure I would know how to block them.)


Text goes here (links entered as usual)

It's not a bad idea. I've done something similar with some of my posts because the master version on my homepage gets updated every so often and the post should mention that & link to the master version.

That said, Oscar, your picture makes you look like a balding demon!