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AFW - Signature Etiquette Rules - What's (not) in a Signature?

Here are some rules for creating a signature.

Signature Rules

Keep your signature as short as possible! It saves quite a bit on the overall "traffic" on data transfer lines. And it uses less space when the mail is saved to a mail folder.

Minimum Info!
It should contain your name and your email address. After all that's what a signature is for, right? Please do not overdo it! Save bandwidth!
If you want to give more info about yourself then please use the "information by request" methods, such as the "plan file" or even a "www page". See the -> finger faq for more info on this! Please make sure that your name itself can identify you. If your name consists of fairly common names (eg "John Miller") then add your additional Christian names, too (eg "John Aristotle Miller"). If you have more than one address - use only one address. The shorter the better.
If you are afraid that people won't be able to reach you as the address changes then you should get an address at a site which gives you a pseudo address and which will forward any mail to your real address. Examples: POBox (There is at least one more. hmm...)

Line and character limits
Please keep it down to four lines and 70 columns at maximum!
Most terminals can only display up to 80 characters and text broken across lines will *always* look bad! Unfortunately people quote sigs, too, so a signature can become part of a text. As quoted text should be readable, too, a signature should allow quoting. Some mailers use the name of a user as a "quote indent", so you should allow up to ten characters as a margin.

What's NOT in a sig?

Everything but name and address is *not* required in a signature. Additional information like phone and fax numbers, ASCII graphics, quotations *can* be in a signature - but certainly need not. All additional information *can* and should go onto your webpage - if you have one. (if you don't have a webpage then you can get free webspace for free.)

Do not put your phone number into your signature of your News posts; if somebody wants to reach you then he should first do so via email. after all that is why newsreader have a "reply" command.

You can put your phone number into your message header, too. The header line which stores you phone or fax number should start with "X-" to mark an "extra line" and contain the word "phone" or "fone" or "fax":

  X-Fon: +49 30 8838884
  X-Fax: +49 30 88629362

When your number is in the header then searching for phone/fax numbers is a *lot* faster when you can be sure to find it in the header as there is less data to search. Good clients allow you to view the full header and also to configure hich header lines to show. So if you want to see phone numbers then configure your client to show these header lines. If your client does not allow you to do this, well, tough luck. switch to a better client!

Sven Guckes <>
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