Signature Netiquette


The Development web is mainly operating in ThreadMode, which works well to discuss new features, brainstorm on ideas, and follow up on bugs. DocumentMode is also used where appropriate, like to finalize the spec of a new feature.

Topics in ThreadMode should be signed. Technically this would not be required because TWiki has a complete audit trail. However, to see quickly who has contributed what without the need to go to the diffs, it is recommended to sign and date contributions at the end of the text like:

-- WikiGuest - 17 Jun 2019

Box is added for clarity; omit the box.

Please use a link signature pointing to your home page. The link makes it easy to spot the boundary between contributions. If you prefer an acronym, use the [[Main.UserName][ABC]] shorthand

Please avoid long signatures because this distracts from the main content, e.g. the signal-to-noise ratio suffers. Related, collaboration works best with a "get to the point" approach, that this, stick to the subject and link to related content.

Why So Many Sigs

Think about this question: why is it important to sign content with a signature? The information is all there in the diffs, as said at the top of this topic, yet look at the "list" of contributors below. If people really want to know, they can look. What people do want to know is what parts of the page are new. That's the primary purpose of the sig line, as I see it; to separate the old text from the newer text; without the date stamp, this would be quite a bit more difficult.

Thus, this is a usability issue dealing with the desire to see newness on topics, rather than who is responsible for a given paragraph. If I really cared who was writing what, I could look at the diffs. So TWiki should include markup for rendering newness something of that sort, and signatures would be less important altogether.

(no sig)

When I read a topic for the first time I often start at the bottom and work upwards until I have read enough to get the current state. I like being able to see the age of comments so I can tell if it has been idle for a long time and the comments at the end that are new are from people unrelated to the original burst of activity. I also like knowing who is contributing so I can see the distribution of different viewpoints and where there is consensus or if there are disagreements if they are from equally sized groups or a vocal minority.

If you want an automatic contributors section then it should probably be generated automatically from the diffs, not signatures. Also it's not clear it the date in the contributors section is the date of the first comment or the last for each person. Which do you think it is? Check if your assumption is correct, check more than one contributor.

Quandary: How does one emit a strong very good idea! to this alternate approach while keeping the discussion in document mode? :)
Topic revision: r2 - 09 Jan 2007, RickMach

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