Change My Signature Block?! Grrr!!
By Karl Ellison
|Robbie inquired in Digest 961230:|
>[ I added folks address to the "From" line in their letters tonight,
>[ when it is known. I think a city helps us to remember who is who.
>[ Do you like the appearance of this, or would you rather see
>[ address in the "signature block"?
I wrote the following to him directly:
Robbie: That's funny -- in Digest 961230 you *deleted* my location and
email address, only leaving lines 1 and 4; I always sign my stuff the
same way, with 4 lines of text.
I'd much prefer you to leave people's signatures alone, unless they're
these wild, half-page imposing ASCII monstrosities. These are as close
as a personal moniker as you can get in ASCII, and they say something
about the writer (that he's succinct, he's flamboyant, etc.). They
also contain within them the information the writer felt was relevant,
and, the degree of their accessability to the rest of the group.
Where the member's location would fit well, in my opinion, is in the
Table-of-Contents line, if it would physically fit. The reason being
is, some already put their location in their signature, others don't,
so it would be an editing pain (and in my case, a minor annoyance) to
adjust everyone's signature block.
Robbie then replied to me:
> But how shall we decide between a reasonable size signature block and
> a "wild, half-page imposing ASCII monstrosity?"
> I'm attempting to strike a balance between displaying the individuality
> of the writer, and maintaining a concise (uniform) appearance in the
> Your letter is well-stated, Karl. Could you please submit it for the
> discussion of the Digest crowd? There's sure to be support for both
> sides, and your letter would help get the folks writing.
... to which my response is:
Since signatures do not add value to the information we provide in the body of our text, I feel it's design should be left to the individual for the reasons stated earlier.
Like all freedoms, this too requires sober temperment -- cute ASCII art may be okay for one posting, but if I submit three articles in one digest with three [big] signature blocks, it'll be obnoxious.
The body of the letters, however, are fair game for the editors for the reasons which Robbie states. I totally agree with your concerns of uniformity -- these digests are posted on the webpage, and people use them for real research. We wouldn't want someone's search engine to fail finding the word "Ampico" because, e.g., Karl typed in "A m p i c o" or any other creative mutation. Okay, bad example, but you get the idea!
I see this digest as a fun, conversational medium of like-minded individuals (who are unfortunately separated by geography) as well as being an information resource not found *anywhere* else!
<<<< - K a r l B. E l l i s o n >>>>
<<<< Ashland, Massachsetts U.S.A. >>>>
... editor-proof coating (Hee hee!) ...
<<<< KBEllison@aol.com >>>>
<<<< http://members.aol.com/kbellison/kbe.html >>>>
[ The block above can be compressed to:
[ ... Looks rather pretty, doesn't it! (Hee hee!) ...!
[ An old axiom of the publishing business says: "You can't argue
[ with the man who buys ink by the barrel!" -- Robbie ;-)
(Message sent Tue 31 Dec 1996, 19:38:11 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)