Forum:Signature Policy

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Forums: Yew Grove > Signature Policy
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This thread was archived on 27 April 2010 by Liquidhelium.

I am proposing a slight modification to RS:SIG. It should not affect the majority of the people here. Degen was commenting that signatures that do not easily identify the speaker make tracing through a discussion (on the Yew Grove, for example) many times more difficult. Thus, I am proposing that we modify our signature policy so that signatures must have either the user's exact username, a large enough portion of the username so that the user can be easily identified, or something that the user is commonly known by. This makes sense, according to the policy.

Signatures on the RuneScape Wiki identify you as a user, and your contributions to the wiki. They help identify the author of a comment as well as the date and time at which it was made.
Signature policy

The policy states that signatures are used for identification purposes, and because non-sense signatures do not really aid in that, they should not be allowed. This is simply to facilitate discussion.

Exceptions to this may occur

  • For special occasions, such as the recent signature switching that occured for April Fools. But, under normal circumstances, the proposed policy would apply.
  • Should the user decide that he or she prefers a signature that does not correspond to his or her username, then he or she may use it, as long as he or she does not switch away from it for 30 days.

Examples of signatures that would be allowed:

  • Chicken7 >talk - This contains the exact username in it.
  •   az talk   - Azliq is commonly known as az, so this is allowed.
  • Swiz Talk Review Me - Miggy is commonly known as Swiz, so this is allowed.
  • Ruud (talk)(Suggest me naems) - Ruud is commonly known as Ruud, so this is allowed.
  •  Tien  - Tien is known in-game as Usurper Fuji, so this is allowed.
  • Andrew talk - Soldier is known as Andrew, so this is allowed.
  • UKDNVDWBucket detail.pngrwojy - Rwojy has become synonymous with "buckets", so this is fine.

Examples of signatures that would not be allowed:

Discuss. --LiquidTalk 19:23, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Discussion

Support - As nominator. --LiquidTalk 19:23, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

NO support - Why?? Tyras helm.png Dindirindin!!! 19:25, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Because it gets really confusing in conversations. Endasil (Talk) @  19:29, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Extreme Support - I was going to bring this up myself. I get particularly mad at signatures which include MY username (through a special variable) but aren't me, since often I'll review a discussion page and search the page for things that I said (to check for follow-ups, etc). I think the key point is consistency. If your signature doesn't match your username, fine, but it should be a name you consistently go by and shouldn't be changing often. Endasil (Talk) @  19:29, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I don't think Rwojy's sig above should be allowed (regardless if the image is representative of his/her identity) since it doesn't provide any unique text by which you can search his/her signature to find his/her comments. That's really important when discussions start getting long. Endasil (Talk) @  19:32, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Wojwoj has had that signature for so long that he's come to be known by it. Anyone that sees that immediately associates it with him, so I don't have an issue with it. And, he would kill me if I banned his signature. =/ --LiquidTalk 19:33, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
Endasil has a point. Things should be consistent, and allowing Rwojy to keep that signature, should this pass, is making exceptions. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 19:37, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
I (and I'm guessing anyone else that is new or has been inactive) don't associate it with Rwojy. And we shouldn't be making these decisions based on the impact on only certain individuals. Endasil (Talk) @  19:47, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose Downward, my friend... - All we need to require is that a user's signature links to their userpage. Others can then see who the user is by hovering over the signature. --Aburnett(Talk) 19:38, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

I think you'll find fairly quickly that that is confusing and perhaps even malicious in practice. Aburnett Talk 19:45, April 8, 2010 (UTC) <--Endasil said that, for any people who aren't bothered enough to hover over the link. --LiquidTalk 19:46, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
I always hover over links before clicking, its just habit for me Wink --Aburnett(Talk) 19:57, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
But, it's much easier to have a commonly known name there instead. That's the whole point of signatures, and it's what the signature policy implies. --LiquidTalk 19:41, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
Signatures exist so that we can see who said what. By your logic, we could just not sign at all, and check the history of every talk page. That works too! But it isn't efficient, and that is what we are aiming for here. Ajraddatz Talk 19:45, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
This would still be a disaster to enforce. For example, what would we do about signatures such as...
  1. Andrew talk
  2. C.ChiamTalk
  3.   az talk  
  4. FredeTalk
  5. Andorin (Talk) (Contribs)
Although we can say that these are "synonymous" with the users they represent, who is the one that gets to decide when this is the case? Also, how can any future users change their signature to something more creative should they want to, as by changing it it would no longer identify them. IMHO, there's no need to nitpick on things like this. Obviously if a signature is way out of line (IE. using the Username template and disrupting discussion), then it needs to be changed, but this sort of policy seems excessive. --Aburnett(Talk) 19:55, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
It might be best if users are required to have their usernames in sigs then. Ajraddatz Talk 19:57, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
I would be fine with that if it meant it was enforceable. But I'm sure some would have issues, since they have been known by a different name for so long that they would now become unknown. Endasil (Talk) @  20:05, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I think that RS:UCS is applied there. Soldier's real name is Andrew, and if that's what he wants to go by, then fine. C. Chiam is just an abbreviation of Calebchiam, which is okay. Same goes for Az and Frede. Andorin's signature has the meaningful part of his signature in it, so really it's just an abbreviation also. RS:UCS also tells us that something like Janet Reno is obviously not Iiii I I I (to name a problematic signature), so it's not allowed. --LiquidTalk 19:58, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
Then there is no need for a policy Wink, just extend RS:UCS to choosing a sig. If it misrepresents you, it doesn't belong, for obvious reasons. --Aburnett(Talk) 20:01, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
UCS cannot force other users to do something based on that logic. A modification of RS:SIG can. --LiquidTalk 20:02, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
But that's just it. Users (especially the more veteran ones) don't like to be forced. --Aburnett(Talk) 20:03, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) That policy already exists, and should be in application at this moment. It isn't, and that is why we need a policy on it. Ajraddatz Talk 20:04, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
You bring up a good point, in that deciding "blah blah blah has been associated with this name" is subjective. I've been gone a long time and so have a different perspective. Whereas I immediately know az and Andorin, others like buckets are unknown to me. I would argue the policy should be for consistency (pick a name and stick with it). In your examples above, I only see one as being controversial; Andrew's. The rest are subtexts of their username so it's not really an issue in practice. Obviously "Andorin" and "AndorinKato" are objectively associated, whereas "Andrew" and "Soldier 1033" are only experientially associated. Endasil (Talk) @  20:05, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
Ah yes, I forgot AK's had <choose> code. I was referring to this version: RAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!! (talk) --Aburnett(Talk) 20:09, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
Ah, OK. I understand that. I would say that sig is not reasonable and that choose code should in general be prevented unless they don't affect the text present in the sig. Endasil (Talk) @  20:13, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
(gah, another edit conflictx2.)Veteran users don't like to be forced, but when they're doing something that's really nonsensical, we have to take a stand and force them. 3i+1 doesn't like to be forced, but I see that he has already changed his sig. --LiquidTalk 20:06, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
-.- --Iiii I I I 20:11, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
That sig was only set to show up 5% of the time anyway. And funnily enough, I changed it a while back completely independently of this discussion. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 06:31, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

Support/Comment - I would also really like to see signatures smaller, and with less images. I also propose that all image within signatures are kept to within 20/30 px. It is annoying when signatures are twice as large as the text :/ Ajraddatz Talk 19:42, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

This is a question of enforcement, not policy. The policy already states: Signatures must not contain pictures that are larger than standard text size. Endasil (Talk) @  19:52, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
In that case, I would like to take the time to propose that the existing signature policy is actually enforced, as well as these additions made to it. Ajraddatz Talk 19:53, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
Proposal not needed, if it bothers you, go do it :P Endasil (Talk) @  20:14, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support - <edit conflict x 5> It is rather confusing when a signature identifies a user as some random word or phrase that seems to have nothing to do with the user's wiki name or in-game name. A prime example (no offense to said user) of this is Dindirindin's signature, which says "Spartaaaaa!" on it. There is no way I can identify this user without hovering my mouse over the link, which can be irritating for some users.  Tien  19:59, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I do suppose that my signature might be confusing to those who don't use our clan chat much.  Tien  20:03, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Strong Support - I agree with helium. Other than about Rwojy. His signature does NOT link to his (main) user page, but rather a subpage. Also, this is not quite the same thing, but, I would like to see the "no animations" part expanded. Because I was under the impression it meant your signature (including both text/pictures) didn't flash/change, and I think that needs to be clarified as well. HaloTalk 20:32, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

WTF you're right! His bucket links to the page that claims I'm a noob. <_< Scratch that, then. I'm modifying that so that the signature is only allowed if it actually links to his userpage. --LiquidTalk 20:33, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - You're kidding me, right? All you have to do is hover over the link in the signature to see which user page it leads to. I would very much like to know why my signature was brought into this when this proposed policy amendment clearly includes something that the user is commonly known by. I am commonly known by Andrew. This is ridiculous :s Andrew talk 20:39, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

That's the argument I tried to make. --LiquidTalk 20:42, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
I believe Andrew's is fine. It links to his userpage, he is commonly know as Andrew, and has been for a long time. HaloTalk 20:45, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for modifying it. Andrew talk 20:46, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
I was using your signature to oppose this policy, as it seemed ridiculous to me to make users such as you change their sigs. --Aburnett(Talk) 20:46, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I've modified my proposal somewhat (see the Exceptions section). This was intended to stop users from constantly switching to random signatures and confusing others. Users that constantly use the same signature should be allowed. --LiquidTalk 20:47, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support - Now that actually makes sense. --Aburnett(Talk) 20:50, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support - Constant changng of signatures and those that do not represent the user are incredibly annoying. Its difficult to keep track of whos who. Cap and goggles.pngTEbuddy 22:31, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support - It gets pretty bothersome when i have to hover over someone's signature in order to see what it links to. BerserkHackr 22:40, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support - Having another user's username in your sig would be completely pointless and could possibly offend the other user. This was something I thought at April Fool's and Liquid brought it here, so I fully support it. Zaros symbol.pngChaos Monk Talk SignCoins 250.png 23:00, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support - It makes sense.--Bob quest 04:44, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Support - Since I have such a simplistic signature, I really don't have to worry about the policy effecting me. Unicorn horn dust.png Evil Yanks talk 05:04, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Strong support - I think this wiki has been extremely lenient on signatures. Not only do we allow unique, colourful signatures, we support them and have users who are willing to create them. Most other wikis are not like this, and have extremely strict rules on signatures. Some even disallow unique signatures, where you must simply have the default, bland link. Signatures might be some users' way of "expressing themselves and being unique", but that is interfering with discussion and the general running of the wiki. Here's a definition; - signature: somebody's name written by him or her in a characteristic way. You can have your unique, characteristic signature, but it should be YOUR name and we should be able to tell who YOU are. It isn't an extension of a userpage. Chicken7 >talk 07:01, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Rather Strong Oppose - It will be extremely hard to actually put this into effect. Would a new user know that Rwojy = bukkitz? Would a new user know that Tienjt0 = Usurper Fuji? No. So why would these be allowed and not others like Eye Eye etc ? Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 21:33, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Really strong support - This is getting ridiculous. Blinking signatures, outrageous aliases (like {{USERNAME}}), and it'll just get worse. Hello71 21:43, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Support - I hate having to hover over the names to work out who they are. hmm that sounds a bit snoby but yeh.Hunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 06:53, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

Support - Although this will not effect me, this seems to be a mutual annoyance among some users in this wiki. Ruud (talk)(Suggest me naems) 07:30, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

Support - It makes perfect sense to me. Reading through it, I'm pretty sure my sig is okay, right? Best Shield EVERAnnaLove scarves! 20:51, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

Proposed Addition

I don't want to hijack Helm's discussion so I'm putting this is in a separate section. As I've already noted, this whole discussion is most important to me because I like to do quick searches on a page to jump to a comment made by a certain person. I propose we also include this in the policy:

Signatures must include a name (in text) to uniquely identify the user. This is needed to facilitate searching for comments from a certain user in a long discussion. Extremely short or common strings (such as "RuneScape" or "The") will be disallowed since they prevent this ability.

Endasil (Talk) @  22:13, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

WTF, I thought you were away. Why are you calling me helm? --LiquidTalk 22:14, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
Damned if I know. I must've seen it somewhere and thought it was your preferred shortform. What better way do you prefer me not typing out your whole name? :P Endasil (Talk) @  22:29, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
Liquid helm is his name! Just ask Janet Reno! (davelopo) 22:36, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
It's NOT his name. And if he has a problem with you guys calling it then you should abide by his wishes. HaloTalk 22:38, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
It's a joke. If he goes to my talk page and says "please don't call me that," I won't call him that. but back to topic now, enough about Liquid helm and his false aliases. (davelopo) 23:03, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Read my userpage please. What do the last two sentences of the first paragraph say? It's been there for quite a while now. --LiquidTalk 23:26, April 8, 2010 (UTC)

Sorry I don't read userpages. It was an honest mistake. Can we move on please? Endasil (Talk) @  23:38, April 8, 2010 (UTC)
Yes, let's move on. I wasn't talking to you, by the way. I was talking to Dave. But, I would rather drop this subject. --LiquidTalk 00:07, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Support - Per nom/my comments above. --Aburnett(Talk) 01:01, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Support - This makes sense too.--Bob quest 04:44, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Proposed Addition (2)

I want to propose something too. A signature shouldn't have to have a link to the userpage directly, the talkpage should be good enough. STIBFYBBucket detail.pngrwojy 00:53, April 9, 2010 (UTC) Oppose - I think it should link to the main part of the userpage directly, talk page linking is optional. HaloTalk 00:55, April 9, 2010 (UTC) Oppose - Per above, sorry wojwoj. Ajraddatz Talk 00:56, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

What if a person doesn't have a userpage? They are optional, but almost everyone gets a welcome notice. ICLGXGBucket detail.pngrwojy 00:57, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Then I would say that their sig needs to contain their exact username. Something that clearly identifies them, as them. Ajraddatz Talk 00:58, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Strong oppose (with a caveat) - (edit conflict x2) The only time this should be allowed is for people like Puremexican or Diberville, who don't have userpages and don't want them. It's especially infuriating when people with proper userpages change their signatures so that the signatures link to a blasphemous subpage. <.< --LiquidTalk 00:59, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Support - Yea this can cause Red links so why should we have it like that. Twig Talk 772kZGs.png 01:00, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Like I said, exceptions should be made when the userpage doesn't exist. But, for situations like Rwojy's, where he has a userpage, then he should link to it. Furthermore, I doubt anyone without a proper userpage will have a templated signature. --LiquidTalk 01:01, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
That doesn't make sense to me. It sounds like you are saying I could delete my page, and then have a talkpage link. JVZLOBTBucket detail.pngrwojy 01:02, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
My point is this: people that have templated signatures (and don't use the default [[User:Example|Example]]) are most likely going to have a userpage. If the userpage doesn't exist, then either don't allow the templated signature, or have the user create a userpage. --LiquidTalk 01:04, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
You can't force people to have a userpage, or else force people to have a non templated sig. PTXPIFBucket detail.pngrwojy 01:05, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Which is why I said I support an exemption for people that don't have userpages. But deleting your userpage is ridiculous. --LiquidTalk 01:06, April 9, 2010 (UTC)


Oppose Support - The userpage is the core of all a users' activity on the wiki. From there, editcount, contributions, block log, talk page, userpage info, deleted contributions, etc. can all be accessed. Chicken7 >talk 01:07, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

So, you mean oppose Wink --Aburnett(Talk) 01:09, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Heh Chicken7 >talk 01:19, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Comment (about users with no userpage) - I think a userpage should be a requirement. You don't have to say anything there. On other wikis, a template is automatically added to userpages to avoid red links. Why should users not have userpages? Who says they have to put anything there? They can just put a link to their talk page or have lots of blank space. Having no userpage is, well, selfish in my opinion. There should be no exceptions to point 1 in the policy. Chicken7 >talk 01:07, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

If I understand you correctly, shouldn't your opinion be Oppose? HaloTalk 01:09, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Heh Wink Chicken7 >talk 01:19, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - We can just disallow not having a userpage. Just make it blank if they want. (Darn you Chicken) scoot4.pngscooties 01:08, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Lol Wink Chicken7 >talk 01:19, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
No user should be forced to do anything. Shouldn't be forced to edit, shouldn't be forced to participate in community discussions, and shouldn't be forced to have a userpage (what are we gonna do? Block them? Create it against their will?). Then again I suppose it could just redirect to the talk page. (davelopo) 02:43, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Not block them, but automatically create it. On other wikis, when a user makes an edit, a placeholder is automatically added to their userpage. Redirecting would be pointless, as a link must be clicked to go back to the userpage and access the other information. Chicken7 >talk 02:46, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
The redirect was about people who don't want userpages (e.g. Puremexican) they can then just be locked, and later unlocked if they decide they do want to have a userpage. And if that is so, then they wouldn't need to have a link to their userpage in their signature. Oooh, better stop commenting now, in about 10 minutes it'll reach that time of night when I get irrational and unintelligible. (davelopo) 02:52, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
My point is that userpages are like the centre where many useful links, stats and info about the user can be accessed from. The talk page requires extra clicking. Chicken7 >talk 04:26, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose All - Just what exactly is wrong with the signature policy currently??? I can understand the need for offensive signatures to be changed, but not for every single user to be forced to put his or her exact username into his or her signature just because you claim it would improve communications between users on Yew Grove discussions, etc., which the current signature policy already does quite nicely. If there was any doubt as to who the person posting a comment is, all you have to do is hover over the link(s) in his or her signature with your cursor. In any case, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who a person is via their signature. All this proposal really would do is take away the uniqueness and creativity of users' signatures. Therefore, I must oppose such a proposal. What will be your next proposal, I wonder...? [1] N7 Elite (Ready to talk now?) 05:37, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - While most only care your talk page, the userpage is meant to identify who you are, it's a simple link that should be with every signature. Even if the page doesn't exist, the talk page doesn't until someone creates it, why not just leave it as a red link, it may clutter the wanted, but the user generally makes a userpage not long after they start to use their signature (although I cannot back this up). Ryan PM 23:36, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

I have a few things to add to this

Clearly defined usernames in signatures (of which I have no comment at the moment) are not the only problem with sigs I see across the wiki today. There are two main problems, one of which is already covered in the rules and one that isn't.

First, people need to start paying attention to signature size. It's stated rather clearly in the rules that signatures are not to exceed the size of one line of text. This is for a good reason: unnecessarily large signatures are distracting and annoying. Now, I'm not picking on anyone that I name in this post, but sigs like this and this and this and this and this are good examples of what I'm talking about. I would very much like to see people adjusting offending signatures to comply with the existing guidelines. If I don't see this, I will likely start editing peoples' sigs with the intent of bringing about compliance with the size rules.

The other issue is something I would like to propose. Using dark text on a dark background in a signature is a terrible idea. Why do we allow it? Why do people do it? It makes the signature more or less unreadable without highlighting it, which is annoying. (Light text on a light background, or mauve text on a mauve background, are the same thing, but I've yet to see this problem with a color besides black or dark blue.) So: I hereby propose amending RS:SIG to require that important text in signatures (usernames and timestamps, for example) are easily readable in their default state (which includes prohibiting dark text on a dark background). It's not that hard to change your sig's text color to something light if you're going to use a dark background, and a note on how to do this could be added to RS:SIG somewhere for those who don't know how to do it. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 07:01, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

Discussion of above

  • Oppose - Though this is a good idea I have to oppose due to most people use a dark background and a dark found color due to it stands out! Twig Talk 772kZGs.png 07:12, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
    You're opposing because dark on dark is a standard practice? What about the merits of the proposal? You even said it's a good idea. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 07:32, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
  • Support & Comment - I fully support. I actually think we should go beyond this and be much stricter. Maybe something worth writing up in my userspace. In response to Twigy, it isn't necessarily good it stands out. It should not distract from the body of the text. It should just be something nice at the end of your post to say "I wrote that". I think ALL signatures in shaded boxes are distracting, and should be abolished. Also, I recommend adding a defined pixel size about what is an appropriate size for an image. Then it is easier to know when an image is or isn't too big. Cheers, Chicken7 >talk 07:28, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I think we should not regulate signatures, or at least not this strongly. Let people decide for themselves if their sig is too big or too dark. We're smart enough to do that. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 09:10, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
    Elaborate. Why is signature regulation, in itself, a bad thing? Why is signature deregulation, in itself, a good thing? Why is it okay if somebody's sig is unreadable? How is having dark text on a dark background any different from encoding your sig's text in ROT13? They make your sig unreadable, which goes against the entire point of sigs. Why have a signature if it does not automatically convey its important information to the reader? (And for the record, there is no contention as to whether there should be rules about sig size, because there already are.) --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 16:24, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
Sadly Oli, while most people are smart enough, there are a few over time who have shown they just aren't. I have seen invisible sigs, or compressed down to like 1 freaking pixel, or other stupid crap so no one can actually even see it, let alone read the name. If everyones name was easily readable this proposal wouldn't have even happened really.--Degenret01 20:56, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
Right. There's a rule specifically forbidding blinking sigs, and yet I had to remove blinking from someone's signature yesterday. How anyone can consider blinking text to be acceptable is beyond me. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 21:10, April 21, 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - There is really no way to determine if a signature is too dark. --LiquidTalk 20:26, April 26, 2010 (UTC)

Consistency

I support having an identifiable part of the name in signatures. I support searchable text in the signatures, too. Size should be kept to one vertical line of text, and that includes pictures. I support either removing "Andrew" from the allowed signatures or adding "Janet Reno" under the condition of not switching for 30 days. What I'm trying to point out here is that I support consistent enforcement of policy, even if it's difficult. In the same way, I support consistent enforcement of law. Before anybody jumps to conclusions, I'm talking about real laws, not Jagex rules. In previous discussions, it's been pointed out to me that we should be consistent in our enforcement of policy and law. I agree.

It has been determined that our wiki is under the jurisdiction of US law because our server is in the US. The following is a direct quote of section 107 of the US Copyright law, Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use. I've quoted it for convenience.

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include — 
 
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
 
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
 
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
 
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
 
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

I'm analyzing the use of copyrighted images in signatures, which I believe does not fall under fair use, therefore making it a violation of copyright.

Purpose. Fair use protects uses for purposes such as criticism, comment, news, teaching, scholarship, and research. The sole purpose of using such pictures in signatures is to look unique, which is not a supported purpose. According to Stanford, the Supreme Court decided that Purpose is the primary indication of fair use.

Nature. The nature of the work, according to Stanford, includes such distinctions as fact or fiction, published or unpublished. They point out that a use is much more likely to be fair if it is published and factual. I personally don't think that Nature applies to this discussion, despite Runescape being fictional.

Substantiality. The less you take, the more likely it's allowed. Taking the "heart" of the work is not a fair use, even if it's small. While the use of a copyrighted pickaxe image is less substantial than using a rune, this is an issue of consistency. An image of a rune is unique to Jagex, and it is copyrighted; the pickaxe image falls under the same conditions.

Market. If it deprives the owner of money, it's not a fair use. Market does not apply to this discussion.

I'd like to take a moment to point out that I would not have brought this issue up if not for the consistency argument. However, I agree that it is wrong to follow the law in some places and spurn the same law elsewhere in the same way that I support removing "Andrew" or adding "Janet Reno." Please note that I use such examples to reinforce my point of consistency, not to draw attention away from it, and note that I would rather add "Janet Reno" than remove "Andrew."

Below, please discuss the legality of using copyrighted images in signatures. Understand that practical arguments such as "difficult to enforce" do not apply as this issue is not of practicality, but of legality. As such, I assert that it should be consistently enforced despite difficulty. Leftiness 17:43, April 24, 2010 (UTC)

Discuss Consistency

  • Wtf? What does this have to do with sigs? If it can be hosted on the wiki, it can be used in a signature. I don't even see why you brought this up. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 17:46, April 24, 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment - It can be hosted on the wiki and used by the wiki solely under the protection of fair use. When the use is not a fair use, we aren't allowed to use it, according to US Copyright law. For example, the pickaxe image can be used in the pickaxe article for the purpose of informing readers; it adds understanding. I assert that using the image in the signature does not have a purpose covered under fair use. Leftiness 17:54, April 24, 2010 (UTC)
    So your actual complaint is that people are uploading images solely for use in sigs. Honestly, I fail to see the point of bringing this up; people can use externally hosted images in signatures, so "correcting" the "problem" will mean absolutely nothing. Unless you somehow think that Jagex is going to file a lawsuit over the use of icons in peoples' signatures. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 17:56, April 24, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - No. My actual complaint is that the images that are being used in sigs can not be legally used in sigs according to US Copyright law. As I said, I feel like this is an issue of consistency; if we aren't going to allow copyright violations in one place, we shouldn't allow them in another. This is a point made in previous discussion which I agree with, so I'm pointing it out to the community. Please note that using non-copyrighted (public domain) images in signatures is allowed by US Copyright law, due to the lack of copyright. Leftiness 18:05, April 24, 2010 (UTC)

Fine.
1. When you say that "Fair use protects uses for purposes such as criticism, comment, news, teaching, scholarship, and research," pay attention to the "such as," which means that these are only some of the uses protected under the fair use doctrine. They do not constitute a set of requirements for a use to be considered fair use; they are merely a list of common uses that would be considered fair use. The four factors are what determine fair use. The first factor is the purpose and character of the use, which is not only entirely noncommercial, but could also be construed as an exercise in freedom of speech, which copyright is not meant to and cannot restrict. Would you go on to suggest that users cannot use copyrighted images in their userspaces, either? That is the exact same thing.
2. As you said, it doesn't apply.
3. You say that this factor is being infringed because you use the entire icon of an image. In relation to the copyrighted work as a whole (ie, the game of RuneScape), an icon of an item or whatever is insignificant. So even using an entire icon is still using a very small image.
4. Doesn't apply.
Where is your legal standing for requesting the removal of images from sigs? Half the fair use factors are automatically in favor of the images being fair use, as they can't be infringed. The other two I've just argued against. And IANAL, but I have a vested interest in copyright law, and I do not like seeing people randomly attack otherwise completely harmless practices, and cause trouble in doing so, in the name of copyright, something that is badly outdated in the modern world. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 18:29, April 24, 2010 (UTC)

Comment I think you're absolutely right in your interpretation that using copyrighted images in signatures is absolutely not under the realm of fair use. However, I think this proposal is a case of just causing the community more strife than is needed right now. Endasil (Talk) @  19:56, April 24, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - Agreed. I'll drop the issue for now. Leftiness 20:54, April 24, 2010 (UTC)

Wrapping Up

OK, I've amended RuneScape:Signatures to include my and LiquidHelium's proposals, as they have reached consensus. The other proposals did not. Furthermore, I've redirected Template:Signatures to RuneScape:Signatures since we were basically maintaining them in parallel. The rest of the issues were questions of enforcement. Obscenely larger-than-text signatures will start to be enforced since they have always been prohibited.

Since these changes are widesweeping and the community should not be burdened with tweaking and amending signatures on a case-by-case basis because they violated rules that were already in place, I'm going to set a new guideline for enforcing signatures. If the signature violates a pre-existing policy, the new standard operating procedure should be to replace the custom signature with

[[User:TheUser|TheUser]]

to essentially revert back to the default. The edit summary should cite which signature rule was being broken. Endasil (Talk) @  21:10, April 25, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - Looks good to me. (And by the way, the H in my name is not capitalized <.<) 141.156.252.134 21:11, April 25, 2010 (UTC)

Might want to sign in there, buddy. Also, reverting to default is fine, but I've also considered reverting to the last version of the signature that did not violate any rules. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 01:28, April 26, 2010 (UTC)

I think a user should be able to work as much as they want to get another's signature up to standard, all the way from inserting the default to personally resizing/tweaking the signature. But I don't think it should be necessary to have to look through the revision history to try to find an acceptable point in history since that is orders of magnitude more work-intensive than just inserting a default. But anybody can choose to do more work if they want. Endasil (Talk) @  01:43, April 26, 2010 (UTC)

Question about choose code - I believe that there is a provision banning users from having more than one signature. Does that mean that choose code is not allowed in sigs? --LiquidTalk 01:45, April 26, 2010 (UTC)

Absolutely. I wouldn't mind if it was just used to choose a colour scheme, though. But choose code that makes the signature completely unidentifiable from one viewing to the next is clearly breaking that rule, and especially the spirit of the rule, which is to have a consistent signature so that you can be consistently and uniquely identified. Endasil (Talk) @  03:38, April 26, 2010 (UTC)

Closed - Changes have been implemented. --LiquidTalk 01:54, April 27, 2010 (UTC)