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Sign your name...

...at the footer of this email (adjusted lyric)

I have been somewhat peed off (not surprising considering the week I've had) by some of the garish email signatures that fly around at the
bottom of people's emails in my company. These range from verbose to garish, from full of data that nobody is EVER going to need or use about you, to use of every single color and font size known to mankind, and sometimes even animated gifs!

I became versed in the use of computers at the glorious Manchester University CS Department. There we were surrounded by clever clog professors (ok so they mumbled and worse sandals sometimes) who were able to inform us of good netiquette as began using Usenet (newsgroups to most folks).

We were told that use of the UNIX .signature file to attach a signature to outgoing emails (yes emailing since 1991!!!) was governed by gentlemens agreements that were captured in the 4-line McQuary limit. This was put together by a chap called George McQuary, who back in the early 90s founded the Netiquette Guidelines that state:

Use "-- " [dash dash space] as the beginning of the .signature block, and thereafter no more than 4 lines of 80 characters each in the .signature block itself.

So there you have it, starting with "-- "(which allowed some email systems to 'delete' the rest of the block should they chose to) you had 4 lines of no more than 80 characters each, within which to put your personal signature.

Obviously its not widely known or followed. Shame really...

[now you know why I have the "-- dp" at the end of my posts and emails eh? Old habits...]


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