To be fair to the posters on my own board, this isn’t so much a problem on ihmmb.com. Or maybe I’ve just ad blocked it all out and they’ve all got blinkies and tickers and 3×5 pictures of their kids crammed in there. I’d rather not know if this is the case, as I’m quite proud of the subdued look of my forums.
There could be scads of interesting, lively content on boards where the culture leans towards jumbo sized sigs but I wouldn’t know because I can’t find it amidst all the clutter. I’m not the kind of person that can tune it all out. I worry about the kind of people who can tune it out, it seems like it would put one at an evolutionary disadvantage to not realize that all around them is bad taste.
Pictures in Signatures
Are not terrible, but they get to be a bit much, especially if in the sig of a serial poster. Pictures of children and pets are cute, but are better displayed in frames on one’s desk, less scrolling for other people that way. The ones that are supposed to be humorous pall after you’ve seen them a time or two; comedy is all about the unexpected, no? Animated gifs make me queasy and again, after seeing them once I really don’t need to see them again. If I wanted to watch something move, I’d get a fish tank.
Again, not terrible in theory, but they get to be a bit much if several people have them. I shouldn’t be too critical of them, I know how exciting it is to track progress and it’s not as if there is a machine easily accessible to most people with a calendar on it. Whoever invents that is going to be rich!
I don’t hate reasonable tickers for truly important personal events but as they add to the sig file clutter, I have to include them – as a category – on the list. Some tickers do deserve scorn and their owners need an infusion of common sense. Do people really need a ticker to tell them how many days until Christmas? Or their own birthday? If it’s soon enough to start worrying about it, you can count the days down on your fingers, no need to be busying up the internet with that foolishness.
It’s like this, there are very few things important enough that you need to make them blink. And if they are important enough, you diminish them by putting them in a blinkie. What is this need to make things glitter, pulsate and inexplicably bounce? One day people will figure out how to make tattoos that glitter, pulsate and bounce and I shall be forced to take up residence in a cave with the blind fish.
Too Damn Long
A sig is meant to either be a short reminder of who you are or a short quote or statement that reflects in some way your values, personality or perspective; perhaps a link to your blog or a site important to you. It doesn’t have to be your entire life story. It doesn’t have to be in 30 pt type and hot pink. Three or four lines, max, and those better be short.
Sometimes, I do find myself wondering about the things people do choose to share in a sig. Of all the things they could choose to be in their signature, why on Earth would they choose that? That’s really not a criticism, just curiosity, although I suppose the “why on Earth” part does imply some judgment. It’s interesting, people’s thought processes.
A while back, on another board, sometimes people would quote me in their sigs, usually saying something insulting about somebody else. I always wanted to ask probing questions about why they wanted to do that, but I was afraid it would be taken the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong, it was flattering, but odd in to have my words used in that way, as if the part of me that resonated most with my fellow posters was the part that made zingers.
If I were the kind of person known for my sensitive understanding of human nature, I’d probably talk about how signatures are a way for people to carve out an identity for themselves on a medium that is inherently impersonal. Nobody really knows me for that, so instead I’ll sum up by saying: Save your energy for your posts, that’s how we’ll really figure out who you are.