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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 25th day of Storing, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 116 > Articles > Signatures and Killer Attack Squirrels

Signatures and Killer Attack Squirrels

by child_dragon

CHAT BOARDS - I am a master procrastinator. I really am. For instance, I managed to put off cleaning my room until Friday, which probably isn't smart as my mom is coming up the next day and will probably be quite distressed at the fact that my side of the room is completely covered with papers and dirty dishes. It's not my fault they are all over the floor -- the school doesn't give us enough shelf space.

Anyway, I was shoving stuff into my desk drawer when I found it. A Neopian Times Reporter badge sitting underneath my math book. I pulled it out, blew the dust off, and realized that I might as well make use of it. So, clipping it to my shirt, pulling out a notebook and pen, I waded through the piles of paper and headed for the best place to get a story: the chat boards.

I found my topic almost immediately. Upon entering the first board on the help chat I was confronted with this at the bottom of someone's post:

"Click here for ways to confuse a n00b for hours."

And yes. I clicked before realizing it was a signature. A rather funny one, in fact. So I looked around some more and realized that although every signature was different there were a couple dominant themes. With some help from the kind people in the help chat I was able to gather up enough information to put together this very special (and very rare) child_dragon report on chat board signatures.

First off, what exactly is a signature? Signatures, or siggies, are a small blurb of text that goes at the bottom of every post you make. They can be set in Chat Preferences and can be customized as far as font type and color goes. You can also add smilies and symbols. They are one of the new features NeoPets added with the new chat boards. If you look, there is even an entire board dedicated to the talk of signatures.

So now that we've established exactly what a signature is it's time to define what kinds of siggies exist.

Witty Siggies - These are signatures that for whatever reason are designed to make people laugh. The example I posted at the beginning is one of these. Please note that I said 'designed' to make people laugh. This does not mean that they will succeed, indeed, the chat boards seem proliferated with a endless stream of overused and inside jokes. However, the intent is what classifies a siggy as witty. Ex. If ignorance is bliss why aren't there more happy people in the world? ~ perky_goth

Random Siggies - My roommate has an odd habit. Every now and then she'll burst out with a random word such as, "Scrumdiddlyumpcious!" or "Moochie kaboochie!" There is no rhyme or reason behind these outburst, they are just so inane they cannot help but bring a chuckle. And a weird look. Random siggies are the exact same thing except in text form; utter insanity that has no real reason behind it. Quotes taken out of context are also defined as random siggies. Ex. That rabbit's dynamite! ~ indyjr

Profound Siggies - Some people opt to be a bit more serious in their signatures. Anything philosophical and meaningful is defined as a profound siggy. Famous quotes from great intellectual thinkers are often used, as are small bits of wisdom found scattered about. Ex. To err is human. To confess, divine. ~ reisa

Shameless Siggies - Now we get to the category of siggy I use! Shameless siggies can also be called shameless plugs. These include anything that amounts to advertising. It can be a blurb about your shop, guild, beauty contest entry, petpage, lookup, wishlist, and how much of a certain item/np you've collected. Ex. The Knightly Order of Meridell -- restoring Virtue and Honor to Neopia. ~ mine

Now that siggies have been classified we are brought to the important part: the do's and don'ts of siggies. After interviewing a number of people I hit upon these general ideas.

People like signatures that are witty and thought-provoking. They enjoy being able to see something about the person posting it and/or being made to laugh. Reisa sums it up quite nicely by saying, "(I like) Good/inspirational quotes, humorous sayings." Jjened adds, "I like to see original and creative siggies. Ones that someone has put thought into, whether silly or serious." However, people do not like signatures that are pointless, obnoxious, and they especially do not like begging siggies. The most common ones to come up were: wishlists, birthdays, 'armies', begging for donations, and the '3/100 codestones'. Perky_goth lists these as, "Thinly veiled begging..." When the interviewees asked if they paid attention to these shameless siggies they responded with mostly no's although a couple said they might take a look at it if the signature was presented nicely. Rudeness is also out as well as put-downs. When asked what kind of siggies she liked, Malethea responded with, "I don't like the beggar siggies or gross or obnoxious ones." There was also a certain type of witty siggy that was apparently quite a pet peeve for many people. Hc_sweetdweamz comments on them by saying, "I hate the 'when life gives you lemons' ones some of the answers don't make sense. " Fairygirl475 has a siggy that pretty much sums up the situation: "If life gives you lemons, there are plenty of siggies that will tell you what to do."

The content of the signature isn't the only thing that needs to be looked at. Since NeoPets allows users to change the font as they choose an artistic view needs to be taken on the subject. Reisa states, "Different fonts/colors/sizes do help to distinguish one post from another, but I dislike sparkly fonts or fonts that are overly large or fanciful and simply seem to scream for attention." While blain black text is too plain; there is such a thing as going overboard. You must be extremely careful when sprucing up their signature. There is such a thing as going overboard. Generally, when choosing signature colors, you should take in consideration that this signature will be going on a white background. Therefore, it is best to not choose extremely light colors. It will make your signature hard to read and will give people like me a headache. In fact, many people -- disgusted by your lack of consideration -- will just skim over your signature. And for the love of white Weewoos... let's stop with this white text madness. A post that cannot be seen is a post that will not be read. Moving on. Many people try to theme their signature to match their avatar by choosing coordinating colors. For instance, if I had a Neopian Times avatar (hint hint) I would choose a color that complimented the colors used in the avatar, such as a dark gold. Another factor to consider is font size. This should always be used in moderation. Extremely large font does not make your signature more appealing. It makes it obnoxious. People will probably read your signature if it is interesting; they will not read it if it is annoying. Here are some examples(sample signature provided by my roommate):

Bad: Come save me, o killer attack squirrel Spartacus!

Good: Come save me, o killer attack squirrel Spartacus!

So what are the pros and cons of signatures? They are an opportunity for people to share something about themselves, perhaps make people laugh, brighten someone's day. Jjened says, "I think they add to the board (most times) and show a bit of the person's personality." The general sentiment about them is that they allow people to give others a glimpse of who they are. However, signatures have their downsides also. They can be obnoxious, annoying, or just plain stupid. When questioned, the interviewees responded that this downside did not outweigh the benefits of the signatures. Fairygirl475 shared a sentiment I'm sure many people can relate to, "If people are going to be dumb, they definitely don't need a siggy to show it." Another small downside to the signatures was the limit on characters. Many people believed that the character limit should be extended to allow people to have longer phrases and still be able to change the font color and size. This would allow people to post more interesting signatures without running out of room to put everything.

Signatures are an excellent form of self-expression. Fairygirl375 says about her signature, "I change mine pretty much every day. Sometimes they're funny and sometimes they're serious, but they always reflect whatever kind of mood I'm in that day." Amazonguidre choose hers because, "...it means something, have you ever held a tear drop in your hand, known the pain and joy to cry, have you ever loved and lost, or lost then loved?" Serious, funny, or just plain annoying, signatures are the new rage of self-expression. Whether they are something worth reading is entirely up to the individual. This is child_dragon, signing off to go clean her room. I think the essay about Chet Flash just ate my tea mug.

Authors Note: Thanks to everyone who answered my questions for this article! I really appreciate it.

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