Re: Should we leave this automatic handling of signatures and HTML?

From: Paul Haldane <>
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 14:32:17 +0000 (GMT)
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 3 Nov 1999 wrote:

> - Is it an RFC convention or not to separate signatures with "--\n" (
> or "---\n", etc).

I could have sworn that this was discussed on this list recently but I've been through the archives and my mail folders and don't see anything.

My understanding is that the 'standard' separator is "\n-- \n" (note trailing space after the double dash).

This isn't covered in any current rfc but is in the News Article Format internet draft and in Henry Spencer's 'Son of rfc1036' document
(the internet draft mentioned above is a successor to this).

These two documents _are_ descrining Usenet/news standards/conventions but it seems likely (to me) that the same convention will appear in the MESSFOR internet draft.

Here's the relevant text from the USEFOR document...

          A "personal signature" is a short closing text automatically
          added to the end of articles by posting agents, identifying
          the poster and giving his network addresses, etc. If a poster
          or posting agent does append such a signature to an article,
          it MUST be preceded with a delimiter line containing (only)
          two hyphens (ASCII 45) followed by one SP (ASCII 32). The
          signature is considered to extend from the last occurrence of
          that delimiter up to the end of the article (or up to the end
          of the part in the case of a multipart MIME body). Followup
          agents, when incorporating quoted text from a precursor,
          SHOULD NOT include the signature in the quotation. Posting
          agents SHOULD discourage (at least with a warning) signatures
          of excessive length (4 lines is a commonly accepted limit).

> - If it is not, would you like to have a setup configuration to avoid
> having this automatic signature rule.

I wouldn't object to there being such an option :->. I don't think I'd use it myself. At the moment we treat any of

 ^-- \n

as a signature marker, whilst in we should probably only recognise the last one (though this would cause problems for users trying to do the right thing whose mailers strip off trailing spaces at the end of lines - includes Outlook Express I believe).


Paul Haldane
Computing Service
University of Newcastle
Received on Wed 03 Nov 1999 04:34:06 PM GMT

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