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I recently had a number of my valid answers voted down because people objected to the fact that I added a tagline to the end. The answers were correct for the questions asked and the downvotes were only due to the tagline regarding hiring, which said:

We're hiring! Developers and QA in Washington, DC area (or looking to relocate) should send resumes to careers@example.com.

Are taglines and signatures disallowed?

For more information, see "What kind of behavior is expected of users?" in the Help Center.

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14 Answers

up vote 88 down vote accepted

The original poster's "tagline" was not a tagline at all but an advertisement and voted down by the community as such -- which I completely agree with.

In general, taglines and signatures are strongly discouraged, and are likely to be edited out. We don't want to clutter up the questions page with a lot of redundant signature blocks and taglines and so forth.

Please use your built in profile, avatar, and username as your signature; that's what they are there for, and every post you make is already "signed" this way!

We do of course encourage people to put lots of interesting information about themselves on their user page, and we try to drive interested people there so they can learn who you are and what you're about. Self-promotion is fine on your user page.

Update #1:

Please EDIT any posts with signature blocks. StackOverflow is collaboratively edited! You can help keep the quality of posts high by keeping the noise level low. If the user reverts these edits, then flag for moderator attention.

Update #2:

The official policy on signatures has been added to the /faq on each site:

Can I use a signature or tagline?

Please don't use signatures or taglines in your posts. Every post you make is already "signed" with your standard user card, which links directly back to your user page. Your user page belongs to you — fill it with interesting information about your interests, cool stuff you've worked on, or whatever else you like!

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I think there are four points here.

  • People come here looking for answers to questions, not looking for jobs. Putting a tagline in your posts is a form of advertising and is spam if unwanted.

  • People don't know who "we" is in "we're hiring". If you're going to do an advertisement, at least post a link to your company instead of saying "send your resume here". It's bad form.

  • Answers are presumably going to remain on this site for the life of the site. If you somehow are not hiring, or change your contact information, you have to go back and edit every post. It looks funny to edit answers a long time after they have been submitted, without a good reason, especially if it is the accepted answer.

  • This isn't a normal web forum where people can post what they want. It's a questions and answers site. Cluttering answers with a "we're hiring" line is very distracting.

If you want to put up a hiring notice, do it in your profile, not on the question page or in an answer.

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I looked at a couple of your answers, and between the greeting, the "HTH" and signing off, the two rules and the advert, more of your "answer" space is unhelpful than helpful.

Think of it this way: that space would be better used seeing someone else's answer which is actually on the topic of the question. While I probably wouldn't downvote you for such an answer, I would strongly discourage you from wasting the space in this way. There's no need for a greeting to the questioner, or signing off: just include the text which is actually relevant to the question.

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I think it might be because it could be seen as advertising. On the internet, advertising == spam.

If you want to advertise, put it on your profile page in the "About Me" section.

Plus, do you plan on going through all of your questions and removing the "tagline" when you're done hiring?

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It might not be against the rules, but people have a right to vote up or down as they see fit. It would appear obvious to most individuals that advertising in any form would likely attract negative attention, especially given the nature of the audience - the guys and girls who receive probably 90% of the worlds spam!

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Use your avatar picture to put in any information that you want users to see when reading your messages.

Use your profile page to show any important messages that users shall see that are interested to find out more about you.

Other than that, please avoid writing anything not related to the question or answer you are writing. It is inappropriate for this site. Downvoting might be a result.

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Here's a thought: You have 30 characters available in your display name...you're only using 3 of them ;-)

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If the question were about finding a job, I think it would be appropriate to include a reference if your company were hiring. As a general practice in answers, I would consider it SPAM. My advice is to avoid it. This isn't Craigslist or a jobs site.

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Strikes me that any tagline, whether hiring-related or not, feels like noise in this context.

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agreed, SO is a reference. a social reference so it has noise, but it shouldn't be more cluttered than it has to be –  nailitdown Feb 13 '09 at 6:26
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Aren't Joel and Jeff working on a jobs board that will sit in parallel to SO? if so send your job postings to that rather than taking up the time of people who are trying to get the job they already have and probably like done.

This isn't a jobs board. This isn't a Forum. This isn't a social network for you to meet up with your "peeps". This is a place where professionals can ask questions and get answers.

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Related question: What is the policy on signatures and links in answers.

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The linked question has been deleted. –  GEOCHET Nov 3 '09 at 14:48
    
@[Rich B]: oops! thanks! now undeleted –  Steven A. Lowe Nov 3 '09 at 16:22
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Our effort contributing content to the site is what brings in the visitors. SO relies on this for its advertising model.

Seems a bit cheap to not allow the individuals who post to gain something from their own content.

Although I can see a 'slippery slope' argument.

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Okay, but this should be in the place where anyone can see. I can't agree that in Internet everything with Stack Overflow is noise and thus - spam. This is an opinion of a single site administration but not the "whole Internet".

For example, Technet, MySQL, SQLServerCentral, etc. do not make noise because of this. If those are the rules then the user has to read them right from the beginning and they must not be somewhere in the "apropos" in some "Forest Codex".

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I disagree. It is tagged FAQ and and linked to from the FAQ links on all the sites. Ie. This is one of many questions making up the FAQ and recommended reading to all users. Futhermore SO is not a discussion forum, but a Q&A site. Big distinction. All FAQ articles are here: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/… –  Diago Sep 15 '09 at 12:50
    
I think the info about advertising MUST be added to the first page of the FAQ and which ad is allowed or disallowed. On the the first page only "200 reduced advertising" is shown, nothing more. "Advertising info" link in the bottom only shows information about the banners displaying. –  Paul Svirin Sep 15 '09 at 13:28
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This, then, is one more reason to avoid community wiki. If signatures and taglines are "strongly discouraged," and an answer is a wiki, then only the editor's information is left with the question/answer. The original poster is not shown except in the revisions, and is therefore no longer present in the conversation.

When I contribute good work to a question or answer, I like to sign my name as below so that it's obvious to everyone who bothers to read my contribution that I was the one who had the original thought or idea. If anyone else comes along and edits the content substantially, I have no problem with them removing it. It's not obtrusive, nor is it noisy. I could agree that links to businesses, images, friendly greetings or salutations might be considered too much, but the additional few characters are surely not a stumbling block.

Editing posts just to remove it seems excessive - but this is a wiki site and I certainly won't complain if my posts are held to a high editorial standard.

In previous questions, lots of people have mentioned that they don't even pay attention to the avatar and rep next to a question or answer. A signature solves that problem, and I expect that many people who visit this site have seen my posts with the signature and associate them together.

I believe there's real value in allowing people such recognition.

-Adam

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I agree 100% on the "community wiki" issue. It troubles me that I need to look at the edits to see who originally asked or answered a question. More troubling is when I make a minor change and the post appears to be "by" me. In those cases, the profile is worse than useless. –  Jon Ericson Feb 27 '09 at 22:17
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"people have mentioned that they don't even pay attention to the avatar and rep next to a question or answer. A signature solves that problem" - er, why is that a problem? –  Blorgbeard Mar 10 '09 at 4:20
    
I believe there's real value in allowing people such recognition. –  Adam Davis Nov 3 '09 at 3:14
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So you're saying you would like a 150x150 avatar in your current signature block? –  random Nov 3 '09 at 4:25
    
I don't recall saying that. I'm saying I'd like 5 characters at the end of my post (7 if you include the two line breaks, and 14 bytes if you use 16 bit characters). Out of curiosity, how exactly does my signature damage SO/Meta? What about it is so rankling that you persist in commenting on it nearly every other answer/question I post? At least Rich B edits and moves on, but you don't seem content with merely editing, you must make a bit of noise and pomp about it. I've been posting with my signature for nearly 900 posts, so what has changed that you bother about it now? –  Adam Davis Nov 3 '09 at 4:40
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æAdam Davis: If people don't look at the avatar to see who wrote that wonderful prose they have just read, what makes you think that they'll recall that adam gave a helpful answer. –  perbert Nov 3 '09 at 5:34
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Community wiki is just what it sounds. A community wiki. Your attribution should not be any more than anyone else's in the revision history. Stop this egotistical nonsense and stop the arguments and flamewars it is creating. –  GEOCHET Nov 3 '09 at 14:45
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Judge posts on the the posts themselves. The author has little or nothing to do with what your perception of the post should be. This is scary train of thought indeed. –  GEOCHET Nov 3 '09 at 14:46
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only the last editor's information is left with the question/answer - This is no longer the case; it's now the user who contributed the largest percentage of the final post. Note the displayed user after my (intentionally minor) edit. –  Kevin Vermeer Dec 31 '11 at 17:17
    
@KevinVermeer And you didn't remove the signature/tagline?! I am shocked! –  Adam Davis Jan 1 '12 at 14:34
    
I agree with @AdamDavis's sentiment. Plus as long as it's simple it add a bit of community, civility, personality, and respect in an increasingly cold and impersonal internet. Remove the spam and quotes and advertising by all means. I don't think a civil, Thanks, MyName or --MyName clutters things or detracts from them. It also adds a sense of community. Deleting things like this and opting for 100 percent code generated icon signatures is pretty cold. Perhaps many programmers are aspergerish and non personal. But that is more a reason to be more human, not less. –  BillR Jul 11 '12 at 18:27
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