Negating your name

What is it with some people that they feel compelled to sign off emails by preceding their name or initials with a minus sign.

It seems to be a techie thing, as Francis and Enda both do it. Actually, thinking about it, Enda signs off "/e". Also, the meebo pop-up message today was from Elaine, or should I say -Elaine. There are other examples out there, but I can’t think of the culprits right now. Not sure if it’s limited to the unwashed techie masses. Maybe it’s some Unix joke that I don’t get. If so, good. Can anyone explain?



4 Responses to “Negating your name”

  1. Shanahan on August 29th, 2006 08:36

    I do it because I’m actually not writing an email, I’m writing a big long formula with lots of variables. The capper to every formula is to subtract my initials which are representative of the universe.

    If I were to use the + sign it would add in the sum total of my initials’ entropy which would overload your email system.

    I also like to use full stops in my phone number.


  2. Enda on August 29th, 2006 09:55

    Well my “/e” goes back to the dats when XML was an “unusual” thing: a message would start with a and end with or in my case the shortening of and to (eventually) “/e”

    There is another – more archane – explination worth looking at too. The signature “- (newline)” was once a “standard” which when personally embellished eventually would end up as “-enda” or some such.

    Thing is – right at the heart of it – it is kind of a techie thing. Whether or not everyone who now partakes is still a “”techie”” it doesn’t matter – once apon a time, it was.


  3. Enda on August 29th, 2006 09:57

    Well well – there was a <enda> and a </enda> missing from the message above which completly ruined the flow of the comment 🙁 Ah well.

  4. Dan on August 30th, 2006 07:31


    Surely it would subtract the product of your initials, as opposed to the sum? Full stops (periods) in phone numbers is a very American thing.

    Oh and btw, you’re both weird…

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