Disclaimer: This page is just a little history of me messing around with the nickname field in Special:Preferences. It is in no way intended to be used deceptively or trollishly, and I don't take responsibility for anyone who might try to use it in such a way.
9-11-04 - woah, check this out: I put as my signature (in Special:Preferences) "biggins [[User talk:biggins|talk to me]] ~~~" (no quotes tho, natch) and then signed this page with the normal ~~~. It renders as "biggins talk to me ~~~", (again, no quotes of course) but the crazy thing is that the three tildes arent in the nowiki tags, so the next time I edit the page it treats it as another signature generator and creates another rendering. repeated iterations yield the following:
[[User:Biggins|biggins talk to me [[User:Biggins|biggins talk to me [[User:Biggins|biggins talk to me [[User:Biggins|biggins talk to me [[User:Biggins|biggins talk to me [[User:Biggins|biggins talk to me ~~~]]]]]]]]]]]]
I hope to clean it up so all the [['s aren't in it.
9-20-04 - Well, a much cleaner (though unfortunately not quite as strange) effect can be produced simply by pasting the following into your signature box in preferences (changing 'biggins' to your username, natch):
biggins]] ~~~ [[User talk:biggins|talk
which creates the same interesting recursive behavior upon subsequent edits, and—as I neglected to mention in Version 1.0's section—the next person to edit the page will have their signature in the middle of yours! Man, the useless stuff I come up with...
p.s. a little research on Wikipedia shows that the reason this stuff happens is that whatever you put in your signature box is encased by '[[User:Biggins|' on the left and ']]' on the right. Some clever user (according to legend, Dori  ) figured out that you could add a link to your talk page or wherever by manipulating it a bit. I've just taken it a step further (backwards?) by adding the ~~~ strangeness. Understanding how it works helped clean up the first version at the top of this page, but also leads me to ask why the first iteration of version 1.0 was rendered as "biggins talk to me ~~~", but subsequent iterations accumulated brackets...
9-21-04 - A little more mischief. After a little more digging, I found another little feature that is also very interesting. Putting the following in your nickname field:
gives just three tildes as your signature (it can easily be changed to four if you wish), although in the code the tildes are surrounded by a blanked link to your user page and a generic blank link. However the interesting part is that the next person to edit the page will have their signature put their with no sign of you at all—at least on the surface: the code will clearly show who did it due to the blank link to your user page. This even works if the user edits an entirely separate section from the one in which your ~~~ is, i.e. if the following:
had not been wrapped in nowiki tags using one of this signature tricks, and you went ahead and edited just Version 1.0 using the little edit box on the side when you're logged in, it would still add your signature down here in Version 3.0 where the tildes had been even though you never looked at the source code of this section. Crazygonuts!