What is McQuary Limit?
The McQuary Limit (sometimes called the “McQuarry Limit”) is a term that refers to an outdated practice called “warlording”. This happened on the USENET newsgroups of the 1980s and 1990s. The McQuary limit is a limit on the size of a signature block, a digital text block, and characters attached to a USENET post.
In the age of USENET, the McQuary limit was a kind of rule intended to enforce restrictions on signature blocks, which was often quoted in warlording. According to the McQuary limit, the acceptable limit for a signature block was four lines of 80 characters or less each.
Users who were in love with bulky and elaborate signature pads could exceed the McQuary limit by a considerable amount. Some of these blocks contained ASCII graphics, which used individual text letters and characters to draw large, cartoon-like images in the signature block. One example was the use of ASCII art to create an image of the sword of Conan the Barbarian.
The practice of warlording, using the McQuary limit as a kind of understood network etiquette, would use sarcasm or other means to criticize these oversized blocks of signature. Another bug in USENET was to include the signature block more than once in a post.
In some ways, the earlier bulletin boards, older than the Internet, had a lot of user etiquette, more than most of the usual user interactions on the Internet today. One reason is the relative freedom of the technology form - for example, today's forums and comment boards often do not accept large blocks of signature. The McQuary Bounding Rule is a good example of how a user community sets its own standards and enforces them without centralized control.