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Sign not in use sign not in use sign

Recursive
  (+7)
(+7)
  [vote for,
against]

On English motorways, the large electronic signs sometimes have a notice attached to them when they are not in use (for example, because they have not yet been connected, or are broken). These signs read "SIGN NOT IN USE".

I am not sure why this is considered necessary.

But.

The "Sign not in use" signs are not as large as the sign whose not- in- use-ness they are indicating, but they are nevertheless quite large. Installing these "Sign not in use" signs must be at least a two-man job, and the "Sign not in use" signs must be removed (again, involving at least two people) once the sign which was not in use becomes, in fact, in use.

So.

A more economical option, ipso quandam sic ipse callisto, would be to leave the "Sign not in use" signs permanently in place. Then, when the sign is, in fact, in use, a "Sign not in use sign not in use" sign could be affixed to the "Sign not in use" sign. This "Sign not in use sign not in use" sign would be smaller than the ""Sign not in use" sign, by the same ratio as the ""Sign not in use" sign is smaller than the sign itself. Hence, the ""Sign not in use sign not in use" sign would be much more manageable, and could be installed and removed as necessary by a single "Sign not in use sign not in use" sign installator.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 25 2010

[link]






       Or alternatively, have a near infinite series of appended signs to the effect of “oh no it isn’t”, “oh yes it is” etc.
Ian Tindale, Jun 26 2010
  

       If there's a sign that doesn't have a "sign not in use" sign and nobody is around to see it, is it in use?   

       There's a semiology joke somewhere here, maybe i'll have it when i wake up/
rcarty, Jun 26 2010
  

       Two not in uses do not an in use make.
darkspeed, Jun 26 2010
  

       Ah, right - I've always thought that the "Sign not in use" sign referred to the "Sign not in use" sign itself, and could thus be safely ignored.
hippo, Jun 26 2010
  

       Hippo - you have a valid point. Therefore, we would need to introduce a parallel series of signs to accompany the sign, the "sign not in use" sign, and the "sign not in use sign not in use" sign. These parallel signs would start with "The above sign refers to the sign above the above sign and not to the above sign", and progress from there.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2010
  

       I see the conflict of logic here. The subsequent signs warning of the signs not in use are in fact ...in use.
dentworth, Jun 26 2010
  

       I say we need counterpart “sign in use” signage, where appropriate.
Ian Tindale, Jun 26 2010
  

       can't you just turn the first one off? my driving instructor used to tut at me - all these expensive signs and you don't ever look at them.
po, Jun 26 2010
  

       The first one *is* usually turned off. But for some reason, the Highways Authority considers it necessary to tell motorists that the sign is in the condition of not displaying information, as distinct from the condition of displaying no information.   

       I wonder if the proposed government cuts will impact the Highways Authority Philosophy Department.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2010
  

       Eventually, the driver's field of view will be entirely occupied by signage commenting on other signage. Meaning will be drowned in a sea of metacommentary.   

       All highway signs aspire to the condition of Muzak.
mouseposture, Jun 26 2010
  

       // Meaning will be drowned in a sea of metacommentary.//   

       Hey, if it works for the HB...
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2010
  

       This idea is brilliant, [MaxB]! It is just this kind of fodder that fed the mind of that most revered of English writers, Douglas Adams. I proudly bun [+].
Grogster, Jun 26 2010
  

       I humbly accept.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2010
  
      
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