Help:Talk pages

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There are two types of discussion pages, more commonly called talk pages — standard talk pages, which are used to discuss an article, a template, a category, etc., and user talk pages, which are used to communicate with other users or leave them messages. Every page has an associated talk page, except pages in the Special: namespace. If there has never been any text on a talk page, the link to the talk page from the article, category, etc., will be red. You can still discuss the page — you will just be the first person to edit the respective talk page.

Article talk pages are provided for discussion of the content of articles.

Contents

Accessing a talk page

To access a talk page, look for a tab or link labelled Discussion. These tabs or links will be found either at the top of the page or on the left hand side. Users using the Classic skin will see Discuss this page instead.

The name of a standard talk page is Talk: plus the article's title. For example, the talk page of the article Harry Potter is Talk:Harry Potter. For a page name that has a prefix, "talk" is added to the prefix before the colon. For example, the talk page associated with the user page User:Hope is User talk:Hope. This page is in the Help: namespace, so the talk page for this page is Help_talk:Talk pages. The Main Page is in the main namespace (because it has no prefix), so its talk page is simply Talk:Main Page.

From a standard talk page you can go back to the main article by clicking on the tab labelled page or article next to the discussion tab. For pages in other namespaces, there is a different label--for example, "user page" for the User: namespace, and "project page" for the Fanlore: namespace.

Using talk pages

You should sign and date your contributions on all talk pages by typing four tildes: (~~~~), which will yield something like: Username 19:36, 10 January 2006 (UTC). You can also click on the signature button that appears in the toolbar above the edit window when JavaScript is enabled.

On a talk page, "this page" usually refers to the main page (i.e. the page the talk page is associated with). If the talk page itself is referred to, write "this talk page".

When debating the name of the page or discussing merging it with another page, always mention the current page name. Otherwise after renaming (moving) a page, references to "this page name" become ambiguous.

The "Post a comment" feature (the tab labeled with a plus sign (+) at the top of a talk page in the default skin or "post a comment" in the side bar in the Classic skin) allows you to start a new section without needing to edit the whole page. The section header becomes the edit summary at the time you save the page, so there is no edit summary box displayed when you use this feature.

The practice of posting similar messages to more than a few users' talk pages, for example to solicit a certain action, is very strongly discouraged.

Formatting

Because the wiki software platform provides for a wide range of formatting styles, consistent formatting is essential to maintaining readable talk pages.

Starting a new section

Start a new section to discuss a new topic. You can start a new section in one of two ways:

EDIT this page

  • Click EDIT to edit the page
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page
  • Add a heading on a separate line, like so:
== My Fabulous Topic ==
  • Type in your comment and save the page as usual

+ add comment

  • Click the plus sign (+) to add a comment to the page
  • Enter text in the subject/headline field
  • Type in your comment and save the page as usual

Threaded Comments

Indentation is used to create a threaded discussion. Indents can be created by adding one or more colons (:) in front of a paragraph of text. If you want to reply to a specific comment on the talk page, you should add your reply directly below the comment and preface it with a :. If the comment is already indented, you can copy and paste the colons from their comment and then add one.

Add comments concerning current discussions below the latest entry in the section where they are relevant, or below the specific comment to which they apply, paying attention to indentation.

This is easy to read

Coding:

How's the soup? --[[John]]
:It's great!! --[[Jane]]
:Not too bad.. --[[George]]
::I made it myself! --[[John]]
I think the soup-discussion should be moved to [[Talk:Soup]].. --[[Jane]]
:I tend to disagree. --[[George]]

What is shown:

How's the soup? --John

It's great!! --Jane
Not too bad.. --George
I made it myself! --John

I think the soup-discussion should be moved to Talk:Soup.. --Jane

I tend to disagree. --George

This is not

Coding:

How's the soup? --[[John]]
It's great!! --[[Jane]]
Not too bad.. --[[George]]
I made it myself! --[[John]]
I think the soup-discussion should be moved to [[Talk:Soup]].. --[[Jane]]
I tend to disagree. --[[George]]

What is shown:

How's the soup? --John It's great!! --Jane Not too bad.. --George I made it myself! --John I think the soup-discussion should be moved to Talk:Soup.. --Jane I tend to disagree. --George

Placing material from the article on a talk page

Sometimes it is necessary to display a sentence or paragraph from the article on the talk page so that other editors can easily understand what is being discussed. Here are some methods of placing quoted material from an article to within the body of a talk page that are currently in use on Wikipedia talk pages.

You can place text in a light green colored box by copying and pasting the code below. Note: If copying and pasting an entire section, place the section title in boldface '''Title''' with three quotation marks on each side instead of equal signs ==Title== . This will remove the editing link normally seen on the article page.

<div class="boilerplate" style="background-color: #efe; margin: 2em 0 0 0; padding: 0 10px 0 10px; border: 1px dotted #aaa;">Put copied and pasted quoted text here.</div>

Archiving talk pages

If the talk page becomes too long, you can archive old discussions on a subpage. You can simply move the entire page or copy/paste a section to the new page. The archived talk page can be named something like Talk:Page/2013 Archive. Add Template:TalkArchive to the top of the archive page and Template:TalkArchiveIndex to the top of the main talk page.

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