Wikipedia:Talk page

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A talk page is a special Wikipedia page containing discussion about the contents of its associated "subject" page.

  • To view the talk page of an article, click on the discussion link somewhere on the border of the screen (depending on the skin you are using and whether you have changed your presentation preferences).
  • In the default Wikipedia presentation, the discussion link is found in a tab at the top of the page, next to edit this page link.
  • When you are on the talk page, clicking on project page or article link will take you back to the main article.

Inevitably, there will arise situations in which collaborators on an article can benefit mutually from discussing the article—thus we have designated a namespace specifically for such discussion.

Note: it is proper Wikiquette to sign your posts on talk pages. This can be done automatically by typing four tildes (~~~~) at the end of your message.

For some important guidelines on how to use a Talk Page, see Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. See also Wikipedia:How to archive a talk page and Wikipedia:Refactoring talk pages.


What is it used for?

NOTE: Use of the Wikipedia talk pages (the "discussion tab") is recommended as the first step in Wikipedia:Dispute resolution.

On Wikipedia, the purpose of a talk page is to help to improve the contents of the main page, from an encyclopedic point of view. Questions, challenges, excised text (due to truly egregious confusion or bias, for example), arguments relevant to changing the text, and commentary on the main page are all fair play.

Wikipedians generally oppose the use of talk pages just for the purpose of partisan talk about the main subject. Wikipedia is not a soapbox; it's an encyclopedia. In other words, talk about the article, not about the subject. It's only the habits we encourage that keep Wikipedia from turning into another h2g2 or Everything2. See also: Wikiquette

That said, Wikipedians are fallible creatures, so it's entirely natural that a bit of partisan wrangling takes place on talk pages - and occasionally this even leads to improvements in the article! So there's a fair degree of tolerance, and most Wikipedians succumb to a bit of wrangling from time to time.

The practice of "spamming" - posting similar messages to more than a few users' talk pages, often for the purpose of soliciting a certain action - is discouraged.

"Post a comment" feature

For editing a talk page, one can optionally use the "Post a comment" feature (by clicking the "plus sign" button just to the right of the "edit this page" button), but only for a new thread and for a reply to be put at the bottom of the last thread.

  • For a new thread, fill in the "Subject/headline" box. Then the edit summary is automatically the same as the new section header.
  • For a reply to be put at the bottom of the last thread, do not fill in the "Subject/headline" box. In this case it is not possible to supply an edit summary. Instead, edit the previous thread.

When using "Post a comment", an edit conflict is impossible. However, in the case that you are not starting a new thread but replying to an existing one, your response may be appended to a newly created post that was added while you wrote yours. It is therefore generally recommended to use section editing to respond, and "Post a comment" to start new threads. If your comment is accidentally misplaced, just edit the page and move it.

Example of a Talk Page

Awesomeness of article

This article is great. --Ortolan88 18:20 Jan 30, 2003 (UTC)

No it isn't! –fish
Yes it is! –wojahowicz
I was talking to Ortolan88! –fish
I like wojahowicz better. –Ortolan88

Now, now. –Barney Miller

Need this more?

We need an article on kindness more than we need this mess. –Alfred the butler

Yeah, but what about rubber baby buggy bumpers? –Comissioner gordon

(Note that the above examples are only intended to be representative of the format a talk page should be kept in, and not of the kind of contents that should be posted.)


The depth of a message is determined by the number of colons (':') in front of the message.

message 1 --user 1

:reply 1.1 --user 2

:reply 1.2 --user 3

::reply 1.2.1 --user 1

message 2 --user 4

:reply 2.1 --user 5

User talk pages

Your user page also has a talk page which has some special features. For one thing, there is a link to it in the header next to your name (if you use a "skin" other than the default it may be somewhere else). Also, if edits are made to it by others, the text You have new messages will appear at the top of the page. These pages can be used for occasional personal communication among users; but note that these pages are public. If you want to communicate privately, use e-mail (see Wikipedia:Emailing users).

To write in another user's talk page, click the Discuss this page link on your sidebar when you view the user page (which you can do by clicking on a user's nickname). On the list of recent changes and on your watchlist, you can directly access a user's talk page by following the (Talk) link behind the user's name / IP address.

Can I do whatever I want to my own user talk page?

Most users treat their user talk pages like regular talk pages, and archive the contents periodically to a personal subpage -- either when the page gets too large, on a regular schedule, or when they take a wikivacation. Others delete comments after they have responded to them.

Actively erasing personal messages without replying (if a reply would be appropriate or polite) will probably be interpreted as hostile. In the past, this kind of behavior has been viewed as uncivil, and this can become an issue in arbitration or other formal proceedings. Redirecting your user talk page to another page (whether meant as a joke or intended to be offensive or to send a "go away" message) can also be considered a hostile act.

Feel free to decorate your personal pages as you see fit, but keep in mind that your user talk page has the important function of allowing other editors to communicate with you. People will get upset if they cannot use it for that purpose.

How to keep a two-way conversation readable

If you are writing messages back and forth between user talk pages, the resulting text can be hard to follow. Here are two systems for making what would otherwise be disjointed comments easier to follow:

  • Copy the text you are replying to from your user talk page to the other person's user talk page. Put your reply right underneath it, but indent the reply section so it stands out. (Just like a regular talk page.)


  • Put a notice on your user talk page that you will reply there unless they ask otherwise. Do this for conversations that other people start.
  • Watchlist the other person's user talk page and tell them they can reply there. Do this for conversations you start.

See also

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