Wikipedia:Indentation

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Good indentation makes prolonged discussions easier to read and understand. It might be helpful to think of discussions as reports with numbered/bulleted sections and subsections where material is not necessarily written in chronological order.

Although this example page about how to indent is an essay, it should be noted that the use of normal indentation is a behavioural guideline that editors are expected to follow. Such guidelines may be enforced by administrative action, especially when other editors have been unable to persuade an individual to abide by them. The guideline should never be used to bite newcomers who don't know how to indent properly, but experienced users are expected to comply with it, to facilitate threaded discussion on talk pages.

Indentation examples[edit]

In these examples the boldface line is the most recently added comment.

1. Your reply to a particular comment should be indented beneath that comment. Indents are achieved by typing one or more leading colon ":" characters at the very left margin, just before the text you add. In the following example, a single colon was typed just before the "Me too" text of the second comment:
I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

2. If you want to reply to a comment, but another editor has already done so, just position your own text beneath that other editor's reply, at the same indentation level:
I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Me three!sand box 13:57, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
3. Your response to a reply should be positioned below that reply, but above any later responses that were made to a different comment. In the following, the user named "Example" has done so, using two leading colon characters to indicate that he's responding to the reply made by "Place holder":
I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
I thought you didn't like indentation, Place holder. --Example 14:23, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Me three! →sand box 13:57, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
4. If you want to introduce a new topic that is still closely related to the one already under discussion, you should add it at the very bottom of the section, below all the previous comments on the original topic, without indenting it at all:
I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
I thought you didn't like indentation, Place holder. --Example (talk) 14:23, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Me three! →sand box 13:57, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
I thought you didn't like indentation either, sandbox. --Example (talk) 14:32, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
I thought that too, Example. Warning Testing 15:51, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Good spelling and grammar are important on talk pages.the other example 11:22, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
5. When you want to introduce a new topic that isn't closely related to the one already under discussion in a talk-page section, then it's usually best to create an entirely new section or subsection on the talk page, for the purpose. You can find out how to do that by reading about "Headings and subheadings" on this page of our concise tutorial for new users. It's also helpful to create new headings and subheadings, as needed, for very long discussion; doing so gives editors the ability to edit only sections of the page, reducing the chance of edit-conflicts that would otherwise occur when two users try to contribute to the same page at the same time.

Outdenting[edit]

Sometimes a long discussion can cause indentation to become too deep, which can make it difficult to read in narrower browser windows. When it does, you should consider outdenting your next comment. When you do that, it's helpful to make clear what you're doing: The templates {{outdent}} and {{outdent2}} exist for this purpose. You can use either one, and they can also be employed by their equivalent "shortcut" names of {{od}} and {{od2}}, respectively.

In the examples below, the user adding the final comment has typed the characters of the template, including its "braces", at the left margin, below the preceding comment, and just ahead of the text he entered for his own comment:

Example of {{outdent}}

I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I thought you didn't like indentation, Place holder. --Example (talk) 14:23, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I sure don't. (example2) 14:32, 1 February 2011
I can take it or leave it. —the other example 15:15, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I like it, but not too much. --Third example 18:18, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Example of {{outdent2}}

I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I thought you didn't like indentation, Place holder. --Example (talk) 14:23, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I sure don't. (example2) 14:32, 1 February 2011
I can take it or leave it. —the other example 15:15, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
() I like it, but not too much. --Third example 18:18, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

See also[edit]