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Help:Using talk pages

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This page is about how talk pages work. For talk page etiquette, see Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. For guidelines about user talk pages, see Wikipedia:User pages.

Talk pages (also known as discussion pages) are administration pages where editors can discuss improvements to articles or other Wikipedia pages. When viewing an article (or any other non-talk page), a link to the corresponding talk page appears on the "Talk" tab at the top of the page. Click this tab to switch to the talk page.

The talk page associated with an article is named "Talk:Example", where "Example" is the name of the article. For example, the talk page for discussion of improvements to the article Australia is named Talk:Australia. The talk page associated with a page in another namespace is named by adding "talk" after the namespace label; for example, the talk page for Wikipedia:About is called Wikipedia talk:About.

User pages also have associated talk pages (for example, User talk:Jimbo Wales). When other editors need to contact you, they will usually do this by leaving a message on your talk page. When someone has left you a message that way, you will see an orange information notice the next time you log in or view a page on Wikipedia (if you are editing as an IP address) or a red badge next to your username (if you are logged in).

Basic

Video (2m 30s)

Video on how to use a talk page, 2m 30s (8 MB)
This introductory video covers:
  • What are talk pages
  • How to post a new message
  • Indentation
  • Keys to a good discussion
  • Watchlist

0:14
0:59
1:25
1:48
2:12

Where to find talk pages

Location of the talk page tab

When viewing an article (or any other non-talk page), a link to the corresponding talk page appears on the "Talk" tab at the top of the page. (The mobile version has a button at the bottom for logged-in users, while apps may have no link.) Click this tab to switch to the talk page; you can then view the talk page and its history, and edit it if you want to add a question or comment.

If the "Talk" link is red, it means no talk page has been started yet. Click the red link to begin a talk page for that article and follow the instructions in Starting a new thread below. (It is also possible for a talk page to exist while the corresponding non-talk page is a red link; this often occurs in User space, when a user has received talk page messages but has not started a user page yet.)

To go back to the article page from its talk page, use the leftmost tab at the top of the page, labeled "article". For pages other than articles, this tab may say something different, like "user page" or "project page".

Identifying yourself

When you post a message on a talk page you should always sign and date your comment so other editors can follow the thread of the conversation. To do this easily, type four tildes (~~~~) at the end of your comment, or just click the signature button Insert-signature.svg on the row of buttons above the edit box. Once you save the edit, this will be automatically converted into a user signature with a link to your user page, your user talk page, and the date and time that you save your edit. (You can change the form of your signature using your user preferences.)

Code Result
~~~~ Username (talk) 10:59, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

If you choose to contribute without logging in, regardless of whether you have an account, you should still sign your posts. In this case your IP address will take the place of your username, and will link to your contributions history.

Further information: Wikipedia:Signatures

Starting a new thread

The "new section" tab on article talk pages lets you start a new section.

To discuss a topic that’s not already covered on the article or user talk page, start a new topic.

  • Click on the “New section” link at the top of the talk page screen.
  • Be sure to enter a section header in the “Subject/headline” box with a suitable title, preferably not something generic like "Question" or "Problem".
  • Sign. At the end of your post, type four tildes (~~~~), which will automatically add your user name and the date.
  • Click “Save page”

A new section can also be started by editing the whole page or an existing section, going to a new line and typing == Heading ==, replacing "Heading" with a suitable title, but make sure to add new discussions at the bottom of the page. A new section automatically adds the heading to the "Contents" box on pages with at least four sections.

Replying to an existing thread

To respond to a discussion already in progress:

  • Click the “Edit” link on on the right end of the bar of the section you want to reply to.
  • Add your comment below the last entry in the discussion. If you want to respond to a specific comment, you can place your response directly below it. Use a colon (:) to indent your message to create a threaded message. See Indentation below for more information on indenting talk pages with colons.
  • Sign. Type four tildes (~~~~), which will automatically add your user name and the date.
  • Click “Save page”

Indentation

Indentation is used to keep talk pages readable. Comments are indented using one or more initial colons (:), each colon representing one level of indentation. Each comment should be indented one more level than the comment they are replying to. For example:

Code Result
== Header ==

The first posting in a section will have no colons before it. ~~~~

:The reply to the first posting is indented one level. ~~~~
::The reply to the second comment should be indented one more level. It doesn't matter if it's made by the same editor who did the first posting, it still gets indented one more level. ~~~~
Header

The first posting in a section will have no colons before it. Editor 1 (talk) 10:44, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

The reply to the first posting is indented one level. Editor 2 (talk) 16:40, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
The reply to the second comment should be indented one more level. It doesn't matter if it's made by the same editor who did the first posting, it still gets indented one more level. Editor 1 (talk) 16:57, 23 September 2016 (UTC)

Some pages (deletion discussions, for example) use asterisks rather than colons for indentation. Generally colons and asterisks should not be mixed; if you see asterisks are being in use in a page, use them as well.

Avoid placing double line breaks (i.e. empty lines) as shown in the example above between indented lines of text, since this can create problems for users of screen reader software (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Accessibility § Indentation).

Notifications

Notifying other users

You can notify other editors in a discussion by linking to their user page in your post. To do this easily you can use the template {{Reply to|Username}}, which renders @Username:. For example, to reply and notify Editor 1 you should use the following code:

Code Result

{{reply to|Editor 1}} Message text. ~~~~

@Editor 1: Message text. Username (talk) 10:44, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

Make sure to sign your post in the same edit in which you use this template, otherwise it won't work. Note that you cannot directly type the "@" symbol to notify a user, you must use this template or manually create a wikilink to their user page.

You have new messages

The message notification as it would appear for registered users

You will be notified when someone else edits your user talk page or notifies you with the {{Reply to}} template. Since 30 April 2013, registered users have received this notification through the Wikipedia:Notifications system (see image right); unregistered users still receive notifications with the old-style Orange Bar. Registered users wishing to add back the functionality of the Orange Bar notification may do so through this script.

For users not editing with an account (unregistered users), the alert below is automatically displayed on all pages until you view your user talk page. If you click "new messages" it will direct you to the bottom of your talk page. If you click "last change" it will show you the last edit done to your talk page.

Advanced

Subpages and archiving

Sometimes particular topics generate a disproportionate amount of traffic on a talk page. It may be decided to remove discussion of those topics to a subpage of the talk page. To do this, create a page titled "Talk:Xxx/Yyy", where "Talk:Xxx" is the name of the main talk page, and "Yyy" indicates the topic of the subpage. Leave a note at the top of the main talk page linking to any subpages.

On talk pages that generate significant amounts of discussion, old discussions are often archived to keep the size of the talk page at a manageable level. This may be done either manually or with the help of a bot. An archive box with links to the discussion archives is normally placed at the top of the current talk page.

Assorted talk page boxes and graphics

Quotations

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. An easy way to do this is to use the {{Quote frame}} or {{Quote}} templates:

Use {{Quote frame|Quoted passage from the article.}} to produce:

Quoted passage from the article.

Alternatively, use {{Quote frame |Quoted text |Author |Source}} to produce:

Quoted text — Author , Source

The {{Quote}} template produces an indented quotation with no box; use {{Quote |Quoted text |''Source''}} to produce:

Quoted text

— Source

Alternatively, use {{Quote|Quoted text |Author |''Source'', page XX}} to add an author and page number:

Quoted text

— Author, Source, page XX

For directly quoting another user, the {{Talkquote}} template places quoted text inside a green box, as in: {{Talkquote |Quoted text |Example |ts=12:00, 01 January 2000 (UTC)}}, which produces:

Quoted text
— User:Example  12:00, 01 January 2000 (UTC)

Boxes – general

Plain box (can also be used in article):

Colored box (green – talk page only):

<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 from article here.'''</div>

Talk page graphics and icons

Code Result
{{tick}} YesY
{{done}}  Done
{{yellow tick}} YesY
{{ESp|pd}} Partly done:
{{ESp|n}} Not done:
{{ESp|?}} Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format.
{{ESp|q}} Question:
{{Not sure| }}
{{Not sure}} Not sure
{{Not sure|Not sure what you mean.}} Not sure what you mean.
{{fixed}} Fixed
[[File:Information.svg|25px|alt=|link=]]
[[File:Ambox warning pn.svg|25px|alt=Warning icon]] Warning icon
{{Resolved}}
Resolved
{{cross}} N
{{outdent}} or {{od}} ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

Talk page search

You can use the Special:Search box below to locate Talk pages. See Help:Searching for more information.

See also