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Talk Modes

The wiki engine works very well for collaborative editing, say, on a mainspace article. It works much less well for Talk -- signed comments adding up to a discussion, similar to a Usenet newsgroup. It works very badly as a stand-in for email: one-to-one, back-and-forth talk.


  • To comments made on their user-talk pages, some members habitually reply on the original poster's user-talk page. If both parties to the conversation do the same, what develops is a split or fragmented discussion, with one side on each user-talk page. It is impossible to follow such a conversation directly.
  • Often a third or fourth party joins a discussion ignorant that it is ongoing. The new party creates a new user-talk section for his comment; thus on one page, the conversation is fragmented. Again, it is is difficult to follow such a conversation. Not only that, this practice shows a lack of respect -- often the new comment duplicates earlier ones, or demands a response already made.
  • Discussions, unlike articles, require that every comment be preserved in its entire integrity. It is most unwelcome to edit another's signed comment, but this happens, deliberately or by accident compounded by engine bug.
  • Discussions, again unlike articles, may grow extremely quickly -- due in part to the above restriction on removal of prior comments. Very long pages are difficult to edit or even render in some browsers.


  • Please reply to all comments where they are. If you begin a discussion on my user-talk page, expect my reply on my user-talk page. If I made a comment on your user-talk page, please reply on your user-talk page. I might appreciate a short notice of your reply.
  • Please read my user-talk page before posting anything to it. That may seem burdensome, but all the general information is at the top, including the Table of Contents. If you see your topic listed in the ToC, please add your comment there. If you do not, go right ahead and create a new section.
  • Please do not, for any reason, edit or remove anything from my user-talk page. This includes your own comments, with exceptions: You may edit your own words freely until I or another user edits my user-talk page; and at any time, you may <s>strike</s> your own words if you choose. I may, without warning, revert any other change.
  • I assume janitorial responsibility for my user-talk page. I may, without notice, rearrange comments to put like with like, or retitle sections to reflect their contents more clearly. I reserve the right to delete comments; however, in practice, I am opposed to doing so, and wish to preserve them all.
  • Every user-talk page is preserved, as all pages, in its own history. You may pursue another archiving strategy if you please, but I periodically blank my user-talk page, including a link to the prior version. I urge you to archive your user-talk page frequently, so the technical requirement of read/write access is met.
  • If you wish to comment on an archived discussion, feel free to create a new section on the "live" page; but please use the old section title. If I feel anything is to be gained, I may extract earlier comments from archive and post them on the "live" page.


  • To make all discussions as transparent as possible; to me, to you, and to others.
  • To maintain a high standard of intellectual honesty at all times and avoid revisionism.

Thank You!