Help:Talk Pages

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There are two types of talk pages - the first one is standard talk pages which are used to discuss an article, while user talk pages 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 is no discussion of a page, the link to its talk page will be red. You can still discuss the page - you will just be the first person to do so.

Accessing a Talk Page

To access a talk page look for a link labelled Talk, Discussion or Discuss this page. These links will be found either at the top of the page or on the left hand side (near Edit this page).

A talk page adds Talk: to the beginning of the main page's title. If the main page has a prefix then talk is added after this prefix. For example, a talk page associated with the main article namespace simply has the prefix Talk:, while a talk page associated with the user namespace has the prefix User talk:. This article is in the Help: namespace, so the talk page for this article 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.

After someone else edits your user talk page, the alert "You have new messages" is automatically displayed on all pages you view, until you view your user page.

Using Talk Pages

You should sign your contributions by typing four tildes (~~~~ = Username 19:36, 10 January 2006 (UTC)). Sign your contributions on the same line; do not create a new line with only your signature.

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".

The "Post a comment" feature allows convenient appending of a section with the section header the same as the edit summary, and typed only once.

This also works on other pages as well, though there is no link displayed, so you will need to use the URL.

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.

Formatting

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

The depth of a message is determined by the number of colons (':') in front of the message. Each colon represents a tab, and are commonly used in discussions on user and article talk pages. If a reply is made to a statement, one adds a colon to the number of colons used in the statement being replied to. This style of conversation is easier to read.

Example:

How's the milk? --Bob
:It's great!! --Lisa
:Not too bad.. --George
::I made it myself! --Bob
I think the milk discussion should be moved to [[Talk:Milk]].. --Lisa
:I tend to disagree. --George

The above will produce this:

How's the milk? --Bob

It's great!! --Lisa
Not too bad.. --George
I made it myself! --Bob

I think the milk-discussion should be moved to Talk:Milk.. --Lisa

I tend to disagree. --George

Editing or Deleting Existing Comments

In general, the rule for editing or deleting a comment that you or another editor has posted to an article talk page is simple: Don't. That goes for deleting off-topic conversations; fixing spelling errors, typos, run-on sentences; or any other minor wording changes, no matter how trivial. At D&D Wiki, a talk page is essentially a transcript; no matter how well-intentioned you are in your editing, other editors aren't going to see it that way.

There are only five categories of standard exceptions to this "do not edit" rule:

  • Policy violations, privacy violations, vandalism, and spamming comments should all be deleted, as well as blank or woefully incomplete class rating templates.
  • Edits which violate civility and etiquette can be deleted by an Admin as part of a warning, as outlined in the Warning Policy.
  • It's okay to change indentation, or to fix the rare formatting problem that makes a comment difficult to read, since you're really not altering the words that were previously posted. However, changing formatting based on personal preference, not readability, is not OK. Similarly, it's okay to insert subsection headings, or to split a section in two (for example, when an editor mistakenly starts a new topic). Just don't alter anyone's words, not even the order of anyone's words.
  • Adding an {{unsigned}} template for a user who has forgotten to sign their post, or replacing said template with your own signature if you forgot to add it to your post.
  • Correcting/changing wikilinks in order to avoid a dead link, unnecessary redirect, or any other undesirable link. Note that the meaning of the link must be upheld; you can not change the link to point to a completely different page.

Before you do any editing beyond the exceptions just listed, regardless of whether you're editing your posting or not, read the "Editing comments" section of Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines to be absolutely certain that what you're doing is acceptable.

Note: Even editing your own comment when it's the last one posted to a talk page is borderline problematical, since someone else may have read it and been influenced by the posting. The more recent the posting, the less likely anyone else has seen it, so if you just posted something and immediately realized you made an error, it's okay to go into edit mode and fix it. However, if you get an edit conflict when you try to save your change, you need to abandon the edit and read the talk page guidelines on using strikeouts to fix your own comment.


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