On Wikipedia, editors use pages called talk pages to talk to each other and discuss what we should do here on Wikipedia. A talk page has the word talk in its name somewhere. There are two main types of talk pages: article talk pages and user talk pages.

How they work

  • Sign your posts and put a date. This is important! It is hard for other people to reply to a post or message if they do not know who it was written by or when it was written. Signing and dating a post is really easy. All you need to do is to type four tildes ("~~~~") at the end of the post.
  • Discuss what is important. Talk pages are for talking about how to make the page that the talk page is related to better. Do not use a talk page to talk about things that have nothing to do with the related page. That annoys other editors, and if you do it too often you could get blocked from editing Wikipedia. Focus on the topic, and you will be fine.
  • Be nice. Remember, we are all humans and do make mistakes sometimes. If someone does something wrong, correct them in a friendly way. For example, suppose someone asked a question on a talk page about how to find an article about a certain topic, and another user replied, "Go to the Main Page and that will tell you what article to go to." If you think the user was wrong, you can write a message saying, "I'm sorry, but the right way to find an article is to use the Search box on the left side of the screen," rather than something more harsh.

Types of talk pages

Article talk pages

The name of an article talk page begins with the word "Talk:". Every article has a talk page. An article talk page is for discussing how to make the article better. It is not for talking about the topic of the article. For example, editors can use "Talk:High School Musical" to talk about what information should be put into or taken out of the article. It is not for chatting about whether the movie is good or not, or which actors they like.

Creating talk pages

Talk pages are created by clicking a red "Talk" tab and creating the page, like any other page.

Do not create an empty talk page simply so that one will exist for future use. Do not create a page solely to place the {{Talk header}} template on it. This and similar talk-page notice templates should not be added to pages that do not have discussions on them. There is no need to add discussion warning templates to every talk page, or even to every talk page that contains a discussion.

User talk pages

The name of a user talk page begins with "User talk:". User talk pages are for talking with other members. Every user has their own. You do not have to sign up for Wikipedia and get a username to have a talk page. For example, if you are editing Wikipedia from a computer with the Internet Protocol (IP) address, your talk page is "User talk:". However, other editors who also edit Wikipedia from the same IP address will also have the same talk page. You may therefore find messages on the talk page that are not meant for you. If a certain IP address is used to vandalize (deliberately mess up or write nonsense on) Wikipedia articles, it may be blocked. You will then not be able to edit Wikipedia from that IP address until the block expires. That is why it is a good idea to get your own username by signing up to Wikipedia. Another reason is that other editors are more likely to trust you more if you have a username.

How to use talk pages

Things not to do

  • Do not personally attack people. A personal attack is saying something bad about another person. This mainly means:
    • No insults: Do not call people names when angry. Instead, explain what is wrong with what the person did and how to fix it.
    • Do not threaten people: Do not say to people that you will report them to an administrator, have them banned, or sue them in court for disagreeing with you.
    • Do not ask for or post personal details: Do not use Wikipedia to ask for other people's personal details (for example, their e-mail address, home, or office address, or telephone number), and do not put other people's personal details on Wikipedia without their consent.
  • Do not write things about other people that are wrong. This usually means:
    • If you are repeating something that someone said, make sure you quote the person accurately.
    • When talking about other people's changes, use diffs. A diff is always the same, even when a talk page gets archived or a comment gets changed.
    • In general, do not change others' comments, including their signatures.
  • Do not delete discussions. If several editors have discussed something on a talk page, do not delete the discussion if you do not agree with what has been said or if you think the discussion is over. However, if no one adds any other comments to a discussion, after a while the discussion can be moved to an archive page.