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A talk page is a special page that is devoted to discussion about the contents of its associated subject article. To view the talk page, click on the "Discuss this page" link in the sidebar. When you are viewing the talk page, you can click on the "View article" link to go back to the main article. Talk pages are available for all namespaces.
Talk pages are used for:
- Comments about articles. Positive or negative feedback from readers is always welcome for any article!
- Discussing the validity of an article. Sometimes, a reader or other contributor might have a question about the canonicity of a certain fact described in an article. The talk page can be used to iron out differences of opinion concerning the article's validity.
- Discussing potential changes to an article. Often, it becomes necessary to rewrite an article. The talk page is a useful place to discuss what sort of changes are needed.
However, talk pages are not used simply for general discussion or chat.
Every contributor who registers an account with Sonic Retro has their own user talk page. User talk pages are intended to facilitate communications between users. As such, they have a few extra features to make them more useful.
There is a link to your own user talk page at the top of every page, next to your user name. Also, if someone else edits your user talk page (adding a comment, for example), an alert informing you that "You have new messages" will appear at the top of the page.
Note that the user talk pages are public, just like every other page in the database. As such, they should not be used for any sort of private communications.
To write in another user's talk page, first view their user page, then click the "Discuss this page" link in the sidebar. On special pages such as the Recent Changes page and the watchlist, you can click on the (Talk) links that follow the user's name or IP address.
When editing a talk page, you have the option to click the "Post a comment" link. This feature creates a new section on the page with a separate header — essentially, a new thread of discussion, or for a reply to be added to the very bottom of the page.
- For a new thread, fill in the "Subject/headline" field. It will automatically be used as the header for the comment, as well as for the edit summary.
- For a reply to be added to the end of the page, leave the "Subject/headline" field empty. In this case, it's not possible to add an edit summary.
Standards and practices
A few general standards apply to talk pages, simply to keep them reasonably well-organized and easily readable. Some of the more controversial talk pages may be very heavily used, so please follow the conventions! It'll make the discussions develop easier.
- Sign your posts. To sign a post, use three tildes (~~~) to sign your name — the tildes will be replaced with your nickname (as set in your preferences) and a link to your user page. Alternatively, you can use four tildes (~~~~) to sign with your username and a time stamp. It is recommend that you sign your posts on talk pages.
- Indent posts for organization. The first contributor to a talk page should have no indentation in the message. The next person starts their message with one colon [:], and the third person uses two colons [::], and so on. If the first person replies to the message again, he or she uses the same indentation for their subsequent messages as for the first message. This method helps distinguish who is saying what.
- Add new posts to the bottom of the thread. The further down the contribution is in the thread, the later it was posted.
- Separate discussion topics. Put each new topic under a separate section header. Use the "Post a comment" feature to create new sections. You can also use horizontal lines (----) to create breaks in the threads.
- Archive, don't delete. When the talk page has become extremely long, it's important to not delete talk page content, but to archive it instead. Create a new page in the Talk: or Memory Alpha talk: namespace, with an explanatory name, and move the older content to that page. Then, describe on the archive page where the discussion originally comes from, and provide a link to the original page. Also include a link on the original talk page to the archive page, for those who wish to read the old discussion.
- Summarize discussion. When a discussion has died down and been ignored for several weeks, you might replace the discussion with a summary of the key points, as if you were writing an article concerning the discussion. Be sure to cover opposing arguments and present them from an unbiased view. Cover common ground if possible.
- Don't misrepresent other opinions. Correcting other people's mistakes is always acceptable, and deleting personal attacks is fine, but don't edit someone else's post to change its meaning. Editing or deleting your own posts can be done at your own discretion. Avoid context swizzling.
- Use UTC to tell time. Referring to the time in UTC helps standardize the clocks and ensure that there's no confusion concerning the timing of specific events.
- Cite the page name. Sometimes pages get moved. Therefore, if the page gets moved later on, it will still be clear what page the discussion is referring to.