HRWiki:Talk page etiquette

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[edit] Purpose of the talk page

Editors at the Homestar Runner Wiki communicate with each other on talk pages concerning edits to articles, the right way to describe something, helping users with a particular wiki policy or editing information, and a wealth of other topics. These guidelines are meant to indicate which kinds of talk page edits are the most helpful, and which are seen as undesirable for a variety of reasons.

[edit] Main namespace talk

The talk page for a main namespace article is for discussing edits to that article, and discussion should be restricted to that topic. In particular, users should not make edits expressing personal opinions or theories which would be more appropriate on one's user page or in the Forum.

[edit] User talk

User talk pages are used to communicate with the user. In general, your contributions to your own user talk page should be in response to other people's comments — avoid stuff that would be better placed on your user page.

A user's talk page should not be used for chit-chat among users, especially when email, IM, IRC, or some other method of communicating would be appropriate. In general, please keep discussion geared toward furthering the goals of the wiki.

If it does not involve the user whose user space you are on, do not post it there. In particular, if the discussion is between you and another user, and the talk page you are using is neither yours nor the other user's, move the conversation elsewhere.

Also note that posting the same message to multiple users' talk pages may be considered spamming (unless you are informing various users about a wiki policy, for instance) and should be avoided.

[edit] IP user talk

Users who are not logged in appear as an IP address. The wiki allows these users to receive messages and reply on their IP talk pages. However, one should restrict communications to an IP user to specific targeted messages such as inviting a good editor to get an account, offering a resource to help the user, or other positive and purposeful interaction. Administrators may deliver official messages to anonymous users through these pages as well. Please do not create talk pages for trolls and vandals. They will be deleted, as they only tend to encourage them.

[edit] General

In general, any user may post on any talk page in any namespace provided the post is on topic for that talk page. If a discussion should evolve to outgrow the scope of the talk page, it should be continued in a more appropriate location, such as another article's talk page, the Forum, or IRC.

You should use edit summaries. Many users look at the edits through the Recent Changes page or through the page's history for a variety of reasons. A brief summary of your post or a subtextual comment will be a great help. (In your preferences, under the "Editing" category, you can request the wiki to remind you "when entering a blank edit summary".)

Editing the talk posts of others is generally frowned upon. It's more respectful in most cases to leave a followup post with corrections. In general, allow posters' words to stand unless there exist compelling reasons to alter or remove them.

You may wish to archive older threads when you have amassed a large number of threads on your user talk page. The usual way to do this is:

  1. Create a subpage in your userspace called "Talk Archive" or similar.
  2. Copy the oldest threads from your talk page to this archive page.
    • Do not move any threads which are currently active to an archive.
    • Leave all threads entirely intact in the archive. Do not omit any material.
  3. Include a link to the archive on your talk page so these threads are still accessible.

Completely deleting posts from your talk page is usually frowned upon, especially when these are posts which are legitimately critical of your actions. Your removing these posts may be seen as an effort to hide your mistakes. A better solution is to reply to these criticisms with an appropriate response and let them stand, whether on your talk page or in an archive.

There are times when talk page posts can and should be unceremoniously removed, such as when they are clearly not on topic, or when they are vandalism, spam or plain insults. Also, feel free to remove any posts which you have moved to a location where they should have been posted to in the first place.

[edit] How to format talk posts

When you are beginning a new thread of discussion on a talk page, you should use the "+" tab on the top of the page to start a new thread. Enter the thread title in the small box and your post in the large box. Sign your talk post by typing a space, then ~~~~ at the end of your post. The wiki will turn this into a signature and a timestamp.

When you are replying to a post, do not start a new thread. Use the edit link to the right of the thread title (or, if it is not under a thread title, use the edit tab at the top of the page). Under the post, type a colon (:) and your reply. The colon indents the post - this makes it easier to follow the conversation. Again, conclude your post by typing a space, then ~~~~.

Example:

== Delete? ==
I think the page should be deleted. User 03:00, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
:I agree. User2 03:05, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

(Note: The above is correct formatting, but for purposes of brevity it is not the ideal way to argue for deletion. See below.)

If you are replying under a comment with one colon, use two colons for yours. Add a colon for each subsequent comment. (If the thread is extremely long, a user may opt to not indent the post (use no colons), essentially resetting the indenting.)

There are times when this format might not be strictly followed; feel free to go against this method of sequential indentation in cases where it will lead to clearer comprehension of the thread by other users. However, following sequential indentation is usually preferred.

[edit] Posting on Talk for Articles for Discussion

When proposing, supporting, or arguing against an article marked for discussion, be sure to remember a few important points.

  • Give a rationale for your suggestion. Merely stating "delete" or "merge" is a weak suggestion. If the argument you would have raised has already been presented, refer to it in your post unless it is obvious.
  • Do your best to ground your arguments in the policies and guidelines of the wiki. Remember that these are not votes, but discussions. If more users support one action with a weak argument supporting it, but the other users support another action which is argued more effectively, the latter action could still win consensus.
  • Many users choose to boldface their recommendation, such as delete, merge, redirect, or keep. This helps others in determining consensus.

[edit] Talk post content

It is important to remember that your post is going to be read by many people. Each of these people will interpret what you are saying in their own way unless you are careful to be clear. Here are some basic guidelines which will decrease your chances of being misunderstood, as well as improve your relations with other editors.

  • Always reply to a post on the same page the post is on. In some online communities like Wikipedia or MySpace, users reply by posting to other users' pages. This is not necessary here. In cases where you wish to move the conversation elsewhere, leave a post to indicate where you are moving discussion.
  • Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity or ignorance. This simply means that when someone says something which gets you upset in any way, assume they did not mean it intentionally and respond as if they were not aware they could have upset you. In most cases, that's the truth.
  • No obscenity of any kind is permitted on talk pages, as we have many, many users under the age of 18. (There are exceptions to this rule; for example, when a talk page discusses profanity used by The Brothers Chaps themselves. These exceptions are rare, and discussion in these cases is to be handled in a dignified and mature manner.)
  • Personal attacks of any kind or severity are forbidden. Each user shall be treated with dignity and respect at all times, with no exceptions. Even if a user has vandalized the wiki with the most vile content, that person shall be dealt with based on the facts of their actions and never with personal opinions or insults.
  • All talk page posts should be on topic. If you think the post (or part of a post) might be better suited for the Forum or a chat room, you're probably right. Also, if you think it might not need to be said, don't say it. However, do not feel as if you should not post something which might be of importance to the article. Every user's contributions are equally welcome in talk pages.
  • It's usually not necessary to indicate that you were edit-conflicted in your post. Remember: nearly all users get edit conflicts from time to time. It's certainly frustrating, and you might be wishing to vent, but noting a conflict is almost always unnecessary information, and it's arguable whether users benefit from its inclusion, especially on a long-term basis. Instead of noting a conflict, you can often just add an extra colon and post it below. You might even want to indicate your reaction to the intervening post. Or, you might simply note that your post is in reply to a particular user's post. If the post that caused the edit conflict made your post obsolete, don't send your post again.
  • Be bold and change the article (including an appropriate edit summary), rather than posting on an article's talk page regarding an error or omission in the article. If it is reverted, then at that point you should post on the talk page about it. (Note also when not to be bold.)
  • Replying to dead conversations is generally futile. Many talk pages are quite old, and you will find conversations from years past. If you feel a very old topic should be revisited, normally you should start a new thread and begin it there, saying something along the lines of "Bringing up an old discussion...". There are times, however, when there may be a legitimate reason to post within an old thread (where a consensus was sought on a topic but never reached, for example); use your discretion.
  • You should never reply to items on an archived page. However, if a revisiting of the topic is warranted, create a new thread on the active talk page, quote the relevant text in a blockquote, and reply following.
  • Choose a descriptive title when beginning a new thread. Try to be as specific as possible. Avoid generic titles like "Question", "Huh?", or "My thoughts", and avoid making the title be a whole sentence (or a sentence that begins in the subject and concludes in the first post).
  • Do not remove posts from a talk page unless it is your user talk page (but see above) or there is a clear, compelling reason the post must be removed. Changing or deleting the words of others is opposite to the purpose of talk pages, not to mention that it's rude.
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