There are two types of talk pages. The first is standard talk pages, used to discuss an article. The second is user talk pages, which 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 Simpsons Wiki: namespace, so the talk page for this article is Simpsons Wiki talk:Talk page. 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
Use indenting to format your discussion. Standard practice is to indent your reply one level deeper than the comment you are replying to.
Experiment by editing the talk page of the sandbox.
You should sign your contributions by typing three or four tildes (~~~ = just your Username)
(~~~~ = your Username and a timestamp).
When discussing the name of the page or discussing merging it with another page, always mention the current page name: after renaming (moving) a page, references to "this page name" would not make sense.
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, e.g. http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?title=Sandbox&action=edit§ion=new
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.
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.
How's the milk? --[[Bart]]
The above will produce this:
How's the milk? --Bart
I think the milk-discussion should be moved to Talk:Milk.. --Lisa
Removing comments and messages
In general, comments and messages should not be removed from a page, with a few exceptions. If you want to retract what you had previously said, you should use the strike through command, <s></s>, around what you want to change and then add in the new information. Alternatively, if you want to update a previous statement, it can be changed or removed, but the context of your new message should make it clear that you're updating your previous message. (If one or more people have replied to your earlier message, be aware that changes you make may affect the meaning of those other responses.)
In both methods, the history of the page can be checked to see the original message before it was altered, updated or removed.
Administrators may remove or edit messages that are determined to be trolling, vandalism, contain profanity, or are detrimental to this community and its members. These actions will be done in accorance to our policies. The above also applies to blog comments.
User Talk Pages
Your user talk page is a means of contacting you and discussing issues. This is done in public, so messages on your talk page should be considered a part of the public record of this wiki, rather than for yourself alone. Notifications about problems and other messages by other users should not be removed unless discussed first with an administrator. This is to prevent users from trying to hide the fact that they may be deliberately harming the wiki.
If you want what you talk about to be more private, consider moving the conversation to a private IRC channel, start a private conversation in the Chat, or else go to a social networking site like Facebook that allows you to control who sees your messages.
When your user talk page has a lot of messages on it, you may want to move some of the oldest messages to an archive page. An archive is a new page that you create in your own personal workspace. For example, if PF Test wanted to create an archive, the page might be called something like this:
- User talk:PF Test/Archive 2011
If you need help in creating an archive page, see the Talk archives page or contact an administrator.