Help:Talk page

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Every page on Ballotpedia has an associated talk page, except pages in the Special category. You can access the talk page by clicking the "Discussion" tab at the top left of any given page. If there is no text on a talk page, the link to the talk page from the content page will be red. Talk pages may also be called discussion pages.

There are two types of talk pages:

  • Standard talk pages: these are attached to every Ballotpedia article, template, category, etc., and are used for categorization and editorial discussions.
  • User talk pages: these are attached to each user page, and are used to communicate with other Ballotpedia users.

Please note: All talk pages should be created at the time that the article, template, project page, etc. is created. At that time, the talk page should include the appropriate WikiProject template. If you are unsure which template to use, you can always visit the talk page of a similar article to see what has been used there.

Accessing talk pages

To access a talk page, locate the tab labeled "Discussion" at the top left of any page. The name of a standard talk page is "Talk:" plus the article's title. For example, the talk page of the article Joe Donnelly is Talk:Joe Donnelly. For a page name that has a prefix, "talk" is added to the prefix before the colon. For example, the talk page associated with the user page User:Abqualls is User talk:Abqualls.

Standard talk pages

When a new article is created, an associated "talk" or "discussion" tab is automatically generated to go with it. If there is no information on the talk page, the link to the tab that you observe when reading the article will be red. If there is content on the talk page, the link to the tab will be blue.

The purpose of an article's talk page is twofold:

  • To note the project that that particular article falls within through the use of WikiProject templates.
  • To allow readers and editors to discuss the article and its content with one another.
Talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views about the subject of the article. Rather, these pages should be used to discuss the article and how to improve it.

When you are using the talk page to discuss an article, you should keep the following in mind:

  • On a talk page, the phrase "this page" generally refers to the main page (i.e. the page the talk page is associated with). If the talk page itself is referred to, use the phrase "this talk page."
  • If you are debating the name of the page or discussing merging it with another page, always mention the current page name. Otherwise, after moving the page, references to "this page name" become ambiguous.
  • The "Add topic" feature (usable through the "Add topic" tab at the top right of a talk page) allows you to start a new section without needing to edit the entire talk page. The "Subject/headline" will become the section header for your comment.

Formatting comments

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

The reference of a comment is determined by the number of colons (':') in front of it. If a reply is made to a statement, you should add a colon to the number of colons used in the statement being replied to. This style of conversation is easy to read.


How's the soup? --[[User:Sara Key|Sara Key]]
:It's great!! --[[User:Leslie Graves|Leslie Graves]]
:Not too bad.. --[[User:Katyfarrell|Katyfarrell]]
::I made it myself! --[[User:Sara Key|Sara Key]]
I think the soup-discussion should be moved to [[User talk:Sara Key]].. --[[User:Katyfarrell|Katyfarrell]]
:I tend to disagree. --[[User:Leslie Graves|:Leslie Graves]]

The above will produce this:

How's the soup? --Sara Key

It's great!! --Leslie Graves
Not too bad.. --Katyfarrell
I made it myself! --Sara Key

I think the soup-discussion should be moved to User talk:Sara Key.. --Katyfarrell

I tend to disagree. --:Leslie Graves

Quotations on talk pages

Sometimes it is necessary to display a sentence or paragraph from the article on the talk page so that other editors can easily understand what is being discussed. In order to place quoted material within the body of a talk page, use the quote template, which can be found at {{quote}}.

To use this template, format as follows: {{quote|text of your quote here}}

This will appear as:

text of your quote here[1]

Signing your comments

When you leave a thought, an assertion, a question, a comment or anything else on an article's talk page, you should sign your comment. To sign your message, insert four tildes (like this: ~~~~). You can insert the tildes either by using the tilde key on your keyboard, or by using the "Insert signature" feature found on a button directly above the edit box. The icon to insert your signature looks like this: Tilde edit button.png

You should sign your comments because it allows other users to see who left the comment so that they can respond directly to you, if appropriate. Another reason to do this is that other readers tend to interpret unsigned comments as expressing the overall editorial view of the wiki. By attaching your username to any comments you leave, you are helping any readers identify that the view belongs to you.

User talk pages

User talk pages make it easy to connect with other editors and users. Anyone who has registered with Ballotpedia automatically receives a user talk page, which is associated with their user page.

Your user talk page can be accessed in the "User talk" namespace. The formula for its naming is as follows: User talk + colon ( : ) your username. For example, User talk:Abqualls.

There are several things to remember about user talk pages:

  • You can always access your user talk page by clicking the "Talk" link at the top of any Ballotpedia page when you are logged in.
  • Your user talk page is accessible by clicking the "Discussion" tab found on your user page.
  • You can find other user's talk pages in one of two ways:
    • If you know their username, enter User talk:USERNAME in the search box at the top right of any page. You must type the other user's name exactly as it appears; usernames are case sensitive.
    • If you are not sure of the user's name, you can always find the username of an editor you may be looking for by looking at the "View history" tab of any page you are working on. You can also check the recent changes to find editors who are working now.

Leaving messages

To leave a message on another user's talk page, visit their talk page and click the link to "Edit" at the top of the page. Once you are in the edit window, navigate to the bottom of the page and leave your message. To sign your message, insert four tildes (like this: ~~~~). You can insert the tildes either by using the tilde key on your keyboard, or by using the "Insert signature" feature found on a button directly above the edit box. The icon to insert your signature looks like this: Tilde edit button.png

Once you have entered and signed your message, you can preview it by clicking the "Show preview" button, and, finally, don't forget to select "Save page" before leaving the page.

Message notifications

Whenever another editor modifies your user talk page, you will receive an alert. This alert will either come in an email, or a message will appear on the wiki when you are logged in that states, "You have new messages." How you receive these messages is governed by the selections you have made in your preferences.

See also

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