New editions of the State Legislative Tracker and The Policy Tracker available now!

Help:Talk page

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 16:13, 28 October 2013 by Pthrower (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Editing Help
1328101905 Help.png
Editing guide
Textual standards
Visual standards
Glossary of terms
Edit review process

Every article has an associated talk page, except pages in the Special category. If there has never been text on a talk page, the link to the talk page from that page will be red. Talk pages may also be called discussion pages.

There are two types of talk pages:

  • Standard talk pages, which are attached to every Ballotpedia article, template, category, etc.
  • User talk pages, which are used to communicate with other users.

Types of talk pages

User talk pages

See also: Using your "my talk" page

User talk pages make it easy for you to connect with other Ballotpedia editors and users.

Anyone who has registered with Ballotpedia automatically gets what is known as a "user talk page." Your user talk page is always the words "User talk" plus a colon followed by your user name on Ballotpedia. For example, User talk:Sara Key.

There are several things to remember about user talk pages:

  • You can always access your user talk page by clicking the "my talk" link at the top of any page on Ballotpedia when you are logged in.
  • Your user talk page is accessible by clicking the "Discussion" tab found on your user page.
  • There are several ways to find another user's talk page, so you can leave a message:
    1. In the top search box in the left column on Ballotpedia's pages, type, for example, User talk:Sthompson.
    2. If you are not sure of the user's name where you want to leave a message, a link to their talk page is included in every edit they make on any page.

Watch a video on how to use your "my talk" page |}</div>

Leaving user talk messages

Simply visit their talk page and using normal editing procedures, type in your note. (Don't forget to click "Save page").

To let the other user know who left the note, "sign" your submission by inserting four tildes (like this: ~~~~) at the end of your note. Look for the tilde ( ~ ) key on your keyboard. Remember to hold down the shift and then click the key.

You can also use the Tilde edit button at the top of your edit box. It looks like this: Tilde edit button.png

Message notifications

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 talk page.

It looks like this:

Message alert.png

Standard talk pages

When a new article is created, an associated "talk" or "discussion" page is automatically created to go with it.

If no one has ever edited that "talk" page, the link to the discussion page that you observe when reading the article itself will appear in red. If someone has added some content to the talk page, that tab will appear in blue.

The purpose of an article's talk page is for editors who are working on that page, or who are thinking about working on that page, to discuss the article with each other, and to note the project that that particular article falls within. Talk pages should generally 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.

Accessing talk pages

To access a talk page look for the tab labeled discussion. This tab is found at the top of the article. When you are logged-in to your user account, the "discussion" tab is located in between the tab labeled "page" and the tab labeled "edit." When you are not logged in, the "discussion" tab is located in between the tab labeled "page" and the tab labeled "view source".

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.

Using talk pages

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".

When debating the name of the page or discussing merging it with another page, always mention the current page name. Otherwise after renaming (moving) a page, references to "this page name" become ambiguous.

The "Post a comment" feature (the small "+" sign on a separate tab, at the top of a talk page) allows you to start a new section without needing to edit the whole page. The section header becomes the edit summary at the time you save the page, so there is no edit summary displayed when you use this feature.

Signing your comments

When you leave a thought, an assertion, a question or a comment (or anything else) on an article's talk page, you should sign your comment. Help:Tildes explains how to do that.

Why would you want to sign (with your user name) a comment that you leave on an article's talk page? One reason to do this is that it allows other users to see who left the comment, which makes it possible for them to engage you in a dialogue about your comment/question/assertion on your own talk page, if that is 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 user name to any comments/questions/assertions you make, you are helping any readers identify that the view belongs to you.


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, just indent one space. Include line breaks or it will run as one long line off the page to the right. This method is only effective for a small amount of text.

Indent one space to quote words, phrases, or short sentences.
               You can even move text inward.
BP-Initials-UPDATED.png This Ballotpedia help article needs to be improved