Talk pages allow users to communicate with one another, mainly to discuss the improvement of an article or to ask others for help. When viewing an article (or any other non-talk page), a link to the corresponding talk page appears on the "Discussion" tab at the top of the page. Click this tab to switch to the talk page.
The talk page associated with an article is named "Talk:Example", where "Example" is the name of the article. For example, the talk page for discussion of improvements to the Main Page is named Talk:Main Page. The talk page associated with a page in another namespace, such as the Story namespace, is named by adding "talk" after the namespace label (Story talk:Example).
Where to find talk pages
When viewing an article (or any other non-talk page), a link to the corresponding talk page appears on the "Discussion" tab at the top of the page. Click this tab to switch to the talk page; you can then view the talk page and its history, and edit it if you want to add a question or comment.
If the "Discussion" link is red, it means no talk page has been started yet. Click the red link to begin a talk page for that article and follow the instructions in Starting a new thread below. (It is also possible for a talk page to exist while the corresponding non-talk page is a red link; this often occurs in the User space, when a user has received talk page messages but has not started a user page yet.)
To go back to the article page from its talk page, use the leftmost tab at the top of the page, labelled "Page". For pages other than articles, this tab may say something different like "Story" or "User page".
When you post a message on a talk page you should always sign and date your comment so other editors can follow the thread of the conversation. To do this easily, type four tildes (~~~~) at the end of your comment. Once you save your edit, this will be automatically converted into a user signature with a link to your user page, your user talk page, and the date and time that you save your edit. (You can change the form of your signature using your user preferences.)
If you choose to contribute without logging in, regardless of whether you have an account, you should still sign your posts. In this case your IP address will talk the place of username, and will link to your contributions history.
Starting a new thread
To discuss a topic that's not already covered on the article or user talk page, start a new topic.
- Click on the "Add topic" link at the top of the talk page screen.
- Be sure to enter a section header in the "Subject" box with a suitable title, preferably not something generic like "Question" or "Problem".
- Sign. At the end of your post, type four tildes (~~~~), which will automatically add your user name and the date.
- Click "Save page".
A new section can also be started by editing the whole page or an existing section, going to a new line and typing
==Heading==, replacing "Heading" with a suitable title, but make sure to add new discussions at the bottom of the page. A new section automatically adds the heading to the "Contents" box on pages with at least four sections.
Replying to an existing thread
To respond to a discussion already in progress:
- Click the "Edit" link of the right and of the bar of the section you want to reply to.
- Add your comment below the last entry in the discussion. If you want to respond to a specific comment, you can place your response directly below it. Use a colon (:) to indent your message to create a threaded message. See Indentation below for more information on indenting talk pages with colons.
- Sign. Type four tildes (~~~~), which will automatically add your user name and the date.
- Click "Save page"
Indentation is used to keep talk pages readable. Comments are indented using one or more initial colons (:), each colon representing one level of indentation. Each comment should be indented one more level than the comment it replies to, which may or may not be the preceding comment. For example:
== Header == The first comment in a section has no colons before it. ~~~~ :The reply to the first comment is indented one level. ~~~~ ::The reply to the second comment should be indented one more level. It doesn't matter if it's made by the same editor who did the first comment, it still gets indented one more level. ~~~~ ::Another reply to the second comment is also indented one more level than the comment being replied to. ~~~~ :A subsequent reply to the first comment is indented one level. ~~~~
Some pages (deletion discussions, for example) use asterisks rather than colons for indentation. Generally colons and asterisks should not be mixed; if you see asterisks are being used in a page, use them as well.
Avoid placing double line breaks (i.e. empty lines) as shown in the example above between intended lines of text, since this can create problems for users of screen reader software.