It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
The purpose of an article's talk page (accessible via the talk or discussion tab) is to provide space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or WikiProject. Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views on a subject. When talk pages in other namespaces (including userspace) are used for discussion and communication between users, discussion should be directed solely toward the improvement of the encyclopedia.
The names of talk pages associated with articles begin with Talk:. For example, the talk page for the article Australia is named Talk:Australia.
The guidelines below reinforce the prime values of talk pages: communication, courtesy, and consideration. They apply not only to article discussion pages but everywhere editors interact, such as deletion discussions and noticeboards.
Maintain Wikipedia policy
There is reasonable allowance for speculation, suggestion, and personal knowledge on talk pages, with a view to prompting further investigation, but it is usually a misuse of a talk page to continue to argue any point that has not met policy requirements. Pay particular attention to Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons, which applies to talk pages as well as to articles: "Editors must take particular care adding information about living persons to any Wikipedia page."
Talk pages are generally created by clicking a red "Talk" tab and creating the page, like any other page.
Do not create an empty talk page simply so that one will exist for future use. There is no need to add discussion warning templates to every talk page, or even to every talk page that contains a discussion.
Communicate: If in doubt, make the extra effort so that other people understand you. Being friendly is a great help. It is always a good idea to explain your views; it is less helpful for you to voice an opinion on something and not explain why you hold it. Explaining why you have a certain opinion helps to demonstrate its validity to others and reach consensus.
Stay on topic: Talk pages are for discussing the article, not for general conversation about the article's subject (much less other subjects). Keep discussions focused on how to improve the article. If you want to discuss the subject of an article, you can do so at Wikipedia:Reference desk instead. Comments that are plainly irrelevant are subject to archiving or removal.
No meta: Extended meta-discussions about editing belong on noticeboards, in Wikipedia-talk, or in User-talk namespaces, not in Article-talk namespace.
Be positive: Article talk pages should be used to discuss ways to improve an article; not to criticize, pick apart, or vent about the current status of an article or its subject. This is especially true on the talk pages of biographies of living people. However, if you're not sure how to fix something, feel free to draw attention to this and ask for suggestions.
Stay objective: Talk pages are not a place for editors to argue their personal point of view about a controversial issue. They are a place to discuss how the points of view of reliable sources should be included in the article, so that the end result is neutral. The best way to present a case is to find properly referenced material.
Deal with facts: The talk page is the ideal place for issues relating to verification, such as asking for help finding sources, discussing conflicts or inconsistencies among sources, and examining the reliability of references. Asking for a verifiable reference supporting a statement is often better than arguing against it.
Share material: The talk page can be used to "park" material removed from the article due to verification or other concerns, while references are sought or concerns discussed. New material can be prepared on the talk page until it is ready to be put into the article; this is an especially good idea if the new material (or topic as a whole) is controversial.
Discuss edits: The talk page is particularly useful to talk about edits. If one of your edits has been reverted, and you change it back again, it is good practice to leave an explanation on the talk page and a note in the edit summary that you have done so. The talk page is also the place to ask about another editor's changes. If someone questions one of your edits, make sure you reply with a full, helpful rationale.
Make proposals: Proposals for improving the article can be put forward for discussion by other editors. Such proposals might include changes to specific points, page moves, mergers or making a section of a long article into a separate article.
These guidelines apply specifically to discussion pages which are used for collaboration, which includes just about all talk pages other than user talk pages. The application of these guidelines to user talk pages should be governed by common sense and should not supersede guidelines and policies specific to those pages.
Check whether there's already a discussion on the same topic. Duplicate discussions (on a single page, or on multiple pages) are confusing and time-wasting, and may be interpreted as forum shopping. If the subject is a controversial or popular one, consider checking the talk-page archives before opening a new thread. (Many talk pages have a Search archives box near the top.)
Use English: This is the English-language Wikipedia; discussions should normally be conducted in English. If using another language is unavoidable, try to provide a translation, or get help at Wikipedia:Embassy. Do not expect readers to translate your content themselves, not even when modern browsers have machine translation built-in.
Be concise: Long posts risk being ignored or misunderstood. Talk pages with a good signal-to-noise ratio tend to attract continued participation. If you really need to make a detailed, point-by-point post, see below for tips.
Avoid starting the same discussion on multiple pages, which fragments discussion. Instead, start the discussion in one location and, if appropriate, advertise it elsewhere via a link. If you find a fragmented discussion, consider moving all posts to one location and linking from the old locations to the new. State clearly in edit summaries and on talk pages what you have done and why. (See Wikipedia:Content forking/Internal § Discussion forks.)
Avoid excessive emphasis: ALL CAPS and enlarged fonts may be considered shouting and are rarely appropriate. Bolding may be used to highlight key words or phrases but should be used judiciously. Italics are often used for emphasis or clarity but should be avoided for long passages. Exclamation marks similarly should be used judiciously. Overuse of emphasis can undermine its impact! If adding emphasis to quoted text, say so.
Use separate subsection headings to discuss multiple changes: If you arrive at the "discussion" part of the "bold, revert, discuss" (BRD) cycle, and the subject involves a number of separate changes you would like to see, try to break down the different changes, and your reasons and reliable sources for each one, under separate subsection headings (===Example===). Mixing it all into one long post complicates discussion.
Please note that some of the following are of sufficient importance to be official Wikipedia policy. Violations (and especially repeated violations) may lead to the offender being blocked or banned from editing Wikipedia.
Insults: Do not make ad hominem attacks, such as calling someone an idiot or a fascist. Instead, explain what is wrong with an edit and how to fix it.
Personal threats: For example, threatening people with "admins [you] know" or with having them banned for disagreeing with you. However, explaining to an editor the consequences of violating Wikipedia policies, like being blocked for vandalism, is not considered a threat.
Legal threats: Threatening a lawsuit is highly disruptive to Wikipedia for reasons given at the linked page.
Posting other editors' personal details: A user who maliciously posts what they believe are the personal details of another user without that user's consent may be blocked for any length of time, including indefinitely.
Misrepresentation of other people: The record should accurately show significant exchanges that have taken place and in the correct context. This usually means:
Being precise in quoting others.
When referencing other people's contributions or edits, use "diffs." The advantage of diffs in referring to a comment is that the diff will always remain the same, even when a talk page gets archived or a comment gets changed
Generally, do not alter others' comments, including signatures. Exceptions to this are described in the next section.
It is not necessary to bring talk pages to publishing standards, so there is no need to correct others' spelling errors, grammar, etc. Doing so can be irritating. The basic rule, with exceptions outlined below, is to not edit or delete others' posts without their permission.
Never edit or move someone's comment to change its meaning, even on your own talk page.
Striking out text (e.g., <del>...</del>) constitutes a change in meaning. It should be done only by the user who wrote it, or as otherwise provided in this talk page guideline.
Generally, you should not break up another editor's text by interleaving or interpolating your own replies to individual points. This causes confusion with who said what and obscures the original editor's intent. In your own posts, you may wish to use the ((Talk quotation)) or ((Talkquote)) templates to quote others' posts.
Cautiously editing or removing another editor's comments is sometimes allowed, but normally you should stop if there is any objection. If you make anything more than minor changes, it is good practice to leave a short explanatory note such as "[potential libel removed by ~~~~]". Some examples of appropriately editing others' comments are:
If you have their permission, e.g. by invocation of WP:MUTUAL.
Restoration: to restore comments vandalized or accidentally edited or deleted by others.
Off-topic posts: Your idea of what is off topic may differ from what others think is off topic, so be sure to err on the side of caution.
Collapse. If a discussion goes off topic (per the above subsection § How to use article talk pages), editors may hide it using ((Collapse top))/((Collapse bottom)) or similar templates. This normally has the effect of ending the off-topic discussion while allowing people to read it by pressing the "show" link. Involved parties must not use these templates to end a discussion over the objections of other editors
Move. At times, it may make sense to move off-topic posts to a more appropriate talk page. Another form of refactoring is to move a thread of entirely personal commentary between two editors to the talk page of the editor who started the off-topic discussion. The template ((subst:Rf)) can be used to denote the original source page of the content.
Delete. It is common to simply delete gibberish, test edits, harmful or prohibited material (as described above), and comments or discussion clearly about the article's subject itself (as opposed to comments and discussion about the treatment of the subject in the article).
Moving edits to closed discussions: A discussion which has been closed with the ((subst:Archive)) or similar template is intended to be preserved as-is and should not be edited. Subsequent edits inside of an archive box should not be removed for this sole reason, but may be moved below the box to preserve the integrity of the closed discussion.
Attributing unsigned comments: If a comment is unsigned you can find out, from the page history, who posted it and append attribution to it, typically using ((subst:Unsigned)): ((subst:Unsigned|USER NAME OR IP|DATE AND TIME)). The date and time parameter is optional.
Signature cleanup: If a signature violates the guidelines for signatures, or is an attempt to fake a signature, you may edit the signature to the standard form with correct information —((subst:User|USERNAME)) TIMESTAMP OF EDIT (UTC) or some even simpler variant. Do not modify the signature on others' posts for any other reason. If the user's signature contains a coding error, ask the user to fix the problem in their preferences (but see "Fixing layout errors", below).
Fixing format errors that render material difficult to read. In this case, restrict the edits to formatting changes only and preserve the content as much as possible. Examples include fixing indentation levels, removing bullets from discussions that are not consensus polls or requests for comment (RfC), fixing list markup (to avoid disruption of screen readers, for instance), using <code>, <nowiki> and other technical markup to fix code samples, and providing wikilinks if it helps in better navigation. Another helpful template is ((Reflist-talk)), which causes <ref>...</ref>-type material to be emitted immediately instead of at the end of the entire page.
Fixing layout errors: This could include moving a new comment from the top of a page to the bottom, adding a heading to a comment not having one, repairing accidental damage by one party to another's comments, correcting unclosed markup tags that mess up the entire page's formatting, accurately replacing HTML table code with a wikitable, etc.
Sectioning: If a thread has developed new subjects, it may be desirable to split it into separate discussions with their own headings or subheadings. When a topic is split into two topics, rather than sub-sectioned, it is often useful for there to be a link from the new topic to the original and vice versa. A common way of doing this is noting the change at the [then-]end of the original thread, and adding an unobtrusive note under the new heading, e.g., :<small>This topic was split off from [[#FOOBAR]], above.</small>. Some reformatting may be necessary to maintain the sense of the discussion to date and to preserve attribution. It is essential that splitting does not inadvertently alter the meaning of any comments. Very long discussions may also be divided into sub-sections.
Section headings: Because threads are shared by multiple editors (regardless of how many have posted so far), no one, including the original poster, "owns" a talk page discussion or its heading. It is generally acceptable to change headings when a better heading is appropriate, e.g., one more accurately describing the content of the discussion or the issue discussed, less one-sided, more appropriate for accessibility reasons, etc. Whenever a change is likely to be controversial, avoid disputes by discussing a heading change with the editor who started the thread, if possible. It can also sometimes be appropriate to merge entire sections under one heading (often preserving the later one as a subheading) if their discussions are redundant.In order to ensure links to the previous section heading (including automatically generated links in watchlists and histories) continue to work, one should use one of the following templates to anchor the old title: ((Thread retitled)), ((Visible anchor)), ((Anchor)). Link markup may be removed from section headings, but the link should be re-created at the first use of the term, or in a hatnote. Template markup should be removed, as this is likely to break links to the heading.
Removing duplicate sections: Where an editor has inadvertently saved the same new section or comment twice. Note: this does not mean people who repeat a point deliberately.
Fixing links: if the linked-to page has moved, a talk page section has been archived, the link is simply broken by a typographical error, or it unintentionally points to a disambiguation page etc. Do not change links in others' posts to go to entirely different pages. If in doubt, ask the editor in question to update their own post, or add a follow-up comment of your own suggesting the alternative link. Only fix a link to a template that has been replaced or deprecated if the effect of the new template is essentially the same as what the poster used (otherwise, simply allow the post to red link to the old template, as a broken post is preferable to one with altered meaning). Internal links made using full URLs may be converted to wikilinks or protocol-relative URLs (by dropping the part before the "//"), so that they will work across protocols (http:// vs. https://) and between our desktop and mobile sites.
Hiding or resizing images: You may hide an image (e.g., change [[File:Foo.jpg|...details...]] to [[:File:Foo.jpg|...details...]] by adding a colon) once discussion of it has ended. This is especially appropriate for "warning" and "alert" icons included in bot-posted notices which are usually quickly resolved. It's OK to re-size images to a smaller size if they take too much space on a talk page.
Non-free images: Non-free images must not be displayed on talk pages. If they are being discussed, they must be hidden by linking them with a colon—as described in "Hiding or resizing images", above. If they are included for decorative purposes, they must be removed.
Deactivating templates, categories, and interlanguage links: You may prevent templates from being transcluded (e.g., change ((Template name)) to ((tl|Template name))) if the poster clearly intended to discuss the template rather than use it. You may deactivate category links (e.g., change [[Category:Foobar]] to [[:Category:Foobar]] by inserting a colon) to prevent the page being inappropriately added to a discussed category. You may deactivate interlanguage links (e.g., change [[it:Foobar]] to [[:it:Foobar]] by inserting a colon) when the link to a page on another language's Wikipedia is meant to appear inline rather than to serve as an interlanguage link for the page.
Hiding old code samples: You may redact (replace with a note, or collapse) large code samples once discussion of the sample has ended; for instance fulfilled ((Edit fully-protected)) requests.
Review pages: Peer reviews, good article reviews, and featured article candidates are collaborative processes in which a reviewer may provide a list of comments on an article; most editors expect the responses to be interspersed among these comments. An example is here; note that you should not modify the comments themselves in any way.
Removing or striking through comments made by blocked sock puppets of users editing in violation of a block or ban. Comments made by a sock with no replies may simply be removed with an appropriate edit summary. If comments are part of an active discussion, they should be struck instead of removed, along with a short explanation following the stricken text or at the bottom of the thread. There is not typically a need to strike comments in discussions that have been closed or archived.
Empty edit requests. It is acceptable to remove empty edit requests from a Talk page, if considered necessary. Consider using ((Empty edit request)) on the User Talk page of a user who has posted an empty edit request.
In the past, it was standard practice to "summarize" talk page comments, but this practice has fallen out of use. On regular wikis with no "talk" tab, the summary would end up as the final page content. Wikipedia has separate tabs for article content and discussion pages. Refactoring and archiving are still appropriate, but should be done with courtesy and reversed on protest.
So long as no one has yet responded to your comment, it's accepted and common practice that you may continue to edit your remarks for a short while to correct mistakes, add links or otherwise improve them. If you've accidentally posted to the wrong page or section or if you've simply changed your mind, it's been only a short while and no one has yet responded, you may remove your comment entirely.
But if anyone has already replied to or quoted your original comment, changing your comment may deprive any replies of their original context, and this should be avoided. Once others have replied, or even if no one's replied but it's been more than a short while, if you wish to change or delete your comment, it is commonly best practice to indicate your changes. An exception to this rule may be permitted if there is only one reply and it invokes WP:MUTUAL.
Any deleted text should be marked with <del>...</del>, which renders in most browsers as struck-through text, e.g., deleted.
Any inserted text should be marked with <ins>...</ins>, which renders in most browsers as underlined text, e.g., .
Best practice is to add a new timestamp, e.g., <ins>; edited ~~~~~</ins>, using five tildes, after the original timestamp at the end of your post.
To add an explanation of your change, you may add a new comment immediately below your original or elsewhere in discussion as may be most appropriate; insert a comment in square brackets, e.g., "the default width is 100px [the default changed last month]", or use [[WP:CURRENTSECTION#New section|<sup>[corrected]</sup>]] to insert a superscript note, e.g. [corrected], linking to a later subsection for a detailed explanation.
Persistently formatting your comments on a talk page in a non-compliant manner, after friendly notification by other editors, is a mild form of disruption. After you have been alerted to specific aspects of these guidelines (such as indentation, sectioning, and signatures), you are expected to make a reasonable effort to follow those conventions. Other editors may simply ignore additional posts that flagrantly disregard the talk page formatting standards.
Closing a discussion means summarizing the results, and identifying any consensus that has been achieved. A rule of thumb is that discussions should be kept open at least a week before closing, although there are some exceptions to this.
Any uninvolved editor may write a closing statement for most discussions, not just admins. However, if the discussion is particularly contentious or the results are especially unclear, then a request specifically for a closing statement from an uninvolved administrator may be preferable.
Requesting a close
Any participant in a discussion may request that an uninvolved editor or admin formally close any type of discussion (not just RFCs), if any one or more of the following criteria are true:
the consensus remains unclear to the participants,
the issue is a contentious one, or
there are wiki-wide implications to the decision.
Please do not request a closing statement from an uninvolved editor unless one of these three criteria have been met.
You may request that an uninvolved editor formally close a discussion by placing a note at Wikipedia:Closure requests. Please ensure that any request there seeking a close is neutrally worded, and do not use that board to continue the discussion in question. If you are requesting attention specifically from an admin, then please state that clearly in your request.
Marking a closed discussion
When an issue has been resolved without controversy, this may be marked simply by adding the ((Resolved)) template at the top of the thread, adding a brief statement of how the issue was dealt with. If you took action yourself to resolve the issue you may instead use the ((Done)) template in your own final comment stating what you did. Adding one of these templates will help future readers to spot more quickly those issues that remain unresolved.
When a more complex discussion has been closed, to discourage any further comments you may optionally use the ((subst:Archive top)) and ((subst:Archive bottom)) templates (although some particular types of discussion, such as those which concern whether to delete or rename a page, have their own specialized templates) — ((subst:Archive top)) and ((subst:Archive bottom)) templates should not be used by involved parties to end a discussion over the objections of other editors. For example:
Start new topics at the bottom of the page: If you put a post at the top of the page, it is confusing and can easily be overlooked. The latest topic should be the one at the bottom of the page, then the next post will go underneath yours and so on. This makes it easy to see the chronological order of posts. A quick way to do this is to use the "New section" tab next to the "Edit" button on the talk page you are on.
Avoid excessive use of color and other font gimmicks: The advice at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Accessibility § Color is as applicable to talk pages as it is anywhere else. And your post is not more important than anyone else's, so it should not be in huge, purple text.
Separate multiple paragraphs with whitespace: If a single post has several points, it makes it clearer to separate them with a paragraph break (i.e. a blank line).
Summary:WP:LISTGAP fixes: don't change list type, don't skip indentation levels, no extra spaces between replies.
Avoid adding blank lines between any lines that begin with wikitext symbols for lists, because this increases the complexity of the generated HTML code and creates accessibility problems for people using screen readers. These symbols include:
asterisks (*), which make bulleted lists;
hash symbols (#), which make numbered lists;
semi-colons (;), which make the first half of an HTML association list (rendered as bold-faced text); and
colons (:), which make the second half of an HTML association list, but which are popularly used for the resulting visual indentation effect.
Start new topics at the bottom of the page: If you put a post at the top of the page, it is confusing and can also get easily overlooked. The latest topic should be the one at the bottom of the page.
Make a new heading for a new topic: It will then be clearly separated into its own section and will also appear in the TOC (table of contents) at the top of the page. A heading is easy to create with == on either side of the words, as in ==Heading==. The "Post a comment" feature can be used to do this automatically. (If you are using the default skin, you can use the "New section" tab next to the "Edit this page" tab instead.) Enter a subject/heading in the resulting edit page, and it will automatically become the section heading.
Don't create a new heading that duplicates an existing heading: If you are responding to a comment or adding to a discussion on a particular topic, respond after the comment or at the bottom of the existing section.
Make the heading clear and specific as to the article topic discussed: It should be clear from the heading which aspect of the article (template, etc.) you wish to discuss. Don't write "This article is wrong" but address the specific issue you want to discuss. A related article Edit, actual or potential, should be traceable to that Talk-page heading.
Keep headings neutral: A heading should indicate what the topic is, but not communicate a specific view about it.
Don't praise in headings: You might wish to commend a particular edit, but this could be seen in a different light by someone who disagrees with the edit.
Don't criticize in headings: This includes being critical about details of the article. Those details were written by individual editors, who may interpret the heading as an attack on them.
Don't address other users in a heading: Headings invite all users to comment. Headings may be about specific edits but not specifically about the user. (Some exceptions are made at administrative noticeboards, where reporting problems by name is normal.)
Never use headings to attack other users: While no personal attacks and assuming good faith apply everywhere at Wikipedia, using headings to attack other users by naming them in the heading is especially egregious, as it places their names prominently in the Table of Contents, and can thus enter that heading in the edit summary of the page's edit history. As edit summaries and edit histories are not normally subject to revision, that wording can then haunt them and damage their credibility for an indefinite time period, even though edit histories are excluded from search engines. Reporting on another user's edits from a neutral point of view is an exception, especially reporting edit warring or other incidents to administrators.
Create subsections if helpful: Talk page discussions should be concise, so if a single discussion becomes particularly long, it may then become helpful to start a subsection (to facilitate the involvement of editors with a slower computer or Internet connection). Since the main section title will no longer appear in edit summaries, choose a connotative title; for example, in the section References used more than once, the subsection title References: arbitrary break might be used. If creating arbitrary breaks, ensure that sections end with a clear indication of the poster. (This method is preferable to using templates like ((Hidden)).)
Links, time, and page name
Make links freely: Links to articles are as useful on talk pages as anywhere else, and links to non-existent articles can help get them onto the most-wanted articles list.
When mentioning the name of the page, cite the current name: This applies when a page is moved (i.e. retitled). In such a case, the Talk page is usually also moved. If you continue to use the old name, it will be confusing, especially for new editors to the article.
For the guideline on pages in article space, see WP:TOOLONG. For the guideline on user talk pages, see WP:OWNTALK.
Large talk pages are difficult to read and load slowly over slow connections. As a rule of thumb, archive closed discussions when a talk page exceeds 75 KB in wikitext or has numerous resolved or stale discussions – see Help:Archiving a talk page. Apart from the exception described in WP:OWNTALK, discussions should be archived, not blanked.
If a thread has been archived prematurely, such as when it is still relevant to current work or was not concluded, unarchive it by copying it back to the talk page from the archive, and deleting it from the archive. Do not unarchive a thread that was effectively closed; instead, start a new discussion and link to the archived prior discussion.
Often, there are a number of related pages that would benefit from one single talk page for discussions. For example, a list article may have grown too large and was split alphabetically. Or there may be a set of templates that are used together or interrelated MediaWiki interface pages.
Before implementing a centralized talk page, consider first gaining consensus for your proposal. The main discussion would usually be on the proposed centralized talk page with notices on the pages to be redirected. Notices may be placed on related pages as needed; for example, a relevant WikiProject page or Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals). ((Centralize notice)) may be used to note the proposal.
The length of user talk pages, and the need for archiving, is left up to each editor's own discretion.
Although archiving is preferred, users may freely remove comments from their own talk pages. Users may also remove some content in archiving. The removal of a warning is taken as evidence that the warning has been read by the user. This includes both registered and unregistered users. Some new users believe they can hide critical comments by deleting them. This is not true: Such comments can always be retrieved from the page history.
While the purpose of article talk pages is to discuss the content of articles, the purpose of user talk pages is to draw the attention or discuss the edits of a user. Wikipedia is not a social networking site, and all discussion should ultimately be directed solely toward the improvement of the encyclopedia. User talk pages must serve their primary purpose, which is to make communication and collaboration among editors easier. Editors who refuse to use their talk page for these purposes are violating the spirit of the talk page guidelines, and are not acting collaboratively.
^Even if you don't sign, it is impossible to leave an anonymous comment because your username or IP address is visible in the page history. Per WP:SIGN, continued and deliberate refusal to sign posts may result in sanctions.