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For New Contributors
What is a Talk page? The talk page tab is found along with the Help, Edit, and History tabs under the FamilySearch logo. Every page has a Talk page which can be used for discussion and communicating with other users.
You can communicate on a user's personal talk page or on any talk page of the Wiki. For example, an article on London birth records will have a talk page where Wiki users might make suggestions for improving the article or call into question the article's accuracy. For an example of Wiki users communicating with each other on a user's talk page see User Talk: Saving Stories
How to add your comments to a Talk page.
- Make sure you have registered and signed-on to the Wiki so you can have rights to edit the Talk page. You can register by clicking here.
- Click the the Talk tab at the top of the page to which you want to add your comments.
- Click the Wikitext tab at the top of the page.
- In the editing box give a title to your talking point enclosed by two = signs. For example: == The accuracy of this article may need to be checked ==
Add your comments to the talk page by typing them in the editing box.
- When you are finished adding your talking point, sign the comments by typing four tildes '~~~~'.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and type a brief description of the comment and click the Save Page button.
Technical note: A Talk page is actually very similar to any other wiki page, but it is in the 'talk' namespace, to keep it separate from the articles in the 'main' namespace (See Help:namespaces) As with any wiki page, you can edit it, link to it, and view the editing history.
Making a talk page easy to read
Everyone will be able to follow discussions more easily if you do the following:
- Start a new discussion at the bottom of the page. Start with a "Subject," format as a Heading 2 (from the Format box in the toolbar).
- Sign your name after your comments. Use four tildes '~~~~' (or the toolbar button)
- Indent replies with colons (':') at the beginning of the line. (Click Show Preview before saving to make sure the : turns into an indent.)
Here is an example discussion, following the Talk page conventions:
|Wiki text||Formatted talk page|
More spiders information needed
This page has a lot of detail about the web, but I really dont understand a single word of it, and it doesn't mention the spider once -- Bob Smith 18:07, 26 August 1991 (UTC)
Having discussions on a free-form wiki page will seem strange at first. It has some advantages over the conventional rigid forum format, but it can get a little messy. As with other wiki pages, anyone can help with tidying up discussions, to conform to the editing conventions e.g. add signatures and headings where they are missing.
Clearly we also have the opportunity to edit other people's comments. It is generally bad etiquette to modify somebody else's wording (Better to just add your own comment with your corrections) But it can be acceptable to...
- Modify Talk headings
- Change wording or append words to the Talk headings, to better describe the topic of discussion. Note that good descriptive headings become important when many discussions start to fill the page.
- Move dicusssions to a different page
- If discussions are put in the wrong place on the wiki, and are better associated with different Talk page, then you could just move the discussion by cut & paste. This is potentially confusing, for the people posting, but can be important for keeping things tidy. You could leave the discussion in the wrong place for a few days/weeks grace period before tidying it. You could leave a link behind explaining that a discussion was moved, or if not, you should link within the edit summary.
- Delete discussions when they are out-of-date
- Discussions can often get left lying around on a Talk page long after the issue is no longer relevant. It's usually a good idea to reply to saying "I think this is now resolved", but sooner or later it's time to just blow away the old discussions (they are of course preserved in the editing history)
- Split a post into several discussions
- It may be appropriate to do this, if somebody has raised several points which need to be answered separately. However you should always be respectful to other people's words. Does their post still make sense if you split it up?
Building articles - Discussing articles
It is usually best to keep focused on the task of building a wiki article, and use Talk pages only to support this process. The topic of conversation should generally revolve around what needs to be done to make the associated article better. Remember that editing the article itself is often a more effective means of communicating. It can be more difficult, requiring you to balance your views alongside those of others, but it can also be more rewarding. This is how the community of wiki editors will make progress. Often it will feel more natural to engage in heated debate on a talk page (or indeed any other contact channel) but in fact the wiki article itself can offer a powerful means of reaching middle-ground. Think about how to portray both sides of the argument (e.g. listing advantages and disadvantages) and you may find the debate evaporates.
User Talk pages
A "user Talk page" is a place where you can leave a message for a specific wiki contributor. The user Talk page is associated with their "user page" (see Help:User page).
The contributor will see a note at the top of every wiki page when they have received a message. They may be notified by email as well, although this cannot always be relied upon (since the email notification feature must be activated by supplying a valid email address, and clicking a confirmation link).
If you don't get a response to your user Talk page message, try looking for other contact details which they may have supplied on their user page.
Note that the messages are not private, and others can join in the conversation.