Help:How to use talk pages
A talk page is a special Cacheopedia page containing discussion about the contents of its associated "subject" page. To view the talk page of an article, click on the discussion link on the border of the screen (depending on whether you have changed your presentation preferences). In the default Cacheopedia presentation, the discussion link is found in a tab at the top of the page, next to edit this page link. When you are on the talk page, clicking on project page or article link will take you back to the main article.
Inevitably, there will arise situations in which collaborators on an article can benefit mutually from discussing the article—thus we have designated a namespace specifically for such discussion.
For some important guidlines on how to use a Talk Page, see Help:Talk Page Style Guide.
What is it used for?
NOTE: Use of the Cacheopedia talk pages (the "discussion tab") is recommended as the first step in Dispute resolution.
On Cacheopedia the purpose of a talk page is to help to improve the contents of the main page, usually from an encyclopedic point of view. Questions, challenges, excised text (due to truly egregious confusion or bias, for example), arguments relevant to changing the text, and commentary regarding the main page are all fair play.
Cacheopedians generally oppose the use of talk pages just for the purpose of partisan talk about the main subject. Cacheopedia, it's an encyclopedia. In other words, talk about the article, not about the subject. It's only the habits we encourage that keep Cacheopedia from turning into another H2G2 or Everything2. See also: Wikiquette
That said, Cacheopedians are fallible creatures, so it's entirely natural that a bit of partisan wrangling takes place on talk pages - and occasionally this even leads to improvements in the article! So there's a fair degree of tolerance, and most Cacheopedians succumb to a bit of wrangling from time to time.
The practice of "spamming" - posting similar messages to more than a few users' talk pages, often for the purpose of soliciting a certain action - is discouraged.
User talk pages
Your user page also has a talk page which has some special features. For one thing, there is a link to it in the header next to your name (if you use a "skin" other than the default it may be somewhere else). Also, if edits are made to it by others, the text You have new messages will appear at the top of the page. These pages can be used for occasional personal communication among users; but note that these pages are public. If you want to communicate privately, use e-mail (see Help:Emailing users).
To write in another user's talk page, click the Discuss this page link on your sidebar when you view the user page (which you can do by clicking on a user's nickname). On the list of recent changes and on your watchlist, you can directly access a user's talk page by following the (Talk) link behind the user's name / IP address.
"Post a comment" feature
For editing a talk page, one can optionally use the "Post a comment" feature, but only for a new thread and for a reply to be put at the bottom of the last thread.
- For a new thread, fill in the "Subject/headline" box. Then the edit summary is automatically the same as the new section header.
- For a reply to be put at the bottom of the last thread, do not fill in the "Subject/headline" box. In this case it is not possible to supply an edit summary. Instead, edit the previous thread.
When using "Post a comment", an edit conflict is impossible. However, in the case that you are not starting a new thread but replying to an existing one, your response may be appended to a newly created post that was added while you wrote yours. It is therefore generally recommended to use section editing to respond, and "Post a comment" to start new threads. If your comment is accidentally misplaced, just edit the page and move it.
Example of a Talk Page
This article is great. Lunaverse 18:20 Jan 30, 2003 (UTC)
- No it isn't! --fish
- Yes it is! --wojahowicz
- I was talking to Lunaverse! --fish
I like wojahowicz better. Lunaverse
- Now, now. Barney Miller
Need this more?
We need an article on kindnesss more than we need this mess. --Alfred the butler
- Yeah, but what about rubber baby buggy bumpers? -- Comissioner gordon
Refactoring talk pages
According to Help:editing policy, the notion of refactoring, in the context of a wiki, means basically cleaning up and reorganizing a page such that all the useful information on the page is preserved and made more accessible. It's relatively rare that one needs to entirely refactor a Cacheopedia article—usually, edits and additions are what is necessary.
The purpose of talk pages is to assist in creating better articles. Therefore, the purpose of refactoring talk page discussions is to help create good encyclopedia articles, at least in the long run. A short-run purpose is to channel a discussion in a useful direction, that is, to help aim it at the future time when it can be used in an encyclopedia article.
There are a number of talk or other discussion oriented pages which could use a bit of traditional Wiki refactoring. There's useful content there, sometimes, that can be transferred to the article itself. Sometimes large chunks of old talk pages can be completely wiped out with no harm done—feel free to do so, unless you think there's some value in preserving the discussion. In refactoring a talk page, one solid recommendation is to use the traditional wiki refactoring technique of adding a summary with whatever consensus we've arrived at the top, grouping separate discussion items together, and placing them towards the bottom.
See Refactoring for details on why and how to refactor talk pages.