Bahaikipedia:Talk page guidelines

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The purpose of a Bahaikipedia talk page is to provide space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or project page. Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views.

When writing on a talk page, certain approaches are counter-productive, while others facilitate good editing. The prime values of the talk page are communication, courtesy and consideration. The following list is designed to help Bahaikipedians use talk pages effectively.

Central points[edit]

Maintain Bahaikipedia policy[edit]

The policies that apply to articles also apply (if not to the same extent) to talk pages, including Bahaikipedia's verification, Bahá’í point of view and no original research policies. There is of course some 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.

Assume good faith and treat the other person in the discussion as a fellow editor, who is a thinking, feeling person, trying to contribute positively to Bahaikipedia, just like you - unless, of course, you have objective proof to the contrary. By objective proof, it means something which can be validated by a third party. The simple fact that someone disagrees with you, is not proof of bad faith!

Pay particular attention to Bahaikipedia:Biographies of living persons:

Editors should remove any negative material about living persons that is either unsourced, relies upon sources that do not meet standards specified in Bahaikipedia:Reliable sources, or is a conjectural interpretation of a source.[1]

How to use article talk pages[edit]

  • Communicate: If in doubt, make the extra effort so that other people understand you, and you get a proper understanding of others. 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. Giving an opinion helps in convincing others and reaching consensus.
  • Keep on topic: Talk pages are not for general conversation. Keep discussions on the topic of how to improve the associated article. Irrelevant discussions are subject to removal.
  • 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. However, if you feel something is wrong, but aren't sure how to fix it, then by all means feel free to draw attention to this and ask for suggestions from others.
  • Stay objective: Talk pages are not a forum for editors to argue their own different points of view about controversial issues. They are a forum to discuss how the different points of view obtained from secondary sources should be included in the article, so that the end result is neutral and objective (which may mean including conflicting viewpoints). The best way to present a case is to find properly referenced material. (For an alternative forum for personal opinions, see the Wikibate proposal.)
  • Deal with facts: The talk page is the ideal place for all issues relating to verification. This includes asking for help to find sources, comparing contradictory facts from different sources, and examining the reliability of references. Asking for a verifiable reference to support a statement is often better than arguing against it.
  • Share material: The talk page can be used to store material from the article which has been removed because it is not verified, so that time can be given for references to be found. New material can sometimes be prepared on the talk page until it is ready to be put into the article.
  • 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 queries one of your edits, make sure you reply with a full, helpful rationale.
  • Make proposals: New proposals for the article can be put forward for discussion by other editors if you wish. Proposals might include changes to specific details, page moves, merges or making a section of a long article into a separate article.

Good practice[edit]

  • Sign your posts: To sign a post, type four tildes (~~~~), and they will be replaced with your username and time stamp, like this: Eloquence 03:44 Feb 17, 2003 (UTC). Please note that it is impossible to leave an anonymous comment because your user name or IP address is recorded in the page history.
  • Avoid excessive markup: It undermines a reasoned argument with the appearance of force through Italic text, Bolded text, and especially CAPITAL LETTERS, which are considered SHOUTING, and RANTING!!!!! Italics, however, can be usefully employed for a key word, to distinguish quoted text from new text and, of course, book titles etc.
  • Be concise: If your post is longer than 100 words consider shortening it. Long, rambling messages are difficult to understand, and are frequently either ignored or misunderstood. If you need to make a detailed, point by point discussion, see below for how to lay this out.
  • Keep the layout clear: Keep the talk page attractively and clearly laid out. Avoid repetition, muddled writing, and unnecessary digressions. Talk pages with a good signal to noise ratio are more likely to attract continued participation.
  • Read the archives: Many article talk pages contain links to archives, which contain earlier discussions. If you are a new editor to an article, be sure to read them, as they often deal with common content disputes and resolutions to them. You may well find your questions and/or objections have already been answered.
  • Use English: No matter to whom you address a comment, it is preferred that you use English on English Bahaikipedia talk pages. This is so that comments may be comprehensible to the community at large. If the use of another language is unavoidable, try to also provide a translation of the comments. If you are requested to do so and cannot, it is your responsibility to either find a third party to translate or to contact a translator through the Bahaikipedia:Embassy.
  • How to provide an opinion: Some pages invite you to provide an opinion on a topic. Many people add their opinion as a bullet (*) underneath the relevant topic and bold (''') a brief one- or two-word summary of that opinion. This practice is optional (and somewhat controversial). Your opinion will typically carry more weight depending on the quality of the rationale you provide for making it. Take your time considering a good rationale, based on how the project operates. Make sure to sign your post (~~~~), as described above. Note that polling is not a substitute for discussion.
Shortcut:
B:MULTI
  • Centralized discussion: Avoid posting the same thread in multiple forums. This fragments discussion of the idea, creating discussions in separate places with no interchange of ideas. This is rarely desirable, and leads to redundant effort where an idea that has already been adequately addressed has to be considered all over again. Instead, solicit discussion in only one location, either an existing talk page or a new project page, and if needed advertise that in other locations using a link. See also: meatball:ForestFire
    If you find a fragmented discussion, it may be desirable to move all posts to one of the locations, removing them from the other locations and adding a link.

Behavior that is unacceptable[edit]

Please note that some of the following are of sufficient importance to be official Bahaikipedia policy. Violations (and especially repeated violations) may lead to the offender being banned from Bahaikipedia.

  • No personal attacks A personal attack is saying something negative about another person. This mainly means:
    • No insults: Don't 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.
    • Don't threaten people: For example, threatening people with "admins you know" or having them banned for disagreeing with you.
    • Don't make legal threats: Threatening a lawsuit is highly disruptive to Bahaikipedia, for reasons given at the linked page.
    • Never post personal details: Users who post what they believe are the personal details of other users without their consent may be blocked for any length of time, including indefinitely.
  • Don't misrepresent other people: The record should accurately show significant exchanges that took place, and in the right context. This usually means:
    • Be precise in quoting others.
    • When describing other people's contributions or edits, use diffs. The advantage of diffs in referring to a comment is that it will always remain the same, even when a talk page gets archived or a comment gets changed.
    • As a rule, don't edit others' comments. Exceptions are described in the next section.

Editing comments[edit]

Others' comments[edit]

It is not necessary to bring talk pages to publishing standards, so there is no need to correct typing errors, grammar, etc. It tends to irritate the users whose comments you are correcting.

Never edit someone's words to change their meaning. Editing others' comments is not allowed. There are exceptions, however. Some are:

  • If you have their permission
  • Removing prohibited material such as libel and personal details
  • Removing personal attacks and incivility. Please read B:ATTACK#Removal of text and B:CIVIL#Removing uncivil comments before removing anything.
  • Unsigned comments: You are allowed to append {{unsigned}} or one of its variants to the end of someone's comment if they have failed to sign it. The form is {{subst:unsigned|USER NAME OR IP}}, which results in —The preceding unsigned comment was added by USER NAME OR IP (talkcontribs) ..
  • Interruptions: In some cases, it is OK to interrupt a long contribution, either by a short comment (as a reply to a minor point) or by a headline (if the contribution introduces a new topic). In that case, add "<small>Headline added to (reason) by ~~~~</small>"). In such cases, please add {{subst:interrupted|USER NAME OR IP}} before the interruption.
  • When a long comment has formatting errors, rendering it difficult to read. In this case, restrict the edits to formatting changes only and preserve the content as much as possible.
  • On your own user talk page, you may remove comments from others, although archiving is generally preferred. The text of another user's comment, however, may never be directly edited to misrepresent the person or change the meaning of the comment.

Own comments[edit]

It is best to avoid having to change one's comments. Other users may already have quoted you with a diff (see above) or have otherwise reacted to your statement. Therefore, use "Show preview" and think about how your statement may look to others before you save it.

Changing or deleting comments after someone replied is likely to cause problems, because it will put the reply in a different context. In that case you have several options:

  • Ask the person who replied (on their talk page) if it's OK to delete or change your text
  • use strike-through or a place holder to show it is a retrospective alteration.
    • Strike-through is typed <s>like this</s> and ends up like this.
    • A placeholder is a text such as "[Thoughtless and stupid comment removed by the author.]". This will ensure that your fellow editors' irritated responses still make sense. In turn, they may then wish to replace their reply with something like, "[Irritated response to deleted comment removed. Apology accepted.]"

Disputes[edit]

If you are having a disagreement or a problem with someone's behavior, please read Bahaikipedia:Resolving disputes.

Some examples of talk pages on controversial topics are Talk:Abortion, Talk:Capitalism, Talk:Socialism, Talk:Jesus Christ, and Talk:Evolution.

Technical and format standards[edit]

Layout[edit]

  • 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. 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 + tab next to the edit button on the talk page you are on.
  • Separate multiple points 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).
  • Thread your post: Use indentation to clearly indicate who you are replying to, as with usual threaded discussions. Normally colons are used, not bullet points (although the latter are commonly used at AfD, CfD, etc.).

New topics and headings on talk pages[edit]

See also Headings
  • 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 == either side of the words, as in == Heading ==. The "Post a comment" feature can be used to do this automatically. (If you're using the default Bahaikipedia:Skin, you can use the "+" 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.
  • Keep headings on topics related to the article. It should be clear from the heading which aspect of the article you wish to discuss. Do not write "This article is wrong" but address the specific issue you want to discuss.
  • 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 may wish to commend a particular edit, but this could be seen in a different light by someone who disagrees with the edit!
    • Don't be critical in headings: This includes being critical about details of the article. Those details were written by individual editors, who may experience the heading as an attack on them.
    • Never address other users in a heading: A heading should invite all editors to respond to the subject addressed.

Links, time and page name[edit]

  • 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 pages list.
  • Use UTC when referring to a time, e.g. the time of an edit or page move.
  • 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.

When pages get too long[edit]

  • Archive — don't delete: When a talk page has become too large or a particular subject is no longer being discussed, don't delete the content — archive it. See Bahaikipedia:How to archive a talk page for details on why and how to.

User talk pages[edit]

More latitude is extended for user talk pages. Policy does not prohibit users from removing comments from their own talk pages, though archiving is preferred. For more information, see Bahaikipedia:User page.

Sorting[edit]