|This page is considered an ignorable policy on Uncyclopedia.|
It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that everyone should follow, unless they don't want to, in which case they are free to ignore it, in which case nobody will care. Please make use of the standing on one knee position to propose to this policy.
|Basic mechanics of a wiki|
Summary: Talk pages are the way Uncyclopedians usually communicate. What you need to know about talk pages includes technical aspects, Uncyclopedia conventions, and matters of civility.
Talk, you say?
Uncyclopedia is a wiki.
- Technically, a wiki is a collection of pages. On Uncyclopedia, a typical page, such as Corn, is content: a satire encyclopedia article.
- Socially, a wiki is a collection of people. It is not a free-form blog but a group editing project to assemble an entertaining spoof of Wikipedia.
The project works best when we communicate, and on a wiki, we do so by editing pages. (If you would like to offer the view that this is horribly inefficient: Yes. We know.)
- For starters, read: How pages work
An article such as Corn is in the content space. What it contains is content, with the goal of hanging together and entertaining the reader. If you would like to talk about Corn, the thing not to do is type your opinion on the article, into the article. That is: Keep personal opinions out of the content space.
Pages in other namespaces have talk pages too. In the UnNews namespace, which is our spoof of a news service, the news story UnNews:US Senators do a deal could have a talk page at UnNews talk:US Senators do a deal. This page, Uncyclopedia:Talk pages, could have a talk page at Uncyclopedia talk:Talk pages. (If you think it will be funny to create a talk page to a page on talk pages, think again.)
When you call up an article, you will see a link at the top of the page that says Talk (or sometimes Discussion). Click that to go to the talk page and see what Uncyclopedians are saying about the article.
Broadcast or one-on-one?
Things you type into a talk page are for anyone who cares about that article, but are only noticed by people who have that article on their watchlist. If there is really, really something you have to say to all Uncyclopedians, go to the Village Dump and communicate in the
Uncyclopedians have user pages, such as User:Spike. (They are either the Uncyclopedian's self-introduction, or sometimes a personal sandbox.) These pages also have talk pages attached: user talk pages, such as User talk:Spike.
If you have something to say to a specific Uncyclopedian, type it into that person's user talk page. Anyone can read it, but it is mostly intended for that person — who will get a gaudy notice above every page that someone has left a message.
Conventions for talk pages
Uncyclopedia has developed the following methods of using talk pages:
- Add information at the bottom. Experienced users can study what about a page changed when, but most readers will look at the bottom of a page to see recent posts.
- Add information to the relevant section. Talk pages, like articles, can be divided into sections, each of which discusses a certain topic. Append your comment to the section that relates to the topic your comment relates to. This rule is an exception to the previous rule, and adding information to a section that isn't the last one makes it harder to find. Sometimes this means that a talk page should be split into several.
- Indent your posts. Precede each paragraph of what you write with enough
:characters (not spaces) that it is set off from what the previous person wrote. This makes it easier to tell who wrote what. Some Uncyclopedians always add one more
:than the previous writer; others pick an indent level and stick with it throughout the conversation.
- Sign your posts. It is important that people know who wrote what. Each signature includes a timestamp. This makes it clearer what is a response to what. (Details on Uncyclopedia's signature policy are at UN:SIG.)
- Keep the conversation in one place. Reply to a comment by typing a comment just beneath it. Use your watch list to see if anyone replies to you on that page. Some Uncyclopedians reply to a comment on the commenter's own talk page — to make it clearer, faster, that there has been a reply — but splitting the conversation like this may baffle people who come later and try to understand it.
- Link like crazy. If a conversation is about a content page, include a link to it. If a conversation is about an individual edit, capture the URL of the report on the differences and paste that into the conversation. If you continue to discuss the subject elsewhere, or are adding to a conversation discussed elsewhere, link to the other pieces.
Ethics of talk pages
You are free to change your mind, and you are free to disavow comments you made in the past (whether or not making a formal apology). You are not free to change the record to pretend you did not make those comments. Disavow your own comments by
striking through them like this.
Although a wiki includes page history that lets us study who made changes and deletions, the essence of the discussion, including changes of opinion and retractions, should be visible on the current version of the talk page.
(This is not the same as on a page in the content space. A previous version of an Uncyclopedia article does not have to be visible with strikethrough. The best version we can devise should be what the reader sees.)
Do not edit other people's posts. (Do not even correct their grammar! It is a never-ending task and the only point might be to show you are better than they are.)
Do not delete other people's posts, even if you don't like what they said. It is better to set out, below the post, what you disagree with; or let it slide entirely. The exception to this would be if someone posts commercial spam (IE an ad to buy a product or service or visit a website) on your talk page.(See below).
Your own user talk page
You can make your own rules regarding your own user talk page. The list of conventions above are the ones that have worked out the best. However, if you wanted to adopt a policy of newest-topic-at-the-top, that would be okay. Several Uncyclopedians have unusual section headings and non-standard buttons that let visitors start a new conversation (create a new section).
Even on your user talk page, you must not delete or alter other people's posts. If someone has taught you a lesson about how to edit on Uncyclopedia, do not delete it, even to show that you have learned the lesson. If someone has criticised your work, do not delete the criticism, even if you don't like being criticised. It does not reflect badly on you that you started out writing crap, or that you have attracted critics. What we think about you depends more on how quickly you improve and how well you avoid or settle fights.
The exception to this is if someone has vandalized your talk page (say, posted an ad for Viagra, added a post that is not a real attempt to communicate, or deleted the entire page). You are welcome to restore your talk page, and should notify the Admins in case the website needs further protection. You can of course delete someone else's post if you are moving it to a more appropriate place, such as unifying a person's reply to your comment back to the page where you made the comment.
When the page gets so long that it is tedious to read, you can copy most or all of it to an archive page. This is a subpage in the user namespace. For example, User:Spike might create User:Spike/Talk page archive number 5. What to name your archive pages is up to you. Add links to them at the top of your active user talk page, so it is clear where past conversations went.
The easiest way is to clear out all the conversations and copy them into a new archive file. A better way is to move the oldest conversations to the archive, but leave recent conversations on your active user talk page for the benefit of visitors. (This also keeps our Page Rapists from adding a comment to the page simply to be the first to soil a clean page.)
Please do not ask the Admins to delete your talk page archives, nor use the process of archiving to devise clever ways to keep people from finding your old conversations. When you have been here long enough, there will be enough text that nobody will care what is in them. (The rare Uncyclopedian who dredges through the past to find and show everyone how foolish or inconsistent you used to be is not persuasive and is not helping the team build a funnier website, and everyone will see that.)
Stay on topic
Talk pages of articles in the content spaces should be used only for discussing how to improve the article.
- Specific is better than vague, and positive suggestion is better than mere criticism. It is not as good to comment that you dislike an article as it would be to suggest ways to make you like it more. For example, if an article has long runs of text, suggest good ways to split it into sections or add photos or graphics — even suggest what they should be. Of course, an alternative is always to make the change yourself and see what other editors do with it.
- Opinions on the article's underlying subject matter are not welcome. Especially on articles on World Religions, political parties, and the partition of Eastern European countries, no one cares what you think about the subject — except when you can state a fact and translate it into a way for the article to be funnier.
Dealing with disagreement
Any creative project, such as a satire encyclopedia, will attract creative minds whose styles will be different. As we set out at How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid, Uncyclopedia famously allows multiple articles on the same subject, which do not have to be consistent with one another.
This means that if you disagree with another editor on how an article should be written, there is always a place for you to create an article the way you want it, with a slightly different title. (For styles that do not amuse the reader but amuse you by shocking, offending, or grossing out the reader, the right place is on some other website.) However, within a single article, conflicting styles will baffle and confuse the reader and get in the way of comedy.
Bottom line: Disagreements will happen, and will sometimes become heated. Deal with disagreements in the following ways:
- Be courteous to other editors. Do not "troll" or bait them. (Do not write so as to provoke an emotional reaction.) When you have been trolled, do not "feed the troll" by delivering the emotional reaction the troll was seeking.
- Be open to suggestions for improvement. If another editor takes the time to read your work and has a technique that will be funnier than the one you picked, accept the comment with grace, whether or not you feel inclined to comply with it.
- Assume good faith and don't go out of your way to assume that someone is attacking you personally when this might not be the case. As we are limited to communicating by editing pages, we cannot use tone of voice, body language, and gentle nibbles of the ear to ensure that comments are not taken in the wrong way. Always write with care so that a criticism is less likely to be taken personally.
Most of the preceding comes naturally and works automatically. When it does not, Admins get involved, first warning Uncyclopedians to behave better, and ultimately blocking their access to editing.
Some of the material covered above invites prompt discipline from the Admins, such as the stuff about forgery, trolling, and incivility. Admins act to prevent abuse of the wiki and of its editors, including comments on talk pages that tend to pull them away from the business of the wiki, which is writing funny stuff.
You are mostly free (except for commercial spam, porn and cyberbullying) to edit in your own userspace. You are not free to edit the main encyclopedia, ignoring advice and guidance posted to your talk page, as though you were the only person on the wiki. The main encyclopedia and other content spaces are a group writing project.
Admins do not punish editors just for being confused. If you are not sure whether a post constitutes "advice and guidance" or a warning that you had better stop doing something now, it never hurts to ask for clarification.