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Talk Page Etiquette for Dummies

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So it's come to my attention that a lot of people don't actually know how to start, participate, and conclude talk pages. Whether it's as simple as not signing a post to just repeating "I already told you", it can be hard to follow a discussion these days, let alone reach a conclusion.

With this in mind, I have decided to make an utterly unofficial blog - yes this one - detailing how I believe people should act on talk pages.


New Topic

When you make a new topic for discussion, remember to actually separate it into a new topic. This saves the next person to come across the discussion the time it takes to do this, and it helps people to take you seriously. Simply adding something along the lines of "Character X was in this chapter" at the end of a discussion section that ended years ago is pointless.

I bet nobody has ever talked about how this character does this before! Guess what? They probably have! Try to check through the "active" discussions on the talk page - if there's already a debate on this topic, add to that, don't just make a new one on the same subject. If there is a discussion on this but it's archived then don't worry, the archives are for people with too much free time on their hands.

Make sure it's something worth discussing, too. Often it's worth adding the information straight to the page and seeing how people react. If it gets removed, open a discussion. Especially if they don't give a reason. There's a fine line between speculation and inference, and often it's a bit blurred.

And have you noticed that when someone else replies, they have this fancy name signature at the end of the post? It's really simple to do, and in fact if you DON'T do it on a forum your forum will be deleted without question. It helps people see who said what and who replied to whom and where this whole debacle came from in the first place.


First Response

So you've seen a new discussion, it's unsigned, it's just stuck at the end of a previous discussion, and it's frankly not very well worded. No matter what, don't just ignore them or be rude. Take the time to put it in a new topic, throw the unsigned template on it, and respond rationally. THEN post on the original person's talk pointing out how they should open a discussion, and maybe linking them the Guidbook page on it, or indeed this blog.

But the post makes no sense at all! Well, sometimes this does happen. If a new post is not relevant to the talk page, the page, or anything you can think of, then it is acceptable to remove it. If you're not sure, ask. If, for example, a new post on Zoro's talk page is along the lines of "Zoro is stronger than Luffy" then that can go, but if the post is more "Zoro uses a technique called this in the dub" then that stays.

So some random IP has added what you consider to be rubbish to the page and you've removed it, but they keep re-adding it and now it's under discussion? Well, give reasons. No matter what. Even if it's as simple as "reread the chapter", you must always give your side of the discussion clearly and concisely.


Debating

Congratulations! You've got someone calling you an idiot and he's the only one replying to you. Stay calm and don't sink to their level. IF something has gone to discussion, there has to be a clear majority decision before it can be closed, and this decision is usually reached by an admin. That other user can insult your intelligence as much as he wants, if they're not arguing against your point then they don't actually care.

Look at that, another discussion where an IP and a user are at odds. Jump in with your opinion. Help move the discussion along. The worst thing that can happen to a new topic is that it gets mired down in insults and the topic is forgotten. The second worst thing is that someone simply says a lot of words that don't actually mean anything. Keep concise.

And while we're on that topic, don't insult anyone or edit their posts. That is literally the worst thing you can do on a discussion, regardless of which side you're taking. At best you'll simply be ignored. At worst you'll be dealt with by an admin, most likely a ban.


Conclusion

Look at that, literally a swarm of people responding to this! It's great! And they're all disagreeing with you... This just happens sometimes. The most important thing to remember is to accept the verdict and don't hold grudges - there's no use crying over spilled milk unless you're a cat. I've lost arguments on here plenty of times. It annoyed me, but I put up with it (even though I still maintain all ships are female) because that's how this whole thing works. The only thing that will happen from you complaining about a decision that goes against you is that you'll be told to shut up and go away.


And that about sums it up. Don't be rude, don't be daft, and don't be grouchy. Have a nice day.

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