user talk page

In a large public wiki, a user talk page is where one addresses a particular user of that wiki. For example see User_talk:Michael_Pilling.

The standards for naming such pages come from mediawiki and in particular Wikipedia where there are thousands of such pages actively in use at any given time. It is a wiki best practice to follow their conventions very slavishly.

In tikiwiki the facilities to engage in such talk are crude. Users must in general mark their own comments as being _signed by themselves using special tags, and link their own user page to attribute their statements to themselves. In mediawiki simply adding ~~ or ~~~ to comments does this.


The talk page protocol is quite specific with open politics in force:
  • There is no preference for issue/position/argument form on talk pages. All comment is free-form and resembles a blog. External links are encouraged especially if they are authoritative cite links.
  • Other users may embed their comments after each paragraph of yours (only if they preserve signatures after each paragraph interrupted); Embedding between sentences in one paragraph is discouraged but not forbidden - sometimes it is necessary, e.g. to respond to outright falsehood. Those who object can go write a personal essay on some other page and put "by Craig Hubley" in its name, or whoever
  • You should always link to any page you are discussing directly. You may choose to link to other pages but may omit doing so if it isn't germane to your comment or argument
  • You may not at any time ask anyone if they authored any particular anonymous comment or edit. If they wanted to attribute it to themselves, they would have logged in to make it. Permitting such questions is to require response to hearsay which is not a legal best practice - quite the opposite. One of the goals of open politics itself is to make anonymous comment totally ordinary and respected, and not treat it as any more suspicious than comments that appear to be coming from a user who has a real-looking name (who could just as easily fake it).
  • You may refuse to respond to what you consider rude or confrontational comment, but must follow a specific protocol for dealing with it:
    • If another user has signed the comments, you must archive pages with such comments rather than deleting them; this is the only way to achieve accountability
    • If they are not attributed, i.e. anonymous, you may delete them OR
    • If they are not attributed, since you too have the power to be anonymous at will, you may ask yourself a rhetorical or rewritten version of what you consider to be "the same" question (anonymously) then answer it yourself. You may not claim or even imply that any rewritten version is in fact the same question or addresses the same issue, accordingly, you may not do this to attributed questions, you must say "I take your question as being more or less equivalent to asking..." which you may do either anonymously or as yourself. Avoid paraphrase at all costs as it can very easily lead to the broken telephone problem: other people repeating the paraphrase as if it were what was originally said, leading often to a libel pit.