Talk pages project

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This page talks about the Editing Team's work to improve how contributors communicate on Wikipedia using talk pages.

It contains information about the goals of this work, the past efforts that have influenced it and why evolving talk pages is a priority right now.

To follow how this project is developing, the team recommends visiting and/or adding the Talk pages project/Updates page to your watchlist.  If you would like to be invited to conversations about specific topics, please add your name to the Get involved section below.


Active initiatives[edit]

In this section, we list the initiatives currently underway. Each is an effort to improve contributors' experiences communicating productively on Wikipedia using talk pages.

  • Replying to specific comments: an initiative to make it easier and more intuitive for contributors to participate in the existing conversations happening on Wikipedia talk pages.

Open questions[edit]

This section contains questions the team could use your help trying to answer.

Memorable talk page experiences: what talk page interactions do you remember? Is it a story about how someone helped you to learn something new? Is it a story about your collaboration with other editors? Whatever your story is, the team is curious to hear it. Please share a memorable discussion here:

Share a memorable experience


Talk page gadgets and templates: what templates and/or gadgets do you use most on talk pages? The team wonders whether these gadgets will give deeper insight into how contributors use and/or would like to use talk pages. Please share links here:

Add gadgets and templates

Updates[edit]

The best place to stay up to date about the project is by adding this page to your watch list: Talk pages project/Updates.

The team will use the /Updates page to share information like:

  • Progress about feature development
  • Decisions that need to be made
  • Questions the team is trying answer

Updates are typically posted every 1-2 weeks.

The other two places you might considering checking for updates are:

Background[edit]

Wikipedia depends on contributors collaborating and communication is an important part of the collaborative process.

Trouble is, communicating on Wikipedia talk pages can be challenging for contributors, across experience levels.

Contributors with more experience report being slowed down by having to do something manual in order for other contributors, "...to know who posted what, and when, so they can follow the thread of a conversation, post on a user talk page if appropriate, and even just know whether a posting is recent enough to be worth responding to." [1]

Newer contributors on the other hand, find basic tasks, like replying to a comment, confusing. In some instances, these contributors even confuse talk pages for article pages. [2]

This project is intended to address challenges like the ones mentioned above, by building upon existing community conventions to evolve talk pages in a way that gives experienced contributors more leverage to coordinate their work and connect with other editors, while making communicating on-wiki more accessible and intuitive for newer contributors.

This project is an outcome of the 2019 Talk Pages Consultation, a 5-month long effort that brought volunteers on 20 wikis, across 15 languages and four projects (Wikipedia, Commons, Wikidata and Wiktionary) together with members of the Wikimedia Foundation to share their experiences with existing wiki communication tools and to help develop improvements to them.

Get involved[edit]

Throughout the course of this project there are going to be many questions we will need help answering. Questions like...

  • What was your experience like using this prototype?
  • How do you think we should measure the success of this feature?
  • Where should this be deployed first?

Use the format below to add your name, and if you would like, include a brief note explaining what kinds of conversations you would like to be made aware of:

{{#target:User talk:YOUR USERNAME HERE}}

Glossary[edit]

The glossary linked below is intended to help us all communicate about talk pages more effectively by making sure we have a shared understanding about the words we use in our discussions and documentation throughout the project:

Talk pages project glossary

References[edit]

Many projects have, and are, working to improve contributors' experiences with talk pages. This particular project is better off for their existence. Some of the projects the team continues to learn from are listed below.

If there is a project and or resource you think we should be aware of, please say something on the talk page.

Talk page projects:

FAQ[edit]

When will the new version of talk pages be released?

There will not be a "new version" of talk pages that will get released all at once. Instead, this project will be made up of a series of incremental improvements that will be released over time.

How are talk pages going to change?

  • Some features may involve introducing new wikitext. Although, any changes to wikitext will be limited to those that enable new features that benefit contributors. Features like replying to specific comments or watchlisting particular discussions.
  • Potentially changing where the "Discussion" tab exists on the page
  • Potentially changing where metadata – that currently exists atop some talk pages – is presented

Note: the list above is not exhaustive and will likely change as the project progresses.

How long is this project likely to last?

1–2 years.