How to Avoid Excessive Chatting on wikiHow

At times, a running conversation is inevitable. However, here at wikiHow, editors are encouraged to limit chatter on Talk and Discussion pages. Whether you're stuck in a long conversation unwillingly or you're having a fun conversation and suddenly get warned about chatting, do a bit of censoring and try to avoid chatting too much on wikiHow.


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    Understand what constitutes chatting. On wikiHow, chatting has a bit of a loose definition. Generally, chatting is often considered to be Talk or Discussion page messages that are unrelated to wikiHow and there has been a lot of back-and-forth messages, with no real relation to wikiHow as the subject. As messages on a Talk or Discussion page have to be reviewed to make sure that they don't contain abusive content or spam, lots of messages take longer to patrol, and therefore make more work. Therefore, chatting is generally avoided.
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    Keep your messages short. Limit discussions to short, concise statements, because this is quick to patrol. Long, drawn-out messages should be avoided, as these take longer to scan. However, don't send multiple small messages; try to gather what you're saying into one message, so that there's minimal change to the Talk or Discussion page.
    • Of course, sometimes longer messages might be necessary (for example, if you're a Booster and you're explaining something about a policy). It's fine to have long messages once in a while, but try to make this minimal.
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    Limit discussion mostly to information about wikiHow. It's fine to have a bit of casual chatter that relates to the subject (e.g. "Nice edits on Feed Cats! Do you have any cats of your own?"), but unrelated chatter (e.g. "Do you want to be friends?") should be avoided. You might want to stick to using Talk pages only when consulting others about edits, and using Discussion pages to praise or note concerns about articles. Of course, that's not a hard-and-fast rule; it's simply a guideline that you may want to build off.
    • If the conversation started off wikiHow-related, but then got off-course, try redirecting the conversation back to wikiHow. For example, if someone is talking about how they love to sew, suggest that they share some of their advice with the articles on wikiHow that involve sewing.
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    Ask yourself if the message needs a reply. Not all messages justify a reply. If someone is asking you a question, feel free to answer them. However, if someone responds with a simple answer like "You're welcome," "Yes" or "Okay", take the context into account and see if that answer needs a reply. If there's no reply necessary, don't reply.
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    Find other ways to communicate with wikiHowians. There are other ways to talk to wikiHowians besides using wikiHow! Consider using email, social media sites, or just chatting with general wikiHowians by using the wikiHow forums. It's fine to make friends on wikiHow! What's discouraged is using the Talk or Discussion pages to chat with them.
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    Contribute to wikiHow in other ways. There are many other things to do on wikiHow besides using the Talk or Discussion pages. You can do many things on wikiHow without even having to look at a Talk or Discussion page! There are plenty of things that need help on wikiHow, with the list below containing some ideas of what you can do to help.
    • Contribute to articles. You don't have to completely rewrite something; try spell checking or grammar fixes, copyediting, or simply things like weaving links and Related wikiHows.
    • Join a project or team. Find a topic that you enjoy or know a lot about, and see if you can find a project for it. However, keep in mind that some projects are somewhat obsolete and may not be active. Try checking the history of the project or with its active members to see if it's active.
    • Welcome new editors or thank others for their contributions. However, be careful not to start chatting by doing this!
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    Know that chatting isn't primarily what makes wikiHow fun. Many people will describe different things that make wikiHow fun for them. However, a lot of it involves the community, the volunteer work, and how much joy it brings them to help others learn to do things. What makes wikiHow enjoyable will vary from person to person; talking to others can be one of those things, but there are many, many other things that can make wikiHow a much more enjoyable place for you - and for others! On the flip side, you can have fun forming friendships through wikiHow as you contribute and interact with others. Many friendships have formed through wikiHow.
    • If writing and editing how-to articles isn't your thing, that's okay. There's no obligation to edit here, regardless of how long you've been on wikiHow. There are other things you can do on wikiHow that don't involve editing (such as patrolling recent changes or categorizing), and if volunteering on wikiHow isn't something you enjoy, that's okay, too. There's never an obligation to volunteer here if you don't enjoy what you're doing. Be happy about what you're doing, even if it doesn't involve wikiHow!


  • Sending things like holiday greetings or wikiBirthday notes is acceptable. However, spamming people's Talk pages with them is often viewed as chatty or spammy.
  • Try to avoid leaving external links on someone's Talk page or a Discussion page; these may get rolled back due to wikiHow's External Links policy. However, if you're explaining something and sourcing it with an external link, that's more likely to get through.
  • If you see another user that's consistently chatting, leave them a {{chat}} on their Talk page. If they don't stop chatting, try leaving a report on the Administrator Notice Board.


  • Don't be rude to people trying to chat or telling you not to chat. Assume good faith, and don't yell at someone who wants to talk or to coach you.
  • Do not use the Talk or Discussion pages to reveal personal information. Avoid posting your email address or phone number on these pages; this can make you a target for spam.

Article Info

Categories: Patrolling