How to Respond to Chatters on wikiHow

wikiHow is a community; thousands of people from all walks of life across the world work together to help achieve its goals. As such, collaboration with other editors is essential to making this goal a reality. While it is encouraged to make friends with fellow editors, wikiHow is not a social networking site. Talk pages on wikiHow are used to talk to others about wikiHow, not anything else. Here's how to respond to people chatting.


  1. Image titled Respond to Chatters on wikiHow Step 1
    Understand what "chat" qualifies as on wikiHow. Chatting is when an editor or editors interact via Talk pages about topics not specifically related to wikiHow, or by writing unnecessary Talk Page messages. Every Talk page message has to be read and patrolled by a patroller in Recent Changes, and as a result, increases the RC count, adding unnecessary work for dedicated editors who patrol these changes.
  2. Image titled Respond to Chatters on wikiHow Step 2
    Know the difference between chatter and wikiHow related content. Sometimes, this can be hard to distinguish. An example of chatter is only when the editor posts irrelevant content. An editor complimenting a user's page or UIBs, or congratulating an edit made, is often confused with chatter. It is important to distinguish between the two before responding.
  3. Image titled Respond to Chatters on wikiHow Step 3
    Determine whether the chatter is ongoing and causing a hindrance. It is important to remember that blocking or warning a chatter is not for punishment. wikiHow does not have a strict policy on chatting; even established members may chat to each other on occasion! Chatting only becomes a problem when the messages are unnecessary and begin to clog up Recent Changes. Asking how a holiday or exam went is perfectly fine, as long as it's not followed by a handful of other 'text-message' style comments.
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    Investigate the user's Talk page. If they are consistently chatting over a short period of time, post the {{chat}} template to their Talk Page, as well as the recipient's Talk Page too, if applicable. This informs them of the problems that arise from excessive chatting, as well as links to useful social-networking services where chatting is acceptable.
    • If their Talk Page already contains a chat warning, send them a personalized message enforcing the template. Offer them links to places where chatting is not as harmful, such as IRC and the chat forum, as well as any IM service, and offer to help them with the changeover.
    • Keep the message clear and friendly; do not threaten the user or attempt to instigate a fight. This could potentially scare off editors from contributing quality edits to the site.
      Image titled Respond to Chatters on wikiHow Step 4
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    If the chatting persists, or the user responds in a mean-spirited way, do not get involved in an argument. Report the user to the Administrator Notice Board. Then, allow an administrator to handle the situation and take the necessary actions.
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    Suggest other activities to the chatter. There is a wide range of things to do, and one can do them towards our mission. Try suggesting that the user copyedits a few articles, adds a video to an article, etc. In order to quit chatting, users need to know what other options there are on wikiHow.
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    Block the chatter. This can only be done if you are an administrator. It is important to remember that blocking is not a punishment; it is a last resort in order to prevent additional ongoing chatter.
    • Choose the block time at your discretion, bearing in mind average block times are between 3 days and 1 week, depending on severity and number of previous offences.
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  • Warning users about chatter is not a way to exert power or authority over other users, nor is it a punishment. The only reason to exercise the rule is if you feel the chatter is ongoing and clogging RC with unnecessary patrols.
  • Remember to always assume good faith and maintain a friendly behavior when interacting with other users. Sending mean-spirited or abusive comments could scare away editors who could potentially go on to make some quality edits. Furthermore, engaging in or instigating an argument will not be looked upon favorably, and may result in consequences.
  • Often, good way to respond to chatters is to not respond to them. If you left them a {{chat}} reminder and they continue to chat with the recipient and begin to leave you repetitive talk page messages, calmly warn them once more and quit responding for awhile. Many "chatters" may become bored if they are not replied to.

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