TRP First Steps - Part 3 - Talk Pages


The Reeves Project Learning Series

This is one of a series of pages to guide you through a single activity. The previous activity was creating your AboutMe page. To see a list of the first six parts in our First Steps guide, click here.

In this step 3, you are going to update an existing wiki page, your Mentor Team's Talk Page. As well as providing practice in finding and editing a page, it also points to a strength of The Reeves Project, the power of collaboration, with many users able to edit the content of a single wiki page. You may find it helpful to print this page so you can refer to these notes as you continue to work along.

Updating your Mentor Team's Talk Page

At registration you were assigned to a mentor team and hopefully they've already made contact with you. Now you're going to post them a message. If you don't recall which Mentor Team you are a member of, click on the link "Mentor Teams" in the left column and that page will show you the team you are supported by.

Search for wiki pages named "Talk_Mentor" (quote marks not required) using the "Search Wiki Page Names" box. If it says "No pages found..." you probably put a space between the words "Talk" and "Mentor" or otherwise mis-spelt the page name. Remember spaces aren't allowed in wiki page names and are replaced by the underscore character.

From the results list, click on the page for the team you are assigned to. You'll now be viewing your team's talk page.

Near the top of the page you'll see a line that reads
∗ Your Name and New Message Goes Directly Below This Line. Please Include Today's Date. ∗
or similar. The message you're going to post should appear just below this line, so that we have the messages from our newer members towards the top of the page. Now scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the "edit" button.

Within the "Edit Page" section of the screen you'll see the source of the page you've just been viewing. Scroll this "Edit Page" section (not the whole window). Again find the words "∗ Your Name and New Message Goes ... " or similar.

Taking care not to delete the words added by others, add some text immediately BELOW the words "∗ Your Name and New Message Goes ... " along the lines of "Hi from Mary Anne" (substituting your name for Mary Ann) and then explain your progress with this "First Steps" page and add any queries you may currently have. Please remember to include today's date in your message, it isn't automatically added.

(If the line "∗ Your Name and New Message Goes ... " is missing, add your message BELOW the first line and the Mentors will shuffle things about when they reply to you.)

You can preview your message and make further changes as many times as you wish. If you think you've messed up, you can always click the "Cancel Edit" button and start over.

If you'd like to receive an e-mail whenever the page is changed, whilst still editing the page, click on the "Monitor this page" check box.

When you're happy your message is OK, click the Save button.

Your Mentor Team should acknowledge your post within a day or two, so keep checking activity on the Talk_ page.

Some Background

This exercise uses the Talk_ page to give you experience of editing an existing page which others have contributed to. In some circumstances, the Comments feature can preform a similar function to a Talk_ page. Be aware that information added as a comment about a page is only visible to users who are logged in and is not externally searchable. On the other hand, a Talk_ page, like any other wiki page, is visible to anonymous users and hopefully indexed by external search engines. The use of a Talk_ page is therefore preferable to comments for most discussions concerning the factual content of a page, such as proposing alternate parentage of an individual (even if the proposition eventually turns out to be false).

When you return to this page to acknowledge a message left for you or to seek further guidance, you can either add your new message as described above or you can look for the line "∗ A new thought or reply can go immediately above this line ∗" which the Mentors may have added when they replied to you. Your Mentors will have enclosed your message and their reply within a box. They do this with the tiki mark-up
      ^your message(s) and mentor reply(replies)^ .
Take care to added your subsequent messages inside your box and not somebody else's. There is a more detailed explanation about working with Talk Pages available but that is not required reading at this early stage.

Next Steps

In the next part of the learning series, we'll introduce you to the search and find features within the wiki to help you to search for existing Person Pages.

And Finally

Don't worry about making mistakes as your mentors will help you to straighten things out. It's all about learning and experimenting at this stage; mistakes are expected - we made enough of them when we were starting out (and still do).

That's all for this time,

The TRP Mentors