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Topics are the page where the individual messages that make up Talk conversations can be found. They may also be called 'threads'.

All topics are part of a Group. You can see all topics in a group by visiting the Group page. There is a link to the Group page at the topic of every topic page.

Reading Messages

Messages which have been read (i.e., messages which you have previously loaded) appear with a header like this, while messages which have not been read (i.e., messages which you have not previously loaded) appear header like this.

Messages from LibraryThing Staff

Sometimes you will see messages marked with a small LT-employee-talk.gif logo. These are messages posted by LT staff in their official capacity as staff members.

Unread Messages


You can jump directly to unread messages using the '(jump to first unread)' link at the top of the topic page. You may also do so by clicking the number of messages unread from the Talk page.

Marking as Unread


Mark a portion of a thread as unread (to come back to it later) by clicking on 'more'. Choose 'Mark as read to here' from the expanded menu. The text should change to 'marked' and you should see the header color change from blue (unread) to pinkish (read) to reflect the change.

Favoriting a Message

You may want to mark a particular message as a favorite in order to find it easily later. Click on the 'more' link to expand the menu and choose 'add to favorites'. See a list of favorited messages by choosing the 'Favorite messages' link from the left sidebar.

Linking to a Message

To obtain a link directly to an individual message you have two options. You can click on the message number or click the 'more' menu and choose 'link'. Once you've done one of these two things, you can either copy the link from the address box or, in some browsers, right click on the number and choose 'copy link location'.

Posting Messages

You can post a message by clicking the link at the bottom of any message in the topic or by using the 'add a message' box at the end of the topic thread. All messages will appear at the end of the topic, regardless of what link you use. Use the 'preview' button to see what your post will look like before posting it.

Replying to others

To automatically generate a link to an earlier message in the thread, you can type the > (greater than) symbol followed immediately by the message number. For example, putting >1 in your message will create a link that looks like >1 userName: where userName (which is auto-generated) refers to the user who posted in message number 1. This makes it clearer who and what you're replying to.

Alternatively, you can click the "More link" on the message you want to reference, then click the "Ref" link, and the >N style shortcut will be added to the nearest open box for writing a message.

On occasion you may wish to quote a portion of someone else's message for clarity. Most choose to do this by using some basic html and either italicizing (<i>) or bolding (<b>) the quoted text. Note that at present, the 'reply' link at the end of each post behaves the same as the 'add a message' box at the end of the topic thread.

Formatting Messages

Messages allow the use of some basic html. Use this to italicize, bold, or underline text, as well as to create links or to insert images into your message. Use the 'preview' button to check your formatting before posting.



Use the "About" box on the right to mark threads which focus substantially on an author, a work, or a series. Choosing 'add' will open a lightbox with several options. You can choose works and authors from a list of touchstones that have already been used in the thread, you can search for authors, works, or series, and you can edit and remove items which have already been added to the about list.

Some guidelines:

  • Add an "about" if a topic touches on a book, author or series in a substantial way.
  • The topic doesn't need to be ONLY about the book, to be about the book from the beginning or etc.
  • About should not be used when the question only concerns a bug or a combination issue, or on giant threads which touch MANY books, such as "what are you reading".
  • When in doubt, keep others' work.
  • Discuss guidelines here.

You can see topics about your books, authors, or series by using the Talk filters on the left sidebar of the Talk tab. In the future, you'll also be able to see topics about specific books, authors, and series from the work, author, and series pages.

Using Touchstones

Touchstones are works and authors "touched on" by your message. To add a touchstone, put brackets around the works and authors in your message. Use single brackets for works, double brackets for authors.

Example: "I'm currently reading [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone] by [[J. K. Rowling]]."

As the system recognizes a touchstone, they will appear in a list to the right of the message. You can click on the links to check that the touchstone points to the right work or author page (links will open in a new window). If it is not the right book/author, click the "others" link and select the correct book/person from the list that appears. If the system can't recognize a touchstone, it will appear in the list in red.

All of the books and authors that have been Touchstoned in a topic appear in a list to the right of the messages. Books that you have in your library will have a small colored check mark Have.gif next to them. Clicking on a book will take you to its work page. You can see all of the times a book is Touchstoned in any topic by looking at the work conversations page.

In case your touchstone does not work or you cannot find the work/author in the extended list, you can manually force a touchstone to appear by using the work/author ID.

Example: [5403381::Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone] by [[rowlingjk::J. K. Rowling]].

Please note that if books/authors get separated and the ID does not belong to the final work/author for some reason, the touchstone will still point to the work/author with the number/ID in the touchstone.


Use the following code to create a Yes/No/Undecided poll:
<vote>Text to appear in green goes here</vote>


Editing and deleting messages


You can edit or delete your own messages. In messages you have posted, you will see options to 'edit' or 'delete' your post at the bottom of the post. Clicking on 'edit' will allow you to edit your post, and will result in an italicized line being added to the message header that states "This post was edited by the author" and the date. You can edit your post as many times as you like.

Clicking on 'delete' will delete the text of the post. The header bar will remain (so as not to throw off subsequent numbering), but the message text will appear as "The message was deleted by the author."


Flagging Abuse

If you feel someone else's message is in violation of the terms of service, click the 'more' link to open the menu and then choose 'flag'. The ONLY things that qualify as abuse are:

  • personal attacks
  • commercial solicitation
  • spam

Note: disagreeing with the opinions expressed in a post is NOT a valid reason for flagging.

When two people have flagged a message, a small red flag Redflag.jpg will appear. Once four people have flagged a message, it will be hidden (although with a link to show it again).

If a message has been flagged and you believe that it is not abuse, click the 'flag abuse' link. The menu will now offer a 'Counter-flag (it's okay)' option. Enough counter-flags will remove the original flags and can eventually restore a message to visibility.

Page Navigation

Left-hand navigation

Links here will return you to the main talk page and show you topics filtered in various ways, allow you to start a new topic, or search the whole of talk. For searching within a topic thread, the best option is to use your browser's "Find" function, usually activated by 'ctrl-f'.

Page Header


Each topic must belong to a group; clicking the group's name will take you to the group's page.

You can mark topics as "favorite" or "ignore" them from within the thread, as well. Clicking on the gray star Talkstar-n.gif will turn it yellow Talkstar-l.gif and will add this thread to the "Favorites Messages" view on the main talk page. Clicking on the gray "x" Ignore-sm-gray.png will turn it red Ignore sm.gif and will remove this thread from your Talk listings. You can see it again by visiting the group and going to the very last page or by choosing 'more' and 'Ignored Topics' from the left-hand navigation.

There is a counter of how many new messages have been posted since the last time you opened this topic; clicking on "jump to first unread" will move the view down the page to the first new message.


Group Box

The Group Box gives you basic info about the group, including number of members, number of messages, the group image, and your membership status.

Message header

Read messages are in pink, unread messages are in blue. Clicking on the name of the poster will take you to their profile page.

The header bar also shows the date and time a message was posted or last edited (in U.S. Eastern Time, which is GMT-5 November through mid-March, and GMT-4 mid-March through the end of October) as well as a link to return you to the top of the page.

The message number is a permanent link to that particular message, useful for linking in long threads (right-click and copy link).

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