Welcome to Talk

Talk is a discussion tool built by the people at Zooniverse. Talk is a different kind of discussion tool - it's built around the idea that is should be possible to comment directly on each object within a Zooniverse project. We call it 'object oriented discussion'.

What do you think?

Chances are you arrived here in Talk from the main project site, directly onto a page where you were asked 'What do you think?'. So, go ahead, tell us and everybody else what you think! Type into the box and hit submit. If you change your mind simply hover over the comment and the words 'edit' and 'delete' will appear. It's just an opportunity to comment, perhaps on the beauty or complexity of the object in question or maybe because you think you've found something interesting.

Start a discussion.

If the object was particularly interesting, you might decide to start a discussion instead of just leaving a comment. On the right hand side you will see a button labeled 'Start a discussion', above it there will be a list of any other discussions involving this object. You may want to start by looking to see if anyone has started a discussion that you might want to join about the object. Often you will not be the only person curious about an object! If not click on the 'Start a discussion' button.

To get the discussion going begin by filling in the 'Subject' box, this should be a descriptive title for the discussion, something to encourage others to join in! Then you should fill in the 'First comment' with whatever you'd like to kick off the conversation. You can format the comment by using the toolbar on the top right hand side of the box, there are also buttons to add links and upload an image.

The yellow asterix in the formatting bar provides an interesting extra feature, the opportunity to annotate the object. Clicking on the asterix will bring up a large version of the image, you can then click on 'add annotation'. Two boxes will appear, the top one can be resized and moved to the interesting feature you would like to highlight. The bottom should be filled with your text note about the feature in question, this will be visible in your discussion comment so that people can click on it to see what you've highlighted. When you are finished click on 'ok', after which you can either add another annotation or click on the small black cross in the top left of the image to return to your discussion.

Watching a discussion.

If you want to keep track of a particular discussion, whether it's one you started or one somebody else began, you need to click on 'watch discussion' under the author and title of the discussion. If you have email enabled you will receive an alert when somebody posts a comment to the discussion.


When commenting on an object or contributing to a discussion it is useful, both for your own reference, for the scientists and for the Talk community in general if you can add appropriate keywords. This is very simple, simply add a # (hash tag) in front of the word or words, for example #planet, #alien, #scallop, #ancient-text. These keywords are then used to create a the list of 'trending keywords' on the Talk homepage and they also allow people to make 'keyword collections'. Throughout Talk keywords are generally highlighted, you can click on them and they will take you directly to a page of search results.

Collect this.

All of the Zooniverse projects have to option of adding an interesting object to a 'favourites' list. Talk extends upon this by allowing users to create collections of objects.

To do this, you should start by opting to 'discuss' the object that you'd like to collect. You may do this from your 'favourites' list, straight after you've completed a classification or by selecting an object from the Talk homepage.

Once you have found the object you'd like to collect, simply click on 'collect this' under the image of the object. You will then be given the option of starting a new collection or adding the object to an existing collection. To view the collection's you've created you should visit your profile.

Keyword Collection.

One of the most innovative features of Talk is the ability to create a 'keyword collection'. This is a collection of objects that have been marked with the keywords that you select. In order to create a 'keyword collection' you need to first visit your profile page. On the right hand side under the column headed 'my collections' you will find a new collection link. After filling in the collection name and description, you can then choose a collection type. This can either be an ordinary collection or a 'keyword set'. After you select 'keyword set' you will then be prompted to add a keyword, you can add as many keywords as is useful before clicking on the 'Save changes' button and viewing your new keyword collection. The clever thing about this collection type is that it will automatically update as new objects are 'tagged' with the keywords you selected.


Each visitor to Talk has their own 'profile page', the link can be found on the grey menu bar at the top right hand side of the website under 'Account'. This is where you can enable email messages on your account. If email is enabled you will get email updates each time some posts to a discussion you are watching. You will also find a summary of the discussions you are watching, comments that you have made recently and collections that you have made.


If you'd like to message another member of the Talk community, perhaps to carry on a discussion in more detail, the 'messages' link can also be found under 'Account' on the grey menu bar at the top right hand side of the website. Simply click on the 'New Message' button, then fill in the recipient's name, the title of the email and the message before clicking 'Send'. There is also the option of formatting the message text, adding links or attaching images. Alternatively, if you click on another users name anywhere in Talk, you will link to their profile page and you can click on the more direct 'SEND A MESSAGE' link directly below their name on the top left of their profile.

If you are sent a message, an email copy will be sent to the email address attached to your Zooniverse account.


You may want to start a more general discussion, not about a particular object or a collection. In which case one of the three discussion boards is probably the place to do this. Links to the discussion boards can be found on the grey menu bar at the top right hand side of the website. When you click on the topic you'd like to discuss, you'll see a 'Start a new discussion' button at the top of the list discussions. This works in much the same way as starting a discussion around an object.

  • The help board is a good place to start a discussion regarding the project website. It could be you'd like to discuss a new feature that has recently been added to the site, or perhaps a difficulty you are having. The Zooniverse technical team will keep an eye on this message board, plus it is also a great place to start if you are stuck when using the site.
  • The science board is where more general science discussions take place. Member of the science team will keep an eye on these boards and drop in for time to time.
  • The chat board is for more general chit chat about the site!


You can input multiple words into the search separated by a space, for example "cat dog". This will return all posts with the word "cat" AND the word "dog". At this time it is not possible to search for "cat OR dog", it is also useful to know that "cat" will NOT return results for "cats".

It is however possible to search by keywords, simply add "keywords:" in front of any word. For example "keywords:cat" will return comments that have been tagged with #cat. It is possible to search for multiple keywords, for example "keywords:cat dog moon" will return any comments that have been tagged with #cat AND #dog AND #moon, but once again it will not detect comments that have been tagged with #cats, #dogs or #moons.