Help:Archiving

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The usual convention on the ISFDB wiki is not to delete sections from discussion pages (including both user talk and public discussion pages), but rather to archive them. This means copying them to a different but related page, an archive page, where they can be viewed but do not get in the way of finding more active discussions. By conventions, archive pages, once created, are not edited except possibly to fix formatting issues.

This page describes a commonly used method of creating and organizing archive pages. Other methods can be used, and the difference is as much one of style and taste as anything.

Contents

The Basic Structure

On the page being archived, there will be a link to an archives page, which will be a sub-page of the page being archived. (For example, the Archives of "User talk:Example User" would be on "User talk:Example User/Archives".)

This archives page will be a list of links to individual archive pages, along with dates or other short useful descriptions. There will also be a link back to the main page, and a brief statement explaining that these are archives of the main page.

The individual archive pages will ideally be sub-pages of the archive page (so for "User talk:Example User" the individual archive pages would be, say "User talk:Example User/Archives/Archive 01", "User talk:Example User/Archives/Archive 02", etc.).

The individual archive pages will have links back to the archives page, and possibly directly to the page being archived.

Setting up archives for a page

Suppose that "Test Project" is a public discussion page that has not been archived before, but is now in need of archiving. An archive for it can be set up by following these steps:

  1. On the "Test Project", near the top, add text something like "For older discussions, see the [[Test Project/Archives|Archives]].</code>"
  2. Click on this link to start editing the Archives page.
  3. Add text something like "<code>This page is a list of archives of the [[Test Project]] page. For current discussions, see that page."
  4. Add a link to the first archive, something like "* [[Test Project/Archives/Archive 01|Archive 01]]".
  5. Save the Archives page
  6. Click on the link to the first archive page.
  7. Add text something like "This page is an archive of the [[Test Project]] page. Please do not change the archived discussions below."
  8. In another browser tab or window, edit the "Test Project" page. Highlight the sections you intend to archive, and cut them into your clipboard.
  9. Paste the sections into the edit box for the archive page.
  10. Save the archive page. Verify that the archived sections appear properly.
  11. Save the page being archived, now without the archived sections.
  12. Re-edit the archives page, and add dates or other indicators to the newly created link to help later users find the correct archive page.

Archiving sections of a page with an existing archive structure

  1. Edit the Archives page.
  2. Add a link to a new archive page, with a number higher than the previously highest one.
  3. Save the archive page
  4. Click on the new link to create the new archive page.
  5. Add text something like "This page is an archive of the [[Test Project]] page. Please do not change the archived discussions below.". If there is a standard header used on other archive pages for the same main page, copy it.
  6. In another browser tab or window, edit the "Test Project" page. Highlight the sections you intend to archive, and cut them into your clipboard.
  7. Paste the sections into the edit box for the archive page.
  8. Save the archive page. Verify that the archived sections appear properly.
  9. Save the page being archived, now without the archived sections.
  10. Re-edit the archives page, and add dates or other indicators to the newly created link to help later users find the correct archive page.

What to Archive

Generally it is a good idea to archive enough to significantly reduce the size of the page being archived. However, an archive page should not be so large as to be unwieldy or slow to access. Also, sections should generally not be archived until they are closed (no current discussion in progress), and have been closed for some time. How long depends on the nature of the page and its traffic level.

Sometimes it is better to create two moderate archive pages at once than one quite large one.

Some pages have an archive scheme set up with particular criteria for archiving -- say, 25 sections per archive page. Ones established, it is probably better to stick to such schemes.

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