Help:Archiving a talk page

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It is customary to periodically archive old discussions on a talk page when that page becomes too large. Bulky talk pages may be hard to navigate, contain obsolete discussion, or become a burden for users with slow Internet connections or computers. On the other hand, there may be circumstances where it benefits discussions to keep older sections visible on the talk pages, so that newly visiting editors can see which issues have been addressed already and avoid redundant discussion. However, this can also be solved by placing notices at the beginning of the talk page. Regular articles are not archived because previous versions may be seen in the history tab; the tradition of archiving is peculiar to talk pages and noticeboards, which often swell to great length. Archiving one's own user talk page is optional and is preferred over deletion so that past discussions can be easily searched.

The subpage method

Using a subpage is the most popular method for archiving a talk page. On NDWiki the Cut and paste procedure should be used. Leave ongoing discussions on the existing talk page. It is helpful to label archives with dates and a brief summary of the main discussions.

Archive pages should be named as follows: take the name of the talk page, and add '/Archive YYYY-MM-DD', where 'YYYY-MM-DD' is the date of the archive (ISO 8601). Note that the word 'Archive' has a capital 'A', there is a space before the date, and there are leading zeros on both month and day.

For example:

  • An archive done at the 4 October 2022 from the Talk:ND-100 would be named Talk:ND-100/Archive 2022-10-04
  • An archive done at the 3:rd May 2009 from the User talk:Mike would be named User talk:Mike/Archive 2009-05-03

Remember to use the correct namespace – the part before the colon (:) – when archiving your own user talk page. It should start with "User talk:", not "Talk:".

Archives are not automatically added to the watchlists of the editors already watching the main discussion page.

Cut and paste procedure

  1. Click on edit this page for the talk page you wish to archive.
  2. In the edit box, highlight all the text you want to archive, right-click (Windows/Linux) or control-click (Mac) and then select cut. The text will then be copied to your clipboard.
  3. While still in the edit window, make a link to the archive name you plan on creating – you can link directly to a subpage by putting a slash (/) in front of it.
    • If you're making a topical archive, use the name of the topic, for example [[/hardware debate]].
    • If you're just archiving old discussion, use the current date.
    • Archive links can be conveniently placed in an archive template (How to do this is described in the archive box section below)
  4. Save the page. You should now have a page of recent discussion with a red link to your archive at the top.
  5. Open the newly created subpage by clicking the red link. Paste the old discussions from your clipboard into the edit box.
  6. Add {{talkarchive}} to the top and bottom of the page. This adds a notice explaining that the page is an archive, and links back to the main talk page.
  7. Add the navigation template {{archive box}} to make it easier to navigate through to other numbered archives.
  8. Save. You have now created an archive.

Archive box

On regularly archived talk pages, it is useful to have an "archive box" template. Common usage is to place the archive box below other header templates and before the first section heading so that the box appears to the right of the table of contents.

If the new archive has been created through the cut and paste procedure and if the page already has an archive box, add the link to the new archive page to it.

If there is no archive box yet, you may want to set one up with {{archive box}}:

It generates a floating box for the archive links. Just place your link as a parameter, for example {{Archive box|[[/Archive 2022-10-04]]}}. Multiple archives can be named, linked and labeled in various ways. Detailed instructions are on the Archive box template page.

This text is a reworked and slimmed version of the Help:Archiving a talk page on English Wikipedia