Battlestar Wiki:How to archive a talk page

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Introduction

Talk pages (especially user talk pages) can grow very long over time, with many closed discussions cluttering up the page. For that reason, it's a good idea to archive closed discussions every once in a while. This guide details the procedure for archiving your user talk page (or any other discussion page, for that matter).

What not to archive

You should not archive pending discussions, recent discussions (e.g. less than a week old), or (in the case of BW:OC) questions that have not been answered yet. Consider that once archived, discussions will be slightly more difficult to find, and editing archive pages is a faux pas. Also, don't archive everything; even if all discussions are old and closed, it's good practice not to archive the last one or two sections, so your user talk page won't be completely empty (some people find that ugly or confusing).

Procedure

The following procedure assumes that your username is "Example", that your user talk page is at User talk:Example, and that you are archiving the discussions from January 1, 2007 to March 31, 2007.

Creating the archive page

Create a new page called User talk:Example/Archive1 (if Archive1 already exists, try Archive2, Archive3, etc.) and add the following content:

{{archive-message
| newarchive = 2
| start = January 1, 2007
| end = March 31, 2007
| sig = --~~~~
}}

(paste discussions here)

Note that the number for newarchive should be one higher than the number for this archive (so if you're creating Archive6, set newarchive to 7). Also remember to change the dates to match your situation.

Now copy all the discussions you want to archive from your user talk page and paste them where it says "(paste discussions here)" (note that you have to edit your user talk page and copy the discussions from the edit box; if you copy from the page itself, all markup will be lost). Save the page.

Creating the archive index

Now create User talk:Example/Archive Index (if it already exists, skip ahead to the next step), and add the following content:

{| width="100%" class="messagebox"
! colspan="2" | Archives 
|-
|

{{archive-header-index
|archivenumber= 1
|number= 1
|start= January 1, 2007
|end= March 31, 2007
|items= {{archive-item-index|1|Section header 1}} {{archive-item-index|1|Section header 2}} {{archive-item-index|1|Section header 3|end=Y}}
}}

|}

Replace "Section header 1" with the title of the first section in the archive, "Section header 2" with the second, etc. Add more archive-item-tags if you need to, but take care that only the last one ends with |end=Y. Also remember to change the dates to match your situation. Save the page.

Updating the archive index

NOTE: this step is only necessary when adding an archive to a page that already has archives. If you've just created the archive index in the previous step, skip ahead to the next step.

This step assumes you've just created Archive3. If that is not the case, change all occurrences of 3 in this step to the right number.

If User talk:Example/Archive Index already exists, it probably looks something like this:

{| width="100%" class="messagebox"
! colspan="2" | Archives 
|-
|

{{archive-header-index
|archivenumber= 1
|number= 1
|start= July 1, 2006
|end= September 31, 2006
|items= {{archive-item-index|1|Section header 1}} {{archive-item-index|1|Section header 2}} {{archive-item-index|1|Section header 3|end=Y}}
}}
{{archive-header-index
|archivenumber= 2
|number= 2
|start= October 1, 2006
|end= December 31, 2006
|items= {{archive-item-index|2|Section header 1}} {{archive-item-index|2|Section header 2}} {{archive-item-index|2|Section header 3|end=Y}}
}}

|}

Between }} and |}, add:

{{archive-header-index
|archivenumber= 3
|number= 3
|start= January 1, 2007
|end= March 31, 2007
|items= {{archive-item-index|3|Section header 1}} {{archive-item-index|3|Section header 2}} {{archive-item-index|3|Section header 3|end=Y}}
}}

Replace "Section header 1" with the title of the first section in the archive, "Section header 2" with the second, etc. Add more archive-item-tags if you need to, but make sure that only the last one ends with |end=Y. Also remember to change the dates and the archive number to match your situation. Save the page.

Updating your user talk page

Finally, you'll need to update your user talk page. Edit User talk:Example and remove the discussions you've just archived. Also add {{ArchiveTOC}} somewhere on top of your talk page; it'll expand to a link to all archives and the archive index. If the {{ArchiveTOC}} tag is already there, you don't need to add it again.

Automatically archiving user talk page

Using the Archive Bot it can be automatically done. Refer to the user page for complete usage.

Replying to an archived discussion

If you want to reply to an archived discussion, don't edit the archive page. Instead, copy the entire section to the main talk page and add your reply there. Make sure you mention "restoring archived discussion" or something similar in the edit summary.

Examples of page with archived discussions