Removing policy-related comments

I think a policy prohibiting the removal of policy-related comments from user talk pages should be implemented and added to this page. I thought such a policy was already in effect, but I guess it was only discussed... somewhere. Anyway, I think it would be a good idea for these types of comments to stay as they could be useful in the future. For example, if a user continuously makes constant edits to a single page and has been asked not to, we can look at his/her talk page, see that he has been asked, and take the next steps to ensure that s/he follows policy (i.e. warnings, followed by temporary block, etc.). If the previous comments are removed, it would look like s/he had never been contacted about the problem in the first place and only by looking at the history would they know it was a problem. What do you guys think? --From Andoria with Love 17:00, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree, at least in principle. One thing we have to keep an eye out for, though, is over-regulating the site. We already get comments from folks that we're rule-happy here. ;) -- Renegade54 17:07, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. A wise man once said, "I don't know. If a user wants to remove comments from his user talk page that he saw (obviously), then he got the message and the communication worked. He may have chosen to ignore it, but keeping it on there for no other reason to alert other users of some possible mistake seems wrong." Who was that man? Just some guy, trying to make his place in the world.--Tim Thomason 03:38, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't really see what useful purpose there is to prohibiting us from removing policy-related comments from OUR OWN user talk page. All of us make mistakes. Fine. I can accept that, but I really don't want it broadcast to the whole world. I get the message... Now let me delete it! "If a user wants to remove comments from his user talk page that he saw (obviously), then he got the message and the communication worked. He may have chosen to ignore it, but keeping it on there for no other reason to alert other users of some possible mistake seems wrong."--Daniel Bramblett 01:39, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
Actually, it's to make sure you got the message. If someone warns you about uploading images, for instance, you delete the offending text and upload another image that violates policy. We need to know that someone has talked to you before about it. Consistent violations of policy may result in blocks or other such actions. — Morder 06:44, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
So there should be a secure way that an individual could remove comments so long as they are not removed by someone else i.e. no anonymous deletions. For people like myself who can follow the rules once they are communicated I think there should be a way of verifying that the message was received and also a way of removing it if it is no longer an issue. It's not really a major thing just something that I think should be tweaked somehow. I don't like the idea of a mistake being preserved for all time. I understand that some individuals abuse the site and there should be a record of this. --Daniel Bramblett 01:56, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
There Archive your information. :) Basically you put it in a subpage of your talk page...I'll post a sample on yours. — Morder 07:07, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
The beauty of MediaWiki is that all pages are automatically archived forever on the history pages. It's not like a user can delete those. Commodore Sixty-Four(talk) 19:07, January 11, 2010 (UTC)

Specifying what to archive and not delete

It has been brought to my attention that the Archive, don't delete policy does not specify whether or not it is okay to delete pages when a particular subject is no longer being discussed or when a certain request has been fulfilled, like the Wikipedia policy does. A few of us have been deleting talk pages or talk page comments because they are old and the issues being discussed have been addressed, and this has caused a problem with some other users on the site. I propose that we specify that either A.) we can delete such pages or comments or B.) we cannot delete any talk page or comment (except vandalism). Thoughts? Comments? Complaints? Threats? I want to hear from you! Operators are standing by. --From Andoria with Love 06:58, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm mixed on this. I can see some cases where it makes sense to delete the talk pages, like those where all it had was a list of episodes that still need referencing, and then they are referenced (thanks Alan for the work on those). When it comes to much anything else, I am more apprehensive. For example, if it is a question about something in the article, and then answered, or it is something that led to a change in the article, or about a change to the article, then I don't think it should be deleted. There are reasons to keep these. Reference on how articles evolved, keeping issues from coming up again later, etc. For example, how many times have we re-removed something from an article, citing in the edit summary "removed per talk page"? Kind of hard to do that when stuff is deleted. --OuroborosCobra talk 07:05, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
I should add, in case this also is brought up, that the merging of forums into talk pages, then deleting the threads, is perfectly within the current policy, as it is archiving those forum threads. --OuroborosCobra talk 07:13, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
To quote from Memory Alpha:Forums, "Please note that, after a specific question has been answered, the thread will be moved to an article talk page, or removed completely." Talk pages, are really no different, when it comes to some of the content that is generally contributed to them. If a comment is obsolete, that is, something stated in 2004/05 that was relevant then, when there were 5 contributors, 10 articles, and has long since been addressed, by 2007, it is little more than rhetorical nostalgia. I agree that archiving is important for discussions with value or recurring concerns, but who can find value in empty comments that mean absolutely nothing to someone reading them 2 years after the fact, wondering "WTF?"... hell, there is stuff I wrote 2 years ago that I run into today, on occasion, that I read and wonder what the whole point of that comment was. But that really isn't the issue here.
In terms of the outright deleting some talk pages, which a large chunk of this is directed at, is in reference to obsolete pna requests that are, generally, little more than a list of episodes containing references to the term that needed to be added to the page, to complete it. Despite being "deleted", the information is still, technically, being archived within the article in the citation that was carried over with the added reference. (The same nearly applies to any of those, "needs more info about the time they did this" comments too.) So, with that said, keeping a talk page for a temporary list "for future reference" is about as equally pointless as keeping a forum thread after it has been answered, especially when all those episodes are cited in the article, bearing in mind that the only reason the talk page was ever created in the first place was because it is bad form to have an "additional references" list in the main article. --Alan

Since I began this (potentially disastrous) discussion, let me say that I agree that there is little point to keeping old lists or requests for items to be added to an article after they are added. As Cobra said, that's not really an issue. Things like obsolete pna requests can be deleted since those requests were fulfilled. The two of you seem to agree on this. The issue at hand, I believe, are deletions such as this and these. The first appears to be the removal a redundant discussion from a redundant talk page for a redundant (and deleted) article. When pages are deleted, it is standard practice to move that page's discussion to its closest relevant page (like the page into which the deleted page was merged). However, even I have been known to delete talk pages that simply say "this should be merged with so and so". What was deleted on the Ravinok article doesn't have much more than that, so I don't see much wrong with its removal, especially since it was for the deletion of an already-existing talk page (which are normally merged and deleted immediately, anyway). The second example is a bit more... well, more. There's an obsolete pna request that was removed; that, no one should have a problem with. The others appear to be issues with the article that were resolved or general questions regarding content that were answered (for the record, one discussion was moved here). While I can see their existence might be useful in a nostalgic sense (ah, I remember when I asked for that comment to be removed... good times...), I'm not particularly sure there's a need to clutter the talk page with trips down memory lane. Nobody seems to be deleting current, relevant, and all-important discussions, just old questions and answers and resolved issues (please correct me if I'm wrong, though). Again, though, I can certainly understand if people want to keep such discussions, particularly if a similar discussion pops up again (like the one removed from the Klingon page about the chronological listing of episodes), but for the most part, they're just taking up space, at least to me. (An alternative might be to create an archive page for the talk page... although I'm sure that'll be frowned upon). Anyway, this discussion is here to get more opinions on this issue...preferably from more people than the three who have already commented...and to see whether or not keeping such discussions are necessary. If people find them useful and want to keep them, then we should update the policy as necessary to specify that nothing is to be deleted short of vandalism... though I hardly think keeping most of these discussions are useful. Anyway, I'm done. Someone else can take the floor now. Have at it! --From Andoria with Love 04:07, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

A page I cleaned up tonite, talk:Borg contains ideal examples of my point. The discussion is HUGE (+33,414) and full of obsolete topics (which I so marked). While cleaning up the page, rearranging misplaced/out of order discussions, signing unsigned comments, removing vandalism, etc, I ran across two contributions of note. One being this edit, which falls in line with the two examples above, and the latter comments found here, which confirm what I addressed in my previous post. Understandably there is always the option to do what was done with talk:Constitution class--> talk:Constitution class/archive, however, doing this does not prevent the topic being revisited (if it is a relevant topic), as no one really bothers to go back and read archived topics of that nature anyway, nor does it seem practical, while at the same time being equally pointless for other comments that contain no intrinsic value. Being that the last three historical references (mine, and the two Shran pointed out) are discussions that contain no pertinent information, or are currently covered in the article, maintaining those comments can be viewed as counterproductive in view of maintaining a focused, clutter-free list of discussions of higher relevance. --Alan 04:37, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
There's already a guideline on this page that would solve all of your problems - namely, "summarize discussions". Instead of removing content completely, replace it with a short summary. This summary might be as simple as a short list of topic, outcome, participants, end date. If the "summarization date" is also included, one might even easily check the page history for the original discussion. -- Cid Highwind 10:26, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Recent Move

Due to Shared Help the previous Help:Talk pages had to be moved here because the Shared Help redirect and caused an infinite redirect. Anyway, there are 100's and 100's of talk pages that link to the old way, if it's really necessary to update them then we need a bot :) I've updated all the other links for now. — Morder 08:05, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

I think it shouldn't be our task to put in hours of stupid work just to circumvent a bug in the shared help implementation. Additionally, I don't see the need to make our working help system compatible with some other wikis naming conventions. Since we don't need the functionality at all, solution #1 would be to disable the feature completely.
If that doesn't work (for whatever reasons?), solution #2 would be for Wikia to fix their implementation: if a page on help.wikia consists of a REDIRECT command, it is an error to simply transclude that command first and then evaluate it on the local wiki. Instead, it should be evaluated on help.wikia first, and the redirect target be transcluded via shared help. This is how templates work since years, and that wheel doesn't really need to be reinvented any other way. -- Cid Highwind 11:16, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the "100's and 100's of talk pages that link to the old way", it appears that most of those are connected via {{welcome}}, and changing that template and letting the job queue do its thing would fix most of that. --Alan 13:16, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Formatting discussions

Hi. There's something that's done on talk pages here that I haven't seen done on other wikis, such as Wikipedia. There's a good example in the history of Talk:Archer. In a discussion of whether the "Archer" mentioned in Star Trek was Jonathan Archer, Dangerdan97 made a comment suggesting that Jonathan Archer would be referred to as "President Archer" rather than "Admiral Archer". Other users made other comments, and then User:Randy1012 responded to Dangerdan97's comment with a point about the titles of former Presidents. Since this comment was a response to Dangerdan97's point rather than anyone else's, he placed his comment beneath Dangerdan97's. Morder subsequently moved Randy1012's comment into chronological order. Randy restored his comment to its original placement, with the edit summary "Forcing new comments to the bottom doesn't make sense if a new comment is a direct response to an earlier comment. That's why we have the indents." Morder then moved the comment back into chronological order. In this particular example, the moving of the comment made it look as if Randy was responding to me rather than to Dangerdan, which is misleading.

I think Randy had a point. If a discussion takes a tangent, it makes sense to respond at the tangent rather than keeping comments strictly in order. If everyone signs their posts, the signatures will have timestamps indicating when comments were made.

This is also the way that discussion on talk pages tends to go on other wikis. And as new users are likely to have more experience of other wikis, it makes sense to let them discuss matters in a way that makes sense to them, rather than robotically forcing conversation into an idiosyncratic format.

It's fine to have "place new comments at the bottom of the section" as a guideline. But it doesn't make sense to enforce it as a policy if in doing so you disrupt the sense of a conversation. —Josiah Rowe 02:41, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

"Policy", "guideline" or whatever, it's a well-adopted behaviour on this wiki, and letting everyone style a discussion as he/she sees fit (instead of adhering to one common formatting scheme) would make it generally more difficult to read those discussions later. We're using indentation to denote the person speaking, and the vertical axis as a timeline for the discussion - I don't think that's too bad and random. -- Cid Highwind 06:23, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

It's not random, and I accept that it's a useful way to format discussions in most situations. My question is whether it's appropriate to move comments to make them fit the formatting, even when doing so changes the apparent referent of the conversation. Look at Talk:Archer right now — Randy's comment begins with "No." Moving his comment makes it look as if he's saying "No." to me, rather than to Dangerdan. I think that misrepresents the writer's intention. —Josiah Rowe 06:31, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

It's not uncommon for editors aware of "our format" to rearrange discussions quick and often, especially when these discussions may become very active and lengthy (as Star Trek discussions currently do). I'm often re-indenting discussions before adding to it, myself.
It would probably have been best to add something like "(Re:USERNAME)" in front of the moved comment, to clarify the original intent, but I don't see any huge fault here. -- Cid Highwind 09:24, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
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