Help:Archiving a talk page

Page semi-protected
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

It is customary to periodically archive old discussions on a talk page when the talk page becomes too large. Archiving is often done automatically by a bot. Step-by-step instructions to set up automated archiving can be found at Help:Archiving (plain and simple). There are two main bots that archive talk pages:

Archives can also be created manually. Manual archiving can be done by hand by cutting and pasting from a talk page to an archive subpage. One click archiving streamlines this process by adding an archive button to all talk page sections.

Only noticeboards and talk pages are archived because both can become very long. The

blank the page

Technical overview

There are several standard ways to archive a talk page. Each consists of

cutting and pasting sections from a talk page to an "Archive" subpage. The sections can archived manually or automatically. Manual archiving is done by editing the page by hand or using a one click archiving script that adds an archive button to talk page sections. Automatic archiving is done by a bot. There are two widely archiving bots, User:ClueBot III and User:Lowercase sigmabot III

The most common method of naming talk page archives is with sequentially numbered archives. For example:

  • The 20th archive of Talk:Earth would be named Talk:Earth/Archive 20
  • The first archive of User talk:Example would be named User talk:Example/Archive 1

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:".

Alternatively, archives are often named chronologically. Archive templates will not automatically detect subpages with unusual names.

Are there any existing archived talk pages?

Most of the methods here rely on checking if any archived talk pages already exist, and placing the new sections to be archived either into the most recent archive, or in a new archive numerically sequenced one above the existing archive. There is a search to check if any subpages exist under a talk page (and archived pages are usually placed in subpages of the existing talk page). In the search bar type:


For example

Special:PrefixIndex/Help talk:Archiving a talk page will display the talk page to this help page and all its archives.

Manual archiving

Cut and paste procedure

The most basic way to

paste it into an archive. If no archive exists, you will need to create a new subpage. Create the archive subpage at Talk:Example page/Archive N where "N" is either "1", the next positive integer
, or an appropriate name for a topic-specific archive (for example Talk:Example page/Place of birth debate). When an archive subpage becomes too large, new archives can be created as needed.

When manually creating an archive, add {{Automatic archive navigator}} to the top of each archive page. If an archive box doesn't already exist on the main talk page, add the line {{Archives}} below the WikiProject tags. For the full list of archiving templates, see Category:Archival templates. For step-by-step instructions, see /Manual archiving.

Semi-automated cut and paste procedure

One click archiving allows you to archive any section of a talk page by clicking a button next to the section. To use this method, you'll need to install a user script. After installing one of the scripts listed below or at Wikipedia:One click archiving, you will see links next to talk page headers allowing you to archive a section immediately:

Wikipedia talk:How to archive a talk page/Archive 1#Archive standards
for rationale.

Automated archiving

ClueBot III and lowercase sigmabot III can automatically create archives for any discussion page (one that has "talk" in the namespace), by moving sections to a subpage when the section has received no comments for a specified period of time. Both bots can archive sections into simple sequentially numbered archives (e.g. YourPage/Archive 1, YourPage/Archive 2, ...), or archive according to date (e.g. YourPage/Archives/2013/June, YourPage/Archives/2013/July, ...).

See the ClueBot III page and the lowercase sigmabot III page for detailed instructions on setting up these bots. Those pages explain each of the parameters used, such as archiveheader, minthreadsleft, etc. The examples below are also available for use. All of the examples here are intended for you to be able to copy them while viewing this page and paste them into the edit box on your target page without requiring any modification to have a working configuration.

Choosing a bot

ClueBot III and lowercase sigmabot III, the two bots in current use for automated archiving, are similar in their behaviour, but have some differences in terms of features they implement and limitations on their use:

lowercase sigmabot III ClueBot III
Number of talk pages in use on ~37,000 ~10,600
Index of archives? requires additional bot Yes
Automatically repair links to discussions when archiving? No Yes (example)
Initial delay before first archive Less than 24 hours (typically begins runs at
00:00 UTC
Up to several days (example)
Limitations Will not archive sections without signatures Not suitable for pages linked to by a number of pages in the order of thousands (for performance reasons)

The following are example configurations to set up automatic archiving of an article talk page or user talk page. These configuration templates do not produce any visible output, so you should generally also include a template such as {{Archives}} to provide readers with links to search and navigate the archives. These templates may also be configured with the parameters bot and age to include a message notifying readers that automatic archiving is taking place. For example: {{Archives|age=90|bot=ClueBot III}}.

Example with sequentially numbered archives

Sequentially numbered archives
Lowercase sigmabot III ClueBot III
| algo=old(90d)
| archive={{SUBST:#titleparts:{{SUBST:FULLPAGENAME}}}}/Archive %(counter)d
| counter=1
| maxarchivesize=75K
| archiveheader={{Automatic archive navigator}}
| minthreadsleft=5
| minthreadstoarchive=2
{{User:ClueBot III/ArchiveThis
| age=2160
| archiveprefix={{SUBST:#titleparts:{{SUBST:FULLPAGENAME}}}}/Archive
| numberstart=1
| maxarchsize=75000
| header={{Automatic archive navigator}}
| minkeepthreads=5
| minarchthreads=2
| format= %%i

Both of the above examples will create archive pages, as needed, starting with TalkPage/Archive 1 and continuing with TalkPage/Archive 2, etc., when the current archive page grows to more than 75,000 bytes. Only sections with dates that are older than 90 days (2,160 hours) will be archived, although the five sections with the most recent contributions will be retained on the talk page no matter how long ago the last contribution was added. If archives for the page already exist, then set the counter/numberstart parameter to the next archive number in the series.

Warning: the magic word {{SUBST:FULLPAGENAME}} is replaced by the talk page name when the template is saved to a talk page. However some punctuation characters that can appear in a page name ("&') are replaced by HTML character codes that are not recognised by the bots (see mediawikiwiki:Manual:PAGENAMEE encoding#PAGENAME for details about these and other characters). For example ' is replaced with ' (so if the bot is to work then ' must be replaced with '). This can be circumvented by using {{SUBST:#titleparts:{{SUBST:FULLPAGENAME}}}} to automatically sort the encoding.

Example with archives by year and month

Archives by year/month
lowercase sigmabot III ClueBot III

Note: In this configuration lowercase sigmabot III puts threads into archives based on the last date in each thread. Here is an example of it splitting an archiving task of 185 threads into 54 YYYY/Month based archives.

Note:Each time ClueBot III runs it places threads in a single archive which is the YYYY/Month of (NOW - age). If you are starting archiving with a backlog this will result in a single file with all of your old threads older than age. ClueBot III does not appear to run every single day. Thus, even when archiving has been running for a while, some threads may end up in an archive that is one month later than when they were last edited.

| algo=old(90d)
| archive={{SUBST:#titleparts:{{SUBST:FULLPAGENAME}}}}/Archives/%(year)d/%(monthname)s
| minthreadsleft=4
| minthreadstoarchive=2
{{User:ClueBot III/ArchiveThis
| age=2160
| archiveprefix={{SUBST:#titleparts:{{SUBST:FULLPAGENAME}}}}/Archives/
| minkeepthreads=4
| minarchthreads=2
| format=Y/F
Both of the above examples will create archive pages, as needed, with names similar to YourPage/Archives/June, YourPage/Archives/July, etc. Only sections with dates that are older than 90 days (2,160 hours) will be archived in these examples.

Bot and config details

The configuration template for lowercase sigmabot III is still named {{

MiszaBot III
, are no longer active.

The best age for threads to be archived will vary, depending on talk page activity. The purpose of archiving article talk pages should be to remove stale discussions, not to stifle discussion. Article talk page threads should not typically be archived in less than 30 days except for very busy talk pages.

The maxarchivesize/maxarchsize parameter determines how large each archive is allowed to grow before a new archive is started. Keeping this value larger than a typical talk page allows the archives to be browsed more easily, but increases page load times. Each individual archive should not be larger than 512kB, because this may cause accessibility problems for some devices. Because a large batch of threads can "overshoot" the maxarch[ive]size parameter, the parameter should always be set lower than the maximum acceptable archive size.

Category:Pages where archive parameter is not a subpage

One limitation of the way automatic archival instructions are set up is how page moves will easily break the functionality. For several reasons, the bots will generally only archive to subpages; that is, the archive must reside as one or more subpages to the talk page in question.

When a page is renamed (moved) and the user forgets to also update the bot instructions, this means that no further archiving will take place (until the bot instructions are updated manually). To facilitate identifying cases where archiving is interrupted, the Category:Pages where archive parameter is not a subpage was created.

If your talk page isn't archiving properly, you might want to check this category. If your page is included, this indicates that the specified archive pages are incorrect.