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How to archive a talk page on Wikihowto and other MediaWiki sites

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It is customary to periodically archive a talk page when it becomes too large. Bulky talk pages are difficult to navigate and usually contain obsolete discussion. Additionally, large talk pages are a burden for users with slow Internet connections, and some users may not be able to edit pages larger than 32kb because of browser page size limits.

There are two main methods for archiving a talk page, detailed below. Regardless of which method you choose, you should leave current, ongoing discussions on the existing talk page. It is also helpful to label your archives with dates and briefly summarize their main discussions. Do not use the "move this page" feature to archive a talk page, as the page histories will become separated.

Refactoring a talk page is an alternative to, or is complementary to, archiving it.

Subpage archivesEdit

Cutting and pasting past discussions into a separate subpage is the most popular method for archiving a talk page.


  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) 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 you plan on creating. Put a forward slash in front of the link to make it a subpage, e.g. /Archive 1 or /Place of birth debate. Here is some sample code: *[[/Archive 1]]: June 2004 – May 2005. In effect, you are replacing the old discussions with a link to the archive.
    • You can also use {{subst:archivebox}} to generate a floating box for the archive links.
  4. Save the page. You should now have a mostly empty page with a red link to your archive at the top. Follow the red link, and click create an article with this title.
  5. Paste the old discussions from your clipboard into the edit box. Before saving, you will want to create a notice at the top explaining that the page is an archive of inactive discussion and should not be edited. The template {{talkarchive}} is available. If other archives exist, you may also want to link to them so curious readers can easily navigate between archives.
  6. Save. You have now created an archive.

Advantages of this methodEdit

  • Discussions can be archived by topic, rather than chronologically. This may be appropriate on talk pages where certain topics have a tendency to come up again and again, and it is convenient to have all past discussion on an issue in one location. Archiving by topic is usually less appropriate for personal user talk pages.
  • The archive can be edited for clarity. For instance, headers can be renamed to be more helpful, unsigned comments can be noted, irrelevant comments can be moved to a more appropriate place, chit chat can be removed, etc. (However, this kind of editing might be considered a mild form of refactoring.)
  • The links used throughout the discussions remain indexed within Wikipedia. This may also be a disadvantage, as 'what links here' is often clogged with archives and user talk pages.


  • New users may accidentally reply to inactive discussions, and the page is open to vandalism.

Permanent link archivesEdit

With this method, instead of copying discussions to a separate page, you simply provide a link to an earlier version of the page. One small caveat: it is not possible to link to an earlier version of a page with a Wikipedia-style link. You have to supply the full URL.


  1. Go to the talk page you wish to archive and click on permanent link in the toolbox section of the left sidebar. Alternatively, go to the page history of the talk page and select the revision you want to use.
  2. Copy the complete URL from the navigation bar of your web browser.
  3. Edit the talk page and delete the text you want to archive. While you're still in the edit window, make a link to the URL you copied at the top. Keep in mind that syntax for full URL links is different than for Wikilinks. Here is an example: [ Archive 1]: June 2004 – May 2005
  4. Save. You have now archived a talk page.

Advantages of this methodEdit

  • It is simpler and requires fewer resources.
  • There is some guarantee that the discussions have not been altered mistakenly or by vandals.
  • This strategy can be particularly useful for summarising discussions; you provide a succinct overview of the various points of view and a link to the complete, unadulterated discussion.


  • You cannot organize topics into one place, although you can list links to sections within the page history that are relevant to a particular topic.
  • Archives cannot be easily repartitioned and recombined as with the subpage method. If you later wished to divide up the archives in a different way, you would need to paste all past archives to the talk page, save, and then rearchive (note that when this is done, the revision history becomes muddied).
  • An edit of the archive by mistake (and ignoring the warning) would overwrite the current talk page.


Adapted from

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