Help talk:Archiving a talk page

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Step by step instructions --Problems[edit]

I tried to follow the step by step instructions for archiving and they did not work for me. There are some assumptions made in the instructions and it is not clear to me. Probably WP changes over time and the exact icon is no longer there. Maybe the writer assumes more knowledge of WP than an irregular contributor. I created an "Archive 1" page and guess what? It's been created before.... AND deleted. Obviously people have been following those same instructions with the same wrong results. Here are my questions.

  1. What does it mean to be in the editing window? I clicked Edit This Page. There is no Edit Source Tab as the instructions say.
  2. Why did someone add "header templates should remain on the main talk page" without defining it? "Step by Step" means click then go there exactly, not general "watch out for this and remember that when you're doing it." It is no longer Step-by-Step at that point.

With the above ambiguity, we have not been able to archive a page. I'm just talking my own talk: page, not a general use one.Kristinwt (talk) 00:47, 8 January 2019 (UTC)

@Kristinwt: You missed the part about a slash in front at Help:Archiving a talk page#Step-by-step procedure. I have fixed the link.[1] Without a slash in front you would have to write the full name User talk:Kristinwt/Archive 1. You haven't created an archive but you can do it now by clicking the link. It varies with user preferences whether the tab says "edit" or "edit source". You get to the editing window when you click one of them. The text "Any WikiProject header templates should remain on the main talk page" is not relevant for user talk pages. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:53, 8 January 2019 (UTC)

What to do when archiving a page which contains a blacklisted link?[edit]

I just archived Talk:U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and ran into an issue when saving the new archive. The talk page had a blacklisted link and I was therefore unable to save the new page. I got around that by placing 'nowiki' on the link, but I'm wondering if there are any guidelines as to whether the offending link should just be removed or some other solution. (posted at the spam talkpage as well) Hydromania (talk) 05:20, 18 February 2019 (UTC)

I've replied at the latter location, and anybody who has more to say should do so too per the relevant guideline. Graham87 15:20, 18 February 2019 (UTC)

Avoiding breaking discussion links when archiving[edit]

Broken section links to talk pages are a bête noire of mine. One example where they often need to be manually fixed is in {{oldmoves}} templates (example), but they come up in lots of other contexts as well. Has the possibility ever been discussed of adding a link-fixing step to the archive bots? I'm imagining it would look like this:

  1. Archive talk page sections A, B, C of Talk:Foo to Talk:Foo/Archive_X
  2. Scan incoming links at Special:WhatLinksHere/Talk:Foo. Find section links to A, B or C.
  3. Replace all instances of Talk:Foo#A with Talk:Foo/Archive_X#A, etc.

I can see a couple possible objections:

  • Bots editing user comments (even to make an innocuous fix like this) is seen as a breach of etiquette. "Fixing links" is listed as one of the exceptions to the prohibition against editing other users' comments at WP:TALKO, but maybe the rules are different for bots.
  • The watchlist spam argument: the volume of edits generated isn't worth the benefit.

If these are seen as serious issues, maybe the fixes could be limited to the (much rarer) cases of links that appear in non-talk namespaces (e.g. policy/guideline pages, help pages, essays), or in talk page headers.

There's also a technical issue which I hope is surmountable: false positives on old discussion links. e.g. a particular talk page may have had multiple discussions with a section heading like "Requested move". When the bot archives a recent "Requested move" section, ideally it shouldn't "fix" a Talk:Foo#Requested_move link from 2012 that was intended to point to an earlier discussion that was archived long ago. Simplest solution I can think of: just don't touch ambiguous section links. There's also some stuff you could do to try to resolve the ambiguity based on the date the link was introduced and the dates at which various sections were archived, but that could be a lot of fiddly work.

Thoughts? I wouldn't be surprised if this had been discussed before, but this was the only relevant discussion I could find (and it's very old and very brief). Colin M (talk) 18:19, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

@Colin M: ClueBot archiver may be able to help: See: User:ClueBot III#Keeping linked. -- Timeshifter (talk) 01:16, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
Awesome! Just added a note about this to the help page - I hope it's accurate/appropriate. Still it's surprising to me how often I come across dead links to since-archived discussions. I would think a feature like that would make ClueBot the clear favourite. I'm curious if there are any stats on what % of pages use ClueBot vs. lowercase sigma (vs. whatever options - manual archiving?). Colin M (talk) 20:08, 8 October 2019 (UTC)
@Colin M: I think Cluebot may be missing some important functions. Plus developers would get a lot more users of their wonderful efforts if they named the parameters more clearly. Longer multi-word parameter names with the spaces removed. Such as "minimumage" instead of "algo", for example. See my new question thread here: User talk:ClueBot Commons. Titled: "Is there an equivalent to the parameter 'algo' in Lowercase sigmabot III?"
-- Timeshifter (talk) 18:01, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
Such as "minimumage" Or, better yet, "minimum-age". I was staring at your comment for a few seconds wondering what exactly "mumage" is and whether it is some fancy French term for mummification. — UnladenSwallow (talk) 18:50, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
Haha from Mini-me. So dashes are OK in parameter names? Good idea if it is possible. -- Timeshifter (talk) 12:51, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Dashes are definitely OK in parameter names! {{cite *}}'s |access-date= is the first thing that comes to mind. — UnladenSwallow (talk) 22:33, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

How do we change from MiszaBot to Lowercase sigmabot III?[edit]

See diff. Please explain the edit summary: "that doesn't actually work". Are you sure? User:MiszaBot says it is deactivated. User:Σ operates User:lowercase sigmabot III.

User:JJMC89 and User:Σ. If we are not using MiszaBot, then let us not use that name. It is confusing. Please tell me what name to use if the name "Lowercase sigmabot III" does not work in the archiving template. See diff. -- Timeshifter (talk) 01:10, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

Which bot does the archiving is irrelevant. According to the source code, lowercase sigmabot III only uses {{User:MiszaBot/config}} as the config. — JJMC89(T·C) 02:35, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
@JJMC89: Thanks for that info. I included it here: User:Lowercase sigmabot III/Archive HowTo. So that others don't try to do what I tried to do, and wonder why the archiving is not occurring. Normally I avoid too many redirects, and so others may think along those lines too. -- Timeshifter (talk) 07:06, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

Manual archiving instructions - create a new archive page every time?[edit]

The manual archiving instructions seem to take it for granted that if you want to archive something, you need to create a new archive page each time. Do we want to encourage that? The bots will repeatedly add to the same archive page until it gets "big enough", then create an n+1th page. I would think it would make sense for manual archivers to do the same thing? (But then I wonder if fully manual archiving is done much at all in this day and age.) Colin M (talk) 23:46, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

A better all-around bot[edit]

ClueBot III and Lowercase sigmabot III, the two bots in current use for automated talk page archiving.

ClueBot III lowercase sigmabot III
Number of talk pages in use on. 8,000 26,000
Index of archives? Yes requires additional bot
Automatically repair links to discussions when archiving? Yes (example) No

From the history of the Cluebot III page it looks like it was started in 2007. That is a long time. I would think it would have caught up with Miszabot/Sigmabot by now since it has the advantage of automatically repairing incoming links to threads as they are archived.

But some of the parameter names on both bots are baffling for the average Wikipedia editor. In the future I suggest using long parameter names with dashes between the words. And more intuitive values. For example; from

Current parameter names

{{User:ClueBot III/ArchiveThis
| age=2160
| archiveprefix={{SUBST:FULLPAGENAME}}/Archive
| numberstart=1
| maxarchsize=75000
| header={{Automatic archive navigator}}
| minkeepthreads=5
| minarchthreads=2
| format= %%i
}}

More understandable parameter names

{{User:ClueBot III/ArchiveThis
| minimum-age-before-archiving=90 days
| archive-prefix={{SUBST:FULLPAGENAME}}/Archive
| archive-number-start=1
| maximum-archive-size=75000
| archive-header={{Automatic archive navigator}}
| minimum-number-of-threads-to-keep=5
| minimum-number-of-threads-to-archive=2
| archive-name-format=%%i
}}

I think this would increase the number of talk pages using Cluebot III archiving. The same is true for the parameter names for Lowercase sigmabot III.

And hours is not intuitive for the age parameter in Cluebot III. Days would be a lot better. As in Lowercase sigmabot III.

An all-around better bot would be nice. Maybe someone can create it. -- Timeshifter (talk) 09:34, 5 November 2019 (UTC)

Agreed. I think it would also be helpful if Cluebot had aliased parameter names that match Miszabot/Sigmabot. It would make it dead simple to switch to Cluebot - you'd just need to replace "Miszabot" with "ClueBot". I would imagine adding parameter aliases (for readability, and for Miszabot shim) would be relatively easy, but I'm not familiar with PHP (source), so a patch is beyond my abilities. Colin M (talk) 19:39, 10 November 2019 (UTC)
@Colin M: I wonder if parameter aliases are possible. Let's ping a few people, starting with these talk archiving bot maintainers:
@Cobi: and @Σ:
-- Timeshifter (talk) 03:55, 19 November 2019 (UTC)