Discussion pages are an integral part of a wiki; they are a place for users to decide which direction an article should go in, what to include and not to include, and to place any other kinds of comments. User talk pages are also important, being a place where users can communicate about a wide variety of things, as well as receiving warnings from other users regarding unhelpful edits, and messages from administrators about blocks.
If a user finds that their talk page is getting too long, they can choose to archive it onto another page, but there must be an easily seen link to the archive from the page it was taken from. Talk pages from other namespaces, such as the mainspace, can be archived in a similar fashion as well.
These comments may end up outdated and seem useless; however, there are many reasons to keep them.
Why keep discussions?
There may seem to be no purpose, but keeping discussions can be very useful. For example:
- Keeping old discussions may prevent the same debate from happening repeatedly. For example, if two different sources provide differing information, leaving the discussion may prevent it being brought up repeatedly.
- It provides a record of a user's actions and discussions with other users. Although it is possible to view the page history, it is much easier to look over a discussion.
When does this not apply?
Some discussions may not necessarily be an integral part of the article or user's talk page. Some situations and what to do:
- Spam can be deleted, as it is not actually a discussion of any kind.
- Blatant flaming (negative messages directed at other users) can be removed.
- Talk pages that are outdated (these can be archived instead).
- The removal of welcome templates and bot messages. Since they are not actual discussions, this is permitted. However, this does not apply to warning templates.
In the case of a lone talk page, use common sense to determine whether the talk page should be deleted or not.
Your talk page
No discussion page is exempt from this policy. This includes your own talk page. Your talk page is not owned by you; it is owned by the community as a means of contacting you. You have the freedom to archive whenever you deem necessary, but you by no means have the freedom to pick which messages may be kept. You may remove what is applicable for removal by this policy, but nothing else.