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Talk:Talk Page Policy

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Should we add something about not removing comments from talk pages?--Matoro183 (Talk) 19:44, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

I think we should. Removing talk page comments is a big no-no in my eyes. - Cavalier One(Wizarding Wireless Network) 21:11, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, please do. -- Freakatone Talk 21:24, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Old Messages

There has recently been a string of users on the wiki who respond to very old talkpage discussions, usually adding nothing to the discussion. Since it is generally bad etiquette to respond to old talkpage discussions (ie anything older than a month), I've been removing these posts, but I just noticed that there is nothing mentioned in this policy about it. I'd like to recommend adding that messages will be removed if they are responses to old discussions, as there is never any reason to respond to old discussion (some discussions that have been responded to are over 5 years old, the discussion is long since dead). --Sajuuk 17:06, April 21, 2016 (UTC)

I would disagree with this approach. While it's true that these responses are to very old posts, they often provide explanations and context for the main article.  This can help current and future editors understand the previous history of the article and identify or close up any loose ends (even if they are years old). What is the value of reducing participation and leaving questions unanswered? Ironyak1 (talk) 17:35, April 21, 2016 (UTC)
Then they can be started as a new discussion with a separate header, referencing the old discussion by linking to it. Responding to ridiculously old posts is usually never necessary, because whatever purpose the discussion was started for has long since passed (and most of the discussions, as well as responses, have nothing to do with improving the article either, just off-topic chatter that doesn't belong on talkpages).
It's a rather common policy on wiki's with article talkpages to disallow responding to old discussions, since there's usually no point in doing so and it's considered poor wiki-etiquette to do so, but that's just me. --Sajuuk 17:40, April 21, 2016 (UTC)
You've raised several different issues there:
  • Off-topic chatter: As per the policy, not allowed. I would suggest that the Talk Policy be clarified that these are subject to removal along with spam and vandalism.
  • Responding inline vs End of Thread or New Topic & link: This is a style issue IMHO. Personally, I prefer always responding inline and creating threads as it makes more clear what post is being responded to. Regardless the Talk Policy should clarify a perferred approach for the site (if there is one).
  • Responding to messages older than a certain time: I will reiterate that any useful additional information should be welcome regardless of the age of the topic. As this is a collaborative research project, keeping all the discussion under a the same topic heading makes it most readable I believe. 
  • Wider wiki-etiqutte or Policies: While other wiki's have adopted other norms and policies, these are not stated here and therefore should not be assumed to be in effect. While these may form the basis for further improvements to practices here, I would suggest having the discussion and modifying the Policies first before chastising others for their contributions as a more productive and less abrasive approach.
Given that some recent well-articulated and thought-out contributions (such as those on Talk:Dementors by wva ) are not in violation of the current policies, I am going to undo their removal. As the wider Harry Potter fandom is strongly inclusive, I would hope a similar atmosphere can be maintainted here to help encourage participation. Cheers! Ironyak1 (talk) 18:43, April 21, 2016 (UTC)
Talkpages are about improving articles. Anything posted on an article talkpage that has nothing to do with improving the article in question does not belong on a talkpage and such messages will be removed regardless, because that is not what they are for. They are not there to "cater to the fandom" as they are not an outlet of forum discussions If we had threaded forums, this would not be an issue, as it would be obvious to remove any talkpage posts that are forum-esque.
Looking at the history, many of the policies on the wiki haven't been updated in years, which isn't surprising given the relative lack of editors on the wiki. Maybe it's time we started overhauling policies related to the community (not so much style policies), but given the lack of editors here, I don't see it happening.
When a discussion has long since died out, there is zero purpose in responding. The people involved in said discussion have likely moved on and the discussion topic has almost certainly died out. If someone wants to bring up a new discussion point, the common sense thing to be doing is to start a new discussion topic with a new heading, which is common practice on wiki's since it's considered good etiquette. Inserting responses randomly in the middle of a dead discussion is bad etiquette and not to mention pointless. Plus, responding to old discussion topics is pointless because nobody will respond, it has nothing to do with whether a post is considered "constructive".
I'm not too sure why you are making executive decisions (based on the tone of your response), especially as that it is not your call to do so. Judging by your response, I'm not sure whether you are familiar with the use of a talkpage on wiki's, but I'm happy to be proved wrong. --Sajuuk 19:42, April 21, 2016 (UTC)
I am not the one removing contributions based on policies that are not present - that is what you are doing. See the Talk policy and the the first comment on this page - former admins felt that removing talk comments to be a big no-no. Clarifying when they should be is a good idea.
Given that there are standing questions on a talk page about the topic of the article, then I see the the topic as open regardless of time passed. The value of clarification if not just for the original poster but for every reader afterwards and helps inform any future edits to the article. How best to respond is a matter of convention, which should be clearly stated.
I am not making executive decisions of any sort, merely raising the issue that you have expectations from elsewhere that may or may not apply. I would hope you would take the time to clarify the policies of this wiki with the wider community before enforcing what you think they should be (like the only way to use notes and refs, complaining of fanon pages, removing crosses for the deceased, deleting talk comments, etc)
Whether or not this wiki chooses to abide by the wider wiki standards (which you are clearly more familiar with than I) is up for discussion. As I said, the Harry Potter fandom is strongly about inclusion, and some common so-called rules or conventions may not carry over in order to achieve that. Given the stated interest from admins for greater and wider participation, removing people's contributions based on vague or unstated rules is counter-productive IMHO. Perhaps you could make some suggestions of best-practices you think should be policy so everyone can discuss?
Obviously, this is up to the admins for resolution. I hope our exchange here and some of the other related Wiki activity will draw their attention. 
For me, it's not about proving someone right or wrong - it's about encouraging people to join in and work well together on our shared interests. Cheers Ironyak1 (talk) 20:28, April 21, 2016 (UTC)
The fact that a comment was posted in reply to an older comment is not a valid reason for removing it. Not only is removing replies counterproductive, as Ironyak1 pointed out, but it's against the talk page policy, which states "no comments should be removed from talk pages, unless they are spam or vandalism." Sajuuk made a point of reprimanding a user for removing a message from their own page just a few days ago.
Comments left on talk pages often fall through the proverbial cracks. They may go unnoticed for months or even years – but replies, however belated, are generally still useful. They can help the original poster (if they're still around), or future editors who come along with the same question or suggestion. They save people from having to pose questions that have already been asked and reiterate answers that have already been given. So it's perfectly acceptable to reply to any talk page comment that hasn't been archived (and, in general threads are archived when the talk page gets too long, not after a certain amount of time has elapsed).
Off-topic comments are a bit of a grey area. Policy doesn't explicitly state that it's acceptable to remove off-topic comments from talk pages, but, for as long as I've been on this wiki, it's been okay in practice. Of course, what constitutes an off-topic comment is, to some degree, a subjective judgment, so care should always be exercised. And I find that replying to off-topic comments with a reminder about our talk page policy instead of removing them outright is sometimes more effective at deterring further off-topic comments.
Inserting a comment within an existing comment by another user is a common mistake made by editors who are new to wikis. Just move the comment to the correct location and drop the user a note about proper talk page formatting (generally, it isn't acceptable to touch another user's comments, but simple formatting tweaks necessary to keep the wiki running smoothly are okay). Starstuff (Owl me!) 05:50, April 22, 2016 (UTC)
User talkpages are not the same as an article talkpage: a user talkpage is a public record of communications between editors and therefore, removing comments there is never permitted. Article talkpages, however, are just about improving the article so anything not related to doing that doesn't belong on a talkpage. Trying to equate a user talkpage with an article talkpage is not exactly good, because they have different purposes.
I come from a wiki where there's never any reason to respond to old talkpage posts, because the discussion has long since stopped. I have already given an outline of what someone should do if they want to revive any previous discussion, which is to make a new heading and reference the previous discussion.
I don't feel like giving a huge response to each user, because I'm clearly "foreign" to how this wiki operates and anything I do to follow what I've been "taught" about a wiki is just going to get reverted here. --Sajuuk 06:37, April 22, 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarifications Starstuff. So I understand, should all new replies to a talk topic go at the end of the current comments eg
Comment 1
Comment 2
New Comment
Or is it ok to reply to a particular post by indenting and creating a thread? eg:
Comment 1
New Comment
Comment 2
Of course splicing into a comment is never good and should be corrected eg:
Comm New Comment ent 1
I would suggest that maybe your points could be added to the main Talk Page Policy article to avoid future confusion and provide a clear reference to point people towards? The approach of not deleting comments unless they are clearly off-topic, spam, or vandalism and posting reminders of the policy as needed or helping out obvious mistakes by rearranging instead of deleting feels very balanced and productive . Thanks again Ironyak1 (talk) 08:08, April 22, 2016 (UTC)
The first two examples you gave above are both fine. It's only the third one that's an issue. I honestly thought this had occurred recently given Sajuuk's comment ("inserting responses randomly"). I've also seen it happen before with new users unfamiliar with wiki talk page protocol.
"User talkpages are not the same as an article talkpage: a user talkpage is a public record of communications between editors and therefore, removing comments there is never permitted."
It isn't universal across all wikis that removing comments from one's user talk page is never allowed. In fact, on Wikipedia, the only place users are free to remove comments at their discretion is on their own user talk page, on the principle that their user talk page "belongs" to them to a certain degree. Thus, they are free to choose whether they manage their user talk page by maintaining an actual archive, or simply "wiping the slate clean" and removing messages after they have been read. The true record of their user talk page is the page's edit history, which cannot be hidden or modified. So, even if a user decides to remove warnings they have received, someone can still view the edit history of that user's talk page and see that they have previously been warned for disallowed conduct.
But, here on the Harry Potter Wiki, the talk page policy and user policy concur that comments should not be removed from talk pages unless they are spam or vandalism. The user policy also allows for the removal of abusive or threatening messages from user talk pages. It doesn't make sense to selectively apply this policy. If it's unacceptable to remove comments from one's own user talk page for any reason other than those allowed for under policy, then it should also be unacceptable to remove comments from article talk pages for any reason other than those allowed under policy. Starstuff (Owl me!) 22:52, April 22, 2016 (UTC)
Imo the entire section in question that spurred all of this, the added comment to the "Can't tell the difference" section, I don't see why that section is there to begin with, the person was never asking a question in relation to how they could improve the article, they were simply asking a fandom related question that could have been addressed somewhere else. At least I was always under the impression that article talk pages were specifically to help fix or expand on the article in question, not just ask general questions about it. Or am I wrong? I mean let's use an example, the Dementor page, in one section someone asks this "In Deathly Hallows, Hermione mentions that there are few things that destroy Horcruxes like Basilisk venom and Fiendfyre. Do you think its possible for a Dementor to suck the piece of soul of a Horcrux somehow?" this is clearly conjecture and has no bearing on improving the article, just someone curious about what others think of their thought, how does this improve the article? Conjecture isn't allowed in articles, so whether other people agreed with the idea or not it won't improve the article. Whereas something like this, "Considering their comparison to boggarts and poltergeists in the boggart entry on Pottermore, should they be mentioned as amortal beings?" is clearly someone questioning a point in the article and asking thoughts on changing it. This clearly falls in the category of improving the article. I see cases of this all over the wiki, where it really feels more like article talk pages are just for anything, as long as it's generally "on topic". Like as long as you talk about dementors, you can put anything you want there, regardless of whether it has zero intent to improve the article and simply have an interesting discussion. Of course this would all be a moot point if we had the new forums turned on where we could easily link discussion threads to the relevant articles instead of having a massive cluttered talk page about it all. User talk:BachLynn2316:15, April 30, 2016 (UTC)

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