[OSM-talk] An Archive namespace for the OSM wiki?

Tobias Knerr osm at tobias-knerr.de
Sat Apr 20 10:37:19 UTC 2019

On 20.04.19 09:24, Jochen Topf wrote:
> So as always you have to look at each case. If a page contains content
> that is still useful for our current world, keep it. But if something is
> merely interesting for historical reasons then it can be deleted. And
> yes, there is a gray area there, but humans can be trusted with these
> decisions and the world will not end if occasionally somebody makes the
> "wrong" decision. But stalling any progress in the wiki by requiring
> discussions about any change is certainly not the right way.

I'm in full agreement with the overall sentiment, and this paragraph
sums up a lot of my objections to the proposed deletion policy.

However, I believe that a lot of the social conflicts surrounding this
topic are caused by how MediaWiki implements "deleting" things: Only
admins can restore a deleted page or even view its history. In contrast,
everyone can undo a regular deletion in the OSM database (at least in
theory), and the history remains publicly visible.

So after a similar discussion several years ago, we created this
template for archiving proposals:

It basically amounts to removing a page's _contents_ (but not the page
itself or its history) and replacing it with a link to a previous
version of the same page that still had the original content. There's
also typically some basic information left on the page so that users
arriving from an external link know what they are looking at. This is
what a proposal "archived" in this style looks like:

It mostly achieves the same goal as deletion, especially reducing the
likelihood of getting in the way of searches (because there's little
content left to be indexed). Actually, it may do so a bit too well –
I've always been a bit concerned that it makes it hard to find old
proposals even when you're explicitly looking for them – but because
there are other approaches for finding proposals in particular (the RFC
mails, and the infobox links on key/tag pages back to the proposal),
they can still be found reliably.

The main benefit, though, is the ability for others to easily revert
this kind of change. It's easier to be bold in cleaning up the wiki when
you know that that others can quickly undo any edits they dislike.


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