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 admins about blocks.
These comments may end up outdated and seem useless; however, there are many reasons to keep them.
So 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.
- Providing 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?
Obviously, some discussion may not necessarily be an integral part of the article or user's talk page. For example, "OMG YOU GOT OWNED NOOB" or "ZOHMIGOSH LAWLS!!!!!" should be deleted.
Offensive and non-constructive messages directed towards others (i.e. hate mail), spam and advertisement, utterly pointless/gibberish, duplicates, and/or completely irrelevant posts are generally the only things that should be removed, however.
Some other situations and what to do:
- When talk pages are very lengthy, they can be archived. Archiving a talk page with the intention to hide warnings (of bad edits or rude behaviour, for example) is forbidden.
- Users must first ask a sysop before performing an archive. This is to prevent overly short talk pages, or recent warnings from simply being hidden.
- Welcome templates on user talk pages may be removed at any time by the user in question.
- When a user adds a post to an archived or very outdated discussion, it can be deleted, depending on the situation.
- Mainspace talk pages are for the betterment of the page in question. It's acceptable to remove anything that does not stay on this topic or is general discussion about the article's subject that does not aid the page.
- Please note however that any comments more than a week old should be kept, as helpful or not they are still part of the talk page. Unhelpful comments should only be removed from talk pages if done so immediately.
Enforcing this policy
DDD is usually broken by new or unregistered users who simply do not know of this policy. Undo their deletion (but remember not to delete anything new that they may have added, like if they deleted an original post and posted a response to it) and tell them that they violated DDD on their talk page. However, make sure to provide a link to this page in that post, otherwise DDD will sound like meaningless gibberish to them.