Help:Splitting or moving a wiki discussion

Revision as of 11:21, 10 August 2009 by DESiegel60 (talk | contribs) (expanded from Help:Conventions)
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When a discussions wanders from its original topic (as often happens) or a distinct sub-topic emerges within a broader discussion, it may be desirable to split a discussion. In such a case an editor can insert a new section or sub-section header. A new section at the same level as the preexisting section is most often used when the discussion has drifted to a separate topic worth a thread of its own, while a sub-section (section header of a lower level) is most often used when a specific sub-topic of the thread topic has emerged. Whether and how to split a discussion is a judgment call.

When a discussion becomes more appropriate for a different page, it may be copied or moved. For example, suppose a discussion about the facts of a particular publication starts with a query to an editor who has verified that pub on the verifier's talk page. This may then drift into a more general discussion about what the standards for recording such a pub should be. If this goes on for a while, and particularly if it starts to approach serious consideration of policy changes, it may be a good idea to move or copy it to a public discussion forum, such as the Rules and standards discussions page.

In such a case, someone edits the page, and copies the relevant wiki text, pasting it into a new section on the destination page. Indents may need to be adjusted. If a move is intended, the wiki text is deleted from the source page, and that is saved.

When a discussion is split, creating a new section, or part of a discussion is moved or copied to a new section, the result may well be that the new section starts with an indented comment. In such a case, the usual practice is to remove all indents from the first comment, and to reduce the indent levels of subsequent comments by the same number of levels as were removed from the first comment. The result is that the various comments have the same relative indentation as they did before the split or move. If the subsequent comments include one with an "unindent" that returns to zero indention, the adjustment of indents should stop there.

Whenever a thread is split, or a thread is copied or moved, an explanatory note, for which some editors use the "small" tag, should be added to both source and destination, so that readers of the later discussion can find the original context and history, and readers of the original can find the ongoing discussion. Such notes should be signed by the editor who splits, moves, or copies the discussion. (For example: "<small>Further discussion moved to [[Rules and standards discussions#How to enter a plagiarized story]] ~~~~</small>".)

The object in splitting, copying or moving a discussion should be to increase a discussion's clarity and focus, and avoid or reduce confusion. It should never be done so as to change the purport of previously posted discussion, nor to obscure who wrote what, or in what context. The notes are to aid transparency and preserve context.