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Why archiving old threads is a bigger problem than we've realized : TheoryOfReddit
I was doing some research on Reddit into a murky tax topic, and found some very valuable threads, but which also had some incorrect comments. The information later got legally clarified after the thread started, and now there are reputable sources, but there wasn't enough time for redditors to come back to the thread and point out the current state of affairs. After a couple months, the threads were archived.

Now, anyone who reads the threads will be misinformed. In this case, this misinformation may have serious consequences (inadvertent tax evasion/fraud, penalties etc.). Of course, nobody should rely *solely* on Reddit as the source of truth for tax matters, but the problem still stands, and I've landed from Google onto many other threads with unchallenged outdated comments:

**Why do we make threads read-only, making it impossible for users to correct outdated or inaccurate information?**

I happened to have reliable sources on that topic, and would've been more than happy to drop some links in some comments. But I couldn't. I couldn't even downvote the incorrect comments. This was frustrating.

I went on to look for the rationale as to why threads are archived. Here are the top arguments I've found:

# Arguments for archiving (debunked below)

## Technical limitations ([storage space](https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/3nf974/eli5_why_do_reddit_posts_get_archived/cvnp9ts))

Perhaps this was a technical reason back in the day, but I find it hard to believe it's a serious concern in this day and age of elastic computing and cloud storage. Reddit threads are *plain text*, not videos or even images.

Furthermore, [apparently](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheoryOfReddit/comments/5t7ub5/posts_are_automatically_archived_after_6_months/dduky7d)

> the admins have said [archiving is] fairly arbitrary and doesn't affect server load that much.

## Necroposting

> Think about it, wouldn't it be annoying if people started re-commenting on a thread you made six years ago?

No, I would be happy to learn of a change or new perspective to something I wrote. If someone bothers to comment on an old thread, they probably have something useful to say. If it's not useful, we already have [that problem with open threads, and it has targeted solutions](https://www.reddit.com/r/help/comments/8m3av7/turn_off_notifications_for_replies_to_a_single/).

## Surfacing old content

> Furthermore, with the current system of reddit how is a new person going to find these threads,

From search engines, links, IMs etc. The same way other content is found on the Internet.

> how would new posters be noticed on these threads

The same way they get noticed one month before the thread gets archived.

> and why would anyone even want to comment on them?

Because the information has become outdated or inaccurate. Because a new perspective can be shared. Because something new and related came to light. And so on. Why do we still discuss the works of ancient Greek philosophers?

> Not sure about why you can't vote, but I'm sure it's for similar reasons - who's going to benefit on you up-voting a six year old thread?

* Myself - I use upvoting to "bookmark" threads I've found useful, which I can later find under `reddit.com/user/<username>/upvoted`;
* or others who are curious about the user and want to see what they've been upvoting. I get a lot of interesting content from the upvotes of several friends I follow.

## 99% of conversations [have died anyway](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheoryOfReddit/comments/5t7ub5/posts_are_automatically_archived_after_6_months/ddktpzn)

> 99.999% of all conversations have died already

Then let them die, and the storage space problem is moot if conversations die anyway.

> and the tiny percentage that haven't can be accomplished through a pm

This solution is rather myopic - only the recipient of the PM will learn of the new comment/PM; nobody else. In the tax example above, the point is to help new users who are researching the topic *now*, rather than someone who's already spread outdated information and moved on.

## [Irrelevance](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheoryOfReddit/comments/5t7ub5/posts_are_automatically_archived_after_6_months/djk9mgb)

> I think the purpose is for relevance. Comments being made to posts over 6 months old would likely not be relevant.

Really? Who is to judge that? Why doesn't YouTube ban comments on videos older than 6 months?

## [Prevent SEO spam](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheoryOfReddit/comments/5t7ub5/posts_are_automatically_archived_after_6_months/ddlbv5o)

> It also helps prevent SEO link spam

Maybe I haven't hung out in the dark corners of Reddit, but the amount of link spam I've seen in 10+ years has been very, very minimal. Anyway, spam is a different problem, and again, has targeted solutions (the "Report" link). Banning comments altogether is a weak blanket solution with the unintended consequences I've highlighted above. Let's recap them.

# Arguments against archiving

* [Let the dialogue continue](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheoryOfReddit/comments/5t7ub5/posts_are_automatically_archived_after_6_months/)!
* Let users correct outdated information! Super useful in any subreddits about rapidly-changing topics, such as any type of software. Often a new version comes out with a settings that solves the problem, but there's no way to inform users that the thread in question got solved.
* Archiving causes the same topic to be rehashed over and over, because new users can't revive old threads. Case in point, many links in this post are to other threads asking the very same question, "Why do we archive?". I did my research, I didn't want to rehash the topic, but responding inline to the arguments I've found was impossible.
* *Seeing a page archived is as sad to me as [seeing something die](https://www.reddit.com/r/TheoryOfReddit/comments/1d1ojz/why_do_we_archive_old_posts/). I know that nothing new or important can ever come to this page again.*
* *Real life seems to be a dynamic and ongoing discussion of old and new events. The voting mechanism of reddit is effective for finding the best content throughout the history of the site. However, neither of these things can continue after a post has reached an artificial date of expiration.*
* *I've never seen another site that blocks interaction with old content merely because it's old. If a page fills up with spam, that's understandable, but why should I consider last year's reddit as totally dead and irrelevant?*
* *The aggregate of reddit over time should be as important as the reddit of today.*

1. Have I missed anything? Are there *good* arguments for intentionally killing conversations?
2. What can be done to change the thread archival policy?
Dascalescu  advocacy  Reddit  against  archiving  threads 
4 days ago by dandv
GitHub - evilgeniuslabs/gplus-archive: G+ Archiver is a project for generating a completly client-side, paged and searchable archive of exported G+ posts.
G+ Archiver is a project for generating a completly client-side, paged and searchable archive of exported G+ posts. The archive can be hosted publicly for free on GitHub Pages using the instructions at react-gh-pages
archives  googleplus  gplus  archiving  google  archive 
4 days ago by dougalcampbell
When Classical Musicians Go Digital
the advent of the mass-produced graphite pencil in the second half of the 19th century coincided with profound changes in the way a performer engaged with a musical text. The generation of musicians who benefited from the new tool — capable of making durable, but erasable, markings that didn’t harm paper — were, he wrote, “the first where practice was aimed at perfection of execution, and not developing the skills for real-time extemporization on the material in front of them, or improvisation ‘off book.’”

What changes does the new digital technology reflect or enable? Conversations with some of classical music’s most passionate advocates of the gadgets and with developers like forScore and Tonara that write applications for them reveal a number of developments. The traditional top-down structure of teaching has been shaken loose. The line between scholarly and practical spheres of influence is becoming blurred. And the very notion of a definitive text is quickly losing traction — and with it, the ideal of that “perfection of execution.”
music  notation  annotation  composition  archiving  technology  NYT  2016 
10 days ago by zzkt
Carnegie Mellon is Saving Old Software from Oblivion - IEEE Spectrum
That’s what you’ll find under the hood. But what can Olive do? Today, Olive consists of 17 different virtual machines that can run a variety of operating systems and applications. The choice of what to include in that set was driven by a mix of curiosity, availability, and personal interests. For example, one member of our team fondly remembered playing The Oregon Trail when he was in school in the early 1990s. That led us to acquire an old Mac version of the game and to get it running again through Olive. Once word of that accomplishment got out, many people started approaching us to see if we could resurrect their favorite software from the past.
digitalpreservation  archiving  curation  virtualization 
4 weeks ago by euler
Perkeep - LFNW 2018
Online readers: see Speaker Notes
data  computing  archiving 
5 weeks ago by zacharydenton

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