|This page in a nutshell: This page explains how and why to set up archiving and archive search boxes on Wikipedia, offering multiple options and assessments of those options; for plain and simple instructions, see Help:Archiving (plain and simple).|
It is customary to periodically archive old discussions on a talk page when that page becomes too large. Bulky talk pages may be hard to navigate, contain obsolete discussion, or become a burden for users with slow Internet connections or computers. Notices are placed at the beginning of the talk page to inform all editors of an archive.
Regular articles are not archived because previous versions may be seen in the page history; the practice of archiving is unique to talk pages and noticeboards, which often swell to great length. Archiving one's own user talk page is optional; some users simply blank the page, as the history is kept available for future reference, but this is not considered the best practice (as it makes things more difficult to find and link). For this specific case, the use of "permalinks" can provide an easy way to display an archived view of a talk page at a given moment, though there's no control on thread organization or presentation.
The talk page guidelines suggest archiving when the talk page exceeds 75 KB (or 75,000 bytes), or has multiple resolved or stale discussions. However, when to archive, and what may be the optimal length for a talk page, are subjective decisions that should be adapted to each case. For example, ongoing discussions and nearby sections they reference should generally be kept intact.
There may be circumstances where it would be useful to keep older discussions present on a talk page, to avoid the same issues being repeatedly raised. However, this situation can be better addressed by use of the