How to proceed with outdated information?

Hi wiki maintainers,

during my short time here I stumbled over two pages, each describing software which seems not to be in use anymore: Pyrender and Tiles@home. Maybe there are more examples and I am asking if there are rules how to proceed with outdated content like this? Because it is hard for beginners and others to use the wiki if it’s cluttered with outdated information, I find it very important to clearly mark the content as outdated and move it to some kind of archive corner.

Here are my questions:

  • Should everything be kept for historical / archiving purposes or are ther criteria when content should be deleted?

  • Is there already a template, indicating that the page is describing something historical
    ( The existing template is probably too weak)

  • Should we distinguish between A) outdated information which should be updated (e.g. how to install mapnik on debian), and for what the OutOfDate template seems to be for and B) Pages describing something which was important in the past, but is simply not available / acessible / functional anymore and therefore cannot be updated anymore (like Tiles@Home).

  • are there guidelines how to proceed with category B) (e.g. move to a specific category, remove incoming links from current pages), etc …

Best regards

These are good questions and I don’t think that there is really an established procedure for this yet.

I would indeed make the distinction you describe:

Tutorials, tagging documentation and so on (A) should indeed be updated to reflect the current situation.

Historical programs, map styles and so on (B) will still be encountered in articles, books, conversations and so on. There will clearly be people who want to learn what this is/was about. Therefore, I think that such pages (or at least their introductions) should be rewritten to a historical perspective that keeps important information, but makes it clear from the start that this is no longer “alive” (“XYZ was a renderer developed by ABC Inc. until 2011. It supported …”) Until this has happened, the “OutOfDate” template would be appropriate, which I interpret as “this page needs an update”. In addition, one might consider changing categories, templates and so on to avoid cluttering lists - for example, maybe it would make sense to introduce a “Defunct renderers” category?

A special case, I believe, are proposals: There you often have an (updated) copy of the proposed documentation elsewhere - to be treated like category A -, but want to keep a particular snapshot of the past because it helps understand the reasoning behind the tagging and decision making process. So I have begun using a template to replace the original proposal content with a placeholder if there is more current documentation. This makes sure that the current documentation will be preferred in search results and so on, but original content is still easily available.

As for your other questions …

I think that meaningful content should mostly be kept, with the exception of updating howtos, tutorials and so on as mentioned above. This does not apply to broken “infrastructure” (abandoned templates or categories, obsolete portals, low-quality versions of icons and images etc.) and obvious trash (spam, mistakenly created pages etc.) which can and should be deleted.

As a special case, everything in user namespaces can be deleted at the user’s discretion.

If there is, I’m not aware of it.

thanks for your reply. I think this makes all sense. Use the OutOfDate propose until situation is verfied and until it’s clear which case applies. Then use something like the Archived proposal template in the future for abandoned / defunct software etc. I think I wait with introducing a new template until more examples are collected. In the meanwhile I could use an ambox as a warning on top of the page.