Are You There

If you found "AreYouThere?" on your page, it is an indication that somebody has noticed a lack of activity and is trying to determine whether you are an active wiki user. If so, just remove the AreYouThere tag from your page.

Can you hear me, Major Tom...

If the tag remains on your page for a long time, then it will be assumed that the page has been abandoned and it will be deleted.

This is a protocol for deleting seemingly abandoned home pages on Wiki.

  1. Upon noticing an AbandonedHomePage, place AreYouThere at the top of the page, followed by the current date, followed by the last edit date. E.g. AreYouThere? - April 30, 2002; March 20, 1999. Both dates are mandatory, since the first one dates the tag, while the second ones shows the reason for it. It is considered GoodPractice? to check for the number of BackLinks and make a comment about that as well.
  2. This page (AreYouThere) contains a polite explanation at the top similar to that found on DeletedButWelcomeToWiki.
  3. If the owner of the home page chooses, they have a fairly long time frame (e.g. one year) to remove the question and reaffirm their participation in our community. Simply removing the AreYouThere will do - they don't have to respond.
  4. If the owner does not respond after the specified duration, we will assume that the page is authentically abandoned. At this point, we will replace the entire content of the page with 'delete AbandonedHomePage'.
  5. A seconder can then make a minor edit (see DeletionConventions) to complete the deletion.

This page will also serve as a ReverseIndex for potentially abandoned pages, making periodic pruning easier.

I agree that a home page that says no more than "gee this really works" isn't really a home page and is a candidate for deletion. However, if there is even just enough information to consider saving it here, then I would suggest leaving the page in place. -- WardCunningham

A page has "enough information to consider saving" if it has any of the following: If a page has none of these things, then it is probably safe to delete it immediately. If any of these things are true, but you think the page warrants deletion, then add the AreYouThere tag.

Then, during the annual WikiSpringCleaning, we can search for these pages and delete any that haven't been edited in over a year.

Anyone who has signed more than a couple of pages (as referenced by BackLinks) should remain.

If an e-mail address is provided, consider contacting the person to determine whether the address is valid and whether the person wants the page to remain.

It is worth observing that the "AbandonedHomePage" marker is not of itself a call for deletion. It is what it says, a marker that the page, a HomePage, appears to have been abandoned. That mark is related to, but not the same as, a call for deletion.

I'm glad Ward's put down these guidelines, because they jive closely with what I want... I don't mind the presence of old home pages at all. Hey, they're only a k or two each, right? It can be interesting to peruse them, to see what sorts of people have visited wiki... The tiny ones with only a couple sentences and no real information are the only ones I'd consider removing. -- DanielKnapp

Is homepage deletion of orphaned pages a move of exclusion, or is it simply a matter of keeping Wiki pages relevant? There are many valued users who post anonymously here. But why have a homepage if nothing here points to it? How is such a page useful?

Maybe the author has a web presence other than WardsWiki and uses that presence to point to his/her homepage here. In this case, the homepage is useful because it draws new people to the wiki without confusing them by linking to a non-existent page. -- AndyPierce

If it did then it would probably have enough content (such as an intro to Wiki) that it wouldn't qualify for deletion. Referring people to a basically blank page isn't going to bring many people to Wiki.

Remarks from an interested bystander:

All pages are in the WikiNow, even though the participants may have moved on, or else you have a NowWiki? where only current participants and current pages count. While this may reflect current thinking, and current philosophy anchored in the importance of ego and self-interest. Those who view the WikiNow as a representation instead of a time, would disagree. The wiki Is not a mailing list, is not a dictionary, is not an encyclopedia, it is not a restructured email system, it is not a forum, it is an informal history of computing.

The use of this badge reflects a disinterest in the historical aspects:
 That a person has visited this wiki,
 That they have taken the time to record something of and from themselves
 That they think others may someday read what they have penned

The use of this badge implies that the one who uses it thinks of the Wiki as a two-way radio and that if someone does not respond on the channel, the message previously transmitted can be removed from history. It it is one year, two years, or some arbitrarily determined length of time and the person is no longer of a mind to respond, and no-one will defend his contribution, and one other person might agree, the deletion will probably be sustained.

It does not seem that concurrency should be a test for the existence and continuance of a page. I am sure there are those who may be of the same mind.

There is another requirement that you are forgetting. AreYouThere tags are left on homepages only if the page has no meaningful backlinks. Nobody is suggesting that all wikizens need to constantly update their homepages or face deletion. What some of us are suggesting is that if somebody passed through a long time ago, made one homepage for themselves, and didn't write anything anywhere else, perhaps that homepage isn't so relevant to this Wiki.
Relevant in whose opinion? I do not think with regard to homepages that the two persons necessary to delete a page can set themselves up as adjudicators on a homepage's continuance.

As I said before, a home page is a record A homepage is relevant for historical purposes whether presently relevant or not!

This has been discussed elsewhere at length, but Wiki and history make for strange bedfellows. Many editors and refactorers routinely delete and rearrange the words of others, sweeping history into the dustbin in the hopes of making the pages more useful and direct in the present.

This should not be the custom for a person's homepage, the words penned there should be left for editing by the Named Individual. One may leave comments, or notes, but sweeping its contents into the dustbin should be a left to the page owner. -- views drawn to WikiReader attention by last edit

"Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it" and "those who disregard and rewrite history are most likely to repeat its mistakes".

Much of Wiki's power comes in its brevity, and brevity requires ranking some things over others.

One might perceive power in the ability to remove entirely a page, and in prioritizing according to self-perceived judgments, but this in no way can be interpreted as giving Wiki "power".

I came to this page from a homepage that had an AreYouThere tag on it ... apparently, the previous edit was in 2000, and the tag was placed June 2002 (call that 6 months ago). But I had gone to that homepage from a very interesting comment its owner had written; the homepage added context to the comment. The homepage by itself, well, it's like someone had signed the guest book. But the homepage as context for the creator's comments, that's something more. So, really, dead as it is, it serves a purpose, i.e. a homepage however stale adds a level of information. -- BenTremblay 25DEC02

A homepage with a non-trivial backlink should be allowed to remain.
I found an AreYouThere on JohnBrant's page. I was quite disturbed by that, having been a proponent of AreYouThere. I guess I still am, but why would anyone even consider removing that page? It has content and plenty of back links. Thankfully, AreYouThere is less destructive than a 'delete', so I guess it served its purpose, but still... be responsible people.

Point well taken. We should remember to check for backlinks, at the least.
A solution to the history aspect might be to refactor the content of a HomePage that is about to be deleted (by the rules of AreYouThere set out above). Possibly shortening and moving them to, e.g., HomePageHistory?. This serves the WikiNow better but still allows the original owner to recover and for interested parties to review.
Another arguably lame Wiki convention which has little value. I can understand the temptation to clear dead wood from the archives, but a page of text and links is hardly going to save you much disk space. Furthermore, it requires the user checks their page from time to time to clear a AreYouThere comment. Time might well be better spent elsewhere.

Here's a script that might be useful for WikiGnomes like myself: It checks for pages with an AreYouThere tag that were last edited more than one year ago and lists non-trivial backlinks for all AbandonedHomePages. There is a five-second delay after each download to avoid hitting Ward's SurgeProtector. It requires Python 2.3 and mxDateTime. If you want to generate a HTML report using you'll need simpleTAL as well. It also has the capability to upload a HTML report to a FTP site.

-- JohannesGijsbers

Johannes, your script links are BrokenLinks as of 2005-09-12. AreYouThere?

Well, I'm here, but my ex-university has discontinued my webspace. Alas, I don't have access to my computer with the script, being about a continent away. When I return to Europe, I'll host this on other webspace. -- JohannesGijsbers

You know I'm just not big on this AreYouThere thing either, not taking anything away from the Gijsbers script. From someone who remembers (just barely) how to use a sliderule, the WikiNow doesn't seem to have quite the sense of immediacy that others seem to assign to it. Maybe cleanliness is next to godliness but perhaps on Wiki, church and state should be separate.

The next question to ask is - WhyAreWeAllHere ?

I suggest we list the names of people on this page, instead of modifying the page concerned directly. It does have the disadvantage of being less prominent, but is also less intrusive (e.g. last edit of another person trying to communicate with the target is preserved). I have started this trial in Apr05 -- dl

''I'm not sure what problem you're trying to solve David, but I think this is a bad idea. If someone rarely visits wiki, they will most likely check their homepage on those rare visits, but I would have thought them most unlikely to visit this page. They would never know they had been tagged. If you're worried about preserving a "last edited" date, insert the date by hand onto the page.

I can't log in anymore because I can no longer remember my password and I can't get to the email account associated with my username. I actually do want to edit it pretty badly but am not sure how I'd feel about it vanishing completely.

What password? What email account? I think you've confused this Wiki with some other website.

{That's not how you do it. You give them a made-up user-name and password and then await their response. Learn how to be a mild asshole properly, or a "social experimenter" as I like to call it. Plus, their response may just give you clues about what they are trying to do. It's entertainment and education at the same time.}

Persons being polled for their continual interests in the wiki

Some names from LeastRecentChangesNinetyNine, few backlinks and listed Apr05 Other old pages

Deletion Hint:

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