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Why do we delete old topics and dormant memberships?

As this gets asked from time to time I've decided to write it up and save it for future reference. There are two reasons we don't keep old data:

1. It ties up resources

The first thing to realise is that TG currently resides on a server that I use for my business. So it doesn't actually have to pay for what it uses. However, there will come a point when I can no longer run TG and my intention is to pass it on to someone else. That person, or those persons, will have to find a home for it and pay for what it uses. TG gets some income from advertising, but it doesn't cover what it uses.

As I write, there are 10430 posts on the forums in 718 topics. Had we not cleared any since the current version of the forum went live on 8th February 2006 (7 years ago) there would be 92247 posts in 8631 topics i.e. significantly more. Had we also kept all of the posts from earlier incarnations of the forums there would be even more. How many would there be in another 10 or 20 years when somebody else takes over?

There are currently 873 members. Had we not removed the dormant account there would be 3975. Again: significantly more.

We also currently have 15279 images in use in forum posts... and that's not counting the 4925 images in the gallery.

So, as you can see, if we kept everything we would need more space. However more data also means a slower system because it has more data to look through every time it needs to display something. More data also means bigger back ups that take longer to download.

2. It's not all that useful

However many posts a WIP thread contains from the person making the model, it probably contains 2 or 3 times as many again from people saying making comments. Clearly most of that is superfluous in terms of archiving. It's also the case that when making a model, people will usually take and post more images than are really necessary. I know I do; and I do it because, until I'm finished making the model, I don't really know which images I'm going to want to use in my final write up...

...and we do have the facilities to do a write up.

Of course a write up uses resources too but it uses far fewer than a WIP thread... and, if done properly and article makes for a more interesting read, that's to the point, and is easier to search for.


The way I see it, and I'm the one providing the resources, I'd much rather use our resources to store "quality data" i.e. articles, than try to keep the poorer quality data in forum topics (poorer because of all of the superfluous images and chat). A policy of keeping the topics would:

  1. Reduce the incentive to do a proper write up

  2. Cause the site to run slower

  3. Increase the cost of running the site

Were we to keep all of the old topics, TG would ultimately become a slow running site that is expensive to run because it's clogged up with poor quality data that is difficult to find.

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