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Archives

There are three basic questions to answer here. First, will messages be stored? Second, if so, for how long? Third, who has access to see and possibly delete old messages? For example, messages in chat rooms are usually not stored, but message boards often save all posts and make them permanently available for all people to see. On the other hand, it's not unheard of for chat sessions to be archived, or for message board posts older than one month to be automatically deleted.

There are many pros and cons to storing archives of past messages. Some messages represent useful knowledge, and searching for that information can be easier and faster than having someone repeat it over and over. For team projects, a message archive can be a record of design rationale, helping someone who joins the team later understand why a certain design decision was made. These archives are also useful to researchers, letting them see patterns of communication among community members and changes in those patterns over time.


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