Looks like “archive” already have a definition within discourse, but I mean something else.
I don’t delete anything from my gmail, the internet is filled with garbage, and yet I have no issues finding whatever I need (in general)…
A topic or message that’s not useful or popular will get in the limbo anyway, but what’s so technically wrong with the limbo, other than alienating ourselves and thus being unhealthy? The way I see it, deleting them is only a matter of organizing and finding information. While deleting may facilitate this for most, it usually sucks to whoever wrote it. We probably lose random discovery at some level by doing it.
Now, of course nobody wants to search or browse through something, trying to find an answer or a meaningful connection to them only to find hundreds of random topics apparently or in fact completely disconnected from the subjective meaning we often give to keywords. Most likely those data points should be deleted or, better yet, removed from general searching / browsing. It would be available after that point only through direct link or from the author’s lists.
Archiving as a general concept is better understood in gmail, but even there you can still find 'em on search and I think you should only find archives on searching even through your own stuff only if you specifically say you want to search the archive. So, maybe this is too fresh of an idea, and untested, to be considered here… But that never stopped me from trying to suggest a new feature before.