I think lots of organizations will eventually face this problem, so it's important to have a good solution. You mentioned the searching pain point... managing permissions for archived repos is maintenance burden that's another pain.
Your proposed action plan sounds like a good path forward with the features GitHub currently offers. It depends on if users are really still using these old repos. If not, it might be best to backup the code somewhere else so you don't need to maintain and pay for two separate GitHub accounts.
I think GitHub should offer another option that's between archiving the repo and deleting it - let's call this the iceberg.
When a repo is put in the iceberg it's not searchable and not searchable, it doesn't show up in the standard repo listing for the organization, and there are no permissions for the repo. There is an iceberg view that only the admins can access. Admins can unfreeze the repo and move it out of the iceberg at any time. It's basically just deleting the repo, but less permanent.
Thanks for your input @MrPowers !
Love the iceberg :)
It isn't a pun on this project that GitHub is actually doing, is it? :) https://archiveprogram.github.com/
If you are a GitHub Enterprise customer, then a separate org like the my-org-name-archive does not cost you extra. Which is why this was my first idea.
Instead of the iceberg that you are proposing, GitHub could also change the search feature and search for archived:false by default. That would also solve the problem for me and make archiving more useful. To not force this behavior for all users, they could also make the search feature configurable for an organization.
I heard that new search features are coming in Q1/2020, so fingers crossed that some helpful features about managing a growing number of archived repos will be in there :)
Thanks again for your reply!
I've used both approaches for the Atom editor with https://github.com/atom-archive being the archive org. Personally, I prefer the archive repo approach because, despite the single drawback mentioned, people often forget that the archive organization is there and wonder if old projects or repos have been deleted ... or they don't archive something that should probably be archived because they can't find the archive repo right away and table it for later.
Thank you for sharing this real-life example @lee-doh.
I definitely want to motivate people in our org/company to continue to archive repos, so whatever approach I end up with, it should support that.
I have also heard that GitHub will release new search features in Q1/2020, that will allow to search across multiple orgs within the same Enterprise account. Depending on how exactly that will be implemented, that might make the "archive org" approach more attractive.
Mini feedback on https://github.com/atom-archive:
The org description says "Projects that are no longer maintained by GitHub."
Maybe it would be more correct to say "Atom projects that are no longer maintained by GitHub." as this org is specific to Atom, and not for GitHub overall?
(sorry if this is not the best place to send you this feedback but I didn't know how to get it to you otherwise)