The Wikipedia deletion policy describes how pages that do not meet the relevant criteria for content of the encyclopedia are identified and removed from Wikipedia. In the normal operations of Wikipedia, approximately five thousand pages are deleted each day through the processes outlined below.

Deletion of a Wikipedia article removes the current version and all previous versions from public view. Unlike page blanking, which can be performed (or reverted) by any user, deletion can be performed only by administrators. Administrators can also view deleted pages and reverse ("undelete") any deletion. All such actions are logged. If in doubt as to whether there is consensus to delete a page, administrators will normally not delete it.

Reasons for deletion edit

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Reasons for deletion include, but are not limited to, the following (subject to the condition that improvement or deletion of an offending section, if practical, is preferable to deletion of an entire page):

Alternatives to deletion edit

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Editing and discussion edit

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If the page can be improved, this should be solved through regular editing, rather than deletion. Vandalism to a page's content can be reverted by any user.

Disputes over page content are usually not dealt with by deleting the page, except in severe cases. The content issues should be discussed at the relevant talk page, and other methods of dispute resolution should be used first, such as listing on Wikipedia:Requests for comments for further input. Deletion discussions that are really unresolved content disputes may be closed by an uninvolved editor, and referred to the talk page or other appropriate forum.

If the article's content severely fails the verifiability or neutral point of view policies, but when the topic is notable, the article may be reduced to a stub or completely deleted by consensus at WP:AfD. The Arbitration Committee has topic banned editors who have serially created articles failing the neutral point of view, and whose articles have been deleted at AfD on lack of neutrality grounds.

Disagreement over a policy or guideline is not dealt with by deleting it. Similarly, issues with an inappropriate user page can often be resolved through discussion with the user.

Tagging edit

A variety of tags can be added to articles to note the problem. Tags however are not intended as permanent solution; they are intended to warn the readers and to allow interested editors to easily locate and fix the problems. Tags are listed here. Some of the more common ones include:

Pages with incorrect names can simply be renamed via page movement procedure. Naming disputes are discussed on the articles' talk pages or listed at requested moves.

Be mindful when adding tags to biographies of living persons. Certain tags are known to produce WP:OTRS complaints from the article's subject—for instance {{notability}}, because it may interpreted as Wikipedia passing judgement on the person. Nominating the article for deletion so that consensus may be more quickly established is an alternative.

Merging edit

Articles that are short and unlikely to be expanded could be merged into larger articles or lists. For example, information about family members of a celebrity who are not otherwise notable is generally included in, or merged into, the article on that celebrity. Pages about non-notable fictional elements are generally merged into list articles or articles covering the work of fiction in which they appear.

If two pages are duplicates or otherwise redundant, one should be merged and redirected to the other, using the most common, or more general page name. This does not require process or formal debate beforehand.

Note that an outcome of "merge and delete" may potentially cause licensing problems if attribution for the merged content is lost in the process. The essay Wikipedia:Merge and delete discusses this.

Redirection edit

Sometimes an unsuitable article may have a title that would make a useful redirect. In these cases, deletion is not required; any user can boldly redirect to another article. If the change is disputed, an attempt should be made on the talk page to reach a consensus before restoring the redirect.

Incubation edit

Articles which have potential, but which do not yet meet Wikipedia's quality standards, should be moved to the Wikipedia:Article Incubator, where they can continue to be collaboratively edited before either "graduating" to mainspace or ultimately being deleted. The incubator provides several benefits over the previous practice of moving such articles into user space. Primarily, the incubator makes these proto-articles easier to find and edit.

Other projects edit

Some articles do not belong on Wikipedia, but fit one of the Wikimedia sister projects. They may be copied there using transwiki functionality before considering their merger or deletion. If an article to be deleted is likely to be re-created under the same name, it may be turned into a soft redirect to a more appropriate sister project's article.

This is especially true for Wiktionary. To request a transwiki operation in this case, please first search the Wiktionary to see whether a dictionary entry does not already exist, and then simply tag an article with {{Copy to Wiktionary}}. Articles that can never be anything other than a dictionary article ("dicdef") should preferably be merged and redirected (within Wikipedia) in an adjective→noun or a verb→gerund manner. If there is no appropriate Wikipedia article to redirect to, the dicdef should either be considered for deletion, or turned into a disambiguation page or a soft redirect to a Wiktionary entry using the template {{wi}}.

Archiving edit

Deletion should not be used for archiving a page. The developers have indicated that the deleted pages can be cleared or removed from the database at any time.

Processes edit

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There are four basic processes for deletion and two to review and overturn the outcome of these processes and other deletions.

Copyright violations edit

For legal reasons, Wikipedia cannot host content that is in violation of copyright.

  • Where to find them: Wikipedia:Copyright problems, Wikipedia:Possibly unfree images
  • How to do this: For images, read Wikipedia:Possibly unfree images#Instructions. For other pages, remove the violation if possible, or edit the page to replace its entire content with {{subst:copyvio|url=address of copied material}}. For blatant, whole-page copyright violation, you can simply tag it for speedy deletion with {{db-copyvio|url=...}} after checking that there are no non-copyvio versions in the page history.
  • If you disagree: Try to contact the authors of the text or image and see if they are willing to release their work (1) under an acceptable license (for text, this is CC-BY-SA and GFDL co-licensed, CC-BY-SA alone, or CC-BY-SA-compatible), or (2) into the public domain. Permission to use a work "on Wikipedia only" or "for non-commercial use only" isn't enough, as it is incompatible with our license.
  • Renominations: Recreations of copyrighted content are speedily deleted, as below. It is disruptive to persist in recreating such content.

Speedy deletion edit

Pages can be deleted without any discussion if they meet one of the criteria for speedy deletion. Speedy deletion is meant to remove pages that are so obviously inappropriate for Wikipedia that they have no chance of surviving a deletion discussion. Speedy deletion should not be used except in the most obvious cases.

If a page has survived a prior deletion discussion, it should not be speedy deleted except for newly discovered copyright violations. Pages currently on proposed deletion or deletion discussion (see below) may be deleted through speedy deletion.

  • Where to find them: A list of all pages flagged for speedy deletion can be found in Category:Candidates for speedy deletion.
  • How to do this: Administrators can delete such pages on sight. Other editors can request speedy deletion by editing the relevant page to add a speedy deletion template to the top of the page.
  • If you disagree: Anyone except a page's creator may contest the speedy deletion of a page by removing the deletion notice from the page. If a page you created is tagged for speedy deletion, you may add the {{hangon}} tag, and either improve the page or explain your reasoning on the relevant talk page. The tag exists to give you some extra time; the page may still be deleted if it meets the speedy deletion criteria. If a page has been speedily deleted and there is disagreement over whether or not it should have been, this is discussed at deletion review, described below.
  • Renominations: Either a page fits the speedy deletion criteria or it does not. If there is a dispute over whether a page meets the criteria, the issue is typically taken to deletion discussions, mentioned below, rather than being deleted.

Proposed deletion edit

An editor who believes a page obviously and uncontroversially doesn't belong in an encyclopedia can propose its deletion. Such a page can be deleted by any administrator if, after seven days, no one objects to the proposed deletion. Once there is an objection or a deletion discussion, a page may not be proposed for deletion again. This process only applies to pages in the main namespace (article namespace). Redirects are not eligible for proposed deletion.

  • Where to find them: A list of all pages flagged for proposed deletion can be found in Category:Proposed deletion, as well as in an automatically generated summary table.
  • How to do this: Edit the page to add the following text to the top: {{subst:prod|reason}}, writing your reasoning in the "reason" field.
  • If you disagree: Any editor who disagrees with a proposed deletion can simply remove the tag. Even after the page is deleted, any editor can have the page restored by any administrator simply by asking. In both cases the editor is encouraged to fix the perceived problem with the page.
  • Renominations: Once the proposed deletion of a page has been objected to by anyone, it may not be proposed for deletion again. If an editor still feels the page ought to be deleted, a deletion discussion should be used, as indicated below.

Proposed deletion of biographies of living people edit

As of April 3, 2010, a proposed deletion process for unsourced biographies was established, requiring all biographies of living persons created after March 18, 2010 to have at least one reliable source that supports at least one statement about the subject. Once the article is tagged in this manner, the {{prod blp}} tag may not be removed until such a source is provided. If none is forthcoming the article may be deleted after 10 days. This does not affect any other deletion process.

Deletion discussion edit

Pages that do not fall in the above three categories may be deleted after community discussion at one of the deletion discussions, the results of which may be reviewed after the fact at deletion review (see below). This includes contested speedy or proposed deletions. Here, editors who wish to participate can give their opinion on what should be done with the page.

These processes are not decided through a head count, so participants are encouraged to explain their opinion and refer to policy. The discussion lasts at least seven full days; afterwards, pages are deleted by an administrator if there is consensus to do so.

The deletion of a page based on a deletion discussion should only be done when there is consensus to do so. Therefore, if there is no rough consensus the page is kept and is again subject to normal editing, merging or redirecting as appropriate. Discussions concerning biographical articles of relatively unknown, non-public figures, where the subject has requested deletion and there is no rough consensus may be closed as delete.

A nomination that gets little response after the discussion period has ended can be relisted if the closing editor believes that more time would be likely to generate a clearer consensus.

It is considered inappropriate to ask people outside of Wikipedia to come to the discussion to sway its outcome. Such comments may be ignored. They are not removed, but may be tagged with {{spa}}, noting that a user "has made few or no other edits". In extreme cases, a deletion debate can be semi-protected.

It is also inappropriate to request deletion because of an editorial dispute. Such disputes are not resolved by deleting the whole page; instead, use dispute resolution.

  • Where to find them: There are separate processes for articles, categories (except stub categories), files, redirects, templates (except stub templates and userboxes), stub templates and categories, and everything else.
  • How to do this: Follow the instructions at the top of the relevant process page.
  • If you disagree: Go to the relevant process page and explain why you disagree. Do not remove the tag from the page. For more information on this process, read the Wikipedia:Guide to deletion.
  • Renominations: After a deletion debate concludes and the page is kept, users should allow a reasonable amount of time to pass before nominating the same page for deletion again, to give editors the time to improve the page. Renominations shortly after the earlier debate are generally closed quickly. It can be disruptive to repeatedly nominate a page in the hopes of getting a different outcome.

Deletion review edit

If you believe a page was wrongly deleted, or should have been deleted but wasn't, or a deletion discussion improperly closed, you should discuss this with the person who performed the deletion, or closed the debate, on their talk page. If this fails to resolve the issue, you can request review of the closure at Wikipedia:Deletion review.

If a page was obviously deleted "out of process" (per this policy), then an administrator may choose to undelete it immediately. In such a case, the administrator who deleted the page should be informed. However, such undeletions without gaining consensus may be viewed as disruptive, so they should be undertaken with care.

If an article was deleted for lacking content or for having inappropriate content (this applies to most speedy deletions) and you wish to create a better article about the same subject, you can simply go ahead and do so, with no need for review. It is especially wasteful to go to deletion review over an unsourced stub when the alternative of creating a sourced article is available.

The deletion review process is not decided solely by head count, but by consensus. The review normally lasts for seven days, sometimes longer if the outcome is unclear.

Overturned deletions may go to a deletion discussion if someone still wishes to delete and chooses to nominate.

  • Where to find them: Wikipedia:Deletion review
  • How to do this: Follow the instructions at the top of the page.
  • If you disagree: Go to the review page and explain why you disagree.
  • Renominations: As with deletion discussions, a certain amount of time should pass between repeated requests for deletion review, and these requests should be carefully considered in light of policy. Renominations that lack new arguments or new evidence are likely to be closed quickly.

Undeletion edit

In the case of pages deleted as a result of summary decisions and not following community discussions, undeletion may be requested at Wikipedia:Requests for undeletion. It serves two primary functions: the restoration of uncontroversially deleted content, and the userfication of content that is unfit for restoration. It should be used to appeal most instances of proposed deletion and speedy deletion, though appeals of the outcomes of deletion discussions and other deletion matters requiring community review should be made at Wikipedia:Deletion review. Be aware that pages restored to articlespace may immediately be subject to a deletion discussion.

  • Where to find them: Wikipedia:Requests for undeletion
  • How to do this: Follow the instructions at the top of the page.
  • If you disagree: Take the matter to Wikipedia:Deletion review
  • Renominations: Unlike deletion discussions, there is no suggested waiting period between requests, although requests that have been declined should not be re-submitted unless circumstances such as undeletion norms or the motivation for undeletion have changed.

Process interaction edit

  • Issues that are on the wrong process (e.g. templates on the article-deletion page) are simply moved to the proper one.
  • A page on deletion review should not be listed on a deletion discussion page until the review closes, and a page on a deletion discussion page should not be listed on deletion review until the discussion closes.
  • Deletion discussion trumps proposed deletion, so for a page listed on both, the former takes precedence.
  • Pages that meet the criteria for speedy deletion can be deleted regardless of other circumstances. If a page on a deletion debate is speedied, the debate is closed.
  • If it is doubtful whether a page is or is not speedily deletable, a deletion discussion takes precedence. In practice this means that a page that had a deletion discussion resulting in 'keep' or 'no consensus' should not be speedily deleted.
  • Pages that violate copyright can be deleted regardless of circumstances or earlier discussion.

Other issues edit

Access to deleted pages edit

Deleted pages look like this to Administrators

Because many deleted articles are found to contain defamatory or other legally suspect material, deleted pages are not permitted to be generally viewed. However, they remain in the database (at least temporarily) and are accessible to administrators, along with their edit history unless they are oversighted. Any user with a genuine reason to view a copy of a deleted page may request a temporary review (or simply ask an administrator to supply a copy of the page). Note that these requests are likely to be denied if the content has been deleted on legal grounds (such as defamation or copyright violation), or if no good reason is given for the request.

Courtesy blanking of talkpage or deletion debates edit

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From time to time, a discussion will have its content hidden from view based on the judgment of the community, an administrator or another functionary. This is generally not done except under rare circumstances, where discussion may cause harm to some person or organisation. To avoid having such text in the most recent version and thus be indexed by search engines, the debate will be blanked out of courtesy. For Articles for Deletion discussions, the entire debate can be replaced with the {{afd-privacy}} template; the actual content remains accessible via the edit history. In more serious cases, the entire history of the page may be deleted. Courtesy blanking, history blanking or oversighting should be rare, and should be performed only after due consideration.

On occasion, pages in the project namespace, such as requests for adminship and requests for arbitration will be blanked as a courtesy, for reasons similar to those outlined above.

How to do this: Remove all text from the subpage and then add {{subst:courtesy blanked}}; for AfD, use {{subst:afd-privacy|article|result}} with the correct parameters.

Partial deletion edit

It is possible for some parts of a page's history to be deleted, whilst leaving the current revision of the page intact, so that readers are unaware of the partial deletion unless they attempt to visit a deleted old page revision. Since 2010 administrators have access to the Revision Deletion tool, which makes it possible for them to remove selected old revisions of a page (and/or edit summaries or user names). The Revision Deletion policy strictly covers the circumstances in which this is permitted.

Revision Deletion replaces the previous method of selective undeletion (which involved deleting the entire page and then selectively restoring revisions). Selective undeletion does still have a few valid uses that RevisionDeletion cannot cover (such as complex history merges), but due to its relative lack of transparency and poor efficiency, it is no longer used to remove revisions from the page history.

See also edit

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  • [[Book:Key Wikipedia Policies & Guidelines

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