Essays about Wikipedian fallacies

Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement. Try to stay in the top three sections of this hierarchy.

This page details arguments that are commonly seen in deletion discussions that have been identified as generally unsound and unconvincing. These are arguments that should generally be avoided – or at the least supplemented with a better-grounded rationale for the position taken, whether that be "keep", "delete" or some other objective. Some of the infirm arguments covered are those that are irrelevant or at best side issues, do not address the merits of the reason to keep or delete, are based in anecdote rather than evidence, engage in classic logical fallacies and more—and almost all share the trait of not being based upon the issues listed at Wikipedia:Deletion policy. It is important when taking part in deletion discussions to anchor one's rationale in relevant Wikipedia policies and guidelines, such as notability, verifiability, what Wikipedia is not, neutral point of view, no original research and biographies of living people. The arguments covered in this page are far from exhaustive. If an argument you were planning on using is listed here, you might want to reconsider using it. However, just because an argument appears in this list does not necessarily mean it is always invalid.

Remember that a discussion rationale which arguably could be classified as an "argument to avoid", may still contain the germ of a valid point. For example, if a person argues that an article is interesting, and in making that point, cites evidence that could also be used to support a determination of notability, it is wrong to summarily dismiss that argument just because WP:INTERESTING is a section in this essay. As this essay tries to stimulate people to use sound arguments in deletion discussions, it is important to realize that countering the keep or delete arguments of other people, or dismissing them outright, by simply referring them to this essay is not encouraged (see also the section Just a policy or guideline below).

While this page is tailored to deletion discussion, be that of articles, templates, images, categories, stub types, or redirects, these arguments to avoid may also apply to other discussions, such as about deleting article content, moving pages, etc.

Arguments without arguments

This section is about deletion arguments that do not seem to make sense, and otherwise do not point at or even make correct usage of policies or guidelines whatsoever.

Just a vote

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


This is not an argument for or against deletion at all, it's a vote. As Wikipedia:Articles for deletion states, "The debate is not a vote; please make recommendations on the course of action to be taken, sustained by arguments" and the same applies to all deletion debates. Any statement that just consists of "Keep" or "Delete" with a signature can easily be dismissed by the admin making the final decision, and changing "Keep" to "Strong keep" or "Speedy keep" or even "Weak keep" will not make it any more relevant. Try to present persuasive reasons in line with policy or consensus as to why the article/template/category/whatever should be kept/deleted, and try to make sure it is an argument based on the right reasons.

Per majority

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

See also: Wikipedia:Follow the leader and Wikipedia:OUTCAST


AfD is a discussion in which all participants are encouraged to give their own independent opinion. It is the ideas of individuals, not the propaganda of others, that is supposed to help determine the outcome. One who bases one's statement on that crowd as a whole is not making any useful contribution to the discussion, but instead blocking the progress of new opinions.

Consensus can change, and it is not uncommon for attitudes to shift during a deletion discussion. When it seems after just a few days that it'll surely go one way, often one single statement can turn the tide. Also, articles can be improved over the course of a discussion, leading others to change their minds. It can be the statement or the salvaging work of one person who is at first in the minority that makes all the difference.

Just unencyclopedic/doesn’t belong

"WP:UNENCYCLOPEDIC" and "WP:UNENCYC" redirect here. For policy on unencyclopedic content, see Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not § Encyclopedic content.

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


What shouldn't be included in the encyclopedia, what Wikipedia is not, has been defined by consensus. However, this includes many types of things, each having its own section within that or another policy. Therefore, the terms "unencyclopedic", and its flip-side "encyclopedic", are too general to be useful in deletion discussions. What we need to know are the specific reasons why the article should or should not be included. Otherwise, you just leave us guessing as to what you meant. Simply answer the question, What policy (or guideline) does it violate or meet, and how? An example of a well-specified deletion nomination is "The article is nothing more than a dictionary definition, and therefore violates WP:NOT#DICDEF".

There must be sources

Main page: Wikipedia:But there must be sources!

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Don't just claim that there must be sources out there somewhere. Instead, prove it, by providing them.

We keep articles because we know they have sources. Not because we assume they have sources, even though we haven't seen them. Any claim that sources exist must be verifiable. Unless you can specify what the sources are, your claim is not verifiable.

Just notable/Just not notable

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Simply stating that the subject of an article is not notable does not provide reasoning as to why the subject may not be notable. This behavior straddles both "Just unencyclopedic" and "Just pointing at a policy or guideline".

Instead of just saying, "Non-notable", consider instead saying, "No reliable sources found to verify notability", or "The sources are not independent, and so cannot establish that the subject passes our standards on notability", or "The sources do not provide the significant coverage required by the notability standard." Providing specific reasons why the subject may not be notable gives other editors an opportunity to research and supply sources that may establish or confirm the subject's notability.

Just as problematic is asserting that something is notable without providing an explanation or source for such a claim of notability; this is often seen when trying to assert notability under a sub-guideline (like music or internet content). Additionally, the subject may possibly pass WP:N, but fails a more stringent set of standards: for example, articles about notable living people may be deleted if they are marginally notable, and must be deleted if they are defamatory. The standards of inclusion don't mandate inclusion; they merely suggest it.

Just pointing at a policy or guideline

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


While merely citing a policy or guideline may give other editors a clue as to what the reasoning is, it does not explain specifically how the policy applies to the discussion at hand. When asserting that an article should be deleted, it is important to explain why. The same is true when asserting that something does follow policy.

As noted above, deletion discussions are not "votes". They are discussions with the goal of determining consensus. Rather than merely writing "Original research", or "Does not meet Wikipedia:Verifiability", consider writing a more detailed summary, e.g. "Original research: Contains speculation not attributed to any sources" or "Does not meet Wikipedia:Verifiability – only sources cited are blogs and chat forum posts". Providing specific reasons why the subject may be original research or improperly sourced gives other editors an opportunity to supply sources that better underpin the claims made in the article.

Keep in mind that articles can often be improved, and may not need to be deleted if the specific problems can be identified and corrected (see surmountable problems, below.)

Also, while citing essays that summarize a position can be useful shorthand, citing an essay (like this one) just by one of its many shortcuts (e.g. WP:ILIKEIT or WP:IDONTLIKEIT), without further explanation, is similarly ill-advised, for the reasons explained above.

Assertion of notability

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


An assertion of importance or significance (not "notability", as such, though these are often and unfortunately conflated and confused) is related to a potential reason to delete an article, but not one that is relevant at Articles for Deletion, where the merits of notability are determined. This formula is the purview of CSD A7, A9 and A11, three of the criteria for speedy deletion. These criteria are a test of what is seen in the article content and only apply to specific subject areas and conditions. If an article on an A7- A9- or A11-eligible topic does not make a credible assertion of importance or significance for that topic, it should be nominated for speedy deletion, which is a much faster and simpler process than nomination at Articles for Deletion. Notability, on the other hand, is based on whether the topic itself meets the criteria – not on what is or is not currently in the article. Thus, whether an article asserts significance for its topic is not germane when notability is at issue at an AfD discussion; what matters is the existence of reliable, secondary sources that are entirely independent of the topic that have published detailed content about it, regardless of the present state of the article.

Begging for mercy

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Such arguments make no use of policy or guidelines whatsoever. They are merely a campaign on the part of the commentator to alter others' points-of-view. They are of no help in reaching a consensus, and anyone responding to such pleas is not helping either.

You should also make yourself familiar with Wikipedia's canvassing guidelines before you solicit "votes" one way or the other in a discussion.

If you feel you need more time to work on an article you just created that has been put up for deletion early on, an option may be to request userfication, where you can spend as much time as you wish to improve the article until it meets Wikipedia's inclusion guidelines. Once this has been accomplished, you can reintroduce it into main article space.

Over the years, several templates have been created to be placed on top of pages indicating that they are new and may take time to complete to Wikipedia's standards. These include ((newpage)), ((construction)), and ((newlist)). If such a template is found on a newly created page, as a common courtesy, new page patrollers and others should not rush to delete the page unless it is obvious that it can never meet inclusion guidelines. If one is uncertain of this, or if it appears no progress has been made in a reasonable amount of time, the creator should be contacted regarding his/her intentions, and given a reasonable amount of time to reply. It is recommended for one who is considering putting it up for deletion to consider userfication as an alternative.

Did not win

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Yes, it's true that subjects winning notable awards or landing on "best of" year-end lists by independent publications can significantly impact their notability. However, arguments which base notability or lack thereof upon winning, wins, success or popularity make no use of policies or guidelines. In fact, plenty of subjects, like The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror and Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, are significantly important and covered in several reliable sources due to their unusual amount of failure. We do not have articles only because people and/or organizations are successful; everyone and everything makes mistakes! We have articles rather because they are notable and have verifiable and reliable sources. If a celebrity or organization is “failing”, then the content can mention that failure in a neutral point-of-view, provided there are reliable sources. Yet also take the unpopular video game Hotel Mario for example. Even though this game received very bad reception, gameplay, cutscenes and all, this doesn’t make the game any less noteworthy. In short: Just because a celebrity or organization is “losing” doesn’t mean it’s not notable!

Not built

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Such arguments make no use of policies or guidelines to substantiate claims of non-notability.

Personal point of view

See also: Wikipedia:I just don't like it and Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid on discussion pages § Personal taste

This section covers deletion arguments based on personal biases rather than policies or guidelines.

I like it

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Wikipedia editors are a pretty diverse group of individuals, and potentially any subject or topic may be liked or disliked by some editor somewhere. However, personal preference is not a valid reason to keep or delete an article or other content.

As stated at Wikipedia:Verifiability:

In Wikipedia, verifiability means that anyone using the encyclopedia can check that the information comes from a reliable source. Wikipedia does not publish original research. Its content is determined by previously published information rather than the beliefs or experiences of its editors. Even if you're sure something is true, it must be verifiable before you can add it.

In other words, a person or group may well be the greatest example of what they do in the history of everything, but if no other verifiable reliable sources have been written about them that are relevant to the scope of the article, they cannot be included. If your favourite song/computer game/webcomic/whatever is as great as you believe, someone will likely write about it eventually, so please just be patient.

In general, the scope and purpose of the article must be kept in mind when considering inclusion or exclusion of information or sources. When sources significantly deviate from the scope of an article's topic, or subject, this may create room for disputes. Therefore, careful considerations such as weight and relevance should also be taken into account in making decisions.

I don't like it

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


This is the converse to I like it directly above. While some editors may dislike certain kinds of information, that alone isn't enough for something to be deleted. This may be coupled with (or replaced by) the unexplained claim that they feel that the information is "unencyclopedic" (see Just unencyclopedic, above). Such claims require an explanation of which policy the content fails and explanation of why that policy applies as the rationale for deletion. (See also Pointing at policy.)

This may include subjective opinions concerning the usage of fair use images (see also WP:NFCC), and the inclusion of what may be deemed trivia, or cruft. For example, while the "cruft" label is often used for anything perceived to be of minor interest (such as individual songs, or episodes of a TV show), it is worth considering carefully whether or not so-called "cruft" has potential for verifiable inclusion.

They don't like it

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


And on the converse of that converse (see I don't like it, directly above), while some editors may feel that deleting a page would be playing into the hands of a certain group, that alone isn't enough by itself for something to be kept. Wikipedia is not censored, but this fact does not supersede its guidelines on notability, verifiability, neutral point of view, original research, etc. In addition, if such an argument is used against the nominator specifically, it constitutes a failure to assume the nominator's good faith and if severe enough may constitute a personal attack.

It does sometimes happen, of course, that a user will nominate an article for deletion out of a desire to censor or hide the content, but one should be able to respond to these nominations with reliable sources and policy-based arguments. If the deletion rationale really is that thin, it should be easy to refute.

It's interesting

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Wikipedia editors are a pretty diverse group of individuals and our readers and potential readers include everyone on the planet. Any subject or topic may be of interest to someone, somewhere. And on the converse, there are any number of subjects or topics which an individual editor may not care about. However, personal interest or apathy is not a valid reason to keep or delete an article.

See also I like it and I don't like it, above.

It's useful/useless

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, so it should include useful encyclopedic content. But many useful things do not belong in an encyclopedia and are excluded. Just saying something is useful or useless without providing explanation and context is not helpful or persuasive in the discussion. Remember, you need to say why the article is useful or useless; this way other editors can judge whether it's useful and encyclopedic, and whether it meets Wikipedia's policies. Without that explanation, it does not make a valid argument.

A list of all the phone numbers in New York would be useful, but is not included because Wikipedia is not a directory. A page simply defining the word useful would be useful, but is not included because Wikipedia is not a dictionary (we have Wiktionary for that). A guide to the best restaurants in Paris would be useful but is not included because Wikipedia is not a travel guide (there is a Wikivoyage for that). Usefulness is a subjective judgment and should be avoided in deletion debates unless it supports a cogent argument.

If reasons are given, "usefulness" can be the basis of a valid argument for inclusion. An encyclopedia should, by definition, be informative and useful to its readers. Try to exercise common sense, and consider how a non-trivial number of people will consider the information "useful". Information found in tables in particular is focused on usefulness to the reader. An argument based on usefulness can be valid if put in context. For example, "This list brings together related topics in X and is useful for navigating that subject."

There are some pages within Wikipedia that are supposed to be useful navigation tools and nothing more—disambiguation pages, categories, and redirects, for instance—so usefulness is the basis of their inclusion; for these types of pages, usefulness is a valid argument.

Building a solid case for deletion on the basis of uselessness is unlikely because of Wikipedia's notability policy. All of this project's notability criteria imply that knowledge about a subject that meets them is useful. Whether it's through substantial coverage in reliable sources, receipt of major awards, winning international competitions, or writing oft-cited scientific papers, we can infer that somebody has found the subject to be of substantial interest. Therefore, if information about a subject is genuinely of no use here, the better bet is to argue against inclusion on the grounds of a lack of notability.

It's harmful/harmless

"WP:NOHARM" redirects here. You may be looking for Wikipedia:Avoiding harm.

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


No content on Wikipedia is censored. Just because an article does not directly hurt anyone does not mean the article should be kept. For example, if there has not been any verifiable information published in reliable sources about the subject, then there is no way to check whether the information in the article is true, and it may damage the reputation of the subject and the project. Even if it is true, without the ability to check it, false information could very well start to seep in.

As for articles that do not conform to our basic tenets (verifiability, notability, and using reliable sources), keeping them actually can do more harm than one realizes – it sets a precedent that dictates that literally anything can go here. (See below for that.)

But the purpose of an encyclopedia is to provide information: the potential readership or subjective usefulness of each item does not have to be justified if the material is notable.

The "it does not do any harm" claim and its rebuttal are at the center of the philosophical editing debate of inclusionism versus deletionism. For more information and arguments, see the Meta articles Inclusionism and Deletionism.

Note that in miscellany for deletion debates, whether or not something is harmful is often a relevant issue, since the rules provide that inherently disruptive pages, for instance, may be deleted. The argument "it's not hurting anything" is less persuasive, however, when WP:NOT clearly prohibits the content in question (e.g. a full-fledged blog in userspace) from being hosted here.

Whether something is harmful or harmless are also valid arguments for and against deletion of redirects at Redirects for discussion. This normally centres around harm (or lack of) to the encyclopedia, e.g. from a redirect being misleading or in the way of other content. See Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion#When should we delete a redirect?.

It's funny

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Wikipedia is not a repository of humor. Articles cannot be kept for their humor value alone, nor are they outright disqualified because they are on a topic an editor finds humorous. Furthermore, the intensely subjective nature of humor means that it can never be used as an indicator of worth in an encyclopedia where the merits of an article are determined by objective criteria (what is funny to one person may be dull and uninteresting to another; and perhaps downright offensive to a third.) This does not mean articles on humor-related topics have no place on Wikipedia: The Office (US TV series), Red vs. Blue, Buttered cat paradox and even unintentionally funny articles all have a place on Wikipedia. Articles should be kept or rejected because of ideas such as notability, verifiability, and lack of original research – not because they meet an editor's subjective view of humor. There are more appropriate places, even on Wikipedia, than in the article space.

It looks good

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


While it is certainly a good thing for Wikipedia articles to be aesthetically pleasing or well laid out from a graphic design perspective, the mere appearance of an article is not a factor in whether the subject of the article is justifiably suitable for an article on Wikipedia.

It contains valuable information

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Wikipedia is not the place to seek publicity for a cause, product, individual, ideology, etc. Promotional or partisan "information" in particular generally fails Wikipedia's requirements of neutrality and verifiability. See also WP:INDISCRIMINATE, WP:NOBLECAUSE and "It's useful".

It's valuable

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions. Examples:

Value is subjective. Simply saying it has value or no value without substantiating the position of why or how is not a helpful or persuasive contribution to a discussion. Remember, you need to say why the article or addition has value or does not; this way other editors can judge its value in a certain context, and whether it meets Wikipedia's policies. Without that explanation, it does not make a valid argument.

See also WP:VALINFO and "It's useful".

Surmountable problems

See also: Wikipedia:Deletion is not cleanup

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

A common maxim is that "Articles for Deletion is not cleanup". Consider that Wikipedia is a work in progress and articles should not be deleted as punishment because no one has felt like cleaning them up yet. Remember, Wikipedia has no deadline. If there's good, eventually sourceable, content in the article, it should be developed and improved, not deleted. (If there is no usable content, however, it may well be best to delete.)

Note: The question on whether a poor but improvable article ought to be deleted has been a major point of contention, and has given rise to the wiki-philosophies immediatism and eventualism. However, some articles do reach the so-called TNT tipping point: an article should exist, but the article (and all the versions in history) is too deeply flawed to work from. When that point is reached, deletion provides a reset, and give editors a clean slate.

Poorly written article

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


In the Wiki model, an article which may currently be poorly written, poorly formatted, lack sufficient sources, or not be a comprehensive overview of the subject, can be improved and rewritten to fix its current flaws. That such an article is lacking in certain areas is a relatively minor problem, and such articles can still be of benefit to Wikipedia. In other words, the remedy for such an article is cleanup, not deletion.

By the same token, asserting that an article merely needs improvement to withstand a deletion nomination is not a persuasive argument to retain it. Perhaps improvement in the form of adding multiple references to reliable, independent, non-trivial discussion of the subject would indeed demonstrate its notability, but asserting that an article "needs improvement, not deletion" is not the same as providing evidence of such a possibility.

Some articles have well-written text and references. But the one thing poor about them is the title. There is a simple solution to this: rename it! If you are not able to move the article yourself for one reason or another, request someone else do it rather than nominate the whole article for deletion.

With that said, if an article is so bad that it is harmful in its current state, then deleting now, and possibly recreating it later, remains an option. For example, problems like copyright infringement, advertising, patent nonsense, or unsourced negative statements in biographies of living people, need to be resolved as quickly as possible.

Offline sources only

Further information: Wikipedia:Offline sources

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

On Wikipedia, we assume good faith. There is no distinction between using online versus offline sources. Offline sources are just as legitimate as those that are accessible to everyone online. If offline sources, even exclusively offline sources, are used to reference an article, we give the creator (and other contributors) the benefit of the doubt in accepting their accuracy. Since Wikipedia is written collaboratively, it is always possible for other editors to add online sources on top of the offline ones already there. However, this is not a requirement, and they need not exist to sustain the article.

If an editor seeking deletion believes the creator placed fictitious references in the article to make a hoax seem legitimate, the burden of proof is on the one seeking deletion. This will only occur with definitive proof or knowledge that these sources are really fictitious, and not based simply on a hunch. As with the offline sources themselves, online proof that they do not exist is not needed. Good faith is assumed just as much if the editor seeking deletion knows beyond a reasonable doubt that the source does not exist or does not state what is in the article.

Nobody's working on it (or impatience with improvement)

See also: Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid on discussion pages § Nobody's working on it (or impatience with improvement)

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Sometimes an article is nominated for deletion that is not being worked on very much, or has not been edited by a person for a long time, and thus might not be in very good shape. This does not necessarily mean that the topic is unsuitable for Wikipedia; it may be that the topic is obscure or difficult to write about. An article should be assessed based on whether it has a realistic potential for expansion, not how frequently it has been edited to date. Remember that there is no deadline.

The article shouldn't be deleted for its current status only because no one has improved it yet. Such deletion would prevent editors from improving it in the future. Conversely it's not enough to promise to make the article better; editors should explain how to do it. If the editor fails to follow through on the promise, other editors who arrive later can step in and keep improving it. This way, the article's fate is not dependent on one single editor doing the work; Wikipedia is written in a collaborative way.

A variation of this is a WP:POINT: an editor wants an article improved but lacks the time or skills to actually improve it, so the article is nominated for deletion in the hope that another editor will take notice and improve the article during its pending deletion period and before the artificial deadline of the deletion process.

In some other cases, especially list articles describing a finite set, the article may already be complete and current. Such an article thus hasn't been worked on in X amount of time because there's nothing that needs to be added to it at the present time.

Not all articles on Wikipedia look perfect. Most readers on Wikipedia already know they won't get all the information they are looking for from Wikipedia alone. Even if an article is not the best, even if it remains that way for many years, it can still provide some readers with just what they're looking for, and this is enough to make it worthy.

The concept of ownership of articles is typically thought of to oppose a creator's rights to have it their own way. It can also be extended to say that once an article has been created and it meets inclusion guidelines, the creator has no obligation thereafter to maintain the article. Therefore, if one creates an article that appears to meet guidelines for a standalone article, but abandons any effort to complete or update it thereafter, regardless of whether that editor has been actively editing on Wikipedia, the article cannot be deleted on these grounds.

When the article is a very badly-written article on a small aspect of a bigger field, removing unverifiable content and stubbing the article, or redirecting some of the articles after merging any useful content to a more general article, are better choices than deleting.


(See also § Past inaction by editors, for the related argument that the article must not be sourceable or otherwise fixable if it hasn't been done already.)

Orphan status

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


An article being an orphan (having few or no incoming links) can pose some problems. But it does not show a lack of notability, and therefore is not a valid reason for exclusion. An orphan is still capable of having reliable sources, and many do.

De-orphaning articles and providing incoming links is a goal in improving the encyclopedia, not a requirement. Many orphans were created by newbies who are not familiar with the need to add references or to create incoming links. Some subjects are just very hard to link from anything. If reliable sources can be provided, even if incoming links can't, it is still notable.

Out of date

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Wikipedia is a work-in-progress encyclopedia, which means that it is not finished nor will it ever be. As in a paper encyclopedia, information on Wikipedia will often become inaccurate because it is simply out of date. But unlike a paper encyclopedia, in which a new edition is printed maybe every year or so, Wikipedia can be updated anytime. There is a very simple solution to all that: Change it! All you have to do is to click "edit", make the necessary changes, and save the changes, writing in the edit summary that you are updating the information. If you do not wish to make the effort to do that yourself but you know it needs to be done, you can also place ((update)) on the top of the page or section. To consider a page for deletion on the basis that it is not up to date is to demolish the house while it is being built.

Susceptibility to policy violations

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Wikipedia has remedies in place to tackle its policy violation issues. Vandals, sock puppets, and edit warriors can be blocked. Articles can be protected. Sock puppets and canvassers can be traced. Templates can be placed on a page to let readers and editors know how it has to be fixed. If inaccurate information is frequently added erroneously but in good faith, this can be discussed until a consensus is reached.

Just not notable (I've never heard of merger or redirection)

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


The fact that a topic is not notable is not, in and of itself, valid grounds for deleting a page, its content, or its history. If merger and/or redirection is feasible in a given case, either is preferable to deletion. To validly argue for deletion, editors need to additionally advance separate arguments against both merger and redirection, on relevant grounds. (Since "merger" includes a history merge without redirection, an argument against redirection is not an argument against merger). Since any verifiable topic/content can in principle be redirected/merged to an article on a broader topic, this should be exceptionally difficult. Valid arguments against merger might be based on WP:V, WP:NOR, WP:NOT or WP:BLP, in particular. (In some cases it might be a prerequisite requirement to transwiki the page first). Valid arguments against redirection must be based on the criteria specified in WP:R (that the proposed redirect is clearly positively harmful). The only valid argument for "delete then redirect" is that every revision in the page history of the page otherwise eligible for redirection in question meets the criteria for revision deletion (WP:REVDEL). See further WP:ATD.

Notability fallacies


Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Further information: Wikipedia:Existence ≠ Notability and Wikipedia:Existence does not prove notability


Existence is important. The main purpose of the requirement to have all articles and information drawn from identifiable sources (WP:V) is to prove that everything is true and accurate. But mere existence does not automatically make a subject worthy of inclusion. There are various other guidelines that must be met, mostly found in WP:N. But it goes beyond that. If we wrote articles for everything that existed, we would end up writing about you, or your computer, or that leaf that fell in your pool the other day, or even that rock that keeps tripping you up on your morning walks. The last one was kind of ridiculous, but hopefully you understand what we are trying to say here: existence does not always yield notability!

As for the lack of existence, there are rare cases when this can be notable. There have, for example, been hoaxes which attained notability because they were hoaxes, such as Piltdown Man.

A related phenomenon is the fallacy of entitlement: the notion that mere existence automatically entitles someone or something to a Wikipedia article, and thus the need to create an article is so important that any form of sourcing is acceptable regardless of whether or not it meets reliable sourcing standards. However, Wikipedia's role is not to be about everything, or to help under-covered topics create their media presence. We are not a free public relations platform to advertise topics that haven't already received media attention — our role here is to follow media coverage, not to lead it. Before addressing "how can this topic get into Wikipedia if it doesn't have media coverage yet?", the question "why does this topic have to get into Wikipedia?" must be answered.

Google test

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

See also: Wikipedia:Google searches and numbers


Although using a search engine like Google can be useful in determining how common or well-known a particular topic is, a large number of hits on a search engine is no guarantee that the subject is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia. Similarly, a lack of search engine hits may only indicate that the topic is highly specialized or not generally sourceable via the internet. WP:BIO, for instance, specifically states, Avoid criteria based on search engine statistics (e.g., Google hits or Alexa ranking). One would not expect to find thousands of hits on an ancient Estonian god.

The search-engine test may, however, be useful as a negative test of popular culture topics which one would expect to see sourced via the Internet. A search on an alleged "Internet meme" that returns only one or two distinct sources is a reasonable indication that the topic is not as notable as has been claimed. As well, numerous hits that refer to X as "Y" can demonstrate that "Y" is a plausible redirect to the article on X; the redirects for discussion process, unlike articles for deletion, will often hinge on matters such as plausibility and numbers of search engine results.

Overall, the quality of the search engine results matters more than the raw number. A more detailed description of the problems that can be encountered using a search engine to determine suitability can be found at Wikipedia:Search engine test.

Note further that searches using Google's specialty tools, such as Google Books, Google Scholar, and Google News, are more likely to return reliable sources that can be useful in improving articles than the default Google web search. However, since an article can be verified as notable entirely by offline sources such as books and newspapers, a lack of search results there is not proof in itself that an article should be kept or deleted.

Article age

"WP:NEWARTICLE" redirects here. For a step-by-step process to create an article, see Wikipedia:Article wizard.

See also: Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid on discussion pages § Unchallenged material (or content age)

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Inclusion is not an indicator of notability. Take, for example, Gaius Flavius Antoninus, a hoax article that lasted for more than eight years before getting discovered and deleted. Having survived a long time on Wikipedia does not guarantee the article a permanent spot. The article may have achieved its age either because its lack of notability was not discovered until recently, or because the collective interpretation of our inclusion criteria has evolved. Consensus can change, and an article that was once accepted under Wikipedia's guidelines or just by de facto practice could be put up for deletion.

However, note that the fact that an article has not been edited in a long time is also not grounds for deletion, as explained above.

Conversely, being a new creation does not protect an article from being nominated for deletion. All articles have to comply with our inclusion policies from the moment they are created; if an article is not suitable for Wikipedia it will be deleted, regardless of how new it is. Remember that all articles are works in progress, and this is not by itself reason to keep an article. It is recommended to work on a new article in draft space or in userspace before moving it into mainspace, to avoid it being nominated for deletion in an obviously unfinished state.

However, note also that the current low quality of an article is also not a reason to delete it, as explained above. Articles should be judged on their potential, not just current state.

Subject age

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


These arguments are analogous to those above with regard to article age. Notability is not established by how long a thing has existed, or how far back in time a tradition may go, or how venerable the people are who are involved in it, or how yellowed the pages that once mentioned it. Neither can notability be denied based on the subject's newness, inexperience, or youth. The criteria for notability include evidence of the non-trivial discussion of the subject in multiple reliable verifiable independent secondary sources. Assertions based on age or evidence of age are, by themselves, as meaningless as those based on personal knowledge or on dislike of the subject matter. Certainly what is old has had more chance to be noted, and what is new generally has not. But we do not decide which articles to keep and which to delete based on chances, we base it on the quality and nature of its citations.

Subject no longer exists

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Notability is not temporary. The continuing existence of an article does not depend on the continuing existence of its subject. Even if it is a thing of the past, if sources can display its notability in the same way as a subject that exists today, then it qualifies no less for an article. It does not matter if the cessation of the subject occurred before or after the creation of the article. Even if links to the sources are no longer active, if the writer(s) of the article do the best possible job of documenting what they are, the article shall meet the standards for reliable sources. Wikipedia's goal is not merely to be a directory of things and people that currently exist today – defunct corporations and ghost towns and dead people can still be notable, and can still have legitimate and reliably sourceable reasons why readers might be looking for information about who and what they were.

The only way a subject can be truly declared "no longer notable" is if the actual notability guidelines change to exclude the subject. Many of Wikipedia's notability standards are stricter now than they were a decade ago, so some articles that were formerly accepted as notable do fail contemporary standards; consensus can change, so such articles do not stay "grandfathered" in Wikipedia just because they used to be acceptable, but are deleted (or redirected to a related topic) if they cannot be improved to meet contemporary notability standards.

Pageview stats

See also: Help:Pageview stats

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Simply because a page is not of interest to Wikipedia readers does not mean it is not notable. Conversely, just because an article is popular does not mean it is within the project scope, although article popularity is likely to correspond with some form of notability which should then be straightforward to verify. Redirects for discussion is an exception to this provision; a redirect is more likely to be deleted if it receives very few hits, on the grounds that it is implausible, than if it receives many.

Support for article

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


AfDs are not about voting. The outcome of a deletion discussion is determined on the basis of reference to policies and guidelines, not a simple headcount. If you comment on the basis of the numbers already seen as in the above examples, you are just adding a vote to those numbers and not contributing usefully to the discussion. And drawing others to cast such votes may be canvassing.

Many AfDs in the past have had a final outcome that contradicts the numbers, and many will in the future. It is possible for an AfD that has 1 keep and 10 deletes to be kept (or vice versa) if that single argument is really good and the remainder are just votes. However, community consensus is frequently taken into consideration when closing the discussion of an article's deletion, and although consensus is not identical to voting, indication of consensus as demonstrated by a large proportion of well-argued votes on one side or the other of a discussion is likely to factor heavily in the final decision.

Number of editors involved

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

The number of editors involved may point out the level of interest in the subject, but it does not measure the notability, the number of reliable sources, or its compliance with other inclusion guidelines. An article can be made into a good article, either by one person or by a dozen. And if no reliable sources exist at all, then no matter how many editors they are, they will not be found.

Articles are not owned, even by their creator, and they are not judged based on who created them, how active that creator is or was on Wikipedia, or how many people besides themselves are interested in editing them. It is not uncommon for an individual to create or edit a single article in their lifetime, all while providing valuable information, and then never edit again.

Article size

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Wikipedia is not a collection of indiscriminate information. An article could have many paragraphs or even pages of information. If any of that information is not and cannot be properly sourced, it does not belong, and if none of it belongs, neither does the article.

On the other hand, even a small amount of information meeting the general notability guideline can be eligible for inclusion, provided that other inclusion guidelines are met. Even if the article on a subject is very short, it may just be a stub waiting for expansion. Being "short" is not grounds for deletion.

As in a paper encyclopedia, some articles will be several pages long, others just a line or two. There is no minimum or maximum length that qualifies an article, just the reliable sourcing of the information. Since nothing is in stone, articles can grow, shrink, merge, split, and change in all different ways over time. But once the subject becomes clearly notable, they do not disappear.

Unreliable sources

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Wikipedia's general notability guideline requires that in order for a subject to be notable, it must be sourced by multiple reliable sources, independent of the subject. In establishing notability, those sources must meet the guidelines found on the reliable sources page. A subject's own site can be used to verify some information, but surely not to establish notability. Sites like blogs and personal pages that can be created or edited by anyone with little or no restriction are generally not seen as reliable sources of information. While such sites may be written in good faith and may be seen by some as accurate and/or neutral, there is little or no control or proof of these details, and there is even a chance they may have been created or edited by the very same person who created or contributed to the Wikipedia article.

On the other hand, blogs can be written by professional journalists and subject to editorial control, and personal sites can belong to established experts in the subject. There are also pages bearing the URLs of blogs that have mirrored news articles that do constitute reliable sources. For sites including user-generated content, assess whether the content is self-published or can be attributed to an independent professional writer with a record of reliable publishing. News sources that publish in a blog format may be as reliable as a traditional newspaper.

And keep in mind that while sources such as blogs aren't usually suitable for the purposes of establishing notability, they may be perfectly suitable for verifying information within an article whose notability has already been established by other means. In other words, removing information sourced to a blog is not the same as arguing for the deletion of an article – these are separate acts with different sets of criteria for performing them and should not be conflated.

Trivial coverage

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


The general notability guideline stipulates that in order for a subject to be worthy of a standalone article, significant coverage that addresses the subject in detail is required, to the point that original research that involves extracting information is not needed. Merely being mentioned in a source whose primary purpose is to cover an entirely different subject does not necessarily satisfy this guideline. Once notability has been established, some of these sources may be useful in verifying additional information, but they should not be used as a reason why the subject is notable.

On the other hand, the notability guideline doesn't require that the subject is the main topic of the source material, only that it's more than a trivial mention. The spirit and the letter of the guideline are concerned with having enough content to write articles from a neutral point of view. Critical commentary from reputable professional reviewers and prestigious awards are examples of short but significant (i.e. nontrivial) mentions that have been used to establish notability and are useful to write Reception sections (see the specific guidelines for books, films, music and artists); common sense and editorial judgement should be used to reach a consensus about the sources available.

It's in the news

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Wikipedia is not a news service—articles will not simply be kept because they are of timely importance. Due to its popularity, Wikipedia is many people's first port of call to find out more about a breaking story or other current event they've just heard about. Wikipedia does have articles that cover current events as well as those of the past, and it even selects certain newsworthy topics for display on the Main Page. But Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a news service, and keep arguments must take this into account. Wikipedia even has a sister project Wikinews, dedicated to hosting user generated news stories.

Basically, Wikipedia is not a place for routine coverage, such as locally reported crime, community issues, regularly scheduled sports events, trivial matters, and other topics that are found in the daily paper. It is not here to take the place of the newspaper, regular broadcasts, or other forms of media that are to be expected. Some events are indeed notable and worthy of inclusion. The NOTNEWS guideline is not intended to be overused to favor deletion. There are a variety of reasons an article may be written about a particular event, and this must be taken into consideration when a news event is sent to AfD.

If you plan to use either the WP:EVENT or WP:NOTNEWS arguments (or other similar guidelines) to support keeping or deleting an article, it is important to be familiar with the guidelines to be sure what news belongs and what news does not. It may also help to get a sense of what types of events either do or don't customarily have articles.

Geographic scope

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Notability is not about assigning an elite status to a select group of subjects. It is about having the ability to write neutral, verifiable, encyclopedic-style information about them.

Wikipedia's General Notability Guideline requires multiple sources independent of the subject to cover the subject in order to establish notability. But this guideline does not specify the locality of the coverage. Having sources that under all circumstances meet this guideline means that it is notable, and therefore, worthy of an article. On the contrary, being spread out around a greater region, such as a country or the whole world, without satisfying notability requirements does not make a subject notable.

At the same time, subject-specific notability standards in some areas of endeavour do require evidence that the sourceability is more than purely local — for instance, corporations and organizations have to meet WP:CORPDEPTH or WP:ORGDEPTH, which do require wider regionalized coverage, and non-winning candidates for political office are not accepted as notable just because local coverage of the election campaign exists in the local media where that campaign would have been simply expected to garner coverage. Rather, the question of whether local coverage is enough or not depends on variables like the strength of the basic notability claim and the volume of coverage that can be shown. For example, predominantly or purely local coverage may be enough to get the mayor of a major city into Wikipedia, because the notability claim is strong enough that the geographic range of coverage does not matter, but purely local coverage is not necessarily enough to get a city councillor or school board trustee in the same city, or the mayor of a small town, through the notability door — these people may still qualify for articles if something truly substantial, and referenced to a significant volume of media coverage about them, can be shown, but are not guaranteed articles just because one or two pieces of purely local media coverage exist.

Stating an article should be deleted because you and most of the world do not know about it is akin to the I've never heard of it argument. Many subjects are esoteric, meaning that only a small crowd is familiar with them. For example, few people are aware or interested in some obscure forms of living things, space bodies, or scientific concepts, and few people will ever know about them in the first place in order to even desire to read about them. Yet there is sourced information about them, so they qualify to be included.

The same is true about subjects only of interest to those in a single city, town, or region. People who live outside the area who have never visited there or done any research on the area will obviously be unlikely to have ever heard of them. But Wikipedia is not limited to subjects that everyone in the world knows or will have a good chance of knowing. Being a global encyclopedia, Wikipedia can cover a wide range of topics, many of them pertaining to the culture of a single country, language, or an ethnic group living in one part of the world. The people living in a single city or town and everything they have built around them are likewise a culture and society of their own.

Another question is where to draw the line on a subject as being "local". Local could mean limited to a city or town. But others may view a state, province, or other similar region as being local. And such divisions vary in size throughout the world. And though the boundaries of a jurisdiction are legally defined, determining a distance from that location in which coverage would be non-local is not possible.

One may ask: does it not make sense that one part of the world has more articles on its local interests than another with a greater population? If so, this is not because Wikipedia is ever intended to be this way. Numbers of articles are not written in direct proportion with the population distribution of the world. Each article is written because just one person living wherever chooses to write that article. And some areas just happen to have more dedicated writers. Anyone, including you, can be devoted to writing about your hometown. (See Wikipedia:Geographic imbalance.)

The Events Notability Guideline on the other hand does specify locality of coverage, recommending notable events more often have a national or international scope.

Arbitrary quantity

See also: WP:OLDAGE

"WP:ARBITRARY" redirects here. For WP:ARBITRARYCAT, see Wikipedia:Overcategorization § Arbitrary inclusion criterion.

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


A commonly seen argument at AfD is "Subject has X number of Y, that's notable/non-notable". Notability isn't determined by something's quantity of members, but rather by the quality of the subject's verifiable, reliable sources. An article on a topic is more likely to pass the notability test with a single article in Encyclopedia Britannica than because it has 1 million views on YouTube.

This does not apply to the position taken in WP:NUMBER that articles on actual numbers over a certain size need to establish several reasons why that particular number is notable, which is a well-defined threshold.

Subjective importance

For further information on this concept and more examples, see Wikipedia:Subjective importance

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Lots of things are well known to a select group of people. A person may be considered the greatest crocheter in a local crochet group, which may make her famous in that community, but that does not necessarily indicate she is notable enough for a Wikipedia article. As is mentioned in one of the official Wikipedia policies, Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, meaning that some things are not suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia. Everything in Wikipedia needs to be verifiable information published in reliable sources before an article can even be considered for inclusion, otherwise it could be considered original research. If the only sources that have written about a subject are those within a small community, it's likely (but not always the case) that those sources are not reliable enough to warrant inclusion in Wikipedia.

Conversely, some subjects' notability may be limited to a particular country, region, or culture. However, arguments that state that because a subject is unknown or not well known among English readers it should not have an article encourage a systemic bias on Wikipedia. To avoid this systemic bias, Wikipedia should include all notable topics, even if the subject is not notable within the English-speaking population or within more populous or Internet-connected nations. Likewise, arguments that state that because a subject is lesser known or even completely unknown outside a given locality does not mean the subject is not notable.

This argument is not sufficient on its own to be persuasive in deletion discussions.

Crystal ball

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Wikipedia is not a crystal ball, and editors should avoid using one when commenting in a deletion discussion. It is difficult to determine precisely what people believe in the present, even more difficult to predict how perceptions will change in the future, and completely unnecessary to even try. Notability is based on objective evidence of whether sufficient reliable sources have taken notice already, not on subjective judgments of whether people should take notice in the future. Focusing on the objective evidence helps the deletion discussion reach a logical conclusion; injecting your personal predictions does not.

Past inaction by sources

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Notability is based on objective evidence of whether sufficient reliable sources have taken notice already, not on subjective judgments of why people did not take notice in the past. Focusing on the objective evidence helps the deletion discussion reach a logical conclusion; injecting your personal supposition does not. Note however that articles have been deleted under WP:BLP1E even when the subject's earlier actions were reported in the press (at a much later date) as a result of later actions (and in the context of those).

Past inaction by editors

See also: Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid on discussion pages § Inaction by editors

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


In general, articles are not notable or non-notable, topics are. Per WP:NEXIST, topic notability is based upon source availability, rather than the state of sourcing in articles. However, note that per the Biographies of living persons policy page, all BLP articles must have at least one source that supports at least one statement made about the person in the article, or it may be proposed for deletion. See also WP:AFDISNOTCLEANUP.

(See also § Nobody's working on it (or impatience with improvement), for the related argument that the subject must not be notable if people aren't working on it.)

Notability is inherited

Caution: This section is not a content guideline or policy. Nor does it apply to speedy deletion or proposed deletion, as they are not deletion discussions. It only applies to arguments to avoid at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Inherent notability is the idea that something qualifies for an article merely because it exists, even if zero independent reliable sources have ever taken notice of the subject. This is usually phrased as "All ____ are notable", for example, "all high schools are notable" or "no elementary schools are notable".

Inherited notability is the idea that something qualifies for an article merely because it was associated with some other, legitimately notable subjects. This is usually phrased as "____ is notable, because it is associated with Important Subject."

Notability requires verifiable evidence. This is why notability is usually neither inherited nor inherent: inherited and inherent notability claims can't be verified with evidence. They are only mere personal opinion as in the examples above.

Notability of one or more members of some group or class of subjects may or may not apply to other possible members of that group. Discuss based upon the individual subject, not the subject's overarching classification or type. If a subject under discussion is independently notable, provide the evidence to show that.

In addition, notability of a parent entity or topic (of a parent-child "tree") does not always imply the notability of the subordinate entities. That is not to say that this is always the case (four of the notability guidelines, for creative professions, books, films and music, do allow for inherited notability in certain circumstances), or that the subordinate topic cannot be mentioned in the encyclopedia whatsoever. Often, a separate article is created for formatting and display purposes; however, this does not imply an "inherited notability" per se, but is often accepted in the context of ease of formatting and navigation, such as with books and albums.

Similarly, parent notability should be established independently; notability is not inherited "up", from notable subordinate to parent, either: not every manufacturer of a notable product is itself notable; not every organization to which a notable person belongs (or which a notable person leads) is itself notable. For example, just because Albert Einstein was a founding member of a particular local union of the American Federation of Teachers [Local 552, Princeton Federation of Teachers] does not make that AFT local notable.

The fact of having a famous relative is not, in and of itself, sufficient to justify an independent article. Individuals in close, personal relationships with famous people (including politicians) can have an independent article even if they are known solely for such a relationship, but only if they pass WP:GNG. Newborn babies are not notable except for an heir to a throne or similar.

Note, however, that this does not apply to situations where the fact of having a relationship to another person inherently defines a public position that is notable in its own right, such as a national First Lady.

This does not mean that such associations are never claims of significance (significance is a lower standard than notability, used for sections A7, A9, and A11 of the criteria for speedy deletion); it simply means that the association does not by itself make the subject notable. Also, notability not being inherited is not by itself grounds for deletion; subjects can still be notable by other means and even when they are not, often such articles can be merged or redirected to the article on the associated subject (see also the Just not notable section above).

See also Wikipedia:Notability and Wikipedia:Summary Style.

Lots of sources

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Whilst showing the subject is mentioned in a number of sources, not all sources are reliable and may only be trivial mentions. Notability requires the presence of significant treatment of a subject in reliable independent sources, not just the mere presence of the searched-for term. Search aggregators are also prone to picking up user-comments too. So it is important to specify the actual sources which can be used instead of just linking to a search of them, and to consider whether these sources provide enough information to write a reasonably detailed article on the subject, rather than a hopeless stub. This also applies to lists of 'Media Coverage/In the News' sections on websites.

Wikipedias in other languages

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A notable topic will often be covered by Wikipedia articles in many languages other than English; however, the existence of such articles does not indicate, by itself, that a topic is notable.

Other Wikipedias may have different inclusion criteria from the English Wikipedia. Notability requires coverage in reliable secondary sources. Other versions of Wikipedia are not reliable sources. Many articles in other Wikipedias are based on translations of English Wikipedia articles. Moreover, because of the availability of online translation tools, it's easier to create cross-wiki spam. The hoax article Jean Moufot was first posted on Netherlands Wikipedia and then translated into several other languages, including English. Of course, if the other Wikipedia articles cite any reliable sources not in the English Wikipedia article, they can be added to it.

On the other hand, the fact that there are no interwikis does not mean that the article should be deleted. It may be the case that nobody has yet written an article on another language's Wikipedia or that it just hasn't been linked to from the English language article. It may also be the case that the topic is notable in the English-speaking world, but of little relevance to speakers of other languages, or vice versa.

Maybe there are better sources somewhere


It is true that Wikipedia judges notability based on the existence of suitable sources, and not necessarily just the current quality of the article — so sometimes a poorly referenced article will get kept, if it can be shown that better sources exist to improve the article with. However, this rationale is also sometimes invoked in a purely speculative manner: maybe better sources might exist somewhere, so we have to keep it just in case.

The problem with this reasoning, however, is that anybody can simply say it about absolutely anything. Even outright hoaxes would not be deletable from Wikipedia if all you had to do to save them was speculate about the possibility that better sources might exist somewhere that nobody has actually found.

Rather, if you want to invoke NEXIST as a reason to save an article, you need to actually search for better sources and show what you found. Actually adding the better sources to the article would be ideal, but at least listing real examples of notability-supporting sources (either via the WP:GNG or via the subject-specific notability guidelines) in the AFD discussion is still better than nothing — but either way, NEXIST is only relevant if you show hard evidence that notability-supporting sources definitely do exist to repair the article with, and is not a compelling argument if all you do is make idle guesses about what might be possible.

An editor should consider the effect of their own bias has on their ability to find sources. If an article is about a subject or in a language one is unfamiliar with, consider what sources a similar article in your realm of understanding would have, and search for them. For instance, when researching an article in a language one does not understand and the subject is eminently notable (say a head of state, or India's all-time best basketball player), make an effort to find sources in other languages or leave it alone. When considering the nomination of a black high school in the United States that existed for 100 years but closed when segregation ended around 1970, consider that it might be worthwhile to search black newspapers that aren't available online before trying to delete it.

Individual merit

What about article x?

See also: Wikipedia:Notability, WP:OTHERCONTENT, Wikipedia:Other stuff exists, and Wikipedia:Consistency in article titles

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


The nature of Wikipedia means that you cannot make a convincing argument based solely on whether other articles do or do not exist, because there is nothing stopping anyone from creating any article. (This may be an argument that this article is not bad enough to be speedily deleted; but that does not mean it should be kept.) While these comparisons are not a conclusive test, they may form part of a cogent argument; an entire comment should not be dismissed because it includes a comparative statement like this. While comparing with other articles is not, in general, a convincing argument, comparing with articles that have been through some kind of quality review such as Featured article, Good article, or have achieved a WikiProject A class rating, make a much more credible case.

Plenty of articles exist that probably should not. Equally, because articles must wait for someone who is interested in the subject to notice they are missing before they are created, a lot of articles do not exist that probably should. So just pointing out that an article on a similar subject exists does not prove that the article in question should also exist; it is quite possible that the other article should also be deleted but nobody has noticed it and listed it for deletion yet. For this very reason, WAX arguments in AFD discussions sometimes backfire, by directly causing the other article to be immediately nominated for deletion.

Sometimes arguments are made that other articles have been put forward for AfD and survived/deleted (the most famous example being the Pokémon test); these may be effective arguments, but even here caution should be used. Yet a small number of debates do receive wide participation and result in a decision that is effectively final, until new evidence comes along. If you reference such a past debate, and it is clearly a very similar case to the current debate, this can be a strong argument that should not be discounted because of a misconception that this section is a blanket ban on ever referencing other articles or deletion debates.

Note that this criterion also applies to the argument that an article has to be kept because it's a straight translation of an article that already exists on another language Wikipedia. All Wikipedias are vulnerable to the creation of articles about non-notable topics, and different-language Wikipedias may apply different notability standards to certain classes of topic — so the existence of an article on the French or Swedish or Urdu Wikipedias is not in and of itself an automatic exemption from the topic still having to clear the English Wikipedia's existing standards of sourcing and notability. Again, it may be that the other-language article needs to be deleted as well, and just hasn't been noticed by that Wikipedia's responsible editors yet.

Deletion debates can sometimes be faulty, and even if the debate was correct it can be hard to draw comparisons: would the fact that there is an article on every Grey's Anatomy character mean there necessarily should be an article on every character on The Office? Comparisons can be highly subjective, and so it is better to look at the debates in question and see what policies were cited and make an argument based on how they apply to the current debate than just say "x was kept so this should be too". However such an argument may be perfectly valid if such can be demonstrated in the same way as one might demonstrate justification for an article's creation. It would be ridiculous to consider deleting an article on Yoda or Mace Windu, for instance. If someone were, as part of their reasoning for keep, to say that every other main character in Star Wars has an article, this may well be a valid point. In this manner, using an "Other Stuff Exists" angle provides for consistency. Unfortunately, most deletion discussions are not as clear-cut, but the principles are the same.

Though a lot of Wikipedia's styles are codified in policy, to a large extent minor details are not. In categories of items with a finite number of entries where most are notable, it serves no useful purpose to endlessly argue over the notability of a minority of these items.

When an editor introduces a novel type of article in Wikipedia, it may be necessary to consider whether such organization of material is compliant with core policies such as neutral point of view and no original research. Other editors may argue that a certain type of articles doesn't exist because of inherent violations of core policies; see WP:ATTACK for example. Dismissing such concerns simply by pointing to this essay is inappropriate.

(See also Wikipedia:Inclusion is not an indicator of notability and Wikipedia:Pokémon test.)

Other categories exist

The accepted practice around OSE applies differently to categories, because in some cases consistency is a desired trait of categorization schemes. For example, categorization guidance explicitly makes an exception for the creation of smaller-than-normal categories (WP:SMALLCAT) if such categories are part of an established scheme - as such an appeal to "Other similar categories exist" may be appropriate at times. Likewise, WP:CFD nominations regularly point out, for a new scheme, that "Other stuff doesn't exist" - in other words, this is a new scheme that would imply creation of many hundreds or thousands of new categories if expanded globally, and there may not be consensus for expanding it more broadly. As such, an appeal to "Other similar category schemes don't - and shouldn't - exist" may be an appropriate argument for arguing for deletion of a category. There are no hard and fast rules here, and there are cases where existence (or non-existence) of one scheme does not have much bearing on whether a similar scheme should be created in a different tree, but it should be noted that OSE/OCE arguments tend to apply differently in category space than they do in article space.

All or nothing

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


The status of articles on other similar topics has no necessary bearing on a particular article. The process may have been applied inappropriately, people may not have seen the other articles yet, or consensus may have changed. As well, articles that share a superficial commonality do not necessarily all meet the requirements necessary to write a well-referenced, neutral encyclopedia article. While some avant-garde performance artists, or college professors, or elementary schools, or blogs (for example) are mentioned in enough independent, extensive references to write an article, others are not. The existence of verifiable, reliable information from which a neutral, well-referenced article can be written is an important criterion in deletion discussions, not its presence in a Wikipedia category or similarity to other articles. Similarly, that some articles on a related topic have been rejected does not mean that this one is unsuitable. That said, there are precedents that may have an impact on a deletion discussion.


Wikipedia should be about everything

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Yes, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and as such, it should convey information on all branches of knowledge. However, "all branches of knowledge" does not necessarily mean "everything". Wikipedia is specifically not an indiscriminate collection of information, which means there are standards for what constitutes information that should be in Wikipedia. Imagine how large an encyclopedia on everything would be: everything would include every idea that has existed or will exist, every person who ever lived, every organization that has existed or exists, every copy of an object that has existed or exists, every website that has existed or exists, etc. The most basic threshold of inclusion is verifiability, not truth. The verifiability requirement alone would prevent writing about every particle and limit the information that could be included on every person. Moreover, the community has decided not to document every verifiable fact and accordingly has established notability guidelines on what articles should be kept, and a due weight policy on what facts are minority views. Even though that guideline is broader than a paper encyclopedia's guidelines, it is also not "everything" and not an indiscriminate collection of anything verifiable. So think carefully and exercise judgement when determining what should be included in an encyclopedia.

see also WP:NOTHING

Do not lose the information or the effort

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


It is unfortunate that editors put effort into writing or maintaining articles that do not meet Wikipedia policy or guidelines. Many editors have seen articles that they invested time and energy into get deleted, and there is no doubt that this can be discouraging. However, the fact of the effort put into an article does not excuse the article from the requirements of policy and guidelines.

In some cases content can be merged to other relevant articles or contributed to other wikis. Note that an argument from WP:PRESERVE does hold some weight in discussions of outright article deletion when material has been merged, as all contribution information may be lost, invalidating the licensing for the article.

Deleted work can be restored to your personal page or to the draft namespace on request to an administrator. It is also usually possible for the information to be restored if the article passes a deletion review, provided that the deletion archive has not been cleared.

Better here than there

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Unencyclopedic material does not belong in any article. Material sometimes called "trivia" or "in popular culture" may or may not be appropriate for inclusion, either as a part of a main article or in a spin-off article. But unsourced or totally unimportant material does not belong in either, not in the main article nor a sub-article split off to keep it separate from the main article. Trivia sections in articles should be avoided, as Wikipedia is not a trivia repository. Foo in popular culture articles may be viable, as are articles devoted specifically to aspects such as "use in fiction" or "cultural influences", if reliable sources establish that it is a legitimate encyclopedic topic. But unsourced material of no importance has no place on Wikipedia. Either incorporate the material in the main article with appropriate sources, find appropriate justification and sources for the spin-off article or consider that the material is not appropriate for Wikipedia.

That's only a guideline, proposal or essay

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Main page: Wikipedia:The value of essays

See also: Wikipedia:Quote your own essay


Wikipedia is not a system of laws. Deletion processes are discussions, not votes, and we encourage people to put forward their opinions. Sometimes, they will find an existing project page which sums up their reasoning already, and rather than reinventing the wheel they will link to it (with a suitable explanation of why it applies). If someone links to an essay, proposal or guideline, they are not suggesting "WP:EXAMPLE says we should do this", but rather "I believe we should do this, WP:EXAMPLE explains the reasons why".

Essays, in general, serve to summarize a position, opinion or argument. Proposals, in addition to their primary function, also summarize positions, opinions and arguments. Frequently, this is done with reference to policies and guidelines, so to glibly brand them as "only an essay" or "only a proposal" may be misleading. It also essentially suggests that the opinion of the person citing the page (as well as those of the people who originally wrote the page) is invalid when it may not be. There are many reasons why some arguments presented at deletion debates are invalid, based around the substance of the argument or the logic employed in reaching it. "The page you linked to is an essay or proposal" is not one of them.

Guidelines do indeed have exceptions; however, it is unhelpful to suggest "WP:EXAMPLE is only a guideline, we do not have to follow it". We have policies which tell us what to do and why to do it, and guidelines to help us with how to do it. Rather than using a page's "guideline" designation as an excuse to make an exception, suggest reasons why an exception should be made.

In particular, while precedents as defined at WP:OUTCOMES are not actual policy, by virtue of the fact that a precedent exists you should provide an actual reason why the case at hand is different from or should be treated as an exception to it, rather than ignoring or dismissing it solely on the basis that it isn't a binding policy.

Now, it does happen that someone will be a proponent of following some notability guideline without any exception. Guidelines do explicitly say that there will be common sense exceptions to them. In those cases, it is fair to point out that it is not necessary to follow the guidelines 100% of the time if there is a good reason to break them. But you should try to make a reasonable argument for why this particular case is one of those exceptions. Guidelines are usually followed for good reasons, so there should be a good reason for breaking it.

Arguments to the person

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


A deletion discussion is about the article in question itself. Though the suitability of other related articles may be mentioned during the discussion, and some deletions are bundled with other articles, the debate is not about the creator or any other editors of the article, nor is it about the AfD nominator or anyone who has commented on the AfD. An article is to be judged on its own merits and not those of its editors or detractors. Even well-respected editors sometimes create pages that others feel should be deleted, and likewise, newbies and those who have created many unworthy articles still have the potential to contribute good writings and have made many really good contributions.

There is no shame in having one's good-faith efforts opposed by the majority. Wikipedia is not a club of winners and losers. If a user is disrupting the encyclopedia by continually creating articles that get deleted or continually nominating good articles for deletion, an investigation may be called for into their behavior; this is an independent issue and its result one way or the other should not influence deletion discussions.

Remember, when you comment, personal attacks and accusations of bad faith never help.

However, pages created by banned or blocked users in violation of their ban or block may be speedily deleted, if there're no substantial edits by others. Such pages must be tagged with ((db-g5|name of banned user)) or ((db-banned|name of banned user)). This criteria does not apply to pages created before the ban or block, or to pages of topics unrelated to the topic of the ban (unless it is a complete site ban).

As well, be very careful about flinging around accusations of a nominator's or commenter's perceived failure to follow WP:BEFORE. Not everybody has access to the same research tools, so the fact that you were able to access a database that provided more coverage than somebody else found in other databases is not, in and of itself, proof that the other editor was negligent in their duties. If you can salvage the article, then just salvage it and don't attack other editors for not finding what you found.

Repeated nominations

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


If an article has been repeatedly nominated for deletion, sometimes users will recommend "Keep" (or even "speedy keep"), arguing that because the article failed to gain a consensus for deletion before, there is no reason to renominate it. This is a good argument in some circumstances but a bad argument in others. An article that was kept in a past deletion discussion may still be deleted if deletion is supported by strong reasons that were not adequately addressed in the previous deletion discussion; after all, consensus can change.

If an article is frivolously nominated (or renominated) for deletion, then editors are justified in opposing the renomination. Frivolous renominations may constitute disrupting Wikipedia, especially when there was a consensus to keep it in the past, or when only a short time has elapsed since the last nomination. If an article was kept because it is potentially encyclopedic and can be improved or expanded, one should allow time for editors to improve it. Therefore, it is appropriate for editors to oppose a re-nomination that does not give enough time to improve the article.

Repeated nominations for deletion do not necessarily indicate that the article is problematic. No extra weight is given to the rationales offered by nominators over rationales offered, whether for or against deletion, by other discussion participants. An article's survival of multiple AFDs indicates that the reasons given by the nominators, along with those given by others in favor of deletion, repeatedly didn't prevail over the arguments given by those who were opposed.



Editors sometimes issue ultimatums to get their way, threatening to quit editing. Or they will claim that current or future editors will be driven off by the wrong outcome. Similarly, an editor's desired outcome is tied to some outside criticism of Wikipedia, often in connection with statistics on the decline in new editors, or criticism of the reliability of Wikipedia. It may be valid to argue that a decision will move the encyclopedia closer to, or away from, what Wikipedia is not but a relevant argument should focus on the merits of the article.

Citing this page indiscriminately


Used effectively, this page can be used to point out common types of fallacious reasoning. However, participants must still give a valid rationale in support of their position, rather than merely exposing the flaws in their opponents' reasoning. Moreover, they are not always bad arguments to make. If five people have !voted to delete per nom and you're the only person considering whether to keep the article, maybe the nominator has laid out the case so well that no more needs to be said. Also, some stuff exists for a reason.

Outcomes based

WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES is an effective summary of how deletion discussions on Wikipedia tend to be resolved, but using it as the only argument for keeping or deleting an article can lead to circular reasoning. Participants can refer to WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES but are expected to further explain their reasoning in discussions. The results of this February 2017 RFC on secondary school notability describe how school AFDs should be evaluated.

Denying the antecedent

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


Denying the antecedent (and its variants, like the fallacy fallacy) is a formal fallacy. It basically consists in confusing a necessary with a sufficient condition. All Wikipedia policies are necessary conditions, not necessarily sufficient. If the article meets one condition, it does not mean that it does not violate other policies: original research may be verifiable; articles which seem to be notable may be original research; notable biographies may be a violation of WP:BLP. The policies should be interpreted together and not alone.

Other arguments to avoid

The following links are to essays which describe various relevance fallacies, which should also be avoided in discussions.

See also