This page explains what you should consider before nominating, the steps for nominating, and how to discuss an AfD. It also links to the lists of current debates, and two companion processes to AfD: speedy deletion has a clearly defined set of criteria such as vandalism and patent nonsense, whereas proposed deletion is used to suggest deletions that no editor would contest.
Remember that while AfD may look like a voting process, it does not operate like one. Justification and evidence for a response carries far more weight than the response itself. Thus, you should not attempt to structure the AfD process like a vote:
Do not add tally boxes to the deletion page.
Do not reorder comments on the deletion page to group them by keep, delete, or other. Such reordering can disrupt the flow of discussion, polarize an issue, and emphasize vote count or word count.
Do not message editors about AfD nominations because they support your view on the topic. This can be seen as votestacking. See Wikipedia:Canvassing for guidelines. But if you are proposing deletion of an article, you can send a friendly notice to those who contributed significantly to it and therefore might disagree with you.
If a number of similar articles are to be nominated, it is best to make this a group nomination so that they can be considered collectively. This avoids excessive repetition which would otherwise tend to overload involved editors. However, group nominations that are too large or too loosely related may be split up or speedy-closed.
While there is no prohibition against moving an article while an AfD or deletion review discussion is in progress, editors considering doing so should realize such a move can confuse the discussion greatly, can preempt a closing decision, can make the discussion difficult to track, and can lead to inconsistencies when using semi-automated closing scripts.
AfDs are a place for rational discussion of whether an article is able to meet Wikipedia's article guidelines and policies. Reasonable editors will often disagree, but valid arguments will be given more weight than unsupported statements. When an editor offers arguments or evidence that do not explain how the article meets/violates policy, they may only need a reminder to engage in constructive, on-topic discussion. But a pattern of groundless opinion, proof by assertion, and ignoring content guidelines may become disruptive. If a pattern of disruptive behavior persists after efforts are made to correct the situation through dialogue, please consider a dispute resolution process outside the current AfD.
There are a number of practices that most Wikipedians use in AfD discussions:
When editors recommend a course of action, they usually do so in bold text, e. g., "Keep", "Delete", "Merge", "Redirect", or other view. A number of tools which parse AfDs will only recognize bolded words.
Start comments or recommendations on a new bulleted line (that is, starting with *), and sign them by adding ~~~~ to the end. If you are responding to another editor, put your comment directly below theirs, making sure it is indented (using multiple *s).
Please disclose whether you have a vested interest in the article, per WP:AVOIDCOI.
Please have a look at the article before making a recommendation. Do not base your recommendation solely on the information supplied by the nominator or other editors. To understand the situation, it may also help to look at the history of the article. However, please read the earlier comments and recommendations. They may contain relevant arguments and further useful information.
When participating, please consider the following:
The debate is not a vote; please do not make recommendations on the course of action to be taken that are not sustained by arguments.
When making your case or responding to others, explain how the article meets/violates policy rather than merely stating that it meets/violates the policy.
Use of multiple accounts to reinforce your opinions is absolutely forbidden. Multiple recommendations by users shown to be using "sock puppets" (multiple accounts belonging to the same person) will be discounted and the user manipulating consensus with multiple accounts will likely be blocked indefinitely.
You can explain your earlier recommendation in response to others but do not repeat a bolded recommendation on a new bulleted line.
Nomination already implies that the nominator recommends deletion (unless indicated otherwise), and nominators should refrain from repeating this.
Do not make conflicting recommendations; if you change your mind, modify your original recommendation rather than adding a new one. The recommended way of doing this is to use strike-through by enclosing a retracted statement between <s> and </s> after the *, as in "• Delete Keep".
Unregistered or new users are welcome to contribute to the discussion, but their recommendations may be discounted if they seem to be made in bad faith (for example, if they misrepresent their reasons). Conversely, the opinions of logged in users whose accounts predate the article's AfD nomination may be given more weight when determining consensus.
There are many good ways to advocate keeping, deleting or even redirecting an article. This includes:
Arguments commonly used to recommend deletion are: "unverifiable" (violates WP:V), "original research" (violates WP:NOR), and "non-notable" in cases where the subject does not meet their respective notability criteria. (In the cases of non-notable biographical articles, it is better to say "does not meet WP:BIO" to avoid insulting the subject.) Accusations of vanity and other motives should be avoided and is not in itself a reason for deletion. The argument "non-neutral point of view" (violates WP:NPOV) is often used, but often such articles can be salvaged, so this is not a very strong reason for deletion either.
If you wish for an article to be kept, you can directly improve the article to address the reasons for deletion given in the nomination. You can search out reliable sources, and refute the deletion arguments given using policy, guidelines, and examples from our good and featured articles. If you believe the article topic is valid and encyclopedic, and it lacks only references and other minor changes to survive, you may request help in the task by listing the article on the rescue list in accordance with instructions given at WP:RSL, and then adding the ((rescue list)) template to the AfD discussion by posting ((subst:rescue list)) to the discussion thread. Please do not do this for articles which are likely to be eventually deleted on grounds other than simple incompleteness or poor writing (see WP:SNOW).If the reasons given in the deletion nomination are later addressed by editing, the nomination should be withdrawn by the nominator, and the deletion discussion will be closed by an admin. If the nominator fails to do it when you think it should have been done (people can be busy, so assume good faith on this point), leave a note on the nominator's talk page to draw their attention.
Review the article's history to check for potential vandalism or poor editing.
Read the article's talk page for previous nominations and/or that your objections haven't already been dealt with.
Check to see if enough time has passed since previous nominations before renominating.
Check "What links here" in the article's sidebar, to see how the page is used and referenced within Wikipedia.
Check if there are interlanguage links, also in the sidebar, which may lead to more developed and better-sourced articles. Likewise, search for native-language sources if the subject has a name in a non-Latin alphabet (such as Japanese or Greek), which is often in the lede.
C. Consider whether the article could be improved rather than deleted
If the article can be fixed through normal editing, then it is not a candidate for AfD.
If the article was recently created, please consider allowing the contributors more time to develop the article.
If an article has issues try first raising your concerns on the article's talk page, with the main contributors, or an associated WikiProject, and/or adding a cleanup tag, such as ((notability)), ((hoax)), ((original research)), or ((advert)); this ensures readers are aware of the problem and may act to remedy it.
If the topic is not important enough to merit an article on its own, consider merging or redirecting to an existing article. This should be done particularly if the topic name is a likely search term.
Where possible, also please make use of The Wikipedia Library, which offers free access to various subscription databases of additional resources. Not every resource available in that collection will always be relevant in every situation, so it is not necessary to exhaustively check every database, but there are many resources which may be useful for specialized or older topics that might not Google well.
If you find a lack of sources, you've completed basic due diligence before nominating. However, if a quick search does find sources, this does not always mean an AfD on a sourcing basis is unwarranted. If you spend more time examining the sources and determine that they are insufficient, e.g., because they only contain passing mention of the topic, then an AfD nomination may still be appropriate.
If you find that adequate sources do appear to exist, the fact that they are not yet present in the article is not a proper basis for a nomination. Instead, you should consider citing the sources, using the advice in Wikipedia:Citing sources, or at minimum apply an appropriate template to the page that flags the sourcing concern. Common templates include ((unreferenced)), ((refimprove)), ((third-party)), ((primary sources)) and ((one source)). For a more complete list see WP:CTT.
Only a registered, logged-in user can complete steps II and III. (Autoconfirmed registered users can also use the Twinkle tool to make nominations.) If you are unregistered, you should complete step I, note the justification for deletion on the article's talk page, then post a message at Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion requesting that someone else complete the process.
You must sign in to nominate pages for deletion. If you do not sign-in, or you edit anonymously, you will get stuck part way through the nomination procedure.
To nominate a single page for deletion, you can use Twinkle, or follow these three steps:
Put the deletion tag on the article.
Insert ((subst:afd1)) at the top of the article.
If this article has been nominated before, use ((subst:afdx|2nd)) or ((subst:afdx|3rd)) etc.
Do not mark the edit as minor.
Include in the edit summary AfD: Nominated for deletion; see [[Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/NominationName]]. replacing NominationName with the name of the page being nominated.
The NominationName is normally the article name (PageName), but if it has been nominated before, use "PageName (2nd nomination)" or "PageName (3rd nomination)" etc.)
You can check the "Watch this page" box to follow the page in your watchlist. This allows you to notice if the AfD tag is removed.
Save the page ("Publish changes").
Create the article's deletion discussion page.
The resulting AfD box at the top of the article should contain a link to "Preloaded debate" in the AfD page.
Click that link to open the article's deletion discussion page for editing. Some text and instructions will appear.
Give a reason for the deletion and a category for the debate (instructions are on that page).
Click the link saying "deletion discussion page" to open the deletion-debate page.
Insert this text: ((subst:afd2 | pg=PageName | cat=Category | text=Why the page should be deleted)) ~~~~ Replace PageName with the name of the page, Category with a letter from the list M, O, B, S, W, G, T, F, and P to categorize the debate, and Why the page should be deleted with the reasons the page should be deleted.
At the top of the list on the log page (there's a comment indicating the spot), insert: ((subst:afd3 | pg=NominationName)) replacing NominationName appropriately (use "PageName", "PageName (2nd nomination)", etc.).
Link to the discussion page in your edit summary: Adding [[Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/NominationName]].
Save the page ("Publish changes"). Your insertion will be expanded to the same form as the preceding lines in the file: ((Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/NominationName)).
Consider letting the authors know on their talk page by adding: ((subst:Afd notice|NominationName)) ~~~~
How to nominate multiple related pages for deletion
"WP:BUNDLE" redirects here. For citation bundling, see WP:CITEBUNDLE.
Sometimes you will find a number of related articles, all of which you feel should be deleted together. To make it easier for those participating in the discussion, it may be helpful to bundle all of them together into a single nomination. However, for group nominations, it is often a good idea to only list one article at AfD and see how it goes, before listing an entire group.
Examples of articles which may be bundled into a single nomination:
A group of articles with identical content but with slightly different titles.
A series of articles on nearly identical manufactured products.
An article with a fair or better chance of standing on its own merits should not be bundled—nominate it separately. For the avoidance of doubt, bundling should not be used to form consensus around policy decisions such as "should Wikipedia include this type of article". Bundling AfDs should be used only for clear-cut deletion discussions based on existing policy. If you're unsure, don't bundle it.
For the sake of clarity, debates should be bundled only at the start or near the start of the debate, ideally before any substantive discussion, but may be acceptable following one or two other editors' comments, particularly (but not only) where those comments are "per nom", by single purpose accounts, the article creator, or were clearly in bad faith.
To bundle articles for deletion:
I. II. III.
Nominate the first article.
Follow steps I to III above.
Nominate the additional articles.
On each of the remaining articles, at the top insert the following:
Replace NominationName with the page name of the first page to be deleted, not the current page name. In other words, if Some article was the first article you nominated, replace PageName with Some article (or Some article (nth nomination) if this is not the first nomination of Some article). As before, please include the phrase "AfD: Nominated for deletion; see [[Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/NominationName]]" in the edit summary (again replacing NominationName with the first page name to be deleted), and do not mark the edit as minor. Publish the page. Repeat for all articles to be bundled.
(If the article has been nominated before, use ((subst:afdx)) instead of ((subst:afd1)), and replace "NominationName" with the name of the page plus a note like "(2nd nomination)" for a second nomination, etc. See Template talk:Afdx for details.)
Add the additional articles to the nomination.
Go to the first article's deletion discussion page: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/PageName, and add a note
under your original nomination listing all related pages, for example:
I am also nominating the following related pages because [insert reason here]:
:((la|related article 1))
:((la|related article 2))
In the edit summary, note that you are bundling related articles for deletion.
Creating an AfD
This template can be used by autoconfirmed users to nominate an article for deletion:
Alternatively, you can use Twinkle (TW) to do the same thing, and without having to add the nomination to the current AFD log page, plus a bunch of other things, such as reverting and reporting vandalism and marking articles and templates for speedy deletion. Twinkle can be activated by going to your preferences page, click on the "Gadgets" tab, make sure the "Twinkle" checkmark under the "Editing gadgets" section is selected, and click on "Save". For more information, see Wikipedia:Twinkle/doc.
After nominating: Notify interested projects and editors
While it is sufficient to list an article for discussion at AfD (see above), nominators and others sometimes want to attract more attention from and participation by informed editors. All such efforts must comply with Wikipedia's guideline against biased canvassing.
Once listed, deletion discussions can, optionally, also be transcluded into an appropriate deletion sorting category, such as the ones for actors, music, academics, or for specific countries. Since many people watch deletion sorting pages for subject areas that particularly interest them, including your recent AfD listing on one of these pages helps attract people familiar with a particular topic area. Please see the complete list of categories.
Notifying related WikiProjects
WikiProjects are groups of editors that are interested in a particular subject or type of editing. If the article is within the scope of one or more WikiProjects, they may welcome a brief, neutral note on their project's talk page(s) about the AfD.
While not required, it is generally considered courteous to notify the good-faith creator and any main contributors of the articles that you are nominating for deletion. One should not notify bot accounts, people who have made only insignificant 'minor' edits, or people who have never edited the article. To find the main contributors, look in the page history or talk page of the article and/or use the or Wikipedia Page History Statistics. Use: ((subst:Afd notice|article name|AfD discussion title)) ~~~~
At this point, you've done all you need to do as nominator. Sometime after seven days have passed, someone will either close the discussion or, where needed, "relist" it for another seven days of discussion. (The "someone" must not be you, the nominator. However, if you want to see how it's done, refer to the next section.)
If no one else has supported the deletion proposal and you change your mind about the nomination, you can withdraw it. This might be because the discussion has produced new information about the topic, or because you realise the nomination was a mistake. Withdrawing a nomination can save other editors' time by cutting short the discussion.
To withdraw a nomination, add a note saying "Withdrawn by nominator" immediately below your nomination statement at the top of the discussion, give a brief explanation, and sign it.
If no one has supported deletion of the article you may close the discussion yourself as a WP:Speedy keep, or you may leave it for someone else to close the discussion.
Questions or concerns about a closure should first be asked on the talk page of the editor who closed the discussion. If that does not resolve the concerns, the closure can be appealed at Wikipedia:Deletion review.
Procedure for non-administrator close (nominator withdrawal)
As mentioned above, the AfD nominator can withdraw the nomination and close a discussion as speedy keep reason #1, if all other viewpoints expressed were for Keepand doing so does not short-circuit an ongoing discussion.
This procedure involves performing edits to three pages, as follows:
On the deletion discussion page
Remove the ((Closing)) tag from the page, if it was placed beforehand.
Insert at the top of the page: ((subst:Afd top|'''speedy keep'''. Nomination withdrawn. ((subst:nac)))) ~~~~
Remove the line containing ((REMOVE THIS TEMPLATE WHEN CLOSING THIS AfD))
Insert at the bottom of the page: ((subst:Afd bottom))
Publish the page with an edit summary such as "Closing AfD, result was speedy keep (nomination withdrawn)."
On the article page
Find the article page
The name of the votepage might not identically match that of the article
The prefix "Wikipedia:Articles for deletion" should not be part of the "votepage" name
Remove from the top of the page the text beginning <!-- Please do not remove or change this AfD message until the issue is settled --> and ending <!-- End of AfD message, feel free to edit beyond this point -->
Publish the page with an edit summary such as "AfD closed as speedy keep (nomination withdrawn)."
On the talk page of the article itself
Insert at the top of the page: ((Old AfD multi|page=PageName|date=Date|result='''speedy keep'''))
Publish the page with an edit summary such as "AfD closed as speedy keep (nomination withdrawn)."
Procedure for non-administrator close (other)
As mentioned above, an editor in good standing who is not an administrator, and is also uninvolved, may close AfDs in certain circumstances; closures that non-admins may make are detailed at Wikipedia:Non-admin closure.
For a result of "keep", this procedure differs from the Procedure for non-administrator close (nominator withdrawal) above, only in the reasons to be listed in the templates and the comments to be annotated in the edit summaries. Follow those instructions, replacing references to "keep (nomination withdrawn)" with the relevant reason.
^Seth Finkelstein,"I'm on Wikipedia, get me out of here", The Guardian, September 28, 2006. "At Wikipedia, contentious decisions are made by a process of elaborate discussion culminating in administrative fiat. Deletions go through a comment period. The process is not a vote, but the result forms a recommendation to the administrators."