Deletion of a Wikipedia page removes the complete page (and all previous versions) from public view. Deletion happens when a page is unsuitable, unhelpful, or does not meet the required criteria. Two further deletion processes exist to address undesirable material that may have been added to a page or visible in a log. The deletion policy explains when deletion is acceptable.

This page explains the processes available, and how deletion discussions work.

You may have come here because a deletion notice of some kind was added to an article that you wrote. Please read this guide to see what happens now and how you can be involved in the decision.

Summary of deletion processes

Deleting an entire Wikipedia page or file:

  1. If specific criteria are met, pages may be deleted summarily via the speedy deletion process.
  2. If these criteria are not met but the deletion is expected to be uncontroversial, a notice of proposed deletion (PROD) may be used, which results in deletion if no other editor objects.
  3. In all other cases, a "deletion discussion" takes place. This article deletion process is known as "articles for deletion" (AfD). Non-article deletions have similar processes.

Deleting specific text within a page:

Overview of the AfD deletion process

All text created in the Wikipedia main namespace is subject to several important rules, including three cardinal content policies (Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:No original research) and the copyright policy (Wikipedia:Copyrights). Together, these policies govern the admissibility of text in the main body of the encyclopedia, and only text conforming to all four policies is allowed in the main namespace.

A failure to conform to a neutral point of view is usually remedied through editing for neutrality, but text that does not conform to any of the remaining three policies is usually removed from Wikipedia, either by removing a passage or section of an otherwise satisfactory article or by removing an entire article if nothing can be salvaged.

This guide deals with the process of addressing articles that contravene Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research, which are often listed or "nominated" on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. Articles that violate Wikipedia:Copyrights are listed on the project page for copyright problems for further action.

When an article is nominated for deletion, the Wikipedia community may discuss its merits for a period usually no less than seven days, in order to come to a public rough consensus about whether the article is unsuited to Wikipedia. Following seven days of discussion, an experienced Wikipedian will determine if a consensus was reached and will "close" the discussion accordingly.

Other kinds of pages

A list of similar processes for other kinds of pages, including user pages, templates, categories, and redirects, is here.

General advice

Pages in user space

If the page is in your own user space (i.e. starts with "User:YourName/" or "User talk:YourName/"), then you can request immediate deletion of the page at any time. Simply edit the page and put the template ((db-u1)) at the top of the page. An administrator will see that the page is in your own user space and delete it.

Please do not take it personally

Please remember that the deletion process is about the appropriateness of the article for inclusion in Wikipedia. A deletion nomination is not a rejection of the author or an attack on their value as a member of the Wikipedia community. Therefore, please do not take it personally if an article you've contributed to is nominated for deletion.

Over time, Wikipedians have invested a great deal of thought in the question of what may and may not be included in the encyclopedia. The cardinal article policies mentioned above form the core requirements for textual contributions to the mainspace. However, some Wikipedians have also written a number of standards and guidelines that are intended to provide guidance in specific areas; note that such guidelines cannot supersede the requirements of the above policies. Please take the time to review the standards Wikipedians abide by in evaluating content.

Please be tolerant of others

Please remember that AFD is a busy and repetitive place. The people who volunteer to work the AFD process may seem terse, gruff and abrupt. They are not (usually) being intentionally rude. We value civility and always try to assume good faith. However, often over a hundred articles are nominated for deletion each day. Experienced Wikipedians have been through thousands of deletion discussions and have read and thought through many of the same arguments many times before. For speed, some employ shorthands (described in the § Shorthands section below) rather than typing out the same reasoning and arguments again and again. They are trying to be efficient, not rude.

Deletion discussions follow the normal Wikipedia talk page etiquette. Please be familiar with the policies of not biting the newcomers, Wikiquette, no personal attacks, biographies of living persons and civility before contributing.

Sockpuppetry is not tolerated

A sockpuppet is an account created by a vandal or bad-faith contributor in an attempt to bias the deletion decision process. A close variation is the "meatpuppet", people recruited from outside Wikipedia to try to alter the result of a discussion (for example, if your article about a web forum is up for deletion and you post a call for other forum members to "help keep our website in Wikipedia"). Because these tactics are common, comments by new users in deletion discussions may sometimes be viewed with suspicion. These users are difficult to distinguish from legitimate new users who are interested in improving the project. If someone notes that you are a new user, please take it in the spirit it was intended—a fact to be weighed by the closing admin, not an attack on the person.

The deletion decision is ultimately made at the discretion of the closing admin after considering the contribution history and pattern of comments. Civil comments and logical arguments are often given the benefit of the doubt while hostile comments are presumed to be bad-faith. Verifiable facts and evidence are welcome from anybody and will be considered during the closing process.

You may edit the article during the discussion

You and others are welcome to continue editing the article during the discussion period. Indeed, if you can address the points raised during the discussion by improving the article, you are encouraged to edit a nominated article (noting in the discussion that you have done so if your edits are significant ones).

There are, however, a few restrictions upon how you may edit an article:

  1. You must not blank the article (unless it is a copyright infringement).
  2. You must not modify or remove the Articles for deletion notice (AfD notice).
  3. You should not turn the article into a redirect. A functioning redirect will overwrite the AfD notice. It may also be interpreted as an attempt to "hide" the old content from scrutiny by the community.
  4. Moving the article while it is being discussed can produce confusion (both during the discussion and when closing using semi-automated closing scripts). If you do this, please note it on the deletion discussion page, preferably both at the top of the discussion (for new participants) and as a new comment at the bottom (for the benefit of the closing administrator).
  5. Participants in deletion discussions should not circumvent consensus by merging or copying material to another page unilaterally before the debate closes. Such action may cause contention, extra process steps, and additional administrative work if undoing any copying is necessary. If you wish to merge or copy material, it is preferable to offer a specific proposal in the deletion discussion, negotiate with the other participants, and wait for the discussion to be closed. Even if the article is ultimately deleted, you can ask the closing administrator for a copy of the material to reuse, and the administrator can also advise you on any further steps that you may need to perform in order to reuse the content.

Deletion process

Main article: Wikipedia:Deletion policy

Deletion of articles from Wikipedia occurs through one of four processes.

  1. So-called speedy deletion involves the scrutiny of only a few people before an article is deleted. The allowable criteria for speedy-deletion are deliberately very narrow. The list of candidates for speedy deletion can be viewed at Category:Candidates for speedy deletion.
  2. Another quick method is the use of proposed deletion: simply add ((subst:prod|reason goes here)) to the top of the article. This is meant for articles where the deletion is believed to be uncontroversial, yet does not meet the criteria for speedy deletion. A proposed deletion can be contested by any user by removing the ((prod)) tag within seven days, and if anyone still wants the article deleted the full Articles for deletion process is required.
  3. For unsourced articles about living persons, adding ((subst:prod blp)) will propose the BLP for deletion. If sources are not added within 7 days, the article may be deleted.
  4. Articles which do not meet the narrow criteria for speedy deletion and whose deletion is (or might be) contested are discussed by the community through the Articles for deletion (AfD) process.

Nomination

Considerations

Notability General notability guideline Subject-specific guidelines Academics Astronomical objects Books Events Films Geographic features Music Numbers Organizations and companies People Sports and athletes Web content See also Notability essays Guide to deletion Common deletion outcomes Why was my article deleted? vte

Before nominating an article for Articles for deletion (AfD), please:

How to list pages for deletion

After reviewing the above section, if you still think the article should be deleted, you must nominate it and open the AfD discussion. Nomination is a three-stage process. Please carefully follow the instructions on the Articles for deletion page. You must perform all three stages of the process (they are listed under the single page instructions). Nominations follow a very specific format because we transclude the discussion page onto a consolidated list of deletion discussions. This makes it more efficient for other participants to find the discussion and to determine if they have anything relevant to add. Incomplete nominations may be discarded or ignored. If you need help, ask.

Anyone can make a nomination, though anonymous users cannot complete the process without help from a logged-in user. The nomination, however, must be in good faith. Nominations that are clearly vandalism may be discarded. Anonymous users cannot complete the process, as they are technically prohibited from creating new pages.

Nominations already imply a recommendation to delete the article, unless the nominator specifically says otherwise, and to avoid confusion nominators should refrain from explicitly indicating this recommendation again in the bulleted list of recommendations. (Some nominations are performed by experienced users on behalf of others, either because they are inexperienced with the AfD process or because the deletion recommendation was the result of a separate discussion.)

Discussion

See also: Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions

Discussion occurs on a dedicated discussion page, a sub-page of Wikipedia:Articles for deletion named after the article.

Unlike speedy deletion, which can potentially involve just a single editor, AfD involves multiple editors. The purpose of this is in part to ensure that articles are not erroneously deleted or kept. Editors are not expected to know everything. AfD is designed to place "multiple layers of swiss cheese" (see the Swiss Cheese model) in the process, to reduce the possibility of an erroneous conclusion being reached. Other editors can find things that one editor has overlooked or not been aware of. This process does not work when editors merely echo the rationales of others, and do not double-check things for themselves. The best way to help AfD to continue to work is always to check things out for yourself before presenting a rationale. (For example: If the assertion is that the subject is unverifiable, have a look yourself to see whether you can find sources that other editors may have missed.)

Anyone acting in good faith can contribute to the discussion. The author of the article can make their case like everyone else. As discussed above, relevant facts and evidence are welcome from anyone but the opinions of anonymous and/or suspiciously new users may be discounted by the closing admin. Please bear in mind that administrators will discount any obviously bad faith contributions to the discussion when closing the discussion. On the other hand, a user who makes a well-argued, fact-based case based upon Wikipedia policy and does so in a civil manner may well sway the discussion despite being anonymous.

Formatting

For consistency, the form for the discussion is a bulleted list below the nomination text. You may indent the discussion by using multiple bullets. Mixing of bullets and other forms of indentation is discouraged because it makes the discussion much harder for subsequent readers to follow.

Sign any contribution that you make by adding ~~~~ to the comment. Unsigned contributions may be discounted at the discretion of the volunteer who closes the discussion.

Please do not refactor the discussion into lists or tables of recommendations, however much you may think that this helps the process. Both the context and the order of the comments are essential to understanding the intents of contributors, both at the discussion closure and during the discussion. Refactoring actually makes the job of making the decision at the closure of discussion much harder, not easier.

Behavior

Always explain your reasoning. This allows others to challenge or support facts, suggest compromises or identify alternative courses of action that might not yet have been considered. It also allows administrators to determine at the end of the discussion, whether your concerns have been addressed and whether your comments still apply if the article was significantly rewritten during the discussion period. "Votes" without rationales may be discounted at the discretion of the closing admin.

The purpose of the discussion is to achieve consensus upon a course of action. Individuals will express strong opinions and may even "vote". To the extent that voting occurs (see meta:Polls are evil), the votes are merely a means to gauge the degree of consensus reached so far. Wikipedia is not a democracy and majority voting is not the determining factor in whether a nomination succeeds or not.

Please do not "spam" the discussion with the same comment multiple times. Make your case clearly and let other users decide for themselves.

Experienced AfD participants re-visit discussions that they have already participated in. They are looking for new facts, evidence or changes to the article which might change their initial conclusion. In this situation, strike through your previous comment using <s>...</s> (if you are changing your mind) or to explicitly comment "no change" to confirm that you have considered the new evidence but remain unconvinced.

Do not remove or modify other people's comments even if you believe them to be in bad faith—unless the user has been banned from editing the relevant pages, or is making a blatantly offensive personal attack or a defamatory comment about a living person.[1][2]

It is acceptable to correct the formatting in order to retain consistency with the bulleted indentation. It is also acceptable to note the contribution history of a new user or suspected sockpuppet as an aid to the closing admin.

If, in a deletion discussion, you refer to Wikipedia policies or guidelines, you are responsible for making a good faith effort to represent those policies or guidelines accurately. Policies and guidelines reflect widespread community consensus. If you disagree with a guideline, you should raise your concern on the guideline's talk page; contradicting or misrepresenting policies and guidelines in deletion discussions is disruptive of the discussion process.

Closure

Main articles: Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators and Wikipedia:Deletion process

After seven days, links to discussions are automatically moved from Wikipedia:Articles for deletion#Current discussions to the below section Old discussions. Depending on the backlog, a discussion may remain open for several more days, during which it is still acceptable to add comments to the discussion. A volunteer (the "closing admin") will review the article, carefully read the discussion, weigh all the facts, evidence and arguments presented and determine if consensus was reached on the fate of the article.

The desired standard is rough consensus, not perfect consensus. Please also note that closing admins are expected and required to exercise their judgment in order to make sure that the decision complies with the spirit of all Wikipedia policy and with the project goal. A good admin will transparently explain how the decision was reached.

The decision may also include a strong recommendation for an additional action such as a "merge" or "redirect". In many cases, the decision to "keep" or "delete" may be conditional on the community's acceptance of the additional action. These recommendations do represent the community consensus and also should not be overturned lightly. However, these are actions which can be taken by any editor and do not require "admin powers". If they are challenged, the decision should be discussed and decided on the respective article Talk pages. A second deletion discussion is unnecessary.

The discussion is preserved for future reference in accordance with the deletion process, both for consultation as non-binding precedent and for determining when a previously deleted article has been re-created. In some rare cases in the past, deletion discussions have been blanked as a courtesy, leaving the history available (example: the 2005 deletion discussion for Rational objectivism; however, discussions are no longer indexed by web search engines.) The closing admin will also perform any necessary actions to carry out the decision. If the consensus is to merge the article and the merger would be non-trivial, it is acceptable for the admin to only begin the article merger process by tagging the article.

Recommendations and outcomes

Your vote should be made in bold.

Outcome summary

This table summarizes the end state of several aspects of a page: its page history, the article itself, its status as a stand-alone article as opposed to a redirect, and how much content is retained.

Delete Redirect Merge Keep
Page history Deleted Kept Kept Kept
Article state Deleted Replaced with redirect Replaced with redirect[t 1] Kept
Stand-alone article No No No Yes
Content 0% 0% 0–100% 100%
  1. ^ If necessary, the resulting redirect may be removed per Wikipedia:Merge and delete.

While editors are encouraged to discuss the deletion, a bolded AfD recommendation ("Delete", "Keep", etc.) should be left only once by an editor in a deletion discussion unless the previous one is struck. Editors may leave multiple recommendations as alternatives when unsure, for instance "Merge or redirect".

If you disagree with the consensus

The consensus opinion of the community about an article's disposition is generally respected, and should not be overturned or disregarded lightly. Sometimes, however, users disagree with the consensus opinion arrived at in the AFD quite strongly. If you disagree with the consensus opinion, it is a good idea to first try to understand why the community made its decision. You may find that its reasoning was sensible. However, if you remain unsatisfied with the consensus decision, there are a few options open to you.

If you think that an article was wrongly kept after the AFD, you could wait to see if the article is improved to overcome your objections; if it isn't, you can renominate it for deletion. If and when you do renominate, be careful to say why you think the reasons proffered for keeping the article are poor, and why you think the article must be deleted.

If you think that an article was wrongly deleted, you can recreate the article. If you do decide to recreate it, pay careful attention to the reasons that were proffered for deletion. Overcome the objections, and show that your new, improved work meets Wikipedia article policies. It can help to write down the reasons you think the article belongs on Wikipedia on the article's discussion page. If you manage to improve on the earlier version of the article and overcome its (perceived) shortcomings, the new article cannot be speedily deleted, and any attempt to remove it again must be settled before the community, on AFD.

Finally, if you are unsatisfied with the outcome of an AFD because you believe that a procedural issue interfered with the AFD or with the execution of its decision, you can appeal the decision at Wikipedia:Deletion review, where deletion decisions are reviewed by the community over a period of around seven days. The review has the authority to overturn AFD decisions. Note, however, that by long tradition and consensus, deletion review only addresses procedural problems that may have hampered an AFD. For example, if the participants of an AFD arrived at one decision but the closing administrator wrongly executed another, Deletion Review can opt to overturn the administrator's action. It must be emphasized that the review exists to address procedural (or "process") problems in AFDs that either made it difficult for the community to achieve a consensus, or prevented a consensus that was achieved from being correctly applied. It does not exist to override community consensus. If an AFD decision was arrived at fairly and applied adequately, it is unlikely that the decision will be overturned at the Review. For more information, please see Wikipedia:Deletion policy#Deletion review.

Can I recreate an article that was deleted in the past?

Articles that have been deleted in the past generally should not be re-created unless the reason for deletion is specifically addressed (for information on determining the reason why the page was deleted, see Wikipedia:Why was the page I created deleted?). If the article was deleted at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion, you should read the full deletion discussion before re-creating. Articles that are re-created without any substantial changes can be re-deleted immediately (see CSD G4). This applies regardless of whether you wrote the original article. If you are uncertain whether your new article will adequately address the original reasons for deletion, you may wish to create a draft version of it in your sandbox and then request feedback at deletion review. Some example scenarios:

In some cases, articles may be deleted for erroneous reasons. For example, the deletion summary may claim that the article included no assertion of significance, but in fact the article did explain why the subject is significant. In this case, contact the administrator who deleted it, or request undeletion at deletion review.

Note that if you copy and paste text from a deleted article (that you did not write yourself) into a new article, you should visit Wikipedia:Cut and paste move repair holding pen to request an administrator to repair the history and correctly give credit to all authors. Articles that are restored via deletion review will automatically include the original history.

Articles that are deleted by the Wikimedia Foundation for legal reasons (see Wikipedia:Office actions) should never be re-created without the Foundation's explicit approval.

Shorthands

See also: Wikipedia:Glossary

As discussed above, experienced Wikipedians use specialized jargon in an effort to communicate efficiently. Often, if a Wikipedian uses capitalized letter abbreviations, you can find what they are talking about by affixing WP: in front of their capitalized abbreviation and searching for an article of that name. "NPOV", for example, can be found at WP:NPOV. Be sure to match capitalization. Other examples of shorthand in general include:

As a courtesy, when dealing with articles written by new contributors, one should avoid shorthand to facilitate their learning Wikipedia policy and improve their future contributions.

Miscellaneous advice

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "User talk:Pagana: Difference between revisions". English Wikipedia. 9 September 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  2. ^ Wales, Jimmy (17 January 2006). "AFD courtesy problem". English Wikipedia, Nabble Forums. Archived from the original on 17 February 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  3. ^ Cohen, Noam (8 October 2006). "Giving the Heave-Ho in an Online Who's Who". The New York Times. Word for Word (column). Retrieved 12 June 2013.