User:GRBerry/DRVGuide

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Wikipedia:Deletion review is intended to function as the final place to appeal page deletions and deletion debate (XfD) closes. About 90% of the activity is related to articles, but it is open to pages of any type (Categories, Images, Templates, User pages, and their associated talk pages).

This page is a guide to deletion review. It advises on arguments to make or avoid, and lists some of the typical outcomes that occur at deletion review. Even if a description applies to the page you are talking about, it is not binding precedent. Remember that consensus can change, and deletion review is governed by a hybrid of a majority of qualified votes and of consensus.

Guide to deletion review[edit]

New Articles[edit]

  • You are never required to get the old article back in order to write a better new article. Not even if the deletion of the old article is endorsed. "Better" means, at the very least, solving the problems leading to the deletion of the old page. Frequently, an article on a worthwhile subject is deleted for having worthless content. The solution is to rewrite it with better content and sourcing.
  • If the old article text would help write a better article, ask for a content review, write the better article, and only then put it back in article space.
  • Deletion review is normally for getting the old article back.
  • If and only if the page is protected might you need permission to put a better new article into place. Even then, you can write it on a user sub-page before asking at DRV, and are more likely to gain permission.

Start with the admin that deleted or closed the discussion[edit]

  • Deletion review is the final place to appeal. Less than 1% of deletions are discussed at deletion review, and more than 90% of undeletions occur when the deleting admin chooses to change their mind. Give them time to respond to your request; admins are human volunteers with lives, not automatic robots. There is no deadline applies just as much to getting deleted content back as to creating new content in the first place.
  • Even if they don't change their mind, a discussion with the admin may help you understand why they and you disagree, and focus your review request on the relevant issues.

Wait until a decision is made to appeal[edit]

  • If a deletion review is requested while a deletion discussion is still open, the review will be closed as soon as anyone realizes this.

Civility[edit]

  • Civility is expected behavior everywhere in Wikipedia. It is expected when making your request directly to the administrator and at deletion review. Requests that are not civil set the reader in a poor frame of mind and make them less likely to agree. If you are in a huff, consider waiting to make your request until you have calmed down.
  • Contentious discussion with everyone that disagrees with you is also unlikely to persuade them to change their opinion, and can make the next person to opine to start with a negative bias toward your request.
  • If someone gets the facts wrong, be polite and succinct about correcting them.
  • Consider using a question with a link to the evidence, rather than a statement. A question invites a response, and if the evidence is convincing they may realize that while responding. If the evidence isn't convincing, their explanation why not may help you to learn and improve as an editor of Wikipedia.

What to do and avoid[edit]

  • Make requests for undeletion when you have a good faith belief both 1) that the page meets, or can easily and quickly be improved to meet, the quality levels needed to survive a deletion discussion and 2) that the deleted content will be helpful for getting the page up to those standards.
  • Make a request for unprotection (without undeletion) if a page is protected and you think you have a good encyclopedia article to put at that title.
  • While process is important, you shouldn't request a review unless you want the end result to be different from the current state. Please, no requests for spending time on process solely for the sake of process.
  • Deletion review is not the forum for discussing an administrator that is repeatedly abusing or violating the deletion policy. Please use dispute resolution if you believe there is a pattern of some behavior. Use deletion review to overturn specific instances. Consider postponing dispute resolution until after the reviews close, so you'll know whether or not the reviewers agreed with you.

Know why the page was deleted[edit]

  • It is easier to make good arguments if you know why a page was deleted. Look at the deletion log, by going to the deleted page and clicking on the link where it says, "check the deletion log" (or for any page, go to history and click on "View the log for this page"). See what the reasons given by the admin were. If you don't understand them, ask the admin or an experienced Wikipedian by using their User talk page.
  • This page may help to understand cryptic abbreviations like "G4".
  • Different reasons for deletion result in different types of discussion having different chances of success at deletion review.

Timeframe[edit]

  • If an amicable settlement with the deleting admin is reached (you did try first, right?) the review will end.
  • If the review is a repeat review (of the same deletion/close) and no new information is offered, it is likely to be closed in less than 24 hours, because deletion review serves as a forum for gaining cloture, and repeat reviews are contrary to that purpose.
  • Most full reviews are closed some time on the 6th or 7th day after nomination. If not enough people opined, it may be relisted for more input.
  • If obvious consensus forms early enough, the discussion might be closed earlier.
  • If the request is one of the simpler, faster requests, it may be granted and closed immediately.

General arguments[edit]

  • The goal is always to create a better encyclopedia.
  • Arguments from policy, guideline, and standard practice are important. Most important are arguments from the deletion policy which governs deletion review.
  • Deletion review is not "AFD phase 2". (This is hard to explain well.) Arguments about the topic of an article are not particularly relevant, except in requests for unprotection. Arguments about whether the deletion of the article (not the topic) was done properly are important.
  • Bare votes are ignored.
  • Opinions from IP editors and new single purpose accounts are normally given little to no weight, unless they make unique and relevant arguments.
  • Canvassing often leads to disregarding the votes of those who came because of the canvassing, or are believed to have so come. About the only form of notification that is tolerated is notifying all participants in prior AFDs and DRVs, or in a neutral forum on Wikipedia. Whether the canvassing is on or off Wikipedia (a forum, IRC, etc...) is not relevant.

Review closings[edit]

  • If the facts on the ground change during the review (e.g. page restored or a new XfD started by closer of the last) the review will normally be closed as moot. Situations involving high contention within the Wikipedia community may be left open to prevent wheel warring.
  • Deletion review is mix of a consensus decision process and a majority of qualified opinions process. See Wikipedia:Undeletion policy#Restoring the page (for admins).
  • If deletion review does not reach a clear decision, the page will almost always be relisted for a/another deletion discussion.

Repeated reviews need new information[edit]

  • Check the full page to see if there is already an active review underway. If so, a new appeal will be closed as redundant; instead offer your opinion in the existing review.
  • If a review on the same page was recently closed, a new appeal will also be closed as redundant. You do not get to "appeal the appeal," so to speak.
  • You can go to the deleted page and use the "What links here" tool (from the left panel), or skim the recent archives of deletion review to see if there has been a recent review of the deletion. If there has, take the time to read it.
  • If you don't have a new argument to offer, a new request is likely to receive little attention. Repeated requests often lead to speedily closed reviews.

Faster, Simpler Requests[edit]

All of these are normally faster and more efficient than a full review. If your case fits one of these cases, please use it to save time and effort. They are also more likely to result in getting the article back.

Original Admin[edit]

  • It is always faster and simpler when they overturn themselves than when a deletion review occurs. So ask them. The worst that can happen is they say no and you wait a day longer; you might learn something; and if they say yes you've gotten your desired result about five days earlier.

Expired PROD[edit]

  • Articles that were deleted as an expired proposed deletion should be automatically undeleted upon request. (They may be nominated for an AFD or evaluated for speedy deletion, so be ready to improve them very quickly.)

Content review[edit]

  • If you want a copy in your user space for a short time 1) to move the content to another wiki, 2) to evaluate whether it is worth opening a full review, or 3) after writing a replacement article, to see if there is anything in the old that would be useful for expansion. Pretty open, except for pages deleted as copyright violations or attack pages.

History restoration[edit]

  • You may want to request history restoration if you have already written a new article, and want the history of the old restored underneath the new article. Pretty open, except for pages deleted as copyright violations or attack pages.

Specific situations and corresponding arguments[edit]

Page deleted and you want to write a new article[edit]

  • If you do not need the old material and the page isn't protected, you don't need a deletion review.
  • If you want to see if there was anything useful in the old article, ask for a copy as a content review (or history merge after the new article has been written), instead of a full review.
  • If the page has been protected deleted, write it at a user sub-page, then come for a review.

Page has been protected, either deleted, as a blank title, or as a redirect[edit]

  • This is also called salting (WP:SALT); it happens when a page is repeatedly abused in order to prevent the next abuse. Stop. Figure out why protection was applied by looking at the deletion log, history, and/or protected title page "Wikipeda:Protected titles/specific_protection_list".
  • Deletion review looks much more favorably on articles drafted as a user sub-page that have solved the problems than on a request for us to assume the next (as yet uncreated) version will be different. Regular participants are even more wary of requests to assume a good next version made by editor(s) that got the page salted.
  • Easiest of all is if you want to use the page for an unrelated topic that you've drafted as a user sub-page. An example is Rance, which was protected deleted as an article about a pseudonymous blogger, but unprotected upon request for an article on a series of Japanese video games.
  • If the page protection was done a long time ago, deletion review is likely to unprotect it. In December 2006, we unprotected one page protected since 2004, but didn't unprotect any protected during the last three months of 2006.
  • A request that says "things have changed, the topic has now been covered by sources AAA, BBB, and CCC" will likely result either unprotection or in being told to write on a user sub-page and then contact any admin. Depending on our evaluation of the sources, it might be listed on AFD immediately - be prepared.

Page deleted as a copyright violation[edit]

  • If the first version of an article is a copyright violation, deletion review will not overturn the deletion. Copyright violations have to be removed from Wikipedia to protect the encyclopedia, and whoever did the undeletion would end up personally responsible for the violation.
  • If copyright violation occurred part way into the page history, versions prior to that violation may be undeleted. If so, the article could well need extensive repairs to bring it up to current standards.
  • If you can show that the other source is violating Wikipedia's copyright, in theory the deletion could be overturned. In practice, this situation is very rarely demonstrated.

Speedy deleted as not having an assertion of notability[edit]

  • If you know that the article did claim the subject was important or significant, let us know what that claim was (if more than one, let us know each). If you can show that the claim is true by citing a reliable published source independent of the subject, we are very likely to overturn.
  • If you know that the topic is significant, but the article didn't say so, then it probably isn't of much use. Find the documents that independent people have published to rewrite the article, then request a history undeletion if needed.

Speedy deleted as advertising[edit]

  • These are rarely overturned. You are usually better off looking for independently published sources and writing a new article in accordance with the guidance at the essay Wikipedia:Amnesia test.
  • Sometimes mistakes are made in such deletions. However, these rarely make it to deletion review, instead being caught by a deleting admin when requested. What deletion review usually gets are pages deleted under this criteria where the creator also suffers from a conflict of interest, and thus really shouldn't have been the page creator.

Decent version visible in Google's cache or on a mirror[edit]

  • Read the speedy deletion criteria or deletion discussion that caused the deletion.
  • Ask the deleting admin if the version deleted was similar to that in the cache (with link). If there are significant differences, the deleting admin may decide that a vandalized page was deleted and restore the page (fixing the vandalism).
  • In your deletion review nomination, link to the cached/mirrored version and explain why it merited inclusion.

Deletion discussion closed as merge[edit]

  • When done properly, the page has been redirected to the new location for the content, with all history in place. How much (if any) content to merge, and how long to keep the merge in place is a subject for the talk page of the destination article. Due weight should be given to the opinions in the deletion discussion.
  • Deletion review will not involve itself with properly done merges, as merge and keep are identical from a deletion perspective. If the history was deleted, or the redirect protected, this may be cleaned up.
  • If the merge was done right, and you believe the merge should be undone, due to new content, a need for a sub-article, or a new meaning for the term, please discuss this at the talk page of the article to which the page was merged and gain consensus.

Deletion discussion closed against the numbers[edit]

  • Remember that deletion discussions are not votes, they are discussions to determine how policies and guidelines apply to a given page and whether or not that page should be deleted. Policies govern regardless of consensus within the discussion. Guidelines normally apply, but a discussion that addresses them and forms a consensus to make a conscious exception can override them.
  • Don't bother mentioning the numbers, deletion discussions are not votes.
  • Did the closing admin explain their reasoning? Comment on that. Admins are expected to always follow policy, normally follow guidelines, and generally follow the discussion, while being free to disregard opinions that are votes without reasoning, single purpose accounts, and IP contributions that don't provide new arguments or evidence.
  • Evaluate the strength of the arguments - were independent sources shown for notability? Were opinions of the Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions type? Did any of the opinions claim support from a policy or guideline but contradict them? Say how you think the strength of the arguments came out, and why.

Deletion discussion closed with the numbers but against policy[edit]

  • Arguments not actually made in the deletion discussion should not be a reason for coming to deletion review. Instead, they should be made in a later deletion discussion in the normal forum.
  • Wikipedia:Attribution is a policy where a deletion discussion could show that it is impossible to have a compliant article on a topic. If this is actually done in the deletion discussion (with explanation of research undertaken, and no reliable sources found by anyone), but the close does not reflect this outcome, deletion review may overturn and delete.
  • Wikipedia:Copyrights is a policy that can require a specific article version (and versions derivative from it) to be deleted. Showing that the original version of an article is a copyright violation is the canonical example of an argument for deletion that overrides all other issues in a deletion discussion. Because it is the canonical example, failures to comply almost never make it to deletion review.
  • In a few cases, Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons can authorize deletion of a specific article version. All such cases both fall under WP:CSD#G10 and also require that no acceptable version be in the history.
  • For other policies, including Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, and Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons, it is almost always possible to edit the article to bring it into compliance. If editing can cause compliance, then deletion review will not overturn and delete because the article does not happen to comply currently. Edit the page to bring it into compliance, and use dispute resolution if edit conflicts are preventing sustained success.

Discussion closed by a participant[edit]

  • If all they did was comment, or closed against their expressed opinion, move on.
  • If the close would have been the same if they had not participated previously, the most we'll do is award them a minor clue adjustment.
  • Explain not only that they participated, but how that caused the close to be different than it should have been based on policy, guidelines, and the consensus of the discussion.

Discussion closed by a non-admin[edit]

  • If they were an admin at the time, they were an admin.
  • If not, note that they weren't an admin and explain why the close was different than it should have been based on policy, guidelines, and the consensus of the discussion.

Page deleted in a mass-nomination that needs individual discussion[edit]

  • Mass nominations are hard to do well. If you make a plausible case that the page had individual reasons for keeping (in accordance with Wikipedia policies and guidelines) that weren't addressed by the group discussion, the regulars are likely to relist for individual consideration, be prepared to defend the article in a new deletion discussion.

Page deleted, but there were big numbers associated[edit]

  • Google hits, alexa rank, downloads, community members, forum posts, etc... are not evidence that we can use to write an encyclopedia article. This sort of evidence will be ignored.
  • The topic is all over the blogosphere. Blogs and forums are not reliable sources. If you can wade through all that stuff and find some reliable sources that are new information, please tell us about the reliable sources. Being in the blogosphere can make the job of testing for reliable sources harder, and if you do extra digging and find reliable sources that were missed, you may have a case.

New information available[edit]

Either sources newly published since the discussion, or facts/sources both not mentioned in the discussion and not in the deleted page.

  • Evaluate whether the new information addresses the concerns/problems in the deletion discussion.
  • If the information has been published since the discussion and the page isn't protected, we recommend just writing a new article. If you don't have a copy of the old and write an article meeting current standards, it is unlikely to be deleted as a recreation. For even better success, mention the old discussion on the talk page and explain the new information.
  • If it is speedily redeleted, and talking to the deleting admin does not help, focus the deletion review on the new information, just as if the page had been protected deleted.

Image deleted as orphaned fair use[edit]

  • Tell us where it will be used and what the fair use claim is for that specific usage.

Page creator/main editors not notified of discussion[edit]

  • Deletion review has only very rarely overturned a close on this basis.
  • Instead say what evidence not available in the article or discussion you would have presented in the discussion, as if it was new information above.

Final Reminders[edit]

  1. It is often more useful and efficient to write a new article, possibly at a sub-page, than to challenge the last deletion.
  2. Start with the deleting admin. Also tell them about the review after it opens.
  3. Be civil.
  4. Argue from policies and guidelines.
  5. Where possible, link to sources. If not possible, give full citations. Reliable and independent sources with non-trivial coverage of the topic are normally the most successful arguments.
  6. Only about 1 in 3 contentious reviews (those not settle amicably with the deleting admin or cases of PROD) result in an undeletion, and at least 1 in 5 undeletions is deleted again (usually via AFD) fairly quickly. Don't think of a deletion review request as a guarantee that the article will come back, or that it will stay on Wikipedia if it does come back.

See also[edit]