Wikipedia:Why was the page I created deleted?

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Pages and media are often deleted by Wikipedia administrators in accordance with our deletion policy. This page explains how to find out why a particular page or file was removed, and what you can do about a deletion you disagree with. Do not despair: none of the information on a "deleted" page has actually been lost. Continue reading for details.

Find out what happened

First, check the deletion log

The deletion log shows the administrator who deleted the page.

When a page is deleted, this is recorded in the deletion log along with a deletion summary supplied by the deleting administrator. To find this information, go to Special:Log/delete and enter the name of the page in the "Target" field. It only works if the exact name is entered, so be mindful of the original capitalization, spelling and spacing. Your talk page may also contain a notification with a red link to the deletion log for the page.

There are five chief processes under which pages are deleted. The deletion summary tells you which:

  1. Very brief summaries such as "A7" or "CSD A7", as well as things like "spam" and {{db-bio}}, usually refer to speedy deletion.
  2. A summary including "prod" usually refers to proposed deletion.
  3. A summary including "BLP prod" or "sticky prod" usually refers to proposed deletion of biographies of living persons.
  4. A summary including "AfD", "Articles for deletion", or a similar acronym usually means the deletion is the outcome of a deletion discussion.
  5. A summary including "PUI", "copyvio", or "CP" usually means the deletion is the result of a copyright problem, with the issue not being resolved within two weeks.

See the appropriate section below for more information. If you're still confused after checking the deletion log, politely ask the administrator responsible for an explanation by leaving a message on his or her talk page. To do so:

  1. Click the "talk" link next to the administrator's name in the deletion log
  2. Click the "new section" or "+" tab next to the "Edit" tab
  3. Type a subject line and your message, sign it by typing ~~~~ or click the signature icon (Button sig.png or Insert-signature.png) and then click "Save page".

Speedy deletions

Pages and media in all namespaces that satisfy certain criteria are speedy deletion candidates, which means that administrators can delete them immediately and without discussion. The criteria include, among others, test pages, vandalism and hoaxes, nonsense, blatant copyright violations, empty pages or ones lacking sufficient context, articles in defined areas that do not credibly assert the importance of the topic, and pages on topics already covered under another title. Administrators often leave short codes in the deletion summary instead of typing out a full reason, such as "A7" or "CSD A7" for articles that do not assert importance; "G1" for patent nonsense and so on. These codes are explained at Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion.

Proposed deletions

Mainspace articles, lists, and disambiguation pages (but not other pages or media) may be proposed for deletion by any editor. If nobody objects to this within seven days, the article is deleted. If any objections are raised, the article is not properly deleted, but anyone may still start an Articles for deletion discussion (see below). Proposed deletions will often be labeled as "prod" in the deletion summary.

Proposed deletion of biographies of living persons

Articles on living people (BLPs) created after March 18, 2010, that contain no sources in any form (as references, external links, etc.) may be proposed for deletion under this process. Unlike standard proposed deletion (see above), the BLP deletion template may be removed only after the biography contains a reliable source that supports at least one statement made about the person in the article. If the required sourcing is not added within ten days, the article is deleted. Nominated articles will often be labeled as "BLP prod" or "sticky prod" in the deletion summary.

Deletion discussions

A page or media file may also be nominated for deletion in a deletion discussion, where editors discuss whether it should be deleted. Articles are discussed at Articles for deletion; other pages elsewhere (see deletion discussion for a complete list). Such discussions normally last seven days, after which an administrator will delete the page if there is a consensus to do so. Anyone may participate in such a discussion, however they are not "votes". The weight of an argument is more important than the number of people making the argument, so encouraging mass participation in such discussion to avoid the deletion of a particular article will not work.

Protected titles

If a particular page has been recreated and deleted multiple times, administrators may decide to protect it against recreation (often called "salting") so that it stays deleted. If you try to edit a protected title, a message box will inform you about it.

Missing deletion logs

If you cannot find a deletion log entry then the most likely explanation is that you did not enter the title exactly as it appeared, or the page was not actually deleted in Wikipedia's sense of the word. For example, pages may be redirected to an existing title, which effectively blanks the former entry, but it is not "deletion" in the true sense. If you can see your edits to the page in your contribution history, or you see another page where the page formerly was, then the page may have been redirected, or the content may have been edited out but still be visible in the page history. If you are unable to determine what happened, try asking at the Wikipedia:Help desk. Always do your best to provide the exact title (or possible titles), and state what username you were logged in under when the page was created, if different from the one you use to ask your question.

What you can do about it

Shortcut:

If a page or file that you created has been deleted, please don't take offense. See our content policies and the guide to creating your first article to get an idea of what you should be aiming for. Alternatively, remember we already have 4,677,380 articles – find a subject that interests you and work on improving our existing content.

Depending on the reason why the page was deleted, there are also several ways you can try to have it undeleted by administrators. In every case, you should first make sure that the page is appropriate for inclusion in Wikipedia and, if it is an article, that its content is based on reliable sources. If it is not, your request will likely be unsuccessful.

  1. If you feel a page has been deleted in error, or if you think you have good reasons for wanting to edit a protected title, first contact the administrator responsible via the method explained above. If you are still not satisfied after discussing it with the deleting admin, you may then start a deletion review.
  2. If an article was deleted as a result of a proposed deletion ("prod"), any administrator should normally restore it on your request. In such cases, you can make your request at this noticeboard.
  3. If the page was deleted for any other reason, and you would like to be able to access the text (for example, to resubmit it in a form that meets our content policies), there are some administrators who may provide you with the content of the deleted page on your request. Please do not bother to ask for the text of pages that were copyright violations as it will not be provided.
  4. If anything about these processes remains unclear, you may ask for help at the Wikipedia:Help desk.
    • A substantial number of new articles by new users are deleted. If you are one of those new users, you may feel confused right now, and need to ask for help at the Wikipedia:Help desk.
  5. If it looks like the page you created is definitely about to be deleted, copy-and-paste the source code to a text file, for example by using a text editor (which preserves your wikitext markup), or a word processor. However, after the page is deleted from Wikipedia, do not immediately put the page back up! Otherwise, it will probably just be deleted again, and the page name may even be protected against re-creation. Either find more evidence to demonstrate the notability of the topic, or wait for more evidence to be published elsewhere in reliable sources. If you intend to recreate the page straight away, consider asking at the Help Desk or Teahouse how you can improve the article the next time around. Please note that not all topics are suitable for inclusion – if no reliable third-party sources can be found on a topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it.

If all else fails, try another wiki

Shortcut:

As a result of Wikipedia's rapid growth, by 2007 it had become one of the world's largest and most-visited wikis. Wikipedia articles tend to rank high in the search results for many popular search engines. Prior to Wikipedia, wiki technology was not very well-known; as a result, Wikipedia may be the first wiki many people see, and the first wiki they attempt to edit on. Some people may be under the mistaken impression that Wikipedia is the only wiki, or is synonymous with "wiki". In many cases, this is unfortunate, because Wikipedia is actually a very specialized kind of wiki (an encyclopedia), and newcomers may need some time to understand what constitutes encyclopedic writing. There is much content that Wikipedia is not appropriate for, but which may be appropriate somewhere else.

There are many other wikis, many with content policies very different from Wikipedia's, catering to a wide range of interests. Some of these wikis were founded by groups of former or continuing Wikipedia editors, who had more to say about their topic of interest than belongs in an encyclopedia. Examples include Wookieepedia (for Star Wars enthusiasts); and StrategyWiki (for video-game walkthroughs).

For almost every sort of article that would be interesting to someone, there is probably a wiki somewhere that would welcome it.

To find a happy home for the deleted article, check the List of wikis, Wikipedia:Alternative outlets, and WikiIndex. If you cannot find a suitable wiki on your own, ask for some "wiki outplacement" assistance at the Wikipedia:Help desk. If the deleted article is in a subject area overseen by a WikiProject, members of that WikiProject may know of alternative wikis to publish subject area content not meeting Wikipedia's requirements. Once you find a home, you can immediately place the article there if you copied and saved the article's wikitext (though it may need modifications to fit into the new website.) If you did not save such a copy, you will have to ask an administrator to retrieve a copy for you.

What not to do about it

  • As mentioned above, please do not take offense. It is common to feel hurt or angry after seeing hours of your work deleted, but please try to work with the complex processes Wikipedians have developed to manage the world's largest collaborative editing project.
  • Please do not post questions about your deleted article on this page's talk page. Instead, if you have questions, post them on the Wikipedia:Help desk.
  • Please refrain from resubmitting exactly the same article without making the appropriate changes.

See also