Wikipedia:AfD and mergers

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Wikipedia:Articles for deletion (AfD) is the forum where article deletion is discussed and decided. Wikipedia:Merging describes the merge process. This essay covers the intersection between these two processes: most commonly when a potentially mergeable article is nominated at AfD or when an AfD discussion closes with consensus to merge.

Current practice[edit]

Since mergers can be implemented and reversed by ordinary editing, they are considered to be content issues, properly addressed on the articles' Talk pages. Outside input can be solicited by listing at Wikipedia:Proposed mergers or through general dispute resolution including relevant WikiProjects and Wikipedia:Requests for comment. However, AfD discussions that are substantially merge-focused do occur.

AfD nominations[edit]

Nominations lacking a rationale to delete – including those recommending merge – are generally speedy kept per Wikipedia:Speedy keep, clause 1.[1]

AfD outcomes[edit]

AfDs are regularly closed as merge.[citation needed] Provided that its nomination is in order, an AfD with support for merging is usually allowed to run to completion. AfDs without consensus for merging may be closed keep, discuss merge on article Talk page, sometimes early.[2] If there is substantial discussion of merging, the closing admin may make a recommendation in the closing rationale. Depending on its framing, this may be an evaluation of consensus or an independent opinion.

When an admin closes an AfD as merge, he or she places {{afd-mergeto}} and {{afd-mergefrom}} on the appropriate pages, which tags the articles for merging via ordinary editing. The User:Mr.Z-man/closeAFD script supports these tags.

Merging during deletion discussions[edit]

The Guide to deletion recommends:

AfD participants should not circumvent consensus by merging or copying material to another article unilaterally, before the debate closes. Such action may cause contention, extra process steps, and additional admin work if undoing any copying is necessary. Preservation is often worthwhile but copying causes an attribution dependency between articles that may require retaining some article history that would otherwise be deleted. If you see a debate leaning toward Delete rather than Merge, offer a specific proposal, negotiate with the other participants, and wait for the discussion to be closed. Even if the debate ends with Delete, you can ask the closing admin how to save material that might be used elsewhere, and the admin can advise on any further review steps that might be needed to justify that reuse. This is not an issue, however, if the merged content is not merely copied and pasted, but instead completely rewritten so that only uncopyrightable facts are transferred, not copyrightable expression.

This issue was mentioned in the Wikipedia Signpost in August 2009.

Proposed modifications[edit]

A number of users consider mergers to be a misuse of the AfD process. They may express their opposition by recommending keep, then discuss or citing WP:BEFORE at individual AfDs, or by participating in discussions regarding the process itself.

Various changes have been proposed, generally falling into the broad categories of constraining or expanding AfD's scope.

Constrain[edit]

Some users advocate banning mergers from AfD and restricting allowed outcomes to keep or delete. This better matches the original scope of Votes for deletion (whether to keep or delete the page history) and avoids instruction creep.[3] Also, narrowing the nomination criteria would reduce the number of articles and burden on AfD.

Mergers would be handled solely in their existing process.

Expand[edit]

Some users propose that merge and redirect nominations be allowed at AfD, with the expanded process renamed Articles for discussion to match the renames of Categories for discussion and Redirects for discussion.[4][5] They believe that it is natural to consider all outcomes at once, which encourages compromise and middle ground solutions.

References[edit]