Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion/Explanations

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This page explains in more detail Wikipedia's speedy deletion criteria, including their rationale and links to relevant policies, guidelines, and archived discussions.

Speedy deletion is intended to reduce the time spent on deletion discussions for pages or media with no practical chance of surviving discussion. Most of the criteria are the result of either an already existing policy, or because that particular case was repeatedly discussed on its respective deletion discussion page and always ended up with a snowball close.

Because the speedy deletion of a particular page is primarily made at the sole discretion of a single administrator, there have been frequent attempts to make the criteria as simple and objective as possible, and to avoid instruction creep. Historically, the more that a specific criterion has been made complex and subjective, the more complaints it has received. Indeed, many of the rules current listed have either been modified or merged into others. Only one criterion, perhaps the most controversial one, has been successfully repealed.

Criteria[edit]

General[edit]

G1. Patent nonsense.
Normally, patent nonsense is reverted. If the entire page history of the article only consists of patent nonsense, there is no reason to keep it.
See also:
G2. Test pages.
Normally, test edits are reverted. If the entire page history of the article only consists of test edits, there is no reason to keep it.
G3. Pure vandalism and blatant hoaxes.
  • Generally applies to obvious hoaxes, but if there's any doubt, AfD is more appropriate.
Problems:
  • If a good redirect is moved multiple times by a vandal before any attempt is made to fix it, the original redirect should not be deleted as a result.
G4. Recreation of a page that was deleted per a deletion discussion.
  • For pages deleted in line with the deletion policy on deletion discussions, there has already been a decision that the topic of an article or a version of an article does not belong in Wikipedia so there is no need to re-run the process.
  • Does not apply to substantially revised articles that satisfies the concerns of the original deletion discussion, or articles deleted under a separate speedy deletion criteria.
Problems:
  • Substantially improved articles on the same topic should not be deleted despite being revised to satisfy the concerns at the original deletion discussion. Compare the deleted version with the new version before deleting.
  • Topics that have become notable or verifiable since the original deletion decision should not be deleted.
See also:
G5. Creations by banned or blocked users.
  • Banned users are prohibited from editing Wikipedia.
  • Gets rid of junk contributions that otherwise might not strictly fit into the other criteria.
  • No need to check through for neutrality, hoaxes, sources, etc. for contributions by a user who has been disruptive or untrustworthy.
Problems:
  • Quality contributions could be deleted. If the edit was very high quality, sometimes it makes sense to delete and then have an editor in good standing make the page.
  • Bans are not retroactive. Pages created before the user was banned should not be deleted.
See also: Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion/Archive 1#banned users
G6. Technical deletions.
  • Sometimes known as "housekeeping".
  • Done anyway as part of numerous other processes; this codifies common practice.
  • Not controversial.
  • Little or no content is deleted. In cases of a sequence of deletions and undeletions for fixing page moves, any deleted content is later restored.
G7. Author requests deletion.
  • Created by mistake or when the author realizes it does not belong on Wikipedia.
  • No substantial contributions from other users who may want them kept.
  • Applies even if author's request wasn't done by placing a db tag - such as placing a request on any talk page, or placing a different deletion tag on the page.
Problems:
  • Does not apply to long-standing articles or quality articles not created by mistake. Such articles were duly submitted and released by the author and have become part of the encyclopedia, obviating others who otherwise would have written an article on the subject.
  • Pages that have had substantial edits by other users, or other users who have said the pages shouldn't be deleted, should not be deleted
  • See also: Wikipedia:Proposal to expand WP:CSD/Proposal VI (Requested deletion)
G8. Pages dependent on a non-existent or deleted page.
  • Talk pages are for discussing the associated page; if deleted there is nothing to discuss there.
  • Does not apply to talk pages that contain discussion useful for creating a legitimate article at that page or otherwise important for the encyclopedia.
  • Some categories exist to only list pages that use a particular template; if the template is deleted, then the category automatically gets emptied.
  • A redirect that points to a non-existent page is useless.
G9. Office actions.
  • For use by the owners of the servers; ordinary admins do not use this criterion and are not permitted to interfere with these actions.
  • Examples: preventing potential legal problems, removing libellous statements, verifiability issues, other formal complaints.
G10. Attack pages - pages that disparage or threaten their subject or some other entity, and serve no other purpose.
  • Attack pages and images also frequently fall under vandalism, or are sometimes created as a personal attack on another contributor.
  • This may also include a biography of a living person that is entirely negative in tone and unsourced, when there is no neutral version to revert to. BLP violations and personal attacks will not be tolerated on Wikipedia.
See also: Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion/Proposal/13
G11. Unambiguous advertising or promotion.
  • To prevent the use of the highly popular and visible Wikipedia as a free promotion tool.
  • Cannot be salvaged into a proper encyclopedia article on a notable topic.
Problems: Issues with how to recognize whether a page is spam or not.
See also: The message by Wikimedia Foundation General Counsel Brad Patrick that led to this criterion being implemented: [1].
G12. Unambiguous copyright infringement.
  • No evidence of permission from the copyright owner.
  • No redeemable revisions in the page history, with a checked page history and not a long-standing or heavily edited article.
  • Little-edited pages only, to minimize false positives from websites or mirrors that actually copied the text from Wikipedia.
  • Gets rid of spam.
Problems:
  • Do not delete if you can simply remove the infringing content and leave a useful article afterwards.
  • Some copyvios can be rewritten into decent articles, and should not be deleted
  • Articles that are from public domain or copyleft sources, or copied from Wikipedia, should not be deleted.
See also: Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion/Proposal/Blatant copyvio material, revision by Jimbo Wales.

Articles[edit]

A1. No context.
  • Not enough information about what the article is about for someone to expand it or learn about the subject.
  • An article has to satisfy three conditions to fall under criterion A1: it is very short, it lacks sufficient context, and the subject of the article cannot be identified.
  • Articles about highly specialist topics can be completely unintelligible to the majority of editors, especially in their first version. If unsure, do not delete the article (alternatives include tagging with {{context}} or asking at a WikiProject).
Problems: Should not be used to delete reasonable substubs that are sufficient for someone to expand on. Limited content is not the problem, as long as the article has some context.
See also:
A2. Foreign language articles that exist on another Wikimedia project.
See also:
A3. No content.
  • Previously were separate criteria: "Articles with no content whatsoever" and "Articles which are an attempt to contact someone named in the title" (previously A4).
See also:
A4. Attempts to correspond with the person or group named by its title. – Deprecated – Merged into and superseded by "A3 - No Content".
A5. Transwikied articles.
See also:
A6. Attack articles. – Deprecated – Superseded by "G10 - Attack pages" to cover all namespaces.
A7. No indication of importance (individuals, animals, organizations, web content).
  • No reason to think that the subject is remarkable and no claim that it is notable, to minimize the possibility of deleting articles on encyclopedic subjects.
  • Examples of "organizations" that fall under this criterion include bands, clubs and companies. Schools are an exception to this criterion because their deletion is usually controversial. If you see a school article you think should be deleted, use proposed deletion or articles for deletion.
Problems
  • Legitimate articles should not be deleted, whether because the original author failed to mention why the subject is important, or because the deleting administrator overlooked an implicit assertion of significance.
See also: Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion/Proposal/1
A8. Blatant copyright infringement articles. – Deprecated – Superseded by "G12 - Unambiguous copyright infringement" to cover all namespaces.
A9. No indication of importance (musical recordings).
  • Sometimes, a user will create an article about a musical act that fails A7, and will go on to create articles about their recordings as well. When the artist's article is deleted, articles about their recordings tend to become orphans.
  • This criterion applies only to musical recordings, and not films, books or other creative media.
Problems
  • The article's creator may have intended to write a Wikipedia-compliant article about the artist.
A10. Recently created article that duplicates an existing topic.
(Explained on main page. Add further explanation here if necessary.)

Redirects[edit]

R1. Redirects to non-existent pages. – Deprecated – Merged into "G8 - Pages dependent on a non-existent or deleted page".
R2. Redirects, apart from shortcuts, from the main namespace.
  • Usually the result of someone redirecting their name to their user page or a vanity article being moved to their user space.
  • Distinguishes encyclopedic content from users.
See also: Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion/Archive1#home pages accidentally created in main article space
R3. Implausible typos.
  • Useless, mistakenly created typos.
  • Not for common misspellings, etc. that would help readers find the right article.

Files[edit]

Note: This section was previously named "Images", and all the criteria had the "I" prefix (I1, I2, etc.), when it was previously officially known as the Image namespace (prefix Image:).
F1. Redundant.
Having identical files with separate description pages leads to needless maintenance problems.
Problems: This does not apply to copies that are in different image file formats because even if an image is a photograph or other continuous-tone image, a GIF or PNG file that is converted to JPEG loses a variety of information that could be important for further editing.
See also: Wikipedia:Preparing images for upload for more information on using the different file formats.
F2. Corrupt or empty image.
There is no reason to keep around such images that users cannot see
Problems: Sometimes applied to images that are technically okay in some sense (like JPEGs with CMYK colourspace, which open up in many graphics applications but not MediaWiki or web browsers). Sometimes it is better if these images are just converted to a different format that MediaWiki and browsers can handle.
F3. Improper license.
These images cannot be legally distributed either by Wikipedia or by some of its (potential) content reusers.
See also: The message by Jimbo Wales that led to this criterion being implemented: [2]
F4. Lack of licensing information.
As per Wikipedia's image use policy, all uploaded images must fully describe their source and copyright details on their description pages. Without such information, it is usually impossible to accurately ascertain the copyright status of an image and whether we are legally permitted to distribute it.
Problems:
  • Admins must be carefully to not blindly delete these images because users may subsequently add valid source and/or license information but forget to remove the unknown source/license tags.
  • Admins can first double check the image's source to see if it does have the licensing information on there.
See also:
F5. Unused unfree images.
As per Wikipedia:Fair use#Policy item #7
Problems:
  • Admins must be carefully to not blindly delete these image because they may be put back into articles without the orphan tags removed.
  • Images can be orphaned as the result of vandalism or edit wars. In many cases, it is difficult to exactly find out what articles these image were previously on.
  • One can orphan a fair use image to bypass an Images for Deletion discussion.
F6. Missing non-free use rationale.
As per Wikipedia:Fair use#Policy item #10
Problems:
  • Admins must be carefully to not blindly delete these images because users may subsequently add a valid fair use rationale.
  • Admins can first double check the source information just in case the uploader added the wrong license tag by mistake.
See also:
F7. Invalid fair-use claim.
As per Wikipedia:Fair use#Policy item #10
Problems:
  • Admins must be carefully to not blindly delete these images because users may subsequently add a valid image tag.
  • Admins can first double check the source information just in case the uploader added the wrong license tag by mistake.
See also: Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion/Archive10#New image deletion criteria
F8. Images available as identical copies on the Wikimedia Commons.
There is no point in having an identical copy here locally on Wikipedia because images on commons are referred to as if they existed here on Wikipedia, e.g. [[Image:TitianStJohn.jpg]].
Problems: Admins must make sure the images fulfill all of the requirements to qualify. Images that are copied without a complete transfer of attribution information may be subsequently being distributed in violation of their license.
See also
F9. Unambiguous copyright infringement.
  • Like G12, intended to quickly get rid of copyright infringement material.
  • This is a separate criterion because of the different procedures involved in dealing with images and files versus text, including licensing, source information, and fair use issues.
See also
F10. Useless media files.
See also
F11. No evidence of permission.
See also

Categories[edit]

C1. Unpopulated categories.
Problems: The category may have been recently emptied by vandalism, tendentious editing, etc. or someone trying to circumvent Wikipedia:Categories for discussion.
See also: Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion/Archive1#Categories
C2. Renaming or merging.
  • At this time, pages in the category namespace cannot be moved to a new title, like other pages and files. Instead, admins must delete the category with the old name.
  • This criterion only lists the most common, uncontroversial requests for renaming or merging a category.
See also: Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/Restructuring
C3. Categories solely populated from a template. – Deprecated – Merged into "G8 - Pages dependent on a non-existent or deleted page".

User pages[edit]

U1. User request.
  • To facilitate the user's management of the space he uses to contribute to the encyclopedia.
  • Not for cases where there is an administrative need to keep the page.
  • Does not include userboxes userfied per Wikipedia:Userbox migration
  • User talk pages are almost never deleted as these are needed to keep a record of conversations
See also:
U2. Nonexistent user.
User pages of a nonexistent user are usually created as either test edits or vandalism. A user page to a nonexistent user can also be perceived as hoax, making it seem that a user by that name has already registered.
U3. Non-free galleries.
As per Wikipedia:Fair use#Policy item #9, non-free images are not permitted on user pages.

Templates[edit]

T1. Divisive and inflammatory templates. – Now repealed.
This criterion initially arose regarding a dispute over userboxes in February 2006. A user created a userbox claiming an interest in pedophilia. An admin who found this offensive then banned the user, prompting cries of abuse of administrative power and leading to the Pedophilia userbox wheel war arbitration case, which led to intervention by Jimbo Wales and the de-sysopping of several admins. In the aftermath, this CSD criterion was added in a bold move without any discussion beforehand, and after about an hour-long edit war, it was restored by Jimbo Wales.
Although the community felt compelled to accept this addition, considerable dissent remained over whether this rule for templates should exist, whether and how it should be modified, and how it should be interpreted. Because of the controversy and the rule's subjectivity, it was eventually repealed three years later.
See also:
T2. Misrepresentation of policy.[1]
  • Some users have created templates that misrepresent actually policies in order to get a specific outcome they want.
Problems: The template may have instead been created as part of a test or Wikipedia humor
See also
T3. Duplication and hardcoded instances.
  • Users may sometimes create a clone or a POV fork of an existing template, with either the same functionality or have replaced the parameters with hardcoded values.
Problems: The duplication may have been the result of a cut-and-paste move or page split without any proper attribution. Instead of someone performing a page history merge or another remedy, the new template serves as a replacement for the old template, while the old template becomes the one that is orphaned and subsequently deleted.
See also:

Portals[edit]

P1. Any portal that would be subject to speedy deletion as an article.
  • A portal is intended to serve as a "Main Page" for a specific topic or area. If there are no articles for a particular topic, then a portal on that same topic should not exist either.
See also: Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion/Archive9#Proposed CSD criteria for Portals
P2. Underpopulated portal.
  • There must be a minimum set of articles for which the portal is an organized entrance.
Problems: Portal stubs could be expanded.
See also: Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion/Archive9#Proposed CSD criteria for Portals

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The current T2 criterion is unrelated to the original one that was posted at the same time as T1. The original T2 referred to templates designed for user pages that "express viewpoints on controversial issues, personal beliefs, ideologies, or ethical conviction". This was added as a separate criterion after some people objected to broad interpretations of T1. It was removed because it lacked consensus and was seen as superfluous.

See also[edit]