Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators

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Even admins should mostly use the Wikipedia:Proposed deletion, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion, and Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion pages when they think a page should be deleted. There are a few limited exceptions, which are given at Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion. Every admin should also read and understand Wikipedia:Deletion policy.

Once the decision to delete (or not) has been made, please document the decision using the procedures at Wikipedia:Deletion process.

Deciding whether to delete

  1. Whether consensus has been achieved by determining a "rough consensus" (see below).
  2. Use common sense and respect the judgment and feelings of Wikipedia participants.
  3. As a general rule, don't close discussions or delete pages whose discussions you've participated in. Let someone else do it.
  4. When in doubt, don't delete.

Rough consensus

Shortcut:

Administrators must use their best judgment, attempting to be as impartial as is possible for a fallible human, to determine when rough consensus has been reached. For example, administrators can disregard opinions and comments if they feel that there is strong evidence that they were not made in good faith. Such "bad faith" opinions include those being made by sock puppets, or accounts created solely for voting on the deletion discussion. If a rough consensus holds that the nomination was made in bad faith, the page may be speedily kept.

If the major stakeholders have not been notified of the proposed deletion or given time to respond, reliable consensus determinations will rarely be possible.

Consensus is not determined by counting heads, but by looking at strength of argument, and underlying policy (if any). Arguments that contradict policy, are based on opinion rather than fact, or are logically fallacious, are frequently discounted. For instance, if someone finds the entire page to be a copyright violation, a page is always deleted. If an argument for deletion is that the page lacks sources, but an editor adds the missing references, said argument is no longer relevant.

Wikipedia policy requires that articles and information comply with core content policies (verifiability, no original research or synthesis, neutral point of view, copyright, and biographies of living persons) as applicable. These policies are not negotiable, and cannot be superseded by any other guidelines or by editors' consensus. A closing admin must determine whether an article violates these content policies. Where it is very unlikely that an article on the topic can exist without breaching policy, policy must be respected above individual opinions.

Per "ignore all rules", a local consensus can suspend a guideline in a particular case where suspension is in the encyclopedia's best interests, but this should be no more common in deletion than in any other area.

Biographies of living people

The possibility of harm to living subjects must be considered when exercising editorial judgment.

With regards to living people, a closing admin must take into account the policy on Biographies of living persons along with our deletion policy for biographies. When closing an AfD about a living person whose notability is ambiguous, the closing administrator should take into account whether the subject of the article being deleted has asked that it be deleted. The degree of weight given to such a request is left to the admin's discretion.

On deleting pages

Here are some guidelines administrators should follow in making the decision to delete a page or not, when considering entries on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion and Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion.

  1. When deleting a page, one may or may not want to delete its talk page or any subpages as well. If the talk page is not deleted, put a link to the deletion discussion thread on the talk page.
  2. Simply deleting a page does not automatically delete its talk page (or any subpages). If you wish to delete these as well, do them first, and then the main page.
  3. Follow the deletion process to mark as closed and to archive the discussion.
  4. See Wikipedia:Copyrights for deletion policy on copyright infringement, and m:Wikipedia and copyright issues and m:Avoid Copyright Paranoia for perspective.
  5. When filling in the "Reason for deletion" text, provide a link to the discussion (administrators usually leave as summary that simple link: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/ARTICLENAME) and ensure that the following is not included:
    • Any copyright infringing text
    • Personal information, e.g. content was: '{{db-attack}} XYZ smells bad and his home phone # is (123) 456-7890 [1]
  6. Don't delete pages unless you know how to undelete as well! See Wikipedia:Viewing and restoring deleted pages by sysops and Wikipedia:Deletion review.
  7. Redirects to deleted pages should be deleted or redirected elsewhere to avoid broken redirects.
  8. If a given title should never have an article, such as an article on someone very obscure, then remove all links to it.
  9. If a given title should have an article, but the current content is useless, then consider listing it on Wikipedia:Requested articles
  10. If an article title needs to be deleted, but some of the content could be used in a different (existing) article, proceed as follows: move the article from really silly article title to a better title, in order to preserve the history (as this may be required for CC-BY-SA and GFDL attribution compliance). Next, copy the content to the existing article, with an edit comment like (moved content from really silly article title - see the page history of better title for author attribution). The really silly article title will then be a redirect with no page history which can be deleted.
  11. If closing the discussion in favor of keeping the page, please add a notice to its talk page containing a link to the archived discussion for future reference. In the case of articles you can use {{Old AfD multi}}. (Similar templates needed for other types of pages for deletion.)

Category deletion

Here are some guidelines administrators should follow in making the decision to delete a page or not, when considering entries on Wikipedia:Categories for discussion (commonly abbreviated as WP:CFD, CFD, or cfd).

  1. Ensure the category was properly tagged and listed on WP:CFD. You may consider reading the specific discussion found on the CFD day page to ensure it was properly listed for deletion.
  2. Follow the deletion process to mark as closed and to archive the discussion.
  3. Don't delete categories unless you know how to undelete as well! See Wikipedia:Viewing and restoring deleted pages by sysops and Wikipedia:Deletion review.
  4. If there is a talk page associated with the category, delete it first. If you are renaming the category, move the talk page to the new category talk, and then delete the redirect. Consider checking for any double redirects and fix them as appropriate.
  5. If merging or renaming, consider checking "What links here" before deleting the category, and fixing any articles, portals, or relevant talk pages to point to the new category name.
  6. There is no merge with categories. After the articles and sub-cats have been moved, delete the category.
  7. Sometimes there is a request to leave the category as a redirect. Standard redirects do not work with categories, instead use {{Category redirect}}. Instructions for where it should be redirected should be on the CFD day page.
  8. If the category was renamed or merged, be sure to check What links here for any "hard linked" pages. Fix the category links on pages such as Portals, articles or other categories to the new name of the category. Talk pages should be changed per basis, as sometimes it may change the outcome of the discussion.

How to rename categories

These are five easy steps to do it without using a bot:

  1. edit the existing category page and copy its content (text, head categories etc.) minus the cfd template
  2. paste the contents into the new category page (sometimes supercats need a different sort key, depending on the rename)
  3. move the talk page if there is one (and delete the resultant redirect)
  4. replace the existing category with a category redirect using Template:category redirect and which should alert a daemon to move all the subcats and articles (or just recat by hand for a sparsely populated category)
  5. when empty, delete the original category referencing the CFD discussion page in the delete summary (or leave a category redirect per your discretion)

It is not hard, just a little time consuming. Deleting a category (without assistance from a bot) is harder, since the references have to be deleted by hand.

Version deletion

An administrator can delete some revisions of an article while leaving all remaining ones intact. The effect of using Wikipedia:Revision deletion is that the revisions will remain in the page history, but their deleted contents will be available only to administrators. Use of revision deletion must meet specific criteria.

The historical method Wikipedia:Selective deletion has been deprecated except for history merges.

Libel in edit summaries

Since the John Seigenthaler Wikipedia biography controversy, various IP addresses and accounts have been making vandalistic edits using large, libelous edit summaries. Such summaries can be removed from most pages using RevisionDelete. (Note that the previous method of deleting the page and undeleting unaffected revisions placed a large strain on the servers for pages with large histories, so RevisionDelete should be used here.)

Protecting deleted pages

Pages that are repeatedly re-created after deletion in unencyclopedic form or against policy can be protected from further re-creation. This practice is commonly known as "padlocking", salting the earth, or simply 'salting'. This is done by one of the following:

  • protecting the page as a redirect to another article,
  • deleting the page and protecting it (preferred).

Before it was possible to protect a page that did not exist, or was deleted, common practice was to transclude the article onto a page with cascading protection enabled, such as Wikipedia:Protected titles.

Notes

  1. ^ Mediawiki used to cite the content of the article in this manner when the summary was left empty, but it now leaves the summary blank.

See also