Wikipedia:Deletion process

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For instructions on nominating a page for deletion, please refer to the deletion policy or the Guide to deletion.

The deletion process is the Wikipedia process involved in implementing and recording the community's decisions to delete or keep pages and media.

Wikipedia has three main methods of deleting pages. A page might qualify for speedy deletion if it meets certain specific criteria, and proposed deletion may be used to suggest that an article is an uncontroversial candidate for deletion. If not, then a deletion discussion must be held in order to form a consensus to delete a page. In general, administrators are responsible for closing these discussions; however, non-administrators in good standing may close them under specific conditions (see the section 'Non-administrators closing discussions').

Note: Office actions and declarations from the Wikimedia Foundation Board or the system administrators, particularly concerning copyright, legal issues, or server load, may take priority over community consensus.

Speedy deletion

The speedy deletion process applies to pages which meet at least one of the criteria for speedy deletion, which specify the only cases in which administrators have broad consensus support to, at their discretion, bypass deletion discussion and immediately delete Wikipedia pages or media.

Before deleting a page through the speedy deletion process, verify that it meets at least one of the criteria for speedy deletion, check the page history to assess whether it would instead be possible to revert and salvage a previous version and to determine whether there was a cut-and-paste move involved, and search for other information which may impact the need or reason for deletion:

  • The initial edit summary may have information about the source of or reason for the page.
  • The talk page may refer to previous deletion discussions or have ongoing discussion relevant to including the page.
  • The page log may have information about previous deletions that could warrant SALTing the page or keeping it.
  • WhatLinksHere may show that the page is an oft-referred part of the encyclopedia, or may show other similar pages that warrant deletion. For pages that should not be recreated, incoming links in other pages (except in discussions, archives and tracking pages) should be removed.

If a page is not appropriate for speedy deletion, the page must be edited to remove the speedy deletion tag—this will, in turn, remove the page from Category:Candidates for speedy deletion. Consider notifying the editor who suggested deletion.

When deleting a page through the speedy deletion process, specify the reason for deletion in the deletion summary so that it will be recorded into the deletion log. Quoting page content in the deletion summary may be helpful, but must not be done for attack content or copyrighted text. In some cases, it would be appropriate to notify the page's creator of the deletion.

Proposed deletion

The proposed deletion process applies to articles that do not meet the stringent criteria for speedy deletion, but for which it is believed that deletion would be uncontroversial. For instructions on handling articles that have been proposed for deletion, see Wikipedia:Proposed deletion#Deletion.

Deletion discussions

The deletion discussion processes apply to pages which are formally nominated for deletion through an appropriate deletion discussion venue. Although the steps for closing deletion discussions vary from one deletion discussion venue to another, a few general principles apply at all venues.

Consensus

Consensus is formed through the careful consideration, dissection and eventual synthesis of each side's arguments, and should not be calculated solely by the balance of votes.

Outcomes should reflect the rough consensus reached in the deletion discussion and community consensus on a wider scale. (While consensus can change, consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale.)

If inappropriate canvassing has taken place, evaluate whether it influenced the outcome of the discussion in a way that compromised the standard consensus-building process.

Keep and Delete

A deletion discussion may end with one of a number of distinct outcomes, with certain outcomes being more common at certain deletion discussion venues. However, three outcomes are common to all venues: keep, delete and no consensus.

A keep outcome reflects a rough consensus to retain (i.e. not delete) a page, though not necessarily in its current form. To implement a 'keep' outcome: close the deletion discussion as 'keep'; edit the page to remove the deletion notice; and record the outcome on the page's talk page using one of several venue-specific templates (see 'Step-by-step instructions' for details).

A delete outcome reflects a rough consensus to remove (i.e. not retain) a page, including its entire revision history. To implement a 'delete' outcome: close the deletion discussion as 'delete'; delete the page, and link to the deletion discussion in the deletion summary; and, if the page should not be recreated, remove incoming links in other pages (except in discussions, archives and tracking pages).

A no consensus outcome reflects the lack of a rough consensus for any one particular action. To implement a 'no consensus' outcome: close the deletion discussion as 'no consensus'; edit the page to remove the deletion notice; and record the outcome on the page's talk page using one of several venue-specific templates (see 'Step-by-step instructions' for details).

Note: Deletion discussions concerning biographies of living persons who are relatively unknown, non-public figures, where the subject has requested deletion and there is no rough consensus to keep, may be closed as 'delete' per the deletion policy.

Procedural closure

In certain situations, a deletion discussion may require a "procedural closure"—a null outcome based on the circumstances of the deletion nomination rather than the merits of the page being discussed. Situations where a procedural closure may be appropriate include:

  • The nominated page was not tagged with a corresponding deletion notice. The best course of action is to add the tag and note that you've done so - the time you place the tag would then be treated as the nomination time.
  • The nominated page is currently linked from the Main Page. (If there are legitimate concerns, please use Wikipedia:Main Page/Errors to have the link removed before nominating the article.)
  • A subsequent deletion discussion which immediately challenges the outcome of the prior deletion discussion, where a deletion review clearly would be more appropriate. List it at deletion review on the nominator's behalf first, then close the deletion discussion.
  • The deletion discussion is listed at the incorrect venue, e.g., a discussion for a file that is hosted on Commons, or for a category listed at Redirects for discussion. This includes discussions that the chosen venue is unable to address.
    • When doing such a close, first list the topic at the correct venue. Then, close the discussion and provide a link to the new discussion. Never close a discussion as a wrong venue without opening a discussion at an appropriate one.

A deletion discussion that is poorly formatted should not be closed for this reason alone, in order to avoid biting new users. Instead, fix it.

Early closure

In general, deletion discussions should remain open for at least seven days to allow interested editors adequate time to participate. However, under certain circumstances, discussions may be closed prior to the seven-day timeframe.

Closers should apply good judgment before speedily closing a discussion, since often it is best to allow the discussion to continue for the entirety of the seven-day period.

Withdrawn nomination
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The nominator may withdraw the nomination at any time. However, if subsequent editors have added substantive comments in good faith, the discussion should not be speedily closed. A nomination should not be withdrawn in order to try to short-circuit an ongoing discussion.

Speedy keep

A "speedy keep" outcome is appropriate when the nomination unquestionably is an attempt to vandalize or to otherwise create disruption. For example:

  • Nominations which are clearly an attempt to end an editing dispute through deletion (possibly in an attempt to game the system), when dispute resolution would be a more appropriate course.
  • Nominations which are made solely to provide a forum for disruption (this includes editor harassment).
  • The nominated page is a policy or guideline. The deletion process is not a forum for policy concerns.
  • Frivolous or vexatious nominations (recently featured articles, for example). This includes re-nominating the same page with the same arguments immediately after they were strongly rejected in a recently closed deletion discussion.
  • Nominations which are so erroneous that they indicate that the nominator has not even read the article in question.
  • The nominator is banned, so their edits are not to be retained. In that case, the nominated page is speedily kept while the nomination can be tagged with {{db-g5}} and speedily deleted as a banned contribution. However, if subsequent editors have added substantive comments in good faith, the nomination should not be speedily closed (though the nominator's opinion will be discounted in the closure decision).
Speedy delete
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When the nominated page unambiguously falls under at least one of the criteria for speedy deletion, particularly criterion G10 (attack page) or criterion G12 (copyright violation), it is not necessary to wait until the end of the discussion period.

Snowball clause

When the outcome of the deletion discussion is almost certain, such that there is not a "snowball's chance in hell" that the outcome will be anything other than what is expected.

Note: The "snowball clause" exists to avoid process for the sake of process, and should not be invoked in situations where a particular outcome is merely "likely" or "highly likely", or where there is genuine and reasoned disagreement.

No quorum

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If a nomination has received no comments from any editor besides the nominator (or few in the case of AfDs), the discussion may be closed at the closer's discretion and best judgment. Common options include, but are not limited to:

  • relisting the discussion (see the section 'Relisting discussions');
  • closing as "no consensus" with no prejudice against speedy renomination (NPASR); and
  • closing in favour of the nominator's stated proposal.
  • Soft deletion is a special kind of deletion often used after an articles for deletion discussion. If a deletion discussion sees very little discussion even after being relisted several times, the administrator can close the discussion as soft delete and delete the page. However, in this case, the article can be restored for any reason on request. If your article was soft-deleted, you can request it be restored at Requests for undeletion.

Other outcomes

Other possible outcomes include, but are not limited to:

  • Disambiguate - Used for articles and redirects. If the discussion concludes that the title can refer to many topics, it can be changed to a disambiguation page to list all of them.
  • Incubate - Used at articles for deletion. This changes the article into a draft to be improved so that it meets inclusion requirements.
  • Delete but allow undeleting with an appropriate licence - Used for files. If a file is only deleted due to copyright issues, it could be re-uploaded if these issues are resolved
  • Listify - Used for categories. This means to delete the category and create a list article instead.
  • Merge - Used for articles, categories and templates. This combines two separate pages into a single page. Merge votes should be specific and clear. If you wish to merge templates or categories, use the deletion discussions. If you wish to merge articles, do not use a deletion discussion, but instead discuss it on the talk page.
  • Redirect - Used for articles and templates and sometimes other pages. This would be used if the page has no unique and usable content, but information about the topic is found in another article.
  • Rename - Used only for categories, where deletion is required to change the name. Other pages may be renamed without deletion by using the move function.
  • Retarget - Used for redirects. This means that the redirect should lead to a different page.
  • Userfy - Used for articles, templates and miscellaneous pages. This would move the page into the creator's userspace so that they may make improvements. If Wikipedia essays are nominated, they will sometimes be moved to userspace if they are found to violate policies or guidelines.

Closing discussions

Discussions are usually closed after seven days. If there is a lack of comments, or the action to take is unclear, the discussion may be relisted for an addition seven days. Usually, both closing and relisting are administrator actions.

Relisting discussions

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The intent of the deletion process is to attempt to determine consensus on whether an article should be deleted.

However, if at the end of the initial seven-day period, the discussion has only a few participants (including the nominator), and/or it seems to be lacking arguments based on policy, it may be appropriate for the closer to relist it, to solicit further discussion to determine consensus. A relisted discussion may be closed once consensus is determined without necessarily waiting a further seven days.

That said, relisting should not be a substitute for a "no consensus" closure. If the closer feels there has been substantive debate, disparate opinions supported by policy have been expressed, and consensus has not been achieved, a no-consensus close may be preferable.

Relisting debates repeatedly in the hope of getting sufficient participation is not recommended, and while having a deletion notice on a page is not harmful, its presence over several weeks can become disheartening for its editors. Therefore, in general, debates should not be relisted more than twice. Users relisting a debate for a third (or further) time, or relisting a debate with a substantial number of commenters, should write a short explanation (in addition to the {{relist}} template) on why they did not consider the debate sufficient.

When relisting a discussion, it should be removed from the log for its original date (this does not apply at Categories for discussion) and moved to the current date's log where the discussion will continue. Scripts such as User:Mr.Z-man/closeAFD automate the process. The reasoning behind relisting may be indicated in the {{relist}} template as well.

Non-administrators closing discussions

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Further information: Wikipedia:Non-admin closure

In general, administrators are responsible for closing deletion discussions. However, at times the many discussion venues become backlogged. Editors in good standing who are not administrators may close deletion discussions, with the following provisions:

  • Deletion discussions must be decided in accordance with consensus and taking account of Wikipedia policies and guidelines. If you are not familiar with deletion policy or the workings of deletion discussions, please avoid closing discussions.
  • Non-administrators should not close discussions in which they lack the technical ability to act upon the outcome.
  • Close calls and controversial decisions are better left to an administrator.
  • In cases where an administrator has deleted a page, including by speedy deletion, but forgot to close the discussion, anyone may close the discussion provided that the administrator's name and deletion summary are included in the closing rationale.
  • Closing discussions in which you have offered an opinion or for a page in which you have a vested interest (i.e. a page that you have edited heavily) should be avoided. The sole exception is if you are closing your own withdrawn nomination as a speedy keep and all other viewpoints expressed were for keep as well.

Non-administrators closing deletion discussions are recommended to disclose their status in the closing decision. Decisions are subject to review and may be reopened by any administrator. If this happens, take it only as a sign that the decision was not as obvious as you thought.

Step-by-step instructions

Articles for deletion page

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Further information: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion

For instructions on closing Articles for deletion (AfD) discussions, see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Administrator instructions.

Categories for discussion page

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For instructions on closing Categories for discussion (CfD) discussions, see Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Administrator instructions.

Files for deletion page

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Further information: Wikipedia:Files for deletion

For instructions on closing Files for deletion (FfD) discussions, see Wikipedia:Files for deletion/Administrator instructions.

Possibly unfree files page

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Further information: Wikipedia:Possibly unfree files

For instructions on closing Possibly unfree files (PuF) discussions, see Wikipedia:Possibly unfree files/Administrator instructions.

Miscellany for deletion page

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For instructions on closing Miscellany for deletion (MfD) discussions, see Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Administrator instructions.

Redirects for discussion page

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For instructions on closing Redirects for discussion (RfD) discussions, see Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Administrator instructions.

Templates for discussion page

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For instructions on closing Templates for discussion (TfD) discussions, see Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Administrator instructions.

Deletion review

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Further information: Wikipedia:Deletion review

For instructions on closing Deletion review (DRV) discussions, see Wikipedia:Deletion review/Administrator instructions.

Special situations

Transwiki

If consensus indicates a transwiki should take place, but you do not want to complete the transwiki process immediately:

  1. Add a new entry to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Old/Transwiki.
  2. Add the appropriate tag to the article:

Pages with many revisions

The deletion of pages with long histories may impact server performance. As a precaution, therefore, deletions of pages with more than 5,000 revisions require the special "bigdelete" user right, which administrators do not have. Such deletions can be requested of stewards at meta:Steward requests/Miscellaneous.

Search all deletion discussions

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Note: to limit search to only title of the page, enter search term preceded with intitle: example, to search for the word battleships in the full text, just enter:

battleships

to search for battleships specifically in the title of the page, enter:

intitle:battleships

to search for navy in the full text, but battleships specifically in the title, enter:

navy intitle:battleships

See also