Wikipedia:Field guide to proper speedy deletion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Speedy deletion is one of the more useful, necessary, and controversial policies available on Wikipedia. While our article creation rate is in the thousands daily, many articles, uploaded images, and other forms of content are simply not appropriate enough to stick around for a typical hearing. These articles fall under our speedy deletion criteria, which were reached by various levels of consensus, and intended to be followed rather rigidly. Thus, improper tagging of an article as a speedy candidate leaves more work for users patrolling the speedy deletion category, and improper deletion by administrators causes poor relations with other users, and often prolongs the situation by forcing a deletion review.

This page is intended to be a quick guide to understanding the speedy deletion criteria, and how to apply it properly.

General basics about speedy deletion[edit]

The policy is quite clear in usage – it is meant to be used in "limited circumstances," and is not the only option when approached. If the guitarist for a somewhat-well-known band is tagged for speedy deletion, consider merging the information to the band's article. If an article reads like an advertisement for a major company, consider cutting the article down to a stub-sized article instead of allowing a redlink to be created. Having second thoughts as you see an article? You can always bump it to a different criterion – articles for deletion if you feel it might be able to use more discussion, or proposed deletion if you don't think anyone will miss the content.

If you still feel that speedy deletion is right for you, here's a quick explanation of how the policy is structured:

  • The criteria for speedy deletion are divided into sections. First and foremost, the general criteria, which apply across all namespaces, and then one set of specific criteria for each namespace; Articles, images, etc.
    • Within each section are numbered criteria. As time progresses, some numbers are blended and merged together, but not replaced in order to keep the references consistent.

That's it! Thus, it allows for easy abbreviation when referring to them with experienced editors off-hand: "A7" refers to Articles – section 7. "G11" refers to General 11. Some editors are bothered by the use of abbreviations like that, so consider not using them, or, in a best-case scenario, using both the abbreviation and the specific rationalization so that everyone understands what criteria you're using.

A number of templates have also been created for some of the more typical occurrences. For instance, {{db-spam}} is typically used for spam articles. A full listing can be found at Category:Speedy_deletion_templates.

It is also strongly recommended that you leave a message with the article creator when nominating an article for speedy deletion. While the author can't remove the tag, they may be able to solve the problem or explain why the deletion would be improper with a {{hangon}} tag. Please be courteous – speedy deletion can be a tough process for some to swallow.

Using the criteria[edit]

The following are some clear explanations of the criteria with some examples of dos and don'ts.

General criteria[edit]

1. Patent nonsense[edit]

Further information: User:Balloonman/CSD G1 survey

The first general criterion seems simple on its face, but has historically been more confusing than it seems. The criterion states Patent nonsense and gibberish, an unsalvageably incoherent page with no meaningful content. This does not include: poor writing, partisan screeds, obscene remarks, vandalism, fictional material, material not in English, badly translated material, implausible theories, or hoaxes. Unfortunately, many users ignore the part beyond "no meaningful content."

Thus, an example of "patent nonsense" would include:

  • A page with a bunch of the following: "[[Media:Example.oggItalic text ==funny yeah!"'$^#%DG$']" (I've actually seen similar things to this)
  • A page that actually looks good, but then starts going into an incomprehensible drivel: "Following the second World War, Xenu hot dog mcgilicuddy." (I haven't seen this, but I wish I had).

The second part of this is where many users get confused. Often, new users will have poorly-formatted sections added to the end of an otherwise legitimate article, or may use much more flowerly and unnecessary language to get the point being made across. This is not patent nonsense. It may be inappropriate, it may be deleted anyway, but it doesn't fit this criterion, and calling a user's contributions "patent nonsense" when it clearly isn't is not a good way to forge a working relationship.

So, in short, a good rule of thumb is this: If you can't figure the text out because it's not in any language or is completely incomprehensible for reasons not involving education or knowledge ability, it is patent nonsense. If you have to think, even for a second, whether it's patent nonsense, it probably isn't.

Another frequent mistake is to use G1 as a carte blanche. G1 is not a replacement to delete material that falls under What Wikipedia is not or is otherwise unsuitable for inclusion but which is not covered by another criterion. It does not cover dictionary entries, made-up things or anything else listed as non-criteria.

2. Test pages[edit]

Often, some articles that aren't patent nonsense are test pages. Often, many of the people who create these pages then ask for the deletion themselves. Sometimes they even do it in the text of the article ("I didn't mean to do this, please delete it"). A test page will actively look like a test – it won't have any content that is actually an article, and will likely even give some indications that it was a test.

3. Pure vandalism[edit]

This is usually clear cut. Articles that simply have a photo of a penis transcluded on it, a page consisting entirely of "I LIKE POTATOES" (I've seen that, too, and it was funny), and the like – that's "pure vandalism." What many people make the mistake of is not checking the page history to see if there is a non-vandalized version available. Complex vandalism often takes place on low-profile articles, so assuming that an article you may not have heard of is simply created due to vandalism may be improper. For an example, see this page change on Jeremy Barnes. This page was seen as vandalism and speedy deleted as such, although a proper version existed in the history. If you're doing vandalism patrols, keep up the good work, but be careful of coherent content in the page histories.

4. Recreation of deleted material[edit]

This is pretty clear on its face: Recreation of deleted material. A copy, by any title, of a page that was deleted via Articles for deletion or another XfD process, provided that the copy is substantially identical to the deleted version and that any revisions made clearly do not address the reasons for which the page was deleted. This clause does not apply to content that has been "userfied", to content undeleted per undeletion policy, or if the prior deletions were proposed or speedy deletions, although in this last case, the previous speedy criterion, or other speedy deletion criteria, may apply. Again, however, the second sentence is often ignored – the only way that the deleted material can be removed through G4 is if the material was originally deleted through a consensus-based process. Thus, if someone wrote an article that stated "John Doe is a chef from Kansas City, Kansas," had it deleted for non-notability, and then it was recreated as "John Doe is a world-famous chef from Kansas City who won the Congressional Medal for Barbecue," it cannot be deleted as a G4.

Furthermore, if an article is brought to articles for deletion and deleted due to lack of sources indicating notability, the article does not fall under G4 if a new article featuring sources and indicating notability is created – it instead has to go through the AfD process.

If you do encounter people recreating content deleted through one of our processes, consider bringing it to deletion review, or suggesting to the user recreating the content to do so. It is highly probable that new users, especially, are unaware that we have a process for restoration of material inappropriate for inclusion at Wikipedia.

5. Content from banned users[edit]

The idea behind banning a user is that none of their contributions are welcome at Wikipedia, regardless of the quality. There is nothing stopping a user in good standing from reinstating good edits and articles to stand behind them, but banned users are not allowed to contribute to the project.

It is important to note that this only applies to edits made after their ban. If a user has 10,000 edits and then gets banned, the first 10,000 edits that user makes do not fall under this criterion, but anything done by ban avoidance beyond that are. If a blocked user created George Washington before his ban, we wouldn't delete that article.

6. Housekeeping[edit]

Regular users can't move pages over other pages with page histories. This simply allows administrators to do so. Most users never encounter situations like this. Likewise, this criterion is also used for temporary deletions by administrators to sort out confused page histories. This criterion also allows disambiguation pages to be deleted if they only disambiguate one or no articles; the common ground between deletions under this criterion is that they're all noncontroversial maintenance tasks that don't actually remove information.

7. Author requests[edit]

So you're creating an article, and then you figure out that another page exists with similar, better content (though a redirect should often be used in this case, not deletion). Or you're making a page on a obscure historical figure, and decide that there's not enough material to create an article with. As long as no one else has made any substantial changes to your text, you can request a deletion through this criterion.

Users making a request for a page to be deleted do not have to do so by posting a speedy deletion tag themselves: affirming the desire to have the page deleted, or blanking the page can be considered an implicit request. Checking the page history is essential for this criterion (so you can be sure the right person made the request).

8. Talk pages of deleted content[edit]

As long as the article's talk page doesn't predate articles for deletion (when deletion discussions took place on article talk pages as opposed to a centralized location), talk pages of deleted articles generally get deleted. This only generally concerns article space and Wikipedia:-space pages, and not user pages, nor talk archives. If there's discussion about how to recreate an article properly on the page, consider suggesting to the users on that page to head to deletion review, where such discussions are generally expected.

9. Office Actions.[edit]

Wikipedia:Office actions. The Wikimedia Foundation office can delete articles for reasons not immediately explained to the rest of the project. The actions are clearly marked and irreversible without input from the Office itself. This does not concern most editors.

10. Attack pages[edit]

Essentially, pages that simply assert a blatant attack ("Jeff is a humongous tool"), or pages which are unbalanced toward a negative tone without sourcing and without a better version in the history (similar to the vandalism example above), can be deleted under this criterion. This is for legal reasons, because the Foundation would prefer to not get sued.

If the article has potentially salvageable text but needs more sourcing or a different balance, consider stubbing the article instead. Jimbo has done this a few times. [1][2] If an article history is deleted, the WP:FDL (Wikipedia's license) doesn't allow us to use the old text again as the basis for an improved, sourced article, unless all previous contributors agree.

11. Blatant promotion[edit]

Following a call to action by then-Foundation lawyer User:BradPatrick, this was formed to provide the ability to remove articles that were nothing but spam. This is one of the most misunderstood speedy deletion criteria we have, so it's important to know how to use it properly.

  • Blatant spam is unquestionable, unsalvageable marketing or promotion. It may only use marketing or self-promotional language, it may use the first person a lot, it may provide phone numbers or names of salespeople, it may even have requests that no one else edit the page without the consent of the firm behind it. Everyone agrees that these are articles that do not belong here.
  • Blatant spam is not articles with a questionable tone ("Computer Solutions, Inc is a leader in providing technology solutions to consumers in the United States. Formed in 1994, it is a Forbes top pick..."), or articles about companies that are not promotional in nature (such as brands of cookies).

Essentially, if you believe the article is salvageable, it is not blatant spam. Period. If it's been through a consensus process already, it's been vetted and is not blatant spam. Please be careful using this criterion.

Note that if an article looks the type of text you would expect to find in a "about us" section on a company webpage, then chances are that it is just that. Run a Google check on part of the text, and that will usually reveal if it is a plain copy. Typically, companies don't release their content under a workable license, so submissions like this are considered copyright violations and are usually deletable by the next criterion.

This criterion also covers promotion of opinions.

12. Copyright infringement[edit]

For clear copyright infringement – watermarked photos, cut-and-paste copies of websites that do not use a proper license, pages from a book. This, again, is to protect against lawsuits – copyright litigation can be very pricey. If there's a question as to whether it's infringing (it looks like a copyright violation, but you can't prove it), bring the issue to Wikipedia:Copyright problems (or Wikipedia:Possibly unfree images), which is better equipped to handle the issue. Always try to verify that you are not looking at a Wikipedia mirror or page that is copying Wikipedia such as Answers.com. Since articles on Wikipedia are published under the GFDL, other sites can copy Wikipedia word by word so long as they acknowledge the Wikipedia editors who worked on the article as the source.

Articles[edit]

Articles are, by far, the most likely to fall under a speedy deletion criterion. Many of these are very controversial, new criteria are rarely approved, and it is expected that these are followed as closely as possible. Because of the wider use, there's also wider misuse, and it's important to know when a criterion actually applies, or it will only cause problems.

1. Context[edit]

The text of the criterion is "Very short articles providing little or no context." Context is not the same as content.

  • Examples lacking enough context: "He likes to play rugby." "Fourth track from the album." "Complete badass from Washington high."
  • Examples of short articles with context: "Joe, Montana is a small town located in rural Montana." "1984 is a book by George Orwell."

Note the difference – the first examples offer nothing (or too little) for anyone to build off of, it lacks any context to expand upon, while the latter examples, short as they are, clearly and specifically identify their topic, although the articles are hardly filled with information. If you can read the article and understand what it's about, it does not fit this criterion. If you can figure out where to go to get more information, there is context, and this criterion does not apply.

A user should wait 10 minutes after page creation before applying this criterion to the page.

2. Foreign language articles.[edit]

You're reading this on the English Wikipedia project. If the article is in French, and it exists on the French project, you can tag it for speedy deletion. If not, we have translation teams who will notice this via using {{notenglish}}. This, of course, applies to any non-English language.

3. No content whatsoever.[edit]

"No content" means "No content." It doesn't mean "some content." It doesn't mean "it's a short article with nothing I consider of worth." It means "no content." Thus, an article with just an external link or a link to another article lacks actual content. An article that says "Pikachu is a Pokemon" is not no content. This is simple, but often misused. Be sure to check the page history: a blank or empty article may have previous versions that aren't empty. If the article is empty because it was blanked by the creator and sole editor, it may be more appropriate to delete the page under G7 (author request), as this better captures the reasoning.

A user should wait 10 minutes after page creation before applying this criterion to the page.

5. Transwikied articles[edit]

Some articles, following an articles for deletion discussion, are Transwikied, which means that the contents are sent to another project. We can then speedy delete articles that have gone through this process, but not before then. Don't take what you believe to be a dictionary definition, send it to Wiktionary, and then tag it for speedy deletion – it has to go through one of the relevant processes first to qualify.

7. Unremarkable content[edit]

A7 is considered by some to be the most misused criterion. Controversial in implementation, proponents believe that it is essential to the working of the project, opponents point to the misuse and question the actual consensus for the criterion. Regardless, it exists, and is very specific:

Unremarkable people, groups, companies, web content, and events. An article about a real person, individual animal(s), organization (for example, a band, club, or company, not including educational institutions), or web content that does not indicate why its subject is important or significant. This is distinct from verifiability and reliability of sources, and is a lower standard than notability. This criterion applies only to articles about web content and to articles about people, organizations, and individual animals themselves, not to articles about their books, albums, software, or other creative works. This criterion does not apply to species of animals, only to individual animal(s). The criterion does not apply to any article that makes any credible claim of significance or importance even if the claim is not supported by a reliable source or does not qualify on Wikipedia's notability guidelines. The criterion does apply if the claim of significance or importance given is not credible. If the claim's credibility is unclear, you can improve the article yourself, propose deletion, or list the article at articles for deletion.

The only articles that qualify under this criterion are people, groups, companies, animals and web content.
Articles about these subjects, for example, do not qualify for A7 :

  • Schools
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Albums
  • Computer software
  • Computer games
  • Instructions how to do or make something
  • Services or manufactured products

Though they may be speedily deletable under other criteria.

Furthermore, an assertion of importance or significance can often be derived, but is not explicitly tied to, the various guidelines for notability concerning people, musicians, groups, and web content. For instance, the music criterion notes that a band who has toured nationally is considered notable, so if an article states that "The Stuffed Bunnies are an electroclash band that toured the United States," it doesn't qualify as an A7. Furthermore, assertions that a person is widely noted, that a company is the largest provider of something, or a website was featured on television are all valid assertions and do not qualify as A7.

If you run into an article about a member of a notable group, such as a company or band, but you believe that the subject is not individually notable, consider merging or redirecting the biography into the group's article. If a user has created an article on himself or herself (e.g. user "Ricky Woo" creates an article titled "Ricky Woo"), the person might have be trying to create a userpage, and you could consider moving it to userspace.

A good rule of thumb: if there is content in an article subject that qualifies for A7 that looks like it may have importance, don't tag it for deletion. Truly unimportant subjects will be deleted through a more valid and consensus-driven process. Always keep in mind how controversial this is – if it's misused too much, people may get fed up and pressure will develop for the criterion to disappear.

Note: The lack of sources alone is not a reason for lack of notability. Check for sources before you tag.

9. Unremarkable musical recording[edit]

This one is simple: If there is an article for a musical recording (meaning an album, single, DVD, etc.) and the artist's article is non-existent (whether it was never there or deleted) and the article does not indicate why its subject is important or significant then the musical recording can be deleted via A9.

Redirects[edit]

Redirects are often deleted for any number of reasons. There is a process, redirects for deletion, but some often come up in speedy discussions anyway.

2. Redirects to the Talk:, User: or User talk: namespace from the article space[edit]

We don't use article space to redirect to talk pages or userpage content. It's more to make sure that readers know the difference between encyclopedia content and meta content. The one major exception is MOS-style redirects. These are commonly used as a shortcut to various Wikipedia-space articles (i.e. MOS:IMAGES redirects to Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Images), and we allow those for ease of navigation.

3. Redirects of unlikely typos[edit]

Keep in mind – if a redirect exists that seems implausible, maybe it's not as implausible as you thought. Although, redirecting Vo Vaughn to Mo Vaughn is probably not a good idea, and doesn't benefit anything, so we tend to speedy delete those.

Images[edit]

Images are also possibilities for speedy deletion. Copyright, especially, on images is a big deal, and Wikipedia is stricter than most in terms of fair use, so many of the image criteria reflect this.

1. Redundant[edit]

If we have two of the same image, why not get rid of one? No actual content is lost, so there's no need to discuss it in this case. Make sure that the item you want to keep has all the proper licensing information and that you delete the duplicate and not the original unless it was reuploaded because of a typo.

2. Corrupt or empty image[edit]

Some uploads don't work. If they don't, we get rid of them, although there are ways to test it within the framework of what Wikipedia is run off of.

3. Improper license[edit]

In order for an image to be used on Wikipedia, it must have the proper licence. There are a lot of complex licenses, so you may need to check to see if the license is truly improper before speedy deleting the article. If you're questioning it, err on the side of caution and nominate it for deletion.

4. Lack of licensing information[edit]

Similar to above – if it doesn't have licensing information, it should be removed for the protection of the project. If you know the license, you can add it, but never assume. Keep in mind, the "speedy" portion of this only kicks in after the image has been tagged with a deletion notice for 7 days, to allow for investigation.

5. Unused unfree copyrighted images[edit]

Wikipedia does allow fair use under some circumstances. One of them is that the image must actually be used in an article. If a fair use image isn't being used, it can be deleted. If you can find a use for the image, then feel free to do so. As in criterion 4, the image must be tagged with a notice for 7 days.

6. Missing fair-use rationale[edit]

Along the same lines as #5, if you do use a fair use image, make sure you explain where it's from and why you're using it. Also, if you encounter one without a rationale, you can add one as opposed to deleting the image if you feel the image adds something to the article...

7. Invalid fair-use claim[edit]

...but don't use an improper fair use claim, or it'll still get deleted. You can always fix this, too. As before, 7 days tagging please. The exception to this is if the image has a fair use tag that's completely off base (like an image of a CD cover tagged as a software screenshot); these can go immediately.

8. Images available as bit-for-bit identical copies on the Wikimedia Commons[edit]

This gets complicated because of licensing issues, but the quick answer is that if an image is a duplicate at Wikimedia Commons, we'd prefer to keep the image at Commons so any Wikimedia project can use it. Feel free to tag these if you know that the image is a duplicate, but be careful when deleting them to make sure that all the licensing issues are met.

Categories[edit]

Categories are functions that help the navigation of the site. Most deletion discussion of categories occur at categories for deletion, but some still qualify for speedy.

1. Empty categories[edit]

If a category has been empty for four days, it can be speedy deleted. Some investigation may be necessary if the category has existed for a while, because articles come and go from categories rather quickly. If it's being discussed at categories for deletion, however, it does not qualify – the discussion may have resulted in a temporary depopulation of the category.

2. Speedy renaming[edit]

As there's no real easy way to move categories, they instead have to be renamed. If it meets the standard for renaming, the old category can be speedy deleted after the renaming has been completed.

3. Template categories[edit]

At some times, a category will be populated due to the existence of a template with the category attached. If that template is deleted, the corresponding category can be deleted as well.

Userpages[edit]

Some user pages qualify for speedy deletion. It is recommended that if you're requesting a deletion of a userpage that isn't yours, proposed deletion or miscellany for deletion may be a better choice, but some user pages have speedy criteria as well.

1. User request[edit]

Wikipedians are given great leeway in how to use userspace. Thus, you have the authority to delete most of what's in your userspace upon request. However, talk pages with discussion pertinent to the running of the project or other subpages with similar information cannot be speedy deleted.

2. Userpages of non-existent users[edit]

User:/ is not a real user, but if someone set up a userpage for /, it can be speedily deleted. The way to tell whether a user exists or not is to go to the user's page, and see if there's a "User contributions" link in the toolbox. If there isn't, the user doesn't exist, so any content on the userpage can be speedy deleted.

3. Fair use galleries[edit]

As part of our fair use policies, images that are fair use cannot be used outside of article-space. So if you have a fair use gallery in your userspace, you won't for much longer.

Templates[edit]

There used to be a T1 criterion, for "divisive" templates. It was removed in February 2009. See Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2009 February 3 and pages linked there.

2. Misrepresentation of policy[edit]

This is for templates that say something is Wikipedia policy when it is not. The most common case is templates that purport to be speedy deletion templates but that do not accurately reflect any of the current speedy deletion criteria.

3. Duplication and hardcoded instances.[edit]

This is for templates that are not currently being used in any sensible way, and that duplicate an existing template, or are an instance of an existing template with some parameters pre-filled in (hardcoded). If you are at all unsure about these, take them to WP:TFD instead.

Portals[edit]

For more information on portals, see Wikipedia:Portals. Some editors may never encounter portals on Wikipedia, but those can also be speedily deleted if certain criteria are met.

2. Underpopulated portals[edit]

Portals are required to have a certain amount of non-stub articles to warrant use of the portal. See the portal guidelines for more information on exactly what is required, but if the portal doesn't meet the criteria, it can be speedy deleted.

Related pages[edit]

See also[edit]