Wikipedia:Introduction to deletion process

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Welcome to the Wikipedia deletion process. This page is here to help familiarize you with some of the guidelines and policies relevant to deletion, and the process by which the community decides which articles to delete and which ones to keep.

Shortcuts:

What is deletion for?[edit]

Wikipedia is a work in progress. Articles are not expected to be perfect, but the central four Wikipedia content policies set up certain qualities that are expected in all articles. They are:

  • Neutral point of view – articles are expected to be written neutrally, representing views fairly and without bias. If an article is beyond help, it should be deleted, but try fixing the POV first.
  • Verifiability – articles should be based only on information published in reliable sources, and articles should cite those sources whenever possible.
  • No original research – articles should not present new theories, ideas, data, or analysis.
  • What Wikipedia is not – Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, but it is not a paper encyclopedia. It is not a dictionary, a soapbox, a crystal ball, a repository of links, or an indiscriminate collection of information.

Articles that don't conform to these policies can sometimes be improved to the point where they do conform. Articles that the community feels cannot improve, or are unlikely to improve, are often deleted.

What is deletion not for?[edit]

  • Articles that are in bad shape – these can be tagged for cleanup or attention, or improved through editing.
  • Articles we are not interested in – some topics are of interest only to some people, but since Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia, articles that interest some people should be kept.

How does the deletion process work?[edit]

There are three preferable ways in which articles can become deleted.

  • Speedy deletion: articles that don't meet certain minimum standards may be deleted by Wikipedia administrators without further debate.
  • Proposed deletion: for articles whose deletion is uncontroversial. Articles proposed for deletion are deleted in seven days if no one objects.
  • Articles for deletion: articles may be nominated for deletion by anyone. The community then has a chance to discuss the issue for about a week, and then a decision is made by an administrator as to the outcome.

Once an article has been deleted, if there are remaining issues, a debate may take place at deletion review. Pages that are not articles (such as categories or images) are usually deleted via a separate process, see Wikipedia:Deletion policy for more.

Deletion discussions[edit]

Deletion is often decided through discussion on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. This is an easy way to get involved with the deletion process, but there are a few things worth knowing. Most importantly, deletion is not decided by voting. Rather, the purpose of the discussions is to try to achieve a community consensus about whether the article in question should be deleted. When a consensus is reached, it will usually be respected by the closing administrator, but not always. If there is no consensus, the closing administrator will often default to keep the article.

Because the purpose is to establish a consensus among the community, contributions from newcomers are not always viewed as equally important. However, reasonable arguments are always welcome. The following are some of the common arguments in deletion discussions:

  • Verifiability: if an article is unverified, but verification seems possible, it may be worth keeping. However, articles with mainly unverifiable content should be deleted.
  • Original research: violates the No original research policy.
  • Advertisement: advertisement articles are often deleted; they are particularly problematic in terms of the neutral point of view policy.
  • Vanity: articles created by an editor about themselves are often deleted, as such articles may have unavoidable verifiability and neutrality issues.
  • Hoax: articles about false information don't belong: this is a verifiability problem taken one step further.
  • Notability: Wikipedia guidelines on minimal standards of importance exist for some types of topics, including biographies of living people, articles about music or musicians, companies and corporations, fictional topics, and articles about web-specific content. Generally speaking, notable subjects will be those for which sufficient sourcing is available, but there are exceptions in both directions (although, articles for which insufficient sourcing is available may need deletion even if they are on notable topics).

Advice for newcomers to deletion[edit]

  • Familiarise yourself with the policies and guidelines. Think of it as a way of learning what the community thinks about deletion.
  • Remember that deletion is a last resort. Deletion nominations rarely improve articles, and deletion should not be used as a way to improve an article, or a reaction to a bad article. It is appropriate for articles which cannot be improved.
  • Keep calm and civil. Good advice for any discussion.
  • Assume good faith. Remember that other editors may disagree with you, but may still be trying to help the encyclopedia.
  • Don't be afraid to participate. You are welcome!
  • Do research about the article before voting. The more you know, the better your decision will be, and the more useful your contribution will be to the debate.
  • Don't just vote, explain your reasoning. See WP:!VOTE.
  • Make relevant arguments. See this discussion of some arguments to avoid in deletion debates.

Speedy deletion[edit]

In some cases, a page may be so undesirable that it can be speedily deleted without a debate. There are strict Criteria for speedy deletion; if a page meets one of these criteria, it may be speedily deleted by an administrator. This is meant to be used in uncontroversial cases, but lack of controversy is not a requirement. The main reason articles are speedily deleted are for being extremely short on material or context, for being a recreation of deleted material, or for being an article about a real person or group of people that doesn't assert the importance of the subject.

Proposed deletion[edit]

Articles not meeting the criteria for speedy deletion should not be speedily deleted. On the other hand, deletion debates for articles that will surely be deleted without controversy are a waste of the community's time. For articles that fit in this middle ground, we have Proposed deletion. An article proposed for deletion will be deleted in seven days if no one objects. Proposed deletion should only be used for uncontroversial deletion nominations, it should not be used as a way of getting an article deleted without the community noticing.

Deletion review debates[edit]

Everything that is true of deletion debates is true of deletion review debates, but they are often even harder to resolve. Deletion review exists for two primary purposes: to review the decision of administrators in deleting an article (usually as the result of a debate), or to ask that a previously deleted article be allowed to be recreated.

How to nominate a page for deletion[edit]

  • To tag a page for speedy deletion (to get an administrator's attention in order to delete the page), add {{db}} to the top of the article. It is often a good idea to note the specific criterion being used. There are many reason-specific templates to use in doing this. See WP:CSD for a list. When tagging an article for speedy deletion, it is a good idea to put "speedy" in the edit summary.
  • To tag a page for proposed deletion, add {{subst:prod|reason}} to the top of an article (with "reason" replaced by the reason to delete). This will add the {{dated prod}} template, with the date filled in, to the top of the article. Put "prod" in the edit summary.
  • To nominate a page for deletion debate, see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion for instructions.

Some lingo and shortcuts[edit]

Policies[edit]

Guidelines[edit]

  • WP:BIO: the general notability guideline for biographies of people.
  • WP:WEB: the notability guideline for web-based content.
  • WP:MUSIC: the notability guideline for music and musical groups.
  • WP:CORP: the notability guideline for companies and corporations.
  • WP:AUTO, WP:VANITY: the guideline about vanity articles
  • WP:NFT: Wikipedia is not for things made up in school one day.
  • WP:N: notability.
  • WP:PROFTEST: the notability guideline for biographies of academics.

Non-guidelines[edit]

See also[edit]