Wikipedia:List of policies and guidelines to cite in deletion debates

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About this page[edit]

This is a list of existing policies that can be used either to support a deletion proposal (prod) or nomination, or in an attempt to prevent deletion in an existing proposal.

This is not a place to create new policies, or to amend existing ones. Edits to this list are limited to adding those not previously listed, removing those that have been revoked, updating those that have been amended, or modifying the language, style, or other details in the manner in which this has been written.

List of policies and guidelines[edit]

Favoring deletion[edit]

The following is a list of policies and guidelines that can be used for making one's case in proposing a page for deletion. Please note that:

  1. Prod and WP:AfD are only suitable if an entire page has one of these issues and cannot likely be improved. If only part of a page has such an issue, and the remainder does not, only that section should be tagged and/or removed.
  2. Criteria for speedy deletion are not listed here; they are listed on that page.
  3. Before proposing a page for deletion, see WP:BEFORE for alternatives.
  4. For reasons to delete a category, see Wikipedia:Overcategorization.
  5. For reasons to delete an image or file, see Wikipedia:Files for deletion.
  6. For reasons to delete a redirect, see WP:R#DELETE.
  7. For reasons to delete a template, see Wikipedia:Templates for deletion#Reasons to delete a template
Policy/Guideline name Shortcuts Summary
Advertising WP:NOTADVERTISING Articles that advertise. If advertising is blatant, can be marked as {{db-spam}}. If article can be salvaged by changing writing style, should be marked {{ad}}.
Case study, not a WP:NOTCASE Articles examining the relationship between factor A and factor B when not found in any sources
Content forks WP:CFORK
WP:COATRACK
WP:POVFORK
Subjects split into multiple articles so each can advocate a different stance on the subject
Crystal ball WP:CRYSTAL
WP:FUTURE
The showcasing of unreferenced planned events, products, or releases
Directory WP:NOTDIRECTORY
WP:NOTDIR
The listing of directory-like information, particularly external or totally unlinked
Dictionary entries WP:NOTDICDEF for listing on WP:NOT
WP:NAD for full page
*Pages that exclusively define the title
*Lists of dictionary entries, definitions, or slang or jargon guides
External links WP:NOTLINK Collections of external links not providing relevant information to a notable subject
Forums WP:NOTFORUM
WP:NOTAFORUM
WP:NOT#CHAT
Forums or chats (other than discussions on improving the encyclopedia itself)
Guides WP:NOTGUIDE Pages providing guide-like information
How-to WP:HOWTO
WP:NOTHOW
WP:NOTHOWTO
Pages providing how-to instructions, other than how to edit Wikipedia in project space. (Please note that many articles with how-to content can be modified to encyclopedia style. It may be more appropriate simply to place a {{howto}} tag in these situations.)
Internal links WP:LINKFARM Exclusive collections of internal links, except for allowable lists and disambiguation pages
Journalism WP:NOT#JOURNALISM First-hand accounts of breaking news
Lyrics WP:NOT#LYRICS Pages exclusively providing lyrics to songs
Neologisms WP:NEO Articles about newly-coined words
Neutrality (unfixable) WP:NPOV Where the nature of the article is such to make it inherently non-neutral.
News WP:NOT#NEWSPAPER Routine news coverage
Notability, general guideline WP:GNG General requirements for a subject to be notable
Notability, not temporary WP:NTEMP
WP:SBST
Temporary, brief, short-lived coverage of a subject in reliable sources
Notability, verifiable evidence required WP:NRVE Notability requires that verifiable evidence be provided
Off-topic WP:COATRACK Where an article, ostensibly on one topic, actually is a content fork of another.
One event WP:ONEEVENT
WP:BLP1E
Subjects receiving coverage for a single event
Opinions WP:NOTOPINION The publishing of one's personal opinions
Original research WP:OR
WP:NOR
The publishing of writings or interpretations that have not previously been published
Plots WP:PLOT Plot-only articles (if no sources exist to expand the article further, such as reviews or sourced analysis)
Promotion WP:PROMOTION Articles Promoting a cause
Propaganda, advocacy, and recruitment WP:NOTADVOCATE The promotion of a subject
Scandals WP:NOTSCANDAL Scandals or gossip
Scientific journal, not a WP:NOT PAPER
WP:NOT PAPERS
Information written in the style of a scientific journal
Self-promotion WP:PROMOTION Articles about oneself (autobiographies) or that promote oneself or one's cause
Soapbox, not a WP:SOAP
WP:NOTSOAPBOX
Propaganda or advertising
Statistics, Wikipedia is not for WP:NOT#STATS Excessive listing of statistics or the exclusive use of statistics to source an article
Synthesis WP:SYN
WP:SYNTH
WP:SYNTHESIS
A conclusion put together based on if A is true, and B is true, then C must be true when this is not sourced
Textbook, not a WP:NOTTEXTBOOK Information written purely to teach subject matter
Things made up in one day, not for WP:NFT
WP:MADEUP
Creations of an individual, group, or community that have not been formally published
Travel guide, not a WP:NOTTRAVEL Information written to aid the traveler

Favoring keeping or merging[edit]

The following are a list of inclusion guidelines that may be useful to help in keeping an article:

  1. Most of the guidelines listed describe reasons why a subject is worthy of inclusion. While failure to meet one of these guidelines can be used to support a deletion case, this can be negated if the subject meets the inclusion guidelines under another.
  2. A deletion case may also be negated by arguing that the policy/guideline cited in favor of deletion is incorrect or not applicable given the circumstances, providing sources (when the article lacks them), or by making other changes to the article to address the issue.
  3. See Wikipedia:Arguments to make in deletion discussions for more possible arguments to make your case.
Policy/guideline name Shortcuts Summary
Academics WP:ACADEMIC
WP:TEACHER
WP:PROFESSOR
Notability requirements for people based on academic achievements
Albums WP:NALBUMS When albums can have standalone articles or when they must be mentioned in the article about the artist
Artists WP:ARTIST Notability requirements for artists
Athletes WP:ATHLETE Notability requirements for athletes
Authors WP:AUTHOR Notability requirements for authors
Bands WP:BAND Notability requirements for bands
Biographies WP:BIO
WP:PEOPLE
Notability requirements for people to have articles
Books WP:BK Notability requirements for books to have standalone articles, and when they must be mentioned in the article about the author
Clubs WP:CLUB Notability requirements for clubs and non-commercial organizations
Companies WP:COMPANY
WP:CORP
Notability requirements for companies, commercial enterprises, and other for-profit businesses
Composers WP:COMPOSER Notability requirements for composers
Creative professionals WP:CREATIVE Notability requirements for creative professionals
Criminal acts WP:N/CA Notability guidelines for criminal acts
Diplomats WP:DIPLOMAT Notability requirements for diplomats
Entertainers WP:ENTERTAINER
WP:ENT
Notability requirements for entertainers
Films WP:NOTFILM
WP:NF
Notability requirements for films
Films, future WP:NFF Notability requirements for future films
Music WP:MUSIC Notability requirements for music
Notability, general guideline WP:GNG General requirements for a subject to be notable
Numbers WP:NUMBER Notability requirements for articles about numbers
Organizations WP:ORG Notability requirements for non-profit organizations
People WP:BIO
WP:PEOPLE
Notability requirements for people
Politicians WP:POLITICIANS Notability requirements for politicians
Pornographic actors WP:PORNBIO
WP:PORNSTAR
Notability requirements for pornographic actors
Products WP:PRODUCT Notability requirements for products to have standalone articles separate from the articles on their manufacturer
Songs WP:NSONGS Notability requirements for songs to have standalone articles (separate from the album or the artist)

Useful essays (and parts of essays)[edit]

The following are a list of essays that pertain to inclusion and exclusion. While these are not policies or guidelines, citing them in a deletion debate may at times help in arguing one's case. When citing an essay, it is important to keep in mind that essays can be written by a single editor, can be edited just like an article, and does not require any further consensus. Therefore, if one is used to support deletion or to keep an article proposed for deletion, a good explanation should be given as to why one believes it supports his/her case.

Essay name Shortcuts Summary
Age, notability of WP:OLDAGE The age of a subject alone, no matter how old, does not render it automatically notable
Bare notability WP:BARE
WP:MINIMUM
Articles that just barely meet notability requirements may be viewed as having borderline notability, and can possibly face deletion
Bombardment WP:BOMBARD About going overboard with references that may not be needed just to make an article look notable
Cares, no one WP:CARES Some subjects are of interest to few. They may or may not be notable. But being of interest to few in itself does not automatically make the subject not notable.
Chance, give an article WP:CHANCE Don't propose an article for deletion if it hasn't had a chance
Clones WP:CLONE Wikipedia clones are not reliable sources (and why)
Coatrack WP:COAT
WP:COATRACK
About articles that are titled to describe one topic but focus on another, often to mask the lack of notability
Deadline, no WP:DEADLINE There is no deadline to make any edits to any articles or to finish any project
Demolish, don't WP:DEMOLISH Don't demolish the house while it's still being built
Describe within WP:DESCRIBE
WP:WITHIN
If little exists about a subject, it may be better described within another article than in a standalone one
Dislike WP:IDL Dislike for an article is not sufficient to delete it
Editing, article has none WP:NOEFFORT Just because no one has worked on an article (including a stub) does not mean it should be deleted
Existence ≠ Notability WP:ENN
WP:EXISTENCE
Just because a subject exists in this world does not mean it is automatically notable
Fame WP:FAME There are differing degrees of fame, and not all guarantee notability
Garage bands WP:GARAGE No one wants to see an article on Wikipedia about your non-notable garage band
Google hits WP:GHITS A high number of Google hits does not make an article notable, and a low number does not make it not notable
Harm, no WP:NOHARM
WP:HARMLESS
Saying the existence of an article will do no harm is not grounds for keeping
Inclusion, not an indicator of notability WP:INN Just because Wikipedia already has an article does not mean the subject is notable
Independent sources WP:IS
WP:INDY
Describes the value of having sources independent of the subject
Inherent notability WP:IHN
WP:INHERENT
Some topics are presumed to be inherently notable (meaning all subjects within the category are surely notable)
Insignificant WP:INSIGNIFICANT Certain minor details are considered to be insignificant
Leader, follow the WP:LEADER Make your own judgment rather than being influenced by the way others (usually the first) comment in a discussion
Liar, liar, your pants are on fire WP:LIAR Frowns upons calling others liars in deletion discussions
Like WP:LIKE "Liking" an article is not sufficient to keep it
Masking the lack of notability WP:MASK Taking steps to hide the fact that the subject of an article is not really notable
Myths and facts about deletion WP:MYTHS False beliefs held about deletion debunked
Newspapers, coverage in many WP:NEWSBRIEF
WP:109PAPERS
Short-term coverage in a massive number of newspapers does not render automatic notability
Noble cause WP:NOBLECAUSE Wikipedia is not here to tell the world about your noble cause
Not notable, just WP:JNN Simply stating that a subject is not notable is not sufficient to get it deleted on this basis
Nothing WP:NOTHING response to WP:EVERYTHING
Other stuff exists WP:OSE Just because a similar type of article exists does not mean it makes others automatically notable
Overzealous deletion WP:OVERZEALOUS
WP:ZEAL
The practice of "dying to" get an article deleted
Own site, subject's WP:OWNSITE Articles cannot be referenced by nothing more than the subject's own site
Phrases, common WP:COMMONPHRASE Don't create an article that is just a dictionary entry for a common phrase
Policy, just a WP:JUSTAPOLICY Stating a policy only without an accompanying statement is not sufficient to make one's case
Poorly written articles WP:UGLY Being poorly written is not grounds for deletion
Popularity WP:POPULARITY Being popular does not render a subject automatically notable
Potential, not just current state WP:POTENTIAL
WP:NOTIMELIMIT
An article should be judged based on what it can grow into one day, not what it already is
Rank WP:RANK
WP:NUMBER1
WP:ONLY
Having a high rank in some category, being the best, or being the only one of something does not mean automatic notability
Recentism WP:RECENT Writing articles or information based on current events with the lack of consideration of their importance in the future
Run-of-the-mill WP:MILL There are subjects that have verifiable information, but so many of them exist that it is not practical to have articles on all of them
Single source, articles with WP:ONESOURCE The pitfalls of articles having a single source
Talent, notability WP:TALENT Being talented does not mean being automatically notable
Third party sources WP:THIRDPARTY
WP:3PARTY
Describes the value of third-party sources
Useful/useless WP:USEFUL
WP:USELESS
Being judged as "useful" or "useless" is a matter of opinion, and therefore is not grounds for keeping or deleting
Vote, just a WP:JUSTAVOTE "Votes" of simply the words "keep" or "delete" do not make a case and are not counted in a deletion discussion
Words, common WP:COMMONWORD Don't create an article that is just a dictionary entry for a common word

Non-articles[edit]

The guidelines in favor of keeping or deleting non-articles vary:

Categories[edit]

Note: The shortcut for all of these is WP:CFDS.

Favoring deletion[edit]

Reason Shortcut Reason
Unpopulated categories WP:CFDS (C1) Categories that have been unpopulated for at least four days. This does not apply to disambiguation categories, category redirects, featured topics categories, categories under discussion at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion (or other such discussions), or project categories that by their nature may become empty on occasion (e.g. Category:Wikipedians looking for help). (Place {{empty category}} at the top of the page to prevent such categories from being deleted.)
Speedy renaming or merging WP:CFDS (C2) Typographic and spelling fixes, Capitalization fixes, Conversions from singular to plural (or vice versa), A rename bringing a category or categories into line with established naming conventions for that category tree, Expanding abbreviated country names, Disambiguation fixes from an unqualified name, or Appropriate conversion of hyphens into en-dashes (or vice versa).
Non-defining or trivial characteristic WP:OC#TRIVIA Categories characterizing a non-notable trait of a subject
Opinion about a question or issue WP:OC#OPINION Categorization based on personal opinions
Subjective inclusion criterion WP:OC#SUBJECTIVE Adjectives which imply a subjective inclusion criterion
Arbitrary inclusion criterion WP:OC#ARBITRARY Categories that rank subjects by defined numbers (other than years)
Trivial intersection WP:OC#Trivial intersection Intersections of two traits that are unrelated
Intersection by location WP:OC#Intersection by location Subjects subcategorized by geographical boundary, unless that boundary has relevant bearing on the subjects' other characteristics
Intersections by ethnicity/religion/sexual orientation WP:OC#CATGRS Non-notable intersections by ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation
Narrow intersection WP:OC#NARROW If an article is in "category A" and "category B", it does not follow that a "category A and B" has to be created for this article.
Small with no potential for growth WP:OC#SMALL Categories that, by their very definition, will never have more than a few members, unless such categories are part of a large overall accepted sub-categorization scheme.
Mostly-overlapping categories WP:OC#OVERLAPPING
Unrelated subjects with shared names WP:OC#SHAREDNAMES Categories with subjects that coincidentally share the same name
Eponymous categories for people WP:OC#EPONYMOUS Categories sharing names with people; allowed under certain circumstances
Candidates and nominees WP:OC#CANDIDATES A candidate for public office, the possible next CEO of a certain corporation, a potential member of a sports team, an actor on the "short list" to play a role, or an award nominee
Award recipients WP:OC#Award recipients People can and do receive awards and/or honors throughout their lives. In general (though there are a few exceptions to this), recipients of an award should be grouped in a list rather than a category.
Published lists WP:OC#TOPTEN Magazines and books regularly publish lists of the "top 10" (or some other number) in any particular field. Such lists tend to be subjective and somewhat arbitrary. Some particularly well-known and unique lists such as the Billboard charts may constitute exceptions, although creating categories for them may risk violating the publisher's copyright or trademark.
Venues by event WP:OC#VENUES locations by the events or event types that have been held there
Performers by performance WP:OC#PERF
People associated with WP:OC#ASSOCIATED Vaguely-named categories such as this is determining what degree or nature of "association" is necessary to qualify a person for inclusion in the category

Redirects[edit]

Favoring keeping[edit]

Note: The shortcut for all of these is WP:RFD#KEEP.

Reason Criteria # Reason
Page history 1 They have a potentially useful page history. If the redirect was created by renaming a page with that name, and the page history just mentions the renaming, and for one of the reasons above you want to delete the page, copy the page history to the Talk page of the article it redirects to. The act of renaming is useful page history, and even more so if there has been discussion on the page name.
Aid in finding similar title 2 They would aid accidental linking and make the creation of duplicate articles less likely, whether by redirecting a plural to a singular, by redirecting a frequent misspelling to a correct spelling, by redirecting a misnomer to a correct term, by redirecting to a synonym, etc. In other words, redirects with no incoming links are not candidates for deletion on those grounds because they are of benefit to the browsing user. Some extra vigilance by editors will be required to minimize the occurrence of those frequent misspellings in the article texts because the linkified misspellings will not appear as broken links.
Aid in searches 3 They aid searches on certain terms.
Risk in breaking links 4 You risk breaking incoming or internal links by deleting the redirect. Old CamelCase links and old subpage links should be left alone in case there are any existing links on external pages pointing to them.
Someone finds it useful 5 Someone finds them useful. Hint: If someone says they find a redirect useful, they probably do. You might not find it useful—this is not because the other person is a liar, but because you browse Wikipedia in different ways.
Grammatical variation 6 The redirect is to a plural form or to a singular form, or to some other grammatical form.

Favoring deletion[edit]

Note: The shortcut for all of these is WP:RFD#DELETE.

Reason Criteria # Reason
Difficulty 1 The redirect page makes it unreasonably difficult for users to locate similarly named articles via the search engine.
Confusion 2 The redirect might cause confusion. For example, if "Adam B. Smith" was redirected to "Andrew B. Smith", because Andrew was accidentally called Adam in one source, this could cause confusion with the article on Adam Smith, so it should be deleted.
Abusive/Offensive 3 The redirect is offensive or abusive, such as "Joe Bloggs is a Loser" to "Joe Bloggs" (unless "Joe Bloggs is a Loser" is discussed in the article), or "Joe Bloggs" to "Loser". (Speedy deletion criterion 10 may apply.)
Nonsense 4 The redirect makes no sense, such as redirecting Apple to Orange.
Cross-namespace 5 It is a cross-namespace redirect out of article space, such as one pointing into the User or Wikipedia namespace. The major exception to this rule is the "CAT:" shortcut redirects, which technically are in the main article space but in practice form their own "pseudo-namespaces". (Note "WP:" redirects are in the Wikipedia namespace, WP: being an alias for Wikipedia.)
Broken 6 If the redirect is broken, meaning it redirects to an article that does not exist or itself, it can be deleted immediately, though you should check that there is not an alternative place it could be appropriately redirected to first.
Implausible 7 If the redirect is a novel or very obscure synonym for an article name, it is unlikely to be useful. Implausible typos or misnomers are potential candidates for speedy deletion, if recently created.
Move 8 If the target article needs to be moved to the redirect title, but the redirect has been edited before and has a history of its own, then it needs to be deleted to make way for move. Controversial moves should be discussed at Wikipedia:Requested moves.
Expansion 9 If the redirect could plausibly be expanded into an article, and the target article contains little information on the subject. In these cases, it is better that the target article contain a redlink pointing back to the redirect.
Spam/Self-promotion 10 If the redirect constitutes self-promotion or spam. (Speedy deletion criterion 11 may apply.)

Templates[edit]

Favoring deletion[edit]

Reason Shortcuts Summary
Namespace violation The template violates some part of the template namespace guidelines, and can't be altered to be in compliance. Currently listed as criteria #1 favoring deletion.
Redundance The template is redundant to a better-designed template. Currently listed as criteria #2 favoring deletion.
Lack of use The template is not used, either directly or by template substitution (the latter cannot be concluded from the absence of backlinks), and has no likelihood of being used. Currently listed as criteria #3 favoring deletion.
Policy violation The template violates a policy such as NPOV or CIVIL. Currently listed as criteria #4 favoring deletion.

See also[edit]