Wikipedia:So your article has been nominated for deletion

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If you're reading this (which you are), chances are good you were linked to it after a big, red, possibly confusing template talking about page deletion popped up on an article you were working on. This essay is meant to be a tutorial for users whose articles have been nominated for deletion, with an eye toward users new to Wikipedia in general. If you fall into this category, then you can start by reading the next section, and then the section for the type of deletion nomination your article is under. If you aren't sure what type of nomination you're facing, just keep reading until you see something familiar! Please keep in mind that nobody "owns" any article on Wikipedia. The phrase "your article" is used simply to refer to an article you have written, and/or are substantially involved in.

The Process[edit]

Step 1: DON'T PANIC[edit]

Having an article nominated for deletion, or even deleted, is honestly no big deal. Many long-standing and well-respected editors have been in your shoes before. Unless you've intentionally made a vandalous article or something else inappropriate (and if you have, you'll know), you aren't in any sort of trouble. It isn't personal, either. A deletion nomination isn't supposed to reflect anyone's opinion of you or the contents of your article. One of the most likely sources of panic for users not concerned with the above worries is the perceived waste of effort. This is a very unfortunate circumstance, but unfortunately, effort alone doesn't make an article worthy of inclusion. If the article is deleted, and you want to re-use some of your previous content to give it another go, you can ask an administrator to send you a copy of the article, or put in a request for temporary review. Hopefully, this essay can help you snatch your work from the jaws of deletion and start you on the road to a proper article. You can copy your article to work on it in your private user space if you want. If it's deleted and you didn't have the chance, any administrator can "userify" the article at your request so that you may work on steering it towards addressing whatever problem led to its deletion, if such is possible.

Step 2: Does the nominator have a point?[edit]

Once you're miles from panic, the next thing you need to think about may be the hardest: Is the objection to your page legitimate? Read over the nomination template, and try to think about what it says is the problem. If you're new, you may not quite understand what the matter is, and that's no sweat. A polite and calm question to the nominator or just about any other user will help you get the information you need. But if you understand the nature of the complaint, you need to give it some weight. Is this really a problem? If so, can it be fixed? If it can be fixed, or you really feel the problem doesn't exist, read on. But if you can't think of any way to work around the complaint, or if your article's subject appears on WP:List of bad ideas for articles, there's a good chance it can't be. What then? You have two main options. One is to step back and let the process take its course. There's a chance, depending on administrator decisions, that the page may come out the other end intact after all. But if you really have come to agree with the complaint, the honest way out, if you are the page's only substantial contributor, is to place "{{db-author}}" (without quotes) at the top of the article. This indicates that you, the page's author and only substantial contributor, have voluntarily submitted it for deletion. There is no shame in either of these. In fact, being willing to give up on an unsalvageable page speaks of a willingness to put the quality of Wikipedia over your own personal interests, as well as open-mindedness to others' opinions. You will never be looked down on for conceding a deletion debate.

Step 3: Address the problem[edit]

If you haven't thrown in the towel, then chances are you feel either that the page's problems are fixable, or that it doesn't have these problems at all. This is where things get complicated. But as long as you handle things calmly and logically, there's a good chance your page might come out of this incident stronger than it was before. You should probably familiarize yourself with WP:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions, to avoid falling into common fallacies. This list is not an iron-shod, official policy, but it's probably to your benefit to avoid the pitfalls it lays out. If you're ready to defend the article after this, then move on to the section appropriate to the type of nomination it's facing. If you aren't sure which is which, just browse until you find a familiar one.

Deletion Processes[edit]

Speedy Deletion[edit]

A speedy deletion template looks similar to this, though it will usually specify a particular reason why the article has been nominated. A speedy deletion template flags the article as meeting one of the criteria for speedy deletion.

The most common complaint for which articles are nominated for speedy deletion is notability. Specifically, the article doesn't assert why its subject is notable. Simply asserting that it reasonably could matter is enough for an article to surmount speedy deletion, though it takes a stronger case than that to get through a PROD or AfD nomination. Look at WP:Notability for guidelines and information on what makes an article's subject notable by Wikipedia's inclusion standards. If possible, you should look at the specific linked sub-pages for the subject your article falls under. For example, WP:BIO lays out the requirements for the subject of a biography (an article about a person) to be notable under Wikipedia's standards.

However, other criteria sometimes crop up. These include a page being blatant advertising, not providing enough context, violating copyright, or having no sensical content at all. Some of these nomination criteria can be harder to fight, as they generally aren't given without fairly good reason.

If you think your page doesn't meet the criteria being offered, or you can fix the problem, you should proceed immediately to the article's discussion page, and clearly explain how you plan to remedy the problem, or your argument that there isn't one. The CSD template will be immediately modified to reflect that there is content on the talk page that reviewing administrators should survey.

PROD[edit]

A PROD (short for "proposed deletion") template looks like this or this, though the former version is expected to provide a specific reason. A PROD template initiates a five day countdown from when it is posted, after which an administrator can delete the article in question if he or she feels the complaint is warranted.

Unlike a speedy deletion template, a PROD template gives you some breathing room. These are used when a nominator feels an article should be deleted, but when the article in question doesn't meet any criteria for speedy deletion. The first version, the plain-Jane PROD template, lists a reason manually input by the nominator. The second is a general purpose non-notability PROD that asserts the article does not demonstrate notability, and that multiple web searches have failed to help. In either case, if you wish to contest a PROD template, there are a few ways to do so. Like with a speedy deletion template, you can fix the problem, or argue its non-existence on the article's discussion page. However, unlike a speedy deletion template, if you feel you've sufficiently addressed the problem a PROD template raises, you or anyone else can delete it. Try not to do so purely out of hand, though. If you haven't taken any steps towards addressing the issue, then chances are good the article will end up nominated for an AfD instead. That's a good bit harder to sidestep.

AfD[edit]

An AfD (short for "Articles for Deletion") template looks like this. This template is generally used as a second resort if a PROD template is deleted from a page, if the page has already been around for a while, or if the nominator feels people will want to weigh in on the issue.

Unlike the speedy deletion and PROD templates, an AfD template on an article does nothing in of itself. Instead, it merely informs users that the page has been nominated for deletion, and provides a link to its deletion discussion page. Deleting an AfD template from a page is against policy, as well as fruitless – it won't stop the discussion from taking place. Like a PROD, an AfD remains open for five days, after which an administrator makes a ruling on the page's retention. However, unlike a PROD, this decision is made based on the consensus indicated on the article's AfD entry. As usual, contesting an AfD is a matter of either successfully arguing the problem doesn't exist, or of fixing it. However, notifications and arguments should be voiced on the linked AfD discussion page, not the article's discussion page. The format for making a statement on an AfD page usually follows this format:

*'''Keep'''. Insert reason you feel the article should be kept here. - ~~~~
*'''Delete'''. Insert reason you feel the article should be deleted here. - ~~~~
*'''Comment, response, question, or whatever'''. Insert whatever it is here. - ~~~~
*'''Redirect, merge, grind into fine powder, or whatever'''. Insert whatever it is here. - ~~~~

You get the idea. If not, a look at some other WP:AfD pages should help you catch on. Bear in mind that if a page is deleted after an AfD discussion, it is eligible for speedy deletion if it is re-created without substantial changes. Some common arguments both for and against deletion that may seem reasonable have universal problems. WP:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions details these arguments and their faults extremely well, and is a very valuable piece of reading for participating in an AfD.

Final thoughts[edit]

Above all else, the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and for your fellow Wikipedians if an article you wrote is nominated for deletion is swallow your pride. You may very well have put tremendous effort into the article. The reason for its nomination may very well be bunk. But in the end, Wikipedia is almost as much about what isn't included as what is. An amateur editor may become distraught, offended, hurt, or angry when their work is jeopardized. But the mark of an editor of true merit is the ability to step back, put their own involvement aside, and act in the selfless interest of what is best for Wikipedia. "Saving" an article from deletion can be a challenging and worthwhile (if sometimes uphill) battle. But the greatest challenge, and the greatest reward, is in knowing when to let an article fade away.