Wikipedia:Soft deletion

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This term has multiple meanings. For the option to treat ill-attended AfDs as PRODs (currently in effect), please see WP:SOFTDELETE.

Soft deletion is a proposed deletion outcome for articles listed on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion (AfD) and Wikipedia:Proposed deletion (PROD) . Rather than deleting articles completely and hiding their history from view, under soft deletion, they are moved to another namespace. This deletion outcome could be used, for example, for an article that is a good faith contribution, is not a copyright violation or otherwise offensive, for which notability could possibly be demonstrated through the addition of new sources.


Under regular "hard" deletion, the page history of an article is completely hidden from non-administrators. As a consequence, even very detailed articles that fail the notability tests are effectively lost. Deletion is a binary process: either all information is removed, or all information is retained. Such hard deletion is currently the fate of articles for which the outcome of an AfD debate is Delete, and for expired PRODs.

However, under so-called "userfication" – one of the possible outcomes of an AfD debate – the article is not definitely deleted. Instead, the page is moved from article main space to user space. Likewise, articles that are transwikied, for example to Wikisource, remain accessible.

Soft deletion as proposed here adds another alternative: the page is moved to the "Wikipedia" namespace, to a section dubbed "Wikipedia:Attic". The page history is retained, and the deletion outcome becomes transparent to Wikipedia readers. Editors can make use of the work that has already been done, while still being required to respect the deletion process.


Simply put, soft deletion should be used whenever an article is in a state that does not merit inclusion, but when it could potentially be improved (through the addition of sources, rewriting, and so on). It should only be used as the result of a regular deletion process, never out of process.

Unlike regular deletion, any editor can close an article as "soft deleted", but admin powers are needed to get rid of the redirect.

How to soft delete[edit]

Articles for deletion[edit]

  1. Close the AfD as "soft deleted".
  2. Move the article (with its discussion page, if any) to [[Wikipedia:Attic/X]], in which "X" stands for the page name.
  3. Delete the redirect that remains after the move of the original page.

If page [[Wikipedia:Attic/X]] already exists, a disambiguation may need to be added to the page title.

Proposed deletion[edit]

  1. For "expired PRODs" (articles tagged with the {{prod}} template for over 7 days without objection), move the article and remove the resulting redirect, as above.

When not to soft delete[edit]

  1. Articles that are obvious nonsense. We do not want to attract a subculture of users that troll page histories.
  2. Biographies of living persons.
  3. Articles that, if soft-deleted, would likely lead to ongoing edit warring and controversy (or that later demonstrate it). Here, having a clear binary outcome is preferable.
  4. Articles that are a copyright violation.

See also[edit]