Wikipedia:Trash namespace

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It is proposed that, when a decision is made through the AfD process or speedy deletion to remove an article from the main namespace, that it be moved to a new Trash namespace instead. This would allow users to view the deleted article while still being well-aware that the content was deemed to not meet Wikipedia's standards for inclusion. If necessary, the power to move articles to and from the Trash namespace could be restricted to admins, so that sysops would retain control over the deletion process. Copyvios and libelous content would continue to be deleted through the methods currently being practiced, since we are under legal obligation to completely remove such content.

Measures could be taken to prevent misuse of the Trash namespace. Articles in the Trash namespace could be prevented from being indexed by search engines, in order to deter spammers. To ensure that this does not interfere with users' searches of the namespace for legitimate purposes, a checkbox for the Trash namespace could be added to the My Preferences -> Search Tab which users currently use to select the namespaces searched by default. To remove the incentive to use the Trash namespace to post blogs, etc. intended for outsiders to view, access to the Trash namespace could be restricted to logged-in users who have been here awhile, analogously to how users currently must be here awhile before they can move pages.

Rationales[edit]

The current system is problematic in many ways. Deletion review has a google cache of some deleted articles, but it does not allow access to all the versions in the article history and may not show the version that is most relevant to the discussion. When starting a new article, an editor can see whether or not previous versions have been deleted, and in some cases can see an AfD debate or speedy deletion rationale, but cannot see the article itself that was deleted. This hampers efforts to avoid creating a similarly unacceptable article.

A pure wiki deletion system was proposed which would have allowed users to blank pages rather than deleting them. Some users objected to this, stating that it would be difficult to tell between legitimate blanking and vandalism. Also, it was believed that confusion would result from this system.

A Trash namespace would obviate some problems associated with both systems. It would allow viewing of deleted articles while maintaining a clear distinction between the Main namespace and what was rejected. It would not create confusion between an action taken by vandals and a legitimate action.

While there are some Wikipedia administrators who will provide copies of deleted articles, this proposal would obviate the need to bother them with such requests, which most users would be reluctant to do very frequently

The existence of a Trash namespace would potentially dissolve some conflict regarding Wikipedia policy on defining notability and whether or not topics ought to be deleted solely on the grounds that they are not notable. The proposal is essentially inclusionist in spirit (articles that are deemed non-notable will still be accessible). However, it addresses some of the concerns of members of the Wikipedia community who would like to maintain high standards of relevance by restricting the proliferation of trivial topics. Administrator and editor time would not be significantly diluted, since they would focus primarily on notable topics. The casual user would have convenient access to information on high quality notable topics. However, they may also be able to access non-notable ones if they searched for them specifically, while also being informed of the topic's deleted non-notable, less effectively edited, status. Furthermore, genuine enthusiasts of particular non-notable topics who are motivated to write about them would not be completely disenfranchised by having their contributions irretrievably deleted.

See also[edit]