Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions

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"WP:ATA" redirects here. For Arguments to avoid in adminship discussions, see Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in adminship discussions.
"WP:Trivial" redirects here. It is not to be confused with WP:Trivia.
Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement. Try to stay in the top three sections of this hierarchy.

The following are a list of arguments that can commonly be seen in deletion discussions for templates, images, categories, stub types, redirects and especially articles. These arguments should generally be avoided, or at least, supplemented with some more arguments. The reason they should be avoided is that they are not based upon the issues listed at Wikipedia:Deletion policy, but are rather arguments based from side issues that are not relevant to the issue of whether or not a page on Wikipedia should be deleted. When taking part in deletion discussions, then, it is best to base arguments on the policies of neutral point of view, no original research, verifiability, biographies of living people and what Wikipedia is not, or on Wikipedia guidelines; however, just because an argument appears here does not mean that it is always invalid.

Remember that a reason which arguably could be classified as an "argument to avoid", can still have some valid points in it. For example, if a person argues for why an article is interesting, and the arguments for "interesting" are also reasonable arguments for "encyclopedic", it is wrong to summarily dismiss that argument just because WP:INTERESTING is a section in this essay. As this essay tries to stimulate people to use sound arguments in deletion discussions, it is important to realize that countering the keep or delete arguments of other people, or dismissing them outright, by simply referring them to this essay is not encouraged (see also the section Just a policy or guideline below).

Contents

Arguments without arguments[edit]

Just a vote[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • KeepThoughtlessMcKeep, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • DeleteDeleteyMcSheep, 23:28, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

This is not an argument for or against deletion at all, it's a vote. As Wikipedia:Articles for deletion states, "The debate is not a vote; please make recommendations on the course of action to be taken, sustained by arguments" and the same applies to all deletion debates. Any statement that just consists of "Keep" or "Delete" with a signature can easily be dismissed by the admin making the final decision, and changing "Keep" to "Strong keep" or "Speedy keep" will not make it any more relevant. Try to present persuasive reasons in line with policy or consensus as to why the article/template/category/whatever should be kept/deleted, and try to make sure it is an argument based on the right reasons.

Per nominator[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete per nom. – Trustfull, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep as per – IvanIdea's statement. – Suckup, 11:38, 1 April 2004 (UTC)

It is important to keep in mind that the AfD process is designed to solicit discussion, not votes. Comments adding nothing but a statement of support to a prior comment add little to the discussion. Participants are always encouraged to provide evidence or arguments that are grounded in policy, practice, or simple good sense to support their positions.

If the rationale provided in the nomination includes a comprehensive argument, specific policy references and/or a compelling presentation of evidence in favour of keeping or deletion, an endorsement of the nominator's argument may be sufficient.

Where reasonable counter-arguments to the nomination have been raised in the discussion, you may wish to explain how you justify your support in your own words and, where possible, marshalling your own evidence. Stating your true position in your own words will also assure others that you are not hiding a WP:IDONTLIKEIT position.

Per majority[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep per everyone else. – Grouper, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete since most others here think this should be deleted. – Copycat, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete Most people are saying it should be deleted, and it looks like that is what will happen. – Self-fulfilling prophecy, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)

AfD is a discussion in which all participants are encouraged to give their own independent opinion. It is the ideas of individuals, not the propaganda of others, that is supposed to help determine the outcome. One who bases one's statement on that crowd as a whole is not making any useful contribution to the discussion, but instead blocking the progress of new opinions.

Consensus can change, and it is not uncommon for attitudes to shift during a deletion discussion. When it seems after just a few days that it'll surely go one way, often one single statement can turn the tide. Also, articles can be improved over the course of a discussion, leading others to change their minds. It can be the statement or the salvaging work of one person who is at first in the minority that makes all the difference.

Just unencyclopedic[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete as unencyclopedic. – Cyclops, 06:26, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Delete per WP:NOTNotSpecific, 22:53, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep This definitely belongs in an encyclopedia. – TrustMeItFits, 22:53, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

"Unencyclopedic" is an empty argument. It means "not worthy of being included in an encyclopedia", which is synonymous with "should not be included" or "I want it deleted". So when you use it as a justification for deleting something, it's a circular argument: "Delete, because it should be deleted". This is just repeating yourself. What we want to know are your reasons why the article shouldn't be included in Wikipedia. Simply answer the question, What guidelines does it violate, and how?

Just notable/Just not notable[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

  • Examples:
  • Delete as non-notable. – NotableGuru, 16:25, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete: NN. – NNDeclarer, 12:01, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Keep It is clearly notable. – NotabilityDiviner, 01:21, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Keep Topic is notable. – OracleOfNote, 09:17, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Simply stating that the subject of an article is not notable does not provide reasoning as to why the subject may not be notable. This behavior straddles both "Just unencyclopedic" and "Just pointing at a policy or guideline".

Instead of just saying, "Non-notable", consider instead saying, "No reliable sources found to verify notability", or "The sources are not independent, and so cannot establish that the subject passes our standards on notability", or "The sources do not provide the significant coverage required by the notability standard." Providing specific reasons why the subject may not be notable gives other editors an opportunity to research and supply sources that may establish or confirm the subject's notability.

Just as problematic is asserting that something is notable without providing an explanation or source for such a claim of notability; this is often seen when trying to assert notability under a sub-guideline (like music or internet content). Additionally, the subject may possibly pass WP:N, but fails a more stringent set of standards: for example, articles about notable living people may be deleted if they are marginally notable, and must be deleted if they are defamatory. The standards of inclusion don't mandate inclusion; they merely suggest it.

Just does not belong[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.
Examples:

  • Delete Does not belong here. – Members Only, 16:25, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Is too weird to have an article. – Laughing out loud, 12:01, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Delete Article sounds so stupid, and in fact is the dumbest one found on Wikipedia. – YouAreAnIdiot, 12:01, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Delete That would never appear in a paper encyclopedia. – Web Exclusive, 12:01, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Delete Yes, there are references, but this is just a very trivial topic, and I do not see how it fits into an encyclopedia. – I just cannot accept it, 12:01, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Such arguments are purely personal point-of-view. They make no use of policies, guidelines, or even any logic. The message behind any of these is that "I don't like it, therefore it should not be included".

On Wikipedia, inclusion is determined by a series of policies and guidelines set by consensus, not people saying "I think this belongs" or "I do not think this belongs". All of that is personal opinion, and saying that is the only comment any less helpful is a simple vote.

Just pointing at a policy or guideline[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep Meets WP:NORPolicylover, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Delete per WP:V, WP:RS, WP:OR, WP:NPOV, etc. – Pilingiton, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

While merely citing a policy or guideline may give other editors a clue as to what the reasoning is, it does not explain specifically how the policy applies to the discussion at hand. When asserting that an article should be deleted, it is important to explain why. The same is true when asserting that something does follow policy.

As noted above, deletion discussions are not "votes". They are discussions with the goal of determining consensus. Rather than merely writing "Original research", or "Does not meet Wikipedia:Verifiability", consider writing a more detailed summary, e.g. "Original research: Contains speculation not attributed to any sources" or "Does not meet Wikipedia:Verifiability – only sources cited are blogs and chat forum posts". Providing specific reasons why the subject may be original research or improperly sourced gives other editors an opportunity to supply sources that better underpin the claims made in the article.

Keep in mind that articles can often be improved, and may not need to be deleted if the specific problems can be identified and corrected (see surmountable problems, below.)

Also, while citing essays that summarize a position can be useful shorthand, citing an essay (like this one) just by one of its many shortcuts (e.g. WP:ILIKEIT or WP:IDONTLIKEIT), without further explanation, is similarly ill-advised, for the reasons explained above.

Assertion of notability[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete No assertion of notability. – If It Was It'd Say So, 01:10, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Keep Text of article explains why it is notable; that is good enough – Vouching for myself, 01:10, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Keep Article says that the topic is very important to the history of underwater basket-weaving. – Right On The Tin, 23:05, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Keep Text of article specifies a living person as a notable scholar. – I don't care sources, 23:05, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

This is related to a potential reason to delete an article, but not one that should appear at Articles for Deletion. Assertion of importance (not "notability", as such, though these are often and unfortunately used interchangeably) in the article itself is the purview of CSD A7 and CSD A9, two of the criteria for speedy deletion. These criteria only apply to specific subject areas and conditions. If an article on an A7- or A9-eligible topic does not make a credible assertion of importance for that topic, it should be nominated for speedy deletion, which is a much faster and simpler process than nomination at Articles for Deletion. On the other hand, if an article does arrive at Articles for Deletion, whether it asserts significance for its topic is no longer at issue; what matters now is whether the topic is notable. Likewise, when an article is at Articles for Deletion, claims it makes about its topic's significance do not support keeping it; what matters is what independent reliable sources have said about the topic.

Begging for mercy[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

  • Keep I worked so hard on this article. Do you really want to put my contributions to waste? – Don't Hurt Me, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Keep You would be doing me a big favor if you changed your "deletes" to "keeps" – Mindchanger, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Keep I need more time to work on it – Not Finished Yet, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Keep I am on vacation now, and I won't be able to work on it until I get back home – In Tahiti, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Keep I placed this template on top of the page so it wouldn't get deleted – Construction Sign, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Keep I placed hidden text at the top of this page telling others they were not supposed to delete it – Warning Marker, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

Such arguments make no use of policy or guidelines whatsoever. They are merely a campaign on the part of the commentator to alter others' points-of-view. They are of no help in reaching a consensus, and anyone responding to such pleas is not helping either.

You should also make yourself familiar with Wikipedia's canvassing guidelines before you solicit "votes" one way or the other in a discussion.

If you feel you need more time to work on an article you just created that has been put up for deletion early on, an option may be to request userfication, where you can spend as much time as you wish to improve the article until it meets Wikipedia's inclusion guidelines. Once this has been accomplished, you can reintroduce it into main article space.

Over the years, several templates have been created to be placed on top of pages indicating that they are new and may take time to complete to Wikipedia's standards. These include {{newpage}}, {{new unreviewed article}}, {{construction}}, and {{newlist}}. If such a template is found on a newly created page, as a common courtesy, new page patrollers and others should not rush to delete the page unless it is obvious that it can never meet inclusion guidelines. If one is uncertain of this, or if it appears no progress has been made in a reasonable amount of time, the creator should be contacted regarding his/her intentions, and given a reasonable amount of time to reply. It is recommended for one who is considering putting it up for deletion to consider userfication as an alternative.

Personal point of view[edit]

Shortcut:

I like it[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Example:

  • Keep The Angry Young Popes are the best rock band in the world right now. – Superbestfan, 02:02, 2 February 2002 (UTC)
  • Keep Because he's so cool! – CoolestGuyEver, 02:03, 2 February 2002 (UTC)
  • Keep This is a really great article, and I think it should stay. – Peacock, 02:02, 2 February 2002 (UTC)

Wikipedia editors are a pretty diverse group of individuals, and potentially any subject or topic may be liked or disliked by some editor somewhere. However, personal preference is not a valid reason to keep or delete an article.

As stated at Wikipedia:Verifiability:

In Wikipedia, verifiability means that people reading and editing the encyclopedia can check that information comes from a reliable source. Wikipedia does not publish original research. Its content is determined by previously published information rather than by the personal beliefs or experiences of its editors. Even if you're sure something is true, it must be verifiable before you can add it.

In other words, a person or group may well be the greatest example of what they do in the history of everything, but if no other verifiable reliable sources have been written about them that are relevant to the scope of the article, they cannot be included. If your favourite song/computer game/webcomic/whatever is as great as you believe, someone will likely write about it eventually, so please just be patient.

In general, the scope and purpose of the article must be kept in mind when considering inclusion or exclusion of information or sources. When sources significantly deviate from the scope of an article's topic, or subject, this may create room for disputes. Therefore, careful considerations such as weight and relevance should also be taken into account in making decisions.

I don't like it[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete: The Great White Dopes are the worst rock band ever. – SuperCritic, 02:03, 2 February 2002 (UTC)
  • Delete: It's annoying. – IAmReallyAnnoyed, 03:03, 3 March 2003 (UTC)
  • Delete: No need. – WhoNeedsThis, 06:07, 5 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete as cruft. – Cruftbane, 16:16, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Delete as trivia. – NoTriviaHere, 01:56, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete as an election in a Third-world place. – AllBrownPeopleAreTheSame, 17:36, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Delete it's offensive for my religion – MyGodIsBetterThanYours, 16:56, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Delete: I'm so ashamed this article is on Wikipedia. – Mortified_Molly, 01:31, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete: Got bored of reading. Not of interest to English-speakers. – HastyHannigan, 03:07, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

This is the converse to I like it directly above. While some editors may dislike certain kinds of information, that alone isn't enough for something to be deleted. This may be coupled with (or replaced by) the unexplained claim that they feel that the information is "unencyclopedic" (see Just unencyclopedic, above). Such claims require an explanation of which policy the content fails and explanation of why that policy applies as the rationale for deletion. (See also Pointing at policy.) In fact, by the Law of Chance, everything will have likes and dislikes.

This may include subjective opinions concerning the usage of fair use images (see also WP:NFCC), and the inclusion of what may be deemed trivia, or cruft. For example, while the "cruft" label is often used for anything perceived to be of minor interest (such as individual songs, or episodes of a TV show), it is worth considering carefully whether or not so-called "cruft" has potential for verifiable inclusion.

They don't like it[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep: It would be censorship to delete this. – For We Are Many, 13:37, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep. The Fooians don't want anyone to know this, we shouldn't bow to Fooian interests. – AntiFooian, 12:08, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep. We can't get rid of an article just because it makes people uncomfortable. – PoliticallyIncorrectHero, 17:26, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep. Baz supporters want to delete it because it makes Baz look bad. – OccupyBaz, 23:42, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

And on the converse of that converse (see I don't like it, directly above), while some editors may feel that deleting a page would be playing into the hands of a certain group, that alone isn't enough by itself for something to be kept. Wikipedia is not censored, but this fact does not supersede its guidelines on notability, verifiability, neutral point of view, original research, etc.

It does sometimes happen, of course, that a user will nominate an article for deletion out of a desire to censor or hide the content, but one should be able to respond to these nominations with reliable sources and policy-based arguments. If the deletion rationale really is that thin, it should be easy to refute.

It's interesting[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep Interesting. – Fascinated, 05:05, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Delete Not interesting. – Borrrrrinnnnng, 05:05, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Delete Who cares about this stuff anyway? – Indifferent, 17:28, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep Stuff and nonsense anyhow. – StuffyDecisionMaker, 09:13, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia editors are a pretty diverse group of individuals and our readers and potential readers include everyone on the planet and their kids. Any subject or topic may be of interest to someone, somewhere. And on the converse, there are any number of subjects or topics which an individual editor may not care about. However, personal interest or apathy is not a valid reason to keep or delete an article.

See also I like it and I don't like it, above.

It's useful[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Example:

  • Keep Useful. – Usefulisgood, 05:05, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Delete: we don't need this here. – Judgmental, 03:03, 3 March 2003 (UTC)

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, so it should include useful encyclopedic content. But many useful things do not belong in an encyclopedia and are excluded. Just saying something is useful or useless without providing explanation and context is not helpful or persuasive in the discussion. Remember, you need to say why the article is useful or useless; this way other editors can judge whether it's useful and encyclopedic, and whether it meets Wikipedia's policies. Without that explanation, it does not make a valid argument.

A list of all the phone numbers in New York would be useful, but is not included because Wikipedia is not a directory (we have Yellowikis for that). A page simply defining the word useful would be useful, but is not included because Wikipedia is not a dictionary (we have Wiktionary for that). A guide to the best restaurants in Paris would be useful but is not included because Wikipedia is not a travel guide (there is a Wikivoyage for that). Usefulness is a subjective judgment and should be avoided in deletion debates unless it supports a cogent argument.

If reasons are given, "usefulness" can be the basis of a valid argument for inclusion. An encyclopedia should, by definition, be informative and useful to its readers. Try to exercise common sense, and consider how a non-trivial number of people will consider the information "useful". Information found in tables in particular is focused on usefulness to the reader. An argument based on usefulness can be valid if put in context. For example, "This list brings together related topics in X and is useful for navigating that subject."

There are some pages within Wikipedia which are supposed to be useful navigation tools and nothing more—disambiguation pages, categories, and redirects, for instance—so usefulness is the basis of their inclusion; for these types of pages, usefulness is a valid argument.

It doesn't do any harm[edit]

"WP:NOHARM" redirects here. You may be looking for Wikipedia:Avoiding harm.
Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep Why delete this, it is not harming anyone. – Hippocrates2, 05:05, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Delete This article is very harmful to many people. Get rid of this now! – BiographyPolice, 15:01, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

No content on Wikipedia is censored. Just because an article does not directly hurt anyone does not mean the article should be kept. For example, if there has not been any verifiable information published in reliable sources about the subject, then there is no way to check whether the information in the article is true, and it may damage the reputation of the subject and the project. Even if it is true, without the ability to check it, false information could very well start to seep in.

As for articles that do not conform to our basic tenets (verifiability, notability, and using reliable sources), keeping them actually can do more harm than one realizes – it sets a precedent that dictates that literally anything can go here. (See below for that.)

But the purpose of an encyclopedia is to provide information: the potential readership or subjective usefulness of each item does not have to be justified if the material is notable.

The "it does not do any harm" claim and its rebuttal are at the center of the philosophical editing debate of inclusionism versus deletionism. For more information and arguments, see the Meta articles Inclusionism and Deletionism.

Note that in miscellany for deletion debates, whether or not something is harmful is often a relevant issue, since the rules provide that inherently disruptive pages, for instance, may be deleted. The argument "it's not hurting anything" is less persuasive, however, when WP:NOT clearly prohibits the content in question (e.g. a full-fledged blog in userspace) from being hosted here.

It's funny[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep This article is hilarious. – ComedyExpert, 12:34, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep ZOMG...this article is SOOOO friggin' funny!!!!ha ha ha . – Stand-upGal, 4:22, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Delete This article is hilarious. Obviously unencyclopedic!!!! – Meta-Parliamentarian, 12:34, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a repository of humor. Articles cannot be kept for their humor value alone, nor are they outright disqualified because they are on a topic an editor finds humorous. Furthermore, the intensely subjective value of humor means that it can never be used as an indicator of worth in an encyclopedia where the merits of an article are determined by objective criteria (what is funny to one person may be dull and uninteresting to another; and perhaps downright offensive to a third.) This does not mean articles on humor-related topics have no place on Wikipedia: The Office (US TV series), Red vs. Blue, Buttered cat paradox and even unintentionally funny articles such as Exploding whale all have a place on Wikipedia. Articles should be kept or rejected because of ideas such as notability, verifiability, and lack of original research – not because they meet an editor's subjective view of humor. There are more appropriate places, even on Wikipedia, than in the article space.

It looks good[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples

  • Keep Article is well laid out with good graphics – Styleoversubstance,
  • Keep Very nice format and design, esp. the use of multicolour layout – Bauhaus11:0,
  • Keep Has been written by a professional Wikipedian; is complete with an infobox, pictures, and a navbox. – CompleteWellwrittenPage,
  • Delete This article has such an ugly format – FormatCritic,

While it is certainly a good thing for Wikipedia articles to be aesthetically pleasing or well laid out from a graphic design perspective, the mere appearance of an article is not a factor in whether the subject of the article is justifiably suitable for an article on Wikipedia.

It contains valuable information[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples

  • Keep: This was not an advertisement, but VALUABLE INFORMATION about our groundbreaking product that everyone on the Internet seeks on Wikipedia! – I. Wanda Publicize-Sumthin,
  • Keep: This article is for a really good cause...it is about a charitable group that is trying to save children – SaveTheKids!Please!,
  • Delete: The government of Utopistan notes that military information on this article helps insurgents to plan attacks. – SaveTheTroops!Please!,

Wikipedia is not the place to seek publicity for a cause, product, individual, ideology, etc. Promotional or partisan "information" in particular generally fails Wikipedia's requirements of neutrality and verifiability. See also WP:NOBLECAUSE and "It's useful".

It's valuable[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions. Examples:

  • Keep valuable. – My precious, 05:05, 16 Demember 2012 (UTC)
  • Delete adds nothing of value – Scrouge, 05:05, 16 Demember 2012 (UTC)

Value is subjective. Simply saying it has value or no value with out substantiating the position of why or how is not a helpful or persuasive contribution to a discussion. Remember, you need to say why the article or addition has value or does not ; this way other editors can judge its value in a certain context, and whether it meets Wikipedia's policies. Without that explanation, it does not make a valid argument.

See also WP:VALINFO and "It's useful".

Surmountable problems[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

A common maxim is that "AFD is not cleanup". Consider that Wikipedia is a work in progress and articles should not be deleted as punishment because no one has felt like cleaning them up yet. Remember, Wikipedia has no deadline. If there's good, eventually sourceable, content in the article, it should be developed and improved, not deleted. (If there is no usable content, however, it may well be best to delete.)

Note: The question on whether a poor but improvable article ought to be deleted has been a major point of contention, and has given rise to the wiki-philosophies immediatism and eventualism.

Poorly written article[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete The article is rubbish. – TrashTalker, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Article is messy and poorly laid out. – LostWillToFix,
  • Delete It's not referenced properly – Lazy1, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Delete It has such an awful title – Judge a book by its cover, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Keep We'll find some sources later – NotRightNow, 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

In the Wiki model, an article which may currently be poorly written, poorly formatted, lack sufficient sources, or not be a comprehensive overview of the subject, can be improved and rewritten to fix its current flaws. That such an article is lacking in certain areas is a relatively minor problem, and such articles can still be of benefit to Wikipedia. In other words, the remedy for such an article is cleanup, not deletion.

Some articles have well-written text and references. But the one thing poor about them is the title. There is a simple solution to this: rename it! If you are not able to move the article yourself for one reason or another, request someone else do it.

With that said, if an article is so bad that it is harmful in its current state, then deleting now, and possibly recreating it later, remains an option. For example, problems like copyright infringement, advertising, patent nonsense, or unsourced negative statements in biographies of living people, need to be resolved as quickly as possible.

There must be sources[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep – You should find sources, instead of deleting it. ItsUpToYou 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Delete – The article contains no sources. SeeItToBelieve 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Keep – You need to show there are no sources. ProveANegative 01:01, 1 January 2001
  • Delete – The sources don't show notability. ItHasNoPlace 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

Our criterion for good articles is to include enough references so that all their content is verifiable. When an editor challenges the verifiability of a claim, the burden of evidence to provide reliable sources is on the editors that include it. Unless you can indicate what and where the sources are, they are not verifiable.

Nevertheless, the process to delete articles doesn't depend on the current article status; it's enough to show that those sources exist. To avoid a recentism bias, have in mind that there's no need for sources to be online or freely accessible; ease of access to sources is not a requirement.

Perfection is not required; articles improve through collaborative editing, and cleanup of articles in bad quality shouldn't be done through a deletion discussion but at the article's talk page. The expected behavior of editors that find a large amount of unsourced content is to collaborate with others and try to find whether the content can be sourced. For that reason it's recommended to tag with cleanup templates those sentences or articles of dubious attribution. This allow other editors a chance to recognize the problem and try to fix it.

If it is likely that significant coverage in independent sources can be found for a topic, deletion due to lack of notability is inappropriate. For articles that include references by reliable sources, but where there's no consensus that those sources establish notability, the recommended outcome is to merge its content in other related articles so that verifiable content is not lost.

Offline sources only[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

  • Delete The only sources given are offline. – Cantmakeittothelibrary, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete With only offline sources given, there is no proof that this is not a hoax. – The Secret Keeper, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete One look online shows that this does not even exist. – Jumping to conclusions, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Google Books only allows you to see pages 1-45 of this book, and the source claims it's on page 57. – Restricted access, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete All the sources given have fallen victim to linkrot. Therefore, we have no way of knowing about this. – Evidence Destroyed, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete The book sources don't have any ISBN numbers, so they must be fake. IAmANumber, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

On Wikipedia, we assume good faith. There is no distinction between using online versus offline sources. Offline sources are just as legitimate as those that are accessible to everyone online. If offline sources, even exclusively offline sources, are used to reference an article, we give the creator (and other contributors) the benefit of the doubt in accepting their accuracy. Since Wikipedia is written collaboratively, it is always possible for other editors to add online sources on top of the offline ones already there. However, this is not a requirement, and they need not exist to sustain the article.

If an editor seeking deletion believes the creator placed fictitious references in the article to make a hoax seem legitimate, the burden of proof is on the one seeking deletion. This will only occur with definitive proof or knowledge that these sources are really fictitious, and not based simply on a hunch. As with the offline sources themselves, online proof that they do not exist is not needed. Good faith is assumed just as much if the editor seeking deletion knows beyond a reasonable doubt that the source does not exist or does not state what is in the article.

Nobody's working on it (or impatience with improvement)[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete Article has been here for 2 years and is still a stub! – TheyDidntWork, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete I gave them six months for someone to add cites, they didn't, and I have lost my patience. – My Way or the Highway, 01:33, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete Creator has totally neglected this article – Plant and run, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete This is not the first, not the second, but the tenth time I put this up for deletion, all because the problems were not solved. Each time, User:WantItKept promised they would improve it after the discussion was closed. But that never happened. And User:WantItKept keeps reneging on his promise. Last straw was long ago, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete We've been waiting 10 long years for this article to improve. By now we know it'll never happen, and we can all agree this article doesn't belong. Time to give up, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep I know I can improve it, I just have no time now to explain how. PrettyPleaseWithACherryOnTop, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Sometimes an article is nominated for deletion that is not being worked on very much, or has not been edited by a person for a long time, and thus might not be in very good shape. This does not necessarily mean that the topic is unsuitable for Wikipedia; it may be that the topic is obscure or difficult to write about. An article should be assessed based on whether it has a realistic potential for expansion, not how frequently it has been edited to date. Remember that there is no deadline.

The article shouldn't be deleted for its current status only because no one has improved it yet. Such deletion would prevent editors to follow the improvement plan in the future. Conversely it's not enough to promise to make the article better; editors should explain how to do it. If the editor fails to follow through on the promise, other editors that arrive later can step in and keep it improving. This way, the article's fate is not dependent on one single editor doing the work; Wikipedia is written in a collaborative way.

A variation of this is a WP:POINT: an editor wants an article improved but lacks the time or skills to actually improve it, so the article is nominated for deletion in the hope that another editor will take notice and improve the article during its pending deletion period and before the artificial deadline of the deletion process.

In some other cases, especially list articles describing a finite set, the article may already be complete and current. Such an article thus hasn't been worked on in X amount of time because there's nothing that needs to be added to it at the present time.

Not all articles on Wikipedia look perfect. Most readers on Wikipedia already know they won't get all the information they are looking for from Wikipedia alone. Even if an article is not the best, even if it remains that way for many years, it can still provide some readers with just what they're looking for, and this is enough to make it worthy.

The concept of ownership of articles is typically thought of to oppose a creator's rights to have it their own way. It can also be extended to say that once an article has been created and it meets inclusion guidelines, the creator has no obligation thereafter to maintain the article. Therefore, if one creates an article that appears to meet guidelines for a standalone article, but abandons any effort to complete or update it thereafter, regardless of whether that editor has been actively editing on Wikipedia, the article cannot be deleted on these grounds.

When the article is a very badly-written article on a small aspect of a bigger field, removing unverifiable content and stubbing the article, or redirecting some of the articles after merging any useful content to a more general article, are better choices than deleting.

Exceptions:

  • Articles that are unambiguous advertising or promotion may be speedy deleted; less unambiguous cases might well be deleted at articles for deletion, if there is little to no content worth saving.
  • While these sorts of arguments may not be good arguments for deletion, they are excellent arguments for a merge in cases where an excessive numbers of subarticles exist. Merge is a perfectly acceptable vote in a deletion discussion.

Orphan status[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete Is an orphan. No articles link to this one, and probably none ever can or will. – Foster Parent, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Is part of a walled garden. This is a group of articles that has no relation to anything else on Wikipedia, so Wikipedia has no place for them. We should delete them all. – Juneau, Alaska, 03:29, 22 August

An article being an orphan (having few or no incoming links) can pose some problems. But it does not show a lack of notability, and therefore is not a valid reason for exclusion. An orphan is still capable of having reliable sources, and many do.

De-orphaning articles and providing incoming links is a goal in improving the encyclopedia, not a requirement. Many orphans were created by newbies who are not familiar with the need to add references or to create incoming links. Some subjects are just very hard to link from anything. If reliable sources can be provided, even if incoming links can't, it is still notable.

Out of date[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete because this article is very much out of date. – Last Year's Edition, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Information changes so often, it is impossible to keep up to date. – Scoreboard, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is a work-in-progress encyclopedia, which means that it is not finished nor will it ever be. As in a paper encyclopedia, information on Wikipedia will often become inaccurate because it is simply out of date. But unlike a paper encyclopedia, in which a new edition is printed maybe every year or so, Wikipedia can be updated anytime. There is a very simple solution to all that: Change it! All you have to do is to click "edit", make the necessary changes, and save the changes, writing in the edit summary that you are updating the information. If you do not wish to make the effort to do that yourself but you know it needs to be done, you can also place {{update}} on the top of the page or section. To consider a page for deletion on the basis that it is not up to date is to demolish the house while it is being built.

Susceptibility to policy violations[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete Article is likely to be vandalised a lot. – Graffiti Wall, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Has such a long history of vandalism that has made it an embarrassment to Wikipedia. – Tarnished, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete There is a constant edit war going on here. – We Just Disagree, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete An article about this will never meet Wikipedia's neutrality guidelines because there is so much controversy surrounding it. – Abortion Clinic, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete So many people hate this person that a fair article free of BLP violations is impossible. – Already Judged, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep Vandals and sockpuppets will just keep on re-creating the article if it's deleted. – WhackAMole, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep The canvassing campaign has made it impossible to get consensus on this. – MurkyWater, 03:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia has remedies in place to tackle its policy violation issues. Vandals, sock puppets, and edit warriors can be blocked. Articles can be protected. Sock puppets and canvassers can be traced. Templates can be placed on a page to let readers and editors know how it has to be fixed. If inaccurate information is frequently added erroneously but in good faith, this can be discussed until a consensus is reached.

Notability fallacies[edit]

Existence[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep It exists. – LuitzenB, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep It is not a hoax. It is truly real. – DavidH, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep There is no doubt that the band exist...there are 3 local newspaper articles about their show dates, plus they have a MySpace page. – LoveGarageBandz, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep It is common household vocabulary what a spray stick is. Of course there should be an article about it. – Everyone knows Mr. Fresh, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep I know lots about this subject, so it must be notable. – Know-it-all, 04:04 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete It's just fiction. – FictionHater, 04:04 4 April 2004 (UTC)

Existence is important. The main purpose of the requirement to have all articles and information drawn from identifiable sources (WP:V) is to prove that everything is true and accurate. But mere existence does not automatically make a subject worthy of inclusion. There are various other guidelines that must be met, mostly found in WP:N. As for the lack of existence, there are rare cases when this can be notable.

Google test[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep It has 345,400 Google hits, so it is clearly of interest. – GoogleBoy, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete Only 10 Google hits, non-notable. – GoogleGirl, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete Zero Google hits, must be a hoax. – MustBeAHoax, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete Zero Google hits, so even if she is a tenured professor at Harvard, she must be non-notable. – GoogleHits=measureOfworth, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete A Google Books search returned no hits, so must be non-notable – PrintIsDead, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep She's the first Google result for her name, so obviously she's important. – FirstIsBest, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep The company has over 5,000 Facebook likes!!! – LotsOfFriends, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)

Although using a search engine like Google can be useful in determining how common or well-known a particular topic is, a large number of hits on a search engine is no guarantee that the subject is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia. Similarly, a lack of search engine hits may only indicate that the topic is highly specialized or not generally sourceable via the internet. WP:BIO, for instance, specifically states, Avoid criteria based on search engine statistics (e.g., Google hits or Alexa ranking). One would not expect to find thousands of hits on an ancient Estonian god.

The search-engine test may, however, be useful as a negative test of popular culture topics which one would expect to see sourced via the Internet. A search on an alleged "Internet meme" that returns only one or two distinct sources is a reasonable indication that the topic is not as notable as has been claimed.

Overall, the quality of the search engine results matters more than the raw number. A more detailed description of the problems that can be encountered using a search engine to determine suitability can be found here: Wikipedia:Search engine test.

Note further that searches using Google's specialty tools, such as Google Books, Google Scholar, and Google News are more likely to return reliable sources that can be useful in improving articles than the default Google web search. However, since an article can be verified as notable entirely by offline sources such as books and newspapers, a lack of search results there is not proof in itself that an article should be kept or deleted.

Article age[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples

  • Keep. Article has existed since 2004. – Age Before Beauty, 01:10, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep. Article was only created yesterday, I'm still working on it! – Think of the New Articles, 12:10, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete Article is brand new, has not stood the test of time – Catch22, 01:10, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete This article has existed for years. It has to go. – ArchaeologistInRuins, 01:10, 1 January 2010 (UTC)


Inclusion is not an indicator of notability. Take Gaius Flavius Antoninus. This hoax article lasted for more than eight years before getting discovered and deleted. Having survived a long time on Wikipedia does not guarantee the article a permanent spot. The article may have achieved its age either because its lack of notability was not discovered until recently, or because the collective interpretation of our inclusion criteria has evolved. Consensus can change, and an article that was once accepted under Wikipedia's guidelines or just by defacto practice could be put up for deletion.

However, note that the fact that an article has not been edited in a long time is also not grounds for deletion, as explained above.

Conversely, being a new creation does not protect an article from being nominated for deletion. All articles have to comply with our inclusion policies from the moment they are created; if an article is not suitable for Wikipedia it will be deleted, regardless of how new it is. Remember that all articles are works in progress, and this is not by itself reason to keep an article. It is recommended to work on a new article in the Article Incubator or in userspace before moving it into mainspace, to avoid it being nominated for deletion in an obviously unfinished state.

However, note also that the current low quality of an article is also not a reason to delete it, as explained above. Articles should be judged on their potential, not just current state.

Subject no longer exists[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

  • Delete IntraState Airlines just went belly-up. Therefore, we should delete the article about it. - Liquid8R, 12:35, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete The full citation proves it, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. - WhatHolocaust, 12:35, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete Rapid Racers went out of business more than 20 years ago. Why then should we have an article - No One Remembers, 12:35, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete FadCo has discontinued the SuperWax Doodlies line - Get-A-Life, 12:35, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete The Big Banger has not had a hit record for more than 10 years now - Out of print, 12:35, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete Victorianville has been wiped off the map and is now the site of a strip mine - Ghost Town, 12:35, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep FunHouse is out of business now. It is a safe bet that an article about them is not an advertisement. - Honorable Mention, 12:35, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Notability is not temporary. The continuing existence of an article does not depend on the continuing existence of its subject. Even if it is a thing of the past, if sources can display its notability in the same way as a subject that exists today, then it qualifies no less for an article. It does not matter if the cessation of the subject occurred before or after the creation of the article. Even if links to the sources are no longer active, if the writer(s) of the article do the best possible job of documenting what they are, the article shall meet the standards for reliable sources.

The only way a subject can be truly declared "no longer notable" is if the actual notability guidelines change to exclude the subject. This does not happen very often.

Pageview stats[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples

  • Delete, Wikipedia does not need pages some handful of people (about 3 per day in this case) might want to find information about. – Trafficdirector, 12:35, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep, this is clearly an important list, as almost 14,000 people read it every day, making it Wikipedia's 163rd most popular article. – Porn enthusiast, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Simply because a page is not of interest to Wikipedia readers does not mean it is not notable. Conversely, just because an article is popular does not mean it is within the project scope, although article popularity is likely to correspond with some form of notability which should then be straightforward to verify.

Support for article[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples

  • Keep There are more "keeps" than "deletes" – OutVoted, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep There is a huge crowd rooting for this article to be kept. – Petition Drive, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep The cause for keeping this has gone viral. – YouTube Fan, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep This nomination has made the news and been heavily criticized. It would be an embarrassment for Wikipedia to delete it. – Public Appeal, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete 25 people want to have this page deleted. – Down The Well, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

AfDs are not about voting. The outcome of a deletion discussion is determined on the basis of reference to policies and guidelines, not a simple headcount. If you comment on the basis of the numbers already seen as in the above examples, you are just adding a vote to those numbers and not contributing usefully to the discussion. And drawing others to cast such votes may be canvassing.

Many AfDs in the past have had a final outcome that contradicts the numbers, and many will in the future. It is possible for an AfD that has 1 keep and 10 deletes to be kept (or vice versa) if that single argument is really good and the remainder are just votes. However, community consensus is frequently taken into consideration when closing the discussion of an article's deletion, and although consensus is not identical to voting, indication of consensus as demonstrated by a large proportion of well-argued votes on one side or the other of a discussion is likely to factor heavily in the final decision.

Number of editors involved[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

  • Keep Has been edited by lots of people – Busy at work, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep This is a huge project that many editors care about and work on every day – Teamwork, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep Surely if this many people have contributed to the subject, someone should know where to find sources – Who has the secret?, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete Only one person has made all the edits to this page – My Personal Article, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete The only editor who ever contributed to this article has not made any edits in 3 years, so if deleted, it'll not be missed – Who Cares?, 13:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

The number of editors involved may point out the level of interest in the subject, but it does not measure the notability, the number of reliable sources, or its compliance with other inclusion guidelines. An article can be made into a good article, either by one person or by a dozen. And if no reliable sources exist at all, then no matter how many editors they are, they will not be found.

Articles are not owned, even by their creator, and they are not judged based on who created them, how active that creator is or was on Wikipedia, or how many people besides themselves are interested in editing them. It is not uncommon for an individual to create or edit a single article in their lifetime, all while providing valuable information, and then never edit again.

Article size[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

  • Keep Article has lots of information on the subject – Book of Wealth, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Article is only one line. Clearly a DICDEF – Mr. Webster, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete This article provides too little information on the subject – Flashcard, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Article provides so little information, you can easily recreate it should more information be available – Come back when you're more mature, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a collection of indiscriminate information. An article could have many paragraphs or even pages of information. If any of that information is not and cannot be properly sourced, it does not belong, and if none of it belongs, neither does the article.

On the other hand, even a small amount of information meeting the general notability guideline can be eligible for inclusion, provided that other inclusion guidelines are met. Even if the article on a subject is very short, it may just be a stub waiting for expansion. Being "short" is not grounds for deletion.

As in a paper encyclopedia, some articles will be several pages long, others just a line or two. There is no minimum or maximum length that qualifies an article, just the reliable sourcing of the information. Since nothing is in stone, articles can grow, shrink, merge, split, and change in all different ways over time. But once the subject becomes clearly notable, they do not disappear.

Unreliable sources[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep I found all this information in another Wikipedia article – Wikifan, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Blogs aren't reliable sources – Format Error, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep The subject's site goes into great detail about it – Propaganda=Gospel, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep There is a whole web site devoted to this subject – Make It Notable Yourself, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep People are talking about it all over the blogs – Talk of the Town, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep This MySpace page tells all about it – Say What You Want, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep Look what I found about it on Twitter – Tweet Me, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep There is an entry in Urban Dictionary on the subject – Street Speech, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia's general notability guideline requires that in order for a subject to be notable, it must be sourced by multiple reliable sources, independent of the subject. In establishing notability, those sources must meet the guidelines found on the reliable sources page. A subject's own site can be used to verify some information, but surely not to establish notability. Sites like blogs and personal pages that can be created or edited by anyone with little or no restriction are generally not seen as reliable sources of information. While such sites may be written in good faith and may be seen by some as accurate and/or neutral, there is little or no control or proof of these details, and there is even a chance they may have been created or edited by the very same person who created or contributed to the Wikipedia article.

On the other hand, blogs can be written by professional journalists and subject to editorial control, and personal sites can belong to established experts in the subject. There are also pages bearing the URLs of blogs that have mirrored news articles that do constitute reliable sources. For sites including user-generated content, assess whether the content is self-published or can be attributed to an independent professional writer with a record of reliable publishing. News sources that publish in a blog format may be as reliable as a traditional newspaper.

Trivial coverage[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep In all the publicity this school has received, they mention this particular honors student – WayToGo!, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep A restaurant that is often reviewed in the community times – HighRatings, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete A restaurant that only has magazine reviews – Didn'tSeeTheTimesFrontPage, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep Of course this church is notable. This is where the city council always meets every Tuesday night. – EveryWordCounts, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep I always hear on the 5 o'clock news that the police have been called to this gas station – NuisanceProperty, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep Splatter Road has been the site of 3 homicides in the past 10 years that have all received news coverage mentioning this location – DangerZone, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete One sentence is trivial coverage. HennyYoungman, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)

The general notability guideline stipulates that in order for a subject to be worthy of a standalone article, significant coverage that addresses the subject in detail is required, to the point that original research that involves extracting information is not needed. Merely being mentioned in a source whose primary purpose is to cover an entirely different subject does not necessarily satisfy this guideline. Once notability has been established, some of these sources may be useful in verifying additional information, but they should not be used as a reason why the subject is notable.

On the other hand, the notability guideline doesn't require that the subject is the main topic of the source material, only that it's more than a trivial mention. The spirit and the letter of the guideline are concerned with having enough content to write articles from a neutral point of view. Critical commentary from reputable professional reviewers and prestigious awards are examples of short but significant (i.e. nontrivial) mentions that have been used to establish notability and are useful to write Reception sections (see the specific guidelines for books, films, music and artists); common sense and editorial judgement should be used to reach a consensus about the sources available.

It's in the news[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep I came here to find out more about the arrest and court case...should be kept and updated – NeedsToKnow1, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep On the news tonight and on all major newspaper frontpages – NeedsToKnow2, 08:45, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep When I saw this I immediately looked it/them up here, as did many – CNNfan:), 16:39, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep Huge media interest in this celeb romance...so we should keep the article – NeedGoode..Luvin, 21:24, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Delete Wikipedia is not news, and there should be no news, period – Press-Free Zone, 16:39, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Delete There has been no coverage about this event for two years already, and there probably never will be. – Gone and Forgotten, 16:39, 31 October 2009 (UTC)


Wikipedia is not a news service—articles will not simply be kept because they are of timely importance. Due to its popularity, Wikipedia is many people's first port of call to find out more about a breaking story or other current event they've just heard about. Wikipedia does have articles that cover current events as well as those of the past, and it even selects certain newsworthy topics for display on the Main Page. But Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a news service, and keep arguments must take this into account. Wikipedia even has a sister project Wikinews, dedicated to hosting user generated news stories.

Basically, Wikipedia is not a place for routine coverage, such as locally reported crime, community issues, regularly scheduled sports events, trivial matters, and other topics that are found in the daily paper. It is not here to take the place of the newspaper, regular broadcasts, or other forms of media that are to be expected. Some events are indeed notable and worthy of inclusion. The NOTNEWS guideline is not intended to be overused to favor deletion. There are a variety of reasons an article may be written about a particular event, and this must be taken into consideration when a news event is sent to AfD.

If you plan to use either the WP:EVENT or WP:NOTNEWS arguments (or other similar guidelines) to support keeping or deleting an article, it is important to be familiar with the guidelines to be sure what news belongs and what news does not. It may also help to get a sense of what types of events either do or don't customarily have articles.

Geographic scope[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep It's of interest around the entire globe – World Traveler, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep People from 3000 miles away know what this is – Coast to Coast, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep Everyone around the world needs to know about this – Reporting on importance, 05:59, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Delete No one from outside this establishment's hometown has ever heard of it or ever will – Total Stranger, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Wikipedia is an encyclopedia of the entire world, not just Woodsville – Why Should I Care?, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Cumbertown is not the center of the world – Geocentric, 13:13, 08 June 2007 (UTC)

Notability is not about assigning an elite status to a select group of subjects. It is about having the ability to write neutral, verifiable, encyclopedic-style information about them.

Wikipedia's General Notability Guideline requires multiple sources independent of the subject to cover the subject in order to establish notability. But this guideline does not specify the locality of the coverage. Having sources that under all circumstances meet this guideline means that it is notable, and therefore, worthy of an article. On the contrary, being spread out around a greater region, such as a country or the whole world, without satisfying notability requirements does not make a subject notable.

Stating an article should be deleted because you and most of the world do not know about it is akin to the I've never heard of it argument. Many subjects are esoteric, meaning that only a small crowd is familiar with them. For example, few people are aware or interested in some obscure forms of living things, space bodies, or scientific concepts, and few people will ever know about them in the first place in order to even desire to read about them. Yet there is sourced information about them, so they qualify to be included.

The same is true about subjects only of interest to those in a single city, town, or region. People who live outside the area who have never visited there or done any research on the area will obviously be unlikely to have ever heard of them. But Wikipedia is not limited to subjects that everyone in the world knows or will have a good chance of knowing. Being a global encyclopedia, Wikipedia can cover a wide range of topics, many of them pertaining to the culture of a single country, language, or an ethnic group living in one part of the world. The people living in a single city or town and everything they have built around them are likewise a culture and society of their own.

Another question is where to draw the line on a subject as being "local". Local could mean limited to a city or town. But others may view a state, province, or other similar region as being local. And such divisions vary in size throughout the world. And though the boundaries of a jurisdiction are legally defined, determining a distance from that location in which coverage would be non-local is not possible.

One may ask: does it not make sense that one part of the world has more articles on its local interests than another with a greater population? If so, this is not because Wikipedia is ever intended to be this way. Numbers of articles are not written in direct proportion with the population distribution of the world. Each article is written because just one person living wherever chooses to write that article. And some areas just happen to have more dedicated writers. Anyone, including you, can be devoted to writing about your hometown. (See Wikipedia:Geographic imbalance.)

The Events Notability Guideline on the other hand does specify locality of coverage, recommending notable events more often have a national or international scope.

Arbitrary quantity[edit]

See also: WP:OLDAGE
Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep An Internet forum with 3,000 members / a magazine with 37,000 subscribers / a micronation with a population of 9,400 is notable. – Countvonnotable, 04:56, 7 August 2006
  • Delete An Internet forum with 3,000 members / a magazine with 37,000 subscribers / a micronation with a population of 9,400 is not notable. – Notbigenough, 04:56, 7 August 2006
  • Keep This person's video on YouTube just passed 1 million views mark and over 1,000 comments which is notable. – Lotsofviews, 04:56, 7 August 2006
  • Keep Site has existed for over 9,000 years! – Vegeta 16:01, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

A commonly seen argument at AfD is "Subject has X number of Y, that's notable/non-notable". Notability isn't determined by something's quantity of members, but rather by the quality of the subject's verifiable, reliable sources. An article on a topic is more likely to pass the notability test with a single article in Encyclopedia Britannica than because it has 1 million views on YouTube.

This does not apply to the position taken in WP:NUMBER that articles on actual numbers over a certain size need to establish several reasons why that particular number is notable, which is a well-defined threshold.

Subjective importance[edit]

For further information on this concept and more examples, see Wikipedia:Subjective importance
Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete Well I've never heard of it so it must be a hoax. – Iknownothing, 00:07, 1 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete People in my city have not heard of her, so she cannot be notable. – Provincial, 15:55, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete Who outside of (name locality) has ever even heard of this person/place/thing? – Notknownhere, 14:12, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep I know it well. It's on my way to school. – Myneighborhood, 14:12, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep John is the tallest person in my home town so he should have an article about him. – Smalltownboy, 05:05, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Keep Is the only elementary school on Clubbington Street in Eastgrove. – OnlySchool, 07:57, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Lots of things are well known to a select group of people. A woman may be considered the greatest crocheter in a local crochet group, which may make her famous in that community, but that does not necessarily indicate she is notable enough for a Wikipedia article. As is mentioned in one of the official Wikipedia policies, Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, meaning that some things are not suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia. Everything in Wikipedia needs to be verifiable information published in reliable sources before an article can even be considered for inclusion, otherwise it could be considered original research. If the only sources that have written about a subject are those within a small community it's likely (but not always the case) that those sources are not reliable enough to warrant inclusion in Wikipedia.

Conversely, some subjects' notability may be limited to a particular country, region, or culture. However, arguments that state that because a subject is unknown or not well known among English readers it should not have an article encourage a systemic bias on Wikipedia. To avoid this systemic bias, Wikipedia should include all notable topics, even if the subject is not notable within the English speaking population or within more populous or Internet-connected nations. Likewise, arguments that state that because a subject is lesser known or even completely unknown outside a given locality does not mean the subject is not notable.

This argument is not sufficient on its own to be persuasive in deletion discussions.

Crystal ball[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep This movement may be unknown now, but it is going to be really important very soon. – Youwillsee, 18:49, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep Of course this unreleased single is notable. It's by The Scrotums. – Mycrystalballisinforservice, 01:40, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep We all know there will be a presidential election in 2032. – Everyone's a psychic, 01:40, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete This celeb is just a flash in the pan, and nobody will remember her in a week/month/year. – Shortattentionspan, 18:49, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a crystal ball, and editors should avoid using one when commenting in a deletion discussion. It is difficult to determine precisely what people believe in the present, even more difficult to predict how perceptions will change in the future, and completely unnecessary to even try. Notability is based on objective evidence of whether sufficient reliable sources have taken notice already, not on subjective judgments of whether people should take notice in the future. Focusing on the objective evidence helps the deletion discussion reach a logical conclusion; injecting your personal predictions does not.

Past inaction by sources[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Delete None of the source coverage would have occurred had the one event not occurred. – Lookherenotthere, 10:28, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Notability is based on objective evidence of whether sufficient reliable sources have taken notice already, not on subjective judgments of why people did not take notice in the past. Focusing on the objective evidence helps the deletion discussion reach a logical conclusion; injecting your personal supposition does not. Note however that articles have been deleted under WP:BLP1E even when the subject's earlier actions were reported in the press (at a much later date) as a result of later actions (and in the context of those).

Notability is inherited[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep She once worked with someone famous – Keeper, 14:15, 03 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep All examples of foo are inherently notable. – Classifier, 01:15, 03 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Keep This poet is notable, so all his individual poems must be notable too. – All the trees in the forest, 14:15, 03 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep Is found in a navbox together with other similar or related articles. – Member of the club, 14:15, 03 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Delete All examples of faah are useless cruft. – Class Warfare, 11:22, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep It is a radio program on a notable radio station therefore the program is automatically notable. – Wheredoesitend, 15:46, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep his brother is a notable athlete. – Family Tree, 19:44, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep: there are lots of famous people on this list, so it's notable. – Adrian Listmaker, 18:20, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Notability requires verifiable evidence. This is why notability is not usually inherited, it can't be verified with evidence, only mere personal opinion as in the examples above.

Notability of one or more members of some group or class of subjects may or may not apply to other possible members of that group. Discuss based upon the individual subject, not the subject's overarching classification or type. If a subject under discussion is independently notable, provide the evidence to show that.

In addition, notability of a parent entity or topic (of a parent-child "tree") does not always imply the notability of the subordinate entities. That is not to say that this is always the case (three of the notability guidelines, for books, films and music, do allow for inherited notability in certain circumstances), or that the subordinate topic cannot be mentioned in the encyclopedia whatsoever. Often, a separate article is created for formatting and display purposes; however, this does not imply an "inherited notability" per se, but is often accepted in the context of ease of formatting and navigation, such as with books and albums.

Similarly, parent notability should be established independently; notability is not inherited "up", from notable subordinate to parent, either: not every manufacturer of a notable product is itself notable; not every organization to which a notable person belongs (or which a notable person leads) is itself notable. For example, just because Albert Einstein was a founding member of a particular local union of the American Federation of Teachers [Local 552, Princeton Federation of Teachers] does not make that AFT local notable.

Family members of celebrities also must meet Wikipedia's notability criteria on their own merits – the fact that they have famous relatives is not, in and of itself, sufficient to justify an independent article. Ordinarily, a relative of a celebrity should only have their own independent article if and when it can be reliably sourced that they have done something significant and notable in their own right, and would thereby merit an independent article even if they didn't have a famous relative. Note that this also includes newborn babies of celebrities: although such births typically receive a flurry of press coverage, this testifies to the notability of the parent, not the child. In other words "Inherited notability alone is not necessarily enough notability."

Note, however, that this does not apply to situations where the fact of having a relationship to another person inherently defines a public position that is notable in its own right, such as a national First Lady or membership of a Royal house. For instance, being married to the Governor of Arkansas does not make the spouse notable, whereas being married to the President of the United States typically does, after 1932 at least. Being the fifth cousin of a President of the United States does not make a person notable (unless the fifth cousin in question goes on to become President themselves); by contrast, being the fifth cousin of Queen Victoria is in and of itself very likely to make one a notable person. Compare with Walton family and Rothschilds.

See also Wikipedia: Notability and Wikipedia:Summary Style.

Lots of sources[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

Whilst showing the subject is mentioned in a number of sources, not all sources are reliable and may only be trivial mentions. Notability requires the presence of significant treatment of a subject in reliable independent sources, not just the mere presence of the searched-for term. Search aggregators are also prone to picking up user-comments too. So it is important to specify the actual sources which can be used instead of just linking to a search of them, and to consider whether these sources provide enough information to write a reasonably detailed article on the subject, rather than a hopeless stub. This also applies to lists of 'Media Coverage/In the News' sections on websites.

Wikipedias in other languages[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples

  • Keep given the six interwiki links (de:Foo, es:Foo, fr:Foo, it:Foo, la:Foo, pt:Foo). They can't all be wrong. – Interwikis=Notability, 14:54, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Delete No interwiki – TrappedBehindTheLanguageBarrier, 01:15, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

A notable topic will often be covered by Wikipedia articles in many languages other than English; however, the existence of such articles does not indicate, by itself, that a topic is notable.

Other Wikipedias may have different inclusion criteria from the English Wikipedia. Notability requires coverage in reliable secondary sources. Other versions of Wikipedia are not reliable sources. Many articles in other Wikipedias are based on translations of English Wikipedia articles. Moreover, because of the availability of online translation tools, it's easier to create cross-wiki spam. Of course, if the other Wikipedia articles cite any reliable sources not in the English Wikipedia article, they can be added to it.

On the other hand, the fact that there are no interwikis does not mean that the article should be deleted. It may be the case that nobody has yet written an article on another language's Wikipedia or that it just hasn't been linked to from the English language article. It may also be the case that the topic is notable in the English-speaking world, but of little relevance to speakers of other languages, or vice versa.

Individual merit[edit]

What about article x?[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep There's an article on x, and this is just as famous as that. – EmperorOtherstuff, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep Look, if we have an article on Pokémon characters, we should be able to have an article on this band . – PokePerson:O, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep You say this article is promotional, but there are other articles just as promotional as this one. – Blay Tant Marqueter, 04:04, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete We do not have an article on y, so we should not have an article on this. – EmpressOtherstuff, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete You guys forced me to delete the article on a President, so you have to allow me to delete the article on this activist. – NoFair, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)

The nature of Wikipedia means that you cannot make a convincing argument based solely on whether other articles do, or do not, exist; because there is nothing stopping anyone from creating any article. (This may be an argument that this article is not bad enough to be speedily deleted; but that does not mean it should be kept.) While these comparisons are not a conclusive test, they may form part of a cogent argument; an entire comment should not be dismissed because it includes a comparative statement like this.

Plenty of articles exist that probably should not. Equally, because articles must wait for someone who is interested in the subject to notice they are missing before they are created, a lot of articles do not exist that probably should. So just pointing out that an article on a similar subject exists does not prove that the article in question should also exist; it is quite possible that the other article should also be deleted but nobody has noticed it and listed it for deletion yet. Sometimes arguments are made that other articles have been put forward for AfD and survived/deleted (the most famous example being the Pokémon test); these may be effective arguments, but even here caution should be used. Yet a small number of debates do receive wide participation and result in a decision that is effectively final, until new evidence comes along. If you reference such a past debate, and it is clearly a very similar case to the current debate, this can be a strong argument that should not be discounted because of a misconception that this section is a blanket ban on ever referencing other articles or deletion debates.

Deletion debates can sometimes be faulty, and even if the debate was correct it can be hard to draw comparisons: would the fact that there is an article on every Grey's Anatomy character mean there necessarily should be an article on every character on The Office? Comparisons can be highly subjective, and so it is better to look at the debates in question and see what policies were cited and make an argument based on how they apply to the current debate than just say "x was kept so this should be too". However such an argument may be perfectly valid if such can be demonstrated in the same way as one might demonstrate justification for an article's creation. It would be ridiculous to consider deleting an article on Yoda or Mace Windu, for instance. If someone were, as part of their reasoning for keep, to say that every other main character in Star Wars has an article, this may well be a valid point. In this manner, using an "Other Stuff Exists" angle provides for consistency. Unfortunately, most deletion discussions are not as clear-cut, but the principles are the same.

Though a lot of Wikipedia's styles are codified in policy, to a large extent minor details are not. In categories of items with a finite number of entries where most are notable, it serves no useful purpose to endlessly argue over the notability of a minority of these items.

The generic form of this argument, that "there are lots of other bad articles" is also common. However, Wikipedia recognizes that it suffers from systemic bias (see WP:BIAS). Sometimes the nomination of one of a series of articles that have relatively equal merit would further the bias (e.g., deletion of Fooian this but not XYZian this if XYZian represents the majoritarian culture at Wikipedia) – note that this argument differs from Fooian this vs. Fooian that or Fooian this vs. XYZian that.

When an editor introduces a novel type of article in Wikipedia, it may be necessary to consider whether such organization of material is compliant with core policies such as neutral point of view and no original research. Other editors may argue that a certain type of articles doesn't exist because of inherent violations of core policies; see WP:ATTACK for example. Dismissing such concerns simply by pointing to this essay is inappropriate.

See also Wikipedia:Inclusion is not an indicator of notability and Wikipedia:Pokémon test

Other categories exist[edit]

Shortcut:

The accepted practice around OSE applies differently to categories, because in some cases consistency is a desired trait of categorization schemes. For example, categorization guidance explicitly makes an exception for the creation of smaller-than-normal categories (WP:SMALLCAT) if such categories are part of an established scheme - as such an appeal to "Other similar categories exist" may be appropriate at times. Likewise, WP:CFD nominations regularly point out, for a new scheme, that "Other stuff doesn't exist" - in other words, this is a new scheme that would imply creation of many hundreds or thousands of new categories if expanded globally, and there may not be consensus for expanding it more broadly. As such, an appeal to "Other similar category schemes don't - and shouldn't - exist" may be an appropriate argument for arguing for deletion of a category. There are no hard and fast rules here, and there are cases where existence (or non-existence) of one scheme does not have much bearing on whether a similar scheme should be created in a different tree, but it should be noted that OSE/OCE arguments tend to apply differently in category space than they do in article space.

All or nothing[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

The status of articles on other similar topics has no necessary bearing on a particular article. The process may have been applied inappropriately, people may not have seen the other articles yet, or consensus may have changed. As well, articles that share a superficial commonality do not necessarily all meet the requirements necessary to write a well-referenced, neutral encyclopedia article. While some avant-garde performance artists, or college professors, or elementary schools, or blogs (for example) are mentioned in enough independent, extensive references to write an article, others are not. The existence of verifiable, reliable information from which a neutral, well-referenced article can be written is an important criterion in deletion discussions, not its presence in a Wikipedia category or similarity to other articles. Similarly, that some articles on a related topic have been rejected does not mean that this one is unsuitable. That said, there are precedents that may have an impact on a deletion discussion.

Meta-reasoning[edit]

Wikipedia should be about everything[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep I thought Wikipedia's purpose was to provide information on everything. – AllInclusive, 12:04, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Keep You are trying to remove true information! – AllTruthful, 15:45, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Keep This thing exists, so it should be included. – JohnPaulSartre&Ringo, 01:14, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and as such, it should convey information on all branches of knowledge. However, "all branches of knowledge" is not "everything". Wikipedia is specifically not an indiscriminate collection of information, which means there are standards for what constitutes information that should be in Wikipedia. Imagine how large an encyclopedia on everything would be: everything would include every idea that has existed or will exist, every person who ever lived, every organization that has existed or exists, every copy of an object that has existed or exists, every website that has existed or exists, etc. The most basic threshold of inclusion is verifiability, not truth. The verifiability requirement alone would prevent writing about every particle and limit the information that could be included on every person. Moreover, the community has decided not to document every verifiable fact and accordingly has established notability guidelines on what articles should be kept, and a due weight policy on what facts are minority views. Even though that guideline is broader than a paper encyclopedia's guidelines, it is also not "everything". So think carefully and exercise judgement when determining what should be included in an encyclopedia.

see also WP:NOTHING

Do not lose the information or the effort[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep because we would lose the information otherwise. – Essential Essential, 13:19, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete because the information is available elsewhere. – Redundant Redundant, 13:19, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep Lots of people have worked on this. – TheyWorked, 16:15, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

It is unfortunate that editors put effort into writing or maintaining articles that do not meet Wikipedia policy or guidelines. Many editors have seen articles that they invested time and energy into get deleted, and there is no doubt that this can be discouraging. However, the fact of the effort put into an article does not excuse the article from the requirements of policy and guidelines.

In some cases content can be merged to other relevant articles or contributed to other wikis. Note that an argument from WP:PRESERVE does hold some weight in discussions of outright article deletion when material has been merged, as all contribution information may be lost, invalidating the licensing for the article.

Deleted work can be restored to your personal page or to the Article Incubator on request to an administrator. It is also usually possible for the information to be restored if the article passes a deletion review, provided that the deletion archive has not been cleared.

Better here than there[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Example

  • Keep If this article is deleted then the stuff in it will end up back in the main article – APlaceForEverything 06:25, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Unencyclopedic material does not belong in any article. Material sometimes called "trivia" or "in popular culture" may or may not be appropriate for inclusion, either as a part of a main article or in a spin-off article. But unsourced or totally unimportant material does not belong in either, not in the main article nor a sub-article split off to keep it separate from the main article. Trivia sections in articles should be avoided, as Wikipedia is not a trivia repository. Foo in popular culture articles may be viable, as are articles devoted specifically to aspects such as "use in fiction" or "cultural influences", if reliable sources establish that it is a legitimate encyclopedic topic. But unsourced material of no importance has no place on Wikipedia. Either incorporate the material in the main article with appropriate sources, find appropriate justification and sources for the spin-off article or consider that the material is not appropriate for Wikipedia.

That's only a guideline or essay[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

See also: Wikipedia:Quote your own essay

Examples:

  • Keep WP:EXAMPLE is an essay, not policy. – DissentingView, 18:49, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Delete WP:XYZ is only a guideline. – GuidelinesNoGood, 18:49, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep because we should ignore all rules!Anarwikist, 01:41, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a system of laws. Deletion processes are discussions, not votes, and we encourage people to put forward their opinions. Sometimes, they will find an existing project page which sums up their reasoning already, and rather than reinventing the wheel they will link to it (with a suitable explanation of why it applies). If someone links to an essay or guideline, they are not suggesting "WP:EXAMPLE says we should do this", but rather "I believe we should do this, WP:EXAMPLE explains the reasons why".

Essays, in general, serve to summarize a position, opinion or argument. Frequently, this is done with reference to policies and guidelines, so to glibly brand them as "only an essay" may be misleading. Some may also consider it insulting, as it essentially suggests that their opinion (as well as those of the people who originally wrote the page) is invalid when it may not be. There are many reasons why some arguments presented at deletion debates are invalid, based around the substance of the argument or the logic employed in reaching it. "The page you linked to is an essay" is not one of them.

Guidelines do indeed have exceptions; however, it is unhelpful to suggest "WP:EXAMPLE is only a guideline, we do not have to follow it". We have policies which tell us what to do and why to do it, and guidelines to help us with how to do it. Rather than using a page's "guideline" designation as an excuse to make an exception, suggest reasons why an exception should be made.

In particular, while precedents as defined at WP:OUTCOMES are not actual policy, by virtue of the fact that a precedent exists you should provide an actual reason why the case at hand is different from or should be treated as an exception to it, rather than ignoring or dismissing it solely on the basis that it isn't a binding policy.

Now, it does happen that someone will be a proponent of following some notability guideline without any exception. Guidelines do explicitly say that there will be common sense exceptions to them. In those cases, it is fair to point out that it is not necessary to follow the guidelines 100% of the time if there is a good reason to break them. But you should try to make a reasonable argument for why this particular case is one of those exceptions. Guidelines are usually followed for good reasons, so there should be a good reason for breaking it.

Arguments to the person[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep Creator has a history of writing some really good articles, therefore this one must be good and should be kept. – GoodCreator, 11:10, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete Creator has made only 27 edits so far. – FewEdits, 11:10, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep Nominator has previously nominated a lot of articles that have been kept and therefore made poor choices. – BadNom, 11:10, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Delete Creator has previously created many articles that have been deleted, therefore this one should be deleted. – BadCreator, 11:10, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep, nominator is a banned user trying to destroy Wikipedia. – Tenacious Defender, 04:18, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep Politically motivated nomination. – Chronic POV Pusher 00:02, 16 April 2011

A deletion discussion is about the article in question itself. Though the suitability of other related articles may be mentioned during the discussion, and some deletions are bundled with other articles, the debate is not about the creator or any other editors of the article, nor is it about the AfD nominator or anyone who has commented on the AfD. An article is to be judged on its own merits and not those of its editors or detractors. Even well-respected editors sometimes create pages that others feel should be deleted, and likewise, newbies and those who have created many unworthy articles still have the potential to contribute good writings and have made many really good contributions.

There is no shame in having one's good-faith efforts opposed by the majority. Wikipedia is not a club of winners and losers. If a user is disrupting the encyclopedia by continually creating articles that get deleted or continually nominating good articles for deletion, an investigation may be called for into their behavior; this is an independent issue and its result one way or the other should not influence deletion discussions.

Remember, when you comment, personal attacks and accusations of bad faith never help.

However, pages created by banned or blocked users in violation of their ban or block may be speedily deleted. Such pages must be tagged with {{db-g5|name of banned user}} or {{db-banned|name of banned user}}. This criteria does not apply to pages created before the ban or block, or to pages of topics unrelated to the topic of the ban (unless it is a complete site ban).

Repeated nominations[edit]

Shortcuts:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep Didn't we argue all this last month? – DejaVu, 04:04, 4 April 2004 (UTC)
  • Speedy Keep Article survived previous AFD and should not have to be subjected to this rubbish again. – Yawner, 12:35, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Delete It's already had a bunch of AFDs, obviously people want it deleted. – Trytryagain, 16:32, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

If an article has been repeatedly nominated for deletion, sometimes users will recommend "Keep" (or even "speedy keep"), arguing that because the article failed to gain a consensus for deletion before, there is no reason to renominate it. This is a good argument in some circumstances but a bad argument in others. An article that was kept in a past deletion discussion may still be deleted if deletion is supported by strong reasons that were not adequately addressed in the previous deletion discussion; after all, consensus can change.

If an article is frivolously nominated (or renominated) for deletion, then editors are justified in opposing the renomination. Frivolous renominations may constitute disrupting Wikipedia to illustrate a point, especially when there was a consensus to keep it in the past, or when only a short time has elapsed since the last nomination. If an article was kept because it is potentially encyclopedic and can be improved or expanded, one should allow time for editors to improve it. Therefore, it is appropriate for editors to oppose a re-nomination that does not give enough time to improve the article.

Denying the antecedent[edit]

Shortcut:

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Keep It does not matter if it is original research, or non verifiable. It's notable. – Original scientist, 00:44, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep It is verifiable, therefore it is not original research. – VerifiableOR, 00:49, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep The nominator's argument is basically WP:IDONTLIKEIT. – You Know Who Else Had A Toothbrush Moustache, 21:04, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Delete The arguments for keeping are basically WP:ITSUSEFUL. – I Am Weightless, I Am Rust, 12:18, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep The nominator did not perform the steps in WP:BEFORE. Therefore the article is notable. – Use Head Before Hand 12:18, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Delete The "keep" arguments contain a logical WP:FALLACY. Wholly Chao 12:18, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Denying the antecedent (and its variants, like the fallacy fallacy) is a formal fallacy. It basically consists in confusing a necessary with a sufficient condition. All Wikipedia policies are necessary conditions, not necessarily sufficient. If the article meets one condition, it does not mean that it does not violate other policies: original research may be verifiable; articles which seem to be notable may be original research; notable biographies may be a violation of WP:BLP. The policies should be interpreted together not alone.

Other arguments to avoid[edit]

The following links are to articles which describe various relevance fallacies, which should also be avoided in discussions.

See also[edit]