Wikipedia:When in doubt, hide it in the woodwork

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Many users create articles about current events that do not quite meet notability requirements in the present, but could potentially become notable in the future. In these cases, the best solution is to move the articles out of article space instead of outright deleting them. The solution avoids the creation of non-notable clutter, but prevents the tediousness of rewriting deleted articles from scratch should the subject become notable.

Why Keep or Delete are flawed[edit]

Many articles about notable events are created after an event occurs, but before the event becomes notable. The various notability requirements of Wikipedia state that these articles should be deleted. However, both common sense and at least one guideline state that this approach is counterproductive if there is a good chance the article could become notable. Should the deleted article become notable, editors would need to re-research the article in its entirety. This approach is rather pointless and a waste of everyone's time because the information was already present on Wikipedia before being senselessly deleted. These articles of questionable future notability need to be kept somewhere, just in case they become notable.

However, the previous paragraph should not be used as justification for a keep vote in an AfD debate. Arguing that an article will become notable in the future is inherently speculation, which violates Wikipedia policy. Even without this specific policy violation, this approach to keeping articles of questionable future notability would still causes problems. Wikipedia would likely be flooded with articles that are clearly not notable in the present day, but were kept in the past because of the chance that they could have become notable. This approach directly contradicts the notability requirements for events and would result in the keeping of countless articles that, in hindsight, were just non-notable news.

The solution[edit]

When dealing with articles of debatable future notability, the best decision is neither keeping nor deleting the article. Rather, it is to move the article out of article space. Normal viewers will be unable to see these articles, but Wikipedians can move the woodworked articles back into article space if they ever become notable. Articles can be woodworked in one of two ways.

The first is to userfy the article. If this occurs, the article would be transferred off of the main wiki and onto a user's page. Should the subject of the article become notable, the article can simply be transferred back into the mainspace. However, if it becomes clear that the article is not notable, then  {{db-userreq}}[1] can be added to the top of the userfied article and it will be deleted without the need for a second weeklong AfD. Even if the command is not inserted, the article will still remain out of the mainspace and non-notable clutter will be avoided.

The second way to hide the article is to redirect it to another page and saving the history. Few non-Wikipedians will actually be able to find the article. However, the moment the article subject becomes notable, the redirect can be undone and all of the redirected article will be perfectly preserved. This option may be superior, as any user would be able to make the revert. If the article never becomes notable, the redirect can be nominated for deletion or left up as if it is actually serving as a useful redirect.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Warning: Adding this line to any page on Wikipedia will nominate it for speedy deletion. Do not add it to any user page you do not want to see deleted.