Wikipedia talk:Overzealous deletion

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Some thoughts[edit]

While I agree with virtually all of the individual points made in this essay, I am a little ambivalent about a couple of points (and let me state in advance that I believe that almost all nominations for deletion—even those that are initiated prematurely—are made in good faith):

  • Accusing someone of overzealous deletionism, as it is defined in this article, involves a failure to assume good faith. Claiming that someone wants to "[get] an article deleted in order to feel like a 'winner' or 'just for the heck of it'" requires an assumption of bad faith, even if it is ultimately true and justified (the policy is to assume good faith in the absence of clear evidence to the contrary). Note that I am not suggesting that this essay itself makes an assumption of bad faith: the essay does not specifically accuse any person or group, but rather describes a particular behavior that definitely exists. Perhaps the essay could include a cautionary notice about accusing others of overzealous deletionism...
  • Those who live to get articles deleted or otherwise remove the good-faith contributions of others are more likely to be disliked than liked by other editors. – This is perhaps true, but the sentence seems to imply that editors who spend much or all of their time removing inappropriate content from Wikipedia (even if it was added in good faith) are somehow doing something wrong. Deletion is a technical process that, if used correctly, improves the encyclopedia, and editors who in good faith initiate or facilitate the deletion of inappropriate content make valuable contributions to the encyclopedia, even if others unfairly dislike them for that.
  • It is better to attempt to salvage a potentially viable article as best as the Wikipedia community can before putting it up for deletion. – The truthfulness of this statement hinges on the word "viable". If an article is "poorly written, has no references, is full of original research," and is about a topic that is not notable, as is written in the essay, then there's a good chance that adding tags instead of deleting the article is very much the wrong thing to do, especially if the article is about a living person. In other cases, a particular topic may be suitable for an article, but it may be much more effective to rewrite the article from scratch rather than to try to preserve certain good-faith but poor-quality contributions. To summarize this into a general principle: Judge editors by their intentions and edits by their quality.

I realize that this is an essay and is not required to equally represent multiple points of view, but I think it could express its message more convincingly if it did so.

On a slightly different note, I found the expectation about new page patrol to be unrealistic. While there can be legitimate disagreement about the primary function of new page patrollers—everything from deleting inappropriate articles to educating article creators about how to write good articles, and from tagging articles for improvement to actually formatting, sourcing, or expanding new articles—I think it is unrealistic to expect that new page patrollers should focus on improving articles to FA status. Taking an article to FA status requires devoting hours, days, or weeks to a single article; a patroller, by definition, checks a constant stream of articles.

Overall, I thought that the essay was a well-written and moderated expression of a particular point of view which is not uncommon (though often also unjustified) in deletion debates, and I commend Sebwite for taking the time to write it. –BLACK FALCON (TALK) 05:33, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

You make some excellent observations, I too appreciate the essay. With regard to your comment about assuming bad faith, assumption is not necessarily needed. I've seen Editors openly state the nature of their personal bias about a subject or Editor (not content or policy) based objections on Talk pages. Plus Trolling of disliked editors goes on far too often, its human nature for some to attack an attacker. I agree wholeheartedly that deletion is a good thing when used correctly, but it seems far too often to be agenda (or vendetta) driven. Its one of the reasons that I wrote this essay regarding a related topic. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 16:09, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Corollary re: "following consensus"[edit]

In this edit, user:Sebwite removed the comment below with the edit summary that it "goes against the point here". I disagree. I think that it is exactly the point. Many editors, especially in deletion discussions, think that we "vote" on things here at Wikipedia. They fall into the trap of thinking that majority rules. Opposing points of view are good for the project. However, the opposing point of view must still be based on fact, reason and/or policy. Disagreement merely for the purpose of disputation is disruptive.

Corollary: Taking a contrary position merely to be contrary is equally unhelpful. Opinions, whether in the current majority or minority, are most helpful when they are accompanied by verifiable facts or clear references to Wikipedia policy.

I feel that corollaries in this section get kind of confusing. But there may be other places, either in this or another essay, where this can be written.

This also discourages people from having a view different from so many others, even if that is what they believe. It is one's right to do so. Sebwite (talk) 00:57, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I disagree on both points. Corollaries add nuance, balance and detail and are best presented very near to the rule to which they correlate. Furthermore, it's exactly on point to the purpose of this page. Bandwagon thinking is bad. This is the rule to which the corollary applied. It is true whether the bandwagon is currently arguing to keep or delete a page. Piling on adds nothing to the debate. On the other hand, reasoned and insightful opposing points of view are a great help to the community in making better decisions. But the "reasoned and insightful" part is critical. Saying "no" merely to say no adds nothing to the debate. And, again, this is true whether the new editor is disagreeing with a majority opinion to keep or delete a page.
I also do not believe that the addition a the corollary will inhibit any reader interested enough to be reading this page in the first place. The corollary does not even hint that you should not voice your own opinion, it just says "don't be disruptive - have an actual opinion that you are expressing".
The old Monty Python sketch about The Argument session comes to mind. As Michael Palin's character said, we seek actual argument, not mere contradiction. Rossami (talk) 03:22, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

What to delete, what not to delete.[edit]

This section should focus on reasons for deleting an article. The previous language might be misinterprested as lumping similar articles into deletable and undetectable articles.

I changed these section titles to valid reasons to delete, invalid reasons to delete respectively. The former titles implied that short articles should not be deleted because they are short. While this is true in a sense, it could be misinterpreted that short articles enjoy some special status that should prevent them from being deleted. Being short isn't a sufficient reason to delete an article. --RadioFan (talk) 22:24, 13 September 2009 (UTC)


Although the rewritten form is better, "articles that are created [with a COI involved] can be deleted per WP:COI guidelines" is still untrue. They can be deleted if the subject is non-notable or if they are unfixable spam. Whether or not we are aware of the author's conflict of interest is irrelevant (although if we are aware, that tends to draw extra scrutiny). The "spam" and "biographies" sections cover the actual reasons we might delete a COI article.

We definitely do not delete COI articles solely on the basis that they are COI articles -- WP:COI says no such thing. In practice, most COI articles are about non-notable topics, or so hopelessly biased that it's better just to toss them and let a neutral party rewrite them from scratch. That's the basis on which they get deleted -- COI may be an underlying cause of this, but it's not the underlying reason for deletion. It shouldn't be included in this page as a "reason to delete".--Father Goose (talk) 03:08, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

What I added was "unless they are written in a neutral manner that meets Wikipedia's inclusion guidelines, or can be modified to be as such." If you can think of other reason, please add them in. Sebwite (talk) 05:38, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

It's still not true, though. They get deleted due to lack of notability or because they're pure spam. Even if they're written like an advertisement, if it's a notable subject, such articles generally get kept and rewritten. "COI" is just not a reason for deletion, so it shouldn't be in the "list of reasons for deletion". Do you see what I'm saying here?--Father Goose (talk) 03:19, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

"Gutting" an article during deletion discussion[edit]

I've created an essay on Gutting an article during deletion discussion.

You may find it interesting reading at: User:Cirt/Gutting.


Cirt (talk) 18:22, 18 October 2014 (UTC)