User:Hut 8.5/Deletion

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This page is intended as a guide to Wikipedia's deletion process for new users. Wikipedia doesn't seem to have a page like this, so I decided to write my own. Though this page is my personal opinion and doesn't carry any weight itself, it does link to various policies and guidelines which you are supposed to follow. It focuses on articles.


Only administrators can delete pages at Wikipedia (though non-administrators can add templates to pages asking that they be deleted). Administrators are not allowed to use this power whenever they like, instead there are various rules and regulations governing whether a page can be deleted. Pages at Wikipedia can be deleted through three mechanisms: speedy deletion, proposed deletion, and articles for deletion. The mechanism used in any particular case should be obvious from the deletion summary.

Speedy deletion[edit]

Policy page: Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion

Administrators are allowed to delete pages which are obviously unsuitable in some circumstances. These circumstances are narrowly defined so that the amount of judgement required of an administrator is as little as possible. The circumstances are known as the criteria for speedy deletion or CSD, and are referred to by little codes such as "G1" or "A7". The first character in the code indicates the scope of the criterion. For instance, "A" criteria apply to articles, "U" criteria apply to user pages, "R" criteria apply to redirects, and "G" criteria apply everywhere ("general").

This is a list of all the criteria that can be applied to articles or user pages, with easy-to-understand definitions. A comprehensive list with complete definitions can be found on the policy page. This list may look scarily long, but only one or two criteria are used to delete a particular page and most of the reasons for deletion are obviously inappropriate.

G1: patent nonsense, meaningless, incomprehensible. This isn't supposed to apply to non-English material, bad writing and other cases where the meaning is merely unclear.

G2: test page. Whoever wrote the page was obviously experimenting, and there's no reason to keep the page around.

G3: vandalism. Whoever wrote the page was trying to compromise Wikipedia's integrity. This includes blatant hoaxes.

G4: recreation of deleted material. The page was deleted previously through a deletion discussion (see below) and was recreated.

G5: created by banned user. Banned users aren't allowed to edit, so their contributions are automatically deleted.

G6: housekeeping. An uncontroversial deletion, frequently used to allow another page to be moved to a title.

G7: author requested deletion. Blanking the page is considered a request for deletion.

G8: depended on a page which doesn't exist. For instance redirects to non-existent articles, and talk pages of non-existent articles.

G9: office actions. The Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, reserves the right to delete pages. They very rarely do so.

G10: attack page. The page is solely written to attack or disparage the subject. Biographies of living people which are negative and unsourced can be deleted under this criterion because they violate the biographies of living people policy, which is taken seriously here.

G11: promotional/spam. Wikipedia is a neutral encyclopedia, and the page was obviously written to promote something.

G12: copyright violation. The page was obviously copied from another webpage which doesn't have the same licence as Wikipedia.

A1: no context. The article didn't provide enough information to the reader for the reader to understand what it was about.

A1: not written in English. This is the English-language Wikipedia, all articles should be in English.

A3: no content. The page doesn't have any encyclopedic content and only consisted of external links, rephrasing of the title, images etc.

A5: transwikied article. The article has been moved to another project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

A7: no indication of importance. The article doesn't contain any claim of importance or significance. This criterion only applies to articles about real people, individual animal(s), organizations, or web content.

A9: A7 for musical recordings. The recording doesn't have an claim of importance or significance and the artist who recorded it doesn't have an article.

U1: user request. Users are allowed to request that their user pages be deleted.

U2: user page of a user who doesn't exist.

U3: user page consisting only of non-free images.

R2: redirect from article space to (usually) user space. This usually means the article has been moved to user space.

R3: implausible typo. Redirect from a term nobody is going to search for.

Proposed deletion and articles for deletion[edit]

If an article doesn't satisfy the speedy deletion criteria, it can only be deleted through the proposed deletion or articles for deletion processes. These processes are designed so that more than one editor can review and comment on the deletion nomination.

Proposed deletion (PROD) is intended for uncontroversial deletions. The user who wants the page to be deleted adds a template to the page giving the reason. If nobody objects to the deletion within 7 days the article will be deleted. If anybody does object (by removing the proposed deletion tag at the top of the page) it cannot be deleted.[1] Articles on living people may be subjected to the BLP proposed deletion process, which means the tag cannot be removed unless reliable sources are added to reference the content.

Articles for deletion (AfD) handles everything else. A discussion page (with a title of Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/ArticleTitle) is set up, and while the discussion is open editors can express their opinion on the article, backed up with reasons. They can engage in debates with other editors who have commented, and the discussions can get quite heated. After at least 7 days an administrator closes the discussion according to the consensus of the people who commented and implements the result of the discussion.

These are the most common discussion outcomes:

  • Keep. The article remains in its present state.
  • Delete. The article is not appropriate for inclusion in Wikipedia and will be deleted by the closing administrator.
  • Redirect. The article is turned into a redirect to another article. Usually the previous content will remain in the page history.
  • Merge. The article is merged with another article, so the content will stay in Wikipedia but not at the previous title.

Deletion of an article is a last resort and is only considered when there are problems that make the subject inappropriate for inclusion in Wikipedia. If the objection can be addressed be editing the article (short of a complete rewrite from scratch) then in general it shouldn't be deleted. Common reasons for deleting articles through proposed deletion and articles for deletion are:

  • Notability. This is the main one. Wikipedia isn't constrained by either storage space or staff, as paper encyclopedias are. Hence it has to come up with a standard for determining whether a topic merits an article.[2] The main standard of notability used is whether the subject has significant coverage in reliable sources independent of the subject. There are many other criteria which indicate that the subject is probably notable, such as receiving a significant award or honour.
  • What Wikipedia is not. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and not a directory, dictionary, webhost, soapbox or many other things as specified in this policy. Therefore if an article is only a dictionary entry, directory etc it should be removed.
  • Original research. Wikipedia only documents ideas and facts published elsewhere. If an article only consists of such ideas or facts (for instance an essay, or an academic paper) it should be removed.
  • Biographies of living persons. This policy is taken very seriously and if an article can't comply with it then the article must go. This is because articles on living people may cause real-world damage to the subject of the article.

If a page survives a deletion discussion then it isn't possible to delete it though any mechanism other than another deletion discussion.[3]

Contesting a deletion[edit]

This section discusses what you can do to try to prevent an article which is tagged for deletion from being deleted. This depends on what method is being used.

  • Speedy deletion: if you didn't write the article, remove the speedy deletion tag from the page. If you did, you should add {{hangon}} to the page. This doesn't prevent speedy deletion, but it will buy you some time (articles tagged for speedy deletion rarely last more than an hour or two). Go to the article's talk page and write an explanation of why you think the article shouldn't be deleted. Make sure you address the speedy deletion criterion addressed in the tag. Editing the article to address the reason for speedy deletion is also good. If the page still meets the criteria for speedy deletion an administrator may decide to delete it anyway.
  • Proposed deletion: remove the proposed deletion template from the page. If you don't address the concerns which led to the template being applied the article will probably go to articles for deletion soon. If the article is an unreferenced biography of a living person don't remove the tag unless you added references to the article.
  • Articles for deletion: go to the discussion page for the article and express your opinion. Try to rebut the arguments for deleting the article, reference policies and guidelines, and include any sources. You can still edit the article during the discussion. Remember that the discussion is not a vote, and if your arguments are more convincing than those in favour of deleting the article then the article won't be deleted. Try to avoid any of the arguments listed at Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions, since those are generally considered to be weak.

Overturning a deletion[edit]

This section discusses what you can do to try to get a deleted article restored. Administrators have the technical ability to overturn deletions as well as perform them.

As a general rule, look up why the article was deleted and ask the deleting administrator if you have any concerns. As long as you are polite they will probably write you a response. Administrators are only human and they do sometimes make mistakes, so they might just reverse their deletion without further discussion.

  • Speedy deletion: if you can rewrite the article to address the reason why it was deleted you can do so. If the new version doesn't meet any of the speedy deletion criteria then it will not be subjected to speedy deletion. If you don't want to rewrite it or feel the original article didn't meet the speedy deletion criterion then you can discuss the issue with the deleting administrator or list the article at deletion review.
  • Proposed deletion: if the article was not deleted under the BLP proposed deletion it can be overturned at the request of any editor. You can request that the article be restored on the deleting admin's talk page or at deletion review. If the article was deleted under the BLP proposed deletion process this can only happen if you provide appropriate references.
  • Articles for deletion: if you feel the deletion discussion was closed unfairly you can discuss with the closing administrator or take the article to deletion review. Usually you should discuss with the deleting admin before using deletion review.

What not to do[edit]

If your article has been deleted or tagged for deletion, doing any of the following will probably make the situation worse.

  • Being rude to other editors. Wikipedia has policies on civility and personal attacks, and breaking them can result in you being blocked from editing.
  • Recreate a deleted article without changing it. It will probably be deleted for the same reason the old version was. If this happens enough times the article title will be salted so only administrators can create it.
  • Threaten to sue other editors or Wikipedia. Wikipedia has a policy against legal threats, and making them will usually result in an indefinite block. If you do have genuine legal concerns see the advice in the previous link.
  • Ask a load of your friends to comment on a deletion discussion, or post on an external website asking people to comment. This is considered canvassing or meatpuppetry and opinions from people who have been pointed towards the deletion discussion in this way will be disregarded.[4]

Avoiding deletion[edit]

There are simple steps you can take when writing your article to dramatically reduce the chance of deletion.


  1. ^ Within reason. If you write a bot to remove all current proposed deletion templates you will probably be blocked for disruption.
  2. ^ Otherwise it would be deluged in articles about students, peoples' pets, bands that have never recorded anything etc. If this happened Wikipedia would lose all credibility.
  3. ^ Unless the page is a newly discovered copyright violation.
  4. ^ In addition this is usually counterproductive. Pages where canvassing has taken place are frequently listed on administrators' noticeboads, which will often result in lots of administrators commenting that the article should be deleted.