User:Ultraexactzz/Time-delayed Speedy Deletion

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Many thousands of articles are created each day on the English Wikipedia. Of these, a large percentage do not meet our criteria for inclusion, and are deleted through a process called Speedy Deletion. Many of these are personal attacks, gibberish test pages, or other pages that are inherently unsuitable. However, some articles are deleted because of some flaw that might be corrected by the author. An article on a company, for example, might be started without references, thus appearing to be promotional. An article on a band might not mention their top 10 single right away, and so be deleted as an article that does not assert the notability of the subject.

The concern is that a new editor who posts his or her first article may fully intend to continue to improve it over several hours, adding material and building it into a workable stub. But sometimes, the speedy deletion process is too, well, speedy - and that new editor has their work deleted before they realize what is happening.

This proposal, therefore, is an attempt to preserve the function of the Speedy Deletion process while affording the article's author(s) - and other editors - the chance to improve the article before it is deleted.

The Current Process[edit]

The standard procedure for speedy deletion is that an editor identifies an article that fails to meet some core policy. He or she then adds an un-substituted template to the top of the article. This template identifies the specific speedy deletion criteria that the article fails, and indicates that the article may be deleted without further notice. The editor is then supposed to notify the article's author, as a courtesy.

The template adds the article to Category:Candidates for speedy deletion, as well as one or more of its sub-categories. Administrators monitor this category, and periodically review and delete its contents. During busy times, an article might be tagged for deletion for less than 1 minute before being deleted.

Delayed Speedy Deletion[edit]

I propose, for some speedy deletion criteria, that templates be used to timestamp the initial Speedy Deletion tag. This timestamp would introduce a delay into the process. The template, as proposed, would indicate that the article may be deleted after thirty minutes[1] if it is not improved to meet policy. If the article is not so improved, or the speedy deletion template is not removed, then the template will add the article to Category:Candidates for speedy deletion after thirty minutes, and will indicate that the article may be deleted without further notice. Only then would an administrator delete the article.

Proposed Process[edit]

I have created two draft templates as a proof-of-concept method for these time-delayed deletions. These are based in part on the {{prod}} template, which used a similar process to introduce a 5 day delay into proposed deletions.

  • User:Ultraexactzz/draft db-person would be substituted onto an article of a real person that does not indicate why that person is notable, which falls under criteria A7. The template hard-codes a timestamp onto the page, which determines when the thirty minute timeframe begins and ends.
  • User:Ultraexactzz/dated db-person is unsubstituted, and is not to be used directly. Instead, User:Ultraexactzz/draft db-person calls this template and adds the hardcoded values for the timestamp. The result is a traditional {{db-person}} template, with an added message noting that the article will be deleted after 30 minutes unless improved. Once that thirty minutes has passed, the template will change to indicate that the article may be deleted without further notice.

If it hasn't already been deleted, you can see a draft of these templates in action at User:Ultraexactzz/Fake Real Person.

Where are delays appropriate?[edit]

Some articles still need to be deleted immediately. I would only propose delays on articles meeting the following criteria:

  • A1 - No Context. If the context is forthcoming, for example, then the article may well be viable. It is also possible that the author began with some background information, but neglected to draft a lead or introduction that tells what the subject actually is. A delay here would also permit other editors to use tools such as Google to identify the subject.
  • A7 - No assertion of Notability. In many cases, an individual, company, group, or web content might be notable, or might have some plausible assertion that the subject is notable. A delay here would focus the author on finding and turning the article's focus onto that notability.
  • G11 - Blatant Advertising. This criteria is fuzzier, as it covers both articles that actively solicit business ("Contact us for your Software Needs" and such), as well as articles about an otherwise notable company that read as promotional material. Many of these latter cases include lists of clients, board members, or officers - making the article read like a company profile. It may be possible to delay some of these and not others, or to shift the more egregious spam to Category G3 - Vandalism. Some of the articles deleted under this criteria, though, could benefit from 30 minutes for cleanup - and I note that the criteria specifically includes articles "...which would need to be fundamentally rewritten to become encyclopedic". A delay may provide an opportunity for that rewriting to take place.

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ Thirty minutes is an arbitrary figure; the actual length of delay is subject to community consensus.