Wikipedia:Experimental Deletion

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eXperimental Deletion[edit]

Experimental deletion explores new ways to deal with unwanted content on Wikipedia. The objective is to find ways to reduce pressure on Articles for Deletion, and reduce the workload both for administrators and for maintainers. Some related conversation may be found at Wikipedia:Deletion reform.

These experiments might try to use only existing mediawiki features, but feel free to try to get code or patches for your personal XD methods accepted into the mediawiki code tree!

For the duration of the experiment, if your XD method makes use of admin deletion, substitute this with listing the page on Articles for Deletion or use the procedures listed under Criteria for Speedy Deletion instead, as appropriate. In this way, wikipedia will be disrupted as little as possible, and old policy will continue to be applied.

When experimenting with any of these models, please remember to revisit and send experimentally deleted pages to WP:AfD or WP:SD. We have promised to keep wikipedia tidy and clean up after ourselves.

Try one of the following systems.

Model summaries[edit]

  1. XD1 (Example). Just blank it. Then just put some words on to let people know it's not vandalism. Works on any wiki, anytime.
  2. Wikipedia:Experimental_Deletion/XD2. A sophisticatized version of the above, using templates and cats.
  3. Wikipedia:Experimental_Deletion/XD3. Simulation by hand of "move content to the trash-can namespace".
  4. Wikipedia:Experimental_Deletion/XD4. Simulate the Pure Wiki Deletion proposal with a user preferences hack.
  5. Wikipedia:Experimental_Deletion/XD5 (XD5/Example)
  6. Wikipedia:Experimental_Deletion/XD6 (XD6/Example)
  7. Wikipedia:Experimental_Deletion/XD7
    • xd6 variation addressing delay before AfD / further action.
  8. Wikipedia:Experimental_Deletion/XD8
    • True page blanking. Primarily for reference and comparison.

Model details[edit]

Experimental Deletion.jpg


eXperimental Deletion method XD1 applies the KISS principle.


  1. blank the page, replacing content with:
    ''(This page intentionally blank)''
    <small>''This page has been blanked as per [[Wikipedia:Experimental_Deletion/XD1]], see there for more information''</small>
  2. Normal editing rules apply. People who disagree with you can revert your blanking, and the WP:3RR applies. (though, as usual, try to apply WP:1RR or even better WP:HEC)
  3. For this experiment only: if the page remains on the XD1 message for a couple of days, people can come along and nominate the page for CSD or VFD, if they like.


  • Add a note with a link to the last revision from page history, that way people can verify whether you blanked the page correctly with a single click


  • Example page
  • Pages removed in this fashion do not become redlinked.
  • Further Pro&Con Not known yet. Please apply the method and report your results on the talk page!
  • You can find pages marked with XD1, because they link back here, what links here?


Isn't this basically a glorified speedy tag? ~~ N (t/c) 01:38, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

No, the speedy tag asks an admin to come along and hard-delete the page, this doesn't. --zippedmartin 10:27, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
So what's this mean? "I think maybe this should be deleted but not enough to VfD it"? ~~ N (t/c) 16:13, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
XD1 does not assume that VFD exists, and does not assume you are capable of using the mediawiki delete button. (and in fact, on nl.wikinews, where I tested a variant once, I have no ops, and there is indeed no VFD.) It's just a way to hide or remove content. Kim Bruning 17:03, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
Isn't it a bit hasty to have a two or three day wait between XD notice and AfD? How about six months or so? Also the XD process could make the page less generally accessible unless you keep the See also section, the cats and the interwiki links, so these should be left in the article. --Tony SidawayTalk 16:42, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Experimental Deletion.jpg


eXperimental Deletion method XD2 applies templates and categories. It is slightly more complex than XD1, but the workload is less.


  1. Blank the page, as before
  2. Add the template {{XD2}}
  3. Done!


  • Add some explanation why you deleted the page as well.


  • Example page
  • You can look up pages deleted in this way in Category:XD2
  • less work than XD1
  • Pages deleted in this way do not become redlinked.
  • Other Pros and cons are as yet unknown. Try it out and report back on the talk page!

Experimental Deletion.jpg


eXperimental Deletion method XD3 applies to article page deletion. This method moves problem articles to a "trash" wikispace, then either leaves a message at the former location, or submits the redirect for speedy deletion (depending on the variation). This leaves the problem page orphaned within the trash space, where it can then be permanently deleted or rescued and restored as felt needed.


  1. Merge all useful information on the problem page
  2. Move the problem page to Wikipedia:Experimental Deletion/XD3/Trash/Articlename
  3. Edit the new redirect page with the message. "This page has been moved to "Wikipedia:Experimental Deletion/XD3/Trash/Articlename" with your reasoning for the move.


  • Well, this would involve someone with developer access helping us out. Make a namespace called "VFD:" or "Deletion:". Then move the articles to "Deletion:Articlename" (and the talk pages to "Deletion talk:Articlename") then have a discussion on "Deletion:Articlename/VFD", and then with simply a list of articles in this namespace can you have a VFD-type thing. — Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 23:12, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
    How is that an improvement on VFD? ~~ N (t/c) 01:37, 24 August 2005 (UTC)
    XD3 does not assume that there is a VFD available. Kim Bruning 13:53, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Delete the redirect instead of leaving a message.


  • There is no way for a non-sysop that is unfamiliar with this procedure to know where the page has gone once the original location is speedied. --SPUI (talk) 16:15, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
    • That's not true. Non-admins can see the page history of deleted pages - they just can't see the content, so the edit summary that contains "x moved to y reason" will be visible. See Special:Undelete/Utente:Toasa for an example of a speedily deleted moved page. Angela. 00:26, August 24, 2005 (UTC)
  • Has anyone tried this and gotten it to work? Kim Bruning 22:30, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
    • I tried it on Wrestling Rappers No complaints yet--Tznkai 23:52, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
      • Except the vfd notice as well, you didn't redlink it! ^^;; I'll see if i can make a redlinking variant of this... after sleep :-P Kim Bruning 01:16, 27 August 2005 (UTC)
  • The initial steps in this can be done by any user, but can only be (properly) reversed by an admin. That seems like a problem to me; deletion should be symmetric in that regard. Worse, some people will probably 'revert' by copying the old article text back, with no history. Aquillion 03:44, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
    • I agree. I would discourage the use of the speedy variant as it is not easily reversed. How are trashed articles with speedied pages eventually submitted to AfD? Good answer to that, and I'm fine with it ;). Perhaps only if matching WP:CSD here 09:44, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Experimental Deletion.jpg


eXperimental Deletion method XD4 is only a corollary to the existing method XD2.

Technical background[edit]

In the user preferences under "Misc", a threshold for "stub display" can be set, which will give links to articles with a size in bytes that is under that threshold a different CSS class ("stub"). That CSS class is normally set to a dark red, but can be changed in the user CSS of course, so you can set it to redlink red (#CC2200) if you want.

Applying that to deletion[edit]

A problem with all the previous techniques is that they leave bluelinks for deleted articles. If we use a template with a really short name (e.g. <10 bytes, which is possible) to mark deletions, we can set our stub thresholds to 11 bytes and enjoy seeing our deletions create redlinks, at least for us.

Using it[edit]

Set your stub threshold as described above to 12 bytes. Replace articles that you wish to faux-delete with {{XD4}} (and nothing else!) and state your reasons in the edit summary. Then proceed as described in XD2, but enjoy the redlinks you are creating. The category in which you can find pseudo-deleted articles is Category:XD4.

An example can be seen at Epica Magna. (This one has a {{copyvio}} on it, but the same principle applies).


To get true redlink-looking links from this trick, add the following to your monobook.css:

/* set stubs to normal redlink color */
a.stub {

You can, of course, use any color you like, or leave the default dark red.

In addition to the pros&cons of XD2, the following applies:


  • Gives XD the ability to create redlinks
  • Works without software change
  • Could be easily set as default


  • Is a server strain (probably, need to check with devs)
    • I asked on #wikimedia-tech if the proposed use of stub thresholds would interfere with caching. Jamesday said that stub threshold could even be disabled because of load problems with it, but Midom said that page length is now in row aggregated, though this is untested. However, Tim Starling says that stub thresholds disable the parser cache, which Jamesday said wouldn't be good for logged in users. As an alternative, Tim said he would be happy to implement this feature properly and efficiently if there is consensus for it. Angela. 10:15, August 24, 2005 (UTC)
  • Presently only works if set it manually, and not at all for non-logged in users (but that could be changed pretty easily)
  • Deletion resons probably have to go into the edit summary, because they would be too long (short stubs are sometimes no longer than 30 bytes)
  • Some users use the stub threshold as it was originally intended - if they set their stub threshold higher, they can no longer see the difference between a stub and a deleted page.
  • Does not seem to work outside of the normal article namespace (more testing needed)
  • That includes all Special: pages.
  • There is no guarantee that a redlink page will contain the XD4 template - it might simply have been blanked or replaced with short nonsense, like a word with four letters :)

Experimental Deletion.jpg


eXperimental Deletion method XD5 is a slight variation to XD2, and uses templates and categories.


  1. Add the template {{subst:XD5|reason}}
  2. Do not blank the page.
  3. Done!
  4. If the template remains on any page for N days, the page may be deleted by an admin


  • (N presently set to five, which is arbitrary)



  • You can look up pages deleted in this way in Category:XD5
  • You can also look by day, e.g. Category:XD5 26 August 2005 to find out what's new there.
  • Suggested reason for deletion is clear and obvious.
  • Interested users can still quickly read the article to consider if it's worth restoring.
  • Pages deleted in this way do become redlinked, eventually.
  • Other Pros and cons are as yet unknown. Try it out and report back on the talk page!
  • Requires no software changes.
  • No extra server load for thresholds, and doesn't interfere with Special:Shortpages

Similar proposals[edit]

experimental use only


How to Delete a Page[edit]

Please take the time to update the log if possible!
  1. Replace page contents with: {{XD6|reason}}
  2. Done!
  3. Watch page and talk page for reverts and/or discussion.
  4. Within one month, list original article (full text) on WP:AfD for proper deletion.


See XD6/Example
  • Note left on page linking old version and inviting discussion on talk page
  • Parameter reason left as part of message.
  • Page placed in Category:XD6

Template Appearance[edit]


  • Edit the template: {{XD6}}


  • This is meant to be very much like XD6, but remains agnostic as to the final disposition of the article.
  • This is a work in progress, and should be expected to change.
  • This process is an approximation of the combined efforts at Pure wiki deletion system and Uncontested deletions (see also Wikipedia:Deletion reform)
  • This can also be used to delay a speedy deletion. Many editors criticise speedying articles too soon after creation, even if it's obvious junk, on the assumption that it might improve. XD7 is one possible compromise.
  • This method can be used differently by different editors, according to their preferences. My reasons for preferring it at listed here.

How to Delete a Page[edit]

Please take the time to update the log if possible!
  1. Replace page contents with: {{XD7|reason}}
  2. Done!
  3. Watch page and talk page for reverts and/or discussion.
  4. Some editors feel that insofar as XD is an approximation of pure wiki deletion, XD'd pages don't need to be hard-deleted or listed on Afd. Some editors feel that leaving such things around is "messy". There is also some disagreement on how long a period of time is suitable for leaving things in this state. Remember, deletion transparency is only achieved by not actually hard-deleting pages, so if you consider that an advantage, don't actually delete the pages.


See XD7/Example
  • Note left on page linking old version and inviting discussion on talk page
  • Parameter reason left as part of message.
  • Page placed in Category:XD7

Template Appearance[edit]


  • Edit the template: {{XD7}}


How to Delete a Page[edit]

Please take the time to update the log if possible!
  1. Remove all page contents. (Blank the page.)
  2. Done!
  3. Watch page and talk page for reverts and/or discussion.
  4. Within one month, list original article (full text) on WP:AfD for proper deletion.


  • Ideally, something similar to that described at Meatball:PlayingDead.
  • A true page blanking without notice.

Proposed Deletion[edit]

An experimental deletion system going semi-live! See: Wikipedia:Proposed deletion Kim Bruning 23:34, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Purge the cache to refresh this page

See also[edit]