Help:My article got nominated for deletion!
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It takes a lot of work to create an article. You decided to be bold, and you've now encountered the deletion process. This may feel very discouraging. All your hard work gone in virtual smoke! AAahhhh! What to do?! Well, don't panic just yet.
First, deletion isn't automatic! It's a process. This happens when someone feels that your article is at odds with Wikipedia norms. While articles do routinely get deleted, many will get to stay in Wikipedia, either as standalone articles, or as part of a more relevant article.
Maybe your initial reaction was feeling hurt, or even angry. Know that plenty of established users have had articles nominated for deletion. People will (or at least try to) argue objectively about whether the article is worthy of being in Wikipedia or not, so try not to take the deletion discussion personally. Listen to the reasons given in the nomination. If something is unclear, ask for clarification. Address/refute the reasons given as best you can (preferably backed with reliable sources), and try to improve the article accordingly. Others will be more likely to listen to you if you stay calm and explain why you think the article is relevant/encyclopedic than if you act upset.
Remember, address the arguments, not the person making them. No one wants to delete your article out of spite, people want to do what is best for Wikipedia. If you feel others are making the deletion personal, you can request that they stay civil and refrain from making personal attacks. Likewise, attacking those who think the article shouldn't be on Wikipedia is a bad idea and can even result in you being blocked.
How deletion nominations work
Most deletion nominations work as follow:
- An editor sees an article and thinks it does not belong in Wikipedia.
- The editor nominates the article for deletion, with an explanation of why they think it is inappropriate for Wikipedia.
- Other editors respond. They may agree (usually indicated with support/delete), disagree (usually indicated with oppose/keep), or suggest one of many alternatives to deletion, such as merging or redirecting to another article.
- After a discussion period (usually 7 days), an administrator then evaluates the response and takes action as needed.
Deletion is not automatic
Articles may survive the deletion process for several reasons:
- A consensus of editors believe the article is encyclopedic.
- The article improves to encyclopedic standards while the discussion is underway.
- No consensus emerges, in which case the article stays.
It's also possible that the content is not felt worthy of its own article, but would instead be better incorporated in another article. Editors (including you) may suggest a merge or a redirect as an alternative to deletion. For instance, the publication Nepal Mathematical Society Newsletter does not have its own article, but it makes a fine addition to Nepal Mathematical Society. Likewise the asteroid 57658 Nilrem does not have its own article, but is instead mentioned in a list of minor planets.
A discussion for consensus, not a vote
The deletion process is really a discussion. Wikipedia has particular standards for deletion and editors explain why they believe certain rules apply. These comments often link to relevant policies and guidelines, which will often be presented as shortcuts (all-caps links prefixed with 'WP:', such as WP:N or WP:CRYSTALBALL). Any editor can comment several times, but they only get to state one opinion about whether the article stays or goes. Editors who change their opinion indicate the change by striking out (
like this, with
<s>...</s> tags) the previous statement and adding a new one.
Users sometimes try to sway the discussion by trying to vote several times or by getting friends to vote for them. This usually backfires. Administrators can tell how many previous edits a user has made and discount these "votes." The effort may draw negative responses from other editors who dislike these methods of trying to influence the outcome. Also, making multiple accounts to all vote for a certain position is sockpuppeteering and violates policy.
How to save the article
Most editors are reasonable people. Be polite and address their concerns by improving the article. Verifiability and/or notability are often the main issues. For example, an article about an independent film may get nominated for deletion because it isn't in the Internet Movie Database. Other editors might choose to keep it if the article cites Canadian newspapers to prove it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. Mention the changes and improvements in the AfD discussion.
Other editors may work on the article too, standardizing the format or copy-editing or adding content. This is a normal part of Wikipedia editing. Most changes are helpful. For an example of when working on an article saved it, see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Bonny Hicks.
Most of the time an article will be deleted because the sourcing is not good enough. On Wikipedia, the general inclusion threshold is whether the subject is notable enough for someone to have written something substantive (more than just a mention) about that subject that has been published in a reliable source. The best way to prevent an article from being deleted is to provide as many good in-depth sources as you can find. If you, the author of the article, cannot find such sources, then this is a good indication that the subject is not yet ready for a Wikipedia article.
Read up on Wikipedia policies to be sure your article meets acceptable standards. If you think you've met those standards but the improvements took place after most people finished discussion, one final option is Wikipedia:Deletion review. You can also request the article to be moved into userspace or into draftspace, especially in the case of subjects that are not yet notable, but will likely become notable in the near future.
Some articles will get deleted anyway
Some article subjects don't meet encyclopedic standards yet. An independent film that hasn't appeared in a film festival, a magazine in its first issue, and an unknown musical band might become encyclopedic later on. First get regular press coverage and meet Wikipedia's requirements for the subject. Save the existing draft before the article gets deleted, then recreate it later once it becomes encyclopedic and verifiable.
Some articles undergo speedy deletion when they fail to fit criteria that Wikipedia editors have already agreed regarding similar articles. One such type of page is an article that libels a living person who is not a public figure. Another type of page that often gets speedily deleted is an article about a little-known musical group. See WP:BIO and WP:BAND.
Some articles just don't belong in an encyclopedia, whether a paper-based one or an online one like Wikipedia. A local slang term which is not very notable from a worldwide view (or which is not covered in popular culture) is a candidate for the Urban Dictionary, not for Wikipedia. A photo album of your trip to Cuba is better off as a Tripod or Flickr site. Your favorite recipe, your advice on how to modify a tube amp, and your suggestions on how to improve your car's mileage could fit in at Wikipedia's sister project Wikibooks. Your amateur garage band which plays at the local pub could have its own Myspace page. If you want to memorialize a deceased friend or relative, you could do so on your Facebook page.
What you can do after deletion?
If an article was deleted, there are a few things you can do depending on the reason why the page was deleted, even if you did not participate in the deletion discussion.
- If you disagree with the outcome, contact the administrator who deleted the page. If you are still not satisfied after discussing it with the deleting admin, you may then start a deletion review. Do not use deletion review merely because you disagree with the deletion, but only if there was a procedural error in deleting the page (e.g. lack of consensus). Remember that deletion discussions are not votes, and opinions are weighed according to Wikipedia policies and guidelines. A numerical majority for a certain outcome does not necessarily imply consensus.
- If an article was deleted as a result of a proposed deletion ("prod"), any administrator should normally restore it on your request. In such cases, you can make your request at this noticeboard.
- If you would like to be able to access the text (e.g. to work on it as a draft before re-submitting an improved version), some administrators can provide you the content of the deleted page upon request. Articles deleted for copyright violations will not be provided.
- If anything about these processes remains unclear, or need help improving the article before a re-submission, you may ask for help at the Wikipedia:Help desk or at the Teahouse how you can improve the article the next time around.
- If the article is unsuitable for Wikipedia, consider an alternative to Wikipedia. For instance, Scholarpedia hosts original research, details about a minor character in a fictional universe may be suitable at TV Tropes or a dedicated wiki like Lostpedia, and information about a new band can be put at Discogs or MusicBrainz. Keep in mind those outlets have their own policies for what is or isn't appropriate for them.
- "Your" article, in the sense that the article is the result of your work, not in the sense that you own the article.