Wikipedia:How to save an article proposed for deletion

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A rescue swimmer and a recovery crew work to get an astronaut out of the danger that he faces due to being confined in a metal capsule that is bobbing in the ocean with only an inflatable flotation ring to help it from sinking into the cold abyss.

When an article, especially one that you wrote or are otherwise attached to, is up for deletion, you may be upset or in shock. Your first thought may be "what do I do now?"

The first thing you should know is not to panic. Nothing is written in stone yet and you still have the chance to save the article from deletion.

Types of deletion[edit]

There are three types of deletion: Speedy deletion (speedy), Proposed deletion (prod or prodding), and Articles for Deletion (AfD).

If an article is nominated for Speedy Deletion[edit]

Speedy deletion is the deletion of an article, usually on the same day, and most frequently within an hour of the nomination, without a discussion. It is only done in certain extreme cases, mostly with articles that are not written in good faith. If you have good intentions when creating an article, it'll most likely be facing some other form of deletion.

This can also happen if you are writing about an article that is relatively fringe (Norwegian Hot-tub culture) or is dangerously close to advertising (Bob Smith Motorhomes). While articles that are not notable or are considered blatant advertising should not be on Wikipedia and are likely to get deleted, this essay deals with those that should.

The first step is to put a {{hangon}}(deprecated) tag and write a short note on the discussion page explaining that you understand the concerns of the editor who tagged your article and are about to address them. If you can not address them immediately, be sure to note a timeline as to when you will address them. Wikipedia does not require you to be logged on 24/7 and to quit your job but people want to know that you are dealing with their tag in a timely fashion. Speedy Deletion requests are often applied by new page patrollers shortly after the article is created. The article creator should get notified on their talk page so if you get a notice of a new message shortly after creating a new article, look into it. Note that the creator of the article may not remove the speedy deletion tag, however an editor who is not the creator may, regardless of if they are an administrator or not.

At this point you have to breathe deep and edit your article to:

  1. explain why it is notable, and
  2. source your explanation.

Once you've done this, go to the talk page of the person who tagged the article (available in the article history or in the deletion notice on your talk page) and ask them to remove the tag. As with all tags, this is far more polite than removing someone else's tag.

At the very least, add some information to the article's talk page explaining how it is notable. If you plan to improve the article with additional sources, make it clear on the talk page when this will be completed. Simply adding {{hangon}} to an article will not save it.(deprecated)

If an article is Proposed for deletion[edit]

When an article is proposed for deletion using the PROD process, it means that an editor has put a {{prod}} template on the article. If after a week the {{prod}} template is not removed, the article will be automatically deleted.

Deprodding[edit]

Unlike Speedy deletion, anyone (including the article's creator) may remove the {{prod}} template from an article that is proposed for deletion (known as "deprodding"). If the {{prod}} template is removed from the article, the article will not be deleted by this process, and an article may not be proposed for deletion twice using the PROD process. Prior to deprodding an article, it is wise to make sure that you have addressed the concerns of the editor who placed the template there (and leave an appropriate edit summary). If you fail to do so, the editor may, and in fact almost immediately after usually will, send the article to Articles for Deletion.

Alternatively, you can leave the {{prod}} template in place (remember that the article will not be deleted until seven days after the nomination), and fix the problems within those seven days. Upon fixing the problems the nominating editor had with the article, remove the {{prod}} template. If you have addressed the nominating editor's concerns, you may avoid having the article sent to AfD.

If an article is sent to Articles for Deletion[edit]

With proposed deletion (known as "PROD"), you have the option to remove the {{prod}} template yourself to avert the deletion. But this may be temporary. If the prod tag is removed, and the issues for which it was initially inserted have not been addressed, an editor determined to get the page deleted may send it straight to Articles for Deletion (AfD). Further to this, a page may be sent to AfD immediately, without ever going through the PROD process. In the event that a page is in AfD, there are some steps you can take in an attempt to save the article.

Don't panic[edit]

An article that is proposed for deletion may seem like a done deal. Especially for new editors who are unfamiliar with the deletion process, an article that is sent to AfD may sound like it is indeed being deleted. But there is hope.

Know what AfD is all about[edit]

In case you don't know, this is a good time to learn about Wikipedia's deletion process. It would also be good to read about Wikipedia's deletion policy.

Learn about Wikipedia's inclusion guidelines[edit]

If an article is to be deleted, this would likely happen because for one reason or another, it does not conform to one or more of Wikipedia's inclusion guidelines, or at least the nominator believes this is the case.

There are many possible reasons why an article may not be worthy of inclusion. Even if most do not see this, it only takes one editor to make a deletion proposal. Anyone who is registered has the right (in good faith) to propose an article for deletion, regardless of editing experience. Even IP editors may make deletion proposals, though registration is required to complete the AfD process, since it involves creating the discussion page.

The commonly cited page, What Wikipedia is not, lists many (but not all) of the reasons articles get proposed for deletion. For a simplfied list of policies and guidelines that are commonly used to propose articles for deletion, and those that can spare it, click here.

Read the nominator's comments[edit]

When an article is sent to AfD, it is sent there because the nominator has a particular concern about the article, and therefore feels it should not be included at all; it should be deleted and not even be merged. While others may say that the article should be kept, merged, redirected, renamed, or something else for some reason they explain, this may not have been the case at the time the proposal was made.

Read the comments of others[edit]

Once the discussion begins, others may comment, even within minutes, giving their point-of-view or some ideas. There may be others who believe in an article's deletion for a reason other than the one the nominator gave. If so, there may be more issues that will have to be addressed.

Address the issues[edit]

One of the best ways to save an article from deletion is to make necessary changes so that the article no longer has the problems stated by the nominator and all others stating it should be deleted.

An article that is proposed for deletion may be edited just like any other, provided that the deletion tag is not removed. Editing the article is very likely necessary in order to prevent its deletion. Making appropriate changes may help save it.

For example, if the article lacks sources, adding valid sources helps nullify the nominator's cause. If you do so, it helps to state within the AfD discussion that you have added the sources. This may even lead the nominator to withdrawing the nomination.

In some cases, the article may not need any changes, but existing policies and guidelines just need to be clarified. If so, citing these guidelines may be the solution. They not be simply stated alone (as "Keep per _____"), but along with the reason, in your own words, why you believe it applies, and why you believe the article should be kept.

Resign yourself if needed[edit]

In some cases, no matter what you try to do, it may be impossible to save the article. When this is the case, it is helpful to resign yourself to the fact. When this is the case, rather than fighting for what will not happen, it may be helpful to compromise with those who want the opposite from what you do.

Some alternatives to keeping an article are:

  • Merging: Discuss with others what article(s) this one could possibly be merged into or otherwise redirected to. In some cases, a series of article proposed together for deletion may be better off as a single page regarding the whole topic.
  • Userfying: Request that the page be transferred into your userspace, where you can take your time to make necessary changes, or transfer parts to one or more other articles
  • Renaming: Sometimes an article may fit better simply by changing the title. After renaming, some of the article's text may need to be modified, but by doing so, the article may then belong.

Rest your case[edit]

Once you have made your comment, watch and see what happens thereafter, and what comments are made in response to yours or others.

You may add existing comments to those of others if you wish, or modify ones you have previously made (though if you remove previous comments you made, you are required to use the strikethrough method by enclosing the removed text with <s> and </s> as opposed to deleting it from the edited version). If you add an additional comment after you "vote," do not use the words "keep" or "delete" again, but rather use the word "comment."

Saving non-articles[edit]

When the deletion process is applied to articles, there are numerous guidelines that can be applied to the case, either in favor of keeping or deleting. But with pages in other namespaces, or even certain types of pages that can be found in mainspace (e.g. redirects), it is possible that most of the guidelines favoring keeping or deleting can be found on a single project namespace page. For information, see Information on non-articles.