Wikipedia:Speedy deletion criterion for unsourced articles

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For an alternative proposal, see Wikipedia:Proposed deletion process for unsourced articles.

Wikipedia now has over 1.5 million articles. The main problem we face has long since shifted from coverage to reliability, accuracy, and neutrality. One of the most important efforts in this regard is referencing all the articles we already have. Unfortunately, this is an impossible task, because we are inundated every day with more and more unreferenced new articles that will languish in that state, while more are created, faster than we are referencing, or likely possibly can reference, existing articles. The fact is that an unreferenced article is not helpful as we do not have any basis for knowing if it is reliable, accurate, and neutral. Even if the information is those things, since it is unverifiable, we (and our readers) have no more reason for trusting the claim than for trusting any of the other bad unsourced claims out there. Unreferenced articles are inherently bad quality.

Keep in mind that:

This proposed addition to the criteria for speedy deletion, then, is merely an extension of current practice and Wikipedia:Verifiability, which states that "Any edit lacking a source may be removed".

Proposed text #1[edit]

Unreferenced. Any article which was created after this criterion was adopted that remains without any references 14 days after tagging may be deleted at any time. "References" here is to be interpreted broadly. If in doubt, don't use speedy deletion. You should add a note on the article creator's user talk page when an article has been tagged and when it has been deleted.

This does not apply to disambiguation pages and redirects

Notes:[edit]

  • "14 days" is intended to allow enough time for editors to see that the article they have written has been tagged and to find a reliable source to satisfy the criterion.
  • "created after this criterion was added". This CSD does not act retroactively.
  • "14 days after tagging" is intended to reduce the possibility of biting. Tagging gives editors the warning and time to fix a problem. Allowing deletion any time after 14 days without a source would cause more good faith editors to become upset at the loss of their work without notice.
  • "Without any references" means that sourcing is not a question of how good an article's references are, but whether they exist at all. If the references, further reading and external links sections are blank and sources aren't mentioned in the text, then it would be eligible. If the article is subject to questions concerning eligibility of sources and whether particular statements are covered by the provided sources, that is outside the scope of this policy. The policy simply requires the article to have at least one reference, regardless of quality.
  • ""References" here is to be interpreted broadly" means references may be in-line citations, works in a reference section, external links, or mentions of a source in the text; questions of whether the references are adequate must be settled by discussion, normally at V, AfD or PROD.

Implementation[edit]

  • Tagged articles shall be listed in a central location as WP:PROD articles are now, to allow other editors to add references. The tag should be removed if and only if a reference is added.
  • Any article deleted under this criterion shall be undeleted if a reference is provided or if the article's creator agrees to add references shortly after undeletion; copies of the text should be made available in user-space at request.
  • Like other criteria for speedy deletion, this is carefully worded to ensure that "almost all articles that can be deleted using the rule, should be deleted, according to general consensus." Appeals to this rule shall satisfy all the restrictions agreed by consensus.
    • There are times when admins should ignore all rules; when doing so, they must ignore this one too.

Proposed text #2:Move to Userspace[edit]

Any unsourced article may be moved to userspace until it has at least one reference. You should add a note on the article creator's user talk page when an article has been moved.
This does not apply to disambiguation pages and redirects
  • Sourcing is not a question of how good an article's references are, but whether they exist at all. If the references, further reading and external links sections are blank and sources aren't mentioned in the text, then it would be eligible. If the article is subject to questions concerning eligibility of sources and whether particular statements are covered by the provided sources, that is outside the scope of this policy. The policy simply requires the article to have at least one reference, regardless of quality.
  • "Reference" here is to be interpreted broadly. References may be in-line citations, works in a reference section, external links, or mentions of a source in the text; questions of whether the references are adequate must be settled by discussion, normally at V, AfD or PROD.

Implementation[edit]

  • Tag article with {{please source}}; like {{prod}}, this must be substituted, which will produce a dated tag with category.
  • Add {{unsourcedarticle}} to the talk page of all substantial contributors.
  • Move it to userspace of the major contributor, or the most major active contributor.
  • If an article relocated to userspace becomes sourced, it may be moved to the article space without debate.

Housekeeping[edit]

  • Moved articles should have categories and tags commented out.
  • Moved articles are subject to WP:PROD and WP:AfD.
  • When an article is moved, the redirect should be noted on RfD; or deleted directly.
    • We are not all admins; and an RfD tag may prevent a move war. This is a judgment call for admins.
  • If an article is moved back into the empty space without a source or consensus, we recommend taking it to AfD.
  • If the major contributor has a page with the same name, try one of the others; please do not move to your own userspace, although you are free to copy the article once moved.

Proposed text #3:Request for Sources, then move to Userspace[edit]

Any unsourced article may be moved to userspace until it has at least one reference. Discussion may be helpful in finding a source, and an archive of unsourced articles may be useful .
This does not apply to disambiguation pages and redirects
  • Sourcing is not a question of how good an article's references are, but whether they exist at all. If the references, further reading and external links sections are blank and sources aren't mentioned in the text, then it would be eligible. If the article is subject to questions concerning eligibility of sources and whether particular statements are covered by the provided sources, that is outside the scope of this policy. The policy simply requires the article to have at least one reference, regardless of quality.
  • "Reference" here is to be interpreted broadly. References may be in-line citations, works in a reference section, external links, or mentions of a source in the text; questions of whether the references are adequate must be settled by discussion, normally at V, AfD or PROD.

Implementation[edit]

  • Tag article with {{please source}}
  • Add {{unsourcedarticle}} to the talk page of all substantial contributors.
  • Note the article on this page with {{WP:RfS}}. That template links to the article and to its talk page, where any discussion should take place.
  • RfS nominations may be closed by any editor, in one of three ways, all of which should be noted on this page:
    • Add a source to the article and remove the tag from the article.
    • After 5 (14?) days, if no source has been added, move the article to the userspace of the major contributor, or the most major active contributor.
    • If after 5 (14?) days, there is consensus that the article does not need a source, tag the article's talkpage with {{nosourceneeded}}.

Some articles are purely for navigation within Wikipedia; disambiguation pages are the most obvious examples. These need no sources. There may be other exceptions, including a credible promise to source by a certain date. Consensus here should be taken strictly; any user is free to move the article. Disputes on the matter should be taken to WP:RM.

Housekeeping[edit]

  • Moved articles should have categories and tags commented out.
  • AfD and Prod may be applied to articles under consideration, and those moved, under WP:RfS.
  • Part of maintaining and archiving this page is making sure that any resulting cross-namespace redirects are being deleted.
  • If an article is moved back into the empty space without a source or consensus, we recommend taking it to AfD.

Proposed text #4[edit]

Unverified for Deletion (UfD)[edit]

Any article nominated for deletion as unverifiable may be sent through the UfD process. UfD will be similar to AfD, but will have important differences.

  1. The time period is 14 days, not five.
  2. The nominator is expected to have made a reasonable effort to find sources.
  3. The process should not be applied to disambiguation pages or those written in summary style.
  4. Avoid nominating an article that is being written or extensively revised, unless the active editors repeatedly refuse to provide sources.
  5. Keep arguments must be based either on sources having been provided, or the article being adequately sourced already.
  6. Delete arguments must be based either on having made some effort to find sources, or a reasonable argument that such sources cannot exist.
  7. More time arguments should be rare, but can exist. Ideally, a project or an active editor with a good reputation would be willing to take responsibility for finding sources and a deadline set.
  8. Early closure resulting in deletion should be avoided, unless the article is a biography of a living person, or there is firm proof that no reliable sources can possibly exist.
  9. Vanity articles and inappropriate nominations may be administratively transferred to AfD.
  10. Surviving a UfD with a consensus of "keep" means that sources exist. Renomination should be an extreme rarity; however, the sourced article may satisfy other requirements of the Deletion Policy and be nominated for AfD.

"Unverifiable" means that the nominator asserts a good-faith belief either that there are no valid, reliable sources for the topic, or that an article limited to verifiable sources could never be more than a stub. This means more than that the article lacks valid sources. Suggested criteria include one or more of the following:

  • An argument from verifiable sources that no reliable sources can possibly exist for the topic.
  • Reasonable (not heroic) and fruitless efforts to find any sources.
  • Proof that the sources cited do not exist or do not support the major contentions of the article.
  • Flagrant refusal by the active editors to provide sources.
  • The article has been tagged as unsourced for at least 60 days and is not being actively rewritten.

This process does not apply to redirects, including soft redirects, nor to anything not in article space, nor to redirects or any content that would not be proper to nominate for AfD.

Notes:[edit]

  • "14 days" is intended to allow more time for editors to search for sources than an AfD would allow.
  • The restriction of discussion is intended to keep the discussion focused on the one issue.
  • Separation from AfD is intended to perform the same function.
  • Transfer of vanity/spam articles to AfD is intended to permit prompt deletion, rather than sticking us with them for 14 days.
  • Sixty days should be enough time to find sources or start a rewrite. Articles that don't get looked at once in sixty days probably have no watchers.
  • Unlike the other proposals, the quality of the sources is explicitly in play. That is another reason for allowing fourteen days.
  • Note that any deletion under UfD could be done faster under AfD, if the closing admin adheres to current policy and ignores unvotes not based on sources.
  • Blind, mass nomination is less of a risk than under AfD, because we have 14 days to react. Either way, no one should violate WP:POINT, and admins may defend Wikipedia against the consequences of violations.

Implementation[edit]

  • UfD would have the same structure as AfD. The separation is intended for clarity, and to avoid the administrative headache of two time limits on the same process page.
  • Any article deleted under this criterion shall be undeleted if adequate references are cited in the request; copies of the text should be made available in user-space at request.
  • "Transfer to UfD" becomes a possible result of an AfD, if there is a consensus that the only issue is lack of sources and that additional time is needed to allow research.
  • For the first 90 days, a daily listing of UfD nominations should be added to the AfD daily page. This would increase visibility.