Wikipedia:Tag first

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Wikipedia provides two means for dealing with articles that are not yet or simply not material one would hope to find here. The most obvious one is deletion, but the one most in line with the principles of Wikipedia is collaboration. Of course, deletion of articles is often necessary. However, it cannot be the first resort of Wikipedians in all cases both marginal and clear if a better encyclopedia is to be built. Instead of listing a page at AfD or nominating it for speedy deletion, then, it might be a better choice to simply add one of the many article-space templates to it, improve it if you can, and allow other editors with more ability to do so the opportunity to improve the page.

To illustrate why this is a better course of action when there is a possibility that the article might be relevant and useful, consider an article on a mildly significant company written by one of its marketing officers. The article will almost certainly read like an advertisement − this is the nature of inherent bias, and if the contributor was new to Wikipedia they might not be as experienced countering it (or might not even know they have to). Commonly, the article will be nominated for speedy deletion by placing {{db-inc}} or {{db-spam}} at the top of the article in the usual manner. It might instead receive a copy of {{prod}}. Also, it will frequently be listed at the famously-overloaded AfD, where it will often generate almost no response, an overwhelming tide of delete votes, or a vast number of sockpuppets which leap to its defence. A review of deletion today or deletion yesterday (if not some other time this week) will usually have more than one from each category aforementioned.

If a template such as {{npov}} were added to the article, as was more popular in the past, a different course of events might unfold. The notability of the article would likely be questioned on the talkpage, and an assertion of it may often be made by an advocate there instead of the middle of a deletion debate. Multiple editors could work on removing the bias from the article, and would not be discouraged by the possibility it might be deleted along with all their hard work. The end result would at least sometimes be an article worth including in the encyclopedia, adding to the whole − instead of a blank page intermittently replaced by article text little better than the original as different people try to create the article.

Another benefit of this approach would be an increase in the consensus generated in deletion debates. It can be a pain to discern consensus in one when the article has undergone considerable changes (often as a result of a rescue) during the listing, particularly if the debaters do not check up on it daily or comment there on a one-off basis. Also, the amount of time provided to discuss the article in its new form is diminished unless the article is then relisted (putting more load still on AfD).

If articles are tagged rather than flagged for deletion when found to be massively imperfect, then, the result would be a net benefit to Wikipedia.