Wikipedia:WikiProject Article Rescue Squadron/Newsletter/20120201/Feature

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Article Rescue Squadron Newsletter

Volume I, Issue III
February 2012

Feature: ARS Guide to saving articles

See also: ARS Tips to help rescue articles.

As the name implies, the Article Rescue Squadron primarily deals with rescuing articles in Wikipedia's namespace but the same principles apply to all content. If it meets Wikipedia's policies and is useful to our readers it is more likely to be saved in some form; if not, it is more likely to be removed.

Experienced Wikipedians are familiar with the various discussions for deletion processes whereby content— articles, templates, images, audio, and video files, categories, user categories, redirects, categories and templates used for organizing stubs and other items— is examined and re-examined to see if it merits inclusion on Wikipedia. The Wikipedia policy alternatives to deletion includes many policy-based options to deletion.

Editors, particularly new editors, often ask the Article Rescue Squadron for help saving an article. This guide is in part intended to instruct editors how to save articles and other content on their own. Since editors who ask for help may know more about the content up for deletion than others, and may be more interested in the subject, it makes sense to inform people how to rescue. These same skills of assessment, sourcing and integration can be applied to almost any area of Wikipedia.



The provision of reliable-source references is the best way to save an article. Finding quality sources and adding them to articles takes time but with practice will likely come easier. For formatting references once you find them, see Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners.

Talk page reference templates

Several useful tools have been created to make finding references easier. These resources may be used on article talk pages and user pages. They're not intended to be used directly on article pages themselves.

  • {{Find sources}} – provides the following search resources: news · books · scholar · free images
  • {{Find sources 2}} – provides: news · books · science · free texts · free images
  • {{Find sources 3}} – provides: GBooks · MSBooks · GScholar · MSAcademic · GNews recent · GNews old · NYT recent · NYT old · Wikipedia Reference Search
  • {{Find sources notice}} – provides seven parameters to customize searches. This template incorporates the styling of the talk page message box meta-template {{Tmbox}} and the coding of the Find sources template to provide an easy way to tag an article talk page namespace with Google links to potential material for the article.

Lead paragraph

The lead paragraph is the first paragraph in an article, and it is often the only paragraph a user will actually read. (Many users are either simply trying to verify a fact they already know, or understand why a certain place, person or thing is important.) Sadly, many articles are written with the assumption that the reader already knows why the subject of that article is important. This becomes vital for subjects which are not usually part of the general educational curriculum: for example, while it is widely known that Mao Tse Tung was the ruler of China and head of the Chinese Communist Party, far fewer people know Tekle Giyorgis I was emperor of Ethiopia, let alone that he existed or that there were Emperors of Ethiopia.

If an article does not have an informative lead that quickly asserts the notability of the subject it will likely be targeted for deletion. Writing an informative lead will help to avoid this fate, help our readers understand the subject and may even inspire then to read the rest of the article.

List articles

Lists are commonly used in Wikipedia to organize information. Redundancy between lists and categories is beneficial because they are synergistic, and is covered in the guideline Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and navigation templates. Like categories, lists can be used for keeping track of changes in the listed pages, using the Related Changes feature. Unlike a category, a list also allows detection of deletion of its entries, and, more generally, a history of its contents is available; lists also permit more than 200 entries to appear on a single page.

Lists have three main purposes: information, navigation and development. List articles sent to deletion generally need to show they can stand alone as a list article, are maintainable and sourceable.

Article restoration

Further information: Viewing and restoring deleted pages

Article Incubator

  • Article Incubator – The article incubator is a place for holding articles that do not meet Wikipedia's content criteria (WP:NOT, WP:N, WP:OR, WP:NPOV, WP:BLP, and WP:V), but a rationale has been put forward that the article meets the incubation criteria, which means there is an intention that the article can and will be improved. Incubation is intended to be a more centralized alternative to userfication. Articles in incubation are "in limbo" - they have been deleted from article namespace, but are still part of Wikipedia, awaiting a decision to be moved back into the article namespace (mainspace), or be deleted completely from all Wikipedia namespace.
  • See categories: Articles in the Article Incubator and Incubated articles nominated for assessment

Article userfication

See also: Userfication essay
  • Requests for undeletion – If an article has already been deleted but you intend to improve it, you can request that it be moved into your user namespace at Requests for undeletion. Another option is to ask any of the administrators on this list who will userfy articles for editors.

Other content

Files for deletion

  • Files for deletion – Files for deletion (FfD) is for the discussion of images and other media files (such as audio and video files) that are being considered for deletion. Files that have been listed at FfD for more than 7 days are eligible for deletion if either a consensus to do so has been reached or no objections to deletion have been raised.

Categories and User categories for discussion

  • Categories for discussion – Categories for discussion (Cfd) is where deletion, merging, and renaming of categories is discussed.

Categories are used to organize other pages and aid browsing of related articles. See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (categories) for the policies guiding many renaming decisions, and Wikipedia:Category deletion policy for the policy governing this. Categories that have been listed for more than seven days are eligible for deletion, renaming or merging when a rough consensus to do so has been reached or no objections to the nomination have been raised. Unless the change is non-controversial (such as vandalism or a duplicate), please do not remove the category from pages before the community has made a decision.

Categories and WP:Lists often overlap see WP:Categories vs Lists for more on some the differences. Both are valued and both can co-exist offering our readers valuable content. For users new to CfD it may be helpful to review past discussions in the CfD archives of why certain cats are kept, moved or deleted. The goal, as always is not to "win" but get the category in line to serve our readers (and editors) best. Categories often move, are re-organized, split, merge and otherwise change over time whereas an article generally just grows.

Templates for discussion


Redirects for discussion

Stub types for deletion

For a comprehensive list of stub templates, see WikiProject Stub sorting – Stub types

Miscellany for deletion

  • Miscellany for deletion – Miscellany for deletion (MfD) is where discussion occurs for problematic pages in the namespaces outside the main namespace (also called the "article namespace") which aren't covered by other specialized deletion discussion areas.

Search all deletion discussions

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