Wikipedia:WikiProject Women in Red/Essays/Primer for AfD, AfC and PROD

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Don't do this!
Don't do this!

If an article you have written is declined at articles for creation (AfC), nominated for deletion (AfD), or proposed for deletion (PROD), don’t panic or get angry. Take time to improve the article, ask for help and participate in the discussion. Speedy deletions should be dealt with at once, they may be deleted in hours if uncontested. Otherwise most deletion discussions and proposed deletions have a 7-day period of time for discussion and/or improvement, so you have plenty of time! Draft articles usually can remain for six months unless there are copyright violations, so you have sufficient time to work on your article which was declined at AfC.

Deletion isn’t the only outcome from many discussions. There are multiple options for what might happen next, such as:

  • Articles can be kept, if significant, reliable sourcing over time can confirm that the subject meets the General Notability Guide (WP:GNG).
  • They can be redirected or merged to another article which has more notability until such time as the subject has enough verifiable notability for a stand-alone article.
  • They can be Userfied, or taken back to a draft to allow more work to be done on them.
  • Even if an article is deleted, it can be recreated if an editor ensures that it meets Wiki policies and guidelines at a later time.

Speedy Deletion[edit]

Speedy deletions should be contested immediately by writing a message on the article talk page, do not remove the {{db}} tag from the article.

  1. You should start by placing a {{holdon}} tag on the article, directly after the {{db}} tag at the top of the page.
  2. Evaluate your article per the steps listed below.
  3. Create a new section on the article talk page, include "Contested speedy deletion" in the subject header. Write why the article should be kept, demonstrating why it has a credible claim of significance. Articles with sufficient claims of significance will be kept, but may always be nominated for AfD at a later time.
  4. If you removed the {{db}} by accident, explain this on the article talk page.
  5. If you arrive too late and the article has been deleted, you can file a deletion review to have it restored.
  • More information and the policy for speedy deletion can be found at the speedy deletion policy page. CSD stands for 'criteria for speedy deletion', other terms such as A7 and DB are used, these are commonly used for quick reference and the meanings of these terms are defined in the WP:CSD policy.
Editors who nominate articles for speedy deletion often speak in Wiki-jargon, If you don't know what it means, ask for clarification or read the links they use.

Evaluate your article[edit]

Review the essay creating biographies to get an idea of what is required for a woman’s biography on Wikipedia.

  • Is the lede written to convey why the person is unique and worthy of an encyclopedic article? Does it indicate that they are independently notable? Is the notability of the subject sustained over time or is this person famous for a 1 time event? Is it neutral and free of statements that are subjective?
  • Is the sourcing reliable? Have you avoided using personal, fan-based, or employer websites; blogs; social media; and promotional material or material that was written by the subject?
  • Is there adequate information to give a comprehensive biographical sketch of the subject?
  • Are the statements in the biography supported by reliable sources and verified with in-line citations? Have you removed any statements that are not verified?
  • Bear in mind that, understandably, there are additional criteria for biographies of living people.

This analysis known as BEFORE is supposed to be done by nominators prior to selecting an article as a candidate for deletion. The reality is that doesn’t always happen. So do the analysis yourself and improve what you can. The key to ensuring that an article that you create is not deleted is providing adequate referencing to meet GNG.

Make sure the article is tagged on the talk page with relevant project tags such as {{WP Women}} so that other editors can further improve the article or contribute to an Articles for deletion (AfD) discussion, if needed.

If you have any questions or run into any issues, feel free to post them on the project's talk page for WikiProject Women in Red (WiR), or any of the sister projects found at WikiProject Women. To post a request for help, be sure that your language remains neutral. When posting on a talk page, avoid canvassing! In other words, don’t attempt to influence the outcome. Say something neutral, like Can anyone help improve this article?; Article X has been nominated for deletion; Sources are needed to improve an article. Be sure to give the link to the article and sign your request with four tildes (~). Notifying an interested project or someone who has significantly contributed to an article is not canvassing, as long as your notification is neutrally worded.

Evaluate the nomination[edit]

Common arguments seen in discussion include TOOSOON, PROMOTIONAL, NOTABILITY IS NOT INHERITED, or that it doesn’t meet the requirements of secondary, subject-specific guidelines like the ones in the box at the right.

Too soon[edit]

Basically this argument indicates that the subject may be newsworthy, but their notability may not be sustainable over time. Since Wikipedia is "Not News", make sure that all of your sources are not focused in a small time frame. Have the accomplishments or events that make your subject unique been covered over time? If most of the article is based on sources around a particular date, try searching with specified dates before or after the event. For example, in a Google search, press the Tools button, and then select custom range from the drop down which appears under Any time. Fill in a range of dates which occurred prior to the date around which your current sourcing is clustered. Then do the same search for the timeframe after the event.

The argument may also indicate that there is insufficient coverage in reliable secondary sources. Adding reliable sources and removing or replacing those that are self-generated or not curated will help meet the goal of significant coverage. It is not necessary that a single document meet the criteria for ample coverage, as sources can be combined to meet the standard; however, trivial statements which show that a person existed, was quoted, or attended an event are not typically valuable in meeting significant coverage requirements. Significant coverage actually means that there is adequate information available on the subject to write a comprehensive article in a neutral manner without conducting original research. It has nothing to do with the length of the sources or the resultant article.


Promotionalism violates the policy of neutrality, but it is generally a poor reason for an article to be nominated for deletion. It is easily remedied by editing the article to remove qualifiers or superlatives which indicate partisanship. If sufficient, reliable sources over time confirm that the subject meets GNG, poor craftsmanship does not in itself indicate that the article should be deleted.

Not inherited[edit]

While policy states that each individual should meet the criteria of notability on their own merits to warrant a stand-alone article, that is not entirely true. If someone has significantly contributed to say a book, a discovery, or a widely distributed musical composition which has gained recognition and there are sufficient sources to confirm the person’s involvement, in essence, notability has been inherited. In other cases, certain positions in society or employment are inherently notable, for instance, president of a country, first lady, and certain ranks of nobility; however, even if the position is notable, sourcing must be found to confirm that your subject meets GNG and that their involvement is verifiable.

Often this argument can be eliminated by simply editing the lede. Remove statements in the lede which relate your subject to others, like she was the (sister, mother, wife, partner) of X. Instead make a clear concise statement as to why she was notable in her own right. For ideas on how to word the lede, see Writing about Women and WP:INHERITED.

Local or niche interest[edit]

This argument is used when most of the sources for a subject are local to one region or place. There is no policy on Wikipedia against using “local” news sources to show notability. The best way to handle this issue is to ensure that more than just one local news source is being used. That way you have shown that the subject is covered significantly in multiple reliable sources, whether these sources are local or not. If a newspaper article was generated by a news agency, such as Agence France-Presse, the Associated Press, Notimex, Reuters, or any others, include that in your citation, as it demonstrates that it was issued to a wider audience. Also be sure to check whether books have a separate search tab in your search engine. Often journal articles and books will not appear in a main search, if this is the case, so make sure you do not overlook these resources. For more information about writing about individuals of local interest, see Places of local interest.

Secondary notability guides[edit]

While in and of themselves, these guidelines are helpful in determining if a subject meets notability guidelines, they can also be viewed as constricting the person to a single facet of their lives. Most people are multi-faceted, thus limiting notability to a single sphere can be prejudicial. In addition, since women are disproportionately represented in media sources, meeting the criteria for only one segment of their lives may render the appearance that they are not notable.

For example, this argument is often used for women academics, along with a qualifier that they do not have a sufficiently high h-index or g-index, or that they have not published enough material or been cited adequately by other researchers. These types of indices are prejudicial in general, because many fields do not use peer citation but rather case evidence or preponderance for analysis. In law, one would not cite another lawyer’s work, but instead a case outcome. For women academics these types of arguments are biased because not only do they fail to take into account that women’s name changes impact their publishing statistics, but they also fail to adjust for the research that shows citation biases towards women.

Rather than trying to meet the criteria for secondary guidelines, which are merely alternatives to GNG, it is recommended that you strive to meet the general policy to ensure that your article is comprehensive and encyclopedic. Sure, use the secondary guidelines to help improve the article and show notability, but don’t discount the person’s other contributions or limit them to a single dimension.

Participate in the discussion[edit]

If your article was declined at AfC, and you have improved it following these steps, don't resubmit it to AfC. If someone from the project has not already assisted you, post a message on the WiR talk page and ask someone to review it and move it into mainspace.

If you believed that your article was notable enough to write, and your analysis of it confirms that it meets WP guidelines, you should support your article in the AfD discussion. Be sure that you use policy-based arguments and avoid those which are emotional responses. Also state that you are the creator of the article up-front. The discussions are not tallies of votes, but rather the outcome stems from logic-based rationale on whether an article meets or does not meet guidelines and policy.

Assume good faith

Read the other participants’ comments. Refute their responses in policy-based commentary. Assume Good Faith and respect that all participants in the discussion are interested in improving Wikipedia. The conversations may at times get heated, and behaviors may appear aggressive, but strive to keep your comments away from personal opinions or attacks and rooted in policy. Avoid confrontational behaviors such as replying to each person’s response or questioning their understanding of policy. Imagine you are writing an email to your boss, parent or teacher and try to use that kind of wording in your arguments.

Proposed deletions[edit]

Sometimes an article is tagged with a “PROD” or a proposed deletion. These are very easy to fix once the issue causing the PROD is addressed. Follow these steps.

First, understand ‘’why’’ the article was “prodded.” See the list of criteria for speedy deletion. Your article is likely to have been proposed for deletion under criteria G11: Unambiguous advertising or promotion, G12: Unambiguous copyright infringement, A7: No indication of importance, or it may be a biography of a living person that has no sources.

Second, address the issue.

Unambiguous advertising or promotion

Because judging what is considered “promotional” or “advertorial” language can be subjective, an editor may feel that your article is describing the subject in non-neutral terms. The way to fix this is go through your article and modify descriptions of your subject. See WP:PEACOCK.

Copyright infringement

You can use a tool called Earwig's Copyvio Detector, which will evaluate web-based links and allow you to compare the article text with the source. It does not typically work on books or PDF files which must be opened in a special reader.

Screencap of a PROD for a BLP with no resources.
No indication of importance

If your article does not state why the subject is important in the lede, it may get tagged as such. The way to fix this is to clearly state in the lede why the person is important. State what their profession or avocation was and what they were known for. For example:

Before: Jane Doe (1900-1997) lived in Kentucky and created art between 1920 and up until her death in 1997.

After: Jane Doe (1900-1997) was an American artist from Kentucky. She is best known for her folk art which is part of the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, the Kentucky Museum of Clay and other museums.

No sources

If your article is about a living person and has no sources, it will certainly be deleted. All you have to do is find some reliable sources and add them to appropriate spots in the article.

Third. Now that you have addressed the issue, you may simply remove the {{proposed deletion/dated}} tag from your article. In the edit summary clearly state that you have addressed the issue that was raised and are now removing the PROD tag.

That’s it. Once the tag is removed, it is no longer a proposed deletion. However, the article can be nominated for Articles for Deletion, so continue making improvements to ensure your article passes GNG.

Resources for help[edit]

Librarian in Residence
Librarian in Residence

You can ask for help in several places on Wikipedia.

  • The Teahouse is a good place to get friendly answers to many questions.
  • Women in Red also has a Librarian in Residence, Megalibrarygirl. You can contact her by email or on her talk page for referencing help. She has access to databases and other resources that may help you with your article.
  • Chat with us on the Women in Red talkpage.