Wikipedia talk:Proposed deletion (books)

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Proposed policy/guideline/whatever you want to call it[edit]


It seems that books are less well-understood than I thought. So here's some basic details.

Wikipedia books (simply "books" from now on) are collections of article which can be downloaded electronically for free (in PDF or ODT formats, which can then be read offline, or printed by the user), or ordered in print. For examples, see Book:Hydrogen, Book:Canada, Book:Prostate, Book:Invincible class battlecruisers, (more can be found here). If you are still confused, I suggest clicking on "PDF" to see what exactly a book looks like when in PDF (ODT format is similar, printed books look better since they are printed on smaller pages, but the general idea is the same). The exact format of books can be varied: simpler books are just a bunch of links (Book:Invincible class battlecruisers), more complex books are usually structured in chapters such as Book:Hadronic Matter.

For more informations, you can check these Signpost articles

As well as

If you want to create a book, simply click on the "Create a book" link in the "print/export" toolbar on the left. (Or click here if you can't find it).

If you read all that and checked a few books in PDF, you should now be pretty familiar with what books are.

The problem[edit]

Books have been around for about a year now. However, there is no deletion process that is well-adapted to books. For most books (usually test books) that should be deleted, MfD is overkill, while CSD is unwelcoming and more drama-prone since it offers no real explanation of why a book should be deleted, and can delete test books that are still under use, or on what to do if it was deleted by mistake. PROD is the best process for taking care of this (propose deletion, if no one objects after a week, then it gets deleted), but focuses exclusively on articles and offers no guidance for books. This is would be an extension of the PROD process to cover books as well as articles.

Right now there are over 1000 books (there are 123 books with no articles, 465 with only one, and 526 containing no mainspace articles (perhaps 10 of those shouldn't be deleted, such as Book:The Missing Manual and Book:Wikipedia Policies and Guidelines)) that should most likely be deleted for non-controversial reasons. As of now, the only options for deletion is to speedy deleted them under an ill-adapted criterion, creating confusion and possibly anger, or send them all to MfD which is both ridiculous and unnecessarily bureaucratic. There is also no long-term solution for routine non-controversial deletions (1000 over a year gives about 3 per day, on average).

The solution[edit]

The extension of the PROD process to books will allow people to delete useless test books which clutter several categories with very little drama (if any) and without burdening MfD. This also provides a long-term solution for routine non-controversial deletions (of both test books, and non-test books where deletion would not be controversial). After monitoring books for several months now, and a backlog of over 1000 books that should be deleted, I can safely say that this process is long overdue. There's nothing complicated here, if you understand PROD, then you also understand BPROD. The only difference is that the first deals with articles and article-related issues/guidance, and this one would deal with books and book-related issues/guidance. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 22:01, 11 March 2010 (UTC)


  • Support, since I proposed this. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll note here that I am employed by PediaPress, which are responsible for coding the required software and printing books. However, my role is mostly to advise PediaPress, keep them up to date with the desires of the community, and report bugs in the software. I do not consider cleanup to be a conflict of interest, although some of you may differ. If you have questions about this, just ask me on my talk page. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 22:01, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose, since you are by your own admission, an employee of this company, I do not feel you are in a safe position to be making this request. I see it, unlike you, as a COI. Fwiw, i would also oppose this proposal as a prod is a prod, no matter what it's attached to. I don't see the need for multiple types. They do the same job.
    • A prod is indeed a prod. However, as of now, PRODs are exclusive to articles and are not allowed to be placed on anything other than articles. I also fail to see how my involvement with PediaPress should be the basis of whether PROD should be extended to cover books, rather than judge the proposal by its merits. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 22:53, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
      • Changed to Support - After consultation with the proposer, I feel that the proposal warrants support. The use of prod simply to extend inclusion of books, as well as articles, isn't a major concern, and the COI I thought I saw appears unfounded. BarkingFish Talk to me | My contributions 23:19, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support, since books are not encyclopedic content they do require a totally different set of considerations for deletion. Moreover, I do not consider this process creep since it would not add any administrative overhead on anything as they would be separate requests. BlanchardJ (talk) 23:10, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. There needs to be a way to get rid of junk/vanity/test book easily. Books are just collections of articles on a particular topic, thus they can be treated as articles. MER-C 07:39, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. It is long overdue. Ruslik_Zero 18:58, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support, though I would prefer to see this process incorporated into the general PROD process eventually. -- Black Falcon (talk) 01:42, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Seems sensible enough. SilkTork *YES! 00:04, 20 March 2010 (UTC)


I've promoted to policy per the above discussion. I've listed it at Template:Deletiondebates - I guess paragraphs at places like WP:Deletion policy are called for too. Olaf Davis (talk) 17:51, 21 March 2010 (UTC)


Not that I object to the terms of the proposal, but I don't understand why we need a special PROD for books at all. This feels like process creep big time. Steven Walling 20:56, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

It's not really a "special prod", it's the same thing, just adapted specifically to books since the reasons for prodding articles and for prodding books are very different, as are the resources for editors. PROD is ideal here because speedy is too blunt and unhelpful, while MfD is overkill. This page could be merged at WP:PROD, but I feel this is different enough to get its own page, and its own deletion template. By keeping things topical, we don't confuse newcomers. Users with prodded articles get sent to WP:PROD with {{prod}}, users with prodded books get sent to WP:BPROD with {{book-prod}}. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 21:15, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

It is not process creep if what you ar eproding is an entirely different kind of content. We have bene over this before. Until we do not have a useful way to deal with books, we will be stuck in MfD hell. I think one of the reasons books haven't exploded is the seemingly ostrich-like manner many in the community have responded to the introduction of the books space and providing hand holding, support, and a process for it. Only the sheer massiveness of the work involved keeps me from being bold and making up an entire process form scratch, but ti seems a jolt of massive proportions is needed.

One thing is process creep, the other not having a process at all. Some, apparently, fail to see the distiction. --Cerejota (talk) 21:41, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

To respond to Headbomb, the idea that newcomers will find it easier to try and navigate several different types of PROD is a total joke. To neophytes, a page is a just a page. They see no difference in using the PROD template on an article or a book. What does confuse them are two long, arcane pages of policy that fill essentially the same need. Cerejota does make a convincing point about being stuck in MFD hell, however. Steven Walling 08:08, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, and that is why there should be one for each. No need to overwhelm them with details about something that doesn't concern them. If their book was prodded, they don't need to be taken to a page that details what happens for prodded articles. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 10:41, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Your logic still does not fly. Having multiple PRODs will confuse everyone who's a newbie, since most people won't be looking to delete a book. One proposed deletion protocol no matter what type of wiki page it is makes better sense to most people who don't distinguish between special types of pages on the site from lack of experience. Steven Walling 19:40, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Well I find that it does. Articles and books are very different type of content, and a newbie will be just as confused by an article PROD than a book PROD, but much more confused by being taking to a page which focuses on article PROD when s/he's there because of a book PROD. There wouldn't be two protocols, there would be one protocol, but one page detailing the protocol for articles for books, and one for articles, for the simple reason that books aren't articles. We have XfD, namely AfD for articles, TfD for templates, and MfD for various things, which all follow the same structure (submit, discuss, get consensus, close). We could in theory have BfD (books for deletion), but MfD already covers that well enough that a BfD process isn't warranted (at least for the moment). We also have PROD for articles that shouldn't be speedied, but where AfD is overkill. This would be PROD for books that shouldn't be speedied, but where MfD is overkill. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 20:31, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Articles and books are different kinds of content. However, the prod procedure will be identical. Hence splitting this over two pages seems to be needlessly difficult. We have seperate processes for AfD, TfD and MfD because, while the processes are similar the actuall discussion focuses on different things. It takes a lot more for a redirect to be deleted than for an article to be deleted. Contrast with this case where the procedure will be completely identical. If we find that the prod procedure for books should be different than for articles we should consider splitting it out. Taemyr (talk) 10:11, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
As you say, TfD and CfD are kept seperate because they focus on different things. Likewise, you also recognize that books and articles are different kinds of content. Does it not follow that PRODs and BPRODs focus on different things as well? While the procedure follows the same general idea, the guidance given to those on the receiving end of a BPROD should be (and is) very different than that given to those on the receiving end of a PROD. BPRODs also have different technical issues associated with them, which requires different templates to be properly handle, etc... Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 15:28, 25 March 2010 (UTC)


The majority of this proposal reads like a "what do I do if my book was deleted?" essay instead of a guideline/process. Should this take off, I think it would be constructive to split it into two different pages: one with the process and one to help newcomers. That being said, I also feel that expanding the existing PROD process to apply to books in addition to articles would be more appropriate. --Shirik (Questions or Comments?) 21:01, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

It is proposed as an extension of the PROD process. I don't have a particularly strong opinion on how to organize the pages, but articles prods and book prods are different enough to be covered separately. As for the tone, I feel it is necessary since book-prodders would already familiar with the PROD process, while those with prodded books should be able to understand why their book was prodded, and what to do if they disagree. There are many section links, so people can directly link to what is relevant for that particular prod. So that's why the page is geared more for those on the receiving end. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 21:17, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Obviously, the page could evolve towards something different assuming that's where consensus lies. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 23:45, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

An experiment[edit]

I've boldly fixed up the {{dated book prod}} template to work properly and placed it on two empty, abandoned userspace books (not coincidentally, the first two from my list):

Let's see what happens. Zetawoof(ζ) 04:40, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Note that for now, it uses the same categories as normal prods. This is by design, since that (for now) these will get picked up by the relevant bots and populate categories where people pay attention. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 04:44, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Two is always a poor sample. If anything it should be extended to at least 10 from each "type" (no article, 1 article, and "others"). Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 04:47, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Feel free to add more test cases yourself, then. :) Zetawoof(ζ) 07:27, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
I just wonder what we are testing exactly. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 10:42, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Rename books?[edit]

Why not rename them to "collections" so that people will not make these mistakes in the first place? Gigs (talk) 18:48, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Well that's another debate, and one more suitable for the village pump. Changing the name of books to something else would require modifications to the software (both from Wikimedia and from PediaPress) so might not be possible (at least easily). However, when there is a possibility of confusion they usually are referred to as "Wikipedia books", "Community books" or "User books". So if something is confusing here, "Wikipedia books" can be used throughout. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 19:03, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
That name wouldn't help new users who think that it's a place where they can write their original book. Gigs (talk) 19:12, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
I think the discussion is relevant here, in as far as you are arguing that there is a large enough load here to justify this new process. What percentage of deleted books are of each nature? Gigs (talk) 19:14, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Not sure I see the connection between on what we call things like Book:Canada (and its relevance to proposed deletion) and the nature of deleted books.
However, for the moment, very few books have been deleted because MfD is overkill (but I remember taking about a dozen books there myself) and no alternative is present, other perhaps than WP:CSD#G2. However, since march of last year, there are 123 books with no articles, 465 with only one, and 526 containing no mainspace articles (perhaps 10 of those shouldn't be deleted, such as Book:The Missing Manual and Book:Wikipedia Policies and Guidelines). So about 1150 books, or one third of all user books, which corresponds to roughly 3-4 of them per day. Most community books that were less-than-stellar have been userfied out of courtesy, or sometimes improved, merged or sent to MfD. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 19:51, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
So it looks like you could eliminate about 11% of the workload by renaming the namespace to "Collections", since the 123 with no articles primarily seem to be the ones where the creator was confused about the purpose of "books", and thought it was a place for him to write his own book. That sounds like a pretty compelling argument to me. Gigs (talk) 22:23, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Uh... no? Books like like this one are not created because someone they are confused about books. They are created as tests, or drafts that never took off. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 22:37, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

A background section on what exactly these books are may be needed[edit]

Some of the issues I sense are understanding what these books are, when they came about, who uses them etc. They feel like a list of articles but they seem a bit different so a sentence or two explaining that may help. Similarly there is a navigation template for this area but IMHO it's not as intuitive as it could be, especially for newbies and those unfamiliar with this area. If it was clear to all concerned where questions are raised and answered, perhaps the volume is low enough that all the pages can share a talkpage or centralized noticeboard, then some of the issues around creating and later deleting missteps may resolve themselves. -- Banjeboi 20:02, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

See WP:Books and Help:Books for an overview. Questions are usually asked at Help:Books/Feedback, or Help talk:Books, and sometimes at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Wikipedia-Books. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 20:09, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Bot request?[edit]

As this page is now an official policy/process, I am wondering whether it would be useful to request a bot to process and tag a portion of the 1,114 malformed/test books listed at User:Zetawoof/BookList (see #The problem). The conditions under which the bot would add {{book-prod}}—and, ideally, notify the user—can be worked out (e.g., the page has not been edited for 30 days) if there is support for the idea itself. Thoughts? -- Black Falcon (talk) 18:16, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm doing it manually for now, since some books that are listed by Zetawoof's list do contain articles (those with revisions), and others are attempts to write books from scratch (and thus contains no link). I'm not notifying users, since users presumably watch their own books, and most are inactive anyway. I took care of those tagged as containing no articles (~120 books roughly), which will make a good live test. This way we'll see if there are flaws in the process, things that are unclear, and so on. I suggest we wait the week, see what feedback we're getting, and then BPROD the rest. Opinions? Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 19:36, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
That seems like a good plan (also, on second thought, there may be no need to involve a bot since AWB can make rather short work of the task once the list of books to be PRODed for a particular reason is generated (already done) and any exceptions are manually removed). Waiting a week will not cause any harm, but it will create the opportunity to see how the first large batch of book-prods are reviewed and processed. -- Black Falcon (talk) 22:48, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Alright, well all 122 books that were BPRODed got deleted without any problem. Out of 122, one got a procedural objection (user was being used to remove PRODs from user pages); this was clarified by mentioning that both user and community books are covered by BPROD. I've restored the BPROD, since this was due to a misunderstanding, and it got deleted along with the rest.
Considering the 100% deletion rate, and only one minor hiccup, I think this means that BPROD is overall pretty solid and ready to tackle the rest of the Zetawoof's list, at least as far as the "no article" books are concerned. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 03:36, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
I've BPRODed another 463 of them (sent Book:Hindu Proud to MfD, and one was using bad syntax). These could be a bit more controversial since they have some content, but all but a few all seemed to be tests. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 05:04, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Good stuff. I'll be updating my list once this second batch is done. Zetawoof(ζ) 03:56, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
And done. Zetawoof(ζ) 15:28, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Alright, BPRODed another 508 of them (no mainspace articles). This should be the last of the mass deletion runs. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 05:01, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Why does this need a seperate policy.[edit]

Seems small changes to Wikipedia:Proposed deletion would acomplish the same thing. Taemyr (talk) 12:06, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

See the #why? section above. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 14:56, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

PROD exists because AFD was overloaded, but MFD is not overloaded, so why does this exist? It could just be handled at MFD. (talk) 11:02, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
MfD was not overloaded because people didn't want to overload it. MfD would certainly have been overloaded if we sent over a thousands books there (first round was ~120 books, this round is about 460 books, next round will be ~525 books). Instead, the PROD process was extended to cover books, so non-controversial cleanup would be possible without getting bogged down in bureaucracy and without clogging up the MfD process. So the problem of MfD overload was nipped in the bud. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 16:55, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Would that be a permanent situation? Are hundreds of books created every month? Or are you talking about a one-time-surge? If it's a one-time-surge, a new process seems like overkill. (talk) 05:24, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Right now, the rate for community books is about 25 per month, and for user books about 180 per month. The process is hassle-free, works, doesn't burden admins, and offers a long-term solution, and IMO, it's all that matters. Debating whether it's overkill or not when there's no problem seems moot. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 05:48, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

BProds in userspace[edit]

People on prod patrol need a little clarification in the more-easily located positions. If {{book-prod}} now applies to userspace, please indicate so on both WP:PROD and WP:BPROD. If not, those who make the patrols (like yours truly) will go by the established rule that prods apply only in mainspace (and presumably in book space) and remove them on sight. (talk) 00:50, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Clarified. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 01:46, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Quarterly update[edit]

It would be helpful if, sometime in the first week of July, someone would add the changes to this page from April 1 to July 1 to WP:Update/1/Deletion policy changes, 2011, which is transcluded at WP:Update. - Dank (push to talk) 20:07, 12 June 2011 (UTC)