Wikipedia talk:Pure wiki deletion system

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Some General Thoughts[edit]

Some of these may have been expressed above, but bringing them together in one place.

What I would agree to:

1.) If implemented, this system would not replace ANY of the current systems for deletions (including Afd and Speedy Delete). This system would, however, complement existing deletion systems, and hopefully lighten the load.

2.) Just as "move" has been relegated to only registered users, so too would this be. (For a lot of the same reasons.) This should help a LOT to quell concerns about abuse.

3.) No page would be able to be soft deleted unless no article links to it. This is similar to the current suggestion that all double redirects after a move be fixed.

4.) "Special: Recently deleted pages" would be created listing all soft-deleted pages to make certain that no page "slips through the cracks".

5.) That any page may be marked as protected from deletion temporarily by an admin to prevent deletion wars. Any article proposed for deletion through any other channel would have this automatically applied.

6.) Similar to the rules for blocking, rules should be established to determine about deletion abuse, including criteria for an admin to remove the ability of an editor to delete an article.

7.) Soft deletion should always be subject to the 3RR (and other page editing policies).

8.) This would be implemented with a "Delete" tab at the top, similar to watch and move. Page blanking would still be considered vandalism.

9.) All soft deleted pages, by definition, retain their history, but are treated as non existing pages (red tags, no index, not in Allpages, etc. Just as listed currently in the proposal.)

10.) After a length of time (a year and a day sounds appropriate to me) of no reversion of the soft delete, it should automatically (automated) become a hard delete (permanent). Before doing so, "some page" should list all articles that are within a week of deletion. The automation would also check to make certain that #3 above has been followed before hard deleting.

If all of this is what is being agreed to, then I would vote in "Support". - Jc37 09:19, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I object to 3. as it would complicate the bold/revert/discuss cycle that ought to govern page deletion. It should work like this: if you think a page should be deleted, you boldly go ahead and blank it. If someone objects, then they revert it. Then you go ahead and discuss it. If you don't come to consensus, then you move it to AFD. —Ashley Y 00:23, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I think what most on this page would have issues with is #8, since all other examples talk about page blanking, which I am opposed to. #3 is just "good editing practice" : ) - jc37 20:49, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

This kicks all kinds of ass[edit]

Seriously, best idea ever. --- RockMFR 20:26, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Why hasn't this been implemented?[edit]

Seriously, none of of objections I read are convincing at all. --Apoc2400 09:20, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

There was no consensus to implement it. -- Donald Albury 12:45, 10 November 2006 (UTC)


I never bother with WP:CfD except in rare cases when there's some argument. Instead I just move or remove all the articles from the category, and then blank the category page. It works great for categories, why not for articles? So I support this proposal. —Ashley Y 00:37, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Simple change to address the most common objection[edit]

I realize this proposal has been dormant, but if anyone is still interested, I'd like to make a proposal for a simple change which would address the most common objection: That it would be difficult to determine whether a page blanking is vandalism or a good-faith deletion. The proposal is thus: To delete a page under the pure wiki deletion system, replace the page with the text "#DELETED". Any text may follow this tag, which could be used to describe the reason(s) for the deletion. The software would then have to be changed so that:

Links to articles beginning with the text "#DELETED" will appear the same as links to non-existent articles.

While it is certainly possible for someone to replace a page with "#DELETED" as an act of vandalism, this would be no worse than someone replacing a page with a {{copyvio}} template or a redirect as an act of vandalism. Part of the proposal could include a policy that any deletion without a valid stated reason for deletion may be reverted by anyone, even beyond 3RR; thus bad-faith deletions could be reverted just as easily as any form of vandalism. Any thoughts? DHowell (talk) 13:55, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Pure wiki deletion system[edit]

}} Well, the pure wiki deletion system proposal discussion went dormant, apparently without being decisively rejected or adopted, so I thought I'd resume the discussion.

The pure wiki deletion proposal is that instead of deleting pages in a way that only admins can reverse, we should simply blank them. Wikilinks to blanked articles would appear as red links. This has several advantages.

  • It makes deletion review easier because everyone can see the last version of the article that's being discussed, even if it's not google-cached.
  • It adds some transparency to Wikipedia in that people can more easily review an admin's CSD decisions by seeing the content of the articles deleted to judge if the CSD was appropriate. Greater scrutiny of CSDs has been suggested as a way of making sure the CSD criteria are properly applied.
  • If someone wants to create an article on the same subject, they can take a look at the previous article and salvage anything that might be worth keeping, as well as seeing what it was that people objected to last time, so they can avoid making the same mistakes. E.g., some articles are deleted simply because they looked like spam or because they provided so little context that they failed CSD A1, but the subject itself is still notable enough for an article to be written.
  • It eliminates the need to ask an admin to provide a copy of a deleted article.

WP:PEREN notes, "that defies the whole point of deletion (which is to improve Wikipedia quality by getting rid of the worst parts); also, it would increase the workload of the Oversight body to ensure that copyvios and libelous statements are not visible to everybody." My response to the first point is to ask, What does the current system of deletion accomplish that blanking wouldn't? If we want to deter spammers, blanking is just as effective because a blank article will end up being taken off of the google search results. It will still be possible for someone to link to an old version of the article hosted on Wikipedia. But that is no different than how, under the current system, someone can edit an article about bands to include their non-notable garage band, and then link to that version; or how someone can change an article about their company to make it a glowing advertisement for that company, and then link to that version. We don't delete those edits from the history for the sake of deterring spammers.

In reference to the point that it would increase the workload of Oversight, I would make a similar response: Under the current system, we do not typically delete libelous versions from page histories; we simply revert the edits. There have been few problems with that, so I see little reason to suspect that we would have greatly increased problems if we blanked pages instead of deleting. Under this proposal, admins would still have the power to selectively delete copyvio and other problematic versions from the page history, as they do now.

I think that while there are some CSD-related situations that would require some more patience on the part of admins, overall the impact of this proposal would be good. There might some situations where someone posts an advertisement and then an admin blanks it as such, and the user reverts it. The pure wiki deletion system would make it easier to do this than it is now to recreate an article from scratch without the page history (although in some cases people can get the last version anyway by hitting their browser's Back button or by having saved it in a text editor beforehand). We can handle those situations, though, the same way we handle ones where someone persistently recreates an article now – talk to the user, ask other editors' opinion if necessary, and perhaps take the article to AfD if there seems to be a good-faith disagreement. I think that even if occurs rarely compared to the number of legitimate deletions, unjustified deletions and the threat thereof are very harmful to morale, and we should do what we can to curtail that from happening.

All in all, I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and it is time to move forward with this proposal. Sarsaparilla (talk) 18:21, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Well I need to look at this in more depth, but yes it is definitely an interesting proposal. A revival of this proposal to come to some sort of conclusion is definitely a good idea. .:Alex:. 19:05, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
A variation of this would be to Move a deleted article to the Trash namespace, then after a period of time really delete it. Articles in the Trash namespace would be uneditable and unrevertable but someone would be able to retrieve material to (e.g.) improve it in user sandbox space, then recreate. Sbowers3 (talk) 21:05, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I've never really understood how deleting articles solves a copyvio or deleting BLP violations cures defamation, if all it does is make it inaccessible to non-admins. And there's no reason at all to hide articles deleted for notability reasons. Might as well let anyone who is logged in take a look. Wikidemo (talk) 21:11, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
So, what's the process here? After this gets moved from the village pump, do we start a conversation on WP:RFC? Sarsaparilla (talk) 03:27, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I've never really understood how deleting articles solves a copyvio or deleting BLP violations cures defamation, if all it does is make it inaccessible to non-admins. There's a huge difference between an article that is visible to a billion people and an article that is visible to a thousand (admins), particularly a thousand people who have a lot to lose (admin rights) if they're found to be distributing copies. Moreover, deletion-by-hiding isn't something that the community just happens to do by circumstance - it's something that has been going on for a long time, is built into the software, and certainly is something that the Wikimedia Foundation's lawyers and Board have considered and found acceptable. (If not, they would have moved to using oversight for these types of problems.) So they certainly see a difference, and since they're the ones who have to worry about lawsuits, I think we should conclude that they think there is a big difference, and an important one. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:49, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. Everyone (well, almost everyone) agrees that copyvios should be completely deep-sixed. It's the stuff deleted for notability, verifiability, etc. that some of us (including me) think should only be blanked. Sarsaparilla (talk) 02:21, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Oppose. -- Donald Albury 18:47, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

It looks good to me. We would need the ability for admins to easily delete individual revisions, but I think the developers are working on that anyway. --Apoc2400 (talk) 20:44, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I believe they have that ability already. Sarsaparilla (talk) 04:02, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Favor. Maybe not this exact system, but something like it, the basic idea is right (and closer to the original Wikipedia vision). It's amazing to me how many editors really don't want distributed access to information. The spurious argument about copyright violation and libel gets repeated over and over. It's simple, actually: a different deletion process for illegal pages and history and legal but allegedly non-notable pages. And the legal page deletion process already exists: blanking and redirection. It's not correct that software changes are needed, if blanking and redirection are used. Illegal pages get speedy deleted through a different process than AfD. What this would do is to essentially make AfD far less contentious, since deletions would be less damaging. I've seen AfD seriously abused by sock puppets, escaping the notice of admins, to remove inconvenient topics from Wikipedia: essentially, nobody who understood the nominated articles was watching them *and* logged in during the period. The articles in question were written by experts, not Wikipedia fanatics.... And, then, mysteriously, their work is gone. Not in their history. "Damn! I would have sworn I wrote an article about ...." Or they simply assume that the great "they" deleted it. One more reason that experts commonly dislike Wikipedia. They don't necessarily understand the process, and, if they did, would they waste the huge amounts of time necessary to maintain articles? --Abd (talk) 21:25, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I think this proposal is admirably idealistic but hopelessly misguided. Centralisation of deletion processes is bureaucratic but efficient; it's easier to maintain a single process than to make sense of hundreds of uncoordinated actions, discussions, and disputes. Moreover, the controversy that will undoubtedly result from a pure wiki deletion system would consume more time and resources than all XfD processes combined. As the two recent ArbCom cases regarding articles about TV episodes illustrate, simply blanking/redirecting the contents of a page can be extremely controversial. Moreover, if any editor is able to revive a page ... well, how does one exercise quality control? – Black Falcon (Talk)

(You must be referring to Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Episodes and characters 2/Evidence.) Well, by that same logic, we should not allow redirecting without sending it to Articles for Redirection, because the controversy that can accompany such redirects consumes more time than an AfR. We allow anyone to redirect because it's easily reversible and because redirects are also used for other purposes. (By the way, a lot of articles that could be deleted are simply turned into redirects and no one notices or cares.) Now, if someone objects to the redirect, then they can revert and they can talk it out on the talk page and reach some kind of consensus. That seems to work pretty well.
Also by that same reasoning, we would remove bad edits from article history (since if any editor is able to revert to that bad edit, how does one exercise quality control?) Because of GFDL and technical reasons, we don't do that. But there are other good reasons too, namely, that the whole philosophy of the wiki is that we want to focus more on making it easier to correct a bad edit rather than prevent its introduction (or reintroduction, in this case). There are processes in place to deal with people who abuse it by edit warring or going against consensus.
There does need to be a different way of publicizing deletion debates. We've simply outgrown the point where that function can be effectively performed by just one unified AfD page split up into a separate page for each date. Yet, we are not allowed to canvass, beyond posting a notice to a WikiProject. So how do we attract enough attention to these debates that they get a fair hearing? Perhaps we should also have subcategories for different types of deletion debates, which interested users can check. For instance, suppose there are not yet enough interested users to sustain an Ethnobiochemistry WikiProject, but there is a pending AfD on "Cultural aspects of ethnobiochemistry." The author might put it in [[Category:Deletion debates on ethnobiochemistry articles]]. That might draw some attention from people who would weigh in on the debate. But perhaps it would generate an undesirable kind of participation bias. How can we deal with that? Are there other forums or communication systems we might use, that would be less biased? Ron Duvall (talk) 22:33, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Can we try an experiment, in which we use the pure wiki deletion system for awhile for a certain category of articles? How could it be arranged, I wonder? Perhaps all articles starting with a certain letter of the alphabet could have the pure wiki deletion system applied to them, for awhile. Or all articles created on a certain date, which we would choose after the fact. For instance, we might say, all articles created in January 2008, we will apply the pure wiki deletion system to. Some code could be written to pop up a warning if someone tries to delete one of those articles. Indeed, if we're going the code route, we could just have a randomly selected set of articles flagged as being governed by pure wiki deletion (which could appear as some sort of icon on the page). Of course, if we're going this route, the usual cost/benefit arguments arise. But I'm just brainstorming at this point. Any other ideas? Ron Duvall (talk) 22:40, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Then again, we could simply just start using the system ourselves, as per Wikipedia:Experimental_Deletion/XD1 and Wikipedia:Experimental Deletion/XD1/Example. Ron Duvall (talk) 22:47, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
In my opinion, you will need to demonstrate a strong consensus for such an experiment. Anyone who starts going around blanking pages without the backing of a strongly demonstrated consensus will likely be blocked in short order. This is a solution that most editors have not shown an interest in supporting. I would note that Wikipedia:Proposed deletion was proposed after the proposal for Pure wiki deletion, and was quickly accepted. Pure wiki deletion just presents too many potential problems. Personally, I think it is not productive to try to revive this moribund proposal. -- Donald Albury 20:44, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
There hasn't been a lot of participation in this reopened discussion, but is there any evidence that it's because people have actually read the proposal and concluded it's not a good idea? Ron Duvall (talk) 00:14, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

"It would be hard to tell legitimate blanking from vandalism." - Technical aspects[edit]

When a user tries to blank a page, we might send them to an "are you sure" screen that warns against the consequences of uncalled-for blanking and asks the user to type in a justification. (It would be similar to what you see when you hit the page move button.) An aid to telling legitimate blanking from vandalism is the edit summary. Also, RC patrollers can use a tool such as Cryptoderk's to maintain whitelists and blacklists of users, which will help in ignoring the good guys' page blanks and focusing in on the more likely vandals. I'm convinced we can find technical solutions to most objections. Ron Duvall (talk) 00:14, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

There were experiments attempted and much discussion before wp:proposed deletion was added, which addressed many overlapping issues in easing and streamlining the deletion process. Despite some users citing technical aspects as a part of their objections, technical aspects were not ultimately the center of the discussion. Instead, opposition generally agreed that, for various reasons, such an ability (deletion by blanking) should never be encouraged in an average user -- irrelevant the implementation. Although this idea and proposal should remain alive, I do not believe it has any reasonable chance of gaining widespread support on the english wikipedia at this time. I would encourage any interested and researching the subject to help keep the historical record straight and contribute links and findings to meta:History of wiki deletion process. Regardless, the official bug report requesting that pure wiki be implemented remains open at MediaZilla:3843 and continues to show supportive activity from core developers through late 2007. here 07:40, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Here is what I see as the problem. There really is no basic reason for not deleting (effectively) articles as ordinary edits, subject to all the review processes governing them. I fail to see that an inappropriate article delete is, for example, any different from other vandalism.

In considering deletion, the red herring of copyvio and libel always comes up. Material which must be removed for legal reasons is a totally different class of material from removal for mere non-notability or alleged impossibility of verification.

So, given that we are only talking about notability and verififiability deletions, they fall into ordinary editorial decisions, only applied to whole articles rather than to, say, a section or other piece of text.

But, when I've come to this point in discussions, I run into what I think it the real reason: punishing those who contribute non-notable articles. "If we let people do this, they will overrun us with articles about what they ate for breakfast, they will use Wikipedia as their personal web site, etc."

Problem is, punishing those who abuse Wikipedia in this way also punishes those who, in good faith, contribute articles on topics that they consider would be of interest. And these people go away with a very bad taste regarding Wikipedia, they wasted their time to create an article, imagining that this was the "encyclopedia anyone can edit."

Punishment is a very bad reason to delete material. Non-notability is a very imprecise standard, and is, in fact, unpredictable; to make it otherwise will require every more precise instruction creep, until a user would have to read a tome just to understand if he can add an article on a sports team, band, favorite whatever, or history of his grandfather, who was famous in his town. And the notability of all these things is not a fixed thing. Nor is, in fact, verifiability. What may not be verifiable today with ease might become verifiable easily tomorrow.

Rather, elsewhere, I've written about how the work of the project should be, at least in part, to categorize knowledge. All these non-notable or unverified -- which is all we can really say -- articles can be categorized as just that: considered non-notable and unverified. If it were easy to do this, in such a way as to shift those articles out of mainspace and top-level indexes, then, in fact, we would see a lot of articles go there, including ones that have for various reasons survived AfD. It becomes an ordinary editorial decision, and we do, in fact, ordinarily do that fairly efficiently, and we have procedures for resolving conflicts, and there is no particular schedule, no ticking clock. Mistakes can be easily fixed. Articles remain in contribution history.

As to the abuse of the encyclopedia for personal web space, that problem should be directly addressed, instead of arguing over notability. If it is abusive, it is grounds for warnings and sanctions. If it is not abusive, we have no legitimate basis for even coming close to punishment. As it is, we are currently punishing users who made good faith contributions, but merely either did not understand the guidelines or did not correctly anticipate how the community will decide in an AfD. And can anyone? It can be pretty quirky!

Not using AfD, then, but having some categorization process (perhaps simply a move to a designated namespace), makes "deletion" decisions into ordinary edits, only requiring further attention if contested. Far, far more efficient, I suspect. I would not ever call this space Trash. It's an insult to the editor. But it might be called "Unverified" or "Minor" (both, i.e., Unverified would be used for articles that might be notable but not verifiable or not verified, and "Minor" would be used for non-notable articles. In fact, there is a logical arrangement. Mainspace becomes the equivalent of Notable and Verified, then there are three other spaces: Minor Unverified, Minor Verified, Notable Unverified. Information in Minor Verified would be generally reliable, but probably not patrolled well, so it could be spotty. (Someone moving an article there would presumably be responsible for verifying sources or otherwise vouching for the article, so that version would still be there in History). There could be a fourth, ahem, trashspace, where most present speedy deletes go, pure nonsense, pranks, and this one might indeed be called Trash. Difference from speedy delete: no admin intervention required. Articles in Trash for more than a certain period might be totally deleted. It should be a long period. Ah, yes, fifth space: Illegal. These get rapid attention for copyvio and libel problems. But anyone can categorize them, and, in the vast majority of cases, it's done, and then many contested cases can be worked out between two editors, etc., all following standard dispute resolution. --Abd (talk) 19:22, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't think "Trash" is too objectionable; it's just saying that it was thrown out. I suppose it does have some negative connotations (e.g. in Pink Floyd's The Wall, "Absolute rubbish, laddie! Get on with your work.") But maybe we can come up with a more neutral name. "Deleted" might create confusion with the other deletion process. "Removed," perhaps? Any other ideas? Ron Duvall (talk) 20:09, 19 February 2008 (UTC)


It would seem that the first logical step is to implement Wikipedia:Proposed blanking. See Template:Prob. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 23:16, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

There is nowhere near the consensus required to implement this or a related change. While {{prob}} may be useful for demonstration purposes at this time, it should not be used on any articles. Black Falcon (Talk) 23:30, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Prob is overkill :-P. The first logical step here is to implement the required change for pwd in software. This has simply never happened afaict. You'd think someone could make time. O:-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 02:58, 10 August 2008 (UTC) who, me? Errr... not right now

Categorization of blanked articles[edit]

It may be desirable to have categorization of blanked articles. E.g., Category:Music-related articles blanked for notability reasons. A WikiProject might assemble to sort blanked articles (much as we sort stubs today) into more specific categories. That would enable other editors to peruse the categories of their expertise and see if there is anything they wish to try to rehabilitate. We might also have categories of articles that are certifiably beyond hope of resurrection, e.g. Category:Garage bands of the 1980s that lasted less than a month and never attained any notability whatsoever or Category:Articles verified to be hoaxes or Category:Test articles consisting of random keystrokes, or perhaps Category:Articles blanked pursuant to CSD G1, to use a few extreme examples, to help such editors avoid wasting their time looking into hopeless cases. It may sound like a waste of time to sort blanked articles, and perhaps the sorting wouldn't need to be as finely-grained as the examples above. But I think that the time that might go into at least some minimal blanked article categorization could be a good investment. We already invest a lot of time and effort (and sometimes emotions) on WP:AFD, WP:DRV, etc. And we already have pages like Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Fictional elements.

Is categorization of blanked articles something you would like to see implemented, and if so, how would you like it to be implemented? The extension as currently written requires pages to be completely blank, but it could be modified to, for instance, treat pages starting with #DELETED (or perhaps <DELETED>) as blanked, and still categorize them if categories are present on the page. Tisane (talk) 23:30, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Upon further reflection, I think the best solution will be to categorize the talk pages of blanked articles. Tisane (talk) 00:08, 16 March 2010 (UTC)


It should be noted that RationalWiki has something functionally similar to PWD, in that new users become sysops and thus able to delete and undelete articles and view deleted articles after they have only been on the site a few days. Tisane (talk) 21:29, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Redirect ≈ pure wiki deletion?[edit]

Why not just use redirects instead of PWD? E.g., if someone posts an article about their non-notable garage band The Electric Shoes, redirect it to garage band, leaving the history intact. Sure, we might end up with thousands of redirects, but so what. They will be somewhat useful, in that if someone looks up that topic, at least they'll get redirected to an article on the more general subject matter, rather than just getting a search page. This arguably is better than a "This page has been intentionally left blank" message. We see redirects all over paper encyclopedias, but never "this article has been intentionally left blank."

Redirects are already used in some cases involving non-notable articles, but we should make it the standard practice when non-notability is the only reason for deleting an article. Tisane talk/stalk 19:26, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

I guess the only time PWD would come into play would be when dealing with utterly unverifiable content, or nonsense content. Tisane talk/stalk 23:49, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

A fine idea[edit]

I visit this page every so often and would simply like to repeat my appreciation for this concept; it worked well in the past, and seems to me an ideal solution for many currently contentious deletion discussions. SJ+ 15:57, 26 October 2010 (UTC)