Wikipedia:Deletion policy

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This page is an official policy on Wikipedia. It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. Feel free to update the page as needed, but make sure that changes you make to this policy really do reflect consensus, before you make them.

Comment There is currently an ongoing debate over the page deletion process and how it could be improved. See Wikipedia:Deletion reform for a list of discussions, suggestions, and proposals. This page remains policy until a new consensus has developed.

In the normal operations of Wikipedia, several hundred articles are deleted each day. While it is possible for any user to blank a page, the original content will still be available in the page history for others to view and put back if they wish. When pages are deleted, this removes not only the current version but also all previous versions.

Only administrators have the ability to delete and undelete pages within the system. With our current deletion system administrators necessarily must use their best judgment in making this decision. You can expect administrators to follow the process detailed below to aid them in their judgment.

Deleted pages can be restored, by administrators, if and only if there is support on Wikipedia:Votes for undeletion, or the page was speedily deleted out-of-process. If deletions are made too casually, it is easy to lose track. Hence, the decision to permanently delete an article is not taken lightly, and the deletion process is followed. See Wikipedia:Undeletion policy for the guidance on undeletion.

If an article is repeatedly re-created by unassociated editors after being deleted, this may be evidence of a need for an article. Conversely, if an article is repeatedly nominated for deletion, this is not in and of itself evidence that it should be deleted even if there are valid concerns about the quality of the article. (Cleanup may be appropriate.) In some cases, repeated attempts to have an article deleted may even be considered disruptive. If in doubt, don't delete! Of course, if you are in doubt that doesn't imply that everyone else is also in doubt. If controversy exists on an article, please discuss at WP:VFU to reach consensus, rather than edit warring between deleted and restored status.


Procedure for deletion

If a page does not fall into one of the categories listed under Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion, then you cannot delete it without it spending five days on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion (or the analogous pages for images and media files, categories, templates, redirects, miscellaneous) first.

What to do with a problem page/image/category

Does the page really belong on AfD? Read the following two tables to find out what to do with a problem page.

Problems that don't require deletion
Problem with page Solution Add this tag
Article written in a foreign language
List on Wikipedia:Pages needing translation {{notenglish}}
A stub (but with potential)
Expand it! {{stub}}, or preferably the topic-specific one from Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Stub types
Such a minor branch of a subject that it doesn't deserve an article
Merge the useful content into a more comprehensive article and redirect {{mergeto|article}}
Article duplicates information in some other article
Merge and redirect.

If you can't figure out how to do the merge, tag it and list on Wikipedia:Duplicate articles

Article needs improvement
List on Wikipedia:Cleanup {{cleanup}}
Article needs a lot of improvement List on Wikipedia:Pages needing attention {{attention}}
Article is biased or has lots of POV
List on Wikipedia:Pages needing attention. {{npov}} or {{POV check}}
Dispute over article content
List on Wikipedia:Requests for comments {{disputed}}
Two subjects have the same name
Make a disambiguation page {{disambig}}
Can't verify information in article
Follow the procedure on Wikipedia:Verifiability.

If that doesn't work, come back here. If it is truly unverifiable, it may be deleted.

Inappropriate user page Talk to the user.

If that doesn't work, come back here

Vandalism or inaccuracy
Revert it.

Mention it on Wikipedia:Vandalism in progress if appropriate.

Annoying user Stay cool.

Add user to Wikipedia:Requests for comment if necessary.

Any problem with a community-accepted policy or guideline page, including m:instruction creep. Make the proposal on the talk page, seek comment in community discussion areas.
Problems that may require deletion
Problem with page Solution Add this tag
  • Is not suitable for Wikipedia (see WP:NOT)
  • Original research (including the coining of neologisms) - but if it's a source text, it should be moved to Wikisource (see below)
  • Vanity page
  • Advertising or other spam
  • Hoax (not an article about a hoax)
  • Completely idiosyncratic non-topic
List on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion (WP:AFD) {{subst:afd}}

Subject of article fails one of the following consensually accepted guidelines:

List on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion (WP:AFD) {{subst:afd}}
List on Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion (WP:MfD) {{subst:md1}}
Article is possible copyright infringement
List on Wikipedia:Copyright problems {{copyvio}} or
Image is possible copyright infringement List on Wikipedia:Copyright problems {{imagevio}} or
Image or other media needs deleting (but not because of copyright violation) List on Wikipedia:Images for deletion {{ifd}}
A useless redirect
Don't worry, redirects are cheap.

If you must, list on Wikipedia:Redirects for deletion but only after reading our recommendations on deleting redirects

A category scheme gone awry
List on Wikipedia:Categories for deletion {{cfd}}
A redundant or misguided series box. List on Wikipedia:Templates for deletion {{tfd}} (Put in the box itself)
A redundant or misguided stub template or category. List on Wikipedia:Stub types for deletion {{sfd-c}} for stub categories; {{sfd-t}} for stub templates
Can never be more than a dictionary definition ("dicdef")
List on Wikipedia:Things to be moved to Wiktionary

If a Wiktionary entry already exists, consider replacing the contents with {{wi}}.

{{move to Wiktionary}}
Article is a source text (but not a copyvio)
Move text to Wikisource and replace it with a stub and a soft redirect.  
Article is a candidate for speedy deletion including:
List on Wikipedia:Speedy deletions.

In simple cases, just add the {{deletebecause}} tag and the page will automatically be listed in CAT:CSD.


See also: Wikipedia:Template messages#Deletion

Each deletion category has a slightly different procedure. See the page for that category for details. Give the reason why you think it should be deleted. It will remain there for a time, giving other users the chance to comment on whether they think deletion is in fact appropriate. After an appropriate lag time, an administrator will delete the page if a rough consensus is reached - see Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators#Rough_consensus.

For candidates for speedy deletion, Administrators do not have to request deletion - they may delete them on sight, though some choose to use Wikipedia:Speedy deletions in some cases.

How to list a page for deletion

Limitations on renomination for AfD

In general, if an article has been discussed at Articles for Deletion and the discussion did not result in a "delete" decision, the article should not be immediately renominated for deletion, because unless there is a good reason for people to change their minds, the second nomination would be identical to the first one. An exception can be made if a discussion has no consensus and a severe lack of contributors. There is no policy or consensus for a hard time limit before an article can be renominated, but some people are likely to state 'keep' for the reason that it was already discussed last week.

Please note that if the result was to transwiki, once the transwiking process is done, the page is a candidate for speedy deletion, and does not need to go through AfD again.

"Listed for deletion" notice

When you list a page on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion, it is courteous to let people know it might be deleted. The suggested way is to place {{subst:afd}} (not {{afd}}) above the page's content, which expands to:

Hopefully, this notice will prevent readers and new users from becoming confused as to why a page was removed. Please note: copyright problems have a different suggested notice. See also: Wikipedia:Boilerplate_text#Listed_for_deletion

The notice is not needed for pages which a) have no content (such as redirects), and b) also have no significant history. (E.g. a redirect whose entire history is that it used to redirect from "Foo" to "Foobar", and has been changed to redirect to "FooBar", because the target page was moved, does not have any significant history.) A history which shows any content being added or removed that is not a candidate for speedy deletion is significant history.

If an article has been on AfD before but users want to start another iteration of a deletion debate, they should consider using this template, {{subst:AfDx|2nd}}.

Lag times

Once a page is listed for deletion by listing on one of the different pages, the nomination is kept open for a period of time to allow for community comment. The different pages have different "lag times" (the length of time that the page should normally be listed before the article can be deleted). This gives other users the chance to comment on whether they think deletion is in fact appropriate. The lag times are currently set at:

Commenting on a listing for deletion

When someone has listed an article for deletion on one of the lists, anyone else may comment on the request. When expressing an opinion, please include your opinion, your reasoning, and sign with ~~~~ (four consecutive tilde characters). The following are some suggested wordings. There is a list of these and other commonly used shorthands at the Wikipedia:Guide to deletion.

  • delete
  • keep
  • comment
  • other (some other action) such as
    • redirect to [[article]]
    • merge into [[article]] and redirect
    • move to Wiktionary / Meta / other GFDL site

Note that merge into [[article]] and delete is only a valid option if the information on authorship of the content is somehow preserved, or for public domain text.

Decision Policy

To request that a page (or image) be permanently deleted, the request made on AFD/ND/IFD, and any opinions or comments relating to a listed page must be made in good faith. At the end of five days, if a rough consensus has been reached to delete the page, the page will be removed. Otherwise the page remains. The page will also remain if it has been improved enough since the initial listing that the reason for the listing no longer applies. This requires a reason to be given initially when requesting that a page be deleted.

Please do not remove any statements from any AFD, MD, IFD, CFD, or other deletion discussion. If you suspect an opinion of being stated by a sockpuppet or being otherwise invalid, mark it as such with a comment, and any pertinent links, and leave it there. The admin who reviews the discussion will investigate and decide whether or not to take that opinion into account. By not removing any opinion , we ensure that there can be no arguments over who removed what and why.

Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators expands on this and provides a little rationale.

Early AfD Closings

If a clear consensus for a solution is quickly reached that does not involve formal deletion, a deletion discussion may be closed before the end of the five day discussion period. Examples would include a clear consensus for speedy deletion, a clear consensus for a speedy keep, or a consensus for a redirect. In these situations, the debate should be closed, but remain transcluded on the AfD page. However, if the proposed solution has not achieved a very clear consensus, the AfD listing should remain for the full five day period.

When the Lag Time runs out

At the end of the five days, the AFD discussions may be moved off the main AFD page onto a "holding page" called Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Old where they will stay until an administrator has time to act on the consensus decision. When carrying out those duties, please follow the process at Wikipedia:Deletion process which describes where and how the discussion should be archived. While the page itself may be deleted, the discussion about the deletion should be preserved.

Help with deletions

The Articles for deletion page gets very busy. Please join the Wikipedia:Cleaning department to help in maintaining it on a regular basis!

See also

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