Wikipedia:Deletion process

This article will explore the topic of Wikipedia:Deletion process in depth, analyzing its different aspects and its relevance today. Wikipedia:Deletion process is a topic that has captured the attention of experts and society in general, generating debates, reflections and actions to address it. Throughout history, Wikipedia:Deletion process has been the subject of studies, research and controversy, which demonstrates its importance in different areas. This paper aims to analyze and present different perspectives on Wikipedia:Deletion process, with the aim of providing a comprehensive and enriching vision on this topic.

The deletion process encompasses the processes involved in implementing and recording the community's decisions to delete or keep articles, media, and other pages.

Normally, a deletion discussion must be held to form a consensus to delete a page. In general, administrators are responsible for closing these discussions, though non-administrators in good standing may close them under specific conditions. However, editors may propose the deletion of a page if they believe that it would be an uncontroversial candidate for deletion. In some circumstances, a page may be speedily deleted if it meets strict criteria set by consensus.

Note: Office actions and declarations from the Wikimedia Foundation Board or the system administrators, particularly concerning copyright, legal issues, or server load, take priority over community consensus.

Speedy deletion

The speedy deletion process applies to pages which meet at least one of the criteria for speedy deletion (CSD), which specify the only cases in which administrators have broad consensus support to, at their discretion, bypass deletion discussion and immediately delete Wikipedia pages or media.

Before deleting a page through the speedy deletion process, please verify that it meets at least one of the criteria for speedy deletion, check the page history to assess whether it would instead be possible to revert and salvage a previous version and to determine whether there was a cut-and-paste move involved, and search for other information which may impact the need or reason for deletion:

  • The initial edit summary may have information about the source of or reason for the page.
  • The talk page may refer to previous deletion discussions or have ongoing discussion relevant to including the page.
  • The page log may have information about previous deletions that could warrant SALTing the page or keeping it.
  • WhatLinksHere may show that the page is an oft-referred part of the encyclopedia, or may show other similar pages that warrant deletion. For pages that should not be recreated, incoming links in other pages (except in discussions, archives and tracking pages) should be removed.

If speedy deletion is inappropriate for a page:

  1. Please remove the speedy deletion tag from the page. Doing so will automatically remove the page from Category:Candidates for speedy deletion.
  2. Consider notifying the nominator, using {{speedy-decline}} or {{uw-csd}}. (If you're using CSD Helper, it will usually notify the nominator for you; it will normally use its own notification template.)

When deleting a page through the speedy deletion process, please specify the reason for deletion in the deletion summary, so that it will be recorded into the deletion log. Quoting page content in the deletion summary may be helpful, but must not be done for attack content or copyrighted text. In some cases, it would be appropriate to notify the page's creator of the deletion.

If they wish, administrators are free to use the CSD Helper user script to help them process editors' CSD nominations. It makes the process smoother and quicker.

Proposed deletion

The proposed deletion (PROD) process applies to articles and files that do not meet the stringent criteria for speedy deletion, but for which it is believed that deletion would be uncontroversial. In this process, an editor places a tag on the article or the file, and any editor can remove the tag to save the page. If the tag remains after seven days, the page can be deleted. For instructions on handling articles and files that have been proposed for deletion, see Wikipedia:Proposed deletion#Deletion.

A stronger version of the proposed deletion criteria (BLPPROD) applies to articles about biographies of living people with no sources. Their deletion can only be contested by adding a source.

Copyright problems

Pages may be speedily deleted in the case of unambiguous copyright infringement (see Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion#G12. Unambiguous copyright infringement for details). Pages written extensively by contributors with a history of copyright violation may also be deleted if they qualify for presumptive deletion and have been listed at Wikipedia:Copyright problems for at least 7 days.

If you delete a file due to copyright or non-free use issues that will not apply after some future date (for example, once the file enters the public domain in the United States) and that future date is known, please list the file at Category:Future copyright expiration.

Deletion discussion venues

Deletion discussion venues (or deletion forums) are the six places to formally nominate for a discussion, a page not eligible for speedy deletion.

Deletion venues
Discussion type Scope Reasons for deletion / Starting a discussion / Closing instructions
Articles for deletion (AfD) Articles and other pages in the main namespace (e.g. disambiguation pages), excluding redirects. Reasons for deletion
Starting a discussion
Speedy process: PRODCSD
Closing instructions
Categories for discussion (CfD) Categories and stub templates. Reasons for deletion
Starting a discussion
Speedy process
Closing instructions
Files for discussion (FfD) Files (most of which are images). Reasons for deletion
Starting a discussion
Speedy process
Closing instructions
Miscellany for deletion (MfD)
Reasons for deletion
Starting a discussion
Speedy process
Closing instructions
Redirects for discussion (RfD) Redirects, including soft redirects, in any namespace. Reasons for deletion
Starting a discussion
Speedy process
Closing instructions
Templates for discussion (TfD) Pages in the Template: and Module: namespaces, excluding stub templates, userboxes, and redirects. Reasons for deletion
Starting a discussion
Speedy process
Closing instructions.
Requested moves (RM) While primarily for renaming (moving) pages, may result in deletion (e.g. of a redirect or trivial content at the target page name) or merger.

Use for all rename discussions other than for categories and stub templates (both of which are done at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion).

When to use RM
Starting a discussion
Speedy process
Closing instructions
  1. ^ The process of starting a discussion is greatly aided by the use of Twinkle, a software package available to any autoconfirmed user.
  2. ^ There is also proposed deletion, an alternative system to suggest uncontroversial delayed speedy deletion of pages in the article namespace after a notice has been present for seven days.
  3. ^ a b Established policies, guidelines, and process pages, along with templates related to them, should not be nominated at deletion venues, because it is outside of their prerogative to modify or revoke policy. Instead, start a discussion on the talk page of the concerned page or at the village pump.
Review venues
Discussion type Scope Closing instructions
Deletion review (DRV) For appealing the deletion of a page or outcome of a deletion discussion that appears to be against community consensus, if the request is outside of the scope of requests for undeletion, and after discussing with the deleting administrator or closer respectively. Purpose
Starting a discussion
Closing instructions
Move review (MR) For appealing the closure of a requested move, including one that resulted in a deletion or merger, if it appears to be against consensus or proper closing procedure, and after discussing with the closer. Purpose
Starting a discussion
Closing instructions

Closing discussions that have run their full time

Discussions are usually closed after seven days (168 hours). Although the steps or process for closing deletion discussions vary between the #Deletion discussion venues, a few general principles apply for all deletion discussions.

Usually, closing a discussion is an administrator action, but experienced users in good standing may close (or relist), per the guidelines below.

When closing a discussion, make certain that all pages under discussion have an XfD notification template placed upon the page (also known as "tagging" the page under discussion), in order to notify others about the discussion. And pay close attention to this for group nominations, as it is not uncommon for only one of the pages in question to have been tagged. In general, if this happens, all the pages under discussion should be tagged, and once that is done, #RELIST the discussion. If circumstances indicate that relisting may be inappropriate, then instead just close (depending on tagging) part or all of the discussion as "no action", due to the lack of tagged notification.

Determining consensus

Consensus is formed through the careful consideration, dissection and eventual synthesis of different perspectives presented during the discussion, and is not calculated solely by number of votes.

Outcomes should reflect the rough consensus reached in the deletion discussion and community consensus on a wider scale. (While consensus can change, consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale.)

Other possible (non-standard) decision results, and/or "combinations" may sometimes be appropriate at the closer's discretion. For example, "Merge and delete", "Rename and merge", or "Transwiki". The closer should aim in any case, to decide based upon consensus, policy, and community norms.

In addition, it can sometimes be useful to provide a brief explanatory note, to make the rationale for the decision clear. This is especially true in heated and high public profile discussions, or where many views will be given little weight (or a few views given substantial weight), or where you think the basis of the close may be misunderstood or potentially reviewed by others.

Also remember that nobody is obligated to close a discussion, nor is it crucial that a discussion be closed immediately once its week-long run has ended. If you feel that there is a conflict between the views expressed, and Wikipedia's policies and guidelines (e.g., an inappropriate super-majority view without an appropriate basis), it may be preferable to instead comment yourself, rather than closing, even if the "due date" for closing has been reached, and leave the close to another editor.

Deletion requested by subject

Deletion discussions concerning biographies of living persons who are relatively unknown, non-public figures, where the subject has requested deletion and there is no rough consensus to keep, may be closed as 'delete' per the deletion policy and BLP policy (request for deletion). Closers should review these policies to confirm the criteria are met, and then use their discretion.

Conduct during discussions

  • Wikipedia is not a battleground: Wikipedia is not a place to hold grudges or insult, harass, or intimidate those with whom you have a disagreement. Wikipedia users are expected to behave reasonably, calmly, and courteously in their interactions with other users. Unseemly conduct, such as personal attacks, incivility, assumptions of bad faith, harassment, disruptive point-making, and gaming the system, is prohibited. Making unsupported accusations of such misconduct by other editors, particularly where this is done repeatedly or in a bad-faith attempt to gain an advantage in a content dispute, is also unacceptable.
  • Inappropriate canvassing and suspected meatpuppetry: Evaluate whether it has influenced the outcome of the discussion in a way that compromised the standard consensus-building process. If appropriate, remind participants that deletion discussions are not a vote, and link to a suitable information page. Remember to assume good faith in your tone – the participants may well intend to help by doing what they think is right.
  • Suspected sock-puppetry: If blatant, individual comments may be tagged (this is likely to be seen as lacking good faith or offensive if the case is not clear). If unsure, report as usual for suspected sock-puppetry, and indicate your concern and reason in the discussion for the closer and future participants, but in a way that addresses the page under discussion, rather than attacking the user.

No quorum

If a nomination has received few or no comments from any editor, and no one has opposed deletion, and the article hasn't been declined for proposed deletion in the past, the closing administrator should treat the XfD nomination as an expired PROD and follow the instructions listed at Wikipedia:Proposed deletion#Procedure for administrators. Generally, this will result in soft deletion (see below), but administrators should evaluate the nominating statement as they would a PROD rationale. Closing an unopposed XfD nomination under this procedure does not require the discussion to have been relisted any particular number of times.

If the nomination has received very few or no comments but appears controversial to the closing administrator, or has been declined for proposed deletion in the past, the discussion may be closed at the closer's discretion and best judgement. Common options include, but are not limited to:

  • relisting the discussion.
  • closing as "no consensus" with "no prejudice against speedy renomination" (NPASR);
  • closing in favour of the nominator's stated proposal;
  • soft deleting the article.

Soft deletion is a special kind of deletion which may be used after an article's deletion discussion. If a deletion discussion receives minimal participation, the article may be deleted. However, in this case, the article can be restored for any reason on request. If your article was soft-deleted, you can request it be restored at Requests for undeletion. The closer should make it clear the deletion is a soft delete as part of the close, ideally with a link to this guideline.

There is consensus among the community that problematic or likely problematic articles with an appropriate redirection target may be blanked and redirected by any editor if there are no objections. This similarly applies to deletion nominations as well; if no editor suggests that the corresponding article should be kept, then redirection is an option.

Relisting discussions

If, at the end of the initial seven-day period:

  • the discussion has only a few participants (including the nominator); or
  • the discussion seems to be lacking arguments based on policy; or
  • the participants in the discussion might be nearing a #Consensus;

it may be appropriate to relist the discussion instead of closing, in order to allow for the possibility that further discussion might lead to a discernible consensus. However, relisting should not be a substitute for a no consensus closure. If the closer feels there has been substantive discussion, and disparate opinions supported by policy have been expressed, but consensus has not been achieved, a no-consensus close may be preferable. A relisted discussion may be closed once consensus is determined, without necessarily waiting for another seven days.

Editor qualifications to relist a discussion are the same as required to close a discussion - see #NAC, for further information.

While having a deletion notice on a page is not harmful, its presence over several weeks can become disheartening for potential editors. Therefore, repeatedly relisting discussions merely in the hope of getting sufficient participation is not recommended. In general, a discussion should not be relisted more than twice. When relisting for a third (or further) time, or when relisting a discussion with a substantial number of commenters, the relisting editor should write a short explanation either within the {{relist}} template, or in addition to it, on why they did not consider the current state of the discussion sufficient to determine a closure result.

When relisting a discussion, it should be removed from the log for its original date (or in some venues replaced with a pointer to the current date) and moved to the current date's log where the discussion will continue. Scripts and gadgets such as XFDcloser automate the process.

Non-administrators closing discussions

In general, administrators (admins) are responsible for closing deletion discussions, but non-administrators who are registered (i.e. not IP users) may close (or relist) these discussions, with the following provisions:

  • Non-admin closers should indicate their non-admin status with the {{nacd}} ("non-admin closure") template in the comment for the closure.
  • Non-admin closers are accountable to the policies at WP:ADMINACCT and WP:UNINVOLVED. Repeated non-adherence to these policies may result in being topic banned from closing discussions.
  • Non-admin closers should limit their closes to outcomes they have the technical ability to implement; for example, non-admins should not close a discussion as delete, because only admins can delete pages.
  • Close calls and controversial decisions are better left to admins.

Do not close a discussion if:

However, you may close your own #Withdrawn nomination as a speedy keep, when all other viewpoints were for keep as well.

If an administrator has deleted a page (including by speedy deletion) but neglected to close the discussion, anyone with a registered account may close the discussion provided that the administrator's name and deletion summary are included in the closing rationale.

Deletion-related closes may only be reopened by the closer themselves; by an uninvolved administrator in their individual capacity, giving their reasoning; or by consensus at deletion review, and for any of these, notify the original closer. If a discussion is re-opened, take it only as a sign that the decision may not have been as obvious as you thought.

When closing an AfD, do the following:

{{subst:Afd top|'''result'''}}. ~~~~ ← Add this line at the very top of the page, with the appropriate result in '''bold'''.
===]=== ← Leave this line alone.
← Remove the line containing {{REMOVE THIS TEMPLATE WHEN CLOSING THIS AfD}}.
DISCUSSION ← Body of the discussion stays unchanged
{{subst:Afd bottom}} ← Add bottom template

Closing instructions per venue

Closing instructions
Discussion type Information page Instructions for closing
Articles for deletion (AfD) Wikipedia:Articles for deletion

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Administrator instructions

Categories for discussion (CfD) Wikipedia:Categories for discussion

Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Administrator instructions

Files for discussion (FfD) Wikipedia:Files for discussion

Wikipedia:Files for discussion/Administrator instructions

Miscellany for deletion (MfD) Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Administrator instructions

Redirects for discussion (RfD) Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion

Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Administrator instructions

Templates for discussion (TfD) Wikipedia:Templates for discussion

Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Administrator instructions

Deletion review (DRV) Wikipedia:Deletion review

Wikipedia:Deletion review/Administrator instructions

Common outcomes

As a result of a closer #Determining consensus, a deletion discussion may result in one of a number of distinct outcomes, with certain outcomes being more common at certain deletion discussion venues.

Common outcomes
Outcome Commonly used for Details
Keep All A rough consensus to retain (i.e. not delete) a page, though not necessarily in its current form. To implement a 'keep' outcome: close the deletion discussion as 'keep'; edit the page to remove the deletion notice; and record the outcome on the page's talk page using one of several venue-specific templates (see #Closing instructions per venue for details).
Delete All A rough consensus to remove (i.e. not retain) a page, including its entire revision history. To implement a 'delete' outcome: close the deletion discussion as 'delete'; delete the page, and link to the deletion discussion in the deletion summary; and, if the page should not be recreated, remove incoming links in other pages (except in discussions, archives and tracking pages).
No consensus All A lack of a rough consensus for any one particular action. To implement a no consensus outcome: close the deletion discussion as 'no consensus'; edit the page to remove the deletion notice; and record the outcome on the page's talk page using one of several venue-specific templates (see #Closing instructions per venue for details).
Move (non-category pages), or
Rename (categories)
All Issues to be addressed by changing the page title (and perhaps then expanding or improving its content). This can happen at AFD especially, if the article could be suitable for Wikipedia, but is created under an inappropriate title, and was nominated for deletion, but consensus agrees it is fixable if the title is changed. Categories require a different method than other pages.
Merge Articles, categories, templates This combines two separate pages into a single page. Merge votes should be specific and clear. If you wish to merge templates or categories, use the deletion discussions. If you wish to merge articles, do not use a deletion discussion, but instead discuss it on the talk page.
Disambiguate (or "Dabify") Articles, redirects If the discussion concludes that the title can refer to many topics, it can be changed to a disambiguation page to list all of them.
Redirect Articles, templates, miscellaneous pages This would be used if the page has no unique and usable content, but information about the topic is found in another article.
Userfy Articles, templates, miscellaneous pages This would move the page into the creator's userspace so that they may make improvements. If Wikipedia essays are nominated, they will sometimes be moved to userspace if they are found to violate policies or guidelines.
Incubate (or "Draftify") Articles This changes the article into a draft to be improved so that it meets inclusion requirements.
Delete but allow undeleting with an appropriate licence Files If a file is only deleted due to copyright issues, it could be re-uploaded if these issues are resolved
Listify Categories This means to delete the category and create a list article instead.
Retarget Redirects This means that the redirect should lead to a different page.
Refine (or "Keep and refine") Redirects The redirect should lead to a specific section of the page it currently targets (e.g. AfricaAfrica#History)

Deletion discussions needing action before their end date

Nomination errors and issues

In certain situations, a deletion discussion may require correcting, moving elsewhere, or a null outcome ("procedural close"), due to issues with the deletion nomination rather than the merits of the page itself:

Error Correction
No deletion notice on nominated page The best course of action is to add the tag and note that you've done so. The time of tagging would then be treated as the nomination time.
Currently linked from Main Page If the nominated page is currently linked from the Main Page, remove any tag from the page itself. Then, if there are legitimate concerns, please use Wikipedia:Main Page/Errors to have the link removed before nominating the article. If there are clearly none, or the nomination is disruptive, the nomination page should be closed early (see 'speedy close').
Nomination is an immediate objection to a prior deletion outcome, more appropriate for deletion review List it at deletion review on the nominator's behalf, and link it appropriately (including linking it from the closed discussion), notify the nominator, and close the deletion discussion.
Venue inappropriate (e.g., a file hosted on Commons, category or redirect at AFD, or discussions that the chosen venue is unable to address) List the topic at the correct venue, notify the nominator, and close the discussion providing a link to the new discussion. Never close a discussion as a wrong venue without opening a discussion at an appropriate one.
Page does not exist or has already been deleted prior to the nomination Close the discussion, and place a notice on the nominator's talk page. It is entirely possible that they may have mistyped the page name, or that the page was already deleted before they could start the deletion discussion. If the former was the case, politely tell the nominator to properly start a new discussion with the correct title, and the time they start the new discussion will be treated as the nomination time.

A deletion discussion that is poorly formatted should not be closed for this reason alone, in order to avoid biting new users. Instead, fix it.

Early closure

In general, deletion discussions should remain open for at least seven days (168 hours) to allow interested editors adequate time to participate. However, under certain circumstances, discussions may be closed prior to the seven-day timeframe.

Closers should apply good judgment before speedily closing a discussion, since often it is best to allow the discussion to continue for the entirety of the seven-day period.

Reason Explanation
Withdrawn

While the nominator may withdraw their nomination at any time, if subsequent editors have suggested an outcome besides keep or added substantive comments unrelated to deletion, the discussion should not be closed simply because the nominator wishes to withdraw it.

  • The nominator can strike out their nom statement, and add a note about the withdrawal.
  • Early closure is inappropriate where it appears that the withdrawal is simply an attempt to short-circuit an ongoing discussion.
  • If the nominator appears to have genuinely changed their mind due to other views expressed, the discussion should not be considered withdrawn. Instead, consider whether to use any of the early closures below.
Speedy keep A "speedy keep" close is warranted when the nominator withdraws the nomination or fails to advance an argument for deletion or redirection—perhaps only proposing an alternative action such as moving or merging—and no one other than the nominator recommends that the page be deleted or redirected. A "speedy keep" outcome is also appropriate when the nomination unquestionably is an attempt to vandalize or to otherwise create disruption. For example:
  • Nominations which are clearly an attempt to end an editing dispute through deletion (possibly in an attempt to game the system), when dispute resolution would be a more appropriate course.
  • Nominations which are made solely to provide a forum for disruption (this includes editor harassment).
  • The nominated page is a policy or guideline. The deletion process is not a forum for policy concerns.
  • Frivolous or vexatious nominations (recently featured articles, for example). This includes re-nominating the same page with the same arguments immediately after they were strongly rejected in a recently closed deletion discussion.
  • Nominations which are so erroneous that they indicate that the nominator has not even read the article in question.
  • The nominator is banned, so their edits are not to be retained. In that case, the nominated page is speedily kept while the nomination can be tagged with {{db-g5}} and speedily deleted as a banned contribution. However, if subsequent editors have added substantive comments in good faith, the nomination should not be speedily closed (though the nominator's opinion will be discounted in the closure decision).
Speedy delete
(see also § Speedy deletion)
When the nominated page unambiguously falls within any criteria for speedy deletion, particularly criterion G10 (attack page) or criterion G12 (copyright violation), it is not necessary to wait until the end of the discussion period.
Snowball clause The "snowball clause" exists to avoid process for the sake of process, or when the outcome of the deletion discussion is, or has become, almost certain, such that there is not a "snowball's chance in hell" that the outcome will be anything other than what is expected, and there is clearly no need at all to prolong discussion further.

This clause should not be used to close a discussion when a particular outcome is merely "likely" or "highly likely", and there is a genuine and reasoned basis for disagreement. This is because deletion discussions are not a vote; it is important to be reasonably sure that there is little or no chance of accidentally excluding significant input or perspectives, or changing the weight of different views, if closed early. Especially, closers should beware of interpreting "early pile on" as necessarily showing how a discussion will end up. This can sometimes happen when a topic attracts high levels of attention from those engaged (or having a specific view) but slower attention from other less involved editors, perhaps with other points of view. It can sometimes be better to allow a few extra days even if current discussion seems very clearly to hold one opinion, to be sure that it really will be a snowball and as a courtesy to be sure that no significant input will be excluded if closed very soon.

Search all deletion discussions

To search for any mention of an existing fullpagename of interest in "all discussion types" listed above, go to the page of interest, and preview this line in any of its wikitext: {{ #lst: WP: Deletion process | search links }} These three search links will then appear in this box (but in warning coloration):

From that preview, activate a search. From search results, modify the query, return to the preview, or not. Preview is safe. Return and search all three.

Pages with many revisions

The deletion of pages with long histories may impact server performance. As a precaution, therefore, deletions of pages with more than 5,000 revisions require the special "bigdelete" user right, which administrators do not have. Such deletions can be requested of stewards at meta:Steward requests/Miscellaneous.

Notes

  1. ^ The acronym "NPASR" may be also be used outside of this context, and does not necessarily refer to a close due to no quorum.
  2. ^ Usually articles unreferenced for years.
  3. ^ However, discussions with minimal participation where no one opposes deletion should be closed per #No quorum.
  4. ^ When adding comments within the {{relist}} template, please keep in mind that this is a Wikipedia administration template, and should not be used to give priority to one's own desired outcome
  5. ^ See this July 2015 discussion.

See also

Essays