Wikipedia:Deletion policy

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Only administrators can delete pages, categories, and images. Sometimes, pages may be deleted quickly. At other times, the deletion should be talked about with other editors at Requests for deletion.

Remember that changing an article to a redirect is better than deleting it if the article's title is helpful for finding information. Unless a good article could be created in its place, administrators should remove internal links and delete redirects to the pages they have deleted.

Overview

There are two main ways that pages can be deleted:

Type of deletion How to use How to do it
Quick deletion (QD) Pages that should be deleted very quickly without needing to be discussed. These include articles that do not make sense (in other words nonsense), vandalism, and others listed under the quick deletion criteria below. Add {{QD|reason}} to the article you think should be deleted.
Requests for deletion (RfD) A seven-day discussion where all users can talk about the best way to handle an article. This can be used when deletion is unsure or may need discussion. Add {{RfD|reason}} to the page you think should be deleted. Then, list the page on Request for deletion, using the instructions on that page

Quick deletion

Policy shortcuts:
WP:QD
WP:CSD
WP:SPEEDY

Before deleting a page that meets one of the quick deletion criteria, administrators must always check the page's edit history to see if the page can be reverted to an earlier version.

Quick deletion criteria

Abbreviations are sometimes used when talking about these rules. For example, when someone says "A4", they are referring to rule 4 under the Articles section. You can also use the abbreviation inside your deletion request. For example, if you think an article meets the 3rd criteria under General rules section, you may add {{QD|G3}} to the top of the article.

General rules – All pages

A page can be quickly deleted in the following situations:

  1. All of the text is nonsense. Nonsense includes content that does not make sense or is not meaningful. However, this does not include bad writing, bad words, vandalism, things that are fake or impossible, or parts which are not in English.
    • You can use {{non}} tag for such articles.
  2. It is a test page, such as "Can I really create a page here?".
  3. The content is completely vandalism. This includes redirects that were made when cleaning up "page move vandalism".
  4. Creation of content that is already deleted. It includes an identical or similar copy, with any title, of a page that was deleted, after being discussed in Requests for deletion, unless it was undeleted due to another discussion or was recreated in the user space. Before deleting again, the Administrator should be sure that the content is similar and not just a new article on the same subject. This rule cannot be used if the article was only quickly deleted with no request for deletion.
  5. (Removed. This is a place holder.)
  6. Housekeeping. Pages which do not need discussion to be deleted, for example if the page needs to be deleted to merge histories.
  7. Author wants deletion. Any page whose original author wants deletion, can be quickly deleted, but only if most of the page was written by that author and was created as a mistake. If the author blanks the page, this can mean that he or she wants it deleted.
  8. Pages dependent on deleted or non-existent pages can be deleted, unless they contain discussion on deletion that can't be found anywhere else. Subpages of a talk page can only be deleted under this rule if their top-level page does not exist. However, this cannot be used on user talk pages or talk pages of images on Commons.
  9. (Removed. This is a place holder.)
  10. Attack pages: Pages that were only created to insult a person or thing (such as "John Q. Doe is dumb"). This includes articles on a living person that only insult and have no sources, and where there is no NPOV version in the edit history to revert to.
  11. Obvious advertising: Pages which were created only to say good things about a company, item, group or service and which would need to be written again so that they can be encyclopedic. However, simply having a company, item, group or service as its subject does not mean that an article can be deleted because of this rule: an article that is obvious advertising should have content that shouldn't be in an encyclopedia. If a page has already gone through RfD or QD and was not deleted, it should not be quickly deleted using this rule.
  12. Obviously breaking copyright law like a page which is:
    • Copied from another website which does not have a license that can be used with Wikipedia;
    • Containing no content in the page history that is worth being saved.
    • Added by someone who doesn't tell whether they got permission to do so or not, or if their claim has a large chance of not being true;
    When tagging a page for deletion using this rule, a user should tell the page's creator first. If the Administrator who deleted the page is told that they may have made a mistake, they should add the content back; if a confirmation e-mail has not been received from the original author of the information, the Administrator should blank the article and add the {{copyvio}} template.

Articles

For deleting any articles that should not be deleted quickly, use Wikipedia:Requests for deletion. Any article can be quickly deleted if it:

  1. Is very short and provides little or no meaning (e.g., "He is a funny man that has created Factory and the Hacienda. And, by the way, his wife is great."). Having a small amount of content is not a reason to delete if it has useful information.
  2. Has no content. This includes any article consisting only of links (including hyperlinks, category tags and "see also" sections), a rephrasing of the title, and/or attempts to correspond with the person or group named by its title. This does not include disambiguation pages.
  3. Has been copied and pasted from another Wikipedia: Any article or section from an article that has been copied and pasted with little or no change.
  4. Is about people, groups, companies or websites that do not claim to be notable. An article about a real person, group of people, band, club, company, or web content that does not say why it is important. If not everyone agrees that the subject is not notable or there has been a previous RfD, the article may not be quickly deleted, and should be discussed at RfD instead.
    • You can use {{notable}} tag for such articles.
  5. Is not written in English. An article that is written in any other languages but English.
  6. Is an obvious hoax. An article that is surely fake or impossible.

Redirects

For any articles that should not be deleted quickly, use Wikipedia:Requests for deletion. Sometimes it is possible to make them useful redirects to other pages. All redirects can be quickly deleted if they are:

1. Redirects to a non-existent page.
2. Redirects to the User: or User_talk: space from the main article space and vice versa. If this was because of a page move, please wait a day or two before deleting the redirect.
3. Redirects with an uncommon typo, or a word that is spelled wrong, that was recently created. However, redirects from common accidental spellings are usually useful; redirects in other languages are not deletable using this rule.

Files

  1. Most media uploads are not allowed on Simple English Wikipedia. They should be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons instead. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Firstly, all spoken articles should be uploaded here, as they are for local use. Secondly, there are some logos that Commons does not accept, but are needed here, for example Image:Wiki.png, which is used as the Wikipedia logo.

Categories

For any categories that should not be deleted quickly, use Wikipedia:Requests for deletion. All categories can be quickly deleted if they meet one of the following conditions:

  1. Empty categories (with no articles or subcategories for at least four days) whose only content includes links to parent categories. However, this can not be used on categories still being discussed on WP:RfD, or disambiguation categories. If the category wasn't newly made, it is possible that it used to have articles, and more inspection is needed.
  2. Quick renaming: Empty categories that have already been renamed. These include:
    1. Spelling fixes (such as BrdigesBridges), but not changes between British and American spelling.
    2. Capitalization fixes (such as characters In harry PotterCharacters in Harry Potter)
    3. Changing singular words to plural ones, or plural words to singular ones (such as SteamshipSteamships)
    4. Renaming of a title so that it has the "by country" standard
    5. Renaming of a title so it has no abbreviations
  3. Template categories. If a category contains articles from only one template (such as Category:Pages needing cleanup from {{cleanup}}) and the template is deleted after being discussed, the category can also be deleted without being discussed.

User pages

For any user pages that should not be deleted quickly, use Wikipedia:Requests for deletion. All user pages can be quickly deleted in following situations:

  1. User request. User pages can be deleted if its user wants to, but there are some exceptions.
    • You can use {{UserQD}} tag for such things.
  2. Non-existent users. User pages of users who don't exist or are not registered.

Templates

For any template that should not be deleted quickly, use Wikipedia:Requests for deletion. When nominating a template for quick deletion, add <noinclude> before the deletion template, and </noinclude> after it so pages that use the template do not get listed for quick deletion as well. Templates can be quickly deleted when:

  1. (Removed. This is a place holder.)
  2. They are deprecated or replaced by a newer template and are completely unused and not linked to.

Not quick deletion criteria

Pages cannot be quick deleted for the reasons below:

  • Reasons on Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not: "Wikipedia is not a dictionary", "Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information" and "Wikipedia is not a crystal ball" are not part of the quick deletion criteria. However, these reasons can be given at RfD nominations.
  • Uncertain hoaxes or articles that are false: Articles that do not have sources and are probably not true. Usually these can also be quickly deleted as vandalism or nonsense if the article is obviously nonsense or obviously false or a hoax, but articles that might be true should be inspected and discussed more.
  • Original research: It's not always easy to tell whether an article is original research or not, so they should not be quickly deleted.
  • Neologisms or newly created names: Unless the article obviously does not make sense, more discussion may be needed to find out if a term is newly created or not.
  • Subjects that are obviously unimportant, but claim to be important: Articles that are about obviously unimportant subjects are still not allowed for quick deletion unless the article does not say why the subject is important. If the article gives a claim that might not be true, it should be discussed more. However, articles with only content such as "This guy was like so very important!" can be deleted per QD A1 because it gives no useful information about the subject.
  • Author asks for deletion, but in bad faith: Sometimes an author will ask to have content removed because they are angry at Wikipedia. However, they let their work to be used in this way under license and cannot legally ask for its removal. Also, the article must be "accidentally created", such as if the author did not want to create it or misspelled a name. However, anyone can ask for deletion of pages in their user space.
  • Very short articles: Some very short articles can be quickly deleted, but if they have content that is useful, they cannot.
  • "Copyright violations" whose sources copied Wikipedia: Many times a lot of other sites use our content. When using G12, you must be sure that the content belongs to the source first.
  • Finally, good faith edits are never vandalism. If you cannot be completely sure that an article was written in bad faith, G3 cannot be used.

Discussed deletion

Some pages should be discussed for seven days before deletion. List these on Wikipedia:Requests for deletion:

  • Pages that fall under Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not
  • Pages directly copied from other Wikipedias
  • If after seven days, there are only one or two comments, and no objections: It is within the closing administrator's discretion to delete in accordance with applicable policy and guideline.

Revision deletion

Policy shortcuts:
WP:REVDELETE
WP:RD

Selective revision deletion is a way that administrators can delete individual changes without having to delete the whole page. Any administrator can hide the revision text, the IP/username who edited the page, or the edit summary. This works the same way with log entries, which is why the tool is more powerful than ordinary deletion. Logs should not be hidden without good reason, such as hiding attack page titles from the deletion log, and attack usernames from other logs. It should not be used to hide mistakes — the community needs to be able to review actions, whether proper or not.

Actions deleted using RevisionDelete will appear in the usual deletion logs. They do not have their own logs and do not appear in a user's deleted contributions. If a page with deleted revisions is later fully deleted and restored, revdeleted items will stay hidden from public view.

There are a set of strict rules for using RevisionDelete. Inappropriate use is considered a misuse of admin tools, and may result in desysopping. If you are not sure whether revision deletion is right for a particular case, you are encouraged to ask for broader input. The following are adequate reasons for revision deletion:

  1. Clear copyright violations: Material that clearly violates copyright can be redacted, unless redacting a revision would also remove any original work that needs to be attributed to a contributor.
  2. Grossly insulting, degrading, or offensive material against a person, group or organisation that has little/no encyclopedic or project value and/or violates our Biographies of living people policy. This does not include mere factual statements, and not "ordinary" rudeness, personal attacks or conduct accusations. It is considered acceptable to remove attack page titles from the deletion or move logs after attack pages are deleted.
  3. Purely disruptive material that is not helpful or relevant to the project. This includes grossly inappropriate threats or attacks, browser-crashing or malicious HTML, shock pages, phishing pages, known virus proliferating pages, and links to web pages that attack or threaten some person or thing and are not otherwise useful, but not normal spam links.
  4. Other valid deletion under Deletion Policy. Apart from fixing cut-and-paste moves and history merges, if selective deletion is needed, RevisionDelete is usually better, and should be used instead of the old method of "delete and partial undelete". It is important that the reason for deletion be made clear in the log summary.
  5. Non-contentious housekeeping, RevDel corrections, notes, conversion, including correction of clear and obvious accidental mistakes in previous redactions, changes to redaction based upon community consensus, adding information to the delete logs, and converting traditional selective deleted edits to RevisionDelete. (The action must not be likely to be contentious or controversial, consult if needed.)

It is also appropriate to hide oversight-worthy revisions before forwarding them to the oversight team. Please use a generic reason for deleting the revision, so you do not draw undue attention to it.

Pages that should not be deleted

Logging

  • All deleted pages and revisions (except oversight) are listed in the deletion log.

Undeletion

If you believe something was deleted unnecessarily, you can list it for undeletion, or contact an administrator for assistance.