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Wikipedia:Policy on permanent deletion of pages

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Wikipedia administrators have the ability to permanently delete pages within the system. Administrators necessarily must use their best judgment in making this decision.

The PHP script permanent deletion command deletes not just the present content of a page (which is something that anyone can do--but also something that anyone can restore) but also the page's history. Deleted pages can be restored by administrators and developers, but if deletions are made too casually, it is easy to lose track. Hence, the decision to permanently delete an article is not to be taken lightly.

Procedure for deletion

Pages (and images) to be deleted should be listed on Wikipedia:Votes for deletion before deletion takes place. That way, other Wikipedians can have a chance to argue for and against the removal of the page.

If the page contains no useful content or history, this step may be skipped. For example, a page containing only "xsfsfskfj", or "You've followed a link to a page that doesn't exist yet..." may be deleted. In this case, please put the content of the page in your deletion comment, so it shows up in the deletion log as, eg:

  • 12:44 18 May 2003 Minesweeper deleted "Jacobean embroidery" (history: "mm,m")
  • 12:30 18 May 2003 Minesweeper deleted "Medieval siege weapons" (history: "HI this is a great site and really helped my report of siege weaponry")
Note that copyright infringement is not an example of this, if the text could be useful if only copyright issues were taken care of; see point 8 below.

If a page or image is a reposting of previously deleted content, and was not listed on wikipedia:votes for undeletion, then an administrator may delete it without listing it on votes for deletion.

Guidelines

Here are some guidelines that those tasked with permanently deleting pages can generally be expected to follow in making the decision to delete or not:

  1. Use common sense and respect the judgment and feelings of Wikipedia participants.
  2. When in doubt, don't delete.
  3. Do not delete pages that contain original source texts (such as a public domain short story or a play). Simply remove the text and provide a stub for it and an external link to the text. In many cases an external link in a related article will do and all primary text pages can simply be redirected there.
  4. Do not delete anything that might be a common misspelling of a title. Redirect those pages to the correct spelling. (This can actually result in higher traffic to the website. E.g., if philisophy is created, we might as well just redirect it to philosophy, since "philisophy" is one of the common misspellings of "philosophy.")
  5. Do not delete a page containing a personal essay or other content from the main article namespace without first posting a copy elsewhere (e.g., in a different namespace or on the meta (http://meta.wikipedia.com)), unless the content is simply vandalism. We reject the notion that Wikipedia must become a repository for all manner of nonsense that happens to be posted. To be clear, however, a good faith attempt to write an encyclopedia article, no matter how poorly worded, biased, or otherwise flawed, will not be considered vandalism.
  6. Generally speaking, delete pages that simply will never become encyclopedia articles, e.g., with titles that are not misspellings, that represent completely idiosyncratic non-topics, etc. But bear in mind the "do not" rules when doing this.
  7. Do not delete a page which could logically be made into a REDIRECT to an article. This is especially true for older subpages and article names that are renamed -- search engines and visitors will probably have linked to that page at that url. If the page is deleted, potential new visitors from search engines will be greeted with an edit window. The same is true for anyone who previously bookmarked that page.
  8. Copyright: See Wikipedia:Copyrights for deletion policy on copyright infringement (and m:Wikipedia and copyright issues and m:Avoid Copyright Paranoia for perspective).

FAQ

X redirects to Y, which obscures the existence of A, B, and C - it should be deleted.

It should be turned into a disambiguation page. You don't need the VfD page for that -- do it yourself.

Article X is totally biased!

Take it to pages needing attention or NPOV dispute. You don't need the VfD page for that.

This user should be banned.

Take it to vandalism in progress (for pure vandalism) or annoying users (for annoyances).

See the Wikipedia:Deletion log for pages that have been recently deleted. See Wikipedia:Votes for undeletion if you are concerned that a page may have been wrongly deleted.



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