Wikipedia:Deletion Policy

Wikipedia is a non-profit project: please donate today.
Donate Now »
Support Wikipedia: a non-profit project.
Donate Now »
Wikipedia:Deletion policy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Deletion discussionsDeletion policy

The Wikipedia deletion policy describes how pages which do not meet the relevant criteria for content of the encyclopedia are identified and removed from Wikipedia. In the normal operations of Wikipedia, approximately five thousand pages are deleted each day through the processes outlined below.
Deletion of a Wikipedia article removes the current version and all previous versions from public view. Unlike page blanking, which can be performed (or reverted) by any user, deletion can be performed only by administrators. Administrators can also view deleted pages and reverse ("undelete") any deletion. All such actions are logged. If in doubt as to whether there is consensus to delete a page, administrators will normally not delete it.



Reasons for deletion

See also: Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion Policyshortcut:
Reasons for deletion include, but are not limited to, the following (subject to the condition that improvement or deletion of an offending section, if practical, is preferable to deletion of an entire page):

Alternatives to deletion



If the page can be improved, this should be solved through regular editing, rather than deletion. A variety of tags can be added to articles to note the problem. These are listed here. Some of the more common ones include
Pages with an incorrect name can simply be renamed via page movement procedure. Disputes over the name are discussed on the talk page, or listed at requested moves.
Vandalism to a page's content can be reverted by any user.


Articles that are short and unlikely to be expanded could be merged into a larger article or list. For example, information about family members of a celebrity who are not otherwise notable is generally included in, or merged into, the article on that celebrity. Stub pages about minor characters in works of fiction are generally merged into a list article.
If two pages are duplicates or otherwise redundant, one should be merged and redirected to the other, using the most common, or more general page name. This does not require process or formal debate beforehand.
Note that an outcome of "merge and delete" may potentially cause GFDL problems if attribution for contributed content is lost in the process. The essay merge and delete discusses this.


Disputes over page content are not dealt with by deleting the page. Likewise, disagreement over a policy or guideline is not dealt with by deleting it. Similarly, issues with an inappropriate user page can often be resolved through discussion with the user.
The content issues should be discussed at the relevant talk page, and other methods of dispute resolution should be used first, such as listing on Wikipedia:Requests for comments for further input. Deletion discussions that are really unresolved content disputes may be closed by an administrator, and referred to the talk page or other appropriate forum.

Other projects

Some articles do not belong on Wikipedia, but fit one of the Wikimedia sister projects. They may be copied there using transwiki functionality before considering their merge or deletion. If an article to be deleted is likely to be re-created under the same name, it may be turned into a soft redirect to a more appropriate sister project's article.
This is especially true for Wiktionary. To request a transwiki operation in this case, please first search the Wiktionary to see whether a dictionary entry does not already exist, and then simply tag an article with {{Copy to Wiktionary}}. Article that can never be other than a dictionary article ("dicdef") should be preferably merged and redirected inside Wikipedia in an adjective→noun or a verb→gerund manner. If there is no appropriate Wikipedia article to redirect to, dicdef should be either considered for deletion or turned into soft redirect to a Wiktionary entry.


Deletion should not be used for archiving a page. The developers have indicated that the deleted pages can be cleared or removed from the database at any time.


See also: Wikipedia:Guide to image deletion There are four basic processes for deletion and one to review and overturn the outcome of these processes.

Copyright violations

For legal reasons, Wikipedia cannot host content that is in violation of copyright.
  • Where to find them: Wikipedia:Copyright problems
  • How to do this: For images, read Wikipedia:Possibly unfree images#Instructions. For other pages, edit the page to replace its entire content with { {subst:copyvio|url=address of copied material} }. For blatant, whole-page copyright violation, you can simply tag it for speedy deletion with {{db-copyvio|url=...}} after checking that there are no non-copyvio versions in the page history.
  • If you disagree: Try to contact the authors of the text or image and see if they are willing to release their work (1) under the GFDL, or (2) into the public domain. Permission to use a work "on Wikipedia only" or "for non-commercial use only" isn't enough, as it is incompatible with our license.
  • Renominations: Recreations of copyrighted content are speedily deleted, as below. It is disruptive to persist in recreating such content.

Speedy deletion

Pages can be deleted without any discussion if they meet one of the criteria for speedy deletion. Pages on proposed deletion or deletion discussion (see below) are still subject to speedy deletion, which overrides the other process.
  • Where to find them: A list of all pages flagged for speedy deletion can be found in Category:Candidates for speedy deletion.
  • How to do this: Administrators can delete such pages on sight, even if contested as below. Other editors can request speedy deletion by editing the relevant page to add a speedy deletion template to the top of the page.
  • If you disagree: Anyone except a page's creator may contest the speedy deletion of a page by removing the deletion notice from the page. If a page you created is tagged for speedy deletion, you may add the {{hangon}} tag, and either improve the page or explain your reasoning on the relevant talk page. The tag exists to give you some extra time; the page may still be deleted if it meets the speedy deletion criteria.
    If a page has been speedily deleted and there is good-faith disagreement over whether or not it should have been, the page should be restored immediately and the page nominated for deletion discussion to determine the community consensus. (Note: Restoration of copyright or WP:BLP violations are generally considered controversial decisions and are best discussed first at Deletion review.)
  • Renominations: Either a page fits the speedy deletion criteria or it does not. If there is a dispute over whether a page meets the criteria, the issue is typically taken to deletion discussions, mentioned below.

Proposed deletion

An editor who believes a page obviously and uncontroversially doesn't belong in an encyclopedia can propose its deletion. These pages can be deleted by any administrator if, after five days, nobody objects to the proposed deletion. Once there is an objection or a deletion discussion, a page may not be proposed for deletion again. This process only applies to pages in the Main namespace (article namespace). Redirects are not eligible for proposed deletion.
  • Where to find them: A list of all pages flagged for proposed deletion can be found in Category:Proposed deletion, as well as in an automatically generated summary table.
  • How to do this: Edit the page to add the following text to the top: {{subst:prod|reason}}, writing your reasoning in the "reason" field.
  • If you disagree: Any editor who disagrees with a proposed deletion can simply remove the tag. Even after the page is deleted, any editor can have the page restored by any administrator simply by asking. In both cases the editor is encouraged to fix the perceived problem with the page.
  • Renominations: Once the proposed deletion of a page has been objected to by anyone, it may not be proposed for deletion again. If an editor still feels the page ought to be deleted, a deletion discussion should be used, as indicated below.

Deletion discussion

Pages that do not fall in the above three categories may be deleted after community discussion at one of the deletion discussions, the results of which may be reviewed after the fact at deletion review (see below). This includes contested speedy or proposed deletions. Here, editors who wish to participate can give their opinion on what should be done with the page.
These processes are not decided through a head count, so participants are encouraged to explain their opinion and refer to policy. The discussion lasts at least five days; afterwards, pages are deleted by an administrator if there is consensus to do so. If there is no rough consensus and the page is not a BLP describing a relatively unknown person, the page is kept and is again subject to normal editing, merging or redirecting as appropriate. Discussions on relatively unknown, non-public figures, where the subject has requested deletion and there is no rough consensus may be closed as delete.
A nomination that gets little response after five days can be relisted if the closing editor believes that more time would be likely to generate a clearer consensus.
It is considered inappropriate to ask people outside of Wikipedia to come to the discussion in order to sway its outcome. Such comments may be ignored. They are not removed, but may be tagged with {{spa}}, noting that a user "has made few or no other edits". In extreme cases, a deletion debate can be semi-protected.
It is also inappropriate to request deletion because of an editorial dispute. Such disputes are not resolved by deleting the whole page; instead, use dispute resolution.
  • Where to find them: There are separate processes for articles, categories (except stub categories), images and media, redirects, templates (except stub templates and userboxes), stub templates and categories, user categories, and everything else.
  • How to do this: Follow the instructions at the top of the relevant process page.
  • If you disagree: Go to the relevant process page and explain why you disagree. Do not remove the tag from the page. For more information on this process, read the Wikipedia:Guide to deletion.
  • Renominations: After a deletion debate concludes and the page is kept, users should allow a reasonable amount of time to pass before nominating the same page for deletion again, to give editors the time to improve the page. Renominations shortly after the earlier debate are generally closed quickly. It can be disruptive to repeatedly nominate a page in the hopes of getting a different outcome.

Deletion review

If you believe a page was wrongly deleted, or should have been deleted but wasn't, or a deletion discussion improperly closed, you should discuss this with the person who performed the deletion, or closed the debate, on their talk page. If this fails to resolve the issue, you can request review of the closure at Wikipedia:Deletion review.
If a page was obviously deleted "out of process" (per this policy), then an admin may choose to undelete it immediately. In such a case, the admin who deleted the page should be informed. However, such undeletions without gaining consensus may be viewed as disruptive, so they should be undertaken with care.
If a page was deleted under Proposed deletion, then it should be immediately undeleted by request. However, it may immediately be brought to WP:AFD.
If an article was deleted for lacking content or for having inappropriate content (this applies to most speedy deletions) and you wish to create a better article about the same subject, you can simply go ahead and do so, with no need for review. It is especially wasteful to go to deletion review over an unsourced stub when the alternative of creating a sourced article is available.
The deletion review process is not decided solely by head count. The review normally lasts for five days, sometimes extended for up to ten if the outcome is unclear.
Overturned deletions may go to a deletion discussion if someone still wishes to delete and chooses to nominate.
  • Where to find them: Wikipedia:Deletion review
  • How to do this: Follow the instructions at the top of the page.
  • If you disagree: Go to the review page and explain why you disagree.
  • Renominations: As with deletion discussions, a certain amount of time should pass between repeated requests for deletion review, and these requests should be carefully considered in light of policy. Renominations that lack new arguments or new evidence are likely to be closed quickly.

Process interaction

  • Issues that are on the wrong process (e.g. templates on the article-deletion page) are simply moved to the proper one.
  • A page on deletion review should not be listed on a deletion discussion page until the review closes, and a page on a deletion discussion page should not be listed on deletion review until the discussion closes.
  • Deletion discussion trumps proposed deletion, so for a page listed on both, the former takes precedence.
  • Pages that meet the criteria for speedy deletion can be deleted regardless of other circumstances. If a page on a deletion debate is speedied, the debate is closed.
  • If it is doubtful whether a page is or is not speedily deletable, a deletion discussion takes precedence. In practice this means that a page that had a deletion discussion resulting in 'keep' or 'no consensus' should not be speedily deleted.
  • Pages that violate copyright can be deleted regardless of circumstances or earlier discussion.

Access to deleted pages

Because many deleted articles are found to contain defamatory or other legally suspect material, deleted pages are not permitted to be generally viewed. However, they remain in the database (at least temporarily) and are accessible to administrators, along with their edit history. Any user with a genuine reason to view a copy of a deleted page may request a temporary review (or simply ask an administrator to supply a copy of the page). Note that these requests are likely to be denied if the content has been deleted on legal grounds (such as defamation or copyright violation), or if no good reason is given for the request.

Courtesy blanking

From time to time, a discussion about an article will have a majority of its content that, in the judgment of the community, may potentially cause harm: for example, emotional distress, libel or invasion of privacy, to some person or to some organization. Due consideration should be given if the person or organization in question requests such blanking. In order to avoid having such text in the most recent version and thus be indexed by search engines, the debate will be blanked out of courtesy. For AfDs, the entire debate can be replaced with the afd-privacy template; the actual content remains accessible via the edit history. In more serious cases, the entire history of the page may be deleted. Courtesy blanking, history blanking or oversighting should be rare, and should be performed after due consideration is given to issues of fairness.
On occasion, pages in the Wikipedia: namespace, such as Requests for adminship and arbitration will be blanked as a courtesy, for similar reasons as outlined above.
How to do this: Remove all text from the subpage and then add {{subst:courtesy blanking}}; for AfD, use {{subst:afd-privacy|article|result}} with the correct parameters.

See also

More pages