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This page is an essay on the deletion policy.
|This page in a nutshell:|
Wikipedia administrators often delete pages and media in accordance with our deletion policy. This page explains how to find out why a particular page or file was removed, and what you can do about a deletion you disagree with. Do not despair: none of the information on a "deleted" page has actually been lost. Continue reading for details.
When a page is deleted, this is recorded in the deletion log along with a deletion summary supplied by the deleting administrator. To find this information, go to Special:Log/delete and enter the name of the page in the "Target" field. It only works if the exact name is entered, so be mindful of the original capitalization, spelling and spacing. Your talk page may also contain a notification with a red link to the deletion log for the page.
There are five chief processes under which pages are deleted. The deletion summary tells you which:
See the appropriate section below for more information. If you're still confused after checking the deletion log, politely ask the administrator responsible for an explanation by leaving a message on his or her talk page. To do so:
Pages and media in all namespaces that satisfy certain criteria are speedy deletion candidates, which means that administrators can delete them immediately and without discussion. The criteria include, among others, test pages, vandalism and hoaxes, nonsense, blatant copyright violations, empty pages or ones lacking sufficient context, articles in defined areas that do not credibly assert the importance of the topic, and pages on topics already covered under another title. Administrators often leave short codes in the deletion summary instead of typing out a full reason, such as "A7" or "CSD A7" for articles that do not assert importance; "G1" for patent nonsense and so on. These codes are explained at Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion.
Mainspace articles, lists, disambiguation pages, and books(but not other pages or media) may be proposed for deletion by any editor. If nobody objects to this within seven days, the article is deleted. If any objections are raised, the article is not properly deleted, but anyone may still start an Articles for deletion discussion (see below). Proposed deletions will often be labeled as "prod" in the deletion summary.
Articles on living people (BLPs) that contain no sources in any form (as references, external links, etc.) may be proposed for deletion under this process. Unlike standard proposed deletion (see above), the BLP deletion template may be removed only after the biography contains a reliable source that supports at least one statement made about the person in the article. If the required sourcing is not added within seven days, the article is deleted. Nominated articles will often be labeled as "BLPPROD" in the deletion summary.
A page or media file may also be nominated for deletion in a deletion discussion, where editors discuss whether it should be deleted. Articles are discussed at Articles for deletion; other pages elsewhere (see deletion discussion for a complete list). Such discussions normally last seven days, after which an administrator will delete the page if there is a consensus to do so. Anyone may participate in such a discussion, however they are not "votes". The weight of an argument is more important than the number of people making the argument, so encouraging mass participation in such discussion to avoid the deletion of a particular article will not work.
If a particular page has been recreated and deleted multiple times, administrators may decide to protect it against recreation (often called "salting") so that it stays deleted. If you try to edit a protected title, a message box will inform you about it.
If you cannot find a deletion log entry then the most likely explanation is that you did not enter the title exactly as it appeared, or the page was not actually deleted in Wikipedia's sense of the word. For example, pages may be redirected to an existing title, which effectively blanks the former entry, but it is not "deletion" in the true sense. If you can see your edits to the page in your contribution history, or you see another page where the page formerly was, then the page may have been redirected, or the content may have been edited out but still be visible in the page history. If you are unable to determine what happened, try asking at the Wikipedia:Help desk. Always do your best to provide the exact title (or possible titles); and state what username you were logged in under when the page was created, if different from the one you use to ask your question, since administrators can find any edits of yours which have been deleted.
If a page or file that you created has been deleted, please don't take offense. See our content policies and the guide to creating your first article to get an idea of what you should be aiming for. Alternatively, remember we already have 5,696,672 articles – find a subject that interests you and work on improving our existing content.
Depending on the reason why the page was deleted, there are also several ways you can try to have it undeleted by administrators. In every case, you should first make sure that the page is appropriate for inclusion in Wikipedia and, if it is an article, that its content is based on reliable sources. If it is not, your request will likely be unsuccessful.
As a result of Wikipedia's rapid growth, by 2007 it had become one of the world's largest and most-visited wikis. Wikipedia articles tend to rank high in the search results for many popular search engines. Prior to Wikipedia, wiki technology was not very well-known; as a result, Wikipedia may be the first wiki many people see, and the first wiki they attempt to edit on. Some people may be under the mistaken impression that Wikipedia is the only wiki, or is synonymous with "wiki". In many cases, this is unfortunate, because Wikipedia is actually a very specialized kind of wiki (an encyclopedia), and newcomers may need some time to understand what constitutes encyclopedic writing. There is much content that Wikipedia is not appropriate for, but which may be appropriate somewhere else.
There are many other wikis, many with content policies very different from Wikipedia's, catering to a wide range of interests. Some of these wikis were founded by groups of former or continuing Wikipedia editors, who had more to say about their topic of interest than belongs in an encyclopedia. Examples include Wookieepedia (for Star Wars enthusiasts); StrategyWiki (for video-game walkthroughs); and Conservapedia (for people with Republican and Conservative views).
For almost every sort of article that would be interesting to someone, there is probably a wiki somewhere that would welcome it.
To find a happy home for the deleted article, check the List of wikis, Wikipedia:Alternative outlets, and WikiIndex. If you cannot find a suitable wiki on your own, ask for some "wiki outplacement" assistance at the Wikipedia:Help desk. If the deleted article is in a subject area overseen by a WikiProject, members of that WikiProject may know of alternative wikis to publish subject area content not meeting Wikipedia's requirements. Once you find a home, you can immediately place the article there if you copied and saved the article's wikitext (though it may need modifications to fit into the new website.) If you did not save such a copy, you will have to ask an administrator to retrieve a copy for you.