If you have made your way to this article, there’s a good chance that you have done so as you want to save a Wikipedia article that will potentially be deleted. Hopefully you have come here in time so that you can fully understand the Wikipedia deletion process and do what you can to save the article.
While the deletion process put in place by Wikipedians is a good way to keep spam and non-notable topics off the site, it is also flawed as it is interpreted by those who created it in a way that lets them save the articles they want while deleting the ones they don’t. However, don’t get discouraged as if you understand the deletion process as described below, there is a chance that you will still be able to save a Wikipedia article before it gets deleted.
First, understand that there are a number of ways that an article can be deleted. However, I will cover the three main deletion types so that you can fully understand the direction you will need to go to save a Wikipedia article. Articles can be speedily deleted, proposed for deletion, and recommended for deletion.
Speedily Deleted Articles on Wikipedia
Wikipedia allows the deletion of Wikipedia articles without so much as a discussion if the article meets certain criteria. Speedy deletion on Wikipedia normally involves an editor nominating it for speedy deletion based on specific criteria such as the article not having any reference, SPAM, hoaxes, attack pages, etc.
Once an article is nominated for “speedy deletion,” the creator of the page is notified and a red tag is placed at the top of the article, giving anyone a chance to contest the speedy deletion. If your article was nominated for speedy deletion and you are here reading this article, chances are that you are going to be unable to save a Wikipedia article.
You have a small window (normally anywhere from a few minutes to about 15 minutes) before the request to delete the page is nominated and then deleted by an administrator.
Keep in mind that a page can only be speedily deleted by an administrator. As such, you do have a right to leave a comment on the talk page of the article, trying to convince the reviewing administrator why the article should not be deleted. My advice is to stick to policy.
Do not give your own personal reasons or feelings for why it should be kept, cite Wikipedia policy such as stating that the article is not vandalism, SPAM, or an attack page, giving specific reasons why. The likelihood of saving an article that is nominated for speedy deletion is not good and it is often fine to let the article get deleted without making a comment if you plan on hiring a professional to help you out.
Proposed Deletions on Wikipedia
The next type of deletion type is the proposed deletion, or the “prod” as it is known among Wikipedians. An article that is “prodded” is simply an article that an editor has an issue with, but they are not sure if it really meets any deletion criteria.
One of the most common reasons for a prod will be a biography article that does not contain a reference. An editor who decides to propose an article for deletion basically goes through the process of nominating an article for speedy deletion, with one exception…….the article is given approximately 7 days to get its act together before being deleted.
So, if a biography article with no references is prodded, then editors have 7 days to find and place a reference with the article. If nothing is done within 7 days, Wikipedia editors consider there being little or no interest from anyone to keep the article around and will then delete the article.
If you want to save a Wikipedia article that has been proposed for deletion, read the tag at the top of the article carefully. Do not remove the tag, but do exactly what it says the issue is. If it lacks references, add references. Simple as that.
I think that the proposed deletion is the best route for any article that could potentially meet notability. However, Wikipedia editors often propose articles for deletion without fully understanding the policy. In fact, many editors often propose an article for deletion as opposed to taking the time to fix the concern they are bringing to light. For instance, if it is a biography without a reference, they could simply do a Google search of the subject, find a reference, and then add it to the article without causing all of the issues of having people scrambling trying to save a Wikipedia article.
Deletion Discussions, the Battle of the Wikipedians
The final method of deletion that I want to cover is one of the most controversial policies on Wikipedia. The method is referred to as “articles for deletion” or AfD for short.
This method begins the same as the others, only there is a discussion that takes place among editors over an approximate 7 day period, trying to come to a consensus to either keep the article or delete the article. Why I say this method is controversial is that arguments made in one article discussion may not be valid for others. In addition, some reasons for deletion are the same reasons to keep an article.
This method has actually divided the Wikipedia community into categories of editors know as either deltionists or inclusionists. The names speak for themselves, but often times editors discuss points off the topic of the article just to support their belief in either deletionism or inclusionism.
If you have an article that is faced with this type of deletion, make sure you know what kind of argument you plan on using. As the creator of the article and an editor of Wikipedia, you are allowed and encouraged to voice your opinion in the deletion discussion. However, Wikipedia runs on consensus so it is smart to give valid policy reasons for keeping an article as opposed to expressing your personal feelings or brining up issues outside of the article (such as there are “other” articles similar to it in Wikipedia).
If you do not know what to say during one of these discussions, you will likely be jumped on and scrutinized by other Wikipedia editors for voicing your opinion.
One thing to always remember during these discussions is that it is a matter of consensus, not a vote count. People will often try to get everyone they know to comment on the article in order to save a Wikipedia article. This means nothing in the end. What matters is the amount of logical arguments (based on Wikipedia guidelines) that are left as comments.
Unfortunately, admins and editors often misinterpret guidelines in order to support their “keep” or “delete” comment, but this doesn’t mean that you are automatically going to lose your argument. Make sure the comment that you leave is clear, sticks within Wikipedia guidelines, and doesn’t criticize anyone else leaving comments. This is the best chance that you will have to save the article from deletion.
Finally, don’t get discouraged if an article you wrote is up for deletion. If it is proposed or recommended for deletion, you will have time (approximately 7 days) to try to correct any issues. If it is speedily deleted, that doesn’t mean you cannot recreate the article, but you will need to make sure that it meets Wikipedia guidelines before you do.