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Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton

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Chapter 19. Deleting Existing Articles

One of Wikipedia’s strengths is how easily editors create new Wikipedia articles—quick, efficient, no bureaucracy to get permission from. But some editors abuse the privilege, creating nonsense articles, attack articles, or promotional articles, for instance. Others just make mistakes because they don’t understand Wikipedia’s rules and purpose: They create an article about a non-notable topic, or a subject already covered by an article of a different name, or containing a definition—not an encyclopedic topic, for example.

In order to keep Wikipedia the useful encyclopedia that it is, articles with all these problems need to be removed. For Wikipedia, the challenge is to have processes that delete inappropriate articles (more than a thousand a day) while keeping potentially good articles and avoiding offending well-intentioned editors. In this chapter, you’ll learn the different ways to deal with problem articles, often without resorting to one of the three deletion processes. You’ll also learn what recourse you and other editors have if you feel that an article was deleted inappropriately.

Responding to Problem Articles

You can stumble across a problem article in a number of ways—doing a search, reviewing the User Contributions page of an editor, or just clicking “Random article” to see what you see. When your first reaction is, “You’re kidding!” or “I can’t believe this is a Wikipedia article,” your second reaction should be to analyze the article, ...

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