This page is an essay on the deletion policy.
|This page in a nutshell: Deletion of any good article is a loss for the wider community and the encyclopedia in the long term, as that is knowledge lost.|
The deletion of any good article, long or short, on Wikipedia is a loss to the wider community and the encyclopedia, because in the end the information lost could have improved the understanding and knowledge of someone else. Wikipedia is, after all, an interactive learning experience and as luck may have it, however, not all articles go down the gurgler. Some survive because of zealous editors in the community who improve the quality of articles needing serious maintenance.
However, many good articles are deleted because one person forgot to add references; because one person tagged the article for proposed deletion - which was uncontested or because one person sent it to AfD.
There's plenty of fish in the sea
You're probably still thinking that the deletion of an article is no big loss to Wikipedia, since its got millions of articles already and there's probably a related article on the same topic or that there's always one person who's going to recreate that deleted article to an acceptable standard. Well, yes there is ALWAYS ONE person, but chances are that article will probably stay deleted for a LONG period of time.
Did that get your attention? Now consider this, a plethora of articles are deleted from the encyclopedia yearly because:
- They lack reliable sources, such as books from reputable publishing houses, major newspapers or mainstream magazines
- The article cites significant media coverage (newspapers, magazines etc.), but the article contains little to no information
- The author did not create the article to an acceptable standard
- The article fails to make the importance and notability of the subject clear
It is often because of the above factors that articles get deleted. It all comes down to the "I can't be bothered" attitude that most of us are so fond of. We want to create the new article, but we can't be bothered to take the few minutes that it would take to add three or four reliable sources and type a paragraph of key information.
Not all articles belong on Wikipedia
However, that does not mean that all deleted articles do not deserve to be deleted or were in anyway assertive of the subject's importance. Most articles are deleted because they:
- Are not notable, which means that there are not multiple reliable sources that support the article
- Contain material that violates copyright
- Consist of nothing but spam or promote/advertise a person or organisation
- Contain private information
- Contain patent nonsense or vandalism
- Attack an individual, group or organisation
- Are otherwise defamatory in nature and serve no purpose nor contain information beneficial to the encyclopedia
Articles that consist of copyright violations, spam, advertising, attacks, private information, vandalism or otherwise defamatory do not have a place in the encyclopedia because they do not improve the knowledge and understanding of users and are most probably only there for the amusement of the article's creator.
What can I do?
So when you're looking at what appears to be a lost cause, consider the knowledge accrued that will be lost due to the idiocy of a page-creating vandal or the poor quality of the article. Don't be lazy... be bold and fix it!!! You'll be doing yourself, the community and your fellow Wikipedians a big favour and the satisfaction of knowing you helped to fix an inherently problematic article is well worth the trouble. Consider joining the Article Rescue Squadron and improve the quality of articles nominated at Articles for Deletion or ask for an administrator to userfy a deleted article so that you may improve its quality before finally moving it back into the article mainspace.