Wikivoyage:Deletion policy

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

How can he possibly resist the maddening urge to eradicate history at the mere push of a single button? The beautiful, shiny button? The jolly, candy-like button?

Not everything belongs in Wikivoyage. We sometimes have to delete articles, files and templates; this policy defines why and how we do that.

The full or partial content of any article can be deleted at any time, by any user. That's not to say that content should be deleted, but each user has the technical possibility to delete article text. Only administrators can delete the article's title and entry on this site, though.

We rarely delete pages that are not copied from other sites and are the result of good-faith attempts to improve the travel guide. It's not often necessary to do so. This article talks about how to delete a page, and what to do when you think you need to delete a page, but actually don't need to.

Articles for real places that cannot support an article are normally redirected to articles for nearby destinations. However, when that is not possible, or if it is deemed not to be in the best interests of the traveller, they may be nominated for deletion at votes for deletion. In cases of copyright violation or large-scale page-creation vandalism, cases in which all of the information is about places outside the destination, or persistent lack of information on the order of including only the text "[Destination name] is in Region name", speedy deletion may be necessary and appropriate. In some such cases, especially deletions due to copyright violation, good-faith recreation of the deleted article in a way that solves the problem is welcome.

Reasons to delete articles

Simply asserting that a page does not fit within our goals is not sufficient for a deletion rationale, which needs to reference specific policy. Article entries should be deleted from the site when...

  • ...they are too fine-grained. As a rule, restaurants, hotels, bars and sights don't get their own articles on Wikivoyage. As an exception, some sights justify their own article as a travel destination in and of themselves, like Angkor Archaeological Park or Disneyland. See What is an article? for details. If the sight is important enough that people are likely to search for it, or text moved from the to-be-deleted page needs proper attribution, then it should be made a redirect instead of deleted.
  • ...they are vandalism. Sometimes articles get created when a user vandalised the wiki. These articles may have nonsense, inappropriate or even obscene titles. Verify them first, though: for example, both Dildo and Hell are actual places! While deletion is often appropriate, sometimes a more creative solution can be found, such as making the article a redirect for a common mis-spelling or typographical errors (typos) for a place name.
  • ...they are copyright violations, and have been so since creation. Just because the text is a copyright violation, that does not mean that the article should not exist, but a deletion removes the violation from the page history, which is desirable.
  • ...they are itineraries that have been at outline status without being substantially edited within one year. Since just about any topic can be an itinerary, itineraries must either be actively worked on or achieve some level of completion to be kept. Template:Outlineitinerary should be used to tag itineraries at the outline level. Note that sufficiently famous, marked routes such as Alaska Highway or Annapurna Circuit are exempt regardless of the status or age of the article.
  • ...they are travel topics that have been at outline status without being substantially edited within one year, and there is no suitable travel topic to redirect to. Template:Outlinetopic should be used to tag topics at the outline level.

Article entries should not be deleted from the site when a legitimate article can be written for the subject. Some examples:

  • Bad article titles. If the name of the article is wrong (for example, if there's a spelling error, or if it doesn't conform to our article naming conventions), then rename the page (or ask for help) instead of copying its contents to a new page.
  • Duplicates of other articles. For example, if an article for "Holland" and another for the "Netherlands" exist, their content should be merged, and the one that doesn't fit with our article naming conventions ("Holland") should be redirected to the one that does.
  • Really bad articles. Sometimes articles are a sloppy mess, or just a bunch of notes and ideas. These articles should be improved rather than deleted.

In the case of a really bad article on a legitimate subject, rather than deleting it, its text should initially be replaced by a stub and later with a real article. There are a few special cases:

  • An article created as a joke (or so bad that it is a good joke) may be moved to a Wikivoyage:Bad jokes and other deleted nonsense subpage (without redirect), leaving a clean slate to create a real article.
  • On a one-time basis, an article imported from another travel wiki may be discarded and replaced if it contains no content that will be re-used. This avoids retaining attribution to an external project if a page is {{rewritten}} with entirely new content or was imported as a skeleton with no useful information.


As a general rule, redirect pages should not be deleted. Redirection pages provide alternative page titles for articles and allow search engines to locate articles by their alternative names. If you are deleting a page, be sure to check that any links to that page are also changed to point to the right place, especially if content has been moved. Redirection pages that link to non-existent pages show up as Broken redirects and Dead-end pages. Unlinked redirect pages can, and should, also be changed if possible, though consider deleting it if:

  • …the redirect is unlinked and redirects to a deleted article and changing the link does not make sense. For example: If the title of the redirection page is very similar to the article being deleted and there is no alternative logical link, then changing the redirect page would not make sense and it should be deleted.

To move a page to the name of a redirect, that redirect has to be removed. If the redirect points elsewhere, a hat note should in most cases be added to the page in question. If the two are just alternative names of the same page, deleting the redirect to allow the move is uncontroversial, given it is the better name. Sometimes, though, the redirect page has non-trivial history. If the history is there because of a copy-and-paste page move, the old history and that created at the new location should be merged. Sometimes the two versions have developed in parallel, and merging such histories would give a very confusing result. Check carefully how to handle such situations.

Talk pages

Unlike Wikipedia, we generally do not delete talk pages, even for articles that have been deleted. There is no harm in keeping them, and occasionally they preserve something useful that someone said.


Our template policy requires that new templates be first discussed and approved by the community. In practice, non-controversial templates do get created without discussion and do not get deleted. But the controversial ones will likely be nominated and deleted.

Unused templates may also be deleted.


Categories are created to correspond with the breadcrumb hierarchy, but sometimes the hierarchy may change or articles are moved. In these cases, the corresponding unused categories can be deleted on sight and replaced with new categories based on the new articles.

Reasons to delete files

Almost always, images should be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, our shared image repository. The only exception is for non-free images kept here under our exemption doctrine and some high profile images such as DotM banners.

Files of any type of media other than images should not be uploaded here, and will be deleted.

Additional reasons for deletion of even those images that meet our criteria for being hosted locally are:

  • Copyright violations.
  • Orphaned images, that is, images that aren't used as part of articles. Images hosted locally are for supporting articles, not to be left on their own.
  • Privacy rights violations. Photos with identifiable people must satisfy the requirements laid out at Commons:Photographs of identifiable people.

Deleting vs. redirecting

Redirecting non-articles, when possible, is usually preferred to deletion for several reasons. First, anyone can make a redirect; it does not require administrator privileges as deleting a page does. Second, redirects may be helpful to users. Consider a user who wants to visit the Taj Mahal; with a redirect in place, clicking on the link or doing a simple search takes him or her right to the correct city. Finally, the extra links help with search engine optimization.

A redirect is inappropriate when:

  1. The redirect might cause confusion. Example: redirecting "Cherry Blossom" to Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots would cause confusion with all other sites that are known for cherry blossoms.
  2. The redirect might interfere with searches. Example: if "Ocean" redirected to Ocean City it would prevent results from being returned when searching for the term "ocean".
  3. The redirect could be considered self-promotion or spam (see also WV:Don't tout). Individual restaurants, bars, hotels or other businesses should not get redirects, although exceptions are made for large and/or important businesses and services like Amtrak (see #3 in the following section).

A redirect is appropriate when:

  1. The redirect is an alternate name or spelling for a place, including common misspellings.
  2. The redirect is for a real place and there is an appropriate redirect target. This guidance applies to neighborhoods, tiny towns, or places that may not meet the WV:WIAA criteria. Example: a redirect has been created for Hell's Kitchen, which is a neighborhood within Manhattan.
  3. The redirect is a term for which links are commonly created, or is a subject that might otherwise be likely to result in creation of an article that does not meet WV:WIAA. Example: Taj Mahal redirects to Agra.
  4. The redirect aids searches on certain terms. Example: USA redirects to United States of America.
  5. Deletion would risk breaking external links to Wikivoyage. This guidance is most relevant for redirects/articles that have existed for a significant length of time.
  6. Deletion would result in loss of edit history required for attribution purposes. This guidance usually only applies to redirects created as a result of merging two articles.

First merge any useful content into the article you will redirect to; the edit summary should indicate where the material is taken from so that attribution is not lost (you can use the permanent link in the toolbox or [[Special:Permalink/oldid|Title]] to link to the specific version). Then make the other article a redirect; see Wikivoyage:How to redirect a page for details.

Deletion procedure

  1. First verify that the article or image really is a candidate for deletion. If you are unsure, bring up the issue on the talk page.
  2. For the article or image being proposed for deletion, add a {{vfd}} tag so that people viewing the article will know that it is proposed for deletion. The {{vfd}} tag must be the very first thing in the article, right at the very top, before everything else.
  3. Add a link to the article or image at the end of the VFD list, along with the reason why it is being listed for deletion. Sign your vote using four tildes ("~~~~"). List one article or image per entry.
  4. If you're nominating an image for deletion, make sure it's actually located on the English Wikivoyage... many images are located on Wikimedia Commons, in which case they should be nominated for deletion over there instead.

Other contributors can discuss whether the article or image should be deleted. Articles and images are presumed guilty until proven innocent. After fourteen (14) days of discussion, if a consensus is reached to retain an article, it won't be deleted. Otherwise it will be deleted by an administrator.

Speedy deletion

See Category:Speedy deletion candidates

Administrators may also, at their discretion, delete obviously inappropriate articles and images:

  • Articles that cannot possibly ever be destinations or travel topics, as they are either much too limited in scope or entirely outside the scope of Wikivoyage. Examples include the names of people, companies, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, schools, and just plain gibberish.
  • Images uploaded to English Wikivoyage without justification. Wikimedia Commons is now the repository for most images used on Wikivoyage. Any image uploaded to English Wikivoyage is subject to speedy deletion unless there is a clear explanation given about why the image was not uploaded to Commons instead (such as non-free content). When speedy deleting images uploaded to English Wikivoyage a message should be left on the uploader's talk page explaining that images must be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.
  • Images that are blatant copyright violations from commercial, governmental, and non-commercial sites that clearly attest copyright. Examples include copyrighted maps and commercial PR materials. The deleting admin must provide the source URL.
  • Images that have been moved to the Commons may also be speedily deleted on request.
  • Imported pages from another wiki with no content (skeletons, redirects or text which has been entirely replaced by a new, non-derivative page). This one-time deletion for SEO purposes is without prejudice against re-creation and does not reflect a subject's validity as an article.
  • Talk pages that contain only spam or gibberish, or otherwise contain no legitimate content.
  • Uncontroversial deletions of pages created in error, or redirects with no (or trivial) history which are blocking a page move.
  • Non-contributing user pages created for the purpose of non-travel related spam or vandalism.
  • Pages within the User: or User talk: namespaces at the request of the associated user (with the exception of pages that contain current or archived discussions).
  • Legacy categories left over from changes in the breadcrumb hierarchy. See #Categories above.

If there is any doubt whether the criteria above apply, or any chance that an article or image could be considered useful, they should go through the deletion voting procedure. If the content has potential but the name is hopeless, the content should be moved to the proper place before deletion. If the name is okay but the article content is a copyright violation, it may be blanked and replaced with an article skeleton template.

New pages that are plainly spam and that qualify for speedy deletion will be deleted as soon as they are noticed by an administrator, and therefore do not need to be listed on the votes for deletion page. Non-administrators may tag an article for speedy deletion by adding the {{speedy}} template as a way to ensure that it isn't overlooked.

To contest a speedy deletion, raise the issue on Wikivoyage:Votes for undeletion.

Speedy keep

In some cases an article or image may be nominated for deletion, and a consensus to keep the content is then reached before fourteen days have passed. In this case leaving the article or image as a candidate for deletion is no longer necessary and the VFD may be ended early. When ending a VFD early:

  • Remove the VFD tag from the article or image.
  • Copy the VFD discussion onto the article or image talk page.
  • Archive the VFD discussion from the Project:Votes for deletion page.

Do not end a VFD early unless a clear consensus is reached. A consensus is not the same as a majority, nor do a small handful of comments in favor of keeping an article constitute a consensus. If you are unsure about whether a consensus has been reached, allow the VFD to continue.

Deleting articles in personal namespaces

Articles in your userspace can be speedy-deleted by an administrator at your request. You can by adding {{speedy|User request}} to the page.

Admins can delete their own pages as they wish.

A notable exception is talk pages. We don't usually delete discussions, even on user talk pages, so these will generally be left intact if anyone other than the user has commented.

Undeletion procedure

It may occur from time to time that we delete a page by mistake — that is, that the page doesn't actually meet the standards for deleting articles listed above. Or it may be that our relevant policies changed after the deletion, and a page can now be reinstated. In this case, a Wikivoyager should link to the page on Project:Votes for undeletion, with an explanation of why deletion isn't in accordance with the deletion policy. A new argument must be made for why the initial decision should now be overturned. Articles and images are still considered guilty until proven innocent. After fourteen days of discussion, if a consensus arises that the page was deleted unnecessarily, then an administrator should reinstate the page. Otherwise, the page will stay deleted.