Wiktionary:Page deletion guidelines

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link={{{imglink}}} This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. Specifically it is a policy think tank, working to develop a formal policy.
Policies – Entries: CFI - EL - NORM - NPOV - QUOTE - REDIR - DELETE. Languages: LT - AXX. Others: BLOCK - BOTS - VOTES.

For current English words/terms requested to be deleted, see Wiktionary:Requests for deletion/English (WT:RFDE).

The following are guidelines on what to delete and what not to, and how to do it or request it. It covers both speedy deletion and deletion by consensus.

What to delete and what to keep

  • The general rule is that anything that apparently doesn’t meet Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion is a candidate for deletion.
  • Any of the following may be the basis for a speedy (i.e. immediate) deletion request:
    1. Complete rubbish: The contents don’t make sense or are clearly someone’s idea of a joke. If the material is clearly obscene or libellous, you should also edit the page to a blank state. Before you request to delete, try to make sure that the article doesn’t fall under “Never heard the word” or “Good title, garbage content” below.
    2. Title misspelled: Move the article to the correct title. If there is already an article at the correct title merge any useful material on there. Occasionally, a misspelling may be so common that it needs to be noted, or it may be an accepted variant spelling of the word. In that case the article should be retained, but reduced to a simple explanation of the situation. In the case of alternate spellings, the substantive article may be under either spelling. Preference should be given to the more common spelling, but where this cannot be determined give preference to the spelling under which the article was first created.
    3. Protologisms: Words that have been made up by the poster. Request to be deleted as described below.
    4. Self-promotion: Pages which appear to promote some specific person or entity are discouraged, but should not be removed without time for discussion on Wiktionary:Requests for deletion. Widely-used trademarks are generally OK, since including them in Wiktionary is not likely to have any significant impact. The main concern is that Wiktionary not be used as a vehicle to promote a person or entity.
    5. Licence violations: Pages whose content has been copied from another source, where that source is protected by a current copyright or otherwise incompatible with our Terms of Use.
    6. Good title, garbage content: Someone either didn’t know what they were doing, or was having their idea of fun.
      1. Check the history. If a legitimate entry has been overwritten, click on the link for that version, click on “Edit”, and save with the comment “rv vandalism”.
      2. If not, but you can provide a good definition, do so.
      3. If you don’t have anything meaningful to put there it is better to delete the page; this will leave all links to the page in red telling everyone that the page still needs to be done.

The most common reasons for deletion by consensus are “this entry is not idiomatic” (from Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion § Idiomaticity and “this entry does not exist” (from Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion § Attestation).

When in doubt, it is usually better to give the benefit of the doubt to keeping the entry. This has a positive effect on the overall communal mental health.

  • Things to keep
    1. Stubs: These are not the problem that they are in Wikipedia. Some very brief entries are satisfactorily complete when they only describe that a particular word as a variant spelling of another, or that it is an inflected form. Other substandard short entries may be improved rapidly. If there is apparently correct and relevant content, use Wiktionary:Requests for cleanup.
    2. Frequently occurring misspellings and ungrammatical forms: This is not a mandate to keep all manner of misspelled words and typos; there should be an instructive quality to the retention. These should explain the error and link to the correct form. Forms with diacritics missing should also be kept, explained and linked to the correct spelling. For example, seperate contains the text Misspelling of separate.

How to do it

  • If, having read the above, you feel sure an entry should be deleted:
    1. Put {{d}} at the top of the entry if you believe it qualifies for immediate deletion. An administrator will either delete it, untag it or retag it with {{rfd}} (see below).
    2. Put {{rfd}} at the top of the language section.
    3. Add a link to the unwanted page in Wiktionary:Requests for deletion. The quickest way is to click on the cross (+).
    4. Include a brief explanation as to why you think the page should be deleted.
    5. Sign your suggestion for deletion (use four tildes, ~~~~, to sign with your user name and the current date). This will allow people to contact you in case of questions about your proposal.
    6. Continue to comment on the debate as it progresses if you wish to.
    7. Please note that the same process applies to individual definitions. Therefore, individual definitions should only be speedily deleted if they are clearly nonsense or vandalism. Or, unlike whole pages, where two definitions are clearly the same they may be merged without going through WT:RFD. This should be clearly marked in the edit summary to avoid accusations of trying to clandestinely delete the definition.

Notes to administrators

Administrators have no special status in determining which pages to delete. Their job is to implement the consensus of the community. If there is any uncertainty about whether there is such a consensus, it is safer not to delete the page, but instead flag it RFD or RFV.

Some entries are clearly rubbish and should be speedily deleted. However, for everything but the most blatant entries, a quick check on Google Books should be made. And since not all durably archived materials are on Google Books, try other searches like Google Scholar, Google Groups and Google itself.

  1. If there’s debate on WT:RFD or WT:RFV (or more rarely on other forums), clearly indicate why the entry has been deleted and by whom.
  2. Click on What links here and fix any links that are going to be broken. Remember not all red links are undesirable.
  3. Delete the talk page and any subpages first, since they are not automatically deleted along with the page.
  4. Delete the page.
  5. If the page is listed on Wiktionary:Requests for deletion or Wiktionary:Requests for verification, add a comment saying that it was deleted.

To delete a page

  1. On the page itself, click the arrow between history and the search bar located above the page content. Choose 'delete', give a reason in the deletion box and confirm the delete. Good deletion summaries can prevent conflict later on.


If a page gets deleted, it remains in a state from which it can be undeleted. Anyone with deletion authority also has undeletion authority. If you consider that a page has been deleted unfairly you could either:

  1. Create it again. This may annoy people and possibly lead to a block (Wiktionary:Blocking policy).
  2. Ask an administrator to undelete it, giving a valid reason. The optimal situation is to address this to the administrator who deleted it in the first place, as they might have had cause to delete it that another admin would not be aware of.
  3. List the page on WT:RFD and clearly mark it as an undeletion request. Particularly useful for entries that have been deleted by consensus, as consensus can change over time.

See also