Using Wikibooks/Deleting, Undeleting, and Importing

Deleting Pages


Deleting pages is a task that administrators do not engage in lightly. There are two ways for a page to be deleted: Through the Requests for Deletion (RfD) and through speedy deletions.

Requests for Deletion


At Requests for Deletion, Wikibookians can nominate books and pages that don't meet the project's inclusion criteria. The Wikibooks community will discuss the request and, if they agree, the page(s) can be deleted. Over time, a number of fancy templates have been created to help manage these discussions. While it isn't required to use these templates when discussing, or when closing the discussion, it certainly helps. Plus, if you don't use the templates, somebody else may come along and correct you.

A request for deletion is not a majority voting process: nothing on Wikibooks truly is. There is only one real rule that needs to be followed: When in doubt, do not delete. However, this rule does not require 100% agreement in order to delete a page. An admin must not only tally the comments in favor and opposed, but must also read their rationales. Using all this information together, the admin must come to a firm conclusion. In other words, the community may express doubts, but the deleting admin must have none.

Given the freedom of admins, there is a slim possibility that an admin may choose to delete a nominated page, despite the community being in favor of keeping that page. This is permissible, but the admin should be prepared to defend the action with solid reasoning. While possible, it is highly recommended that admins avoid this kind of vigilantism, except in the most exceptional of circumstances.

Speedy Deletions


Some pages can be deleted quickly, without having to be nominated on Requests for Deletion. These are known as speedy deletions or simply "speedys". A page only qualifies as a speedy deletion if:

  1. It is vandalism or spam, or other useless information that is not part of a book
  2. If it is a user page, and that user has asked the page to be deleted
  3. If it is the user page of a vandal who has been blocked forever
  4. If the page is just a repost of a page that has already been deleted
  5. If the page is part of a book, and the authors of that book have agreed to delete the page
  6. If the page has been nominated for RFD, and the community has decided to delete.

Use Template:delete for speedy deletions.

If the book does not fall under one of these categories, it should be nominated at Requests for Deletion instead of being speedy deleted. Notice that rule 1 above implies that the page history contains only vandalism or spam as well. If a page was useful, and was replaced with vandalism, it should be reverted instead of deleted. Before deleting, always check the page history.

The fifth rule isn't technically a "speedy", but it highlights an important point: The authors of a book, if there are several of them, form a mini-community within Wikibooks. These mini-communities are empowered to make decisions about their books. In fact, we like to think that the authors of a book will understand that book well enough to make deletion decisions about pages in that book. Nobody knows a book better than its author. If an individual page from a book is nominated for deletion, it is common practice to move that discussion to the book's talk page. When the authors there reach a decision, the page can be deleted as a speedy. In short, it's not really a speedy because there is a discussion about the page, and a discussion, etc. Once the decision is made, however, an admin can treat the page as a speedy, block the deletion if the content is found significant (especially if no consensus process occurred) or anyone can change the speedy into a general community discussion by re-tasking the "speedy" for a request for deletion process.

The sixth rule also doesn't sound like a speedy at all. Once a book has been slated for deletion, sometimes the {{Impending Doom}} template is placed onto the page, to give the authors time to save a copy of the book. This is done as a courtesy. The {{Impending Doom}} template puts the book into the speedy deletion category, and technically any admin can delete that book as a speedy upon seeing the template.

Books that don't meet the inclusion criteria, or that don't appear to be appropriate textbooks for whatever reason can be nominated for deletion at WB:RFD. The community can discuss the issue, and once a general agreement is reached, the page will be either kept or deleted (or sometimes merged with other work, or transwikied to another project).

Nominating for Deletion


When a page is nominated for deletion, mark it with {{rfd}}, and create an entry at WB:RFD with the reason for nomination. Once the community has discussed the matter, and consensus has been reached (or not), the nomination can be closed. This makes it clear that discussion is over, and clarifies the outcome. If the community decides to delete, replace {{rfd}} with {{Impending Doom}}. If the community decides to keep, remove {{rfd}} and place {{rfd-survived}} on the talk page.

Listing Nominations on the RfD Page


On the RfD page, list the name of the book or page using a link (i.e. [[Pagename]]) in the header of your rationale. Then in the message box, type your rationale for why you believe the item in question does not satisfy the inclusion criteria. Make sure to sign your post with four tildes ( ~~~~ ).

Purpose the RfD Page


A discussion at "Requests for Deletion" is not a "vote" in the sense of a democracy, majority-rules decision. Rather, debates are made until the community arrives at a consensus about what should be done about the nomination. If no consensus can be made, a user will generally attempt to synthesize a compromise solution.

Several templates are in use for different types of comments. The {{keep}} template is used when you are in favor of keeping content, and {{del}} is used if you are in favor of deletion. It is highly recommended that you leave comments near your opinion because the decision is not based on majority vote but quality of argument and community consensus.

For general comments that are meant to be neutral, use the {{comment}} template.

Viewing Deleted Pages


Admins can view deleted pages, and they can also view a list of a users' deleted contributions. In general, information in these pages should not be made public, unless there has been a specific request for the information (such as on WB:RFU, described below) and the page in question does not contain any sensitive or inappropriate information. Admins should be careful and cautious when viewing deleted pages, and making those pages available to other users.

Undeleting Pages


It's less common than page deletions, but there is a mechanism for undeleting pages as well. If a page has been wrongfully deleted, or if a community member wants to reexamine the deletion decision, the page can be nominated at Requests for Undeletion. If the community agrees to undelete the page, an admin can undelete it.

Many times an admin will temporarily undelete a page, so that an author or reader can extract information from it. It is left to the discretion of admins whether and when to do this. A page that has been undeleted temporarily can be deleted as a speedy when it is no longer needed.



Often a book can take advantage of work done on Wikibooks' sister projects. In this case, the page should be imported and merged into the book. This is better than a simple cut and paste operation, as it brings not only the wiki markup, but also the page history. Preserving a page's history is required in order to respect the GFDL copyright terms.

Requesting an import


Non-administrator and non-importer can ask for an import on this page.

Using Imported Data as the Basis for a New Book or Chapter


If the page is to be used as the starting point, it can simply be imported into Wikibooks by using the Import tool. The page is imported into Transwiki name-space, and then moved to whatever the new book's name will be.

Incorporating Imported Data into an Existing Chapter


If the page is to be merged with an existing book chapter, things get a little more complicated. The first step is to import the page as outlined previously. The imported page can be moved from the transwiki space to the book chapter - using the same name as the existing book chapter. This will cause the existing chapter to be deleted with the imported material taking its place. The administrator can then undelete all the previous material. At this point, any editor can take over and edit the chapter to incorporate old and new material, cutting and pasting to the heart's content. If the content was moved before this process, you'll want to copy the wiki markup of the existing page before beginning, and use it to replace the new version after undeleting.

To summarize:

  • Import page
  • Move imported page on top of existing chapter — this will delete the existing chapter
  • Undelete chapter material
  • Edit (or restore to its original state)