Wiki:Deletion policy

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This page contains a draft of a community approved set of rules about deleting wiki pages. Templates and categories are explicitly excluded from the policy. The discussion is located at the forum [1], [2], and a special wiki page.

Also a minor change how to apply the {{Delete}} template is proposed: the previous practice to blank the page before applying this template is now optional.

General criteria what to keep or delete

Criteria for deciding whether to delete pages other than proposal pages.[1][2]

General advice

  1. Content may be deleted to focus the documentation of the wiki to currently relevant concepts and avoid duplication and contradiction.
  2. The article has some issues. Edit the article instead!
  3. The content is outdated. Update it if it would be relevant![3]
  4. The page can be fixed by reverting to a previous version.[4]
  5. Antiquated content may be kept to record OSM's tagging history, past controversies, and tag documentation backing up the wiki's documentation pages.
  6. If in doubt, keeping a page is preferred to deleting.
  7. Except when stated differently, a deletion must always be proposed and discussed first.

To delete

(ordered from strongest to weakest reason)

  1. The page contains spam only and has never contained non-spam content. Please continue with the Spam article or use {{Delete|spam}}!
  2. Violations of people's privacy / data protection rights (deletion request)
  3. You created the page by accident (you may request deletion).
  4. Typo pages, e.g. a page was started with a misspelling in the title, the page has been moved to the correct one. The remaining redirect stub can be deleted, although it is not recommended as it takes administrators' time (deletion request).
  5. In case of files and media: This media is already stored in Wikimedia Commons and the licence allows the use in this wiki as well (deletion request).
  6. In case of files: The file is a duplicate of another one, so there are two identical files. There are sometimes reasons for duplicates, always check them individually (deletion request).
  7. This page is an exact copy of a different wiki page (deletion request).
  8. You were the only editor of the page and consider the content outdated (for instance, you wrote about a software that is not available any more and this has never had a major implication to OpenStreetMap).
  9. A page which is empty or contains white space characters only for more than one month might be proposed for deletion after the proposer has ruled out vandalism.
  10. Pages that are contrary to basic principles in OpenStreetMap (e.g. proposing to severely violating copyright, or Good practice). However, if this violation of principles is more subtle and therefore being discussed or disputed, that is a discussion to preserve. In these cases, deletions should always be proposed before they are requested to avoid reverts.
  11. You merged the content of two multiple pages. In this case a discussion on multiple channels is necessary beforehand.

To keep

(ordered from strongest to weakest reason)

  1. You do not know what it is about. Discuss it on the talk page!
  2. The article has some issues. Improve the article instead!
  3. The content is outdated. Update it if it would be relevant or mark as obsolete. If there are up to date pages on the same subject link them prominently.
  4. The content is about an outdated concept, use {{Historic artifact start}} or past tense. You might merge and condense content from other pages.
  5. The page is a redirect to an article. Redirects do not hurt as long as they are not misleading or wrong!

Other considerations

  1. Documentation of old software: consider that new software is frequently designed to be compatible or similar with older software and old documentation may help transition to new software and as template for writing new documentation.
  2. Pages with translations: translated pages can be very helpful as templates for translation of similar pages, there are even tools to help with this. Hence pages with translations (especially good ones!) should be kept whenever possible.
  3. Documentation of ancient imports must be kept forever, as even with all traces of imports gone from current data it still present in history that is also distributed under ODBL license. Therefore documentation of copyright status of imported data should never be deleted.

Wiki cleanups and deleting more than a few pages

  1. Create a wiki page documenting your cleanup effort, mention your motives, themes, criteria and a list of pages you intend to delete
  2. Announce the cleanup in talk mailing list and at OpenStreetMap:Deletion discussions by linking to your cleanup wiki page.[5]

Criteria for proposals

Most criteria from the section about general criteria apply for this section as well but some may be overridden by more specific criteria listed bellow.

The deletion criteria for proposals are stricter as they serve as a documentation of historic tagging and related discussions (including voting) and serve as a source for the rest of the wiki and Data items. Most criteria from the section about general criteria apply for this section as well but some may be overridden by more specific criteria listed bellow.[6]

Many users think that all, or nearly all old proposals should be kept, consider also that proposal process does not even mention deletion of proposals.

General considerations

  1. What can be improved should be improved instead of deleted.
  2. Problematic mapping styles should be highlighted on the proposal page but are not a reason to delete a proposal.
  3. Abandoned and outdated proposals that were superseded by newer proposals should be improved to link prominently to current documentation.
  4. The age of a proposal is not a criterion for deletion by itself, it is only relevant in conjunction with other factors (see section "To delete")

To delete

  1. Draft pages on request of the original author, that have not attracted discussion from other users except for relevance and deletion discussions. After a period of one year passing without significant content changes, other users might suggest deletion (using {{Delete proposal}}) and finally request deletion in case of no objections.
  2. Hoaxes and jokes that are not a sub page of a user (= in the user's space) or not clearly marked as such.
  3. Proposals that neither define nor provide examples for their usage.
  4. Proposals which violate the significance conventions of the proposal process and are not in use.

To keep

  1. Proposals with a vote
  2. Proposals for tags that are in use, even without a voting process except for the case that the proposed use is unrelated to the actual use
  3. Proposals that serve as a documentation for a tag, even if it is not widely used. This implies that the proposal is the only documentation of this tag and there is a definition in the proposal.[7] This should prevent that a tag is being used for a different purpose later.
  4. Proposals that attracted other users who contributed to the page or its discussion comparing the proposal with existing schemas or other proposals, so that the proposal is not a simple duplication of others, but it contains a definition of relevant concepts and a comparison with other means of mapping.
  5. Proposals copied to user space - this is in itself not a sufficient reason for deletion
  6. Proposal pages linked from other pages which document tagging or compare multiple approaches

How to delete

For accidentally created pages, spam and violations use a delete request. For all other cases the method of choice is to propose a deletion, await a discussion and if there is agreement to delete the page request a deletion.

In more detail

  1. Please verify that the content qualifies for at least one of the points mentioned in the sections "To delete" and does not contradict with any of the reasons in section "To keep" (except if it is a redirect).
  2. Place the template {{Delete proposal|reason + signature}} on the page, create a section named as the page title on OpenStreetMap:Deletion discussions to discuss the deletion. Do not forget to sign within the template.
  3. Wait a long time, discuss your proposition at OpenStreetMap:Deletion discussions, consider contacting the author or editors known to be editing related content.
  4. If there is consensus and the discussion has ended, move the discussion text to OpenStreetMap:Deletion discussions/<month> <year> and request deletion.
  5. If you do not get any opinions you can either try again in a few months or if you think there is some urgent reason to delete the page try a delete request anyway.

Deletion requests should be placed only on pages that are easy to decide and where you expect universal agreement - or which went through the delete proposal stage without contradiction. Improper and controversial delete requests cost valuable admin time to decide what should have been decided in a community discussion and are prone to cause significant controversy.

To request a deletion, place the template {{Delete|reason + signature}} on the page and remove all links leading to the page to be deleted. It has been suggested that in case a deletion request is opposed, deletion request should not simply be reverted, but changed to deletion proposals using a clear edit comment.[8] A discussion should be initiated by the opposing person on the proposal's discussion page. However, if a request for deletion has been opposed it should never be reinstated without consensus.

Definitions

Proposing a deletion
Proposing a deletion refers to a page edit which places template {{Delete proposal}} on a page and initiates a discussion about deleting or redirecting the page.
Requesting a deletion
Requesting deletion refers to a page edit which replaces the whole page content with the template {{Delete}} and removing the links to this page. The term refers to the user requesting the admins to delete the page (thereby hiding it from non-admin users and excluding it from the backups).

References

  1. Based on Delete
  2. Based on the forum discussion starting at https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?pid=737556#p737556
  3. longer discussion about the previous two points (and why they are separate) available at Special:PermanentLink/1829410#Usage of deletion proposal undoing page improve
  4. There has to exist a better previous version for this argument to be valid.
  5. After discussion, there was purposely no exact number for "more than a few pages" given (see Special:Diff/1823856/1823855)
  6. Draft based on https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?pid=736819#p736819 and subsequent changes
  7. Compromise between Tigerfell and Dieterdreist in the forum posts https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?pid=740089#p740089 and https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?pid=740104#p740104
  8. Discussion about potentially confusing edits

Voting

Voting started on 2019-04-13. It closed on 2019-04-27. As discussed previously, this voting followed the standard rules for proposal voting.

"A rule of thumb for 'enough support' is 8 unanimous approval votes or at least 10 votes with more than 74 % approval, but other factors may also be considered (such as whether a feature is already in use). All suggestions should be taken into account before a proposal is approved or rejected." I do not see "special factors" in this case.

Voting closed

Voting on this proposal has been closed.

It was rejected with 6 votes for, 15 votes against and 9 abstentions.

Rejected mainly due to the policy being considered too complicated.


@Constantino @Smz, @Rafmar, @Escada, @Minh Nguyen, @Harry Wood, @Władysław Komorek, @Warin61, @Wynndale, and @Yurik: you are the people I messaged to vote, but haven't yet voted. I decided to ping you 10 to notify that this is the very last day of voting. Whether to vote or not is up to you, however. Thank you. — EzekielT (talk) 03:48, 27 April 2019 (UTC)


  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Big thanks to everyone who put their time into this. Including those against it. --Adamant1 (talk) 21:43, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Tohaklim (talk) 08:59, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. There's some valuable consensus mixed into this document, but we should not install this amount of bureaucracy in response to a small number of users using delete requests too eagerly – there are other ways of addressing that issue. The ceremony mandated by the "how to delete" section easily triples the amount of manual editing involved in deleting pages. Making sure that people have an opportunity to oppose potentially destructive deletions is critical, but extra overhead like manually creating and archiving empty discussion sections for uncontroversial deletions just wastes people's time. --Tordanik 11:30, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Thanks for working on this --Jeisenbe (talk) 14:13, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Far to much bureaucracy. -- Joto (talk) 06:45, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Criteria are incomplete (see my comment on the talk page), and the overall proposal violates the KISS principle. Mmd (talk) 11:40, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. --Dooley (talk) 14:02, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Bureaucratic it may be - but there is a need to have some sort of guideline against runaway deletions. It might not have prevented the incidents we've had in the past, but it would at least have put the deletionists on notice that their behaviour was outside the norm. ke9tv ([[User talk:ke9tv}talk]]) 2019-04-15 16:57 UTC
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. This has lots of common sense and consensus nicely documented. However, it will need some more time to review and rethink - I can see how others see it as overly micromanaging. Also, it would help acceptance if it was reworded in a way that it outlines methods to protect information from deletion, and allow the deletion of the rest. This is only a question of wording for psychology, as the scope of deletion could remain exactly the same. --Bkil (talk) 09:03, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal.The whole proposal seems not tobe really ready at the moment--Aeonesa (talk) 01:13, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. I’m abstaining for now because of how complicated the process looks but I think I will vote later (maybe yes because we probably need this to stop the deletion war). @Tigerfell, should we ping the participants in the deletion war and the others who voiced their opinions on this, so they can vote? — EzekielT (talk) 23:31, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Good idea, thank you, that is thoughtful of you. Let's do that. --Bkil (talk) 09:03, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. --BlackBike (talk) 19:11, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --MikeN (talk) 20:26, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. I consider this rule to be too complex (bureaucratic). At the same time, I think it is good that people are thinking about it. I think a recommendation for action is better than a definition. Read in German. --Reneman (talk) 19:49, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. I would treat it more as guideline/hints, not a strict limitation (per Mmd) Mateusz Konieczny (talk)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. overcomplicated, only english version available --chris66 (talk) 08:11, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. I'll abstain from voting I think - I'm not close enough to the problem (what might be termed "documentary" wiki pages) to comment. It's good that people are thinking about it, but I do share some of the people who have opposed it's concerns - that it's a bit complicated. SomeoneElse (talk) 00:08, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. There a a lot of valid points in the draft. Some of them should be added to Delete.
There are a couple of reasons why I object this policy:
  • I have the impression that the text has not been proofread.
  • The policy does not really take other languages into account.
  • The list why not to delete a proposal lacks one reason: If the proposal has been discussed on a mailing list (especially Tagging mailing list) or the forum, it should be kept because otherwise the archived discussion lacks the proposal it refers to.
  • I have the impression that some authors of the policy did not really realise that the wiki is not documentation only but also a storage of ideas as well. Therefore, proposals should only be deleted if none of the following criteria applies: The proposal has substantial content, the proposal was discussed anywhere, the tags were added to the OSM database in a large number or by more than one user. Deleting proposals removes ideas – even poor and stupid ones – from our archive and memory!
  • One user claimed that old proposals should be deleted because they could confuse users who try to use these tags. Instead of deleting these proposals, the Template:Proposal_Page should render a information box on the proposal page explaining why usage of proposed tags should be done with care.
  • The policy says that deletion discussions should happen on a central page. Doesn't this pollute the wiki you want to tidy up? I could agree on a central notification page and discussions happen on the Talk page of the page to be deleted.
  • The wiki is not the central point of discussion of this project. Far more people can be reached on channels which are technically designed to be used for discussions like mailing lists or the forum. Using wiki pages to discuss topics is an ugly hack. Even our old Mailman 2 is superior in terms of usability!
  • As other users pointed out, the draft policy introduces a madness of bureaucracy. We had a deletion campaign for old and unmaintained wiki pages for counties and municipalities in Germany last year. According to this draft, we would have been required to discuss each deletion! Instead, we had a thread on the German forum. In OSM, we do not have a lot of strict rules. Instead, we rules are soft and based on past discussions and common sense. If people argue on the deletion of wiki pages in the future, the discussion of this policy (1, 2, 3, 4) will give enough arguments to resolve the dispute.
  • Rules for pages about imports should apply on pages about mechanical edits and data sources as well.
  • This policy was written because a single user submitted a few dozen deletion request using {{Delete}}, not {{delete proposal}} in a single go. As a first reaction, I reverted them en-bloc because a large number was either wrong or a proper discussion worth. Other users complained at his user page but he failed to realise the opposition. He felt attacked because people disagreeing with him and voiced their opinion on his Talk page. A few months later he submitted a lot of the delete proposals again as {{Delete}}, not as the softer {{delete proposal}}. If people feel attacked by other disagreeing with them and re-try their controversial action, we have more serious, social problems in this project which need to be solved before we introduce a policy!
Not a reason to reject the draft: I wondered why someone who joined OSM half a year ago has written two draft policy so far (the first was about multipolygon usage in Germany and rejected) and has only about 10 changesets. Is he/she a sockpuppet? The criticism on the bureaucracy makes me think that he/she might gain more experience how OSM works first. --Nakaner (talk) 18:28, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. this document is too long. I am very reluctant regarding deletions, and ilrhought this was a widely shared position. If we really need a policy, I would suggest to make short and concise policies for each of the areas (key and value definitions, proposals, user pages, software documentation, other parts...). There are other ways to avoid confusion and loss of time, e.g. there could be a template for discontinued projects, and they could (?) be ranked lower in search, or it could be a category (?) which is ranked lower. Could also add some warning about unmaintained content. On the other hand it is a wiki and for every page a look behind the curtain ( at the history) is advisable —-Dieterdreist (talk) 22:25, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. I fully agree with Nakaner. --TheBlackMan (talk) 07:08, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Ways too bureaucratic IMHO. KISS: that should and will be a guideline if approved. --Nospam2005 (talk) 12:51, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. I fully agree with Nakaner. --PangoSE (talk) 14:08, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Far to much bureaucracy. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 14:36, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Following the arguments by Tordanik and Nakaner.--Polarbear w (talk) 12:37, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. I write a lot of wiki, this places enormous bureaucratic burden upon me and OSM. I barely understand this truly complex proposal. Besides, some use mass deletions or "archiving" (of Talk/Discussion wikis, their user pages...) to "rewrite history" (or distinctly hide their bad actions). Let's let the History show us the truth, as it always has. Stevea (talk) 22:34, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Agree with Nakaner. We had a problem with Wikiquette which we tried to solve with bureaucracy. Some points of the deletion policy are imho a good idea and I would consider it great to have a single wiki page which I could watch to get notifications about deletion requests. RicoZ (talk) 19:07, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. I really like many of the ideas, but brevity is the sister of talent - the more text we have here, the less likely it will get read, let alone followed. I would recommend making it far simpler/shorter, and resubmitting. --Yurik (talk) 06:51, 27 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. IMHO This rule will be too complicated. --Władysław Komorek (talk) 08:38, 27 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. A wiki's advantage is malleability - do we really want to turn it into a bureaucratic ally managed official documentation ? Consensual edits do not require such process and non-consensual edits provoke conflict which is resolved socially... What problem are we trying to solve ? --liotier (talk) 18:29, 27 April 2019 (UTC)