Why are some weird Wikipedia pages completely deleted forever?
Each day, approximately 800 new articles are added and close to half a million edits are made to the English version of Wikipedia. But for every new page added, roughly 400–500 pages are completely deleted, every single day. “List of fictional characters with removable or interchangeable heads,” “Famous watermelons,” “How do i stop my son from looking at picachu porn” — are just a few of the many many titles that have met their unfortunate fate in the digital graveyard of Wikipedia’s “Deleted articles with freaky titles” page.
As you’re well aware, Wikipedia is the most expansive encyclopedia on the Internet, but the fact that the information on the platform is entirely crowdsourced makes it prone to misinformation, vandalism, and the eternal question of what/who truly deserves its own page. A Twitter account called @DeletedWiki forever memorializes all those dead pages by tweeting out titles hourly, and it’s easy to understand why they’ve been sent off to their doom.
Wikipedia has very strict guidelines especially on what it’s not: a blog, a dictionary, a newspaper, a prediction machine. “Notability is the key criteria and its defined as a subject that has ‘received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject,’” Wikimedia communications manager Samantha Lien says.
The wikipedian who tagged this article for speedy deletion will be cursed to die in 11 days with no exceptions
— Deleted Wiki Titles (@DeletedWiki) September 23, 2017
The deletion of an article isn’t based on the possibility that it might be poorly written. A page’s categorization under the banner of “patent nonsense.” usually does that. Pages under this banner are considered absolute nonsense, whether they’re downright unreadable or just contain random gibberish characters. Also, no original research is allowed on the W. “Seeing as Wikipedia is a third-party source, it’s vital that enough reliable sources about a topic already exist to verify information included about it on Wikipedia, and that those sources are seen as separate from the subject,” Lien says.
If a Wikipedia page you’ve created has been removed, it most likely failed to meet those ‘notability’ standards. Or, it must’ve committed a copyright violation, vandalism, or an unfortunate combination of all of these.
Wikimedia, the parent company that owns Wikipedia, supports the site with its tech infrastructure, providing & investing in new tools, and defending the site and its editors with legal protection. What it doesn’t do is impose any sort of influence on the site’s content. That’s handled by the volunteer community. Anyone can propose an article deletion, but only an administrator can remove it.
If you want your articles to stick around and not go to hell, it best to work with the editors to emphasize an encyclopedic tone by adding citations. Case in point: The seemingly nonsensical nature of “James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher,” a page that is perfectly valid and legitimate that takes quite a bit of grammatical understanding to truly appreciate.