Wikipedia:Deletion is not cleanup

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Wikipedia is a work in progress, and as such, some articles may be in better shape than others. In some cases, an article may be in such bad shape that the only way to fix it is to rewrite the whole article from scratch. A misconception about this idea, however, is that a user might interpret this as meaning that the article should be deleted first and then recreated, which in turn would lead the user to subject the article to a deletion discussion.

The problem[edit]

If the subject of an article has been proven to pass notability guidelines, there is no need for a deletion discussion. Articles are listed from time to time at the Articles for deletion page with the rationale being something along the lines of, “This article is a mess. It needs to be rewritten.” Discussions like that are often speedily closed and the article kept because that is not a valid criterion; besides, if the article needs to be rewritten, that is what the {{rewrite}} template is for. If an article can be improved through normal editing, simply fix it, or else fix as much of it as you can and consider leaving the rest of your concerns in a new section on the article's talk page.

Exceptions[edit]

In some cases, an article about a notable subject should be deleted, if it is determined that the article falls under one of the criteria listed at Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion (CSD). Such articles can be easily tagged with a CSD tag, upon which an administrator will come along and take the proper action, usually without delay.

Discussion driving cleanup[edit]

There are a great many pages in Wikipedia, all in varying states of quality. Some are highly watched pages that a great many editors are willing to devote time and effort into fixing. Others are the creation of a singular editor who may not be part of the project anymore. How should one focus attention to these poor quality articles? You could tag it with one of many maintenance templates or categories, but as evidenced by the fact that there are still active maintenance tags and categories from 2008, it is clear that "tagging" does not focus enough attention on the article.[citation needed] Nominating for discussion brings the page to the attention of multiple editors and encourages them to put aside the procrastination blinders and fix the issue with the article with the specter of a deadline. Some will point to this essay as a reason to not nominate and discuss, but if a page is failing Wikipedia policy, it should be discussed and fixed.

See also[edit]